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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Date published:
December 08, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Cavendish "honoured" by BBC Sports Personality nomination

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) wins in the green jersey at the Vuelta a Espana.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2010, 18:18 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    Sprinter philosophical about chances of winning award

    Mark Cavendish on Monday called his nomination for the prestigious title of Britain's "Sports Personality Of The Year" a "great honour" that lent context to a 2010 which started miserably for the Manxman.

    Beset by health problems in January and February, Cavendish struggled in the early part of the year before rattling off five stage wins at the Tour de France and three at the Vuelta a España, where he also triumphed in the points competition.

    Cavendish's five stage wins at the Tour made him, at age 25, the most prolific winner of bunch sprints in the history of the race in only his fourth Grande Boucle.

    "People in cycling might have looked at my season and thought it was less than stellar compared to the previous year, but I think this nomination puts what I achieved in context," Cavendish told Cyclingnews in Morgan Hill, California, where he and his HTC-Highroad team-mates are attending their first training camp of the winter.

    Determined by a public vote, the title of Sports Personality of 2010 will be assigned at the end of live BBC awards ceremony watched by millions on Sunday, December 19. Cavendish finished fourth in last year's poll won by the footballer Ryan Giggs. Of the 10 shortlisted athletes this year, jockey Tony McCoy is most bookmakers' favourite, while Cavendish is quoted as an 80-1 outsider with some firms.

    "To come in the top three would be brilliant, especially with it being a public vote, but I'm on the back foot," Cavendish said. "On the clips where they introduced the 10 on the shortlist, they used video footage for the other nine and still photos for me...Anyway, I think Tony McCoy deserves to be the favourite because he's had a great year. He's cemented a legacy.

    "It's already a great honour to be shortlisted," Cavendish said. "Chris Hoy won this award in 2008, and cycling has had other great ambassadors on the shortlist in the last few years with Bradley Wiggins, Rebecca...

  • Pegasus Sports confirms Cornu and Traksel

    Dominique Cornu (Skil - Shimano) on his way to winning the time trial stage at the Tour of Belgium.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2010, 19:23 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Australian team bolsters Classics squad for 2011

    The Pegasus Sports team has confirmed the signing of Dominique Cornu and Bobbie Traksel for 2011, boosting the strength of its squad for the Classics and time trials.

    Cornu, 25, was the Under 23 world time trial champion in 2006 and won the time trial stage at the Tour of Belgium this year where he finished second overall behind fellow Belgian Stijn Devolder (Quick Step). Cornu rode for Skil-Shimano this year after spells at Predictor-Lotto and Quick Step.

    Traksel joins Pegasus Sports from Vacansoleil. The 29 year-old Dutchman has 18 victories to his name, including this year's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. He seemed inspired by the terrible weather conditions and beat Rik Flens (Rabobank) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) after being in a long breakaway.

    "With Cornu and Traksel we have secured the services of two riders who fit perfectly in our team," said Pegasus Sports CEO Chris White. "Cornu is a strong time trialist and also feels at home on the cobbles, while Traksel is a tough rider for the one-day events."

    The Pegasus team now includes 24 riders including sprinter Robbie McEwen, Canadian time trialist Svein Tuft and South Africans Daryl Impey and Robert Hunter.

    The team failed to secure a ProTeam licence for 2011 and has still to confirm a title sponsor but has applied for Professional Continental status and still hopes to compete in many of the major races on the calendar.

  • Hesjedal confident in repeat of 2010 success

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) suffers his way to 4th on the stage.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2010, 22:00 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Canadian focused on another consistent, full season campaign

    The 2010 season was the best of Ryder Hesjedal's career, highlighted by a seventh place finish in the Tour de France, second in Amstel Gold, a victory in the Amgen Tour of California's final stage and an eighth place finish on the UCI World Ranking.

    While taking part in Garmin-Cervelo's week-long training camp in the Cayman Islands, the 29-year-old Canadian discussed his approach to the upcoming season.

    "I haven't really thought about concrete, specific goals regarding placings," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews. "I'm just moving forward, comfortable and confident from this season. I'm not only trying to improve, but trying to do it again.

    "If I can get to a point where I can be eighth in the world rankings again, top 10 in the Tour again, stand on the podium in the Ardennes again and win a stage in California that would be a good season.

    "If you look at the style of rider that I am and the races I race victories aren't easy to come by. That's just the way it is. Sprinters have a lot more opportunities to take advantage of the form when it's there. When I can win a very selective, hilly stage at California, or win a stage in the Basque Country or a race in the Ardennes, that's huge," he explained.

