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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Date published:
December 30, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Murilo Fischer uncertain of team for 2010 season

    Murilo Fischer in action during the 2009 Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    December 29, 2009, 12:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Brazilian weighing options of racing in either Europe or Brazil

    Murilo Fischer's choice of a team for the 2010 season is still undecided, despite earlier reports of the Brazilian signing a contract with Italy's Acqua & Sapone team. Fischer confirmed that he has had discussions with the management of Acqua & Sapone but has not signed a contract.

    "There is a 50 percent chance of continuing in Europe and a 50 percent chance of returning to Brazil," Fischer said, according to Cyclismag.

    The 30-year-old Brazilian is in search of a team for next year after Liquigas did not renew Fischer's contract. Fischer has spent all six years of his professional career on Italian teams, beginning with Domina Vacanze in 2004, Naturino-Sapore di Mare for 2005-2006 and then the next three seasons with Italian ProTour team Liquigas.

    Fischer won two races during his three-year tenure with Liquigas, the Giro della Romagna in 2009 and a stage of the Tour of Poland in 2007.

  • Theo Eltink announces retirement

    Theo Eltink (Skil-Shimano) at the start of the 2009 Amstel Gold Race.
    Article published:
    December 29, 2009, 22:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman unable to find team for 2010

    Theo Eltink has ended his career as a professional, he announced today on his website. The 28-year-old Dutchman's contract was not renewed by Skil-Shimano and his attempts to find a new team for 2010 proved unsuccessful.

    "I had hoped this last month that something suitable could come along...but to no avail," Eltink said. "I have nothing to regret in my career. I have given it everything and can 100 percent look myself in the mirror."

    Eltink turned professional for Rabobank in 2005 after a successful stint on the team's development squad. The Dutchman stayed with Rabobank for four seasons, 2005-2008, and moved to the Dutch Pro Continental team Skil-Shimano for 2009.

    Eltink completed six Grand Tours in his professional career, finishing the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España three times each. His best performance was in the 2006 Vuelta where he finished 24th overall.

  • V Australia extends cycling sponsorship

    Benjamin King drives his Fly V Australia teammates into the 40th and final lap.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2009, 5:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Pegasus confirms title sponsor through 2011

    V Australia will remain title sponsor of the Fly V Australia cycling team through to the end of 2011 after signing a new agreement with Chris White’s Pegasus Racing, the team’s management company. V Australia’s renewed commitment follows an extremely successful season for the outfit, during which it made a mark on both the Australian and North American cycling scenes.

    “We commenced working with Virgin Blue in 2008 and to have their backing for a further two years creates a four year partnership, we look forward to ensuring that the team has strong foundations from which to deliver on its primary objectives,” said White.

    White hopes that V Australia’s commitment will enable the team to focus on obtaining more results throughout 2010. He is eyeing a move from Continental to Professional Continental status in 2011.

    “You're only limited by the objectives you set yourself, so you keep ratcheting your goals up to make things happen,” White said. “The foundation of Virgin Blue’s support is key to our long-term success and vision for what we believe this team can accomplish over the next couple of years.”

    Throughout 2009 the squad claimed over 40 wins in North America and victories in all but one of the Australia National Road Series tours.

  • Five Australian men's road champions lead titles entry list

    Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche) on the climb out of Lilydale.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2009, 5:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Massive 600 riders to start in Ballarat races

    Five of the last six Australian Open Road Champions – including defending champion Peter McDonald – will contest next month’s title race in Ballarat, Victoria. Race organiser John Craven said they make up just a small portion of the 600 riders to compete in January, with entries up 45 percent on 2009.

    The champions returning to Ballarat’s Buninyong course include Robbie McEwen (2002), Matthew Wilson (2004), Darren Lapthorne (2007), Matthew Lloyd (2008) and McDonald. Other high-profile Australian riders expected on the road race’s start line include Michael Rogers, Allan Davis and Baden Cooke.

    “With a combined road race entry of a mammoth 319 riders across the three divisions, I don’t believe there is any doubt about what the competitors think of the Buninyong road race circuit,” Craven said. “These numbers are unprecedented.”

    Combined entries for the event have been boosted by the inclusion of the Australian Criterium Championship for the first time. Craven praised the addition of the criterium race, which had previously been held as a part of the Cronulla Grand Prix in Sydney and at Brisbane's Southbank Parkland in 2007.

    “These numbers are a great vote of confidence in the move by Cycling Australia and the City of Ballarat to add the Criterium Championships to the program,” said Craven. “Ballarat is poised for a five-day cycling extravaganza of the highest order.”

    Current criterium champions Bernard Sulzberger and Kirsty Broun will both try to defend their titles in Ballarat next week. Under 23 World Time Trial Championship medallist Cameron Meyer and former women’s champion Bridie O’Donnell.

  • Armstrong slams Contador's entourage

    Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux
    Article published:
    December 30, 2009, 9:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Criticises Tour winner’s 'yes' men

    Lance Armstrong continued his campaign of criticism against Albert Contador, saying the two-time Tour de France winner “is surrounded by yes-men” and saying that he acts like “the king of Spain.”

    In an interview which appeared in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf and the Belgian Nieuwsblad, Armstrong reiterated that Contador's success had gone to his head. “If you have just won the Tour for the second time and you are the king of Spain, it is normal that all stories are all right. His career has barely begun. Let us talk again in about fifteen years.”

    The American said he was surprised at reports in the Spanish media about the atmosphere on Team Astana during the Tour, “So many dirty things, unbelievable. Complete bullshit, pieces of slime, fat lies.”

