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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, September 25, 2009

Date published:
September 25, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Roche hopeful about Ireland's chances

    Stephen Roche knows all about power struggles within pro teams
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 8:27 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Irish legend impressed with Deignan's Vuelta

    Stephen Roche won the world championship in 1987, the same year he took the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. After 22 years the Dubliner is looking forward to what he thinks is an important Worlds campaign for Irish riders Philip Deignan, Daniel Martin and his son Nicolas.

    "It's great having a good team," Roche told Cyclingnews. "It's super having three guys who are hopeful of doing very well... and it's been a long time since Ireland has done that. All three have won races over here [in Europe] and it's the first time in a long, long time that we will have a team that will have strength and depth."

    Irish cycling had a considerable boost last week when Deignan won a stage and finished ninth overall in the Vuelta a España. Roche was Ireland's last Grand Tour stage winner (at La Bourboule, 1992 Tour de France) and the last Irishman to take a top 10 finish in a three-week race [ninth in the 1993 Giro d'Italia].

    He is delighted at Deignan's performance for two reasons: one, for the achievement itself, but also because it puts a talented rider back on track.

    "I am delighted that he has done it. Philip is the kind of guy that I believed in right from the word go, when he was racing as a junior with Nicolas," he said. "It was frustrating to see a guy with such talent not getting the results. He has been a very discrete guy... maybe not someone who was lacking ambition, but someone who was very unlucky.

    "I think it is great to see him get a top ten placing and win a stage in the Vuelta as well. I just hope it will be a kick-start to the second part of his career, which will be more dominant and more ambitious than his first part. He definitely has the class and talent.

    "How far he goes depends a lot on Philip's own mentality and his own morale, and probably who is behind him as well," continued Roche. "He is the kind of guy who has unlimited class. He is the kind of guy I had tipped for a long, long...

  • Bobridge to lead AIS team in Sun Tour

    Jack Bobridge (Australia)
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 9:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Newly-crowned U23 world time trial champ honours team before moving to Garmin

    Jack Bobridge, the new rising star of Australian cycling, will be participating in the upcoming Jayco Herald Sun Tour as the leader of his AIS team before making the move to Garmin-Slipstream next year.

    Taking place from October 11-17, the Sun Tour will see the new U23 time trial world champion lead a seven-man team in the race, all promising Australian youngsters. Bobridge will be joined by a trio of world junior champions: three-time world junior track champion Luke Durbridge, dual world junior track champion and three-time world cup winner Glenn O'Shea and world junior madison champion Alex Carver.

    If that wasn't enough, 2008 Australian junior male cyclist of the year Michael Matthews, world championships team pursuit silver medallist Rohan Dennis and Tour of Thailand King of the Mountain jersey winner Adam Semple round out the AIS roster.

    Bobridge and O'Shea are the oldest in the team at 20, with Carver just 17. "It's an exceptional talent pool and you can see they are already putting the runs on the board," said AIS national technical manager Kevin Tabotta.

    "We won't discuss tactics until the day before the Tour, but it's fair to say if Jack starts a race, he'll give everyone on the team 100 percent - and he rarely fails."

    None other than Lance Armstrong tipped Bobridge as a name to watch for the future. The legend of world cycling was taken by the youngster's performances at this year's Tour Down Under.

    "You couldn't ask for much more than that for Lance to mention your name as an up-and-comer," Bobridge said. "It gives me extra motivation. I think I caught his eye a little bit and he's been following my progress. I met him at the Tour Down Under this year and we had a chance to train together."

    But Armstrong was beaten to the punch when American team Garmin-Slipstream secured the South Australian's signature to a contract starting 2010.

    "Jack is a phenomenal talent - possibly the most...

  • A solid performance for Péraud

    Jean Christophe Peraud (Massi)
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 10:24 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    French TT champion very satisfied with 12th place in Mendrisio

    Jean-Christophe Péraud, the 2009 French national time trial champion, showed off a solid performance at the world time trial championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, on Thursday. He finished in 12th position, 3'42 minutes behind rainbow jersey winner Fabian Cancellara and only six seconds behind outgoing world champion Bert Grabsch.

    "I think I did a nice race," said the amateur rider who holds a licence with first division club Creusot Cyclisme. Péraud was leading the race for a while, sitting on the hot seat before Tom Zirbel (USA) took his place.

