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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 5, 2012

Date published:
January 05, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Win a chance to be in the UniSA team car at the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under

    The peloton passes underneath the UniSA arch on the back straight.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 4:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    EBay auction to raise money for Hartley Lifecare

    Ever wondered what it might be like to sit in the team car alongside the sporting director - barking out orders, handing out bidons, immersed within a WorldTour race? Well, as part of a fundraising initiative for not-for-profit organisation Hartley Lifecare, the Santos Tour Down Under and the UniSA-Australia team are offering just that opportunity.

    The winning bidder of an EBay auction will get to sit in the team car with director of UniSA Dave Sanders for stage two of the WorldTour event and meet the riders, including Lachlan Norris, Rohan Dennis, Steele Von Hoff, Jay McCarthy and Tom Palmer after the day's racing.

    All money raised from the auction will go to Hartley Lifecare, which provides respite care for those with severe disabilities.

    Bids close on the 15th of January and the winning bidder must be able to make their way to the Tour village in Adelaide for the stage on the 18th of January.

    To bid in the auction or to see a fuller desciption click here.

    Stage: Colemans Group Stage 2, Wednesday 18th January 2012

    Departing Tour Village 8.30am with UniSA Australia team car (under the guidance of Dave Sanders) and returning after the stage to the Tour Village.

  • Heppner looks back at ten days in maglia rosa

    Sport Director Jens Heppner looks ready to race again
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 9:40 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Ten years later, German hopes to take Team NetApp to Giro d'Italia

    Ten years ago, Jens Heppner of Team Deutsche Telekom wore the maglia rosa at the Giro d'Italia for ten days. Now the German hopes to lead Team NetApp to the Italian race for its first Grand Tour. Giro organizer RCS Sport announced earlier this week that NetApp is in the final 14 candidates for wildcard invitations to the races it organises, including the Giro.

    Heppner was an ageing veteran for Telekom when he was part of a breakaway group on the sixth stage of the 2002 Giro from Cuneo to Varazze. His former teammate Giovanni Lombardi won the sprint, but Heppner's seventh place finish was enough to propel him into a 3:33 overall lead ahead of Stefano Garzelli.

    Taking pink was "for sure a surprise. For me too. But you have to be lucky at the right time, too and I was lucky at this stage,“ he told Cyclingnews this week. "Well, actually I already did a good race on the second stage arriving in Liège when I got on the podium. So maybe it wasn’t that much of a surprise at the end.

    "The years before I was mostly charged with helping my captains. Now I had the chance to go on my own and it was perfect timing. Because wearing the maglia rosa while riding in Italy is indescribably awesome. It’s a very special feeling and it meant a lot to me especially because I kept it for ten stages."

    During his time in pink, Cyclingnews wrote that Heppner "enjoyed another day in pink and another day on the podium, where his antics with the champagne bottle have surpassed compatriot and F1 driver Michael 'Schumi' Schumacher. 'Heppe' is relishing every moment on the podium.“

    That brought a smile to the face of the man who Cyclingnews also described...

  • Gallery: Rabobank men's and women's teams

    Tom Leezer
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 10:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery of Dutch team's riders

    The Rabobank teams are ready for the season – at least photographically. The team has released the official photos for its men's and women's road teams for 2012.

    The Dutch ProTour team presented its four teams for the new season in December.

    The bank sponsors not only the two road teams, but also a continental team and an off-road team.

    The women's team, new this year, is led by Dutch sensation Marianne Vos. The 24-year-old has dominated the women's road scene since she turned pro in 2006.

    The men's team will still look to Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema for overall results in the grand tours, but this year it can also count on top sprinter Mark Renshaw. The Australian, who formerly prepared sprints for Mark Cavendish at the now-defunct HTC-Highroad, will take the place of three-time world champion Oscar Freire.

     

  • Cobo: Movistar offer too good to pass up

    Juan Jose Cobo and Alejandro Valverde flank Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 11:36 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vuelta winner looking to make impact at Tour de France

    Left without a team following the disbandment of Geox-TMC, Juan José Cobo has said that the opportunity to sign for Movistar was too good to pass up. The Vuelta a España winner endured a difficult winter as he searched for a squad for 2012, but eventually put pen to paper two days shy of the New Year.

    “At a certain point I couldn’t wait any longer,” Cobo told Marca. “I could have looked for something better economically, but at my age I was more concerned with the sporting side of things. I’m only thinking about having a great calendar and a great team.”

    Cobo was presented as a Movistar rider alongside the controversial Alejandro Valverde in Madrid on Wednesday, and this season will mark his second spell at Eusebio Unzue’s outfit. Cobo spent 2010 with the squad when it was sponsored by Caisse d’Epargne, although that sojourn was blighted by his battle with depression.

    “I hope to ride like I did in the last two months of last season,” Cobo said. “Winning the Vuelta didn’t so much change my life as change my mentality. Thanks to that, I’m now super motivated and that’s what I needed.”

    Eusebio Unzue confirmed that Cobo will be on hand to defend his red jersey when the Vuelta gets underway in Pamplona on August 18, and hinted that he will ride the Tour de France beforehand. However, he was reluctant to rule out the possibility that Cobo might instead lead the squad at the Giro d’Italia.

