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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 13, 2011

Date published:
January 13, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • HTC-Highroad relies on Goss for TDU overall title

    Allan Peiper relies on Bert Grabsch for team work at the Santos Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 9:29 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    DS Allan Peiper admits he misses André Greipel

    As he took his riders to taste some wine (in moderation) at the end of a training ride at the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre in the Barossa Valley, HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Allan Peiper revealed that recent Australian national championship silver medallist Matt Goss has been designated to fill the shoes of André Greipel in his line-up this year. The German won the Santos Tour Down Under for the American outfit one year ago but is now their biggest rival after moving to Omega Pharma-Lotto.

    Some pressure is thus taken off the shoulders of Mark Cavendish, who is seen by many as the star of the event. However, the Manxman has already downplayed any speculation that this race is the first of many in the much-awaited rivalry between him and his former teammate. Asked about Greipel, the winner of 15 stages at the Tour de France answered without batting an eyelid: “There are a lot of great riders here.”

    “Cavendish wanted to come to the Tour Down Under”, Peiper told Cyclingnews. “So we lined him up with his lead-out man Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss as well, who won the GP Plouay and a hard stage at the Giro last year. Goss climbs as well as the other sprinters. So we’ll probably play him out for GC. To help him out, we have our team captain Bernhard Eisel and our most reliable team player in Bert Grabsch, and also Hayden Roulston and Danny Pate, who can climb well and possibly support Goss on Willunga Hill. With a team of seven men, it’s difficult to organise a lead-out train but I think we’ve put together a pretty good team.”

    Peiper was reassured of his choice when he followed the Australian Open Road Race on Sunday in Ballarat. “I saw Simon Gerrans attacking him on the climb but Matt wasn’t in trouble,” he said of the Australian sprinter, who has already started the season strongly by winning the Jayco Bay Crits in Victoria.

    Peiper predicts...

  • Armstrong supports flood victims

    Former race sponsor Jacob's Creek donate wine to the man who donates money to the victims of the floods
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 10:03 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Calls up "Twitter ride" but refuses to comment on US Postal investigation

    As he touched ground in Adelaide ahead of his third and last participation to the Santos Tour Down Under, Lance Armstrong announced that he would personally donate $50,000 to the victims of the floods in Queensland in the north east of Australia. In a press conference held at the Jacob's Creek visitor centre in the Barossa Valley alongside the Premier of South Australia Mike Rann, he launched another of his famous "Twitter rides" scheduled for Saturday with the aim of raising more funds for the disaster in Queensland.

    Last year's "Twitter ride" in Glenelg was attended by almost 5,000 cyclists. "Whether we have 1,000 or 5,000 people joining the ride this time, the most important will be that people in Queensland will see they haven't been forgotten", Armstrong said. "The essence of a Twitter ride is to enjoy riding as a community."

    Armstrong made his way to South Australia from the same training base he used in Hawaii in the past two years. In 2009, the Tour Down Under was the first race of his comeback year. This time, it will be the last one at World Tour level although he's still likely to race in the US before turning 40 this coming September.

    "I feel all right," he commented in relation to his physical preparation for the event. "But I can't deny my age. Three years ago I thought I could deny it but I can't. For training, I've done stuff other than riding a bike but I've also trained on the same climbs as both those two years. They are up to 25 percent steep. You can't find harder than that."

    Armstrong didn't express any intention of racing for the win in Adelaide. "The sprinters and their teams have dominated this race in the past two years," he noted. "Even on Willunga (the hardest stage on the penultimate day), they can bring it back. Last year it was close with [Alejandro] Valverde, [Cadel] Evans and [Peter] Sagan. Chances are that they (the sprinters) bring it back.

    "The biggest change for us is the addition of...

  • Chris Anker Sørensen pleased with testing Vuelta route

    Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) begins his stage winner's salute.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 10:44 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Dane aiming to progress as GC rider in 2011

    Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank-Sungard) believes that the Vuelta a España route is well-suited to his talents as a climber. The Dane won the stage to the Terminillo at last year’s Giro d’Italia and is now aiming to progress and secure a high overall finish in a Grand Tour.

    “For me personally, because I am thinking of riding for the general classification, it is obviously good that there are not too many time trial kilometres,” Sørensen told “The team time trial is good for our team because we can gain time on the others, but overall it appears to be a race for climbers and I see that as being a very positive thing.”

    The most immediately striking aspect of the 2011 Vuelta route, which was unveiled on Wednesday, is the absence of the Pyrenees. However, with the fearsome climbs of the Alto de Angliru, the Peña Cabarga and Sierra Nevada all set to feature, as well as a long-awaited return to the Basque Country, Sørensen maintains that it is still a testing course.

