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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 22, 2010

Date published:
February 22, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Italian national Championship course presented in Treviso

    Filippo Pozzato wins the 2009 Italian Championships in Imola
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 9:41 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Elite riders to face 15 per cent climb 11 times

    The parcours for the Settimana Tricolore di Ciclismo 2010, the Italian national championships, were presented this past weekend in Trevisio, Italy. The championships will run from June 19 to 27, featuring races for all rankings from students to elite riders, as well as para-cycling competitors.

    The men's elite race will be held on Sunday, June 27, in Conegliano, on “a technical and highly spectacular circuit” of 23.6km, to be ridden 11 times for a total of 259.6km. The circuit features the Ca' del Poggio climb, only 1.5 km into the circuit. The climb is 1.3km long with an average gradient of 15 per cent, “which, repeated 11 times, will affect the legs of the athletes,” according to a press release from the Italian Cycling Federation.

    On Monday morning, Paolo Bettini will lead a group of riders and journalists over the course. The two-time World Champion, who did not attend the weekend's presentation due to a fever, will go out on the road with Alessandro Ballan, Marzio Bruseghin, Franco Pellizotti, Matteo Tosatto, Davide Malacarne, Mauro Da Dalto, Tiziano Dall'Antonia and Marco Bandiera.

    The presentation also honoured the memory of Franco Ballerini, the Italian national coach who died in a rally accident earlier this month. An empty chair marked his place on the presentation podium.

    Last year's Italian national Championships were held in Imola, Italy and finished on the motor racing circuit for the San Marino Formula 1 Grand Prix. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) claimed the elite men's road race title ahead of Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Luca Paolini (Aqua & Sapone).

  • Still no 2010 licence for Rock Racing

    Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing)
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Riders told chances of Continental status slim as team management lay low

    Rock Racing still has no licence from the International Cycling Union (UCI) for 2010, with their hopes of registration as a Continental team apparently fading fast. Oscar Sevilla has said that he has not heard anything official from the team, and that team management are not answering their phones.

    “I confirm the team Rock Racing has not been registered as a Continental team,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews Sunday afternoon

    Sevilla, 33, told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that he had received an email from Rock Racing saying “It appears that the team was refused [Continental registration by the UCI]". He has not heard further from the team.

    "Nothing. No one speaks. I called Michael Ball, the team owner, but he does not answer his cell phone. In the end, it seems that we do not race with Rock Racing, but no one has confirmed the news or will tell us what will happen with the squad,” said Sevilla.

    Last year, US-based Rock Racing had applied for a Professional Continental licence but were refused the second-tier status by the UCI. It then applied for a Continental licence as a Mexican-based team, but that too has apparently been rejected.

    Earlier this month, Sevilla and Colombian rider Victor Hugo Peña signed conditional contracts with Rock Racing for the 2010 season that relied on the team securing Continental status from the UCI.

    Sevilla, who has moved to Colombia, is now looking for a new employer. “It's not easy, since the season is underway.” He has contacts and possibilities, “but nothing confirmed. I would like to stay in Colombia and talk to the teams in that country, because I want to stay there because my wife is pregnant and being close to here is most important," he said.

  • Farrar ready to build on consistent results in Oman

    Oh yeah! Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) wins the 2009 Vattenfall Cyclassics
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 12:49 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Transitions polish sprint lead out

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) did not win a stage in the Tour of Qatar or the Tour of Oman but returned to his European base in Ghent convinced the 12 days of warm weather racing will give him the fitness and sprinting speed to soon take his first win of 2010.

    Farrar finished second in two sprints, losing to Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Diomo) on stage six of Qatar and to Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Diomo) on stage two in the Tour of Oman. Farrar was a key part of the Garmin-Transitions team that was second in the opening team time trial and was in the top five in sprints on five other occasions.

    "It was a little frustrating being in the top five almost every day without actually winning. That gets a little old pretty quickly, but I think it was a fantastic way to kick off the season," Farrar told Cyclingnews.

    "The results are a good sign for me personally about where my forms at and I feel I've been really consistent. I'm a rider who usually needs to ride into shape. I usually need a month of racing in my legs before I feel I'm really on top form, so I'm pretty happy with where I'm at for this time of year."

