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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 3, 2011

Date published:
June 03, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Neben confident in HTC-Highroad to win Liberty Classic

    Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad) in the bunch chasing Gillow
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 7:03 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    'Team not worried by absence of Teutenberg,' says Neben

    Amber Neben is confident that, despite the absence of sprinter Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, the HTC-Highroad squad will deliver a victory at the upcoming UCI 1.1 Liberty Classic held in Philadelphia on Sunday. The former world time trial champion believes that the assembled team is capable of winning the race from either a breakaway or a bunch sprint.

    HTC-Highroad’s roster also includes Chloe Hosking and Adriana Visser, who are well known for their fast sprints, along with strong climbers Amanda Miller, Ally Statcher, Evie Stevens.

    "Chloe is growing and learning with each race and she is fast at the finish, so we do have someone who can sprint and Adri is a good sprinter as well," Neben said. "It’s not like it will be a bunch of 150 coming to the finish, it will be a bit smaller so I’m sure one of those girls has a chance to win and I would be confident with either of them."

    "The rest of us will come in fit and we will race hard," she added. "It has been our goal the whole year, to be aggressive and look for opportunities and not necessarily wait for a sprint. If it comes down to one, we know that we have people that can finish, but we have other cards to play along the way."

    Teutenberg will not compete for her fifth title at the Liberty Classic and will instead compete in the GP Ciudad de Valladolid World Cup held in Spain on the same day.

    "She will be racing the World Cup," Neben said. "It would changed everyone’s dynamic not having Ina here. Ina is Ina and to not have her here, we will miss her. She’s won it four times but at the same time we have a strong team."

    The women will complete four laps of a challenging circuit that includes the steep 800-metre ascent over Manayunk Wall for a total 92.8 kms. The race will start outside the Art Museum on Benjamin...

  • Vacansoleil react to Ricco finding a new team

    Riccardo Riccò awaits the start of the Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 9:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch team still feels justified in firing Italian earlier this year

    Riccardo Ricco's former team Vacansoleil-DCM has raised its eyebrows at the news he has signed with another team, saying, “It seems unwise to take him under contract.” It was announced earlier this week that Ricco has signed with the Croatian Continental-ranked team Meridiana Kamen.

    Vacansoleil had signed the Italian last summer. This year he was admitted to hospital with kidney failure and there are now investigations underway as to whether this was doping-related.

    The team conducted its own investigation and severed its contract with the rider, citing “violation of internal team rules and other indications.”

    Vacansoleil spokesman Frank Kwanten told that he was “not really surprised” at Ricco's signing. “I would have been surprised if he had signed with a big team, but this was in line with expectations. It seems to me unwise to take him under contract.”

    “There were surprised reactions when we gave him a second chance,” Kwanten continued. “Now there is an investigation into what happened during that second chance.

    “But hey, we followed all the rules and this team is also doing so now. He may officially ride, but we still take the view that we had legitimate reasons to release him.”

  • Pinotti leaves hospital and eyes Lombardy return

    Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) waved goodbye to the Giro d'Italia after a crash
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 10:13 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    Italian expects full recovery from hip fracture

    HTC-Highroad’s Italian star Marco Pinotti will return home today, a week after the Giro d’Italia crash which cost him a compound fracture of his hip and, in all likelihood, at least three months of racing.

    Speaking from his hospital bed in Bergamo on Thursday evening, Pinotti maintained that his morale was “quite good” and that he still harboured hopes of returning to action before the end of the 2011 season.

    Pinotti crashed together with teammate Craig Lewis 35 kilometres from the end of stage 19 of the Giro from Bergamo to Macugnaga. In many ways, the Italian time trial champion agreed on Thursday, the fall was in keeping with his bitter-sweet Giro: Pinotti had led the race after the opening day time trial in Turin, fallen ill and down the general classification in the mountains, then narrowly missed out on a stage win front of his home fans in Bergamo on the eve of his accident.

    Had he made it to the final-day time trial in Milan, Pinotti would have been hotly tipped to repeat the success he earned on a similar stage in 2008. “But I’d rather not think about that and all that I’ll be missing – the Tour of Switzerland, the Italian championships and so on,” he told Cyclingnews. “In terms of the time it’s forcing me to spend off the bike, and the frustration it’s causing, this is the worst injury of my career.”

    While he doesn't wish to dwell, Pinotti remembers the circumstances of the crash clearly – indeed probably more clearly than he’d like.

    “It was a central reservation in the road which wasn’t marked with flags or any of the usual signs,” Pinotti said. “Craig and I weren’t the only ones who fell but we were the...

  • RadioShack coy on 2012 plans for team

    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 11:00 BST
    Cycling News

    PR tightrope being walked by RadioShack, say experts

    RadioShack is yet to open into negotiations for the 2012 season, casting shadows over the future of Team RadioShack. Questions have surrounded the future of the team ever since seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong announced his retirement earlier this year. Armstrong was the key player in creating the RadioShack team, and has acted as a brand ambassador for the company itself.

    Eric Bruner, head of RadioShack media relations, spoke to Cyclingnews from the company's US offices.

     "We're proud of Team RadioShack's results at the Amgen Tour of California and US Pro Championships, but have not discussed our plans for 2012 at this point," he said. Bruner was also adamant that this decision was independent of allegations surrounding the high profile American. "We have an ongoing relationship with Lance Armstrong," he added.

    Public Relations problems

    It may be that the relationship with Armstrong is causing the company problems however.

