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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Date published:
June 29, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Vendée province bids for 2014 world titles

    A windmill along the route of the Tour of Vendée.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 11:15 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Next year's Tour Grand Départ first on the menu

    Vendée president Philippe de Villiers has taken up the challenge of hosting the cycling world championships in the coming years, announcing the Vendée region's bid for the 2014 worlds after having lunch with FFC president David Lappartient

    Lappartient had stated in a press conference on Saturday that France would soon be a candidate for world championships in all disciplines - track, BMX, cyclo-cross, mountain bike and road racing.

    And further proof of the Vendée province joining Brittany as a hot bed of French cycling came with the 60,000 fans who gathered in Chantonnay for the French road race championship won by Thomas Voeckler of 'local' ProTour squad Bbox Bouygues Telecom yesterday.

    While it's slightly lower than last year's attendance in Saint-Brieuc there's evidence that a worlds bid could be fruitful for the region.

    "Bids will be presented by the FFC to the UCI who welcomes them," said Lappartient. France is eligible to host world championships after the lifting of a ban at the end of 2008 which signalled the end of the war between Grand Tour organisers and the governing body.

    The FFC has evaluated the cost of organising the world championships at ten millions euros and the Vendée province is prepared to pay the price.

    It's been 13 years since the region lost a bid to Plouay to host the world titles when the Breton village held them there in 2000, the last time a world championship was organised in France. Competition is expected to be strong as Brittany will probably bid and the game is open to other French regions.

    The Vendée province, on the Atlantic side of France, is home to the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team, with its headquarters located in the village of Les Essarts. It has hosted the European championships in 2001, the French championship three times in the past decade (2000, 2006 and 2009) and the Grand Départ of the Tour de France every six years...

  • Riccò to miss French court hearing

    Riccardo Ricco (Ceramica Flaminia) made the break, but couldn't follow Visconti.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 11:25 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian due to answer charges related to 2008 Tour exclusion on Tuesday

    Riccardo Riccò (Flaminia) will not appear in court in France on Tuesday to answer to charges related to his positive test for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.

    The disgraced Italian rider had been summoned to appear in court in Foix, near the Pyrenees, where he was held in custody following his positive test. However according to, his lawyer Ana Maria Tripicchio has announced that Riccò will not be present at the hearing.

    When gendarmes in Lavelanet searched Riccò’s belongings on the morning of his exclusion from the Tour in July 2008, they discovered ampoules and syringes. The possession of doping products is a criminal offence under French law, and is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of €3,750.

    Riccò was suspended from racing for 20 months following his positive test for CERA in 2008. He was target tested by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) early in the 2008 Tour de France following a spate of startling performances in the run up to that year’s race.

    He completed his suspension in March of this year, and won stages at the Settimana Lombarda and Giro del Trentino. He finished tenth in Saturday's Italian Road Race Championship. His Flaminia team were not invited to ride the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France.

  • Caisse d'Epargne announces Tour line-up

    The Caisse d'Epargne team won the overall that the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 11:29 BST
    Barry Ryan

    No place for former King of the Mountains Soler

    Caisse d’Epargne announced its Tour line-up today with no space in the line-up for 2007 King of the Mountains Juan Mauricio Soler.

    The Colombian injured his knee at the Criterium du Dauphiné, and faced an impossible battle to return to fitness ahead of the start in Rotterdam. The squad had already been considerably weakened following the suspension last month of team leader Alejandro Valverde for his role in Operacion Puerto.

    In their absence, Caisse d’Epargne will be led by newly-crowned Spanish time-trial champion Luis Leon Sanchez. After a very solid season thus far, he will be looking both to add to his tally of two Tour stage wins and to improve on last year’s overall placing of 26th.

    Spanish road race champion Ivan Gutierrez will also have the opportunity to show off his national champion’s colours on French roads as part of a team laden with top quality rouleurs. The men in black swept the podium in the Spanish time-trial championships, and along with Sanchez and Gutierrez, Ruben Plaza is also included.

    Experienced 39-year-old Christophe Moreau, a strong sixth on the Alpe d'Huez stage of the Dauphiné, lines up for his 15th Tour start, while fellow Frenchman Mathieu Perget makes his Tour debut.

    There is also space in the roster for the promising Portuguese talent Rui Costa, 2008 Giro stage winner Vasil Kiryienka, Vuelta stage winner Imanol Erviti and fast man Jose Joaquin Rojas.

