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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Date published:
December 01, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Mixed reviews for Vorarlberg-Corratec in 2010

    Josef Benetseder (Vorarlberg - Corratec) leads the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2010, 18:04 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Austrian team survived licence suspension, downgraded status

    Team Vorarlberg-Corratec had a mixed year, with the win of the mountain jersey at the Tour of Austria one of several sporting highlights. But the Austrian team also had to suffer through the suspension of its team license and being knocked down to Continental status during the season.

    "All in all it was a good sporting season,” summed up team manager Harald Morscher. The Tour of Austria mountain jersey went to Josef Benetseder, who also won a stage at the Oberösterreichrundfahrt. He has been with the team since 2006.

    "Winning the mountain jersey in such a top race as the Tour of Austria , which is also our season highlight, was an especially moving moment,” Morscher said. “Especially in light of the difficult circumstances under which we started the race.”

    The “difficult circumstances” were due to the International Cycling Union suspending the team's Professional Continental licence the middle of June because of problems with riders' contracts.

    The riders were employed through a personnel leasing firm, rather than through a “paying agent” for the team, usually the team license holder. Ultimately the UCI restored the team's license but downgraded it to Continental status. Team manager Thomas Kofler was made assistant team manger, with Morscher and Gregor Gut taking over management duties.

    The team then went into the remainder of the season with a reduced roster, as a number of riders chose to leave, including the team's biggest name, Rene Haselbacher.

    According to Morscher, that helped to pull the team together. “Some of them came to understand what it is all about. The morale at the Tour of Austria was impressive.”

    Other achievements include the overall titles in the Tchibo Top Rad Liga (an Austrian series), and the Austrian Rad-Bundesliga.

    Vorarlberg-Corratec was also active and successful outside of its homeland. ...

  • Garmin-Cervélo enjoy first day of training camp

    Christian Vande Velde relaxing
    Article published:
    November 30, 2010, 20:24 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Riders settle in and sign team's mission statement

    Garmin-Cervélo enjoyed the first day of their training camp in the Cayman Islands on Monday. The hybrid squad formed off the back of the Garmin-Transitions and Cervélo teams enjoyed a boat cruise and a dip in the sea after their first orientation meeting and 70 kilometre training ride.

    For the likes of Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler it was the first opportunity to meet with their new teammates, while riders like of David Millar and Christian Vande Velde enjoyed their third annual winter get-together, having been with the team since 2008.

    While the mood was relaxed, there were some pressing matters to attend to with all of the riders asked to sign the team's mission statement.

    Garmin and Cervélo are both vocal anti-doping teams and this shared view looks set to continue.

    "It was all standard stuff. Everyone heard our team mission statement and we had them sign off on the anti-doping policy. Don Catlin will come to our camp in January but this was just everyone seeing the policy and signing off on it," Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    "It basically says that you can't take any supplements unless they're approved by the team; that the riders can be tested 24/7 and the last part stresses our no needle policy and says that no injections or infusions of any kind can be permitted at any time or in any location. You can't inject yourself or have anyone inject you, period."

    The camp goes on for another week with the riders set to make the most of the hospitality on offer from the Cayman tourist board, with scuba diving organised, along with an exhibition race on Friday.

    "Tonight we've got a cocktail party with some of the sponsors and Gerard Vroomen gets in tomorrow," Vaughters added.

  • Colnago returns to Le Tour de Langkawi

    The Colnago CSF Inox team rides to 8th place
    Article published:
    November 30, 2010, 22:24 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Race's most successful team is first selected for 2011

    Colnago-CSF will return to Le Tour de Langkawi next year. The Italian team, in one incarnation or another, has taken part in every edition of the race from 1992 to 2009, missing last year. With 33 stage wins, it is the most successful team in the race's history.

    The father and son team of Bruno and Roberto Reverberi have led the squad under the names Scrigno, Navigare, Panaria and CSF since 1982. In its first appearance at the Malaysian race in 1998, a young sprinter named Alessandro Petacchi won a stage and his first professional win.

    The sprinter at the 2011 edition of the race will be Andrea Piechele, with Alberto Contoli being the designated climber. The two second-year pros will be joined by four neo-pros, Paolo Locatelli, Omar Lombardi, Angelo Pagani and Andrea Pasqualon.

