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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Date published:
June 09, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Clarke leaves Bahati Foundation for UnitedHealthcare

    Hilton Clarke (Bahati Foundation) explains how it all went down.
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 22:27 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Sponsor withdrawal forces riders to rethink and move

    Hilton Clarke has opted to leave the Bahati Foundation Cycling Team for a more secure position with UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis starting on June 10. The Australian sprinter took advantage of the UCI's mid-season transfer rules to make the move after he received letter from the Bahati team advising all riders to look for a new contract.

    "On May 27 the entire team was sent a letter saying that sponsor OUCH had left and that the team had no money or sponsors left and they advised all riders to go and get other teams," Clarke told Cyclingnews. "From that, coming up on June 10 is my starting date to race with UnitedHealthcare, which I am really excited about."

    "We were advised we were not getting paid anymore and that all the funding was gone," he added. "As soon as I got that email I looked around to see if there were other teams that were interested in me and right away UnitedHealthcare was interested. They were the team that I wanted to go to first and foremost because I considered them and Fly V Australia the two best teams in country. So, I am excited to go to one of the top teams in the country."

    Clarke’s team change comes just in time to meet the rules which allow riders to switch UCI teams between June 1 and June 25.

    The Bahati Foundation’s title sponsor OUCH Medical Center recently pulled its funding from the team after rider Floyd Landis admitted to doping in the past. He also alleged that several other professional riders including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during his time with US Postal.

    Since OUCH Medical Center was the primary financial backer, the team does not have the necessary funds to pay its riders their agreed upon salaries. "Right now we don’t have any money to pay anybody," said Nathan O’Neill, a rider on the Bahati Foundation team. "According to the rules riders had 15 days from their last pay day, which was May...

  • Ceramica Flaminia recruits from Girobio

    Riders stand on the podium following stage four of the Baby Giro.
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 10:42 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Added incentive for Under 27 riders

    Professional Continental squad Ceramica Flaminia has created an additional incentive for Italian riders in this year's Girobio - Giro Ciclistico d'Italia ('Baby Giro'): a contract with the team.

    Team management has stated that it will offer a contract to the two highest-ranked riders on general classification at race's end. "Yes, there's great interest in the Girobio," said Ceramica Flaminia manager Roberto Marrone. "Ceramica Flaminia will guarantee a contract for the best two Italian riders in the final classification."

    The nine-stage event gets underway this Friday in Serravalle Scrivia with an 111.6km journey to Salsomaggiore Terme, about 40km south of Piacenza. It finishes on June 20 in Gaiole in Chianti, having travelled 1,277.5km, the most prestigious Under 27 race in Italy and well known throughout the world.

    "It's attention that makes us proud," said ASD Girobio President Giancarlo Brocci of Ceramica Flaminia's statement. "We know that the professional world is watching us with a strong interest because our commitment to cycling enthusiasts enables the recovery of the core values of this sport."

  • Tiralongo back at work for Contador

    Alberto Contador rides in the Pyrenees with his Astana teammates.
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 10:45 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Experienced Italian reveals how crash changed Astana's Giro

    Having crashed out of the Giro d'Italia's sixth stage last month, Paolo Tiralongo is back at work, helping Alberto Contador at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Prior to the race's long time trial, the Italian told Cyclingnews how the dual Tour de France champion measures up as Astana's captain.

    "In the evening after my crash at the Giro, I received a phone call from Alberto," Tiralongo recalled. "He gave me my schedule straight away. Last week, I was with him training in the Pyrénées. Now we are at the Dauphiné but mostly for training purposes. We have already won a stage (the prologue), we wouldn't mind to win one more but that's all.

    "For two days, we have failed in letting a breakaway go and somebody else taking the yellow jersey," he explained. "The most important thing for us is to have good legs during the third week of the Tour de France. After the Dauphiné, on Monday and Tuesday, we'll stay in the Alps to reconnoitre two stages of the Tour. Then I'll go to Madrid and I'll spend one more week training with Alberto."

    Tiralongo is familiar with this kind of sacrifice, taking periods away from his family to train prior to the Giro d'Italia, although his race ended in the hospital of Pontremoli. "It was a nasty crash on my head", he said. "My helmet saved my life. Four days later I managed to do my first important training ride but even now I feel some pain in my ribs and cervical vertebrae."

