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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Date published:
June 24, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Vorarlberg-Corratec's future still pending

    Volksbank team manager Thomas Kofler
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 9:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Austrian team might re-emerge under Continental status

    Team Vorarlberg-Corratec's participation in the upcoming Österreich Rundfahrt (Tour of Austra) remains questionable, despite the recent optimistic statements from team manager Thomas Kofler. The team may have to get a new licence as a Continental team in order to continue.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed to the Austrian news agency APA that its withdrawal of the team's Professional Continental licence two weeks ago “due to serious rule violations” is “definite” for the entire season. The UCI has never publicly given a reason for its action.

    Kofler could still acquire a Continental team licence with the help of the Austrian Cycling Federation, which would allow him to ride the Österreich Rundfahrt, starting July 4.

    Earlier this week, Kofler said that he expected to have the licence soon. “By the end of the week we expect a decision from the UCI in favour of our athletes and plan to ride the Österreich Rundfahrt.”

    Alternatively, the Austrian riders on the team, including Rene Haselbacher and Josef Benetseder could ride the Austrian race as part of a national team.

  • Riccò rumoured to ride Vuelta for Quick Step

    Riccardo Ricco' (Ceramica Flaminia) won the Giro del Trentino's second stage at the mountain finish in San Martino di Castrozza.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 10:45 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Reports link controversial Italian to Belgian squad

    La Gazzetta dello Sport has linked Riccardo Riccò (Ceramica Flaminia) with a mid-season switch to lead the Quick Step team at the Vuelta a España. The self-styled “Cobra” returned to racing in March of this year after a two-year doping ban. He tested positive for CERA in 2008 after being targeted for testing by the French Anti-Doping Agency.

    The controversial Riccò has been frustrated this season by a lack of opportunities to race at the highest level. His Flaminia team was overlooked for the two biggest races of the Italian calendar, Milan-San Remo and the Giro d’Italia. Nonetheless, Riccò offered remarkable performances at the Settimana Lombarda and Giro del Trentino, winning stages in each event.

    According to the Gazzetta, Riccò will meet with his current team in order to discuss the possibility of a release from his contract in order to ride the Vuelta for Quick Step. The Belgian team have long been on the search for a leader for the general classification in the major tours. This latest foray into the transfer market is an echo of 2006, when Patrick Lefévère signed José Rujano mid-season to lead Quick Step at the Tour de France, albeit without any significant impact.

    However, French website Cyclismag reports that Astana are also monitoring Riccò’s status, viewing him as a possible replacement for Alberto Contador should the Spaniard leave this winter, with Quick Step mooted as one of his possible destinations.

    Whatever the eventual outcome of this particular transfer carousel, it seems apparent that less than two years after leaving the sport’s biggest event in disgrace, Riccò has returned to become one of its more valuable commodities.

  • De Maar changes from Netherlands to Netherlands Antilles

    Marc de Maar sports his Netherlands Antilles Curacao national team jersey.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 11:05 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    UnitedHealthcare rider hopes to develop Antillean cycling in new homeland

    Marc de Maar has changed his citizenship from the Netherlands to the Netherlands Antilles. The 26-year-old will ride in the national championships races this weekend.

    De Maar rode for Rabobank from 2004 to 2009 before changing to the US-based team UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis. He won two stages of the recent Tour de Beauce and finished third overall, after having worn the leader's jersey for one day.

    His father, Ewald, owns a house on the Netherlands Antilles island of Curaçao, and the 26-year-old will ride under a Curaçao licence.

    "Officially I'm an Antillean (Curaçao) citizen now," he told Cyclingnews. "So I have changed my UCI license as well. According to the UCI, I will have to keep this license for eight years."

    De Maar was already on the island, training. "I just came back from my first training ride. It's warm, but nice to be ‘home'," he said. He will ride the time trial on Saturday and the road race on Sunday for the Antillean Island national championships.

    "If I win the nationals I'll get a national jersey , and I have to wear it for the rest of the season," he continued. "Hopefully I will qualify for the Worlds and the Olympics in 2012, although that's not the only reason why we made this happen."

    De Maar has plans to help develop cycling on the islands. "My dad and I are creating a plan to move the Antillean cycling on to a higher level. It is getting more and more popular over here.

    "So I'm going to give a couple of clinics this season to teach the local cyclists some skills and of course I want to try to help them out with training and prepare them for a couple of trips to Europe in Belgium and Netherlands to take part in some races."

