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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 26, 2010

Date published:
August 26, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Unzue confident in Caisse d'Epargne's chances

    David Arroyo Duran (Caisse d'Epargne) finishes in fifth.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 6:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Spanish team starts Vuelta without reigning champ Valverde

    Caisse d'Epargne manager Eusebio Unzue is confident his team can still produce a standout performance at this year's Vuelta a España, which begins in Seville on Saturday.

    The Spanish team will be without reigning champion Alejandro Valverde, who was suspended for two years earlier this season after a prolonged investigation into his role within the Operacion Puerto affair.

    Despite the absence of Valverde, Unzue claims the riders chosen in his Vuelta squad have proven they have what it takes to make a significant mark in the year's third grand tour, which is one of the team's major goals of the season.

    "We may not have a clear leader unlike other occasions, but good riders with previous results, such as David Arroyo, who had a great Giro with second place overall, and this guarantees he could well be in the fight for victory in this tour," Unzue told Spanish news agency Europa Press.

    "Marzio Bruseghin arrives in optimum condition and he has done well in races over three weeks, which is in addition to Luis León Sánchez, Rubén Plaza and Rigoberto Uran," he explained.

    He added that while the mountain stages "aren't too hard", the Cotobello and the 'Bola del Mundo' (Ball of the World) finishes will be decisive.

    "There will be days when you cannot afford a failure," he explained. "Besides, there are many stages with nervous finishes such as at Malaga, Jaen Valdepeñas, Alcoy and Vilanova i la Geltrú. They are days that promise to allow you to see how strong your rivals are."

    He identified several rivals for his riders to watch carefully, and despite the absence of Alberto Contador and last year's runner up, Samuel Sanchez, he knows that the local men will be extremely motivated to perform well on home soil.

    "To fight for the podium always provides a special motivation for Spanish riders as [Carlos] Sastre, [Ezequiel] Mosquera and [Igor] Anton. I...

  • Terpstra to lead Milram in Vuelta

    Niki Terpstra on the podium.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 9:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Riders look for good rides to help find new teams

    Dutch national champion Niki Terpstra will lead Team Milram in the Vuelta a España. Most of the German squad will be looking to deliver strong performances that could earn them contracts with new teams for the 2011 season.

    Allrounder Markus Fothen will be co-captain, and Robert Förster will look to the sprint finishes. Neither has announced plans for the coming year.

    Terpstra, who has been named to the Dutch world championships team, will ride for Quick Step in the coming year. Also on the squad is Johannes Fröhlinger, who last year put in an impressive third-placed finish in the Tour de France stage from Barcelona to Ordino-Arcalis in the Pyrenees. He has signed with Skil-Shimano for 2011.

    The German ProTour squad has trained specifically for this race, with training camps in Mallorca to acclimatise them to the heat.

    “Our goal is a stage win,” said team manager Gerry van Gerwen. “In addition we want to be at the front in a number of stages. Last year we did that quite well. Our riders are highly motivated and we hope to do well.“

    Last year, Gerald Ciolek won the first mass sprint of the Vuelta on the second stage. Young rider Dominik Roels, who is riding again this year, was in many escapes last time around and used his good performance in Spain to secure a contract extension.

    Team Milram for the Vuelta a España: Markus Eichler (Ger), Robert Förster (Ger), Marcus Fothen (Ger), Dominik Roels (Ger), Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger), Björn Schröder (Ger), Roy Sentjens (Bel), Niki Terpstra (Ned), Paul Voß (Ger).

  • Hunt and Thomas to support Cavendish at Worlds

    Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia)
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 9:49 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Great Britain team for Melbourne announced

    British Cycling has announced that Mark Cavendish will be supported by Jeremy Hunt and Geraint Thomas at the world championships road race in Melbourne on October 3.

    Geraint Thomas (Sky) is the British national road champion and he delivered some impressive performances in the first week of the Tour de France. Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo) has been a professional since 1996 and his wealth of experience in piloting bunch sprints could prove invaluable to Cavendish in Australia.

    Due to its position in the UCI international rankings, Great Britain has been limited to a three-man representation this year. With Mark Cavendish always earmarked to lead the team on a course that has been touted as the most sprint-friendly circuit since Zolder in 2002, the only uncertainty was over his support.

