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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Date published:
July 14, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Australian races to train Malaysia’s future road professionals

    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 0:04 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Beasley says Scody Cup important for rider development

    A contingent of Malaysian road riders will contest four rounds of this year’s Scody Cup, with the Australian series commencing later this month. The nation’s track and road program coach, John Beasley, will use the events to help develop the riders’ road racing skills with a view of taking the team to Europe in coming years.

    “We have a squad of 13 Malaysian road riders in Melbourne and we will give them all an opportunity in the first three tours,” he said. “Then we will send our best team to Tassie.

    “We could have sent these riders straight to Europe but you have to be able to win these Scody Cup races first,” he said. “We will then go to Europe in two or three years and mix it with the big boys.”

    The Scody Cup series commences with the Tour of Gippsland from July 28 – August 1. Gippsland is followed by the Tour of Geelong and Tour of the Murray River, both in August, followed by September’s Tour of Tasmania.

    “It’s a breeding ground,” he said. “You have first got to conquer the Scody Cup tours if you are going to be competitive anywhere else in the world.”

    The five-day Tour of Gippsland will start with a closed-circuit criterium in Wonthaggi on Wednesday, July 28, and end with another criterium in Paynesville on Sunday, August 1.

  • Hesjedal hangs on after tough day

    Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Transitions)
    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 3:21 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Canadian drops GC spots but remains well placed

    Following the exit of pre-race Garmin-Transitions leader Christian Vande Velde from this year's Tour de France, Ryder Hesjedal has stepped forward and taken responsibility for the team's general classification aspirations.

    After the demanding ninth stage that included no less than five categorised climbs, including the brutal 25.5km Col de la Madeleine, a sweat-soaked Hesjedal rolled through the press army that awaited the riders at the finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, having dropped from sixth overall to 12th.

    "I'm not suffering from any sores or pains. We'll see how I fare," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews. Clearly, he had been out on his own during the final kilometres of the stage and was keen to know how his rivals had fared. "Was it the breakaway that stayed away? Lance and Levi? At a couple of minutes?" he asked.

    "I was in the group with Carlos, Rogers, Wiggins... we finished I think at 4:50," the Canadian quickly confirmed. He finished in front of the fifth group on the road, in 23rd place at 4:53 behind stage winner Sandy Casar. The result drops him six places in the overall standings.

    Whilst not recognised before the race as a general classification contender, Hesjedal still finds himself ahead of 2008 Tour champion Carlos Sastre, his former teammate Bradley Wiggins and former overall podium star Andreas Klöden. He wasn't thinking of that fact on the finish line, however.

    "It was pretty hard, man. There weren't so many guys," explained Hesjedal. "I honestly didn't feel that great today. It wasn't a good day to not feel that super, with the Madeleine, that was... whooh... too long. Cadel didn't look very good," he added.

    "I just didn't have super legs, so that was a long tough day to hang on. I'm still pleased that I can battle with guys of that calibre," he said.

  • Eijssen signs with BMC for two years

    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 6:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Young Belgian climber to turn pro with US team

    BMC Racing Team has strengthened their roster for 2011, adding young Belgian climber Yannick Eijssen to the team. The rider announced that he has agreed to a two-year contract.

    Eijssen, 21, became the first Belgian to win the Tour de l'Isard for espoirs. This year he won the Beverbeek Classic.

    He had offers from Quick Step, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Topsport Vlaanderen and HTC-Columbia, Eijssen told Het Belang van Limburg. “I have picked BMC because they gave me the most safeguards to further develop myself as a climber.”

    “I am now 21 years old. I ride fast in the mountains, but I'm still not there,” Eijssen continued. “BMC is giving me time to grow.”

  • Reactions from the Tour's ninth stage

    The four remaining members of the day's break included Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux).
    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 6:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Torturous day in the Alps tires the peloton

    Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - eighth on stage, third overall @ 2:45: It was very hard and I suffered a lot [today]. I had some very bad moments on both the Madeleine and in the last few miles towards the finish. Now I'm only thinking about recovery - I am very tired.

    Such efforts are often expensive and you pay for them at the Tour. I should take it day by day and with great respect, as there are people who are stronger than me and I have to stay calm. I have to take third place overall with much serenity because there is still a world to Paris - we must keep our feet on the ground.

    Alberto Contador (Team Astana) - sixth on stage, second overall @ 41 seconds: Today was a nice stage; [the col de la] Madeleine was very hard and many people lost time. Once again it shows that the rest day is very dangerous.

    I could take time over many [riders] in the general classification; Andy is still the most dangerous, but it is always better to be ahead than behind everyone.

    There are still many riders who can be come through on a breakaway and there are many stages to attack from far away. I should not be distracted, but like I said yesterday, the most dangerous is Andy Schleck.

    Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) - 27th on stage, 15th overall @ 7:13: Today was a very difficult stage for me and I didn't know what to expect. I had a good rest day Monday. I tried to do the right things. I trained well, but I didn't feel good from the start of the stage and I suffered as much as I could.

    Even though I had faint hopes of staying with the best in this Tour, now I believe it's frankly quite difficult. I haven't given up hope or stopped enjoying what the Tour is, but I see that I am in a difficult position.

    Now I will think in another manner. There are still a lot of mountain stages, hard stages and maybe I can have a good moment and I can be ahead. I will...

  • Grand jury subpoenas issued in Landis investigation

    Landis ponders Floyd Landis ponders a question from the audience.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 7:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Federal investigation takes a step forward

    Grand jury subpoenas have reportedly been issued to witnesses by federal authorities as the investigation into Floyd Landis’ claims of doping takes a step forward. The New York Times cited several sources that spoke on the condition of anonymity when it revealed that subpoenas had been issued.

    The paper didn’t name which witnesses had been or will be issued with subpoenas. It’s known that current BMC Racing Team rider George Hincapie and former professional Tyler Hamilton have been approached by the federal investigators.

    Hamilton has previously indicated he would provide investigators with his full cooperation if subpoenaed, telling The Wall Street Journal last month: “I am aware that there is an investigation of other people in progress, and if I am subpoenaed to provide information, I will provide my full cooperation.”

    The criminal investigation, led by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) special agent Jeff Novitzky, is focused principally around Landis’ recent allegations of systematic doping practices at the US Postal Service team. Landis confessed to doping himself and claimed wide-spread doping at US Postal during his time riding with Lance Armstrong's squad in an e-mail to USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson, which was leaked to Cyclingnews and other media outlets.

    The paper indicated that it’s likely Landis is one of the people to be subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

  • Charteau the new Tour mountains king

    Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) nears the top of the Col de la Madeleine in the leading four-man break.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 8:17 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Asian and African experience helps in European heat

    Anthony Charteau received a considerable consolation prize after missing the opportunity for a Tour de France stage win: the polka dot jersey. The Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider has dethroned his compatriot Jérôme Pineau and has promised to fight for the king of the mountains title.

    "I played it very badly in the finale," Charteau said after the stage in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. "I panicked because of the return of Andy Schleck and I was pushed into the barricades, then I couldn't pass on the side.

    "I was sprinting against riders who are more used to fighting for victories than me. I should have stayed on Sandy's wheel."

    The 31-year-old developed into an accomplished rider when he competed for Crédit Agricole in 2006 and 2007. When the team's French sponsor analysed its TV exposure, the mostly commonly seen squad member was Charteau, who worked as much in preparation for Thor Hushovd's sprints as for general classification contender Pietro Caucchioli in the mountains.

    Charteau was one of the first Frenchmen to win a ProTour race, with a stage at the Volta Catalunya in 2005, although he wasn't selected by Bouygues Telecom for the Tour de France that year as he was a late exclusion after the French championship.

    He won Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia for Crédit Agricole in 2007, which remains the highlight of his racing career. As soon as he returned to Jean-René Bernaudeau's team this year after two discrete seasons at Caisse d'Epargne, he was a winner again at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon.

    "With my experiences in Asia and Africa, I'm used to racing in hot conditions and I hope this heat will continue until the end of the Tour de France," Charteau told reporters.

    The fight is on now between him and Jérôme Pineau for the polka dot jersey. Both have 85 points but Charteau will wear the jersey on stage 10. Interestingly, Pineau and Charteau both come from the...

  • Bettini previewing Australian worlds course

    Daniele Bennati, Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato and Giovanni Visconti preview the course for the 2010 world road championships in Geelong, Australia.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2010, 8:38 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Top professionals join new Italian coach Down Under

    Former UCI Road World Champion Paolo Bettini is leading a group of Italy’s top riders on a two-day reconnaissance of the 2010 world championships course in Geelong, Australia. Bettini landed in Melbourne on Tuesday night, before starting to preview the September/October event’s course today.

    Joining Bettini on today’s rider were some of Italy’s top road professionals currently not taking part in the Tour de France. They included Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo), Luca Paolini (Aqua & Sapone), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Giovanni Visconti (ISD), all possible members of the squadra azzurra.

    Visconti wore his ISD kit in the colours of the Italian national champion on today's ride, having won the title at the end of June.

    Bettini and the quartet are expected to spend Thursday continuing to gather information on the race route, before leaving Australia later that evening.

    This year’s world championship team will be the first squad directed by the multiple world champion. Bettini was appointed to the role last month following the death of predecessor Franco Ballerini in a rallying accident in February.

    Both of Bettini’s world championships and his Olympic Games victory came under Ballerini’s directorship. The former professional rider also led the Italian team to victory with Alessandro Ballan and Mario Cipollini.