- Article published:
- May 3, 2011, 17:59
- Daniel Benson
Verbruggen steps in to mediate between UCI and teams
Despite upholding their position on boycotting September's Tour of Beijing, the AIGCP and CPA are hopeful that a compromise with the UCI over race radios can be achieved after the two parties began negotiations.
The hunt for comprise involves former UCI president Hein Verbruggen, who is helping bridge the differences between the UCI and AIGCP.
"All of the AIGCP teams signed a document agreeing to not participate in Tour of Beijing if a solution is not found, but I'm hopeful and confident a solution will be found," Jonathan Vaughters, president of the AIGCP told Cyclingnews.
In March, the AIGCP had publicly stated that if a ban on race radios has not been overturned by May 1 they would not participate in the Tour of Beijing later this year. Although that deadline has passed, Vaughters can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
"We're trying to reach a compromise that's acceptable to everyone, so I've noticed there has been some very good negotiations on the part of the UCI and we're certainly trying to get to the point where everyone is ready to move forward.
"I don't really have a specific timeline. I just know that both parties are trying to get to a place where we can both move forward and that's really it. I don't know what the timeline will be," he told Cyclingnews.
The UCI had banned the use of race radios in all races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below. It plans to extend this rule to cover World Calendar races in 2012. However, one possibly solution could involve the UCI upholding their current rule until such a time when an independent commission investigates the pros and cons of the radio ban.
"I think that the teams and UCI need to respect their own rules, but for instance the radio ban as it is does not apply to top level races. If the rule were to simply continue as things are this year until a commission could look at the benefits, pros and cons, which could take anything up to a year, then that might be something. If the rule stays at this status quo until then, then I think that that's an acceptable compromise. That's one possibility," Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
The role of Verbruggen in the debate will undoubtedly raise eyebrows. Now an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Verbruggen courted controversy during his presidency with comments on doping. He was president of UCI from 1995 until 2005 and last year Floyd Landis accused him and the UCI of covering up a failed dope test for Lance Armstrong. Both Verbruggen and Armstrong denied the claim and the sport's governing body has since threatened Landis with legal action.
Verbruggen has long been rumoured to still play an active but non-public role in the governance of the sport. However his air-drop into the no man's land between the UCI and AIGCP is rumoured to have been brought about after the UCI sent a letter to Vaughters in which they suggest imposing penalties on Garmin-Cervélo – the team Vaughters manages - if their boss persists with any discussion on a breakaway league.
While Vaughters would not comment on any letter, he did add that Verbruggen was helping both the UCI and AIGCP find a resolution. "I've had discussions with Hein Verbruggen on the topic, yes. I think he's trying to help find a compromise."
- Article published:
- May 3, 2011, 19:35
- Stephen Farrand
Menchov and Sastre lead Geox-TMC; Quick Step, Euskaltel and Team Sky confirm
More teams have confirmed their final rider selections for the Giro d’Italia as they prepare to set off for Turin for the final build-up to the race and Saturday’s opening team time trial.
The teams all submitted long lists of 12 riders to race organiser RCS Sport in April, but now Movistar, Geox-TMC, Quick Step, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Team Sky have all confirmed their final starting nine.
Italy’s Marzio Bruseghin was expected to be confirmed as one of the leaders of the Movistar team but doubts arose about his presence in the Giro after he was caught up in the Mantova doping investigation. He was initially given race number 122 by RCS Sport but was not included in the list of nine names issued by the team today.
The nine are: David Arroyo, Pablo Lastras, Vasil Kiryienka, Sergio Pardilla, Luis Pasamontes, Branislau Samoilau, Ignatas Konovalovas, Carlos Oyarzun and Francisco Ventoso.
Arroyo finished second overall in the 2010 Giro d’Italia after gaining 12 minutes on the other overall contenders in a breakaway on the stage 11 to L’Aquila.
Menchov and Sastre lead Geox-TMC
Geox-TMC has built its team around Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre as the Professional Continental team targets overall victory.
