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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 15, 2011

Date published:
September 15, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Carlos Sastre announces his retirement

    Sastre celebrates his Tour de France victory on the Champs Elysees
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 11:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France 2008 winner calls it quits after 15 years

    2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre has announced that he has decided to retire at the end of the season after 15 years as a professional. The Spaniard, who is riding with Geox-TMC this year, announced his decision at a special press conference in Madrid.

    “It’s time to end this cycle. Winning the Tour and being part of the winning team (at the Vuelta) were the best moments of my career. It’s time for a new stage in my life even if I don’t know what that will be at the moment,” an emotional Sastre said.

    Sastre turned professional with the ONCE team in 1997. He was a pure climber and so had limited chance of victory but showed his stage race ability by finishing eighth in the 2000 Vuelta. He teamed up with Bjarne Riis at CSC in 2002 but their relationship was often difficult, as the documentary movie Overcoming revealed.

    Sastre finished second in the 2005 Vuelta after winner Roberto Heras tested positive. He then finished all three grand tours in 2006, finishing third in the Tour de France and fourth in the Vuelta.

    At the 2008 Tour de France, Sastre was a favourite for victory but so were Fränk and Andy Schleck, his teammates at CSC-Saxo Bank. Fränk Schleck took the yellow jersey on stage 15 but was not at his best and Sastre was given the green light to attack key rival Cadel Evans on the stage to L’Alpe d’Huez. He won the stage and gained 2:15 on Evans, enough to ensure victory in Paris.

    Sastre rode for the Cervelo TestTeam in 2009 and 2010 before joining Geox-TMC this year. He struggled to be competitive at the Vuelta but generously helped teammate Juan Jose Cobo win overall. His last moment in the spotlight came on stage 20 of the Vuelta when he attacked alone and...

  • Fuglsang uncertain about his future after team merger

    Jakob Fuglsang donned the red leader's jersey
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 12:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane has contract with Leopard but is considering other offers

    Jakob Fuglsang has a contract with Leopard SA for 2012 but has admitted he still has to decide if will stay with the team following the announced merger with RadioShack.

    “I do not particularly like the situation I am in right now, but I can't do much other than wait for an announcement from the team,” he told

    “I'm pretty sure that I'll have a team to ride for next season. It's just a question of which team. I'm still not sure that I have a place on the new team and so I'm not closing my eyes to other possibilities. My manager has talked to interested teams that have approached him.”

    Fuglsang, 26, finished 11th overall at the recent Vuelta, despite the turmoil and changes going on at  Leopard Trek. The team will be known as RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, and it is not yet clear which Leopard Trek and RadioShack riders will be on the team.

    Fuglsang suggested that the arrival of Andreas Klöden and Christopher Horner could mean he is bumped down the team hierarchy. “That was not the idea when I switched to Leopard Trek,” he said.

    Much of the news about the team's future has been done through the media, irritating Fuglsang and others people involved. “I must say I am disappointed. Especially because the communication has been so poor. Management certainly has its reasons to communicate as it has done, but it has left the riders in the dark.”

  • Video: Ellingworth talks Cavendish and the World Championships

    Mark Cavendish is delighted with the victory
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 14:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Great Britain Elite men’s team to be decided on Friday

    Great Britain road coach Rod Ellingworth revealed that Mark Cavendish has been clocking up extra kilometers after stages of the Tour of Britain, as he continues to work hard for next week’s world road race championships in Copenhagen.

    Ellingworth has been Cavendish’s coach for several years and appears confident that Cavendish can be competitive at the world championships despite retiring from the Vuelta a Espana after just four stages.

    In this video interview recorded at the Tour of Britain, Ellingworth also revealed that the final line-up of Great Britain's elite men’s team will be selected on Friday.

  • Freire: World title or retirement

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) speaks to the press before the start.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 15:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank Spaniard stops contract negotiations until after Copenhagen

    Three time World Champion Oscar Freire will retire at the end of this season if he does not win the road race at  the Copenhagen World Championships. The Rabobank rider suffers from consistently worsening respiratory problems.

    His contract with Rabobank expires the end of this season, and he is rumoured to have been looking at other teams as well. “The contract negotiations for next year have been stopped by Oscar himself,” sport director Erik Breukink told De Telegraaf. “After the world championships, he wants to see if there will be a sequel to his career.”

    The 35-year-old has undergone sinus and nasal surgery the last two years. He was unable to ride the Tour de France and had to abandon the Vuelta a Espana on the eighth stage. His only individual wins this year were two stages at the Vuelta a Andalucia.

    He has been named captain of the Spanish elite men's road national team for the world championships on Sunday, September 26. He is aiming to repeat his titles from 1999, 2001, and 2004.

  • Rasmussen regrets missing doping tests

    Alex Rasmussen (HTC Highroad)
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 16:11 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Garmin-Cervelo annuls the Dane's 2012 contract

    Alex Rasmussen has said he is “shocked” by a potential two-year ban after he missed three out of competition doping controls.  “Some stupid mistakes could cost me two years,” he told

    The Dane arrived home in Copenhagen Thursday morning after being withdrawn from the Tour of Britain.  It was announced early Thursday that the Danish Cycling Union had suspended his licence and that HTC-Highroad had annulled his contract.

    The Garmin-Cervelo team has also confirmed that Rasmussen will not be part of the team in 2012.

