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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Date published:
October 20, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Pegasus’ women’s squad set for debut at Inverell

    Kirsty Broun was the first lady across the line in the Melbourne to Warrnambool one-day classic.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 1:14 BST
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    Six rider team entered in Saturday’s race

    Pegasus’ Racing’s new women’s team will make its debut at this weekend’s Celtic Country Classic de Femme, contested between Glen Innes and Inverell. The event, run in conjunction with the men’s Grafton to Inverell race, will see the women tackle a 45km loop through Red Range before finishing in Inverell after 112km of racing.

    The new women’s squad is entered under the Virgin Blue-RBS Morgans banner that Pegasus’ domestic men’s squad has competed under in 2010. Included in the six women roster is 2008 Glen Innes to Inverell runner-up Kristy Broun and current Australian time trial champion Amber Halliday. The pair will be joined by former Honda Dream Team rider Elizabeth Georgouras, Brittany Lindores, Laura Luxford and Jessie Maclean.

    The six make up the biggest women’s field in the race’s history, with 59 women entered across two categories. Of those, 30 will contest the full 112km race while B Grade will contest a shorter 67km route.

    The Virgin Blue-RBS Morgans team’s main opposition will come from defending champion Lauren Kitchen. Queensland’s Bundaberg Sugar team will also have a strong showing, with fourth placed from 2009 Simone Grounds leading a seven rider squad that includes former Olympic rower Sally Robbins.

    Pegasus Racing announced last month it would form a women’s squad to contest the Australian domestic scene, with the hope of expanding its exploits over coming years. It will be the fourth team operated by Pegasus next year as it joins the company’s Australian men’s domestic squad, US-based men’s Continental team and a new European outfit which will run either as a ProTour or Professional Continental team, depending on the outcome of its licence for a much sought-after ProTour licence.

  • Boonen expects more tactical tussle for Tour's green jersey

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is racing for the first time since June having recovered from a knee injury.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 1:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Green struggle harder than ever in 2011, says Belgian

    Belgium’s Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is expecting the toughest battle in Tour de France history for the green jersey next year, after the race’s organiser announced a dramatic overhaul to the classification’s points system. The three intermediate sprints on sprint stages from previous years have been replaced with one intermediate sprint in 2011 and the whopping 20 points on offer to the first rider across the line will make it a more tactical race for sprinters, according to Boonen.

    “With the new system for assigning points for the green jersey, the struggle among the sprinters will be harder than ever,” said Boonen. “In the stages arriving with sprints, there will always be two of them. Whoever is trying for the green jersey will not only have to sprint over the finish line to take the stage, they will also have to sprint at the intermediate sprint that will assign important points up to 15th place.

    “For sprinters' teams it will be important to plan the race with tactics that don't leave too much room for fugitives to manoeuvre and collect important points,” he added.

    Amaury Sport Organisation’s changes will see stage victories carry 45 points, an increase from 40. The biggest change however is to intermediate sprints. In previous years, six, four and two points were awarded at three intermediate sprints per stage but next year there will be just one intermediate sprint per stage with 20 points going to the winner and 15 riders also picking up points on a sliding scale.

    Boonen will be hoping to return to top form at the Tour de France for the first time since 2007 next year. He claimed the green jersey as well as two stage victories in 2007, but poor form and injury has plagued the rider’s bid for success at the Tour in recent years.

    Since Boonen’s last success Mark Cavendish has dominated the Tour’s sprint finishes. The Manxman has won 15 stages over...

  • Wellington Tour’s 2011 route announced

    New Zealand's Michael Torckler (Cardno Team) took a surprise stage victory.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 4:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Zealand race gets new penultimate stage

    The 2011 Tour of Wellington is set to include a new penultimate stage, the event’s organiser has announced. While much of the tour will remain similar to this year’s edition, its fourth and penultimate stage will be held on a circuit around the Wallaceville Hill in Upper Hutt.

    Race organiser Jorge Sandoval is expecting a strong field for the event’s 24th edition. “Next year’s is the 24th version of the tour and we are looking forward to a great celebration,” he said. “The tour is now recognised overseas as the best cycle race in this country and I expect a big number of national and international riders. Six UCI continental teams will be invited to take part in the race,” Sandoval said.

    The race will again finish with a criterium in Wellington and will once again not include a time trial in the event’s five stages. “Each year our event seems to discover new talent, riders come to the tour and we see them later winning stages in the Tour de France, Tour of Italy or winning world championships titles such as stage four winner in this year’s race Michael Matthews, who become the new Under 23 World Champion in last week’s World Championship in Melbourne,” said Sandoval.

    The event’s queen stage will come early in the race, on just the second stage. The 125km stage includes more than five major hills, before reaching the 1.4km Te Wharau hill and then the 12km Admiral hill for a top of the mountain finish.