Menchov won the 2009 Giro despite a spectacular crash in the final time trial in Rome. The Russian has also won the 2005 and 2007 Vuelta Espana, meaning he is the most successful of the all the contenders in this year’s Giro.
Sastre won the 2008 Tour de France and won two mountain stages at the 2009 Giro while riding with Cervelo.
Also in the team are Spain's David Blanco and Rafael Valls, Colombians Mauricio Ardila and Fabio Duarte, Italian Gian Paolo Cheula, Russian Dimitriy Kozontchuk and Switzerland's Marcel Wyss.
Ciolek, Chicchi and Pineau lead Quick Step
Quick Step has named a young team that will target stage victories with sprinters Gerald Ciolek and Francesco Chicchi, while Frenchman Jerome Pineau will look to perform in the mountains and finish in the top ten of the final classification.
The full Quick Step line-up is: Dario Cataldo, Francesco Chicchi, Gerald Ciolek, Addy Engels, Davide Malacarne, Jerome Pineau, Francesco Reda, Kevin Seeldraeyers and Kristof Vandewalle.
Löfkvist heads Team Sky, Anton protected at Euskaltel-Euskadi
Cyclingnews revealed that Peter Kennaugh has taken the place of Serge Pauwels in the Team Sky line-up on Monday. The British team has now confirmed its full line-up for the race, with Thomas Löfkvist as team leader, while Russell Downing and Italy’s Davide Appollonio will target the sprint stages.
Löfkvist wore the race leader’s pink jersey in the Giro for a day in 2009. He will be supported by the experienced Anglo-Italian Dario David Cioni, Michael Barry, Kjell Carlström, Peter Kennaugh, Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Morris Possoni. Sean Yates will be the directeur sportif for Team Sky in Italy.
The Euskaltel-Euskadi team will arrive in Italy on Wednesday with the aim of helping Igor Anton in the numerous mountain stages. Also in the Basque team are Mikel Nieve, Juan Jose Oroz, Iñaki Isasi, Javier Aramendía, Jorge Azanza, Pierre Cazaux, Daniel Sesma and
- Article published:
- May 3, 2011, 20:03
- Cycling News
Inland route from Seaside to Paso Robles to add climbing
AEG, organisers of the Amgen Tour of California, announced today that they have altered the route of this year's stage 5 from Seaside to Paso Robles. The change was necessitated due to landslides which blocked the coastal Highway 1 after late winter storms in March. The stage will start and end in the same cities, but will take an inland route which avoids the coastal highway entirely.
The organisation was working with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), monitoring the status of repairs to the road. One landslide north of the Bixby Bridge resulted in part of the road collapsing and another slide 45 miles to the south buried the road.
Reports last month stated that the repairs to the highway would take right up until the May 19 stage. AEG president Andrew Messick set a deadline of April 30 to make a decision on the route and today announced the change.
"After working closely with Caltrans and assessing our options, we have determined that it is necessary to re-route Stage 5 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California," said Messick.
"We appreciate the hard work of all involved, including Caltrans and our Stage 5 start and finish host cities, to make this route change a seamless one. We are looking forward to showcasing a portion of California that the race has never visited, and a stage that will feature challenging terrain and a remarkable day of racing."
Seaside will remain the host city for the start, but instead of heading south to the coast, the race will instead head east through Fort Ord and the Laguna Seca raceway. The course then heads down highway 68 to Laureles Grade and the day's first classified climb.
A sprint in Carmel Valley precedes two more KOM sprints on Carmel Valley Road, both category 4. The day's second sprint comes in Greenfield at kilometer 91, when the stage is not even half over.
After 20km of flat roads, the peloton will encounter a gradual 300m unclassified climb followed by continual rolling terrain near the San Antonio Reservoir. The final KOM on Interlake Road comes with 33km to go before the peloton heads down Nacimiento Lake Drive to approach Paso Robles from the north.
At the end of the day, the racers will have spent more than 6.5 hours on the bike as they cover 217km and nearly 3000 meters of climbing. Coming directly after the Sierra Road mountaintop finish and before the Solvang Time Trial, the stage offers little rest for the general classification contenders.
