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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 10, 2009

Date published:
December 10, 2009, 22:00
  • Giro boss meets D.C. mayor

    Giro head honcho Angelo Zomegnan (right) introduces the 2010 race.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 10:19
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    2012 Giro start to include up to four stages on U.S. East Coast?

    Giro d'Italia organiser Angelo Zomegnan is scheduled to meet with Washington, D.C., mayor Adrian Fenty today, Thursday, to discuss a possible 2012 start of the race in the U.S. capital city. Since the idea first came up in June this year, both sides have worked hard to draw up a plan that would make a transatlantic Giro possible two years from now.

    According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, two preparatory meetings have already taken place, and Fenty has designed a prologue course through the capital that would include all its highlights: start near the Jefferson Memorial, then the Smithsonian, The Mall, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial and - of course - the White House.

    The talks to make this outstanding event become a reality will be held with members of Fenty's work group, but also with Robin Morton, the former manager of the first American professional team to participate in the Giro in 1984, Gianni Motta Linea MD. "This project generated an enormous buzz and much interest, and we continue to talk with RCS and the municipality of Washington," Morton said. "The project is a great challenge, but a very exciting one," she added.

    The logistics of a transatlantic bike race will be the main problem to solve. The Giro has already started in other countries, but all European ones. A start in Washington, D.C,. would also imply at least three to four days of racing in the U.S., with other stage city hosts already lining up: Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Rumours even indicate that the Canadian city of Toronto, which has an Italian community of 750,000 persons, would be interested in welcoming a stage.

    "There is great enthusiasm in America for the Giro," said Zomegnan. "Certainly, the participation of Lance Armstrong in the Centenary Giro contributed to this. I can't deny that a Giro start [in the U.S.] in 2012 would be legendary - not a start from an Italian community abroad, but from the capital of the world's most important nation."
     

  • Hincapie eager for new season with new team

    American champ George Hincapie is eager to start anew with BMC Racing
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 11:15
    By:
    Cycling News

    Looking forward to riding Tour Down Under with Evans

    George Hincapie is looking forward to the challenges of a new team and a new season. The American champion will be riding alongside World champion Cadel Evans for BMC Racing Team in 2010.

    “Coming to this team, I am very excited by the growth potential it has over the next two or three years,” Hincapie said. “I’m excited to grow with the team, and I am confident that we have the experienced staff to guide the group; we’ll certainly be well taken care of.”

    Evans and Hincapie will be opening the year at the Tour Down Under. “I’m happy to be starting off my season at the Tour Down Under since I’ve enjoyed that race in the past and it gives us a good chance to race in some warm weather,” Hincapie said. “Having Cadel on the team roster for that race too, especially since he is the World Road Champion, will make it special.”

    The team will have its eye on the overall rankings at the race, but doesn't expect Evans or Hincapie to be in the running. “Evans’ goals are pretty clear later in the season, and the parcours doesn’t really suit him,” Hincapie explained. “My goals come a little later in the spring too, but we’ll certainly have some guys heading there to get results.”

    The 2010 roster poses challenges for the team's sporting management. “Though we do have experienced riders like Evans and Hincapie joining, half our riders are under twenty-five,” noted European Operations Manager and Assistant Directeur Sportif Noel Dejonckheere.

    The Belgian is also new to the team, having previously worked as long-time Under-23 Development Program Director for USA Cycling. Ironically, one of the first young riders he worked with was Hincapie. “And now here I am back with him again and he is one of the veterans,” Dejonckheere added.

    Hincapie has still another motivation for the 2010 season, as BMC will race in clothing produced by his own company, Hincapie Sportswear. The new outfits have met with approval from the other riders.

    “We have already had a chance to try out the new Hincapie stuff, and it is pretty neat,” teammate Jeff Louder confirmed. “Since George is behind the brand that means everything has been very well-thought out. It also means that the team will be directly linked to the company and will be more involved.”

