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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 26, 2009

Date published:
November 26, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • RLVB urges UCI to reconsider Olympic track changes

    Dominique Cornu (Belgium) on his way to qualifying second in the men's 4000m individual pursuit.r
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 13:01 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian Federation submits its own proposal to reach gender equality

    The Royal Belgian Cycling Federation (RLVB) have joined calls urging the International Cycling Union (UCI) to reconsider a proposal that would see the individual pursuit, points race and Madison removed from the Olympic track program.

    The UCI announced in September its plans to create equality in the number of medals awarded men and women track cyclists at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The UCI and International Olympic Committee are expected to make an announcement on the make-up of the track programme for the London Games next month.

    A letter sent from RLVB President Laurent De Backer to UCI President Pat McQuaid this week outlines the Belgian Federation's objections to the proposed changes to the Olympic program, as well as their concerns over the consultation process that has led up to it. The Belgian's appeal follows on from a large cross section of the cycling community who have expressed concern over the proposed changes.

    The RLVB's Director of Sports Jos Smets told Cyclingnews that while the Belgian Federation does not object to gender equality of medals, it is concerned about the sudden upheaval to the Olympic schedule.

    "We absolutely understand that the IOC might want gender equality and we are certainly not against it. But, as we continue to argue, it should be done in phases," said Smets today.

    "It's not appropriate, three years before the games, to simply cancel events. I've spoken to a lot of riders, coaches and federations at the World Cup rounds this year. They've been working towards the Olympics for a lot longer than three years. I'm talking about a rider like Taylor Phinney from the USA for example; this is not just about Belgian riders.

    "I think the IOC realise that athletes train for longer than two or three years for the Olympics."

    Although it is yet to be formally announced, it is widely believed that the Omnium will be introduced as a replacement for the individual pursuit,...

  • Pereiro explains reasons behind Astana move

    2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro explains move to Astana for 2010.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 14:40 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    'I didn’t want to retire in a feed zone'

    Spain's Oscar Pereiro has revealed the reasons behind his decision to sign for Astana, admitting he didn’t want his career to end with him quitting at a feed zone in the Pyrenees during this year’s Tour de France.

    “I don’t think that a rider who has won the Tour de France should retire in a feed zone but should find some other way of doing so.That’s why I’ve decided to take up the chance to ride for another year and quit when the time is right," the the 2006 Tour winner told El Progreso newspaper in his home region of Galicia.

    Pereiro said he had committed himself to Astana two weeks ago but had agreed not to make the news public until Alberto Contador had made clear whether or not he would ride for the Kazakhstan-backed squad. That news was confirmed yesterday.

    He talk about his decision to pull out of the Tour de France in July and his thoughts on quitting cycling. “After that I was bored, tired and disappointed," Pereiro continued. "I said that I wanted to quit and stuff like that, but in the end, thankfully, my passion for the sport returned and now I’m looking ahead.

    “It was down to the accumulation of a lot of things. In the 20km from the Envalira pass to the feed zone where I decided to quit I thought about things a lot and I’m one of those people that when something goes through their head they stick by it... A lot of little things changed my opinion [about quitting] – getting away from the bike, being with my family and friends, enjoying the summer. I reached a moment where I felt relaxed.”

    Pereiro admitted that things changed for him when he crashed out of the 2008 Tour with injuries that put his career in jeopardy.

    “That was a turning point in my life. My way of thinking changed a lot and I began to value things that I’d not put any value on before. My ambition and desire to get back to racing perhaps ended up...

  • Contador's contract has loopholes

    Alberto Contador gives the thumbs up to the 2010 tour route.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 14:50 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Spaniard to stay with Astana, but revised contract assures Tour participation

    Now that the Astana team has been granted a ProTour licence for next year, Alberto Contador is certain to remain with the Kazakh outfit to honour his last year of contract, but he may also change teams in the middle of the season if his Tour de France participation is in jeopardy.

    The decision of the UCI licence commission puts a definite end to all speculation surrounding the multiple Grand Tour winner, who had already announced that he had reached an agreement to honour his last year of contract with the squad, "if the team retains its ProTour licence". This condition now being met, Contador is certain to ride for Astana next year, but further clauses have been added to his contract to guarantee his Tour de France participation come what may.

    Francisco Contador, the brother and manager of the four-time Grand Tour winner, has revised his contract with the squad's new management, and added several loopholes to it in order for Alberto to be absolutely certain not to miss his biggest goal: the 2010 Tour de France.

    According to the agreement, the Spaniard is free to leave Astana immediately if a doping case arises within the team during the 2010 season. Also, if the squad does not participate in the French Grand Tour for whatever reason, Contador is permitted to go to another outfit.

    The UCI announced that it awarded the Astana team another ProTour licence for one year, which should be the key to certain Tour de France participation. The team, which saw most of its management and riders follow the call of Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel to RadioShack after this year's Tour de France, re-structured itself around its new directors, Yvon Sanquer and Giuseppe Martinelli. This should also convince Tour organiser ASO of its seriousness.

    Astana remains however sponsored by Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna, a company managing government-owned assets, whose deputy head, Timur Kulibayev, is also the son-in-law of the country's president....

  • Cervélo women registered as Dutch team in 2010

    Emma Pooley wins the GP de Plouay-Bretagne by a commanding margin.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 15:29 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Nationality of majority of riders determines nation of registration

    Cervélo TestTeam will register its women's team in The Netherlands next year, instead of in Germany as it was this year. The reason lies with the nationality of the women.