    "I preferred starting amongst the first riders, without a reference time except for the one of the Espoir race's winner," added the Olympic mountainbike silver medallist, who was happy with his participation.

    "Compared to mountainbike, I had less pressure," he said. "Only the will to do well, to return the confidence that was given to me. I'm grateful I got selected. [French team director] Laurent Jalabert was not arrogant to me. He encouraged me during the race and gave me information. He was an additional support."

    Péraud was also helped by a refrigerating body suit, which the French team has been using since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Péraud wore the suit while he was warming up for the race against the clock. As the rider was peaking his effort on the rollers, French team doctor Armand Mégret measured a body temperature of 36.5° Celsius instead of 38°, and this may have been a factor in achieving his result.

  • Successful knee surgery for Fränk Schleck

    Saxo Bank's Frank Schleck after the race.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 10:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Season over for Saxo Bank's Luxembourger

    Fränk Schleck of Team Saxo Bank underwent successful surgery on his left knee earlier this week. He is on crutches and must keep the knee still for at least two more weeks.

    The surgery was performed Wednesday by Belgian surgeon Toon Claes. “The operation was a success,” the surgeon told Sporza. “Fränk now has to use crutches for a few days, since his knee is still slightly swollen.”

    The knee problems stem from Schleck's crash in the Amstel Gold Race this spring, and have hindered him ever since. Despite the problem, he went on to win the Grand-Bornand stage in the Tour de France. However, during the Vuelta a España, the pain increased, and he abandoned the race after the eighth stage.

    The elder Schleck brother had been scheduled to lead Luxembourg in the Worlds road race in Mendrisio on Sunday, and also to ride the Giro di Lombardia on October 17. However, due to the surgery, his 2009 season is now over.

  • Roche agrees new deal with AG2R

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R)
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 11:15 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Irishman seen as big prospect and future team leader

    Following on from a strong debut Tour de France this year, Nicolas Roche has signed a new two-year deal with his French AG2R La Mondiale team. The Irishman was due to compete again with the team in 2010 but the old agreement has been replaced by one extending until 2011.

    Other teams had been interested in signing him but after talks with AG2R La Mondiale, the Irish road race champion opted to stay.

    Roche finished second, fourth, eighth, eighth, tenth and twelfth on stages of the Tour, was fifth in the points classification and placed 23rd overall.

    "The 2009 Irish road race champion had a very good Vuelta last year," said the team in a statement. "Vincent Lavenu put his confidence in him for this season and Nicolas showed he was correct in doing so. Notably, he had a very good Tour de France for his first participation in the race. He was second on a stage and took 23rd in the general classification. He also took several strong placings during the season; fourth and ninth in stages of the Vuelta a Catalunya and sixth on a stage of the Critierum du Dauphiné Libéré.

    "The manager of the AG2R La Mondiale team believes in the talent of the young Irishman and the two parties have therefore chosen to continue their common path."

    Roche's manager Andrew McQuaid said that the rider will become a leader of the team in the coming years. "Vincent Lavenu really likes Nicolas and thinks he is a good prospect for the future," he told Cyclingnews. "He wanted to sign him for two more years. He sees him as being a team leader, will build a team around him. Nicolas had approaches from other teams but that's normal as he had a very good year."

    Roche, Vuelta a España stage winner Philip Deignan and Daniel Martin will line out in the Elite world road race championships for Ireland on Sunday.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the...

  • Small Luxembourg team laying low

    Overall leader Kim Kirchen (Highroad) and Schleck on the start line.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 11:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Andy Schleck and Kirchen to lead four-man squad at road race

    Luxembourg is sending only a small team of four to the World Championships, but it is led by two big names – Andy Schleck and Kim Kirchen. Schleck looks to finish the race for the first time, while Kirchen hopes to rescue a season full of injuries and sickness.

    Schleck, 24, started the Worlds road race the last two years, but has never finished the event. Last year in Varese he made it almost to the end, but the race proved to be "one lap to long for me,” he told the Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt.

    Up until that point the Saxo Bank rider had ridden in support of his elder brother Fränk, who finished the race as fourth. The elder Schleck is recuperating from knee surgery and does not participate in  this year's World Championships.

    “It would have been nice if Fränk could start, but his health is more important,” the younger brother noted.

    Andy Schleck abandoned the Vuelta a España during the eighth stage with stomach problems. To prepare for the Worlds, he said, “You can't always train so intensively. Therefore I probably put in more kilometres.”