  • Eladio Jiménez announces retirement

    Eladio Jiménez en route to victory in stage 14 of the 2005 Vuelta a España.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 15:46
    By:
    Cycling News

    B-sample to be opened within next two weeks

    Eladio Jiménez has announced his “absolute” retirement from cycling. The Spaniard was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) earlier this week on doping charges.

    In announcing that he was leaving the sport, the 33-year-old said “if you don't want me to be in cycling, I will stay home. It is better.”

    On Monday, the UCI said that Jiménez had tested positive for EPO after his victory in the sixth stage of the Volta a Portugal. He has denied the charges, saying, “I have done nothing.”

    Jiménez also announced that he has asked for the B-sample to be tested, which will happen in the next fifteen days. “Let's see if I'm lucky with the counter-analysis and it is negative, because I am innocent,” he said, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

    The Spaniard has ridden professionally for 13 years and can look back to three stage wins in the Vuelta a Espana (2000, 2004 and 2005). He rode this season for the Continental team Centro Ciclismo de Loulé – Louletano, and had a “good agreement” to ride for the US team Rock Racing with his friend Paco Mancebo for 2010.

  • Vorarlberg-Corratec gets Professional Continental licence

    Switzerland's Hubert Schwab will join Vorarlberg-Corratec in 2010.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 16:04
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Signs Swiss rider Schwab for coming year

    Austrian team Vorarlberg-Corratec announced today that it has received its Professional Continental licence from the International Cycling Union (UCI). The UCI had announced last week that the team's registration had been approved.

    Vorarlberg-Corratec also announced the signing of Hubert Schwab, a Swiss rider who has ridden for Team Quick Step the last four years.

    “This was one of the hardest licence procedures ever,” said team manager Thomas Kofler. “Many teams didn't make it. We are now in an elite circle of only 19 Professional Continental teams and now we have the certain knowledge that we did our homework at the highest level.”

    The team simultaneously announced the signing of Schwab. “After four years as a helper in the ProTour, I am eager to ride for myself,” the 27-year-old said. Schwab is a rider with abilities in one-day and short stage races. In 2005 he won a stage in the Vuelta a Navarra.

    “Hubert brings years of experience to the team, and as a helper for Boonen, Bettini and company has already proved his abilities,” said Kofler.

  • Vaughters confirms possibility of legal action led to Wiggins settlement

    Jonathan Vaughters
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 16:38
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Calls for formalised transfer system in cycling to avoid future problems

    Confirming the perception that Garmin-Transitions was pressured into allowing Bradley Wiggins to move to Team Sky, Jonathan Vaughters has said that the desire to avoid a long legal battle was behind today’s announcement that the Briton has moved on.

    Wiggins had still the second year of his contract left to fulfil but ever since he finished fourth overall in the Tour de France, he had been increasingly on Team Sky’s target list of riders to sign. Vaughters explained to Cyclingnews this afternoon how it is that the rider ultimately left.

    “At the end of the day, we came to a settlement because I didn’t think that a lengthy legal battle would be productive to the team that I have,” he said. “My energy would be put into this court battle as opposed to being put into trying to develop Christian Vande Velde to get on the podium of the Tour de France, or for Tyler Farrar to win stages.

    “Quite frankly, even though I’m personally disappointed by this situation, I do have enough respect for Brad’s athletic ability that I didn’t really feel the desire to put him through a legal battle either. At the end of the day, it is a decision that I felt that was best for the athletes that I am going to support next year, and the best for cycling.”

    When Wiggins signed for the team prior to the start of this season, he was predominantly known as a track rider. He was a triple Olympic champion in pursuit and team pursuit, but had taken no major pro victories on the road and shown no signs of becoming a Grand Tour contender.

    However Vaughters, the Garmin team and Wiggins all worked together and the Briton went on to climb well during the Giro d’Italia, then place an unexpected fourth overall in the Tour de France. A lot of energy was put into this transformation and that’s part of what makes Wiggins’ leaving something that Vaughters regrets.

    “On a personal level, I am very disappointed to see Brad go,” he said. “Fourteen months ago, I was the only one knocking on his door and the only one who felt that he could go above and beyond where he was in cycling.”

