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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 12, 2010

Date published:
August 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Vacansoleil also chasing Riccò

    The controversial Riccardo Riccò (Flaminia) attracted a lot of attention on the start line
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 10:45 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Italian climber courted by at least four teams

    Dutch team Vacansoleil has confirmed its interest in signing Riccardo Riccò. The Italian climber is currently negotiating with several teams after having bought himself out of his Flaminia contract for 75,000 Euro.

    "There are about four teams interested in him as far as I know," Vacansoleil team manager Daan Luijkx told the Telegraaf. "And we are one of them."

    Other than the Professional Continental team, the Belgian Quick Step outfit of Patrick Lefevere has also confirmed that it would consider signing the controversial rider if its sponsor gives it the green light. Riccò was handed a two-year doping ban in 2008 after testing positive for CERA at the Tour de France. He returned to competition in March of this year and won the Tour of Austria in July.

    "Judging from his rider profile, Riccardo fits perfectly in our team," added Luijkx, who just lost another promising climber - French Brice Feillu. "Riccò is a pure attacker and a rider able to go for the general classification in the Grand Tours."

    It is no secret that the Italian would like to participate in the upcoming Vuelta a España, but Vacansoleil has not been given a wildcard for the Spanish Grand Tour. This lack of guarantees for the greatest races of the pro cycling calendar, which was also the reason why Feillu will leave the team at the end of 2010, may also be a problem in the contract negotiations with Riccò. 

  • Evans to miss out on Canadian ProTour races

    Australia's Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 12:38 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Australian continues recovery from elbow injury

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has announced that he will not compete in the two Canadian ProTour races taking place next month. The World Champion is still recovering from the broken elbow that he sustained during July’s Tour de France and will thus miss the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, which take place on September 10 and 12 respectively.

    “I am sorry not to be a part of the races in Canada”, Evans explained. "I am guessing they will be good lead-up races to the world championships, and grow to be important events in the future. I will have to wait for another year." It is not clear which races Evans will ride as he builds towards the defence of his rainbow jersey in Geelong in October.

    Evans fractured his elbow while riding into the yellow jersey on stage 8 of the Tour de France, but he courageously stayed in the race even after his injuries saw him lose the lead and all hopes of a high overall finish on the road to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

    The Australian has competed just once since the Tour, riding a criterium in Emmen in the Netherlands last week. He commented on Twitter afterwards that his elbow injury would prevent him from sprinting for another two weeks. Evans has been doing much of his training in recent weeks on his time trial bike in order to aid his rehabilitation.

  • Telefonica to take over as Caisse d'Epargne sponsor from 2011

    The Caisse d'Epargne squad of Giro leader David Arroyo sets tempo for the peloton.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 13:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Squad will compete as Team Movistar

    After months of speculation the Caisse d'Epargne team have announced that communications giant Telefonica will sponsor the team from next season. The Spanish squad will compete under the name of Team Movistar as of January 1, 2011. The team’s budget and the duration of the contract with Telefonica have yet to be made public.

    Caisse d'Epargne announced earlier in the year that they were pulling out of the sport. Since then team boss Eusebio Unzué had struggled to find a replacement backer, with a number of his stars, including Luis Leon Sanchez, courted by rival teams. He had indicated that he wanted riders to give him until August 15 before signing with new teams, implying that a sponsor announcement was imminent.

    The safety of a new sponsor would now suggest that Sanchez, along with a large contingent of Spanish riders, will remain with the team for at least another year.

    Team directeur, Neil Stephens, himself strongly linked with a move away from the team, said that he was pleased a sponsor could be secured, but was unaware of both team budget and the length of the sponsor involvement.

    “The news isn’t a complete surprise as there have been rumours here and there in the press. I knew that we were on the verge of signing and that there were just a few details. It’s great for the future,” Stephens said.

    “I’m not sure where guys like Luis are at in terms of next year though. I know he was close to signing with Rabobank but that a bunch of riders were going to wait for the boss out of respect and that they’re still waiting. A couple of guys will go, that’s normal but the majority of the block will stay.”

    The Spanish-based team started under the name of Reynolds in 1980, and was then sponsored by Banesto and Iles Baleares before the French bank took over in 2006. The bank revealed in January that it would cease its association with the team.


