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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 14, 2010

Date published:
January 14, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Soler in hospital after accident

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 9:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Colombian hit by car on training ride

    Mauricio Soler is currently being treated in hospital for injuries he sustained in a road accident. The Colombian climber had been out training on Wednesday morning in Ramiriquí, Boyacá, Colombia, when a car hit him from the front.

    The Caisse d'Epargne rider is being transferred to a hospital in Tunja, capital of the Boyacá department, where a CAT scan will be performed in order to make sure he sustained no head injury. Meanwhile, Soler is conscious and his brother Omar assured the Spanish website Biciciclismo that the injuries were only minor.

    "He doesn't have anything serious, but it's better to go to Tunja for further examination," Omar Soler said. Soler's injuries include bruises and lacerations in his face, arms and legs, but "nothing bad."

    Mauricio Soler was about to finish his training ride in his home town of Ramiriquí around 11.30 in the morning, when a car hit him head-on . "He was one block away from his house when, suddenly, a car drove right into him," his brother related.

    The driver of the car is being held in custody for questioning, and the car is also being investigated by the authorities.

  • Wiggins: Boasson Hagen could dominate next decade

    Edvald Boasson Hagen came over from the Columbia-HTC team with Canadian Michael Barry
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 10:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Calls young Norwegian the most talented rider in the peloton

    Bradley Wiggins has seen the future for Team Sky, and it is Edvald Boasson Hagen, who he considers “the most talented rider” in the peloton. The young Norwegian has the potential to become the most dominant rider of the next decade, Wiggins said.

    "Everyone knows that Edvald is probably the most talented rider in the field right now. He is able to do exactly as he wants, " Wiggins told the Norwegian website VG Nett.

    "He is the team's future, and if he stays here, he can win all the races, he will. He will be the big name in cycling for the next ten years. It's almost scary to think what he can achieve in ten years, until he is 32 years old."

    Boasson Hagen may not actually win everything, though. Wiggins questions whether the 22-year-old will ever stand atop the final podium at the Tour de France. “Edvald can get in amongst the top five in the classification. "He doesn't climb well enough to win, but he climbs well enough to be near the top."

    The young Norwegian rode for Team Columbia in 2008 and 2009. According to Wiggins, “He has been with one of the best teams in the world in the last two years, and now he is in an even better team. He has the right people around him.”

    Wiggins, 29, finished fourth last year in the Tour de France for Garmin-Slipstream. Boasson Hagen had numerous wins in the season, including Gent-Wevelgem, a stage in the Giro d'Italia, and the overall victories in the Eneco Tour of Benelux and the Tour of Britain.

  • Astana training in Spain

    Astana's Daniel Navarro and Alberto Contador during the team's training camp in Calpe.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 10:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contador "confident" despite training setbacks

    After Team Katusha in December and several Quick Step riders last week, Alberto Contador's Astana squad has travelled to Calpe, near Alicante in southern Spain, for a training camp.

    Except for the team's line-up currently in Australia for the Tour Down Under, the whole of Astana's roster has met in Calpe on Thursday for some extensive rides in better weather conditions.

    "I don't remember a winter that was that bad," said Contador to AFP, explaining that his pre-season build-up had been somewhat compromised by the cold weather and snow that reigned in Europe since Christmas.

    "I am completely confident," he meanwhile declared, even though the 2009 Tour de France winner was not able to train every day in the last weeks. "I feel really good, compared to other years." Contador is scheduled to debut the 2010 season at the Volta a o Algarve in Portugal from February 17-21.

    "This year, I don't think I will attain the same level (in Algarve) but it will be a good assessment for the other races," added Contador, who also plans to race Paris-Nice from March 7-14.

  • Team Cycling Noris replaces Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung

    American Amber Neben produced a winning ride
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 11:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Managers still hoping Cooke and Neben will continue with cut-down team

    Team Cycling Noris will be in the women's peloton on 2010. That is the new name of the former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, still searching for a sponsor but continuing through private financing at the moment. However, the team is uncertain of the continued presence of Olympic Champion Nicole Cooke and former World Champion Amber Neben.

    “Noris” is based on a late medieval version of the Latin name for the city of Nürnberg, Noricum.

    It is only a temporary solution, but one which will allow team manager - and current backer - Herbert Oppelt to register his team with the International Cycling Union this week and put it on the road this season. It will be a basic team with minimal expenses and a vastly-reduced racing schedule.

    Nürnberger Versicherung ended its sponsorship of the team at the end of 2009, and plans for Skyter GmbH to take over collapsed in December.

    The team is still looking for a name sponsor, and Oppelt is hoping for help from a north German consortium. He could not find any additional funding in the Nürnberg region. “We were unable to find any support there.”

    In addition, Oppelt and his co-manager, son Alexander, will be helping the team from their private funds. “After the team swore its loyalty to us, we had to continue supporting them,” he told the Nürnberger Zeitung.

    Discussions with potential sponsors are continuing, “but at least now we have won some time, that the is the most important thing.” The UCI has already approved the team to start, but the team will not be able to race the Tour of Qatar, as was hoped.

