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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Date published:
December 14, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • UnitedHealthcare with sprinters in Langkawi debut

    Mike Tamayo shows the 2011 kit
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 12:32 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Förster to lead US-based team in first Pro Conti appearance

    UnitedHealthcare will make its Professional Continental debut at Le Tour de Langkawi at the beginning of next year. The team will feature its sprinters, including newcomer Robert Förster.

    "Le Tour de Langkawi always holds an excellent event that sets the tone for the start of the season,” said team director Mike Tamayo. “Team UnitedHealthcare is hoping to use it as an opportunity to debut our international season.”

    The US-based team, which has been around under various names since 2003, was Continental ranked until 2011. In addition to Langkawi, it is planning to participate in various European races in the new season.

    Among its new riders who will feature in Malaysia is Förster. At 33, he will be making his first appearance in a non-German team, having ridden with Team Nürnberger (2001-2002). Team Gerolsteiner (2003-2008) and Team Milram (2009-2010).

    The sprinter has won a stage in the Vuelta a Espana (2006) and three stages in the Giro d'Italia, including the closing stage in Milan in 2006 and two stages in 2007. He also has extensive experience in the Tour de France.

    He will not be the only sprinter on the team, however. “We are bringing a fast team with Robert Förster, Boy Van Poppel, Hilton Clarke and Karl Menzies”, said Tamayo. “Our climbers for the two GC deciding days are Chris Jones and Max Jenkins. With so many opportunities for bunch sprints, we aligned our roster selection in a way to pursue stages.”

    US teams have a long history at the race, with the first American stage wins going back to 1997. Americans Chris Horner and Tom Danielson have won the overall title.

    "We have a long tradition of American teams taking part in our event”, said the CEO of Le Tour de Langkawi Mohamed Salleh. “This is part of Malaysian hospitality. We want cyclists from all over the world to attend. Once again all the continents will be...

  • Steels sees top year for Quick Step sprinters

    Tom Boonen got a little off-road fun in during his charity race
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 13:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Boonen joined by Ciolek and Chicchi in 2011

    Team Quick Step will have a surplus of top sprinters in 2011, with Tom Boonen being joined by newcomers Gerald Ciolek and Francesco Chicchi. While there is no doubt that Boonen is the team's number one rider, the presence of the other two will relieve pressure on him, according to new directeur sportif Tom Steels.

    The former rider, who retired in 2008 after 15 pro years, worked as a television commentator and rider agent before joining Quick Step for the 2011 season.

    "Boonen has chances in the mass sprints,” Steels told sporza.be. "But maybe he will be more likely to do it in a difficult finish or in the sprint after a hard race.”

    "We also have Andreas Stauff and the young Frederique Robert, who we will want to see work too. When it comes to sprinting, we still have some quality on the team.”

    Overall, he expects good things this year from the team, which features at least 11 new riders. “It may be a good season or a super season. Many factors will play a role: can newcomers like Stauff find their way to the top? Will Ciolek quickly find his place in the team? We have to wait and see. But I think Quick Step will have a strong team."

    At the training camp in Calpe, Spain, which runs until December 21, the team has been divided into two groups, those who peak later in the year and those who are to peak in the spring, with the latter group led by Boonen.

    The former world champion “makes a fresh impression,” Steels said. “The start of the season for Boonen is very important because he lost so much time last year to his knee injury.”

    Boonen's hard knocks last year “will add extra motivation. Boonen is still someone who wants above all to win.”

    The 30-year-old had only 44 racing days in 2010. He still brought in four victories before undergoing knee surgery in July. He returned to racing briefly in October.

  • Basque official suggests fans should financially support races

    World champion Cadel Evans (BMC) ascends the Zoncolan during the Giro d'Italia's 15th stage.
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 15:02 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Entrance fees for certain areas at races to share the burden

    It's time for fans to start funding cycling races, according to the Basque government. The territory's sports minister has suggested that entrance fees be charged for races.

    "In the world of cycling, which is being funded primarily by much public money, we must begin to ask that there be a charge to see a race in certain areas as it is necessary to pay for the maintenance and organisation,” said Patxi Mutiloa, Sports Director of the Basque Government, in a statement issued Tuesday.

