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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 15, 2009

Date published:
October 15, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Haussler looking forward to cobbles

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 10:34 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cervélo rider impressed by 2010 Tour route

    It was the first time Heinrich Haussler attended the official Tour de France route presentation in Paris' Palis des Congrès yesterday, and the German-Australian rider was impressed. Seated in the front row beside his team leader Thor Hushovd, Haussler had all the reasons to be present, as he won a stage in the Tour this year and fully revealed his potential since his joining Cervélo TestTeam in 2009.

    "A lot has changed for me this year," Haussler told Cyclingnews before the presentation began, and after it was finished, his first impressions of the 2010 route were good.

    "It's definitely going to be an exciting Tour," he said. "The first few days will be very nervous with the Classics climbs in Belgium and then the pavés in France. That will provide for some very intense racing. Personally, I love the cobblestones, so I'm looking forward to it!"

    Haussler has always had a soft spot for the cobblestone classics since he finished 25th at his first appearance in Paris-Roubaix in 2005. This year, he won stage 13 at the Tour de France after placing second at the Tour of Flanders and Milano-Sanremo respectively. His best result in Paris-Roubaix was seventh, also achieved in 2009.

    The Tour de France will pay a visit to the Ardennes Classics as well as the cobblestone sectors of Paris-Roubaix next year. Stage three to Arenberg will see the riders battle it out on seven pavé sections for a total of 13.2 kilometres of cobblestones before the day finishes just outside the famous Tranchée d'Arenberg.

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  • More RadioShack transfers confirmed

    Andreas Klöden (Astana) hits the brakes after crossing the finish line in 9th place.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 11:39 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Klöden, Popovych and Rast follow Armstrong from Astana

    It is confirmed: After the signing of Levi Leipheimer and Sergio Paulinho to the new American team RadioShack - built around Lance Armstrong - more Astana riders are  to leave the Kazakh squad to continue their support of the seven-time Tour de France winner next year.

    Andreas Klöden, a podium contender himself, as well as Yaroslav Popovych and Gregory Rast will follow team manager Johan Bruyneel, who negotiated their way out of the contract binding them to Astana for one more year yesterday evening, after attending the 2010 Tour de France presentation in Paris.

    Bruyneel sat down with Kazakh officials to sign the deal finally opening the way for him and the other three riders to join Armstrong for a new adventure.

    Haimar Zubeldia, whose name had also been linked to RadioShack for next year, will however remain under Astana colours. Team leader Alberto Contador, according to L'Equipe, demanded that at least one of his teammates remain with him during his last year racing for the Kazakh squad.

    Astana, as well as RadioShack, will thus be able to present their 2010 structures to the UCI in the coming days, both applying for ProTour status. Finally, it will be Yvon Sanquer that will become the new team manager of the team around Alexandre Vinokourov and Contador, while Bruyneel will manage RadioShack together with directors Alain Gallopin, Viatcheslav Ekimov and Dirk Demol, all of which follow him to RadioShack from Astana.

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  • Brailsford plans for 2010 Tour

    British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 12:11 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team Sky director focused on getting a wildcard

    Sitting in the auditorium at the Tour de France presentation in Paris yesterday was Sky's team director Dave Brailsford. It was Brailsford's  first appearance at an unveiling of a Tour route but the man who guided Britain to success on the track at the Beijing Olympics was excited about the prospect of commanding a team towards the biggest race in the world.

    "It's got the making of a good route," Brailsford told Cyclingnews. "It should be a really interesting race. I very much like the history of the Tour. The presentation reminded you of that and where this race fits in the context of the sport. It's an iconic sporting event."

    Brailsford praised the 2010 parcours chosen by the race organiser ASO. "The single time trial, the lack of team time trial, the cross winds, the pavé and more climbing than last year with it centralizing around the Tourmalet, mean that it could be a very exciting race."

    Sky are yet to secure a place in cycling's biggest race and will have to wait until April before a decision on team 'wildcards' is decided by ASO. In order to meet the blurry requirements, Brailsford, and more importantly his riders, will need to hit the ground running when they begin racing at the Tour Down Under in January.

