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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, February 20, 2010

Date published:
February 20, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Podium Guys in Amsterdam for the Giro?

    Would he be this happy if he was left with stubble rash?
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 8:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Left-wing politician suggests gay podium presenters

    The winner of the prologue of the Giro d'Italia in Amsterdam this year should be greeted not by the usual podium girls but by podium guys, a Dutch politician has argued. The Giro opens in the Dutch city on May 8 with an 8km individual time trial.

    ''In a city like Amsterdam, known as the gay capital, it would be nice not to have two beautiful misses, but two fine misters,” Marco de Goede of the GroenLinks party argued Wednesday at a city council meeting, according to Reuters.

    “Do not let a beautiful lady with long legs present the pink jersey award to the winner of the prologue, but a man with a broad chest. Or a drag queen,” he suggested. “A 'Miss' is hopelessly outdated and sexist.”

    De Goede said that such an action would not only emphasise Amsterdam as a gay capital, but also contribute to the acceptance of homosexuality in sport.

    The Alderman responsible for sports, Carolien Gehrels, however, kept the boat. She pointed out that not the city council but the local TV stations and AT5 RTV Noord-Holland organised a competition to find a so-called round miss.

    So far, actress Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen has been selected as the Giro “miss”.

  • Knee problems for Haussler

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 9:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cervelo's Hunt out of Algarve with knee pain

    Friday's tough mountain stage in the Volta ao Algarve was a hard one on Cervelo TestTeam's knees with both Heinrich Haussler and Jeremy Hunt complained of pains.

    The weather had improved from Thursday's rain and cold, but it was still quite windy. There were also a number of crashes along the way.

    “One of the biggest, with five to six riders in it, contained Heinrich Haussler. He complained of some pain in his knee but seems to be all right and did complete the stage,” according to Directeur Sportif Marcello Albasini.

    Haussler finished 66th on the day, 2:06 down.

    “Unfortunately we did lose Jeremy Hunt today for the remainder of this race,” Albasini continued. “He was complaining of knee pain and decided, after his long breakaway the previous day, to take care of his knee so he is in top form for the upcoming Spring Classics."

  • Sinkewitz in limbo as time runs out

    Patrik Sinkewitz (PSK Whirlpool-Author) on the podium to receive the yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 11:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    German still looking for a team for 2010

    Patrik Sinkewitz is still without a cycling team for 2010 and admits that time is running out if he is going to rescue his career as a professional cyclist.

    Sinkewitz rode for PSK Whirlpool-Author last year after making a comeback from a doping-related ban. The 29-year-old enjoyed success, winning three races, including stage three of the Vuelta a Portugal. However after the team downgraded from Professional Continental status, Sinkewitz was left in limbo, the team unable to retain his services with a smaller budget.

    “Maybe in the next few days I’ll have an option but the teams I’ve tried where there was a possibility, either don’t answer or they don’t have easy contacts. Some just don’t have the money for me,” Sinkewitz told Cyclingnews.

    “It’s disappointing for me but every rider has a different situation. I’m optimistic and hope that I’ll be lucky.”

    Since his return to the sport after testing positive for testosterone in 2007 Sinkewitz is quick to point out that he has been part of the UCI’s biological passport and that constant checks with the governing body have been made at his request in order to show teams he has been riding without controversy.

    “Last year I raced and I’m in the biological passport. I’m 29 and I should be in the best years of my career. I have experience and I want to race so badly. I made a big mistake. I paid for that and I know it had a knock on effects too, but I’m still optimistic. I hope that things will be okay in the next few weeks.”

    Sinkewitz has trained over the winter and is unwilling to contemplate a life without the sport. When mentioning retirement, the former Quick Step and Telekom rider quickly dismisses the idea.

    “I’ll think about that when there’s no more chance of finding a team. I want to come back and I’m putting all my...

  • Gesink, Flens out of Haut Var for Rabobank

    Robert Gesink and Rick Flens during Rabobank's North Sea sailing trip.
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 11:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Illnesses strike down two Dutch riders

    Rabobank had to make some last-minute changes to its line-up for the Tour du Haut Var. Neither Robert Gesink nor Rick Flens will be at the start on Saturday afternoon at La Croix Valmer, both having become ill this week.

    Gesink returned home on Thursday from the team's training camp in France, with a case of the flu. He will now sit out racing until his next planned race, Tirreno-Adriatico (March 10-16). “I'd really like to have ridden Haut Var,” he said on the team's website. “Last week in the Tour Mediterranean it got better from day-to-day. On the last day I felt fine.”

    The 23-year-old is disappointed by missing the race, but is not concerned. “I will now take a few days break and then go on fully with my preparations.”

    Flens came down with a mild respiratory infection at the Tour Mediterranean, suffering from the bad weather as did so many others. He continued to train in France this week, but “is not quite in top condition,” the team said.

    Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker will now have a squad at Haut Var of Steven Kruijswijk, Grischa Niermann, Kai Reus, Dennis van Winden, Pieter Weening, Koos Moerenhout, Dmitryi Kozontchuk and Jos van Emden.

  • Portal returns to racing after heart problem

    Nicolas Portal sees the lighter side of TT training.
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 11:57 GMT
    Richard Moore

    Dropped by Caisse d’Epargne but on the comeback trail with Team Sky

    After being denied a racing licence by the French federation, Nicolas Vogondy (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) will need all the encouragement he can get. In which case, the two-time French national champion, who has been sidelined by a heart problem revealed during routine medical tests, need look no further than his countryman, Nicolas Portal.

    Thirty-year-old Portal has signed to Team Sky after four years with Caisse d’Epargne and after missing an entire season. Indeed, for seven months he didn’t even ride his bike after being diagnosed in late 2008 with the same condition as Vogondy, known as cardiac arrhythmia.

