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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Date published:
November 24, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Salzwedel leads Russian team in Australian criterium series

    Former Denmark manager Heiko Salzwedel
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 4:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former AIS coach returns Down Under

    Former Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) road cycling coach Heiko Salzwedel will return to Australia in charge of a powerful Russian national team for the inaugural NSW Grand Prix Series to be staged from December 8-12.

    Salzwedel established the AIS road cycling program in Canberra in 1990 following an outstanding record as national track coach of East Germany, where he won numerous world championships.

    In his seven years working for the AIS, Salzwedel oversaw the emergence of riders such as Kathy Watt, Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans, Patrick Jonker, Henk Vogels and Matt White.

    Salzwedel has also been integral in the development of British and Danish cycling, taking the latter to a silver medal in the teams pursuit at the Beijing Olympics whilst the former has enjoyed immense success on the track and with the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish on the road.

    He'll now be working with a Russian squad that will compete in the NSW Grand Prix Series and has an eye on developing it ahead of the London Olympic Games, much in the manner with which he built Denmark's team before the 2008 Olympics.

    The Russians have Alexei Markov heading a six-man team, with Evhenia Romanuta competing in the Honda Insight Women's series. Markov will head a powerful combination that includes Ivan and Evheny Kavaliev, Alex Serov, Valery Valynin and Alex Khatunzev.

    Markov, the 31-year-old Katusha pro, won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics when he was just 16 years of age, adding silver and bronze medals at Olympics and world championships since then and has won numerous races throughout Europe.

    Alexander Serov, also a ProTour rider with Katusha, has been one of the mainstays of Russian teams during the past decade and has won five world cups and stages in the Tour of Britain whilst 24-year-old Ivan Kovalev has won World Cup scratch races on the track and is a major part of the Russian teams pursuit squad.

    The NSW Grand...

  • Two new US women's teams announced

    Amber Neben (Webcor Builders) leads Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) and Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) over the finish line.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 4:35 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Compensates for loss of Vera Bradley and Webcor Builders

    After experiencing the loss of two professional teams at the end of this season the US women’s peloton will welcome two new outfits in 2011. Connecticut-based Danbury Audi and Colorado-based Primal-MapMyRIDE p/b BH Bikes are in the midst of finalising the details for their respective programs and both will fill an eight-rider roster.

    "I felt, along with Danbury Audi, that with some women's programs disappearing now was the right time to get a new program off the ground," said Team Danbury Audi manager Greg Wolf regarding the recently disbanded pro teams Vera Bradley Foundation and Webcor Builders.

    "Women's cycling has so much potential but people don't give it the credit that it's due," he said. "Our long term goal of the team is to build a top women's program."

    Danbury Audi stated in a recent press release that it test ran a women's team at the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont in September, where they captured two podiums and one stage win, passing the test for building a promising team in 2011.

    The team has hired a preliminary roster that will be lead by former US Under 23 Champion Rebecca Much, Kathleen Billington, Hillary Billington and Linsey Myers. Wolf indicated that the team will hire three additional riders and are currently reviewing resumes.

    Primal-MapMyRIDE p/b BH Bikes recently announced that its program aims to support professional women's cycling and create an avenue for better feedback on the development of women-specific technologies.

    "We've formed a very strong team of women," said directeur sportif Susannah Gordon. "People that other women, and even men, can look to for training advice and competitive inspiration. Besides riding to win, two unique aspects of the team will be helping develop women's specific products and fans will be able to learn from and interact with team members using GPS-based social media."

    Gordon will direct an eight-rider roster that includes Nicole...

  • Swift to start at Tour Down Under but looks to peak at Vuelta

    Ben Swift (Team Sky) was the overall winner of the Tour of Picardie
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 10:15 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Season of track and road racing ahead for Sky fastman

    Ben Swift (Team Sky) has targeted a stage in next year’s Vuelta as one of his biggest goals for the 2011 season. The 22-year-old was forced out of the race through illness this year with his entire team subsequently pulling a few days later due to the death of their popular soigneur, Txema Gonzalez.

    Swift’s 2010 season was also plagued by minor injuries, with knee and back problems robbing him of his best form. However he took a stage victory and the overall classification in the Tour of Picardie, and sees the Vuelta as unfinished business.

    “I want to get a win in the Vuelta,” Swift told Cyclingnews.

    “ I’d like to target the sprinters jersey as well. With it being quite a lumpy race it can get rid of the lot sprinters and you can end up with a 40 man group. The type of situation where someone like Philippe Gilbert did so well in this year.”

