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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 8, 2010

Date published:
February 08, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Vuelta a Guatemala winner Velásquez's B-sample positive

    The Guatemalan team
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 8:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Guatemalan federation President confirms counter-analysis result

    The B-sample of the 2009 Vuelta a Guatemala winner Nery Velásquez has also come back positive, according to the president of the Guatemalan Cycling Federation.

    Alfredo Flores told news agency EFE that both the A and B samples from a test conducted on Nery Velásquez during the 2009 edition of the Guatemalan tour had tested positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid developed for veterinary use.

    According to Flores, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed that the tests were positive.

    “The standards of collection and the processing of the sample were all carried out as required by the UCI,” he said. “A manipulation of the samples can be excluded, because everything was done properly.”

    Velásquez was tested at least 14 times during the race with the positive returned from a test conducted on the penultimate stage, October 31. He has continued to maintain his innocence since the original test results were announced.

    It would be the second offence for the Guatemalan rider, who served a two-year suspension for EPO after testing positive in 2004.

  • Katusha signs contract with Mikhaylo Khalilov

    Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce) tops the podium
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 13:21 GMT
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Ukrainian veteran becomes 28th member of ProTour squad's roster

    Katusha confirmed that they have signed Mikhaylo Khalilov for the 2010 season. The Ukrainian veteran has inked a one year contract that will see him complete his tenth season as a professional with the Russian Squad.

    Khalilov, 34, began his career as a stagiare with Aguardiente Nectar - Selle Italia in 2000, with whom he won six stages and the overall title at the Tour of Faso. In 2008, he claimed his biggest career coups with wins at Coppa Sabatini and Memorial Cimurri.

    Katusha will be Khalilov's first ProTour squad. He left Irish-registered Italian outfit Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce at the end of 2009, after three seasons with the squad. Previously, he had completed two-year stints at both Team LPR and Colombia-Selle Italia.

    Khalilov becomes the 28th member of Katusha's 2010 roster.
     

  • Belgians remember Ballerini

    Franco Ballerini wins Paris-Roubaix in 1998
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 15:08 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Lefevere, Peeters and Museeuw mourn the Italian's passing

    Franco Ballerini's death on Sunday has caused sorrow not only in his native Italy, but also in Belgium, where he rode for Mapei in the 1990s. He had his biggest successes with the team, winning Paris-Roubaix in 1995 and 1998 and two if his ex-teammates and one of his former bosses have spoken about their memories of the man.

    Patrick Lefevere, head of Team Quick Step, was Directeur Sportif at Mapei during Ballerini's time with the team. “He had a tremendous physique, but it was difficult for him to win,” Lefevere told sporza. “When he came to Mapei, Ballerini was a fierce attacker who didn't think much. We had to do a lot of tactical tweaking.”

    Lefevere continued: “I remember Paris-Roubaix in 1993. Ballerini went for the win, but did something wrong and finished second behind Duclos-Lasalle. And in 1996 he had a flat tyre, otherwise Mapei would have had the top four places.” Ballerini finished fifth.

    Peeters kept in contact

    Wilfried Peeters, Directeur Sportif at Quick Step, was born in the same year as Ballerini and they were rivals on the road in 1994. “He was my competitor in a two-man sprint in 1994 when I won Gent-Wevelgem,” said Peeters. He then joined Mapei as Ballerini's teammate.
    “We had regular contact. We lost not only a good friend and colleague, but also an Italian coach you could count on.”

    Peeters, who is leading his team in the Tour of Qatar, said that he did not inform his riders of Ballerini's death until after the opening team time trial, “because so many guys on the team still had good ties with Franco.”

    Museeuw mourns a lost champion

    “The year is still young and we have already lost a champion,” said former teammate Johan Museeuw.

    "He was a sympathetic man who could really work for the team. I usually got along well with him, but sometimes there were...

