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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Date published:
February 02, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Tour of Qatar launched in Doha

    Jean-François Pescheux and Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani launch the Tour of Qatar.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 21:54 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Pescheux expects sprinters to shine

    The Tour of Qatar was formally launched at a press conference in Doha on Tuesday. The three-day women’s race gets under way tomorrow, while the men’s event begins on Sunday.

    ASO competitions director Jean-François Pescheux believes that the route of each race should ultimately play to the sprinters’ advantage. World champion Giorgia Bronzini will line up as favourite in the Ladies Tour of Qatar, while Pescheux picked out three sprinters in particular to contest the men’s classification.

    “It’s a race for the sprinters, there are no big mountain passes in Qatar,” Pescheux explained. “Mark Cavendish is the number one when it comes to the sprints, but he will face some stiff competition from riders like Tom Boonen and Tyler Farrar.”

    This year the men’s race begins with a short time trial in Doha, and Pescheux predicts that one of the biggest names in world cycling will be doing his utmost to showcase his talent.

    “I think that Fabian Cancellara will give his all to take the first golden jersey of the tour on Sunday,” he said.

    As the Tour of Qatar celebrates its tenth year of existence, Pescheux admitted that there is scope for the race route to develop further as the infrastructure of the host country continues to grow apace.

    “We want to find new stages and locations,” he said. “By the time the [FIFA] World Cup comes here in 2020, there will be an even greater infrastructure and more potential locations, so it may no longer necessarily be a race based around one central location as it is now.”

    The president of the Qatar Cycling Federation, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Bin Abdullah Al Thani, paid tribute to the...

  • Kenda p/b Geargrinder preps for first-ever Amgen Tour

    A Kenda Pro p/b Geargrinder rider shows how to keep cool on this scorcher of a day.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 22:25 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Team Director Thompson ebullient upon receiving invitation

    Chad Thompson was brewing with excitement after the organizers of the Amgen Tour of California announced that his Kenda p/b Geargrinder team as one of the 18 squads invited to this year's event to be held on May 15-22. The US-based Continental team aims to animate the race with hopes of achieving strong stage performances during the eight-day contest.

    "Honestly, this is huge. This is the Tour de France, as far as I am concerned," Thompson told Cyclingnews. "I have dreamed of our program being in the event since its inception. Personally, being from California only makes it sweeter for me. The guys are all too excited for words. This is the most important event we will attend, hands down, and our sponsors have invested a lot in us to have the chance. Here it is, our chance."

    The team, owned by Inferno Racing LLC, began in 2005 as Honey Stinger-Spinergy. Under the banner Kenda p/b Geargrinder, the team is entering its third season as a UCI Continental outfit. Thompson added weight to the program when he signed on Frankie Andreu as the team directeur sportif last season.

    "This program has grown within US cycling the hard way: slowly," he said. "We have had major wins and bad years. We have had sponsor troubles and injuries. Yet, we always bounce back, and this year our squad looks to be not only better than ever, but one of the best in the US. These guys deserve the chance, and it is more than an opportunity. We are grateful for the chance to show what we are capable of and honored to be given the chance to please our sponsors."

    Although the team itself will start the Amgen Tour for the first time, several of its riders have participated in the stage race under other outfits in previous years including Roman Kilun, Shawn Milne and Phil Gaimon.

    "We will for sure bring experience," Thompson said. "We have five riders that have competed at...

  • USA Crits series adds two new races

    Jonny Sundt (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder) and USA Crits young rider leader Isaac Howe (Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes) strike a pose on the start line.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 23:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour de Grove, Evanston GP to feature in 2011 series

    The organizers of the USA Crits Championships Series this week announced two new races for this year's series, the Tour de Grove in St. Louis, Missouri and the Evanston Grand Prix in Illinois.

    The two events are part of the ten-race series for men and eight-race series for women which conclude at the CapCrit in Washington, DC on October 2.

    As it has each of the four previous seasons, the Athens Terrapin Twilight Criterium will kick off the USA Crits Championship Series with the 32nd edition of the popular event on April 30.

    Tour de Grove continues the calendar on May 14, followed by the Giro d' Grafton in Wisconsin on June 18, which also serves as stage 3 of the Tour of America's Dairyland.