  • Marina Romoli speaks of horrific accident

    Marina Romoli
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 14:12 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan rider details her arduous rehabilitation

    Marina Romoli (Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan) has spoken to La Gazzetta dello Sport of her arduous recovery from the horrific injuries she sustained in a training crash on June 1, when she suffered deep lacerations to her face and fractured vertebrae. The Italian rider is currently in the Villa Beretta rehabilitation clinic in Lombardy where she is undergoing intensive physical therapy in order to regain the use of her legs.

    “I’ve been at Villa Beretta since June 24, and I don’t know how long I’ll be here,” Romoli said. “Every day I get up at 7:30, have breakfast and do breathing exercises. Then I do two hours in the gym to get mobility back in my upper body, because I still feel nothing in the lower half.” The process is then repeated in the afternoon.

    “In the evenings, I dream,” Romoli said. “I dream of walking. The other night, for the first time, I even dreamt of riding my bike.”

    Romoli remembers the moments prior to her accident, but nothing of the incident itself. That morning she was training with her boyfriend, amateur rider Matteo Pelucchi (Trevigiani), and their friend Samuele Conti (Bergamasca) and had just started doing sprint intervals by herself. “I remember that I was riding alone on the righthand side of a straight road at 35 kph, and then I don’t remember anything else. There’s a gap of a week from there,” she said.

    “It turns out that a car cut me off and threw me over the handlebars. I took a real blow to my chest and punctured a lung. I had a bloodied face and serious pain in my back. Matteo tells me that I never lost consciousness,” Romoli said.

    The 22-year-old rider was taken first to hospital in Lecco and then airlifted to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, where she was placed in an induced coma. She regained consciousness on June 9, her birthday.

    In the intervening period, the 2006...

  • Pineau looking forward to French and Canadian races

    Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) is happy to be back in the polka dot jersey.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 15:45 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Frenchman not happy about prospect of Riccò as teammate

    Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) has been recovering well from the Tour de France and is now looking forward to his next races, the Tour du Limousin next week, the GP Plouay and the two new Canadian ProTour races, the GP du Québec and the GP de Montréal in September.

    As the Frenchman has spent much of his post-Tour time recovering at home, his form is back on the rise. "I'm hopeful for Plouay, with the Tour du Limousin to get back me on track for competition," he told Cyclingnews on Thursday. "Apart from San Sebastian and two criteriums, I haven't raced much after the Tour. I wanted to recover during August to be in shape again in September, and the power base I gained from the Tour is still there."

    Meanwhile, the man who wore the polka-dot jersey of best climber at the Tour for nine days was not particularly happy at the possible prospect of teaming up with Riccardo Riccò next season. Pineau, 30, has committed to Quick Step for another two years and the Belgian team's manager Patrick Lefevere is currently looking into signing the controversial Italian climber to the team.

    "People know my opinion of him, and this hasn't changed," he said when quizzed about this possibility. "It's the manager who chooses his riders, not me. If he does join our team, then I'll have to live with it."

    Riccò was given a two-year ban for doping with EPO CERA in 2008, the year Pineau told Procycling that he wanted to "punch him in the face". The Frenchman has never weighed his words when it came to describing fellow professionals who resorted to performance-enhancing substances.

    "Patrick [Lefevere] likes to give people second chances," he added. "He gave it to Richard [Virenque], he gave it to Frank Vandenbroucke. So it's not a surprise to me that he approaches a guy like (Riccò). We as riders certainly don't have our say - if we did, maybe decisions would be a little different."

  • Bbox-Bouygues Telecom still searching for new sponsor

    The Bbox Bouygues Telecom squad
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 16:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    La Banque Postale denies rumours of contact

    La Banque Postale has issued a statement to deny reports that it is poised to become a sponsor of the Bbox-Bouygues Telecom team in 2011.

    “La Poste and La Banque Postale categorically deny having been in contact with Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team,” the statement read. “Such a link is not part of La Poste’s strategy, as La Poste is already a sponsor of referees in football, rugby and handball since 2007.”

    Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom clarified its stance on sponsoring the set-up in 2011. “If the team finds one or more primary partners, Bouygues Telecom plans to contribute minor sponsorship of up to one million euro for one year so as to allow its finances to be finalised.”

    In effect, as L’Équipe reported yesterday, the French telecommunications company is prepared to offer reduced sponsorship for another season while Bernaudeau locates a replacement.

