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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Date published:
January 20, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Trek-Livestrong strengthens in Solvang

    Trek-Livestrong's Nathan Brown
    Article published:
    January 19, 2010, 17:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Armstrong's under-23 team prepares for season start at Tour of Qatar

    Trek-Livestrong has launched its 2010 season with a training camp in Solvang, California. Sports director Axel Merckx has led all but one of the 14-rider espoir squad on the week-long camp, as the team prepares to start its season at the Tours of Qatar and Oman.

    Well known as the site of training camps for US Postal Service and Discovery Channel in seasons past, Solvang has provided the under-23 riders with car-free roads to complete 3-5 hours of base training each day. However, with an eight-rider team to compete against ProTour squads in the Middle East next month, the riders have also carried out interval and time trial efforts so as to acclimatise to the intensity of racing.

    The cyclist-friendly Danish town, located 2.5 hours north-west of Los Angeles, has also given the riders an opportunity to bond with one another, as the team's age limit has created a natural rotation to the roster for 2010. The riders have been spotted together regularly at Solvang's Bulldog Café, where photos of the teams that have trained in the region in the past adorn the walls.

    The USA's Taylor Phinney, Benjamin King and Julian Kyer, New Zealand's Jesse Sergent and Canadian Cody Campbell are the only riders who remain from last year's squad. Added to the mix this season are US riders Charlie Avis, Nathan Brown, Gavin Mannion, Chase Pinkham, Iggy Silva and Justin Williams, Briton Alex Dowsett and Australians Ben King and Tim Roe.

    Roe is the only member of the team not present at the training camp. The 20-year-old is currently racing for the UniSA team at the Tour Down Under. Roe, part of a a day-long break during the opening stage of the ProTour race, will enter Wednesday's second stage as leader of the mountains classification.

    Trek-Livestrong recorded two victories in 2009 through Taylor Phinney. The 19-year-old American claimed victory in the Flèche du Sud, before an emphatic win at the Espoir edition of Paris-Roubaix.

  • Tour de San Luis peloton to donate portion of prize money to Haiti

    The Tour de San Luis peloton will donate 20 percent of the prize money to Haiti for earthquake relief.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2010, 20:50 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Twenty percent of purse dedicated to earthquake relief

    The 19 teams competing in the fourth annual Tour de San Luis have agreed to donate 20 percent of their total prize money to the country of Haiti that was shook by a devastating earthquake last week.

    "We know about the suffering of the country of Haiti after the terrible earthquake they suffered," said Technical Director Juan Curuchet. "For that reason the cyclists of the Tour of San Luis want to demonstrate their solidarity by donating 20 percent of their prizes."

    The total prize money is 266,000 Argentinean Pesos of which the winner will take 14,493 Pesos. The amount that will be donated to the country of Haiti equates to approximately 10,000 Euro.

    Haiti was hit by a massive 7.0 earthquake last week in and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince. It is said to have been the worst earthquake in Haiti in over 200 years. The death toll is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of people.

    Teams participating in the Tour de San Luis include ProTour teams Liquigas-Doimo, Katusha and Footon-Servetto. Professional Continental teams include ISD, Andalucia Cajasur, Xacobeo-Galicia, Scott-Marcondes and Androni-Giacatolli. Continental teams include Jamis-Sutter Home, Nutrixxion-Sparkasse, Miche Silver Cross and Funvic. National Teams include Argentina along with Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Cuba.

  • Six events for Nature Valley Pro Ride scheduled

    The Nature Valley Grand Prix podium after stage 1: Alison Powers (2nd), Kristin Armstrong (1st), and Erin Willock (3rd).
    Article published:
    January 19, 2010, 20:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Races across the USA will earn amateurs free entry to NVGP

    The organisers of the Nature Valley Grand Prix have named six events which take place across the USA as qualifiers for amateurs to earn a free entry into their race, one of the premiere stage races in the country.

    The "Nature Valley Pro Ride" qualifying events include the Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race (April 10) in Illinois, Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Classic (April 10-11) in South Carolina, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic (April 23-25) in Oregon, Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Road Cycling Classic (May 1-2) in California, Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 15) in New York and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Criterium (May 30-31) in California.

    Riders selected through these events will earn free entries to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16-20, and receive generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.

