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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 28, 2011

Date published:
January 28, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Contador's absence could be Porte's big chance at Saxo Bank

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) smiles on the podium
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 8:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Young Australian ready to move into leadership role

    Riche Porte could be the big winner if Alberto Contador is suspended for the 2011 season. The second-year pro stands to become the Team Saxo Bank-SunGard team captain at the Tour de France this year, if the defending champion is not there.

    ''I'm not really allowed to say too much because he obviously has the [opportunity to] appeal … but it's a pretty big opportunity, isn't it?'' Porte told the Sydney Morning Herald. ''It's sad to see it happen because he is a good guy … But for me personally … This time last year, I was at the bottom of the pile and now I have one of the best teams where I could potentially be the leader for the biggest race in the world.

    ''I'm not overjoyed by it. It's not a nice time for our team, even though he wasn't with the team when it happened. But it's a massive opportunity for me.''

    Contador faces a suspension for his positive doping control for Clenbuterol, from last year's Tour de France. Porte, who has not yet ridden the Tour, finished seventh overall in the Giro d'Italia in 2010 as a neo-pro., wearing the leader's jersey for three stages.

    The 25-year-old had been scheduled to ride the Tour this year anyway, either as back-up to Contador or as a helper. Moving up to the captain's role seems an easy change to him.

    ''It doesn't really change my path,'' he said. ''I was always going [to the Tour as ] the second guy … ride my race to the point where I had to help Alberto. I always had a bit of a free card for the Tour … I have a lot of improvement and I mean I am...

  • Rolf Sørensen says Contador suspension could help Danish cycling

    Saxo Bank rider Chris Anker Sörensen finished well down the standings
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 9:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank-SunGard would have to change priorities at Tour

    Danish cycling could benefit if Alberto Contador is suspended, according to Rolf Sørensen. The former pro rider says young Danish talents on Saxo Bank-SunGard may now get more chances.

    Sørensen told that he was specifically thinking of Chris Anker Sørensen, a climbing specialist.

    “Chris Anker Sørensen will go for the polka-dot mountain jersey,” Rolf Sørensen said. “It is obviously not the same as winning he Tour de France, but the team must turn it into something positive. There is more room to learn some things and try some things.”

    Instead of looking for the overall victory, the team would have to change its goals, “If you ride with Contador, the team is very locked into place. He is expected to win the yellow jersey. But if he is not there, you suddenly have a completely different team to go for stage wins and it gives the young Danish talent possibilities," he said.

    Sørensen said it would be a pity if Contador were suspended on doping charges and could not ride the Tour this year. ”Personally I think yes, it is unfortunate for the Tour de France, if Alberto Contador is not included.”

  • Appeal to CAS could be counterproductive for Contador

    Alberto Contador prepares for the 2011 season while under the doping cloud.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 11:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish cycling federation chief warns he could end up with longer ban

    Alberto Contador has the right to appeal a doping suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the president of the Spanish cycling federation has warned that the court might not be as lenient as the federation.

    The RFEC has issued a preliminary decision to give the Saxo Bank-SunGard rider a one-year suspension for his positive doping control for Clenbuterol during the Tour de France. He has ten days to appeal that decision before it becomes final.

    It is expected that Contador will appeal the ban to the CAS to have it eliminated, and that the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency will appeal to have it extended to two years.

    Contador's appeal could be counter-productive, according to RF president Juan Carlos Castano.

    "If Contador appeals to CAS I see it a very difficult case coming become more complicated, including even making it worse," Castano said in an interview with Spanish television broadcast Friday, according to the Reuters news agency.

    Contador, who also stands to lose his 2010 Tour victory, has scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon.

    He had previously said that he might quit cycling if he received a doping suspension. The 28-year-old has denied taking any doping products, saying the positive result was due to having eaten contaminated meat.

  • Devolder primed for a strong start with Vacansoleil

    Stijn Devolder adds star power to the Vacansoleil team
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 12:09 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian describes new Omloop Het Nieuwsblad course as a "mini Tour of Flanders"

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) has reported himself pleased with his pre-season preparation and will target a strong start to the 2011 season, with victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad high on his agenda.

    The two-time Tour of Flanders winner surveyed the course for the traditional Classics opener on Thursday alongside teammate Gorik Gardeyn and sports director Hilaire Van der Scheuren. Devolder's former rival Peter Van Petegem has been responsible for a redesign of the Omloop course, which the Vacansoleil captain expects will create a tougher race.

    "This course is not comparable with last year's edition. Route designer Peter Van Petegem has made good use of his experience. The course has become much more selective," Devolder told Het Nieuwsblad. "The hills are divided neatly and there will be ongoing opportunities for action."

    Omloop Het Nieuwsblad remains notably absent from Devolder's palmares, with his attention usually focussed later in the Classics season - specifically on the Tour of Flanders. However, this year he is paying close attention to areas of the Omloop course that may form a launching pad for victory and predicted that Van Petegem's alterations will prove key.

    "In the past the race would begin on the wall [the Molenberg] then everything collapsed like a pudding. Then it was a wait until the strongest guys stuck their heads out in the cobbled areas deep in the finale," he said. "Now I expect that the race will really explode the third and last time through the [new] cobblestone sector at Haaghoek. Then you'll immediately hit the Leberg, Molenberg and then again the cobblestones of the...

  • Contador will appeal Tour de France doping sanction

    Alberto Contador fields questions from the media regarding the proposed one-year ban by the Spanish cycling federation for his Tour de France doping positive.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 16:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard states "I have never doped"

    Alberto Contador has said today that he will appeal the one-year ban that has been proposed by the Spanish Cycling Federation as a sanction for his positive test for Clenbuterol at last year's Tour de France. The Spaniard spoke at a press conference while at the Saxo Bank-SunGard training camp in Mallorca.

