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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Date published:
December 29, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Cycling getting cleaner, Voeckler says

    Thomas Voeckler (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) on the podium
    Article published:
    December 28, 2010, 11:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    More efficient controls and more ethical riders

    Cycling is getting cleaner and cleaner, according to Thomas Voeckler. The French cyclist of the year said that “compared to earlier years, I have the impression that everyone is working in the same direction in the fight against doping.”

    Interviewed on, Voeckler said that “I have now been a pro cyclist for 10 years and I can assure you that it is getting better. The controls are becoming more efficient."

    Voeckler rode for Bbox Bouygues Telecom this year, and will continue with the team under its news name of Europcar in 2011.

    “Fifteen years ago there were no positive cases at the Tour – but I don't think that this was because nobody doped. You have to accept that better controls lead to more riders getting caught.”

    He continued, “You don't have to believe that everything is perfect, but you should believe in the large majority of riders, who do their job in an ethical manner. At the same time, you shouldn't be naïve and should keep your eyes open.”

    The 31-year-old is not discouraged by the nearly constant stream of positive controls and new doping affairs. “I'm too old for that. I just go my own way, riding with my convictions and in my style. And I think that is the way many riders go.”

    Satisfied with 2010 season

    2010 “was my most successful year,” the French cyclist of the year said. He had only three victories, but they were all big ones: the national road title, a stage at the Tour de France, and the GP de Quebec.

    “I wouldn't have won a race like that in Canada in earlier years. I used my experience there and played everything on one card,” he explained.

  • Ghent laboratory supports Costa brothers' claims

    Yesterday's winner Rui Costa (Caisse d'Epargne).
    Article published:
    December 28, 2010, 11:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Methylhexaneamine found in food supplement

    A laboratory in Gent, Belgium, has supported Mario and Rui Costa’s claims that their positive tests for methylhexaneamine were caused by the use of a food supplement. The Costa brothers returned positive tests for the substance at June’s Portuguese time trial championship.

    Mario and Rui Costa claimed that they accidentally ingested methylhexaneamine as a result of taking a food supplement called Anadraulic Pump. According to Biciciclismo, the presence of methylhexaneamine was confirmed by an analysis of the product carried out at the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ghent on August 23. The substance had not been listed in the information provided to consumers.

    "We have proven that we took a contaminated nutritional supplement and that the label does not contain anything illegal,” read a statement from the Costa brothers to Biciciclismo. “We never dope. We are athletes who are anti-doping, honest and loyal."

    The stimulant methylhexaneamine was added to WADA prohibited substance list ahead of 2010. In December, Belgian masters rider Rudy Taelman received a one-year ban after testing positive for the substance, even though he was able to demonstrate that he ingested methylhexaneamine unwittingly as part of a food supplement.

    Last week the Portuguese anti-doping agency (CNAD) rejected a Portuguese Cycling Federation appeal to reduce the brothers’ bans to four months and 15 days and it is understood that they will serve a minimum of one year.

    Rui Costa rode for Caisse d’Epargne in 2010, winning a stage of the Tour de Suisse and finishing second overall at the Four Days of Dunkirk. He had also finished first at the Portuguese time trial championships before testing positive for methylhexaneamine. Mario Costa (Barbot Siper) finished third in the event.

  • Traksel considering two options for 2010

    Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil) triumphs at the end of an epic Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne
    Article published:
    December 28, 2010, 12:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner might stay with Pegasus

    Bobbie Traksel is still deciding whether he wants to ride for Pegasus Cycling as a Continental team or whether he should pursue another option open to him. The Dutch rider was with Vacansoleil this year before signing with the new Australian team.

    Pegasus was denied both a ProTeam and Professional Continental licence, freeing up the riders to sign elsewhere.

    The team “will go through as a Continental team, and it is still an option for me to ride with them,” he told the Omroep Gelderland.

    “I also have another option,” the 29-year-old said. “I hope to clear things up this week. One thing is sure, my condition is okay.”

    Traksel is currently training in Calpe, Spain. This spring he won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, outsprinting two breakaway companions in a race that saw only 26 riders finish in abominable weather.

  • 2011 Vuelta a España to start with Benidorm team time trial

    The HTC-Columbia team sets out on its winning ride
    Article published:
    December 28, 2010, 15:50 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Full route to be revealed on January 12

    The 2011 Vuelta a España is set to begin with a team time trial in Benidorm. The announcement was made on Monday by Gema Amor, the director general of the Costa Blanca Tourism Board.

    According to, Amor said that the event will be “first class” and aimed towards promoting tourism in the Costa Blanca region. Her statement came at a breakfast meeting between tourism industry representatives and the media in Benidorm.

    The 2011 Vuelta begins on August 27 and full details of the Benidorm team time trial will be unveiled along with the rest of the route in Alicante on January 12

    It is understood that the opening three days of the race will take place in the Costa Blanca, while the race has also been tipped to make a return to the fearsome Alto de Angliru in the final week. The Vuelta will also visit the Basque Country for the first time in 33 years, with stage finishes in Bilbao and Vitoria.


  • Bennati to ride all three Grand Tours in 2011

    Daniele Bennati (Liquigas - Doimo) ponders his sixth place finish.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2010, 17:40 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian looking forward to debut season at Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Daniele Bennati (Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project) is aiming to compete in all three Grand Tours in 2011. The Italian has won stages in all of the major stage races during his career and he is hoping to add to his tally in his first season with the new squad.

