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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 30, 2010

Date published:
July 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Tight NRC standings offer exciting finale

    Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home) ended up only 32 seconds down and is always a GC threat.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 3:54 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Elk Grove next stop on USAC calendar

    The USA Cycling National Racing Calendar is in its final stretch as the professional men and women teams each embark on the last three events scheduled. Luis Amaran and his Jamis-Sutter Home squad lead both the men’s individual and team classifications, while Cath Cheatley and her Colavita-Baci team top the women’s ranking.

    The next stop on the calendar for the men is the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove held this weekend outside of Chicago, Illinois. For the women it will be a criterium held in conjunction with the men at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational on August 7 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    “The Tour of Elk Grove is an important race for us because we had to skip Fitchburg,” said Jamis-Sutter Home directeur sportif Sebastian Alexandre. “The guys are excited to race again with the full team. The NRC is very interesting now with three teams inside 200 points. Any team can win it. I am confident that Luis will come back strong after his break. But he is still training and trying to come back 100 percent for Tour of Utah.”

    Amaran leadings the individual NRC ranking by 191 points ahead of Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis), who recently moved into second place after winning both Nature Valley Grand Prix and Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic. Third placed Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies) sits 417 points behind.

    Jamis-Sutter Home’s team competition lead is a mere 90 points over UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis and 163 points ahead of the third placed team Kelly Benefit Strategies.

    “The Tour of Elk Grove is important to us on several different levels,” said UnitedHealthcare directeur sportif Mike Tamayo. “One of the reasons is that there is 150,000 dollars up for grabs and is one of the most prize money races in the US and even in the world: that stood out in the riders minds. It has a deep NRC ranking and the points are a bonus.

  • Roulston signs on for Southland

    Hayden Roulston fresh from his strong performance in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 4:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Loss of UCI status opens door to ProTour riders

    Hayden Roulston will compete in New Zealand’s Tour of Southland once again this year, with the HTC-Columbia rider announcing he’ll ride with the Calder Stewart Industries squad. Roulston started last year’s race while riding for Professional Continental outfit Cervelo Test Team, but Southland’s loss of International Cycling Union ranking this year allows him to take part despite having graduated to a ProTour outfit.

    "The status change is not a bad thing as it now allows New Zealand's pro cyclists to race in the event and I really wanted to head back down there again," Roulston said. "We looked at our options and things came together well quite quickly with Calder Stewart. Southland gets right behind the event, it's a good race and really well run and I'm looking forward to racing with the boys Calder Stewart are pulling together for a team."

    Roulston has won the race on New Zealand’s South island on three occasions. The event is no longer UCI registered due to issues like the lack of foreign teams, the use of composite sponsor teams and the charging of an entry fee.

    Cycling Southland Chief Executive Nick Jeffrey was upbeat despite the loss of UCI status as Roulston was announced for this year’s race.

    "The good thing to come out of the UCI decision was we now can open our doors to our top professional riders like Hayden, which is great for the sport and great for us in Southland," he said.

    Roulston pulled out after stage one of last year's tour after being involved in a crash. The Tour of Southland was first raced in 1956 and gained UCI status in 2002.

  • France and Netherlands battling for full complement Worlds

    The Dutch national team lead the peloton at the 2007 World Championships in Germany.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 9:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Second consecutive year of reduced representation on the cards

    France and the Netherlands face lining up with a reduced complement of riders at the World Championships Road Race for the second year in succession. The allocation of places for the event in Melbourne will be finalised based on the UCI’s world rankings of August 15. As things stand, with both nations lying outside of the top ten in the national standings, they will have only six riders on the start line as opposed to the full quota of nine.

    The current top ten as per the classification calculated after the Tour de France are Spain, Italy, Belgium, Australia, USA, Russia, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, France and the Netherlands lie in 11th and 12th place respectively.

    According to UCI regulations, a nation ranked in the top ten is entitled to field up to nine riders provided that it has as many riders competing on the World calendar. Accordingly, Luxembourg, although in 7th place in the standings, would field just six riders in the road race in Melbourne. However in such a scenario the three “free” slots will not fall to the nation in 11th place, meaning that France and the Netherlands must move up the rankings in order to increase the size of their squads.

