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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 7, 2010

Date published:
October 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Fuglsang ready for final races at Saxo Bank

    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 10:27 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Dane in form ahead of Giro dell'Emilia and the Giro di Lombardia

    After an excellent second place in yesterday’s Binche-Tournai-Binche/Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke race in Belgium, Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) will head to Italy to close out his season with a number of one-day races.

    The Dane will join up with team captain Andy Schleck and compete in the Giro dell'Emilia and GP Beghelli before racing in the final Classics of the season, the Giro di Lombardia.

    “The form is pretty good,” he told Cyclingnews as he made his way to Italy with Schleck.

    “I had some good races in Belgium last week so the legs are in good condition. These are some of the races I want to do well in, especially Emilia and Lombardia. I’m motivated and these are some of my big goals for the year. I’m looking forward to them.”

    After his debut Tour de France, Fuglsang took a break from racing but looks back fondly on his race this July. Marked as potential candidate for future yellow jerseys, the Dane took this year as a learning experience while also acting as one of Schleck’s bodyguards in the mountains.

    “I learnt a lot form the Tour,” he said. “It was a big experience and a good one. Andy did really well so none of us can really complain and it was great to be part of. I would have liked to have been a little bit stronger, even if it would not have changed anything overall for Andy or in general.

    “I had a good Tour de Suisse before, and maybe that took the top level of my strength away. For coming years I’ll know more about my body and how to prepare, whether that’s for the Tour, Giro or Vuelta.”

    While Lombardy will see Fuglsang end his season it will also be the start of a new chapter in his professional career as he brings the curtain down on his commitment to Saxo Bank. The Dane is confirmed as leaving Bjarne Riis’s team and is expected to join up with the Schleck brothers for now.

  • Heulot believes Saur-Sojasun are worth Tour de France entry

    Stephane Heulot gets a gift.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 11:40 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Talks with Thomas Voeckler stalled over salary demands

    Saur-Sojasun manager Stéphane Heulot has said that his team is worthy of an entry into the 2011 Tour de France. The former maillot jaune also claimed that his team’s transfer negotiations with Thomas Voeckler fell through because of the French champion’s salary requests.

    “I can’t claim to be in competition [for a Tour de France invitation] with a team like Vacansoleil, which doesn’t share our philosophy,” Heulot told L’Équipe. “But with Jérome Coppel, we are fortunate to have a French rider who is representative of the future of stage racing. It’s food for thought.”

    Coppel impressed this season with 9th place at Paris-Nice and 5th at the Criterium du Dauphiné, while the sprint duo of Jimmy Casper and Jimmy Engoulvent have also contributed handsomely to the team’s haul of 28 victories in 2010. However, Heulot has been frustrated by his team’s limited opportunities to race at the highest level.

    “Financially, Tour de France participation is vital,” Heulot explained. “If we are not there in 2011, it will make us reconsider a lot of perspectives. We’ve made the effort to expand to being a team of 23 riders with a better race programme, but if we’re never given our chance, we can never be evaluated at our true level.”

    Saur-Sojasun were in talks with Thomas Voeckler when it appeared that the Bbox-Bouygues Telecom team would fold, but Heulot said that he could not justify spending so much of his team’s budget on one rider. Voeckler ultimately stayed put as Europcar stepped in to sponsor Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team, but he had stated that he would join Cofidis ahead of Saur-Sojasun.

    “I’m delighted to see Jean-René Bernaudeau find a sponsor,” Heulot said. “Thomas would have been a good headline act, but to make him a team leader at...

  • Astana have receipt for Contador's steak says cook

    Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 12:30 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Explains "string of coincidences that resulted in this mess"

    The cook who prepared the steak that Alberto Contador believes contained the Clenbuterol that caused his positive test at the Tour de France has said that he has no doubt about the Spaniard's innocence of any doping offence. Paco Olalla, who runs the El Palacete restaurant in Peñaranda de Duero, near Burgos in north-east Spain, has also revealed that Contador's Astana team still hold the receipt of purchase for the much-discussed steak.

    Olalla describes the purchase of the steak as happening "by chance. Astana had warned me that the hotels wouldn't let us use their kitchens, but the notorious day of the steak was in fact the only day during the race when this happened," Olalla told El Diario de Burgos.

    Recalling the Tour's second rest day in Pau, Olalla added: "It was my responsibility to prepare the meals, and that day the hotel where we were staying refused to let us into their kitchens. It so happened that I had also had a conversation with [Vuelta a Castilla y León organiser] José Luis López Cerrón, who is a very good friend of mine and was coming to the race from Spain.

