- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 09:55
- Hedwig Kröner
French daily to remain close partner
The Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), which already owns the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Critérium international, Paris-Roubaix, Tour de l'Avenir and Paris-Tours on French soil alone, is preparing to take over the organisation of the second-most important French stage race, the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. The pre-Tour de France preparation event, taking place in the South of France in June, has been in the hands of French regional newspaper Dauphiné Libéré since its creation in 1947.
This year, ASO will organise the race for the first time as it is preparing to become its owner. "ASO has been given the mandate to organise the 2010 edition," said Dauphiné Libéré group CEO Henri-Pierre Guilbert on Thursday. "Moreover, very advanced negotiations are underway for a transfer of the competition."
The race has reportedly created a deficit in recent years, and because the newspaper did not want the event to cease to exist, the choice of ASO as a new owner was "a legitimate one. Our objective is the Critérium's continuity, as it is an important part of our region's sports heritage. We will remain closely linked to it as a partner. This is not an abandon."
The 62nd Dauphiné will this year finish in Sallanches, with a moutnain top finish on L'Alpe d'Huez planned for the penultimate stage on June 12.
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 09:58
- Susan Westemeyer
No Nationals or Tour Down Under for Columbia's Australian
Adam Hansen of Team Columbia-HTC is skipping his favourite race this year, the Australian national championships. In fact, he has not travelled to Australia at all this off-season, in an attempt to try something different in his preparations for the 2010 season.
Hansen, 28, is staying at his European base in the Czech Republic over the winter, where he has been enjoying some snow. "The team wanted me to take a different approach this year and spend my winter training here in Europe and not in Australia," he told Cyclingnews. Instead of riding the Tour Down Under as in the past, the team wanted him "to try something different."
While it wasn't an easy change for him to accept, Hansen acknowledged that "it makes sense. The season is long and you have to set your priorities. I'm open to different ideas and I'd like to see where this brings me."
His priority this year will be the team's number two sprinter, Andre Greipel. "The team wants me to work more with Andre this year. So my programme will be built around his. Some of my highlights will be Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Romandie, the Giro d'Italia and the Philadelphia International."
Hansen will open his season at the Mallorca Challenge in February, "which will be something different than every other year. Just hope it's not too cold."
The downside of the new schedule is missing the races in Australia. The national road race title has "always been my favourite race of the year and I always wanted to win the race." His worst result in the event was third in 2009, having finished second in 2008 and 2006.
"I love the course," Hansen noted. "It's the first race of the season, so the lead-up to it is very clear and undisturbed. It gives me total control of my efforts and I am able to peak on that given day."
While Hansen has never won the road race, he was national time trial champion in 2008.
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 11:41
- Daniel Benson
Cervélo rider going for Flanders and Roubaix
After enjoying his best season to date in 2009, Heinrich Haussler is hoping for a stellar 2010 in which he'll aim for the first Classic win of his career.
Haussler was a revelation last year, finishing second to Mark Cavendish at Milano-Sanremo, fourth in Flanders, seventh in Paris-Roubaix and winning a memorable stage in the Tour de France. Overall, he scored nine races, more than he'd won in the previous three years of his career.
This year, the Cervélo rider has altered his training programme and aims to be bang on form for the Classics instead of starting to peak in February, like he did last year. "I've changed my training a bit so I won't peak as early this year. You won't see that much action from me in the first few races this season," he told Cyclingnews.
At the Classics, Cervélo will once again be one of the strongest teams, and despite the loss of Simon Gerrans to Sky, the team look a fearsome outfit with Haussler joined by Thor Hushovd and the likes of Roger Hammond. "For me, in my eyes, Cervélo is the best Classics team in the World," he said.
Haussler also believes that the Classics will be even more competitive than ever before with the new Sky team as well as BMC strengthening and Katusha, Quick Step and Rabobank all having strong teams. "I think there are ten guys who could win a race like Flanders. If I had a choice that's the race I'd like to win most though. It doesn't necessarily suit me the best as I know I can be up there in Roubaix too.
