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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Date published:
November 10, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Former pro Agustín Sagasti dies

    The flags of Basque cycling fans will be at half mast today for the passing of Agustín Sagasti.
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 1:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cause of Basque rider’s death as yet unknown

     Former professional rider Agustín Sagasti Murgia has died at the age of 39.

    Sagasti was found deceased in his home and the cause of death is not yet known. He is the third rider to die in the past month, following the recent passing of Belgian riders Frank Vandenbroucke and Dimitri De Faux.

    Sagasti’s career as a professional cyclist was cut short due to an horrific crash during the 1995 Vuelta a los Valles Mineros Asturias, where he suffered severe arm and leg injuries.

    The collision with an oncoming car during that race also forced the then-24 year old Basque rider into a coma.

    The previous year he had won the fifth stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco, the first victory for the fledgling Euskadi-Orbea team, which later became the Euskaltel-Euskadi outfit.

    Vuelta a los Valles Mineros Asturias organiser Unipublic Mieres was forced to claim responsibility for Sagasti’s accident following a lengthy legal battle that resulted in a payout of 70 million pesetas. It was found that the organisation failed to control traffic at the intersection where the vehicle entered the course.

    Despite the compensation, Sagasti didn’t ride professionally again, taking up a post as coach of the Basque Cycling Federation after recovering from his injuries.

    Cyclingnews extends its condolences to family and friends of the deceased.

  • Bellis back in London and recovering well

    Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 1:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    British rider making steady progress in hospital

     Saxo Bank rider Jonny Bellis is recovering well in a London hospital after being transported to the English capital overnight.

    "Jonny Bellis has now been transferred to a hospital in London where he has been assigned his own physiotherapist,” British Cycling explained in a statement released on its website.

    “A rehab programme has begun and doctors at the hospital have confirmed that he is stable and progressing well," continued the statement.

    The 21-year-old professional from the Isle of Man crashed while riding his scooter near Quarrata, Italy, at around 3:30a.m on September 19. Local medical staff placed him in an induced coma at the hospital in Careggi, north of Firenze, following surgery.

    He was brought him out of the coma earlier this month but recovery on his head injuries continues, although this latest development is positive news for Bellis’ family, friends and fans.

  • Mountain Khakis brings in Jittery Joe’s sponsorship

    Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis p/b EP-NO) looks spent after the finish.
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 5:10 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Moninger to lead 'new' Mountain Khakis in 2010

    A merger between North Carolina's Team Mountain Khakis and Georgia's Jittery Joe's has formed the USA's 11th UCI-registered Continental team in 2010. Newly-named Mountain Khakis fueled by Jittery Joe's, managed by Premier Sports Partners, a sports management company owned by Jamie Bennett and Pat Raines, has secured Scott Moninger to lead the team as directeur sportif.

    "We are a program that creates an educational environment, giving young guys experience," said Pat Raines. "Scott is one of the most experienced guys in the US and he immediately brings with him a captain quality. The amount of experience he is bringing to the team is endless. He's excited because it's a new opportunity for him and we are bringing something to the table for him as well."

    Moninger retired from the BMC Racing team in 2007 following 20 successful years of professional bike racing and nearly 300 career victories. In 2008 the Boulder, Colorado native rejoined the cycling community as assistant directeur sportif of the Toyota United Pro Cycling team, under Len Pettyjohn. Next year, he will co-direct alongside Jason Snow.

    "We put feelers out there to some people and they came back with Scott Moninger," Raines said. "We got in touch with him and he was keyed up and interested. He had worked with Toyota United but he never had the opportunity to be the guy out front. He was looking for an opportunity to be the head guy and make tactical decisions."

    The South-East merge

    Charlotte-based Mountain Khakis Pro Cycling, managed by Bennett and Raines and Raleigh-based DLP Racing, managed by Jonathan Kane were both registered UCI Continental teams in 2009. Kane is the son of Jack Kane, founder of Jack Kane Bicycles, custom racing bicycles and former sponsor of DLP Racing. DLP Racing is not directly involved with the merge between Mountain Khakis program with the Jittery Joe's funding however, Kane contributes to the team with valuable...

  • Millar describes O'Grady's seizure

    Stuart O'Grady and David Millar ride together at the 2009 Vuelta a España.
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 10:47 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Australian hopes to head home to Monaco soon

    David Millar has described witnessing Stuart O'Grady's seizure on Sunday as 'absolutely horrific', and that he sat in hospital with the Australian for almost two days. Millar who rides for Garmin-Slipstream shared his experiences with Cyclingnews, and said that the seizure could have been caused by a brain lesion.

    “I was with him when it happened. He got a ride on the Ducati VIP two-seater along with five other lucky people Sunday morning. He went through a full medical beforehand and obviously passed no problem, followed by two hours of briefings and fittings for leathers. The motorbike was ridden by Randy Mamola, a legend in the sport, who has been doing this for a few years now, so although it is probably one of the most scary experiences on the planet it is actually quite safe.

    “After doing the ride he came off obviously a bit dazed but very excited,and he complained of having a little blurry vision which I actually thought was quite funny. We went to the Alpinestars hospitality where we sat down and started talking about it. Stuey stopped speaking and genuinely didn't seem very well, I was thinking this was quite funny, then Ben Spies (Superbike World Champion) came over to say hi and be introduced to Stuey and myself. Stuey did not even raise his head and completely ignored him,(very unlike friendly Stuey).

    “A few seconds later he started seizing up, he was sitting next to Anthony Peden aka Weapon (Casey Stoner's trainer)and went to grab him as he began to seize up. Peter lowered him to the floor as he went into a complete seizure.

