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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Date published:
October 19, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Women's team GSD Gestion to continue in 2012

    Christine Majerus (GSD Gestion) wins the 2011 Therme Kasseienomloop
    Article published:
    October 18, 2011, 13:26 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    French squad targets Olympic year with international riders

    French women's cycling team GSD Gestion has been delighted to finish its first season ranked 16th in the UCI women's team rankings after the team's last race, the Chrono des Nations, where Lina-Kristin Schink took eleventh. Team management has announced that the squad will continue in 2012 as the two main sponsors, GSD Gestion and Cyril Immobilier, last week renewed their financial support for one more year.

    Team leader and triple Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (cyclo-cross, road and time trial), who won the overall 2011 French Cup, will remain with the team next season as one of the 12 riders announced so far. Six new riders will join the team for the upcoming season: Patricia Schwager and Emilie Aubry (Nederland Bloeit), Catherine Williamson (Team Bizhub), Anne-Marie Schmitt (Lointek) and the two young French riders Lucie Pader and Oriane Chaumet.

    From the 2011 roster, French riders Mélanie Bravard, Eugénie Mermillod and Charlotte Bravard, Irish champion Siobhan Horgan and German Lina-Kristin Schink are staying on the team for next season, too.

    "At this time, we don't exclude the possibility of rounding out the roster with a few more riders during next season," team spokesperson Fabienne Gautier told Cyclingnews.

    "It's a beautiful team including many international riders. We will do our best to offer them the most complete race programme to prepare them in the best possible way for the London Olympics as several of them are included in their nations' pre-selections for the Games."

    Gautier added that the team's partnership with Specialized has also been extended for 2012. "The riders will be able to race on Amira S-Works bikes, the new state of the art model especially designed for women," she added.

  • Quick Step ready to put 2011 behind it

    Quick Step line up before the stage
    Article published:
    October 18, 2011, 14:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team didn't have the quality this season, Peeters says

    Team Quick Step is eager to put 2011 behind it and go into the 2012 season together with Omega Pharma. This was a season to forget for the Belgian squad, or as sports director Wilfried Peeters put it, “I do not deny that it was bad.”

    The team had only eight wins on the season, with two of them coming from the team's star, Tom Boonen.  The biggest win was Boonen's victory in Gent-Wevelgem.  Of the other five wins, three were national titles. Only one other WorldTour team had fewer wins on the year.

    "What has happened to us, I had predicted in January," Peeters told the Gazet van Antwerpen. "Then it's a little easier to accept it. Last year we could disguise it with a good Tour, but now there was nothing. Logically, we just did not have the quality."

    Boonen “kept the team up” after the departure of such riders as Paolo Bettini. But the former top sprinter has suffered numerous injuries over the past few years. He started out this season by winning the first stage of the Tour of Qatar, and went on to win Gent-Wevelgem at the end of March.

    A crash in the Tour de France gave him a concussion which eventually knocked him out of the race. He had hoped to use the Vuelta a Espana to get in form for the World Championships, but after first suffering from severe saddle sores, he crashed on the fifteenth stage, breaking various small bones in his hand.

    "One thing is certain, 2012 can and will be much better," said Peeters. “We have many good newcomers, and the team's quality is...

  • GreenEdge going for green at 2012 Tour de France

    Shayne Bannan posses in front of the Greenedge Cycling van.
    Article published:
    October 18, 2011, 20:42 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Team manager Bannan looking forward to first Tour participation

    Shayne Bannan has vowed that GreenEdge will be competitive in next year's Tour de France and that the green jersey will be among the team's main ambitions. The team is still awaiting a WorldTour licence from the UCI but has signed a host of high calibre riders ahead of their debut season, suggesting that its place in the Tour will either be guaranteed through a WorldTour place or via a wildcard invitation.

    "Providing we get a WorldTour licence I see us being competitive for the green jersey and certainly in the stages that aren't that mountainous," Bannan told Cyclingnews at the official 2012 Tour de France presentation in Paris.