- Article published:
- May 3, 2011, 21:51
- Peter Hymas
Romandie's best young rider heads home for Amgen Tour of California
One year ago Andrew Talansky raised eyebrows with his top-10 overall finish and best young rider classification title at the Tour of the Gila while racing for the amateur California Giant-Specialized squad.
Fast forward to this year and the 22-year-old American has duplicated the feat, albeit this time at the ProTour-level Tour de Romandie while in his debut season for Garmin-Cervélo. The US-based ProTour squad conducted a successful campaign at the Swiss stage race as Talansky and David Millar finished ninth and 10th respectively on general classification, David Zabriskie won the penultimate day's time trial, Talansky and teammate Peter Stetina claimed a 1-2 finish on the young rider classification and Garmin-Cervélo prevailed in the team classification.
"It was a great week for the team. Short of winning the whole race, we did just about everything you could do there," Talansky told Cyclingnews from his European base in Lucca, Italy.
Talansky's opening day prologue result, however, was hardly a harbinger of his week to come. He crashed on the 3km circuit and finished the stage in dead last, 155th place at 1:02. He would ultimately finish only 40 seconds off the podium at week's end, but the pragmatic Talansky was quick to brush aside any speculation of what could have been.
"If it's a longer TT and you do a quick bike change maybe you'll get back into your rhythm, but in a prologue like that, it's all about getting into it and nailing every corner," Talansky said. "I wasn't thinking about the overall after I crashed, I just pedaled to the finish.
"That's bike racing and things happen. If you spend your time thinking 'woulda, coulda, shoulda', you can say Andy Schleck would have won the Tour if he hadn't dropped his chain. The reality is he didn't win the Tour (de France).
"It's nice to have people say I could have been on the podium, but that would have changed the race completely. If I had been racing for the podium it would have been a completely different race. I got to go through with nobody paying any attention to me because I was dead last after the prologue."
It's all part of a learning curve for Talansky in his first season at Garmin-Cervélo and he's proved to be an attentive and diligent pupil. He came out flying in his season's debut with a fourth overall at the Tour Méditerranéen, narrowly edged out for the final podium spot and the young rider jersey by Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM).
"It's a great race, I really enjoyed it and it was a fantastic season opener. However, a lot of people expected a lot right after that but that was more the U23 style of racing where the stages were a little shorter and just required one, bigger effort. All I had to do was do one good 20-minute climb the whole race to get that result."
Talansky soon found himself in Garmin-Cervélo line-ups for Paris-Nice and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, events which paved the way for his Tour de Romandie performance.
"What allowed me to feel good at Romandie was getting the opportunity to do Paris-Nice, to get dropped on climbs, suffer through and help out where I could. And at Tour of the Basque Country it was the same thing. The last day there, the last road stage before the time trial, I felt really good on the climbs and that was the first time I can honestly say this whole season that I felt comfortable on climbs. It's just a matter of me getting used to doing hard climb after hard climb and being able to do it at the end of a long day."
What has been consistently strong for Talansky, his Romandie prologue experience excepted, is his time trialing. Talansky, the 2010 American U23 time trial champion, has thus far tallied these solid results against the clock: seventh in stage six at Paris-Nice, fifth in stage two at Critérium International, fifth in stage six at Vuelta al Pais Vasco and most recently sixth in stage four at Tour de Romandie.
"It's kind of funny because I thought of that (time trialing) last season as more of my weak point," said Talansky. "I won the U23 national time trial championship last year and I didn't win it by a lot, it wasn't some amazing performance, but it kind of shifted my mentality a bit.
"Coming into this year this is the first time I've ever felt comfortable on a time trial bike. I take it out and ride it a couple of times a week and it's just a matter of practice. I know the position's fast and that I can put out the power.
"I've definitely surprised myself, but by the time Romandie came around I'd come to expect to be able to do a good time trial when it counts."
What certainly counts now for the Napa, California resident is a return to his home state for the Amgen Tour of California.
