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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Date published:
June 02, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Sky announces line-ups for June races

    Team Sky helps close down the gap to the lead peloton.
    Article published:
    June 01, 2010, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    No racing for Wiggins

    Team Sky has announced its line-ups for June's races, including the final warm-ups for the upcoming Tour de France. However, the team's Tour captain, Bradley Wiggins, will not be racing again until the national championships at the end of the month at the earliest.

    Wiggins is repeating his preparations from 2009, when he finished fourth overall in the Tour de France. He rode the Giro d'Italia as his last race before the Tour last season and has repeated that this year.

    The racing month starts on Wednesday with the Tour of Luxembourg. Sky will send Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Kjell Carlstrom, Juan Antonio Flecha, Simon Gerrans, Thomas Löfkvist, Serge Pauwels, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift to the Grand Duchy.

    Sky's directeur sportif will be Marcus Ljungqvist, who won the race in 2002. "We have guys who are capable of riding a good prologue, and a good GC, so we will see what happens on Wednesday and then take things from there. It will be interesting to see how things go," he said.

    June features the two final preparation races for the Tour de France, the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de Suisse. For the Dauphiné (June 6-13), Sky will look to John-Lee Augustyn, Sylvain Calzati, Russell Downing, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Peter Kennaugh, Nicolas Portal, Geraint Thomas and Davide Vigano.

    The Tour de Suisse, June 12-20, will see Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Kjell Carlstrom, Juan Antonio Flecha, Simon Gerrans, Thomas Löfkvist, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Serge Pauwels and Ben Swift.

    The sprinters will get their workout at the Ster Elektrotoer in the Netherlands, June 16-20. Russell Downing, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Chris Sutton and Davide Vigano will compete there for Sky.

    In the national time trial championships on June 23, Kjell Carlstrom will ride for Finland, Dario Cioni for Italy, and Edvald Boasson Hagen and Lars-Petter Nordhaug for Norway.

  • Tour of Gippsland route announced

    Leigh Howard (Team HTC - Columbia) wins the sprint.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 9:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Victorian race a breeding ground for future stars

    Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland road cycling classic organiser Caribou Productions today announced the route of the 2010 event, to be held in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, July 28-August 1.

    The race has traditionally served as a breeding ground for some of Australia's best cycling exports, including Garmin-Transitions pro Jack Bobridge and HTC-Columbia rider Leigh Howard in recent years.

    Race director John Craven believes that will be no different this season, describing the eight-stage route as the most challenging and adventurous since the event was first held in 2006.

    "Nobody flukes victory in the Tour of Gippsland," said Craven. "This year’s race will more than likely unearth another champion."

    The event will start in the regional centre of Wonthaggi, before moving through Inverloch, Warragul, Noogee, Morwell, Maffra, Bruthen and Lakes Entrance.

    The tour will be the opening round of the Scody Cup, which continues to grow as Australia's premier road cycling series.

    The Gippsland classic will be followed by the GMHBA Tour of Geelong (August 11-15), the Elgas Tour of the Murray River (August 29-September 5) and the Caterpillar Underground Mining Tour of Tasmania (September 16-21).

    Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland road cycling classic stage list:

    Stage 1, July 28: Wonthaggi Criterium, 33km
    Stage 2, July 28: Wonthaggi - Wonthaggi, 68.2km
    Stage 3, July 29: Warragul - Warragul, 134km
    Stage 4, July 30: Newborough Criterium, 36km
    Stage 5, July 30: Morwell - Maffra, 85km
    Stage 6, July 31: Bairnsdale Criterium, 33km
    Stage 7, July 31: Bairnsdale - Lakes Entrance, 78.9 kms
    Stage 8, August 1: Paynesville Criterium, 44km

  • Gutiérrez responds to Valverde ban

    José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 10:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Countryman defends Caisse d'Epargne teammate

    Caisse d'Epargne rider Iván Gutiérrez has defended Alejandro Valverde in the wake of an announcement concerning his ban from racing worldwide, retrodated to be effective from January 1 this year.

    The experienced Spaniard sent an open letter expressing his disdain with the punishment meted to his friend and colleague, explaining that it reflects the feelings of many Spanish riders and indeed those from outside Spain.

    In concluding he makes an impassioned plea to end the injustices against professional cyclists, who he believes are the focus of unfair media attention in relation to doping and victims of the sport's desire to clean its image.