    Swift has immense respect for the Belgian classics rider, both on and off the bike.

    “He’s definitely a rider I respect a hell of a lot and has a lot of the characteristics I admire. He can get over the climbs and he’s got a kick on him. I enjoy getting stuck in on the sprints, there’s no better adrenaline rush but for me to perform at my best it has to be from a smaller group.”

    Swift’s talent at being able to get over moderate climbs while many of his sprint rivals suffer mean he can compensate for any short coming against the worlds best sprinters. Against the likes of Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar and Andre Greipel, he admits that he’s not quite in the same league.

    “To beat them I’d have to have a lot of luck and it would need to be a perfect day and maybe they have a problem but if it was lumpier day then maybe. On sheer out and out speed I’ve got no chance against them.”

    Swift will split his 2011 season into two segments: the first around the...

  • Evans preaches caution in Armstrong case

    Cadel Evans (Australia) put up a resiliant defence of his world title.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 10:24 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian to ride Tour and Vuelta in 2011

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has said that Lance Armstrong is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Armstrong was among the riders named in Floyd Landis’ detailed allegations of a systematic doping programme at the U.S. Postal Service team, which became public in May. The American has strongly denied all allegations.

    A federal investigation into the matter is ongoing. Last week, an American delegation led by special agent Jeff Novitzky met with European anti-doping investigators at Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.

    “Someone being accused or investigated doesn’t mean they’re guilty,” Evans told the Sydney Morning Herald when questioned on the matter, although he believes that those who are found guilty of doping should face consequences. “OK, when they're proved to be guilty let's hope justice is done and you're punishing people for wrong-doing.”

    Evans was careful not to enter into the specifics of the Armstrong case and instead limited himself to some more general points.

    ''I think if anyone is investigated and then cleared, well, then they're more innocent than anyone who's not investigated, aren't they?” Evans said. “But also, unfortunately, people, and sometimes rightly so, attach investigation and accusation with guilt, which isn't always the case. I think for innocent people to be associated with guilt is really unfortunate.''

    The former world champion also admitted that he is frustrated by the fact that any impressive ride is almost automatically tarred with suspicion, but he maintains that cycling is doing more than most other sports in the fight against doping.

    “As cyclists [just because] you finished the Tour de France well doesn't mean you're a drug cheat, but sometimes you get painted with that brush unfortunately and it's not a nice feeling,” Evans said. ''We feel a little bit overly scrutinised sometimes. Cycling...

  • Contador to attend Saxo Bank-Sungard training camp

    An ecstatic Alberto Contador (Astana) has won his third Tour de France.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 11:18 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    All 25 riders to gather in Fuerteventura on Sunday

    Team Saxo Bank-Sungard has confirmed that Alberto Contador will attend the team’s first training camp that begins on Sunday at the Playitas resort on Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

    Contador has been temporarily suspended from racing following his positive test for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France but the UCI has given him the okay to train with his new team as he awaits his disciplinary hearing with the Spanish Cycling Federation.

    Following the departure of many of the leading riders from this year’s squad, the 25 riders in the new-look Saxo Bank-Sungard team will spend two weeks together, mixing training with team building activities.

    "I'm really proud of this group of riders, and I'm very much looking forward to begin working with these guys, so we are perfectly ready for next year," team owner Bjarne Riis said in a statement issued by the team.

    "It's an incredibly important camp for the team and our entire organization. It is the first time that we all get together and it’s a great chance to get to know each other. This is where we create the complete foundation for our organization. Therefore, we will continue to work with our team building at Playitas.”

    Riis insisted there was no problem with Contador attending the camp.

    “I think it is important that we all remember that Alberto is not guilty until a judgement is made that indicates otherwise,” he said. “This has been the message from the UCI, and I think we should all respect that. We have also met with the UCI, and they have assured us that there are no problems in taking Alberto to our team building camp.”

    Saxo Bank-Sungard will have a roster of 25 riders, with Italy’s Matteo Tosatto the final signing for 2011.

    Also joining the team are Nick Nuyens, Brian Vandborg, Australia’s David Tanner and Volodymir Gustov. Contador has brought three teammates with him from Astana: Jesus...

  • Boonen back in training ahead of 2011

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) will finish his season after this race to address a knee issue.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 11:46 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian feeling few effects of knee surgery

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has said that he is feeling few effects of the knee surgery he underwent in July as he begins his preparation for 2011. The Belgian was forced to miss the Tour de France and world championships due to the injury, returning to ride the Circuit Franco-Belge in late September.

