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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 21, 2011

Date published:
January 21, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Bugno calls for meeting on race radio in letter to UCI

    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 8:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    PCA head says riders in serious danger without radio

    Gianni Bugno, head of the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA), has voiced his concerns over the banning of earphones and race radio in racing and asked for a meeting with the International Cycling Union (UCI) about the new rules.

    “I'm at the Tour de San Luis now where I had the chance to see every day the effect of the new regulation during the race,” he said in a letter sent to UCI president Pat McQuaid. Bugno, who rode professionally from 1986 to 1998, said that he has “seen with my own eyes that every day the racers are in serious danger.”

    He has asked for meeting with the UCI and other associations to present his point of view “and – maybe – find a better solution.”

    The UCI has banned the use of race radios in Category 1 and Hors Category races this year, and in World Calendar races as of 2012.

    The full text of Bugno's letter to the UCI:

    Dear Mr President,

    Since you told me that you would like to discuss with me the problems I see in the cycling movement I have decided to write to you this letter concerning the new earphones UCI rules.

    I’m at the Tour de San Luis now where I had the chance to see every day the effect of the new regulation during the race.

    I have seen with my eyes that every day the racers are in serious danger because they are not previously advised about obstacles, accidents and problems, etc. that may occur on the road.

    The sanctions of the new UCI disposals can obstruct the development of the race, damaging the interests of sponsors and organisations, especially in those countries where we want the growth of cycling.

    For all these reasons I’m asking you for a meeting between UCI and all the International Associations (CPA, ADISPRO, AIGCP, AIOCC) so that we may all explain to UCI our different point of view and – maybe...

  • Defending leader's jersey an uphill battle for Meyer

    Cameron Meyer (Team Garmin-Cervelo) in the leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 8:50 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Luck starts to turn in favour of Garmin-Cervelo in Adelaide

    Garmin-Cervelo team director Matt White knew after two stages that his tactics for the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under had to change.

    Five-time Grand Tour stage winner Tyler Farrar was down and out and nearly four minutes down after two days, following a crash that claimed a number of riders, including HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish.

    Cameron Meyer was also caught up in the carnage but given his crash was within sight on the finish line in Mannum, his position in the general classification wasn't thwarted. With 93 other riders, he sat 10 seconds behind the race leader, Robbie McEwen of Team RadioShack.

    A solid performance from Unley to Stirling on stage three gave the plucky 23 year-old West Australian's chances another boost, sitting 21 seconds off the ochre jersey of Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad). Meyer missed the split so the rest of his race would come down to today's stage from Unley to Stirling.

    "I thought it's going to be hard to make that back, but to get the stage win and throw my hands in the air at the finish line, it's just a great feeling," Meyer said after the win.

    "We knew we had to do something," White told Cyclingnews after congratulating his team following Meyer's win today. "We haven't had the best of luck... It was an opportunity for the boys to attack and they rode very, very smart."

    Stage win a true team effort

    Meyer and teammate Matt Wilson were in the day's break at the 40km mark and there they stayed with Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt and Rob Rujigh (both Vacansoleil) although the latter was dropped within 10km of the finish.

    "It's always hard to stay away, especially in this race which is renowned for the sprints," said Meyer. "We worked really well together, it's a credit to the break, it's a credit to my team-mate Matt Wilson.

    "We definitely talked among ourselves the whole time, we kept checks on...

  • Injured Lloyd joins Omega Pharma-Lotto teammates in Adelaide

    Mountains classification leader Matt Lloyd (Omega Pharma - Lotto)
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 10:36 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian's recovery on track

    One very interested spectator at the start of stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under in Norwood was 2010 Giro d'Italia stage and mountains classification-winner Matthew Lloyd.

    The 27 year-old was spotted by Cyclingnews at the Omega Pharma-Lotto team car before his teammates headed for Strathalbyn. Lloyd arrived in Adelaide hours earlier to see the final three stages of the Tour.

    The Australian was on a training ride in St Kilda near Melbourne in late December when he was involved in a traffic incident. The result was a broken right rotator cuff and damage to his upper vertebrae. It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise stellar season for Lloyd.

    "If I was to spend the whole week here I'd probably go crazy, but that's natural," he said.

    "I think the end of this year's race is going to be very exciting. I was going to come down and say hi to everyone anyway but it's good fun.

    "We've only got the one World Tour race in Australia so it's a good opportunity to come out and see the race in a manner I've never really experienced before."

