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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 15, 2010

Date published:
February 15, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Valverde overcomes winter weather to win Tour Méditerranéen

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) looks ahead as he goes in search of victory
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 10:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard suffered along the way but held on to take the win

    Snow and cold are not Alejandro Valverde's friends, but the Caisse d'Epargne captain overcame the bad weather in the Tour Méditerranéen to take the overall title on Sunday. He finished second in the closing mountain-top finish to capture the win and dedicated the win to his new born son and the French public who braved the conditions to watch the race.

    Valverde had been in sixth place, only 10 seconds down, going into the final stage. He led a three-man chase group across the finish line, only eight seconds behind stage winner Francesco Masciarelli (Acqua & Sapone).

    “This victory is dedicated to Pablo, my newborn son,” the proud father said after the stage. Valverde's third son was born at the end of January.

    The entire race was overshadowed by the bad winter weather which has struck Europe this year. “I felt good all week,” he said, but after all the cold, rain and snow that manhandled us on Wednesday,” he was not sure what he could accomplish on the closing ride up Mont Faron.

    “I suffered a few times,” he said.

    “But I though about all work done by my Caisse d'Epargne teammates during the past week and knew I could not disappoint them,” Valverde added.

    “This was my first participation in the Tour Méditerranéen and I loved how I was received by the organisation and the public. I also dedicate this victory to the French fans,” he concluded.


  • Rogers looks to shine in Tour of California

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) at the start of the 2010 season at the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 11:28 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    HTC-Columbia rider hopes to take a top finish there as impetus for the Tour de France

    Third place in last year’s Tour of California sparked an impressive comeback year for HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rogers and this year the three-time world time trial champion is aiming to improve on that result. Rogers missed most of the 2008 season with glandular fever but along with his performance in the Tour of California, he finished in the top ten in the Giro d’Italia. This season he’s hoping to hit top form for California and hold it until the Tour de France in July.

    “They’re relatively close together,” Rogers told Cyclingnews. “I won’t go into the start of Cali with my best form so the ideal situation would be to go into it with 90 per cent of my best form and build it up as the week goes and then coast it until the Tour.”

    With the full Tour of California route announced last week, Rogers remains a favourite, with an individual time trial and mix of undulating to difficult stages thrown in.

    “I’ve looked at the route briefly and I’ve seen that the first two days will be a little bit harder than last year. From what I’ve seen from the rest of the route, I know it will be hard, but hopefully the weather will be a lot more favourable this year. The peloton will be in a lot better shape than they would be in February.”

    “Of course California is a race I’ve always enjoyed, so it’s going to replace the Giro for me this year. The race is a big aim for our American team which everyone knows is based in California. It’s an immense one for us, perhaps only the Tour is bigger for us.”

    However, if Rogers is to win the race, it’s probable that he’ll need to pass Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) who has won the last three editions of the race and has made no secret of his desire to win a fourth. “Levi was in a league of his own last year but I wasn’t too far from second so it was...

  • Contador, Klöden and Leipheimer make European debuts

    Alberto Contador in the Volta ao Algarve leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 12:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contador looks to defend title in Algarve

    Alberto Contador Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer will make their European racing debuts at the Volta ao Algarve on Wednesday.

    Tour de France winner Contador is opening his season in Portugal, as “the start of his long preparation for the Tour de France,” according to the team. He will be supported by a variety of Spanish, Kazakh and Ukrainian riders.

    Contador will look to repeat his overall victory from 2009. Last year, he finished second on the race's mountainous third stage, and won the time trial by more than 30 seconds to take the lead.

    Team RadioShack is sending a high-powered team led by Klöden and Leipheimer, Gert Steegmans will contest the sprint finishes. Klöden finished fifth overall in the race last year, riding for Astana.

    The Volta ao Algarve runs February 17-21, and features several mountain stages before ending with a 17km individual time trial.

    Team Astana for the Volta ao Algarve: Alberto Contador, David de la Fuente, Maxim Gourov, Andriy Grivko, Jesus Hernandez, Daniel Navarro, Daniel Noval, and Sergey Renev

    Team RadioShack for the Volta ao Algarve: Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Tiago Machado, Sergio Paulinho, Gregroy Rast, Sebastien Rosseler, Gert Steegmans, and Thomas Vaitkus

  • Rasmussen included in UCI's passport programme

    Michael Rasmussen (Miche) shivers after stage 1
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 13:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team hopes to move up, Dane's racing schedule announced

    Michael Rasmussen will be part of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) biological passport programme. The UCI said that since he may return to the higher ranks of the sport, he should be included.