    GreenEdge has been busy on the transfer market, signing Milan San-Remo winner Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Stuart O'Grady, Baden Cooke and Robbie McEwen to name but a few. The latter three have all been competitive or successful in claiming the green jersey but in 2012 Bannan will be looking to Goss to deliver more than his more experienced teammates.

    With no GC contender on its books - a policy team management publicly pursued as they elaborated their roster - the team will look for other successes outside of the race for the yellow jersey. Bannan did confirm that he already had a long list of riders selected, from which he will have to narrow down to nine in June next year.

    "We've got a long list in mind for the Tour that consists of twelve riders," he told Cyclingnews. "As we all know a lot can happen during the year with illness and injury but we have that list. Whilst we'll be an Australian team at heart we're really a global team. So it's not about sending nine Australians, it's about sending the best guys who can do the job.

    "I think the expectations are that we'll be competitive and get the colours of the jersey to the front for large percentages of the time."

    Despite lacking...

  • Zabel joins Katusha as sprint coach

    Gerolsteiner general manager Hans Michael Holczer
    Article published:
    October 19, 2011, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Holczer announces new riders for 2012

    Team Katusha for 2012 is starting to take shape under the direction of new manager Hans-Michael Holczer. Seven new riders have been signed, and Holczer has now announced the addition of three German staff to the team management including Erik Zabel.

    Along with Maxim Belkov (Vacansoleil) and Alexander Kristoff (BMC Racing Team) and Spaniards Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli) and Xavier Florencio (Geox-TMC), all previously announced, the team will also be welcoming three 'neos' from the Itera-Katusha feeder team.

    Timofey Kritsky, Nikita Eskov and Alexei Tsatevich are all graduating to full professional status after successful apprenticeships with the Continental outfit.

    After the team was criticized this year for perhaps favouring Russian riders, Holczer hopes that with fresh eyes he can find a better balance between an all-Russian team and a roster which can win races.

    "Everyone understands that Katusha is a Russian team," said Holczer. "Therefore, most riders should be Russian. But strategically to be successful in cycling, the team has to have quality foreign cyclists. There must be a balance."

    The German hinted that some of their 'bigger name riders', were still to be announced.

    "Right now we are negotiating with one of the most important riders. I cannot say his name. We hope to have a decision soon though."

    Management shake-up

    In staff recruitment, Holczer said the addition of Zabel was an obvious choice after the former sprinter's release from his role at HTC-Highroad.

    "Zabel is very familiar with the cycling world and has worked with many strong sprinters, including Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel. He will work with the team starting in winter in...

  • Boasson Hagen ready to re-sign with Sky

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) leads the best young rider classification.
    Article published:
    October 19, 2011, 9:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Norwegian sees no conflict with Cavendish

    Edvald Boasson Hagen is on the verge of signing a new three-year contract with Team Sky, according to his agent. The Norwegian also denied that he would have any conflict with new Sky signing Mark Cavendish.

    Negotiations started shortly after the Tour de France, and “have been going regularly since then, but for various reasons a binding agreement has not been signed. However, we believe it is getting closer,” his manager Birger Hungerholdt told dagbladet.no.

    Boasson Hagen's current contract runs through 2012, but Hungerholdt said that the new contract wold be for three years, through 2014.

    “We have a good tone with (Team Sky principal Dave) Brailsford and there are only a few minor details remaining before we are completely satisfied,” he said. “We no longer have contact with the other teams who tried to sign Edvald this summer.”

    Hungerholdt added that Cavendish's arrival at the team “changes nothing. We've known since last summer that he was going to ride for Team Sky next year. Edvald will still get plenty of chances.”

    Boasson Hagen himself also saw no problem. “It's going to work out fine. We are different riders,” he told Norwegian TV2.  “I will take the stages he doesn't go for.”

  • Schumacher facing fraud charges

    Stefan Schumacher (Miche) was another controversial rider on show in Sardinia.
    Article published:
    October 19, 2011, 10:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German said to have defrauded Gerolsteiner

    Stefan Schumacher will face fraud charges in the German courts. The regional appeal court in Stuttgart has ruled that the case concerning three months' salary from 2008 should be heard.

