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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 2, 2010

Date published:
December 02, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Jäng Kirchen passes away

    Jäng Kirchen with Erny and Kim in 2000: three rider generations
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 10:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Great-uncle of Kim was famous Luxembourg rider

    Jäng Kirchen, the great-uncle of Kim Kirchen, passed away on November 30. The 90-year-old, who would have turned 91 on December 14, was an important pro rider in Luxembourg during his time.

    Kirchen celebrated his greatest results at the Tour de France, in which he participated four times, from 1947 to 1950. He always finished the race in the top twenty, and even achieved fifth twice (1948 and 1950). In 1948 he became known as "the isolated" as his Dutch team-mates stopped supporting him since he was the only Luxembourger left in the race.

    Kirchen's victories include the Tour de Lorraine in 1951 and the Tour du Luxembourg in 1952, on top of his two national road championships and two national cyclo-cross championship titles. He finished sixth, seventh and fourth twice at the Tour de Suisse and placed sixth at the 19476 Worlds in Zürich, Switzerland.

    Kirchen took his first licence in 1939, then turned professional during World War II with German team Victoria. He subsequently signed with Rochet (1946) and Garin (1947-1953).

    Cyclingnews sends its sincere condolences to the Kirchen family and friends.

  • Liquigas-Cannondale hit the Dolomites for training camp

    Check-mate: Basso and Nibali relax with a game of chess.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 11:07 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Basso, Nibali, Sagan and Oss finalise race schedules

    Liquigas-Cannondale will close their first official team gathering for the 2011 season at the Dolomite ski resort at Moena, Italy on the Passo San Pellegrino on Thursday afternoon.

    The Italian team met for their now-traditional four-day winter camp this week to train and plan for the news season. It is the third year the ProTeam squad have used the unique environment to build team spirit, with heavy snow seeing the riders such as Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali swap their road tyres for snowshoes and toboggans.

    It was also a chance for the riders to get to know one another after a number of roster changes during the past several months. Daniele Bennati, Roman Kreuziger and Francesco Chicci have moved on, but the the team have welcomed a host of new riders, including US riders Ted King and Timothy Duggan, Australia's Cameron Wurf and Germany's Dominik Nerz.

    Liquigas finished second behind Team Saxo Bank in the International Cycling Union's (UCI) 2010 team rankings thanks mainly to Basso and Nibali's respective Giro and Vuelta a España triumphs. Last week the UCI confirmed it had renewed the team's ProTeam licence for a further three seasons. The team will outline on Thursday the riders' rosters, however team boss Robert Amadio left no doubt about the big targets for the team next year.

    "The first objective remains the three Grand Tours: the Giro di Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España," Amadio told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Basso, 33, said last week that he plans to skip the 2011 Giro, which he won overall for the second time in his career this year, in favour of targeting the Tour de France. Conversely, Nibali is expected to focus on his second Grand Tour victory at the Giro. The 26-year-old finished third overall at this year's edition of the race before becoming the first Italian since Marco Giovannetti in 1990 to claim the overall title at the Vuelta.

    While the team proved its...

  • San Remo first stop for Freire

    Oscar Freire still has goals for 2011 and perhaps beyond.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 11:22 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Spaniard prepares season programme concentrating on spring and autumn

    Oscar Freire and his Rabobank team are currently elaborating the three-time world champion's 2011 racing programme. Speaking to Marca at the team's presentation on Wednesday this week, the Spaniard outlined his plans for the upcoming season, which will see him peak for a first time on March 19 at Milano-San Remo.

    "My first objective will be the Italian Classicissima," said Freire, who won the event for the third time in 2010 and therefore plans to repeat this year's build-up to the race. The management of his Dutch squad wanted him to start the season at the Tour Down Under in Australia, but Freire convinced them that it was not a good idea to change a preparation that saw him victorious in San Remo once again.

