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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Date published:
September 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Transfer news: Vandborg back to Saxo Bank, Stamsnijder on the move

    Brian Vandborg (Liquigas-Doimo).
    Article published:
    September 06, 2010, 14:11 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Monfort, Brajkovic, Napolitano, Clarke allegedly with new teams

    Brian Vandborg is returning ”home” to Team Saxo Bank in 2011. The Danish rider previously rode in 2005 and 2006 for the team which will be called Saxo Bank-Sungard next season.

    He joined Discovery Channel for the 2007 season, before dropping down to Continental Team GLS – Pakke Shop for a year. Since 2009 he has been with the Italian ProTour team Liquigas.

    Vandborg took his first pro win with a stage of the Tour of Georgia in 2005, but missed much of the rest of the season with mononucleosis. He won the Danish time trial title in 2006 and was fourth in the worlds time trial race in 2006.

    ”We know what Brian stands for. He is undoubtedly a great talent for any team and now he has gained even more experience in long stage races and he has become a stronger rider as well,” said Saxo Bank-Sungard team owner Bjarne Riis.

    Vandorg said: ”I had several options at hand for the next season and I was really content at Liquigas but I didn't hesitate about my choice. I'm sure I'll get better and stronger with Saxo Bank-SunGard and I'm looking forward to meeting up with old teammates and new acquaintances like Alberto Contador.”

    Astana has announced that Remy Di Gregorio will ride for them in 2011. The 25-year-old climbing specialist turned pro with FdJ in 2005, and has been with the French team since then.

    In other transfer news, Tom Stamsnijder looks set to leave Rabobank after two years with the Dutch sqaud. De Telegraaf reports that he and Maxime Monfort of HTC-Columbia are headed to the new Luxembourg team.

    Janez Brajkovic of RadioShack is also said to be considering his options for the coming year, with Liquigas and Team Sky apparently expressing an interest in the Criterium du Dauphine winner.

    Italian sprinter Danilo Napolitano may be on the verge of returning to an Italian team. Both Ceramica Flaminia and Acqua & Sapone are said to be looking...

  • Sky's Vuelta withdrawal changes Gerrans' focus

    Simon Gerrans (Sky)
    Article published:
    September 06, 2010, 17:01 BST
    Les Clarke

    Australian "lowers aspirations" for world championships

    Australia's Simon Gerrans says that Team Sky's recent withdrawal from the Vuelta a España will affect his approach to next month's world championship road race but completely understands the reasons why team principal Dave Brailsford concluded the squad's race prematurely.

    Speaking to reporters from Vittoria, Spain, where he will be attending the funeral of Txema González today, Gerrans said that the Vuelta was an important part of his preparations for the world championships but he'll now return to Australia and prepare with Dave Sanders, the Victorian Institute of Sport head cycling coach.

    Of the decision to withdraw from the Vuelta, Gerrans described his emotions, which were mixed on reflection of what Txema meant to the team.

    "It was a decision our team principal, Dave Brailsford, made; he spent quite a long time thinking about it and speaking with the board at Sky about what the best option would be. He said, 'I appreciate that everyone has their opinions on this, and you can see many reasons why we should stop and why we should continue' but he made the decision and took the responsibility to pull the team from the race," said Gerrans.

    "Initially I thought, 'Wow, that's pretty extreme... life sort of has to go on' and all the bosses have asked us to be there and as much as we felt the loss of Txema, but when you sit down and look at it a little more closely you can see the reasons why he decided to pull the team out of the race.

    "He [Txema] was a really important part of the team and you realise how close everyone in the team is when something tragic like this happens," he continued. "The staff are really like family - if you count the number of days they spend together throughout a cycling season, they spend a heck of a lot more time away working with the team than they do with their own family. So they all become pretty close."

    According to Gerrans this latest setback is a massive blow to the...

  • Haussler returns to action at the Tour of Britain

    Heinrich Haussler
    Article published:
    September 06, 2010, 18:41 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Cervelo rosters for Paris-Brussels and the women’s Tour d’Ardeche

    Heinrich Haussler will be back in action for the first time since his July knee surgery when he lines up for the Tour of Britain next Saturday.

    Haussler has not been selected for the Australian team for the world championships but is looking to get back to racing before the end of the season. He will be part of a strong Cervelo TestTeam line-up that is expected to challenge Team Sky, HTC-Columbia and Saxo Bank for stage victories in the eight-day race.

    Joining him for the race are Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, Ignatas Konovalovas, Daniel Lloyd and Martin Reimer, who was third overall in last year’s race.

    The Tour of Britain starts in Rochdale, near Manchester on Saturday September 11 and ends in London on Sunday September 19.

    The Cervelo TestTeam will also ride Paris – Brussels and the GP de Fourmies, with Andreas Klier, Davide Appollonio and Brett Lancaster leading the team in both races.

