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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 9, 2011

Date published:
December 09, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Nibali not ruling out Giro d'Italia start

    Vincenzo Nibali shows off his table football skills
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 11:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sicilian to lead at Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannonale) is set to return to the Tour de France for the first time in three years in 2012, but the Sicilian has yet to rule out the possibility of flanking Ivan Basso at the Giro d’Italia in May.

    Nibali’s early-season programme will be the same as in 2010, when he began the campaign focused on the Tour de France, but ended up riding the Giro in support of Basso when Franco Pellizotti fell foul of the biological passport on the eve of the race.

    “I’ll start in January in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis, then Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country and the Ardennes Classics, and then the Tour,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport. “But there could also be the Giro. It’s more of a wish than a plan, more of a desire than an objective.”

    After finishing his 2011 season without a win, Nibali acknowledged that the importance of getting off the mark early next year.

    “I’ll start racing again to win, looking for a win, because victory adds sense to so many of our efforts and responsibilities,” he said. “2011 was a year without wins, and so I’ll remember it with disappointment. It can happen and it did happen, but I rode well, at the front, always fighting with the best, so I have nothing to admonish myself for.”

    Nibali acknowledged that he has enjoyed a far quieter winter this year than he did twelve months ago, when he spent much of the off-season being feted for his triumph at the 2010 Vuelta a España.

    “I’ve already started preparing myself again,” he said. “Since this time it’s been calmer, I’ve had more time to dedicate to myself, so I did a lot of gym work.”


  • Voigt and Bennati with RadioShack at Tour Down Under

    RadioShack-Nissan-Trek is taking shape on the road.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 12:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hayden Roulsten and Jess Sergeant also set to ride

    Daniele Bennati will lead RadioShack-Nissan-Trek in the Tour Down Under in January, as the new squad will make its WorldTour debut. Also on the squad is “absolute crowd favourite” Jens Voigt.

    The Italian sprinter has won 10 grand tour stages since 2007. He had five individual wins this season, including the penultimate stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

    “I am sure Bennati will start the year strong and aim for results at our race as the first WorldTour race of the season,” race director Mike Turtur said.

    Voigt, 40, last rode the Tour Down Under in 2010. “We look forward to welcoming back Jens Voigt. Not only is Jens is a three time Tour de France stage winner, he is an absolute crowd favourite.”

    The team is also sending its two New Zealand riders, national road champion Hayden Roulston and Jesse Sergeant.

    “RadioShack-Nissan-Trek has selected an impressive line-up to include a mix of Grand Tour experience and youthful competitiveness in their Santos Tour Down Under squad,” Turtur said.

    Jose Azevedo will serve as team manager for the race, which is held in southern Australia from January 15 to 22.

    RadioShack-Nissan-Trek for the Tour Down Under: Daniele Bennati (Ita), Linus Gerdemann (Ger), Ben Hermans (Bel), Tiago Machado (Por), Hayden Roulston (NZl), Jesse Sergent (NZl) and Jens Voigt (Ger).

    Meanwhile, the newly-merged team is continuing its first pre-season training camp in Calpe. For a new gallery of images from Spain, click here.

  • 'Dr. Mabuse' sentenced to three months in prison

    Bernard Sainz faces jail time more than 8 years after his initial arrest.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 14:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bernard Sainz involved in horse doping scandal

    Bernard Sainz, the so-called “Dr. Mabuse”, has been sentenced to three months in prison and fined €7,500 for his part in a horse doping affair by a court in Alençon, France.

    The case dates back to 2005, when searches at race courses in Normandy, Chantilly and the Parisian hinterland yielded doping products including anabolic agents and growth hormone. Sainz was one of five men convicted for his part in the affair, along with trainers Yann-Marie Porzier, Jacques Augé, Jean-Philipp Dubois and Sven Pauwels.

    The five were tried for “infractions against the laws on toxic substances, drugs, fraud and attempted fraud.” It is understood that they will all lodge appeals against their sentences.