    "Michael Rasmussen was included in our test group throughout his doping suspension,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told “He was also tested in 2009 (13 times), since we considered that he may have the opportunity to return to professional cycling.”

    He was dropped from such testing when he signed with the Continental team Miche, but the UCI decided to take him back. "We are currently finalising the list of riders in our test group that did not contract with a ProTour team or a professional continental team. Michael Rasmussen is on the list and he will be added to our test group in the coming weeks, " said Carpani.

    Meanwhile, Miche team owner Marc Tozzi hopes that the Danish rider will help his team move up to Professional Continental status.

    "Until now we have a Continental team, but we're working on becoming a professional continental team, so we have a chance to make it  into the Giro d'Italia and other major races. There are, however, economic problems throughout the world, but it does not change the fact that we are still hoping for more, " he told

    Rasmussen dropped out of the second stage of the Tour Mediterranean last week, due to a combination of a knee injury and the cold weather. He next travels to Italy for the Trofeo Laigueglia ( February 20), Giro di Sardegna (February 23-27), Giro del Fruili (March 3) and Coppi e Bartali (March 23-27).

    His major goals this season will be the Giro di Trentino (April 20-23), the Vuelta Asturias (April 28-May 2) and the Volta a Portugal (August 4-15).

  • United Healthcare aims for Tour of California stage win

    The 2010 United Health Care get presented for the first time.
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 14:04 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    US squad confident it will receive an invitation

    The United Healthcare presented by Maxxis team is confident it will receive an invitation to the most prestigious stage race in the United States of America. The fifth annual Tour of California is set to take begin on May 16 in Nevada City and conclude on May 23 in Agoura Hills just outside of Los Angeles.

    "We have a solid roster and it's one of the top domestic teams in the country," said General Manager Mike Tamayo. "We have always done our best at all the events in California, Georgia or Missouri. We usually have guys on the podium for stage results and going for a jersey. We are a team that races our bikes wholeheartedly and with a lot of intensity. I think that in itself will carry us to the Tour of California."

    The team is owned an operated by Momentum Sports Group (MSG) and is an incarnation of the former HealthNet presented by Maxxis in 2005-2008 that changed its title sponsor to OUCH in 2009.

    The team's best results through the history of the Tour of California come from Australian all-rounder Rory Sutherland who placed 4th in stage 8 in 2009, 2nd in stage 7 in 2008 and 4th in the opening prologue in 2007.

    "We haven't had the big win at the Tour of California yet and it's been several years since we've had a result there," Tamayo said. "We definitely have that hunger. We want to get that stage win and we want to have a good ride there this year. We will be spending some time doing some course reviews for the riders and familiarize ourselves with what's coming our way so that we can have everything ready to be executed for us to win a stage."

    The Tour of California organization released the details of the upcoming race, which includes more climbing than any previous edition, but despite a finish at Big Bear lake, it lacks a decisive mountain finish. Yet Tamayo thinks the race will come down to more than just the time trial as it has in the past.

    "I've kept up with a little bit of the stage announcements and...

  • Podcast: The European season begins

    Anne Gripper
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 17:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    From Qatar to Tour Med to California

    Ciao faithful podcast listeners. With the European racing season now underway, we finally have something to talk about in Episode 38 of the Cyclingnews podcast.

    This week, Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson and BikeRadar's Jeff Jones discuss all the racing from the Tour of Qatar, Mallorca Challenge and Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel, before looking ahead to the America’s biggest and most anticipated race: the Tour of California. Can Leipheimer win a fourth title? Can Rogers or Zabriskie stop him and can our editorial duo tell the difference between kilometres and miles?

    Of course no podcast would be complete without a dose of doping news and this week Benson and Jones discuss Anne Gripper’s latest comments on amateur armchair sceptical experts and Rabobank’s men in orange releasing test data.

