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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 15, 2010

Date published:
October 15, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Velo retires after Lombardy

    Marco Velo (Quick Step) in the peloton
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 11:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian lead-out man looks back on 15 years as a pro

    Marco Velo has decided to hang up his bike after this weekend's Giro di Lombardia. The 36-year-old can look back on 15 successful years in the professional peloton, where he mainly worked in the service of other riders.

    "It will be a special moment," the Italian told Sporza on Friday. "I've been part of this world ever since my childhood days. An important era comes to an end."

    The Quick Step rider, whose name fits so well with the profession he chose, has always been a strong time triallist and lead-out man for some of the very best sprinters like Alessandro Petacchi and Tom Boonen. On top of the satisfaction to contribute to his teammates' victories, he also achieved personal goals during his career.

    "I have raced with great champions and achieved some beautiful results myself, like my Italian time trial championship titles," he said.

    Velo was national time trial champion three times in a row from 1998 to 2000, before developing his climbing skills and finishing 11th in the Giro d'Italia in 2001.

    His role as a lead-out man began in 2002 when he moved to Fassa Bortolo and helped Petacchi during the peak years of his career. "My last two years at Quick Step were really nice, too," he added. "I want to thank everybody for their support. I'd like to give everyone at QuickStep a symbolic hug!"

    Velo started his career with Brescialat (1996-1997) and then rode for Mercatone Uno (1998-2001), Fassa Bortolo (2002-2005), Milram (2006-2008) and QuickStep (2009-2010).

  • Nibali eager for Classic win at Tour of Lombardy

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) smiles as he talks about his win
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 11:31 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Vuelta winner leads Liquigas in Lombardy

    Vincenzo Nibali has declared himself in top shape to target the victory at the upcoming Giro di Lombardia on Saturday, where he will be his team's leader. The "Classic of the falling leaves" being one of the monuments of cycling and an even more prestigious event in Italy, Nibali and the Liquigas team are highly motivated to take advantage of the rider's great form after his Vuelta a España victory.

    "I'm in the very best condition, be it physically or mentally," Nibali said.

    "Last Saturday, at the Giro dell' Emilia, I was still suffering from the trip back from Australia, and my legs felt a bit blocked. Now, I have fully recovered and I couldn't ask for more. I feel well, I'm ready and focused to fight from beginning to end. There's still a Classic missing on my palmarès: Saturday could be the right day."

    The Italian, who put in a good attack at the Worlds but was caught before the last lap knows the competition on the tough course will be fierce. "It is an hard race that doesn't allow any mistakes," he continued. "We will face climbs that will test our legs, so you need to save forces and not waste them. There will be plenty of candidates for the win, from Gilbert to Kolobnev, from Evans to Schleck. I expect that many riders will be motivated to win, so I can't underestimate anyone."

    Nibali will be supported by his team-mates Valerio Agnoli, Mauro Finetto, Ivan Santaromita, Sylwester Szmyd, Maciej Bodnar,Maciej Paterski as well as one of the 2010 season revelations Peter Sagan, who is not in top shape at the moment after suffering intenstinal problems during the last few days.

    The team management have lined up a squad in full support of Nibali with the hope of seeing him take the last Classic of the year.

    "It's a race that you can only win when you're in top form," said Liquigas directeur sportif Alberto Volpi. "The last 50 kilometres will be the hardest, with such challenging climbs as the Ghisallo...

  • Van Den Broeck focused on 2011 Tour success

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 12:18 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Omega Pharma-Lotto rider steers clear of Contador controversy

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck will close his 2010 season on Saturday at the Giro di Lombardia, but the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider has revealed that he has already started work to improve his chances of a high finish at this year's Tour de France.

    This year Van Den Broeck finished fifth overall at the Tour de France after dedicating his season to the event. The result made him the first Belgian since Claude Criquielion in 1986 to finish inside the top-five and was also the first top-ten result by a Belgian since Axel Merckx in 1998. He told Het Nieuwsblad that next year he will dedicate his season to the French race.

    "I'll have tests to improve my position on the time trial bike. There is still progression to be made. I think I can improve tactically, uphill and against the clock," he said. "I think that I will race a similar program to this year. Starting with the Ruta del Sol and then Paris-Nice."

