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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Date published:
January 13, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Captain Clarke continues Down Under run

    Aussie Simon Clarke (ISD-Neri) tunes into the stage
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 3:14 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Talented Victorian ready for another appearance in Adelaide

    Simon Clarke is ready for an expected onslaught from the ProTour teams when he leads UniSA's campaign in the Santos Tour Down Under, which gets underway next week.

    At the tender age of 23, the Victorian is a Down Under veteran, having ridden four editions thus far. His fifth time round sees him line up as the only member of Team UniSA-Australia to have previously ridden the event.

    "Out of the guys that have been picked, I'm the only one who has done the Tour Down Under before, and I've done it four times," Clarke told Cyclingnews. "I've got the most experience but I'm not the oldest one in the team; although everyone has raced, and it's not like you need Tour Down Under experience to ride the event."

    Clarke is undoubtedly one of Australia's under-rated riders, having been to numerous world championships and was a member of the squad that helped Cadel Evans to victory in Mendrisio, Switzerland, last September. He says that plaudits, or the lack thereof, don't bother him, preferring to maintain a simple approach: "You're always better off not saying anything and letting your legs do the talking."

    And as Clarke continues his European racing odyssey, which will see him at Italian squad ISD for another season this year, this approach will again prove invaluable. He endured a largely forgettable 2009, save for his worlds experience and a shot at the Giro di Lombardia, a race that suits his abilities.

    In the meantime he'll line up with young guns Michael Matthews, Rohan Dennis and Tim Roe plus 2009 road race national champion Peter McDonald, criterium specialist Jonathan Cantwell and Davis Kemp at the Tour Down Under, where they'll be looking to emulate last year's efforts and find the right break to reap the potential rewards.

    "I'm waiting for one of those breaks to stick so I can get the white jersey!" said Clarke "We were so close last year with the break on that windy day down to Victor Harbor [stage three];...

  • Honorez hopes to return to racing in March

    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 8:30 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian making rapid progress after accident which nearly took his leg

    Jeremy Honorez hopes to return to racing in March, some six months after a horrific accident which nearly cost him his right leg and saw him placed in an induced coma. The 23-year-old hopes to ride the GP Samyn in March for his Continental-ranked Bodysol-EuroMillions team.

    The young Belgian had a good build-up to September's Memorial Rik van Steenbergen, winning four races in August, and had been hoping for a top-ten finish in the race, saying “my legs were exceptional. It was even the first time in my career that I asked my teammates to support me.” He had also hoped that a good placing would draw him to the attention of bigger teams.

    However, with only 18 kilometres to go, Honorez collided at full speed with a sign post. The pole was bent and his bike was shattered. But so was his body – open fractures of both his left tibia and right femur, destroyed knee ligaments and extensive bleeding.

    At first doctors were not sure they could save his leg. “The femoral artery was torn in two places and there was very heavy internal bleeding,” Honorez told the French website He was placed in an induced coma following surgery to allow his body to recover from the trauma.

    After emerging from the coma five days later, doctors told him he might ride again, but only if he sat out for a year. Since then, however, he has made rapid and remarkable progress. By October 20, Honorez had been transferred to a sports rehabilitation centre, and the end of December was on his bike again.

    “Lately I have been out for three hours if the weather permits. On Friday I had to stay in and do an hour and a half on the roller,” he said. “I hope to soon extend my outings and go up to four or four and a half hours.”

    His left leg has healed totally, “because the muscles were not affected. I just have to wear a splint on the tibia. “

    The right...

  • HTC-Columbia presented in Spain

    HTC-Columbia's men's team for 2010
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 9:00 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    2010 line-up marked by new faces and clear goals

    HTC-Columbia's men's and women's squads were officially presented in Majorca, Spain, on Tuesday and will head into the 2010 season with a combined total of 15 new riders.

    The men's team will once again be headed by Mark Cavendish and André Greipel, with Team Director Rolf Aldag naming Australian Michael Rogers as the team's road captain. The women's squad will focus on a schedule of American and European races and will be able to count on veteran Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, who led the team in terms of victories in 2009.

