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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Date published:
February 03, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Thor Hushovd to miss Etoile de Bessèges

    Cervelo's Thor Hushovd
    Article published:
    February 02, 2010, 12:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Norwegian sprinter delays season debut until Algarve

    Thor Hushovd has been forced to delay the start to his 2010 season due to illness and will not ride the Etoile de Bessèges stage race that kicks off in the south of France on Wednesday.

    Hushovd was expected to lead the Cervélo TestTeam in the French race but his team announced he would delay his debut. Hushovd is now scheduled to begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve on February 17. He will then target Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium on February 27.

    “Of course it’s boring having to sit out the first race of the year but I have to think long-term and don't want to risk running my body down so early in the season,” Hushovd said.

    “There are many important races to come. Now I’ll take the opportunity to prepare well for the Volta ao Algarve in just over two weeks.”

    Hushovd will be replaced at in the Cervélo line-up by Marcel Wyss.

    The Etoile de Bessèges sees Portugal’s Joao Correia make his debut in Cervélo TestTeam colours.

    The 34 year-old was a talented amateur rider but opted to study in the USA and became Associate Publisher at Bicycling magazine. He decided to lose weight and get fit again in 2006 and rode for the Bissell Pro Cycling team before gaining a place with Cervélo TestTeam.

    The Cervélo TestTeam line-up includes Inigo Cuesta, Stefan Denifl, Ted King, Brett Lancaster, Oscar Pujol and Dominque Rollin.

    Also on the start list are Sunday’s GP La Marseillaise winner Jonathan Hivert (Saur Sojasun), 2009 Etoile de Bessèges winner Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Steve Cummings (Team Sky), Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil).

    The five-day race begins in Aigues Mortes - near the city of Montpellier - on Wednesday and finishes in the town of Bessèges on Sunday.



  • UCI fines Di Luca 280,000 euros for his EPO CERA positive

    Kisses for the winner and overall leader Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini)
    Article published:
    February 02, 2010, 16:37 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    New WADA rule allows hefty fines for dopers

    UCI President Pat McQuaid confirmed that Danilo Di Luca will have to pay the UCI 70 percent of his 2009 salary following his positive doping test for EPO CERA during the 2009 Giro d'Italia.

    On Monday, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) banned Di Luca until July 21, 2011, and ruled that he has to pay 280,000 euros to the UCI.

    Under the latest version of the World Anti-Doping Agency code, Anti-Doping Organisations such as international federations, can pursue financial sanctions. Under rule 326, the UCI has set the figure at 70 percent, if a professional rider is given a two-year ban for doping.

    On Tuesday the UCI also announced that Italy’s Maurizio Biondo will have to pay 13,750 Euro and Spain’s Inigo Landaluze will have to pay 27,300 Euro after they were recently suspended for doping.

    "I think it's a good thing. The UCI spends a huge amount on fighting doping and that takes money away from other parts of the sport. It's only right we can pursue riders to cover those costs," McQuaid said to Cyclingnews.

    "If a rider dopes, they have to face the consequences, even the financial consequences. If an athlete has a large salary of say a million euros, that’s more than most people earn in a lifetime. They should expect to be fined if they're caught doping and have no right to complain. I've no sympathy for them."

    Di Luca has said he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the two-year ban imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee. The UCI will have to wait for the outcome of that appeal, but McQuaid made it clear that Di Luca will not be allowed to race again, even if he serves his ban, unless he pays his 280,000-euro fine.

    "Di Luca said he will appeal, but I can guarantee that we'll go to all lengths so that the fine is paid," McQuaid said to Cyclingnews.

    "If Di Luca ever wants to race again, there's no question that he'd have to pay his...

  • Critérium International opener to include summit finish

    Cadel Evans (BMC), Lance Armstrong and Mauro Santambrogio (BMC) ride during stage two of the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    February 02, 2010, 17:31 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Armstrong, Evans to face steep start in Corsica

    In another significant change of format for Critérium International this year, race organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) today unveiled a mountainous course for the first of the event's three stages.

    The ASO had already broken with tradition when it announced in December that the 79th edition of the famed two-day, three-stage race would be held on the Mediterranean island of Corsica – the first time in nine years the event will take place outside the Ardennes region of northern France.

    Today's course announcement marks a further shift for the race, with its opening 175.5-kilometre stage to include a summit finish at the Col de l’Ospedale. Normally a flatter stage, the 2010 Critérium peloton will instead roll out of Porto-Vecchio on Saturday, March 27 and face up to the Col de Parmentile and Col de Bacinu before the 15-kilometre, 7 percent climb to the finish at l'Ospedale.

    The race will return to relative normality on Sunday, March 28 as the peloton races a 75-kilometre circuit race in the morning and a 7.7-kilometre individual time trial in the afternoon. Both stages will start and finish in Porto-Vecchio.

