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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Date published:
June 22, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Mancebo eyes Tour de Beauce overall title

    Francisco Mancebo (
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 1:39 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Spaniard points to Mont Megantic and time trial as deal breakers

    Francisco Mancebo ( is arguably the most threatening rider to win the overall title at the UCI Tour de Beauce, as the race heads into the ‘queen’ stage three that finishes atop Mont Megantic. The Spaniard is hoping to use the ascent to gain time on his rivals before the stage four time trial.

    "There are two stages that are going to be harder Mont Megantic, which will be very important, and the time trial the next day," Mancebo said. "The classification difference is small right now and I think the first riders to climb Mont Megantic and do well in the time trial can win the overall here."

    Mancebo is currently sitting in sixth place overall, five seconds behind race leader and stage one winner Scott Lyttle (PureBlack Racing). brought a respectable team to the event with the intention of winning the overall title. The squad also includes Thomas Rabou, Tommy Nankervis, Frank Travieso, Cole House, Yosvany Falcon and Ian Burnett.

    Mancebo and Rabou were involved in the stage one decisive breakaway of 22 riders that gained 22:44 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Mancebo was just one of several potential contenders for the overall title, which also included current Lyttle and his teammate Tim Gudsell, defending champion Ben Day (Kenda/5-hour Energy), Pat McCarty and Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10), Alex Howes (Chipotle Development) and Bernard Colex (Amore&Vita).

    "Paco being in the break was the main reason we were so happy with it," said DS Gord Fraser. "We did a lot of the work in that break, rightfully so, Paco has shown that he is the man to beat at any race he enters this year. We are looking good and sitting right where we want to be."

    Stage three will offer the field a 153 kilometres point-to-point road race...

  • Cavendish reported to be joining Team Sky for 2012

    Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish were best buddies before the start.
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 9:44 BST
    Cycling News

    British newspaper says sprinter will double his salary

    The Daily Mail newspaper has claimed that Mark Cavendish will join Team Sky for 2012 after not being offered a new deal by his current HTC-Highroad team.

    Cyclingnews understands that Team Sky would also like to sign Cavendish's key lead-out men Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw. However, both are under contract with HTC-Highroad for 2012 after agreeing new deals at the end of the 2010 Tour de France.

    Under UCI rules, riders and teams cannot announce new contracts until August 1. However, the Daily Mail claims Cavendish will earn £1.5 million a year, doubling his current salary.

    Team Sky was created with the goal of winning the Tour de France within five years but after a difficult first year, the British team has now set wider goals. Team manager Dave Brailsford has always refused to comment on possible rider signings but is rumoured to planning a major overhaul of its squad for 2012.

    Cyclingnews understands that Cavendish’s current contract with HTC-Highroad prohibits him from talking about any future team.

    He is currently riding the Tour de Suisse and responded to the news via Twitter, saying: “As always, I can't go 1 race without some sort of shit going on. At least it's not a crash this time! I will say I'm committed ….@HTCHighroad until the end of this year, and I'm concentrating now on TourDeFrance. Also, please note, all quotes are 9 months old.”

  • Vuelta director doubts Contador will target grand tour triple

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) atop the Col du Galibier
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 9:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard unlikely to take part in home stage race

    Javier Guillén, director of the Vuelta a España, has told Spanish news agency EFE that there is little chance of Alberto Contador riding his race after the Spaniard confirmed he will ride the Tour de France.

    "I think it will be difficult to have Contador at the Vuelta, but the decision is up to him," said Guillén. "Logic dictates that after a Giro and a Tour, it is very complicated to also do the Vuelta. That being said, if there is somebody who can do it, it's Alberto Contador."

    The race director was happy to confirm several big names for the Vuelta, that starts in Benidorm on August 20. Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Mikel Nieve, Igor Antón, Oscar Freire and Robert Gesink have all been announced as riding.

