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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Date published:
September 23, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Israel sends two young riders to road worlds

    Ran Margaliot and Niv Libner with their coach David Reznik
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 20:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Margaliot and Libner to race as under 23s

    Israel will send two Under 23 riders to the UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, this week. Ran Margaliot and Niv Libner will fill two of a possible five road race spots for Israel, marking the first time the nation has sent Under 23 racers to compete in the road championship.

    Both Margaliot and Libner have been racing overseas for the Fuji-Trasmiera team, the Under 23 development team of Fuji Servetto in Spain. The two were the only Israeli riders to finish the European Championships in Belgium in June, when they earned their spots on the worlds teams.

    Margaliot has been preparing in Livigno, Italy, where he was training with Israeli pro mountain biker Dror Pekatch (Subaru / Gary Fisher). Libner, on the other hand, trained at home as well as raced in Romania and Bulgaria.

    The pair will race under the guidance of national team manager and ex-cyclist David Reznik. They are hoping to surprise the peloton and make it into a breakaway.

    "Both riders are well-suited for this kind of course, and we did our best to put them on the start line in the best shape," said Reznik. "It's an important mission for Israel. There is no doubt the cycling has been a growing sport in Israel over the past few years, and this worlds is only the beginning for us." In fact, Haifa will host the 2010 European Championships in mountain biking.

    Previous achievements by Israel at road worlds have included a 46th place finish in San Sebastian in 1997 and a 41st in Valkenburg / Mastricht in 1998 - both by Benjamin Lobrant in the elite men's time trial.

  • Impey joins Armstrong at RadioShack

    Daryly Impey (Barloworld) will race alongside Lance Armstrong in 2010.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2009, 23:43 BST
    Gregor Brown

    South African Daryl Impey races with RadioShack next season

    South African Daryl Impey will race for Team RadioShack next season. Impey, 24, looks forward to racing alongside seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and having the direction of Johan Bruyneel.

    "I can only learn from the guys I am with and I think it is going to raise my game as well," he told Cyclingnews. "The expectations are going to be a lot higher and I think that is going boost my performance as well."

    Impey leaves the Italy-based Barloworld team of Claudio Corti after two years. He won a stage of the Herald Sun Tour last year. This April, he won a stage and the overall classification of the Tour of Turkey. It came despite breaking two vertebrae in a crash, caused by Theo Bos, in the final kilometre of the last stage. He returned to racing early last month.

    Team Barloworld stops this season after losing its sponsor. The majority of the team's other English-speaking riders will join Team Sky.

    Armstrong announced July 23, during the Tour de France, American company RadioShack would sponsor his new team for the next two years. He secured long-time team manager Bruyneel to make the switch with him from team Astana.

    Bruyneel guided USA's Armstrong and Spain's Alberto Contador to their Tour de France wins. He was Impey's first contact with RadioShack earlier this year.

    "I was with Robert [Hunter] in Como," continued Impey. "Bruyneel asked him about me and Robert said 'he's here with me' and passed the telephone. We talked about what was going on for the next year and about Barloworld stopping."

    Impey received a one-year contract from Bruyneel. The team's first race will be the same race Armstrong used to re-start his professional racing career this year, Australia's Tour Down Under.

    "I hope to start off in Australia, but a big goal would be to ride the Tour de France with Lance and [Levi] Leipheimer. Definitely a Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España or the Tour de France, is...

  • Dates set for Canadian ProTour events

    The peloton passes by a marina during the season's final ProTour race.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 1:13 BST
    Cycling News

    2010 ProTour calendar announcement imminent

    Following a meeting of the UCI ProTour Council (CUPT) in Mendrisio ahead of this week's road world championships, it's been decided that the two Canadian rounds of next year's ProTour will be held in September.

    The Grand Prix in Québec and Montreal will be held on September 10 and 12 respectively, with the UCI outlining basic technical details of each event. The Montreal Cycling Grand Prix will be 200km with 2,800m of climbing, while the Québec course will cover 189km and throw 3,000m of climbing at riders.

    The news is a boost for Canadian road cycling, which has struggled for high-profile events in recent years. Whilst the professional women's World Cup series visits the North American country, the ProTour hasn't done so since its inception in 2005.

    Although the dates fall within those traditionally set for the third grand tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, it's likely that the Canadian races will form important preparation blocks for those riders competing in the road world championships, which will be held in Geelong, Australia, in 2010.

