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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Date published:
October 13, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Rujano returns to Europe with team ISD

    Jose Rujano (Venezuela) on the attack.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 15:02 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Venezuelan climber has chance to return to Giro d'Italia

    Venezuela's José Rujano signed on Monday to ride with Italian team ISD in 2010, according to news agency RCD. Rujano, 27, was third in the 2005 Giro d'Italia, where ISD hopes he will be successful again in 2010.

    "If it is going to be a Giro for climbers, as they are saying, then Rujano will excel," said ISD team manager Angelo Citracca. "He is one of the best climbers around, but after 2005, he relaxed and then mononucleosis stopped him (from riding)."

    Rujano, riding for Gianni Savio's Selle Italia-Colombia, won the 2005 Giro's Sestriere stage, which included the gravel Finestre climb. It helped him take third overall and the green jersey of best climber.

    After Selle Italia, he rode for Quick Step (2006), (2007), Caisse d'Epargne (2008) and this year, Gobernación del Zulia.

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  • Lewis at potential career turning point

    Craig Lewis (Columbia-HTC) stringing out the group in full chase mode.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 15:24 BST
    J.P. Partland

    Time is right to step into leadership role at Columbia-HTC

    Columbia-HTC's Craig Lewis is at a potential turning point in his career. Last year, he rode to an impressive 11th place at the Giro di Lombardia in support of teammate Morris Possoni, who finished ninth. These past few months, he's showing the form of his life.

    Lewis might be the forgotten man of US cycling. Only 24, he's been a pro for five years, first with TIAA-CREF, and for the past two years with Columbia-Highroad and Columbia-HTC. Columbia, the top team in the world, has been an apprenticeship, one where if he can step up, he'll be able to take on some leadership responsibilities. If he had been on a smaller or less successful team, he might have had more opportunities to ride for himself and have some more results next to his name. But that doesn't necessarily translate into progress as a rider.

    Lewis, though seen as a climber and stage racer by many, has spent countless kilometres on the front in support of his teammates. This year, he was the first guy pounding out tempo for teammate Mark Cavendish at the Tours of Ireland and Missouri. He was George Hincapie's only teammate when Hincapie won the USPRO Championships this summer, and his pace on several ascents of Paris Mountain shredded the field. Impressive for a guy diagnosed with H1N1 (swine flu) earlier that week. Since Missouri, he was the top American at the World Championships, riding to 58th.

    Some might be frustrated by always being the guy called on to bring back the break. For people fixated on results as a way to measure worth, riding in support of others can be difficult. Lewis seems to take it in stride. "I'm riding the front 70 percent of the races I'm doing, riding at the...

  • Astana to ink sponsorship deal

    Alberto Contador takes a turn at the front of the Team Astana train.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 17:27 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Three-year agreement may end team's money woes

    Financial woes may be over for the Astana cycling team after it lined up a three-year sponsorship deal with a Kazakh state's holding company, Samruk-Kazyna. Kazakh Cycling Federation deputy president Nikolai Proskurin said the team is expected to sign a deal on Monday according to the Associated Press.

    The holding company Samruk-Kazyna includes some of Kazakh's largest companies including oil and gas company Kazmunaigas and national airline Air Astana, both of which would be the team's exclusive sponsors in a deal spanning the next three seasons.

    "They will be the general sponsor and will take all the expenditures upon themselves," Proskurin said to the Associated Press.

    The Tour de France-winning team Astana is awaiting news of the status of its application to the UCI for renewing its ProTour team license for 2010 and beyond. The UCI is currently reviewing the application. The news is expected to boast Astana's chances of license renewal.

    Astana was plagued by financial problems earlier this season when it fell behind on the payment of riders' salaries. Despite the issue, the team was allowed to ride the Giro d'Italia, where the team's riders protested the lack of salary payments by graying out the names of the sponsors on its jerseys.

    Astana's management was given a May 31 deadline to guarantee all salaries going forward. The team met the deadline and was allowed to continue racing for the rest of the season It went on to take first and third at the Tour de France with Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.

    Armstrong is leaving Astana for Team RadioShack in 2010. Contador has explored options with other teams, but is presently bound by a contract with Astana through 2010. If the Kazakh team keeps its ProTour license, it will be difficult for Contador to move to another team.

