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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Date published:
November 30, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Breschel aiming for the Classics and good health

    Matti Breschel (Rabobank) chats with race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 12:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rabobank's Dane has his eye on Tour of Flanders and Milan-San Remo

    Matti Breschel's 2011 season was marked by rehabilitation of an injured knee rather than victories, and the Dane is looking to turn things around this season. He had joined Rabobank last year to lead the team in the Classics, but missed them all, and is now looking to win a “big race”.

    “The goal is to win. That's what I go and train for right now, anyway,” he told “It's no secret that I miss being first over the line.”

    His best Classics performance so far was winning Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2010. He thinks he is capable of winning even bigger races, even if not this year. “I haven't thrown in the towel yet. It is the big dream.”

    The first step, he well knows, is have his knee at one hundred percent and avoiding further physical problems. “You must be lucky, and preparations have to be perfect. You must avoid illness and I would rather not rush into early races,” he said.

    "The season I will take things in small steps. So I think most right now about riding at at the Tour of Flanders and Milan-San Remo.”

    The now 27-year-old underwent knee surgery in November 2010, returning to training in January. However, knee pain continued and his only race the early part of the year was the Volta ao Algarve, which he had to abandon on the third stage. A further minor operation followed, and he was able to return to racing the end of May.

    He was not nominated for the Tour de France, and had to abandon the Tour...

  • Video: David Millar looks back on a tough 2011

    Millar (nearest camera) in action for Great Britain at the 2011 Road World Championships
    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 13:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    British rider speaks exclusively to Cyclingnews

    Cyclingnews caught up with British rider David Millar earlier in the month at a charity dinner in honour of Action Medical Research. The 34-year-old reflected on a difficult but eventful 2011, which included the publication of his acclaimed book, a bittersweet experience at the Giro d'Italia - where his victory in the time trial was overshadowed by Wouter Weylandt's tragic death - and the team captain's role at the Road World Championships in Copenhagen.


  • Keisse still has hopes of finding 2012 team

    Iljo Keisse has been at the centre of controversy all winter.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 13:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Would be glad to take another chance with Quick Step

    Iljo Keisse hasn't given up on hopes of finding a road team for the 2012 season. He has even cast an eye on his former Quick Step, noting that the team “still has a place available.”

    Keisse's contract with Quick Step from this year was not renewed. He is currently sitting out a ban which prohibits him from riding in Belgium through January 27. His world-wide suspension ended in August. He had tested positive for two different substances at the 2010 Gent Six Days race.

    The Belgian hopes to find something within the next two weeks, so as to be “redeemed of the uncertainty”. He told, “I've still not signed. But I hope that something will appear soon, so I can get rid of that uncertainty.”

    Keisse knows where he wants to ride. “I still hope for a Belgian team and I think also that it will be a Belgian team. Hopefully within two weeks."

    Since Quick Step didn't extend his contract, they would seem to be excluded, but he is willing to consider the squad once again. "Quick Step still has a place available," he said. "I've always felt comfortable on the team, despite the difficult period. If they give me another chance, then I will take it.”

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere told Sportwereld that he has "taken note" of Keisse's statements.


  • Ullrich considering a doping confession?

    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 15:52 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German awaiting imminent CAS ruling

    Will Jan Ullrich finally learn his fate from the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week? And will he – as his agent suggests is possible – also confess to having doped during his career?

    “If and when Jan makes a confession is open and I cannot confirm it to you today,” his agent Falk Nier told Cyclingnews Tuesday afternoon. When asked if a confession would help rehabilitate Ullrich with the public, Nier said, “Of course, that plays a role in our considerations.”

    The CAS has indicated that it would issue its decision on the case on November 30, Nier told Cyclingnews last month.

    Ullrich will issue a statement when the announcement is made. “As of today, I can't say that Jan will make a confession,” Nier told the SID news agency. “That is a possibility, but the confession wouldn't have anything to do with the court decision.

    It is more likely that Ullrich will announce his future plans. “It won't say: I confess to doping. Jan will say what he intends to do.” However, as Nier's comments to Cyclingnews indicate, the only German to win the Tour de France may be planning to address the doping question in the near future.

    The CAS heard the UCI's appeal of the Swiss Cycling decision to drop its investigation of Ullrich's involvement with Operacion Puerto. The Swiss ruled that since Ullrich had retired, it no longer had jurisdiction over him.

    The CAS hearing was held in August, with their decision originally expected the middle of October. “It seems strange to me that we have still not heard anything,” Nier said to the SID. “I hope that it won't be delayed again.”

    “Something ought to...

  • Former BigMat doctor in custody over alleged EPO trafficking

    The doping control van isn't hard to miss.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 17:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Riders called as witnesses

    The former team doctor for BigMat-Auber 93, Dr. Philippe Bedoucha, has been taken into custody by the French Central Office against Environmental Damage and Public Health (OCLAESP) following a hearing on possible trafficking of doping substances, in Créteil, near Paris, L'Equipe reported today.