    The closer proximity from Canada to the Australian continent in comparison to Europe will also be a factor.

    The UCI also indicated that dates for the remainder of its 2010 ProTour events have been approved and details will be announced subsequent to the conclusion of the CUPT Management Committee meeting, with the timing of next year's Gent-Wevelgem being altered to March 28.

    The CUPT also addressed the longer-term issue of accommodating ProTour licence requests in relation to race organisers inviting non-ProTour teams to their events.

    Due to the higher number of requests made for ProTour licences - by the likes of Team Sky and Team RadioShack, among others - the CUPT has initiated discussions on how best to modify rules relating to participation rates for ProTour and non-ProTour squads at races for the 2011 season. It's not expected that any...

  • Pooley important part of British talent pool

    Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) on the podium after winning the ninth round of the Women's World Cup in Plouay, France.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 1:46 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Cervélo rider anticipates Mendrisio test against the best

    British rider Emma Pooley took silver in the road time trial at last year's Beijing Olympics; 2009 has been even better for the Cervélo rider and she's hoping that can continue at this week's world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    The diminuitive rider is now anticipating the world championship time trial against the cream of international women's talent, including her vainqueur in China, Kristin Armstrong. It's the American's swansong to professional cycling and she'll undoubtedly be motivated to finish on a high.

    "I'm looking forward to the time trial because everyone says it won't suit me," Pooley told The Guardian. "I don't like the implication that I only got a medal in Beijing because it was a certain kind of course and I want the chance to prove myself on a flatter course."

    The challenge posed by Armstrong and a circuit it's claimed doesn't suit don't faze Pooley, however, whose rise through the pro ranks in the past two seasons has been impressive. There weren't many observers who would have expected her success at the beginning of 2009, including the rider herself.

    "It has surprised me, I thought that when you are in a strong team you don't always get the chance to race for yourself. But it's been fantastic. I've progressed, but it's not all to do with being full-time, although that helps your recovery," she explained.

    As has been the case with their male counterparts in Cervélo TestTeam's inaugural season, the women in black have been dominant in 2009, taking more than their expected share of victories, with Pooley's haul an integral part of the squad's scorecard. According to Pooley, it's a win-win situation.

    "You need people to learn off and my Cervélo team-mates are much more experienced than me. I've learned so much from them. Physically I've felt stronger than last year and...

  • Cunego calls for honesty and team unity

    National director Franco Ballerini with Damiano Cunego at the Vuelta a España
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 1:53 BST
    Les Clarke

    Italian favourite places highest priority on team work for worlds

    Damiano Cunego has called for his Italian teammates to be sincere in an assessment of their form leading into Sunday's world championship road race.

    Cunego, who goes into the event as one of the hot favourites, told Reuters that an honest appraisal of the form of each of his teammates will be vital in determining who the team rides for, adding that they Italian manager Franco Ballerini has many strong riders within his squad, not just reigning world champion Alessandro Ballan.

    With the likes of Ivan Basso, Filippo Pozzato, Stefano Garzelli and Alessandro Ballan, in addition to Cunego, it's undeniable that the Italians have possibly the strongest team on paper going into the event, with several men capable of taking the title on their day.

    "The important thing is sincerity. Everyone has to say if they feel really good or not, after the race is planned. Sincerity is important. You always have to be willing to sacrifice," said Cunego.

    While Cunego, who took second in last year's world titles in Varese, believes there won't be rivalries within the Italian team, he has nonetheless called for unity in the side to ensure it has the best chance of taking home the rainbow jersey.

    "When you're on the national team must be united. We have many strong riders, not just Ballan," he explained.

    While Ballan has struggled with illness throughout this season, Cunego has timed his run to Mendrisio well; a win in the tough, 157km stage to La Pandera in the recent Vuelta a España indicated that 'il piccolo principe' is enjoying a rich vein of form that should serve him well in Switzerland.

    Admitting he is performing well at present, Cunego remained modest about his chances. "Obviously, I think with the recent results I've had I've become more of a favourite in comparison with others, but there are many other candidates," he said.

