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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Date published:
January 18, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Impey gunning for Grand Tour debut

    Daryl Impey (Team Netapp)
    Article published:
    January 17, 2012, 22:45 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    South African set to ride the Giro for GreenEdge

    It may be a full 12 months later than he would have liked to be joining the WorldTour with an Australian team, but Daryl Impey says he is just happy to have finally made it with GreenEdge. The former Barloworld and NetApp rider faced a potentially career-ending situation when he was told in December of last year that Pegasus was in fact not going to be joining the sport’s top tier – and that they could not honour his contract.

    The South African is confident, however, that this project is different.

    "It’s been quite a long road since we got to know that Pegasus was not happening," Impey told Cyclingnews at the launch of GreenEdge in Adelaide.

    "I raced with MTN and then with NetApp and it was always my number one priority to get back to Europe. I went pretty well at the Tour of Austria [second in stage 3] and I was delighted to be able to join an all-English speaking team where all the guys are friends. It makes it easier to fit in."

    Impey said that any comparisons between the two projects end at them both being Australian.

    "The November training camp we had with Pegasus was like a holiday," he recalls. "A lot of us left with a strange feeling, thinking ‘that was a weird camp.’

    "On the other hand, everything was ready for the November camp of GreenEdge: the staff, the physios - everything. After meeting with [financial backer] Gerry [Ryan], I had no worries at all. This team has got a big future."

    On his time with Barloworld and a Giro debut

    Impey previously had the illusion that Barloworld would be the first team from the Southern Hemisphere in the big league, but the South African company stopped their sponsorship at the end of 2009.

    "We had the opportunity in South Africa to be as big as...

  • Contador confirmed to headline Tour de San Luis

    Alberto Contador
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 3:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard's CAS verdict could emerge during race

    Organisers of Argentina's Tour de San Luis have confirmed that Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador will begin his 2012 season at their race, which runs January 23-29.

    Contador is due to arrive at the San Luis airport on January 20 at 2:15pm local time, and will hold a press conference upon his arrival.

    The Spaniard is still awaiting a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on his 2010 Tour de France clenbuterol positive. The CAS was due to have delivered a verdict on whether the Spanish Cycling Federation was correct to not suspend him this week, but delayed its release of the written decision until the end of this month. That means the announcement could disrupt Contador's race in Argentina.

    A preliminary start list shows Contador being joined by Saxo Bank's Argentinean brothers Juan Jose and Sebastian Haedo, Jesus Hernandez, Christopher Juul Jensen and Troels Ronning Vinther of Denmark and Italian Matteo Tosatto.

    Other notable inclusions for the race are Filippo Pozzato, a strong Omega Pharma-QuickStep lineup with Tom Boonen, Levi Leipheimer, Sylvain Chavanel, Francesco Chicchi, Bert Grabsch and Frantisek Rabon, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Michael Rasmussen and Stephan Schumacher (Christina Watches) and Jimmy Casper (AG2R-La Mondiale).

  • Guesdon's end of career still in question

    Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux) looking forward to a shower.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 7:20 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    FDJ-Big Mat rider breaks hip at Tour Down Under

    Frenchman Frederic Guesdon was supposed to end his career on April 8 at the end of Paris-Roubaix at the age of 40, but his exit is now in doubt after the crash he sustained with 900 metres to go into the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under. A broken hip was reported at the Royal Hospital of Adelaide.

    He underwent a light surgery. "The doctors seemed optimistic about his quick recovery but it's difficult to envisage that he'd be on the start line of Paris-Roubaix in less than three months from now", FDJ-Big Mat's directeur sportif Yvon Madiot told Cyclingnews after visiting the rider at the hospital.

    "Fred said that it wasn't a heavy fall", Madiot continued. "He believes that he has landed on somebody else's bike because that's the only way he can have broken a bone. As soon as he tried to move the left leg, he understood that it was broken. Fred wasn't emotional about the accident and the consequences. During the time I spent with him, he didn't talk about cycling at all. He never said it's game over. He was happy to be treated very well and his only concern was that he couldn't talk to his wife who was at work with no mobile phone."

    The Frenchman is expected to leave the hospital on Thursday and return to France to pursue his rehabilitation whenever the insurance company will fly him back. FDJ-BigMat boss Marc Madiot remembered his own exit to his brilliant career when he also broke a hip during the 1994 Paris-Roubaix. "You can't fight against your destiny", he said. His brother Yvon added: "It would be a pity for Fred to end his career so far away from his roots."

    Guesdon's contract with FDJ-BigMat terminates at the end of April. He has been rumoured to have a future as a directeur sportif in the team but Madiot is famous for being...

  • Clarke's win shows he's WorldTour worthy

    Will Clarke in sight of the line after a 147 kilometre break, 80 of which was solo.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 9:35 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian triumphs alone in Stirling

    Having missed the cut when Leopard Trek merged with RadioShack at the end of last season, Tasmanian Will Clarke was looking for a new team. The 26-year-old landed a ride at Champion System, Asia's first Pro Continental team, but it was his win on Wednesday on stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under which really proved a point.

    Admitting to the disappointment of having lost the right to race in cycling's top tier, Clarke was quietly pleased with the day's result which netted him not only the win but the lead in the mountains and sprint classifications as well as the prize for most aggressive rider on the stage.

    "It's going to give me a confidence boost," said Clarke, who is riding for Uni-SA at the event. "I had a bit of a hard year last year but now I'm back so we'll see what happens now."

