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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 14, 2011

Date published:
January 14, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Wurf ready for Liquigas-Cannondale World Tour debut at Santos Tour Down Under

    Cameron Wurf (Liquigas-Cannondale) is ready to make his Tour Down Under bow.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 9:53 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Rowing power added to the Tassie Cup

    Out of the 31 Australians lining up for the Santos Tour Down Under, Cameron Wurf is among the first timers. He’ll start his career in a ProTeam next week as he has just joined Italian superpower Liquigas-Cannondale, making the step up from Pro Continental team Androni-Diquigiovanni.

    The former Olympic rower turned professional just two years ago. “In 2009, Cycling Australia selected me for Le Tour de Langkawi in support of Jay Crawford, who came second overall, rather than for the Tour Down Under”, Wurf recalled.

    “To be able to race here is awesome”, Wurf told Cyclingnews. “It has become a very important event in Australia. When people recently asked me which race I’d be taking part in and I said the Tour Down Under, they looked impressed. It’s as if two races count most in the mind of Australian cycling enthusiasts: the Tour de France and the Tour Down Under.”

    Wurf plans to ride both this year. He joined Liquigas-Cannondale because of his ability to ride hard and for a long time at the front of the bunch in the style of dedicated Australian domestiques of the past like Neil Stephens or Matt White. He was coached by the late Aldo Sassi, who recommended him as a helper for Ivan Basso. Consequently, he’s set to move from Monaco to Varese to keep training with the winner of the 2010 Giro d’Italia, who has set his sights on the Tour de France this year.

    “In the first part of the year, I’ll be in the team for the classics up to Paris-Roubaix, then I’ll take a break and if my condition is good enough after the Tour of California, I might ride for Basso at the Tour de France,” Wurf said. “I have to do a very good job to make these things happen.”

    He first experienced life at Liquigas when he joined a training camp in San Pellegrino and in Sardinia in December. “The organisation of a ProTour team was a big shock for...

  • New cobblestones for Paris-Roubaix 2011

    The chase group powers through the Arenberg forest
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 9:58 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Arenberg maintained and made harder by addition of new sectors

    The 108th edition of Paris-Roubaix, scheduled for April 10th, promises to be another epic one. Race director Jean-François Pescheux and his assistant Thierry Gouvenou, who finished seventh in the event in 2002, are in the process of finalising this year's race route after reconnoitring the northern region's pavés this week.

    As L'Equipe reported on Friday, the two have decided to change the event's parcours from 2010, including five new cobblestone sectors, three of which were already part of the race in the 1980s and in 2005: Préseau, Aulnoy and Famars. The three sectors will directly precede the famous Arenberg Forest section and should therefore add further difficulty.

    "[Aulnoy] is a tough one," commented Pescheux. "And six years ago, it was in Famars that the strongest launched their attack."

    Furthermore, two completely new sectors have been found that will immediately follow the Arenberg: the sector of Millonfosse (1.4 km) and another 1.1km-long stretch between Brillon and Tilloy. Pescheux was happy to include Millonfosse, a straight line whose pavés are said to be in a good state. "It will be ridden very fast," he said.

    The inclusion of the three hard sectors before the Arenberg and the insertion of Millonfosse after it means that the riders will have to change their approach to the key sector which has often been so decisive. Millonfosse will be added just four kilometres after Arenberg, when in the past the next sector was ten kilometres away.

    "This distance favoured regrouping," explained Gouvenou. "This time, there will be only four kilometres to race before jumping on to another sector. A leader that has lost his team-mates may not be seeing them again."

    To accommodate the new sectors into a race route that should not exceed 259 kilometres, three cobbled roads that were raced in 2010 will have to be scrapped. The revamping of the parcours also means...

  • JJ Haedo getting closer to San Remo and Tour de France

    Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) on the podium after his stage win in the Dauphine.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 10:22 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Argentine sprinter plays down chances to win at the Santos Tour Down Under

    Despite the 13 hours time difference from his country, Juan José Haedo enjoys his third visit to Australia in just over one year as he is back in Adelaide for the season-starting Santos Tour Down Under after having represented his country at the Worlds in Geelong in the autumn of 2010. "It's interesting to finish a season in Australia and start the next one in Australia, too," the sprinter from Saxo Bank-Sungard said.