    “This lasted for over a minute and was absolutely horrific. He finally came out of it as the medics arrived and then he was taken to the medical centre. From there he was taken to hospital in Valencia where he is being held under observation till Wednesday. I spent Sunday with him and most of Monday before coming home, although he had a killer headache all...

  • Contador's manager denies mega-contract offer from Astana

    Spain's Alberto Contador enjoying a vacation in Curaçao
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 10:56 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Says brother Alberto would only stay with Kazakh team for one year

    Alberto Contador has not received an offer for some eight million euro a year from Team Astana, according to his brother and manager, Fran.

    "It's totally false, I do not know where it came from or who was interested in spreading this," he told AS.

    Fran Contador said that the amount under discussion was “not even half that amount” and that the talks concerned only the one year left on Alberto's contract. “Astana is a new team, with other riders and other staff. The only thing that doesn't change is the sponsor.”

    If Spain's Contador does stay with Astana it will only be for one year, said Fran.

    The Belgian media had reported earlier that Astana offered Contador a new contract worth up to eight million euro a year for four years.

    The rider is enjoying a vacation in Curaçao following Sunday's race, which he won, while his manager has been working “on all the options.” He said that “Alberto returns on Thursday and will have time to decide.”

    Contador won this year's and the 2007 Tour de France. Last year, he won the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.

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  • Lampre's Cunego looks ahead to Milano-Sanremo

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 11:01 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Italian team has options in one-day Classic: Petacchi for sprint, Cunego an 'outsider'

    Damiano Cunego and team Lampre-Farnese are already looking ahead four months to Milano-Sanremo, one of Italy's biggest one-day Classics. Former winner and sprinter Alessandro Petacchi signed for the team in August and will add another dimension for the race.

    "When there is someone like him to carry to the sprint it's good to also have an outsider [for the victory too]," Cunego told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The team is stronger in this way and causes trouble for our rivals. Then, if the race goes in a certain way... You can try, and have nothing to lose. Why not?"

    The race, March 20, starts in Milano and ends along the Ligurian coast, in Sanremo. The climbs in the final 25 kilometres of the 298-kilometre race often help shape the sprint or allow an attacking rider to go free in a small group.

    Filippo Pozzato was the 'outsider' for team Quick Step in 2006. The team's rivals kept track of sprinter and favourite Tom Boonen, but Pozzato went clear in a group of six riders on the race's final climb, the Poggio.

    Cunego discussed his views of the 2010 Milano-Sanremo in Peschiera del Garda (Verona) Sunday. He joined 200 fans for an annual fan club day, despite just recovering from the flu.

    "Was it H1N1? I think so," said Cunego. "Three days with a very high fever, I was always in bed. Luckily it passed."

    Cunego leaves today for a vacation in Zanzibar. He will plan his training programme and the races prior to Sanremo at a camp with the team when he returns.

    Brit Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) won this year's Milano-Sanremo with a strong sprint to catch German Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam).

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the...

  • Vogondy gets late call-up from Bbox

    Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel)
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 11:48 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Two-time French champion signs for one year

    Two-time French champion Nicolas Vogondy has been offered a place on the Bbox Bouygues Telecom next season. The 32-year-old Frenchman has been on the look-out for a new team for some time after Agritubel, where he has spent the last three seasons, announced their withdrawal from the sport.

    Initially, Vogondy had been hoping to find a place on Stéphane Heulot’s Saur-Sojasun team but Heulot couldn’t find a place for him. A subsequent enquiry by Vogondy to Bbox directeur sportif Didier Rous seemed to have ended similarly, but discussions in recent weeks have resulted in a one-year deal.

    Vogondy, a pro since 1997, thanked both Agritubel and Bbox team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau for showing faith in him. “I’m not going to Bbox just to make up the numbers but to progress my career still further,” he told L’Equipe. He added that his goals for next season are to be in the running for a third French national title and to win a stage at the Tour de France, which would no doubt delight Bernaudeau, who is looking for a new primary sponsor for 2011.

    Bernaudeau was pleased to have sealed the deal with Vogondy. “Just as with Anthony Charteau, who is returning to our team, we want riders here who don’t have any issues. Vogondy, like Freddy Bichot [also signed from Agritubel], is the kind of guy who battles all the time,” Bernaudeau commented.

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  • Lefevere denies €5 million offer to Contador

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere hopes to sign Alberto Contador for the 2010 season.
    Article published:
    November 10, 2009, 11:56 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Quick Step have tabled offer with Contador, awaiting decision from UCI licence commission

    With Alberto Contador expected to make a decision on where he will ride in 2010 within the next fortnight, Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has denied reports that his Belgian team have made a contract offer to the rider worth up to 20 million euro.

    Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport had reported that Quick Step had presented Contador's representatives with a four-year contract worth 5 million euro per year. Lefevere today acknowledged that the team has made an offer to the two-time Tour de France winner, but said the contract value that had been suggested was an exaggeration.

    "We have made an offer, [Contador] knows how much and we will see," he told Cyclingnews. "I don't talk about money. Some people are speaking about numbers that everyone knows are ridiculous."

    Lefevere had earlier told Belgian website Sporza that Quick Step's bicycle sponsor, Specialized would be prepared to contribute funds to secure Contador's services, but said "The money we have offered Contador also comes from the team budget."

    The speculation over the value of Quick Step's offer to Contador comes a day after reports that the Spaniard had been offered up to 8 million euro per season to remain with Astana. Contador's brother and manager, Fran Contador, today denied that offer had been made and said that if he does remain with Astana, it will not be on a long term contract.

    International Cycling Union's (UCI) licence commission are expected to make a decision on Astana's ProTour status on November 20. If the Kazakh team's ProTour licence is withdrawn, Contador will be free to accept offers from rival teams.

    Lefevere told Cyclingnews that with Quick Step's offer on the table, the team is at the mercy...