    "In 2010 I was very pleased with my programme until Milano-San Remo, and I want to repeat it as much as possible," he said. "To go to Australia wasn't the best option, because it would have changed my early season schedule completely."

    Instead, Freire will start out with the Mallorca Challenge, followed by the Vuelta a Andalucía, another one-day race such as Almería or Kuurne-Bruselas-Kuurne, and finally Tirreno-Adratico to bring him up to San Remo. "After that, I will race Gent-Wevelgem, the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Ardennes Classics Amstel, Flèche and Liège."

    The Spaniard also excluded the Giro d'Italia from his schedule, even though the Rabobank team wanted him to participate. But the month of May is the worst for Freire with regard to his allergies and sinusitus problems, "and the Giro is very hard this year, it has almost not opportunities for sprinters," according to the triple world champion. "I will ride the Tour de Romandie and the Tour of California after the April Classics.

    The season highlight, the Tour de France, will probably also take place without the Spaniard, although a final decision will not be made until May or June. But Rabobank's plans are to...

  • Lindberg to lead new women's Team ABUS Nutrixxion

    Swede Marie Lindberg (Redsun Cycling Team) on the podium.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 11:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Young Swede brings four years of experience to small team

    There will be another women's professional team in Germany in 2011. Team ABUS Nutrixxion will present a women's squad in addition to its Continental-ranked men's outfit.

    The team will be led by Swedish rider Marie Lindberg. Although she is only 23, she already has four years of professional experience behind her, three with Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung and one with Red Sun Cycling Team.

    “Marie's experience in professional cycling is an important building block of the whole team set-up. She has proved in the past that she is more than competitive on international level", team manager Mark Claussmeyer said.

    "The whole team will benefit from her experience and I believe that her Swedish easy-going attitude will bring the necessary calmness to the team."

    Lindberg finished second in the Swedish national road race this year, and brought in 22 top ten placings over the season. She had one victory at the Belgian one-day race Puivelde-Sint-Niklaas. She would like to continue to concentrate on the Dutch and Belgian races, as well as the Worlds in Copenhagen. The Thüringen Rundfahrt is also on her calendar.

    "Even though we will be a small team during our first year, I am certain that together we can achieve really good results", Lindberg said. "I hope that we will have a lot of fun and that our team spirit will help us in decisive situations."

  • Stybar out for four weeks with knee problems

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea)
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 13:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champion hopes to return between Christmas and New Year

    Zdenek Stybar’s continuing knee problems have ruled him out of competition for a month, Team Telenet-Fidea announced.

    The Czech will rest for ten days and then start training again. If all goes well, he could return to competition between Christmas and the end of the year.

    Stybar is currently at a team training camp in Spain. On Wednesday he had to stop training due to the pain.

    "Zdenek has an urgent need to rest," the team doctor told the Belga news agency. He said that in the past three weeks they have done what they could, but that the pain continues. “The training will resume only when the knee pain has completely vanished. First we will get Zdenek back to his basic condition and then do the intensive work, so that he can begin again with competition.”

    "I think it's terribly sad what is happening, but I realize now there is no sense in persisting,” Stybar said. "I'm in a vicious cycle which I have to get out of. It is only possible with a thorough rest, which I am going to take. I am aware that my chances of any final victories in the World Cup, Gazet Trophy and the Superprestige will be zero, but so be it. "

    "I don't want to compromise the last part of the season, so I am easing up. I hope to be back again after Christmas. If successful, I can still reach important goals after New Year, hoping for the Worlds.

    He was diagnosed with tendonitis in his left knee in early November, as a result of an earlier back problem, over-training, and muddy racing conditions. He missed a few races before returning. However after having won eight of the first nine races, he has not won since October 31,


  • Astarloa calls sanctions "absurd and ridiculous"

    Igor Astarloa looking pensive
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 14:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard refutes 35,000 Euro fine as team did not pay wages

    Igor Astarloa has reacted with anger to the news that the International Cycling Union (UCI) has issued a two-year suspension and a fine of 35,000 Euro against the former pro, who hung up his bike in May 2009. Speaking to Spanish news agency Deia, the former world champion called the sanctions "absurd and ridiculous", refusing to pay the fine as his last team, Amica Chips, never paid him his salary on which the percentage is based.

