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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 6, 2009

Date published:
November 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Vila in contact with Astana, Lampre

    Patxi Vila (Lampre) keeps his bike going.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 11:49 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Spaniard prepares for return to professional peloton

    Spaniard Patxi Vila has started to prepare for a return to professional cycling and has confirmed that he has spoken to a number of teams, including Astana and his former team, Lampre.

    Vila, 34, recently completed an 18-month suspension for the use of testosterone and is now free to return to the professional peloton. He told Spanish newspaper Diario de Navarro that he has been in contact with newly-appointed Astana directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli about the possibility of a return with the Kazakh squad.

    "He said he had to speak with Contador and see if there are any issues after the problems I've had," Vila told the newspaper.

    Vila indicated that he also explored the possibility of a return to the Italian squad Lampre, where he rode from 2003 until his positive test in March, 2008. Still, he acknowledged that he will have to take a patient approach to his comeback.

    "They could take me to race the Giro d'Italia, but April would be the best-case scenario for a return with the team," he said. "I know it will not be easy to go back and compete in a big squad. Maybe the first year I will go to a more modest team in the same way [Alessandro] Petacchi did [with LPR Brakes – ed.] before his move to Lampre."

    Vila also spoke to Spanish ProTour squads Caisse d'Epargne and Euskaltel-Euskadi, but both responded by saying they had completed their rosters for 2010. He is currently waiting to hear back from Spanish Pro Continental teams Xacobeo-Galicia, Andalucia-Cajasur and Italy's Carmioro - A Style.

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  • Good news for Fignon in cancer fight

    Laurent Fignon earlier this year.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 12:08 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Former Tour winner bouyed by chemotherapy success

    Laurent Fignon has continued his fight against digestive tract cancer and remains confident that he will beat the illness. The winner of the 1983 and 1984 editions of the Tour de France told L'Equipe TV that the chemotherapy treatment he is currently undergoing has so far proven to be a success.

    "We started a new chemotherapy which works well, it has made the tumors shrink by 17 percent," said 49-year-old Fignon, who still works in cycling as expert commentator for France Televisions. "I'm not restored, but I'm on the right track. There are good days and there are very bad ones, but I decided that I will not die of this."

    Fignon also admitted that he was "very tired" after this year's Tour de France where he honoured his commitments as a commentator in spite of his illness.

    "Right now, I am often very tired and I don't do much work at all," he said. "I'm dedicated to fighting this cancer. After the Tour, even though I felt bad, I told myself that I would go on, that it would not get me. I try to continue my life as normally as possible and I know that I'll be okay."

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  • Contador demands strict anti-doping policies at Astana

    Tour de France champion Alberto Contador waves to supporters from a balcony in his home town of Pinto, near Madrid.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 13:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Wants contract clause allowing him to leave if there is a doping case on team

    Alberto Contador is coming down hard in his negotiations with Team Astana, insisting on strict anti-doping measures. He has allegedly called for a contract clause that would allow him to leave the team if there is even one positive doping test for anyone on the team.

    According to the Spanish website,, the Tour de France winner is re-negotiating his contract with the Kazakh team. He is most insistent on anti-doping procedures within the team, including an internal control programme. Contador is said to have requested a clause which would be precedent-setting by letting him out of the contract if there is a positive doping case on the team.

    The site also claims that Contador has agreed to financial terms with the team, for a yearly salary of four million euro. That is said to be the same amount he was offered by Garmin, Quick Step and Caisse d'Epargne.

    In addition, the Spaniard is said to be seeking written confirmation that Alexander Vinokourov will ride the Giro d'Italia and not the Tour de France.

    Contador's attorneys are said to be negotiating directly with Nikolai Proskurin, of the Kazakh Cycling Federation.

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  • Bettini to appear at Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego

    Paolo Bettini retired in 2008.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 15:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Two-time World Champ to preside over Californian event in March

    Italian Paolo Bettini is scheduled to make an appearance at the second annual Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego, the organisation announced on Friday.

    The two-time World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist will preside over the event when it  takes place on March 7, 2010 in the Southern Californian city.

    As ambassador for event sponsor Briko, Bettini will also participate in numerous pre-event activities held throughout greater San Diego.

    "We have partnered with Gran Fondo Colnago San Diego because it provides the ideal platform to reintroduce our brand to the American market,” said Carlo Boroli, president of Briko S.r.l. “With the presence of our spokesman Paolo Bettini, we will showcase our entire line of products and introduce our exclusive Paolo Bettini Collection of cycling apparel."

    All event participants will receive a custom Briko cycling jersey.

    For more information about the event, or to register to participate, visit

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  • More delays for Valverde CAS hearing

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) speaks to the media.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 16:23 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Puerto case drags on for Vuelta winner

    Slated to take place on November 16th, Alejandro Valverde’s appeal hearing against CONI will now not be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport until later this year. The rider’s Caisse d’Epargne team confirmed the delay to Cyclingnews on Friday.

    In May, the Vuelta a España winner was served with a two-year ban by CONI for his part in the Operación Puerto affair. Using DNA evidence, it claimed that it had connected the rider to blood bags found three years earlier during the search of the Madrid clinic of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

    This CONI ban applied only to races held on Italian soil but, as the Tour de France passed through the country during this year’s race, it meant that the Caisse d’Epargne team left the rider at home in July.

    Valverde is seeking to overturn the ban on the grounds that CONI does not have jurisdiction over him. The Operación Puerto judicial trial continues to drag on and the Spanish cycling federation RFEC has refused to sanction the rider. This decision has prompted the UCI and WADA to lodge a separate petition with CAS.

