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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Date published:
December 15, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Australian nationals field full of promise

    Simon Gerrans (Sky)
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 2:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Meyer, Lloyd, Porte, Gerrans and Davis headline startlist

    Recently-crowned Australian cyclist of the year Cameron Meyer will make an unprecedented three-pronged attack on the Mars Cycling Australia national road championships, held in Ballarat, Australia, on January 6-11.

    The 22-year-old reigning Australian road time trial champion has enjoyed an incredibly successful 2010 on the track, winning three gold medals at the world titles in Denmark earlier this year, followed by another three at the Commonwealth Games in October.

    The West Australian will contest the criterium, road race and time trial at the national championships.

    Meyer and his younger brother Travis dominated the men's open section of the 2010 road championships in Buninyong this January, with the latter securing a surprise victory in the road race from Queenslander David Kemp and rank outsider, Ballarat's popular Damien Turner.

    The Meyer brothers, members of the Garmin Transitions ProTour team, will be a focal point of the new-look nine-event championships which have been expanded to six days.

    Criteriums will be raced in Sturt Street, Ballarat, on Thursday evening, January 6, road races on the traditional Buninyong course on the Saturday and Sunday, with the time trials at Learmonth on Tuesday, January 11.

    Entries for all events at the championships close on December 27 but already the field for the the blue riband men's open road race shapes as the best for many years. World championship podium finisher and Commonwealth Games road champion, Allan Davis (Astana), will make another attempt to conquer the tough Buninyong circuit. His previous best performance was runner-up to Stuart O’Grady in 2003.

    Triple grand tour stage winner Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) and 2010 Giro d'Italia revelation, Tasmania's Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), will strive to make their first appearance on the championships podium.

    Victorian Matt Lloyd, who achieved his most important international success this year by...

  • UCI denies it protects riders from doping investigations

    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 8:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Blasts back at “unnamed” accuser

    The International Cycling Union has denied that it protects certain riders, citing its doping investigation of three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador as only one of many cases involving top-name riders.

    Recently, Floyd Landis appeared on both German and French television, reiterating his charges on doping within the peloton, and saying “It is known in the peloton that Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen or others responsible at the UCI over the last 20 years have protected some people and not others.”

    While not mentioning Landis by name, the UCI issued an apparent editorial in its Velo World magazine countering the claim. “Given the impressive progress that has been made in anti-doping programmes and, sadly, the ever-higher number of proceedings we have had to initiate in recent years against some of our sport’s biggest stars, it would be very interesting to know the names of these privileged riders who have enjoyed such favourable treatment.”

    The UCI specifically cited the Contador case, in light of which, it says, “his theory seems all the more absurd.”

    The consistency, rigour and serenity that governed the inquiry, conducted in close cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency, into the abnormal test results of the triple Tour de France winner, should offer the most telling guarantee of our commitment to eradicate doping, regardless of the low levels of product detected, regardless of all the possible justifications, regardless of the rider’s impressive record, and regardless of the additional negative consequences for cycling,” the UCI said its own defence.

    The editorial referred to the accuser simply as “a certain person who has a tendency to throw around certain accusations without the slightest effort to back them up.” It further calls him “ a person who lacks all credibility...

  • House looks to build with

    Cole House (right) chats with former-pro-turned BMC sports director Mike Sayers
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 9:06 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Sprinter disappointed not to have signed with BMC

    Young American sprinter Cole House has been taken under Gordon Fraser’s wing at and believes that the former pro can develop his burgeoning skills as of the most promising fast men in the US.

    House rode for BMC’s development team in 2009 and 2010, serving briefly as a stagiaire towards the end of the season. He tasted success on the road in the US this year, claiming a stage in the Valley of the Sun Stage and the International Cycling Classic.

    “It was kind of touch and go whether I would sign with BMC but it was kind of hard to compete for a spot when they're signing big names,” House told Cyclingnews.

