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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 23, 2010

Date published:
December 23, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Schlecks to be Ambassadors for Special Olympics in Luxembourg

    Big brother. Andy Schleck listens as Fränk speaks.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 11:18 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Mercedes-Benz presents team with vehicles

    Andy and Fränk Schleck will serve as Ambassadors for the Special Olympics Luxembourg as of 2011. The brothers, together with fellow Luxembourg pro cyclists Kim Kirchen and Laurent Didier on Tuesday presented checks for a total of 12,000 Euros to the sport federation for persons with intellectual disabilities.

    The Schlecks presented a check for 7,000 Euro from their fan club, and were joined by Kirchen and Didier as well as photographer Serge Waldbillig and representatives of the publishing house Editions Saint-Paul to present another check for 5,000 Euro.

    The latter donation was the profit from the sale of the book „Velomania 2009 – Luxembourger Radsport-Asse hautnah“ („Luxembourg pro cyclists up close“). The cyclists not only put in an outstanding performance on the road, they also showed a heart for handicapped individuals with this gesture, according to Nicolas Soisson, vice president of Special Olympics Luxembourg.

    Fancy wheels for the the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Little is so far known about the team's actual name and its kit for 2011, but the team won't have to worry about its vehicles. Mercedes Benz has presented the Luxembourg Cycling Project with its cars for the coming season.

    The team will have two “fully equipped” E-Class autos, 10 from the C-Class, two seven-seat Viano vans “with complete leather outfitting” and two A-Class cars.

    Mercedes will also provide the team buses but must wait until next year for them, “the first of this kind from Mercedes”.

  • Geox and TMC threaten to quit cycling

    The two Swiss riders of Footon-Servetto-Fuji, David Vitoria and Noé Gianetti (l-r), join Mauro Gianetti for a picture.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 11:56 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Sponsors in power struggle with manager Gianetti

    Despite claims that the future of the Geox-TMC team is secure, Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that the two main sponsors may pull out of the sport if they are unable to take direct control of the team from manager Mauro Gianetti.

    A decision could be made in the next two weeks.

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Geox has invested just 2.5 million Euro as main sponsor, with TMC investing the same amount and bike sponsor Fuji paying a further 2 million Euro. Other minor sponsors give the team an estimated total budget of 8 million Euro.

    Team manager Mauro Gianetti signed Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov as team leaders, reportedly paying them two and 1.4 million Euro respectively. He hoped they would secure him a place in the major races and filled the rest of the team with lesser-known riders. However Gianetti and the sponsors failed to grasp the importance of the new UCI sporting criterion points system. As a consequence Geox-TMC was ranked out of the top 15 teams and was then overlooked for one of the final ProTeam licences.

    While the 18 ProTeams have automatic entry to all the major races in the UCI World Tour in 2011, Geox-TMC has to hope for wild card invitations, with competition tight for the final four places at both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia.

    As Cyclingnews reported last week, Geox and TMC are not happy about beginning their sponsorship in cycling's second division of Professional Continental teams. Geox owner Mario Moretti Polegato has brought in former Mapei team manager Alvaro Crespi as a consultant about a month ago and would like direct control of the team. But this has only intensified the battle with Gianetti over ownership of the team's contracts and infrastructure.

    Gianetti owns the team's infrastructure and employs the riders and staff. The team is registered in Spain in a...

  • French races saved from disproportionate cost increase

    A police motorbike escorts the peloton on stage four
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 12:03 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Home Office meeting successful, 2011 events to take place as planned

    The organisers of French cycling races have escaped the worst as a meeting held on Wednesday in the country's Home Office was successful. French cycling federation (FFC) president David Lappartient, national cycling league president Marc Madiot and Pierre-Yves Thouault from Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) met with Home Office representatives in order to reach an agreement regarding a government decree that looks to align the wages paid to police officers and gendarmes for providing security at cycling races.

    "It went well," Madiot told L'Equipe. "The ministry was open to listen about the issue. We were told that there would be no threat to cycling races. The increase will be affordable for all the organisers without compromising security conditions."

    Instead of a five-time increase for supporting the cost of the French police officers and gendarmes providing security at races, the wage alignment will be limited to 15 percent each year on the basis of the public forces' hourly rate of 2,40 Euro applied in 2010, and not on the 12,33 Euro in effect as of 2011.

