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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Date published:
December 27, 2011, 23:00
  • Cadel Evans and wife adopt baby boy

    Evans signing autographs
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 14:59
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour de France winner adopts 12-month-old

    Australia's first Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and his wife Chiara Passerini are on the verge of adopting a boy from Ethiopia. The parents to be will soon travel home to Switzerland with the  twelve-month-old boy.

    "Going to Ethiopia was our reason for the early departure from Australia," Chiara Passerini told Fairfax Media.

    "We always felt the strong wish to adopt, so we decided to start our family through adoption."

    Evans, who will head into the 2012 season as the defending champion at the Tour de France, Tweeted earlier today. "Being quieter on Twitter...busy baby sitting!"

    Evans will open his 2012 season at the Tour of Mallorca.

  • Keisse to Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2012

    Iljo Keisse has been at the centre of controversy all winter.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 16:16
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gardeyn from Vacansoleil to Champion System

    Iljo Keisse will ride for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the coming year, he announced Tuesday afternoon. In other transfer news, Gorik Gardeyn will join the new Chinese team Champion System.

    "Fantastic news! So proud being part of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team next year!" the 29-year-old tweeted.

    Keisse tested positive at the Gent Six Day race in November 2008, and was given a two-year suspension. The ban was lifted at the end of 2009, and he signed with Quick Step for 2010 and 2011. This summer the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that he must serve his worldwide ban, which expired in August, and he must now also sit out his ban within Belgium, which runs through January 27. 

    Because of his legal problems, Keisse rode very little for Quick Step this season, and his contract was initially not renewed. He did not give up hope of finding a team for the coming season, and the end of November noted that the newly merged Omega Pharma-Quick Step team “still has a place available.”

    Gardeyn signed a contract to ride with Champion System in 2012, having signed his contract on Christmas day, the Gazet van Antwerpen said.  He rode for Vacansoleil the last two years. The 31-year-old won the Nationale Sluitingsprijs in 2006.

  • Contador should not be sanctioned says Delgado

    Former Vuelta and Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado was one of those presenting the new route.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 17:04
    By:
    Cycling News

    1988 Tour de France winner says Spaniard has suffered enough

    Alberto Contador should not be sanctioned, “for the sake of international cycling,” Pedro Delgado has said. The 1988 Tour de France winner defended his countryman, who is still awaiting the final judgment on his positive for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.

    Contador “should not have any penalty,” Delgado told the EFE news agency, because of “the suffering to which he has been subjected.”

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport has indicated that it will issue its ruling in the case the middle of January, and “for the sake of international cycling,” Delgado hopes there is no sanction issued.

    Delgado also bemoaned the fact that there is less money now available for cycling, especially in Spain. The current economic crisis “has caused a decrease in the number of sponsors, with the resulting loss of teams,” he said. This makes it “less likely” for amateur riders to move up to professional teams.

  • Fuglsang sets schedule leading up to Giro d'Italia

    Jakob Fuglsang at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 18:26
    By:
    Cycling News

    Races, altitude training and stage profiling in Italy

    Jakob Fuglsang has already been confirmed as RadioShack-Nissan captain for the Giro d'Italia, and the Dane now has his schedule set to bring him to the start in Denmark in fighting shape.

    "I expect a lot of the Giro and I look forward to the Giro. It will of course be tough, but I am ready to fight and will do everything to be sharp when the Giro starts in Herning," he told feltet.dk.

    "I would give everything I have in me to achieve a good result. My goal is to be in the top five, and if it goes really well maybe top three. I think it is realistic, if everything works out. It's still three weeks of racing, and it is certainly not easy, but it is my overall goal,” he said.

    Fuglsang will open his season with the Mallorca Challenge (February 5-9), followed by the Tour of Oman (February 14 to 19), Three Days of West Flanders (March 2-4), Volta a Catalunya (March 19-25), Circuit La Sarthe (April 3-6) and the Tour de Romandie (April 24-29). 

    He will also have two altitude training camps, and will test out some of the Giro stages. “I will see at least four of the stages, combined with some hard training. It will be stages in the last week.”

    Having finished eleventh in this year's Vuelta a Espana with no special preparations, he now looks forward to how well he can do with targeted training, and the weight loss encouraged by sport director Kim Andersen.

    His weak spot in the Vuelta was in the mountains, “and if I lose the weight, I will improve on one of my weaknesses. So I am sure that I will be even better.”