    For the men's 28-strong team in particular, wholesale changes have seen 11 new riders drafted into the squad. Slovakian twins Martin and Peter Velits have joined the team from Milram, with Hayden Roulston making the switch from Cervélo TestTeam. The latter has been touted by the team as key figure in Cavendish's lead-out train for the Tour de France. While the massive change in personnel has occupied much of the management's focus in the off-season, the team is confident they will start the season with a strong combination in place.

    "I think we have a great set-up this year. We're better organised than in the past because we started [planning for 2010] last September, right after the World Championships," Aldag told Cyclingnews. "With a lot of new riders, we've already done a lot of work to integrate them into the team at a time when a lot of other squads don't even know their roster for the following year."

    In addition to the Velits' and Roulston, Patrick Gretsch, Rasmus Guldhammer, Leigh Howard, Aleksejs Saramotins, Tejay Van Garderen, and former Saxo Bank teammates Lars Bak and Matthew Goss will all be wearing HTC-Columbia colours this year.

    The team has made no secret of the success it wishes to repeat from last season, with the Milan-Sanremo and the Tour's green jersey their clear objectives. While their 86 wins in 2009 had gone well beyond the team's initial expectations, Aldag said...

  • Caisse d'Épargne's dream team aims high Down Under

    Caisse d'Epargne's director Neil Stephens appeared to be giving instructions not only to his riders but the seals on Kangaroo Island.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Opening ProTour round vital preparation for season's goals

    Former Tour de France stage winner and world's best domestique when he rode for ONCE and Festina in the 1990's, Neil Stephens is no stranger to Caisse d'Épargne's line up looking like a 'dream team' at the Santos Tour Down Under.

    The Spanish outfit has sent 2009 Vuelta a España winner Alejandro Valverde to Adelaide, plus Paris-Nice winner Luis Leon Sanchez, five-time Spanish time trial champion José Ivan Gutierrez, Tour du Limousin winner Mathieu Perget and experienced domestique Chente Garcia Acosta in addition to José Joaquin Rojas, who finished third in the Australian event last year, and his lead out man Mathieu Drujon.

    "When this team was named Isles Balears after Banesto, the management had a very traditional approach of the early season," Stephens told Cyclingnews during a tourist trip on Kangaroo Island. "They followed the same race program as in the old days. To send a team to Australia was a very big step for them - the Pro Tour obliged them to travel so far away from Spain."

    Before joining the staff of Caisse d'Épargne three years ago, Stephens tried to attract them to Adelaide with no success. "Now I wear different hats," explained the man who led Cadel Evans to Australia's first ever individual professional road world title last year. "I work firstly for Caisse d'Épargne. I also work for Cycling Australia. And I have a passion for the Tour Down Under."

    The years he was not in charge of a team, Stephens worked at the South Australian event as a PR, a media car driver or a translator. He directed the Liberty Seguros team that made history in Willunga in 2005 when Alberto Contador won the penultimate stage ahead of eventual overall winner Luis Leon Sanchez. It's where the cycling world realised how exceptional the eventual winner of the 2007 and 2009 Tour de France was, only eight months after his dramatic accident at the Tour of Asturias.

    After joining Caisse...

  • Cavendish confirms Worlds as target alongside Tour

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 10:30 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Grand Tour-treble possible, close friend Bellis improving

    Mark Cavendish signalled that the World Road Championships is a major goal for him over the next two years and this year's Championships in Melbourne, Australia, will sit alongside the Tour de France as one of his two major season objectives for 2010.

    "The World Championships is a big target. It'd be nice to win Milan-Sanremo with number one on my back, but in terms of wins, the Tour de France and the World Championships are the big aims for this season," said Cavendish at a press conference at the HTC-Columbia presentation in Majorca on Tuesday.

    Although he doesn't expect a traditional sprint finish at this year's worlds, Cavendish said he had circled the race in his programme. "I don't think Melbourne's going to be a sprint finish, but it's a course I can be with the front group so it's been a target for me for the last couple of years, and I've got a great national team behind me," he said.

    "[The 2011 Worlds in] Copenhagen, for sure, will end in a sprint, and I think there's something about pulling on the rainbow jersey on the road that gives you goosebumps."

