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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 10, 2010

Date published:
December 10, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Andy Schleck named Luxembourg's male athlete of the year

    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 10:02 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Eighth cyclist honoured in as many years

    Andy Schleck has been named Luxembourg’s male athlete of the year for the second consecutive year, beating his brother Fränk into second place in the poll.

    Schleck placed second overall in the Tour de France and stands to be named the winner if Alberto Contador is sanctioned for the adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol he returned during the race. He also wore the yellow jersey for six days, won two stages and finished top of the young riders’ classification for the third year in a row.

    Andy Schleck notched up 477 votes in the poll to finish comfortably ahead of his brother Fränk (247). Swimmer Laurent Carnol was third with 182 votes.

    Schleck’s victory means that cyclists have now been honoured with the award in each of the past eight years. Fränk Schleck took the spoils after his breakthrough season of 2006, while Kim Kirchen has been named Luxembourg’s top athlete on five separate occasions.

    Neither Andy nor Fränk Schleck were able to attend the awards ceremony which took place in the Casino 2000 in Mondorf on Thursday night. The brothers are currently in Switzerland for the Luxembourg Cycling Project’s first gathering ahead of the 2011 season.



  • Morton hoping to build on Utah performance in 2011

    Lachlan Morton (Holowesko Partners) putting in a good ride.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 10:31 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin's Australian U23 star facing a worldwide race program

    Lachlan Morton is hoping to build on a solid season with the Garmin-Transitions under 23 squad, Team Holowesko Partners, after a string of strong performances in 2010.

    The 18-year-old Australian signed for the team after a stand-out performance in last year’s USA Junior Cycling Championships in California and won two stages and the overall at the Tour de l’ Abitibi this year. He also finished seventh in the Tour of Utah.

    “This year went a lot better than I thought it would. I was just looking to learn and see what it was all about. It was my first year as a full time bike rider. At the start of the year I found my feet but it all came together later in the season. I found my form and I managed to get a few wins under my belt,” Morton told Cyclingnews.

    Morton’s strongest performance came at the Tour of Utah, where despite being handicapped by age-related gear restrictions of 52x14, he rode to seventh place overall. It was an impressive display backed a field that included the likes of Levi Leipheimer and Francisco Mancebo.

    “I think seventh overall in the tour of Utah was my best performance simply because of the calibre of the riders there,” Morton told Cyclingnews.

    “I was still under 19 so next year I’ll be able to step it up again and become more competitive. Riding 52x14 as a maximum gear made things tough.”

    Now back home in his native Australia Morton has taken a five week break from cycling, giving him time to reflect on his achievements and set his goals for the coming season, when he will once again base himself in Colorado and under the wing of Jonathan Vaughters.

    “Lachlan has great physical talent,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews. “However, more importantly, psychologically, he has the traits of a very big champion.”

    Next season, and without gear restrictions, Morton will once again...

  • Operation Greyhound gathers pace with blood bags reportedly found in Leon's fridge

    Monies recieved by Fuentes and his co-workers, plus some of the costs incurred by the doping network. The bottom of the page lists the extra prices payable by clients who achieve success in the three Grand Tours and the world championships.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 10:56 GMT
    Fergal MacErlean

    Blood bags found in connection to Spanish former mountain biker

    Spanish former mountain biker Alberto Leon, who was implicated in the Operation Puerto doping scandal, has been arrested along with the Dr. Yolanda Fuentes, the sister of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, in the latest probe - Operation Greyhound.

    Anti-doping agents found several bags of blood in his fridge in the town of El Escorial, north of Madrid yesterday, said Spanish newspaper El Pais.

    Publico newspaper said the alleged plot is headed by Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his sister Yolanda. The police investigation which began last April focused on the Fuentes siblings and Alberto Leon who allegedly supplied banned substances and who is accused of close collaboration in the scandal.

    Steeplechase runner Marta Domínguez, who is pregnant, was released on bail on charges of trafficking and distribution of doping substances after more than six hours of questioning in Palencia. She has been temporarily suspended of her position as vice president of the Spanish Athletics Federation.

    The federation appealed for the "presumption of innocence" of those involved in the investigation, which is being conducted by the Magistrate's Court number 24 of Madrid. The proceedings have been declared secret.

    During Operation Puerto Leon sought to allay attacks in the press saying he was just "a humble worker".

