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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Date published:
November 23, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Brian Nygaard: We've done our homework

    All eyes will be on Andy Schleck in 2011.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 19:15 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project awarded four-year ProTeam licence

    Earlier in the month they topped the UCI's sporting hierarchy of teams for 2011 and today the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project has been awarded a four-year ProTeam licence by the sport’s governing body and the Licence Commission.

    The team, headed by Brian Nygaard, have signed Andy Schleck, his brother Fränk, Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann and Jakob Fuglsang, with Fabian Cancellara rumoured to soon be announced as their final big signing.

    Nygaard, who has built the team from scratch with the help of Kim Andersen, was understandably pleased with today’s news.

    “It’s what we set out to do. We’re happy and proud of the work that we’ve put into it we always felt it was our duty to present a project that was strong enough to get a licence,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “We did our homework and made it a very good project. It makes a lot of sense that getting a ProTeam licence is so rigorous because the sport deserves solid projects with solid investments and distinctly clear ethics. That’s where we are today.”

    In October the UCI announced that The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project were in the running for a ProTeam licence but Nygaard said that the plans for submission started much earlier.

    “It’s been hard work. You don’t get favours and we weren’t asking for any. It makes sense that you have to fill all the UCI criteria. The staff and everyone that’s involved with the team have worked really hard to get here.”

    “One thing is securing some of the best bike riders in the world, but you also have to have the administration and finance in place.”

    Nygaard’s team is unique because it is the only 2011 ProTeam still to announce a title sponsor. However with the team's presentation not due until January, Nygaard is sticking to his timetable and will not budge on...

  • Spanish beef producers criticise Contador

    Alberto Contador during his press conference as he tries to explain how his urine sample became contaminated with clenbuterol
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 20:15 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Association calls for inquiry into contaminated meat claims

    Spain's leading association of beef producers, the Asociación Española de Productores de Carne de Vacuno (ASOPROVAC), has criticised Alberto Contador’s claims that his positive test for Clenbuterol was caused by contaminated meat purchased in Spain and has called for a formal investigation to ascertain the facts in the case.

    The association issued a statement saying it had asked public prosecutors to open "a formal and rigorous investigation to ascertain the facts once and for all and lead to any accountability, including that of Contador.”

    “Contador is also urged to report the case via legal channels if he is really interested in clarifying the facts and to identify responsible, and not only via the media as has happened so far.”

    Contador and his international legal team are currently preparing the Tour de France winner’s defence before the Spanish Cycling Federation holds on disciplinary hearing on the case.

    Under anti-doping rules, Contador has to prove that the meat he ate was contaminated. He has always said the meat was brought to the Astana team hotel in Pau by friend and race organiser Jose Luis Lopez Cerron, who bought the meat in Irun, close to the Spanish border.

    On Monday a representative of the biggest Spanish agricultural association, the ASAJA, Ramón Riestra, supported Alberto Contador in his defence, suggesting the contaminated meat could have been imported from South America, where the fattening of cattle with Clenbuterol is not prohibited. However last week Spanish newspaper El Pais claimed the official report on the case from World-Anti-Doping Agency seriously undermined Contador's claims.

    Contador risks a two-year ban and would lose his Tour de France victory if found guilty.

  • Gianetti slams UCI ProTeam decision

    The two Swiss riders of Footon-Servetto-Fuji, David Vitoria and Noé Gianetti (l-r), join Mauro Gianetti for a picture.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 22:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Geox-TMC manager suggests points are more important than ethics

    Mauro Gianetti, the manager of the Geox-TMC team, has bitterly criticised the way the UCI has awarded ProTeam places for 2011 after his team missed out on one of the 18 slots.

    In the sporting criterion list issued by the UCI on November 2 and based on riders signed for 2011, the Geox-TMC was 17th and looked set to secure a place thanks to signing Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov as team leaders. However, the team missed out with Quick Step and Ag2r moving past them to secure the final places. The UCI has so far refused to reveal how teams are awarded ProTeam status.

    Gianetti suggested the sporting criterion used by the UCI to decide the 18 ProTeams makes scoring points more important than ethics.

    “I think this decision is bad news for cycling,” Gianetti told Cyclingnews.

    “Carlos Sastre is the only Tour de France winner since 1996 not to be involved in a doping scandal and yet that’s been ignored and the only thing that matter seems to be the points riders have scored in the last two years.