    Once it was announced that Sky was setting up a pro team, it was likely that Wiggins would leave at some point. However it was expected that he would see out his time with Garmin; UCI rules are clear that riders cannot simply walk away from existing contracts.

    However, as those regulations are potentially subservient to national employment laws, it means that the rules are not as clear-cut as they seem.

    Vaughters is calling on the UCI and teams to work together to come up with a better system. Garmin Transitions may lost out this time round, but others may find themselves faced with costly legal battles in the future if the legislation is not tightened up.

    “For me, now that cycling is becoming a more professional sport and a larger sport, there probably needs to be a more formalised reform in regards to transfers,” he said. “That is something that is going to have to come out of a lot of work by the governing body. It is also going to have to come from the agreement of the teams involved.

    “There is no formalised and agreed-upon transfer system like there is in soccer, American football and whatever else. I definitely think that this is important for the future of cycling, as otherwise it is a very challenging system to work with.”

    In the meantime, Vaughters and Garmin Transitions will focus on achieving the best possible 2010 season. Wiggins is gone, leaving an undisclosed settlement, but there’s still plenty of reason to believe that the team will be a big factor next July.

    “In a way, this makes our mission very simple in the Tour de France,” he said, choosing to look on the positive side of things. “To get Christian onto the podium and to have Tyler Farrar win stages. Now, we are heading to the Tour with two American leaders on an American team.

    “Also, each time Team Garmin has done the Tour de France, we have ended up producing the surprise of the race. I don’t think it is going to be any different in 2010. Maybe that will be Dan Martin, maybe that will be Dave Zabriskie…we will find out.”
     

  • Bjorn Selander steps up to the ProTour

    Recruits from the under-23 Trek-Livestrong squad Sam Bewley and Bjorn Selander check the details of their new bikes.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 18:53
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Young American focuses on the road ahead

    Twice a US national cyclo-cross champion, Bjorn Selander is forsaking his winter ambitions to focus on his new road career in the ProTour with the RadioShack team.

    As his friends and former competitors prepare to contest the US 'cross championships in Bend, Oregon, Selander is in Tucson, Arizona to meet with his new teammates and directors for the first time at the RadioShack team camp, and finds missing 'cross to be bittersweet.

    "In a way it's kind of refreshing for me - instead of being on, on, on all the time, I can focus on one thing rather than two," Selander told Cyclingnews, looking back on years of combining a road career with 'cross. "I like to give 100% to everything I do, so it makes it easier for me to focus on road. It was hard to do 100% in both."

    Selander has already spent a good deal of time racing in Europe for the US national team and Trek-Livestrong, so a European race schedule won't be new to him. "I've been racing with the national team for two years, racing in Belgium the whole time, hardly ever racing in the US."

    After a year with Trek-Livestrong, where he placed fifth in the Tour de Beauce, was third best young rider in the Flèche du Sud , and then earned a silver medal in the US Under-23 time trial championships, Selander got the surprise call-up to be on the RadioShack team.

    "I had a good year, and everything was just falling into place and then this came up. I had another year with Trek-Livestrong, I could have stayed with them, but [Trek-Livestrong director] Axel [Merckx] told me to take it."

    Now with a two-year contract on Lance Armstrong's ProTour squad, Selander is looking forward to learning the ropes of cycling's big league under the guidance of director Alain Gallopin.

    "Gallopin is going to be the director for the young guys - and I'm happy to work with him. He's really enthusiastic, and I think he'll be really good for me. He was telling me Alberto Contador, when he was 21, only did 30 or 40 races. So he won't push too hard."

    Selander will meet with Gallopin to discuss his calendar for the upcoming season, and while he isn't quite sure what he would like to focus on, he feels his strengths lie in stage races.

    "I get better from day to day - I can suffer one day and feel great the next ... When we did the Vuelta Mexico, it was the first race for the whole team, and we were not nearly ready for the race at all. It was the hardest race, and I can't believe we survived. It was 220km days and we had three-hour transfers before and after. I figured if I could get through that, I could get through anything."