    The squad is also facing the loss of its two biggest-name riders, Nicole Cooke, who only signed in autumn of last year, and Amber Neben. “We have sent Nicole a new offer and very much hope that she will stay,” Oppelt said of the Beijing Olympic and 2008 World road champion. ...

  • Beppu's future still in limbo

    Fumiyuki Beppu (Discovery Channel)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 11:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contract termination negotiations with Skil ongoing

    Fumiyuki Beppu is stil caught between two teams for the 2010 season. The Japanese rider, who participated in the Tour de France last year with his Dutch team Skil-Shimano, signed a contract with RadioShack for 2010 - while still being committed to Skil.

    Since the Dutch team opposed Beppu's departure, the rider's attorneys are currently negotiating with the squad. Whether or not Beppu will be able to move to RadioShack remains to be seen, especially as RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel respected the contract already established with Skil.

    But the Japanese rider was not present at Skil-Shimano's team photo shoot on Monday, according to Wielermagazine. He is not expected to show up at the team presentation, either.

    Nevertheless, time is running out for Beppu, according to Skil team manager Iwan Spekenbrink. "He has neither participated in any of our training camps, nor in any of RadioShack's. If he wants to ride, he should find a solution with us rapidly," Spekenbrink said.

  • Valverde denies involvement in Puerto

    Providing his CAS appeals go in his favour, Valverde will be targetting the Tour and also possibly the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 12:12 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Spaniard gives evidence, CAS ruling expected in three weeks

    Alejandro Valverde denied that he had any involvement with the Operación Puerto blood doping ring when he gave evidence to the Court of Arbitration for Sport yesterday (Wednesday). Talking to the court via telephone from Australia where he is preparing for the Tour Down Under, Valverde insisted he had no direct link with Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Puerto investigation. "He was the brother of my [Kelme team] doctor, and that's all," Valverde is reported by La Gazzetta Dello Sport to have told the CAS hearing taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    Valverde has appealed to CAS against a two-year ban from racing on Italian territory that the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has imposed on him for what they insist was his involvement in Puerto. CONI's case is based around a blood bag they obtained from the Puerto investigation labeled Val.(piti), a code name allegedly based on the name of Valverde's dog. However, Valverde denied that he had ever had a dog called Piti.

    That assertion was countered by Quique Iglesias, the editor of Spanish sports daily AS. Iglesias stated that AS had published a story titled 'A Day with Valverde' in which there was a picture of the rider playing with an Alsatian dog called Piti.

    Valverde's former Kelme team-mate Jesús Manzano also appeared before the CAS hearing. He affirmed that all the statements he had made when he blew the whistle on doping practices within the Kelme team in March 2006 were true. "Drugs were a way of life," he said of the Kelme team. He insisted that Valverde was one of the riders who was involved in doping at that team and that he had seen Valverde doping.

    Caisse d'Epargne team managers José Miguel Echávarri and Eusebio Unzué plus long-time team rider José Luis Arrieta also appeared to affirm their belief in Valverde's honesty since he joined their team in the 2005 season.


  • Martens threatened by car driver

    Paul Martens of Rabobank
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 12:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Driver threatened to beat rider up and run him down

    Paul Martens of Rabobank will be happy to ride on roads closed for traffic again after experiencing a scary incident over the holidays, when a car driver threatened him. Looking back at it, the German said that it was time “for us all to treat one another with respect.”

    The driver “felt that I held him up often in traffic” and didn't appreciate that Martens continually passed him on the side of the road when the driver had to wait at traffic islands. He was so stressed, the rider said on his personal website, “that he tried to force me into the ditch on an open field.”

    Martens continued that after he stopped, the driver “jumped out of his car like a fury and threatened to hit me, and said that as soon as I started riding again, he would drive me down! You can imagine my shock, because as a cyclist you are helpless against such people.”

    Fortunately for him, “an attentive and courageous driver stopped and accompanied me” until out of the range of the would-be attacker.

    Martens, 26, has ridden for Rabobank since 2008. Previously he was with Skil-Shimano for two years, having served as a trainee with T-Mobile Team the end of the 2005 season.

  • Kessler in critical condition after Mallorca crash

    Matthias Kessler (Astana)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 17:00 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German suffering from severe head trauma

    Matthias Kessler is in critical condition in a Mallorca hospital after a suffering severe head injuries in a training crash.

    Fellow German rider Danilo Hondo told Cyclingnews that the crash occurred when a cat ran into Kessler's bike while he was riding near Algaida, Mallorca.

    Hondo heard the news from Andreas Klöden of Team Radioshack who was training with Kessler at the time of the crash. Hondo was told that Kessler, 30, is in critical condition with a severe head trauma.

    Cyclingnews will publish new details as they arrive.

    Kessler turned pro with Team Telekom in 2000. He joined Team Astana along with Klöden in 2007. That spring Kessler tested positive for testosterone and was suspended for two years. His suspension ended in July 2009.