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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Date published:
April 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Vaugrenard sidelined with stomach virus

    Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise des Jeux) won the opening stage of the Volta ao Algarve.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 22:16 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Française des Jeux management confident he can return for Liège

    Benoît Vaugrenard was the first rider out of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de Loire on Tuesday as he suffered gastroenteritis and couldn’t ride longer than 50 kilometres into stage one.

    "He caught the virus on Saturday and had felt better on Sunday, but last night he couldn’t eat at all and not much this morning either," said Française des Jeux directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud.

    Vaugrenard had a flying start to the 2010 season, winning stage one at the Tour of the Algarve and finishing second in stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico. He confirmed his good form last week by finishing third at the Route Adélie and has been preparing for a strong performance in the Ardennes Classic where he did well last year. In 2009, he was the first Frenchman in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he finished in eighth position.

    "He has really fallen in love with the Classics and I believe this is what he’s the best at," said Française des Jeux team manager Marc Madiot of the 2007 French individual time trial champion.

    Vaugrenard, who has raced four Tours de France, has never found himself particularly at ease at his home Grand Tour, but has recorded better results in the early and latter portions of his eight seasons as a professional. He won the GP of Isbergues in September last year.

    "I still believe he can recover for the Ardennes Classics, especially Liège-Bastogne-Liège," Bricaud added. "It's the most suitable for his characteristics and that’s in two and a half weeks from now. Benoît is very serious with his training at home."

  • Bahati surprised after missing California selection

    Rahsaan Bahati
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 2:15 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Owner hoped social responsibility, clean riders, results would secure entry

    The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling team was surprised that it did not receive an invitation to the Tour of California in May despite the strong start to its inaugural year. Team co-owner Rahsaan Bahati, who also rides for the team, admitted to being disappointed with the news.

    “It was definitely a surprise and a bummer,” said Bahati. “I thought that given the program that we have, when it comes to social responsibility, that would be very attractive to the Amgen Tour of California. Having a good roster was a bonus so it was very surprising not to get an invite.”

    The former USPro Criterium Champion built his professional cycling team as a vehicle to spread awareness about the Bahati Foundation. Bahati created the Los Angeles-based organisation to help underprivileged inner-city children through the sport of cycling, education and music.

    “Even though we’re not in the Tour of California we still have to fulfill our obligations to give scholarships, grants and public speeches, we have to do those with or without the Tour of California,” he added. “Doing that race would have definitely helped our exposure and get the Bahati Foundation name out in a quicker time period and would have catapulted our efforts.”

    The 20-man team was bolstered by the signing of ProTour riders Hilton Clarke and Jason Donald, eight-time Australian National Time Trial Champion Nathan O’Neill and Floyd Landis. Bahati hoped the strong roster he put together would help garner an invitation to the prestigious event.

    “I have no clue why we were not invited,” Bahati said. “We are a new team so maybe that had something to do with it. We are a squeaky clean team and that made it all the more surprising. We had communication and talks with the people at the Amgen Tour of California and it was looking good, so I’m not sure what happened. I don’t look at it as a setback though,...

  • Sabine gets maximum ban for state title doping violation

    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 2:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Cycling Australia hands Doctor two year ban

    Cycling Australia has issued Dr. Stephen Sabine a two year ban for a doping violation recorded at last year’s South Australian Criterium Championships, a State titles race in Australia. Dr. Sabine finished eighth out of as many riders in the event’s elite category, however an in-competition test conducted by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency returned a positive result.

    The ASADA test found anabolic steroid testosterone and glucocorticosteriods present in the rider’s sample. Sabine admitted to using glucocorticosteriods and waived his right to a hearing while accepting the maximum two year ban, according to an ASADA release.

    The rider’s sentence will commence from the time he was provisionally suspended, meaning Sabine will be unable to “take part in recognised sports” until June 19, 2011. Sabine will also be disqualified from the South Australian Criterium Championships event on April 26, 2009, where he finished last in his category.

  • McEwen still tuned in for Scheldeprijs

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) gets his first win of the season in Europe in Mallorca
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 3:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian sprinter anticipates battle with Petacchi and Greipel

    Robbie McEwen returns to the Scheldeprijs with mixed emotions; having won the race in 2002 a fall in last year's edition begun a chain of events that ruled him out for most of the season.

    The 37-year-old Australian is hopeful of a good showing this year however, saying that the fall in last season's edition won't be playing on his mind too much in today's event.

    "Last year I fell here in the sprint, but I'll forget that. I will concentrate on the sprint itself. It was also not the first time that I had fallen." he told Belgian sports site Sporza.

    After recovering from that fall, a crash in the Tour of Belgium and subsequent complications effectively put an end to McEwen's season after he had started strongly at last January's Tour Down Under, where he also suffered misfortune on the opening stage.

    While he has started 2010 quietly, only fools write the Australian off in a sprint finish, regardless of his age or perceptions of his form. He explained that he's building for another tilt at the Giro d'Italia, where he'll undoubtedly be in the mix on the flat stages, barring illness or injury.

    Today's race is also a useful litmus test against his likely competition at the Giro, Alessandro Petacchi and André Greipel. "It's not really my period because I'm waiting for the Giro and the Tour," he said. "But it's a very strong field in the Scheldeprijs and I'd like to beat men such as Petacchi and Greipel.

    "I'm not sure I'm fully recovered from the Tour of Flanders, where I worked for Stijn Vandenbergh, and it was nice he finished 12th. My form is quite good... I'm getting better."

    And despite occasional suggestions that McEwen could be thinking about retirement, the man who has won three Tour de France green jerseys indicated that he remains motivated to race.

