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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 30, 2010

Date published:
December 30, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Bannan resigns as head of Australian High Performance Program

    Shanye Bannan is the technical director
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 3:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kevin Tabotta takes over as National Performance Director

    Cycling Australia today announced the resignation of Shayne Bannan from his role at the helm of the sport's High Performance Programs.

    For the past decade Bannan has filled the dual roles of Cycling Australia's National Performance Director and the Australian Institute of Sport's Head Cycling Coach, having started his career with the Northern Territory Institute of Sport in 1986.

    "I have been privileged and fortunate to have worked alongside a group of committed and talented staff and riders over the past 24 years," said Bannan. "During that time there have been many highlights and challenges but the support of Cycling Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport to me personally has been exceptional and I thank both organisations.

    "Cycling Australia is approaching an exciting new era starting with the London Olympics and the work of many people over a long period of time has established a solid platform for Australian cycling to continue to grow and I'm honoured to have played a role."

    Bannan says he intends to remain involved with international cycling and will make an announcement in mid January as to the nature of that involvement and his future plans.

    "Whilst we are disappointed that Shayne is moving on we wish him every success and we are pleased to confirm he will also continue to work with us in the role of European Operations Consultant," said Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks. "In this capacity he will manage CA's Italian training base, coordinate access to the AIS European Training Centre and provide support when needed for CA's European program operations."

    From 1 January the Cycling Australia High Performance Programs will be managed under a structure split between program management and technical direction:

    * National Performance Director - Kevin Tabotta (currently National Technical Director) will assume this strategic leadership role and will be responsible for the overall direction...

  • Hoffman excited about returning to Saxo Bank as Sport Director

    Tristan Hoffman (CSC)
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 10:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Coming home after four years with HTC-Columbia/Highroad

    Tristan Hoffman is returning to his roots in 2011.  The Dutchman will once again be a sports director at Saxo Bank-SunGard, after four years at HTC-Columbia.  “It's like coming home after having been away to gain experience and expertise,” he said.

    Hoffman, who will turn 41 on New Years Day, rode for the Danish team from 2000 until a serious crash ended his career in March 2005.  In August of that year he became a sports director for the team, and stayed on in that role the next year.  He then joined Bob Stapleton's Highroad team for four years.

    “It's a pleasure to be back with Bjarne (Riis) and the rest of the team,” he said on the Saxo Bank website.  “The team building was a very nice way of becoming acquainted with everyone, new and old team members.”

    He particularly liked the non-cycling athletic aspects of the gathering.  “I liked the different kind of sports and the surfing part was a brand new experience as well. Doing such a thing with all staff members creates a splendid connection which will be remembered throughout the year.”

    Hoffman was a Classics specialist, winning Dwars door Vlaandern, Paris-Bourges and Veenendaal-Veenendaal, and finishing second and fourth in Paris-Roubaix.  He hopes to pass on this experience to the riders at the Danish team, and also support the the entire season.

    “I think we have a fantastic team for 2011. It's not just a bunch of big names and the team is not revolving around one specific cyclist. My job is to get the maximum out of everyone and to let them feel good in the developing process.”

  • Gilbert to ride Strade Bianche

    Philippe Gilbert Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) solos to victory.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 10:30 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    No Qatar or Oman for the Belgian Classics hunter

    Classics specialist Philippe Gilbert has released his racing programme for the first part of the 2011 season, leading up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 24. Contrary to previous years, he will not start his season at the Tour of Qatar, as his Omega Pharma-Lotto team applied too late for an invitation and was therefore refused. The team will not take part in the Tour of Oman, either. Instead, Gilbert may race the Mallorca Challenge from Februay 6-10, but this is not official yet.

    At present, eight races have been selected until the end of April before the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider decides whether or not to ride the Tour de France.