    “But just came out of nowhere. I had my agent working on trying to get a ProTeam deal but with all the teams merging or down-sizing there wasn’t much. Then one day I got an email from Gordon Fraser saying he was directing this new team and wanted me to join them.”

    House made his stagiaire debut at the Tour de l’Ain, and raced 30 days towards the end of the season. Despite the opportunity BMC gave him, he did admit a level of disappointment at not being offered a pro contract.

    “I wouldn’t say I felt really let down but it was a bit disappointing. I did something like 30 race days in about two months of being in Europe with the team and it was a great experience and they gave me a fantastic opportunity.”

    However with a new chapter in his career about to start ,House is looking to build some solid foundations in Fraser’s UCI Continental Team. The team will compete in the NRC series as well as UCI races in America, with the hope of gaining a place in the Tour of California and Utah – races where team leader Francisco Mancebo has performed well in the past.

    “We're just a Continental team but we have quite a few big names, I think we'll surprise a lot of people,” House said.

  • White secures financial backing for Pegasus

    Chris White.
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 9:21 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Team making finishing touches to UCI submission

    Pegasus Sports team manager Chris White has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the team now has the financial backing to complete its UCI Professional Continental licence application.

    The team were given until 4pm CET today to file their complete documentation or face exiting the sport and leaving staff and riders without jobs for 2011. The Australian team had failed to attain a ProTeam licence and ProContinental licence during previous attempts.

    "We do now have the funds to complete our programme and run the team and be successful. Everything is in hands of the UCI now, we are pleased that the UCI gave us this opportunity and we just can hope for a positive outcome,” White told Cyclingnews.

    "It was a funding gap that appeared at the last minute and there was a subtraction of support that came at an untimely point in our overall process and it meant that we went from being funded to being unfunded and having inadequate time to deal with it before the December deadline.”

    George Gillett Jr pulled out of backing the team but White has confirmed that a new sponsor has been found at the eleventh hour. He would not reveal the identity of the new backer but did reveal certain details.

    "I’ll make an announcement nearer the time but it’s people who are close to us already. It’s not Fly-V or an Australian company. I’m not going to comment if it’s a US company, we need to get through the process first. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get an Australian company interested in our programme at this stage. We believe that may change once they see what we can do.”

    White is currently finalising the UCI’s online submission but said that the work is almost done. He isn’t expecting an immediate reaction from the UCI however, and is uncertain if the team can appeal should the UCI knock Pegasus back once again.

    "I think the work is largely complete....

  • Spanish cycling federation president welcomes Operation Greyhound

    Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 10:55 GMT
    Daniel Simms

    Castaño says it is good to clean up all sports

    The president of the Spanish Cycling Federation is not happy about the latest doping investigation in Spain, but insisted it is good that “we are cleaning up sports, cycling, athletics, and all the cases we have.”

    Carlos Castaño, made the remarks at the presentation of the Spanish Cyclo-Cross championship, to be held in January.

    Operation Greyhound” sparked the arrest of a number of athletes, coaches and doctors, including Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. The only cyclist named so far was former mountain biker Alberto Leon.

    The case "is another of the operations carried out by the state anti-doping agency, implicating famous athletes,” he said. "The rules are enforced very strictly.”

    Fuentes was at the centre of Operación Puerto in 2006 but escaped prosecution because there was no anti-doping law in place in Spain at the time. He has been arrested during Operation Greyhound but has been released. Castaño said that if he were found to be a part of the alleged doping ring, “this will be the second error this gentleman will have committed and he will pay for it. "

    Castaño concluded that "in Spain there is the presumption of innocence, so one cannot assume a crime has been committed, until someone has gone on trial and the verdict has been made public, because in that sense too much damage has been done to cycling. "

  • Armstrong’s comeback boosts the Tour de France profits

    Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador did not emerge from the 2009 Tour de France as fast friends.
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 11:21 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Financial report reveals ASO's turnover

    Lance Armstrong’s comeback and his duel with Alberto Contador at the 2009 Tour de France helped boost the profits of race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).