    2011 Tour of Wellington route:

    Stage 1: January 26 - Wellington to Masterton, 118km
    Stage 2: January 27 - Masterton Circuit, 125.3km
    Stage 3: January 28 - Masterton to Pahiatua to Masteron, 164km
    Stage 4: January 29 - Upper Hutt Circuit, 120km
    Stage 5: January 30 - Wellington City Criterium

  • Sky targeting Tour’s TTT victory, overall podium

    Team Sky's marquee man Bradley Wiggins.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 7:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    TTT return in 2011 excites British team

    Team Sky’s principal Dave Brailsford and key general classification rider Bradley Wiggins have singled out the return of a team time trial at the 2011 Tour de France as a major goal for the British team. Brailsford believes a strong showing at the Les Essarts TTT on stage two could hold the key to securing the yellow leader’s jersey for the first half of the race.

    "We consider ourselves to be competitive in that particular discipline so it will be definitely be an early focus for us. Teams like HTC-Columbia and Garmin will no doubt be thinking the same thing though, so they should be an exciting few days to watch,” Brailsford told TeamSky.com.

    "With those stages out of the way, you could argue that if a team is on top of their game they could potentially defend the jersey right the way through to Super-Besse Sancy on stage nine,” he said. "Some of the stages in between have tough finishes though so it's going to be a very difficult race to control."

    Wiggins, who was brought to Team Sky from Garmin as the squad’s main general classification hope for this season, also spoke enthusiastically about the team's hopes for the 23 kilometre stage. A move into the yellow jersey during the event’s first time trial would depend to a degree on the first stage finishing in a bunch sprint.

    "That stage is definitely the main source of excitement for us given our track background and experience we've built up in those types of events this season,” said Wiggins. “It's going to be a really important day for us in terms of our team selection and preparation.

    "There's obviously more chance of losing time on that opening stage than there would be in a prologue, but if all goes well there then stage two represents a great chance for us to win the stage and get someone in the yellow jersey," he added.

    The launch of the Tour’s 2011 route helps Team Sky put its much hyped, but...

  • Voeckler warns of difficulties in Brittany at 2011 Tour de France

    Thomas Voeckler points to the start in the Vendee region
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 10:30 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman rules out repeat of 2004 yellow jersey

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox-Bouygues Telecom) has warned that the opening days of the Tour de France in the Vendée and Brittany could pose significant problems to the overall contenders. The Frenchman also admitted that his success at the Tour in recent years makes it more difficult for him to try and win stages or enjoy a spell in the yellow jersey.

    “I think the teams who are thinking about the overall classification will arrive the Tuesday or Wednesday before the race and go to
    Brittany to reconnoitre the stages there,” Voeckler said after the presentation in Paris on Tuesday. “They’re very exposed to the wind and could be dangerous.”

    Stage 4 from Lorient to Mûr-de-Bretagne and stage 5 to Cap Fréhel in the Côtes-du-Nord department are the two stages that Voeckler singled out as boasting particular difficulties in the opening week. The stage to Cap Fréhel finishes on the peninsula itself, where wind could wreak havoc in the finale.

    Voeckler rose to international prominence at the 2004 Tour, when he wore the yellow jersey for ten days and put up fierce resistance to Lance Armstrong’s ineluctable advance in the Pyrenees. However, after winning stages in both 2009 and 2010, Voeckler realises that he is very much a marked man at La Grande Boucle and will not be given too much leeway when he goes up the road.

    “The yellow jersey isn’t an objective,” Voeckler said. “Like every rider, I have a possibility and it would be great to wear it again like in 2004, but now the circumstances are a bit more difficult for me.

    “I have less freedom to escape and take the jersey than I had 6 or 7 years ago when I wasn’t as well known. The yellow jersey is a dream but one that is difficult to realise.”

    Like many others at the Palais de Congrès on Tuesday, Voeckler saw a Tour route tailor-made for Andy Schleck....

  • CAS finds that UCI's Vinokourov fine is not valid

    Alexandr Vinokourov (Astana) worked hard for his teammate, Valentin Iglinskiy, on the category two climb nearing the finish in Wuzhishan.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 11:39 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Kazakh will not have to pay year's salary for 2007 positive

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) will not have to pay a fine equivalent to his then annual salary of €1.2 million as a result of his positive test for a blood transfusion at the 2007 Tour de France. According to El Pais, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found against the International Cycling Union (UCI) and in favour of Vinokourov at a hearing in Lausanne on August 31.