    Moreover, the soon-to-be 30 year-old (January 26) has an interesting season ahead. After scoring his first international victories on the US scene, he has stepped up as far as winning stages in Pro Tour races like the Tour of Catalunya and the Dauphiné last year. Now, the Classics and the Tour de France are the obvious next steps.

    "It depends a lot on what will happen with Alberto Contador," Haedo told Cyclingnews in Adelaide. "But I have more chances than before to ride the Tour de France and Milan-San Remo. In the previous year, I didn't get a start at the Classics because there was Fabian (Cancellara), Matti Breschel, Stuey (O'Grady)... but now my first goal for this year will be Milan-San Remo. I'm not saying today that I'm going to win it but I want to have my best shot there."

    At Saxo Bank, the Tour de France was formed around Andy Schleck but with the departure of the Luxemburger as well as several Classics specialists, the Danish team might have some space for the Argentine sprinter. Still, the Santos Tour Down Under won't be a performance test for him, and he played down his chances of victory against some of the world's best sprinters next week.

    "My condition is not so good for now," he warned. "We have decided not to push ourselves here because we don't have a lot of races in February as we're not doing the Tours of Qatar and Oman. It would be crazy to do too good here and then have to rest again. So I didn't rush for form. I've put a solid base of training on but I don't yet have...

  • Rous adjusts to life at Cofidis

    Didier Rous joined Cofidis as a directeur sportif
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 10:37 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    No hard feelings with Bernaudeau or Europcar

    New Cofidis directeur sportif Didier Rous has insisted that there are no hard feelings between him and Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau. Rous left Europcar’s management team at the turn of the year to take up his new position with Cofidis. He had previously spent eight seasons as a rider for Bernaudeau’s teams.

    “I had an experience that allowed me to learn a lot on the bike and as a directeur sportif, and now another is beginning,” Rous told L’Équipe. “I left my old team on good terms. There’s no animosity between Jean-René, me or anybody else on the staff.

    “I needed a new experience and I came to an agreement with Eric [Boyer, manager of Cofidis]. I’m proud to be part of this time and above all I hope to be up to the task.”

    Rous formally signed for Cofidis in the first week of January after spending the winter working with Europcar’s riders ahead of the 2011 season. The onus is now on the Frenchman to adapt quickly to life at his new team.

    “That’s not a problem,” Rous said. “My job is to learn to understand as best and as quickly as possible the people with whom I work. I have ten days to acclimatise myself and soak up the daily life of the team. From that I will see how to work and how the manager the riders.”

    Rous is enthusiastic about his challenge with Cofidis and is looking forward to the prospect of working with new riders.

    “It’s a coming team based on young talent,” he said. “The team I was on last year lost a lot, especially at the end of the year. Here, I have seen some young riders who have shown me a certain desire to learn. I hope to bring them a lot of things, especially in terms of spirit, fight and ambition.”

    Rous was understood to be upset with Pierrick Fedrigo's departure from Bbox-Bouygues Telecom to FDJ, as well as his own lack...

  • Gilbert supports radio ban

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma- Lotto) out training in Mallorca
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 11:19 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Photo Gallery: Omega-Pharma Lotto training in Mallorca

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) has thrown his support behind a ban on race radios. The Classics specialist was speaking at the team’s first press conference of the new season in Mallorca, Spain, where he also outlined his goals for the year.

    Last week the Cyclistes Professionels Associés (CPA) announced that it had canvassed opinions from the pro peloton, with some 344 riders from across Europe questioned on the matter. Only 40 backed the decision to ban radios, leaving the likes of Gilbert in the minority.

    Radios were banned during last year’s Worlds in Geelong, Australia and Gilbert felt comfortable with the decision.

    “It was nice in Geelong, I liked it. For me, if I could decide, I would race without them. I can see a race, feel a race, so I don’t need it. I won Lombardia without a radio. I was in contact with my teammates and not with the car, and when you have a good vibe with your teammates it’s more important than the one with your directeur sportif. The most important relationship is the one you have with your teammates,” Gilbert told Cyclingnews.

