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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, September 9, 2011

Date published:
September 09, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Froome's contract negotiations on hold during the Vuelta, says Brailsford

    Christopher Froome takes a big win
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 10:10 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky manager dismisses rumours he is talking to Cancellara

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has told Cyclingnews he will not bow to outside pressure and finalise a new contract with Chris Froome during the Vuelta a España so that negotiations do not affect the Kenyan-born Briton's performance in the final stages of the race.

    Brailsford arrived on the Vuelta on Thursday, with reports that eight major teams are now interested in signing Froome after his breakthrough performance in Spain. The 26-year-old is just 13 seconds behind race leader Juan José Cobo (Geox-TMC) and has a chance of taking the red jersey because of the time bonuses on offer during the final stages.

    Brailsford is expected to talk with Froome's agent Alex Carera in Spain in the next few days but does not want anything to distract Froome from his racing.

    "If you want to be a successful team and move forward, then these are the types of problems you want to have. Then you choose how you manage that," Brailsford told Cyclingnews.

    "You wouldn't go to the Olympic Games and start talking to Sir Chris Hoy about his contract the night before he races. I flatly refuse to do it. What I've said to Chris is that he will be staying at this team, we will find a solution, but he should concentrate on what is a breakthrough performance. I've told him to put all his efforts into his race and moving his career forward in that sense, without having to worry about his contract. I don't think there could be anything more adverse to do in such a critical period.

    "What we're concerned with at the moment is the last three days of the Vuelta, that he maintains or betters his second place overall. We hope to have two guys on the final podium in Madrid and that's what we’re focused on. All the talk around...

  • Gilbert tips Gerrans for GP Quebec victory

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) races toward victory
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 10:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian in search of points to win UCI WorldTour ranking

    Philippe Gilbert has downplayed his role as favourite for the two upcoming one-day races in Quebec and Montreal, Canada, held on Friday and Sunday this weekend. The Belgian admitted that he felt tired at the end of a season in which he has won a total of 16 races, and instead pointed to Sky's Simon Gerrans as favourite for the hilly circuit race held in Quebec today.

    "My form is not the same as a few months ago," the Omega Pharma-Lotto leader told L'Equipe on the eve of the event. "It's a bit normal after such a long season. Moreover, my complicated transfer to BMC cost me a lot of energy and concentration. I might pay for all of this now."

    The 29-year-old remains a watched contender for the victory, but said that his main goal in Quebec was to collect enough points to win the UCI WorldTour ranking in which he is still placed second behind his former and future teammate Cadel Evans. "I came to Canada for this, even if it would be magnificent to win one of the two races," he told Belgian paper Dernière Heure. "But my priority is to take points."

    After the last WorldTour event, the GP Plouay where Gilbert finished 57th, he still has to make up at least six points on the 2011 Tour de France winner, who has already ended his season. This means that he 'only' has to finish ninth in one of the two Canadian races to achieve his goal.

    "To be declared number one of a sport is a prestigious prize. I'm in a position to do this and I might not get the opportunity again, also because the UCI changes the rules every year. I have to play this card to a 100 percent and I would be disappointed if I don't...

  • Aerts set for directeur sportif role at Lotto

    Mario Aerts could have another go in the early breakaway
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 11:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian to call time on racing career in coming weeks

    Mario Aerts is set to become a directeur sportif at the newly-formed Lotto-Ridley team next season. The 36-year-old Belgian is currently riding for Omega Pharma-Lotto and will retire from racing at the end of the current campaign.

    “The contract isn’t signed yet, but that will come,” Aerts told Het Nieuwslad. The 2002 Flèche Wallonne winner acknowledged that he will need time to grow into his role.

    “They certainly won’t throw me into the Tour straight away, and I’ll have to respect the hierarchy, but this time I don’t mind. The important thing is that I can continue to work in an environment that I know and that I have another goal.”

    The Lotto-Ridley team begins operations next season under the management of Marc Sergeant following the announcement that Omega Pharma and Lotto would go their separate ways in cycling sponsorship.