    Valverde’s CONI appeal was originally thought likely to be held in October, but it was then deferred to the mid-November date. CAS has not yet indicated the reason for this or when the new appeal will be held.

    If Valverde is successful in fighting the CONI decision, it will simply mean that he can again race in Italy. The second UCI/WADA appeal is the one which will determine whether or not he will face a widespread ban over his links to the Puerto investigation.

    CAS has indicated to Cyclingnews that the outcome of the first appeal will not necessarily affect the second. In other words, even if Valverde is successful in overturning the CONI ban, he could still face a two year global...

  • Klöden, German prosecutors agree to end investigation

    Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) on the first lap
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 18:12 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German makes payment to facility for handicapped children

    Andreas Klöden has settled an investigation by German prosecutors into alleged sporting fraud during his time with Team Telekom/T-Mobile. Klöden has agreed to pay an unspecified sum to a foundation for handicapped children.

    The German rider was under investigation for suspected involvement in blood doping at the University of Freiburg Clinic. Former teammate Patrik Sinkewitz was claimed to have named Klöden as riding to the clinic for a transfusion during the 2006 Tour de France.

    The agreement was announced Friday night by Klöden's attorneys, who noted that the 34-year-old is still considered innocent of all charges. They also said that under the settlement public prosecutors in Bonn, Germany, had agreed that statements made by a witness, not named but believed to be Sinkewitz, concerning Klöden were not proven.

    Patrik Sinkewitz has publicly maintained throughout the course of the investigation that he did not name any other riders when questioned by authorities.

    It was previously reported that Klöden had agreed to pay a 25,000 Euro fine to settle the case. The attorneys emphasised that the payment to the handicapped facility was not a fine, and in addition was less than 25,000 Euro.

    The attorneys' statement further said that Klöden had made the agreement “with a heavy heart” to spare himself and his family from further investigation, as well as to save time and money.

    Klöden left T-Mobile at the end of the 2006 season, he rode for Team Astana from 2007 to 2009 and will ride for the newly-formed Team RadioShack in the coming season

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  • Tour of California women's event endangered

    Andrew Messick presented the first Amgen Women's Tour of California race podium - Laura Van Gilder, Brooke Miller and Emilia Fahlin.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 18:19 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Lack of funding could eliminate sister event

    For the past two seasons, the Amgen Tour of California has included a criterium for women in its schedule, but that bonus race could be on the chopping block for 2010 if a sponsor is not found by the end of this year.

    Andrew Messick, president of race organizer AEG Sports, explained to Cyclingnews that tough economic times have made it difficult secure the funds necessary to hold the women's race.

    "We had the criteriums in 2008 and 2009 which we felt were very successful, and we always had the intention to support and expand the event in order to showcase women's cycling," Messick said, adding that there were plans to expand the one-race event to a three-race series in 2010.

    "But the challenge we face at this point is the expense versus revenue equation. We still need to identify a sponsor. It's something our sales team is actively pursuing, but the men's race has to be our top priority."

    As the Amgen Tour of California men's race grows in stature, moving from February to a more desirable May position on the calendar, the state of high-profile women's racing in the USA has gone the opposite direction in recent years.

    Despite having the reigning Olympic and World time trial champion Kristin Armstrong in its midst, and one of the most successful international women's racing programs in the world, the USA has only one UCI registered team (Team TIBCO) and just one UCI-classified event for women, the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia.

    Team Proman manager Nicola Cranmer was an early backer of the Amgen Tour women's criterium and underscored the importance of having an event for women that takes place in front of a world-wide audience.

    "With such a rich women's cycling community in California, with several pro women's teams based in Northern California: ProMan, Webcor, TIBCO, Value Act Capital, and a vibrant local scene, it would be a shame to leave the women out of the ATOC this year," Cranmer said.

  • Cavendish, Greipel dominate 2009 sprint scene

    There was plenty of time for Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) to celebrate.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2009, 18:48 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Farrar, Petacchi set to challenge Columbia-HTC duo in 2010

    For the second year in a row Mark Cavendish proved himself to be the World's pre-eminent sprinter after he dominated cycling's sprint scene in 2009. The Columbia-HTC rider took the most number of sprint wins, followed closely by teammate André Greipel. Garmin's Tyler Farrar's strong end-of-season saw the US rider make his mark, while formerly dominant sprinter Tom Boonen slipped away from the top of the list.

    Cavendish, 24, recorded 23 wins, including victory at Italian Classic Milan-Sanremo. He took four stages at the Giro d'Italia (including the team time trial) and six Tour de France stage wins. 2009 has also marked a big increase in wins over 2008, when he achieved a season total of 17 victories.

    The only rider to challenge the speedy Manxman was his own teammate, Greipel. The 27-year-old German took 20 wins, despite missing over three months to shoulder surgery. His four Vuelta a España stage wins also brought him something that Cavendish was unable to achieve, the points jersey at a Grand Tour. The season was also a performance increase for the strong German, who had finished with 14 wins in 2008.

    Farrar's series of late-season victories saw him improve from one win in 2008 to 11 this year. Three of those came in the first half of the season, with the final eight, including the overall title in Franco-Belge, achieved from August through October. In the nine instances where the 25-year-old and Cavendish rode against each other and one of them won, Cavendish had the clear upper hand, winning eight of the matches.

    In contrast to the ascendancy of his rivals, the second most successful rider of 2008, Tom Boonen (Quick Step), had only seven wins in 2009. In a season dominated by incidents off-the-bike the 29-year-old former World Champion has appeared to move away from the profile of a pure sprinter to that of a traditional Classics rider.

    Cervélo's Thor Hushovd, 31, who took the sprinter's jersey at...