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Latest Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Date published:
June 23, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Court to deal with Boonen case on Thursday

    Tour or no Tour? Boonen will know soon
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 10:05 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Decision expected on Friday, Boonen uneasy about Tour participation

    Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has chosen to call upon a French civil court in Nanterre to decide whether or not Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen should be allowed to take part in the upcoming Tour de France, starting July 4. In the confrontation between the ProTour team and the Tour de France organiser ASO, Lefevere had threatened to take legal action if Boonen was excluded from the race. It was believed that he would summon the Court of Arbitration of the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF), but now the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Nanterre will decide the case.

    The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 25, and the decision expected on Friday, June 26 - one week before the Tour de France start in Monaco.

    Meanwhile, Boonen himself is apprehensive as he awaits the outcome of the legal action. Speaking to Belgian sports TV show Sportweekend, Boonen admitted that the conflict has overshadowed his preparation for the Tour and will be a burden weighing on his performances, should he be able to participate.

    "The uncertainty drives you nuts," he said, not knowing whether he will be at the start of the Grand Tour in 10 days' time. "It will not be simple to start a hard Tour like that. Firstly, I am not welcome, and secondly, I won't be fresh mentally."

    Should Boonen be allowed to start there will be added pressure on him from the entire Quick Step team. In recent weeks the Belgian squad has made clear the importance, for them, of the sprinter’s presence at the Tour. "They expect you to be motivated at a 100 percent from the very first day and if you don't win for two days, they'll ask: 'why?'," said Boonen.

    Nevertheless, the Belgian remained optimistic about his participation. "I'm almost certain that everything will work out," he said. "But this development is against my principles. I would have preferred to find a solution with a dialogue, but this is impossible now. I will just try to make the best out of the...

  • Sella training for August return

    Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare) takes his third stage of the Giro.
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 10:40 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian looking for a team as his one-year suspension comes to a close

    Italian Emanuele Sella is training and in search of a team for his return to cycling August 18, when his one-year doping ban ends.

    "I have a few teams in mind, but I still need to sign. My agent is working closely on it, but I want to wait to say anything," Sella told Cyclingnews. yesterday

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) caught Sella in an out of competition control July 23, 2008, at his home in Vicenza. Its blood control revealed him positive for third generation blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO), CERA.

    Because Sella, 28, cooperated with prosecutors the Italian anti-doping tribunal issued him a shorter ban. He has retained some of his fitness during his time away from competition and is now preparing for his expected return.

    "I am riding long distances, from two to four hours, sometimes up to seven hours. I like to train and to ride my bike even if at first it was hard to deal with not being a 'racer', but this feeling passed after a little bit of time."

    Sella won three stages in the 2008 Giro d'Italia – Alpe di Pampeago, Passo Fedaia and Tirano – and the climber's jersey. His positive control just came over one month later and cast doubt on his performance.

    "What can I say? Some results are the result of hard work. I was under the same controls as everyone else, and I passed them."

    Sella had to follow the 2009 Giro d'Italia via television. "It was a little different this year, but it is always a beautiful race. Monte Petrano was really beautiful and forced out the strong riders. I would have liked to be there, not just for one stage, but for it all."

    Depending on which team he signs for he could have the option to ride the Vuelta a España, August 29 to September 20. He explained that his main goal is to return to racing this autumn and that he is unconcerned the specific races.

    Sella became professional with team Ceramica Panaria, now CSF...

  • Gasparotto eyes second Italian title

    Enrico Gasparotto will be hoping for a red, white and green jersey on Sunday
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 11:51 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian hoping for first win of his season at Sunday's national championships

    Enrico Gasparotto wants to take his first win of the season this Sunday at the Italian National Championships in Imola. Four years on from his first national title, he has even stronger team support with Lampre teammates Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Ballan.

    "My goal is the Italian Championship, Sunday the 28th – it is the objective," he told Cyclingnews. "I am convinced to be able to have a good race and I go better in one-day races than stage races."

    Gasparotto said the team will decide tactics on the day of the race. Depending on how the race develops he could have his chance to win. He also noted the strong form and desire of Cunego, who placed second in the Tour de Suisse stage to Crans-Montana Saturday.

