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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Date published:
January 11, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • 1T4I unveils young squad with big ambition

    Simon Geschke (Project 1T4i)
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 19:17 GMT
    By:
    Sam Dansie

    Aiming for Tour de France invite

    Dutch ProContinental team 1t4i unveiled its 24-man and 10-woman squad at its Spanish training base today, with the team’s owner and general director, Iwan Spekenbrink promising 2012 would be the year it “steps up to the top level of the sport.”

    The team, which used to be known as Skil-Shimano won 30 races last year, mostly through revelatory neopro, Marcel Kittel, who took a stage at the Vuelta a España among 17 victories. He remains on the squad along with sprint and Classics specialist Tom Veelers.

    They have been joined by another exciting young talent, John Degenkolb who won a brace of stages at the Critérium du Dauphiné in his first professional year, and his HTC-Highroad teammate, Patrick Gretsch. Other new additions include Tom Stamsnijder and Dominic Klemme from Leopard Trek. Tom Dumoulin and Ramon Sinkeldam step up from the Rabobank Continental Team.

    Addy Engels, who retired at the end of 2011 and holds the Dutch record for Giro d’Italia participations, joins the team as a sports director. His race craft should be a valuable resource for the squad.

    The team’s main goal for the year is an invitation to the Tour de France and given the team’s performance at the Vuelta last year, many believe that wildcard entry will be forthcoming. Entry to the Vuelta also looks good and the race director Javier Guillén attended the launch near Altea on the Spanish coast.

    Kittel who will begin his campaign at the Etoile de Bességes stage race in February, said he hoped to add more quality victories to volume this year. He said: “I’m very confident that we will have a very good season and I hope...

  • Corti still aiming for Tour, Vuelta after Giro d'Italia miss

    The jersey of the Colombia-Coldeportes team.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 21:58 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombia Coldeportes pleased with WorldTour invites

    Claudio Corti's professional continental Team Colombia Coldeportes may not have scored an invitation to the Giro d'Italia, but spots in RCS Sports' other WorldTour races were welcomed by the team.

    The Italian race organisers today announced that Colombia Coldeportes has been awarded wildcard invitations to the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche and Giro di Lombardia, with the Grand Tour the only of RCS Sports events not to include the team.

    "Having the opportunity to race in three WorldTour races in our very first season, we will get a chance to show off right away at the Tirreno-Adriatico, and to take part to some great Classics like Sanremo and Lombardia," Corti said. "It is a good achievement for a new team, as we apparently managed to win people's sympathy and consideration in such a short term".

    The team boasts Giro stage winners Victor Hugo Pena and Luis Felipe Laverde, former U23 champion Fabio Duarte and a host of all-Colombian talent, and while it was not chosen for the Giro, Corti still is aiming to put the team into a Grand Tour this season.

    "I can't deny I was hoping for a spot at the Giro," Corti said. "Colombia Coldeportes' project is very important for the future of cycling, for its growth and development in a new continent, and for the valuable addition these great climbers can prove to be to any race.

    "It's a shame we can't be at the start of the Corsa Rosa this year... and we still believe in our chances for a start at the Tour de France or at the Vuelta a Espana in 2012".

  • Garzelli considers retirement after Giro d'Italia exclusion

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) won the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 23:17 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Acqua & Sapone captain accuses organisers of chasing money with wildcards

    Stefano Garzelli, winner of the 2000 Giro d'Italia and last year's mountains classification winner, is considering ending his racing career after his Acqua & Sapone team was denied a wildcard entry into this year's Italian Grand Tour.

    RCS Sport today announced that, in addition to the 2012 ProTeams, Italian Professional Continental squads Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Colnago-CSF Inox and Androni Giocattoli and the German Team NetApp were awarded invitations to complete the 22-team peloton at the Giro d'Italia.

    While Acqua & Sapone was invited to the organisers other events, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, and Il Lombardia, the exclusion of his team from the Giro d'Italia could be the final straw of his 16-year professional career.

