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Latest Edition Cycling News, January 9, 2009

Date published:
January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Final questions for Steve Johnson

    Steve Johnson explained why the media was excluded
    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Cyclingnews recently posted a two-part feature interview with the current CEO of USA Cycling Steve...

    Cyclingnews recently posted a two-part feature interview with the current CEO of USA Cycling Steve Johnson, looking back at his tenure at the helm of the organisation. The interview was conducted back in October and since then our North American Editor Mark Zalewski spoke with him about some more issues — number one of which was the perception of a lack of transparency.

    Johnson said he was well aware of this perception and was actively trying to turn it around. He even went so far as to invite us to the then upcoming NRC promoter summit. Unfortunately, when Cyclingnews asked to be included in the NRC summit, USA Cycling representatives denied media access — not exactly a step towards increasing transparency.

    When asked about this Johnson said this was not a case for hiding information but an attempt to allow for more of it.

    "We wanted to have a frank dialog with the stakeholders and not have it affected by [a media presence,]" said Johnson. "It was a work in progress at that point... talking about things in the rough form that they were in." In other words, people might not be as likely to discuss ideas if they were worried it would show up in the media.

    "I'm probably the most sensitive to that of anybody. So I ask people to just bear with us with this one and there was a lot of great dialog and without the media there we were able to have a franker discussion."

    "It wasn't closed doors in all respects as it was open to all promoters and really anyone else."

    The Olympics were also a major point of our discussion with Johnson, particularly the up-and-down nature of the US results. As Johnson admitted, the Olympics are an important event for sports like cycling, trying to gain awareness and get noticed above the fray amongst all the other sports, usually via medals.

    Unfortunately, US cycling got awareness from a...

  • Boom at Nationals after all

    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Lars Boom will ride the Dutch cyclo-cross championship on Sunday to defend his national title, even...

    Lars Boom will ride the Dutch cyclo-cross championship on Sunday to defend his national title, even through his left elbow still isn't fully healed from injuries suffered last month..

    The Rabobank rider injured his elbow in a crash at a race in Loenhout on December 30. It subsequently became infected and he was in hospital last weekend to have the wound cleaned and to undergo an antibiotics treatment.

    Things are getting better, but he still doesn't have full use of the arm. "For example, I can't pull well, but I still want to defend my title," he said on the team's website, rabosport.nl.(SW)

  • Saxo Bank optimistic for Tour Down Under

    Stuart O'Grady gets ready for the home race
    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Team Saxo Bank thinks it has good chances in the premiere ProTour race of the 2009 season, the Tour...

    Team Saxo Bank thinks it has good chances in the premiere ProTour race of the 2009 season, the Tour Down Under. Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen said the team offers several contenders for the overall win.

    "The riders we've chosen for the line-up have all been training specifically for this race and several of them are at a level where they could easily be contenders for the victory," he said on the team's website, riis-cycling.com.

    The Danish team will be led by two Australians, Stuart O'Grady and Matt Goss, who "have an obvious advantage because they've been able to train down here." They will be joined by Jens Voigt, who is known for his aggressive riding and frequent escape attempts. "I know that Jens Voigt has worked really hard as well and that means anything can happen really," Andersen noted.

    The six-stage race, which runs from January 20 – 25, is normally one for the sprinters. "This particular race often gets decided via bonus seconds or because a break is allowed off on one of the tougher stages," Andersen said. "Regardless, the recipe is the same for us: We need to be where the action is!"(SW)

  • Menchov to Giro

    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Russian Denis Menchov has confirmed that he will once again ride the Giro d'Italia. The Rabobank...

    Russian Denis Menchov has confirmed that he will once again ride the Giro d'Italia. The Rabobank rider made his intentions to participate clear to organiser RCS, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Menchov finished fifth last year, 3:37 behind the winner.

    Menchov won the Vuelta a España twice, in 2005 after Roberto Heras was caught for doping and in 2007.

    Menchov acknowledged that participating in the Giro last year totally changed his mind about the race. "I like the race as it is never dull and the weather is optimal for me and the spectators."

    Menchov hopes to better his result from last year. "I was in good shape then, but not at my very top." His 2008 results made him realise that he can race two Grand Tours at the highest level. "It appear others think so, too.

  • Cunego eyes Giro's key time trial

    Cunego eyes the long Giro time trial
    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    By Gregor Brown Damiano Cunego will preview the Giro d'Italia's key time trial stage in Liguria,...