    This means that France's race organisers, whether amateur or professional, will be able to make their races happen in 2011 instead of having to fear cancellation because of a massively increased security budget.

    The convention on "the principle of covering cycling races by public forces" will be finalised on Jaunary 5. Moreover, talks will continue throughout 2011 "to establish which of the prerogatives are the responsibility of the public forces, and which are those incumbent to the organiser", according to a FFC communiqué.

  • Austria suspends Kugler for two years

    It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 13:21 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Doping case related to HumanPlasma blood clinic

    The Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency has suspended Josef Kugler for two years. It is one of the first suspensions resulting from the HumanPlasma blood clinic investigation.

    Kugler, who rode for the Continental-ranked Arbö-KTM-Gebrüder Weiss team, was found to have used a illegal doping techniques. Charges that he had sold forbidden substances were dismissed.

    According to the NADA, Kugler and two other cyclists had blood taken at the HumanPlasma blood clinic in Vienna in December 2005 “for the production and storage of red blood cells” in order to increase the performance of their own blood.

    The blood was never transfused back into Kugler, but the attempt to undertake such doping counts as a violation, the NADA ruled.

    The suspension runs for two years as of December 20, 2010.

    Kugler and his teammates Michael Knopf and Hannes Gründlinger were all excluded from the Tour of Austria this summer on suspicion of having violated anti-doping regulations. The NADA announced Thursday that the procedure against Knopf was continuing.

    Gründlinger was suspended for six years in August of this year, He admitted to ordering, buying, owning and using forbidden substances, as well as distributing them to others. His ban was backdated to start December 31, 2006.

    Numerous athletes have been linked with the HumanPlasma blood clinic, Bernhard Kohl has admitted to being a client for blood transfusions.

  • Pegasus licence denied because of lack of financial guarantees

    The Pegasus Sports team will be riding Scott's new F01 aero road bike in 2011.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 13:51 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    UCI criticises unprofessional management

    The Pegasus Sports team failed to secure a Profesional Continental licence for 2011 because it "did not provide either a bank guarantee or sufficient financial guarantees for 2011," the UCI said. The International governing body of the sport also criticised the "rather unprofessional" management of the team.

    In a brief but damning statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the UCI explained some of its reasoning for the licence denial, noting that "the full reasons will be communicated to the team's management in the next few days."

    The UCI cited "the serious shortcomings the formation had presented" in its licence application. It added that "the UCI feels obliged to explain that despite the public announcements, the management of the Pegasus Sport project proved to be rather unprofessional from the start."

    The UCI claims the team "didn't respect the deadline of October 1st fixed for the initial registration deadline.

    "Following this first and significant non-conformity of the regulations," all of the riders were then free to look for other teams, the UCI pointed out.

    Pegasus missed out on the much desired ProTeam licence because it was too lowly ranked in the UCI's sporting criteria based on the riders it had signed. It was thus then considered for a Professional Continental licence.

    "However, given the shortcomings on the the financial side, which could not guarantee that the team would survive the whole 2011 season, this option had to be rejected."

    Pegasus appealed this decision, but "still did not change its attitude: it did not undertake the necessary steps to rectify the shortcomings regarding the the UCI regulation."

    Even then the licence commission granted Pegasus an extension. "Yet at the end of this ultimate chance, fundamental documents such as the bank guarantee and sufficient financial guarantees for 2011 are still missing from the Pegasus Sports file."


  • Vanmarcke aims to be Classics leader

    Gent-Wevelgem podium (l-r): Sep Vanmarcke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator), 2nd; Bernhard Eisel (HTC - Columbia), 1st; Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma - Lotto), 3rd.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 15:45 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian's Gent-Wevelgem ride earned a spot with Garmin-Cervélo

    Fresh Garmin-Cervélo recruit Sep Vanmarcke is confident he will earn a position in his team's formidable Classics roster, but knows he faces fierce competition for places alongside new teammate and World Champion Thor Hushovd.

    "I think the rosters for Paris-Roubaix and Flanders will be decided after Gent-Wevelgem because we've got 14 Classics riders, so the team will only take the best," Vanmarcke told Cyclingnews. "Hopefully I'm as good as last year, or even better and I'll find myself in the team. I think if everything is going well for me and the team, I will make it into the squad for those races. But you never know. I will have to be really good."