    The second largest doping scheme uncovered in Spain has resulted in the arrest of 14 people. Both Alberto Leon and Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes were previously implicated in the ongoing 2006 Operacion Puerto.

    In Thursday's simultaneous raids, across five provinces, Spanish police seized a large quantity of anabolic steroids, hormones and EPO, as well as laboratory equipment for blood transfusions.

  • Cipollini decries modern cycling's lack of machismo

    Mario Cipollini at the start of Milan-San Remo
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 11:51 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian bemused by Contador-Schleck friendship

    Mario Cipollini has launched a stinging attack on what he called the lack of machismo in modern cycling. The Italian, who recently joined the Katusha team as a consultant, said that he is bemused by the reaction of certain riders in the current peloton to defeat.

    “I lived a very different cycling,” Cipollini told L’Equipe. “At the beginning of a sprint, I felt like a gladiator, ready to do anything to keep my place. And when I lost, I wasn’t capable of going to congratulate whoever had beaten me, like Andy Schleck did at the Tour. Me, I’d hate him because he’d taken the bread from my mouth.”

    The friendship between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador is something that Cipollini finds difficult to fathom and he echoed the thoughts of the late Laurent Fignon on the aftermath of the “Chaingate” incident.

    “Seeing Schleck and Contador embrace on the Tourmalet after crossing the line and then seeing Contador affectionately pinch Schleck’s cheek during his interview was unreal for me,” Cipollini exclaimed. “Logically, Schleck should have been raging, he had just lost the Tour after all.

    “After the chain slip incident on the Port de Balès, he should have attacked the Spaniard day after day, in front of the microphones and on the air too, without giving him time to piss!”

    Nor did Alberto Contador escape Cipollini’s criticism. “Machismo is disappearing, I can’t find it in Contador,” he complained. “Contador has the anonymous face of a surveyor or an accountant.”

    Cipollini was also left bemused by the reaction of Italian leader Filippo Pozzato at the end of the world championships road race in Geelong.

    “Pozzato has just been beaten for third place and a second later he has only one idea in his mind, to congratulate the winner,” Cipollini said incredulously....

  • Hushovd questions Luxembourg Cycling Project's classics strength

    Thor Hushovd resplendent in his world champion kit
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 13:45 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    World champion pleased with level of Garmin-Cervelo team

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) has questioned the strength of the Luxembourg Cycling Project’s for the Classics, suggesting that the biggest rivals to his new team in 2011 will be Katusha and BMC.

    The world champion acknowledged that Fabian Cancellara will be the man to watch on the cobbles once again but he feels that other squads have more options when it comes to team tactics and so better chance of victory.

    “I believe both BMC and Katusha will be strong next season,” Hushovd told “Filippo Pozzato has been joined by Leif Hoste on the Katusha team. They’re two riders who are often up there in the top five in both Paris-Roubaix and Flanders.”

    Hushovd admitted that Cancellara may not need much team support to repeat his classics success of 2010 but he maintains that the strength of the newly-formed Luxembourg-based squad may have been overstated.

    “Luxembourg is an exciting team with good individual riders,” he said. “Cancellara as a rider is always dangerous; he knows how to do these races. If he ends up alone in the group of favourites, he can just follow us and watch who still has a couple of men with him. Having another rider can help, but it’s still down to the leader. When Norway can win the Worlds, it shows you what you can do with one rider in the finale."

    “I’m wary of Cancellara but not of the Luxembourg Cycling Project. They are ranked as the world’s best team and they are a good team, but if I have to choose who will be the strongest in the classics, I still think it’s Katusha and BMC.”

    Hushovd is fresh from his first training camp with his new Garmin-Cervélo squad in the Cayman Islands and he was impressed with what he has seen so far.

    “This is a bigger and a better team [than Cervélo TestTeam],” he said. “Our depth gives us good opportunities in...

  • Keisse given another chance with new Quick Step contract

    Belgium's Iljo Keisse (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 14:07 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian secures a one-year extension despite court date

    Iljo Keisse will be given another chance to prove his road credentials after signing a one-year contract extension with the Quick Step team in Belgium on Thursday.

    His new deal comes despite a pending final decision in the legal saga surrounding his 2008 doping positive at the Gent Six-day. Last month the Belgian Court of Appeals overturned a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July, to re-instate his two-year ban. The Belgian decision means Keisse can race until a final decision is made next April.

    If the ban is upheld, Keisse will find himself forced to serve the final nine months of his original suspension, however the 27-year-old is relieved for the meantime at least to have secured a third chance to race at the highest level. He recently won the Ghent six-day with Peter Schep.