    The seven-time Tour winner and ASO often had a difficult relationship but Armstrong’s return to the Tour de France helped add $32 million to the company’s turnover as Skoda, Orange and other companies renewed their sponsorship.

    The Bloomberg news agency claims to have seen an email of ASO’s filing to a company registry in Nanterre, France. It reports that sales from ASO’s sporting events, which includes the former Paris-Dakar rally, the Paris marathon and their other cycling races, rose 20% to 145.2 million euros ($195.4 million). The Tour’s global television audience increased 10 percent although net income fell 1.2% to 31.8 million euros.

    “The Armstrong-Contador duel was certainly not irrelevant to the success” of the race, the company filing said, with the financial targets of the Tour de France slightly surpassed.

    Armstrong rode with Contador at the Astana team in 2009. The Spaniard went on to win the race despite tension in the team, with Armstrong finishing third.

    Major sponsors of the Tour de France include yellow jersey sponsor LCL Banque, Vittel, Carrefour and Skoda. Nike is the official jersey supplier.

    The Tour de France publicity caravan consists of 160 vehicles representing 33 brands and gives out 16 million gifts each year according to ASO. Costs for the vehicles in the caravan range from 200,000 to 500,000 Euro.

    The Tour de France is broadcast by 121 different television channels in 186 countries.

  • Nibali ready to confirm his talent in 2011

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) at home in Sicily.
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 12:40 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian hopes to target the Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali proved he is the most promising Grand Tour rider in the peloton during 2010 by finishing third in the Giro d'Italia and winning the Vuelta.

    The likeable Sicilian is no longer Ivan Basso's understudy at Liquigas-Cannondale and in 2011 he is expected to confirm his talent and challenge for pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia next May, while Basso has one last tilt at the Tour de France.

    The extra pressure and responsibility could make it harder for him to succeed. However for now, he seems to be taking it all in his stride.

    "I can feel that there's more pressure on me now and more attention from the media and the tifosi. Everybody expects a lot but it's a nice problem to have. I was getting tired of being the next big thing," he told Cyclingnews during an exclusive interview at the Liquigas-Cannondale training camp in Sardinia.

    "There are good and bad sides to all the attention. But I'm trying to stay focused, keep things under control and stay true to myself. I'm at another level now, I can feel that, but it hasn’t happened over night. I showed I had talent before turning professional and then I finished 20th in my first ever Tour de France in 2008 and 11th in my first ever Giro. I was also seventh in the Tour last year and then third in the Giro this year, before going onto win the Vuelta. That's a steady progression."

    "There's no doubt 2010 was a breakthrough year for me but I think there's a lot more to it than just the victories on my palmares. I think it was important thing was the way I stepped up and really proved what I could do as a rider."

    "To be honest I still think and hope I can improve further. I haven't reached my limits yet. I've come on a lot in the last 18 months but I think I'm still maturing and hopefully there's more to come."

    Little time for holidays

    It is less than three months since Nibali won the Vuelta but he is already back on...

  • Riders flocking to ride for Rasmussen's new team

    Embattled Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    December 15, 2010, 16:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Christina Watches claims to have 100 applications

    Team Christina Watches is having no problems attracting riders, Michael Rasmussen claims. He expects to have at least 12 riders signed by the end of the year.

    "The financials will determine which riders and how many we get under the contract," Rasmussen told

    He had previously said that he had 50 applications to join the team, but that number has since doubled.

    "We have enough riders to start with, let me say this. I am getting lots of requests in my mailbox. It is both sports directors, psychologists, dietitians and more. I would think that about 100 riders have contacted the team,” Rasmussen said.

    "The team will be mainly Danish-based, but right now we are looking at the possibilities and then we take it from there. We've got a number of additional requests from the Pegasus.” he said.