    Asked if he thought defending champion Andre Greipel, a new-comer to the Omega Pharma-Lotto team in 2011, could go back-to-back, Lloyd was confident.

    " It's just a matter of seconds and if he can rack up a few sprint finishes in a good way and hold on to it over tomorrow's stage it will probably come down to the finish line on Sunday which is great.

    "For these guys it's a long way from home and it is early in the year. It's a great opportunity for them to get some racing in the heat and kick-start the year."

    Greipel is 16 seconds back from race leader Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) on heading into Saturday's penultimate stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga.

    Recovery on track

    Lloyd told Cyclingnews that he was happy with the way his recovery was progressing although frustrated with the time off the bike.

  • Boyer proposes compromise on race radios

    Eric Boyer, the head of the AIGCP, voiced concerns over the new ProTour agreement.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 10:46 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cofidis manager disagrees with teams over protest at races, criticises Bruyneel

    Eric Boyer, the general manager of the Cofidis team, has proposed new ideas in the discussion over the banning of radio communication at UCI races. The suppression of race radio has caused a stir at the first 2011 Cat 1 and HC events, with many teams against the new UCI rules for safety reasons. However supporters argue that race scenarios will likely be more open without the earpieces, creating greater spectacle for the fans.

    "I think we have to find a compromise," Boyer told Cyclingnews on Thursday. "I am against race radios, but I also know that it is an important tool: it enables us to give information to the riders without having to drive up to them inside the peloton. A compromise would be to continue to enable the sports directors to do that, but only for a limited number of his riders, i.e. three out of nine, for example.

    "These riders would be chosen pre-stage depending on the race route, and they would relay the information to their team-mates. The riders of a team would have to race closer inside the peloton to share this information and decide how to use it best in any given race situation."

    The compromise would generate greater communication between the riders of a team, and allow for "collective decision-making and greater cohesion within the team," according to the Frenchman.

    Rider security and road safety, common arguments of those that support race radios, could be upheld by modern technology, according to Boyer. "I think we could substitute the announcement of dangerous places on the parcours by small GPS screens mounted on the handlebars. The day's race route would be programmed in there, and one could see where the difficult sections are: the roundabouts, railroad crossings, dangerous curves etc."

    Still, Boyer admitted that this could also be a risk factor, distracting the riders' attention and possibly causing them to crash. "There is never a perfect solution; unfortunately, there will always be...

  • Road captain Wilson honours his role

    Matt Wilson (Garmin-Cervelo) fills up with bidons.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 10:54 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian domestique instrumental in promotion of young talent

    As much as it came as big news that another young Australian cycling talent took over the lead in the Santos Tour Down Under from compatriot Matt Goss after stage four, Cameron Meyer, 23, was quick to state that he wouldn't be doing so without the help of his teammate Matt Wilson from Garmin-Cervélo.

    "I don't think we would have stayed away without Matt there," Meyer commented after the finish. "He really saved my legs a little bit. He really drove it in the last kilometres to make sure that we did stay away. He gave me the free run to have a go in the sprint and in the end I had the legs on the day to come over the Vacansoleil guy and win the race."

    Wilson was the driver of the six-man breakaway including his teammate and later winner Meyer, Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Rob Ruijgh and Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil). "Normally our breakaway had no chance to succeed," Wilson noted. "We rode smart with a bit of luck as well. I made the group ride as slow as possible. We kept calm and played with the time checks." The peloton's charge eventually came too late.

    Wilson learned the job when he rode for Française des Jeux from 2002 to 2005. The road captain of the French team was Jacky Durand who often said: "Cycling would be boring if the strongest rider was always the winner." The 1992 Tour of Flanders victor knew how to disturb established tactics with his numerous breakaways. He became a master to regulate the speed of the breakaway in order to avoid the chasers to catch them exactly when they wanted.

    "We kept strength for the very end, then I rode flat out for Cam until 500 metres to go," Wilson described. "That's my job. To have Cam winning here is just as good as if it was a win for me. I'm really happy with the outcome today. At Garmin-Cervélo, we have a good bunch of experienced guys and young talented riders. Cam is a super star. He's got an incredible engine and a good head on...

  • Successful surgery on Schleck's collarbone

    Frank Schleck will target the Tour and the Classics
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 10:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Plate and screws removed from bone fractured in Tour de France crash

    Fränk Schleck has had the plate and screws removed from his left collarbone. He had fractured the bone in three places when he crashed on the pavé on the Tour de France's third stage in Belgium.

