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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Date published:
February 01, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Davis looking forward to break through season

    Australian Allan Davis is aiming for Milano-San Remo
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 9:48 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Australian targeting the big Classics in 2011

    Allan Davis is convinced that the best years of his career are yet to come. The Australian sprinter, in his second year with the Astana team, turned 30 last year and after nine years in the pro ranks he hopes his maturity and experience will help him win one of cycling's big classics.

    "I think the next five years will be the best of my whole career," Davis told Cyclingnews at the official Astana team presentation in Monaco last week. "I'm not getting any faster, but I'm getting stronger, both mentally and physically. I'm getting stronger on the climbs."

    The Australian has finished second and fourth in Milano-San Remo and 'La Classicissima' remains his big objective for the first part of the 2011 season - even if he has other goals. "Milano-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, those are the races I think I have room to improve in," he said. "The older I get, the more I think I can win these sort of races. I'm getting to know the roads a lot better."

    Despite more than 30 victories, Davis still lacks that one big win that would consecrate his whole career. But he feels confident that one day, luck will be on his side and his experience will pay off. "I've had several top finishes in big races, so I know if I can do that, then I can also win one," he commented. "So hopefully this year, I'll score not only one, but a few big wins."

    "Experience counts a lot, especially in the Belgian races. It's something that you don't get straight away, it comes over time. I've only really learned all the roads in the last three or four years and now, I have this experience which makes me more confident."

    The Astana sprinter said that he felt on track for Milan-San Remo on March 19. He started the year well with ninth...

  • Will Riis turn to Menchov if Contador ban is upheld?

    Denis Menchov has left Rabobank for the new Geox-TMC team
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 11:11 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Rumours suggest Russian might be Saxo’s solution if Contador is banned

    Reports in Italy and Spain suggest that Saxo Bank-Sungard boss Bjarne Riis may turn to Denis Menchov if Alberto Contador’s ban for doping is confirmed. According to El Diario Vasco, the rumours stem from Menchov’s Geox team, which did not receive the
    World Tour ranking it was looking for to guarantee a place in the sport’s major events.

    The rumours suggest that Geox may be willing to reach a deal on Menchov in order to reduce their budgetary commitments by a significant amount this season. Menchov’s salary is approximately two million euros a year.

    It has already been revealed that Riis approached Omega Pharma’s Jurgen Van den Broeck as a potential replacement for Contador, but Menchov may offer a better short-term option. With as much as five million euros to play with if Contador’s ban in confirmed, Riis could certainly afford to take on the Russian, who has overall victories in the Giro and Vuelta to his credit.

    This option could also be attractive to the Russian, who left Rabobank for Geox on the assumption that his new Italian team would receive World Tour status and guarantee him access to the major tours, and particularly the Tour de France, where he finished a strong third last season.

  • Liquigas-Cannondale riders on track to improve time trialling

    Alan Marangoni leads the trio
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 11:50 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Ivan Basso, Peter Sagan undergo testing at the Brescia velodrome

    Members of the Liquigas-Cannondale team, including Ivan Basso, Ted King, Peter Sagan and Eros Capecchi, have spent a day on the covered track in Brescia to perfect their positions on their new time trial bikes.

    The riders had already undergone biomechanical studies and worked on their positions during the team’s training camps in Sardinia but the controlled conditions of the track allowed team coach Paolo Slongo, team doctor Roberto Corsetti and directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta to further tweak the riders' positions.

    Paolo Longo Borghini was the first on track at 9:30 in the morning, followed by Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan. Eros Capecchi, Damiano Caruso, Davide Cimolai, Ted King, Paolo Longo Borghini, Alan Marangoni, Maciej Paterski, Simone Ponzi, Juraj Sagan, Cristiano Salerno, Elia Viviani and Cameron Wurf were all scheduled for time on the boards during a long day of testing.

    The Liquigas-Cannondale team knows a good result in team time trials is vital for success in major stage races, while a perfect time trial position could help riders like Sagan in prologue time trials. He finished fifth in last year’s Paris-Nice prologue, just ten seconds slower than winner Lars Boom.

    “The testing was an important test for the new riders and helped the others perfect their position,” Slongo said. “The theoretical and the practical changes have given us some useful feedback and will help us during the season.”