    "He asked me if I needed anything and I asked him if he could bring some steak, because the meat in France is not the same. And that's what happened, it was just a string of coincidences that resulted in this mess."

    Olalla explained that he is confident the issue can be resolved because Astana still have proof of purchase of the meat. "They always keep a check on everything that's bought. They asked me for a receipt for everything and I handed it over. Now everyone is looking for that receipt. Astana have it somewhere and it will turn up if they want it to," said Olalla.

    Olalla, who has worked as a cook for a number of Spanish teams since the 1980s, has no doubt that Contador is innocent of doping. Describing the Tour winner as "a really friendly person", Olalla added: "I feel more relaxed about the...

  • Kelly Benefit Strategies expands international program in 2011

    Alex Candelario and David Veilleux of Kelly Benefit Strategies compete in France earlier in the 2010 season.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 12:33 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Fresh faces, new co-title sponsor set the stage for next season

    Kelly Benefit Strategies is one US-based Continental team that chose not to upgrade to a Professional Continental license, however that will not stop it from taking on an increased overseas racing program in 2011. The squad recently recruited four notable pros, Michael Creed, Mike Friedman, Jason Donald and Daniel Holloway, and is set to announce a new co-title sponsor that will help in its bid to gain success on cycling's international stage.

    "We want to continue to expand our international schedule to prepare and develop our riders to be competitive in the biggest US events," said directeur sportif Jonas Carney. "However, domestic racing is important and there is a balance that we need to strike. We would like to upgrade to Pro Continental status, but we will only take this step when the time is right."

    Several North American teams are in the process of moving up to the Professional Continental ranks including Team Type 1, UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis and SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy. However, Carney sited several reasons for his team to continue as a Continental team and the importance in being committed to the US racing scene. One of those reasons is UCI code 2.1.009 that the UCI intends to strictly enforce in 2011 in light of the general lack of UCI-sanctioned events held in the US in recent years.

    "Currently the UCI will not allow Pro Continental teams to race in national events, the Tour of California remains 2.HC, and there are very few UCI events in the US," Carney said. "It would not be wise for a team with a domestic sponsor to preclude themselves from the majority of the domestic schedule.

    "So for now, our main objectives will remain the Tour of California, Philly, and the USPRO Championships," he said. "The new Quiznos Pro Challenge will also be a focus in addition to targeted national events. We will use our international schedule to prepare our riders for those events. Hopefully in the next one or two years the...

  • De Goede, Bruins and Becker join new Skil-Shimano women's team

    Regina Bruins (Cervelo TestTeam) was nearly one minute ahead of her teammate.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 12:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Skil-Koga to prepare riders for 2012 Olympic Games

    The Skil-Shimano squad has become the next men's professional programme to add a women's team, joining Garmin-Cervelo, HTC-Columbia, Geox-TMC and the German continental Team Nutrixxion.

    The new Skil-Koga team will be managed by Sissy van Alebeek, the 2001 Dutch champion and Skil-Shimano's commercial manager, and directed by retired cyclist Sharon van Essen.

    Joining the team with the goal of preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games in London will be Regina Bruins, Suzanne de Goede, Amy Pieters, Roxane Knetemann, Hannah Welter and Marte Lenferink, as well as Germany's Christina Becker.

    "This is a fantastic, special project, with a wonderful sporting focus, the road to the London Olympics in 2012," said Skil-Shimano's general manager Iwan Spekenbrink. "With this project, Skil and Koga connect men's and women's cycling in terms of marketing and communication."

    Van Alebeek said the team will focus on preparing "one or more" of her riders for London. "There are obviously various other challenges on the schedule in this period, such as the Dutch championships and of course the world championships in Copenhagen and Limburg. It's a great challenge."

    Bruins, the 2009 Dutch time trial champion who rode for the Cervélo TestTeam this year, chose the Skil-Koga programme over several other offers. "I come into a team with some talented, dedicated girls, who are all very similar," said Bruins. "I was especially looking for far-reaching, intensive guidance, in terms of coaching, equipment and aerodynamics, mental guidance and so on. I am confident this is the way to get the best out of myself over the next few years."

  • Amgen Tour of California host cities announced

    The 2011 Tour of California overall route map
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 14:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Four sprint stages, Mount Baldy and a return to Solvang

    After much speculation the 2011 Amgen Tour of California host cities have been announced. The sixth annual event will cover more than 800 miles, over eight stages, visiting 15 host cities from May 15-22, 2011.

    While the exact route details are yet to be unveiled, AEG president Andrew Messick has confirmed that a number of key highlights will be included. Like last year, the race will start with a road stage as the route travels into Nevada for the first time. Mount Baldy will make its debut on the race’s penultimate Queen stage, and the Solvang time trial makes a return after a year’s absence.