  • Arvesen out of of Qatar with broken collarbone

    Kurt Alse Arvesen comes out in the Norwegian Champion's kit
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 15:49 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Crashes out on second stage

    Kurt-Asle Arvesen's Tour of Qatar is over. The Norwegian riding for Team Sky crashed and broke his collarbone only one km into the second stage on Monday.

    He went down within the neutralised zone, calling it “ an absurd kind of accident because it happened before the race proper had started.

    "We were basically just getting ready to start racing when I let a guy go past me but it then got a bit narrow and I lost control of the bike and crashed to the ground. It's really unfortunate to break your collarbone at any time but especially now as I was just getting ready to start my year."

    He broke his other collarbone last year in the 10th stage of the Tour de France. "The only good thing about this is that it is on the other side and hopefully the healing process will be as smooth as last time."

    Arvesen's team won the opening team time trial on Sunday, He did not finish with his teammates, but was 90th, 36 seconds down.

    Arvesen, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on Tuesday, joined the newly formed British team this year after spending six years with CSC/Saxo Bank.

  • Boasson Hagen loses Qatar lead but learns a lesson

    Edvald Boasson Hagen
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 17:06 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Arvesen crash a blow to Team Sky's spring campaign

    Team Sky dominated the opening team time trial in the Qatar on Sunday but their chances of overall success ended painfully on Monday when Edvald Boasson Hagen lost the leader's gold jersey and slipped to 42nd overall, 9:33 behind new leader Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil)

    The team also lost their experienced road captain Kurt-Asle Arvesen in a crash in the neutralised section, making a day to forget for the new British ProTour team.

    Arvesen hit a reflector in the road, lost control of his bike and landed heavily on his right shoulder. He fractured his right collarbone near the end of the bone and was taken to hospital in Doha by ambulance.

    He fractured his left collarbone in a crash during last year's Tour de France and will now miss several weeks of precious early-season racing.

    Arvesen quickly posted an upbeat twitter message before leaving Qatar: "Shit continues to happen. Thanks for all the messages!" he said.

    Cyclingnews understands that Arvesen will fly back to Norway overnight and undergo surgery in Oslo in an attempt to speed up his recovery and time off the bike.

    Boasson Hagen misses the attack

    Arvesen's injury was a blow to all the riders at Team Sky. Things then got worse as they were caught out by the attack from Quick Step and Cervelo Test Team as the echelons formed in the strong crosswind blowing from the north across the barren and exposed Qatar peninsula.

    While most of the big name and race favourites here in Qatar were in the 28-rider front group, Boasson Hagen had missed it and his teammates were forced to lead the chase. They held the gap for 40km before cracking and then Boasson punctured, losing his place in the second echelon and any chance of overall success.

    With all his teammates having worked hard in the chase, Team Sky had no one in the front group and slipped from the top of the overall standings to more than three minutes behind. It was a...

  • Van Garderen makes HTC-Columbia debut in Mallorca

    American Tejay Van Garderen before the 2009 World Championships
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 17:42 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Challenge Mallorca a learning experience for American

    Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) enjoyed his professional debut on Sunday's stage one of the Challenge Mallorca, in Spain. The American came home in 69th place but worked for team sprinter André Greipel who, despite recent success at the Tour Down Under, could only manage 11th place.

    Last year Van Garderen rode for the Rabobank Continental squad but signed for Bob Stapleton's team after securing second spot in the Tour de l'Avenir. However, Sunday's opening criterium around the streets of Palma marked a new dawn in the young professional's career and one that despite Greipel's loss, gave Van Garderen some vital learning experiences.

    "It was a flat criterium style race so we were trying to set things up for Greipel. The team worked well to keep the bunch together but we couldn't get it organised in the end. It was a lot of fun and it was short and fast. I wouldn't say it was super-hard but it was good fun to get things started," Van Garderen told Cyclingnews.

    The Mallorca Challenge allows riders to swap in and out of the squad and van Garderen will race stages three and five before the end of the week. However his learning curve began even before stage one, on the team bus before the start.