    “I only really stopped training for two weeks. I went on holiday and that was it,” Boonen told Sporza. “It’s going very well now. When I ride it doesn’t bother me at all. In everyday life, it hurts now and then, but people have that after surgery.”

    Given the truncated nature of his 2010 campaign and his ongoing rehabilitation from injury, Boonen climbed back into the saddle earlier than normal and is pleased with his progress thus far.

    “My legs are equal again,” Boonen said. “I didn’t want to cancel that out by taking an extra two weeks of holidays, so I began slightly earlier than in other years. I’m also doing gym work and boxing, which is something different.”

    While the classics are already on the Belgian’s horizon as he works through the winter, there is one pressing appointment on Boonen’s calendar before then. On December 5, the second “Boonen and Friends” charity cyclo-cross race takes place near his home town in Mol.

    “Cyclo-cross has always been an enjoyable winter pastime,” Boonen said. “In 2009, we had the idea of organising a race to raise money for the ‘Move to Improve’ charity. I personally invited most of the participants, it’s a lot of fun.”

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Alessandro Ballan (BMC) and Andre Greipel (who rides for Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2011) are all expected to line up in Mol on December 5.



  • Sastre surprised by the Geox-TMC Proteam exclusion

    Carlos Sastre
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 12:20 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard questions lack of support for new sponsors

    Carlos Sastre has admitted he was surprised to discover that his Geox-TMC team had failed to secure a ProTeam licence for 2011 when the UCI announced the full 18 teams on Monday.

    The 2008 Tour de France winner and 2009 Giro d’Italia winner Denis Menchov agreed to join the team after manager Mauro Gianetti secured Italian shoe company Geox as main sponsor. The team was ranked 17th in the UCI sporting criterion but was overlooked, with Ag2r, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Quick Step securing the final places.

    "I do not really expect it and the truth is that decision has surprised me,” Sastre said in a statement.

    "I can’t judge the criteria used by the UCI to grant licences, because nobody knows the details and on what basis the selection system is built. But it's a disappointment in any case, because I think more than ever cycling needs new projects, such as Geox-TMC, which combines experience and youth and is supported by a major company, which has decided to back our sport. Not just with the professional team but also with a women’s team and by organizing activities for children, in an attempt to bring back people who have become disillusioned with cycling.”

    The lack of a ProTeam licence means the Geox-TMC team will have to fight for invitations to major races including the Tour de France. Sastre had hoped to ride all three grand tours in 2011 but remains confident about the team’s set-up.

    “I am confident the experience Denis Menchov and I bring as riders, in the youth and the motivation of the staff, and in the professionalism of Gianetti and Matxin as manager and directeur sportif,” he said.

  • Breschel undergoes successful knee surgery in Denmark

    Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 12:45 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Rabobank cautiously optimistic about new signing's recovery

    Matti Breschel will miss the Rabobank team presentation early next week but is expected to soon begin rehabilitation work on his left knee following successful surgery in Denmark on Tuesday.

    Breschel had been suffering throughout the second half of this season with the reoccurrence of an old knee injury. His surgery
    had taken place after consultation between the 26-year-old and his new team. Rabobank press officer Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews that the surgeon in charge of Breschel's operation had been pleased with the results.

    "Matti was awake and happy yesterday. Obviously he was pretty groggy but he was happy with what the orthopaedic surgeon's report on his surgery," Eisenga said.

    Breschel will remain immobile for several days before doctors assess his recovery from surgery. Given the positive prognosis immediately  following his surgery, the Dane is expected to begin his rehabilitation soon.

    "He's already returned to his home in Denmark and has to lay down for a couple of days and remain in bed before he begins his
    rehabilitation programme," Eisenga said. "He may be able to walk a little around his bed, but for the most part he'll be resting in the
    coming days."

    Eisenga confirmed that Rabobank's marquee signing will miss the team's official presentation when it takes place in Kaatsheuvel,
    Netherlands next Wednesday.

    "He won't come to the team presentation on December 1," he said. "It's more important that he focusses on his rehabilitation."

    Breschel had been signed by Rabobank to spearhead its assault on the Spring Classics. While his surgery cast a shadow over his chances of heading into the spring with full fitness, Rabobank are cautious not to force his recovery and allow him to return to the bike in his own time.

    "It all depends on how well his rehabilitation goes but hopefully he'll be able to begin active recovery soon," said...