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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Date published:
January 12, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Florencio joins Geox-TMC for 2011

    The Geox-TMC team get set to head out for training.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 18:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Photo Gallery: Training camp in Spain precedes presentation in Italy

    The Geox-TMC squad of Grand Tour champions Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov are getting prepared for the 2011 season with a training camp in Vila-Seca near Tarragona, Spain. The team will remain at the camp through January 16 before its presentation at the end of the month near the Geox headquarters in Montebelluna, Italy.

    Joining the team at the camp is the newest member, Spaniard Xavier Florencio. The winner of the 2006 Clasica San Sebastian was without a contract after the Cervélo TestTeam disbanded.

    Florencio was critical of his former team after it dropped him on the eve of the Tour de France because he had used medicine to treat a saddle sore that was not approved by the team and contained the banned substance ephedrine.

    The team has yet to reveal the design of its clothing for the 2011 season, but have been equipped with their Fuji Altamira road bikes, built with Shimano and Oval Concept components, Rotor cranksets and Hutchinson tires.

    Team Geox-TMC for 2011

    Tomas Alberio
    Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano
    David Blanco Rodriguez
    Matthias Brändle
    Giampaolo Cheula
    Juan Jose Cobo Acebo
    Daniele Colli
    Marco Corti
    David De La Fuente Rasilla
    Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo
    Arkaitz Duran Aroca
    Fabio Felline
    Xavier Florencio Cabre
    Noe Gianetti
    David Gutierrez Gutierrez
    Dmitriy Kozontchuk
    Marko Kump
    Denis Menchov
    Matteo Pelucchi
    Daniele Ratto
    Carlos Sastre Candil
    Rafael Valls Ferri
    Marcel Wyss

  • Kimmage questions UCI role in US Postal FDA case

    Paul Kimmage
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 19:00 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman believes Landis is telling the truth

    Paul Kimmage has expressed his hope that the federal investigation into allegations of doping at the US Postal squad not only exposes riders who may have cheated but also sheds further light on the UCI’s regulation of the sport.

    In May, Floyd Landis alleged that his former US Postal team mate Lance Armstrong had tested positive for EPO at the 2001 Tour de Suisse but that the news was covered up after a financial agreement was reached with the UCI. For Kimmage, Armstrong’s potential positive test is less important than the accusations that the UCI colluded in protecting a high-profile rider.

    “It’s not enough that Lance Armstrong is exposed as a cheat, we need to know about who facilitated this, we need to know about the UCI’s role in this and unless that happens the sport cannot move forward, it’s going to happen again, it’ll just be somebody else next time,” Kimmage told Dutch television station NOS.

    Kimmage revealed that he has spoken extensively with Landis and he is convinced of the veracity of the American’s description of the doping practices he encountered during his career.

    “I would put my hand in the fire right now and say that Floyd Landis is without question telling the truth,” Kimmage said. “How do I know that? Well I spent seven hours with him and that’s a long time and I asked him a lot of questions and the detail that he gave me about what happened on that team [US Postal] and about what happened to him in professional cycling, you cannot make that up.

    “You would have to be an absolute psychopath to make up the level of detail that he was able to give me about what went on in that team.”

    Kimmage rode for the RMO and Fagor teams for four years in the 1980s, finishing the Tour de France as a neo-professional in 1986. On retiring, he wrote his seminal book Rough Ride, which powerfully recounted the...

  • Pellizotti, Liquigas parted ways for sporting reasons says team president

    Paolo Dal Lago speaking at Liquigas-Cannondale presentation in Milan.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 19:45 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Dal Lago explains why Basso will not ride the Giro d'Italia

    Liquigas Sport president Paolo Dal Lago has insisted that Liquigas-Cannondale parted company with Franco Pellziotti due to the presence of Grand Tour winners Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali in the team and not because of his problems with the UCI’s biological passport system.

    Pellizotti was sidelined from action in May after abnormalities were detected in his biological passport blood values. In October, the Italian was cleared by the Italian national anti-doping court TNA due to a shortage of evidence proving that he was guilty of blood doping. However, he did now renew his contract with Liquigas-Cannondale and he has yet to confirm a team for the 2011 season.

    “His case is completely different from that of Manuel Beltran [who tested positive for EPO at the 2008 Tour de France while riding for Liquigas],” Dal Lago told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I support the biological passport but only as an instrument to identify the riders on whom to increase controls. It seems to me that the verdict says it all: there is no proof of an offence.

    “By that stage Franco had his path at Liquigas blocked by Basso and Nibali, but I wish him the best. I will support him amongst our rivals.”

