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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Date published:
November 03, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • First UCI ProTeams and Professional Continental Teams announced

    The Vacansoleil team is presented.
    Article published:
    November 02, 2010, 16:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Pegasus, FDJ miss out on ProTeam licenses, Vacansoleil in the running

    The UCI announced today the first batch of teams to be awarded licenses at the top tier of the sport, now called ProTeams (previously ProTour).

    Omega Pharma-Lotto, Garmin-Cervélo, Rabobank and Sky ProCycling are the first teams to be given the green light, with the remaining top-ranked teams to be decided on November 20.

    The UCI also revealed the criteria for deciding which teams will be allowed into top tier, stating that for 2011 licenses, "the evaluation of teams has placed particular emphasis on the sporting criterion".

    Teams have been ranked based on the results of the squad's top 15 riders "using results obtained in 2009 and 2010" in all races on the UCI calendar as well as the team classification of stage races on the UCI World Calendar and hors categorie events on the UCI continental circuits in 2010.

    The new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project leads the rankings over Rabobank, Garmin-Cervélo, HTC-Highroad, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Lampre. Other teams in the top 15 are Katusha, Sky, Liquigas-Cannondale, Saxo Bank SunGard, RadioShack, Vacansoleil, Astana, Movistar and BMC.

    It was decided that only the top 15 teams in this ranking would receive or keep their existing first tier status as long as they also meet the financial, ethical and administrative criteria.

    Teams ranked 16th-20th will fight for the remaining three spots, while any team ranked lower than 20th is not eligible for the ProTeams designation.

    That puts Eustaltel-Euskadi, Geox-TMC, Quick Step, Cofidis and AG2R in, but FDJ and Pegasus Sports out of the running for the ProTeams license.

    The UCI also announced the awarding of 13 Professional Continental licenses. Entering for the first time are two US-registered squads, Team Type 1 and Unitedhealthcare ProCycling.

    Other teams named are Androni Giocattoli, Bretagne - Schuller, Caja Rural, Colnago - CSF Inox, Europcar (formerly Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Farnese...

  • AFLD prepared to work with UCI on 2011 Tour de France doping controls

    The doping control van isn't hard to miss.
    Article published:
    November 02, 2010, 18:57 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    French anti-doping agency welcomes WADA report

    The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) has indicated that it is prepared to work together with the International Cycling Union (UCI) in carrying out testing at the 2011 Tour de France.

    “On the occasion of next season’s major events (Paris-Nice, Dauphine Liberé and the Tour de France), the AFLD is willing to join its efforts with those of the UCI, both before and during competition,” read a statement from the AFLD on Tuesday.

    The UCI had primary responsibility for testing at the 2010 Tour de France and an independent report released by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last Thursday expressed concern at the lack of cooperation between the two bodies. The report noted that, “without apportioning blame to either party, the lack of cooperation and trust evident between the UCI and the AFLD for the Tour was extremely disappointing to observe.”

    The AFLD has declared itself pleased with the contents of the report and hailed the presence of the WADA observers at the 2010 Tour. “The presence of observers at the Tour de France has contributed give to the tests carried out during this competition additional fairness and efficiency. It also served as a deterrent to riders tempted to exploit the possibilities of doping.”

    One of the primary reservations of the independent report was that the UCI placed too much emphasis on performing tests for its biological passport system, to the detriment of more traditional anti-doping controls. The AFLD echoed this point, recommending that data from the biological passport be used to aid in targeted testing.

    “The efficacy of the controls must still be improved,” noted the AFLD statement. “The application of several of the independent observers’ recommendations would complement the anti-doping programme, in particular a better use of the results of biological passport before the races and sincere cooperation between the parties...

  • Team Exergy joins professional ranks in 2011

    The US-based Team Exergy will turn professional for the 2011 season.
    Article published:
    November 02, 2010, 21:25 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Wonderful Pistachio, also seek UCI Continental status

    Team Exergy confirmed its upgrade from an Elite team to a UCI Continental team for the 2011 season. It is one of three new US-based outfits, including Wonderful Pistachio and, that have expressed an interest in turning professional for the upcoming season.

    "We were a first year amateur team last year and were going to be UCI but the Exergy Development Group didn't come on until later in the year, December, so it was too late to file for UCI," said press officer and racer Remi McManus. "The decision was made to run the best possible Elite team with the commitments that had already been made to the riders and supporting sponsors last year. But, it was always the plan to make the natural progression to UCI status."

    Exergy Development Group is dedicated to sustainable economic development in the United States, according to McManus. Its main focus is the responsible implementation of strategies minimizing impact on resources. It implements this strategy by successfully merging free market principles with environmental, societal, and community values.

    "They find the land and develop contracts with land owners to develop wind parks," McManus said. "One of our themes is to try to be as green as possible. Cycling is a consumable sport so one of our things will be to provide recycling bins at our trailer and try to use recyclable bottles and things like that."