    “The Pyrenees aren’t included, which makes the course different because there won’t be certain mountain stages,” he noted. “But in return, you get the Basque Country, which is a difficult terrain to ride in, where it’s all up and down.”

    Soaring temperatures took their toll on the peloton in the opening part of the 2010 race and with this year’s Vuelta set to start on August 20, Sørensen reckons that the heat could again be a significant factor in the first week. Stage four to Sierra Nevada, in particular, stands out in this regard.

    “Sierra Nevada is a nasty climb and I know it really well,” Sørensen said. “Especially in August it is usually very hot and Sierra Nevada is almost a desert.”

    Meanwhile, Sørensen acknowledged that the possibility of inclement weather could...

  • BMC Racing wants ProTeam points

    The BMC team was well represented.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 11:10 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Aims to impress at Santos Tour Down Under

    Even if the name of the team's biggest star, Cadel Evans, cannot be found on the BMC Racing rider roster for the upcoming Santos Tour Down Under, the American team is keen to leave its mark on the race, which starts on January 16.

    In its first year with ProTeam status, BMC Racing will start the six-day stage race with good climbers that will do their utmost to support the squad's sprinter Alexander Kristoff achieve top placings in the fast finishes.

    "Our main objective is to have gained some ProTeam points once the race is over," said BMC sports director Michael Sayers. "We have Kristoff and John Murphy for the sprints, so we will be racing primarily for them in the first few days. If things are let loose after a while, we can send guys like Simon Zahner, Amaël Moinard, Alessandro Ballan and Martin Kohler to chase down escapes. If we can take some top five placings in the stages it would be perfect. Tim Roe is also very motivated and finished tenth in the Australian Championships road race last weekend."

    In the past at the Tour Down Under, Kohler wore the race's best young rider jersey for a day, and Roe finished 13th overall, also enjoying a spell in the best climber's jersey. This time, both will be at the service of Kristoff and Murphy, while at the same time looking to fulfil the team's overall objectives.

    The complete BMC Racing team for the Santos Tour Dwon Under is: Alessandro Ballan (Italy), Martin Kohler (Switzerland), Alexander Kristoff (Norway), John Murphy (USA), Amaël Moinard (France), Tim Roe (Australia) and Simon Zahner (Switzerland).

  • Rodriguez would accept Vuelta podium place if Mosquera is sanctioned

    Joaquim Rodríguez in the 2011 Katusha team kit
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 12:22 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Katusha rider awaiting Spanish federation's verdict

    Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) has said that he would be pleased to be promoted to third overall in the official results of the 2010 Vuelta a España if Ezequiel Mosquera is sanctioned for testing positive for Hydroxyethyl starch during the race. Rodriguez finished in fourth place in Madrid after leading the overall classification in the final week.

    “Of course I would have liked to have been on the podium in Madrid,” Rodriguez told AS. “If Ezequiel has cheated, I’d want him to be disqualified and for me to be given third place.”

    Rodriguez warned that justice must run its course, however, he was reticent to condemn Mosquera before the Spanish federation finishes its deliberations on the case.

    “We must await the decision of the federation because if he is eventually found to be innocent the damage to his reputation would be almost irreparable,” Rodriguez said. “These things have to be taken with caution.”

    Mosquera returned a sample that showed traces of Hydroxyethyl starch after stage 18 of the Vuelta but an investigation into his case is still pending. In the intervening period he has signed for the Vacansoleil-DCM team and was on hand at the squad’s official presentation in Rotterdam on Monday.

    Mosquera’s erstwhile Xacobeo Galicia teammate David Garcia also tested positive for the blood plasma volume expander during the race and subsequently returned a positive test for EPO.

    Meanwhile, Vuelta a España race director Javier Guillén called for a speedy resolution to the Mosquera affair and expressed his frustration that the results of the 2010 edition of his race are still provisional.

    “We need to know whether he will remain in second place,” Guillén told AS. “And then there’s his victory on the Bola del Mundo. We’d like to know if the first winner on that climb will keep...

  • Charteau aiming for second polka-dot jersey at Tour de France

    Frenchman Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) won the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 15:45 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Team Europcar climber looking to confirm 2010 results

    Anthony Charteau (Team Europcar) is aiming to repeat his feat of winning the King of the Mountains title at the Tour de France in 2011. The Frenchman brought the polka-dot jersey to Paris last season and he is now looking to confirm his climbing credentials.