"It's really cool to have these great performances over here [in Europe] where you're up there individually on the podium and up there with your team. Your family can watch it on TV, but you're wishing that all those people who've supported me all of this time to be there in person to see it," said Talansky. "That's what California is - an opportunity for my family, my friends, my girlfriend and her family, all to come and see the race and be a part of it.
"With the team we're taking to that race, we have a very good chance of winning the overall or even having two people on the podium at the end. We're not going in there just to animate the race, we're going there to win. When you go in with that mentality it's definitely exciting to be part of that."
- Article published:
- May 3, 2011, 22:48
- Jane Aubrey
GreenEdge targets wary in a post-Pegasus world
As Shayne Bannan's GreenEdge project ramps up its efforts to gain a UCI ProTeam licence for 2012, a perfect storm is brewing as top teams fight to hold on to their Australian talent. For the riders themselves, it may be a case of once bitten, twice shy.
It would no doubt be a mouth-watering prospect for Australian riders to be linked with a home-grown team, however it is a move that comes with some trepidation, especially following Pegasus Sports' failed bid to create Australia's first-ever ProTeam or second-ever Professional Continental outfit.
Bannan accepts that given that a number of seasoned professionals were caught out by the Pegasus collapse, it's not going to be an 'easy' decision to jump ship to a team in its infancy.
"We're going to really do our homework and spend a lot of time and energy on our structure so when we get the opportunity to go to riders and their managers, we've got a really good package," he explained to Cyclingnews.
Cyclingnews' research suggests that over a dozen Australian riders are off contract at the end of the current season. When GreenEdge was launched at the Tour Down Under last January, Bannan said that he was aiming for a roster made up of 75 per cent Australian riders, claiming "I don't really think it's healthy to state that we want to be 100 per cent Australian - I think that may cause a little bit of complacency." With that in mind, the next few months will prove crucial for both Bannan and his potential targets.
Bannan says that GreenEdge will only court "guys who are at the end of their contracts at the end of this year."
Australians up for contract renewal include: Allan Davis (Astana), Rohan Dennis (Rabobank Continental), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Simon Gerrans (Sky), Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Robbie McEwen (RadioShack), Jack Bobridge, Cameron and Travis Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo), Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek), Saxo Bank-SunGard's Baden Cooke, Richie Porte and Luke Roberts, Cameron Wurf (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Luke Durbridge (Jayco-AIS). Add Matthew Lloyd who was recently released by Omega Pharma-Lotto, and you have a skeleton of a particularly impressive team.
This week, Davis claimed that he is on the outer with Astana as evidenced at the Tour of Turkey because he is on GreenEdge's radar.
Goss, whose results have come thick and fast over the last 12 months of racing, has the interest of several teams. He says that Pegasus is certainly at the back of his mind when it comes to determining his next steps.
"The team they're [GreenEdge] setting up seems very professional and that's a good thing because I think we've all seen last year that if things are a bit rushed it doesn't always turn out for the best," he told Cyclingnews. "You can really be left high and dry with not a lot left to go on.
"It's always going to be a risk no matter where the new team is coming from and it's not really a team until the last minute in the season. You've just got to hope that the team has got everything set up right. You've got to have a lot of confidence in these people to be able to pull off something like that."
Bannan agrees that the task for GreenEdge over the coming months is a challenging one, but is confident of what he can put on the table explaining that it's not just about the economic advantages for the riders but it's also about the services that can be provided in athlete welfare, in physiology and biomechanics.
"We're understanding that they're in good teams at the moment so we've got a certain standard that we've set ourselves and we've got to come up to," he said.
Part of that process is getting his potential recruits to recognise that GreenEdge is more than just a project.
"They've got to see it as something that's got to value-add to their career. I've got to admit, we're still a fair way off achieving that but I'm still confident that when the time comes, we'll be able to put a really good package to the rider."
- Article published:
- May 4, 2011, 01:08
- Cycling News
Italian veteran on comeback from CERA ban
Davide Rebellin has reportedly signed for Pro Continental team, Miche – Guerciotti according to Biciciclismo.