    “Often in races I start with a radio but most of the times I take it off. A lot of riders want the radios because it makes them feel safe but I don’t understand that. I respect it, but I don’t understand. They say it’s dangerous because you don’t know what’s coming up or around the corner but it’s also dangerous when the directeurs tell everyone that they need to be in the first ten coming into a tricky corner. Everyone goes full gas trying to move to the front.”

    Classics, Tour and then the Worlds

    Gilbert is embarking on perhaps his most important season as a professional bike rider. After two highly successful campaigns with Lotto he has announced a race programme that will see him looking to hit peak form three times in a calendar year...

  • Tour de France wildcards expected soon

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme and Tour de France race director Jean-Francois Pecheux, l-r.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 12:34 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    "Several surprises" amongst team invitations

    This year, invitations to the Tour de France will be even more precious and scarce than they have already been in the past. With 18 ProTeams theoretically automatically invited to the Tour and 23 Professional Continental squads to choose from, it will not be an easy task for the organisers of the Grande Boucle, Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO).

    Traditionally, the attribution of wildcards was done in spring, to give the teams some time to prove their worth. But this year, ASO's technical director Jean-François Pescheux revealed to Cyclism'Actu that the organiser wanted to designate the participating teams as soon as the end of January.

    Moreover, "several surprises" could be on hand according to Pescheux. At the moment, only one French team is guaranteed of entry to the 2011 Tour: AG2R La Mondiale, which was given a ProTeam licence for 2011. With the other top French teams Europcar, Cofidis and FDJ all in need of a wildcard and certainly not more than 22 spots available, smaller French or foreign teams that had hoped for an invitation may get sidelined.

    Cyclingnews was unable to reach Pescheux for confirmation.

  • No internal anti-doping controls for Leopard Trek

    The Team Leopard-Trek leaders: Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck and Andy Schleck
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 13:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swiss team doctor talks about doping, health

    The Leopard Trek team will not conduct any internal doping controls. Andreas Gösle, the head of the five team doctors, said that the riders are checked often enough by the International Cycling Union (UCI) with both doping controls and physical examinations.

    Several years ago, many teams hired specialist firms to conduct internal controls. Gösle said that additional controls were not necessary. “What do these firms want? We have the bio-passport, the transparent athlete,” he told the Luxembourger newspaper Tageblatt.

    “They are tested more than 30 times a year and for their health, there are an additional four standard check-ups required by the UCI. That's a lot.”

    He also questioned whether the teams which several years ago announced significant internal controls with independent firms continue to do so. “Ask those teams, if they still do it. I don't know, but I don't think so.”

    The Leopard Trek riders have not yet undergone doping controls at the training camp in Mallorca, “but they will come, I'm sure of that.”

    Another aspect of the UCI's anti-doping program is the ADAMS system, under which the riders must indicate their whereabouts. “It is a burden for the athlete to a certain extent, but basically it is the right way to go. If they have to be available every day at a certain place and at a certain time, then that means a certain intrusion into their personal lives. And only because they are professional cyclists.”

    Gösle is the head of the Crossklinik, a sports medicine center in Basel, Switzerland, which will care for the riders. “We have only one goal: our athletes should stay healthy.”

    Caring for the health of a cyclist is not always so easy, as certain medications are on the forbidden list. “We have worse conditions than the normal population. For various illnesses we may...

  • Former Paris-Roubaix winner Post dies at age 77

    Peter Post, who died aged 77
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 15:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman was accomplished road and track racer and team director

    Former Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Post has died on Friday at age 77 in Amsterdam, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. The Dutch cycling legend passed away after illness.

    Post was an accomplished road and track racer during his pro career from 1956 to 1972. He won 65 Six Day competitions and in 1964, he was the winner of Paris-Roubaix. He took the Dutch national title in 1963.

    Following his retirement as a rider, he was a directeur sportif of the TI Raleigh, Panasonic and Novemail-Histor teams.

    Some of the riders under his tutelage at various points during their careers included Gerrie Knetemann, Jan Raas, Hennie Kuiper, Joop Zoetemelk, Johan van der Velde, Henk Lubberding, Leo van Vliet, Erik Breukink, Eric Vanderaerden, Phil Anderson, Olaf Ludwig, Maurizio Fondriest and Viatcheslav Ekimov.

    Even after Post retired from team management, he remained an advisor to the Rabobank Team in recent years.

    Cyclingnews extends its condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Peter Post.