    "It seems absurd to me. I stopped racing after the Vuelta a Asturias in 2009 but in this sport, even when you're retired, they don't leave you in peace. I could say I don't care, because I'm no longer a cyclist and it doesn't bother me if they don't let me race, but it annoys me that they don't stop because it's unjust. They controlled me a thousand time, any hour, any place, and I was never positive," Astarloa said.

    The sanctions were based on irregular blood values the UCI found in Astarloa's biological passport. He was one of the first five riders to fall foul of the new anti-doping tool in June 2009.

    Regarding the fine, Astarloa added that it was “ridiculous.”

    “How am I going to pay a part of my salary that I never received? The UCI knows very well that neither I nor my teammates received our salaries and that this was the reason why the team disappeared."

    Astarloa, who was released from German team Milram in May 2008, rode for Amica Chips in 2009. But the team had financial problems and folded halfway through the season.


  • Deignan ready to report for RadioShack duty

    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 15:38 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Irish rider will swap snow for sun at Spanish training camp

    Philip Deignan is looking forward to the start of a new chapter in his professional career as he prepares to meet his new RadioShack teammates for the first time when the American ProTeam begins its first training camp in Calpe, Spain on Monday.

    "I know some of the guys a little bit but the first training camp is about getting to know your teammates and the staff, so I'm looking forward to it," Deignan told Cyclingnews.

    "It's always a little bit daunting when you change teams because everything's new and it's just a new environment. I'm looking forward to it though. It's a big team, it's well organised and it has a nice race programme."

    Deignan joined RadioShack on a one-year deal after his former squad, Cervélo, folded in September. The news compounded an already frustrating season for the Irish rider, who struggled to reach top form due to an ongoing virus. Tests revealed that the illness is now behind him and he has since focused his attention on re-finding the rich vein of form that led him to a stage win at the Vuelta a España in 2009.

    "I've been home since I stopped at the Vuelta this year, so around three months," he said. "I've had a few tests. I had some right after the Vuelta and some more last month. Those last ones showed that my body had recovered and my white blood cells were all back up to a normal level, so I was given the all clear to start back training, so I'm fit and ready to go again."

    He said is looking forward to reaching the warmer climes of Spain, after several weeks of indoor training in his native Letterkenny in north west Ireland.

    "I'm heading off on Monday; if I can get a flight. Dublin airport was closed for most of yesterday but I think it should be right by Monday. There's not too much snow compared to the eastern part of the country.

    "We've only got a couple of inches of snow, but temperatures are barely above freezing so I've been on the turbo for the...

  • Economic woes foil relaunch of Spanish stage race

    Ruben Plaza was the last winner of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
    Article published:
    December 02, 2010, 18:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will not return in 2011

    Last held in 2008, the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana was due to return to the European Tour calendar in 2011, but due to a lack of sponsorship those plans have been cancelled.

    Francisco 'Paco' Antequera took over the rights to the race after the previous promoting company dissolved. He had intended to run the race from February 13-17, 2011, but even with weeks remaining before the application was due to the UCI, Antequera pulled the plug.

    Antequera told Superdeporte that the economic crisis was to blame. "We tried to reduce the race from five days to three or even two," he said, but could not raise enough funds. "I feel bad because in 2011 Valencia is the European capital of sport and also for cycling, and we looked forward to the resurgence of this race, but it will have to be another year."

    The organizers will resume with plans to revive the race in 2012.

    The Volta was previously a staple on the early-season calendar, having been held from 1929-2008. The last winner was Spaniard Ruben Plaza, but past winners also include Alejandro Valverde, Alessandro Petacchi, Abraham Olano, Alexander Vinokourov and, in 1969, Eddy Merckx.