    "The big thing with Ryder is that he's never bad," said Matt White, Garmin-Cervélo sports director. "He's so consistent all year round, but in 2010 he was consistent at a higher level than he's ever been before.

    "It wasn't really a breakout season this year, but it was definitely the best season of his life. He did have a breakout Tour de France, that's for sure. Now we're going to build on that for next year."

    Hesjedal met with White during the Caymans camp to map out his 2011 race programme through the Tour de France, with only a few slight differences from his 2010 campaign such as Paris-Nice instead of Tirreno-Adriatico and Critérium International in lieu of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

  • Vorarlberg-Corratec confirms first two riders for 2011

    Josef Benetseder (Vorarlberg - Corratec) on the attack.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2010, 22:03 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Austrian team has applied for Continental licence

    Team Vorarlberg-Corratec has re-signed its first two riders for the 2011 season, with Josef Benetseder and Reto Hollenstein extending their contracts for another year. The Austrian team has also announced that it has applied for another Continental licence.

    With these two riders, “we can continue to build around two important performers, who rode their strongest seasons in 2010 and want more,” said team manager Harald Morscher.

    Benetseder, 27, has been with Team Vorarlberg-Corratec for six years. This year he won the best climber jersey at the Österreich Rundfahrt and took the overall title in the national series, Tchibo Top Rad Liga. He also won a stage at the Oberösterreich Rundfahrt.

    “I want to try my luck once with the general classification at the Österreich Rundfahrt and finally show internationally that I can win this race,” he said.

    Hollenstein, 25, hopes to “continually develop and work my way forward step by step.” The Swiss rider sees room for improvement in his time trialing ability and in his race tactics, calling those “the two things which cost me the top ten of the Österreich Rundfahrt this year.”

    “Reto is a a complete rider, is very focussed and professional,” Morscher said. “He has great potential. He has the stuff to bring in top results in difficult races like the Österreich Rundfahrt, if he believes in himself.”

    The team has confirmed it has applied for a Continental licence with the UCI. The team was downgraded from Professional Continental to Continental the middle of this year.

  • Etoile de Bessèges amongst French races facing cancellation

    Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) is two-for-two at Etoile de Bessèges.
    Article published:
    December 08, 2010, 8:30 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Increased costs could decimate French cycling

    Two months before the start of 2011 season in Europe, professional and amateur French races are in jeopardy because of an increase in safety costs. In some cases the increases are 800 per cent on previous years.

    On October 28 the Home Office and Treasury Minister announced a new decree over the  payment of gendarmes and police support.

    The new tariffs are due to a wage alignment for gendarmes, who work in the countryside and police most of the races in France. In 2011 organisers must pay each gendarme €12.33 per hour (it was €2.40 until now) and more for gendarmes on motorbikes (€152), the cars (€305), fuel, food and accommodation. These costs will increase until July 2014 which constitutes an overall increase of 1,500 per cent.

    French Cycling Federation (FFC) President David Lappartient wrote to the Home Office on December 2 to call for the measure to be lifted; however, the delay in the government’s reaction could mean that races at the start of the year may face the axe.

    Because of the new law, Etoile de Bessèges (February 2-6) faces a €38,000 increase in its budget. "If we really must pay, the race won't happen," race organiser Patrick Herse told Cyclingnews.

    The event in south-eastern event is hoping for a positive reaction before its general meeting on December 15.

    Meanwhile the Tour Méditerranéen (February 9-13) faces an estimated 1,000 per cent increase in its security budget. "But if the decree is still in force in 2012 it would mean the French government wants cycling to die and I'll go fishing!" said race organiser and former Tour de France winner Lucien Aimar.

    All the French races must face high costs: €80,000 for the Tour du Limousin, which will jump to the Hors Categorie calendar; €70,000 for the 4 Jours de Dunkerque; €30,000 for the Tour of Normandy at the 2.2 level; €15,000 for the Route du...

  • Mancebo to lead

    Francisco Mancebo (Canyon Bicycles) going hard at the front in stage two at the Tour of Utah.
    Article published:
    December 08, 2010, 9:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard targets Amgen Tour of California and Tour of Utah

    US based team has announced that Francisco Mancebo will captain their 13-man team next season. The 34-year-old climber completed his 2010 racing season with the Kastro Heraklion-Murcia pro cycling team but has targeted a US-based programme for next season.

    “I'm very excited about this new project. I'm very attracted to the idea of racing in the USA, and couldn't pass up the opportunity,” said Mancebo.

    “I hope to have good results in 2011, especially in California and Utah, to repay the team for having confidence in me. The team is a mix of youth and experience and will make up a solid group.”

