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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 15, 2010

Date published:
January 15, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Teutenberg to target flying start in Flanders

    Ina-Yoko Teutenberg celebrates her 2009 Ronde van Vlaanderen victory, a win she hopes to repeat in 2010.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 1:41 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    German cautiously optimistic about Australian Worlds

    HTC-Columbia sprinter Ina-Yoko Teutenberg has named the 2010 women's Ronde van Vlaanderen and Ronde van Drenthe as the first major goals of a season that is likely to see her installed as a favourite for the World Road Championships.

    Winner of the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen last year, Teutenberg told Cyclingnews that while she will return to her home in California until the end of March, she will return to Europe with success at the second and third rounds of the women's World Cup in the forefront of her mind.

    "April is important for me, there are a lot of classic races. The Ronde Van Vlaanderen I want to do well in because I won there last year. The Dutch World Cup [Ronde van Drenthe] is a major aim too, because it's really suited to me. Those are the big goals for me and then towards the end of the year I want be in good form for the Worlds."

    Despite two short climbs in the closing circuit for the 2010 Worlds course, early predictions have leaned towards riders with a fast finish. In a celebrated career, the rainbow jersey is one of very few major titles absent from Teutenberg's palmares.

    "Everybody says it's really easy, I'm not sure I believe that. I haven't actually seen the course. We've ridden quite a bit in Geelong and I know people who live in that neighbourhood. I think the hills are actually quite hard, certainly not super-easy, so I think it's probably one of the goals," she said.

    Although 2009 was for Teutenberg a personal success with almost 20 wins to her name, the season was also marked by Cervélo TestTeam's ascendancy to the top of women's cycling. While the departures of Kristin Armstrong (retirement) and Karin Thürig (transfer to Bigla) have seen a reshuffle at Cervélo, Teutenberg said the now Dutch-registered squad would remain a potent force.

    "They have a strong team again. They lost a couple of veterans so I think they might be lacking a bit of a leader on the road, but...

  • Fly V Australia gets dunked in the name of team-work

    Last one in has to buy a round: Fly V Australia's riders and staff scramble into the life raft.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 2:00 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Careflight enlisted to turn team upside down

    For some it’s a simple training ride, while others take part in some beach volleyball, but Fly V Australia’s riders were intrigued when they showed up at the local swimming pool on the Gold Coast, Australia for their team building exercise. The Australian Continental team recruited the help of Careflight, a helicopter rescue service, to train its riders and staff to work well together under pressure during its team camp this week.

    The team took part in a simulated helicopter rollover, in which they had to pull one another out of the helicopter while upside down, and underwater. Making matters even more challenging, once they had successfully completed the exercise it had to be completed again, only this time blindfolded.

    It wasn’t only the riders that took part in the teamwork under pressure training; team owner Chris White was joined by sport director Henk Vogels and other staff members during the session. White expects the exercise will help the riders communicate easier and more accurately in races where they’re not allowed to use race radios this year.

    “The aim of the day was to develop team work further and see how the boys operated under increasing pressure,” said White. “The day was a huge success and is a further step forward for us as we head towards a world that does not include race radios and will place heightened pressure on communications and team work.”

    The team has been training on the Gold Coast all week, with the riders getting out on the bike on both Wednesday and Thursday. In addition to planning individual racing rosters and team building exercises, the riders have been briefed on performance monitoring by Training Peaks’ Dirk Friel.

  • Hoste tips Lotto teammate Gilbert as leader for Classics

    Leif Hoste looking pretty happy with his 2010 team
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 3:00 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian fully recovered after injury plagued season

    Omega Pharma-Lotto's Leif Hoste said today that teammate Philippe Gilbert deserves his billing as the team's best chance of victory in the Spring Classics.

    Fully recovered from the leg and back injuries that brought a premature end to his 2009 season, Hoste told Cyclingnews that although he will once again head to the northern Classics in search of elusive victory, Gilbert will be a logical favourite.

    "It's obvious he's number one. He proved it last year, so I don't have any problems with that," said Hoste. "It's not the first time I've faced this situation in a team, so for me personally it's not a problem."

