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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Date published:
February 10, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Boonen happy to win again in Qatar

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) powers away from Heinrich Haussler and toward his 16th career Qatar stage win
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 17:29 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Quick Step leader still hopes for overall success

    Tom Boonen was all smiles after winning his first race of the 2010 season at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday.

    The Quick Step rider and current Belgian national champion seemed to have lost his sprint in the wake of his personal problems and positive tests for cocaine in recent years but he was as fast as ever at the end of stage three to Mesaieed, beating Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) and Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank).

    It was his 16th career stage win at the Tour of Qatar and the ten-second stage winner's time bonus lifted him to third overall.

    Boonen was ahead of a crash that scattered the peloton 300 metres from the finish line. However he admitted it wasn't an easy victory, even if it looked it.

    "It was really hard to get everybody organized and it was a real battle with the round-a-bouts in the finale but everybody did a good job," he said of his Quick Step teammates.

    "Surprisingly, Andreas Stauff was the last man. I talked to him in the last 15 kilometres and told him to take it easy but he did a perfect job. He dropped me off at 350 to go. It was pretty long, so I waited for a few seconds, but then I had to go and still I had my speed coming out of the corner. I went at 250 metres or something. I was waiting for them to come back to me but nobody came, so I think I was the strongest one."

    The computer on Boonen's Eddy Merckx bike showed he had set a maximum speed of 72.8km/h. He was impressed with that, revealing that his fastest ever sprint was at 74km/h against Alessandro Petacchi but with the help of a tailwind.

    "It didn’t feel like I was going really, really fast, but I think it was a headwind. So people were dying in the wheel and unable to come back to me. It was a good sensation. I've been working really hard in the last couple months. It’s always good to start it out with a win."

    Boonen is now 1:55 behind race leader Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) with only three stages of...

  • Teams announced for Milano-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico

    Cadel Evans is ready to get started.
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 19:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC in, Ceramica Flaminia out of RCS Sport events

    Organiser RCS Sport announced the list of teams invited to its upcoming events, the Montepaschi Strade Bianche Toscana, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo without any major surprises in the roster.

    Listed, as expected, for all races will be the BMC team of World Champion Cadel Evans and Alessandro Ballan. The only Italian Pro Continental team not to be invited to any of the races was the Ceramica Flaminia squad of Riccardo Ricco, who is making his comeback after a doping suspension. Without the UCI's "wild card" designation, the De Rosa-Stac Plastic team did not qualify for entry into Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo.

    For the first event, the UCI category 1.1 Montepaschi Strade Bianche on March 6, only 15 teams will tackle the dusty white gravel roads in Tuscany, among them Team Sky of defending champion Thomas Lövkvist, the Saxo Bank team of 2008 winner Fabian Cancellara and the Katusha team of inaugural race winner Alexandr Kolobnev, according to

    Other ProTour squads include AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, Garmin-Transitions, Lampre, Liquigas, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Team Sky, and from the Professional Continental ranks comes Acqua & Sapone, Androni-Diquigiovanni, Cervélo TestTeam and ISD-Neri.

    Twenty-two teams will tackle the seven stages of the second "Historic" race of the year, Tirreno-Adriatico. All of the ProTour squads except Footon Servetto-Fuji and Team RadioShack were on the list of invited teams, with the wild-card invitations going to Acqua & Sapone, the Androni-Diquigiovanni team of last year's overall winner Michele Scarponi, BMC, Cervélo TestTeam, Colnago CSF-Inox and ISD-Neri.

    Evans signaled his intent to use Tirreno-Adriatico rather than Paris-Nice as preparation for the Giro d'Italia during the team's camp earlier this month, but the team's participation was contingent on the wild card invitation by the organiser.

    All of the teams racing...

  • Virgin Blue-RBS Morgans to contest Australian domestic races

    Aaron Kemps has already shown why Fly V Australia signed him, by winning the Australian Criterium Championship. Kemps had a tough year in 2009 with his signing to Rock Racing not leading to much racing.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 8:01 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Fly V Australia won’t enter National Road Series in 2010

    Fly V Australia will not contest Australian domestic races in 2010 with the team’s management company, Pegasus Racing, instead launching a new squad called Virgin Blue-RBS Morgans to take on the domestic scene. The all-new team will include a 12 rider roster focused predominately on younger riders and it’s hoped will train new talent for the Continental team over coming years.