    The Boise-based Continental team is managed by Escalera Racing LLC and will focus on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) in 2011. Its 11-man roster includes returning riders McManus, Andres Diaz, Chris Hong and Kai Applequist.

    New riders include Eric Barlevev (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis), Matt Cooke (Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes), Sam Johnson (Hagens Berman), Erik Slack (Under 23 US National Team), Carlos Alzate, Ben Chaddock (Rubicon-Orbea) and Quinn Keogh (Rubicon-Orbea).

    The outfit secured a two-year sponsorship with Felt Bicycles and will unite...

  • Vacansoleil gave up Mosquera's points toward UCI ProTeam application

    The Vacansoleil team on stage for pre-race introduction.
    Article published:
    November 02, 2010, 22:33 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Vacansoleil 12th in UCI's sporting hierarchy of teams for 2011

    Vacansoleil-DMC has revealed today that it requested that the UCI not count Ezequiel Mosquera’s world ranking points when calculating the team’s position in its classification for the sporting criteria which will determine which applicants for 2011 ProTeam licences will enter the sport's top tier.

    Mosquera’s transfer from Xacobeo Galicia to Vacansoleil was announced just before it was revealed that he had returned an adverse analytical finding for Hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España in September. A verdict has yet to be reached in the Spaniard’s case.

    “In the battle for a clean sport we think it is inappropriate to score with the points of Mosquera,” Vacansoleil team manager Daan Luijkx explained. “We believe it is fair towards other teams and the fans to keep the Spanish rider excluded for 2011. The non counting of his points has no influence on the steps to be taken towards the rider.

    “As mentioned before, we are awaiting the results of the pending investigation before making decision on the future of the rider. We are confident the authorities will do a proper job.”

    Vacansoleil-DMC was positioned in 12th place in the UCI’s ranking of the sporting criteria of the teams that have applied for ProTeam and Pro Continental status for 2011, meaning that it is still in contention for a ProTeam berth. Thus far, just four teams have had their place in cycling’s top tier confirmed: Rabobank, Garmin-Cervélo, Team Sky and Omega Pharma-Lotto. The remaining ProTeam licences are expected to be allocated on November 20.

    Vacansoleil enjoyed a successful 2010 in spite of failing to be invited to any of the Grand Tours and subsequently launched an ambitious transfer campaign in order to bolster its roster for next season. As well as Mosquera, the team also Stijn Devolder from Quick Step. Meanwhile the controversial Riccardo Riccò arrived at the...

  • Zirbel breaks Armstrong's record at Tour of Gruene TT

    Tom Zirbel rides in the Tour de Gruene, a non-sanctioned event.
    Article published:
    November 02, 2010, 23:05 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Suspended rider competes in non WADA affiliated event

    Tom Zirbel recently broke the record time of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong at the Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic in Austin, Texas this weekend, an event not subject to control by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Code. Zirbel is currently serving a two-year suspension for a doping infraction that will be complete in November 2011.

    Zirbel told Cyclingnews,. "The race organizer from Gruene assured me that they have no affiliation with USA Cycling, International Cycling Union or any other signatory of the WADA Code." Zirbel rode the 25 km out and back parcours in a time of 32:15, nearly one minute faster than the previous course record set by Armstrong in 2008.

    "I had fun with it, it was cool to play 'bike racer' again," said Zirbel, who celebrated his birthday on race day with friends in Austin. "The course record was set in 2008 at 33:14. It is just an out and back course along the river, so it's pretty straight forward."

    "I haven't been 'training,' but I don't own a car so I ride almost everywhere and I manage to get some intensity in here and there," he added. "I broke the course record, which was encouraging. Some Austin local legend held it before me, but he obviously isn't in the same class as me."

    Last December, Zirbel announced that he tested positive in an anti-doping test conducted by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) following the US Pro time trial championships on August 29, 2009. Both A and B samples returned positive for an endogenous steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). He denied knowingly ingesting the banned substance and is currently seeking a reduced sanction.

    "I'm actually working with a legal team and they're still trying to get me a reduction in sanction, but I'm not holding my breath," Zirbel said. "We were never able to find definitive evidence of what caused the positive so it's an uphill battle."

    WADA Code article 10.10.1 states, ‘No...

  • Pegasus reacts to ProTeam announcement

    Miss World Australian entrant Ashleigh Francis meets the Fly V Australia team after stage one in Sanya.
    Article published:
    November 03, 2010, 1:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team maintains faith in long-term vision

    Following the announcement that the UCI would not be considering Pegasus Racing for a ProTeam licence in 2011, the team has stated it will seek Professional Continental status for next season.

    According to criteria used by the sport's governing body in determining which teams would be issued a ProTeam licence, Pegasus was ranked outside the top 20 squads being considered - at 23rd in the standings, a permit to race in the ProTour was out of the question.