    The women’s Cervelo TestTeam will also be in action this week, riding the Tour d’Ardeche stage race in France. The five-day, six-stage race will be final preparation for many of the riders before the world championships in Australia at the end of the month.

    The six-rider women’s team includes Lizzie Armistead and Sharon Laws of Great Britain and 2009 Giro Donne winner Claudia Häusler.

    Cervelo Test Team for the Tour of Britain:
    Roger Hammond
    Heinrich Haussler
    Jeremy Hunt
    Ignatas Konovalovas
    Daniel Lloyd
    Martin Reimer

    Paris-Brussels and GP de Fourmies:
    Davide Appollonio
    João Correia
    Volodimir Gustov
    Andreas Klier
    Brett Lancaster
    Joaquin Novoa
    Gabriel Rasch
    Alexander Wetterhall

    Tour d’Ardeche:
    Elizabeth Armitstead
    Lieselot Decroix
    Claudia Häusler
    Sharon Laws
    Carla Ryan
    Patricia Schwager

  • Building an empire: Vaughters reinforces Garmin-Transitions

    Thor Hushovd on the Vuelta podium
    Article published:
    September 06, 2010, 19:32 BST
    Laura Weislo

    U23 program to go Continental, women's team added

    Heading into his fifth season of the Slipstream sports "experiment" Garmin-Transitions team manager Jonathan Vaughters has to call the project a success. The American has worked towards building one of the sport's top teams while maintaining strict anti-doping ethics.

    After the dissolution of the Cervelo TestTeam, Vaughters will have a half-dozen of the squad's best riders, including Paris-Roubaix runner-up Thor Hushovd, and Cervelo as his new bike sponsor for 2011.

    Adding in the points that will transfer along with Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler to the team's World Ranking tally, Garmin-Cervelo could start next season as the number one ranked team in the world.

    "We will have a strong Classics squad without a doubt," Vaughters told Cyclingnews when asked if his would be the team to beat in 2011. "There is still Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen who will want to win the Classics, though."

    It was well known that Vaughters considered signing Tour de France champion Alberto Contador last year as a way to raise the team's profile, but he said he actually is more excited about boosting the team with Hushovd, Roger Hammond, Haussler, Brett Lancaster, Dan Lloyd, Gabriel Rasch and Andreas Klier in addition to his already solid roster. "This way it has to be about the team and not an individual star."

    Over the years, Vaughters has prided himself on picking out unsung talent, hand-selecting riders based not only on their results and ethics, but also their personalities in order to build a cohesive unit - a band of brothers. Will all that change with the influx of Cervelo's riders?

    "I feel like Cervelo has also been at the forefront of ethical teams. They were a member of the MPCC (Movement For Credible Cycling), which is more restrictive than even the WADA code. They kept Xavier Florencio from starting the Tour because he took a medication that wasn't approved by his team doctors. That kind of pre-emptive action shows they...

  • 25 teams for Giro di Lombardia

    Riders negotiate the twisting Giro di Lombardia roads.
    Article published:
    September 06, 2010, 20:07 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack out of season's last World Calendar race

    RCS Sport announced 25 teams for the Giro di Lombardia, the final race in the UCI's 2010 World Calendar which takes place on October 16. The race will be the last chance for teams to gain important points toward their World Rankings which will determine the automatic selections for the 2011 Tour de France.

    Footon-Servetto and RadioShack are the only ProTour teams not on the list of invited teams, while Continental squads Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Carmiooro NGC, Cervelo TestTeam, Cofidis and Colnago-CSF Inox as well as the ISD-Neri team of Italian champion Giovanni Visconti who were denied an invitation to the Giro d'Italia.

    Radioshack were also left off the invitation list for Tirreno-Adriatico by RCS Sport after choosing to not participate in the Giro d'Italia. 

    Also not on the list of invitees are the Vacansoleil and recent recruit Riccardo Ricco, who are 23rd in the current World Rankings and, since only the top 17 ranked teams will earn an automatic bid to the Tour de France, will need to battle for a wild-card invitation behind

    The Omega Pharma-Lotto of 2009 winner Philippe Gilbert will be back, as will the Lampre-Farnese team of three-time winner Damiano Cunego.

    20 of the same teams will compete in the Giro del Piemonte, which takes place the day prior to the Giro di Lombardia.

    Teams for Giro di Lombardia

    AG2R La Mondiale*
    Caisse d'Epargne*
    Euskaltel – Euskadi
    Francaise Des Jeux
    Garmin – Transitions*
    Lampre – Vini Farnese*
    Liquigas – Doimo*
    Omega Pharma – Lotto*
    Quick Step*
    Sky Professional Cycling Team*
    Team HTC Columbia*
    Team Katusha*
    Team Milram
    Team Saxo Bank*
    Acqua E Sapone – d'Angelo & Antenucci*
    Androni Giocattoli – Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni*
    Bbox Bouygues...