    Finally we pay tribute to the late Franco Ballerini, who sadly died last week in a rally car accident. Ballerini was a true gent within cycling, illustrated by the number of friends, family and fans who turned out for his funeral last week. On the bike Ballerini won Roubaix twice and after he retired he united a broken Italian team, leading them to multiple world titles and Olympic success. He’ll be sorely missed and CN and BRD would like to wish his family their condolences. Thanks for the memories, Franco.

    You can subscribe to the podcasts via iTunes (or just go to iTunes and search for 'cyclingnews') or via this XML feed: http://video.cycling odcasts/cn_podcast.x ml


  • World Champion Guderzo rolls out with new team

    Tatiana Guderzo poses for a photo before the ride
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 18:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Valdarno trains in Tuscany

    World champion Tatiana Guderzo is ready to tackle the 2010 season with her new squad, Team Valdarno. Already ranked 7th in the UCI teams rankings, the outfit boasts not only the world champion, but also Oceania champion Birdie O'Donnell, Italian champion Monia Baccaille and Spanish champion Marta Vilajosana.

    "I'm happy with their condition after the winter," said sport director Giancarlo Montedori. "All the girls kept in a good form, but for technical analysis, we have to wait for some weeks and first races. Surely our great goal, for the first year, will be wear the Giro d'Italia pink jersey over Tatiana's rainbow jersey. But I'm sure that my team will be protagonist in every race we'll ride."

    Baccaille and Guderzo will fly to Bogotá, Colombia next week for training with Italian Track team to prepare to ride the team pursuit at the UCI Track World Championship in Copenaghen at the end of March. The rest of the team will have another training camp in Tuscany during the last week of February.

    The team will take part in all of the UCI World Cup races, and will have its first  competition at the GP Comune di Cornaredo on March 7.

    2010 Team Valdarno

    Tatiana Antoshina (27, Russian Time Trial Champion)
    Monia Baccaillle (25, Italian National Champion)
    Tania Belvederesi (32)
    Saneila Biagi (21, former Junior Italian Champion [2005])
    Giulia Bonetti (20)
    Chiara Bortolus (21)
    Laura Bozzolo (24, former RR and ITT Junior Italian Champion [2003] and 2nd at 2009 Italian Championship)
    Martina Corazza (30, Route de France '08 stage winner)
    Tatiana Guderzo (25, 2009 World Champion, Beijing Bronze Medal)
    Alessia Massaccesi (21, former Junior Italian Champion [2006])
    Lorenza Morfin (27)
    Bridie O'Donnell (35, Oceania Continental Champion, 2nd at 2010 RR and ITT Australian National Championship)
    Marta Vilajosana Andreu (34, Spanish National...

  • Arrest warrant issued for Landis in France

    Floyd Landis in action during the 2009 Nature Valley Grand Prix.
    Article published:
    February 15, 2010, 18:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Updated: Computer hacking warrant valid in France only

    An arrest warrant for Floyd Landis was issued late last month in France. The American rider is charged in connection with the computer hacking of an anti-doping laboratory. According to Agency France Presse, the warrant is valid for France, suggesting he will only be arrested if he steps foot on French soil.

    According to Pierre Bordry, head of the French Anti-Doping Agency, the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Nanterre issued the warrant on January 28.

    Landis tested positive for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France. His doping controls were handled by the Chatenay-Malabry laboratory. In November 2006, the lab reported that its computer systems had been infected with a "Trojan Horse" virus, which was used by someone to access the lab's confidential documents. The lab said that data had been removed or changed, allegedly in an attempt to discredit the work of the organisation.

    An email carrying the virus was alleged to have been sent from a computer with the same IP address as that of Landis' coach Arnie Baker. Both Landis and Baker denied any involvement in the hacking, but authorities maintain that the pair made use of pilfered documents in Landis' defense argument.

    "Landis used the hacked files for his defense, that's how we discovered the whole scheme," Bordry said to the Associated Press. "He wanted to show that the lab made mistakes in the handling of the tests."

    The investigation by the French Interior Ministry last year led to the arrest of a French national living in Morocco named Alain Quiros, who confessed to hacking into the lab, according to the New York Times. He said he'd been paid several thousand euros to hack into the AFLD computer as well as several other European corporations including Greenpeace France - the hacking scheme was instigated by a former French intelligence agent Thierry Lorho, head of Kargus Consultants.

    Lorho reportedly...