    “The arrival of Cobo is forcing us to modify the plans of other riders, but Juan José’s presence at the Giro can’t be excluded yet,” Unzue told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Cobo...

  • Cavendish sets Milan-San Remo target

    Mark Cavendish
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 12:36 GMT
    By:
    Mark Robinson

    British star says he's in great physical shape ahead of new season

    At his first media day for Team Sky in London on Wednesday,  world champion Mark Cavendish revealed that he is in top condition ahead of the new campaign and that his main early-season goal is fulfil his ambition of winning Milan San-Remo in the rainbow jersey. Cavendish won the race in 2009 and immediately stated his ambition to win the race again in the future as world champion. He now feels that he is ideally placed to make good on his promise.

    "My main early season goal is to win Milan-San Remo again," he said. "When I won it in 2009 I said that I wanted to win it again in the rainbow jersey. So that's what I'm aiming for. I feel I'm in the perfect position to do it. There are eight people in a team for Milan San-Remo. This year, including me, six of the proposed team are the same as when I won it three years ago."

    With a year of huge challenges ahead, including the prospect of racing for gold at the Olympic Games immediately after attempting to defend his green jersey at the Tour de France, Cavendish said that he's in tremendous physical condition for this time of year.

    "I've got the same skin folds now as I usually have in May," he said. "So I'm in great shape. I've always been strong in December but weight has sometimes been a problem and it's been hard at times to get it off, but this year has been different. I want to be strong for the whole year and I need to know exactly where I am in May and June. I don't want to be chasing fitness and conditioning in July."

    Cavendish also provided some insight into his regime in Essex, east of London, where he has been spending an increasing amount of time. He now has a house there with his...

  • Vacansoleil confirm that they fired Mosquera

    Ezequiel Mosquera in his new Vacansoleil jersey
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 13:19 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spanish rider dismissed after receiving two-year doping suspension

    Vacansoleil-DCM has fired Ezequiel Mosquera, after he was suspended for two years on doping charges. The Spaniard never rode at all for the Dutch team for the one year he was under contract to them.

    “Yes, we fired him in December after the Spanish federation's announcement,” Vacansoleil spokesman Frank Kwanten told Cyclingnews. “This is line with what we announced: that after being suspended he would immediately be fired.”

    Mosquera tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch at the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, while riding for Xacobeo Galicia. He signed a two-year contract with Vacansoleil before the positive test was announced. The team held him out of competition pending the outcome of his case.

    That outcome didn't happen until 14 months after the positive doping control. The International Cycling Union did not send the dossier to the Spanish cycling federation until April 2011, and the federation opened its investigation in July. 

    Mosquera confirmed in November that he had been suspended for two years, not counting the 2011 season which he sat out, and said that he would appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitation for Sport. He has consistently denied doping.

  • Vinokourov blames "jealousy" for bribery accusation

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) will lead the team next season
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 14:23 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kazakh to end career after London 2012 Olympics

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has continued to deny the accusation that he bribed Alexandr Kolobnev in the finale of the 2010 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, claiming that he is the victim of “jealousy.”

    In December, Swiss magazine L’Illustre published an email exchange between Vinokourov and Kolobnev, which suggested that the Kazakh had paid out €100,000 to win La Doyenne. It was Vinokourov’s first major win after his return from a two-year suspension for blood doping.

    “My lawyers are working,” Vinokourov told rmc.fr. “I know who made this accusation, but I won’t say who. There’s always jealousy in the peloton. With the internet, this kind of thing circulates very quickly. I repeat: I did nothing.”

    Vinokourov also insisted that 2012 will be his final season as a professional rider, with the Tour de France and the London Olympics set to bring the curtain down on his controversial career.

    “It’s sure, this is my last season, or rather, my last half-season,” he said. “At the most, I will go as far as the Olympic Games.”

    Although Vinokourov claimed that his place in the Kazakh delegation for London is not guaranteed, the veteran is looking to perform strongly in the time trial.

    “There are only two places for my country, although I’m still in the top 15 of the UCI standings. I think I’m on the list, but we’ll see,” he said....

  • Ballan still waiting on Mantova investigation

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is still riding.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 16:24 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC rider attempting to focus on 2012 season

    Almost two years after first being implicated, Alessandro Ballan continues to wait for a resolution to the Mantova-based anti-doping investigation. Along with his fellow Italian Mauro Santambrogio, Ballan has twice been sidelined by his BMC team after being linked to the affair, but on each occasion was subsequently welcomed back into the fold.

    The Mantova inquiry, led by public prosecutor Antonino Condorelli, was centred on the activities of pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and his involvement with the Lampre team in the 2008 and 2009, when Ballan was a member of the squad.

    “Italian justice is very slow, you only have to look at the example of [Luca] Paolini [against whom charges were dropped five years after the Operazione Athena doping investigation began – ed.], so I’m still waiting,” Ballan told Velochrono.

    Ballan was first pulled from racing ahead of Paris-Roubaix in April 2010, but returned to action the following month after an internal investigation by BMC. In 2011, he was removed from BMC’s Giro d’Italia squad in the build-up to the race when Gazzetta dello Sport published allegations of blood doping against Ballan, and quoted the transcript of an alleged telephone conversation between the rider and Nigrelli, in which they discussed the use of EPO and growth hormone.

    Although BMC again allowed Ballan to return to action scarcely a month later, he was questioned by the...