"Last year in Roubaix I made a stupid mistake and it cost me. I was on the back of the lead bunch just as Boonen attacked. It meant that I was left with Cancellara and Chavanel while Thor was up the road. If I'd chased it would have looked like I was going after my own teammate."
As for the dynamic of racing on the same team as Hushovd, Haussler believes that it can be as successful as last year. "With Thor on the team it's hard to come past him. He's Thor Hushovd after all. But I'm going to make sure that I'm in peak condition.
"I'm not saying I'm better than Thor - just that it's hard on the team as he's such a good rider. He doesn't have that many bad days but if he does maybe he'll say, 'Heinrich I'm not feeling that good today, have a go.'"
Haussler is currently training at home in Europe, having returned to Australia over the off-season to see family and friends. Next week he flies to Cervélo's team camp in Portugal.
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 11:45
- Susan Westemeyer in Dortmund, Germany
Germany's only ProTour team working for a better 2010
It is "back to basics" for Team Milram, which presented its official team roster on Thursday morning in Dortmund, Germany . Germany's only remaining ProTour team will work for a more successful 2010 after bringing in only seven victories at the end of last season. Once again, the team will be led by co-captains Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek.
The new guidelines for the team are "be healthy, have fun and work professionally," according to general manager Gerry van Gerwen. "Our riders should concentrate on the basics."
And the most important of those basics is winning. "A winner has a plan, a loser an excuse," Van Gerwen continued. "There are no more excuses."
The Dutchman once again called for 25 wins this year. "With a team like this, with these athletes, these talented young men, 25 wins is possible, it must be." He would nevertheless be willing to accept less under certain circumstances. "I will take 15 if it includes a Classic and a Grand Tour stage."
Captains Gerdemann and Ciolek both admitted to an unsatisfactory previous season. "I can't be satisfed with 2009. I didn't live up to my own expectations," Ciolek, 23, said. "But I am going into 2010 with a good feeling."
Gerdemann, 27, said that "I certainly didn't achieve what I expected of myself. I will be a different rider in 2010, one who wins races."
The team features 24 riders from six nations, with two-thirds of them being German. There are five newcomers to the team, including Germans Roger Kluge and Dominik Nerz. Kluge, a track specialist, is expected to be a major helper in setting up sprints for Ciolek. Nerz, 20, comes over from the Milram Continental Team and is the German U-23 road champion.
The team's Classics squad has been strengthened by the signing of two Belgians, Roy Sentjens and Wim de Vocht. The other new signing is Luke Roberts of Australia, who is currently in his homeland for the national championships. He finished third in the time trial race, and will also ride in Sunday's road race.
The team has also undergone some internal restructuring. Christian Henn has moved from sports director to a management position, whose responsibilities include race analysis. Former Milram rider Ralf Grabsch becomes a new sports director, responsible for race planning and the direct rider contact.
From the presentation in snowy Dortmund, Germany, the team will head to the Spanish island of Mallorca for training. Its first race of the year will be the Tour Down Under in Australia. In addition to the Tour de France and ProTour races, it will place further emphasis on German one-day and stage races.
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 12:13
- Daniel Benson
Father-to-be training well despite cold and fishing accident
After suffering through a cold winter and light surgery, Fränk Schleck is looking forward to Saxo Bank's next training camp and fatherhood in 2010. With temperatures plummeting across Europe, Schleck had been forced to slow his training in the last few weeks.
"It's not that easy. It's really cold but the training we've been doing is just about okay. We came back and started doing three or four hours on the bike per day but we're still lacking the really long rides that we'll do at the training camp next week," Schleck told Cyclingnews.
However, Schleck's progress took a serious turn for the worse on an innocuous fishing trip with his brother, and Tour runner-up Andy, just before Christmas. After a day of training with the team the pair ventured out for a fishing trip - a pastime they regularly enjoy.
"I caught this tinny one and as I grabbed it to unhook it the stupid thing stung me. Thirty minutes later it was swollen like bad ass.