    Gasparotto won Suisse's overall sprint classification jersey thanks to a consistent ride over nine days of racing. He gained the majority of his points on the stage to Lumino, where he was part of a four-man escape group for most of the day.

    "It would have been more important to win a sprint, but the sprint classification is better than nothing."

    He had four wins in 2008 when he rode for Barloworld, this year he has zero. Explaining this apparent change in fortunes is his participation in more important races and often at the services of teammates, such as Cunego during the Ardennes Classics. Gasparotto helped Cunego finish in the top ten of the Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    "It is such an important and great team, a team where I would also like to contribute with wins."

    Gasparotto started his season February 7 at the GP Etruschi and will conclude the first phase with Sunday's championships. After a break, he will return with the Tour of Poland or Portugal.

    "I want to have a good finale to the season. If there is one...

  • Eight spots filled, one to go for FdJeux's Tour team

    Marc Madiot is close to completing his nine man roster for the 2009 Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 11:59 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Promising climber Di Gregorio yet to earn his spot

    French team La Francaise des Jeux has almost finalised its roster for the upcoming Tour de France. Team manager Marc Madiot has put together a list of eight riders, with the ninth spot still available.

    Sandy Casar will lead the team for a good placing on the general classification as well as a stage victory, and Anthony Geslin will be the team's hope when it comes to mass sprints. The two riders will be supported by Jérôme Coppel, Yauheni Hutarovich, Sébastien Joly, Christophe Le Mével, Benoît Vaugrenard and Jussi Veikkanen. The other main task for the riders will be to establish their presence in breakaways.

    A stage win will be the squad's main goal at the race, certainly the most important event of the season for a French team. Francaise des Jeux last won a stage of the Tour in 2007, when Sandy Casar took victory on stage 18 in Angoulême.

    Rémy Di Gregorio, winner of the 2007 Dauphiné Libéré mountains jersey, is not yet sure of his participation. The climber, who has tried to stand out at the Dauphiné Libéré and the Route du Sud, is notably up against 2008 Paris-Nice stage winner Jérémy Roy.

    The team will finalise the Tour de France roster early next week, after the French national championships in Saint-Brieuc this weekend.

  • British Cycling Championships return to Wales

    Mark Cavendish will be one of the favorites for this Sunday's British national championships in Wales
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 13:50 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Stellar field set to race for men’s championship

    Stellar field set to race for men’s national championship

    Britain’s top cyclists will contest the nation’s road cycling championships this weekend in the Welsh town of Abergavenny. The championships will culminate on Sunday with men’s race to decide the open and under-23 national champions, respectively.

    Pro Tour riders Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad), David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream), Brad Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) and Ben Swift (Katusha) have all been confirmed on the race startlist, alongside Barloworld riders Chris Froome and Steve Cummings. Cervélo TestTeam will have a strong presence in the race with two time champions Roger Hammond and Jeremy Hunt being joined by Daniel Lloyd and Dan Fleeman.

    Last year’s champion, Rob Hayles (Halfords), will return to defend his title, as will reigning U23 champion, Peter Kennaugh (100% ME). Kennaugh will be the favourite in the younger category after his recent stage win and third placing overall at the Baby Giro.

    British Cycling has made the decision to reduce the length of the men’s race to160km, from over 200km in recent years.

    Abergavenny last hosted the British national championships in 2007 when David Millar, then riding for Saunier-Duval, took the national title ahead of Daniel Lloyd.

  • Daniel Fleeman set to return at British championships

    Dan Fleeman (Cervélo TestTeam) is hoping to help his trade teammates at the British championships
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 17:02 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Recovery to be tested this weekend in Wales

    Daniel Fleeman (Cervélo TestTeam) will return to competition at this Sunday’s British national championships. The young Englishman has made a faster than expected recovery since breaking his left wrist in a collision with a police motorbike at the Bayern Rundfahrt, last month in Germany.

    "I’m pretty pleased because they told me that it could take up to eight weeks. Its been three weeks now and I’ve more or less got full movement in it," Fleeman told Cyclingnews. "I’m riding my bike and it aches a little bit from time to time but that’s pretty normal."