    The formation of a second tier to Pegasus Racing’s program is testament to the demand within the domestic racing market, according to team owner Chris White. “We’ve put together a 10 man roster for the national side of our team inside the last couple of months,” he said. “We’ve pretty much drawn together a team - which will do 80 or so days of racing - in the space of six to eight weeks. We’ve moved quickly on it.

    “The fact that we were able to move so quickly in pulling it together is probably testament to the demand that’s there for that team to exist – from both rider, corporate and an industry perspective,” he added.

    Fly V Australia won the team’s component of last year’s National Road Series, however the squad will focus heavily on the American market this year and hopes to be granted starts at the Tour of Ireland and Tour of Britain. With White holding ambitions for his top squad to become a Professional Continental team in 2011, the new outfit will be used to foster new talent domestically in Australia.

    The team will include riders like Scott Law, who has enjoyed a sensational track racing stint in recent months, and brother of Trek-Livestrong rider Tim Roe, Andrew. Other up and coming riders like Michael Freiberg, Pat Shaw and James Hepburn will be included in the squad that contest races like Tour of the Murray River, Launceston to Hobart and Tour of Tasmania.

    “We’ll work really closely with those guys and we’re excited about that team...

  • Gilmore’s girls to compete in New Zealand

    Josie Tomic will join compatriot Rochelle Gilmore at the Lotto Ladies Team in 2010, her first contract with a European team.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 8:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tomic, Whitelaw in Lotto-Bodysol roster

    Rochelle Gilmore’s Lotto-Bodysol squad will contest the Women’s Tour of New Zealand later this month. Lotto-Bodysol is the only International Cycling Union (UCI) registered squad confirmed for the 2.2 event.

    Lotto-Bodysol will bring a predominately Australian roster, with South Africans Lynette Burger and Ashleigh Moolman the only exceptions. The Australians in Gilmore’s team make up just a small portion of the riders set to cross the Tasman to contest the Asia-Pacific’s only UCI ranked women’s race.

    With Australia’s Amber Halliday winning last year’s race, event director Jorge Sandoval is again expecting a strong showing from the Australians. “They will arrive race-fit, and with the course a hilly one they will be well prepared for what lies ahead,” he said.

    Gilmore will be accompanied by Josephine Tomic, Vicki Whitelaw, and Rachel Neylan on the Lotto-Bodysol squad in New Zealand. The Australian Institute of Sport will also field a strong team that includes Tiffany Cromwell, Kirsty Broun, Shara Gillow, Lauren Kitchen, Amanda Spratt and Carly Light.

    The Australian women will face stiff competition from the BikeNZ team which includes former Danish national representative Linda Villumsen and world track champion Alison Shanks.

  • Team Sky opts out of Tour of California

    The Sky team studies the road book.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 8:30 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    26 rider team limits global reach of British team

    Team Sky senior directeur sportif Scott Sunderland has confirmed that the new British ProTour team will not take part in this year's Tour of California.

    Race organisers AEG unveiled details of the first two stages on Tuesday and said that Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack), Dave Zabriskie (Garmin), George Hincapie (BMC), Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) are all expected to take part this year.

    However Team Sky will not be in Nevada City for the start of the race on May 16.

    The team has yet to secure an invitation to the Tour de France and so has to target success in Europe and especially races run by ASO, who organize the Tour de France.

    "We haven't asked for an invitation for California and they haven't offered us one. We made the decision for this year because we simply can't do it with the team we have," Sunderland told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday.

    "The rest of the season is pretty much as people would expect. The Tour of California was the only race which was logistically difficult for us to do."

    "It was a purely performance driven decision. We'd have love to ride it and we looked at it carefully but with only 26 riders in the team, with the programme we've chosen and with the obligations we've got to certain races as a new team, it just wasn't possible."

    Team Sky is targeting the Spring Classics in April with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Thomas Lovkvist. Then team leader Bradley Wiggins will ride the Giro d'Italia before hopefully challenging for overall success at the Tour de France in July.

    The complete roster of teams and riders for the Tour of California is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. As in previous editions, half of the field is likely to be major ProTour teams, with the rest of the field made up of US-based teams.

    After being held in February for the last four years, the Tour of California will be...

  • Italian stars remember Ballerini

    A one minute silence was held in memory of Franco Ballerini before the start.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 9:21 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Thousands attend Franco Ballerini's funeral in Tuscany

    A reported five thousand people attended Franco Ballerini's funeral in Casalguidi in Tuscany on Tuesday afternoon.

    The two-time Paris-Roubaix winner and highly successful Italian national coach died on Sunday morning following a car accident during a car rally he was competing in as a navigator.