    His final position at the 2010 Tour could improve by one spot should Alberto Contador be stripped of his title as a result of his positive test for Clenbuterol. Van Den Broeck refused to comment on the controversy swirling around the Spaniard, instead preferring to focus on his own ambitions for 2011.

    "I won't speak about Alberto Contador. Sorry. I am not a scientist. I do not know what happened. Next year I'm again going for the top-ten," he said. "If it turns out that my fifth place this year was the best result possible, then so be it. I'll have nothing to reproach myself. "

    His performance at the Tour reinforced his reputation as Belgium's best Tour hope in a cycling nation whose attention is traditionally fixated on the Spring Classics. The 27-year-old had already proven his stage race ability with seventh overall at the Giro in 2008 and 14th place at the 2009 Tour de France, the latter saving his team's blushes after then-teammate Cadel Evans faltered at the race. This year he entered the race as team leader and admitted...

  • Di Luca free to race after CONI reduce ban

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 13:32 BST
    Cycling News

    CONI reduces Italian's ban for anti-doping collaboration

    The Anti-Doping Tribunal of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has announced the reduction of Danilo Di Luca's doping suspension from two years to nine months and seven days, due to the cyclist's collaboration in several ongoing doping investigations. CONI effectively set Di Luca free to race as of today, as the first suspension started on July 22, 2009.

    Di Luca had returned two positive tests for EPO CERA at the Giro d'Italia that year, where he finished second overall. One month ago, Di Luca's lawyers asked to have the ban reduced based on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code for collaboration, which allows for a suspension reduction if an athlete helps investigators to uncover other violations.

    According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Di Luca has been collaborating extensively with the anti-doping authorities in recent months, contributing to several ongoing investigations.

    The 2007 Giro d'Italia winner and Classics specialist is rumoured to return to racing with Mauro Gianetti's new Geox team, which has already signed such high-profile riders as Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre.

    It is Di Luca's second doping suspension after he was already banned for three months in 2007 for being linked to the Oil for Drugs affair. CONI also announced that his initial fine of 280,000 Euro was being reduced to 106,400 Euro.

  • Duggan looking for success in Lombardy, Japan

    Timmy Duggan is the longest serving member of Slipstream.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 18:12 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American eyes future at Liquigas-Cannondale

    Timmy Duggan (Garmin-Transitions) will be looking for a strong performance in this weekend’s Tour of Lombardy before closing out his season at the Japan Cup. His trip to the Far East will be the end of his career at Garmin-Transitions, and the American already has one eye on his future at Liqugias-Cannondale.

    Duggan has been part of the Slipstream set up since it was first run as TIAA-CREF/5280 in 2005. Since then he has seen Jonathan Vaughters’ squad develop into one of the most powerful teams in the world. Yet with a new opportunity and challenges on the horizon, Duggan is hoping to make a success of it in Italy, assuming he can stay fit and healthy.

    "I owe much of my development and successes to the Slipstream program under Jonathan Vaughters my whole career and while I truly appreciate it here and love working riding for Team Garmin-Transitions," he told Cyclingnews.

    "I look forward to the new opportunities and new path on Team Liquigas-Cannondale. I was contracted with Garmin through 2011, but an opportunity with Liquigas came up and with the reshuffling of riders with the Garmin-Cervelo deal for 2011 I was able to make the switch to a new team on good terms."

    Duggan has had a difficult few years. He sustained serious head injuries in 2008 and despite a few flashes of success in 2009, had another tough season this year.

    In February he crashed in the Tour Méditerranéen and broke his shoulder. Following time off the bike he crashed again at Amstel Gold, this time breaking his collar bone. That wasn’t the end of his bad luck and in July he broke his elbow.

    However, with a decent block of racing now in his legs he’s looking forward to his final two races with Garmin before moving to pastures new.

    "I’m super motivated and I wish there was another month to go. I’ve finally got a block of racing under me which I haven't had all season. Before this I...

  • Reimer completes Skil-Shimano roster

    Martin Reimer (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 18:43 BST
    Cycling News

    23 riders for Dutch team in 2011 season

    German Martin Reimer has been named as the final recruit to the Skil-Shimano team for the 2011 season. The 23-year-old made his professional debut with the Cervélo TestTeam last year.

