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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Date published:
December 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Pereiro confirmed for 2010 by Astana

    Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    December 08, 2009, 18:16 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Former Tour champion to back Contador

    2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro’s threat of legal action against the Astana team has been followed by the news today that the team will, after all, sign the rider for the 2010 season. The 32-year-old Galician will therefore assist Alberto Contador as he attempts to win his third Tour, drawing on his proven climbing abilities and experience to help his fellow Spaniard.

    Astana released a brief statement this afternoon confirming the move.

    “The Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro signed a one year agreement with the Team Astana,” it read. “He will take part in the first training camp in Pisa (Italy) this week.”

    Pereiro had previously been offered a deal by the team but then accused it of rescinding on the agreement. He stated recently that this had left him facing almost certain retirement, as he had missed out on the chance to race for Belgian team Quick Step.

    His biggest career achievement is victory in the 2006 Tour de France, a result that was achieved both by his presence in a long-distance breakaway move and also Floyd Landis’ positive test. He also finished tenth three times in the race, as well as taking a stage in 2005.

    Pereiro suffered a bad crash on stage fifteen of last year’s Tour de France, suffering bad injuries when he fell over a guardrail on a descent. He has not yet returned to top form, and withdrew from this year’s race on the eighth stage.

    He will welcome today’s news as it gives him the opportunity to put a better end to his career, while also trying to help Contador take what would be Spain’s fifth successive Tour win.

    More to follow...

  • Gilbert scoops AIJC award

    Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto)
    Article published:
    December 08, 2009, 19:12 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Belgian rider wins journalists’ accolade

    2009 has been Philippe Gilbert's most successful season and the trophies keep rolling in. The 27-year-old Belgian has just been named as the winner of the trophy of the l'Association Internationale des Journalistes de Cyclisme (International Association of Cycling Journalists), the AIJC.

    The annual award is based on three criteria, ethics, results and accessibility to the press. Gilbert secured almost half the number of total votes, 44 per cent, and thus succeeds the 2008 winner Paolo Bettini.

    "I've never met a journalist who has told me anything negative about Gilbert," said AIJC chairman Gilles Le Roc'h, according to Sporza.

    The Walloon moved to Silence-Lotto last winter and clocked up seven out of the team’s twelve wins this season. Following third place in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and fourth in both the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he registered the first of those victories on stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia in June.

    A stage win and overall success in the Ster Elektrotoer followed later that month. A strong autumn campaign then brought him four consecutive triumphs, namely Coppa Sabatini, his second straight win in Paris-Tours, the Giro del Piemonte and a rousing sprint win over Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez in the Giro di Lombardia.

    Gilbert was the clear favourite in that race but shrugged off the weight of expectation and the marking of others to triumph in Como.

    He was presented with the AIJC trophy by Eddy Merckx. “I am honoured,” said the rider, who has been outspoken against doping. He was also voted Flandrien of the Year in October. 


  • Hendersons to take part in Scotty’s Ride

    Stage two began with the memory of Scotty Peoples
    Article published:
    December 09, 2009, 5:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Greg, Katie support Shepparton ride

    New Zealand road professional Greg Henderson will take part in this weekend’s Scotty’s Ride in Victoria, Australia. Henderson will be joined by wife and International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Champion Katie Mactier at the Shepparton event.

    The husband and wife duo will be joined by the likes of Olympic gold medallists Brett Lancaster and Scott McGrory and Giro d'Italia stage winner Dave McKenzie.

    The cyclo-sportif is in its second year and features as a part of a weekend of cycling-related activities dedicated to the late Scott Peoples, who was tragically killed while training in Mansfield in 2006. The event raises funds for the Scott Peoples Foundation, which assists in the development of junior cycling in regional Victoria.

    Participants in this Saturday’s ride will contest either the full 129km course or a shorter 54km ride. The long course ride commences at 8:30, while the shorter ride gets underway an hour later.

    Scotty's Race, which has been held annually since the accident, will be held on Sunday, with $5,000 in prize money up for grabs. Grades A and B will contest a 135km course, while women, juniors, C and D grades will compete over 75km.

  • Fly V switches to De Rosa for 2010

    The team from Fly V Australia was controlling the peloton in the concluding laps.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2009, 8:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Aussie team leaves Parlee for second season

    Australian Continental squad Fly V Australia will spend its second season on De Rosa bikes after inking a deal with the company’s American distributor Trialtir USA. Fly V Australia enjoyed a successful debut season in 2009, launching an ambitious program that saw it feature regularly in the United States of America’s tough domestic scene.