    Guillén also commented the postponement of Contador's hearing in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sports, saying he felt "preoccupation and disgust" with regard to a case that should have been resolved much earlier.

    "It's not good that the matter is still ongoing as it causes tremendous harm to cycling because of the uncertainty it creates. We can't wait for a whole year, during which there has been a Tour, Giro and Vuelta," he stated.

    Contador tested positive during the 2010 Tour de France for the banned steroid Clenbuterol. He has always calimed the minute traces of the drug were caused by contaminated meat. He was cleared by the Spanish Cycling Federation but the verdict has been appealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI).

  • Van den Broeck reported to have agreed terms with Lotto for 2012

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) after his stage win
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 10:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian media say Tour de France contender has a four-year deal

    Jurgen Van den Broeck has apparently chosen the Lotto team as his new squad for the next four years.

    According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, the gifted climber has committed to the new Belgian team after Omega Pharma and Lotto decided to part ways at the end of this season. Speculation about Philippe Gilbert's new team is still ongoing, with Quick Step, Lotto, Sky, BMC and Omega Pharma all possible destinations.

    Van den Broeck reportedly agreed a four-year deal with the new team sponsored by the Belgian national lottery. The team is said to been in talks with Belgian bike manufacturer Ridley as an equipment provider, as well as Belgacom to back up the squad financially.

    Van den Broeck's manager Jef Van den Bosch has neither confirmed nor denied the information. According to UCI rules, tranfers may not be officialised before August 1 of each season.

    However the newspaper claims that Marc Sergeant will be the new team manager, with Marc Frison and Mario Aerts becoming directeur sportif. Marc Wauters is reported set to integrate the cycling school within the Lotto project and remain a part-time directuer sportif.

    Since the annoucement of the split between Omega Pharma and Lotto a few weeks ago, rumours of rider signings and possible co-sponsorships have circulated in Belgium. With the best riders in the country available to sign for new teams - Tom Boonen is also out of a contract at the end if this year - the Belgian cycling scene is currently undergoing major changes.

  • Devolder in doubt for Tour de France

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 11:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian champion hit by death of Wouter Weylant

    Stijn Devolder planned to ride the Tour de France this year but may have changed his mind in recent weeks, opting to focus on the Vuelta a España instead.

    According to Het Nieuwblad, the Belgian national champion is finding it difficult to get back into form after the death of Wouter Weylandt, one of his closest friends.

    "If it was up to me, I wouldn't go to the Tour," he told reporters in Switzerland. Devolder is currently racing the Tour de Suisse, without any ambitions. "I just don't have the condition for it. I have been building it up from scratch since the Wouter's death."

    Weylandt died in a tragic accident during stage three of the Giro d'Italia.

    Devolder would prefer to try and get back on form for the Vuelta that begins on August 20.

    "I'd like to come back to form in a training camp in July, to be able to go to the Vuelta with ambitions for the general classification," he added.

    Vacasoleil team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren does not want to put any pressure on Devolder with regards to the Tour, even though the team leader would be missed if he were not to ride.

    "If he doesn't want to, he doesn't have to start," said Van der Schueren. "I'm still hoping he will. On Wednesday, we will sit down together with the medical staff to take the right decision. We have two scenarios for the Tour, one is with and the other one is without Devolder."

  • Liquigas-Cannondale turns down Astana offer for Nibali

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) lost time to Michele Scarponi (Lampre)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 11:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Kazakhstan team reportedly offered six million Euro to sign Italian

    Gazzetta dello Sport has revealed that the Liquigas-Cannondale team has turned down a multi-million Euro offer from Astana to release Vincenzo Nibali from his contract.

    According to the Italian sports newspaper, Astana offered Liquigas-Cannondale three million Euro to release Nibali from his contract and offered Nibali 1.5 million Euro a year for two years. It seems Astana was ready to spend a total of six million Euro to secure a new stage race leader. Current team leader Alexandre Vinokourov is set to retire in 2012 and the team has also been trying to secure classics rider Philippe Gilbert. 