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  • Horner makes successful return in Italy

    Fahlin (HTC Columbia Women) was best young rider.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 17:58 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Recovered from Vuelta crash, ready to win Lombardia after Italian first two races back

    American Chris Horner returned to competition this weekend one month after crashing in the Vuelta a España. He rode with the favourites in Giro dell'Emilia in Bologna, Italy, which included five climbs up San Luca.

    "It was a little bit better than I expected. I expected to be near the front, but I was at the front," Horner said to Cyclingnews.

    Dutchman Robert Gesink (Rabobank) won the race ahead of Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-HTC). World Champion Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) chased and caught Horner's Astana teammate Alexander Vinokourov on the San Luca climb for fourth. Vinokourov finished fifth and Horner finish 18th at 1:20 back.

    He also finished with the main group one day later at the GP Beghelli.

    Horner fractured his left and pelvis in the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España on September 1. He returned to training first on a stationary bike for one week and then spent two weeks on the road. He said that he could tell from his training that he was going well.

    He will line up for his last race of the season on Saturday, the Giro di Lombardia. The 242-kilometre race is one of cycling's toughest, taking in the Madonna di Ghisallo, Civiglio and San Fermo climbs in the final 60 kilometres. Horner has finished in the top 10 for the last two years.

    "I would like to end the season with a win," he said. Vinokourov and Janez Brajkovic are also favourites to win, said Horner.

    "I've had bad luck throughout the year, but my form has been some of the best of my career. Not considering the crashes I've had, it's one of my best seasons."

    He had four separate crashes that involved fractured bones this year, in the Tour of California, the Vuelta a País Vasco, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta. Despite the crashes, he wore the leader's jersey for one day and finished second overall in the Tour de l'Ain.

    Horner announced last week...

  • Milram signs Belgian duo

    Roy Sentjens will move from Silence-Lotto to Milram for the 2010 season.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 18:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Sentjens and De Vocht strengthen Milram for spring classics

    Team Milram has added two Belgian classics riders for the 2010 season, the team announced on Monday. Roy Sentjens, 29, and Wim De Vocht, 27 each signed a one-year contract over the weekend for the German ProTour squad.

    "We are very pleased to have signed these two riders", said Gerry van Gerwen, Team Milram manager. "Both will help us with the future development of our team. Together with Gerald Ciolek, Servais Knaven and Niki Terpstra they will ensure that our performance at the classics will be different to this season. Both Sentjens and De Vocht know the spring races very well and are of course highly motivated for the classics in their home country."

    Roy Sentjens won the U23 category of the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2001 and signed as a professional with Rabobank for the following season. In 2003 he celebrated his biggest victory to date with a win at the Belgian semi-classic Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. After five years as a professional with Rabobank, the Belgian transferred to Silence-Lotto in 2007.

    Wim De Vocht won the U23 Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2003 while riding for the Quick Step development team. Between 2005 and 2008 De Vocht rode for Silence-Lotto and spent 2009 racing for Team Vacansoleil. Amongst his greatest successes are a second place at the Grand Prix Rik Van Steenbergen and a ninth place at the Belgian classic Omloop Het Volk.

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  • Prudhomme ignites the spark for 2010 Tour

    Tour director Christian Prudhomme
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 2:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour boss praises 2009 race on eve of route presentation

    On the eve of the 2010 Tour de France presentation, race director Christian Prudhomme may have ignited the slow fuse to next year's edition by congratulating Alberto Contador for his tactics during this year's event.

    Prudhomme commented on the fact Contador "disobeyed" team orders during the seventh stage to Andorre Arcalis, where he attacked in the final kilometres and quickly gapped Astana teammate and seven-time Tour champion, Lance Armstrong.

    "The route of the last Tour de France was wonderful, exciting and capable of producing a great race, although we had to wait. Fortunately, Contador disobeyed orders at Arcalis, attacking his boss, so finally I didn't have to wait that long," Prudhomme told the Reuters news agency.

    Although Armstrong played down the episode in the moments after the stage finish in Arcalis, by Tour's end the pair weren't on speaking terms, the young Spaniard apparently disobeying orders again on stage 17 to Le Grand-Bornand en route to taking the overall classification, finishing 5:24 ahead of the American by race's end in Paris.

    Assuming Armstrong's new RadioShack team and Contador's Astana squad are granted invitations to next year's Tour de France, Contador and Armstrong will line up against each other when the race begins in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on July 3.