    The inclusion of significant mountains to the course is likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of the race, with the race now far more open to climbers able to defend a lead from the opening stage. German Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) has won the past three editions of the race, largely through strong time trial performances on the final stage that would defend or wipe out small time gaps built up on the first two stages.

    ASO announced today that both Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) will participate in the 2010 edition of the race.

    The Critérium International's move to Corsica for 2010 is likely a means to measure the island's ability to host major cycling events. Corsican officials are reportedly keen to host the Tour de France's Grand...

  • Team Hotel San José announces 2010 roster

    Heath Blackgrove is the winner of the 2009 edition of the Tour of Southland.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2010, 21:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    New Zealand's Heath Blackgrove to lead squad

    Team Hotel San José, an elite amateur team based in Austin, Texas, has announced the squad's 2010 roster. The 12-man, multi-national squad consists of seven professional/elite riders and five riders who comprise the team's U23 development program.

    Headlining the pro/elite squad is New Zealand's Heath Blackgrove. The 29-year-old is coming off one of his best seasons, highlighted by his victory in the Tour of Southland, a nine-stage, UCI 2.2 event in his native New Zealand. While racing in the United States last season Blackgrove was victorious in the Athens Twilight Criteriium.

    Team Hotel San José Executive Director Todd Reed said he will lean on Blackgrove, a ninth-year professional, to be a leader in a number of ways.

    "We have built a developmental team around Heath and he will play a pivotal role when they are on the road," Reed said. "Not only does he have the most experience, but he is also a terrific mentor for our younger riders and even the Team Hotel San José club members."

    Blackgrove said Team Hotel San José should be competitive in nearly every type of race. The squad has added strength for breakaways and hilly races, and boosted its speed for sprints and criteriums.

    "While the extra strength will give us more options, I am very excited to work with the sprinters we have on board and setting them up for the bunch finishes," Blackgrove said. "I really think we're going to surprise a lot of people this year."

    Additional strength from New Zealand will provided by Logan Hutchings, racing for the first time in the United States. The 25-year-old won two stages at last year's Tour of Southland and is a former New Zealand U23 road and time trial champion. Colombia's Carlos Vargas, 27, provides additional sprint speed for the team with Aussie Sean Sullivan a key part of the team's lead-out train.

    Team owner and manager Barry Lee said the long-term vision for the team is to apply...

  • USA Cycling bans race radios

    With the ban on race radios in most US races, racers like Alder Martz will no longer have to worry about race radios falling out of their ears.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2010, 21:42 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    All but three races will be radio-free

    Following suit with the UCI's new rule to ban race radios in events classified below the top levels, USA Cycling's Board of Trustees voted last night in an emergency meeting to extend the ban to all US national races.

    The UCI had announced last fall that it would ban radios at the lowest level of elite racing. It has several classes of events: Historic and ProTour at the top, 2.HC or 1.HC for stage races and one-day races, respectively, and then 2.1/1.1 and 2.2/1.2 as the bottom two rungs.

    The UCI first banned radios in under 23 races in 2009, then extended that rule to the x.2 level and national-level professional races for the 2010 season.

    Because all but three races in the United States fall at the 2.2 or 1.2 level, USA Cycling decided that it made no sense to continue to allow race radios in any non-UCI sanctioned events, said USAC Technical Director, Shawn Farrell.

    "There are only three races in the USA where the radios will be allowed: Tour of Missouri, Tour of California and Philadelphia (men and women)," said Farrell. "It wouldn't make much sense to disallow radios for pros and elite riders at NRC races or 1.2 UCI races and then have them for even lower level local events."

    The new regulation was added to the USA Cycling rule book last night and will be effective immediately, reversing a previous rule which allowed radios in road events open to professionals and category 1 and 2 but not for masters, juniors and under 23s.

    The ruling comes as little surprise to the US Continental teams, who were warned well in advance that this decision might be handed down.

    "I was surprised that the issue was not more contentious than it was, but I guess everyone sees where the UCI is heading and we might as well have our athletes preparing for what they will face internationally. Canada and Australia have already done the same thing, or so I am told," said Farrell.


  • Skil-Shimano terminates contract with Beppu

    Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) signs an autograph.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2010, 10:21 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Japanese rider agrees to settlement with Dutch team, will join RadioShack for Spanish training camp

    Skil-Shimano has reached agreement with Fumiyuki Beppu to terminate the Japanese rider's contract with the team. Beppu has agreed to pay out the final year of his contract with the Dutch Professional Continental team and will now sign with Team RadioShack for the 2010 season.

    Beppu's future has been in limbo since he was named on the rosters of both Skil-Shimano and RadioShack at the start of the year. The 26-year-old rider had reached a verbal agreement to join the latter squad despite having a year to run on his three-year contract with Skil-Shimano. Informed of the conflict in early January, RadioShack had agreed to leave Beppu to negotiate with his existing team.