    The only cure is rest, and for Portal it has worked. He was given the all-clear last October, signed with Sky two weeks later, and is now, three months after resuming training, returning to racing. “I feel like a new professional,” says the rider who Simon Gerrans, a friend from his Ag2r days, says is likely to be one of his new team’s strong men in the Ardennes Classics.

    His name might not be known to everybody, but within the peloton, and by his previous teams, Portal is recognised and respected as one of the best domestiques in the business.

    Yet he was dropped by Caisse d’Epargne in October, just after being given the OK to return. “They told me to wait, but in October you can’t wait,” says Portal. “So I called Simon and he said Sky could be a possibility. He spoke to Scott Sunderland and two or three days later I spoke to Scott, and I joined.

    “I think for me this is the best team to be on,” he continues. “And I know I am very lucky. When I returned, at the [GP Cycliste la] Marseillaise, and then Etoile des Besseges, it was very strange, and very exciting. For me it’s like being a new professional, even though it’s my ninth year as a professional.

    "One year out of the peloton is a very long time, but I feel very excited....

  • USPro Criterium Championships moves to Glencoe

    Jelly Belly's Brad Huff in the peloton
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 14:34 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Former Champion Huff looks forward to challenge of new course in 2010

    USA Cycling has announced that the 2010 USPro Criterium Championships will be relocated from its home of 23 years, Downers Grove, to the nearby, Village of Glencoe, Illinois. The professional men's championship event will take place on Saturday, August 14.

    Former USPro Criterium Champion Brad Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) has competed on the Downers Grove circuit for the past eight years. Huff says he is sad to say goodbye to Downers Grove, however, he is looking forward to the new opportunities that will be presented in the Village of Glencoe.

    "It will be a new experience for every professional because it’s been in Downers Grove for so long," said Huff, who won the 2006 USPro Criterium Championships. "All of us, the ones that are really going for the championships, know that course like the back of our hand. We know where to recover and where to put our effort in so, now, it could open up a lot of possibilities with riders being unfamiliar with the course."

    Special Events Management, long-time organizers of the USPro Criterium Championships and USA Cycling, announced a new partnership with AT&T as title sponsor of the 2010 event.

    Jon Knouse is the promotor of the original Glencoe Grand Prix Bike Race, a series of criteriums for Elite men and women category 1-5, Masters and Juniors, and is now working with Special Events Management to host the USPro Criterium Championships. The course traditionally used for the Glencoe Grand Prix is a flat, one-mile circuit with four corners. Details of the parcours for the 2010 the USPro Championship are yet to be released.

    "I think that Glencoe has some large shoes to fill," Huff said. "The Downers Grove community has been supportive of that event for so long. Having competed in that race every year since 2003, it is kind of sad to see it go away. But, I look forward to a new opportunity at the same time. Courses change and races change venues all the time so you just...

  • Rosseler claims first victory for RadioShack

    Sebastien Rosseler (Team RadioShack) solos to victory in stage four, the first win for his team.
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 20:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian powerhouse solos to victory in Vuelta ao Algarve

    While several of Team RadioShack's stars have already racked up podium finishes in the team's inaugural 2010 season, the team's Belgian rouleur Sébastien Rosseler claimed the first-ever win for the American ProTour squad on Saturday in Portugal's Vuelta ao Algarve.

    The 28-year-old Rosseler, known for his time trialing ability, soloed away from a six-rider break with 28 kilometres remaining in the fourth stage and crossed the finish line in Tavira, Portugal 20 seconds ahead of his breakaway companions.

    "I told Séba to attack as the peloton was coming closer," said team director José Azevedo. "It was better to attack when the gap was still three minutes than when it was one minute. It was hard for Séba, but he is so strong!"

    "Never give Rosseler 100 meter advantage, you will not catch him," added team director Dirk Demol. "We saw that he was the strongest rider [on the] uphill. With fast guys like [Mickael] Delage and [Iljo] Keisse [in the break], we could not take any risks. What a strong guy Rosseler is! The course was very hard, but he impressed us the whole day.

    "I think we have not yet seen the best of him. Séba is one of our key riders for the Classics. I think he will be ready for it."

    The Vuelta ao Algarve stage win marks Rosseler's seventh victory as a professional rider, five of which have come in time trials. In 2009 Rosseler garnered two wins, claiming the time trial stages at the 4 Days of Dunkerque and the Tour of Belgium.

  • Ventoso seeks Andalucia stage win

    Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Carmiooro NGC) awaits the start of the final stage.
    Article published:
    February 20, 2010, 22:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard to use stage race as Milano-Sanremo prep

    Francisco Ventoso (Carmiooro NGC) has recovered from a knee injury suffered during the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria three weeks ago and is looking for a stage win and a boost in form at the upcoming Vuelta a Andalucia.

    The 27-year-old Spaniard has been training in Benidorm, Spain to escape the flooding in his home region of Cantabria and looks forward to going head-to-head with the sprinting talent at the Vuelta a Andalucia, citing Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) and Chris Sutton (Team Sky) as the riders to watch.

    "The second and third stages are good for sprinters, but where I have a clearer opportunity is on the demanding last day," said Ventoso. "If I make it over all the difficult mountains I can contest the sprint in a smaller group."

    The Vuelta a Andalucia's 161.4km final stage features three categorised climbs, including the first category Puerto de El Torcal 46 kilometres from the finish.

    "Another objective is to use the Vuelta as a return to the rhythm of competition in order to face Milano-Sanremo with strength. I do not rule out training after some stages if time permits to adapt to the mileage of the Classics."