    Dal Lago also defended his team’s decision to withhold Ivan Basso from the Giro d’Italia in order to keep him fresh for an assault on Tour de France victory in July. Vuelta a Espana winner Vincenzo Nibali will lead the Giro line-up, while Basso prepares for the Tour. According to Dal Lago, the defending champion Basso’s non-participation is a measure of his team’s respect for the Giro.

    “In the past, the presence of big champions at the Giro just to prepare for the Tour hasn’t been well-received, neither by the media, who justifiably criticised them, nor by sports fans,” Dal Lago said. “This year the Giro is an inferno and in the last week on the decisive climbs, Basso...

  • McQuaid casts doubt on Contador's Tour de France participation

    UCI President Pat McQuaid attended the Leopard-Trek team presentation
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 20:53 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    UCI president hints at lengthy process

    UCI president Pat McQuaid cast doubt on Alberto Contador’s chances of participating in the 2011 Tour de France. The Spanish rider is currently awaiting a verdict on the adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol he returned at last year’s Tour.

    “It’s not a good place for Contador to be at the moment,” McQuaid told Reuters. “We could assume that it’s a possibility that he will not be at the Tour de France.”

    The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) is currently deliberating on Contador’s case but has apparently asked the UCI and WADA to aid in the decision-making process. However, McQuaid ruled out such a possibility at the weekend and said that he expects a verdict to be reached “by the end of the month”.

    Once the RFEC reaches a decision, the matter may then be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), either by Contador, the UCI or WADA, depending on the RFEC’s verdict. McQuaid acknowledged that a lengthy CAS appeal process was possible and that the matter may not be definitively resolved before the Tour.

    "It is possibly correct that this is what will happen," he said.

    McQuaid also stated that he believes a number of other stars will emerge in 2011 if Contador does indeed face a protracted suspension.

    “I am confident that it will be an exciting season," McQuaid said. "There are a lot of guys ready to fill in his [Contador’s] shoes. Well, if not his shoes, the top places. It will be interesting to see the battle for the top spots.

    “Several other guys will be looking to move up. In every sport, some big stars have left and the sport has not suffered from it."

  • Brown confident of return to Tour Down Under podium

    Graeme Brown (Rabobank) won the final stage of the Tour of Austria.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 22:19 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Rabobank sprinter ready to let his legs do the talking

    Anyone concerned by Rabobank sprinter Graeme Brown's unusually quiet Australian summer need not be. The four-time stage winner of the Tour Down Under says he's just getting started.

    Previous starts to the season have been highlighted by Brown and compatriot Robbie McEwen's headline-grabbing antics at the Jayco Bay Series criteriums, setting the scene for Tour Down Under editions that have provided just as many fireworks. Not so in 2011.

    "I made a conscious effort not to get myself amongst everything and get too carried away," Brown told Cyclingnews. "It was a very concerted effort at the Bay Series just to stay quiet and not let my mouth talk at all. Just use it for what it's meant to be used for."

    Brown's uncharacteristic silence was also the result of the form of Michael Matthews. The Rabobank neo pro rode with Brown for Urban, and took the second stage in Portarlington to claim the leader's jersey. Matthews held onto the general classification until the fourth and final stage before narrowly losing it to Matthew Goss.

    "I rode on the front a fair bit and that therefore eliminated any sort of chance for me," Brown explained. "He [Matthews] was in the yellow jersey so I did everything I could to help him defend it."

    Rabobank finally geared for team success at Tour Down Under

    The Tour Down Under teams classification has so far eluded the Dutch squad, however Brown is confident in this year's line-up with World Under 23 Road Race champion Matthews not the only rider to get excited about.

    "We've got another young neo pro here called Coen Vermeltfoort, who from the reports I've got from Tom Leezer who's been training with him for the last month, he's just being going unreal – the numbers he's been putting out in sprints are just phenomenal," Brown said.

    "We've got [Pieter]Weening and Laurens Ten Dam for the harder stages. 'Bling' [Matthews] should be able to get over Willunga...

  • Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth conducts wind tunnel testing

    Mike Friedman gets ready for his stint in the A2 Wind Tunnel.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 22:29 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Four team members fine-tune time trial positions in North Carolina

    Fresh off of a winter cross training camp in Winter Park, Colorado, four members of the Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth team traveled to Mooresville, North Carolina to dial in their time trial positions on Monday at the A2 Wind Tunnel.

    Pre-season visits to the wind tunnel facility in the heart of NASCAR country are becoming the norm for the US-based UCI Continental squad, who last year sent eight riders to Mooresville for testing.

    For 2011, three newcomers to the squad, Michael Creed, Jason Donald, and Michael Friedman, along with Jesse Anthony, a late addition to the roster the previous season, donned the new 2011 team kit and set to work to hone their position atop the team's time trial steed, the Orbea Ordu.