    Vanmarcke joins Garmin-Cervélo from Topsport Vlaanderen after a strong season that included second place on debut at this year's Gent-Wevelgem. The Belgian signed with the American team in May. The early move has seen him steer clear of the widespread upheaval witnessed amongst professional squads in recent months, including significant changes to his new squad.

    But for Vanmarcke, whose long-term objectives are inextricably linked to the European spring, the addition of riders like Thor Hushovd to an already strong Classics squad is being treated as a bonus. The Belgian is looking forward to working with the new World Champion and his former Cervélo cohorts, as well as the existing Classics roster that boasts Tyler Farrar, Johan van Summeren and Martijn Maaskant.

    "I'll try every year to do better in the Classics," Vanmarcke said. "It's very much about experience in those races. I had an agreement before the merger with Cervélo, but for me it's been a good thing. Guys like Hushovd, [Andreas] Klier and [Roger] Hammond are really good and I can learn a lot from them for the Classics.

    "I guess if they weren't there, I would have to figure a lot of things out on my own. But they're the top guys, and I will learn so much. I think long term it...

  • California Giant/Specialized announces 2011 team

    The California Giant Berry Team warming up together.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 17:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Amateur squad to develop young talent

    The California Giant/Specialized cycling team announced today that it would expand in 2011 to include nine under-23 development riders in addition to its elite men's team.

    It will be the tenth season that the berry grower-shipper has sponsored a cycling team. In 2010, Andrew Talansky was a part of the squad when he won the under-23 national time trial championship, as was Steve Reaney when he became the elite criterium champion.

    While Talansky moves to the Garmin-Cervelo ProTeam, the tradition of developing young talent will continue with young riders making up more than half the team.

    "We are excited about the young talent we have signed for the 2011 season. We've had great success getting kids to the next level, kids like Lucas Euser, Max Jenkins and Andrew Talansky," said team director Anthony Gallino.

    The team will be riding Specialized's Tarmac SL3 and S-Works Shiv with SRAM drive trains and ZIPP wheel sets. SQUADRA returns as official clothing sponsor. Other key team sponsors include Oakley Sunglasses, Clif Bar, Showers Pass, and Base Performance Nutrition.

    California Giant/Specialized for 2011:

    Jared Barrileaux - Petaluma, CA
    John Bennett-San Luis Obispo, CA*
    Tyler Brandt - Berkeley, CA*
    Evan Huffman - Elk Grove, CA*
    John Hunt - Fairfax, CA
    Eamon Lucas - Pacific Grove, CA*
    James Mattis - Mountain View, CA
    Keith Miller - Los Gatos, CA
    Jesse Moore - Sacramento, CA
    Ozzie Olmos - San Luis Obispo, CA
    Sam Pickman - San Jose, CA
    Steve Reaney -San Jose, CA
    Chris Stastny - Vacaville, CA*
    Benny Swedberg - Kent, WA*
    Peter Taylor - Walnut Creek, CA*
    Brandon Trafton - Fresno, CA*
    Nathan Wilson - Boulder, CO*
    * Denotes Under 23

  • An Post Seán Kelly team to start in Qatar

    The An Post Sean Kelly team plans its strategy.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 18:21 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Irish squad also in Tour of Oman

    The An Post Seán Kelly team manager Kurt Bogaerts has announced that the team has been invited to take part in the early season Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman in February.

    The races will mark the first events of the season for the Irish team. Tour of Qatar begins on February 6, 2011 and runs through February 11, while the Tour of Oman takes place from February 15-20.

    Earlier this month the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced 16 teams had been invited to the events and the An Post team was not on the original list. It has presumably replaced the Pegasus Sports squad which failed to be licensed by the UCI due to financial problems. The team's demise opened up one spot, but it was not offered to Omega Pharma-Lotto, who had hoped to ride, because of the limit on the number of ProTeams allowed in 2.1 category stage races. An Post is the only Continental squad invited to take part in the races.

    "We are delighted to have received an invitation to take part in the two stage races, it's a big honour," said Bogaerts "We had an excellent season in 2010, so it's good to see our strong performance acknowledged in this way."

    The An Post Sean Kelly team's roster is expected to be finalized in January in time for its two-week training camp in Calpe, Spain.