    “We had a great inaugural season and I think we have made some strong moves to strengthen and balance the team’s roster for 2010,” said Chris White. “We will be announcing the full roster shortly and I think you will see that the strength of our lineup may only be eclipsed by the quality of the cycling industry support we have assembled.

    “Certainly De Rosa and SRAM are two of the most sought after brands in the industry and we are proud to have them as part of our family,” added White.

    Fly V Australia’s riders will use De Rosa’s King 3RS, Merak and Neo Pro frames with SRAM groupsets throughout the season, while the company’s Formula Crono will be utalised for time trials.

    Fly V Australia’s riders spent the 2009 season on Parlee’s bikes, but the Triatir USA association will also encompass the company’s other brands. The sponsorship deal will see Fly V Australia’s riders using Diadora shoes, Santini clothing, Stella Azzurra bar, stems and tape and LAS helmets.

    Trialtir USA CEO Massimo Bartolini believes the sponsorship of Fly V Australia will deliver his company valuable feedback heading into what he believes will be a strong year for the North American cycling industry.

    “The Fly V program represents more than just a sponsorship opportunity for De Rosa, but a great opportunity to gain valuable R&D information for all of our brands,” said Bartolini. “The Fly V organisation has great spirit and camaraderie, and we want to bring that culture, enthusiasm, and performance...

  • Columbia-HTC backs Bak for 2010

    Lars Ytting Bak (Team Saxo Bank) celebrates his stage win on the podium.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2009, 8:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Triple Danish TT champ joins Stapleton's yellow train

    The musical chairs of the transfer season haven't stopped moving yet as Columbia-HTC confirmed its signing of triple Danish time trial champion Lars Ytting Bak from Saxo Bank.

    The affable Dane won the 2005 editions of the Tour de l'Avenir and Paris-Bourges, the team time trial at the 2005 Tour Méditerranéen, the first stage of the 2008 Tour de Pologne and stage five of this year's Benelux Tour, although it's as a tireless teammate that Bak has forged a solid reputation; Team CSC, later Team Saxo Bank, has benefited from his services for five seasons but the 29-year-old from Silkeborg knew it was time to make a move.

    "One thing I've always liked about Columbia-HTC is you can see everybody gets a chance to win. Signing with Columbia-HTC was one opportunity I just didn't want to let go by," said Bak.

    Bak's achievements against the clock feature those three national TT titles, which puts him in good company within the Columbia-HTC squad, which has boasted national time trial champions from Norway, Italy and Germany since its inception. "The best of the three victories was in 2009," said Bak. "I didn't know until 100 metres from the line that I had won. It was a very close, dramatic race, pure suffering, and then at the end I could start celebrating even before I crossed the line."

    Bak's approach to riding time trials is simple but when applied to team riding should serve Columbia-HTC well throughout a season. "If you keep a steady, strong pace, and you don't go in too deep, then you're on the right track. I've got the right kind of motor for it, too: I can't accelerate fast, so don't ask me to win a sprint. I'm more a diesel engine, and once I get going I can keep going steady for miles and miles."

    Fellow Dane and Columbia-HTC directeur sportif Brian Holm is impressed by Bak's team approach and explained that it's the quality which made him a target for the American team. "Lars is the kind of rider who won't win...

  • Who is Dr Iñigo San Millán?

    Farrar is embraced by Garmin teammate Chris Sutton after the Vattenfall Cyclassics
    Article published:
    December 09, 2009, 9:11 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Garmin-Transitions' new physiologist excited about return to the ProTour

    In a flurry of staff changes on US-based teams RadioShack and Garmin-Transitions, Dr Iñigo San Millán has been appointed to lead the latter squad's four-man team of physiologists for the next two seasons.

    San Millán will join Garmin as part of a team of training staff that will continue the sports performance program established by Allen Lim over his three seasons with the team. Lim announced on Sunday that he would take up a position with Team RadioShack in 2010.

    San Millán will now oversee the physiological testing of Garmin's riders from his base in Colorado, with Spain's Dr Carlos Gonzalez and Australian Mark Quod to be based at the team's European hub in Girona, Spain. San Millán told Cyclingnews today that the collective approach is expected to yield even greater support for the team's athletes.

    "Allen did a lot of work to develop this programme - this is a continuation of that," said San Millán. "But now we are four people instead of one, so we can close as many gaps as possible and hopefully develop even more ideas."

