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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 25, 2011

Date published:
March 25, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI ProTour boosts new-look Jayco Herald Sun Tour

    A great view for punters watching the Preface to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Ballarat.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 1:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stage race returns for 2011

    A change to the newly established UCI ProTour has provided a new and exciting opportunity for Victoria's oldest and most prestigious stage race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

    Running from Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 October, the new-look, five-day race will begin in Whittlesea on the outskirts of Melbourne and culminate with the traditional circuit race on Melbourne's Lygon Street. The 59th edition will also take in regional Victoria including the home of the national cycling championships, Ballarat, and host of the 2010 UCI Road Cycling World Championships, Geelong.

    Piggy-backing off the Tour of Beijing (5-9 October 2011), the schedule change puts the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in the perfect position to attract world-class riders from Australia and abroad along with some of the strongest professional teams on the international cycling circuit.

    Race director Michael Hands said the timing of the 2011 event provided the Jayco Herald Sun Tour with the opportunity to attract some of the world's strongest professional outfits.

    "We are extremely pleased to have been able to work through the scheduling of the 2011 Jayco Herald Sun Tour with the UCI and Cycling Australia to enable the best opportunity to further enhance Australia's oldest stage race," Mr Hands said.

    "We are working together with the UCI and organisers of the Tour of Beijing and are looking to secure between four and six professional outfits which would put together the strongest field in the events history.

    "As always, it will be our aim to host the strongest teams that contain an Australian flavour such as Aussie young guns Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervelo), Simon Gerrans and Mathew Hayman (Team Sky), Michael Matthews and Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Ritchie Porte and Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank) and Stuart O'Grady (Leopard Trek)."

    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty is looking forward to welcoming the world's best riders back to...

  • BMC racing has options for Gent-Wevelgem

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 3:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hincapie feeling "really good"

    Two former Gent-Wevelgem winners, Marcus Burghardt (2007) and George Hincapie(2001), are among the BMC Racing Team's leaders for Sunday's Belgian classic.

    BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said Alessandro Ballan and Greg Van Avermaet will join Burghardt and Hincapie as protected riders for the 219 km race.

    "We have four riders who are very strong and in good spirits and condition," Baldato said. "Who will lead will depend on the race, such as if there's an early breakaway,or on the wind – which can be a big factor."

    Hincapie is optimistic. "I feel really good – better than ever," he said. "I've had a good week of training. The whole intention this year was to spend the month of February training at home, then starting with Tirreno, to be as fit and ready as possible for the next three weekends of racing."

    The BMC Racing team for Gent-Wevelgem: Alessandro Ballan, Marcus Burghardt, George Hincapie, Alexander Kristoff, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet, Danilo Wyss, Simon Zahner.


  • Prudhomme wants quick resolution to Contador case

    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 4:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour de France general director claims cycling has waited "too long" already

    Tour de France general director Christian Prudhomme is hoping for a quick resolution to the Court of Arbitration for Sport's (CAS) investigation into three-time Tour winner, Alberto Contador.

    Contador returned a positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour, but in February the Spanish cycling federation's competition committee opted not to sanction him. The International Cycling Union (UCI) appealed the matter to CAS on Thursday.

    "What concerns us is that there should be a line drawn under this affair and a definitive decision taken," said Prudhomme.

    The UCI told Cyclingnews following the appeal announcement that this is the aim of the continued proceedings.

    "We want to get to a point where we can be sure and we can give you the guarantee that we did everything we could in order to get the best decision," explained UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani.

    Speaking to L'Equipe, Prudhomme indicated that he felt the saga had already dragged on for too long after news broke of Contador's positive test last September. The UCI waited for the maximum time to announce their appeal to the CAS, with the sport's governing body explaining "an in-depth study" of Contador's file from the Spanish investigation had taken place.

    "What concerns us is that there should be a line drawn under this affair and a definitive decision taken," Prudhomme explained.

    "CAS is sport's highest jurisdiction. We do not want a response but THE response - we have waited too long."

    Contador's was deemed innocent in the Spanish investigation because of the argument that he had inadvertently ingested a banned product through no fault or negligence...

  • Freire out of Gent-Wevelgem

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 9:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rabobank sprinter to miss Belgian Classic due to illness

    Oscar Freire is once again out of luck. After a crash ended his chances at Milan-San Remo last week-end, the Spaniard now has to sit out next Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem Classic in Belgium because of a respiratory infection.

    His Rabobank team announced the bad news, with Erik Breukink saying, "It doesn't make any sense to come to the start with Freire being only half of himself. If you want to have any chance in a race like that, you have to be in top form."

    The team management thus decided to replace Freire with Sebastian Langeveld, this year's winner of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, who is also returning to racing after a crash in San Remo.

    Rabobank's line-up in Gent on Sunday will also include Lars Boom, Rick Flens, Tom Leezer, Maarten Tjallingii, Graeme Brown, Michael Matthews and Maarten Wynants. Boom and Langeveld will also be racing the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen on Saturday.

  • McQuaid: Spanish poltical pressure made Contador appeal necessary

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 9:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI President hopes for swift resolution

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has explained that the political pressure exerted on the Spanish Cycling Federation during its deliberations on the Alberto Contador Clenbuterol case compelled the UCI to appeal the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in order to ensure a fair and credible outcome.

