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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 9, 2010

Date published:
August 09, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Tour of South Africa re-introduced

    Ride scenery in Stellensboch, South Africa.
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 10:30 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cycling South Africa builds up international stage race for 2011

    A popular off-season training location for many European pro cyclists, South Africa may soon see more top riders come to visit the country at the southernmost tip of Africa as it is preparing an international event for next year.

    Cycling South Africa has announced that it is planning to have the Tour of South Africa, discontinued 10 years ago, back on the calendar for at least the next two seasons, 2011 and 2012. The national tour will get underway in the third week of February.

    "The aim of the tour is to create a cycling culture in South Africa and to make professional cyclists around the world want to ride in South Africa," Cycling South Africa general secretary Ciska Austin told AP.

    Cycling officials were meeting Thursday in Johannesburg to start preparing the route.

    Moreover, Austin added that a program of competitive cycling weekends was planned next year to improve the performance of South African riders in international race conditions, where distances covered are far longer than in local competitions.

    If successful, the country could see its national tour rise to similar popularity as the Tour Down Under held in January. Over the years, the Australian event has gained in status and is now a confirmed early season destination for many European teams despite being held on the other side of the globe. It is also a major aim of the International Cycling Union (UCI) to extend pro cycling, still very much centered in Europe, to a world-wide level.

  • 2011 Tour de France set for Brittany?

    The Breton public is getting familiar with race leader Jetse Bol (Rabobank Continental)
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 13:30 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Tour looks set to move due north after starting in the Vendée

    With more than two months still to go before the route of the 2011 Tour de France is unveiled in Paris, details are starting to emerge about stages likely to feature after the opening – and already announced – days in the Vendée region of western France. According to Ouest France, stage finishes are being considered in the Breton towns of Redon and Châteaulin. The coastal town Lorient is also in line to host a stage start.

    Lorient mayor Norbert Métairie described preparations for the Tour’s potential arrival next July as being “on the right track”. Métairie told Ouest France: “I had Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme here in May and I confirmed to him that we were interested in hosting a Tour stage in 2011. For the time being nothing is official and there are some technical details to be resolved, but things are looking good.”

    Métairie also revealed details about how the Tour will reach Lorient and where it will head when it leaves the town. “The Tour would arrive at Redon on the evening of July 4 and the riders would transfer from there to Lorient for the night for the start at midday the next day,” said Métairie.

    Indications are that the fourth stage would run between Lorient and Châteaulin. Gaëlle Nicolas, mayor of Châteaulin, admitted to Ouest France: “We’ve made a counter-proposal to [Tour organizers] ASO after our first proposal was complicated by the fact that the finish area was located in an area where the flora and fauna are protected. We have to combine administrative and sporting requirements, as the organizers are requesting that the stage finishes at the summit of a hill.”

    ASO have already revealed plans for the opening two days of the 2011 Tour. The opening stage will take place on July 2 and will take the race 180km from the Passage de Gois to Mont des...

  • Breschel signs for Rabobank

    Danish champion Matti Breschel wins the Dwars door Vlaanderen
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 14:49 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Dane signs two-year deal to bolster classics challenge

    Rabobank has announced the signing of Matti Breschel from Team Saxo Bank. The Danish rider has signed on for two seasons and will be a crucial member of his new squad's classics contingent.

    "Breschel has shown that he is one of the most talented riders for one-day races," said Rabobank manager Erik Breukink. "Together with Boom and Langeveld, we can build a strong unit for the classics."

    The 25-year-old Breschel won Dwars door Vlaanderen this spring and placed eighth in Gent-Wevelgem. In his five seasons at Saxo Bank, he has built up a solid palmares, including a world championship bronze medal in 2008 and the Danish road race title in 2009, in addition to stage victories at the Vuelta a España and Tour de Suisse.

    Speaking to, the Dane explained that the switch to Rabobank was not made lightly. "It's been a very difficult decision, and it's quite sad," said Breschel. "My heart was with Saxo Bank, but now I feel it is time to try something new, to get some hair on the chest."

  • Renshaw signs new deal with HTC-Columbia

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) takes the stage ahead of Matt Goss
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 15:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian extends for two more years

    Mark Renshaw has signed a two-year contract extension with HTC-Columbia, committing himself to the team until the end of 2012. The Australian has been a hugely important element of sprinter Mark Cavendish's lead-out train over the past two seasons and it comes as no surprise that the team has rushed to secure his services for the foreseeable future.

    "I'm happy to extend with the team," said Renshaw. "I know my role and I'm happy to commit to that and be part of a successful team."

    Renshaw's Tour de France was cut short when he was ejected from the race due to irregularities during his lead-out on stage 11. He has since returned to action and has just completed the Tour of Denmark, where he snagged a stage victory and delivered another fine performance in the service of his team. "I'm really happy with my form," he said. "I think I can carry this form all the way to World Championships in Australia later this year."

    While acknowledging that his primary duty will be to continue to serve as Cavendish's most trusted lead-out man, Renshaw also anticipates some opportunities to develop his own burgeoning palmares. One objective in particular has caught his attention. "Hopefully next year I'll also get more chances to prove myself as one of Australia's top sprinters ready for the Copenhagen World Championships [in 2011]. We rode on the course yesterday," Renshaw explained.

    Team manager Rolf Aldag is pleased to have Renshaw continue in HTC-Columbia colours. "Mark is a key rider in our sprint execution and was critical to our sprint success in the Tour de France this year and last," he said.

    Aldag also sees plenty of scope for Renshaw to develop his personal ambitions. "He also has a lot of potential as a top sprinter himself which he proved on Saturday when he won the stage in Denmark. We trust in his talent and we're happy to have him as part of the solid foundation for our team."