    "I am saddened and disappointed by this news," Garzelli wrote on his personal website, "and at this point I am seriously considering the idea of ending my career here.

    "When the money has the upper hand over sporting merit, and over someone who has been a protagonist for 15 years of joys, sweat and suffering, putting on a show for the fans, but also for the organizers, and none of this is taken into account - it means that it's time to stop neglecting my family.

    "In a month my wife will make me a father for the fourth time and without important goals to be achieved, where can I find the motivation to train, go to camp and spend time away from them when, in the end, you find yourself without the possibility of trying to achieve those results for which you have made so many sacrifices?"

    Garzelli revealed that he had planned to...

  • Hesjedal with Garmin to turn Tour Down Under into a climbers' race

    The Garmin-Cervelo team get some wine tasting in before the Santos Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 6:11 GMT
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Canadian GC rider to have a double shot at Giro and Tour this year

    In continuation to the plan he set for the sadly defunct HTC-Highroad team in previous years, Allan Peiper took the Garmin-Cervelo team for some wine tasting – not wine drinking, he insisted – in the Barossa valley ahead of the Santos Tour Down Under (January 17-22).

    "It's different line up but it will also be a different race this year", Peiper told Cyclingnews at the Jacob's Creek visitor center while his riders Heinrich Haussler, Robert Hunter, Nathan Haas, Andreas Klier, Ryder Hesjedal, Martijn Maaskant and Jack Bauer finished their recce of stage 4 to finish in Tanunda on January 20. Peiper remembers with nostalgia his "fantastic team with [Mark] Cavendish, [Matt] Goss and [Bernhard] Eisel" but he has moved on with the recent changes on the pro cycling scene. The Australian also guided Andre Greipel to his two overall wins (2008, 2010) at the Tour Down Under.

    "I don't think it's a race for sprinters anymore", Peiper stated. "With the uphill finish in Willunga Hill, the climbers will have the upper hand." Garmin-Cervelo has two different cards to play with Haussler and Hesjedal. The lanky Canadian has prepared for the Australian event in Hawaii and asked for being lined up at the Santos Tour Down Under.

    "As soon as the Willunga Hill top finish was announced, I asked my team to do this race again", said Hesjedal who rode in South Australian on only one occasion (2009, 11th on GC) during his 11 years long career. "I think my form is ok. I'm building it up for the Ardennes classics and the Giro. The team has given me the opportunity to ride the Giro for GC, the course suits me this year. I only rode the Tour de France in the past two years and it's the good time to do two Grand Tours again." Hesjedal...

  • Fuglsang: This is the most important year of my career

    Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 10:30 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Danish rider leading RadioShack-Nissan at Giro d'Italia

    Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) is aware that the Giro d’Italia could be the most important race of his career to date. The Danish rider has talked up his chances of a strong overall performance in the Italian grand tour and with his contract set to expire at the end of the current season his performance over the three weeks could determine his further path in the sport.

    Fuglsang turned from mountain biking to the road several years ago, lured to Saxo Bank by Bjarne Riis. He quickly found his feet, with a top ten placing at the 2009 Dauphiné Libéré, and third at the Tour de Suisse a year later.

    At the Tour de France he rode in support of the Schleck brothers in both 2010 and 2011 but his performance at last year’s Vuelta, where he finished 11th, showed that a strong performance over three weeks is possible.

    “It’s the most important year of my career,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “I’m getting older and more or less from now I should start to prove to myself and others that I can do the things my early potential showed. And this isn’t a bad year to do it. I also need to sign a new contract at the end of this year and I’m hoping it will be a long one. Yes, this is a really important year.”

    Whatever his Giro performance amounts to, Fuglsang will hardly struggle to find a suitor for next year, but if he can raise a performance that cements him as a genuine contender in three week stage races then he will have a strong bargaining position come negotiations. But for now, he remains focused on his racing objectives, putting off his future plans until the race is over.

    “I won’t really think about the contract side of things until after the...