    "I think that I'm among the best 20 climbers in the world," Charteau told Cyclism'Actu. "Last season, I fell during Liège-Bastogne- Liège and the Giro. I'd had good sensations. Then on the Tour I was up there on all the mountain stages. The polka-dot jersey will certainly be an objective this season. You always need to dream and I dream of taking a second jersey."

    The points system for the King of the Mountains title will be altered for this year's Tour, with double points on offer at summit finishes, while only the first six riders will score atop hors categorie climbs.

    Given that Charteau finished 44th overall in 2010, many observers feel that the new scoring method will work against him, but the Frenchman insists that he is benefiting from a newfound belief in his capabilities after tasting the podium on the Champs-Élysées.

    "I'm expecting much more from myself," he said. "I'm going to have to get more results. The Tour de France reassured me, it revealed certain capacities that I didn't suspect I had or that I didn't want to suspect I had.

    "This winter I really took stock. The team has a lot to play for this year. I need to get to a high level and I've matured enough to do so. I'm approaching this season as a leader. I'm beginning a second career."

    Charteau's build-up to the Tour has yet to be finalised but one race that will not feature on his programme is Paris-Nice: "I'm going to skip Paris-Nice, the weather doesn't suit me at that time of the year."

  • Armstrong claims cycling does more to fight doping than other sports

    Lance Armstrong in the new RadioShack team kit
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 16:27 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Fabiani not concerned by plasticizer test

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) has claimed that cycling is doing more to combat doping than any other sport. The American was speaking at a press conference on Thursday ahead of his participation in the Santos Tour Down Under.

    Armstrong admitted that the steady trickle of positive tests in cycling was a concern but he was insistent that they were a sign that the sport was tackling its problems.

    “I can’t say no, you would have to say yes [that positive tests are a concern],” Armstrong said, according to AAP. “But to me that is really a by-product of the sport trying harder than any other sport.

    "I know if you laid those controls over any other world sport, especially one as demanding as cycling, you would have as many, if not more, positives."

    The comments come days after former professional and respected journalist Paul Kimmage queried the UCI’s role in covering up an alleged positive test by Armstrong. The allegation first came to light in May when Floyd Landis detailed his accusations of systematic doping at the US Postal Service team.

    “We need to know about the UCI’s role in this and unless that happens the sport cannot move forward, it’s going to happen again, it’ll just be somebody else next time,” Kimmage told Dutch television station NOS on Monday.

    With the Tour Down Under set to be his last professional race outside of the United States, Armstrong also took time to reflect on his career. He was adamant that his legacy to the sport will be a positive one, in spite of the Landis allegations.

    “I won the Tour de France seven times and I think I won it because we changed the way people in cycling do business," he claimed....

  • Omega-Pharma Lotto gathers in Mallorca as Gilbert and Van Den Broeck look to the Tour de France

    The stage is set for the team presentation
    Article published:
    January 13, 2011, 17:34 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Greipel at Tour Down Under as Sergeant aims to maximise talent

    Mallorca, Spain was the setting for Omega-Pharma Lotto’s first team press conference of 2011, with Marc Sergeant joined on stage by two of his biggest hitters, Philippe Gilbert and Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

    While new recruit Andre Greipel prepares for his Lotto debut in Australia at the Tour Down Under, Sergeant and his two Belgians were left to outline their goals for the season.

    “I’ll start in Majorca and then do Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke and Gent Wevelgem. As usual, [I'll do] KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde and De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne,” said Gilbert as he outlined his plans for his pre-Classics schedule.

    Gilbert has had two sensational seasons and last year triumphed in Amstel-Gold and Giro di Lombardia with success in two stages at the Vuelta a Espana and Piedmonte also added to his palmares.

    “If I can do the same as last year, it would be fantastic, but it will be really difficult to achieve something like that again. If I can do the same, it’s good for everyone though,” he said.

    Van Den Broeck is another rider desperate to repeat the results he managed last year. It was a breakthrough season for the 26-year-old who finished fifth in the Tour de France. He was often on the front in the Alps and Pyrenees but admitted that his tactics could change this year as he aims to creep his way closer to the top of the general classification.

    “I’m getting a bit better at riding out of the wind. I still think that my climbing can get a bit better, and that goes for my tactics, too. I’m really confident. Maybe I just need to play a bit more poker with the rest of the guys at the front of the race though and ride off the front a bit more,” he said.

    Gilbert, Van Den Broeck and Greipel should all start this year’s Tour de France – although Gilbert is...