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Latest Cycling News for December 7, 2006

Date published:
December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
  • Usov continues with Ag2R Prévoyance

    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Ag2R Prévoyance has confirmed that Alexandre Usov will continue with the team. The Byelorussian has...

    Ag2R Prévoyance has confirmed that Alexandre Usov will continue with the team. The Byelorussian has signed a contract to continue with the France-based team for the 2007 season, bring the team up to 27 riders for next year. The 29 year-old went winless in 2006 but finished 5th in stages of the Deutschland Tour and the Vuelta a España.

  • McEwen to spearhead Predictor-Lotto attack in Tour Down Under

    Robbie McEwen in the Tour's green jersey
    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Tour de France sprint champion, Robbie McEwen, who last weekend won the Australian criterium...

    Tour de France sprint champion, Robbie McEwen, who last weekend won the Australian criterium championships, will spearhead the Predictor-Lotto team attack at the 2007 Tour Down Under. The 34 year-old Queenslander this year won three stages of the Giro d'Italia and three stages of the Tour de France as well as the coveted green sprinter's jersey. In the eight-year history of the Tour Down Under McEwen has won 11 stages, the most of any rider, and is expected to add more to the list in 2007.

    "This year I won the Down Under Classic and finished third overall in the Tour Down Under despite not being in peak form," said McEwen. "If I can do that again I'll be really happy and if I'm going well might do even better."

    McEwen says the Predictor-Lotto team for the 2007 Tour Down Under is a strong one that could challenge for overall honours.

    "I would say our team looks like a 'GC' team rather than a sprinter's team," said McEwen. "In the finishes I'll be trying to work with Geert Steurs [new pro] and Fred [Rodriquez] and for the rest of the race we'll have Matthew Lloyd, who's a talented climber and Josep [Jufré] who's a good climber as well. ... Jufré has finished in the top-15 overall in the Vuelta [a España] but in this year's Vuelta he crashed out and did a lot of damage cutting the tendons in his arm, so the Tour Down Under will be his come back race."

    Victorian Matthew Lloyd, 23, will debut with the team in Adelaide signing up after a stellar year with the SouthAustralia.com-AIS team that saw him win stages in the Tour of Japan and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and finish third overall in the U26 Giro d'Italia.

    McEwen is one of the most prolific winners in the sport of cycling and acknowledges there is a weight of expectation on him now to deliver every year.

    "I don't know if I'll get better in 2007 but if I can be anywhere near the level I was this year I'll be very happy," he said. "Any year you win a grand...

  • Tinkoff's first team camp closes

    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Italian-Russian Tinkoff Credit Systems has concluded its first team camp. The staff and 18 riders,...

    Vasil Kiryienka makes 18

    Italian-Russian Tinkoff Credit Systems has concluded its first team camp. The staff and 18 riders, including Tyler Hamilton and Salvatore Commesso, gathered this week on the Rivera Romagnola in the town of Riccione.

    Team Manager Omar Piscina and financial backer Oleg Tinkov met with their riders to discuss the 2007 schedules and distribute technical materials; including Diadora, Biemme, Rudy Project and bicycles by Colnago. The Milanese bike firm will supply carbon C-50s, equipped with Campagnolo, to the team for the 2007 season.

    Vasil Kiryienka was also at the team gathering. The 25 year-old Byelorussian became the newest member of Tinkoff Credit Systems when he signed a contract in Riccione. Kiryienka is the 2006 national time trial champion and finished sixth at the TT world championships in Salzburg.

    "I really like Vladimir Gusev but he stayed with Discovery Channel," said Tinkov when asked by La Gazzetta dello Sport which rider he wanted but did not sign. "He is young and very interesting. And also from Discovery, I would have liked very much to have signed Yaroslav Popovych."

    Thursday afternoon the team will travel from Riccione to Vicenza for photos.

    Riders: Tyler Hamilton (USA), Elio Aggiano (Ita), Pavel Brutt (Rus), Ilya Chernetsky (Rus), Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Daniele Contrini (Ita), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Sergey Klimov (Rus), Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus), Ruggero Marzoli (Ita), Anton Mindlin (Rus), Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Ivan Rovny (Rus), Alexander Serov (Rus), Ricardo Serrano (Spa), Nikolai Trussov (Rus), Steffen Weigold (Ger) and Vasil Kiryienka (Blr)

  • Slipstream-Chipotle announces pro continental status

    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    In a bold move upward for 2007, Team TIAA-CREF not only becomes Team Slipstream presented by...

    In a bold move upward for 2007, Team TIAA-CREF not only becomes Team Slipstream presented by Chipotle, but moves up a big notch into the UCI's professional continental category. The team's unique cross-Atlantic schedule consists of racing the USACycling professional tour, the European Continental Tour and hopefully a few ProTour wildcard starts. This schedule will prove challenging but rewarding for both riders and sponsors.

    "We are happy to be growing - and growing at a rate that will put us on our objective of riding the Tour de France by 2009," director sportif Jonathan Vaughters announced.

    "Team TIAA-CREF hasn't disappeared, their sponsorship has moved to our junior development team," he continued. "However, the professional team, Slipstream presented by Chipotle, is no longer in any way, shape or form a development team. We are still a young team, but now we will race to win, not learn."