    In June, Aerts announced his decision to retire from racing at the end of the season, citing ongoing struggles with cardiac arrhythmia. He has suffered from the condition for a number of years, but explained that it had become more of a problem in the past twelve months and caused him to tire more quickly while racing.

    “Last year the discomfort disappeared after a while, but now it seems more persistent,” Aerts said.

    Aerts will line up in the GP Fourmies on Sunday, but refused to divulge when his last race will be as he wants to end his career with a minimum of fuss. "I will not party; I don’t want a special criterium. I will ride my last race and maybe have a glass of champagne," Aerts explained

  • Longo claims she is most tested athlete in the world

    Jeannie Longo with another gold medal in her national championships
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 14:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchwoman awaiting third warning from AFLD

    Jeannie Longo has responded to reports that she faces disciplinary procedures for missing doping controls by claiming that she has been tested “more often than any other athlete in the world.”

    L’Équipe reported on Friday that Longo missed a USADA test on June 20 while training in the United States, having already been warned by the French Anti-Doping Authority (AFLD) on two other occasions for failing to provide adequate whereabouts information in the past 18 months.

    According to L’Équipe, the AFLD will ask the French Cycling Federation to open disciplinary proceedings against the 52-year-old Longo. If found guilty, Longo could face a suspension of up to two years.

    In a statement issued to AFP, Longo’s lawyer Bruno Ravaz said that his client has not yet received an official communication on the matter.

    “Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli has been notified by the press that the AFLD’s commission of experts have issued a third warning for the failure to divulge her whereabouts,” Ravaz said. “If this information is confirmed, she will give all necessary explanations to the FFC when she is invited to do so.

    “Right now, she is surprised to be considered still part of the target group of high-level athletes obliged to give their whereabouts given that in principle, this designation, which was given to her in 2008, was limited to a duration of one year.”

    The statement concluded by insisting that Longo had been tested more often than any other athlete in the world over the course of her lengthy career. The Frenchwoman made her first...

  • UCI permits criteriums in UCI 2.2 stage races

    PureBlack Racing's Mike Northey wins the Tour De Grove's NRC Criterium in St Louis, Missouri
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 17:23 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    USA Cycling scouts upgrade candidates from the national calendar

    Sean Petty, USA Cycling's Chief Operating Officer, confirmed that the International Cycling Union (UCI) is in the process of adjusting its rules to permit at least one criterium during UCI 2.2-sanctioned stage races. The decision will particularly benefit the Asia and America where national level events typically depend on "big ticket" criteriums to keep the stage races afloat financially.

    "The UCI wants to grow the calendar in the US," Petty told Cyclingnews. "After discussing some of the challenges what we agreed and what we were able to secure was to allow a criterium stage to a category 2.2 stage races. Criteriums are very competitive and everyone knows they are a very important part of stage races here in the US. Without having those criterium stages, the vast majority of stage races existing here would not be interested in being on the UCI America Tour.

    "To the UCI's credit, they do realize that things are different here than in western Europe, and there are also places in Asia that request criteriums and it is important to them," he said. "There is a specific need to a continent, Asia or America, and it is good the UCI is showing vision and flexibility to meet those needs without really impacting the tradition of the sport. But whatever they decide will apply to all of the Continental Tours."

    Petty recently attended a meeting with the UCI Road Commission to discuss the possibility of allowing at least one criterium to UCI 2.2 level events. The decision could potentially entice race promoters of national calendar stage races such as Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race, Cascade Cycling Classic and Nature Valley Grand Prix, which rely on the criterium, to upgrade to a UCI 2.2 status.

    "We've discussed with the UCI how to increase the number of UCI races, certainly in North America and what some of the challenges are," Petty said. "One of the messages that I took to the Road Commission was...

  • Gesink eyes victory repeat in GP Quebec and Montreal

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) holds eighth place overall after a hard day.
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 19:10 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Dutchman tips Philippe Gilbert as the guy to beat

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is confident in his ability to secure a victory this weekend at one of the two Canadian WorldTour events; Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City on September 9 and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal on September 11. The Dutch climber is known for his strong late-season form, however, he is unsure if that will be enough to top race favourite Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).