    The offer was apparently made before the start of the Giro d’Italia but was quickly turned down by Liquigas-Cannondale team manager Roberto Amadio.

    “Our philosophy is clear. Nibali is one of the team figure heads and wouldn’t be sold for any price. It’s not about money,” Gazzetta reported Amadio as saying.

    Last year, Liquigas let Roman Kreuziger buy himself out of his contract and join Astana but this was because the Czech rider was looking for a bigger leadership role. The Italian team was happy to let him go, preferring to have Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali as its stage race leaders.

    Nibali finished third in the Giro d’Italia behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Italian rival Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). He returns to racing today at the Tour of Slovenia, which begins with a prologue time trial.

    Nibali will not ride the Tour de France but is set to return to the Vuelta Espana to defend his 2010 victory.

  • Castroviejo set for Movistar?

    Tour de Romandie leader Jonathan Castroviejo (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 13:33 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Basque press claims Mikel Nieve may make the same move

    Euskaltel's grip on some of the best young talent in the sport appears to be under threat from one of the peloton's bigger teams. Having lost Beñat Intxausti to Movistar at the end of last season, the Spanish press is reporting that Tour of Romandy prologue winner Jonathan Castroviejo and Giro d'Italia stage winner Mikel Nieve may be heading in the same direction.

    According to El Correo, Castroviejo has already been offered a three-year deal with Movistar when his current contract with Euskaltel runs out at the end of this season. Although the rider has denied on his Twitter page that any deal has been done, and his agent has described the reports of a move as "totally inexact", his agent did admit that "Movistar and two other ProTour teams are interested" in signing the 24-year-old Basque.

    Castroviejo first emerged in the same Seguros Bilbao team as Intxausti. The pair also share the same agent, Antonio Vaquerizas. El Correo describes Vaquerizas as having "a long-term enmity" with Miguel Madariaga, the president of the Fundación Euskadi body that controls the Euskaltel team.

    The newspaper also reports that Movistar are extremely interested in signing Nieve despite the Euskaltel climber having another year to run on his contract. Already a winner at the Cotobello summit in last year's Vuelta, Nieve's profile rose even higher when he won the "queen" stage in May's Giro d'Italia to Val di Fassa. Madariaga is said to have flown to Italy on the very next day to renegotiate Nieve's contract.

    In Movistar's favour is the fact that Nieve hails from the...

  • HTC-Highroad dismisses reports of Cavendish moving to Team Sky

    Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 15:40 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Peiper hopes US team will find new sponsor

    HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Allan Peiper has played down reports that Mark Cavendish is set to quit the team and join Team Sky for 2012.

    The Daily Mail newspaper and De Telegraaf in the Netherlands both reported that Cavendish has agreed to join Team Sky in 2012 after he was not offered a new contract by HTC-Highroad. Cavendish is reportedly set to earn £1.5 million a season with Team Sky, almost double what he earns under his current contract.

    Peiper is currently at the Tour de Suisse with Cavendish. The Manxman refused to talk to the AFP news agency but Peiper dismissed the reports of him having reached an agreement with Team Sky.

    "There's nothing we can say, it's hearsay at the moment," AFP reported Peiper as saying. "As far as I know it's just a rumour, but these rumours emerged at the Tour de France last year. I don't know any more than that.

    "The UCI negotiating time is from the August 1, I think everybody respects that. Mark has been with us five years and we'll give ourselves the opportunity to see about his future."

    Under International Cycling Union (UCI) rules, riders are allowed to hold talks with teams throughout the year but contracts cannot be signed or new signings announced until August 1.

    HTC’s sponsorship of the US-registered team ends this year and the electronics giant has so far not confirmed that it wishes to extend its support. HTC-Highroad uses Specialized bikes but is without a major second sponsor and is rumoured to be considering a link up with UnitedHealthcare that sponsors the Professional Continental team in the USA.

    Several other...