    Schumacher tested postiive for EPO CERA during the 2008 Tour de France and at the Beijing Olympics. The positive tests were not made public until October of that year.  For the three months in between, he continued to draw his salary from Team Gerolsteiner, for a total of about 150,000 Euros.

    “His payment was based on a deception, therefore a financial damage has occurred,” the prosecutor said, according to stuttgarter-nachrichten.de.

    The original charges were dismissed by a lower court, but the prosecutors appealed that decision. The case is expected to be heard in spring 2012.

    A court spokesman said that the court ruled as it did because “In our opinion there is reason to believe that a crime has been committed.”  The court's 14 page decision found that Schumacher purposely told untruths, had the intention of getting money he was not entitled to and that a financial damage occurred, all of which would fit the definition of fraud.

    A similar case against Jan Ullrich was closed in 2008 with no action taken after Ullrich paid a “six-figure” sum to community institutions and the public charity.

    This decision “is an interesting turn of events,” said former Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer, now with Katusha. “But to see what effect it has...

  • Katusha closing in on Freire?

    Oscar Freire proved 1999 was no fluke with his win in 2001
    Article published:
    October 19, 2011, 12:05 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Sprinter’s manager in negotiations with new Katusha boss Holczer

    Katusha have emerged as the most likely destination for three-time world champion Oscar Freire. The Spaniard’s manager, his brother Antonio, has admitted that he has been negotiating with new Katusha team boss Hans-Michael Holczer in Paris in recent days, although he added that he is still talking to other teams, including Lotto and Geox.

    Speaking in Paris on Tuesday at the presentation of the 2012 Tour de France, Holczer revealed that his new team was close to agreeing a deal with “one of the most important riders.” Holczer refused to be drawn on the rider’s identity, commenting: “I cannot say his name. We hope to have a decision soon though.”

    However, several reports in Spain suggest very strongly that the rider in question is Freire and that a deal will probably be completed between Antonio Freire and Holczer today (Wednesday). This would enable Oscar Freire’s name to be included on the Russian team’s roster that will be submitted to the UCI on October 20 as part of its ProTeam documentation.

    According to the Spanish press, Freire has been prepared to lower his asking price in order to secure a deal with a team that is guaranteed to have a place in all of the WorldTour events. In what will almost certainly be his farewell season, the Spanish sprinter wants to be sure that he will be able to line up in Milan-San Remo, which he has already won three times, as well as the Tour de France. The veteran sprinter is also keen to appear at the London Olympics and next year’s World Championships in Valkenburg.

    Signing Freire would also seem to suit Katusha, who have not produced the kind of success that the team’s big-money backers were expecting. As well as adding some WorldTour...

  • Video: Bruyneel on Tour de France route and the Schlecks

    Johan Bruyneel meets the media
    Article published:
    October 19, 2011, 13:39 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Could the Schlecks divide up the Giro and Tour?

    Having seen the leaked Tour de France route last week Johan Bruyneel was expecting the worst when he arrived at the Palais des Congres in Paris to witness the full and official unveiling of the 2012 route.

    Just over an hour later the Belgian team boss cut a more much optimistic figure. In 2012 he will manage the newly formed RadioShack-Trek-Nissan team and manage the Schleck brothers, Chris Horner and Andreas Klöden.

    While he admitted that the amount of time trialing – almost 100 kilometers – would harm the Schlecks’ chances of overall victory, he clung onto the fact that the largest test against the clock came in the final few days, when riders are typically tired and less able to exploit their strengths.

    The Tour route may have more time trialing but it also has more climbs than the 2011 route, although there are fewer mountain top finishes and Bruyneel believes that the Schlecks will need to change their typical race tactics if they are hoping to produce a winning ride.

    One of Bruyneel’s riders, Andreas Klöden, was absent from the presentation but he could be a dark horse for the race. In this exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Bruyneel discusses the route, his team’s strength in depth and the option of sending one Schleck to the Tour and another to the Giro d’Italia.