    "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an amateur to receive a ‘battlefield promotion' to compete with the top professionals," Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. "Since its inception 11 years ago, the Nature Valley Grand Prix has emerged as the top women's bike racing event and one of the top men's races in the U.S.. The Nature Valley Pro Ride gives top U.S. amateurs a chance race in front of huge crowds, to be noticed by pro team managers and potentially to receive a pro contract."

    The Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Races, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic, Barrio Logan Grand Prix and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium are all new to the Nature Valley Pro Ride for 2010.

    Hillsboro-Roubaix and the Bear Mountain Spring Classic return from the 2009 Nature Valley Pro Ride calendar, as does the San Luis Rey Road Race, which is partnering...

  • Androni-Giocatolli outlines realistic goals for the Tour de San Luis

    Androni-Giocattoli is presented to the crowd.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2010, 21:13 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Jose Serpa to lead the team in the overall

    Directeur Sportif Gianni Savio outlined three precise goals that he believes to be realistic and achievable for his Professional Continental team Androni-Giocattoli at the Tour de San Luis held in Argentina from January 18-24, 2010.

    "We want to win stages, we want to be on the final individual podium and we want to be on the podium in the team classification," Savio said. "If we get these things I believe we will have done very well."

    The Androni-Giocattoli squad includes Jose Serpa, Alberto Loddo, Luis Mate, Luca Solari, Carlos Ochoa and Jackson Rodriguez.

    "This is a great race and one that I like a lot because the courses are always up and down and there is a lot of climbing," Savio said. "Now, I believe that in South America this is the most important race. So, for a team to arrive with only six riders it is very difficult. Maybe if we stay enthusiastic, race our bikes then we will win something."

    A podium result was nearly achieved when the team's sprinter Alberto Loddo sprinted to a fourth place finish in the opening stage. The race finished in a bunch sprint won by Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Doimo) on the streets of Mercedes.

    "We have a great sprinter in Loddo," Savio said. "We are very pleased with his fourth place in the first stage especially because he has not raced in a long time. Last year, he had a physical problem. He did not race since April last year, eight months with nothing. He needs to find the rhythm of the races again. I believe he is a very good sprinter and can be on the podium in a stage here."

    The team will rely on climber Jose Serpa to deliver an overall podium position upon the conclusion of the seven-day stage race on Sunday, January 24. There are three opportunities for the well-known Colombian climber to gain time on his competitors in stages two, five and six which all contain mountaintop finishes.

    "I believe that Jose is a great rider. He is our leader, he prepared well, he...

  • Roulston relishes a second chance

    Hayden Roulston descends Hackthorne Rd.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2010, 8:06 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Talented kiwi export reinvents his ProTour career

    Two years ago Hayden Roulston had disappeared into the cycling wilderness but a turnaround in fortunes means the talented kiwi has been given another chance in the ProTour peloton and he aims to make the most of it.

    He last rode for a ProTour team in 2005 - the inaugural year for the UCI's racing calendar creation - after signing for Discovery Channel. Under the tutelage of Johan Bruyneel, Roulston was the hottest property in New Zealand cycling but it all went wrong soon after.

    "I've done the full circle," began Roulston. "I was once in the biggest team in the world and I gave that up, my time with Discovery Channel." Roulston went back to New Zealand and withdrew from the highest echelon of the sport, citing health problems and personal issues for his decision.

    He embarked on a period of returning to full health and elite riding, which saw him competing in races throughout New Zealand - it was a far cry from riding de Ronde Van Vlaanderen or Paris-Roubaix.

    "Johan probably still doesn't understand why but I did the honest thing and I could have just stayed in that team and taken the money for doing nothing all year but I just decided it wasn't right and my state of mind wasn't right and I needed some time away," explained Roulston.

    It soon became obvious that Roulston needed to be in the pro ranks - he outshone the local competition in New Zealand and the former scratch race world champion was still young. "I was actually talking with my manager Paul de Geyter and through him the talks [with Cervélo] came about with Scott Sunderland. We just talked and Scott knew me from the past and they wanted to give me another chance. It just rolled from there," said Roulston.

    "It's one thing to say you want to go pro again but to get back in when teams are folding and the like it's difficult," he added.

    But unlike his first stint as a professional - having ridden for the likes of Cofidis, HealthNet and the...

