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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Date published:
August 04, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Hoste set to join Katusha in 2011

    Leif Hoste (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2010, 15:12 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Experienced Classics racer would team up with Pozzato

    Leif Hoste revealed he is close to reaching an agreement to ride for the Russian Katusha team in 2011, describing the deal as "91 percent done."

    Hoste has ridden for Omega-Pharma-Lotto for the last four years. He finished second at the Tour of Flanders in 2004, 2006 and 2007, but has struggled to obtain any major results since then.

    He has been overshadowed by the presence of Philippe Gilbert at Omega Pharma-Lotto during the last two seasons and seems ready for a new challenge. He would join forces with Filippo Pozzato for the cobbled Classics and provide some valuable experience after 12 years as a professional. During his career, Hoste has ridden for Mapei, Domo-Farm Frites and the Discovery Channel team. He is also a three-time Belgian time trial national champion.

    “I’ve enjoyed myself at Lotto, but moving to Katusha will be another new challenge and a breath of fresh air,” Hoste told Belgian sports channel Sporza.

    “It was (Katusha Sports Directeur Sportif) Jef Braeckevelt who contacted me. I could stay where I am, but what he proposed sounded good, both from a financial and sporting point of view.”

    Katusha is also understood to be chasing a stage race team leader for 2011. Denis Menchov would fit perfectly into the team’s objective of supporting promising and prominent Russian cyclists. However the 2009 Giro d’Italia winner, who finished third in this year’s Tour de France, is also a target for the Astana team, as they look for a replacement for Alberto Contador.

  • Riis sets Grand Slam goal for new signing Contador

    Alberto Contador (Astana) celebrates his third Tour win
    Article published:
    August 03, 2010, 19:03 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Can Spaniard become the first to win the Giro, Tour and Vuelta in the same season?

    Bjarne Riis believes Alberto Contador can win the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España in the same season, and become the first rider to ever complete a cycling Grand Tour Grand Slam.

    Only five riders have won all three Grand Tours during their careers, and Contador is the last to complete the rare collection in 2008, when he added victories in the Giro and Vuelta to his first Tour de France victory in 2007. He has since won the Tour de France a further two times, taking his Grand Tour total to five in just three years.

    Riis is convinced that Contador can make cycling history by winning all three in the same season, perhaps in 2012.

    "I am convinced that we have not seen his full potential yet. It's obvious that we must go after the Tour de France but Alberto could win all three major races in a year, and I want be a part of that," Riis told Danish television when he announced that Contador had agreed to join his team and revealed that Saxo Bank would sponsor the team alongside SunGard in 2011.

    "I'm not sure if it will be next year, but the ambition to do it in one of the next few years. And I believe that it can be done with him."

    Contador has already confirmed that he will not ride this year's Vuelta a España but he could target all three Grand Tours if he decided to limit his goals early in the season and in the Spring Classics.

    Contador has so far avoided setting any major goals for the future with Riis, saying, "Historically, Riis Cycling has always been successful, and together we will have the ability to play a very important role in the world of cycling in the years to come."

    He is likely to say more on Tuesday evening, while riding a criterium in Castillon-la-Bataille, near Bordeaux.

  • SpiderTech embarks on first European campaign

    Lucas Euser (SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2010, 20:13 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Euser's comeback coincides with Canadian team's growth

    Spidertech Presented By Planet Energy will step up its long-term ambition to race at ProTour level when it embarks on its first European race this week at Paris-Corrèze.

    The Canadian outfit has so far only raced in North and South America but has set up a temporary European base for the next month. Its schedule comprises of a number of UCI 2.1 and 2.2 events in northern Europe. Like many Classics teams do in the Spring, Spidertech has set up home in the Belgian town of Kortrijk.

    Lucas Euser, the only Spidertech rider with ProTour experience, spoke to Cyclingnews about the team's aims for the coming weeks.

    "There's not a load of experience here but from the Canadian projection and the national team, a handful of us have done the Nations Cup with U23 teams," Euser told Cyclingnews.

    "There's some amateur experience too so we're not a fresh US team and Quebec has really adopted the European style of riding and training so we know what to expect."

    The team has already raced a small kermesse in Belgium. "As you would expect, everyone was aggressive. We know what's coming," Euser added.

    The team's European adventure is crucial in its aim to step up to Pro Continental status, with the long term goal to be Canada's first ProTour team.