    Caisse d'Epargne's Tour de France squad: Imanol Erviti, Ivan Gutierrez, Vasil Kiryienka, Christophe Moreau, Mathieu Perget, Ruben Plaza, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Luis Leon Sanchez, Rui Costa.

    Reserve: Luis Pasamontes:

    Directeurs sportive: Yvon Ledanois and Jose Luis Jaimerena

  • Devolder: Belgian title one of my best wins

    Stijn Devolder with his championship medal
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 12:03 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Still uncertain about Tour ride and 2011 team

    Stijn Devolder described his victory at the Belgian national road championships as "definitely one of the best wins of my career". The Quick Step rider said it ranked right up with "my first national title and my two triumphs in the Tour of Flanders". It also turned around his season and secured his future at Quick Step, or elsewhere.

    Devolder won the Tour of Belgium at the end of May without winning a stage, although the rest of his season hasn't gone to plan. He experienced a barren run in the Spring Classics - in the Tour of Flanders, around which his whole season was planned, Devolder only finished 25th. "I have a miserable year behind me, but in recent weeks it was better," he noted.

    Like all his major wins, Devolder won his latest national title in "typical style" according to Belgian news agency belga, with "a solo in the closing stages".

    He made a perfectly timed counter attack, 11km from the fiinsh of the testing race, after Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had tried but failed to get away.

    The 30-year-old was not named to Quick Step's Tour de France squad, but there is now a chance that he may be after sprinter Tom Boonen was forced to forfeit his place due to a knee injury and the team has not yet announced his replacement.

    "Whether I want to ride the Tour with the tricolore on my back? I can't yet think about it," he replied after his win.

    "Let me first enjoy this title with my family and friends. I rode this week with my local supporters and they were already preparing a party for me. That gave me extra pressure, but also extra satisfaction, because I pulled it off. This championship was my priority in this period," he explained.

    Devolder's contract with Quick Step expires the end of this year, and there have been indications from both sides that he will change teams. Devolder doesn't know yet where he will ride but is open to offers. "Interested team managers should give me...

  • Basso: “I want to win the Tour”

    Maglia Rosa Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) in the peloton
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 12:59 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Giro winner returns to the Tour four years after Operacion Puerto

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) returns to the Tour de France this year for the first time since his exclusion before the start of the 2006 race after being implicated in Operacion Puerto.

    After winning the Giro d'Italia, the Italian now has the yellow jersey in his sights. Speaking to La Stampa, he made his aims clear: “I want to the win the Tour”.

    “I feel the Tour in my heart. It seems like a cliché, I know, but it’s actually not like that, because my career began at the Tour,” said the Varesine. “I can win the Tour with the desire and hunger for victory, and with the help of a team like the one that you saw at the Giro d’Italia.”

    Basso hopes that Roman Kreuziger will fulfil the strong support role that Vincenzo Nibali did so well during the Giro. He has worked hard to build a strong rapport with the talented young Czech rider. “As soon as the Giro was over I went to train on the Col de la Madeleine with Kreuziger. We rode together and talked a lot. It’s fundamental to speak to one another. In a couple of year’s time, I will be helping Nibali and Kreuziger.”

    As for his rivals for Tour de France yellow, Basso sees Alberto Contador as the outstanding favourite. “He is the best, he has already won all the stage races that count, the Giro, Vuelta and Tour. He’s very strong on the climbs, very strong in the time-trials. A champion like him is only born every fifty years, but that doesn’t mean that he’s unbeatable…”

    Basso lists himself among the small group of contenders waiting to take advantage if Contador slips up, namely the Schleck brothers, Cadel Evans, Denis Mencov and, of course, Lance Armstrong. The influence of Armstrong’s example on Basso’s mindset and preparation has always been apparent, and his admiration for the Texan is palpable. “Only somebody like him could finish on the...

  • Procycling and Cyclingnews Tour de France evening enthralls audience

    Cervélo TestTeam's Daniel Lloyd and Phil Liggett were part of the panel discussion.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 17:20 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Phil Liggett, Daniel Lloyd, Jeremy Whittle and Richard Moore star at London café

    June 21st saw Cyclingnews and Procycling premiere a new medium - the live podcast cum panel discussion cum altogether brilliant evening we and 120 readers enjoyed at the Look Mum No Hands! café bar in Old Street, London.