    Clarke's win was remarkable for a number of reasons. Not only was it Uni-SA's first win at the Tour Down Under since Allan Davis won stage 3 into Victor Harbour in 2008, but he had also managed something that so few had done since the race joined the WorldTour – he stayed clear of the bunch.

    Clarke moved away from the peloton just 1.1 kilometres into the 148 kilometre stage and stayed there, at first with BMC's Martin Kohler – who earned the lead on GC with his efforts – and then alone following the day's one classified climb.

    "What he did was huge," explained team manager Dave Sanders. "It wasn't just physically and mentally, emotionally... He took it on and said, 'I can race these guys.' He took it up... big heart, big, big character; I'm really pleased he got something from it.

    "They were coming hard at the finish and they didn't get him. He just stepped the pace up."

  • Evans: BMC will need to be an even stronger unit to combat RadioShack-Nissan in 2012

    Cadel Evans powers to victory in the Grenoble time trial at the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 10:22 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Australian also still focused on Olympic gold

    In his 16th year as a professional cyclist there is little that someone like Cadel Evans (BMC) can learn or brush up on before the European racing season starts early next month. The Australian does however have an important focus for the training camp the team is currently holding just outside of Valencia, Spain.

    "For us as a team, the off-season, camps like this, that's where I think it's going to be important for us to get things functioning well," said Evans. "It's going to be important to be able to take on the [RadioShack-Nissan] team and so on.

    "To do that I really want to make sure we're all there firing on all cylinders - that's why we're here."

    The RadioShack-Nissan team has all the makings of a super team, with both Schlecks, Andreas Klöden, Fabian Cancellara and Chris Horner - all directed by Johan Bruyneel. To combat them Evans believes the team must be at its best, as it was last July.

    The biggest asset Evans may take however is a renewed level of confidence, in himself, and his ability. Winning a Tour de France he explained, a Grand Tour, was a personal confirmation that he really needed.

    "It's like a stamp of approval," said Evans. "I always believed in myself, but now I suppose everyone will believe in me and my competitors included. "In that regard, you go in with a different mindset and also your competitors go against you with a different mindset.

    "If things go well for us, I think we can be successful again."

    Evans also spoke on his other big goal for 2012 outside the Tour, his dream to win gold in an Olympic games, something that has eluded him ever since his mountain biking days.

    "The Olympics for me, it's more about national pride, something different to the Tour."

    "I want to give myself every chance to go for another medal, because it's something that I don't have. The day the Tour finishes, I will be working 100 per cent for the Olympics.


  • German NADA confirms investigating cyclist for blood doping

    It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 11:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Case stems from Olympic training camp in Erfurt

    The German National Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed that it is investigating a cyclist for using UV light blood doping. Last week it was announced that German prosecutors were looking into charges that a doctor at an Olympic training site in Erfurt had used the process on athletes.

    Last week the NADA said that it was investigating a female speed skater, and has now added the unnamed cyclist to its list.

    “It's true, we now have started an investigation in a second case here, against a cyclist, and will soon open the procedure against him,” NADA board member Dr. Lars Mortsiefer said. 

    The German news magazine Spiegel identifies the doctor as Andreas Franke and says that he treated “numerous” speed skaters, cyclists and track and field athletes. The process is said to have involved treating their blood with UV light and then re-injecting it.

    Dr. Franke has denied the charges of doping.


  • Garzelli to switch to Saxo Bank after Milan-San Remo?

    Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) won the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 11:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Brother and agent denies rumoured move

    Stefano Garzelli’s Acqua & Sapone team may have failed to land a wildcard invitation to the Giro d’Italia, but the veteran Italian might yet line up at the corsa rosa in May. According to a report in Wednesday’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Garzelli is on the verge of agreeing a switch to Saxo Bank, although his brother and agent has moved swiftly to downplay the rumour.

    Gazzetta reports that Garzelli would continue to ride for Acqua & Sapone at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo before completing a move to Bjarne Riis’ squad. Garzelli was initially set to retire after this year’s Giro, but has allegedly been offered a two-year deal by Saxo Bank.

    While the switch would present Garzelli with the possibility of riding the Giro once again, his primary role at the team would be to provide much-needed support to Alberto Contador in the high mountains of the Tour de France, provided, of course, that the Spaniard is cleared to ride. The long-awaited Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict on Contador's positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France is expected at the end of January.

    Contador is understood to have requested Garzelli’s signing last season, and has encouraged Riis’ overtures to the 2000 Giro winner, who has lived in Valencia for a number of years.

    Garzelli’s brother and agent Marco, however, has denied knowledge of the rumoured mid-season switch. He admitted that Garzelli had been close to signing for Saxo Bank in August of last year, but that he had since committed himself fully to Acqua & Sapone.


  • Gallery: Crowds out in force at Tour Down Under

    The anticipation was building
    Article published:
    January 18, 2012, 12:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stage 2 sees over 100,000 fans line the route

    Early estimates from the race organisers suggest that up to 110,000 spectators turned out to watch stage 2 of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under, which brought the peloton from Lobethal to Stirling. The home fans were given plenty to cheer about as Australia's Will Clarke staged a daring early breakaway and clung on to secure the stage win, UniSA's first in the race since 2008.

    As ever at the Tour Down Under, the relationship between riders and fans if flourishing in South Australia, as seen in this Cyclingnews gallery.