    Details of the hearing have not been announced by the CAS, but El Pais reports that the court found no legal basis for the UCI to fine Vinokourov a year’s salary. Ahead of the 2007 Tour de France, the UCI requested riders to sign a declaration entitled “Riders’ commitment to a new cycling,” which stated that the riders who incurred doping suspensions of two years and upwards would be liable to pay a year’s salary as a contribution to the UCI’s anti-doping programme.

    However, the CAS has found that such a contract is not enforceable. El Pais reports that the CAS verdict stated that “this initiative, put in place 19 days before the 2007 Tour, is nothing other than a public relations exercise with the aim of restoring the credibility and honesty of cycling in general. The UCI does not have sufficient legal basis to claim payment of a contribution based on the signing of this commitment by the riders.”

    In October 2009, Cristian Moreni became the first suspended rider to agree to pay the fine to the UCI. The Italian tested positive for testosterone at the 2007 Tour and was given a two-year suspension.

    Part of the UCI’s July 2007 document, signed by Vinokourov and Moreni, read as follows: “I accept, if it should happen that I violate the rules and am granted a standard sanction of a two-year suspension or more, in the Puerto affair or in any other anti-doping proceedings, to pay the UCI, in addition to the standard sanctions, an amount equal to my annual salary for 2008 as a...

  • Savio in the dark over Androni Tour de France invitation

    Androni-Giocattoli head honcho Gianni Savio chats with Michele Scarponi at the start
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 13:04 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Team finished 17th in final UCI rankings

    Androni Giocattoli manager Gianni Savio has said that he still doesn’t know if his team has secured an automatic invitation to the Tour de France as result of its placing in the UCI team rankings for 2010.

    Michele Scarponi’s second-place finish at Saturday’s Tour of Lombardy was enough to move Savio’s team up to 17th place in the season-long classification, which last year would have been enough to guarantee automatic entry to all three Grand Tours. However, in the wake of the UCI’s recent announcement of its plans for the new World Tour, Savio is unsure of which selection procedure will be in place for next year’s Tour de France.

    “I don’t know exactly,” Savio told Biciciclismo. “According to what was said at the world championships, the UCI Congress has decided to change the rules. For the moment I’m not sure that the top 17 teams in the world ranking will participate in the Giro, Tour and Vuelta.”

    Androni-Giocattoli recently secured victory in the Campionato italiano, the season-long team classification for Italian squads participating in home races, and is thus already guaranteed a berth at the 2011 Giro d’Italia.

    “We won the Italian teams championship, and thanks to an agreement between the Italian federation and RCS, we’re already sure of going to the Giro,” Savio explained. “I don’t know anything about the Tour and the Vuelta. I only know that the rules of today could change tomorrow.”

    Androni Giocattoli will again be registered as a Pro-Continental team in 2011, and Savio admitted that the Giro is a more important objective for his outfit than participation in the Tour or Vuelta.

    “My feeling is that it will be the 18 ProTour teams plus four invited teams that will ride all three Grand Tours, and not the top 17 teams [in the final 2010 rankings],” he said. “It would be...

  • Chasing Legends movie review

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    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 15:36 BST
    By:
    John Stevenson

    HTC-Columbia team during the 2009 Tour de France

    Following the 2009 Tour de France largely through the eyes of riders and staff of the HTC-Columbia team, Chasing Legends is an entertaining way to spend an hour and a half in the company of Mark Cavendish, George Hincapie, Rolf Aldag, Brian Holm and other Tour stars and their support crew.

    It’s not a new concept; Hell on Wheels did much the same for the 2003 Tour with T-Mobile. But where that film was laced with dark humour as T-Mobile hit disaster after disaster, Chasing Legends is a much more upbeat affair as Cavendish clocks up win after win.

    The 2009 Tour didn’t go all HTC’s way, though, and as well as jubilation we see the disappointment and frustration that went with Hincapie failing to get the yellow jersey by just three seconds; Cavendish being eliminated from the green jersey contest after being relegated and young Tony Martin losing to the older, more experienced Juan Manuel Garate after a valiant breakaway on Mt Ventoux.

    What comes across most strongly is the depth of the bonds between team members, the camaraderie that comes from living, eating, working and riding together. It’s a stunning portrayal of a team at the top of their game – what, psychologist Bruce Tuckman called the ‘performing’ stage. And perform they do, with all of France as their stage.

    France itself is the perennial star of the race and there are plenty of loving, spectacular shots of the landscapes that make the Tour both beautiful and brutal. Except for the archive footage the whole movie is shot in high-definition, which makes catching a cinema showing a must (as UK readers can this Thursday, October 21), or waiting for the Blu-Ray version if you have the home theatre to do it justice.

    There are many stories in the Tour de France, and Chasing legends doesn’t just focus on HTC’s. Saxo Bank’s Jens Voigt gets plenty of air time both before and after his disastrous stage 16 crash, and...