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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 1, 2010

Date published:
April 01, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Saur-Sojasun manager furious over Tour non-selection

    Stephane Heulot gets a gift.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 11:27 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    "Cycling of the past prevailed" according to Heulot, openly criticises BMC

    After Tour de France organiser ASO announced the wild card invitations to the 2010 Grand Tour earlier this week, the manager of French Pro Continental team Saur-Sojasun, Stéphane Heulot, has spoken out angrily against the non-selection of his squad, saying that "the cycling of the past prevailed over a team of future hopefuls."

    Heulot, who directs a team of mostly young riders, was disappointed at ASO's decision to privilege international top teams in its invitations when, earlier this year, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme had indicated that smaller outfits like Saur-Sojasun, Skil-Shimano or Vacansoleil also had their chances if they showed good early season performances.

    "They made us believe that there was a competition on a sporting level, while it seems clear now that the file was closed many weeks ago," Heulot said in a press release. "It's not a case of being 'bad losers', quite simply because there never was any match. The selection criteria and the rules of the game were never clearly defined."

    The team manager was saddened his young guns would miss their opportunity to defy international pros at the Tour, and said this kind of competition would have been of great benefit to the outfit.

    "We needed this competition to grow," he explained. "We are engaged in a long-term project with young French riders who need top-level competitions to express their talent and give world-class cycling a fresh breeze. But if we don't participate in these events, we won't be able to make them progress. So people shouldn't be surprised that French cycling doesn't develop like it should..."

    While he accepted the decision, Heulot later vented more steam to the media. Speaking to 20minutes.fr, the team manager especially criticised the wild card invitation of US squad BMC Racing Team.

    "This choice is based on one man only [Cadel Evans - ed.]," he continued. "Of course, he's the World Champion, but he...

  • Lampre-Farnese Vini granted full ProTour licence

    Alessandro Petacchi and Damiano Cunego train in Tuscany
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 12:52 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Italian squad cleared to race in top-level competition

    Lampre-Farnese Vini has retained its ProTour licence, the International Cycling Union's (UCI) announced on Thursday. The Italian squad had been issued a temporary licence until March 31, pending further assessment by the UCI's licence commission and independent auditors.

    "Following an examination of the team's file, the squad's situation was judged to be in compliance with the regulations, and the licenses commission has deemed the matter closed," said the UCI in a statement.

    The team, which includes Italian stars Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi, will now be eligible for all ProTour events this season.

    Despite having received a four-year ProTour licence renewal last year, Lampre had faced losing the top-tier licence after the UCI had called into question its compliance with the strict criteria applied to ProTour teams. As a result of the delay the team missed the opening round of the ProTour series, the Tour Down Under, but have since competed in the second round of the ProTour calendar (Gent-Wevelgem).

    In 2005, Lampre was one of the founding members of the ProTour series.

    They have secured five wins this season, though none of those have come at a ProTour race. Lampre's last victory in the series came at the 2009 Tour of Poland, where its now former-rider Alessandro Ballan claimed overall victory.

  • Pozzato uncertain for Flanders

    Italian champion Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) awaits the start of stage two.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 13:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Race favourite struck by flu at De Panne

    Filippo Pozzato has been hit by a serious set back in his preparation for this Sunday's Tour of Flanders, with the Italian leader of the Katusha team forced to abandon the Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday after he displayed flu-like symptoms.

    The Belgian stage race was held in gruesome conditions and Pozzato was no longer able to follow as the peloton hit the Kemmelberg. He had looked out of sorts a day earlier on stage one, where he finished in the final peloton, almost 25 minutes down on the stage winner, Steve Chainel (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).

    "Today [Thursday], he will only ride a maximum of two hours behind the team car," team manager Jef Braeckevelt told Sporza. "The remainder of the day he has to rest in the team hotel."

    Three days before the 'Ronde', Katusha team captain Serguei Ivanov is also unwell. The Russian champion has reportedly been suffering from from diarrhea since last weekend.