    The news scuttled Pegasus Sports CEO Chris White's hopes of becoming the first Australian ProTour outfit - for another year, at least - and with signings such as Robbie McEwen, Robbie Hunter, Svein Tuft and Luke Roberts, the squad will now be forced to rely on invitations to the year's biggest races.

    "We were officially informed by the UCI today that we are not among the top 20 ranked teams, which means that we will be a Pro Continental team for 2011," said White in a press statement.

    "It was certainly our goal to be a ProTeam in 2011, and we are a little disappointed, but we accept the decision of the UCI. It was just a matter of sporting criteria, and other teams being ranked more highly than us.

    "From a competition perspective, this does not change things significantly, and we will still participate at the highest level of cycling and plan to be in the biggest races in the world."

    Hitherto Garmin-Transitions rider Hunter told Cyclingnews last week that racing for Pegasus without a ProTour licence wouldn't hinder the Australian team's progress in its development. "We're waiting for the ProTour license decision but I won't be disappointed if it doesn't happen for 2011. I always want to ride the Tour de France but if I have to skip it next year because we're building a good project for the future, I'm ok with it."

    Like Hunter, White isn't deterred by this latest development during a period in which he is scheduled to announce a headline sponsor for...

  • Landis wants New Zealand win, will stand trial in France

    Great effort by Floyd Landis of Orca Velo Merino finishing 4th.
    Article published:
    November 03, 2010, 4:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    American, former coach set to face trial on hacking charges

    Floyd Landis has declared his desire to win New Zealand’s Tour of Southland, where the former Phonak rider sits in fourth place just over a minute behind race leader Jeremy Yates. Landis announced his aims on the same day French court officials revealed the disgraced Tour de France winner and former coach Arnie Baker will stand trial on hacking charges.

    “I want to win – it’s going to be tough but that’s the goal,” said Landis. “A minute’s quite a bit to make up so some bad weather or bad luck on the other guys’ part is probably what I need.

    Landis is riding with the Orca Velo Merino squad in Southland. He believes riding with a group of young, enthusiastic riders has helped motivate him.

    “It’s fun to be around the young guys – they have dreams and goals and get up in the morning all excited to race …it’s good for me,” Landis said. “I remember feeling that way – not that it’s different now because I enjoy racing my bike but it is harder to get motivated at times.”

    After denying doping to win the 2006 Tour de France for a number of years Landis confessed to using performance enhancing products earlier this year. At the same time Landis levelled doping allegations at several former teammates and directors, bringing him under an even greater spotlight over the last six months, but Landis says he’s now back riding just for the love of it.

    “I haven’t done that for a long time and it’s been good for my head,” Landis said. “At times things got lost in the whole chaos of it all.”

    Landis was accused of hacking into the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory that tested his Tour sample in November 2006, with the lab saying that data on its computers was either removed or changed. The hacked files were subsequently used in Landis' defence in his US Anti-Doping Agency...

  • Quinziato: BMC the team to beat in 2011 Classics

    Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) reflects on his Ronde.
    Article published:
    November 03, 2010, 4:22 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    Italian hopes move from Liquigas will lead to breakthrough

    Already one of the leading Italian Classics riders of his generation, Manuel Quinziato believes that his move from Liquigas to BMC Racing will help him and his team scale new heights in 2011.

    Quinziato told Cyclingnews that, with his arrival and also the signing of Belgian finisseur Greg Van Avermaet from Omega Pharma Lotto, BMC's line-up will be the most formidable in the peloton at next year's cobbled Classics. "If you add us two to Marcus Burghardt, Karsten Kroon, George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan, I think that, collectively, we're stronger than anyone," he said.

    After five years at Liquigas, the 31-year-old from Bolzano, close to Italy's border with Austria, said that BMC's ambition was the key factor in his decision to join the Swiss-based team.

    Liquigas CEO Paolo Zani hinted recently that his squad had also been forced to bow to the superior spending power of BMC and Astana when trying and failing to renew the contracts of Quinziato and Roman Kreuziger respectively.

    "I think, at the moment, BMC is the fastest-growing team in professional cycling," said Quinziato. "I could see evidence of that in the little two-day training camp we had at the team headquarters in Switzerland after the Tour of Lombardy.

    "I had offers from around five teams but BMC were the best-equipped for the Classics. Lance [Armstrong] spoke to me about joining RadioShack, which was very flattering, but that's more of a stage-racing team. Quick Step, Katusha and a couple of others were also interested..."

    Thirteenth at Paris-Roubaix in 2008 (a performance which prompted the headline: "Quinziato and Roubaix: Love at First Sight" in the following day's Gazzetta dello Sport) and ninth the following year, Quinziato failed to live up to his own expectations in 2010, struggling to 63rd place. He says that the experience nonetheless taught him some valuable lessons.

    "I was going well in Tirreno-Adriatico but was tired...