    These eight events also include the Italian one-day race Monte Paschi Strade Bianche, which Gilbert has never raced. The Italian event, won in 2010 by Maxim Iglinskiy, is special in that it is partly held on dirt roads and also includes many steep climbs. After the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 2, which Gilbert already won twice, the Strade Bianche on March 3 and Tirreno-Adriatico from March 9-13 will be the perfect build-up for Milano-San Remo on March 19 - another one of Gibert's goals.

    But the five-time Classics winner has already announced that the one race he was really targeting next year will be the Ronde van Vlaanderen, taking place on April 4. "Winning six Classics is a dream but I'll take them one-by-one. Next year I'm aiming at the Tour of Flanders," he announced in an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

    But Gilbert is of course also scheduled to race the three Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race on April 17, which he won in 2010, Flèche Wallonne on April 20 and finally Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 24.

  • Matxin acknowledges Geox-TMC power struggle

    DS Joxean Matxin assured he had found new backers for his team
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 10:34 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Grand Tours remain objective in spite of ProTeam snub

    Geox-TMC directeur sportif Josean Fernández Matxin has admitted that his squad is beset by a power struggle between primary sponsor Geox and team manager Mauro Gianetti.

    “I believe there’s no smoke without fire,” Matxin told Palco Deportivo of the rumours that continue to circulate about the team. “I don’t know if all the details are correct, but there is clearly an internal power struggle that is causing some shots to be fired. However, it’s a passionate and ambitious project, and we have to look ahead.”

    Last week it was reported that both Geox and TMC were considering pulling out of the sport if they were unable to take control of the team from Gianetti. In recent weeks, Geox owner Mario Moretti Polegato has introduced former Mapei manager Alvaro Crespi as a consultant.

    Geox-TMC’s woes began in earnest in November, when the squad was overlooked for a ProTeam licence for the 2011 season. The team invested heavily in the signings of Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre but failed to acquire sufficient rider points to place it in the upper reaches of the UCI’s ranking of applicants.

    “Certainly, missing out on the ProTour licence has represented a problem, and among other things, I still don’t understand the reasons behind the UCI’s choice,” Matxin admitted.

    In spite of the fact that Geox-TMC is now reliant on wildcard invitations to gain entry to the major races, Maxtin is insistent that the team will be present and competitive at all of the Grand Tours.

    “Our idea remains that of riding the three Grand Tours and trying to win them,” he said. “I’m convinced that for the stage races there are few teams that are as solid and competitive as ours.”

  • No Verandas Willems for Traksel

    Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 11:05 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Informal talks have been stopped

    Bobbie Traksel has said that he still has two options for riding in 2011, but Veranda Willems-Accent is not one of them.  The team has said that talks with the Dutch rider have broken off.

    Traksel had signed with Pegasus Sports for the coming year, but the Australian team failed to receive either a ProTeam or Professional Continental licence, freeing the signed riders to look elsewhere.

    Earlier this week Traksel said that his two options were to remain with Pegasus Cycling as a Continental team or to follow “another option” which he did not specify.

    “We can confirm that informal discussions were held with the rider Bobbie Traksel, but these talks have now been stopped,” Verandas Willems general manager Bill Olivier told Wielerland.nl. 

    Wednesday it was reported that Pegasus Sports' David Kemp had signed with the Belgian Continental-ranked team.  He said that the team was looking to add another former but unnamed Pegasus rider.

    Traksel, 29,  turned pro with Rabobank in 2000, riding for the Dutch team for five years.  He then joined MrBookmaker, later Unibet.com for two years, and spent a year each at Palmans- Collstrop ad P3Transfer- Batavus before joining Vacansoleil in 2009 and 2010.

    In his career he has won the U23 Ronde van Vlaanderen, Veenendaal-Veenendaal, and the overall title in the Three Days of West Flanders.  His most recent success was Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne this season, where he won as one of only 26 finishers in very bad weather.