    "Our policy is stringent. In light of this situation, Alex Rasmussen will not be joining our team," the US ProTeam told Cyclingnews. Directeur sportif Johnny Weltz told, “We have a clear doping policy. It is also one that he has signed. The rules won't be bent and Alex knows that.”

    Rasmussen denied that his missed tests were linked to doping. “Everybody in cycling knows me and knows that I am one hundred percent clean. And the UCI knows it too - they have 20-30 blood tests from me, so they know that I am not doped but are doing it to set an example,” he said.

    His former Saxo Bank-SunGard teammate and frequent track partner Michael Mørkøv told the Ritzau news agency that he was shocked by the news. “It's incredibly sad news to wake up to. It's really unfortunate for Alex, and it's incredibly unfortunate that he has not taken the doping tests more seriously.”

    He emphasised though, that “I am absolutely convinced that it's about sloppiness and forgetfulness. I am absolutely convinced that he is not hiding anything. He is a really...

  • Denmark, Canada announce Worlds team

    Men's Madison - Michael Morkov flies the Danish flag after he wins the championship
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 18:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Danes look to do well at home, Canada with two former medalists

    The Danish Cycling Union has announced its line-up for its hometown World Championships, to be held September 19-26 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  It recently lost the services of two riders who were expected to be on the team, Matti Breschel and Alex Rasmussen.  The Canada Cycling Association also announced its team, with former medal winners Guillaume Boivin and Svein Tuft looking to repeat their performances.

    The Danish team for the men's elite road race will now be made up of Michael Mørkøv, Chris Anker Sørensen and Nicki Sørensen (all Saxo Bank-SunGard), Jakob Fuglsang and Anders Lund (Leopard Trek) and Lars Bak of HTC-Highroad.  Jonas Aaen of Saxo Bank-SunGard will be the alternate.

    Mørkøv and Fuglsang will ride the individual time trial on Wednesday, September 21.

    The team was originally planned around Breschel, who last year finished second in the Worlds road race.  His season got off to a slow start due to lingering knee problems.  After a promising performance at the Tour of Denmark, he was forced out of the Vuelta a Espana and ultimately out of the Worlds when he broke two fingers in a crash.

    Rasmussen was suspended this week by the cycling federation for having missed three doping controls.

    Canada looking for more medals

    The Canadian elite men's road team will consist of Dominique Rollin (FDJ), Svein Tuft (Team SpiderTech) and David Veilleux (Europcar). All three will ride the road race, and Tuft will ride the time...

  • Holczer announced as Katusha General Manager

    Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer
    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 19:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Gerolsteiner manager sees job as promoting Russian cycling

    Hans-Michael Holczer has returned to cycling as General Manger of Team Katusha. The former Gerolsteiner manager takes the place of Andrei Tchmil, and sees it as his job to promote Russian cycling.

    Holczer, 57, was the manager of Team Gerolsteiner from 1998 to 2008. He was presented to the public in his new job Thursday at a press conference in Moscow.

    He will be responsible for four teams: the pro Katusha Team, a Continental team, a Under 23 team and a Under 21 team.  Together they make up the “Global Russian Cycling Project”.

    “The fascination and the possibilities of this offer were simply too big,” he told the Frankfurter Rundschau. “The team has a much higher budget than Gerolsteiner ever had and my role is totally different.” 

    Holczer, who signed a three-year contract, took with him former Gerolsteiner colleagues Christian Henn and Michael Rich.

    He emphasised that he will continue his “zero tolerance” anti-doping policy. “We must not tolerate doping in any way or form, must not put up with it and in no way can we legalize it.  But we must cope with the theme of doping in all sports.”

    After the end of the Gerolsteiner team, he never gave up hope of returning to the sport, “but only with a big team.” And he indeed find a big team, as he sees his responsibilities extending beyond the four teams under him.

    “My job at Katusha will be primarily to serve Russian cycling. The goals are clearly defined: the Olympic games, world championships, Universiade. We should have successes there, either on the road or on the track. The Tour de France is also important, but doesn't occupy the same position here as it does in Germany.”

  • Riccò denies blood doping during questioning

    Article published:
    September 15, 2011, 22:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian hopes to make a comeback despite medical allegations

    Riccardo Riccò has insisted during questioning by Italian Olympic Committee investigators that his life-threatening spell in hospital was not caused by an illegal blood transfusion.

    Riccò was rushed to hospital on February 6 and doctors have allegedly told police that he admitted to undergoing a blood transfusion while being treated for acute kidney failure. The questioning lasted 90 minutes but Riccò stayed quiet afterwards, preferring to let his lawyer do the talking for once.

    “Whatever Riccardo says is misconstrued by journalists,” Fiorenzo Alessi told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “We’ve given our version and clarified some things, underlining and explaining everything with expert opinions: no autologous blood transfusion took place.”

    Regarding reports that both the emergency doctor and nurse allegedly heard Riccò’s confession and that eight hospital staff confirmed that he was coherent when he was in hospital, Alessi said: “We’ll worry about that during the penal trial.”

    That trial could take several years to reach a final verdict but Alessi knows a disciplinary hearing with the Italian Olympic committee would be much quicker and lead to a possible life-time ban for Riccò.

    “It’s pretty clear Riccardo will face disciplinary action. So at this point we’ll defend ourselves in front of the Tribunale Nazionale Anti-Doping,” Alessi conceded.

    He then criticised the police investigating the case, who recently confirmed they will request he goes on trial for doping. “We offered 11 dates for questioning and then they’ve said we avoided it,” Alessi said.