    While RadioShack-Nissan will send its strongest team to the Tour de France with Andy and Fränk Schleck, Fuglsang knows that he will also have strong helpers. His support team will include “some people who I know support me 110%.  It will also be riders who will prepare with me  It will be some of those who rode in the Vuelta, among others, Oliver Zaugg and Thomas Rohregger.”

  • Vuelta a Murcia reduced to three stages due to lack of sponsors

    The Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia peloton in action during the opening stage.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 19:34
    By:
    Cycling News

    Valverde, Menchov, Sanchez, Gesink confirmed to ride

    The Vuelta a Murcia will have only three stages in 2012, but can already confirm that top riders will be in the shortened race, including Alejandro Valverde, returning from his doping suspension. The race will be held March 2-4.

    Even in its shortened version, the race has received requests from more than 20 teams who wish to participate. Already confirmed to ride, in addition to Valverde of Movistar, are 2009 winner Denis Menchov (Katusha), Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank).

    The race has had to cut back from five to three stages due to a lack of sponsors, but director general Francisco Guzman is not giving up. “We will fight to keep on the international calendar this most important annual sporting event in the Murcia region. We keep tightening our belts, because since 2008 we received 75 percent less public input,” he told LaVerdad.es.

  • Julien El Fares makes a change with Team Type 1

    Julien El Fares joins Team Type 1-Sanofi from Cofidis.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 21:02
    By:
    Clara Cureton

    Former Cofidis rider eager to help American squad reach a higher level

    New to Team Type 1-Sanofi's roster this upcoming season and predicted to be a protected rider in stage races, 27-year-old Julien El Farès brings a new depth of experience to an otherwise relatively young pro continental team.

    After four years with Cofidis, El Farès' transition to the American team is a testament to Team Type 1's swift development and growing professionalism, which CEO Phil Southerland said made for a relatively effortless recruitment process heading into 2012.

    "Team Type 1 is a team that wants to promote healthy living," El Farès told Cyclingnews during their December 8-18 team training camp in Tucson, Arizona. "It's a team that was built at the beginning to try and promote that anything is possible, even if you live with diabetes. It's also a team that has a tough message to bring about, so it has hurdles to cross."

    Fourth in stage 17 of the 2011 Tour de France, El Farès considers himself more adept as a pure climber as opposed to climber/stage racer or a "100 percent stage racer" he said, preferring the smaller power climbs of two or three kilometers.

    His race results with Cofidis include stage wins in the Tour Méditerranéen and Tirreno-Adriatico, an overall win in the Tour de Wallonie in 2009, and his presence on the squad brings not only opportunities for further results, but elevates the team's stature in the eyes of the race organisers.

    "I want to help the team convince race directors to accept us for the later season races like Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy, Tour de Suisse, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France."

    For El Farès these are all new, unique challenges he's ready to tackle head on. He considers his main goal to keep extra focused this year in order to successfully take on two responsibilities: promoting diabetes awareness, as well as securing results in order early on in the season.

    Even though this is his first year with Team Type 1, and at best, has had only a few short weeks getting to know his new teammates and staff, he can already see the motivation inherent in all of those involved with the team.

    When it comes to the differences between his Cofidis and his new team, El Farès thinks experience is of obvious note, but in spite of that, he's impressed with Team Type 1's organization and rapid development in just their second year as a pro continental team.

    "I think that, so far, they have been very professional. For the moment, I don't feel a lot of difference between Cofidis and Team Type 1, despite the racing schedule, which is more rigorous."

  • Gardeyn signs with Champion System

    West Flemish power in the team, Gorik Gardeyn came over from the Unibet.com team and hopes he will ride a great season for Silence-Lotto
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 21:46
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian sprinter adds experience in European races

    Belgian Gorik Gardeyn has signed with the Champion System Pro Cycling Team for 2012, the team announced today. Gardeyn spent the past two seasons with the Vacansoleil squad. A 12-year professional who rode with Silence-Lotto in previous seasons, Gardeyn's experience will be a major asset for the budding Professional Continental team.

    Gardeyn signed the contract over the weekend after working out a verbal agreement in the past month. "I am happy for this opportunity," Gardeyn said in a press release. "This is an exciting new project and I am happy to have this opportunity to share my knowledge of European racing with my new teammates."