  • Modolo to challenge sprinters in Turkey

    Sacha Modolo (Colnago CSF Inox) has been sprinting well.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 13:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Presidential Tour to decide Colnago-CSF's Giro line-up

    The Colnago-CSF Inox team of the Reverberi family been known for nurturing young talent for more than 25 years. After competing successfully at the Tour of Turkey in 2008 and 2009, the squad will now bring its new sprint prodigy Sacha Modolo to Istanbul on April 11.

    "We've been following Sacha for a long time," said director Roberto Reverberi. "In 2007, we signed a pre-contract with him before he turned 20. He's now riding the Three Days of De Panne in Belgium and he'll take his chance at the Hell van het Mergelland in Holland on Saturday before to going to Turkey with high ambitions. He's very confident!"

    Modolo, who finished fourth at the 2010 Milan-San Remo, will enjoy the support of his teammates in the sprints at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, April 11 to 18. His fellow sprinter, Mattia Gavazzi, who scored ten wins during the 2009 season, will also compete as the team's second sprinter.

    The entire team will be keen to impress their team's management, with the race to decide the final make up of their Giro d'Italia squad.

    "I like the Tour of Turkey a lot," Reverberi said. "This race is obviously growing. It's organised better and better. The landscapes are fantastic. The route this year is well-balanced with a time trial and two mountain stages. For us, it's ideal before the Giro d'Italia. We'll wait for the end of the Tour of Turkey to select our riders for the Giro."

    Reverberi's outfit enjoyed a lot of success in the past two years at the Turkish event with three stage victories in 2008 and two in 2009. Colnago-CSF has even higher ambitions this year, as it gives its young squad the opportunity to impress.

    "We have two good sprinters but we'll have plenty of other cards to play," Reverberi added. "Manuel Belletti is a fighter with a good speed, Federico Canuti and Filippo Savini are both good climbers.

    "But we'll have to be patient with Savini; he was injured at the Tour of Calabria and was in...

  • Grivko concedes victory to Millar at De Panne

    Ukranian Andrey Grivko (Astana) is a good time trialer.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 17:25 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Ukrainian maintains second place, distances Paolini

    Andry Grivko was unable to hold off a dominant David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) in the final individual time trial at The Three Days of De Panne, but was able to take some consolation in his second place finish overall in the four-stage race.

    Grivko started his time trial two minutes behind Millar, with only twelve seconds separating the two riders in the general classification. But by the time Grivko had passed the course's one and only check point, his advantage over Millar had swung around to a 24 second deficit. He eventually finished 47 seconds down on Millar, to end the race 35 seconds behind the Scot's overall time.

    Grivko conceded that he may have dug a little too far into his reserves when he formed part of a day-long breakaway group on Wednesday's stage two.

    "I think I took it a little bit too hard yesterday," Grivko told Cyclingnews after stepping down from the De Panne podium. "My legs were good, but not perfect for the fight today with Millar."

    Despite giving up time to Millar, Grivko was able to move away from the race leader at the start of the time trial, Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone). The two started the final stage on exactly the same cumulative time, but the Ukrainian time trial champion completed his loop of the 14.5 kilometre loop 32 seconds faster than the Italian to separate them for the first time since Wednesday afternoon.

    Although disappointed to have slipped away from first place, Grivko didn't leave the race empty handed, collecting the intermediate sprints competition before joining Millar and third placed Paolini for the final podium.

    "Yeah, I feel good [to have come away with something]," he said. "Okay, I took a good place and was able to make the podium."

  • Millar embraces 'gladiator' mentality in Flanders

    Stage 3b and overall winner David Millar (Garmin Transitions)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 17:46 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Transitions captain pulls off a big win in De Panne

    David Millar's last overall stage race success was in 2003 at the Tour of Picardie but the 33-year-old Garmin-Transitions rider rolled back the years taking the Three Days of De Panne on Thursday thanks to a decisive win in the time trial.