"I Googled the fish and it turned out to be poisonous. Ten days after the swelling came back and I went to the hospital and they had to operate and remove the bacteria. I had eight stitches."
Despite the set back there has been good news in the Schleck household, with Frank set to become a father for the first time in May. He got married to girlfriend Martine on New Year's Eve after proposing to her on the island of Curacao in November.
"I'm going to be a daddy. I can't believe it," he said, "It's due on May 5 which is a great date. April 25 is Liège-Bastogne-Liège and I really want to win that race and dedicate it to mother and baby. The baby will come right in my break between Classics and Tour of Luxembourg, which I won last year. So having it in between that break will be good as I'll be at home resting anyway."
In more racing-related news, Saxo Bank have gone through a small renaissance within their riding staff. Out have gone Kurt Asle Arversen (Sky), Karsten Kroon (BMC) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha), while the likes of Baden Cooke, Ritchie Porte and Laurent Didier have been brought in to plug the holes. However, Schleck believes that riders like Matti Breschel and climbing sensation Jakob Fuglsang can step up and deliver when and where it matters most - at the Tour de France.
"Of course we lost Chris, Karsten and Alexandr. I cant' say that wont affect us but we have really young guys like Matti and Jacob coming through and Jacob in particular will be really useful on the climbs. I think we'll be stronger as we're more focussed and have more experience. We still have a really strong core to the team.
"I don't think we should compare the team to last year though. Every year it's a bit different but I'm 100 percent sure we'll be really strong."
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 16:08
- Daniel Benson
Swede to lead at Giro, proud to race for team's philosophy
After a debut season with Fuji, Fredrik Kessiakoff is brimming with excitement as he embarks on his second road season with his new team, Garmin-Transitions.
The former mountain bike rider turned to road cycling in 2009 and competed in over 100 days of racing, taking in two Grand Tours and securing a number of promising results. After such a demanding year, Kessiakoff has taken an extended off-season, but despite signs of fatigue he will be Garmin's potential overall leader at this year's Giro.
"So far it's been going well. I've had a bit of fatigue and tiredness in my legs. The training is going well, though. I started a bit later than usual but I felt that I needed those extra days to recover," Kessiakoff told Cyclingnews.
Kessiakoff, who only had a one-year deal with Fuji, was approached by Garmin in April 2009. It was an easy decision for the Swede when it came to signing for the argyle-clad team. Embracing their philosophy on cycling and being a rider that prides himself on racing clean, he was also impressed with the level of support on offer at Garmin.
"There are maybe five teams that I would call dream teams. Garmin is certainly one of those. When Jonathan Vaughters approached me I only had a one-year contract. At that time I'd been racing really well and he was missing someone for that period. He wanted someone who could do well in some of the week-long races in the spring, who could help the team and develop further.
"Their mentality towards doping is something that attracted me. Here's a team that says 'we are here to get publicity for sponsors but not through just winning'. If you tell the riders it's just about winning then you're putting a gun to their heads and saying that if you don't perform you're out. Maybe Garmin doesn't win every race but when they do win you see the joy on their faces and it's done clean."
Kessiakoff didn't enter cycling with the blinders on. He knows that the sport has its problems and that they're perhaps more prominent in road cycling than any other discipline in the sport - or at least more public. However, the 29-year-old Swede believes that the fight is being won and that more and more riders are proving that clean racing can achieve results.
"The love for the sport is greater than the problems and I love road cycling," he said.
"Of course you can look at some results and you know that some of them are not achievable. In the old days you knew that some of the wins were achieved through doping. I'm not blind, I know the sport has its problems but what's important to me in my career is being able to look back and think I'd done everything I could within my power but that I did it all clean. That's my mission. If that's fiftieth or tenth at the Giro, time will only tell, but I want to look back and say that I'm clean. Every year that passes the chances of winning clean is greater and greater."
Kessiakoff will compete at Pais Vasco this year, before spearheading the team at the Giro. While 2009 was the year of gaining as much experience as possible, this year is about racing less but racing smarter. After the Giro, he plans on taking an extended break before possibly riding the Vuelta in the second part of the season. His experience from his first year of racing should benefit him.