    One example was the time trial wheels, with Contador claiming that he was not provided with the proper ones. “First, this is not true. Secondly, it is easy to prove. You only have to grab the phone and call the bicycle manufacturer Trek. I understand that the Spanish media stands up for their hero, but it was so untrue what was printed. Come on, at the end of the day as a journalist, you f**king do proclaim the truth."

    Armstrong cited another example, the third stage of the Tour to La Grande-Motte, when a 28-man group, including Armstrong and Astana teammates but excluding Contador, got away with 32 kilometres to go. Armstrong indicated that he was in the break because he was near the front of the peloton, as a top ride should be, and that the Spaniard was not.

    "He felt this as an attack on him, and so did the Spanish media. I was in a bike race and had a radio. Every five minutes we all heard Johan Bruyneel call: ‘Stay in the front. Keep front.’ All I did then, was what I was supposed to do. Someone told me that he himself caused the break in the group. "

    Especially damaging to Contador, he found, was...

  • Financial crunch for Quick Step

    Quick Step Team Manager Patrick Lefevere
    Article published:
    December 30, 2009, 10:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fewer races and Davis can't leave for free

    The global financial crisis has hit Team Quick Step, general manager Patrick Lefevere admitted this week. However he is not going to let Allan Davis leave the team without a fight or a fee.

    The Belgian ProTour team does not expect to sign any additional riders for the 2010 season. “We need to start the next season with 26 or 27 riders, and I don't have any hope of increasing the number of riders,” Lefevere told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

    The reduced number of riders means a reduced number of races, with the month of May presenting a particular problem. “In May, the Giro, the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of California are all running almost simultaneously. We will have to skip one of these races.”

    He added, “I have to fight to find the money and it still remains to be seen whether I have the money for Allan Davis.” Davis had announced earlier this month that he was leaving Quick Step since the team had not offered him a new contract.

    However, Lefevere indicated that Davis had an ongoing contract with the team for the coming season.

    “Already after his victory in the Tour Down Under, he asked for a new contract,” Lefevere said. “And then he told me on December 1 that he had a new team.” The Australian is rumored to have signed with Team Astana.

    However, Lefevere is not about to let the Australian go that easily. “I will hold him to his contract with Quick Step. The time is finally over when I will riders leave for free.”

  • Bruyneel on Contador, Armstrong and Le Monde’s accusations

    Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at their first official RadioShack press conference.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2009, 11:31 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    RadioShack boss sets the record straight

    During an online chat with the readers of Spanish daily El Mundo that he described on his Twitter page as “interesting”, Johan Bruyneel denied reports that Alberto Contador had had to buy his own equipment as he battled to win the Tour de France this year. Asked straight up whether Contador had had to buy wheels out of his own pocket, Bruyneel responded: “That’s not right. The truth is I don’t know where that information came from. I can guarantee you that the members of the team, and particularly the team leaders, used the same equipment.”

    Then asked whether he considered Contador as a “rebel” for not following team orders, Bruyneel replied: “No, he’s not a rebel cyclist, he’s a cyclist who reacts more on how he is feeling. And he’s always the one who knows best when his legs feel good and when they don’t. I don’t consider him a rebel at all.”

    Subsequently asked about how he had managed to control all of the egos within the Astana team, Bruyneel explained: “I’ve got one rule for not only dealing with egos but for sorting out problems. The majority of problems that we think are going to occur can be resolved before they do for the simple reason that the sport itself is the most powerful arbiter. The most important thing to do is to keep things calm and put across the idea that the road will decide on everyone’s place. What you need to ensure this is stick to the principal goal – that the team’s objectives are paramount. If you can do this there is no need to worry.

    “I lived through the Tour with Lance [Armstrong], Alberto, Levi [Leipheimer] and Andreas [Klöden]. We were racing to win the Tour and we had to make sure that other teams didn’t take advantage of our strength. But I wasn’t worried because I knew that in the end the strongest rider was going to win and that was...

  • Correia joins Cervelo TestTeam

    João Correia
    Article published:
    December 30, 2009, 15:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Portuguese follows unusual path to pro cycling contract

    João Correia is the newest addition to Cervelo TestTeam. The Swiss-based Professional Continental team announced the signing Wednesday afternoon.

    In an interview with the New York Times, Correia, 34, described how he came to the team by a route vastly different than most riders. The native of Portugal moved to Sleepy Hollow, NY, with his family at age 11. He had started cycling as a child and turned professional in 1995 with a Portuguese team, at the same time he enrolled at Fordham University in New York. The combination didn't work out and he stopped cycling to work full time.

    After graduation he went to work for Hearst Corporation and started putting on weight, topping out at 205 pounds. In 2004 he took over as assistant publisher of Bicycling magazine, and soon realized he would have to reduce his weight.

    As part of his weight-reduction plan, Correia started riding his bike again seriously, training nightly for at least two hours. He ended up dropping a total of 60 pounds.

    In 2007 he rode the Portuguese national championships, where the finished 12th. In 2008 and 2009 he performed the difficult task of working full-time and also riding for the US Continental Bissell Pro Cycling Team.

    Now Correia is ready to take the next step of quitting his day job and riding full time. He already attended Cervelo's training camp earlier this month on Tenerife, although the official announcement of his signing was only made today.

    "I am excited and humbled to be riding with Cervélo TestTeam this season," he said. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to do what I really want to do. Many people have dreams of this kind, but most don't get to live the dream, and I am.

    "It's been a tough road back to this level after leaving the sport in the mid 90's but I feel that the work I put in at Bissell in the last two years have given me a solid foundation to try and make the jump back...