    “It’s a parody of justice, an arbitrary prison sentence,” said Sainz, according to

    A soigneur rather than a medical doctor, Sainz is already in the midst of an ongoing appeal against a three-year prison sentence he received in 2008 for his activities in cycling. The case refers to an incident in 2002, when suspicious medicines were found in his car on his return from a visit to one of his clients, the late Frank Vandenbroucke.

  • Vande Velde: I’m going back to the Giro d’Italia

    Christian Vande Velde sports argyle pants at the team presentation
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 15:27 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Cervelo captain hasn’t given up on Tour de France podium

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) will make a return to the Giro d’Italia in 2012 as he builds up for another GC tilt at the Tour de France.

    The American GC specialist crashed out of both the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Giro d’Italia and vowed never to return but after a strong end to his 2011 season in which he came second at the Tour of Colorado, Vande Velde has reconsidered his options.

    Vande Velde will be part of a strong Garmin team at the Giro, with Ryder Hesjdal leading the team’s overall aspirations and Tyler Farrar on the hunt in the sprints. Dan Martin is likely to miss the Giro and be saved for the Tour de France where Vande Velde, Hesjdal, Farrar and Tom Danielson will all ride.

    “Next year I’m going to start out with Tours of Majorca and Oman. After that I’ll be in Spain for some races. Then it’s the Classics and then I’ll go back and try my hand at the Giro,” Vande Velde told Cyclingnews from his training base in California.

    “I know I’m going back on myself because I said I wouldn’t do the Giro again, and I hope I’m not going to be putting myself in harm's way but I’ve come to realise that my body responds really well after a Grand Tour, and you could see that after this year’s Tour de France.”

    “This year I had some back luck...

  • King looking to continue progress with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

    Best young rider, Ben King (RadioShack), was all smiles before the stage start.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 17:07 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    American in Calpe with newly-merged team

    Ben King enters 2012 with greater assurance of his own abilities after a solid debut season with RadioShack. As US national champion, King began the 2011 campaign with an unusually high profile for a neo-professional, but explained that he was glad to be given the opportunity to develop at his own pace.

    “I thought it was great that the team and staff didn’t put any extra pressure on me or any unrealistic expectations based on the fact that I was wearing the jersey,” King told Cyclingnews. “Like with any neo pro, they gave me good opportunities to improve and good feedback from races.”

    While teething troubles are a reality of all young professionals’ fledgling steps in the sport, King’s own balanced outlook helped him to keep his performances in perspective from the beginning of the year.

    “On my first race with RadioShack in Mallorca, I was in the gruppetto with Jens [Voigt] and Andy Schleck, so everybody has bad days,” he said. “You can’t let that go to your head. You have to realise that it's a process.”

    King’s persistence throughout the year was rewarded in October, when he delivered his strongest performance of the season at the Tour of Beijing. His 12th place finish in China was enough to secure the white jersey, and gave the American’s morale a significant boost heading into the off-season.

    “To end on the podium with the young rider jersey was kind of an affirmation at least that I belong, and it kind of allowed me to relax more in the off-season and enjoy it,” King said. “If I’d have had a really tough season last year, I’d have been anxious about how I spent my time in the off-season, whereas now I found that in November I was really enjoying my bike and wound up training a lot more than that time last year.”


    The softly-spoken King is...

  • Petacchi and Matt Lloyd to ride Santos Tour Down Under

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre ISD) climbs
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 20:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lampre-ISD announce squad for Australian race

    Alessandro Petacchi will begin his 2012 season at the Santos Tour Down Under in January. He will be joined in a strong Lampre-ISD line-up by Australian Matt Lloyd, who signed after being released by Omega Pharma-Lotto earlier in 2011.