    Although conceding leadership to his Walloon teammate, Hoste himself has been a perennial favourite for the week that encompasses the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix since he finished second in his debut in the Tour of Flanders in 2004. Two further second place finishes, and sixth and fourth place results at Paris-Roubaix in the past two seasons mean he, too, will carry a burden of expectation in early April.

    His team manager, Marc Sargeant, told Cyclingnews that he has warned the 32-year-old against his traditionally narrow focus. "I've said to him, more than ever, don't focus alone on the week of Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. It's good to have a focus, but its one week and if there's something wrong then it's all gone."

    For Hoste however, his passion for the Belgian and French monuments is difficult to temper. "I can't let those races go. For me it's not easy to say 'I'm not interested anymore', and to not focus on those races," he said. "My goal is to have a good month. Flanders or Roubaix, one of the two, for me they share the same importance. But even races like Harelbeke [E3 Prijs Vlaanderen] for example, they're also nice to win, it's just not those two [Classics] that I'll be aiming for."

    Fueling Hoste's motivation this season will also be his return after a truncated schedule...

  • Neben to stay with former Equipe for now

    Amber Neben listens as the audience
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 10:27 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    American considers riding for national team at the end of the year

    Amber Neben is facing an uncertain future, as her former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung is still struggling to find sponsorship for 2010. The former World Champion indicated that she would ride the first half of the year with the team, before possibly racing on her own in the US or with the national team.

    Neben, 34, told Cyclingnews that she didn't expect the team to find a new sponsor. “I think it is too late now. I have been waiting, but nothing has developed yet. I think there is a much better chance for 2011. However, I do not have much hope for now.”

    It's too bad, she said. “We had a good group assembled.”

    The American rider has now  “decided to take a more creative approach. I will use it as an opportunity to bring some new physical and mental racing stimuli into the first six months of the season. As my husband said, it is a chance to rotate the crops.”

    Her plans at the moment are to do some limited racing with the former Nürnberger team, now called Team Cycling Noris, in the first half of the year.

    After that, she will sit down to consider the situation, and what to do the second half of the season. “I will probably spend it racing with the National Team. Nothing is finalised, though. I would enjoy the chance to race with the American team, however, I'm not sure what their calendar will look like, so it may be necessary to stay associated with the former Nürnberg team.”

    The advantage of staying with Noris is that it would probably operate “as a bare bones group just to get the riders to races, so regardless of how much I do with them, it opens the door for me to seek out a sponsor (or sponsors) to do some alternative racing in the States.”

    Those are the plans, but Neben knows she must also figure out how to realise them. “I think I am close to settling on a schedule that I am happy with. ...

  • Rasmussen signs with Miche-Silver Cross

    Race leader Michael Rasmussen (Tecos Trek)
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 11:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dane returns from suspension to Italian Continental team

    Michael Rasmussen has finally found a team for the 2010 season. The Dane has signed a one-year contract with the Continental-ranked Miche Silver Cross team, and will make his debut next week in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

    Rasmussen, 35, was leading the 2007 Tour de France when his Rabobank team removed him from the race for violating the anti-doping “whereabouts” requirements. He was subsequently suspended for two years, and was eligible to return on July 29, 2009.

    He rode the Vuelta a Chihuahua in Mexico last fall for Team Tecos Trek, winning the opening time trial and wearing the leader's jersey for three stages.

    Rasmussen had wanted to ride for a higher-ranked team which would enable him to race one or more Grand Tours. "I had hoped that I would return to a higher level than what is now the case. But there is so much hypocrisy in cycling, it was not possible,” he told Danish website

    "I have a very clear feeling that many sports directors wanted me on the team, but they simply did not dare to employ me, because my relationship with the International Cycling Union, UCI, has not yet been completely clarified, although I have served my suspension.”

    The small Italian team Miche finally offered him a contract, which he signed on January 1. Rasmussen is still looking to the future, though. “Only time will tell, but it is definitely my ambition to get to compete in the ProTour again one day.”

    Meanwhile, Rasmussen is looking forward to the Tour de San Luis, where he thinks he can do well, even if he isn't in top form. “I have long been on vacation in Mexico, and although I obviously have trained, there are other participants who are significantly more advanced than I am. Also because they have long enjoyed this race as a major objective.

    "But I am excited to get started and I am pretty sure that I should get a programme that gives me...