    For his part, Bernaudeau played down the speculation that had linked La Banque Postale to his team. “I simply told my riders that I was in a position to guarantee them a two-year contract, and I am working on a four-year commitment,” he said. He also revealed that he has already applied for a ProTour licence for his team in 2011. Teams have until August 15 to inform the International Cycling Union (UCI) of their preferred status for next season. Guarantees of their finances must be shown to the UCI by October 1.

    It is also reported that while Thomas Voeckler is set to stay with Bernaudeau’s team next season, fellow Tour de France stage winner Pierrick Fédrigo is considering pastures new. He has been offered a deal with Bbox-Bouygues Telecom for 2011 but has also spoken with other teams, according to L'Equipe. An announcement from Fédrigo is anticipated at the Tour du Limousin next week.

  • Saxo Bank-SunGard signs Contador's top Spaniards

    Benjamin Noval and Dani Navarro enjoy their ride in the sunshine outside Rotterdam.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 16:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Noval, Navarro, Hernandez follow Tour champion

    After signing for the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, Tour de France champion Alberto Contador stated that he would like to have some of his loyal Astana teammates join him on his new squad, and today manager Bjarne Riis granted his wish. Contador's Spanish helpers Daniel Navarro, Jesus Hernandez and Benjamin Noval all inked two year contracts with the Danish team.

    Riis said in a press release that he is looking forward to working with the trio. "They have shown great stamina and loyalty during this year's Tour de France along with a great will to cooperate and a sense of team spirit,” said Bjarne Riis.

    Navarro, winner of a stage in this year's Criterium du Dauphine, was a key rider in Contador's success at this year's Tour de France, and often the last teammate at his side in the high mountains. He also helped Contador to his first Tour win in 2007, and said he is excited about joining the new team. "I'm happy that Bjarne shows great confidence in me. Here, I will be able to help the team and Alberto to another Tour de France victory. I'm looking forward to working with the staff, meeting my new teammates and experiencing Bjarne's way of working. I am convinced that we will have a very strong team,” said Navarro.

    Noval, a strong all-rounder, also rode with Contador in the 2007 and 2010 Tours and with Lance Armstrong during his 2004 and 2005 victories.

    “I'm very happy to sign with Saxo Bank-SunGard. Working with Riis, makes me calm because their team has always had a reputation for being well-structured with clear ideas. I hope it will be a fruitful experience for all of us and personally, my goal will be to help the team in every race I do and to work with Riis,” said Benjamin Noval.

    Hernandez, who rode his first Tour de France this year, said the move is perfect for him. "I get to keep riding with Alberto and I get to start working with a serious team with a lot of discipline. I'm very...

  • Kohl testifies against former manager

    Bernhard Kohl at his anti-doping hearing in 2009.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 17:59 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Matschiner admits partial guilt in doping athletes

    Former pro rider Bernhard Kohl testified against his manager Stefan Matschiner on the first day of his trial in front of the Vienna criminal court today. Matschiner was released from custody in May after being accused of having provided performance-enhancing substances and methods - blood doping - to his clients.

    Earlier in the day Matschiner admitted having given eight of his athletes EPO, testosterone and growth hormone, but he denied being guilty of supplying blood transfusions - having simply taken the blood doping equipment to Slovenia and Hungary in 2008 - before this kind of practice became illegal in Austria.

    Matschiner named three athletes to whom he aided in doping: Kohl, his former Gerolsteiner teammate Markus Zberg and triathlete Lisa Hütthaler. He did not reveal the identity of five remaining athletes.

    But the Austrian denied that the substances he gave his clients were a danger to their health. "They were minimal doses. I don't have a bad conscience with the treatment plans that I wrote."

    Kohl took the stand later in the afternoon, and confirmed that Matschiner had aided himself and two other cyclists in blood doping on September 24, 2008 - several weeks after a new law banning the practice had been put in place in Austria.

    The rider went on to detail that he had bought performance enhancing drugs from Matschiner between 2005 and 2008, saying that after he signed with T-Mobile in 2005, "I knew that I would have to submit to doping in the professional ranks if I wanted to be in the top division."

    The first plan, Kohl said, involved the use of EPO and growth hormones, but after Kohl heard that the Humanplasma company was providing autologous blood doping to athletes, he told his manager that he wanted to do that. He booked appointments for treatments, but after the Olympic scandal in 2006 when several Austrian athletes fell under suspicion of blood doping, the company destroyed all the blood bags,...