    “I’m the team’s number one sprinter and they want me to ride the Giro, Tour and Vuelta,” Bennati told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ll take them one at a time. I’ve only ridden the Giro once but I won three stages, the points jersey and enjoyed great popularity, so I love it for that reason.

    “At the Tour, I’ve won from a break and in a mass sprint in Paris and I’d like to win the green jersey. Then the Vuelta also has a particular fascination. It will be hard to finish them all.”

    Bennati’s Grand Tour-laden programme means that he will limit himself to just one northern classic, Ghent-Wevelgem. “I’m sorry, but that’s my choice,” he said. “Flanders and Roubaix are races that I’m mad about, but in the last two years the cobbles have given me Achilles tendon problems. If I want to ride the Giro as a protagonist, I just can’t afford that.”

    The Italian will begin his season in the Middle East with the Tours of Qatar and Oman, before returning to race on home roads in the build up to Milan-San Remo, his first major objective of the season.

    Bennati joins the Luxembourg Cycling Project after three seasons at Liquigas. He is excited by the challenge of riding for a foreign team but pleased that the squad also has a strong Italian presence.

    “The group is the one that left Saxo Bank, but there is an Italian root,” Bennati said. “The team patron is Flavio Becca and Luca Guercilena and Adriano Baffi are among the directors, while Davide Viganò and Giacomo Nizzolo are among the riders. Also during the first training camp I spoke...

  • Arndt renews with HTC-Highroad for two years

    Judith Arndt (HTC - Columbia Women) was second on general classification.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2010, 18:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    German intends to retire after 2012 season

    Former world champion and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Judith Arndt has renewed for the next two years with HTC-Highroad, with the 2012 London Olympic Games one final objective of a long and successful career.

    "Sometimes a team change is good just to freshen up, but there's nothing better out there than HTC-Highroad," Arndt said. "We've got a very professional environment and management, and I'm very happy to stay here for another two years."

    The 34-year-old German also said the continuing presence of compatriot Ina-Yoko Teutenberg at HTC-Highroad was a big factor in remaining on the team, because "when you've got the best sprinter in the world in your line-up, that's always good."

    Arndt's big goals for 2011 will be the Spring Classics, the Tour of Italy, in which she finished second this year, and the time trial world championships, in which she has finished on the podium five times since 1997.

    "Last season wasn't really bad. I got a lot of good podium places and proved I'm still a world class rider, but it wasn't very satisfying either because I didn't win a lot. I've got a point to prove in 2011 and London will be a big objective in 2012, my last year as a professional."

  • Renshaw ready for Tour Down Under showdown

    Mark Renshaw focuses on the job at hand in stage five.
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 3:07 GMT
    Les Clarke

    HTC-Highroad takes a crack squad to opening ProTour round

    One of HTC-Highroad's key riders heading into the 2011 season, Mark Renshaw is anticipating the showdown between Mark Cavendish and former teammate André Greipel during next month's Santos Tour Down Under.

    The Australian sprinter says that HTC-Highroad will be taking a strong team to the opening round of the ProTour and the pressure will be on to perform early in the season.

    "There's more and more pressure each year at the Tour Down Under - I'm not sure if we want it but that's how it's going. There'll be pressure on us to do well - it's the showdown between André and Cav," Renshaw told Cyclingnews.

    "I think the team will come out swinging; the vibe I feel in the team at the moment is that we really want to do well at the Tour Down Under. We've got a really strong team for the race - if you look at the names on paper, there's plenty of horsepower... and Cav is going well - he's always going well."

    In previous editions of the race the team was riding for two-time overall Tour Down Under champion Greipel; in 2011 the big German will be the star of Omega Pharma-Lotto's squad, having also taken several HTC-Columbia teammates with him to the Belgian outfit.

    But Renshaw believes that HTC-Highroad won't miss Greipel, possessing more than one weapon to challenge for overall honours.

    "In previous years Andre's had everyone riding for him [and he has won the overall twice] - we've had such a strong team of sprinters with plenty of depth to help him achieve that," said Renshaw.

    "The objective is to try and get a win first up then work out the GC plan depending on what's happening," he explained. "Maybe Cav won't be good for GC but we've got other options for a top five performance, which is realistic for us.

    "We've also got a backup plan in Hayden Roulston or Matt Goss - they can climb better than myself or Cav. It's a good team and we've got options for the overall and stages."

  • Freire hopes to continue through 2012 Olympics

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was in high spirits after his win in Paris-Tours last week.
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 9:29 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    No Tour again this year for Rabobank's Spaniard

    Oscar Freire wants to keep on riding until “at least” after the Olympics in London in 2012. The Spaniard, who rides for Rabobank, has his eye on his fourth Olympic participation, barring crashes or serious injuries in the coming season.

    The 34-year-old said that any athlete should be motivated to ride in the Olympics as it is a “totally different experience,” according to Marca.

    "Usually cyclists “are always in a cycling environment when you go to a competition. But when you are in the Olympics, you meet other athletes, and that is something you must experience.”

    Freire has won many honours, including the world road title three times, but an Olympic medal is still missing from his collection.

    The Spaniard has often spoken of retiring, hinting that each season is his last, but so far has always changed his mind. 2010 was no exception and he admitted that if he had not been so successful this year, he might be gone by now.

    "I took two important victories in different classics (his third Milan-San Remo and first Paris-Tours) and, above all, I ended up wanting to go on," he said. But if things “had not gone well”, he would have retired.

    Freire will start his 2010 campaign with the Mallorca Challenge and the Vuelta a Andalucia, with both Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo also on his calendar. He will “probably” not ride the Tour this year, however, and instead concentrate on preparing for the world championships in Copenhagen.