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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 10, 2010

Date published:
June 10, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • RadioShack: Suisse line-up official

    The RadioShack bus attracted a huge crowd
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 9:33 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    American team confirms roster for Swiss stage race

    Team RadioShack has confirmed its line-up for the Tour de Suisse from June 12-20. As expected the American squad is sending team leader Lance Armstrong to compete in Switzerland, together with Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Jason McCartney, Dmitriy Muravyev, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast and Gert Steegmans.

    With such big names as Armstrong, Klöden and Leipheimer, the team directed by Johan Bruyneel therefore includes many of the riders in Switzerland this month who will also participate in the Tour de France in July. Only Chris Horner is currently racing the other of the two Tour preparation races, the Critérium du Dauphiné, where Haimar Zubeldia, another important Tour helper, broke his wrist a few days ago.

    Armstrong and his lieutenants will be up against tough competition as many other Tour favourites chose Switzerland as their final training ground for July. Fränk and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions), Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) and Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) will all fine-tune their form there this coming week, with Alberto Contador (Astana) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) racing in France at the moment.

    With a time trial prologue, several hilly stages, a mountaintop finish and a final time trial on offer, the Tour de Suisse is a condensed version of the Tour de France and a perfect build-up for the French Grand Tour coming up four weeks from now.

  • Schleck previews Pyrenees ahead of Tour

    Defending Champion Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 9:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Contador is beatable

    Fresh from riding reconnaissance in the French Alps, Andy Schleck has begun previewing the Tour’s Pyrenean stages as he builds up to the biggest goal of his season.

    Schleck, joined by his brother Fränk, Fabian Cancellara, Jakob Fuglsang, Matti Breschel and Jens Voigt, will spend two days training over the race’s toughest mountain stages before lining up for their final pre-Tour test at the Tour de Suisse.

    “We’re going to be well prepared for the Tour. We do four stages in the Pyrenees and then we’re doing the Tour de Suisse,” Schleck told Cyclingnews.

    With the core of the team training together ahead of the Tour, Schleck is confident that Saxo Bank will have one of the, if not the, strongest teams in the race. With a demanding and potentially dangerous first week peppered with cobbles, Cancellara and Breschel will help keep both Schlecks out of trouble, while in the mountains they’ll be supported by Fuglsang.

    “There no doubt in my mind that this Tour will be harder than last year. Last year we had a lot of mountains but after the last mountain there was long flat sections so nothing was really decided until the stage where Fränk won and I moved up to second.”

    “The first week will be really stressful. Last year we had the time trial in Monaco and then we were already in France. It was relatively calm. This year we have the cobbles, wind and bonus seconds so the race is going to be much more nervous but also exciting.”

    Schleck’s biggest challenge is likely to come from Spain’s Alberto Contador, winner of the Tour in 2007 and 2009, and while Schleck admits Contador is the favourite, he doesn’t believe he’s unbeatable.

    “The problem is he doesn’t have any weakness but he can have a bad day and we’ve seen that before in Paris-Nice. I know that if I want to win the Tour I have to beat him...

  • Kreder, Péraud, Soler out of Dauphiné

    Garmin-Transitions rider Michel Kreder keeps a low profile as he begins a training ride.
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 10:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Good news for injured Rabobank riders

    Three more riders have left the Critérium du Dauphiné due to injuries. Garmin-Transitions' Michel Kreder crashed out of Wednesday's time trial, and Jean-Christophe Péraud of Omega Pharma-Lotto has withdrawn due to injuries suffered in a crash on Monday's first stage. Mauricio Soler of Caisse d'Epargne missed the time cut-off for the time trial.

    Kreder crashed in the middle of the race against the clock and was unable to continue riding. “I smashed into a wall on the descent, have three stitches above my lip, fractured collar bone and some road rash,” he said on his Twitter page. It is not known how long he will be out of competition.

