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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 2, 2010

Date published:
July 02, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Haselbacher leaves Vorarlberg-Corratec

    Veteran rider Rene Haselbacher from Austria is Vorarlberg-Corratec's main man on the tour after spending seasons with Gerolsteiner and Astana.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 12:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Austrian to look for new team

    Team Vorarlberg-Corratec must do without its biggest name rider. Rene Haselbacher has refused to sign a new contract with the team, which has fallen to Continental status.

    The Austrian team had its Professional Continental licence revoked by the International Cycling Union last month, and only on Thursday was it awarded a Continental licence. The riders were offered new contracts.

    “I have not signed one of those,” Haselbacher, 32, said on his personal website. I am now training normally, but without a team. In the next weeks I will know what my athletic future is. I will look to have discussions with teams.”

    Haselbacher has moved to South Africa and trains in a South African jersey. Since he is no longer with the Vorarlberg-Corratec team, he will be unable to ride the Tour of Austria, which starts on Sunday, July 4.

    “I am happy for my friends on the team that they can continue to ride through the end of the year and I wish them a successful Tour,” he said.

    Haselbacher rode for Team Gerolsteiner from 1999 to 2006, and for Astana in 2007 and 2008, before joining Vorarlberg-Corratec last year. He won the Austrian national title in 2002 and the Rheinland Pfalz Rundfahrt in 2006.

  • Baby Felline to have a taste of the Tour de France

    Stage two winner Fabio Felline (Footon-Servetto)
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 13:28 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    A year ago he was sitting his A-levels

    Fabio Felline from Footon-Servetto is the youngest rider on the start line of the Tour de France. Born on 3 March 1990, the Italian is young enough to be Lance Armstrong’s son.

    Felline won two stages and the overall of the Circuit de Lorraine in May this year. That prompted Footon-Servetto management to send him to the world’s biggest race. “I think I was potentially a reserve before”, he told Cyclingnews in Rotterdam.

    He first came to attention at the early Spring races in Belgium when he hurt many other riders’ legs in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen before puncturing 8km from the line. Felline followed that up with a tenth-place finish in the GPE3 won by Fabian Cancellara, a remarkable three days before his twentieth birthday.

    Along with Peter Sagan, who scored five wins this year but isn’t part of the Liquigas team for the Tour, Felline is the prodigy of the professional ranks. “For me, this is all new”, he said before starting his first Tour de France. “Exactly a year ago I was doing my A-level exams, I got 90/100.”

    Felline signed with the Footon-Servetto team in part due to his personal relationship with team manager Mauro Gianetti, going back to when he was 15.

    “I’m here at the Tour for experience”, Felline said. “It’s a reward for my early season results. It’s also a way to have a taste of the event. I have no pressure. I only have to take what is positive for my future. I even know how many stages I have to do. Well, in theory I’m here for ten stages but if I get tired before, I’m free to go home earlier and if I feel like doing one or two more, I can as well. I have no idea how I’ll go. I’ve never ridden my bike for more than 200 kilometres for two days in a row. I’ve been told this event is the biggest in every aspect. It’s the nicest race, the most dangerous, the most...

  • Basso: ready and relaxed

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) gets a taste of the cobbles
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 13:44 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Liquigas leader happy to be back at the Tour

    It has been five years since Ivan Basso was last at the Tour de France, and one could sense that it was a special moment for the Liquigas rider as he prepared for the first big show of the event in Rotterdam, the official team presentation held on Thursday afternoon.

    "I'm very happy to be here," smiled the winner of the 2010 Giro d'Italia as he sat down with Cyclingnews waiting for his team's call to ride over the Erasmus bridge and onto the podium, surrounded by a substantial crowd. "It's a fantastic moment to be back after five years. We haven't started the race yet, but I am very eager to do my best."

    After being excluded from the race one day before the start of the 2006 Tour, and having completed a suspension for his involvement in Operacion Puerto, the Italian raced three Grand Tours before coming back to the French event this year. But what has been a slow come-back for him may also play to his advantage, as his build-up back to the highest level was made steadily.