    "Our strategy might change from the previous years, since the mountain stages of Cameron and Genting Highlands are on days four and five,” said Roberto Reverberi. “That means from stage six onwards, there will be breakaways from far out that will have a chance to succeed. For young riders, it's a great opportunity to experience racing as professionals.”

    "A positive thing is the pretty short distance of the stages, it suits the early season period. As always, we'll do our best to make the most of the course.”

    After having run the first 11 editions of the race, the team missed last year due to a scheduling conflict. However, it became the first team to be invited to race in 2011. “We're glad to come back because the organisation of the event is always great and this is for sure a nice experience for our young riders,” Reverberi said.

    Mohamed Salleh, the race's CEO, said, “It's a great pleasure to welcome the team of the Reverberi family back to Malaysia. We're sure they have loads of great new talents coming up and we look forward to seeing them in action again.”

    Le Tour of...

  • Andersen: Cancellara deal a recent development

    Golden Fabian: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) on the podium after winning gold by more than a minute in the men's elite time-trial.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2010, 23:14 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    World champion's presence will help in Classics and Tour team time trial

    Fabian Cancellara's signing with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project was a recent decision and not a long-planned one, according to sport director Kim Andersen. The Dane denied rumours that the deal had been fixed for a while.

    “No, it's only just recently that everything fell into place,” Andersen told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “It was not something we had anticipated from the start. He had a contract."

    It was announced in September that Cancellara would leave Saxo Bank, although he still had a year on his contract with Bjarne Riis' team. It had long been rumoured that he would join the Luxembourg team, with the announcement of the three-year deal finally being made Tuesday afternoon.

    Andersen, who like Cancellara and his future teammates Andy and Fränk Schleck came over to the new team from Saxo Bank, was happy with the signing. “It's great to have him on the team. He is both a great man and a great cyclist," he said.

    Cancellara's presence will ensure the team is prominent in the Spring Classics, as he is the defending champion in both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. “Yes, now there is at least an even greater focus on the early Classics from our side. And it is also a huge plus in relation to the Tour de France, where there's been a team time trial. He is not exactly bad to have on the team for that," Andersen added.

  • NSW Grand Prix series aims to bolster women's field

    (L-R): Chris Sutton (Team Sky), NSW Events Minister Kevin Greene, race organiser Phil Bates and Commonwealth Games champion Rochelle Gilmore (Honda Dream Team).
    Article published:
    December 01, 2010, 0:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Quality men's field close to capacity

    Organisers of the NSW Grand Prix series will close off the final selections for riders to compete in the inaugural five-race series on Friday and have called for women seeking to take part to enter.

    There are several opportunities still available for international and interstate riders, especially in the women's races, to round out a high calibre field that has been assembled in a short period of time.

    Already confirmed for the men's field is Rabobank rider and inaugural Cronulla GP winner Graeme Brown, Team Sky's Chris Sutton (pictured, right), Cervelo TestTeam rider Jeremy Hunt and reigning Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy.

    "The NSW Grand Prix series has come together extremely quickly and in just two months through the support of the NSW Government and Events NSW, we have been able to finalise five excellent courses, great television coverage and the interest is building in the series through strong press and media coverage," said race organiser Phill Bates.

    The series starts in the regional centre of Bathurst on December 8 before moving to Parramatta for a twilight criterium, the coastal city of Gosford and then Sydney for the final two races in Coogee and Cronulla on December 11 and 12.

    Any riders wishing to enter the series should contact Warren Scott on (02) 9570 5556 or email pbates@cycleclassic.com.au, with more details available at www.nswgrandprixcycling.com.au

  • Spanish peloton to shrink in 2011

    Spanish TT champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) also rode well in the prologue.
    Article published:
    December 01, 2010, 1:10 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Only 132 riders and seven teams registered for next season

    Spain again topped the UCI ProTour nation ranking in 2010 but the presence of Spanish riders in the peloton is set to shrink by up to 13 percent in 2011, with more riders racing for non-Spanish teams.

    The Biciciclismo website has calculated that 132 riders have so far been registered in Spain for 2011. This number could rise with some late signing by minor teams but could mean there will be 20 fewer riders than in 2010.

    The demise of the Xacobeo-Galicia team has caused the loss of several places with only four riders from the team so far findings places for 2011.