    A fast finisher, Reimer turned heads when he won the German national road title in 2009 and placed third overall in the Tour of Britain.

    The fifth German on the squad, Reimer will join compatriots Johannes Fröhlinger, Roger Kluge, Marcel Kittel and Simon Geschke on the team.

    "We have a lot of confidence in the team for next season," said manager Iwan Spekenbrink. "I can certainly say that on paper this is the strongest squad we’ve ever had. We have invested in promising international talents by signing the German Marcel Kittel, the Frenchmen Thomas Bonnin and Thomas Damuseau, and the Dutchman Ronan van Zandbeek, and the team has also been strengthened with Johannes Fröhlinger, Roger Kluge and our latest two signings Sprick and Reimer.

    "Lastly, we have extended the contracts of riders that have broken through, like Tom Veelers, Mitchell Docker and Alexandre Geniez, and of established riders in the team. In doing so, our main concern has been whether riders can improve in our team and whether they fit into our philosophy."

    The 2011 Skil-Shimano Team

    Tom Veelers, Koen de Kort, Albert Timmer, Roy Curvers, Robin Chaigneau, Kenny van Hummel (Netherlands), Thierry Hupond, Alexandre Geniez, Yann Huguet (France), Simon Geschke (Germany), Feng Han, Cheng Ji (China), Bert De Backer (Belgium), Mitchell Docker (Australia), Yukihiro Doi (Japan).

    New riders: Thomas Damuseau, Thomas Bonnin, Matthieu Sprick (France), Johannes Fröhlinger, Roger Kluge, Marcel Kittel, Martin Reimer (Germany), Ronan van Zandbeek (Netherlands).

  • Sébastien Chavanel signs with Europcar

    Sébastien Chavanel
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 19:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Sprinter leaves FDJ after four seasons

    Frenchman Sébastien Chavanel will join the ex-Bbox Bouygues Telecom team Europcar in 2011, AFP reported today. The 29-year-old sprinter will rejoin team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau, for whom he rode in the first four seasons of his professional career.

    The younger brother of Sylvain Chavanel made his start with Vendée U, the development team of Brioches La Boulangère, before stepping up to the professional team in 2003. He remained there through 2006, leaving the then-Bouygues Telecom for Française des Jeux. Chavanel has raced with FDJ for the past four seasons.

    Chavanel, 10th at Paris-Tours, will make a strong replacement for sprinter William Bonnet, who left Bbox Bouygues Telecom for FDJ.

  • Hushovd emotional about final race with Cervélo TestTeam

    Thor Hushovd in his new world champion jersey
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 20:27 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    New world champion perplexed about planned protest

    New world champion Thor Hushovd has admitted Saturday's Tour of Lombardy will be an emotional end to the season. He will proudly ride the last major classic of the season in his new rainbow jersey, but the Italian race will also be the last ever for his Cervélo TestTeam.

    Hushovd and many of his teammates will be part of the Garmin-Cervélo team in 2011, but the distinctive black and white jerseys with the large Cervélo é will be worn for the last time.

    "I'm proud to be racing but I think it'll be a really sad day for the Cervélo team," Hushovd said.

    "It's a pity because it is such a nice team and everything around it was based on some really good ideas. But that's business and that's sports. Sometimes there is an end but this one came a little too fast."

    Despite reports in the Belgian press that Hushovd may be back on the market after winning the world title, he reiterated that he will ride for the Garmin-Cervélo team in 2011.

    He has already signed a contract and is due to meet with Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters tonight in a restaurant in Milan to talk about a possible extension to his contract beyond 2011.

    "I've signed with Garmin and so I have a contract with them for 2011. I'm going to have dinner tonight to talk about he the future. That's it," he said, admitting he will drink one glass of wine if Vaughters picks an expensive vintage.

    Number 77

    Hushovd will have number 77 on his bike and rainbow jersey for the Tour of Lombardy, just as he did at the Gran Piemonte on Thursday and just as he did at the world in Australia, when he won the world title.

    He had hoped to be on holiday by now after a long season, but explains he wanted to honour the rainbow jersey and give the Cervélo TestTeam a fitting farewell.

    "I'm very proud to wear the rainbow jersey and I was proud I won the race, that's why I'm happy...