    "After my Giro victory I'm very motivated to do well at the Tour again," he continued. "I hope to have three really good weeks. My form is good, but not super yet. But I know it will rise during the next weeks. I am confident."

    Liquigas' plan is for Basso to score another podium placing at this Tour, after finishing third in 2004 and second one year later. "I'm ready - but I also think everybody is ready! There are the world's best riders at the start, so it will be difficult to achieve [a podium placing]. But this is our objective," he confirmed.

    The 2010 Tour de France is thus a very open one, despite public attention focusing mostly on defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), going for what would be a more than legendary eighth Tour de France victory. Basso noted that there were many other contenders for a top GC placing this year, including the Schleck brothers (Saxo Bank), World champion Cadel Evans (BMC) and...

  • Riccò to appeal suspended sentence

    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 14:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Lawyer claims he has been tried for same offence twice

    Riccardo Riccò has intimated that he will appeal the two month suspended sentence handed to him by a French court on Tuesday for the use of harmful substances. Riccò was also fined €3,000 in the case, which related to his positive test for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.

    “We consider this judgment to be unjust in that a fundamental principle of French and European law, non bis in idem (that someone cannot be tried for the same offence twice), has been flouted. Mr. Riccò cannot be condemned twice for the same infraction,” Riccò’s lawyer Annamaria Tripicchio Rogier told AFP.

    Riccò had previously been sentenced to pay a fine of €5,710 by a court in Padua, Italy in February of this year in charges also relating to his positive test and possession of doping products at the 2008 Tour de France. He was suspended from cycling for twenty months for his positive test, but returned to the peloton in March to ride for Ceramica Flaminia.

  • Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke race to debut in October

    After seeking psychiatric help in 2006, Frank Vandenbroucke looked to be heading in the right direction as he announced a return to cycling with Aqua & Sapone.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 16:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Five ProTour teams already agreed to ride

    There is a new race on the International Cycling Union schedule, the “Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke”, to be held October 5. It will be a revival of the earlier race Binche-Doornik-Binche in Belgium.

    That race was last run in 1996, and has a special relationship to the late cyclist. “The reason (this race was chosen) is that Frank Vandenbroucke was the very last winner of this race in 1996,” said his uncle and race organiser Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke.

    “This year I am organising this wonderful race again,” he said. “So far we have agreements from five ProTour teams, Quick Step, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Garmin-Transitions, RadioShack and AG2R. And I am still negotiating with some others.”

    The race will have UCI 1.1 status.

    Frank Vandenbroucke died last fall of a pulmonary embolism in Senegal at the age of 34. The troubled Belgian had a history of emotional, legal and drug problems. He was considered to be the best young Belgian cycling talent in the 1990s, winning 51 races in six years.

  • Cavendish targets stages and the green jersey

    Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia teammates looking very cool.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 16:32 BST
    Daniel Benson

    HTC-Columbia rider proud to be part of growing British peloton

    Mark Cavendish refused to put a number on the number of stages he is targeting at this year’s Tour de France but the winner of six stages in 2009 said that he would aim for as many as possible as he targets the green points jersey.

    “I’m physically great,” he said at the HTC-Columbia press conference in Rotterdam. “I was good in Switzerland and the preparation has gone well. I’m excited for the racing.”

    Asked if comparing his tally of six wins from last year to any success he had this year was fair, he replied: “That’s not a realistic thing to do. Because I won six last year doesn’t mean I have to win six this year. I want to win as much as possible. I want to win 21 stages. I know that’s not realistic but every time we step on a bike the goal is to win.”

    During the press conference Cavendish also praised his team several times, calling them ‘diverse’ and ‘in form’, and adding “We want to win a stage, with or without me. We’ll be looking at our first opportunity tomorrow and the first sprint stage on Sunday and then reach Paris with the green jersey if that’s possible too.”