"I got all that experience and looking back I did a lot of beautiful races and it's worth a lot. Maybe it would have been better to have a slightly easier race schedule as there were some parts when I felt a bit tired.
"Compared to mountain biking I've learnt that you can't do every race at a 100 percent effort. If you do 100 days of racing you have to learn to sit in the bunch and just eat and rest as best you can. Even if it's for a few days. That was the biggest lesson and it took me a long time to learn that."
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 16:45
- Richard Tyler
American team takes top honors in new poll category
Columbia-HTC's victory in the inaugural "Best Team" category of the 2009 Cyclingnews reader poll mimicked its dominance of the 2009 road season. The American team was judged an overwhelming winner with over 51 per cent the votes cast by 14,070 Cyclingnews readers.
Columbia-HTC's winning ways began just eight days into last year with Michael Rogers the first to chip in to the men's season total of 85 victories. His victory in the Australian time trial National Championship was a sign of things to come, with 14 of his colleagues to join him in the winners circle by season's end.
Despite the distribution of wins throughout the team, three names stood out above the rest. Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen's personal tallies each reached double figures and accounted for 55 of the total wins.
Cavendish and Greipel were particularly prolific. Cavendish's 23 triumphs included six Tour de France stage wins and three at the Giro d'Italia. Not to be outdone, Greipel's 21 wins stretched from January's Tour Down Under to October's Paris-Bourges, with four stage wins at the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España.
The consistency of both sprinters' journeys to race podiums was also a clear indication of the team's strength as a whole. Cavendish's lead-out train at the Tour de France formed an almost daily demonstration of the team's efficiency, while team time trial wins at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de Romandie further displayed their enviable continuity.
Boasson Hagen is likely to be sorely missed as he starts a new chapter in his career at Team Sky this season. In the last of his two seasons with Columbia, the 22-year-old snatched 11 wins, including Belgian semi-Classic Gent-Wevelgem, and overall victories at the Tours of Benelux and Britain.
Columbia-HTC's women's team added a further 46 wins to the team's overall total. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (24), Linda Villumsen and Judith Arndt were responsible for the lion's share of the wins, accounting for 15, seven and four, respectively.
With around a third of the votes of Columbia, Astana finished second in the reader poll. Despite the respective first and third overall at the Tour de France through Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong, the Kazakh team could not match the consistency of their US-based rivals.
Garmin-Slipstream narrowly edged out Saxo Bank and impressive debutants, Cervélo TestTeam, for third place.
Cyclingnews reader poll results - Best Team (new category for 2009)
1. Columbia-HTC: 7228
2. Astana: 2418
3. Garmin-Slipstream: 1389
4. Team Saxo Bank: 1368
5. Cervelo TestTeam: 1268
6. Liquigas: 126
7. Quick Step: 110
8. Caisse d'Epargne: 77
9. Silence - Lotto: 47
10. Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Androni Giocattoli: 39
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews to discover the winner of the Argon 18 Krypton, complete with SRAM Red groupset, Fast Forward F4R Clinchers, RavX bar, stem and seatpost, Speedplay Zero Cro-moly pedals and carbon bottle cages, which will be announced later in the week.
- Article published:
- January 7, 2010, 22:13
- Cycling News
German ProTour team presents roster in Dortmund
Team Milram presented its official team roster on Thursday in Dortmund, Germany. The German ProTour team seeks a more successful 2010 season after accumulating only seven victories during their 2009 campaign. Once again, the team will be led by co-captains Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek.
The team features 24 riders from six nations, with two-thirds of them being German. There are five newcomers to the team, including Germans Roger Kluge and Dominik Nerz, Belgians Roy Sentjens and Wim de Vocht plus Australia's Luke Roberts, currently in his homeland for the national championships.
From the snow of Dortmund, the team will head to balmier weather on the Spanish island of Mallorca for training. Team Milram's first race of the year will be the Tour Down Under in Australia.
Check out the photos taken by Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer in the associated gallery.