    In 2009, the team had 15 riders, four of whom were German, more than any other nationality. For 2010, the team will have four Dutch riders, which will be more than any other nationality.

    “The nationality of the team licence depends on the nationality of the majority of the riders on the team,” according to Udo Sprenger, vice president of the German cycling federation.

    The rule carries over from the men's Continental teams. Team coordinator Theo Maucher told the German website that the International Cycling Union “simply carried over a ruling from the Continental area onto the women.”

  • CAS blood-doping case ruling bad news for Schumacher, lawyer says

    Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 16:13 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Lehner will encourage athletes to avoid CAS in the future

    Stefan Schumacher's chance before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decreased due to the court's ruling in the Claudia Pechstein blood-doping case, according to Schumacher's lawyer Michael Lehner. The ruling Wednesday indicates a conviction for Schumacher, he said.

    Lehner also said that he would start an initiative to encourage athletes to stay away from the CAS.

    Yesterday afternoon, the CAS issued its first ruling on an athlete's suspension based solely on the indirect evidence of irregular values, and said that manipulation – blood doping – as the only explanation for Pechstein's blood values. The German speed skater, who never returned a positive doping control, is suspended for two years.

    The CAS is expected to rule on Schumacher's case the middle of December, said Lehner. The German cyclist was suspended for two years after testing positive for the EPO derivative CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. He also tested positive for CERA at the Beijing Olympics.

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week annulled the results of Schumacher and the other four athletes who tested positive during the Olympics. Lehner said that the IOC's action was “not favourable” and that it acted “as quickly as possible and falsely.”

    Lehner told the German news agency dpa that he would support the initiative CAS – Nein Danke (“CAS – No than you”), and advise athletes to avoid going to the CAS. In order to go to a regular civil court instead, the athletes “when they get their licences, must refuse to agree to go to the CAS in case of a dispute.”

    He called Wednesday's decision “a witch hunt” and “a slap in the face for sport law.” Indirect evidence for blood doping, as in Pechtstein's case or in several pending cycling cases, “must be properly and securely conducted,” which in this case...

  • Milram riders starting in Mallorca

    Team Milram riders during the 2009 season
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 17:13 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Unofficial camp draws riders closer prior to Tour Down Under

    A small group of Milram riders is preparing for next season on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The German team and its riders plan to be ready for the first of their season's objectives, the Tour Down Under.

    "Never before in the history of our team have we started our preparations so early," said team manager Gerry van Gerwen. "They worked very hard, sometimes up to seven hours on the bike. Some of them were not accustomed to something like that."

    Robert Förster, Björn Schröder, Wim Stroetinga, Markus Eichler, Markus Fothen, Thomas Rohregger and Luke Roberts are training in Mallorca under the guidance of team director Ralf Grabsch. Van Gerwen visited his riders this week to check on their progress.

    "Our riders have to take care of themselves entirely," said van Gerwen. "From shopping and cooking to laundry and cleaning their bikes and so on – they have to do it all themselves. That kind of things draws you together and gives you plenty to talk about other than cycling."

    Milram will start its season with the Tour Down Under in Australia, January 17 to 24.

  • Kolobnev leaves Saxo Bank a year early

    Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) rounds a bend.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 17:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Marycz, Haedo join Danish ProTour team

    Alexandr Kolobnev is leaving Team Saxo Bank a year early, the team announced Thursday evening while two young riders are becoming members of the team for 2010: Pole Jaroslaw Marycz and Sebastian Haedo, who will join his brother Juan Jose at the Danish team.

    "Alexandr Kolobnev is a great rider and we respect him personally and as an athlete. We have been grateful for his contribution on and off the road and we wish him the best of luck in the future," said team owner Bjarne Riis.

    "I have been very happy to be a part of Team Saxo Bank and the time on the team has developed my talent to a higher level. I am grateful that Bjarne gives me the opportunity to accept an offer from a team where I will have a leading role," Kolobnev said.

    It has been rumoured that the Russian will sign with the Russian Katusha team. Kolobnev, 28 , finished second in the World Championship road race this year, and won the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

    Sebastian Haedo, 26, was released from his contract with the US Continental-ranked team Colavita-Sutter Home. He had two victories this year, winning stages in the Tour de San Luis and the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The Argentinean is a sprinter, like his brother.

    The second signing was Marycz, a 22 year-old Polish rider from the Italian team He is a two-time winner of the Polish Under 23 national time trial championships, and this year had two victories. He was also second in the Under 23 European championships road race.

    Riis called the two riders "great and interesting talents that will strengthen our team in the coming season. Jaroslaw is a complete rider with a special time trial potential and Sebastian Haedo has, besides being a complete rider, shown his obvious talent in the bunch sprints."

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  • Kolobnev transfers to Katusha

    Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) finished in second place.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2009, 18:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank agrees to let Russian switch teams

    Alexandr Kolobnev, the silver medalist at the road World Championships in Switzerland, signed a two-year contract with the Katusha team. The Russian is transferring from Team Saxo Bank for the beginning of 2010.

    The move is happening with the consent of Kolobnev's former team manager Bjarne Riis since one year had remained on his Saxo Bank contract. Katusha considers Kolobnev a strong addition to its one-day Classics team.

    "I think that Kolobnev will be a good rider for our team. He's a strong climber for the one-day races. He has twice won the silver at the World Championships. I'm sure that he will do well with Katusha," said Andrei Tchmil.

    Kolobnev also finished second in the GP Miguel Indurain, third in the Giro di Lombardia and third overall in the Tour de Wallonie.

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