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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 21, 2011

Date published:
October 21, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Nature Valley Grand Prix to limit team sizes

    Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) crosses the finish and celebrates his overall victory in the Nature Valley Grand Prix
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 0:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Maximum six riders for 2012 edition

    In 2012, the elite men's teams will be limited to a maximum six riders for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, one of only five races on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar for men.

    The race's Executive Director David LaPorte said the decision was made after consulting with USA Cycling Managing Director of National Events Micah Rice, who says fielding smaller squads offers benefits for both the race and the teams.

    "The races will be more dynamic and exciting, providing a more compelling experience for the spectators," De LaPorte told Cyclingnews. "That builds the fan base, which is our top priority. More fans means more sponsors which means more and better teams and events. That's the very definition of growth."

    Rice supported the idea, saying in addition to improvements in race quality, the limits will be good for the teams. "Smaller team sizes will also reduce the travel costs for the teams, a factor that played a big role in the development of the 2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) and National Criterium Calendar (NCC)," Rice said in a race press release.

    The change was welcomed by some domestic team managers, including Jamis-Sutter Home director Sebastian Alexandre. "Reducing the team size will make the racing even more exciting for the fans. For the teams, it will be fun racing, that is for sure. With smaller squads, the teams and riders will have to carefully plan their race strategies and the overall lead could change after every stage. It will be a really big show."

    LaPorte said the reduced team size will only apply to men's teams. The women's race will continue to have a maximum team size of eight.

    "Team size has not been a factor in the women's...

  • Climbing prospect Dyball still facing uncertain future after breakout performance at Nationals

    Hard work but worth it: Race winner Ben Dyball was looking forward to a cool drink after claiming the mens' under 23 road race title in Buninyong.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 2:40 BST
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    22-year-old laments lack of victories in 2011 season

    A cursory look at the former winners of the Australian men’s under 23 road race presents a who’s who of Australian cycling. Graeme Brown, Simon Gerrans, Rory Sutherland, Chris Sutton, Wes Sulzberger, Simon Clarke and Michael Hepburn are but a few of the esteemed names that have won the title in the last decade.

    So for 22-year-old Ben Dyball, victory at the 2011 edition, should have been the catalyst that launched him on the path to a professional career. Then 21, Dyball bettered recent Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Nathan Haas (Genesys Wealth Advisers) on the Buninyong course and was quickly recruited into the Jayco-AIS squad for what should have been the start to bigger and better things.

    Instead – things have stalled. Despite some encouraging results in the Jayco-AIS’s racing program in Italy and France, Dyball has lacked that breakthrough moment. A podium or a win have been absent, and as the season draws to a close, the Blacktown native is in a position that would have seemed hard to believe just 9 months ago in January – not that he’s been discouraged.

    "I’ve sent out my resume to a lot of teams but haven’t had much of a response," admitted Dyball to Cyclingnews. "I’ve come a long way this year under the Jayco-AIS squad, but when it’s come to racing, I’ve been really unlucky."

    Cynics may argue that 'you make your own luck' but Dyball's 2011 season has had more than its' fair share of misfortune. At the 2.2U Ronde de l’Isard, Dyball's main goal for 2011, any chance of a good performance was derailed by food poisoning the night before the queen stage.

    "I still made the key GC break on stage two, but had hunger flat on...

  • Braeckevelt no longer DS at Katusha

    Katyousha's director sportif Jef Braeckevelt leads one of the strongest teams in the Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 9:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian ends lengthy career in cycling

    Jef Braeckevelt will not be a directeur sportif at Katusha next season. The 68-year-old Belgian, who started out as a DS in 1964, has decided to put an end to his career in cycling.