    Selander is also happy to be on the team with Armstrong, with whom he spent a few weeks in Austin earlier this year.

    "I stayed down there for three weeks and actually got to know him pretty well. He's a really nice guy - there's something about being around him, he's just so positive. That's the way I am, too, so to be around him it's a good environment for me.

  • Martinelli: Contador and Astana better without Armstrong

    Giuseppe Martinelli, Astana team director, is part of the team's new management staff for 2010.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 19:59
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Astana 100% behind Alberto Contador after management change

    Alberto Contador is in a better position to win the Tour de France without Lance Armstrong in team Astana, according to team director Giuseppe Martinelli.

    "I see Contador is secure and, above all, Astana is his team now," said Martinelli. "Before it was Johan Bruyneel's and Lance Armstrong's team, with Contador alongside."

    Italy's Martinelli joined the team after Bruyneel and Armstrong left to form team RadioShack. As directeur sportif, Martinelli has led riders to four Giro d'Italia wins and one Tour de France victory. Team manager Yvon Sanquer hired him to work with Contador.

    "I found a humble and welcoming boy," said Martinelli of his visit to Contador's home in Pinto, Spain. "He is very serious and linked to work. He showed me his home, but also his trophies and bikes - this means something to me. But, clearly, I still don't know him as well as Bruyneel."

    Bruyneel and Armstrong have criticised Contador, 27, in recent months, saying he let stardom go to his head. Martinelli disagreed and said he expects more attacks to come before Contador attempts to win his third Tour de France, July 3 to 25.

    "There will be a lot of attacks from the two, maybe the two strongest men in cycling, Bruyneel and Armstrong. I think Contador has the capacity to manage what will come."

    Contador is the only active rider to have won all three Grand Tours. He won the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España in 2008 in addition to two editions of the Tour de France.

    Martinelli won the Giro d'Italia with Marco Pantani (1998), Stefano Garzelli (2000), Gilberto Simoni (2003) and Damiano Cunego (2004). He also won the Tour de France with Pantani in 1998.

    The Astana team is in Pisa, Italy, this week for its first training camp.

  • Hincapie, Kroon to join Evans at Tour Down Under

    George Hincapie shows off his new stars and stripes kit, which will only be used for one event - the Tour of Missouri - before he moves to Team BMC in 2010.
    Article published:
    December 11, 2009, 09:59
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC honours wildcard invite with big-name roster

    BMC Racing will bring some of its biggest stars to January’s Tour Down Under after being offered a wildcard slot by the race’s organiser. George Hincapie and Karsten Kroon will join Australia’s Cadel Evans, the current International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Champion, at the ProTour-opening race.

    Race director Mike Turtur, himself an Olympic gold medallist, described Hincapie’s presence at the race as an honour when announcing the news.

    “George Hincapie is one of the most recognised riders in the world, with Tour de France stage wins, national championships and professional victories to his credit. He is one of the most respected riders in the peloton,” said Turtur. “Hincapie has got an incredible list of cycling achievements and it’s an honour to host riders of his calibre in South Australia.”

    While Tour Down Under might not be a huge target in Hincapie’s season, a stage victory there wouldn’t be his first on Australian shores. The American rider won the Commonwealth Bank Classic’s 14th stage way back in 1995, the year compatriot Bobby Julich finished third overall.

    Despite the presence of the three big names, BMC Racing could well turn to Italian Mauro Santambrogio for it general classification hopes at the Australian race. With the other riders focused on goals later in the season, and Santambrogio finishing eighth at this year’s race with Lampre-N.G.C., this approach could be a good fit for the squad.

    “As the first race of the season and with so many new riders, it will be interesting to see how they all work together to try to control the peloton,” said Turtur.

    BMC Racing will also field Danilo Wyss, Alexander Kristoff and Thomas Frei at the squad’s first outing Down Under.

    BMC Racing for 2010 Tour Down Under: Cadel Evans (Aus), George Hincapie (USA), Karsten Kroon (Ned), Danilo Wyss (Swi), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) and Thomas Frei (Swi).