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Latest Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 29, 2009

Date published:
June 29, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Agritubel name full Tour team

    Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 9:59 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Younger Feillu will debut, Gonzalo adds Spanish flavour to French team

    France's Agritubel announced its complete line up for the Tour de France, July 4 to 26.

    Maxime Bouet, David Le Lay and team captain Christophe Moreau had already been confirmed by the professional continental team. Winner of stage eight in the 2008 Tour de France, Sylvain Calzati, and 2008 French champion Nicolas Vogondy will lend their experience to the team.

    Bouet and neo-professional Brice Feillu will both be riding their first Tour de France. Feillu's brother Romain will be another of the eight Frenchmen named in the team, while Spaniard, Eduardo Gonzalo, will be the only foreign rider.

    Nicholas Jalabert was included in the team's Tour short list, but he did not make the final cut.

    Agritubel's full line up for the Tour de France is Maxime Bouet, Sylvain Calzati, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Eduardo Gonzalo, David Le Lay, Geoffroy Lequatre, Christophe Moreau and Nicolas Vogondy.

  • Hovelijnck happy to be onlooker at Nationals

    Kurt Jovelijnck (L) while riding for Topsport-Vlaanderen in 2008
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 11:08 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    "Happy that I'm still here" after crash and coma

    Kurt Hovelijnck attended Sunday's Belgian national championship in Aywaille, but as an onlooker rather than a participant. That didn't bother the Quick Step rider, though, who simply said, "I am happy that I'm still here."

    Earlier this season Hovelijnck spent four weeks in an induced coma, after suffering severe head injuries in a training crash in March.

    "I said that I would make my comeback at the Belgian Championships. That was a bit too optimistic," he told sportwereld.be. "I only started riding my bike again about two weeks ago. Carefully. Very carefully. My plan is to race again next season."

    The doctors told him that they had not expected him to survive, he noted. " I am please that I can still walk around. And it is great to see my teammates and to share in the atmosphere again. It my sound silly, but it is a great day for me."

    About ten days ago Hovelijnck was allowed to stop wearing a special helmet to protect his skull, a helmet he had worn for the last three months. He now sports a large scar across the skull from ear to ear.

    Now, the 28-year-old said, "I greatly look forward to the day I can return to the peloton. I don't know if I will be afraid. We will have to see."
     

  • Riccò to return with "humility"

    Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Prodir) was exhausted after taking second place.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 11:16 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Suspended cyclist looks towards 2010 return

    Riccardo Riccò will make his return to cycling in 2010, one year after his positive doping test for blood booster EPO cast a shadow over the Tour de France and his former team Saunier Duval.

    "It is right that there is a second chance," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport at a press conference on Sunday in Imola, Italy.

    Riccò tested positive for the third generation Erythropoietin – CERA – July 8 at the 2008 Tour de France. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages. Organisers have since annulled the wins.

    The CERA positives of teammate Leonardo Piepoli, Stefan Schumacher and Bernard Kohl followed Riccò's. Saunier Duval stopped its sponsorship of the Spanish team before the end of the 2008 season, as a result of Piepoli and Riccò's positives.

    Riccò is currently serving a 20-month ban, but he signed a contract through 2011 with Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce on Friday.

    "I can return with my head high March 18, but with the humility of a neo-professional. I will have to battle the scepticism from many," he said.

    Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce is a professional continental team. It has the chance to race in Milano-Sanremo, two days after Riccò's suspension ends, and the 2010 Giro d'Italia. (GB)

  • Steegmans skips Belgian Nationals

    Gert Steegmans (Katusha)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 11:30 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Katusha situation "too complex" for inactive rider

    Gert Steegmans was absent for the Belgian national championship road race on Sunday despite being able to race. His team Katusha has placed him on inactive status for refusing to sign an anti-doping agreement.

     "Until Wednesday I was really planning to start, but it was all too complex," Steegmans told sporza.be. "There was an option to ride independently, but I was advised not to take the risk and to avoid problems."

    The Russian ProTour team requires he signs its anti-doping clause. One of its requirements is that a rider found positive for a banned drug must pay back up to five times his annual salary.

    Katusha left Steegmans off the Tour de France team as a result.

    "I'm quite concerned. I hope that I can soon ride again for Katusha. I am still planning to fulfil my contract."

