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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 12, 2010

Date published:
November 12, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Team Sky set for Amgen Tour of California invitation

    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 10:49 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Stiff competition for remaining ProTeam places

    Team Sky look set to receive an invitation to the 2011 Amgen Tour of California after race director Andrew Messick told Cyclingnews that, “It’s very difficult for us to contemplate a scenario in which Sky aren’t part of our race.”

    The ProTeam recently signed 2010 race winner Michael Rogers from HTC on a two-year contract. Although the British team did not participate in the 2010 edition of the race they could conceivably line up with the likes of Rogers, Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen for next year’s event.

    “It’s hard not to invite the defending champion,” Messick told Cyclingnews.

    “I talked to Dave Brailsford at the Tour de France route announcement. He very much wants to be part of our event and is serious and committed about building a competitive team given how well Mick Rogers raced last year. I think he’s a worthy champion. It’s hard to see how we would not have them part of the race.”

    When Rogers joined Sky he announced that he would turn away from grand tour GC rides and concentrate on week-long stage races after having possibly his best season to date. Along with his win in California, he took top honours in the Vuelta a Andalucia. He also finished second overall in the Criterium International and third in the Tour de Romandie.

    However Sky’s possible inclusion could spell bad news for any one of a number of other ProTeams hoping for an invitation from Messick. As the Amgen Tour is a 2.HC race, Messick is allowed to construct a field made up of fifty per cent ProTeams and fifty per cent Pro Continental and domestic teams. Historically, the race has invited 16 teams in total, meaning only eight eligible places for the world’s best squads.

    According to Messick, Sky’s inclusion “creates a problem somewhere down the line.”

    “If you think of the teams that have a lot of...

  • Veloso contemplates a year out of racing

    Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 11:33 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Xacobeo rider complains that the whole team has been stained by doping cases

    One of the leading names on the Xacobeo-Galicia team has said that the doping cases involving the Spanish Pro Continental team’s leaders has tainted the reputations of the other riders on the squad to the extent that few of them have had new contract offers. Although linked with Vacansoleil, 2009 Vuelta a España stage winner Gustavo César Veloso says that he is considering taking a year out of racing having had no concrete offers of a contract since it was announced the Xacobeo will fold at the end of the season.

    Veloso blames both negative coverage of the doping cases involving Xacobeo leaders Ezequiel Mosquera and David García and the lateness of the announcement on the Galician team’s future (or lack of it) for his predicament. “It’s not so much the coverage those two riders have received in the press as the fact that ultimately that coverage has tarnished all of the riders on the team that has upset me,” Veloso told El Pedal de Frodo's website.

    “If they had just spoken about Ezequiel and David it would not matter so much, but the problem is that the talk has all been about Xacobeo and that’s had a wider impact. David García has tested positive and there is an investigation into Ezequiel, but as things stand no one has yet been sanctioned. There are positive cases in lots of other teams, and they are more serious cases as well, but those cases don’t have the same repercussions. I think it’s because we’re a small team, and if this had happened in a bigger team it wouldn’t have taken on the same importance.”

    However, Xacobeo’s very delayed and surprise announcement that the team would not continue into 2011 has, according to Veloso, proved more problematic for him and several of his team-mates. “I haven’t turned down any offers [from other teams] as such. What happened was that knowing my team was going...

  • Holm not convinced of Rasmussen's chances for the Tour de France

    Race leader Michael Rasmussen (Tecos Trek)
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 12:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Said he proposed the Dane to HTC-Columbia

    While both the Tour de France organizers and the International Cycling Union have stated that they would not prevent Michael Rasmussen from riding the Tour again, it remains to be seen whether or not he will find a team with which to do so.

    Team Saxo Bank's Bjarne Riis has said that the Dane deserves a second chance but indicated it must not necessarily be with his team. Now Brian Holm has said that HTC-Columbia has also turned down Rasmussen, and Holm indicated his doubts as to what Rasmussen might still accomplish at this point.

    Rasmussen was removed from the 2007 Tour de France while leading the race, and was subsequently given a two-year suspension for lying about his whereabouts in the period leading up to the race.

    About a year later, Holm said that he discussed with Bob Stapleton and Rolf Aldag whether Team HTC-Columbia should sign the Dane. He told the Danish website that the suggestion did not meet with a positive response, mainly due to Rasmussen's age.

    If Rasmussen, 36, has trouble finding a top team to sign with for the future, it may be a combination of his age and his lack of results since coming back, Holm said.

    “In my view, on the big teams there is a general trend towards an emphasis on youth, rather than on riders of Michael's age. That was the reason I got when I brought up Michael with our American boss Bob Stapleton, and without knowing it, I could imagine that it is also true for Bjarne.”

    Holm rejected Rasmussen's theory that there is a conspiracy to keep him out of the Tour. “Neither the UCI or Tour de France organizers have ever had a desire to blacklist Michael, and while it has been so hard for him to come back, you must also remember that he is not nearly as big a name internationally as here at home,” Holm said.

    Rasmussen first came back with a small Mexican team, and won a stage at the Vuelta a Chihuahua in 2009, as well as...

  • Kessiakoff ready to plan 2011 with Astana

    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Garmin - Transitions)
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 13:03 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Swede set for first training camp with new team

    Astana has finalised their 27-man team for the 2011 season with Roman Kreuziger and Alexander Vinokurov set to the lead the squad. Kreuziger signed from Liquigas this year and will help Vinokurov spearhead the team in the grand tours.

    Other new signings include Rémy di Gregorio and Fredrik Kessiakoff – from FDJ and Garmin-Tranisitions, respectfully.