  • Team Sky announce Tour de France line-up

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) before the stage
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 12:39 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Wiggins leads new squad in first Tour assault

    Team Sky has announced its squad for the Tour de France, naming a roster capable of being competitive on a number of fronts. While the team’s primary emphasis will no doubt be on supporting Bradley Wiggins’ attempt to better last year’s fourth-place finish, there is enough talent in the selection for Team Sky’s black jerseys to feature prominently throughout the three weeks of the race.

    Wiggins will be accompanied by fellow Britons Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas. Thomas Löfkvist should be able to provide support in the high mountains as well as ride to a high finish of his own, while the hugely experienced Michael Barry makes a delayed Tour de France debut in Wiggins’ service. Another eagerly-awaited debutant will be Edvald Boasson Hagen, and the exciting Norwegian talent will be expected to make a serious impact on the race. Juan Antonio Flecha will join him in the hunt for stage victories.

    The full line-up is: Michael Barry, Steve Cummings, Juan Antonio Flecha, Simon Gerrans, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Löfkvist, Serge Pauwels, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins.

    Team principal Dave Brailsford is pleased with the balance achieved by his line-up. “We have a blend of Tour experience and young talent that will help us to perform this year and continue to develop. The aim is to perform well, make a positive contribution to the Tour and help to get more people enjoying the sport. We want to inspire. And these nine riders will help us to do that.”

  • Footon-Servetto line-up features eight debutants

    - Eros Capecchi (Ita) Footon-Servetto would finish second on the stage
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 13:06 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Inexperienced team named for Tour de France

    Footon-Servetto has emphasised youth in their line-up for the Tour de France, with no fewer than eight Grand Boucle debutants set to roll down the start ramp in Rotterdam next week. They are Alberto Benitez, Arkaitz Duran, Iban Mayoz, Rafael Valls, Markus Eibegger, Manuel Cardoso, Fabio Felline and Eros Capecchi. The team captain is Italian Giampaolo Cheula, who finished the 2007 and 2008 Tours for Barloworld.

    Directeur Sportif Joxean Fernández Matxin is fully aware of his squad’s inexperience, but believes that his charges will compensate for this “with the enthusiasm of doing a race that for many of them is a dream come true”. Matxin sees Capecchi, Duran and Eibegger capable of making an impact in the mountains and hopes that his fast man Cardoso will come to the fore in the race’s first week. In any case, his ambitions are clear. “We want to win at least one stage, for this we need to pay attention to the escapes and be combative”.

    The average age of the nine man line-up is just 25.5 years, and the squad includes this Tour’s youngest rider, Fabio Felline. Born in 1990, the Italian neo-pro impressed in winning the Circuit de Lorraine but now faces an early introduction to a rather more daunting French stage race.

    The youthful nature of the Footon-Servetto squad will serve to distance it somewhat from its previous incarnation as Saunier-Duval. Writing in the official Tour programme, however, Bernard Hinault was less than enthusiastic in his appraisal of their presence. “I’m not even going to say that I’m happy to see [general manager Mauro] Gianetti’s team at the Tour. The last time he came, with Riccò as leader, he left us in a real mess”.

    It will be up to the Footon-Servetto youngsters to offer a rather different interpretation of the sport this time around.

  • Cavendish identifies Tour de France target sprints

    Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia) is building form for a run at the green jersey in the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 16:52 BST
    Richard Moore

    Brit sets the record straight on Tour de Suisse crash

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) said on Thursday that he has identified "six probable" and "nine possible" bunch sprints in this year's Tour de France, where, he repeated, his main goal is to win the green jersey.

    Cavendish was speaking in London just over a week after suffering a horrific crash at the Tour de Suisse, where he tangled with Heinrich Haussler and fell heavily 50 metres from the line. Unsurprisingly, he was eager to set the record straight on that incident, and on the reported "protest" that followed it.

    In response to the suggestion that such a crash wouldn't have happened last season, when Cavendish's superiority was such that he tended to win by several lengths rather than going shoulder-to-shoulder with opponents, the 25-year-old said, "When you're watching at home, you don't see the headwind and the uphill finish.

    "I wouldn't have been several lengths ahead last year. It was a hard run in to the finish: the last 5km, we were going up and down, up and down. [Thor] Hushovd wasn't there, [Robbie] McEwen wasn't there.