    “The management staff floated the idea of the starting the season in Australia, and after thinking about it for a while, I accepted the opportunity with interest,” Petacchi said. “I’m sure it will be a valid experience, especially because it will give me the chance to improve my understanding with my teammates.”

    Petacchi’s Antipodean start will also give him the opportunity to clock up some WorldTour points early in the season. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport recently, Petacchi admitted that he would even consider prioritising earning WorldTour points elsewhere over starting the Giro d’Italia in 2012.

    Regardless of whether Petacchi is on the start line in Herning in May, however, the Italian is a certainty to line up for the big home race of the spring, Milan-San Remo. The La Spezia native won La Classicissima in 2005, and was denied a repeat by Filippo Pozzato’s late attack the following year.

    “I hope that the Tour Down Under could be the first step along the path that leads to the finish line of Milan-San Remo,” Petacchi said.

    Joining him in Australia will be his regular lead-out team of Danilo Hondo and Grega Bole, and Petacchi is hopeful that he will have a sprint train at his disposal in January, with Davide Cimolai, Massimo Graziato and David Viganò all set to feature.

    “The Santos Tour Down Under is the best chance to try out the workings of the train to support Petacchi,” said directeur sportif Bruno Vicino, who also highlighted the...

  • Gallery: Saxo Bank and Contador tour Jerusalem

    Alberto Contador reflects after what has been a difficult year
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 22:02 GMT
    Daniel Simms

    Spaniard and teammates turn tourists

    Saxo Bank has continued its training camp in Israel with a tour of Jerusalem. The team raced a criterium in the old city during the week, won by Alberto Contador, and they later took the opportunity to check out the city and visit some of its most famous sites, including the Western Wall.

    But while Contador's squad turned tourists for the day in Israel, his thoughts are never far from the Tour de France, where - CAS verdict pending - he will attempt to wrestle the yellow jersey back from Cadel Evans.

    Saxo Bank directeur sportif Brad McGee reiterated that the Spaniard will not line up at the Giro d'Italia in 2012, and that he will focus entirely on the Tour de France.

    "The Tour is so hard that to take the win you must be totally fresh," McGee told "I admire Alberto's belief that he can win all three Grand Tours in the same season. I think it's fantastic that he dares to have such high ambitions, but next year we have defined a clear goal, and our full focus is on the Tour."

  • Boswell refocused for 2012 Trek-Livestrong season

    Ian Boswell (Trek-Livestrong) at the base of the climb.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 22:58 GMT
    Pat Malach/

    Oregonian signs on for two more seasons

    Oregon's promising rider Ian Boswell has signed on with the Trek-Livestrong team for two years, and is looking to turn his luck around after an "unsatisfying" roller coaster ride in 2011.

    Boswell first made waves nationally at the 2010 Tour of Utah when, at 19, he took third overall behind Levi Leipheimer and Francisco Mancebo.

    He was subsequently named him its "breakthrough rider of the year" by one US magazine, while he landed on the front cover of another as Axel Merckx's "handpicked" rider for Trek-Livestrong's 2011 roster. Pretty heady stuff for a rider one year removed from his high school prom.

    However, Boswell's chance to repeat or improve upon his performances in 2011 ended with a decision by the UCI which prevented Trek-Livestrong from competing at the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

    He filled the hole in his calendar with a stint in Europe racing with the US national team, including supporting Tyler Farrar at the Olympic test event in London. Although Farrar ultimately crashed in the closing kilometers and Cavendish took the win, Boswell got a glimpse of the World Tour level riding he aspires to, earning special praise from Farrar in the process.

    "Riding with the Pro Tour guys is a big step up," Boswell said. "But at the same time it was a lot more controlled than a U23 race. A break went and I went to the front to support Tyler. It was cool to see how dialed those teams are; how they know how to bring the break back at the right time. It was great to race with those guys on the Olympics course, and next year it will be cool to watch the race and see how it unfolds doing nine laps up that climb versus the two we did this year."

    Just 21 this year, Boswell will be one...