    “Riccardo Riccò caused huge damage by testing positive during the Tour de France. It cost me a major sponsor and stopped another sponsor coming into the sport. So how can the points he scored in 2010 after making a quick comeback, be more important that what Sastre or Denis Menchov has achieved?

    “The UCI isn’t coherent. Its decision gives the message that the important thing isn’t ethics but points. That’s crazy. And they don’t seem worried about how those points are earned. They seem to accept points at any price.”

    Competitive line-up

    Gianetti has managed the relatively weak Footon-Servetto team this year but argues that the 2011 Geox-TMC line-up was strong enough to be a ProTeam.

    “We’ve got a competitive team. We’ve got Sastre and Menchov as team leaders: Menchov won the Giro in 2009 and...

  • Gary Sutton's career celebrated in Sydney

    Women's endurance coach Gary Sutton talks to team pursuit member Ashlee Ankudinoff.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 0:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    National coach honoured for contribution to Australian cycling

    After a career as both a professional rider and renowned Australian national coach, Gary Sutton OAM will be honoured at a testimonial dinner to be held in Sydney on December 6.

    During a life devoted to cycling, Sutton won an unprecedented 43 national titles, held national records, won a world title and Commonwealth Games gold medals and was feared as a rider in Australia from distances over one kilometre to 200km.

    Since his retirement as a rider he has guided and developed more cyclists to become world champions than any other coach in Australian cycling history and remains a great mentor to many of the current crop of stars.

    He is the father of Team Sky professional Chris and Sutton senior's brother, Shane, was recently awarded an OBE for his services to British cycling as a coach. The pair rode together throughout Europe during the 1980s and Shane Sutton will be speaking at the dinner on December 6.

    Sutton has stipulated that any funds raised from the dinner be directed towards Australia's junior world championships team and other speakers on the night include two noted riders coached by Sutton - Kate Bates and Ben Kersten - plus local radio personality Alan Jones AO.

    The event will be held at the Summer Salt Restaurant (66 Mitchell Rd, Cronulla), beginning at 6.30pm. For more information and bookings, contact Phill Bates: or (02) 9570 5556

  • Zaugg and Posthuma to Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Oliver Zaugg (Gerolsteiner) was happy with his ride.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 9:20 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Climber and time trial specialist look to help team win Tour de France

    Switzerland's Oliver Zaugg and Joost Posthuma of the Netherlands have joined the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project for 2011. The team announced the signings of the Swiss climber and the Dutch time trial specialist early Tuesday morning.

    The team was awarded a four-year ProTeam licence on Monday evening.

    Zaugg, 29, spent the last two years at Liquigas-Doimo. “I definitely see this as a prime opportunity to play a large role in helping my team succeed in races like the Tour de France,” Zaugg said. “To participate in our team’s biggest goals is certainly my top priority for this coming season!”

    "Oliver is someone who is always reliable in the mountains,” said team manager Brian Nygaard. “He can definitely be counted on to be there to protect the leaders on the last climbs of the Grand Tours.”

    "He is very much a luxury helper for the leaders,” Nygaard said. “He has already proved himself to be strong in stage races, and he hasn’t even hit his limit; he’s a rider with a lot of promise.”

    "To know that I will have the chance to use my particular strengths to support the Schlecks and the other general classification riders achieve their biggest goals in cycling was a huge part of my decision to join this team,” Zaugg said.

    Posthuma, 29, is an allrounder who can do a strong time trial. He has been with Rabobank his whole career to date.

    "Joost is someone who we definitely see as being able to take the next step to winning big time trials and shorter stage races throughout the year,” Nygaard said. “He has been knocking on the door for quite a while now, and we hope that with the added motivation of coming to a team like ours, he’ll be able to add more success to his already impressive CV. I think he could be one of the big surprises of next year.”

    Posthuma explained his goals for the coming year: ...

  • Vacansoleil says ProTeam license is reward for hard work

    The Vacansoleil team
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 9:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutch team still unsure about Grand Tours participation

    Vacansoleil-DCM has said that its ProTeam licence for the next three years is the logical conclusion for its two years of hard work. The Dutch team is now looking forward to bigger races, even if it is not sure whether it will be invited to all three Grand Tours.

    "From day one we have had a very close group, and the hard work of the staff, riders and sponsors have made this step possible,” said team manager Daan Luijkx on the team's website.