    Cavendish noted that this year's later-season focus on the worlds also see him start at the Vuelta a España. Although the season's first Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, will clash with the Tour of California - an important race for HTC-Columbia's US-based sponsors - the 24-year-old indicated a desire to be at the start when the race begins in Amsterdam on May 8. "The Giro, I really, really want to do it, but [the team and I] still haven't come to a decision on that," he said.

    While three Grand Tours remain a possibility, the Tour de France is the one at which Cavendish will expect success. He is certain his team will return to the Tour with all its bases well covered. "I'm confident I'll do what I need to do, and I'm confident the team will do what it needs to do," he said.

    "We had the best guys in the world for my train [last year], but I think...

  • Team Holowesko Partners unveils 2010 roster

    Alex Howes soloed to victory in the U23 criterium, his second national championship of the week.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 10:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    U23 squad poised for another big year

    Team Holowesko Partners, the under-23 development squad for Team Garmin-Transitions, has announced its 2010 team roster. The 16-rider team aims to build on the success of its 2009 season in which its riders swept the U.S. U23 national championships, won the team classification at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and claimed the climber's, points and best young rider's jerseys at the Cascade Cycling Classic.

    Riders returning from last year's team include Alex Howes, the national U23 road race and criterium champion, and Danny Summerhill, the national U23 cyclo-cross champion. Stepping up to his first year in the U23 ranks is 2009 Junior road and criterium champion Max Durtschi. Additionally, Blake Caldwell has made the decision to step down from the Garmin-Transitions ProTour team to continue to recover from injury and will race with the development squad in 2010.

    "We are coming off an incredible 2009 season and we have a lot to be proud of," said director Chann McRae. "Building the next generation of cycling champions is something we set out to do from the start, and to see that in action is hugely exciting not just for us, but for cycling as a whole. We look forward to another great season in 2010."

    Team Holowesko Partners grew out of the team that Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports, created in 2005. "When I started this team as TIAA-CREF in 2005, my dream was to foster an environment where young riders could flourish and to show the world that ethical sporting was not only possible but a reality," said Vaughters. "Today I believe that dream has come to life.

    "Holowesko Partners is a great sponsor that fully supports our mission and amazing group of talented young riders climbing the professional ranks. Together we have created the right dynamic for these young athletes to flourish. I'm incredibly proud of what all of our riders continue to achieve."

    Several riders have already graduated to the ProTour team,...

  • Mixed fortunes for Valverde in CAS appeal

    What's that Skippy? CAS are in the bushes and about to pounce?
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 13:33 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    As Spaniard prepares in Australia, court decides his fate

    Alejandro Valverde's legal team will have been passing on good and bad news to the Spanish rider at the end of the first day of his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his two-year ban from competition in Italy.

    Valverde, who is currently in Australia preparing for the Tour Down Under, is challenging the ban imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on the basis of DNA evidence collected by them in the wake of the 2006 Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation. The UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency have supported CONI's stance and asked for the ban to be extended across the world.

    The good news for Valverde was that the CAS rejected the request to extend the ban. According to Antonio Sánchez Sabater, Valverde's representative in Lausanne where the case is being heard: "The three organisations came here lined up against Alejandro to sanction him at a worldwide level.

    "The initial news is that after listening to arguments on both sides, the CAS has said that this summons was only going to deal with the ban as related to Italian territory, which has been in force since May 11 and prevented him from riding the Tour de France."

    Sánchez added: "The CAS has indicated that it will not be making any assessment on whether Valverde should be sanctioned worldwide." This does mean, however, that the UCI and WADA cannot take action of their own against Valverde in due course.

    Less good for Valverde is the news that the CAS has also indicated that the CONI is competent to rule on a sanction for alleged doping. Valverde's legal team were hoping to show that the CONI stepped outside legal parameters in the way it obtained a blood bag seized during the Puerto affair. CONI then used DNA testing to compare a sample from this blood bag with a separate sample given by Valverde during a race on Italian soil. CONI subsequently announced the DNA tests had shown both came from Valverde and imposed its...