    "The challenge for us is to get into the race. We have to think very carefully about that and how we're going to do it. The question we'll pose ourselves is: why would the ASO give us a wildcard? We'll figure it out and do our best," said Brailsford, who has signed riders well equipped to compete in many of the early season races and Classics.

    However, Brailford's work will have to base around the likelihood Sky will be invited to race in July, such is the team's backers and the cycling-aware public in Britain who know far more about the Tour than any other race. As yet, 16 riders have been announced with a further flurry of transfer announcements set for the coming weeks.


  • Aldag foresees exciting Tour

    Rolf Aldag and Bob Stapleton
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 12:58 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Hopes for stages, green jersey and top 10 for Martin

    Columbia-HTC sports director Rolf Aldag was happy to see "a slightly different" Tour de France route for next year at the route presentation yesterday in Paris. The squad will be aiming at more stage victories with Mark Cavendish - as well as a possible green jersey victory - and a good overall placing for overall hopeful Tony Martin.

    "Our goal is to be competitive for the green jersey next July," said Aldag after viewing the course details. "It's the next logical step after Mark [Cavendish] won six stages this year and finished in Paris. Even more logical if you think about how he won that last stage on the Champs-Elysées."

    Speaking of the 2010 route, Aldag added, "It's true there are fewer flat stages, so when it comes to the green jersey, the question will be which sprinters can get over the climbs at the end of the hillier stages. Mark managed to win his fifth stage in the Tour this year after a really tough final climb."

    Aldag said Columbia-HTC's other big objective will be to see what German Tony Martin is capable of achieving in the overall classification, "but without putting him under any pressure. This year he did really well considering it was his first Tour de France. Next July our target is that if he manages to avoid the two bad days he had, we'll be able to see where that gets him. If he finishes somewhere between eighth and twelfth in Paris, we'd be absolutely delighted."

    The German sports director thought that the first week of racing added further spice to a race that will be dominated by the mountains. "Those cobbled sections in one early stage and the Ardennes climbs in another will make it special," said Aldag. "If it wasn't for those two stages, I'd say the overall contenders should maybe try to ride themselves into top shape for the Pyrenees, where the race will be decided. But with such a tough first week, anything could happen. It'll be an exciting Tour."

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  • Autopsy reveals no alcohol in Vandenbroucke's system

    A photo taken inside the La maison bleue room where Frank Vandenbroucke was found dead on Monday.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 17:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Full toxicology study may have to be done in Europe

    The autopsy performed on Frank Vandenbroucke found no traces of alcohol in his system, reported Thursday. The Belgian rider died early Monday in Saly, Senegal of a suspected pulmonary embolism.

    The post-mortem was performed in Dakar, but the laboratory there does not have the proper equipment to perform the toxicology studies needed to find out if drugs were involved in causing Vandenbroucke's death, a doctor of the Aristide Le Dantec hospital said. Those investigations would have to take place at a laboratory in Europe, possibly France.

    L'Equipe reported earlier this week that several drugs were found near the bed where Vandenbroucke was found, including sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and insulin.

    Dr. Isidore Boye said that he was not sure when the body could be repatriated to Belgium, as the Senegalese authorities are continuing to investigate his death.

  • Vandenbroucke: last calls from Senegal

    Frank Vandenbroucke with Palmiro Masciarelli and his three sons in 2007
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 18:08 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Masciarelli family receives calls from Frank Vandenbroucke's telephone morning of death

    Frank Vandenbroucke's friends received calls from his telephone Monday, on the morning of his death in Saly, Senegal. One call each was made to Acqua & Sapone team manager Palmiro Masciarelli's son and nephew.

    "When I saw the prefix 221 I thought, 'Who is calling me at this time?'" Simone Masciarelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Then I remembered that Frank was on vacation in Senegal."

    Masciarelli, a 29-year-old cyclist on his father's team, received a call at 6:30 Monday morning, 4:30 Senegalese time. A staff member of Hotel Maison Bleue found Vandenbroucke dead in his room later the same day.

    "Later, I called my cousin Mimmo [Vernamonte] and he told me he received a call from the same number. We said that we wold call him back later, but now we are regretful [we didn't]."

    Vandenbroucke had two mobile phones with him: one with a Belgian number and one with a Senegalese number to call internationally, according to Simone Masciarelli. Four persons were listed in the phone, a third was friend Davide Porta, who was also called.