  • Rabobank trains in Mojacar, Spain

    Rabobank riders enjoy sunny weather in Spain's southern Almería province during a pre-season camp.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2010, 9:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutch ProTour squad returns to familiar locale for training camp

    For the fourth straight year, the Rabobank team has gathered in Mojacar, Spain for its pre-season training camp taking place January 13-24.

    Situated along the Mediterranean in the southern province of Almería, Mojacar provides a variety of little-traveled roads and plenty of sunshine for the Dutch ProTour team to put in the miles.

    "Being here in January is a haven for us," Rabobank technical director told "The roads here are very good for training in large groups and we are very happy at the hotel, it is like a home."

    Rabobank's Denis Menchov, Robert Gesink and Oscar Freire and teammates have been enjoying the sunshine which dominates the arid region, the setting for famed spaghetti western films such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars.

    Denis Menchov awaits the start of a ride during Rabobank's training camp in Mojacar, Spain.

  • Dornbusch optimistic for Team Cycling Noris in 2010

    Worlds gold medallist Amber Neben will show off her jersey in France
    Article published:
    January 20, 2010, 11:10 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team outlines expectations as sponsor search continues

    Team Cycling Noris Directeur Sportif Jochen Dornbusch is optimistic about his team's chances this season, despite the lack of a major corporate sponsor. Not only is he counting on getting a team licence from the International Cycling Union (UCI), but is also confident that he can retain the services of former World champion Amber Neben.

    “I will call Amber now,” he told Cyclingnews Wednesday morning. “I think that if Amber is there, we can do well in the stage races this year.”

    “With Amber, Trixi Worrack and Angela Hennig, I think we can bring in 10 to 15 wins this year,” said an upbeat Dornbusch. The team will look to target races including the Thüringen Rundfahrt and the Giro d'Italia.

    The team had 17 wins last season, with Neben winning the time trial at the women's Giro d'Italia and Worrack also claiming a stage at the race, one of the German's four season wins.

    Neben told Cyclingnews last week that she was planning to stay with the team for at least the first half of the season.

    Noris is the former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. The German insurance company ended its sponsorship at the end of the season, and plans for Sykter GmbH to take over fell through in early December.

    Team manager Herbert Oppelt told that neither Neben nor Nicole Cooke had yet officially agreed to stay with the team. “Right now we are still talking to both of them. We will start the season with eight riders, and there is still a question mark over [Neben and Cooke].”

    According to Dornbusch, those eight riders are Trixi Worrack, Marlen Jöhrend, Bianca Knöfple, Madeleine Sandig, Romy Kasper, Jennifer Hohl, Angela Hennig and Elke Gebhardt. He said that some of the riders would need to draw a salary, while others were receiving family support or were on the payroll of the German military or police.

    Oppelt was to...

  • Sky’s Henderson ponders ways to overcome Greipel

    Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) takes his eighth win in the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    January 20, 2010, 23:23 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    German proving a problem for rivals Down Under

    Team Sky might have won the pre-Tour Down Under criterium, but overcoming Germany’s André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) in the event’s ProTour component is proving a more of a challenge for the British squad. Sky’s Greg Henderson was able to improve on his fifth place from stage one with second on stage two, but it’s the top step of the podium the squad is really hoping for.

    "Greipel is pretty fast. If I had the perfect run at him … maybe even start on his wheel and hope that he goes a little early is probably the best chance at the moment," said Henderson after the finish in Hahndorf. "I was catching him at the finish but I was in his slipstream, it wasn’t a drag race."

    Henderson believes his best options for overcoming Greipel in sprint finishes will be with a long lead heading into the sprint, as occurred in Sunday afternoon’s criterium, or by stealing Greipel’s approach of running at his competitors from behind. Greipel shared his thoughts on what Team Sky needs in order to overcome his American outfit.

    "We have a good lead-out train and we know what we have to do," said Greipel. "I think Sky is strong and they can be successful if they work together. They do work together, but maybe we are a little bit better than them."

    Henderson believes his own lead out train is simply too good for him to consider other approaches. "Greipel’s come from behind every time so maybe if I tried that [it could work], but the thing is our lead out is too good at the moment," he said. "There’s no way I’m coming off a lead out that’s so fast. So we’ll keep trying."

    Fortunately for Henderson, he should get a few more opportunities to challenge his former teammate before the Tour Down Under finishes on Sunday.