    Omega-Pharma Lotto announced Wednesday night that Péraud would not be at the start of Thursday's stage. The rider “was particularly badly battered on Monday by a fall, which left him scraped from head to toe. Our French time trial champion still managed to bite through Tuesday's stage and the time trial today, but then got a fever this evening,” the team said.

    Péraud will now rest for a few days before preparing for the national championships and the Tour de France.

    Soler finished the time trial 24:21 behind winner Janez Brajkovic, and was eliminated from the race. The Colombian climber had suffered a knee injury in the first stage, and will now rest up before further training.

    Rabobank had good news from its two riders who were also injured in crashes on Monday. Examinations at a Dutch hospital found no fractures for Dennis van Winden, and Paul Martens is expected to be able to leave the hospital in Valence, France, soon. He suffered several broken ribs and a torn kidney.

  • French investigate Caisse d'Epargne over Tour syringes

    Team manager Johan Bruyneel has finalized Radioshack's 2010 roster.
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 10:47 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Former Astana directors Bruyneel and Gallopin testified in France

    In the investigation of several "suspect" syringes traced back to the Astana team at the 2009 Tour de France, prosecutors have extended its examinations to the Caisse d'Epargne team, French daily L'Equipe reported on Thursday.

    According to the paper, authorities seized a number of insulin syringes at the Tour at the end of July last year, that belonged to the Caisse d'Epargne team and had been deposited in the official waste bins provided by the race organisers.

    The analysis of these syringes by the Parisian laboratory Toxlab revealed the presence of blood platelets. This in turn could be an indication of a doping method called "blood spinning", where a high concentration of the rider's own blood platelets are re-injected to his body to accelerate recovery, a performance-enhancing method prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    L'Equipe also revealed that former Astana directors Johan Bruyneel and Alain Gallopin have been heard in the investigation of other syringes, and reportedly transfusion material, also seized by authorities at the Tour last year. Investigators of the French Central Office against Environmental Damage and Public Health (OCLAESP), who was appointed by the Paris court prosecutors to examine the affair, questioned the two RadioShack directors separately, as Bruyneel was heard in Paris in early May and Gallopin in April.

    The use of infusion equipment such as intravenous drip bags - except in cases of emergency - was banned by WADA in July 2008. Both directors "declared knowing nothing," according to the paper.

  • Van Garderen targets Dauphiné top ten

    Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia)
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 11:40 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Time trial puts American in perfect GC position

    After finishing fourth in yesterday's time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) has his sights firmly set on finishing in the top ten overall.

    Van Garderen went into the 49km time trial second overall, two seconds behind Alberto Contador (Astana) but despite losing 53 seconds to stage winner and new race leader Janez Brajkovic (Team Radioshack), the American still holds a podium place, with three mountain stages to come.

    "Yesterday was good but it was really hard," Van Garderen told Cyclingnews.

    "It was the longest time trial I've ever done. It was tricky tactically too because you'd think you'd want to ease into it and then hit it hard on the way back but there was a headwind the whole first half and then a tail wind in the second half. If you lost time in the start there was no way you'd bring it back."

    Coming into the race, the 21-year-old was hoping of a high finish in GC. In his first season at Pro Tour level he has already impressed in the Volta ao Algarve, Tour of Turkey and the Tour of California. However, the Dauphiné represented his first chance to mix it with Tour de France contenders while assuming a level of team leadership of his own. So far, he's bettered even his own expectations with yesterday's ride.

    "I was thinking top 15 maybe but I was not expecting a top five. I thought that they might have the timing wrong or something. I've done good time trials in the past, and I beat a lot of guys in the prologue too, but this is the Dauphiné."

    "I think that's my best performance so far as a pro. There have been some other results in Algarve and Turkey and some good days working for Michael Rogers in California, but as far as personal results go, the Dauphiné is a huge race. It's on TV in so many countries. Even people back home in the States were watching. You look at the names and the teams here and it's for sure one of the biggest races...