    He compared cycling to other professional sports, such as football or basketball, “where nobody disputes that you have to pay entry. If we want to see the best cyclists on our roads in certain areas, why shouldn't we ask people to pay as well?”

    Mutiloa said that fans should share the financial burden, which is increasingly paid by public money.

    "Cycling, unfortunately, is a sport that costs much and in which the spectator at the roadside does not contribute financially," he said.

    The Basque government's Department of Culture is the main sponsor of the Tour of the Basque Country. “We should be able to fund the race, and if we are unable to finance it, then we cannot have these spectacles,” he concluded.

     

  • Löfkvist to captain Sky at Giro d'Italia

    Thomas Lofkvist (Sky)
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 17:41 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former maglia rosa wearer to return to Italian Grand Tour

    Thomas Löfkvist will assume the role of captain when he targets the Giro d'Italia in 2011 according to eurosport.se. The Swedish racer will lead his Team Sky for the Italian Grand Tour in May. The team has decided that he will lead at the Giro and his teammate Bradley Wiggins will lead the squad at the Tour de France in July.

    Commenting on the difficulty of the next Giro, Löfkvist said, "It is extraordinary."

    He added that the team doesn't have any specific goals for the Giro. "It is difficult to set goals now. You have to come well prepared and then get to see how far it goes." He is not planning to do reconnaissance on any Giro stages before the start.

    Löfkvist, who wore the maglia rosa pink leader's jersey and the maglia bianca best young rider's jersey in 2009 is currently spending time in Majorca at a Sky team training camp.

  • UCI announces BMX Supercross World Cup link up

    The VeloPark will also be home to the Olympic BMX track.
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 18:35 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Global SX Events Inc to hold part of organization and marketing rights

    The UCI announced that part of the organization and marketing rights for the BMX Supercross World Cup series will be held by Global SX Events Inc.

    UCI president Pat McQuaid explained that BMX, and the Supercross World Cup in particular, have accelerated in growth since the sport’s inclusion in the Beijing Olympics.

    “The UCI has invested considerably in the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup to bring it up to its current level,” he said. “But I am convinced that the partnership that will now link the UCI and Global SX Events will allow BMX to continue its growth in optimal conditions: still under the aegis of the UCI, but making the most of GSX Events’ skills.”

    The UCI will continue to govern the sport and will still be responsible for drawing up the international calendar and the regulations for international competition. Global SX Events will take over the management of the UCI’s BMX Supercross World Cup. Additionally, the firm will also be a partner in the UCI’s BMX track building service.

    GSX Events president Gary Aragon was pleased with the agreement. “The UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series is currently the leading international BMX event,” he said. “Our goal is to partner with the UCI to take the sport through this next phase of growth.”

    The 2011 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup calendar is as follows:

    April 8-9: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
    May 27-28: Papendal, the Netherlands
    August 19-29: London, Great Britain
    September 16-19: to be confirmed
    September 30 - October 1: Chula Vista, United States of America

  • US is home to 10 UCI Continental men's teams for 2011

    The Bissell brigade dominated the front of the race.
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 20:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Three women's UCI-sanctioned teams

    USA Cycling announced 10 teams registered as UCI Continental Teams in the United States for the 2011 racing season.

    These 10 Continental Teams are in addition to the four US-based UCI ProTeams announced last week (Garmin Cervelo, Team RadioShack, HTC-Highroad, and BMC Racing Team) and two Professional Continental Teams (Team Type 1 and UnitedHealthcare), meaning the US will be home to 16 professional men's teams recognized by cycling's international governing body in 2011.

    US-based UCI Continental Teams for 2011 include: Bissell Pro Cycling Team, Jamis/Sutter Home, Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by Kenda, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinder, RealCyclist.com, Slipstream Sports, Team Exergy, Trek Livestrong U23 Team and Wonderful Pistachios.

    In addition, three US-based women's squads have applied to be UCI sanctioned in 2011: HTC-High Road Women, Diadora Pasta Zara, and Team TIBCO/To the Top.