    Slipstream-Chipotle has added a few young and talented riders but without losing its deep roots as an American team. ProTour signings, such as Patrick McCarty (Phonak) and Kilian Patour (Crédit Agricole), bring experience, and young talents such as U23 Paris-Tours winner Huub Duyn (Rabobank) and Aussie Ben Johnson (Agritubel) bring enthusiasm. Returning star riders include current USPRO criterium champion, Brad Huff, U23 road race and criterium champion, Craig Lewis, and 2001 U23 TT world champion, Danny Pate.

    "Pate will be one of the biggest surprises of 2007." states Vaughters, "He was right on the cusp of truly breaking through in 2006, I have no doubt he will have a few rides that leave people awestruck in 2007."

    For the next season the team has reached an agreement to ride on Felt carbon frames. The team is reportedly working on a "unique and yet to be revealed" paint scheme.

    Roster: Huub Duyn, Kilian Patour, Pat McCarty, Benny Johnson, Danny Pate, Brad Huff, Craig Lewis, Ian MacGregor, Tyler Butterfield, Blake Caldwell, Steve...

  • Gilberto Simoni and Saunier Duval-Prodir continue

    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    After the announcement of Saunier Duval-Prodir keeping their ProTour license through 2010 , the team...

    After the announcement of Saunier Duval-Prodir keeping their ProTour license through 2010, the team is interested in retaining their star rider. According to Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Gilberto Simoni and Saunier Duval-Prodir are close to reaching an agreement that would prolong their contract from the end of 2007 to 2008. The 35 year-old rider from Palù di Giovo (Trento), winner of the 2001 and 2003 Giro d'Italia, is in discussion with the team's general manager, Swiss Mauro Gianetti.

    Since leaving Lampre-Caffita at the end of 2005, Il Trentino has found new life in the yellow colours of the Spanish-Swiss team. For 2007 his goal will again be to win the Giro d'Italia, where he finished third in 2006.

  • T-Mobile riders training around the world

    Patrik Sinkewitz in early 2006
    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    By Susan Westemeyer It's training time again, and T-Mobile's riders around the world are looking to...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    It's training time again, and T-Mobile's riders around the world are looking to get into shape. One group just finished a training camp on the Spanish island of Lanzarote. Patrik Sinkewitz anticipated typical German weather and took off for South Africa, where he has 25°C and sunshine. Had he known that the weather at home would stay so nice, he might have stayed at home, but he is pleased with the optimal conditions he has found and is also pleased with his progress.

    "I feel better than I did a year ago, it's really going well," he said on his website, www.patrik-sinkewitz.com. He'll be flying home for the holidays before taking off for the team's official training camp on Mallorca.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Adam Hansen is preparing for his first season with T-Mobile with methods that are new to him. "I have to admit, that I do try something different every year, last year's base training was more of the crazy stupid but this year's training set out by [T-Mobile team doctor] Lothar [Heinrich] is kinda........hard," he wrote at www.adamhansen.com. "It involves runs in the morning, Swiss ball stuff, training in the arvo, Swiss ball stuff and sometimes gym work."

    A few days later, his training changed. "I have been doing some solid rides lately and now I have my first break (if you call 1.5 hours of riding a rest day!), then into some serious gym work. All this gym work is kinda good and I'm learning heaps. I'm amazed that these types of programs exist. But I will try it and see as I'm pretty new to it and love to know if it really works."

  • D-day for ProTour hopefuls

    Manolo Saiz
    Article published:
    December 07, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    By Shane Stokes Both Manolo Saiz's Active Bay team and the Swiss-registered squad managed by Marc...

    Neil Stephens hopes for best for two teams

    By Shane Stokes

    Both Manolo Saiz's Active Bay team and the Swiss-registered squad managed by Marc Biver, featuring riders such as Alexander Vinokourov, have a crucial appeal with the UCI license commission today, Thursday, in order to see if they can secure a ProTour license for next season.

    Biver's Astana squad was last week refused a license, while there have also been reports that Saiz was unable to provide the financial guarantees necessary in order to hold onto his own one. One serious complication is that both teams have cited the Astana conglomeration of Kazakh countries as their main sponsor.

    Today's appeal meeting is therefore crucial to their hopes.

    Earlier this year, Saiz was forced to step away from the team due to his implication in Operación Puerto, but insists his contracts with Astana and many of the riders remain valid. However, Biver maintains that the team's non-participation in the Tour de France means that they have no obligations towards Saiz, making a legal battle a real possibility.

    Former Australian pro and Tour de France stage winner Neil Stephens has worked with both groups, spending a lot of time with Saiz as a director sportif with the Liberty Seguros team and then being part of the new setup which helped Alexander Vinokourov win the Vuelta a España in September. He doesn't know how things will work out and refrains from taking sides, but says that he is saddened that things have become so complicated.

    "I've had contact with other directors [on the team], although not with Manolo himself, and we don't really know a lot," he stated while talking to Cyclingnews in recent days. "We are hearing that Manolo is going to go on, we are hearing also that the sponsor that he presented for 2007 was Astana. We...