    By Gregor Brown

    Damiano Cunego will preview the Giro d'Italia's key time trial stage in Liguria, Italy, in the coming days. The 2004 winner of the Italian stage race is currently training in Tuscany with teammates as he aims to escape the bad weather at home in Verona.

    "We are here until Tuesday, doing motor-pacing and distance riding. We will go and see the time trial course in Liguria as well," Directeur Sportif, Brent Copeland said to Cyclingnews.

    The 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31, is expected to help decide the race overall. The 61.7-kilometre long time trial will suit race favourites Ivan Basso and Lance Armstrong.

    South African Copeland is back with Lampre after taking time out to open a bicycle shop in Como, Italy. He will look after Cunego in key races this year, which will include the Giro d'Italia, and possibly the Tour de France.

    Cunego has not fully committed on which three-week event he will race this year. Last year, he raced the Tour de France as part of a successful season that included wins in the Amstel Gold andGiro di Lombardia.

    "We did a ride of 160 kilometres today [Thursday - ed.]. It was a good five and a half hour ride," said Copeland.

    "It is like heaven for them to get on their bikes down here for five hours. In the day it is 12 to 13°C, whereas it is -2° in Milano."

    Copeland confirmed Cunego will open his season at the GP Etruschi, February 7, in Italy. Cunego will race the Volta ao Algarve, February 18 to 22, as his second race.

  • Snow forces Basso off-road prior to Argentina

    Ivan Basso was forced off-road due to the temperatures
    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    By Gregor Brown Snow forced Ivan Basso to train off-road as he builds form prior to his 2009 debut...

    By Gregor Brown

    Snow forced Ivan Basso to train off-road as he builds form prior to his 2009 debut in Argentina. The Team Liquigas leader starts his first full season since 2005 at the Tour de San Luis, January 19 to 25.

    "Cannondale gave me a mountain bike with profiled tyres, so I used it to my benefit. I rode two hours on my mountain bike and then in the afternoon one hour on the trainer," Basso said to Cyclingnews.

    Basso is a favourite to win the Giro d'Italia this May and won the three-week Italian stage race in 2006. This season will be his first attempt at the race since his suspension for his links to the Operación Puerto doping investigation.

    Basso made his return at the end of last year with the Japan Cup where he finished second to Damiano Cunego. Over the winter he has improved his form and he will race the Tour de San Luis, Tour of California and Tirreno-Adriatico as part of his lead-up to the Giro, May 9 to 31.

    "I don't want to go over my limit racing in Argentina as it is too early in the season but I’m looking forward to the training. My condition needs to build slowly in Argentina, then to California and Tirreno."

    The Tour de San Luis is a seven-stage race. Five other European teams – ISD, Andalucía Cajasur, Diquigiovanni, Fuji-Servetto and Saxo Bank – will join team Liquigas.

  • Cofidis ready for marvellous season

    The 2009 Cofidis jerseys are ready
    Article published:
    January 09, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Bjorn Haake in Paris

    By Bjorn Haake in Paris The French Cofidis team used the marvellous Théâtre Merveilleux in Paris for...

    By Bjorn Haake in Paris

    The French Cofidis team used the marvellous Théâtre Merveilleux in Paris for its 2009 presentation on Thursday. The elaborate event in the old theater in Bercy was a far cry from the low-key event in the previous year. Most riders were present this time and followed the entertaining presentation that mixed speeches with short, entertaining video clips. Well known Tour de France announcer Daniel Mangeas led the 90-minute long official part of the programme.

    The French ProTour team lost a few of its major players, such as Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Nick Nuyens (Rabobank) or Maxime Monfort (Team Columbia), who had contributed to a very successful 2008 campaign. Team Manager Eric Boyer realised the difficulty of repeating such a successful year. "If I could sign to have the same successes as last year, I'd do it immediately."

    Boyer added that the team already brought in the first win of the season. "Jean Eudes Demaret won a cyclo-cross race last Sunday." Mangeas was quick to point out that it was fitting Demaret won the first race for the team (the French word demarrer means 'to start').

    A review of the 2008 season highlighted the team's performance in the Tour de France, which was a success with two stage wins (Samuel Dumoulin, Sylvain Chavanel) and a 15th place overall by Amaël Moinard.

    Riders such as David Moncoutié dream of La Grande Boucle. "The Tour de France is certainly an important objective for me," Moncoutié said. He doesn't rule out challenging for the maillot blanc à pois rouge of best climber. "But I tackle the coming season with the goal of simply winning races," said Moncoutié about the year that could be his last as a professional. Winning the climber's jersey at last year's Vuelta a...