    Braeckevelt's contract with Katusha still ran through 2013, but the Flandrian preferred to resiliate it. "Some say that I was sacked by Katusha, but that's not true," Braeckevelt told Belgian news agency Belga. "There's a time to start and there's a time to leave. I'm 68 years old and long-distance travel doesn't appeal to me anymore. A new manager came [former Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holzcer - ed.] and there were new rules. They want to implement a new strategy at Katusha. As a directeur sporif, I was going to have to follow races in Australia, China and who knows where."

    Braeckevelt started out as team director at Terrot-Leroux in 1964 and spent much of his time at Lotto (1989-1994), where current Katusha general manager Andrei Tchmil celebrated his greatest victories. "I have been a sports director for almost 50 years, and I can live with this decision," Braeckevelt continued. "We parted ways in friendship. I'm not turning my back on cycling altogether. Andrei Tchmil is still very active and I want to help him in regard to some particular projects."

    Tchmil will be replaced by Holzcer as of next season, and has announced his aim to run for the presidency of the European Cycling Union ECU. Holczer, in turn, brought former Gerolsteiner DS Christian Henn with him to the team.
     

  • Contador asks Riis for another climber

    Three-time Tour champion Alberto Contador at the presentation of the 2012 Tour de France route.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 10:42 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Spaniard concerned by strength of combined RadioShack and Leopard team

    Alberto Contador has revealed that he has asked Saxo Bank-Sungard team boss Bjarne Riis to sign another climber with next year’s Tour de France in mind. Speaking to sport and physical education students at the University of Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Contador admitted that he is particularly concerned by the strength of the team brought about by the fusion of the RadioShack and Leopard squads.

    “Riis is still working to see if he can bring in any reinforcements, with particular focus on a climber. That would be really useful, but I know that it’s complicated and that all the riders out there have got their own interests,” said Contador, who added: “I’ve got a lot of confidence in my team and I’m also confident because the season will not be like this year’s was.”

    Clearly alluding to the fact that he won’t be defending the Giro title that cost him so much physically this year and left him fatigued going into and through the Tour, Contador affirmed that the whole Saxo Bank team will be focused on doing what it can to go into the Tour “in the best possible condition”.

    Asked about his thoughts on the fusion of the RadioShack and Leopard-Trek teams, Contador admitted candidly: “It’s a merger that I would really have preferred not to have taken place. It brings together experience and quality riders in the same team. But this also brings a challenge and that provides me with motivation.”

    As things stand, Saxo Bank have made seven signings for next season, bringing in Troels Vinther and Christopher Juul...

  • 2012 Tour de France route favours Péraud

    Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 11:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French top ten finisher expected to aim for higher result next year

    Following this week's unveiling of the 2012 Tour de France route, French team AG2R La Mondiale has high hopes for Jean-Christophe Péraud who finished tenth overall at last year's Tour. At 34 years old, the former mountainbiker is an excellent climber as well and time triallist. With 96 kilometres against the clock announced for next year's Tour, Péraud should set himself higher objectives.

    "This course has to suit Jean-Christophe Péraud," AG2R manager Vincent Lavenu told Eurosport. "He climbs well and does good time trials. So to have more time trials than last year is a good thing."

    Péraud, who was French time trial champion in 2009, took part in his very first Tour de France this year but immediately entered the top ten. He also finished seventh at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June. His AG2R teammate Christophe Riblon was convinced that Péraud is "one of the best eight or ten riders in the mountains, so he has what it takes for the overall classification."

    "It's a good Tour for him," Riblon told Velochrono. "This year, I saw how he rides, how he prepares his objectives. There are time trials and that's in his favour. In the mountains, we know what he can do. He might not be as good as Contador, but he can be ambitious and aim at a higher placing than this year."

    Riblon added that he also saw Péraud's experience and bike-handling skills as major assets. The last few Tours have proven to be...

  • Rolland looking forward to Grand Colombier at 2012 Tour de France

    Pierre Rolland takes the victory atop Alpe d'Huez
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 14:05 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Medium mountain pass makes its Tour debut next July

    A winner at Alpe d’Huez in July, Pierre Rolland (Europcar) is looking forward to testing himself on a new pass at the 2012 Tour de France, as the Col du Grand Colombier makes its long-awaited debut in La Grande Boucle.