    “It’s no surprise that we’ve built the men’s road team around Mark this year,” British Cycling’s Performance Director Dave Brailsford said. “Both Mark and the coaching staff believe that, of the pool of the talent we had to choose from, Geraint and Jeremy would provide the best support to Mark on this course.”

    British Cycling also confirmed that David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) will ride the time trial event, which takes place on September 30.

    Meanwhile, the Great Britain team for the women’s road race will be composed of Lizzie Armitstead, Katie Colclough, Nicole Cooke, Sharon Laws, Lucy Martin, Emma Pooley and Catherine Williamson.

    Four riders have been nominated for the women’s time trial, with two set to ride. They are road race team riders Cooke, Laws and Pooley, as well as Emma Trott.

    For the Under 23 men’s road race, Alex Dowsett, Andy Fenn, Jonny McEvoy and Luke Rowe have made the cut, with Dowsett also set to ride the time trial.

  • Former USPS doctor denies doping at team

    The US Postal-Berry Floor classics team
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 10:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Del Moral says he saw nothing

    The former team doctor for the U.S. Postal Service team has denied knowing of any doping at the team while he was there from 1999 to 2003. Spanish doctor Luis Garcia del Moral said he never saw any doping programmes at the team.

    “I don’t know anything about all of this,” Del Moral told The Associated Press. “I never saw any such things.”

    De Moral spoke in relation to Floyd Landis' claims of doping on the team. The Spaniard was not named in the Landis' emails which have been made public.

    “I’m very relaxed in all of this because I have nothing to worry about,” he said. “Landis didn’t name me, so if I’m not named it means something. I have nothing to hide. This is ridiculous.”

    He told the Bloomberg news service, “It seems crazy, I don’t know this part of the story of the U.S. Postal team, of course,” and added that Landis is trying to “make some money.”

    The Spaniard indicated that he would co-operate with US investigators, although he could not violate patient confidentiality.

  • Petacchi heads to Seville for Vuelta start

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - Farnese Vini) signs some autographs before the start.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 11:06 BST
    Barry Ryan

    CONI investigation continues in Rome

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) has flown to Seville ahead of the Vuelta a España but his participation in the Spanish race remains in doubt. The Tour de France green jersey winner was questioned for two hours by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome on Tuesday in relation to his part in a police investigation into doping currently being carried out in Padua.

    Petacchi previously refused to answer police questions after being placed under formal investigation for “the use of forbidden substances and practices” before the start of this year’s Tour de France.

    CONI will not make a decision on whether to refer or drop Petacchi’s sporting case until early next week, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. In the meantime, his Lampre-Farnese team have decided that he will start the Vuelta and he arrived in Seville yesterday evening. It is understood that Petacchi would be immediately withdrawn from the race if CONI did opt to pursue the case.

    Petacchi has been accused of using PFC (Perfluorocarbon), which boosts the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood without raising haematocrit level, and human serum albumin, which can be used to reduce haematocrit levels artificially. As Petacchi has already served a suspension after his positive test for salbutamol in 2007, any new doping infraction would incur a further suspension that would effectively end the 36-year-old’s career.

    Meanwhile, La Repubblica has reported that Petacchi’s teammate Lorenzo Bernucci, who was also questioned by CONI on Tuesday, confessed to the use of doping products. However, Bernucci refused to speak to the press on leaving Rome’s Olympic Stadium afterwards. The Italian newspaper also suggests that further documentation from the Padova police inquiry will be made available to CONI in the coming days.

    Lampre-Farnese Vini sporting director Fabrizio Bontempi and soigneur Paolo Chiesa...

  • Van Poppel confirms Cervelo TestTeam could fold

    Carlos Sastre's Cervelo team limited its losses in the TTT.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 12:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Women's team expected to continue as Hushovd negotiations hot up

    Cervelo TestTeam Directeur Sportif Jean-Paul van Poppel has confirmed that the team is facing major changes at the end of the season, as Cyclingnews reported yesterday and may in fact stop.

    "I can not deny that it's true. The future will change. For me it's still a question how,", he told the Dutch website Nusport. "I expect we will stop, but right now I can't say anything meaningful about."