    Senegalese police arrested three persons Tuesday, according to AFP, for stealing Vandenbroucke's money (300€), a watch and the two telephones. One person was Seynabou Diop, the prostitute who spent the night with Vandenbroucke, another man who reportedly brokered the meeting, and the taxi driver that drove her to meet Vandenbroucke Sunday. Diop left Vandenbroucke's room at 2:00, according to the hotel staff.

    The Belgian police have the telephones and have talked with Masciarelli, Vernamonte and Porta.

    Vandenbroucke rode with and lived with the Masciarelli family in 2007. The family helped Vandenbroucke after he attempted suicide in the summer of 2007.

  • Valverde CAS hearing in November, but longer wait in store

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) savors his time in the golden jersey.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 20:02 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Later UCI/WADA appeal to CAS will determine if global ban applies

    Alejandro Valverde learned this week that he will have a hearing with CAS on November 16th to present his argument against the ban imposed by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). But it will be some time longer before he finds out if he will be served with a worldwide ban.

    The Spanish Caise d'Epargne rider is facing not one but two appeals before CAS. The first relates to a CONI decision taken on May 11th of this year, which banned him from racing for two years in Italy.

    That decision was taken on the basis of a positive DNA match between Valverde and blood bags seized in the Operacion Puerto raids in Madrid in May 2006. He's always denied his involvement in the Eufemiano Fuentes doping ring but, according to CONI, DNA analysis of blood samples provided during last year's Tour conclusively prove that he is indeed the rider code named ‘Valv. Piti'.

    CONI's ban applies only to events held on Italian soil. As stage 16 of this year's Tour passed through the country, he was unable to take part in the race.

    However, contrary to some media reports, the November 16th hearing will not have a direct influence on a possible global ban. That will be determined by a later hearing with CAS, which will be considering a joint UCI/WADA appeal against the Spanish federation (RFEC).

    The UCI, cycling's governing body, and the World Anti-Doping Agency are both frustrated with the Spanish federation as it refused to consider sanctioning Valverde in relation to the Puerto links. They hope that the CAS appeal will pave the way for an eventual global suspension.

    Should Valverde win the November 16th appeal, it will simply mean that he can once again race in Italy.

    It will be the later hearing which will determine if the rider will, over three years after the Puerto raids, be finally served with a worldwide suspension. Cyclingnews has been in regular contact with CAS and was recently told that the date of...

  • Vaughters already formulating 2010 Tour team

    Jonathan Vaughters
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 20:29 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Late mountains advantageous for Vande Velde, says Garmin-Slipstream boss

    Garmin Slipstream's Jonathan Vaughters believes that the 2010 Tour de France route could be custom made for Alberto Contador but that in Christian Vande Velde, Bradley Wiggins and Tyler Farrar, his team will have plenty of opportunities to succeed.

    The route was unveiled yesterday in Paris but without any Garmin riders present at the ceremony it was left to Vaughters to answer questions regarding the paracours and his rider's chances.

    "My initial reaction is that it's more difficult than 2009," he told Cyclingnews. "There's almost a full week in the Pyrenees so it suits guys who can handle day-after-day of climbing after two weeks of hard racing."

    "Last year there were moments that were decisive and explosive. For example, Contador won with two or three attacks, but this isn't going to be so explosive. It will be a war off attrition in the Pyrenees."

    The race starts in Rotterdam with an 8 kilometre prologue before swinging into Belgium for stages that could potentially damage the outcome of many general classification riders' prospects, with pave sections and possible cross winds.

    "Normally I wouldn't think much of he pave, but they've positioned those sectors close to the finish and that makes it more intense. For us that's a good thing. We have a team that's pretty versatile and can pop over the cobbles with no problems, but the race looks custom for Contador to dominate. That one piece that doesn't look too good for him, though."

    However it's the Pyrenees that Vaughters sees as the real battleground for the overall, and with both Vande Velde and Wiggins the team could have two cards to play for podium places. "I see the time in the Pyrenees being really advantageous for Vande Velde. Wiggins, he's an unknown quality. His improvement curve is so steep that if he could be a five per cent better climber than this year he could be incredible.

    "On paper right now, of course it would be better if...