  • Omega Pharma-Lotto signs two young Belgians

    Runner-up Jens Debusschere (Pws-Eijssen Cycling Team) on the podium
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 12:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Classics riders strengthen Belgian team

    Omega Pharma-Lotto has signed two young Belgian riders for next year, both Classics specialists. Sven Vandousselaere and Jens Debusschere have signed two­-year contracts with the team.

    Vandousselaere, 21, currently rides for Jong Vlaanderen-Bauknecht. This year he won a stage in the Tour de Normandie, finished third in the U23 Tour of Flanders and fourth in the Vlaamse Pijl.

    Debusschere, 20, rides for PWS-Eijssen. He won a stage this year at the Triptique Ardennais and was second in both U23 Paris-Roubaix and the Vlaamse Pijl.
     
    Both young riders will ride for Belgium in the European Championship on July 18 in Ankara, Turkey.
     

  • Criminal case of Kohl and Rasmussen closed without charges

    Bernhard Kohl in the mirror showing off his dots.
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 13:32 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    No proof they profited from blood centrifuge

    Public prosecutors in Vienna, Austria have closed their investigation of Bernhard Kohl and Michael Rasmussen without taking any action against them. They had been under investigation for their possible involvement in a a blood-doping scheme.

    Retired Olympic cross-country skier Christian Hoffmann was also cleared of the charges.

    The authorities said that the three athletes had been financially involved in the purchase of a blood centrifuge along with manager Stefan Matschiner. However, there was found to be no proof that they allowed others to use the centrifuge for payment, which would have been illegal.

    “This decision by the prosecutors only goes to prove that Mr. Kohl has always told the truth,” said his attorney, Manfred Ainedter. Kohl, who has since retired from the sport, now operates a bike shop in Vienna and can now “look to the future with confidence,” Ainedter told the APA news agency.

    Matschiner told Orf.at that the decision “was right. This investigation was only about whether Bernhard, through financing the machine, also could have earned anything from it later. He didn't.” Charges against Matschiner are still pending.

    Kohl, who won the mountain jersey in the 2008 Tour de France, was stripped of the title when he tested positive for EPO-CERA during the Tour. After making a full confession, he was given a two-year ban which expires the beginning of next month.

    "I have heard nothing from the Austrian authorities so therefore I can not comment on the developments which have apparently taken place, according to the media," Rasmussen told politiken.dk.

    I will wait until I have received an official statement from Austria to comment further," he added.

  • Cervélo names Tour de France longlist

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 15:27 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sastre still uncertain of start

    The Cervélo TestTeam unveiled today a list of 12 riders from which its final Tour de France roster will be chosen. 2008 Tour champion Carlos Sastre tops the list, although he is still recovering from a back injury and uncertain of his participation in the race.

    Thor Hushovd, defending green jersey winner and Heinrich Haussler, winner of stage 13 in Colmar last year, were also named on the team's longlist.

    All three of the team's top riders have suffered from injury this year. Sastre was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back as a result of a crash during the Giro d'Italia. Haussler overcame a knee injury and only resumed racing in May, and Hushovd fractured his collarbone early last month in training.

    Joop Alberda, the General Manager of the team said,"The recovery of some riders will decide our final selection. To race the Tour de France, everyone needs to be 100% fit.

    “It will definitely be an interesting and challenging race. We have a good mix of riders in this team, and we will have several options."

    The pre-selection also includes 2009 Vuelta stage winner Philip Deignan, 2006 Clasica San Sebastian winner Xavier Florencio, 2009 Giro d'Italia stage winner Ignatas Konovalovas and Paris-Nice stage winner Xavier Tondo.

    Cervélo TestTeam longlist for 2010 Tour de France

    Philip Deignan
    Xavier Florencio
    Volodimir Gustov
    Heinrich Haussler
    Jeremy Hunt
    Thor Hushovd
    Andreas Klier
    Ignatas Konovalovas
    Daniel Lloyd
    Brett Lancaster
    Carlos Sastre
    Xavier Tondo