Rebellin tested positive for the blood boosting drug CERA in re-testing of the 2008 Olympic doping controls done by the International Olympic Committee. The Italian had claimed the silver medal in the men's road race. Rebellin's positive test was announced in April 2009, shortly after he had won Flèche Wallone. He had also finished 4th in the world championships in Varese in the intervening period.
At Miche – Guerciotti, Rebellin will join Stefan Schumacher, who also returned a positive test for CERA at Beijing 2008.
Late last year, the 39-year-old was quoted as saying in Il Giornale di Vicenza, "I want to come back with a squad that will enable me to ride the biggest races, the classics above all, and to earn a blue jersey at the next world championships."
Rebellin's doping ban ended on April 27 and he's recently been linked to a number of teams, including Spanish Pro Continental team Andalucia-Caja Granada.
In 2004 – perhaps his finest season, the Italian unprecedentedly won the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège; the treble recently bettered by Omega Pharma-Lotto's Philippe Gilbert.
News of Rebellin's signing comes on the same day as Miche – Guerciotti's Pasquale Muto has tested positive for EPO following the Giro dell'Appennino on April 10.
- Article published:
- May 4, 2011, 05:55
- Cycling News
Rabobank continues commitment to youth development
20-year old Dutch climbing talent Wilco Kelderman will join the senior Rabobank Team as of next year, having proved himself in the continental development team over the last few seasons.
Last year the young Barnevelder rode impressively, putting in good performances at the Tour Alsace (where he won a stage and claimed the overall) and also at the prestigious Tour de l'Avenir. The Dutchman has continued his run of results this year impressing management enough to be awarded with a professional contract for 2012.
"I'm thrilled that I get my chance in the pro ranks. I’m looking forward to next year and I hope that I can repay the confidence placed in me by team management by picking up some good results. I’ve really only ever been interested in riding for Rabobank, and so this is definitely the realization of a dream for me," Kelderman said.
Rabobank’s continental team continues to churn out new Dutch talent. Kelderman’s signing continues a flow of riders from the feeder team that includes, Tom Jelte Slagter, who made the switch to the pro ranks this year, Lars Boom and Robert Gesink.
Erik Breukink was quick to highlight this fact when quizzed about Kelderman’s signing.
"We will continue our motto 'Loyalty and Time for Talent’" the Rabobank technical director said.
"With Kelderman we have another great product of the training team of Peter Kuys and Arthur van Dongen. Young riders want to join our team because we help them develop. This is a great compliment to the entire team."
- Article published:
- May 4, 2011, 09:17
- Susan Westemeyer
Cyclo-cross world champion races for Quick Step for the first time
Zdenek Stybar is excitedly looking forward to his making his debut in the professional peloton with the Quick Step team. The reigning cyclo-cross world champion will ride the Four Days of Dunkirk that begins today.
"It feels like the first day of school", he told Het Nieuwsblad. "I'm going to see my new mates, new teachers are coming ... Everything will be as I dreamed for years.
“As a little boy I always looked with wide eyes at the professional cyclists: What kind of bike do they ride? What shoes do they have? What does their jersey look like? Now I have all of that myself.”
The 25 year-old was so excited that as soon as he returned from his post-cross season holiday, “I could no longer stop myself. I jumped into my kit and went training. Then when you pick up your water bottle and see Quick Step written on it: Great.”
Stybar admitted that “I do not know what to expect, because I just don't know how quickly the pack goes. Though I am realistic. My last race was in the indoor cross in Hasselt, since then I've just been training. I'm not thinking of winning but of getting water or jackets, in short, making myself useful to the team. "
"If you're not good enough to win, you work. Simple. And then you're honest,” the Czech explained. "The first year I have no problem with that. But ultimately I want to prove something to myself. I didn't want to just be one of many in cyclo-cross and I don't want to be one of many on the road. I need victories."
“I want to be one of the best on certain courses. If not - and I'll soon find that out - then I will return to cyclo-cross. Because otherwise the investment of time and money is not worth it. "