  • Earthquake disrupts New Zealand race series

    James McCoy of Benchmark Homes under pressure in the break
    Article published:
    September 07, 2010, 0:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Race cancelled as locals clean-up

    Organisers have announced the cancellation of Saturday’s Benchmark Homes Cycling Tour round in New Zealand following an earthquake in Christchurch at the weekend. Race manager Lisa Ward announced the event’s cancellation after the quake, which registered 7.1 on the Richter scale.

    “The main concern in making this decision was the impact on people involved with the series who are still working through their own personal losses and damage, as well as the impact on teams trying to find accommodation,” said Ward.

    While the quake caused no significant damage to the course, organisers were hesitant to use the roads and local facilities. Other roads around the Canterbury region are unsafe for cycling, with many boulders blocking the favourite Port Hills training loop.

    Series leader and Christchurch local James McCoy agreed with the organiser’s decision. “Others have lost a lot more, so it is nothing for us to miss one bike race,” said McCoy. “It’s a hard time at the moment with everything going on. As keen as I am to race, it wouldn’t be appropriate for the race to go ahead.

    “It’s a blessing in disguise really as I have had very little sleep over the last few nights,” he added.

    The series will resume as planned in North Canterbury on September 26.

  • Antón pleased with Vuelta progress

    Vuelta leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
    Article published:
    September 07, 2010, 4:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Euskaltel leader knows battle for red will heat up

    Enjoying his first rest day as the overall leader of the Vuelta a España, Igor Antón says that whilst losing the red jersey would be disappointing, it wouldn't be a failure.

    Speaking to reporters at a rest day press conference in Tarragona, the Euskaltel-Euskadi leader, who holds the narrowest of advantages over Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez on general classification, knows that there's plenty of pressure from the riders targeting his "jersey rojo".

    "Yesterday [Sunday] we saw that Barredo or Peraud could have been [in the red jersey] because they were leaders [on the road]; at any of those times you can lose the red jersey. It would be a bad thing to lose [the race lead]. It's true that every day we could lose it, but it wouldn't be a failure," explained Antón.

    Indeed, Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Jean-Christophe Peraud expressed his disappointment at not capturing the red jersey after placing himself in the day's main break - the Frenchman was the race leader on the road but faded late to finish 55 seconds behind stage winner David Lopez and missed out on breaking through to the top of the general classification.

    It was good news for Antón, whose team worked hard to keep him at the top of the standings, and he praised his teammates' efforts. "If not for them, I would not keep the jersey," he said. "They worked because we did not have any kind of help and it's why we got to keep the Sabbath. It is a dream come true. This jersey is something historic for me because being a leader in a grand tour is a precious thing."

    Looking ahead, Antón sees the stage to the summit of the Alto de Cotobello as very important, going so far as to suggest it will decide the final overall standings. "This is a climb with a continual effort; of course I'll be there, and I feel fine, which is the most important thing and that my senses still remain intact," he said.

    Despite hoping for a good ride on the...

  • Catalunya calling for Rodriguez

    Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    September 07, 2010, 5:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Katusha rider pushes aside regrets and looks ahead

    While he didn't hide his disappointment at not wearing the leader's jersey of the Vuelta a España into his home region of Catalunya, Joaquin Rodriguez says he'll fight for overall honours until Madrid

    The Katusha leader sits in second place on general classification behind Igor Antón, with both riders locked on the same time after nine stages. Many are tipping Rodriguez for overall honours at race's end, although he made no secret he'd have liked to ride in the red jersey amongst family and friends.

    "I'm sorry not to have come to Catalonia in red; I said that I'd come out with force and in good shape, and it's now coming true," Rodriguez told Spanish sports daily Marca. "Coming home to my people in red was important to me, but it wasn't possible. In Xorret [de Catí], I thought I had done it, but at the last second I was flattened," he added.

    Like the only man above him on general classification, Igor Antón, Rodriguez believes the day up the Alto de Cotobello will be decisive for those with aspirations for overall honours in Madrid. "I see no clear favourite in the Vuelta, someone who is above others; we will have to wait for Pal or Cotobello to draw conclusions. The three pillars of the north will be brutal and there may be differences [overall]," he explained.

    While some of his rivals are tipping Vincenzo Nibali as the man for the Vuelta title rather than Rodriguez, the gutsy Spaniard, who won 12 stage of this year's Tour de France, is not so sure. "They have to prove their status as favourites - his team has done nothing to make it clear that they lead with a better rider; it remains to be seen on the road," he said.

    And he wasn't pulling any punches regarding what's ahead for the Vuelta peloton; he knows that the toughest days await and that will decide who the real favourites are. "There are 19 guys within two minutes and the mountains have not yet begun. The second week is the...