    Contador returned a positive test for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France, but in February his national federation (RFEC) opted not to sanction him. The UCI confirmed on Thursday that it was appealing the RFEC’s verdict to CAS.

    "I'm aware he [Contador] is going to make a strong case,” McQuaid told AFP. “But the way the proceedings went in Spain meant that we really had no option but to do what we did.”

    While the RFEC’s competition committee was examining on Contador’s defence dossier, a number of Spanish political figures voiced their public support for the Saxo Bank-SunGard rider, including Prime Minister José Zapatero.

    "They also received a huge amount of pressure from political sources, including the Prime Minister, saying he shouldn't be sanctioned,” McQuaid said. “Obviously he's an athlete of very high standing in Spain. But when you get the Spanish Prime Minister and the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee intervening and making statements when they don't know the facts of the case, it's just not right."

    McQuaid explained that it was thus necessary to appeal to CAS in order to remove the suspicion that the RFEC’s decision to clear...

  • Boasson Hagen out of Gent-Wevelgem

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) finished second to Gesink, 47 seconds back.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 10:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Achilles tendon again a problem for Norwegian

    Edvald Boasson Hagen may be in for similar trouble as he was in 2010 when an Achilles tendon injury made him miss out on almost all of his spring Classics campaign. The Norwegian has been suffering of Achilles pain again recently, this time on his other leg, which led to his abandon of Tirreno-Adriatico onstage five.

    Even though the Sky rider came back to race Milan-San Remo last week-end, his Achilles pains continued, and he has now been ruled out of Gent-Wevelgem this upcoming Sunday.

    "Edvald pulled out of Tirreno with an Achilles issue which is similar to last year but obviously we've been able to get on it a lot quicker," Team Sky's race coach Rod Ellingworth explained. "It all came about during Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne; he got caught in a bit of a crash and he rode with his shoe plate twisted and it developed from there."

    Still, Boasson Hagen has been examined closely and his squad is confident he will be able to race again at the Tour of Flanders in ten days. The 23-year-old winner of the 2009 Gent-Wevelgem has been given the green light to train, for which he has returned home.

    "Flanders, Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix will be his next three races and he's got 10 days now where he can prepare for them, first of all getting himself to a decent level for Flanders."

    In the absence of Boasson Hagen, Geraint Thomas has been designated to replace him at Gent-Wevelgem. Thomas' form has been excellent, confirmed by his second place at Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

    The complete Team Sky line-up for Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem will be: Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Juan Antonio Flecha, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson, Jeremy Hunt, Ian Stannard, Chris...

  • Sella claims to have learned his lesson

    A happy Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli)
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 12:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian takes stage and overall lead of Settimana Coppi e Bartali

    Emanuele Sella’s victory on stage three of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali was his first on Italian roads since testing positive for CERA in 2008. This Thursday, the Androni Giocattoli rider claimed that he had “learned his lesson.”

    Sella raised eyebrows in winning three stages of the 2008 Giro d’Italia, and subsequently failed an out-of-competition test for the third generation EPO in July of that year. He returned to competitive action a little over a year later and signed for Androni Giocattoli ahead of this season.

    “I made a mistake and I paid for it,” Sella told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve learned my lesson and now I’m living a different life, calm and at peace with myself.”

    Sella dropped Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago-CSF Inox) on the final climb in Gaggio Montano to claim the stage victory and the overall lead in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali on Thursday, and his first win since a stage of Cinturiò de l'Empordà in 2009. He was keen to pay tribute to his new team after the stage.

    “In training I no longer just follow my sensations,” Sella said. “Androni has a group of technicians and sports science graduates at their disposal, coordinated by Fabrizio Tacchino. And I go to the races with the same serenity because they don’t impose impossible goals upon me. What happens, happens, the important is to give your all.”

    With Androni Giocattoli among the wildcard teams invited to the Giro d’Italia, Sella is looking forward to his first participation in the race since his...

  • Quebec withdraws bid to host 2015 Worlds

    The bunch crosses the line with one lap to go in the elite men's road race at the world championships in Geelong.
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 17:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Richmond and Oman left in the running

    Quebec has withdrawn its bid to host the world road race championships in 2015, citing financial reasons.

    Serge Arsenault, the head of the Quebec organising committee, explained that the city was unable to shoulder the huge costs of running the event by itself. It is understood that appeals to the provincial and federal governments failed to raise the requisite funds.

    “It would have cost 20 million dollars,” Arsenault told Radio Canada. “That’s an enormous sum.”

    Arsenault believes that the figure is excessive for a one-off event such as the Worlds, and he is instead focused on continuing to develop Canada’s two WorldTour races, the Grand Prix Quebec and the Grand Prix Montreal.

    “To my mind, the world championships in any sport are to not really worth it,” he said. “They last a week and then afterwards nobody talks about them again. For me, it’s recurrence that counts.”

    Quebec’s decision to withdraw its bid leaves just Richmond, Virginia and Oman in the running to organise the Worlds. The Richmond bid is being managed by Darach McQuaid, the brother of UCI president Pat.

    The winning bid will be named at a meeting of the UCI’s executive committee at the next world championships in Copenhagen in September.