    The Luxembourger, who now rides for Leopard Trek, left the team training camp in Mallorca a day early so that he could have the surgery on January 20.

    "Everything went well, even though it has been a busy couple of days,” he said in a team press release. “I left camp on Wednesday evening, though I was able to get a training ride in during the morning and early afternoon.

    "Then with the late night arrival home, I barely had a full night’s sleep before I went into surgery early Thursday morning. But now I have a few days to recover, and will be on my bike again by Sunday.”

    The 30-year-old had to undergo a full anaesthetic for the operation, which he said was still affecting him. “I’m still a bit sleepy from the trip and the anaesthesia,. But the plate and six screws were removed. I am still in a bit of pain, but that is normal since it is really quite a big effort to get in there to take out all the hardware.

    "By Sunday I should be fine and fully riding a normal routine on Monday.”

  • Skil-Shimano present their strongest-ever line-up for 2011

    Roy Curvers, Kenny Van Hummel and Robin Chaigneau (l-r) at the Skil-Shimano team presentation.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 14:49 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Manager expects pre-season preparation to yield results and invitations

    Skil-Shimano Manager Iwan Spekenbrink is confident the hard work done by both the team's riders and support staff during the off-season will translate to stronger performances this season, and in turn invitations to the sport's biggest races.

    The team held its team presentation on Thursday in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where they introduced eight new riders to the team, including Frenchmen Matthieu Sprick, Thomas Bonnin and Thomas Damuseau, Germany's Martin Reimer, Roger Kluge, Johannes Fröhlinger and Marcel Kittel, and Dutchman Ronan van Zandbeek. Spekenbrink told Cyclingnews that the team's pragmatic approach to rider selection this year was designed to equip the squad with specific skills for its future.

    "We've made a step forward this year and our team is definitely stronger, both immediately and in the longer term," he said. "We made a number of sporting decisions for this year, for example we chose not to extend the contracts of Dominique Cornu and Piet Rooijakkers.

    "The riders we've added have experience at the big Tours, like the guys from Milram: Kluge and Fröhlinger, Martin Reimer from Cervélo who was German Champion last year, and Matthieu Sprick, who has finished third in the young rider classification at the Tour de France. But we've got a good balance. Marcel Kittel was the Under-23 German time trial champion and third at the Worlds Under-23 time trial. And Bonnin led the French team at the Tour de l'Avenir. We're really satisfied with our selection for next year."

    Spekenbrink has also overseen an overhaul of the team's sponsorship arrangements with its title sponsors joined by a number of new financial supporters. Dutch petroleum company Argos Oil has joined the team as a co-sponsor and has helped to put the outfit in a strong financial position, a key criteria for potential ProTeam selection in the future. But Spekenbrink was coy about the team's prospects for promotion to the top tier of...

  • A chance for Roberts at Saxo Bank-SunGard?

    Luke Roberts is starting to enjoy his time on the podium as the KOM leader.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 15:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Danish team may need another rider if Contador is banned

    Bad news for Alberto Contador could be good news for Luke Roberts. The veteran Australian has a good chance to sign with Saxo Bank-SunGard, but apparently only if the Tour de France winner is suspended.

    An announcement on Contador's fate is expected shortly. “We don’t know what we’re going to get,” Sport Director Bradley McGee told

    “Is he (Contador) going to be out for two years, a year, six months, not at all? That obviously will play heavily if we seriously need to bring another rider in.

    Roberts would not be a newcomer to the team, having ridden there from 2005 to 2007. “Luke would be the sort of rider that we could bring in if we decide we need another rider because we know him,” McGee said.

    “He’s been with the team before, we know what to expect and that’s the reason his name’s on the table. He’s aware of the situation, we’re speaking quite openly. I wouldn’t even go out there and say it’s a strong possibility, ( it’s) 50-50.”

    Roberts, 33, was with Team Milram in 2010, but the team ended because of the lack of sponsorship. He then signed with Pegasus, which failed to receive a ProTeam or Professional Continental licence. He is currently riding the Santos Tour Down Under for the UniSA Australian national team.

    It is not a new situation for Roberts, who is married to a German woman and lives near Cologne. “A couple of times already I’ve thought I was going to have to end my career and got a lucky break,” he said.

    “Then the chance came up with Milram. I had a pretty successful year and had several offers during the Tour de France for this season, but I thought I was doing the right thing by sticking with the Aussie team and probably made the wrong decision in the end.”

    Roberts has been very active in the Tour Down Under, and is currently leading the...