    Four riders are linked  to the US-based team Garmin-Transitions. Cyclingnews understands that Thor Hushovd is already in negotiations with that team, with several phone calls taking place between the team and rider in the last 24 hours. Most of the riders have not been available for comment.

    The women's team is expected to continue. Regina Bruins told Nusport, “I'm still negotiating with the team, tomorrow I have an appointment with the team manager. I am amazed, and can't say much."

    The Cervelo women's team leads the peloton with 33 victories this season, including five World Cup wins.

    Financial difficulties are rumoured to be the ground for the dissolution of the men's team. The Professional Continental team was expected to apply for ProTour status for the coming season, but did not do so. It also recently lost captain Carlos Sastre, who announced he will ride for Geox in the coming year.

  • Sastre names Menchov as Vuelta favourite

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 12:32 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Absence of Contador will lead to open r ace

    Carlos Sastre views his future teammate Denis Menchov (Rabobank) as the favourite for overall victory at the Vuelta a España, as he is the only rider in the field who has previously won the race. The Cervélo leader is also bullish about his own chances, saying that his third-place finish at the recent Clasica San Sebastien has helped him to rediscover his spark.

    “Out of respect, the number one favourite is Denis Menchov. He is the only rider here who has already won the Vuelta. If he is motivated, he will do very well,” Sastre told Marca. The pair will ride together for the Geox team next season.

    The Spaniard also ran the rule over some of the other overall contenders, picking out Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) as a potential dark horse at the race. “After his great Giro, this is the first time he’ll come to a grand tour with a team at his disposal,” Sastre explained.

    Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) is another rider who Sastre believes will be high on motivation at the Vuelta because “he has never finished on the podium of a grand tour before.” He is less enthusiastic about the chances of the younger of the Schlecks, however. “I don’t think Andy is a favourite, he’s coming here to help his brother,” said Sastre.

    Tactically, Sastre anticipates a very open and attacking race, especially in the absence of Alberto Contador. “Without Contador, who knows what might happen. No team will be able to control the race,” he said. “Alberto is a rider who does not fail, but without him, the picture changes and it might well be a more attractive Vuelta.”

    Sastre trained on the Bola del Mundo climb ahead of the race, which makes its Vuelta debut on the penultimate stage. The final 3km of the climb are reputed to be the most difficult in the race. “Those kilometres can be compared to the Angliru, there are three hairpin...

  • Holm turns down Luxembourg team to stay with HTC-Columbia

    Brian Holm and Erik Zabel
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 13:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Says personal ties with US-based team are too strong to leave

    Brian Holm has changed his mind and will stay as a directeur sportif with HTC-Columbia. Earlier this month he had accepted a job at the new Luxembourg team, but this week decided his personal ties to the US-based team were strong enough to hold him there.

    “I had said yes to switch to the Luxembourg team,” he told the Danish website “I felt the time was ripe to try something new, and Kim Andersen and Brian Nygaard have started a project that really appeals to me.”

    At that point, HTC-Columbia Senior Sports Director and former teammate Rolf Aldag stepped into the picture. “We had a long talk about this long journey we've been on together and the enormous challenges we have overcome together.”

    Holm rode for Team Telekom from 1993 to 1997 and was a Directeur Sportif with Team T-Mobile from 2004 to 2007, and with the current HTC-Columbia set-up from 2007 until now. Aldag rode for Telekom from 1993 to 2005 and has been in team management with T-Mobile and HTC-Columbia since then.

    “When It became clear to me how many close relationships I have with Aldag, Erik Zabel and Mark Cavendish, then leaving Columbia would be like leaving a girlfriend. And I can't do that right now.

    “I have always insisted that one should not commit themselves personally to people in this industry, but I have done that. I have acted more with my heart than my brain in this case,” the 47-year-old said.

    “I had probably underestimated the strength of the personal relationships I have built at Columbia in recent years. I cannot have it better than I have it at Columbia.”

    Holm told Andersen and Nygaard on Wednesday morning that he would not be joining them, a move which he also regrets to a certain extent.

    “I've always wanted to work with Kim Andersen, who is probably the world's best sports director."