    A huge poster depicting Ballerini as he retired from racing after completing his final Paris-Roubaix in 2001 adorned the church.

    Many of the Italian riders competing at the Tour of Qatar wanted to abandon the race and return to Italy for Ballerini's funeral; they were convinced to stay but emotionally remembered Ballerini, revealing he was far more than just a coach and former team mate.

    Alessandro Ballan

    "As well as being my national coach for five years, he was also a friend. He'd call me to ask how I was but also to ask about my family and we talked about everything. I've lost a friend," said the 2008 road world champion (pictured below).

    "I'll always remember the smile on his face after me and Bettini won our world titles. I'm just happy I was able to win him his last world title.

    "He always managed to create a special atmosphere in the team at the world championships. We were all rivals in other races but on the day of the world championships, thanks to him, it was all for one and one for all."

    A one minute silence was held in memory of Franco Ballerini before the start.

    Filippo Pozzato

    The current Italian national champion heard about Ballerini's death prior to the team time trial at the Tour of Qatar on Sunday and rode with black tape on his arm. He stood at the front of the Tour of Qatar peloton when a minute's silence was held before stage two on Monday.

    "It's difficult to think that he's not alive. Me,...

  • Leipheimer optimistic after seeing early California profiles

    Levi Leipheimer loves to wear yellow in California.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 9:30 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Time trial key to title defence for RadioShack rider

    After seeing the profiles for the first two stages of the Amgen Tour of California, three-time winner and defending champion Levi Leipheimer is ready to do battle but revealed that the race “will be a war” with the event set to have its most competitive field in its five-year history.

    Leipheimer will run reconnaissance of each stage in the lead up to the race. “I don’t have a crystal ball so it’s hard for me to tell that much from the profiles,” he told Cyclingnews. “I’m optimistic though. The three times I’ve won it’s been because of the time trial and I don’t think this year is going to be any different. I think the time trial is the most important day.”

    As for the first two stages, the American labeled them as ideal for the sprinters, although the second stage to his hometown of Santa Rosa could provide stiffer competition. “The first stage for sure looks good for a sprint and there are a few others that could go that way too,” he said. “Of course I know the stage to Santa Rosa really well and the climb is some way from the finish so you could have 50 guys finishing all together. I think the GC is going to come down to two days, Big Bear and the time trial.”

    “But if you look at the stage to Big Bear on the map I don’t know how hard it is,” he added. “It doesn’t look all that hard but profiles can be deceiving.”

    While the race’s remaining six stage routes are still to be revealed, Leipheimer knows that the Tour of California will be harder to win than ever before. “It’s going to be more competitive,” he said. “It gets more and more competitive each year. The time trial is going to be in the city so it could be really technical but I won’t know until I get there.”

    RadioShack’s Leipheimer begins his 2010 road season at the Tour of...

  • American teams auction Spring Classics team car seats

    The full Garmin - Transitions team poses for a photo.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2010, 9:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Transitions, HTC-Columbia raising funds for USA Cycling

    American ProTour outfits Garmin-Transitions and HTC-Columbia are auctioning off seats in their team cars during this year’s Spring Classics to raise funds for USA Cycling’s Development Foundation. Two seats in HTC-Columbia’s car will be auctioned for the Tour of Flanders on April 4 while Garmin-Transitions is offering the same number of spaces for Paris-Roubaix a week later.

    Both auctions have already commenced via, with both scheduled to end in just under 10 days. The initiative demonstrates the team’s commitment to the development of cyclists from the United States of America, according to USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. “We were thrilled when they came to us together with the idea of an auction to benefit USA Cycling’s Development Foundation,” said Johnson. “To us, it is another example of the top two American teams working as one to continue to benefit the sport.”

    Both experiences include two seats in the team mechanic car, plus one night staying at the team’s hotel and a the chance to meet the team’s riders. The winning bidder in each auction will received an autographed jersey from the relevant team, while the winner of Garmin-Transitions’ auction will also get to watch the finish of Paris-Roubaix from the Roubaix velodrome.

    Slipstream Sports wants to support the program that has benefited its own program, according to chairman Doug Ellis. “Team Garmin-Transitions was founded to foster the next generation of American cycling champions and several of our athletes, including Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Danny Pate, Timmy Duggan, Steven Cozza, Kirk Carlsen, Peter Stetina and Tyler Farrar have had the benefit of working with USA Cycling’s National Team programs as young Americans,” said Ellis. “That is a tradition we want to continue with new programs such as this auction.”

    Highroad Sports’ Bob...