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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 22, 2010

Date published:
October 22, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Contador to ride criterium despite ban

    Alberto Contador mingles with his fans back in Pinto.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 11:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard plans to race in Oviedo despite provisional suspension

    Alberto Contador plans to ride a criterium in Oviedo, Spain, despite his provisional suspension for a positive test result for Clenbuterol. The organisers of the second annual Criterium Ciudad de Oviedo, due to take place on November 30, have announced the participation of the three-times Tour de France winner.

    "We have spoken to Alberto and his brother [Contador's manager - ed.], and both of them told us that they would come to Oviedo," said race organiser Javier Pascual Rodríguez in a press release, adding that he was "delighted" with Contador's presence. "This way, we can show him our total support."

    The event will serve as a farewell ride for RadioShack's Chechu Rubiera, who will make it the very last race of his 16-year career as a professional cyclist. On top of Contador, other big names expected in Oviedo include Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, Ezequiel Mosquera [also subject to an anti-doping examination following his positive for Hydroxyethyl starch - ed.] and Carlos Barredo.

  • 34 arrested in Spanish clenbuterol investigation

    Spanish Guardia Cival holding drugs after dismanteling an alleged doping network in Valencia, November 24, 2009
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 12:36 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Cyclist said to be among those detained in Canary islands

    The Spanish Guardia Civil have arrested 34 people in Tenerife and Gran Canaria on suspicion of running a doping ring that has been illegally selling a clenbuterol-based product. Those arrested have been charged with fraud and crimes against public health.

    Among those arrested were 13 pharmacists, eight pharmacy assistants, nine veterinarians, a cattle-breeder, a pharmaceutical salesman, a bodybuilder and a cyclist.

    The investigation, codenamed Operación VIAR, began when someone was caught injecting a horse with a clenbuterol-based product at a horse-racing event at Valleseco, Gran Canaria, on May 31. This led to a wider investigation into illegal supply of the product in the Canary Islands and to the 34 arrests that were made on October 13.

    According to the Guardia Civil, the product, Spasmobronchal, has a legal use for treatment of horses that have problems with blood supply to their lungs. However, in this case the product has allegedly been supplied to farmers to fatten up cattle and to athletes as a performance-booster.

    The news of the arrests comes as the cycling world awaits the verdict on Alberto Contador’s positive test for clenbuterol. Contador’s defence is that he ingested the product in tainted meat. Several agricultural organizations have said that clenbuterol is no longer administered to Spanish cattle to aid fattening, but this case demonstrates that illegal supply of clenbuterol-based products to farmers is still taking place in Spain.

    The arrest of the bodybuilder and cyclist also suggest that use of clenbuterol as a performance-booster has continued despite it being banned as a threat to public health in December 2009.

  • Luxembourg Project signs Voigt

    Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 13:26 BST
    Cycling News

    German veteran still has plenty of ambitions

    The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project has announced one more signing with German Jens Voigt also joining its roster for next season. Voigt, who will be entering his 15th season as a professional, has been brought to the team built around the Schleck brothers with the purpose of adding his experience.

    "I love the idea of continuing to work with the Schlecks; we work well together and know what we can expect from each other," Voigt explained. At the same time, the German looked forward to a new perspective by leaving Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team.

    "I had a great time at my former team and found a lot of personal and common success, but after seven years, I felt it was time to make a change," Voigt said. "Change often sharpens you again, and I am looking forward to doing some things in new ways: new training methods, new materials, new teammates."

    The ultimate team player, Voigt is anxious to help his team leaders reach their highest goals. "I hope to be good enough next year to make the Tour team at least one more time and to help one of the Schlecks onto the highest step," Voigt said. Although Voigt will be entering his 15th season as a professional, he still keeps personal ambitions for success. "I have won at least one race in every year I have been a professional, so I would definitely like to keep that streak going," he added.

    "I'm never going to win the Tour de France myself, but I am still happy to have chances to race for myself in events like Paris-Nice and the Tour of California. Yes, my ambitions are still strong."