    The 34-year-old Spanish climber is expected to contest a full season Stateside that will include International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned events and select races on the National Racing Calendar (NRC).

    “I'll be relying heavily on the leadership and experience of Francisco Mancebo to turn Pro Cycling Team into a tight fighting unit,” said directeur sportif, and former professional Gord Fraser. "We have numerous young riders that are dipping their toes into full time NRC and UCI level competition for the first time. I'm looking forward to help meld our talented riders into a cohesive team as quickly as possible.”

    Mancebo turned professional in 1998 with the Banesto team and secured five top-10 finishes in the Tour de France. He also won the Spanish national road champion in 2004 and has twice been national mountain bike champion. In 2006 he was implicated in Operación Puerto and was ruled out of the Tour de France. He immediately announced his retirement but later changed his mind, signing for the Relax-GAM team. line-up: Francisco Mancebo, Cesar Grajales, Cole House, Thomas Rabou, Frank Travieso, Evan Hyde, Tommy Nankervis, Yosvany Falcon, Mike Midlarsky, Josh Berry, Matt Crane, Ian Burnett, Ian Burnett, Oscar...

  • Contador could target all three grand Tours if cleared

    Alberto Contador during his press conference as he tries to explain how his urine sample became contaminated with clenbuterol
    Article published:
    December 08, 2010, 11:49 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard upbeat during SaxoBank camp

    French newspaper L’Equipe claims Alberto Contador plans to ride all three grand Tours in 2011 if he is cleared of doping.

    The Spaniard is still awaiting a decision from the Spanish Cycling Federation but last week spent time with his new Saxo Bank-SunGard team in Fuerteventura. L'Equipe suggests Contador is already thinking about next season and if he is cleared he may may target the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta Espana.

    Team manager Bjarne Riis reiterated his total support for Contador and remains optimistic that he will be the team leader at Saxo Bank SunGard in 2011.

    “His presence here is important. In my mind, he’s definitely part of the team,” Riis told L’Equipe.

    “I have good reason to believe in him. He inspires respect. Everyone knows his situation and the whole team is supportive. The season is about to start and we have to be ready and believe that Alberto will be our captain in 2011. I hope the decision will be fair. But if he happened to be punished, it wouldn’t mean that he’s guilty.”

    Contador spoke briefly to L’Equipe, confirming that all his defence documents have been submitted.

    “I’m hopeful. The documents have been filed and presented to the commission. Nothing has been left to chance and it’s all based on scientific data. For a little while, I’ve decided to limit my contact with the media because I prefer to wait for a verdict. It’s difficult and a quick decision would be ideal but it’s a complex situation. I just hope it will turn out in my favour.”

    Under UCI rules the Spanish Cycling Federation has a month to reach a verdict and L’Equipe points out that this deadline falls today. However the Spanish Cycling Federation claims it has different rules but Contador’s lawyer has said a verdict is expected soon.

    According to...

  • Baffi appointed directeur sportif for Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Big brother. Andy Schleck listens as Fränk speaks.
    Article published:
    December 08, 2010, 12:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian brings experience as rider and directeur sportif

    Adriano Baffi has joined the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project as a directeur sportif.  The Italian is the team's fourth directeur sportif, the team announced Wednesday.  He had previously worked for Astana and Phonak.

    Baffi, 48, rode professionally from 1985 to 2002.  He was successful on both the road and the track, with 100 career wins.

    “From his days as a rider, Adriano proved himself to be one of the great tacticians,” team general manager Brian Nygaard said.  “And since he also worked successfully as a Sports Director on some of the biggest teams in the sport,I have no doubt that he will bring a lot to our program. For me, he really completes the picture of a great team of sports directors working for this team: A very reliable person with a wealth of experience and the motivation to bring something new to the sport.”

    He joins Luca Guercilena, Torsten Schmidt and Lars Michaelsen at the team.  “Adriano is a master motivator and will be able to collaborate with the riders and his fellow Sports Directors to develop a seriously effective racing strategy,” said Nygaard.

    “I have worked in cycling for so many years that I feel I can really bring a lot of my experiences to help the team,” Baffi said.   “When Brian approached me saying that the team needed one more Sports Director, and wondered whether I would be interested, I was very pleased.

    “It is an amazing group of people and a perfect way for me to find fresh motivations while, after all these years, still learning new things from my new colleagues.”

    Team manager Kim Andersen was also happy to have Baffi on board.  “You just can’t buy the type of expertise Adriano can offer our team; he has worked long and hard in the sport, and will certainly add a great deal to our core knowledge,” Andersen said. “Adriano has the respect of...