    "I will do whatever is necessary to defend my innocence to the end," Contador said at the press conference. "The penalty is not fair."

    Contador remains adamant that the Clenbuterol entered his system accidentally, through the consumption of contaminated meat.

    "I have never doped," he said. "I think I am an example of cleanliness. I believed in the test system, not now. I do not believe in the system. I know what I'm exposed to and that's why I never doped.

    "The only mistake I made is to eat meat that contained Clenbuterol. I have made some 500 controls in my life that have been in my house, on birthdays, they have taken me out of the cinema... and I accepted this because I always trusted this test system, but I do not believe in it. The system is obsolete and outdated."

    Contador complained that he learned of the proposed sanction through press reports rather than hearing the news through official channels.

    "It is shameful that it was leaked to the press before I was told officially," he said. "All this has allowed me to see the gaps and how poor the sport is, because I have given and suffered so much.

    "It has been a public trial, an impeachment, with free and malicious comments that have a significant role in the proposed penalty."

    Contador also confirmed that contrary to the stance he aired in October, he will not retire from the sport if...

  • Phinney chose BMC to aid Olympic preparations

    Taylor Phinney is looking forward to a big season with BMC.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 18:00 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Tour de France team time trial a possibility for American neo-pro

    Taylor Phinney has explained that his 2012 Olympic ambitions played a significant part in his decision to sign for BMC over RadioShack. The American rode for RadioShack’s feeder team Trek-Livestrong last season, but opted to turn professional with BMC in order to guarantee a smooth build-up to the London games.

    “RadioShack could offer a one-year contract but BMC could offer two, three, four years,” Phinney told Cyclingnews at the BMC training camp in Denia, Spain. “With the Olympics in 2012 and my big focus on either the time trial or some track events, I wanted to be certain that I’d be riding the same bike and wasn’t going to have to be worrying about contract issues. So really that’s what it came down to at the end.”

    Phinney admitted that it was a difficult to break his ties with the Trek-Livestrong set-up, but he is confident that he has made the correct decision.

    “I talked to Lance a couple of times and he’s been so far supportive and he knows that if he were in my position he would have done the same thing,” he said. “It was definitely a tough decision, there were some loyalties that I felt to Lance and to Trek-Livestrong and to CSE, which is the company that runs RadioShack and Trek-Livestrong, but ultimately I just had to do what was best for me.”

    BMC was a natural destination for Phinney, given his family’s close ties to two senior members of the squad’s staff. His father Davis rode for Jim Ochowicz’s 7-Eleven team in the 1980s, where Max Testa was team doctor. Both men are now important figures at BMC and in a way, Phinney’s arrival at the team marks something of a homecoming.

    “It just kind of made sense that if I was going to go anywhere else to go to BMC,” he...

  • Vande Velde vies for Tour de France success

    Christian Vande Velde - a Girona local - stopped by
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 19:08 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Photo gallery: Garmin-Cervélo training camp

    Christian Vande Velde has seen it all in his time with Garmin - crashes, bad luck, success and controversy - but the American begins the final two years of his career with his confidence and aims as high as ever.

    With the season underway the 34-year-old is on the back of one of his best winters in recent years and appears free of the demons that almost ended his career last year.

    "I usually have my ass handed to me at training camps at this time of year so it's been a pleasant surprise with how things have gone so far this season," he told Cyclingnews.

    "I'm around the same level as last year but just that little bit better, especially in terms of motivation and calmness. That goes for the whole team, our insecurities are a little less and everything seems just that bit more poised now."

    Towards the end of last season Garmin-Transitions pooled resources with part of the sinking Cervélo TestTeam, signing a strong block of their Classics team. Although a number of riders were released in conjunction with the move, Garmin-Cervélo starts the season as one of the strongest teams in the world, on paper at least, with Vande Velde's teammate, David Millar, calling the team a 'hit squad'.

    "It's a different team now, the average age is higher than last year and we've added quite a bit more experience," said Vande Velde. "There's a lot more firepower and that goes a long way to levelling out the pressure on all the guys."

    Vande Velde joined the team in 2008, signing from Bjarne Riis' CSC team. It was a leap of faith for the American who admits he was riding in a comfort zone as a super-domestique on the Danish team.

    "If you want to compare now to 2008 it's an insane difference," said Vande Velde. "I went to the first training camp and I remember sitting...

  • UCI will continue phasing out radios despite objections

    Ivan Basso wears his radio in protest before the start of stage one of the Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    January 28, 2011, 19:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    ProTour Council gets a new name

    Following a meeting of its Management Committee at the site of the Cyclo-cross World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany, the UCI announced today that it will continue with its plan to progressively phase out the use of radio communications between riders and team cars.

    The decision comes despite objections from the majority of riders and team directors, but the UCI said it will go through with the plan "in the interests of maintaining the quality of the sporting spectacle". It qualified that the Management Committee will "constantly monitor the effects of this measure".

    Radios were banned last season in lower-category UCI events at the 1.2 and 2.2 level (one-day and stage race, respectively), and many national federations extended the prohibition to national-level races.

    The UCI upped the ban this year to include races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below, drawing the ire of riders taking part in the 2.1-ranked Tour de San Luis, some of whom protested prior to the start of the race.

    Jonathan Vaughters, president of the teams organization AIGCP, has argued strongly against instituting a global ban on race radios, saying that it negatively impacts rider safety.

    The president of the rider's association (CPA) Gianni Bugno recently wrote to the UCI president Pat McQuaid calling for a dialogue between the teams, riders and race promoter's associations to discuss the issue after seeing what he believed were the dangers posed by the lack of radios at the Tour de San Luis.

    However, Belgian Philippe Gilbert came out in support of the radio ban, saying that he doesn't believe...