    "Brian Holm was the director and he told us that our holidays were over and that if he told us to do something we had to do it without discussion and that we shouldn't talk over the radio. If we disagreed then we should talk after the race.

    "It was a little nerve-racking to hear that when I was coming from development teams where I was hearing things like 'try and be at the front if you can and try and learn'. I'm not saying Brian put a ton of pressure on me but it was more professional and business-like."

    As for the race itself, Van Garderen believes that the experience will prove important as he sets his sights on a starting place in both the Tour of California and Dauphine.

    "I still have some things to...

  • Farrar in the action in Qatar

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream)
    Article published:
    February 08, 2010, 18:55 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    US sprinter goes deep in 2010 debut

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin) is making his 2010 season debut at the Tour of Qatar but was soon in the thick of the action, leading the Garmin team to second place in the opening team time trial on Sunday and then making the key selection that split the bunch on stage two.

    Farrar lost some time in the final kilometres when the Cervelo Test Team went on the attack but is still ninth overall. He is 2:41 behind new race leader Wouter Mol but only 36 seconds behind Tom Boonen (Quick Step).

    Unfortunately his Garmin teammate Steve Cozza is out of the Tour of Qatar after breaking his collarbone in a crash. Martijn Maaskant also went down but was unhurt.

    "It's certainly not the easiest way to start your season. And we lost Cozza. That's too bad. You never like to hear that news at the start of the season," Farrar told Cyclingnews after the finish of stage on Monday.

    "I was good enough to be in the front group and that makes me happy. I'm feeling okay about my form just by doing that but it was hard for sure. You can have good sensations in training but you never really know until the first race."

    Farrar revealed how the race was blown apart in cross winds just before the first sprint and the change in race direction from north to south.

    "Before the first sprint, maybe eight or ten kilometres before it, the road bent to the right a bit and the cross wind happened. Quick Step and Cervelo blew thing apart and it was very fast," he said.

    "I would have liked to have done a little better on the stage but at least I was up there at the end. When you're alone against so many guys, it's kind of hard to do very much. I hope I can get a good result on a stage before the end of the week but this was a good first test."

  • Haussler: Cervelo will go on the attack in Qatar

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam), 25, wants to represent Australia at the World Championships
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 0:11 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Cervelo Test Team vows to fight despite one-minute penalty

    Heinrich Haussler had vowed revenge before the start of stage two after the Cervelo Test Team riders were penalised a minute after Haussler pushed Gabriel Rasch during the team time trial. And he backed up his words with action during the 147km stage.

    Haussler insisted he had pushed Rasch to stop him crashing but the judges saw otherwise. The team had briefly threatened to quit the race but turned its disappointment with the decision into anger on the road.

    Just like in 2009, the Cervelo Test Team dominated the attacks and packed riders into the echelons. Haussler, Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, Andreas Klier, Martin Reimer and even former track sprint world champion Theo Bos were all in the 28-rider decisive front group. The boys in black teamed up with Tom Boonen and his Quick Step domestiques and blew the race apart.

    Cervelo even tried to split the front group and then took turns to attack in the final five kliometres. Hammond went first and when Boonen chased him, Haussler jumped away and dragged small group clear. The late attacks opened what could turn out to be small but very precious time gaps on Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions), Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC).

    Haussler gave his all during the stage and sat on the kerb side for several minutes as he recovered from his huge effort. "Other teams would have kicked up a stink about what happened in the team time trial, it just wasn't fair but we responded the right way today," Haussler told Cyclingnews.

    "It’s good to see that our form is there and we're really growing as a team,” he added. “The result would have been different if we'd still been in second position after the team time trial. But that's the way it is. That's Qatar, that's cycling, that's life. You can't change. You just have to get on with it."

    Haussler described his race in detail. "Sky didn't chase the break until it got to 25 minutes but they weren't...