    “Now that we’re in May we want to make the most of the good weather and take the riders to the best places in order to race their bikes,” Messick told Cyclingnews.

    As in 2010, the race will start with a road stage but unlike this year’s stage from Nevada City to Sacramento, the sprinters will struggle to shine. The stage begins with a lap and half around of Lake Tahoe before a tough finale up towards Northstar at Tahoe Resort.

    “We’re putting in some harder, shorter, more decisive climbs because they’re exciting. The riders and the fans are telling us that they want to see that and we’re trying to respond as best we can. So we're getting to a place like Tahoe, which is a stunningly beautiful part of our state where we’ve never been before.”

    In fact, listening to the fans’ feedback seems to be high on Messick’s list of priorities as he looks to grow the event. In total there are potentially four stages suited to the sprinters, meaning a return of Mark Cavendish is more than possible, while the climbers will have at least three stages, including the first stage, to shine.

    The individual time trial, which is set to be longer than the 33.6km test from this...

  • Fierce competition expected for 2011 Amgen Tour of California places

    HTC-Columbia take control of the peloton on stage one of the Amgen Tour of California
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 14:50 BST
    Daniel Benson

    20 ProTeam squads battling for 8 places

    With the 2011 Amgen Tour of California announcing their stage host cities this morning, attention has already turned to the battle for team places in next year’s race. With sixteen spots available and half of that allocation dedicated to Pro Contintental and domestic teams, up to 20 ProTour squads will vie for the eight remaining places.

    “We’re starting to think hard now about the teams we want in the race,” Andrew Messick told Cyclingnews.

    One factor that could affect Messick’s invitation list is the transfer market. With a number of riders still on the market, teams still without sponsors and defending champion Michael Rogers only confirming to the press that he will leave HTC-Columbia at the end of year, Messick is currently surveying the market.

    “We’re watching very carefully with what happens with respective rider transfers and where athletes are going and what teams are going to be ProTour and Continental levels. We’re thinking hard about who we want to give the opportunity to in our race,” he said.

    With Garmin-Cervelo and Radioshack already confirmed as ProTour and BMC and HTC-Highroad bidding to join them, Messick will presumably fill four of the eight slots with American teams, meaning that the likes of Ag2r, Katusha, Lampre ISD, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Quickstep, Rabobank, Saxo Bank, the Schleck Project, Pegasus and Sky could face a race just to make the start in South Lake Tahoe on May 15.

    “It’s going to be hard this year, harder than last year,” Messick said.

    “There are a lot of teams that have had success in the race before and obviously we want to do everything we can to bring teams and riders that have been with us before,” Messick added.

    But what does Messick have to offer that teams will find hard to resist? According to...

  • Liquigas-Cannondale eye King and Duggan

    Timmy Duggan (Garmin-Transitions) gets bottles for his team.
    Article published:
    October 07, 2010, 18:04 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Americans still in negotiations for 2011

    Ted King and Timothy Duggan are reported to be close to sealing a deal with the Italian ProTour team Liquigas-Cannondale in 2011, according to The US-based Cannondale bike brand recently partnered with the team as a co-title sponsor.

    Duggan, a Colorado native, competed for the ProTour Garmin-Transitions team, and has raced under manager Jonathan Vaughter since 2005 when the team was called TIAA-CREF. After a serious head injury in 2008 he went on to strong stage performances at the Dauphine Libere and the Tour of Austria in 2009.

    King, a New Hampshire native, raced for the previous two years for the Cervelo Test Team and played an integral role during the Giro d’Italia during those two seasons.

    "I'm still in the midst of contract talks right now," King told Cyclingnews several weeks ago. "I am pleased to say that some of these talks are in the advanced stages and they should be wrapped up soon. The discussions were primarily through my agent, Andrew McQuaid, or I received calls from a few sports directors throughout the peloton asking about my interest in a specific program."

    King was forced to look for a new team after the Cervelo Test Team disbanded. The team announced it would stop at the end of the year with the title and bike sponsor Cervelo forming a partnership with Garmin-Transitions.

    "Basically I'm a no-nonsense kind of guy on the bike," King said. "I saddle up, go out there, and do my job. Having spoken the Cervelo team directors, owners, and manager over the past few months, I know they were happy with me, so I was looking forward to returning in 2011. Cervelo is the team that gave me my first shot at Europe and you need to honor that with loyalty in return."

    "Having said that, cycling can be a cut-throat business, so it’s important at the same time to have a back up plan," he added. "Therefore with my contract set to expire at the end of 2010, I was speaking...