    And as the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) prepares for its annual unveiling of the Tour route tomorrow, Prudhomme's comments add a little fuel to the fire that may burn brightly when the grand depart in Rotterdam kicks off what should be another intriguing three weeks of racing throughout France.

    According to Prudhomme, that racing should include plenty of attacking, if riders play to the strengths of the route - including the surprises he says are in store - and compete in the spirit of the "legends built by riders who attack a hundred kilometres from the finish".

    Prudhomme was also pleased with the lack of...

  • Vandenbroucke dies

    Frank Vandenbroucke rode for Cinelli-Down Under earlier in 2009.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 11:07 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Belgian dies on holiday in Senegal (updated)

    Frank Vandenbroucke has died while on holiday in Senegal. Reports in Belgium have said that 34-year-old Belgian cyclist was found in his hotel room and that early reports indicate that he died of a blood clot.

    Vandenbroucke was out of contract after leaving Cinelli-Down Under but was looking for a team in 2010 just a few weeks ago.

    He turned pro in 1994 with Lotto and won an epic Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1999, along with two stages in the Vuelta that year. In a two-year winning streak he also won Paris-Nice, Het Volk and Gent-Wevelgem riding for Mapei and Cofidis.

    However, his career was not without controversy. He was questioned by police for drunk driving and possession of doping products and despite numerous comebacks he never reached the heights of 1999. He also suffered from depression and tried to commit suicide after his wife said she would divorce him.

    Nevertheless, reactions from his friends, family as well as the press suggest that Vandenbroucke was in good shape and spirits lately. He had worked as a consultant for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad at the World Championships in Mendrisio, hoping to get a contract with a team for 2010.

    "I'm satisfied with this year," he told reporters of the paper last week. "I understand that the teams are reluctant to give me another chence, because I carry this past with me. But I think I proved this year that even without a monthly salary, I am still able to live a 100 percent for pro cycling."

    His mother, Chantal Vanruymbeke, confirmed that he felt good lately. According to Belgian media, her last contact with her son was on Sunday evening, when he called from his holiday location.

    "He was very excited and happy. Mama, he said, I am in the most beautiful hotel in Senegal. He gave me his hotel room number so that we could speak on the phone in the next few days. I was so happy that we had found our son back this year after ten difficult...

  • Cycling fraternity reacts to Vandenbroucke passing

    Frank Vandenbroucke won a stage at Boucles de l'Artois in Mont Saint Eloi, France during his final year of racing this season. The Belgian had been riding for Cinelli-Down Under at the race, where he finished third overall, but as was the case on several occasions Vandenbroucke and the team parted ways before season’s end.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 13:53 BST
    Greg Johnson and Les Clarke

    Family only partly surprised at death

    Former professional racer and sport director Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke says his nephew Frank Vandenbroucke was not doing well in the days prior to his death. Early reports indicate the 34-year-old Belgian cyclist died of a blood clot before being found in his hotel room.

    "Sadly this has only partly come as a surprise, for we knew he was not doing too well," Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke told AFP. "He was up and down, both in terms of his health and his morale. He left for Senegal on Sunday."

    Jean-Luc’s comments come as professionals past and present around the world pay their respects to the late rider. Former Fassi Bortolo team-mate Tom Danielson said the Belgian would be greatly missed via Twitter.

    “So sad to hear about Frank Vandenbroucke. I did a year with him on Fassa Bortolo and he was like no other. He will be missed greatly,” wrote Danielson.

    Former Discovery Channel rider Matthew White said many exploited the rider’s softer side. "In think that in a country like Belgium, where cycling stars are looked at like gods, people certainly took advantage of him,” said White, who is now a sport director at Garmin-Slipstream. “They took advantage of his nice side as well - he was quite a caring and giving guy and like a lot of stars, people definitely used and abused him.

    "He was one of those guys who found it hard to make a decision about the best way to go and he made a few wrong decisions in his career," he said.

    Cyclingnews will add reactions from those within the industry throughout the day.

    Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, Frank's uncle, told Cyclingnews:

    Back in 1994, he persuaded Frank to sign his first contract with the Belgian Lotto team which he worked for as sports director. "I talked with his father on the phone," Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke declared on the website of La Dernière Heure. "He told me that Frank...