    The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) said last week that Katusha's clause is "not permissible" according to International Cycling Union (UCI) regulations. (SW)

     

  • AG2R La Mondiale names Tour team

    Cyril Dessel (AG2R La Mondiale) put in a heroic effort to win the stage.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 11:35 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Roche supports leaders Dessel and Efimkin

    France's AG2R La Mondiale named today the nine riders it will take to the Tour de France, July 4 to 26. Ireland's Nicolas Roche will help support team leaders Russian Vladimir Efimkin and Frenchman Cyril Dessel.

    Roche, Efimkin, Dessel, Spaniard José Luis Arrieta, Italian Rinaldo Nocentini, Frenchmen Hubert Dupont, Stéphane Goubert, Lloyd Mondory and Christophe Riblon are the nine riders. Frenchmen Ludovic Turpin and John Gadret are reserves.

    AG2R La Mondiale won two stages in the 2008 Tour de France. Dessel won stage 16 to Jausiers and Efimkin won stage nine to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, after Riccardo Riccò's disqualification for doping.

    The team also announced that Dupont, 28, has renewed his contract. He joined AG2R in 2006 and his new contract will see him ride fro the team through 2011. (GB)

  • Italian Champ Pozzato points to Tour

    Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) in the tricolore jersey.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 11:54 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    New champion looks for third stage win

    Filippo Pozzato wants to put the Italian Champion's jersey he won yesterday in Imola, Italy, on display at the Tour de France. The race starts near his home in Monaco on Saturday.

    "To go to the Tour with this jersey pleases me. I want to win at least one stage in France," Pozzato, 27, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Pozzato has won races like the Milano-Sanremo in his 10 years as a professional, but it was the first time he has won the Italian champion jersey. He told Cyclingnews at the beginning of the year that victory at his national championships was one of his main goals.

    "This jersey makes me happy, but it is also a big responsibility. I know that I will be even more at the centre of attention and as soon as I show weakness there will be critics," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Pozzato receives criticism from the press for winning infrequently. Last year, he helped former team Liquigas win the Vuelta a España time trial and he won a stage of the Giro della Grosseto. The small number of wins was on his mind when he signed with team Katusha over the winter.

    Team Manager Andrei "Tchmil knows what to do. I spoke with him the other night and he told me that this jersey is looked upon in a particular way. A one-day race is much more important for him and a stage victory at the Tour with the jersey on show is even better."

    Pozzato won his first Tour de France stage in 2004 when he was with team Fassa Bortolo. He won again in 2007 in Auton.

    The three week Tour de France will begin on July 4 and ends in Paris July 26.

  • Pfannberger's B-Sample positive for EPO

    Christian Pfannberger
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 12:00 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Austrian faces up to lifetime suspension

    Christian Pfannberger's B sample has tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO), the Austrian national anti-doping agency announced today. He faces a hearing which could result in a lifetime ban.

    Pfannberger tested positive for Erythropoietin in an out-of-competition doping control in March and he subsequently requested that the B sample also be tested.

    Team Katusha suspended Pfannberger after the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced the positive result at the beginning May.

    A hearing will take place within eight weeks. Pfannberger faces a competition ban ranging from a period of eight years to life, having previously served a two-year suspension after testing positive for testosterone in 2004.

    Pfannberger, 29, denies using prohibited drugs.

  • Boonen wins in Aywaille

    Tom Boonen has shrugged of recent disruptions to take his first Belgian road title
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 12:35 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Professional Quick Step squad give Tornado Tom his chance

    Tom Boonen claimed the Belgian national title in Aywaille, Belgium, on Sunday. It was an emotional win for the Quick Step star in his eighth attempt at winning the race.

    "Today I wasn't among the top favourites, and I knew that in order to win a race like this one I had to be having a great day and not make any mistakes. I did it," Boonen said after his win.

    Boonen overcame pre-race favourite and local hero, Philippe Gilbert (Silence-Lotto), at the finish line. The hilly race in the Walloon region of Belgium had been expected to suit the versatile Gilbert. However, Quick Step was able to control the race, giving Boonen the opportunity to win the sprint finish and claim his first Belgian championship.

    “Of course I am slightly disappointed,” Gilbert told Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad after finishing second. “[But] I have not done badly and was beaten by one of the best sprinters in the world.”