  • Kristoff to challenge sprinters Down Under

    BMC's Norwegian Alexander Kristoff took the best young rider jersey into stage two.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 11:31 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    BMC has several cards to play, Norwegian targets fast finishes

    The BMC Racing Team is sending Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff to the Tour Down Under in January 2011 as the squad's leader for bunch sprint finishes. Along with Kristoff, Tim Roe, Alessandro Ballan, Martin Kohler, John Murphy, Amaël Moinard and Simon Zahner will also compete in the first top-level event of next year's road cycling season, with further hopes lying on Ballan and Moinard.

    The list of Kristoff's sprint rivals at the Tour Down Under is impressive, however. Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, André Greipel, Allan Davis, Robbie McEwen, Francesco Chicchi and Michael Matthews are among the sprinters in the line-up but the 23-year-old sees no reason to fear his competition.

    "It is of course difficult to win, but it is not impossible. They're just people," Kristoff told procycling.no. "I know however that there will be very tough competition in the sprints."

    The Norwegian, who scored some good placings this year including a fourth place at the Vattenfall Cyclassics, hopes that increasing experience and age will pay off for him in the future. American rider Murphy will most likely act as Kristoff's lead-out man, while Ballan and Moinard will try to achieve something in breakaways.

    "We are going to invest in the sprints, and I have been told that they will primarily ride for me. John Murphy is also a quick and powerful rider, so if I'm not in the mix he will probably get the chance," he added.

    Kristoff will prepare for the Tour Down Under with a training camp in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria in January.
     

  • Sanchez hopes that Contador will ride Tour de France

    Spaniard Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) dreams of Tour de France podium finish
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 12:00 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Olympic champion yet to define full 2011 programme

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has said that he hopes Alberto Contador is present at the 2011 Tour de France. Contador returned an adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol at the 2010 race and is still waiting to hear if he will face sanction.

    “Of the last four Tours, Contador has won the three that he’s taken part in and he has earned the status of favourite,” Sanchez told Biciciclismo.com. “Honestly, I would prefer if he is on the start line. A Tour without Contador would be like a Roland Garros without Nadal or Formula 1 without Alonso.”

    The Tour de France will be the focal point of Sanchez’s season but the Olympic champion refused to be drawn on just how far he can go in July. He narrowly missed out on a podium place to Denis Menchov in 2010, although he will ultimately move up to third if Contador is sanctioned for a doping infraction.

    “The Tour is the best race in the world, it’s like nothing else,” Sanchez said. “There are many different circumstances. Every year riders prepare better and are a year older. Every year there are route changes and it is always difficult. You never know.”

    Sanchez also refused to rule out the possibility of riding the Vuelta a España, although he explained that any participation would be contingent on the state of his form after the Tour.

    “Of course I like to ride it, but you have to go step by step,” he said. “According to the rumours, it will be a very hard Vuelta with some new finishes. If I go, it would be with the intention of winning it. I was already second in 2009, less than a minute behind a great rider like Valverde, and third in 2007. You have to wait and see how the Tour goes though, and also there are other riders on the team who can do very well.”

    Sanchez has yet to draw up a definitive race programme, but it is expected that he will begin his...

  • No San Luis for Jamis-Sutter Home

    Armando Borrajo.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 13:25 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo mourn death of Armando

    The US-based Team Jamis-Sutter Home has decided not to participate in the upcoming Tour of San Luis in Argentina. Two of its riders, Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo, are still in mourning for their brother Armando, a former pro cyclist who recently took his life in unclear circumstances.

    According to directeur sportif Sebastian Alexandre, it is "out of respect for them and their family" that the team has opted to skip the Argentinian stage race, scheduled to take place from January 17-23.

    Armando Borrajo, who won the national road title in 2006 and a stage of the Giro del Sol San Juan in 2009, was reported to have jumped off the roof of a house in Buenos Aires, two days after having been released by kidnappers. Police investigations are ongoing.

    Borrajo's younger brother Alejandro, who races for the Jamis-Sutter Home, broke his arm while attempting to intervene.

    The Jamis-Sutter Home outfit will therefore postpone its 2011 season start to the 10-day Vuelta de Chile, which runs from January 27 through February 6. The rider roster will be announced in mid-January.