    Voigt is a gritty rider who relishes any challenge and is very communicative about his commitment. "Jens has been around for quite a few years, but he still rides in the group with the excitement of a teenager," team manager Kim Andersen said. "He is good for everyone's morale and you can always count on Jens, which is a huge advantage."

    Although the team management recognizes how much Voigt can add...

  • 2010 a confidence boost for Geraint Thomas

    British champion Geraint Thomas (Sky) put in an impressive performance.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 14:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Sky's young gun looking forward to higher goals

    Geraint Thomas of Team Sky has experienced a great 2010 season, providing him with plenty of confidence to pursue his future goals. The 24-year-old revealed the depth of his talent at the Tour of Flanders, finishing alongside his teammate Juan Antonio Flecha, before taking the British road championship title and wearing the white jersey of best young rider at the Tour de France.

    These achievements exceeded his early expectations. "The Classics were races I was looking to focus on during the spring and thankfully they went better than expected," Thomas said when asked for a season re-cap. "I came into form at Flanders and it was great to finish in the first big group given that I had never ridden that race before and only had limited experience on the cobbles.

    "At the Dauphiné I posted a good prologue and then ran third the following day which put me in the green jersey. Those types of results really boosted my confidence."

    The UK National Championships not only saw Thomas win the road race, but also three Sky riders finishing on the podium.

    "Winning at the nationals was definitely the high-point of my road racing career up to now," he said. "There was a lot of pressure on us to perform as a team even though we were without two of our stronger riders in Bradley Wiggins and Steve Cummings.

    "To get first, second and third was amazing and to be on the podium with two of my mates at the end made it that extra bit special."

    The Welshman's form continued into the Tour de France and his second-placed finish on stage three to Arenberg saw him leap to the top of the young riders' classification and stay there for a further three days.

    "Stage three was an unbelievable day and definitely my highlight of the Tour. To be drilling it alongside the likes of Fabian Cancellara, Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans was a real buzz and to be going for a stage win was a dream come true.

    "On one of the final cobbled...

  • Rodríguez wants Tour podium and Vuelta win

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) took the leader's jersey on stage 10.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 15:00 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Katusha leader reflects on season that made him world No.1

    Recently confirmed as 2010's world number one, Joaquin Rodríguez has said he is targeting both the Tour de France podium and victory at the Vuelta a España in the 2011 season. Speaking at his Katusha team's end-of-season celebratory dinner at Desenzano del Garda in Italy, the Spaniard also said he will have his eye on the Ardennes Classics as he seeks to build on a year when just about everything fell into place.

    Having become the first Catalan winner of his home region's tour for years, Rodríguez showed impressive consistency as he took second place at Flèche Wallonne, won a stage on his Tour debut, then took a stage at the Vuelta on his way to fourth place overall. Late in the season, he also became a father for the second time.

    "I'm really happy to have taken the world number one ranking," he told AS before the Katusha dinner. "I saw Alejandro Valverde triumph in the same way on two occasions at Caisse d'Epargne and I know what it means. I might not be world champion but I am like Rafa Nadal in being world number one because of my consistency. It's not easy staying in top form from February to September."

    Of all his successes in 2010, Rodríguez picked his Tour stage win at Mende as the best. "It had the most impact because it was the Tour and because I beat Alberto Contador mano a mano, because he wanted to win as well, there were no agreements between us."

    There was little hesitation when asked for his worst day of the season. The final Vuelta time trial at Peñafiel stood out, he admitted, because he not only lost the race lead but also any chance of finishing on the podium. "Everyone thought going into the race that because of the hard season I'd had I wouldn't have any reserves left. I thought that too and for that reason during the first week I wanted to take advantage of the form I had and ended wasting it stupidly and paying the cost in the end."

    Not surprisingly,...

  • Taiwan Cup cancelled due to Typhoon Megi

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 17:17 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Freire, Hunter, Valjavec re-scheduled for a fun ride in Taipei

    Due to torrential rains brought by Typhoon Megi, all of the Taiwan Cycling Festival events including the Taiwan Cup have been cancelled. Top professional cyclists Oscar Freire, Robert Hunter, Tadej Valjavec and David Tanner had made their way to Taipei for the week-end.