    “In 2009 we were good, in 2010 we were better and in 2011 the team has an enormous potential in many areas. Our always-eager group will show in the Tour Down Under what we are capable of at this level. After the Spring Classics we will then take stock of where we are.”

    The three-year licence coincides with the three-year contracts with sponsors Vacansoleil, DCM and Ridley, and that, “brings calm and confidence for the future. Last season we missed the big tours despite excellent performances and some great rides. We want to avoid this in the future by taking the step up to the first division, maintaining our core and by attracting a number of top riders.

    It is however, not entirely clear as to whether all of the ProTeams will be automatically invited to all three of the Grand Tours. “We must wait and see,” Luijkx told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    "There are other advantages though. “It is a security for us for races like the Dauphine. And for some of the Classics this year where we had to wait for a wildcard. We are now automatically invited.”

    The move also involves the need for more sponsors. “I consciously left a few spots on the jersey for sponsors,“ Luijkx said. “They can now be filled, so we can sign some more riders. If you are a ProTour team, you need to have some 30 riders.”

    Returning to the team are Riccardo Ricco, Borut Bozic, with three wins in 2009, and Romain...

  • Boyer admits lack of leader cost Cofidis ProTeam licence

    Team manager Eric Boyer has to convince Cofidis to continue their sponsorship
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 10:32 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    French team aiming to collect points on continental calendar in 2011

    Cofidis manager Éric Boyer has admitted that the lack of a recognised team leader may have cost his squad a ProTeam licence for 2011. Boyer was on the verge of signing Thomas Voeckler as leader in October, but the Frenchman ultimately opted to stay put at Jean-René Bernaudeau’s squad and helped secure Europcar’s sponsorship for 2011.

    “The UCI told us that we didn’t have a leader and I’ve heard that message loud and clear,” Boyer told L’Équipe. “I hope that a rider from the 2011 roster will become the leader we are missing but if at the end of next spring we have the feeling that he’s not there, we’ll have to recruit one.”

    Boyer went on to define the type of leader he has in mind to Le Voix du Nord: “A rider under 30 years of age, capable of finishing in the top five of a major tour or of winning a classic.”

    AG2R are the only the French squad to have obtained a ProTeam licence, even though Cofidis were ranked ahead of them in the UCI’s initial ranking of ProTeam applicants, which was based on sporting criteria.

    “I’m disappointed as we were better placed in terms of sporting criteria and I have the feeling that we can’t have been too far off,” Boyer said to L’Équipe. “But from AG2R’s example I can see that it’s not impossible for a French team to be in the first division, even if I admit that I had been asking myself questions.”

    Boyer also explained that that his team’s calendar of races will suffer significantly as a result of missing out on ProTeam status and called on the UCI to clarify its selection procedures in the future.

    “This year, we weren’t invited to Tirreno, Milan-San Remo, Amstel, the Tour of Romandie and the Tour de Suisse and I don’t really see how we could be next year either,” he...

  • Paris-Roubaix Espoirs will not be held in 2011

    Eventual winner Taylor Phinney leads heading into the last lap in Roubaix.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 10:56 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Costs of policing the event too high

    Paris-Roubaix Espoirs will not be held in 2011 due to the prohibitive cost of policing the event. The race, organised by the storied V.C. Roubaix club, began as the amateur version of the Queen of the Classics in 1967 and had taken place without interruption ever since.

    “The event is recognised but there aren’t very many benefits,” V.C. Roubaix president Jean-Charles Cannone explained to La Voix du Nord. “Furthermore, the cost of the police marshalling of the race is going up from €2.40 an hour to €12 an hour. It’s unthinkable! We’d need €20,000’s worth.”

    The money V.C. Roubaix saves by not hosting the event will instead be put towards the purchase of equipment for young riders at the club. V.C. Roubaix is also planning to create a centre of excellence at the new covered velodrome that is to be built in the town. Construction work begins in January and the project is expected to be completed in early 2012.

    American Taylor Phinney won the last two editions of Paris-Roubaix Espoirs in 2009 and 2010 and some famous names feature on the race’s roll of honour. Marc Madiot (1979), Stephen Roche (1980), Frédéric Moncassin (1989), Thor Hushovd (1998) and Yaroslav Popovych (2001) are among those to have triumphed in the event.