    The riders covered laps of the Italian track at a set pace and then compared power outputs after making changes to their position and equipment. Basso tested a new Rudy Project helmet, making sure it fitted well while he was in his tucked aero position.

    “The test confirmed...

  • Paris-Nice 2011 route unveiled

    2011 Paris-Nice route map
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 12:43 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    27km time trial crucial to overall victory

    Paris-Nice organiser ASO has unveiled the route for this year’s race, confirming rumours of a tougher route, with a 27km individual time trial on stage five likely to be crucial to overall victory.

    The eight-day, 1,307km race begins in Houdan, a small village west of Paris, on Sunday March 6 and ends in Nice on Sunday March 13.

    Riders hoping to target the traditional short prologue time trial will be disappointed to discover the race begins with a 154.5km circuit stage around Houdan. The route then begins the long journey south towards the Mediterranean with flat stages from Montfort l’Amaury to Amilly and from Cosne-sur-Loire to Nuits-Saint-Georges. Both are close to 200km and could also be affected by strong winds and echelons.

    The route skirts around the heart of Provence but ends with four hilly stages.

    Stage 5 to Vernoux en Vivarais includes the Col de la Mure just ten kilometres from the finish. It is a 7.6km climb that has an average gradient of 8.3%.

    The 27km time trial is on stage five between Rognes and the spa town of Aix-en-Provence. It includes a gradual climb and fast descent to the finish. Stage six is from Brignoles to Biot near the coast, with the final stage heading into the hills above Nice. It is only 124km long but includes six classified climbs and dozens of twists and turns in the hills. It ends with the first category La Turbie and the Col d’Eze, before diving down to Nice to finish on the Promenade des Anglais.

    ASO has also named the expected team leaders and main contenders for Paris-Nice. Big names listed include Nicholas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Taylor Phinney (BMC), Tony Martin, Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad), Peter Sagan, Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek), Jurgen van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Luis...

  • Movistar holds official presentation in Madrid

    Francisco Ventoso (Movistar)
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 18:14 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Sponsor insists there is no pressure to get results in first year

    The Spanish Movistar team has held its official presentation at the sponsor's headquarters in Madrid, with Movistar Luis Abril insisting there was no pressure on the riders to achieve results in the first year.

    The Spanish telecommunications company has replaced French bank Caisse d’Epargne as main sponsor for the next three years, with the team again managed by Euesbio Unzue. The organisation has been sponsored in its past by Illes Balears, Banesto and Reynolds, producing riders of the calibre of Miguel Indurain and Pedro Delgado.

    The team showed off its distinctive blue and green jersey. Movistar is the only team to use the Campagnolo electronic transmission system in 2011, fitted to Pinarello bikes. Movistar will also sponsor a 15-rider Continental team in Colombia that will help develop young riders and compete in the UCI Americas Tour.

    With Alejandro Valverde still suspended for his involment in Operación Puerto, the leading riders in the 25-man squad include David Arroyo, who was second overall in the 2010 Giro d’Italia, veteran stage racer Marzio Bruseghin of Italy, sprinter José Joaquín Rojas and Colombian climber Mauricio Soler. New signings include Ignatas Konovalovas, Branislau Samoilau, Xavier Tondo and Francisco Ventoso. Tondo won a stage at Paris-Nice in 2010.

    "This is a new adventure and a formidable project," Unzue told Marca, describing the arrival of Movistar as a gift for cycling in a difficult moment. “They believe that it’s time to help cycling survive and capture the public’s enthusiasm.”

    Abril asked the team to honour Movistar's company name.

    "You have the best sponsor in the world." Abril said....

  • Jamis-Sutter Home pleased with Amgen Tour of California invite

    Luis Amaran (Jamis Sutter home) wins the stage and the pack sprint in front of Levi Leipheimer (Mellow Johnny's).
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 19:15 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Amaran and Borrajo to head team for California

    Jamis-Sutter Home riders are preparing to make their sponsors proud at the Amgen Tour of California held from May 15-22. Race organizers recently announced the US-based Continental squad as one of 18 teams which made the final cut.

    "We are really proud of be part of such a great event," said Directeur Sportif, Sebastian Alexandre. "The Tour of California is one of the biggest stage races in the world and we could not be happier."

    In 2009, the team was known as Colavita-Sutter Home and won the National Racing Calendar (NRC) overall team title. As Jamis-Sutter Home in 2010 the team did not garner an invitation to the marquee event last year, desipte its continued successes at the national level.

