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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 20, 2010

Date published:
December 20, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • 2013 Tour de France start in Corsica almost certain

    The Criterium International is being raced on Corsican soil for the first time
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 10:25 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Assemblée de Corse agrees to funding the Grand Départ

    As Cyclingnews reported in September 2009, the start of the Tour de France on the Mediterranean island of Corsica is looking more and more likely. In fact, a significant step was made on December 16 and 17, when the regional assembly of the French département, the Assemblée de Corse, voted on its 2011 budget, including the payment of two million Euro to Tour de France organiser ASO for the hosting of the Grand Départ.

    For the 110th edition of the race, ASO has been busy planning the first-time inclusion of the island in the event for a while, with its traditional Critérium International race acting as a first test of the region's cycling race capacities. The Critérium International, usually held in Northern France, moved to Corsica this year and is set to remain there for the next three years.

    In the bill voted unanimously by the Corsica Assembly, there are even more details of the 2013 Tour de France start: "According to the letter received on June 28 by the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, the Grand Départ of the 100th edition race will be organised in Corsica, which will moreover host three mass start stages (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) permitting to showcase the main towns of the island, Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Porto-Vecchio, but also the many inland villages."

    Preliminary planning does therefore not include a prologue for the 2013 edition, and foresees a transfer of the race to mainland France after three days of racing. Contacted by Cyclingnews, ASO press officer Mathieu Desplats neither denied nor confirmed the 2013 Tour start in Corsica, remaining true to the organisation's prerogative of announcing their route themselves in due time.

  • After the perfect Christmas Gift?

    Work as a staff writer for Procycling magazine.
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 10:26 GMT
    Cycling News

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  • Quick Step confirms Steegmans, working on Stybar

    Steegmans (RadioShack) would end the day in hospital
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 11:18 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian returning after Katusha and Radioshack flops

    Gert Steegmans is returning to Quick Step after two years away. The Belgian team is also working to sign world cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar.

    "I hope he is the old Gert again,” Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere told “After two years away, the ball is in his court and I hope he can pick it up.”

    Steegmans, 30, rode for Quick Step in 2007 and 2008. He was with Katusha in 2009, but his contract was broken during the summer over a dispute over the team's anti-doping agreement. His season with RadioShack was marked by injuries, including a broken collarbone after being blown off his bike in the Paris-Nice prologue.

    He had a contract with RadioShack for the coming year, but the team indicated he could leave, if the contract was bought out. There was no statement as to how much this might have cost. Steegmans is currently attending the Quick Step training camp in Calpe, Spain, through December 21.

    Stybar looking to ride on the road

    Meanwhile, Lefevere is also looking to sign Stybar, who currently rides for Telenet Fidea. According to, the cyclo-cross team has the “right of first refusal” for the Czech's contract, which expires shortly . If it matches the sum offered him from a new team, he must remain with Telenet Fidea.

    According to sportwereld, Lefevere originally offered 525,000 Euros a year, but has now issued a new offer, with better financial and sporting conditions.

    Stybar, who is currently training in Mallorca following a knee injury, has let it be known that he wants to sign with Quick Step.

  • Portugal stage winner Ortega tests positive for EPO

    A typically arid, evocative scene from the Serra de Lapa hills
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 11:58 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Ortega returned positive result from pre-Tour of Portugal test

    Carlos Pereira, sports director for the Portuguese Continental team Barbot-Siper, has admitted to A Bola that one of his riders, Joaquín Ortega, tested positive for EPO prior to the Tour of Portugal. Ortega won the sixth stage of the national event, but returned a positive sample before the stage race and will now face a two-year ban, on top of losing his victory.

    Pereira assured the newspaper that the team did not have anything to do with the positive test result, saying that it was the sole responsibility of the rider. Moreover, he announced that the team would carry out internal controls in 2011 in order to make sure the squad's riders remain clean.

    José Mendes (LA Aluminios-Rota dos Móveis), second-placed behind Ortega on stage six of the Tour of Portugal,  should receive the winner's honours as soon as the disciplinary process has been finalised.

  • Mørkøv a future team leader, Riis says

    Michael Morkov in action
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 12:15 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dane to have his own chances to win in 2011

    Michael Mørkøv will be leader of Team Saxo Bank-SunGard one day, according to team manger Bjarne Riis. The Dane, going into his third pro year, will have his chances in certain races this year.

    "He is deeply serious, enjoyable to be with, and the leadership role is natural for him. He is a future leader figure on this team, I am convinced," Riis told

    The team sees him as the road captain one day, and Mørkøv agrees. “Everybody has respect for he who make the decisions, especially if he makes the right decisions. The role is natural for me. I'm not afraid to take the lead when the other falters,” he said.

    "I'd rather be the one to take responsibility and take a decision than sit and watch. There are often situations in races where there are five possibilities. Most are wrong but if you don't choose one, they are all wrong.”

    The changes in the team's composition and the uncertain status of Alberto Contador open up more possibilities for the 25-year-old. “It motivates me very much that all the stars have left the team. Now you can actually contribute something, it's been a little difficult in years with the Schleck brothers, Fabian Cancellara and so on.”