    Kirchen also had to leave the Vuelta early with stomach problems, which also plagued him during the Tour de France. The Columbia-HTC rider started off the season on a low note, breaking his collarbone and shoulder in a crash at the Tour of California. He came back to win a stage at the Tour de Suisse and the national time trial title, before his unsuccessful Tour de France.

    “I had a lot of bad luck this year,” he said. “Life just doesn't always go as planned.”

    As to this year's race, the 31-year-old came to northern Italy on Tuesday to train alone. “That way I could train as I wanted and concentrate entirely on my work.”

    However, he was unwilling to make a prediction as to how he will perform in the race this year. “Let's just say, that I am...

  • Kash and Vino no longer blood brothers

    The Kazahstani twins - Andrey Kashechkin and Alexandre Vinokourov on the podium.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 12:48 BST
    By:
    Richard Moore

    Kazakhstan riders avoid each other in Mendrisio

    Reports that relations between Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin have cooled appeared to be given credence during Thursday's time trial, when the Kazakhstan pair seemed to go to great lengths to avoid each other.

    Kashechkin, who used to be a team-mate and friend of Vinokourov at Astana, was competing in his first race since his ban for blood doping ended in early August. He has apparently not found a new trade team yet for next season. Vinokourov also recently returned from a two-year ban for the same offence, and re-joined the Astana squad in August.

    Kashechkin kept a low profile, and slipped away almost unnoticed following his ride - which saw him eventually place 25th. Vinokourov, on the other hand, was mobbed by an army of fans, many of them wearing "Vino is back" T-shirts, and chanting "Vino, Vino" as he prepared in the start house. He eventually placed eighth.

    During Kashechkin's ride, Vinokourov warmed up by the Astana team bus, which is being used by the Kazakh national team during the championship. But when Kashechkin finished, he avoided the bus - and his former team-mate - by remaining beyond the finish line and then pedalling off alone in a black top.

    Kashechkin was accompanied by Stefano Cattai - the former Italian pro' and athletes' liaison for Swiss bike manufacturer BMC - who handed him the black training top, with subtle BMC branding. He was also riding a BMC time trial bike, though Cattai said that Kashechkin is not being sponsored by the bike company, and doesn't have a team for next year. He even suggested that Kashechkin had paid for the bike with his own money.

    The Astana team rode on BMC bikes before Vinokourov and Kashechkin's positive tests, during and just after the 2007 Tour de France, after which their association with the team ended. According to Cattai - and contrary to what a Kazakhstan team official told Cyclingnews on Wednesday - Kashechkin will team up with Vinokourov in...

  • Three Pro Conti teams win preferred status

    Gianni Savio
    Article published:
    September 25, 2009, 13:04 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Three Pro Continental teams at ProTour level in 2010, fewer ProTour teams

    Three Professional Continental teams will have the right to participate in 2010 ProTour races. The International Cycling Union (UCI) is to allow top-ranked teams - Diquigiovanni, Cervélo and Acqua e Sapone - race entry in favour of fewer ProTour teams, according to a Cyclingnews source.

    The UCI will take the top three Professional Continental teams in the World Rankings and allow them to race in cycling's ProTour-ranked races, including Ronde van Vlaanderen, Dauphiné Libéré and Tour de Suisse. Two Italian teams, Diquigiovanni and Acqua & Sapone, and Swiss Cervélo TestTeam lead the classification as of September 21.

    "It's a justified rule, finally the UCI put in place this rule," Diquigiovanni's team manager, Gianni Savio, told Cyclingnews. "Racing the big races should not just be up to a team putting in a large sum of money."

    The decision would go along with the UCI offering fewer than 20 ProTour licences, said Cyclingnews' source. There are currently 15 teams with a ProTour licence for 2010, including Sky, Garmin and Columbia. Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team has also applied for a new ProTour licence, while Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Lampre-NGC and Milram have requested renewals.

    "Look at the world rankings and the rankings in Grand Tours, there are teams that we call ghosts because we never see them," continued Savio. "They are only there because they have put in the money. Rankings should be considered only after ethical and financial controls."

    Cycling has three levels of professional teams: top-level ProTour, Professional Continental and Continental, respectively.

    The UCI guarantees a team with a ProTour licence participation in ProTour races. The 2010 ProTour races are: Tour Down Under, Volta a Catalunya, Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen, País Vasco, Amstel Gold Race, Tour de Romandie, Dauphiné Libéré, Tour de...