    Kessiakoff is one rider who will be looking to get his career back on track after a difficult year affected by injury and a loss of form.

    At the team’s first get together at the end of November in Montecatini Terme, Italy, the Swede will finalise his racing programme.

    “I’ve discussed my race programme with the team and I was given a race programme that the team would be doing. We’re allowed to select the races we want to do but we’ll discuss that more at the camp,” Kessiakoff told Cyclingnews.

    “I can’t confirm anything just yet but I’d like to do the same programme as 2010, stating off in Algarve, then Paris-Nice, the last two or three spring Classics and then the Giro.”

    The biggest departure from the team this season was Alberto Contador, who left for Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank team. He is currently suspended from racing subject to a doping investigation after he tested postive for Clenbuterol at this year’s Tour de France.

    Kessiakoff believes that the team has a different look about it now and that more riders will get their chance to shine.

    “It’s a different team. Last year the team was built around Contador and now it’s a different environment. I’m happy and the guys I see on the team are good with a mix of nationalities and I enjoy that. There are some good personalities.”

    “There are guys from countries that don’t have strong backgrounds in cycling and that looks good to me.”

    Although Kessiakoff is...

  • Wanted: Staff writer for BikeRadar
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 14:25 GMT
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    You must have excellent writing and research skills, and preferably have experience of writing for websites. A journalism qualification or equivalent experience is needed. You must have an interest in cycling and preferably have some knowledge of the market and industry.

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  • Landbouwkrediet announces final two signings

    The Landbouwkrediet team.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 15:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Veteran and neo-pro top off team for 2011 .

    Team Landbouwkrediet has finalised its signings for the coming season, announcing the last two new riders to join the squad: an experienced veteran and a young neo-pro. The Professional Continental team will have 19 riders for 2011, with six newcomers.

    Matti Helminen, 35, signed a one-year contract with the Belgian team. The Finn turned pro in 2005 after riding as an Elite 2 for a number of years. He has ridden for Profel, DFL, and Palmans-Cras. He rode for the Bulgarian team Cycling Club Bourgas in 2009, and was an Elite 2 again this year.

    The team called him “a tempo rider who is not afraid of a long attack.” He is a five-time national time trial champion and won the Tour de Brabant Wallon in 2004.

    His new teammate Joeri Stallaert is a 19-year-old Belgian who rode for Soenen-Jartazi this season, before serving as a stagiaire with Jong Vlaanderen. His new team calls him “one of the must successful” up-and-coming young riders in Belgium. He had nine wins this season, including two stages at the Ronde van Vlaams Brabant, and brought in a top ten finish in Paris-Tours. He signed a two-year contract

  • Lequatre aiming for place on RadioShack Tour de France team

    Geoffrey Lequatre (Radioshack) put a bid in for the win in Paris-Tours.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 16:05 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman encouraged by Paris-Tours performance

    Geoffroy Lequatre is aiming for a place on RadioShack's Tour de France squad next July. The Frenchman joined the team from Agritubel at the beginning of 2010 but was not selected for this year's Tour.

    "As I've said many times before, I was very disappointed at the time," Lequatre told "I was very motivated to ride that Tour, just as any rider would have been, French or otherwise."

    The 29-year-old Frenchman is keen to make amends in 2011 by taking part in his fourth Tour. Lequatre's best placing came in his last outing in 2009, when he finished 64th overall.

    "The stated objective of my season will be the Tour de France, if I manage to participate," Lequatre said. "It would be the highlight of my year, and I would go with some ambitions."

    Lequatre's chances of lining up on the Passage du Gois on July 2 may have been increased by the absence of Lance Armstrong from La Grande Boucle. The American will ride his last international event for RadioShack at the Tour Down Under in January.

    However, Lequatre is unsure of precisely what impact Armstrong's departure will have on the team.

    "I don't know, we haven't discussed it yet as the first training camp won't be until the beginning of December," he said. "I'll see at that camp how the season will pan out."

    The 2010 season was a difficult one for Armstrong and RadioShack, particularly in light of Floyd Landis' accusations of systematic doping at the US Postal Service team, which came to light in May.

    Lequatre's contact with the American over the course of the season was relatively limited, however. "I rubbed shoulders with him at the training camp," Lequatre said. "I also rode the Tour of Flanders with him and our paths crossed a few other times."

    After missing out on the 2010 Tour, Lequatre set about targeting a number of late-season races. The Frenchman was keen to add to his professional palmares, which lists just one...

  • UCI introduces new racing series for amateurs

    The sun's not been up all that long but the Gran Fondo Giro d'Italia - Dolomiti Stars is ready to go
    Article published:
    November 12, 2010, 19:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI World Cycling Tour to award rainbow jerseys to champions

    The International Cycling Union has introduced a new series of races for amateur riders, the UCI World Cycling Tour. The series of international races will end with world championships and rainbow jerseys.

    The UCI's new series will be made of 15 qualifying events, UCI-sanctioned races held in different international locations. The top 10 percent of each age group will automatically qualify for the UWCT Final Race (formerly called the UCI Masters Road World Championship), with the winners being awarded rainbow jerseys.

    “If we look at cycling as a pyramid, professional racing is at the very top and occupies a very small portion. Everything that comes below this is the amateur side of the sport and involves impressive numbers of riders," said Andrea Marcellini Mendonca, the UCI's Cycling for All, Masters and Sustainable Development Coordinator. “These enthusiasts are part of the UCI family and it’s time for them to race for a World Champion title”.

    The new series of races will also help promote the UCI's “Cycling for All” events. The UCI is now accepting applications from around the world to organize the races, which must meet strict organizational and sporting criteria, as well providing a touristic interest.