    In a statement released on Wednesday, Skil-Shimano said Beppu had acknowledged the validity of his contract with the team and agreed pay an undisclosed sum in order to end the stand-off.

    "[Fumiyuki Beppu] was offered the option of getting out of his contract through payment of non-negotiable compensation to his employer, bearing in mind the team is no longer confident of a continued successful relationship due to the rider's actions a few months ago," read the statement.

    Beppu's case was one of a number of contentious off-season rider transfers that also included Team Sky's acquisition of under-contract riders Ben Swift (from Katusha) and Bradley Wiggins (from Garmin-Slipstream). Last month, International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid indicated that sport's governing body may move to tighten transfer regulations.

    Skil-Shimano stressed today that their firm stance over the terms of Beppu's contract had been to prevent a precedent being set. "[Beppu's] acknowledgment was a point of principle for Skil-Shimano, because an alternative reading would have undermined relations between teams and riders under contract, and existing contracts would no longer have been binding."

    ProTour squad RadioShack confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday...

  • Andalucía-Cajasur presented in Seville

    The Andalucia Cajasur team
    Article published:
    February 03, 2010, 11:30 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Smaller 2010 squad boosted by Gomez Marchante and Vazquez

    Professional Continental team Andalusía-Cajasur were officially presented in Seville, Spain, on Tuesday to an audience that included Spanish cycling legend Miguel Indurain and Vuelta a España Director Javier Guillén.

    Entering its sixth season in the professional peloton,  team director Antonio Cabello expressed his confidence in the squad's 16-rider roster and said the team was hopeful of securing a number of wins this season.

    "We will continue to work hard to develop the squad. We need to be patient because this is still a young team who will in time become great athletes," said Cabello, according to Spanish newspaper Marca.

    Although reduced from 19 riders last season, Andalucía have signed Jose Angel Gomez Marchante from Cervélo TestTeam and Manuel Vazquez from Contentpolis-AMPO. Both riders have recorded top-20 finishes at the Vuelta and are expected to boost the team's chances of improving on a tally of five victories in 2009.

    The location of the team presentation at Alcala de Guadaira in Seville was also a significant nudge towards one of the team's major objectives for the season, the Vuelta a España. The 2010 edition of the race will begin with a nighttime team time trial along the banks of the city's Guadalquivir river on August 28.

    The team's chances of receiving a wild card invitation to the event appear to have been given a boost with Vuelta Director Guillén admitting he was "surprised and pleased" with the presentation on Tuesday.

    Andalucia-Cajasur's 2010 roster: Jose Angel Gomez Marchante, Manuel Vazquez, Jorge Montenegro, Antonio Cabello, Jose Vicente Toribio, Pablo Sergio Carrasco, Javier Ramírez Abeja, Pablo Lechuga, Antonio Piedra, Jesús Rosendo, Javier Moreno, Manuel Ortega, Juan Javier Estrada, Manuel Calvente, José Luis Roldán and Ángelo Vicioso.

  • Zabriskie ready for captaincy at Garmin-Transitions

    Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) on the way to his overall win.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2010, 12:01 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Vaughters confident US time trial champion can step up at California and Tour de France

    After a purple patch of form at the tail-end of 2009, Garmin-Transitions' Dave Zabriskie says he is more mature and ready to carry on where he left off in the Tour of California and Tour de France in 2010. Zabriskie won the first stage race of his career in September last year at the Tour of Missouri, a victory that came two weeks after he won his fourth consecutive title at the US national time trial championships.

    That short period marked a watershed moment for Zabrizkie, who despite glittering displays of talent throughout his ten-year career - and stage wins in all three Grand Tours - had never claimed the overall in a stage race. But his ability to handle the responsibilities of leading a team and a race has given the American more confidence. Zabriskie and his team manager, Jonathan Vaughters, now both believe he is comfortable in the role of team leader – something Garmin hopes will become more consistent this season.

    "Missouri was amazing. I always try to win but it just worked out that time," Zabriskie told Cyclingnews. "The team were asking me 'what should we do here and there' and I guess I had to make some tough decisions. I had to come to a quick realisation that I was leading the race and they were coming to me for guidance on how I wanted them to do things."

    As for his leadership style Zabriskie confessed that he’s not the type to crack the whip, instead opting for a cooler, calmer approach: "I definitely don’t like being told what to do so I’m not going to tell them what to do in the fashion of an asshole. I try to be as nice as possible."

    His approach to captaincy will be exposed to further tests this year with the Tour of California shifting from its usual slot in February to May. Zabriskie was second to Levi Leiphiemer in 2009 but is confident that he can bring his best form to the race and then hold it until the Tour de France in July.

    "I’d like to be tip top for...