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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 22, 2011

Date published:
September 22, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Riis willing to talk again to Cancellara

    Smile if you want to go faster: Bjarne Riis made the trip to Australia
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 11:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Fuglsang is interesting but untouchable due to contract

    Bjarne Riis is willing to forgive and forget, and indicated he would be willing to talk again to Fabian Cancellara, who left his team after the 2010 season. He also said that while Jakob Fuglsang would fit in well at Saxo Bank-Sungard, he was not interested in talking to riders who had valid contracts with other teams.

    Cancellara, who on Wednesday won bronze at the World Championships time trial race, left Riis' team after last season, although he still had one year left on his contract. He joined Leopard Trek, where he has had a less than satisfactory season. The Swiss rider is said to be unhappy with the team's new management for the coming season, sparking rumours he may be interested in transferring again.

    According to the Ritzau news agency, this week Cancellara apologized to Riis about the way he left the team, which the team boss accepted. “I always tell my riders not to burn their bridges when they leave. And I think he did that last year, but the world is not so big that you don't meet again.

    “I think the people who know me know that I am always open to a dialogue with people who have turned their back on me. Whether it turns into something or not is another matter. If Fabian comes on one day and wants to talk, I'm ready for it,” Riis said.

    Looking at Cancellara's performance in the time trial, Riis noted that he did not know what had gone wrong, but that he believed the Swiss rider can come back to his high level, hinting that he could help. “Yes, he can. But then he must come back and get some proper advice.”

    Fuglsang was another rider who left Saxo Bank-Sungard for the new...

  • Vinokourov and Astana confirm for 2012

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) was foiled in his bold bid to take the yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 11:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Kazakhstan rider discusses future at team press conference

    Alexandre Vinokourov has confirmed that he will ride the 2012 season for team Astana.  It was, however, left unclear as to what his future role at the team would be.

    The 38-year-old crashed out of the Tour de France with a broken femur, and it was assumed his career was over.  Recently, however, he said he wanted to return and criticised team management which he said apparently wanted to get him “out of the way.”

    He announced that he would ride the Tour of Lombardy next month and then the full season next year at a press conference on Wednesday at the headquarters of team sponsor Samruk-Kazyna in Kazakhstan.

    "If I want to continue it's also for the Astana Team. The last two years I have achieved good results and I want my team to get the benefits of this, I can’t leave it like that, and I have to stay also for my country. I started training and as announced I will be at the start of the next Tour of Lombardy, and ready to go for another season on the road!"

    Vinokourov said last week that government officials assured him that he will be the team manager.  Yesterday, he said “I will continue to be in contact with the team manager Giuseppe Martinelli to guide new generations of riders for the upcoming Olympic Games, and where Kazakhstan will be well represented, moreover with the good result of Alexander Dyachenko in UCI World Championship time trial yesterday, that puts Kazakhstan among the best nations, and to build a great future Astana team in preparation for 2013. "

  • Becca's home and offices searched in Luxembourg

    Leopard Trek financial backer Flavio Becca talks to directeur sportif Kim Andersen
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 12:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Investigation tax-related and not team-related

    Police in Luxembourg have searched the house and offices of Flavo Becca, the financier behind Team Leopard Trek. The searches are thought to be related to an ongoing tax investigation.

    Justice spokesman Henri Eippers confirmed to that the searches took place on Tuesday, but would not comment further.

    The searches included his private residence and several business offices, including the building which also houses the headquarters of Leopard Trek. However the searches were confined to floors that did not involve Leopard Trek and a team's spokesperson confirmed to Cyclingnews that the team was not involved and that they had been audited by the UCI earlier this year. The resulting audit produced no further investigations.

    Becca is heavily involved in real estate throughout Luxembourg, including a football stadium  which includes a shopping mall and an outlet mall. He is also the main support for Leopard Trek and the football club F91.

    He announced earlier this month that the team would merge with RadioShack for the coming season.

  • Pinotti hails comeback to ride Worlds TT

    Marco Pinotti came back from a fractured hip to finish 26th
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 13:18 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian proud to return from long lay-off

    He may have ended the day in a lowly 26th place, but given the journey he had travelled to get there, Marco Pinotti (Italy) hailed his performance at Wednesday’s UCI World Championships time trial as one of the finest accomplishments of his career.

    A heavy fall in the final week of the Giro d’Italia in May left Pinotti with a fractured pelvis and a long, lonely road to recovery over the summer as he sought to iron out the muscle imbalances triggered by the lay-off. Although he was back on the bike in early August, Pinotti was only able to resume full training at the beginning of the month.

    After making a tentative return to competitive action in Canada at the GP de Québec, Pinotti answered the call from Italian national coach Paolo Bettini and lined out in the Copenhagen time trial in spite of severely limited preparation.

    “I would see this as one of the most beautiful things I have done in my career,” Pinotti said after rolling to a halt shortly beyond the finish line. “To recover in such a short space of time after what I went through was one of my finest accomplishments.

    “It was a test, and I was curious myself to see how my body would react after a lengthy stop. I didn’t want to force things during the recovery before that because the fracture I had was quite serious, so I only had six weeks to prepare to ride 40km at world level.”

    Pinotti explained that he was persuaded to ride by Bettini, who had initially suggested that Italy would send just one rider, Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD), to compete in the discipline.

    “I had doubts myself,” Pinotti admitted. “It was Paolo who encouraged me and I have to thank him, because in the end I’m coming out of this with high...

  • Great Britain team makes Cavendish a danger, says Bettini

    National coach Paolo Bettini says hello
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 14:57 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Italian coach warns of crashes in Copenhagen

    Italian coach Paolo Bettini has warned that Mark Cavendish’s chances in the UCI World Championships road race have been boosted significantly by the size of the Great Britain team.