  • Valverde offers to submit DNA sample

    Providing his CAS appeals go in his favour, Valverde will be targetting the Tour and also possibly the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 12:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard proposes to have DNA analysis in independent lab

    During the three-day hearing of his Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal case against the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), Alejandro Valverde has offered to submit a DNA sample to be analysed in a neutral laboratory.

    In an effort to "show the irregularities in CONI's procedure," according to a press statement by the rider, Valverde would be willing to supply his DNA if it was tested in an independent lab outside of Italy.

    "The UCI as well as WADA agreed to this proposal, only CONI has refuted realising it outside of Italy," the statement continued.

    Valverde appealed to CAS against a two-year ban from racing on Italian territory that CONI imposed on him, alleging his involvement in Operación Puerto. CONI's case is based around a blood bag they obtained from the Puerto investigation they believe to belong to Valverde.

    CAS' final ruling is expected in March.

  • Moncoutié prepares for historic challenge

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) took the mountains classification in the 2009 Vuelta.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 13:27 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cofidis climber to attempt Vuelta KOM triple, Tour participation unsure

    David Moncoutié of the French Cofidis squad has flirted with retirement from pro cycling for several years in a row, but came to the peloton back every season and showed that he still had what it takes to win. In 2006 and 2007, multiple injuries made the Frenchman lose out, but in 2008 and 2009, he was back to win two stages of the Vuelta a Espana as well as the KOM classification for two years in a row.

    His successes at the Tour of Spain are the biggest reasons for Moncoutié's return to the peloton this year. With a one-year-contract due to expire at the end of the season, the two-time Tour de France stage winner has the chance to accomplish an historic feat: win the best climber's competition at the Vuelta for the third consecutive time.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews on Friday morning, while preparing to fly to the Tour of Gabon in Africa where he will start his 2010 racing programme next week, Moncoutié confirmed that this was the plan. "Yes, I like the Vuelta a lot and if I do finish my career at the end of this season, I'd like to finish it this way," he said. "Three participations in the Vuelta, three best climber jerseys - it would be a nice number. It's a challenge."

    The 34-year-old will thus aim for a performance peak in September, and while he has accomplished his previous victories in Spain after participating in the Tour de France two months earlier, this year may see him on a different racing programme.

    Because of his poor performances at the French Grand Tour these last few years, Moncoutié has thought about not attending the Tour this year - an unheard-of step for a French rider of his calibre. "The last two or three years, I didn't do well at the Tour," he explained. "Last year was not too pleasureable, and I told myself that it was going to be my last time. I want to try to do a season without the Tour, to have a different approach."

    Moncoutié did not, however,...

  • Klemme looking to test himself

    Domenik Klemme helps Frank to his feet.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 14:07 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Second-year Saxo Bank pro ready for Classics, Worlds, Grand Tour debut

    Dominik Klemme may be one of Saxo Bank’s youngest riders but the 23-year-old German is looking to ride his first Worlds this year and support André Greipel in what he predicts as his most testing season yet.

    Now in his second season with Bjarne Riis’ Danish outfit, Klemme is currently training at the team’s camp in Fuerteventura before flying out to the Tours of Qatar and Oman for his debut races in 2010.

    With a place in the Classics also on the cards and a slot pencilled in for his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta, the German knows that expectations of him are higher now than in the 2009 season in which seeking experience was paramount.

    “I might one day be a good one-day racer. 2009 was a learning year and this is the year that I try and test myself. I want to be a helper at the Classics, I want to be at the Worlds for Germany and I want to win my first pro race with Saxo Bank,” he told Cyclingnews.

    At the Worlds in Australia, Klemme is willing to offer his services to André Greipel, who is already being touted as a potential winner. “I would go there and help André Greipel. I want to use it as a learning experience. I want to know how it works in these races. At the Under-23 I got seventh and 11th. There’s a lot of watching each other and it’s about how you play your cards. I like races like that.

    “I think it would be stupid not to work for André Greipel. It depends on the race but every sprinter says they want to win there and it would be stupid if the team said we wouldn’t give him a chance or work for him. But you also must have others for a break, because sometimes the sprinters just look at each other and you know that some of the national teams don’t work so good together,” he said, clearly displaying a maturity above his years.

    Klemme’s wish to win his first professional race at Saxo Bank...