    "Well, it is the biggest race in North America, so Jamis and Sutter Home are thrilled knowing that we will be part of such a mega event," Alexandre said. "Especially Sutter Home because it is based in California."

    Alexandre confirmed the preliminary roster will include 2010 NRC individual winner Luis Amaran, Alejandro Borrajo, Tyler Wren and Ignacio Pereyra. The remaining four riders will be decided at a later date.

    "Luis Amaran and Alejando Borrajo are our best riders, we really hope to do well there," Alexandre said. "I know both are capable of winning a stage and that is what we will fight for. I will complete the team as we start racing and see who has the best form to help reach our goals."

    Jamis-Sutter Home is currently competing in the Vuelta Ciclista de Chile. The riders will unite Stateside at a team training camp in March in Santa Rosa, California and begin racing at the San Dimas Stage Race and Redlands Bicycle Classic.

    Teams confirmed for the Amgen Tour of California include UCI ProTeams BMC, HTC-Highroad, Leopard Trek, Liquigas-Cannondale, Rabobank, Saxo Bank-SunGard, Sky, Garmin-Cervèlo and RadioShack. UCI Professional Continental teams include NetApp, Spidertech p/b C10, Team Type 1 and...

  • Pierre Rolland pleased with Langkawi performance

    Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) is a bright prospect for his country in the future Grand Tours.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 19:25 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Frenchman targeting Paris-Nice and the Tour de France

    Young Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Europcar) put in a solid performance at the Tour of Langkawi, finishing 12th overall. Whilst he didn't win the race, he was happy with his performance considering it's the first race of the year.

    Rolland attacked numerous times during the race, the most notable was his solo attack up to Genting Highlands on stage five, but unfortunately for him he couldn't hold on for the win, being caught by the chase group and finishing in 12th place. Nevertheless, the twenty-four year old was pleased with how things turned out.

    "I think that my performance was good because it's the start of the year," Rolland told Cyclingnews before the final stage of the Tour of Langkawi this morning.

    "I was able to perform well and be up there in two stages, the first to Cameron Highlands and the second to Genting. I was not far away from winning both of them and I'm satisfied with my performance so far and hope I will get better as the year goes on."

    After Langkawi, Rolland will head over to the Tour of the Mediterranean and then will participate in smaller tours before Paris-Nice - his first goal of 2011.

    "Paris Nice is the first big French race on the calendar. I would like to win a stage there as well as the general classification," he admitted.

    Rolland will race a few small races after Paris-Nice before he heads back home to France to train for the Tour de France. Rolland finished 22nd in the 2009 Tour and hopes to better that performance in 2011.

    "I will start preparation for the Tour de France from May. I'm hoping to do well this year as it's the race I prefer and a high placing on the general classification will be nice."

  • Menchov to stay with Geox-TMC despite Tour de France snub

    Denis Menchov (Rabobank) secured third place
    Article published:
    February 01, 2011, 21:23 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Giro d’Italia invitation could be vital to team’s future

    Denis Menchov’s agent Raimondo Scimone has told Cyclingnews that the Russian stage race rider will not walk away from the Geox-TMC team even though the squad failed to secure an invitation to this year’s Tour de France.

    Menchov has been linked to Saxo Bank-SunGard after Alberto Contador was given a one-year ban by the Spanish Cycling Federation last week. Cyclingnews understands that Katusha, Astana and Movistar have also investigated the possibility of signing Menchov and indicated that a substantial salary was available. However the Russian is happy to stay with Geox-TMC after moving on from Rabobank during thr winter.

    “Denis is happy where he is for now. He’s gotten over not being able to ride the Tour de France and is focusing on the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta Espana. He will be targeting overall victory in both races,” Scimone said.

    Scimone revealed that Menchov has a get out clause in his standard UCI contract and could leave Geox-TMC. But this is because the team failed to secure ProTeam status, not for the lack of a Tour de France invitation.

    Giro invitation vital for team’s future

    It seems the only way Menchov would part ways with Geox-TMC is if the team fails to secure an invitation to the Giro d’Italia. A second grand tour snub could spark the demise of the whole team, with Geox rethinking its involvement in cycling.

    Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport did not invite Geox-TMC to the Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico, but the team has a place amongst the 25 teams invited to Milan-San Remo. Giro d’Italia organiser...