    Tiralongo's retirement left Alexandre Vinokourov with a much weaker team for the remaining two weeks of the Giro. The Italian revealed the real race plan at Astana: "I was supposed to stay with Alex in the difficult moments of the first two weeks and when he had the maglia rosa but in the third week, with the steep mountains at the end, I was the man for the general classification. With the condition I had, I think I would have made the top five."

    He came 15th in the 2006 Giro d'Italia...

  • Belgian cyclist gets Olympic gold medal 62 years after victory

    A fan in vintage outfit cheers on his favorite riders with a Belgian flag at the start in Compiegne
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 10:47 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Better late than never, says 82-year-old

    Eugene Van Roosbroeck has finally received his Olympic gold medal, 62 years after he won it at the 1948 Olympics in London. The 82-year-old Belgian and two teammate won the gold medal for the best team in the cycle race.

    International Olympic Committee president Jacque Rogge presented Van Roosbroeck with his medal on Monday. Lode Wouters, 81, was too ill to attend the ceremony, but will receive his medal later. The third team member, Leon De Lathouwer, has passed away.

    After the 194 kilometre road race event at the London games, the three Belgian simply got on the bus and went back to their housing, not knowing they had won gold.

    "It was complete chaos after the race - there was no ceremony or stage to collect the medals," Van Roosbroeck recounted.

    "Lode Wouters finished third, Leon De Lathouwer was fourth and I was ninth. With these results we were first in the team standings but that was a result that they drew up only after many calculations. After the event we jumped on the double-decker bus back to the barracks that served as the Olympic Village. A day later I was back in Belgium."

    “It was only afterwards that we heard we were the best team. None of us thought that there was a medal awarded for the team event. The honour was enough for us."

     

  • Bordry critical of UCI testing

    Pierre Bordry
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 10:47 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman says doping still easy to practice

    French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) chief Pierre Bordry has criticised the testing undertaken by the International Cycling Union (UCI) at the Tour de France, labelling it "predictable and ineffective".

    Bordry, whose organisation has long been at loggerheads with cycling's governing body, told the 'Frontal 21' program on German TV network ZDF, "The tests are arranged so that the riders know in advance" when they will be subject to anti-doping scrutiny.

    Critical of the UCI's methods, Bordry said, "There are not enough targeted controls, too little training [for testers] and unannounced inspections; someone who wants to dope knows the system perfectly well."

    The program pointed out that when the AFLD did not conduct testing - at last year's Tour de France - not one doping case was discovered. Meanwhile, when it participated in anti-doping scrutineering during the 2008 Tour, the likes of Stefan Schumacher, Leonardo Piepoli, Bernhard Kohl and Riccardo Riccó were all outed for taking banned substances.

    These latest comments come after Bordry last month sent an email to UCI President Pat McQuaid offering to conduct more testing throughout this year's Tour de France, citing the apparent lax treatment of Team Astana at last year's Tour as evidence of the need for assisting cycling's governing body in its anti-doping efforts.

    And while McQuaid criticised the AFLD for carrying out minimal testing prior to last year's race, Bordry explained that the UCI has again refused to share athletes' whereabouts details with the AFLD, in a situation similar to that encountered before last year's race.

    "There are teams which have never given us or the UCI [athletes'] whereabouts or only when it's too late," said Bordry. "We want to control the riders who will be training in France before the race starts. Without those files, it will be difficult to find them but we'll try and find a solution."

  • Velits out of Dauphine with broken collarbone

    Czech champion Martin Mares (PSK Whirlpool-Author) with Peter Velits (HTC Columbia)
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 10:51 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    HTC-Columbia rider likely to miss Tour de France as well

    Peter Velits of HTC-Columbia has crashed out of the Critérium du Dauphiné, jeopardising his chances for this year's Tour de France. .

    25 year-old Velits finished second in the race's first stage but crashed at high-speed during the sprint finish of  Tuesday's second stage to Bourg-Saint-Andeol. He crossed the finish line before heading off to hospital for x-rays, which confirmed the fracture. It is not yet known if he will need surgery.