    "You cannot say I was the revelation of the season. My winter [last year] was not ideal because I signed a contract so late," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "And in March I broke my collarbone. I never really got into my stride until the summer. Then I was again put aside by the CAS. No wonder then, that I doubted whether I'd have a new chance."

    Despite the drama that has swirled around Keisse in recent years, Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere believes he deserves a second chance.

    "This contract is under the same conditions as last season," said Lefevere to Het Nieuwsblad. "I didn’t want to see Iljo out on the street after the year he's experienced. First, his collarbone broken and then the suspension: he didn't have many chances to prove himself. He deserves a second chance with us, even though I have not much to offer him."

    Lefevere also acknowledged the pending court decision - due on April 11, 2010 - by saying, if Keisse "is again suspended, things will be difficult."

    Keisse will join his Quick Step teammates for the squad's first training camp in Calpe, Spain next week where his race...

  • Pegasus Sports UCI licence application delayed again

    Chris White and Henk Vogels.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 16:01 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    UCI names 23 Professional Continental teams for 2011

    The UCI has revealed the names of the Professional Continental teams registered for 2011 but the Australian Pegasus Sports team has again failed to satisfy the application requirements.

    The team failed to secure a ProTeam licence in November and the UCI Licence Commission has given the team until December 15 to submit all the required documentation. If they fail to do so, the team could be forced to accept a Continental licence and would be limited in its race programme and team structure for 2011.

    The UCI has already awarded Professional Continental licences to several teams and has added further teams to the category. The full list is as follows:

    Teams already registered in the second division on November 2:
    Androni Giocattoli (Ita)
    Bretagne - Schuller (Fra)
    Caja Rural (Spa)
    Colnago - CSF Inox (Irl)
    Europcar (Fra)
    Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli (GBr)
    Landbouwkrediet (Bel)
    Saur - Sojasun (Fra)
    Skil - Shimano (Ned)
    Team Netapp (Ger)
    Team Type 1 (USA)
    Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator (Bel)
    Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling (USA)

    Teams that were initially candidates for UCI ProTeam status but that ultimately have been registered in the second division:
    Cofidis (Fra)
    FDJ (Fra)
    Geox - TMC (Spa)

    Teams registered in the second division following meetings of the Licence Commission on November 18 and 26:
    Acqua & Sapone (Ita)
    Andalucia - Caja Granada (Spa)
    CCC Polsat Polkowice (Pol)
    Colombia es Pasion - Cafe de Colombia (Col)
    De Rosa -Ceramica Flaminia (Irl)
    Team Spidertech Powered by C10 (Can)
    Verandas Willems - Accent (Bel)

  • Menchov’s agent threatens Tchmil with legal action

    Denis Menchov has left Rabobank for the new Geox-TMC team
    Article published:
    December 10, 2010, 22:02 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Raimondo Scimone responds to Katusha manager

    Denis Menchov’s agent Raimondo Scimone has responded to Andrei Tchmil’s open letter by threatening legal action against the Katusha team manager.

    Tchmil claimed he had been unfairly treated during negotiations with Menchov this summer and alluded that the Russian rider and his management had problems with the rules and discipline at Team Katusha. Menchov is Russia's best stage race rider but opted to sign with Geox-TMC for 2011.

    Tchmil ended his letter saying “There will never be a place for him (Menchov) at Team Katusha while he continues to be managed in this way. I hope that Denis Menchov reflects on this.”

    Scimone hit back by saying “the letter contains numerous things that have been proven to be false and damaging for the image and good name of my rider Denis Menchov and for myself. As a result it is being studied by our lawyers to decide if we will defend our name and image.”

    Scimone claimed that after an initial contact in January, the Katusha team never showed interest in opening formal negotiations with Menchov. He denied that there were any problems in accepting the internal team rules concerning discipline at Katusha, especially the clause in rider’s contract that states they have to pay five times their salary if they are caught doping.

    “When the head of Team Katusha says that one of the motives for the lack of an agreement with Menchov was the internal discipline in the team and especially the fight against doping, and claims rider’s agents don’t like it, he damages Menchov, myself and all riders’ agents, who are soon to be officially recognized by the UCI,” Scimone said in his own letter.

    “I work with five riders with the Russian team and that is enough to prove that there is no truth to Tchmil’s veiled accusations about how I work.”