    Classics riders work together

    Garmin-Transitions lost Steve Cozza and Kirk Carlsen during the Tour of Qatar. Cozza broke his collarbone, while Carlsen fractured his shoulder. The team brought in new lead out man Robbie Hunter for Oman and he joined another new signing Murilo Fischer from Brazil as Farrar's lead out train.

    That helped Farrar finish fourth, second, third, fifth and fifth in the five sprints finishes. Importantly Farrar also made the decisive split on stage four when the race was decided in the wind.

    "The team rode really well. We had a lot of new guys on the team at these two race and now we've got to know each other better and better," Farrar said.

    "Apart from Steve Cozza and Kirk Carlsen getting hurt in Qatar, I think we can only...

  • Squads ship in for Giro di Sardegna

    RadioShack's team cars disembark after the ferry ride from Livorgno
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 12:57 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Strong field gathers on Italian island for 2010 event

    The staff of teams competing in this week's Giro di Sardegna faced a late night on Sunday as they, quite literally, ferried their squads' equipment to the port city of Olbia on the Italian island.

    The five-stage event will begin in Olbia on Tuesday for just the second running of the event in the past 13 years. Void of significant climbs, the event is likely to suit sprinter who can record consistent finishes; as it did last season when Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo) took a stage win and four top-ten placings to record a 12 second overall win.

    Bennati will not return to defend his title at the race, with Liquigas-Doimo opting to send Roman Kreuziger and Vincenzo Nibali as the team's big name riders. While Bennati will be absent, sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) will return, keen to improve on a single stage victory last year.

    A number of other high-profile riders will also take part in the event and hope to foil the sprinters. Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha), Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri), Stefano Garzelli (Aqua & Sapone) and Michael Rasmussen (Miche) will likely look for participation in an escape to secure a high overall finish.

    RadioShack's Janez Brajkovic and US-rider Chris Horner will both be opening their respective seasons at the event.

    Bennati's victory at the 2009 Giro di Sardegna came ahead of Oscar Gatto, who will return this year with his ISD-Neri squad. BMC Racing team's absence from the event means Alessandro Ballan will not have the opportunity to improve on third place last year.

    The race begins in Olbia on Tuesday, February 23 and will conclude in the island's capital, Cagliari, on Saturday, February 27.

  • No fear for Jacques-Maynes

    Ben Jacques-Maynes gets ready for a ride in the beautiful Santa Rosa area.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 14:36 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Tour of California a worthy challenge for Bissell Ben

    Bissell Pro Cycling Team's Ben Jacques-Maynes is relishing the myriad challenges presented by the toughest edition of the Tour of California, which begins on May 16 in Nevada City.

    Jacques-Maynes has a history of strong performances in the three previous editions of the Tour of California. Last year, he placed inside the top 15 in three stages and captured the most courageous rider jersey following a lengthy breakaway in stage two. In 2008, he placed 11th in the prologue, ninth in stage five and 16th overall.

    "I'm going to take a lot of opportunities to try things," said Jacques-Maynes. "I want to put myself out there to try, even if it seems like it's a long shot. I'm not afraid to get out there and race my bike to see what I can do."

    "With the excessive amount of climbing, every stage is just bigger, with an extra climb and more miles in every stage," he added. "It will be typical late spring racing, with a lot of fit people who are going to be able to race hard all day long."

    Jacques-Maynes made name for himself while racing for Priority Health at the 2007 edition of the Tour of California when he placed third in the prologue and 10th in the stage five time trial. He nearly took the yellow leader's jersey following stage one after a series of overall contenders, including Levi Leipheimer, were involved in a large crash on the Santa Rosa finishing circuits. Eventually the race officials blamed the crash on the course condition and awarded the injured riders and the peloton the same time.

    "That was good example of being a good bike racer and getting the job done right, which is what you strive for in racing," said a modest Jacques-Maynes. "But that also involved a lot of circumstance far removed from my control. It was not something that I engineered but just barely didn't accomplish. Which was why I wasn't too upset having missed that opportunity. That was something that was a null event, it could have happened but it...

  • New test for human growth hormone nabs first athlete

    Tests for human growth hormone are being conducted at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 14:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    British rugby league player's positive a landmark in anti-doping

    Almost 12 years after Willy Voet was caught with a car full of performance enhancing drugs at the Belgian border heading to the Tour de France, anti-doping authorities have successfully banned an athlete for one of the drugs found in Voet's possession: human growth hormone (hGH).