    "I am very keen to work even harder than I would otherwise have done because I know I personally get more opportunities next year,” he said.

    Mørkøv is still looking for his first win on the road, but he is no stranger to cycling success. He has won numerous national titles on the track, as well as in other track events.

  • Important changes made to the World Anti-Doping Code

    John Fahey (right) with former WADA President Dick Pound
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 12:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Salbutamol to be allowed in higher doses

    The World Anti-Doping Agency has made some changes to its prohibited list, effective January 1, 2011. UK Anti-Doping has noted some of the additions and deletions, most notably with changes being made to the legal usage amount of the asthma medication Salbutamol, for which Alessandro Petacchi was suspended in 2008.

    It will be forbidden to use any substances which are still in pre-clinical or clinical development, and which have thus not yet been approved for human therapeutic use. In addition, it is not allowed to use demospressin, a synthetic hormone which reduces urine production.

    Methylhexaneamine – a substance increasingly found in supplements moves from a non-specified to a specified substance which, whilst still prohibited, carries a genuine possibility of inadvertently entering the system. In October of this year it was revealed that former Caisse d’Epargne rider Rui Costa and his brother Mario had tested positive for the substance.

    The new classification still requires athletes to prove that they did not intend to enhance performance "to the satisfaction of the results management authority" in order to receive a reduced sanction.

    The following were taken off of the probhitied list: glucocorticosteroids by inhalation or administered by localised injection, as well as platelet-derived preparations, and salmeterol.

    Changes were also made concerning the use of salbutamol. It is allowed in limited usage, but not above a maximum of 1600 micrograms over 24 hours.

    That is the medication for which Alessandro Petacchi tested positive in 2007. During the Giro d'Italia, doping controls showed a finding of 1352 micrograms, with the limit at the time being only 1000 mg.

    The new WADA code in full

    The official text of the Prohibited List shall be maintained by WADA and shall be published in English and French. In the event of any conflict between the...

  • Kemp to sign with Belgian team?

    Bloodied and bruised, David Kemp (Fly V Australia), is ushered into an ambulance after falling in the final kilometre of stage seven.
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 15:01 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Australian on the verge of signing new contract after Pegasus Racing deal fell through

    Australian David Kemp looks to have a new 2011 contract on hand after he revealed to SBS that he would sign with a Belgian Professional Continental team before Christmas. Kemp, who has been racing for Fly V Australia these last three years, said that his deal with the newly-born Pegasus Racing team for next season fell through and that he now had another option.

    The 26-year-old stated that he had a verbal agreement with manager Chris White in August, but never received written confirmation.

    "I was given their word that they wanted me so I told my managers that I didn't need a team, they were happy I was going to continue on so then I stopped looking," Kemp said. "I actually haven't spoken to Chris White in regards to this. I try calling [Chris White -ed.] every other day and he doesn't take the calls so I'm making the assumption that there's no longer a contract on the table."

    Kemp won the silver medal at the Australian Championships in January and concluded his season with a victory at China's Tour of Lake Taihu in late October, after having finished third overall in the King of the Mountain classification at the Tour Down Under. But in October he was told by team management his results were inconsistent.

    "I haven't got any results because I've been riding for our sprinters, who won 90 per cent of the races that I worked for," said Kemp, who had hoped for a spot on the new Pegasus Racing team but now looks forward to another challenge.

    "I think what I did this year was warrant enough to move to Europe and race there, clearly because I wouldn't have got this contract with this (Belgian) team," he added. "I'm in an even better situation than what I was before. I believe everything happens for a reason. I didn't know what the reason was but now I can see it was for this."

    With his new outfit, Kemp said he may even participate in some of the Spring Classics.

  • UCI refuses Pegasus Sports license

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) in the red jersey
    Article published:
    December 20, 2010, 17:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian team fails to gain Pro Continental license

    The UCI announced today that it has refused to register the Australian team Pegasus Sports as a Professional Continental team. It also stated that it has now closed the registration for the first and second division teams.

    The announcement did not rule out the possibility that Pegasus Sports could be registered as a Continental team.

    “We are shocked that the license was denied,” stated Chris White, Pegasus Sports CEO. “The team was already prepared for the 2011 season and we worked really hard after the news from last week. Significant cost reductions were made and additional sponsorship both from within our existing sponsor base and an external group was gathered, in order to stabilise the team financially in the short term. The people within the organisation were at the centre of this action and commitment, which is a real testament to the mate-ship within the team. We do not want to give up. The team is exploring whether there are other options for next year.”

    Pegasus Sports signed a number of big name riders, most notably sprinters Robbie McEwen and Robert Hunter, and had been seeking a ProTeam license.

    It lost a major financial backer earlier this month, and scrambled to meet the UCI's deadline for a revised application.

    The management - who had told Cyclingnews that they had found a backer last week - have only been notified that the application has been refused and that reasons will be given in the coming days.

    “I know nothing more than what’s been announced. In the official communication to the team it was said that the reasons why they had been refused would be...