    Fleeman attributes his rapid recovery to a decision to have the broken bone pinned by a specialist surgeon in Switzerland, in early June. Just three weeks after the operation Fleeman has already been training on the road for the past fortnight, although his recovery was initially hampered by an apparent side effect of the operation to his wrist.

    "I was completely off my bike for eight days. I thought I’d be allright to train on the home trainer. After five or ten minutes all my muscles would just go rock solid and I had to get off because I was in agony," said Fleeman. "I think it was a bit of the anesthetic and also because I was just sitting around in the hospital for four days and my muscles just seized up, so I [had] about a week of riding just 15-20 minutes a day, just building up steadily to try and loosen up."

    Turning his attention to this weekend’s British national championship in Wales, Fleeman isn’t expecting to be in contention for the win, rather he will hope to assist his Cervélo teammates Daniel Lloyd, Jeremy Hunt and Roger Hammond throughout the 160km race.

    "It’ll be interesting. I think I’ll be a little bit nervous. It would have been nice to have another race before to get used to riding in the bunch again," he said. "I’m training okay but when it comes to racing, I...

  • Valverde will not ride 2009 Tour de France

    Spanish Champion Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 17:50 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Caisse d'Epargne leaves Valverde off roster due to CONI ban

    Spanish champion Alejandro Valverde will not compete in the Tour de France his Caisse d'Epargne team announced on Tuesday, citing the Spaniard's ban by the National Anti-doping Tribunal of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Italy.

    CONI imposed a two-year sanction on Valverde on May 11 in response to his alleged involvement in the Operación Puerto affair and the fact that samples taken from him after stage 14 of last year's Tour de France matched one of those found in the clinic of disgraced Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. CONI said that Valverde had violated UCI anti-doping regulations.

    Valverde appealed his suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but his appeal will not be heard prior to the start of the Tour de France on July 4.

    "Under these circumstances and, knowing that a stage of the race will pass through Italian territory, we are obliged to announce that Alejandro Valverde will not take the start of the 2009 Tour," Caisse d'Epargne said.

    The 16th stage of the Tour de France goes from Martigny, Switzerland, to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France, and passes briefly through Italy.

  • Gerdemann confident going into Tour

    LInus Gerdemann (Team Milram) in yellow at the Bayern Rundfahrt.
    Article published:
    June 23, 2009, 19:14 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Milram rider says captaincy is "not a burden"

    Linus Gerdemann will be team captain in only his second Tour de France, but the Team Milram rider isn't afraid of the pressure. "There is a certain responsibility, which spurs me on, but I think I am up to it, and I believe that the team has the right mood," he told Cyclingnews. "It is not a burden to start as team captain."

    Speaking at the team's Tour de France squad presentation Wednesday in Dortmund, Germany, Gerdemann, 26, refused to set an absolute goal for himself in the race. "I will just take it day by day and stay focused."

    Two years ago, he won a stage in the Tour and wore the leader's yellow jersey for one day. "Whether the yellow jersey is really possible for me this year, I don't know. The media plays it up and it would be important for the sponsors, but for me it is more important to see a further development and to go to the Tour start at 100%."

    The German has had mixed results this year, with his only victory being the overall win in the Bayern Rundfahrt, without any stage wins. He followed that up with a poor Tour de Suisse, where he had problems on the climbs.

    "I wasn't satisfied with the Tour de Suisse," Gerdemann said. He saw a positive side to it, though. His successful Bayern was followed two weeks later by an unsuccessful Suisse, and he now thinks things will swing back again two weeks after that for the Tour de France.

    "In two weeks a lot of things can change. In the two weeks between Bayern and Suisse, my form went downhill, partly because of a cold. So I am confident that things will improve again in the next two weeks and I am confident going into the Tour."

    Instead of additional mountain training, he will continue his normal training. "The absolute hard training program is finished. I did a whole lot and it wouldn't be a good idea to try to add more to it now, I think it is more important to give myself some rest and let my body rejuvenate from the athletic demands upon it from the last...