    Cincinnati, Ohio's Hyde Park Blast holds the men-only fourth race in the series on June 25, while the women return for the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium in West Chester, Pennsylvania on July 9.

    Round six, the men-only Boise Twilight Criterium, takes place on July 16 in Idaho before both men and women tackle the high-stakes Presbyterian Invitational Criterium on July 30.

    The Evanston Grand Prix is new to the series in 2011, but it is a well-established event in this vibrant Chicago suburb - featuring a full schedule of pro and amateur racing on August 21.

    The Chris Thater Memorial, now in its 28th year, was founded in 1983 by Jim May in honor of his friend Chris Thater, a cyclist, who was killed after being hit by a drunk driver. It will be the penultimate event before the final overall champions are crowned in the country's Capital.

    On Sunday, October 2, the overall series winner, lap champion, best young rider and most aggressive rider will be crowned at the Capital Criterium presented by the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, which races down the world-renown Presidential inauguration route framed by the U.S. Capitol Building. The CapCrit p/b WCSA provides a fitting finale on a world-class stage to...

  • Bobridge and Meyer headline Singapore criterium

    Jack Bobridge was looking proud in his Aussie jersey.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 23:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian national champions confirmed for OCBC Cycle Singapore

    Australian national champions in the road race and time trial respectively, Jack Bobridge and Cameron Meyer will headline the 2011 OCBC Cycle Singapore, a criterium on the streets of one of the world's busiest cities.

    The two Garmin-Cervélo riders recently featured at the year's opening World Tour event, the Santos Tour Down Under, with Meyer winning the overall classification and Bobridge a vital domestique in the victory.

    The professional night criterium will take place on March 5 under floodlights along a new 1.7km route around the Formula 1 pit building, in the same precinct that hosts the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September.

    The race was first held in 2009, with last year's edition won by another Australian, Ben Kersten, riding for the Fly V Australia Continental team.

    Event organisers Spectrum Worldwide said that more names for the professional night criterium will be announced in the coming weeks but the presence of Bobridge and Meyer is a coup for the race.

    "We are obviously thrilled to have confirmed both Jack and Cameron for OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011. They are cyclists of the highest calibre and their recent success is testament to that," said Chris Robb, Managing Director of Spectrum Worldwide.

    "For them to recognise OCBC Cycle Singapore as a cycling event they’d like to be involved in is fantastic news for the event and highlights just how far it has grown since its inception in 2009.

    "The new professional night criterium is shaping up to be an absolutely fantastic race and will be hotly contested with such a quality line-up of international cyclists."

  • Guardini gets his place in the Langkawi spotlight

    Five of the best: Italian Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini/Neri Sottoli) was a happy man after claiming five stage victories on the tour.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 23:50 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Italian looking forward to Tour of Qatar

    Italian neo-pro Andrea Guardini has made an early mark on professional cycling, winning five stages of the Tour de Langkawi. The 21-year-old, riding for Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, showed his tremendous speed in the 10-day tour which concluded with his fifth win in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

    Guardini started showing great promise on the track in 2007, winning the junior national championship in the team sprint in addition to an European championship in the Keirin the same year.

    He continued on the road and track for the following two seasons before picking up a stage victory in the Baby Giro last year. He signed a professional contract with Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli not long after and has immediately made his mark on professional cycling.

    His fifth victory ensured he equaled the record of stage wins in the one edition of the Tour de Langkawi. Only twice before have riders won five stages in the event – Australia's Graeme Brown in 2004 and Italian Alberto Loddo in 2007.

    His victory also meant something else to the neo-pro, with his directeur sportif Giuliani Stefano promising to quit smoking if Guardini managed to win five stages.

    "I'm very happy for Giuliani," said Guardini. "We had a bet after stage two that if I was going to win five stages, he would stop smoking. I waited for the 10th stage to make that happen, so I'm very happy about that," he added.

    Guardini also picked up the points classification, defying a late charge by 2010 blue jersey winner Anuar Manan.

    Guardini's real test will come in his next race, the Tour of Qatar, starting on February 6 when he competes against cycling's best sprinters - the likes of Mark Cavendish and Tom...