    Quick Step’s preparation for the championships had been disrupted by the drama surrounding Boonen’s on-again-off-again participation in this year’s Tour de France. Team manager Patrick Lefevere was impressed by the team’s attitude to the race.

    “The team was under pressure the last couple of weeks and I think they’re acting like real professionals,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    Boonen is expected to find out on Tuesday whether he will have the opportunity to display his newly acquired Belgian jersey at the Tour de France. A French civil court in Nanterre will hand down a ruling that will decide whether or not the former world champion will be allowed to take the start on July 4.

  • Armitstead will get silver medal

    Lizzie Armitstead happy to win the gold in the Under 23 women's event.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 13:21 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    British Cycling overturns decision of British nationals Chief Commissaire

    Lizzie Armitstead will be awarded a British national championships senior silver medal after British Cycling announced, on Monday, that it has overturned the decision of the race’s Chief Commissaire to only award Armitstead the gold medal in the U23 championship.

    The President of British Cycling, Brian Cookson, said that the organisation would be reviewing regulations governing the national championships in order establish a clear interpretation for the future.

    “The decision of the Chief Commissaire caused considerable distress to the riders who competed in the race on Saturday and created confusion among spectators,” said Cookson. “On behalf of British Cycling I would like to apologise to Lizzie Armitstead and the other riders competing on the day for the distress caused by this incident.”

    Armitstead finished second to Nicole Cooke in the championship race in Abergavenny on Saturday. However, the 20-year-old was shocked to be told, after leaving the U23 podium ceremony, that she would not receive the silver medal in the senior category.

    Following the Commissare's decision, Emma Pooley was awarded the senior silver with Catherine Williamson promoted to third place.

    Competitors and spectators present at Saturday’s race, including race winner, Nicole Cooke, had also been shocked at the decision.

    "It is very sad what happened to Lizzie with the silver medal,” said Cooke, on Saturday. “In sport you have things in black and white and Lizzie was second in the results and a very worthy winner of that medal. Everyone was disappointed and no one wanted to take a medal that wasn't theirs.”

     

    A similar situation occurred at the 2008 championships when Joanna Rowsell claimed the U23 championship after finishing third in the combined championship race. In that instance Rowsell was awarded both medals.

    “We received a number of complaints on...

  • Lampre announces nine Tour men

    Marzio Bruseghin sits in the Lampre train.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 14:36 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    World Champ Ballan heads Italian team

    Lampre-NGC has confirmed its nine men for the Tour de France, with the Italian squad to be headed by world champion Alessandro Ballan and classification rider Marzio Bruseghin.

    The complete team includes Italian riders Ballan, Bruseghin, Marco Bandiera, Angelo Furlan, David Loosli, Daniele Righi, Mauro Santambrogio, plus Poland's Marcin Sapa and Slovenia's Simon Spilak. Directeurs sportif for the Tour will be Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani.

    "Above all, it will be important to win a stage, which is not easy at the Tour de France," Piovani told Cyclingnews.

    The team will also help Bruseghin in the overall classification; Piovani explained that if Bruseghin could emulate the 10th place he achieved at the Giro d'Italia last month then the Tour would be a success.

    "Furlan will try in the sprints even if it seems impossible to battle Mark Cavendish. But every sprint is different and there is always a chance."

    The race departs Saturday in Monaco and finishes July 26 in Paris.

  • Skil-Shimano announces Tour line-up

    Kenny Van Hummel
    Article published:
    June 29, 2009, 16:17 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    International squad for the Pro Continental team

    Skil-Shimano will make its Tour de France debut on Saturday after announcing its final Tour roster. The squad will have an international feel, with four nationalities represented.

    The Dutch Professional Continental team will feature three Frenchmen: climber Thierry Hupond, time trial specialist Cyril Lemoine and Jonathan Hivert. They will be supported by Dutch riders Kurt de Koen, Piet Rooijakkers, Albert Timmer and Kenny Van Hummel, who on Sunday finished second in the Dutch national road race.

    German youngster Simon Geschke and Fumiyuki Beppu of Japan round out the squad. Beppu will be aiming to become one of the first Japanese riders to complete the Tour de France.

    Manager Iwan Spekenbrink said that Rudie Kemna and Merjin Zeemin would serve as Directeurs Sportif at the Tour.