    Heavy downpours have caused damage to thirteen schools and the course of Sunday’s 210-km race along the provincial highway no.9 and highway no.11 with the views of mountain scenes of the East Rift Valley and the seaside sceneries of the Pacific Ocean has been affected as well.

    Max Lin, the team manager of Taiwan Action Cycling team said: “We have to respect the race organization’s decision and the organization had really made lots of effort to hold the Taiwan Cup; it’s a natural disaster and nobody could predict or prevent it, for a
    cycling event, safety is always the first priority”, said Lin.

    This was Freire’s first time in Taiwan. The recent winner of Paris-Tours met with honorable officials and VIPs including MOTC Minister Mao, director-general of the Tourism Bureau Janice Lai, TRA director-general Frank Fan, the chairman of Cycling Life-Style Foundation also the founder of Giant bicycle company King Liu.

    He said he was “looking forward to race in beautiful Eastern Taiwan” in the country of his bike supplier but he’ll take part in a fun ride in Taipei on Sunday instead of racing the Taiwan Cup.


  • Hushovd's collarbone surgery a success

    World champ Thor Hushovd starts the Tour of Lombardy, the final race of Cervelo TestTeam
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 21:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Norwegian delayed operation to compete as world champion

    Recently crowned road world champion Thor Hushovd underwent successful surgery on Wednesday in Basel, Switzerland to remove a plate and screws from his collarbone.

    Hushovd had fractured his collarbone in May while on a training ride in Italy which necessitated surgery to insert the plate and screws. The 32-year-old Norwegian was discharged on Thursday and is now back in his home country, according to

    Prior to his trip to Australia for the world championships, Hushovd had scheduled the surgery for October 6 in Basel. Following his world championship victory on October 3, however, Hushovd postponed the operation in order to compete in the world champion's rainbow jersey prior to the season's conclusion.

    Hushovd competed twice in Italy at the Giro del Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia, the final two races for Cervélo TestTeam before the Pro Continental squad disbanded. Hushovd finished 14th at the sprinter-friendly Giro del Piemonte but was unable to finish the arduous Giro di Lombardia. Both events were won by Belgium's Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

  • Milne, Howes and Kilun join Kenda Pro Cycling

    Jonny Sundt (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder) and USA Crits young rider leader Isaac Howe (Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes) strike a pose on the start line.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2010, 22:30 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    UCI Continental squad targets Tour of California invite

    US-based Continental team Kenda p/b Geargrinder has completed its 16-man roster, naming newly-declared 2007 US Pro criterium champion Shawn Milne, USA Crits series winner Isaac Howes and Roman Kilun to its 2011 team.

    Kenda doubled its sponsorship funding, and that will allow the team to increase its racing schedule to participate in most of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series, UCI-sanctioned events inside the US and international stage races in Asia, South America and Canada. The funding also went toward bringing back Directeur Sportif Frankie Andreu.

    "The number one goal with the additional funding was to bring Frankie back," Thompson said. "He believes in the program and wants to be here but he is Frankie and we had to afford him. Bringing him back attracted riders like Milne and Kilun and he is what attracted [Luca] Damiani originally."

    "The next target for our money was to improve our roster," he added. "We need to graduate to the next level by getting sprinters, time trialists and all rounders. Then, we need to win some NRC and UCI races. We were top three all the time but we need to get on that top step. I think 2011 will be much different for us."

    The team is also aiming at earning a starting spot at the Amgen Tour of California held in May 15-22.

    "We keep trying to up the ante every single year," said team owner Chad Thompson of his seven-year program. "It always boils down to budget, so as that increases so do our successes. Next year, we are making a big push to be in the Tour of California. Kenda is an official tire sponsor of that race and Hincapie clothing is also a sponsor so we have a vested interest in being there. The last couple of years we didn’t feel like we truly belonged there, but our roster this year speaks for itself and I think we are just as good as any other top ranked US Continental team."

    Milne was latest addition coming across from Team Type 1. He was also a member of the...