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Second Edition Cycling News, September 1, 2009

Date published:
September 01, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Euskaltel denies notification of Astarloza's EPO counter-analysis

    Mikel Astarloza and his teammates
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 10:30 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Counter-analysis pending for Tour stage winner Astarloza's positive EPO test, says team

    Team Euskaltel-Euskadi denied receiving notification that counter-analysis confirmed Mikel Astarloza's positive test for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO). Various media sources have announced in recent days the counter-analysis of a urine sample taken June 26 also tested positive.

    "Right now we do not know one way or the other," team manager Miguel Madariaga told "We know that the counter-analysis has been done, and that the laboratory in Madrid has sent it to the UCI [International Cycling Union - ed.], and the UCI now has to decide."

    Euskaltel hasn't received notification of the result, he said. If the UCI announces a positive counter-analysis on the "B sample" Spain's Astarloza will have 10 days to appeal.

    Astarloza tested positive for EPO on June 26, but the UCI only announced the result July 31. He rode the Tour de France and won the mountain stage to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, July 1.

    The UCI temporarily suspended Astarloza, 29, when it announced the result. The team said that it considered him innocent until proven guilty.

    Astarloza was the second rider from the Basque team to test positive that month after Iñigo Landaluze.

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  • Robbie McEwen ends 2009 season early due to leg injury

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) may miss the Tour de France after a recent crash
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 11:00 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Aussie Robbie McEwen ends season, rehabilitating injured leg ahead of 2010

    Australia's Robbie McEwen decided to put an end to his 2009 season and concentrate on a better 2010 season with Team Katusha. He is still recovering from a serious leg injury suffered at the Tour of Belgium.

    "No more racing for me this year," he wrote on Twitter. He said that he is "concentrating on full rehab" and hopes to back at 100 percent for the Tour Down Under in January.

    McEwen, 37, hit a street sign with his left knee in Tour of Belgium stage two May 28. The crash fractured his shinbone near the knee and sliced through ligaments. He had two screws removed from his knee last week, and he said he "feels free without the screws".

    He hoped to defend his 2008 win in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany, August 16, but felt unprepared. He planned to return at the Eneco Tour at the end of August, but he continued to have knee pain.

    In addition to the Tour Down Under, McEwen highlighted other 2010 goals. He wants to ride the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, and the World Championships in Geelong, Australia.

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  • Kirchen Katusha bound in 2010

    Kim Kirchen (Columbia-Highroad) wins stage seven of the Tour de Suisse
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 11:31 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Luxembourger leaves Columbia after two years

    Kim Kirchen will ride for Team Katusha in 2010, he announced today. The Luxembourger is leaving Team Columbia-HTC after two seasons with the American squad.

    Kirchen, 31, said that he had been unable to reach an agreement for a contract extension with Columbia, and he told team management this past weekend that he would be leaving the team.

    "This will be like a new start," he told the Luxembourg newspaper Tageblatt. "A real motivation push."

    "Through the end of the season I will fulfil my assignments at Columbia to the best of my ability," Kirchen noted. "Then I will look forward to the first meeting with my new teammates."

    Kirchen's biggest success at Columbia was winning the Fleche Wallonne in 2008. That year was also his most successful season to date. He also wore the yellow leader's jersey at the Tour de France for four stages and the green points jersey for six, before he finished eighth overall.

    He finished seventh overall at the Tour in 2007 and was awarded the win in stage 15 after Alexandre Vinokourov was disqualified for doping.

    This year saw a tough start for the Luxembourg national time trial champion (2008 and 2009). He broke a collarbone in stage four of the Tour of California. The injury kept him out of competition until May. Kirchen won a stage at the Tour de Suisse and went on to ride the Tour de France, where he finished 57th overall.

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  • Garmin announces Hunter and Van Summeren in 2010 team

    Robert Hunter (Barloworld) didn't mind that all sprinters were eliminated when the sprint started.
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 12:35 BST
    Gregor Brown

    USA's Garmin welcomes Hunter, Van Summeren, and six others for 2010 season

    USA's team Garmin-Slipstream announced six new riders for its 2010 team today. The new riders include Robert Hunter and Johan Van Summeren, who will support the team's sprint and overall classification goals.

    "We'll continue to build on the success Tyler [Farrar] has had by giving him more lead-out guys," said team manager Jonathan Vaughters.

    Both South African Hunter and Belgian Van Summeren can lead-out USA's Farrar, but also aim for their own victories. Farrar finished runner-up in several Giro d'Italia and Tour de France sprints.

    Van Summeren finished in the top ten at Paris-Roubaix in the last two editions. He will lead alongside Martijn Maaskant, who finished fourth in 2008.

    The team will also support Christian Vande Velde and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France by adding climbers, said Vaughters. Climbers Fredrik Kessiakoff and Michel Kreder will ride for the team in 2010, while time trialists Peter Stetina and Tom Zirbel complete the list of six riders added to the Garmin roster.

    Vaughters said, all the new riders "on this list are all capable of stage wins and one-day race victories."

    Garmin brought in both Stetina and Kreder from its Felt-Holowesko under-23 team. They fit well with the team's goal of developing young talent, said Vaughters.

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  • Leipheimer signs with RadioShack for two years

    Levi Leipheimer (Astana) leads teammate Lance Armstrong in Tour de France stage eight.
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 12:36 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Astana's management situation remains in limbo

    Levi Leipheimer will ride for Team RadioShack in 2010. The Californian revealed today that he has signed a two-year deal with the American squad and will leave Astana after two seasons. While Leipheimer has confirmed his departure, Astana remain tight-lipped over transfers in or out of the team as the team continues to work through its management arrangements for 2010.