    As for his rivals, the Manx missile picked out the usual suspects, including Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions), Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and last year’s green jersey Thor Hushovd (Cervelo). “There are a few great guys here in the sprints. I spoke with Tyler yesterday and he looks incredibly fit and he’ll be a threat. Oscar has been going great this year and obviously Thor can never be counted out.”

    Cavendish also paid tribute to the other seven British riders who will race this year’s Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins, Steve Cummings, and Geraint Thomas, David Millar, Jeremy Hunt and Daniel Lloyd will also be in the peloton, making up nearly five per cent of the peloton.

    “There are eight guys...

  • Rabobank ready for Tour de France challenges

    Denis Menchov (Rabobank) would finish 41st in Alpe d'Huez, over nine minutes behind the winner.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 16:35 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Two leaders and a sprinter target success for Dutch team

    The Rabobank team is gearing up for tomorrow's start of the Tour de France on home turf. It has an important meeting to observe on Friday afternoon, which may give the Dutch team further motivation for the three-week race: the soccer World Cup quarterfinal game against Brazil. While the match will serve as welcome distraction in a country as crazy about football as about bikes, it will not distract the Rabobank riders from their primary goal at this year's Tour, i.e. the overall victory for Denis Menchov.

    The Russian can be added to the list of the overall favourites, and he has built up his season for that sole goal. He declined to defend his Grand Tour title at the Giro d'Italia earlier this season, choosing instead to arrive at the Tour de France start fresh, without too many racing kilometres in his legs.

    "My form is very good," the Russian said at the team's press conference on Friday morning at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam. "I feel good. I did a good job at the Dauphiné in June and had an excellent preparation camp in the Sierra Nevada afterward. So I think I will be at the start line in perfect shape."

    This is a different build-up for Menchov than in the last two years, when he did the Giro, winning it in 2009. The three-time Grand Tour winner is back to a less exhausting pre-Tour programme in the hope that this will make the difference for an overall success. "I hope that this preparation will be sufficient. I don't think I missed [the rhythm of racing], my preparation at the Dauphiné and my training afterward were good."

    Menchov, the experienced leader who may only have another two or three years to achieve a Tour victory, gets support from an upcoming star, Robert Gesink. It is the second Tour for the Dutchman, who hopes to finish it in Paris this time after crashing out early last year. Gesink, recently victorious of a stage in the Tour de Suisse, is rated as the next great Dutch stage racer and will be...

  • Big names among early starters for Tour de France prologue

    Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) won the final stage
    Article published:
    July 03, 2010, 16:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Martin, Vande Velde, Wiggins all in first hour

    Christian Vande Velde and Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions), Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky), Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) and Levi Leipheimer have all opted for early start times in Saturday’s Tour de France prologue to try and avoid the rain showers forecast for later in the afternoon.

    Team leaders and time trial favourites are usually placed in the final slots of the start list but Cyclingnews understands that teams have studied hour by hour weather forecast and carefully selected the start times of their riders.

    Spain’s Iban Mayoz Echeverria (Footon-Servetto) is the first rider off at 16:15 local time. Martin starts at 16:25, Vande Velde at 16:31, Boasson Hagen at 16:33, Zabriskie at 16:53, Wiggins at 16:55 and Leipheimer at 17:17.

    Most of the other big-name start two hours later. Cadel Evans (BMC) starts at 19:20, Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) is third from last off at 19:30. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) is off at 19:31 and Alberto Contador (Astana) is last rider off at 19:32.

    According to detailed weather forecasts for Rotterdam, rain is expected in the morning before drier conditions in the middle of the day. Scattered showers are forecast from two o’clock onwards, with an increasing percentage of humidity. The highest chance of rain, 88%, is at 19:00.

    With 12 corners on the city centre 8.9km course, the difference between wet roads and dry ones could well determine the stage winner. Fabian Cancellara, the favourite for the prologue win, starts second to last.

    Start times for Rotterdam prologue:

    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result