    The last update of the rankings before the announcement of the make-up of the world championship peloton comes on August 15, thus the French and Dutch federations will need their riders to obtain significant results at the Clasica San Sebastien, Tour of Poland or Vattenfall Cyclassics to have any chance of starting on a level pegging with the likes of Italy and Spain.

    France currently has 311 points while the Netherlands has 303. Switzerland (355 points), Germany (343) and Kazakhstan (340) are just about in range to be overhauled, although it will require an exceptional series of results in the three remaining events. The UCI’s nation classification is calculated by adding the points tallies of the top five riders of each...

  • Ballan to defend Tour of Poland title

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) took an easier day after his breakaway on stage 15
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 9:21 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider in "excellent" form after Tour de France

    Alessandro Ballan has been announced as the BMC team leader for the upcoming Tour of Poland, starting on Sunday, August 1. The former world champion intends to defend his title at the week-long stage race in Eastern Europe, where he won a stage last year before taking the overall classification.

    "Ballan comes out of the Tour de France in excellent form," said John Lelangue, sports director at BMC. Ballan placed second in the 15th stage of the Tour after having finished third at the Italian Championships in June.

    "Of course, people will be marking him, so he won't have the same freedom as last year. But remember that he was wearing the rainbow jersey last year," added Lelangue.

    While he is more of a Classics specialist than an overall contender at stage races, Ballan will give his all at the seven-stage event, totaling 1,276 kilometres. It is the only race the 2007 Tour of Flanders victor won during the last season.

    Ballan will be supported by the following teammates during the Tour of Poland: Chris Butler, Alexander Kristoff, Mauro Santambrogio, Florian Stalder, Jackson Stewart and Danilo Wyss.

  • Astana start their post-Contador rebuild

    Robert Kiserlovski (Liquigas-Doimo) celebrates his Giro dell'Appennino victory, the Croatian's first win in three years.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 11:07 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Kiserlovski joins the Kazakhs, with Menchov and Arroyo also in the frame

    With team leader Alberto Contador set for the exit and likely to take four Spanish team-mates with him, Astana have started their rebuilding process by signing Robert Kiserlovski from Liquigas. The 24-year-old Croat, who finished 10th on his Giro d'Italia debut in May, has signed a two-year deal with the Kazakh team.

    "I will benefit from having time to adapt. For the first season I will be at the service of a team leader and then we will see," Kiserlovski said in the Croat press. Kiserlovski is reported to have boosted his salary sixfold with his new deal. The Croat also revealed that he received an offer from a French team "which gave me total freedom, but I refused it".

    Astana are also being heavily linked with Rabobank's Denis Menchov, who took third place at the Tour de France, and Caisse d'Epargne's David Arroyo, who was runner-up at the Giro.

    The repercussions of Contador's announcement that he is quitting the Kazakh team are also rumbling on. Speaking to L'Equipe, team captain Alexandre Vinokourov disclosed that he had asked Contador if he was planning to stay with Astana in front of the whole team after the Tour's final stage in Paris. "I really hope so," Contador is reported to have said.

    "We did all we could for Alberto for three weeks by sacrificing ourselves for him. I only hope that he didn't take the decision before the start of the Tour," said Vinokourov. He added that the team had never put pressure on the Spaniard to extend his contract, contradicting Contador's claims that he'd been given an ultimatum to agree to a new deal by July 27. "Alberto had been pushing for a new contract for four months, and it was he who was pressing to re-sign with us," Vinokourov stated.

    Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Astana directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli admitted he had started to have doubts about Contador's commitment to the team from the halfway point of the Tour. Martinelli said he thought...

  • Klemme back to racing in Poland

    Domenik Klemme (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 12:03 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Prepares for first Grand Tour at Vuelta

    After a five-week break from racing, Dominik Klemme (Saxo Bank) is looking to hit the ground running when he lines up for the Tour of Poland, August 1. The German will use the seven-day race as preparation for his first tilt at a Grand Tour, at the Vuelta, which starts August 28.

    "The training has been going well," Klemme told Cyclingnews. "I've had five weeks off and went for a holiday. But since then I've really ramped things up with a week at altitude followed by a week of interval training. Now I'm ready for Poland."