  • Rabobank extends with Reus, De Maar moves on

    Kai Reus (Rabobank) was suitably pumped with his win
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 9:00 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Tour of Britain stage winner Reus adds another year, De Maar to OUCH

    Rabobank has extended the contract of one young rider, while letting another go. Kai Reus will stay with the Dutch ProTour team, while Marc De Maar did not receive a new contract and will transfer to the US-based OUCH Pro Cycling.

    Reus, 24, won the second stage of the Tour of Britain earlier this month and wore the leader's jersey for three stages. He finished the race fourth overall. Reus first signed with the Rabobank developmental team in 2004. He had his breakthrough year in 2006, when he won the Tour de Normandie, Ronde van Noord-Holland, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège for Espoirs.

    He said that he also been in discussion with Garmin-Slipstream, but decided to stay with his Dutch team. "They have stood behind me two years, when things were not good," he said. "I owe so much to them. They have always kept faith in me and I think it would not have been correct on my part if I had left.”

    The young Dutch rider moved up to the ProTour team in 2007, but his season was cut short by a training accident. In July of that year he crashed while training in France and was placed in an induced coma for 11 days due to head injuries. Reus rode for the Rabobank Continental team in 2008 and returned to the ProTour squad this year.

    De Maar, 25, also came up through the Rabobank developmental team and joined the ProTour team in 2006. He has not ridden since April of this year, due to injuries and illness.

    He noted that his signing with American team OUCH may seem “a somewhat surprising decision”, but noted that due to his physical problems: “I had slowly lost my pleasure in cycling. In America I will start over again and have fun being a rider.”

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  • Van Garderen to treat Worlds like local time trial

    American Tejay Van Garderen before the 2009 World Championships
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 10:22 BST
    Gregor Brown

    USA's Tejay Van Garderen remains calm, despite being Worlds time trial favourite

    USA's Tejay Van Garderen is one of the favourites to win today's Under-23 time trial at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The 21-year-old said that despite his status heading into the race, he will take a relaxed approach to the 33.2 kilometre time trial.

    "The Worlds is just a little bit different, everyone is just a little bit a more on edge," he told Cyclingnews. "The Worlds time trial is really no different than what you would do in the local Tuesday night time trial. You can't get too amped up, or you get too stressed and you think too much."

    Van Garderen has come to the Worlds in excellent condition. He finished second in the time trial at this month's Tour de l'Avenir on his way to second overall. His result in the French event - one of the most important stage races for young riders - was a big improvement on his eighth overall last year.

    This year, Van Garderen scaled back his training in July to be ready for his end of season objectives at l'Avenir and the World Championships.

    "I still feel strong now," he continued. "I am still motivated and I am definitely looking forward to doing a good time trial. I am definitely one of the favourites. I am there to go hunt for a medal."

    American Bob Stapleton will be watching to see if Van Garderen wins a medal. The Columbia-HTC manager has signed the young talent to race for the squad in 2010. The team has a strong pedigree of time trialists that includes reigning World Champion Bert Grabsch (Germany) and three-time winner Michael Rogers (Australia).

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  • Kashechkin returns on Thursday at Worlds

    Andrey Kashechkin (C)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 11:12 BST
    Richard Moore

    Kashechkin to race for Kazakhstan in Worlds time trial

    Andrey Kashechkin of Kazakhstan will make his comeback to cycling at the World Championship time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland on Thursday.

    The former Astana rider, who tested positive for blood doping in an out-of-competition test in 2007, has not raced since his suspension ended on 7 August this year, but has been named in Kazakhstan’s world championship team and will – according to a team source – ride the time trial, though not Sunday’s road race.

    It is understood that Kashechkin’s inclusion in the team has the support of the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation, which suggests that he, like Alexander Vinokourov, could be in line for a return to the Astana team.

    The national federation has a major stake in the professional team, though the Astana spokesman, Philippe Maertens, said on Wednesday that there has so far been no contact between 29-year-old Kashechkin and the squad, whose future as a ProTour squad has yet to be decided by the UCI.

    In August the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed Kashechkin’s appeal against the two-year ban imposed by his national federation. It followed positive tests on the A and B-samples of an out-of-competition test conducted by the UCI on 1 August 2007, while the Kazakh rider was on holiday in Turkey.

    A few weeks earlier, Kashechkin had been a member of the Astana team that withdrew en masse from the 2007 Tour after its leader, Vinokourov, tested positive for the same method of doping, by illegal blood transfusion.

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