    Below is the letter in full:

    Since the year 2006 when the so-called Operation Puerto started, Spanish cycling has been staggering, week after week, month after month and now in June, four years later; this famous affair is not finished yet.

    My name is Iván Gutiérrez and I have been a professional rider since the end of 1999. I took the decision to write this letter because as you can imagine I have been through many misadventures while pedaling and out of my bike but what I felt yesterday when I heard the news that team-mate and friend Alejandro Valverde had received a two-year ban is the last straw and I needed, even if I know that my opinion is just a drop in the ocean, that at least you who will read this letter are informed about how the majority of the Spanish cyclists are feeling.

    Alejandro Valverde's case is the greatest injustice I met in all my life. Alejandro is a champion to whom the right to race will be denied. And if I tell you the truth neither I nor the majority of us know why.

    Alejandro Valverde is the most talented riders, with real natural talent, I have ever seen in my 31-year-old life. I dare say his talent is unique. During...

  • Phinney open to joining Armstrong as a stagiaire

    Taylor Phinney is back to racing in the Tour of the Gila.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 10:48 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Taylor Phinney could move up from Trek-Livestrong in August

    Taylor Phinney has said that he could ride as a stagiaire for Lance Armstrong’s Radioshack later this season. Phinney, who won his second successive Under 23 Paris-Roubaix title last weekend, is currently under contract with Trek-Livestrong, a feeder team for Radioshack.

    Phinney had the option of turning professional at the end of last year with Radioshack, but declined on the grounds that he wanted to spend another season developing his road skills. Radioshack does have first refusal on him when he eventually decides to step up the top ranks, however.

    “There’s potential to be a stagiaire later on in the season. I’ve got a couple of races with Trek Livestrong coming up and then nationals at the end of the month but after July in August and September, it’s still up for grabs,” Phinney told Cyclingnews.

    The American has already talked with the team staff about the possible timing of the move but a race programme has not been decided on. “I’ve talked a bit to Dirk Demol and Radioshack and I think that being a stagiaire is a potential but it’s not something that I’ve confirmed yet. It’s available if I want it.”

    Rumours had been circulating that Phinney could ride the Tour de France this year. However the American dismissed the speculation. “I don’t think that’s even possible. Even if you’re stagiaire I don’t think you can ride the big races. I’d also consider myself too young and delicate for the Tour de France. That’s not even a possibility. It would be a little bit above and beyond at this moment in time.”

    Phinney endured a mixed 2009 in his first season with Trek-Livestrong. After securing his world track pursuit title and first Roubaix win he crashed heavily in the Cascade Classic, effectively ending his season.

    In 2010 he has already repeated his track and Paris-Roubaix wins in...

  • Van Garderen ready for Dauphiné

    Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 10:50 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American joins Velits and Siutsou as team's leaders

    Fresh from helping Michael Rogers and Mark Cavendish to Tour of California success, Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) is set to ride the Dauphine Libere with high hopes of another strong performance.

    Van Garderen played a pivotal role in helping set Rogers up for overall victory in California, giving the Australian a wheel in stage two, and supporting him in the mountains.

    “California went better than we could have dreamed. The team took two stages wins and the overall and you can’t ask for much more than that,” Van Garderen told Cyclingnews from his Italian base.

    “My form was excellent. I was up there for Rogers in all the key moments. They wanted to use me as a climber to help him out and I was there at the end of the Big Bear stage and there right up there until the last lap on the final day.”

    The Dauphine is another major goal for Van Garderen, who highlighted the importance of the race in early February when Cyclingnews caught up with him. Along with Peter Velits and Kanstantsin Siutsou, he’ll form a strong GC challenge.

    Van Garderen hopes to have the freedom to aim for the overall classification but is also ready to ride for his HTC-Columbia teammates.

    “I’m motivated for the Dauphine for sure. I have a long season ahead of me and I didn’t really take a break after California and tried to stay fit and hold the form.”

    “The race is really going to be a true test of what my ability is. There’s a long time trial and some serious tests in the mountains. In terms of what I am as a rider I’d say the Dauphine is a bigger test than the Tour of California. I’m excited.”

    “We never really go into a race with just one goal. It’s not Postal was with Armstrong where everything was for Lance. We’re going there with Peter and Siutsou. We’re all good climbers and could...

  • Italian cycling remembers Franco Ballerini

    Franco Ballerini in rally mode. Motorsport was a passion of the Italian national coach
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 11:54 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Pozzato and Nibali to memorial criterium on Saturday

    Italian cycling will remember former national coach Franco Ballerini on Saturday, with the first edition of the Franco Ballerini Day criterium.