  • Kluge reveals that he missed three doping controls

    Roger Kluge (Project 1T4i)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 10:58 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    German cleared of wrongdoing

    Roger Kluge (Project 1t4i) has revealed that he missed three doping controls in the space of 18 months but escaped sanction after he demonstrated that he was not responsible for the missed tests.

    The German’s third missed control dates from April 2010, when he was still riding for Milram. In the intervening period, he signed for Skil-Shimano but was unable to confirm that he would continue with Project 1t4i into 2012 until the matter was resolved.

    “That was a burden on me last season and had an impact on my results,” Kluge told radsport-news.com.

    In late October, Kluge was found not to have been at fault for missing the tests, and thus managed to avoid being handed a two-year suspension. Only then was he able to put pen to paper for 2012. “The question is resolved,” he said. “The team wanted to wait for a decision before agreeing on a contract.”

    Silver medallist in the points race at the Beijing Olympics, the track will be an important part of Kluge’s year. The German primary aim is the Omnium at the London 2012 Olympics.

    “That’s the big goal now,” he said. “I can start the season without a burden on my shoulders anymore.”
     

  • 2012 Vuelta route revealed

    Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC) was a surprise winner of the Vuelta a Espana.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 11:36 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Stage distances for Spanish grand tour announced

    It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to hear that the 2012 Vuelta a España route will suit the climbers, as that is very much the way the race has gone in recent years. However, the itinerary unveiled by race director Javier Guillén in Pamplona’s Palacio de Congresos on Wednesday morning looks so climber-friendly that it’s hard to see how a time trial specialist or rouleur will get a look-in at all.

    As was indicated when Marca leaked most of the details of the route on the eve of the presentation, the 67th edition of the Vuelta will take place in northern Spain. Madrid is the race’s most southerly point, reached on the final day.

    The race starts in the shadow of the Pyrenees in Pamplona on August 18 with a 16km team time trial. The route initially heads north-west into the Basque Country, where the first of seven finishes that are officially listed as summits is located on the Arrate climb above Eibar. The next comes the following day at Valdezcaray in the neighbouring province of Rioja.

    “There are so many summit finishes because that is what the public demand,” Guillén explained. “We’ve gone out looking for short and explosive stages.”

    The route then tracks back itself, heading south of Pamplona and into the Pyrenees to Jaca for what is the first of three unofficial summit finishes. This will take the race up to the Fuerte de Rapitán, which is rated a third-category climb as it features ramps of 11%. Surprisingly, this is listed as a flat stage by the organisers, which perhaps underlines how climber-friendly this route is.

    Two days on from that there is a more severe climbing test up to the Santuario Canolich in Andorra. This is one of the “many novelties” promised by Guillén and...

  • WADA lawyers came close to walking from Contador case

    Alberto Contador at day 1 of his CAS hearing
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 12:09 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Ashenden blocked as a witness by CAS

    AP have uncovered that WADA’s lawyers came close to walking out of Alberto Contador’s CAS hearing last November. The hearing, which took place over several days was set up to determine whether Contador had doped during the 2010 Tour de France after traces of clenbuterol were found in his system. The final ruling from CAS’ three-man panel is due to be announced next week but the apparent walkout stemmed from one of WADA’s key witnesses being denied oral testimony.

    Anti-doping expert Michael Ashenden was due to give evidence during the hearing as part of WADA’s case against Contador, but the Australian was denied.

    “Hearing participants said Ashenden, if allowed, could have expanded on the theory that Contador may have had a blood transfusion on July 20, followed the next day by an injection of blood plasma,” AP reported.

    Contador was, however, allowed to give a 15 minute statement during the hearing, in which he resolutely denied taking performance enhancing drugs, claiming that the clenbuterol traces came from eating tainted meat. Present and former teammates were also allowed to give evidence on Contador's behalf.

    Contador’s lawyers objected to Ashenden’s testimony and CAS appear to have held Ashenden back on the basis that he may have gone into further detail on...