    Earlier this week HTC-Columbia issued its long list of riders for this year's Tour de France, including Velits. However he probably now has little chance of recovering in time to be at the start of the Tour in Rotterdam on July 3.

    "At the end of May, he fell in the Tour of Bavaria and broke a little bone in his wrist, enough to cause him to withdraw," HTC-Columbia directeur sportif Alan Peiper told AFP."Even if he was fit again for the start of the Tour, he would be lacking in race practice."

    Velits was U-23 World road champion in 2007. He and twin brother Martin rode for Team Milram from 2008 and 2009 before joining HTC-Columbia this year.
     

  • Boasson Hagen on track for Tour debut

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Professional Cycling Team) gets ready for his first E3 with the British squad.
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 10:55 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Dauphiné endeavours good preparation for July

    Edvald Boasson Hagen has bounced back to prominence after leading out Geraint Thomas during the final two kilometres of yesterday's stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    Saxo Bank's Juan José Haedo came out of the box on the left side of the road and destroyed Sky's ambitions of winning a bunch sprint, with Russell Downing the penultimate rider between Boasson Hagen and Thomas, who eventually finished ninth.

    "I was happy with my feelings on the bike today, it looks like my form is coming back," the Norwegian prodigy told Cyclingnews afterwards. He had remained anonymous the previous day in a stage marred by crashes. "I don't want to take any particular risks here, I'm still in the process of coming back from injury," he explained.

    Boasson Hagen missed the Spring classics because of an Achilles injury and resumed racing at the Bayern Rundfahrt two weeks ago. "I took it easy in Germany," he said. "And I want to take it easy again at the Dauphiné.

    "I'm not going to kill myself in this race. I want to continue my progression and maybe ride the Tour de France, if Team Sky wants me to ride."

    It's all part of his plan to complete the Dauphiné, after which he'll take part in the Norwegian championships for the time trial and road race in Trondheim at the end of June. The difficult course appears to suit him - he'll have two great teammates for the road race, with Kurt-Asle Arvesen (who has won the title five times) and Lars-Petter Nordhaug, who is another Team Sky stablemate.

    Last week, Boasson Hagen and Nordhaug paid a visit to Norway's premier stage race, the Ringerike Grand Prix in Hønefoss. "I was happy to see my former team, Joker-Bianchi, win the overall classification with Christer Rake," Boasson Hagen said. "This is their first time since I won it in 2007."

    Boasson Hagen doesn't want to rush his comeback after injury, although his debut at the Tour de France,...

  • Basso targets Tour de France podium

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) kisses his trophy
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 13:00 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Giro d'Italia winner back in France after four year exile

    Ivan Basso is convinced he can take on Alberto Contador and finish somewhere on the podium at the Tour de France after he showed he was back to his best by winning the Giro d'Italia.

    Basso spent Monday and Tuesday checking out the finish of stage 8 of the Tour de France to Morzine and stage nine to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with teammate Roman Kreuziger. He then immediately headed to a Liquigas-Doimo altitude training camp in the Italian Dolomites, confirming that he has come out of the Giro motivated and hungry to ride the Tour de France.

    "My attempt to finish on the podium at the Tour has begun," he told Gazzetta dello Sport after the trip to France.

    "The first mountain finish of the Tour is very important. It always has been in all my Giro and Tour rides. I know these mountains but it was important to see them again with Roman. We talked a lot during the seven hours of riding we did and it was very important."

    Basso claimed his Giro d'Italia victory allowed him to put his ban for blood doping behind him and look optimistically to the future and the final part of his career.

    The start of this year's Tour de France in Rotterdam on July 3 will mark the end of his four-years Tour exile. He left the 2006 race via a back door after being implicated in Operacion Puerto. Now he wants to return with his head held high.

    "Looking back, the Tour de France has always meant a lot to me. I focused totally on the Tour between 2001 and 2005," he said.

    "Now I want to go back to the Tour and I'm very motivated to do well. It's only just over a week since I won the Giro but it feels like I'm at the first training camp of the season. I could have sat back and enjoyed my Giro win and come back in 2011 but I really want to ride the Tour and try to win it."

    Attack Contador

    At 32, Basso knows time is running out for him to target both the Giro and Tour in the same season. He also...