    Those new teammates include a fresh crop of Asian talent who will be seeing the European Continent for the first time, and team manager Ed Beamon thinks Gardeyn will be just the man to show them the ropes, and at the same time have an opportunity to get his own results.

    "I'm very happy to have Gorik on the Champion System squad," Beamon said. "He's had to suppress some of his ambition as he has been a key support rider on many of his previous teams. But we expect to give him plenty of opportunity to lead on this team – especially in the tough Belgian and Dutch classic style races."

    The Champion System Pro Cycling Team, Asia's first pro-continental team, will be formally presented next month in Beijing.

  • Head injury rules Phelan out of Australian Road Nationals

    Adam Phelan (Drapac) scorches to victory in the Tour de Taiwan prologue.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2011, 22:30
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Drapac young gun considers himself "lucky" after bleed on the brain

    A frightening crash on December 5 will rob Drapac's Adam Phelan of the chance to compete at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships but the 20-year-old is finding comfort in the knowledge that he could instead be faced with a situation far more grave.

    "Nationals were definitely a race that I'd been targeting and thinking about going for for a while so it is pretty disappointing to now miss it but I'll have lots of nationals in my lifetime and a lot more races this season to focus on," he told Cyclingnews.

    Phelan still has no memory of the incident which occurred during a team training camp in the Victorian high country, described so eloquently on his blog as "a moment of darkness."

    I had just finished joking with my director Agostino [Giramondo – Ed.] about his upcoming turn on the front when we changed partners. I was chatting away, near the back of the pack, and we rode smoothly and calmly along the tarmac. Then there is nothing. My mind only offers the blackness of absent memory and a few flashes that all lead to my somewhat clear recollection of being in hospital, confused and stuck in a neck brace.

    It must now be the memory others, those who were with me, that allows the tale to continue. Returning to the ride, to the warm sun and my tired legs on the way back to Bright, we rode along the highway. Ahead, a large rock sat arrogantly in our path. The riders in front pointed out the arrogant rock, but it was a large bunch, and I didn't see it. It was quick; I hit the rock hard. In seconds, I met the ground in a rough and ugly tangle with my head taking the majority of the impact. Just like that, in an instant, I was down.

    Unconscious for several minutes, the Canberra-based rider also suffered seizures immediately following the sickening incident. After an 80 kilometre rush to hospital, it was discovered that although nothing was broken, Phelan was suffering a bleed on the brain. His helmet took the brunt of the impact and remarkably remained intact despite large depression on its right side.

    "Head injuries are always a concerning part of the sport," Phelan admitted. "Crashing's a part of cycling so you've just got to be wary of that and always wear your helmet when you're out training and everything – I know I definitely will all the time. I was lucky enough to come out of it alright."

    A meeting with his neurosurgeon in the days before Christmas revealed that the recovery process was far too important to risk getting back to riding on the road before the end of January.

    "I'll have another scan and a couple more meetings with the neurosurgeon – that's because of the injury and also, if I were to hit my head again that early it could cause permanent or much worse damage," Phelan explained of the weeks to come. "Lots of training on the ergo until then, if you break your collarbone it's the same sort of thing."

    Phelan's form in the back end of 2011 had been strong, runner-up on Stage 2 of the Goulburn to Sydney and on GC, third on the opening stage of the Tour of Hainan and then seventh overall, second on stage 2 at the Tour de Okinawa, before an aggressive showing at the NSW Grand Prix Series. Add to that the fact that he, along with Lachlan Norris, played a major role of keeping teammate Rhys Pollock in the mix at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in October and it had been a solid few months.

    At January's Nationals, held from the 5th to the 10th, Phelan's plan had been to ride in support of teammates Tom Palmer or Pat Drapac in the under 23 criterium in his build up to both the road race and time trial. Instead, the communications student will now look towards his debut appearance at the Tour of Langkawi in late February following a hopefully incident-free team training camp.

    After that, Phelan will head to Europe with the squad to build on the experience gained from racing there in 2011. Phelan performed admirably in his baptism of fire among the sport's biggest names including Philippe Gilbert but second time around, he is hoping to take his racing to the next level.

    "My last season was big so it's about taking little steps and just learning what I can," he said hopefully. "I could do well but it's hard to get used to the racing there because it's completely different. I want my racing in Europe to be, my main goal... Europe's where cycling's at."