  • White reconfirmed in Cycling Australia position

    Garmin-Transitions Matt White talks to the audience.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 6:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Investigation finds no reason to prevent appointment

    Matt White will indeed be professional men's road coordinator for the Cycling Australia High Performance Program following an investigation into his breach of Garmin-Cervélo team policy which saw him dismissed from his role as directeur sportif.

    Cycling Australia had announced White would take up a position with the national cycling body this year during the Santos Tour Down Under but following the event, which Garmin-Cervélo rider Cameron Meyer won, White was sacked with immediate effect.

    White referred hitherto Garmin-Transitions rider Trent Lowe to Dr Luis del Moral's sports clinic in Valencia, Spain, contravening Garmin-Cervélo's policy on the use of health professionals without prior consultation.

    Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks was last week directed by the board of Australian cycling's governing body to investigate issues surrounding the termination of White's contract by Garmin-Cervélo.

    But Cycling Australia today reconfirmed the appointment of White in the role previously held by Neil Stephens, who will head up new Australian professional team GreenEdge's race program as directeur sportif in 2012.

    In his report to the board Mr Fredericks found no reason for Cycling Australia to reconsider the appointment of White to the High Performance Program.

    "The board is satisfied that Mr White's breach of Garmin-Cervelo Cycling Team policy was an error of judgement that he sincerely regrets but that it was nothing more than that," said Fredericks.

    "Matt has learned a lesson, the hard way, from this and we are confident he is fully aware of and committed to the policies that must be adhered to when working with the national program.

    "We look forward to working...

  • German television preparing to pull the plug on Tour de France coverage?

    Packing it: ZDF and ARD, the public German channels, stopped their broadcasts starting with stage 10, following the positive control of Patrik Sinkewitz.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 8:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Public broadcasters may not renew contract with ASO

    German public television is ready to take the step and remove itself from Tour de France coverage. The ARD and ZDF are contractually obligated to show the Tour again this year, but they are not expected to sign on for further coverage in years to come, according to the German newspaper TAZ.

    There are several reason for the lack of interest by the broadcasters. One is doping. Both broadcasters pulled the plug in 2007 after it was announced that Patrik Sinkewitz, riding for the German T-Mobile Team, had tested positive for testosterone. Alberto Contador's positive doping control from the 2010 Tour added to the negative headlines.

    The German broadcasters returned to carry the Tour in 2008, as required under contracts with Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation. From 30 minutes per day in 2009, they were increased to a total of 60 minutes in 2010. The ASO has let it be known that the broadcasters are expected to carry a minimum of one hour live coverage daily.

    The reduced broadcasting time could also be related to the second reason, the drop in viewers. Fans could watch full coverage of the race on the private broadcaster Eurosport. In addition, after Jan Ullrich's retirement in 2007, there were no further German riders seen as capable of winning the Tour.

    A further ground, according to the newspaper, is that b both ARD and ZDF are trying to save money by cutting back on live broadcasting of sports events. The ZDF has stopped its boxing programmes, and neither will broadcast live the upcoming track and field world championships, a staple in German television for years.

  • Boogerd denies Landis' doping allegations

    Dutchman Michael Boogerd in 2007
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 8:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says bruises were due to doping controls and calls Landis an "arrogant jellyfish"

    Michael Boogerd has rejected Floyd Landis' insinuation that he doped, saying that bruises on his arm at the 2003 Tour de France were due to doping controls.

    In an interview with Paul Kimmage, Landis said that he had a blood transfusion done during the Tour, and it resulted in a bruise on his arm. “The next day I rode alongside Michael Boogerd and he pointed to my arm. Then he pointed to his arm and he made a gesture of: I have the exact same thing."

    "I think at that time half the peloton rode around with bruises,” Boogerd said on Radio 538. “That was because of the doping controls at the time. Nine out of ten times when they stuck with the needle, you got a bruise. When you walk into a hospital you can have exactly the same thing happen.”

    "He did not say that I've used drugs, but he insinuates it,” Boogerd said. "He knows what he did and therefore can only assume that I did the same."

    Boogerd, who retired after the 2007 season, said he did not know why Landis mentioned him. “Maybe it's because of our argument in the Tour in 2006. He showed no respect for the yellow jersey and I called him an arrogant jellyfish.”