    Bedoucha was the physician for the team until the end of the 2010 season.

    The preliminary investigation into the acquisition, possession and sale of doping products called a number of riders as witnesses, including Arnold Jeannesson, one of the top young riders from the Tour de France, who raced for the team from 2006 to 2008.

    The riders are not under investigation, and Jeannesson expressed his displeasure in being associated with the affair at all. "I made the trip for nothing. ... I have not been able to assist the investigation."

    While he was a part of the Auber 93 team in 2008, Jeannesson has since been on Caisse d'Epargne for two years before joining FDJ this season. "It bothers me to be associated with that because now everyone will talk more about that than my 15th place in the Tour de France."

    Bedoucha is suspected in supplying some athletes with EPO or growth hormone.

    Also in custody is former masters mountain bike champion Jean-Philippe Tellier, who tested positive for EPO in 2010.

  • Hard times for Germans at Cali World Cup

    German team pursuit members Nikias Arndt, Henning Bommel, Stefan Schafer and Jakob Steigmiller compete during qualifying
    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 18:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team experiences training crash and robbery

    The track World Cup meet in Cali, Colombia, is not going well for the German team, and the meet itself hasn't even started. A training crash took out three of the team's riders, while two team officials were victims of an armed robbery.

    Sprinter Joachim Eilers collided with teammate Robert Förstemann, and Eilers took down half of the four-man pursuit team with him including Lucas Liss and Henning Bommel. “Joachim has a deep cut on his right knee and some nasty bruises, but didn't have to go to the hospital,” said national sprint trainer Detlef Uibel.

    Bommel “is doing pretty well. He had some circulation problems, but could fully train. Liss was hit a little harder. He stretched the inner ligament on his knee and right now can't use it fully,” said their national trainer, Sven Meyer. “And in addition to the usual scrapes, he also has a bruise on his hip.”

    In addition, team doctor Olaf Peter and trainer Volker Tzscheetsch were held up one evening when they were underway in the city. They were threatened with a gun, and the thieves took everything they could.

    The meet starts on Thursday, December 1, and runs through Sunday, December 4.

  • Hoste joins Veranda's for 2012

    Belgium's Leif Hoste (Katusha) had a serious crash and was forced to withdraw.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2011, 19:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Exit from Katusha settled?

    Former Belgian time trial champion Leif Hoste will step down from the WorldTour and join the Professional Continental squad - Willems Veranda's, which was known as Verandas Willems-Accent in 2011, reported today.

    Hoste, 34, had a contract with the Katusha squad that ran through 2012, but was not welcomed back on the team by new manager Hans-Michael Holczer after having a devastating 2011 season.

    Hoste suffered a head injury in the Driedaagse De Panne - Koksijde at the end of March and while he started the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, he struggled with the injury the rest of the year. He was finally diagnosed in August with a tear in the membrane surrounding his brain, but is expected to recovery fully.

    He said in October that he expected Katusha to respect the existing contract.

    The - Willems Veranda's team is expanding on its strong 2011 season, and maintained perennial podium finisher Stefan Van Dijk despite other competing offers.

  • Pound weighs in on Olympic exclusions

    WADA chairman Dick Pound Photo: © AFP
    Article published:
    November 30, 2011, 1:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former WADA chief disagrees with BOA approach to sanctions

    Former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound came out against the British Olympic Association's policy of banning convicted dopers from future Olympic Games after the athlete's completed sanctions, saying the BOA is "offside" in going against the WADA code and "has put itself in a position of being a rogue".

    The 19-year-old policy would exclude riders like David Millar, who served a two-year ban in 2004 for admitting to EPO use, but who has since assisted the anti-doping authorities in identifying doping methods and educating riders about competing clean. Millar has stated he will not fight his Olympic ban.

    Pound, an out-spoken critic of cycling's anti-doping policies during his term with the agency, emphasised the legal reasons for WADA's maximum two-year suspension for an athlete's first doping offence, well below what is in effect a lifetime ban from the Games by the BOA bylaw.

    "This maximum was established partly on the advice of human rights lawyers to the effect that state courts would not interfere with such sanctions as excessive in the circumstances," Pound wrote on his blog on the Guardian's web site.

    Pound argued that the BOA made the policy before WADA was formed, but has since supported WADA's creation and adopted the WADA code. Therefore its bylaw adding punishment to an athlete's term is beyond what the code allows. "This conflicts with the provisions of the code, to which the BOA is a signatory," Pound wrote.

    "The BOA is, accordingly, offside and has been identified as such by WADA. This is not a matter of philosophical differences, simply a matter of the legal effects of its actions."

    Pound faults the BOA for not...