    Leipheimer will follow his current team manager, Johan Bruyneel, to RadioShack. "The last two years of my career have been the best and that's because of the team Johan [Bruyneel] assembled," said 35-year-old Leipheimer, according to ESPN. "I still have the desire and passion to ride the bike. There's a trend now for riders to go longer and longer. I feel like I'm still getting better."

    ESPN reported that Leipheimer's relationship with Lance Armstrong had played a major role in his decision to sign with RadioShack. Armstrong's return from retirement this year re-united the two riders, who rode together on U.S. Postal after eight years. The two have ridden a number of races together this season, with Leipheimer supported by Armstrong in his victories at the Tour of California and the Tour of the Gila.

    Leipheimer will follow Armstrong, Jose Luis Rubiera and Sergio Paulinho to RadioShack from Astana. Last month, Armstrong confirmed that team manager Johan Bruyneel will also be part of the new team. However, on Tuesday, Astana would not confirm any further departures from the team due to the uncertainty that surrounds the future of its management.

    "As long as Bruyneel is still there, no other manager can work for the team [Astana] until 2010," Philippe Maertens, Astana's press officer, told Cyclingnews on Tuesday.

    In July Astana's Kazakh backers and Alexander Vinokourov announced their intention to take control of the team. Despite those comments and

  • Germany's Burghardt joins BMC Racing for two seasons

    Marcus Burghardt (Columbia-HTC) pops off the front of the bunch.
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 13:38 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    One-day specialist Marcus Burghardt leaves Columbia after six years for BMC Racing

    German Marcus Burghardt will leave Columbia-HTC after six years to join USA's BMC Racing for the next two years, he announced today.

    "I learnt a lot and had some great successes with T-Mobile Team and Columbia," he said on his website. "Now it is time to accept an offer for new challenges and new duties, and I look forward to the new experiences. Those will include being leader, especially at the Classics."

    The California-based BMC team is second division, but that it hopes to have a top-level ProTour licence soon, Burghardt said. He looks forward to starting in the Spring Classics and the Tour de France.

    He has two major wins, a stage of the 2008 Tour de France and the 2007 Gent-Wevelgem.

    USA's George Hincapie and World Champion Alessandro Ballan may also ride for BMC Racing, according to Ballan.


  • BMC strengthens team for 2010 with World Champ Ballan and USA's Hincapie

    Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-N.G.C) at the startline of the GP Ouest France
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 15:50 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Seven new riders include Kroon, Morabito

    BMC Racing announced today it signed several important riders for the coming season, including World Champion Alessandro Ballan and US Champion George Hincapie.

    "When we started with the idea of the BMC Racing Team, we had a plan which would one day elevate us to the highest level of professional racing. That day is today," read a press statement by co-owners, Jim Ochowicz and Andy Rihs.

    The team also announced the addition of Marcus Burghardt (Columbia-HTC), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank), Steve Morabito (Astana), Michael Schär (Astana) and Simon Zahner (neo-pro) will join the team.

    Ballan, Hincapie and Burghardt are all specialists in one-day races, like Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix.

    "I will have new motivation working with them," said Ballan. Milan-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix and the Belgian Classics are some of his 2010 goals, he said.

    Ballan, 29, established himself as a one-day rider with wins in the 2005 Trofeo Laigueglia and 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen. Last year he finished fourth in Ronde, third in Paris-Roubaix and won the World Championships.

    Hincapie, seven times in the top ten at Roubaix, will be a captain and a mentor. "Definitely the idea of working with the young team and helping to build the program appealed to me," he said.

    Burghardt, 26, is a developing one-day rider. He already has two major wins, a stage of the 2008 Tour de France and the 2007 Gent-Wevelgem. He and Hincapie both leave USA's Columbia-HTC.

    Kroon, 33, won a stage in the 2006 Tour and finished second in the Amstel Gold this year.

    BMC is a second division team, or Professional Continental, based in Santa Rosa, California. The team came about in 2008 from the former team Phonak, with John Lelangue continuing as director sportif.

    It may apply for a top division licence, ProTour, or rely on wild card invitations to the top races. This year the team raced the Dauphiné...

  • Riders from Down Under linked to Team Sky

    Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) is primed for another day of hard yakka before the fifth stage.
    Article published:
    September 01, 2009, 17:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Two Aussies and a New Zealander may join British squad for 2010

    Two more Australians and a New Zealander may be joining the new British Team Sky for 2010. Road riders Mathew Hayman, Chris Sutton and Greg Henderson will make the move according to

    The team has already reportedly signed Simon Gerrans from Cervelo. Representing Australia, Hayman, 31, would make the move from Rabobank while Sutton, 24, would transfer from Garmin-Slipstream. The Kiwi Henderson, who won stage two of the Vuelta a Espana this weekend, now rides for Columbia-HTC.

    Australia's influence on the team extends beyond just the riders. Scott Sunderland and Shane Sutton are already part of the management.

    Sky's latest still-to-be-confirmed signings seem to support an unofficial team policy of not hiring foreign riders who might compete with British riders on the track. All three riders from Oceania compete on the road.

    South African John-Lee Augustyn and Brits Steve Cummings, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have also been linked to the new Sky team.

    Official confirmation of recent rider transfers is likely soon as September 1 is the date the UCI lays down as the earliest a contract can be finalised.