  • Bettini names Italian team for Giro del Veneto

    Italian manager Paolo Bettini before the start of the race
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 17:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Tuscan happy with opportunity to make managerial debut

    Paolo Bettini will have his first competitive outing as Italian team manager at the Giro del Veneto on 28 August. The recently-appointed commissario tecnico has been permitted to select an Italian national team to participate in the event.

    The race will serve both as an opportunity for Bettini to cut his managerial teeth ahead of October's World Championships and as a chance for some members of the Italian peloton to stake their claims for a place on the plane to Melbourne.

    Local hero and 2008 World Champion Alessandro Ballan is the stand-out name on Bettini's team sheet and he is accompanied by BMC teammate Mauro Santambrogio. Padova-born Alberto Ongarato (Vacansoleil) also gets a chance to don the blue jersey on home roads.

    Outside of that trio, Bettini has opted to blood some young riders, perhaps with an eye on future championships. Among the young names to watch out for in Bettini's line-up at the Giro del Veneto are Riccardo Chiarini (De Rosa), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Doimo) and, particularly, the much-heralded double world junior champion Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Farnese Vini).

    "First of all, my thanks must go to the team managers and sponsors for their willingness to cooperate," Bettini said.

    "In the past there have been very few opportunities for national teams to ride together outside of the major championships. One that springs to my mind is the race in Castelfidardo before the Athens Olympics. And we all know how that expedition ended," he smiled.

    Bettini brought home the gold from Athens in 2004 under the stewardship of Franco Ballerini. One of the hallmarks of the late Ballerini's tenure was ability to build team spirit and ahead of those games, he brought his five-man team to the humble GP Fred Mengoni in Castelfidardo to ride together.

    "In comparison to other sports, a cycling national team manager lacks the chance to gather young riders together and see how they operate without the...

  • Euskaltel’s De Lis quits cycling

    Sergio De Lis (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 22:34 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Basque rider leaves team for family reasons

    Euskaltel-Euskadi have revealed that 24-year-old Sergio de Lis has decided to quit professional cycling. De Lis is reported to have informed the team of his decision prior to the Tour de France. Team manager Igor González de Galdeano admitted that he and other members of the team had attempted to persuade De Lis to change his mind, but without success.

    González de Galdeano refused to be drawn on the reasons for De Lis’s decision to quit the sport mid-season. However, El Diario Vasco indicated that De Lis had “other family priorities."

    Moved up from Orbea, Euskaltel’s feeder team in 2009, De Lis was regarded a strong rouleur with a promising future in the sport. “Sergio’s relationship with his teammates and with the team has always been very good,” said González de Galdeano. "He’s a very disciplined rider, serious, and always does the work that he’s been asked to.”

  • Bretagne-Schuller bids for Pro Continental ranks

    Florian Vachon (Bretagne - Schuller), current leader of the French Cup.
    Article published:
    August 09, 2010, 22:55 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Breton team aims for Tour de France start

    The Continental team Bretagne-Schuller has announced its decision to ask the UCI for a promotion to the Pro Continental division for next year at a press conference held on Monday in Lorient.

    Jean-Yves Le Drian, the president of the Bretagne region (Brittany), and sponsor Michel Schuller, who owns a car dealership network, have announced their commitment for another two years. "Taking into account the new organisation of professional cycling, we apply for the second division," said the team president Joël Blévin.

    "It's up to the UCI to decide but there's no reason why we wouldn't be accepted," Blévin said. "The budget isn't a problem. This year we have 15 professional cyclists. To be a Pro Continental team, we need 16 of them, it won't make a huge difference."

    Bretagne-Schuller has already recruited Guillaume Blot from Cofidis for the next two years. They have also extended the contracts of Romain Hardy, Laurent Pichon and current French cup leader Florian Vachon for another two years. 2008 junior world champion Johan Le Bon, who recently won the Kreizh Breizh Elite and finished third overall at Paris-Corrèze last week, is still contracted with the Breton squad for next year.

    "We are inspired by what Euskaltel is doing in the Basque country," Blévin said. "It's no shame copying what's working elsewhere. Brittany is also a strong region of cycling in Europe. There have been some highs and lows in Breton cycling, but we're obviously back to the highs nowadays. We want to give a future and priority to the promising Breton riders. Olivier Le Gac's win at the junior world championship yesterday is fabulous. I've met him recently at the Breton championship. He's still very young. Let's give him time to mature."

    Bretagne-Schuller's promotion to the Pro Continental ranks means the team will be eligible for the 2011 Tour de France. Le Drian said, "If the organisers invite us, we'll be present for...

  • The Cyclingnews guide to rider transfers 2010-2011

    The peloton waited to make its move.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 19:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    UPDATED: All the comings and goings from the pro peloton

    With the Tour de France over and the countdown to the World Championships beginning in earnest, teams are starting to shore up their rosters for next season. The hottest property on the market, Alberto Contador, has already confirmed his move to Saxo Bank-SunGard. Meanwhile, the arrival of the new Luxembourg team should compensate for the departure of some big-name sponsors and ensure significant movement in the transfer market.

    From here until the end of the season there will be a flurry of transfer activity, so don’t get left behind and bookmark this page. Check back regularly to get up-to-the-minute news from Cyclingnews about who's going where in this transfer period.

    Ag2r-La Mondiale

    Mathieu Perget (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Romain Lemarchand (Big Mat-Auber 93)
    Matteo Montaguti (De Rosa-Stac Plastic)
    Jean-Christophe Péraud (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Mikael Cherel (FDJ)
    Seabastien Minard (Cofidis)
    Steve Houanard (Skil-Shimano)

    Vladimir Efimkin
    René Mandri
    Jose Luis Arrieta (Retired)