    "Last year, this was one of the best weeks of my career over here," Gesink told Cyclingnews. "I was third in Quebec and won in Montreal, because of that, it is nice to be back here. My results from last year set the stage pretty high for this year. I would really like to race as well as last year. I am motivated to do some good racing here and I'm in good shape after being in Colorado."

    Gesink began two weeks of altitude training at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge followed by a one week stay in Boulder, Colorado. Although the seven-day race did not go as well as he had expected, he was pleased with a top 20 overall performance and his climbing during the mountain stages in light of the difficulty adjusting to the thin air.

    "I think Colorado was good for me, and a lot of riders, a perfect build up for these races and the end of the season," Gesink said. "It was really difficult out there with the high altitude and I was suffering a lot. It was a good race for me, aside from a bad time trial, I did a good race and feel good for these next two races."

    Gesink placed third in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City last year, behind winner Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygeus Telekom) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Pro Cycling). He went on to...

  • Froome refuses to accept defeat at the Vuelta

    Chris Froome (Sky) leads Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Geox-TMC)
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 20:03 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky rider praises Cobo but will fight until Madrid

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) attacked several times on the Alto el Vivero final climb overlooking Bilbao during stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana but failed to distance race leader Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC). He remains 13 seconds down on the Spaniard with just two easy stages remaining. However he refuses to concede defeat.

    "I feel like I've got nothing to lose and all to gain, so I'm just going for it now," Froome told Cyclingnews immediately after the stage finish.

    "There's only two days to go and so only a few opportunities," he said. "Tomorrow's there's not too much to do, but we'll maybe look at the bonus sprints. It's not over yet. I'll keep fighting. Thirteen seconds is such a crazy small margin that it'd be crazy to sit up and give to him."

    Team Sky set up Froome perfectly on the short but steep climb. He and his teammates were unable to catch eventual stage winner and local hero Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar), who were part of the break of the stage, but he attacked hard twice on the climb to try and get a gap.

    Froome again thanked his teammates for their hard work and support.

    "I have to thank Bradley (Wiggins) and all the team. It's been a dream experience being the protected rider for Team Sky," he said. "They lined me up perfectly to launch my attack. Löfkvist did virtually a full lap on the front and then Bradley set me up on the climb. He was amazing."

    Froome also sportingly praised Cobo for the way he defended his race lead.

    "Hats off to him, he rode a good race. I attacked several times but he just followed me each time, which is what I'd do if I was in his position," he said.


  • Voigt signs for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

    Jens Voigt (Leopard Trek) on his way to the finish
    Article published:
    September 09, 2011, 20:30 BST
    Cycling News

    German extends existing deal by one year

    Jens Voigt confirmed that he will continue in the professional peloton for another season and ride in the colours of the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team.

    The veteran German’s contract with Leopard Trek was set to expire at the end of the season, and it was unclear if Voigt would be part of the new squad that is set to form as a result of the merger between RadioShack and Leopard Trek.

    Speaking on Friday, however, Voigt revealed that he has renewed his contract with holding company Leopard SA, and he will again be on the same team as Fränk and Andy Schleck next season, after previously following the brothers from Saxo Bank-Sungard to Leopard Trek.

    "It is my dream to bring one of the Schleck brothers in the yellow jersey to Paris, so I'm happy to continue riding with them and try to secure an overall victory in the Tour de France," said Voigt, who will turn 40 next week. “It's been an exciting journey so far and I’m proud that I can be part of this team next season."

    Voigt is understood to have agreed to a one-year deal with the revamped team. Many of the riders on both the Leopard Trek and RadioShack rosters have been left with a late scramble to find a contract for next season following Monday’s announcement that the two teams would merge.

    "The recent changes in the team's structure have been challenging for all of us, and I hope there will be swift solutions for all riders and staff.”

    Voigt envisaged a similar role for himself at RadioShack-Nissan-Trek to the one he has enjoyed over the past number of season. “I may be turning 40 in a week, but my engine is big enough to...