    Ballerini twice won Paris-Roubaix as a rider and was in charge of the Italian team that won gold in the Athens Olympics with Paolo Bettini and won three world titles with Bettini and Alessandro Ballan. He was killed in a car rally accident on February 7 near his home in Tuscany.

    The 103.4km race will cover 22 laps of a 4.7km circuit around Ballerini's home town of Cantagrillo.

    Several big name riders have promised to ride including Italian national champion Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo). Other riders who completed the Giro d'Italia are also expected to take part, especially those who rode with or under Ballerini in the Italian 'azzurri' team at world championships and Olympics.

    Teams set to ride include Astana, Quick Step, Lampre – Farnese Vini, Liquigas, Team Katusha, ISD – Neri, De Rosa – Stac Plastic, Carmiooro, Ceramica Flaminia, Colnago – Csf, Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, CDC Cavaliere and Amore & Vita.

    Before the race a special memorial service will be held at the cemetery where Ballerini is buried.


  • AFLD wants additional controls at Tour de France

    Pierre Bordry has announced new tougher testing for this year's Tour de France.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 17:13 BST
    Cycling News

    French anti-doping agency to request further doping tests

    The French Anti-Doping Agency AFLD wants to conduct its own doping tests at the upcoming Tour de France, even though the International Cycling Union UCI will be in charge at the international event.

    According to the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA, a national anti-doping agnecy has the right to perform additional tests at an international competition held on its territory, and AFLD president Pierre Bordry intends to take advantage of this rule.

    "We are a national agency, so we not in charge of international competitions, but we have the right to ask for additional controls," explained Pierre Bordry. "Therefore, we have the intention of requesting them, in accordance with the rules."

    The Executive Committee of WADA clarified this rule in a meeting in Montreal earlier this month, according to which the AFLD must make an official request at the UCI no later than 35 days before the beginning of the Tour de France, July 3 in Rotterdam. If this request is refused - as was the case earlier this year regarding Paris-Nice - the AFLD may appeal to WADA 21 days prior to the start.

    AFLD and UCI have been at odds with each other since last year's Tour de France, where both institutions collaborated to perform anti-doping controls. Bordry accused the UCI of preferential treatment of the Astana team, and claimed that urine samples were not transported and stored in correct conditions.

    The UCI fired back at the AFLD's accusations, stating that they did not intend to work with the French agency at the 2010 Tour de France. "We're not going to work with somebody who we have lost complete confidence in. Somebody, who, from our point of view is out to damage cycling and indeed to damage the Tour de France by his actions," UCI president Pat McQuaid said.

  • Arroyo to target Vuelta a España

    David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) enjoying the perks of leading the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 17:46 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard to miss the Tour de France after securing Giro podium

    Spain’s David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne) has confirmed he will target the Vuelta a España and so miss the Tour de France after his surprise second place at the Giro d’Italia.

    Arroyo announced the news after returning home to Talavera de la Reina near Toledo, where was given a special award by the local mayor. Arroyo was only the ninth Spaniard in history to finish on the Giro d’Italia podium. He wore the pink jersey for five days, and eventually finished 1:51 behind Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo).

    "I am very happy with the second place at the Giro. I'm still taking in what I managed to achieve, and I have to thank everyone who helped me," he told the Spanish news agency EFE.

    Arroyo lost the race lead to Basso on the stage 19 to Aprica, despite diving down the descent of the Mortirolo and nearly closing the gap to the leaders.

    "I was not aware of the dangers on the descent. I was just trying to keep the pink jersey and reduce the time gap. It was only after that, I realised how dangerous the descent was.”

    Arroyo will now take a break from racing and then ride the three-day Vuelta a Madrid in mid-July before preparing for the Tour of Spain that begins in Seville on August 28.

    "I’ll start my preparation for the Vuelta a España in July and ride the Vuelta a Madrid, so that I’ll be ready for September,” he said.
    With Alejandro Valverde now facing a global suspension for doping and Arroyo targeting the Vuelta, the Caisse d’Epargne team will have Luis Leon Sanchez as team leader for the Tour de France. Like many of his teammates, Arroyo gave his support to Valverde.

    "We all hope that he is not eventually sanctioned and continues to win. All the team is with him," Arroyo said.

    Caisse d’Epargne will end its sponsorship of the team this year but Arroyo confirmed he will speak to team manager Eusebio Unzue before accepting any...