    "De Panne is one of those races in the professional peloton that's feared and respected so to coming here my fellow professionals think you're crazy for doing De Panne so to be here and win the GC on what has been a particularly dirty and hard De Panne, I'm very proud of," Millar told the press.

    Millar began to show his form at last month Criterium International, where he beat Alberto Contador in the final time trial but his adaptation to the style of racing in Belgium has been successful and puts him in a strong position ahead of Flanders this weekend.

    "It's a different style of racing up here. I'm used to going to race and watching it crumble around me and I move up and it's all gentlemanly and sedate, whereas up here it's gladiatorial and you've got to fight, you can't make one mistake, you've got to be aggressive and so I've managed to get that into my head."

    Millar built his victory by embracing this mindset from the start of the race. He formed part of an escape on the first tricky stage and was one of a handful of riders to stay clear of the bunch at the finish.

    His credentials were tested to the full on yesterday's stage. With brutal winds and driving rain, his Garmin-Transitions team were forced to chase for most of the stage after a group attacked and build up a strong lead. The American team's race wasn't helped when race organisers were forced to cut the stage in length; meaning Millar's men had to recalculate their chase effort.

    "We nearly got stuffed by them shortening the race. We based our chase on a race of 214K on 188K, so we nearly got stuffed but we pulled Pate out of the break and if you look at it, that won us the race," said team director Matt White.

    ...
  • Two-year suspension recommended for Ratti

    Eddy Ratti (De Rosa-Stac Plastic) tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test last month. He is pictured here in 2008 while a member of Italian team Nippo-Endeka
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 19:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    De Rosa-Stac Plastic rider awaits sanction for EPO positive

    The Anti-doping prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has recommended a two-year suspension for Eddy Ratti, the De Rosa-Stac Plastic rider who tested positive for recombinant EPO in January.

    Ratti failed an out-of-competition doping control taken on January 21, and should the arbitration go against him, the CONI will seek both the two-year ban from competition, a nullification of any race results obtained after the positive control but also financial damages and costs associated with managing his doping case.

    The 32-year-old Italian gave the positive sample as part of a regular biological passport programme control. Ratti joined the Professional Continental team after his 2009 squad, Amica Chips-Knauf, fell apart over a series of doping scandals.

  • Renshaw to resume racing after battling Epstein-Barr virus

    Mark Renshaw was on parade after an immaculate performance in the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 19:36 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Australian returns at Hel van het Mergelland

    Mark Renshaw of HTC-Columbia will back in action this Saturday at the Hel van het Mergelland in the Netherlands after missing the early part of the season due to the Epstein-Barr virus that ruined his preparation for his 2010 campaign.

    Renshaw is recognised as the world's best lead-out man, having delivered Mark Cavendish to numerous victories including six stages of the 2009 Tour de France. Renshaw is now on schedule for helping the world's best sprinter win stages at the Tour of California (May 16-23) and at the Tour de France in July.

    "I'm excited to be racing again," Renshaw said. "I started training in the late January. On the second or third week of February, I could do some intensity again, that means I have done five to six weeks of intense work. It should be enough to be competitive. I don't want to go too deep straight away, but just to finish in the peloton."

    Three one-day races are on Renshaw's agenda as Rund um Köln (April 5) in Germany and the Scheldeprijs (April 7) in Belgium will follow the Hel van het Mergelland.

    His first stage race will be the Presidential Tour of Turkey (April 11-18) where his motivation will increase a bit more. "I've looked through the stages," he said. "The prologue looks good, that's a chance to sort everything out. Then there are a couple of sprints and mountain stages. It might be good for Andre [Greipel]. I'll just be going to try my legs again."

    Renshaw will appear again on the UCI World Calendar at the Tour of Romandie (April 27-May 2).

    "The first real objective is California," he made clear. "I'm confident to get good form again by then and be strong for the Tour de France. I've missed part of the 2010 season but I'm looking ahead now. There's still a long way to go 'til the end of the year. Obviously, to have the world championship in October in Australia is another motivating factor. I hope to prepare for it at the Vuelta."