    San Millán, Quod and Gonzalez will also be supported by Belgian Adrie Van Dieman and Robbie Ketchell, who will provide aerodynamic and bio-mechanical support to the team. "Adrie Van Dieman's a very experienced coach who's been involved in the sport since the days of Greg LeMond, In addition, Robbie Ketchell will be working on the aerodynamics and bio-mechanics of the team. But all of us will be working on the sports performance program."

    His full-time appointment with Garmin-Transitions follows a period of physiological testing he carried out with the team in New Mexico last year. Although he and his future Garmin colleagues will build upon the foundation built over the past three seasons, San Millán will bring his own scientific approach to the team.

    "Allen [Lim] and Jonathan [Vaughters] invited me over there to New Mexico. I...

  • Lance Armstrong: RadioShack not built around me

    Lance Armstrong at his first official RadioShack press conference in Arizona on Tuesday. He said the team will share leadership in 2010.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2009, 9:22 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    2010 RadioShack squad reflects cycling's globalization

    Lance Armstrong gave his first official press conference for the new RadioShack squad at the team's training camp in Tucson, Arizona on Tuesday and he had one point to clarify: the team is not built around him.

    Armstrong fielded questions about his new team and his comeback year, describing how his "experiment" rekindled his passion for the sport and inspired him not only to continue racing in 2010, but also to put his weight behind the formation of the RadioShack team.

    Despite the fact that he is by far and away the best known rider in the sport of cycling and achieved a podium finish after a three year absence from the Tour de France, he insisted that the team, even at the Tour, will not be solely focused on him.

    "The days of this team being built around me are done," Armstrong said concisely. "I'm 38 now, I'll be 39 this season - it would be irresponsible to build it around me. Going into the Tour we have to look at Levi [Leipheimer], [Andreas] Klöden, the tactics, the ideas that we use..."

    That said, Armstrong feels he will be even stronger in 2010 than this year after having raced a full season. "All the training, the Tour and the Giro [d'Italia], that will benefit me going forward in 2010. This December already feels different than last December."

    The camp is the first time that the riders and the staff have come together, and Armstrong said everyone seemed excited and ready to race.

    "RadioShack has been a wonderful partner and very supportive. We have a well rounded group for all the races. Obviously the Tour is the one everyone talks about, and the build up to that will be big, But the Spring Classics will be important, too, It's also important the team starts hard in Australia.

    "We have the best team in the world. If you look at the Tour this year, we had the strongest team in the race. Of the 9 riders from last year's Tour de France squad from Astana, 8 are now on RadioShack. We took the vast...

  • Schleck brothers to target Ardennes Classics and Tour

    Fränk Schleck leads brother Andy, r, at the Tour de France
    Article published:
    December 09, 2009, 11:01 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Saxo Bank riders' racing calendar released

    The Schleck brothers' racing calendar for 2010 has been announced today, with Saxo Bank Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen confirming to Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidian that neither brother will compete in Ronde van Vlaanderen.

    The two brothers will ride together for much, but not all of the season. They will start together at the Trofeo Mallorca (February 7-11) before moving on to the Ruta del Sol (February 21-25). At that point they will separate, with Andy going to the Monte Paschi Eroica (March 6) and Tirreno-Adriatico (March 10-16). Fränk will take on Paris-Nice (March 7-13), where he finished second overall in 2009.

    The brothers will reunite in March for Milano-Sanremo (March 20) before parting ways again.

    Fränk will ride the Volta a Catalunya (March 22-28), while Andy will take on three races to get used to the cobblestones he will experience on the third stage of the Tour de France: Dwars door Vlaanderen (March 24), E3 Prijs Vlaanderen (March 27) and Gent-Wevelgem (March 28).

    For the first time, neither of them will ride the Criterium International, Saxo Bank Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen told Le Quotidian. Andersen also confirmed that a draft schedule that had included the Ronde van Vlaanderen had been replaced by today's final programme, with both riders to skip the Belgian Classic. Andy will instead head to Spain for the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (April 5-10).

    From there, the brothers will take on their first major season objectives, the Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold Race (April 18), Flèche Wallonne (April 21) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25).

    In the further lead up to the Tour de France, Andy will head to the US and the Tour of California (May 16-23), while Fränk will ride his homeland race, the Tour of Luxembourg (June 2-6). Together they will take on the Tour de Suisse (June 12-20) before going to the Tour de France (July 3-25).