    "OK, [on the finish straight] I altered my line but I didn't switch," Cavendish said. "I'm not going to say I was sprinting in a straight line or that I was faultless, but I don't believe I was the only one at fault. But you know, that happens in sprinting. I got up, crossed the line and went straight back to my bus. I'm just glad I wasn't injured, and I'm sorry for the people who were."

    It was reported, the following day, that the peloton staged a protest on the start line, but Cavendish insisted that was inaccurate. "It wasn't the whole peloton. That was taken out of context. It was [Haussler's] Cervelo [Test Team] and about three other riders who said, 'We want to protest, and we're not going to start race until Cavendish goes home.'

    "The rest of the peloton said, 'You're being stupid, we're going to race.' And so Cervelo and the guys who wanted to protest changed their tune and said...

  • Kenda p/b Geargrinder offers a chance to win a 2011 pro contract

    A Kenda Pro p/b Geargrinder rider shows how to keep cool on this scorcher of a day.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2010, 19:22 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Winner to be selected based on GPS ride data

    The US-based Kenda p/b Geargrinder team and its new partner Strava will host a GPS competition in which the winner will be offered a contract to compete for the UCI-registered Continental team for the 2011 season.

    Strava, a website for avid cyclists to upload GPS ride data, recently signed on as a partner with Inferno Racing LLC, the management company for the Kenda p/b Geargrinder squad. "We were trying to come up with ways to add recognition to a new partner Strava, while raising money for the TX Tough Charity," said Team Manager, Chad Thompson.

    Registered participants will upload their Strava compatible GPS device riding data to the Strava website and representatives of Strava, Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) and Kenda p/b Geargrinder will evaluate the data. Participants will be evaluated each month and ranked according to four categories; Overall Leader, Best Climber, Best Time Trialist and Most Improved. Coaches at CTS will further evaluate the top three riders in each category monthly.

    A panel will decide and announce the competition winner on November 14 "If they are a current Cat 1, they will become an official UCI professional and eligible to become a pro for us," said Chad Thompson, team manager. "If they are Cat. 2 or above, they will race NRC [National Racing Calendar]. We are really selecting a rider and not a gimmick."

    Kenda p/b Geargrinder is currently in its first season as a UCI-registered Continental team. According to Thompson the team will apply for a UCI Continental license renewal for the 2011 season and rider-team contracts will be due on November 15. "Yes, it's a done deal," Thompson said. "We will also be getting a budget increase and a new sponsor."

    Registration is now open and the competition will run through September 30. The cost of competing in the competition is $70 and includes a one-year Strava subscription. The entry cost will be reduced to $40 if the participant is a current Strava...

  • Gerrans to help Wiggins with Grand Tour goal

    Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) looks cool at the team presentation
    Article published:
    June 25, 2010, 7:51 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Australian happy with form

    Simon Gerrans has described his naming in Team Sky’s Tour de France roster as a great feeling, after the rider was forced to miss last year’s race when Cervélo elected to leave the 30-year-old off its roster.

    Last year’s snub came as a shock to many including Gerrans, as he’d won his first Tour stage a year earlier and proved his form with a Giro d’Italia stage victory in the lead up to last year’s race.

    Having joined a new team in 2010, Gerrans’ return to the Tour also comes with a new set of goals. “I’m very happy to be selected in Team Sky for the Tour de France. The team has put together an excellent group of guys that will play various roles to support team leader Bradley Wiggins,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to be named in such a strong line up. I’m really pleased to be back racing the Tour in 2010.”

    Gerrans, who held off a small group to win a Vuelta a España stage last year, says he’ll play a key role in Wiggins’ title bid. Wiggins became a key acquisition for the newly formed Team Sky after he finished fourth at last year’s Tour.

    “The major objective of the team will be to assist Bradley with the general classification,” said Gerrans. “I expect to play a key support role, especially in the medium to high mountain stages.”

    Gerrans said he was pleased with his form at the recent Tour de Suisse, where he finished inside the top 10 on three stages. “I was satisfied with my performance at Suisse especially in the first trial trial. To perform that well against such a quality field was a great measure of my form,” he said. “It was a tough race with terrible weather and challenging parcours.”

    Gerrans will spend the next week mixing recovery with training at his home in Monaco. The 97th Tour de France commenced on July 3 in The Netherlands.