    17km in length and with slopes that pitch up to 12 percent gradient, the climb features on stage ten from Mâcon. The Col de Richmond follows immediately afterwards before a rapid descent to the finish in Belgarde-sur-Valserine.

    “It’s a really nice stage, the Grand Colombier is very, very hard,” Rolland said at the presentation of the Tour route in Paris. “It’s one of the hardest cols in France in terms of gradient, and that’s really going to be one of the key stages of the Tour.”

    Though new to the Tour de France, the Grand Colombier is the key difficulty of the Tour de l’Ain in August, and Rolland is hopeful that his experience of that race will pay dividends next season.

    “It will be a great stage, because there aren’t too many riders who know that climb well. I’ve ridden it several times at the Tour de l’Ain and it’s really very hard,” he said.

    Coming immediately after the Tour’s first rest day, as the race makes its way to the Alps, stage ten has the potential to unravel the aspirations of a number of yellow jersey contenders. “You’ll need to be good that day, but that said, it won’t all be decided just on that stage,” Rolland said.

    The Frenchman was broadly enthusiastic about the route as a whole, pointing to the sinuous days in the Vosges and Jura ahead of the Alps, which could well be suited to his Europcar team’s aggressive approach.

    “It’s an...

  • Klemme joins Project 1t4i

    Dominic Klemme chats with Robert Wagner on the podium following his win.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 15:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German arrives after year at Leopard Trek

    Dominic Klemme has joined the Project 1t4i team ahead of the 2012 season. Currently known as Skil-Shimano, the Dutch-based squad has applied for WorldTour status for next season and Klemme is the sixth new addition to the roster.

    Klemme spent the 2011 season with Leopard Trek, and he provided the team with its first win when he took victory at the GP Samyn in March. The German was one of a number of riders from both Leopard and RadioShack left to search for a new team when the squads announced their merger in September.

    Before joining Leopard Trek, Klemme spent two years in the colours of Saxo Bank-Sungard, where he impressed in finishing 14th at Paris-Roubaix in 2010.

    Project 1t4i have already secured the services of HTC-Highroad duo John Degenkolb and Patrick Gretsch, Rabobank Continental pair Tom Dumoulin and Ramon Sinkeldam, and neo-pro Tobias Ludvigsson.


     

  • Papp receives eight-year suspension from USADA

    Joe Papp testifies during the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 17:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lifetime ban avoided due to cooperation with authorities

    Joe Papp has been handed an eight-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs on behalf of a Chinese drug distributor via the internet. It was Papp's second anti-doping violation and the 36-year-old will be unable to compete until August 31, 2015.

    "This non-analytical anti-doping rule violation is a result of Papp distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs on behalf of a Chinese drug distributor via the Internet for which he was also charged by the US Attorney's Office for violations of federal law," said a statement released by the USADA. "Papp pled guilty to two felony charges as a result. This is Papp's second anti-doping rules violation as he tested positive for a prohibited substance and received a two-year sanction in May 2006."

    Papp could have faced a lifetime ban for his actions; however, his sentence was reduced to eight years due to the fact he has cooperated fully with several investigations in the US.

    "He has provided substantial assistance to anti-doping authorities, sharing information about ongoing criminal activity as well as potential anti-doping rule violations by athletes under USADA's jurisdiction and/or the jurisdiction of other anti-doping organizations," said the USADA.

    Papp testified in the 2007 Floyd Landis case and pleaded guilty in 2010 in a Pittsburgh federal court on two counts of conspiracy to distribute performance enhancing drugs. He could still face up to five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to sell human growth hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) on behalf of the Shandong Kexing Bioproducts company.

    Purchases of the illegal performance-enhancing drugs were made by up to 187 international athletes from a variety of sports,...