    The 132 riders will be spread across 25 different teams, although only seven of them will be Spanish. 78 rider (59 percent) of the riders will compete for a Spanish team, while the remaining 54 (41 percent) will ride for other teams.

    Spain will have two ProTeams in 2011 with Euskaltel-Euskadi and Movistar, Geox-TMC, Andalucía-CajaSur, Caja Rural, Geox-TMC, Andalucía-CajaSur, Caja Rural and Orbea y Burgos 2016 will compete as either Professional Continental or Continental teams.

    Of Spain's representatives in the peloton, 57 (43 percent) will compete with ProTeams in 2011, while 44 (33 percent) will ride for Professional Continental teams and 24 percent ride will for Continental teams.

    Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton will again lead Euskaltel and Carlos Sastre has joined Geox-TMC but other Spanish riders have left Spain after receiving major offers from international teams. Luis Leon Sanchez will be officially presented as part of the 2011 Rabobank team later today in the Netherlands, alongside fellow Spaniard Oscar Freire.

    Alberto Contador has signed a contract with Saxo Bank-SunGard. He may be banned before ever pulling on the team’s colours but his domestiques Benjamin Noval, Jesus Hernandez and Daniel Navarro will all race for the Danish-registered team in 2011.

  • Pro Conti no problem for Pegasus' race program

    Robbie McEwen and Jay Thomson.
    Article published:
    December 01, 2010, 4:19 GMT
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Australian team to ride Qatar, Oman and Gent-Wevelgem

    Pro Continental squad Pegasus Sports will enjoy a solid race program in the first half of 2011 despite missing out on securing a ProTeam licence last month. And the Australian squad's schedule may include a start in its home nation's round of the ProTour, the Tour Down Under.

    During its first training camp in Noosa, Queensland, late last week, Pegasus' marquee rider Robbie McEwen told Cyclingnews the races the team will be contesting in 2011 and explained that team owner Chris White is awaiting confirmation from Tour Down Under organisers regarding his squad's participation in the event.

    "We're waiting for a green light, which we hopefully will get, from the organisers of the Tour Down Under. Hopefully any time soon we'll get a phone call from Mike Turtur telling us that we'll be riding... we've fingers and toes crossed for that one," said McEwen.

    "It'd be a fantastic start for us to ride there - as an Aussie pro team we really need the race and we hope the race needs us."

    He explained that the team is placing an emphasis on the Australian national championships and hopes it can have a national champion's jersey in the ranks; McEwen, plus his 2011 teammates Bernard Sulzberger and Darren Lapthorne have worn the green and gold bands in the past (Sulzberger as national criterium champion).

    It's just the start of what appears to be a busy schedule in some high-profile events.

    "For me it will then be off to the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman; as far as I know they're a goer," McEwen continued. "Then it's on to Belgium for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the Three Days of West Flanders plus some small Belgian semi-Classics and we just got the go ahead for Gent-Wevelgem - another ProTour start.

    "A few days after that we'll have the Three Days of De Panne and Scheldeprijs. It's a good Belgian program. At the same time we'll have a few guys racing the [inaugural] Tour of South Africa...

  • Astarloa suspended and fined for UCI biological passport infraction

    Former world champion Igor Astarloa (Milram) won this race back in 2003.
    Article published:
    December 01, 2010, 9:41 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Retired world champion fined €35,000

    The UCI has announced that the Spanish Cycling Federation’s Disciplinary Commission has handed down a two-year suspension and a €35,000 fine to Igor Astarloa. The former world champion was one of the first five riders to fall foul of the UCI’s biological passport system in June 2009.

    Astarloa’s ban is largely symbolic, given that he announced his retirement from racing at the end of 2009 while the investigation into his irregular blood values was pending. His Amica Chips team had already folded for financial reasons in May 2009 although he insisted that he could have found a squad for 2010.

    The Basque rider had previously exhibited suspicious blood values while riding for Milram and he was released by the German squad in May 2008. Astarloa's blood samples also came under considerable scrutiny in the wake of his 2003 world championships victory although he was never punished for any infraction.

    Astarloa turned professional with Mercatone Uno in 2000 and enjoyed his best season with Saeco in 2003, winning the Worlds in Hamilton and Flèche Wallone. After a torrid year in the rainbow jersey, including a mid-season switch from Cofidis to Lampre, the Spaniard never enjoyed the same level of success.