    "I'm still motivated. The worst is not my age, but that comeback after serious injury. I feel that I can still handle them all on the...

  • California start motivating for Fly V’s Crawford

    Fly V Australia's Jai Crawford from Tasmania has added some climbing legs to the impressive squad of riders from down under.
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 3:15 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Aussie climber looking forward to battling ProTour riders

    The Californian hills are a long way from those on which Tasmania’s Jai Crawford trains, but it’s exactly where he’s hoping to celebrate success after his Fly V Australia Continental team was confirmed on the Tour of California’s invite list.

    While it will be some weeks before a possible spot for Crawford on the team’s race roster is confirmed, he’s already spent months preparing for the 2.HC race.

    “Nobody in our team will have their start in the race confirmed until later on and it will be based on performance, so everyone is pretty hungry to do well and get the call up for it,” said Crawford. “Definitely for myself I’ll be very disappointed if I don’t do well enough and prove myself to make the cut, as it’s one of my big goals for the year.

    “It’s a massive opportunity and one of the reasons I signed with Fly V Australia,” he added. “I’m slowly putting the runs on the board to get there, but that’s just the first step. Once I’m there I really want to perform.”

    Knowing the opportunity ahead of him this season, Crawford has made improvements to his race preparation. For the first time he’s taken on a personal coach in the form of teammate and Redlands Bicycle Classic winner Ben Day and is making the most of the technology provided by his new squad.

    “I’ve got myself a coach and I’m training with a power meter, which are small things but I’ve never done those before, so it’s a big improvement in my training,” he said. “I’m starting to see the results of that in the power I’m putting out, so I’m pretty confident I will have some good condition for that time of year. Hopefully when I get there I can hang on with the big names.”

    Crawford has struggled to break back into the European scene since leaving the Driving Force Logistics...

  • Schumacher drops appeal against Beijing DQ

    Stefan Schumacher (R) and lawyer Michael Lehner after the first CAS hearing for his positive in the Olympics in July, 2009.
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 8:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Sanction undecided for second CERA offence

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced that banned rider Stefan Schumacher yesterday dropped his appeal against disqualification from the 2008 Beijing Olympics after his positive test for EPO-CERA.

    He was previously appealing the sanction imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after traces of the banned blood booster were found in a blood sample taken during the Games.

    It came after the 28-year-old German was handed a two-year suspension for use of the same substance during that year's Tour de France, where he won the two individual time trial stages - those victories have since been annulled by Tour organiser ASO.

    According to the report from AP, Schumacher would be unable to compete in the London Olympics because under IOC anti-doping rules, athletes are ruled ineligible for the Games if they receive a doping ban of more than six months.

    He only competed in Beijing because the laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry developed the test for EPO-CERA after the Tour and 2008 Olympics; once his blood was retroactively tested, the resulting positives came within weeks of each other.

    Remarkably, while the possible sanction resulting from his Olympics positive is still pending, should any appeals against punishment for the second EPO-CERA positive be successful, Schumacher would be eligible to compete again from August 28 this year.

    Meanwhile, former teammate at Gerolsteiner and Olympic silver medallist, Davide Rebellin, who also tested positive for the same banned substance as Schumacher, is challenging his disqualification. A date has not been set for the hearing.

  • Bos braces for a rough Roubaix ride

    Thor Hushovd plus Theo Bos equals a fast combination.
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 8:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch track champion called to duty for Cervélo

    With Andreas Klier and Heinrich Haussler missing from its lineup, Cervélo TestTeam is handing Theo Bos his biggest opportunity since switching to the road last year - a ride in this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.

    According to De Telegraaf, the 26-year-old Dutchman will be supporting Thor Hushovd in his bid to improve on a third-placed finish in last year's edition of arguably the biggest Spring Classic of them all.

    "It comes somewhat as a surprise," said Bos. "I may not be right up there, but I hope that I can help our main riders into a good position for the first cobblestones," he added.

    The former track sprint world champion will also ride today's Scheldeprijs with Hushovd, who finished 57th in last weekend's Tour of Flanders, as preparation for his debut in the 'Hell of the North'.

    Bos made the switch from the velodrome to the road last season, riding for the Rabobank Continental team before heading to the Cervélo TestTeam over the northern winter. He has won the Clásica de Almería and stage five of the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia thus far in 2010.

  • BMC pleased to be riding in California in May

    George Hincapie (BMC) riding the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 9:02 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    US-registered team to bring field squad with Hincapie, Burghardt and Kroon

    BMC Racing Team was happy to be one of the teams included in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. “Competing in America's biggest and best bike race is important for the team,” president Jim Ochowicz said. “It allows us to compete with the best teams in the world on American soil.”

    The Tour of California announced the 16 teams which would ride in this year's edition of the race on Wednesday. The race has a new position on the calendar this year, from May 16 to 23.

    The US-based team promised to bring a strong team to the West Coast, featuring US national champion George Hincapie, Marcus Burghardt and Karsten Kroon. At the same time world champion Cadel Evans and Alessandro Ballan will ride the Giro d'Italia.

    Directeur sportif John Lelangue praised the race's course this year. “The fact that the race is becoming more difficult makes it more interesting to us. It’s maybe not a ProTour race this year, but it remains one of the only stage races on the UCI America calendar. It’s also a good last step in the preparation for some of the guys going to the Tour de France in July.”

    Sponsor BMC was also pleased with the selection. “It is not only a great opportunity for our U.S. riders around George Hincapie to present themselves to the U.S. cycling fans, but also a fantastic showcase for us to promote our brand and products on the highest possible level,” Mike Hürlimann, Chief Executive Officer of BMC said. “The U.S. market is a key growth market for BMC, where we have just recently established our own organisation to serve our customers.”