    Creed, Donald and Friedman, three of eight additions to the 15-man Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth roster, bring considerable experience to the squad, each having raced at the sport's highest level in Europe during their careers, and are expected to assume leadership roles on the team.

    "I was very surprised to hear that Creed, Friedman and Donald had not perfected their time trial positions with their previous teams," team Performance Director Jonas Carney told Cyclingnews. "Maybe in the past they were considered domestiques, but in our program they will be leaders. All three of them are proven time trialists, and they will be critical to our team's success. We want to give them every advantage.

    "Jesse was a late addition for 2010 and became one of our biggest GC threats, but unfortunately we were unable to bring him to the tunnel last year. He is a versatile athlete who can climb and also rip in a criterium.

    "His only weakness has been the time trial. If he can make some modest improvement in that area, he'll be a dangerous GC threat in almost any race."

    For Friedman, the wind tunnel testing provided valuable confirmation about information he only had anecdotal evidence of...

  • In form Gerrans returns to winning turf

    Simon Gerrans (Sky)
    Article published:
    January 12, 2011, 1:54 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    2006 Tour Down Under champion ready to take up the challenge against the sprinters

    After missing the past two editions of the Santos Tour Down Under, 2006 champion Simon Gerrans is back in Adelaide with the motivation of a potential winner after showing great form by taking the bronze medal at the Australian Open Road Race Championship on Sunday in Ballarat.

    "I'm pleased with how it was going at the National's," Gerrans told Cyclingnews after his arrival in Adelaide. "We had a plan at Team Sky to help me try and win and we pretty much stuck to the plan but you can't be disappointed to be beat by someone like Jack [Bobridge] who is such an outstanding rider.

    "It's still nice to have something even though it's only a bronze medal and not what I wanted at the start. It shows the good work done by the team and how we prepared for this season," he added.

    As he reached the Adelaide Hilton, Gerrans saw himself pictured on the wall as the first man to have won the Tour Down Under after the introduction of the ochre leader's jersey in 2006. "It seems like it was a long time ago," the Victorian said. "I've had a few wins since then but the Tour Down Under was a different race back then too.

    "Up until 2007, it was an opportunists' race but in the past three years it's been very much a sprinters' race. When you look at the field this year, a majority of the best sprinters in the world are here. For me, plenty of people will ride for a bunch sprint but there are some hills on the course and maybe we'll upset the sprinters on several occasions."

    As the slogan of the Santos Tour Down Under goes, Gerrans is 'feeling the rush' again as he'll line up in Australia's biggest cycling event for the first time since he became the first Australian to win a stage in each of the three Grand Tours (France in 2008, Italy and Spain in 2009).

    Two years ago he joined the Cervélo TestTeam, which wasn't in the ProTour and therefore didn't qualify for the Australian event; he chose to miss it during his first season with...

  • Meyer's merry ways good for Garmin-Cervélo

    2011 Men's Elite Time Trial winner Cameron Meyer (Garmin Cervelo) from Western Australia backed up his win in the same race last year.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2011, 5:44 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Three national jerseys for newly-merged squad in 2011

    Cameron Meyer's victory in the elite men's time trial at the Australian Open Road Championships yesterday ensured that Garmin-Cervélo kept both national jerseys for the 2011 season. It topped off a good championship for the squad, with Alexis Rhodes winning the women's road race on Saturday.

    Directeur sportif Matt White was pleased with how his charges rode.

    "It's a nice way to start the year," White told Cyclingnews. "After the success the women had on Sauturday, it was a goal to defend the jerseys and we did."

    In what was a dominate display by Garmin-Cervélo; four riders finished in the top eight in the elite men's road race on Sunday, ensuring they had every base covered in the concluding stages.

    "It was a tactical race," Meyer said after his time trial victory. "The team was fantastic. I have never seen a team at a national title work so well. Our numbers were unbelievable and our tactics were good and it showed in the end," he added.

    "We had Jack up the road which meant Travis and I could cover every attack and even if it did come back, Travis and I would go on the attack as we hadn't worked as hard as the others.

    "The last two years we have taken titles and will really be targeted next year."

    "We're confident with the way we are riding and it was a good performance by the team. To defend this jersey was a major goal of mine. It gets you off to a good start and give you confidence heading into the season," he explained.

    Claiming early wins is also important for the rest of the team ahead of a gruelling season.

    "The guys in Europe look to us Australians as an extra motivation for the start of the season, particularly with the Tour Down Under next week. We've got a lot of motivation and confidence and we're looking to show we're a strong team and with Tyler [Farrar] saying he's in good form, we are confident we will show that."

    After the Tour Down under,...