    Each team's roster follows.

    Men's UCI Continental Teams in the United States for 2011

    Bissell Pro Cycling Team
    Andy Baker (USA)
    Patrick Bevin (NZL)
    Robert Britton (CAN)
    Andrew Dahlheim (USA)
    Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA)
    Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA)
    Shane Kline (USA)
    Paul Mach (USA)
    Chase Pinkham (USA)
    Kevin Pipp (USA)
    Jeremy Vennell (NZL)
    Kyle Wamsley (USA)
    David Williams (USA)

    Jamis/Sutter Home
    Fernando Antogna (ARG)
    Alejandro Borrajo (ARG)
    Anibal Borrajo (ARG)
    Tucker Brown (USA)
    James Driscoll (USA)
    Nicholas Frey (USA)
    Bradley Gehrig (USA)
    Andy Guptill (USA)
    Andres Ignacio Pereyra (ARG)
    Luis Romero Amaran (CUB)
    Eric Schildge (USA)
    John Simes (USA)
    Tyler Wren (USA)

    Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by Kenda
    Cameron Cogburn (USA)
    William Dickeson (AUS)
    Alex Hagman...

  • Downing eager for Vuelta or Giro start

    Russell Downing (Team Sky) enjoys his moment on the podium
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 20:55 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Sky's plucky winner set for second year in the top flight

    At the ripe age of 32, Russell Downing has targeted a start in his first Grand Tour in either the Vuelta a Espana or Giro d'Italia.

    Downing enjoyed a stellar season in the ProTour ranks, winning four races, and he has signed another one-year deal with the British team for 2011. A year’s extension was just rewards with the former Linda McCartney Racing Team rider winning in the Tour of Qatar (team time trial) and the Criterium International.

    “I think that works well for both of us. Sky knows that I’m going to get stuck in all year and it works well for me and keeps me motivated. It would be nice to sign a contract until I retire, but I do work well under pressure and we know that at Sky,” Downing told Cyclingnews.

    With a year at the highest level under his belt Downing has already set about replicating and improving the form that made him stand out as one of Sky’s best signings in their inaugural year. While the majority of his race programme will stay the same Downing will have a chance to compete in his first three-week race.

    “It looks like a really good programme. There will be a few tweaks on it. Fingers crossed there will be a grand tour in there. That was the big objective for me and I think it’s there. I can’t say which one it will be but it’s between the Giro or the Vuelta, depending what else happens with other race programmes,” he said.

    That would mean Downing would not be in with a shout for Tour de France selection. It was a poor race for Sky this year but Downing believes that for a first year team the squad had a successful year overall in 2010.

    “I think if you take the Tour de France out of it we had a brilliant year. It was our first year at ProTour and we had over 20 victories and I think that’s quite good. I don’t think you can conquer the world straight away. Things didn’t go to plan at the Tour but...

  • Scarponi to reconnoitre Etna stage of Giro d'Italia

    Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli)
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 22:10 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Lampre-ISD leader follows in Nibali's wheel tracks

    Michele Scarponi is set to follow in the footsteps of his Giro d’Italia rival Vincenzo Nibali by reconnoitering the race’s ninth stage to Mount Etna. The Italian will lead the Lampre-ISD’s assault on the general classification of the 2011 Giro.

    “The Etna stage will be the second summit finish of the 2011 Giro d’Italia,” Scarponi told the Lampre-ISD team's website. “It will certainly be an important opportunity for the overall contenders to try and make their mark.”

    Scarponi will ride part of the stage on Thursday and just like Nibali in November, he will sample both sides of the climb. The 159km stage from Messina will see the gruppo tackle the volcano first via the Rifugio Citelli approach before descending and then climbing again to the Rifugio Sapienza.

    “I think it’s useful to arrive prepared for the big day,” Scarponi said. “Riding on the roads on both of the ways up the climb will serve to give me an idea of the actual difficulty of the climbs and to find some points of reference already.”

    Scarponi joins Lampre from Androni-Giocattoli, where he finished fourth in the 2010 Giro and second at the Tour of Lombardy. He had previously served a suspension for his implication in Operacion Puerto.