    In Geelong last year, Cavendish had just David Millar and Jeremy Hunt for company in the British line-up, but thanks to its place in the WorldTour national standings, Great Britain has earned the right to field eight riders this time around.

    Bettini had initially dismissed Cavendish’s chances after viewing the Rudersdal circuit earlier in the year, but explained that was before it became apparent that Britain would be allowed almost a full complement of riders.

    “Cavendish is coming here with a real team,” Bettini told Cyclingnews in Copenhagen. “When I went to see the course a few times before, I said that Cavendish couldn’t do it, but that was if Britain only had three riders. Now they have eight, so things have changed quite a bit.”

    While Philippe Gilbert is the bookmakers’ favourite to triumph on Sunday, Bettini noted that defending champion Thor Hushovd cannot be ruled out of the equation, particularly should the race come down to an uphill sprint finish.

    “Gilbert is one of the big favourites, but considering the course, Thor Hushovd could be the dangerman,” Bettini said. “The USA have Farrar and then there’s Australia, who have one of the most complete teams, but I think we’ll be in the mix too.”

    So often responsible for dictating the pace at the head of the Worlds peloton in the past, the Italians this year find themselves in the unfamiliar position of not carrying the burden of...

  • Leipheimer talks about his move to Omega Pharma - Quick-Step

    Race leader Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) defended his yellow jersey on the penultimate stage.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 16:28 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Hired to bolster stage racing potential

    Levi Leipheimer explained that his move to Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is part of an evolution within the team but that his arrival, along with that of several others will not disrupt the team’s Classics ambitions.

    The Belgian team has been one of the busiest in the transfer market this year. Along with Leipheimer it has brought in a raft of stage racers and time trialists, including Tony Martin, Peter Velits, Martin Velits, Stijn Vandenbergh, Frantisek Rabon, Bert Grabsch, and Matthew Brammeier. It has also appointed Brian Holm as a team director.

    Part of the team's aggression in the market was based upon a lack of UCI WorldTour points but also the fact that its Classics stars, including Tom Boonen, have failed to deliver in recent years. With a cash injection guaranteed from new investors, team boss Patrick Lefevere was able to sign up a number of riders. The team's roster is now complete and stands at 30 riders for next year.

    Omega Pharma - Quick Step's move into the realms of stage racing will see Leipheimer lead in Grand Tours as well as week-long stage races – an area he has succeeded in this year, winning three events, including the Tour de Suisse.

    “This is historically a world-class Classics team,” Leipheimer said. “It will always have that strong Classics squad, that’s just in its DNA. But with a lot of these new riders and staff coming on and bringing a new-school, scientific, stage-race program, that’s more my thing. We are not coming in to overhaul the team. We’re building a stage race presence to complement the Classics program.”

    “When you have that much TT strength – and I’ve seen this with many years as a rider for Discovery, Astana and RadioShack...

  • Aldag talking to Quick Step

    Rolf Aldag and Allan Peiper
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 17:58 BST
    Daniel Benson

    German puts family first in deciding his future

    While the majority of HTC riders and staff have already secured their futures for 2012, Rolf Aldag, a key member of the team's staff, has yet to decide his plans for the coming season. The German team director has a number of offers from cycling teams as well as an offer from a new sport, although he would not declare which.

    Aldag has spent the last few weeks helping a number of HTC riders secure spots in new teams after the American team pulled the plug in August. One team that took a raft of HTC riders is Quick Step, a team that Aldag admitted had approached him for his services as well. Having already linked up with his colleague Brian Holm, the fit would be far more seamless than if he were to join another team.

    I have a lot of plans in life, but I have to decide my future very soon. It’s a difficult decision because I do have good offers from good teams that could make sense, but I struggle because that job with HTC was very demanding and very intensive,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “There are some more obvious solutions that would be relatively easy. They wear blue shirts and a lot of our guys have gone there. It’s an offer that’s exciting, and there is an interesting project with depth and there’s long term security.”

    However the sticking block over his future seems to be over workload. Aldag was rarely out of the action at HTC, supporting the team at the majority, if not all, races. Although it helped the team rack up wins, it also put a huge drain on his personal life, and although cycling remains his passion he his keen to take a more manageable workload in any future job.

    “I don’t know if I can do that again at that level and I don’t think I can ask my family to support me in that for another five years. It was 24...

  • Kreuziger withdraws from Worlds road race

    Best young rider classification winner Roman Kreuziger (Astana)
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 19:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Czech's wrist not fully healed from Tour de France crash

    Roman Kreuziger announced today that he has withdrawn from the UCI Road World Championship to be contested in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday. The 25-year-old Czech is still recovering from a double microfracture in his left wrist suffered during a crash in stage 7 of the Tour de France, an injury which wasn't diagnosed until after he had finished the Tour.

    While he hasn't competed since the Tour, Kreuziger was pleased with recent training sessions and hopeful that he would return to racing at the world championships, but he decided the risk of re-injury was too great.

    "We have evaluated the circuit and it is very technical and therefore dangerous," he said on his website. "The world championships is also a race with a lot of falls and it would be a great risk of injury if I start the race. If I fell I would have to start my treatment again from the beginning. I have suffered with it enough and I don't want it to happen again.

    "I will continue to train with a splint for two weeks and we will do a further examination in Italy with the team doctor. Based on the results I will decide if I will race in October at Emilia and Lombardy. If there are any problems I will end my season."

    Kreuziger kept in regular contact with the Czech national team coach René Andrle and he was grateful for the support.

    "We were in daily contact. He knew about my problems and I thank him that he waited this long. I do not know if they will be able to have a sub for me or not, but until the last moment I believed that I could start."

    The Astana rider's season had been highlighted by a sixth place overall finish and first in the best young rider classification at the Giro d'Italia plus a