    The idea was simple: take four experts - in this case acclaimed cycling authors Richard Moore and Jeremy Whittle, Cervélo TestTeam stalwart Daniel Lloyd and Phil "Voice of Cycling" Liggett - give them a stage and a couple of glasses of Merlot and let them dissect the forthcoming Tour de France for the enjoyment of a live audience.

    In an hour and a half of riveting and often unprintable discussion, the topics covered included Lance Armstrong's creaking limbs, Mark Cavendish's struggles so far this year, plus the question "exactly how bizarre is Cadel Evans?". The wine flowed, the banter too, and after a prize draw in which one Procycling reader, Stuart Moss, walked away with a LeMond gforce Fitness trainer worth over $2000, all were in agreement that the event should be the first of many.

    If all four panelists were suave and superb, our venue was also a major hit. Opened just this spring, Look Mum No Hands! is London's first, permanent cycling-themed bar and café, and has already established itself as something of a two-wheeled institution. The Cassoulet de Toulouse whipped up specially for our soirée was, alas, considerably tastier than anything we were likely to eat on Tour.

    To all those who attended, and the panelists, please accept our sincere thanks. We think you'll agree that it was a triumphant event - and one we hope to repeat soon.

    Check out the gallery of photos from the evening's events.

    Look Mum No Hands! is London’s first...
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    Armstrong says Tour de France will be his last

    Lnce Armstrong (RadioShack) before the start
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 10:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Seven-time champion calls time via Twitter

    This year's Tour de France will be the last for Lance Armstrong, according to the American's latest Twitter posting.

    The seven-time Tour champion made the announcement via the social networking site ahead of this Saturday's Grande Boucle start in Rotterdam, where the American enters as one of the favourites.

    "And yes, this will be final Tour de France," said Armstrong, later adding the "my" to his statement in a separate Tweet, indicating that he wouldn't be riding the 2011 edition of the year's biggest race.

    "It's been a great ride," continued Armstrong. "Looking forward to three great weeks."

    It will be the end of Armstrong's second comeback to the sport, his first coming after being diagnosed with cancer in October 1996, after which he returned in 1998 and began his run of seven consecutive victories in the Tour de France of 1999.

    In 2005 Armstrong retired, only to announce his comeback in late 2008. In 2009 he rode for the Astana squad - under former US Postal and Discovery Channel manager Johan Bruyneel - in a bid to win an eighth Tour crown.

    Having failed to win last year's edition and following a major rift with Astana star Alberto Contador - who won his second Tour de France ahead of the American - Armstrong established Team RadioShack, taking the likes of Bruyneel, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden with him.

    This trio will be part of the squad helping Armstrong in his attempt at that elusive eighth Tour victory, which gets underway with a prologue in Rotterdam this Saturday.

  • WADA: Armstrong fraud investigation will take time

    Floyd Landis was helping out at the OUCH-Bahati Foundation VIP tent in California.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 10:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Ochowicz not worried by Landis allegations

    World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general David Howman believes the fraud case involving Floyd Landis' allegations against Lance Armstrong and several prominent American cycling figures could be "fruitful" but will take time.

    Howman made the comments in a New York Times article published Monday analysing the implications of the case - surrounding Armstrong's alleged doping practices whilst riding for US Postal - on this year's Tour de France.

    "I think we are very optimistic that this inquiry will be a fruitful one," Howman told the newspaper. "But this is going to take some time because we're not really talking about a simple antidoping case here.

    "Remember the Balco case, how long that took? Well, we could be still talking about this one in 2016," he added.

    The Balco case involved a number of high-profile US track and field athletes, American football and baseball players who were found to have bought and used steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, leading to the jailing of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative founder Victor Conte and the 'forced' retirement of Olympic runners Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.

    Jeff Novitzky, who led the Balco investigation, is in charge of this latest fraud case, trying to determine whether Armstrong, US Postal owners, managers and teammates conspired to defraud sponsors by doping to improve performances and hence the likelihood of securing better results and the possible monetary benefits of this.

    Authorities are seeking to determine whether money from headline sponsor US Postal Service was used to buy performance-enhancing drugs during its time of sponsorship between 1996 and 2004.

    Landis' allegations outline systematic doping within the US Postal team, with which Armstrong won all seven of his Tour de France titles (albeit known as Team Discovery Channel during 2005).

    Landis also implicated former US Postal riders Levi Leipheimer, George...