    In a landmark case, UK Anti-Doping announced that rugby league player Terry Newton has accepted a two-year suspension after testing positive for hGH in an out-of-competition control carried out on November 24, 2009 . This is the first time an athlete has been sanctioned for hGH use.

    HGH has long been used by athletes to help in recovery and to aide in muscle growth. It has been on the World anti-doping Agency's (WADA) list of banned substances but tests for the hormone have proven difficult because it is produced by the human body naturally, and the drug does not remain in the system for long.

    "This is an exciting major breakthrough that has been the result of many years of careful research with WADA," said King's College London Drug Control Centre Director, Professor David Cowan.

    "The detection of substances that are virtually identical to our natural hormones has always represented a challenge. This shows how science has closed an important gap and further enhances our ability to deter the cheating athlete to ensure the integrity of sport and promote healthy competition."

    The WADA General Director, David Howman, had strong words of warning to athletes, reminding them that rules now allow for samples to be stored for up to eight years and re-analysed with new tests as they are developed.

    "This first completed case involving an analytical finding for human growth hormone (hGH) is a positive step in the global fight against doping in sport," said Howman.

    "It sends a strong message to those athletes who take the risk to misuse hGH that we will ultimately catch them. WADA and the anti-doping community have committed significant...

  • Ten Dam, Vanendert and Cunego injured in Ruta Del Sol crash

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) putting in the big ones late in the race.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2010, 16:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Early season racing claims more victims in Spain

    Two riders left the Ruta Del Sol in an ambulance on Monday after a high-speed crash in the final kilometre of the second stage to Córdoba.

    Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) were taken to hospital by ambulance,  and Linus Gerdemann (Milram) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) were also involved.

    Vanendert suffered cranio-facial trauma and an injury to his right knee, while Ten Dam also suffered a wounds to his head and hip. Gerdemann went down for the second time in as many days, but his team confirmed he sustained only bruises and will continue the race.

    The German explained that he was not contesting the sprint, but a crowd barrier fell in front of him. He was unable to avoid it and somersaulted off his bike and landed on the barrier on his back.

    "That was one of the worst crashes of my career. Fortunately I wasn't hurt. I had held myself out of the sprint on purpose, in order not to crash. Why all of a sudden a barrier lay in the road, I can't explain. At any rate, I turned a somersault over it and landed on it on my back. Apart from a few bruises and a shock, I am fine.”

    Lampre's Damiano Cunego also remounted after the spill and crossed the line but hurt his right forearm. He went to the hospital for x-rays, according to his team.

    CCC Polsat's Sylwester Janiszewsky and Tomasz Kiendys were also involved but did not require medical assistance.

  • Renshaw motivated ahead of European return

    Mark Renshaw was on parade after an immaculate performance in the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    February 23, 2010, 8:03 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Racing return expected in four weeks time

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) will be one of Australia’s last professional riders to leave his homeland, bound for the European cycling season, when he boards a plane tomorrow. A battle with Epstein Barr virus delayed the start to Renshaw’s season, which would usually commence at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in early January, however spending a week at the Australian Institute of Sport has whetted Renshaw’s appetite for success.

    “I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been to get out there and start winning races,” said Renshaw. “Motivation has never been an issue, but having the setbacks really gives it a boost.”

    Renshaw joined Australian track rider Glenn O’Shea, who is recovering from glandular fever, at the AIS earlier this month. The pair worked with Doctor David Martin who taught them new training techniques to aid with recovery from their respective conditions.

    “Dr. Dave Martin worked closely with Michael Rogers when he had Epstein Barr and knows a lot about recovery,” said Renshaw. “So I’ve been working with the AIS since we had discussions at Tour Down Under. I went down there [to Canberra] and learnt a lot about Epstein Barr from him.

    “We tried a few different training routines like one legged and capped heart rate sessions,” said Renshaw. “He was really happy with how I’m recovering.”

    With the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships being held in Melbourne, Australia at the end of this season, Renshaw sees an opportunity to make the most of his early season set-back. Renshaw hasn’t been the only rider to get his season underway later, with HTC-Columbia team-mate Mark Cavendish also having to delay the start to his year due to dental issues.

    “We’ve seen a lot of the bigger riders starting their seasons late – like Thor Hushovd,” he said. “So if...