    Cyclingnews also spoke to Sydney PR firm Ogilvy about the effect of the allegations on the company's image and the most logical way forward.

    "The number and detail of allegations are now making it more difficult for Armstrong himself and the companies he is associated with to simply brush off," said media director Sam North.

    "A tipping point may have been reached - and if it has that will make sponsors very nervous. [RadioShack and Nike] will be watching the situation very closely."

    North drew parallels with a number of recent sporting scandals including those of which involved Marion Jones, Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds.

    "For [Tiger] Woods the allegations...

  • Vroomen on doping, the media, Basso, and Schleck

    Gerard Vroomen, Cervelo co-founder.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 13:35 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Criticises nationalist tendencies in cycling

    Gerard Vroomen has never shied away from the discussion on doping and in two recent blog posts on his personal website he raised issues over the media’s reporting of the issue. After a recent restructure at Cervelo, in which he stepped down from his position as CEO, the former manager of the Cervelo TestTeam was quick to point that the views posted on his blog were his alone but talked openly about his feelings on Ivan Basso, Fränk Shleck and the journalistic endeavour into doping.

    “I’ve always spoken my mind on doping. I’ve said that the teams are part of the problem but so are the riders, the sponsors and the media. It’s hard to break out of that whole vicious circle,” Vroomen told Cyclingnews.

    In his blog, Vroomen criticised the balanced reporting from the global media, saying that there was a lack of critical attitude in cycling (and sports) journalism in general.

    “There is reporting, and there’s nothing wrong with that, and then there’s digging and some people choose not to do that. Some people’s jobs are just to report the riding and some people have to look further. My beef, and it seems that the wrong people have been offended, is that if you’re there to report and not to dig deep then you should at least refrain from the over the top reporting on the athletes. Especially in the US where there’s been an uncritical attitude and where reporting has gone over the top into making someone out to be the second coming of Christ, and when you can sense that not everything is right. There needs to be some balance and I don't think that’s the case.”

    Vroomen added that the issue isn’t one that only exists on one side of the Atlantic, with nationalistic tendencies and motives at play.

    “In Italy

  • Rasmussen thinks he can win Tour of Norway

    Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches)
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 17:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Course may not have enough mountains for Danish rider

    Michael Rasmussen thinks he can win the Tour of Norway. The Christina Watches captain is in fourth place after the second stage, only eight seconds down.

    In Thursday's second stage, Rasmussen attacked out of the field on the final climb. It was not enough for the win, but he finished with the lead group of five, ten seconds ahead of the peloton.

    “I wish that the mountains had been longer, because I felt like I was riding really well,” he said in a team press release. .

    “My biggest challenge is that the race is perhaps not hard enough that I can make a difference. But I am relying on the queen stage, coming on Saturday.”

    The team was recently awarded a wild-card invitation to the Tour of Denmark, and the Danish Cycling Union said that Rasmussen may be eligible to ride the world championships in Copenhagen this year.

  • Vuelta a Espana would be happy for Contador to appear

    The 2011 Vuelta a Espana route
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 19:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Up to the rider, organiser says

    The Vuelta a Espana would welcome Alberto Contador with open arms. If Contador rides, “it would be great news for the Vuelta, which always tries to have the best,” according to Javier Gullien, director of race organiser Unipublic.

    Contador, who recently won the Giro d'Italia, is set to ride the Tour de France in July.

    He tested positive for Clenbuterol at last year's Tour, and the Spanish Federation dismissed the charges against him this spring. The International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency have appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

    The CAS hearing has been set for August 1-3, and it is possible that a decision could be announced  before the Vuelta starts on August 20.

    At this point, Jullien said, “the ball is in Contador's court,” reported the Spanish website





  • Freddie Rodriguez joins Team Exergy

    Fast Freddie Rodriguez (Specialized Masters) finished sixth in the Downtown Grand Prix.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 20:07 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Decorated sprinter to race in Philadelphia

    Freddie Rodriguez has joined the US-based UCI Continental Team Exergy and will take to the starting line at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship on Sunday. The decorated sprinter will captain his new outfit during the one-day classic and is confident that his own fitness will carry through to a strong performance.

    "I had kept my eye on Team Exergy, the team, riders, message and where they want to go in the future,” Rodriguez said. “I wanted a team that can use someone like myself to mentor the riders and help them grow and that I can continue to grow with. We decided that this was a good time to come on board. My fitness is up to the point where I feel like I am competitive.”

    Rodriguez, 37, was born in Bogotá, Colombia and now resides with his family in Berkeley, California. He is a notable sprinter having raced for international teams Mapei, Domo-Farm Frites, Acqua e Sapone and Predictor-Lotto throughout his career.

    “Freddie will fill many roles this year but we are most excited about the wealth of knowledge and experience he can share with our riders,” said Team Exergy partner Remi McManus. “Freddie is the most decorated cyclist racing in the US peloton and we are thrilled to have him.”

    Rodriguez will debut for Team Exergy at a race with which he's very familiar, the TD Bank International Cycling championship, an event that doubled as the USPro Championships through 2005 whereby the first American to cross the line won the national title. Rodriguez won the stars and stripes jersey on three occasions in 2000, 2001 and 2004.

    “I have high ambitions for this weekend,” Rodriguez said. “I have come into this race and have either won or been on the podium in the past. I think I’ve been on the podium at least five, maybe seven, times. I...