    Klemme had a busy start to the season, performing solidly throughout the spring, and finishing 14th in his first Paris-Roubaix.

    "I don't know how my form will be in the first race back, but if I'm good I'll try something. But of course I'm there to help the other riders, too."

    After Poland, Klemme will ramp up his preparation for the Vuelta by racing the Tour du Limousin and GP Ouest France in Plouay. Despite the Vuelta being his first Grand Tour, the 23-year-old has already set himself a number of goals, both within the team and on a personal level.

    "With Fränk [Schleck] there and ready, I'll work as best as I can for him. He wants to do a good overall but I think I'll have a few chances on a few stages too," said Klemme.

    "I've had some good results this year, but I'm still looking for a win. Roubaix was a good race for me in the spring and I've learnt a lot again. Next year I want to step up another level. With a Vuelta in my legs that should help me kick on."

    With Saxo Bank set to leave the sport and his contract up for grabs, Klemme has a few possibilities already on the table for next season.

    "I have some options but I've not made a decision yet. I'll make a decision in the next couple of weeks."

  • Katusha's Kirchen targets comeback to cycling

    Reigning Luxembourg national time trial champion Kim Kirchen (Katusha)
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 13:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Cause of heart attack still unkown

    Kim Kirchen wants to come back to pro cycling next year despite suffering a heart attack at the Tour de Suisse in June. The Katusha rider made his first public appearance after awakening from a medically induced coma and coming out of hospital on July 8, attending the presentation of the Tour de France Gala criterium earlier this week.

    While the exact causes of his heart failure are still unknown, Kirchen hopes that he will be able to ride a bike again soon. "We have to wait and see," he told the Wort newspaper. "The healing process can take weeks or months. I will definitely not participate in any race this year. But I do hope to be able to race again next year."

    Thrombosis and cardiac arrhythmia being excluded from Kirchen's diagnosis, doctors are currently checking if it is a genetic problem.

    For now, the former national champion and Tour de France stage winner is slowly rehabilitating. "I'm doing well, even though I get tired quickly and can't even think about doing sport right now. But it's getting better every day," the 32-year-old added.

    Kirchen's fatigue is further increased by a lack of sleep any parent of twins can certainly comprehend. "I have to get up two or three times every night to change nappies, but I like to do it," said the happy father of Liam and Mika. The two baby boys that were born on the day he was given the green light to return home from hospital.

  • Valjavec cleared by Slovenian anti-doping agency

    Tadej Valjavec (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    July 30, 2010, 16:11 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Biological Passport case likely to go to CAS

    Slovenian rider Tadej Valjavec has been cleared by his national anti-doping agency. The AG2R rider, currently suspended by his team, had been accused of blood doping within the framework of the UCI's Biological Passport in early May this year, with the questionable values dating back to 2009.

    However, according to Slovenian website, the disciplinary board of the Slovenian NAK ruled on Thursday, July 29, that there was not enough evidence to open disciplinary proceedings against Valjavec. The panel even criticised the application of the Biological Passport in the case, saying that it failed to take into account all the factors that could explain Valjavec's blood values naturally. Moreover, it found that some of the tests were not carried out in accordance with the technical documents affecting the test results.

    The rider had previously pointed to a stomach disease he suffered at the 2009 Tour of California, saying this could have altered his blood parameters. Now, it seems that several legal, systemic and administrative arguments were used to convince the panel of his innocence.

    The case will likely be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne now. The UCI has one month to appeal the decision.

    Earlier this year, Italian riders Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis were sentenced to two-year-suspensions by their national Olympic Committee CONI, also on the basis of results from their biological passports. Franco Pellizotti, whose name was released by the UCI at the same time as Valjavec's, may also have to sit out a two-year ban at CONI's recommendation.

    Spaniard Jesus Rosendo Prado, on the other hand, will not face disciplinary proceedings by the Spanish cycling federation. In June, his Andalucia-Cajasur team announced that the doubtful blood values in his biological passport were dated from April 20, 2009, and could be explained by abundant bleeding due to a hemorrhoid crisis.