    "We don't ever go to a bike race not wanting to win, but we have to have some realistic goals, so we're going to try and we'll go out there swinging. The goal is to show the European peloton that we want to be here and earn some respect. You have to take the proper step to get there, just like I did when I was part of Slipstream."

    "You've got to build a programme and earn some legitimacy in the field. We're the new kids on the block, and you've got to start from scratch. Steve Bauer wants to do it right, so over the next few months some big decisions are going to be made, and I hope that we go pro-continental and in the next few years.

    Euser's...

  • Bettini celebrates Ballerini in Poland

    Italian champions past and present: Paolo Bettini and Giovanni Visconti before the start.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 5:17 BST
    By:
    Adam Sikora

    Former world champion appears as Italian manager

    Former professional rider Paolo Bettini made an appearance at stage two and three of the Tour de Pologne in his capacity as Italian national team manager and a friend of the late Franco Ballerini.

    The Italian took up an invitation from race director Czeslaw Lang at the second stage in Dabrowa Gornicza ahead of the third day of the race, which paid tribute to Ballerini.

    The two-time world champion was present at the finish in Katowice yesterday, the stage dedicated to his close friend and former national team manager, who died tragically on February 7 after an accident during a car rally.

    "With Franco I became two-time world champion and I won an Olympic gold medal," said Bettini. "I miss him very much, but I feel his presence every day.

    "When he was a coach of the national team it was all about the teamwork and as a new Italian national team manager I will try to continue his work in the same spirit."

    Bettini came to Poland also to keep a close watch on some potential candidates for the Italian squad for the World Championship in Melbourne, which will take place from September 29 to October 3. "The Tour de Pologne is a great occasion to talk to some riders who aspire to participate in the worlds in Melbourne and to see what shape they're in."

    One of Italy's best cycling exports has been busy watching the progress of other potential national team members for the world titles - he was seen catching up with his former teammate, ISD-Neri rider and current Italian national road race champion Giovanni Visconti at the Trofeo Matteoti over the weekend (pictured above right).

    Last month he took Visconti and several other worlds candidates including Filippo Pozzato to Australia on a reconnaisance mission to scout the course for the men's road race on October 3.

    Bettini didn't race in Poland throughout his entire career and consequently it's his first visit to the country. "I've heard many good things...

  • Quiznos to sponsor Tour of Colorado

    Cadel Evans (BMC) chats with 7-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) on the start line.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 5:46 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Lance Armstrong to announce event details

    Expectation is mounting ahead of further details regarding the Tour of Colorado, which is said to be scheduled for late August of 2011. On the eve of the formal announcement the Denver Post has indicated the naming rights sponsor will be Quiznos.

    Quiznos, a popular Denver-based sandwich shop, is a likely candidate for the role of title sponsorship. According to the Denver Post the title of the Quiznos Pro Challenge was confirmed through trademarkia.com.

    Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has expressed an interest a bringing a stage race like the Coors Classic, held between 1979 and 1988, back to Colorado. He met with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter last year to build support for a proposed event in 2011, and will hold a press conference with Ritter later today.

    "Basically I told [Ritter], from an exposure and economic and enthusiasm standpoint, the state of Colorado should have a bike race," said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Team Garmin-Transitions in the Denver Post article.

    "It's ridiculous that California has the biggest race in the US, and Colorado only has a couple of medium-level local events," he added.

    In recent years UCI racing in America has been promoted and subsequently demoted, with several events such as the Tour de Georgia and Tour of Missouri - both managed by Medalist Sport, LLC - and the Tour de New York.

    The Amgen Tour of California remains the most successful UCI-ranked race on the North American continent.

  • Vuelta opening team time trial shortened

    HTC - Columbia put in a strong ride for third on the team time trial stage.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 11:02 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Plans also being laid for Basque Country stages in 2011

    The organizers of the Vuelta a España have announced that the course of the Seville team time trial that kicks off this year’s race on August 28 has had to be shortened due to road works. Originally scheduled to cover 14.4km, the team time trial course has been cut to 13km because of works being undertaken on an underpass.

    Both the city council and race organizers Unipublic insist that the late change to the route will not have any impact on what is set to be an intriguing opening stage to this year’s race. The Seville team time trial will take place in the late evening under lights on what is sure to be a stunning course taking in many of the city’s most famous sights.

    Looking ahead to next year’s race, Unipublic has signed a deal with the Basque regional government to take the Vuelta into the Basque Country for the first time since 1978. According to Bilbao newspaper El Correo, the two sides are discussing the inclusion of two stage finishes in the region in the 2011 Vuelta.

    The first is set to be in Bilbao on Friday, September 16 at the end of a stage starting in Cantabria. The second Basque stage will follow the next day, just 24 hours before the race’s finale in Madrid. It will start in Bilbao and finish in Vitoria and is likely to include some of the region’s most renowned climbs.

    Negotiations to return the Vuelta to the Basque Country, which is one of the traditional strongholds of cycling in Spain, have been under way for more than a year. The Vuelta has not ventured into Basque territory since the conclusion of the 1978 edition was seriously affected by protests.

    The Basque regional government has approached the town councils in Bilbao and Vitoria with details of the proposal as a first step towards getting their backing for the stages. According to El Correo, if the Bilbao city council gets behind the project, the most likely finishing point for...

  • Saxo Bank-SunGard set to have a Spanish feel

    Alberto Contador's Astana teammates were always near the yellow jersey holder.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 11:05 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Noval, Navarro and Hernández likely to join Contador

    With his own move from Astana to SunGard-Saxo Bank now secured and confirmed, Alberto Contador is hoping that at least three of his current teammates will make the same move for 2011.

    Speaking before his victory in Tuesday evening’s criterium at Castillon-la-Bataille, near Bordeaux, Contador said that he would like fellow Spaniards Benjamín Noval, Jesús Hernández and Dani Navarro to join him at Saxo Bank-SunGard, to give the team a much more Spanish feel. Contador would have liked to have Paolo Tiralongo with him at Saxo Bank but the experienced Italian is under contract with Astana for 2011.

    “There will be lots of very good riders in my next team. I’ve been asked who I would like to come with me. Nothing has been decided but my wish would be for Noval, Hernández and Navarro to join me,” Contador said just before what was almost certain to be his final race appearance in Astana kit.

    Navarro, who was the strongest of Contador’s domestiques in the mountains during the Tour de France, was also in Castillon-la-Bataille. He admitted he is close to a deal with Riis’s team. “Will I be racing with Alberto again next season? It’s almost certain that I will be. But don’t forget to write ‘almost’,” Navarro replied when
    asked about his future.

    According to a report in his native region of Asturias, Noval has already agreed a two-year deal with Saxo Bank-SunGard. La Voz de Asturias newspaper indicates that Hernández and David De La Fuente will also receive offers to join Contador.

    However, David De La Fuente told El Diario Montañes in his home region of Cantabria that his future is still up in the air. “The only thing I can say is that in the short term I will be riding the Vuelta a España,” said De La Fuente, who joined Astana this year from Fuji-Servetto on a one-year deal.

    Asked...

  • Vinokourov targets Asian Games time trial

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 12:57 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana leader wants Menchov, Kreuziger or even the Schlecks for 2011

    Alexandre Vinokourov has told Cyclingnews that the time trial in the Asian Games in November is his only remaining goal of the 2010 season.

    The Kazakhstani veteran will be 37 on September 16 and has already ridden the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France this season, finishing sixth in the Giro and 16th in the Tour.

    Since returning from his ban for blood doping in August of 2009, he has raced intensely and won the Chrono des Nations, the Asian Cycling Championships Time Trial, a stage at the Tour de l'Ain, a stage and the overall at the Giro del Trentino, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and stage 13 at the Tour de France.

    “I’m definitely going for the time trial”, he said after first hinting that he might do it in his post-stage win press conference in Mende during the Tour de France. “I’ll only ride the time trial though. It’s a dead flat course and I think I have a good chance of winning. Other riders like Maxim Iglinsky might go for the road race.”

    Thanks to finishing second at the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday, Vinokourov has secured Kazakhstan’s place in the top 10 of the UCI world ranking. However, since only two Kazakh riders are in the ranking, they won’t be allowed to line up with nine riders at the world championship in Melbourne in October. Kazakhstan can have six starters but Vinokourov won’t be one of them.

    “I’m going to take a break now. I might ride the two ProTour races in Canada in September but it’s not sure yet. As part of my preparation for the Asian Games, I’m interested to defend my title at the Chrono des Nations on October 17,” he said.

    Vinokourov, 36 confirmed he will race for one more season in 2011, but he’s also very involved in the future of the Astana team he founded in 2006 on the ashes of Liberty Seguros.

    Asked by Sud-Ouest newspaper who will be...