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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Date published:
January 12, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • SunGard signs on as sponsor for Team Saxo Bank

    The Saxo Bank boys wind down after a hectic finale.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 10:09 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    US IT firm signs on for one year as minor sponsor

    Team Saxo Bank has signed US-based SunGard as a new sponsor for the team this year. The information technology firm will not serve as name or co-sponsor, but the news gives some much needed morale support to the team after Saxo Bank announced they would terminate their support at the end of 2010.

    SunGard is one of the largest privately owned companies in the US, with annual revenue exceeding $5 billion. According to its web site, it “provides software and processing solutions for financial services, higher education and the public sector. SunGard also provides disaster recovery services, managed IT services, information availability consulting services and business continuity management software.”

    “This agreement sends a very strong signal, and it could not come at a better time,” team manager Trey Greenwood told sporten.dk. “It is a real scoop for our team.”

    While the amount of the sponsorship was not announced, it was speculated to be anywhere from one million dollars to “several million dollars”. According to Greenwood, “it is not enough to be a co-sponsor, but it is big enough to change some things for us.”

    Team owner Bjarne Riis did not dismiss the notion that the sponsorship might be expanded in 2011. “It is a great sponsor who wants to be here. Whether it could ultimately become something more remains to be seen. The important thing is we get them on board and we now show them what we have to offer, " Riis told sporten.dk.

    Greenwood added, “Compared to the exposure you get as our sponsor, you will certainly get back more than you paid for.”

    That is exactly what the company is hoping for. “We see a great potential to improve SunGard's brand awareness and visibility as a global IT business by sponsoring Team Saxo Bank. We are pleased that SunGard now stands stand side by side with one of professional...

  • HTC-Columbia warm up for team presentation in Majorca

    Mark Cavendish rides with Erik Zabel
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 12:09 GMT
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Men's and women's squads hit the road for joint training ride

    HTC-Columbia's men's and women's squads hit the roads this morning for a training ride prior to the team's official presentation in Majorca, Spain.

    The training ride represents one of the only opportunities the two teams will have to ride together before their respective racing seasons begin later this month. Rugged up against chilly conditions Mark Cavendish, Lars Bak, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Marco Pinotti, Craig Lewis, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Linda Villumsen, Noemi Cantele and Evelyn Stevens joined their teammates for the two-hour ride.

    With a number of new faces in both the men's and women's teams for 2010, it was also the first chance for the riders to familiarise themselves with each another in the environment they will share for the coming season. Although brutal European weather had seen several riders not arrive at the team hotel until the early hours of the morning, some 30 members of the squad made it out onto the roads.

    Click here to view images of HTC-Columbia's training ride.

     

  • Rujano faces Colombians looking for payback

    Jose Rujano
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 13:29 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Vuelta al Táchira starts tomorrow

    Venezuelan cycling star José Rujano begins his build-up to what he insists will be a victory challenge at the Giro d’Italia by taking on many of Latin America’s best riders in the Vuelta al Táchira, which starts tomorrow (Wednesday).

    The 2.2-rated, 12-stage race pits Rujano and his Gobernación del Zulia team against three teams from neighbouring Colombian that are eager to avenge the drubbing that Rujano handed them in their home tour last June. Rujano won that race by a five-and-a-half minute margin, claiming four stages and the mountains prize in what was certainly among his best performances since he finished third overall in the 2005 Giro.

    Rujano admitted last week that he will be easing his way into the season at the Táchira race, but added that he was still hoping to win it. He also declared himself “the third best climber in the world behind Alberto Contador and Joaquím Rodríguez”, and he will need all of those climbing skills if he is to regain the title he won in 2004 and 2005 when he was with Gianni Savio’s Selle Italia team.

    His chances won’t have been helped by the loss of veteran Colombian Hernán Buenahora from his Zulia team. Buenahora, the 2007 Táchira winner, received a late offer from the Néctar team in his home country and won’t now be starting the Táchira tour. That leaves Rujano and key lieutenant Manuel “Gato” Medina to deal with some considerable Colombian talent, including Freddy Montaña, runner-up in last year’s Tour of Colombia, and Gregorio Ladino, who topped the 2009 UCI America Tour rankings.

    While Medina was feeling his way back to form after crashing out of a recent race, Rujano prepared for the Táchira event with three days of training in the high mountains when he logged more than 600km.

    Rujano will also have to keep a close watch on defending...

  • Schumacher Tour doping decision delayed again by CAS

    Stefan Schumacher (R) and lawyer Michael Lehner after the first CAS hearing for his positive in the Olympics in July, 2009.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 16:19 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    German again declares innocence

    Stefan Schumacher cannot believe that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has once more postponed the decision in his Tour de France doping case. “That doesn't make any sense. I have the feeling they know they must acquit me but don't want to.”

    The CAS announced Monday that its decision would be delayed an additional two weeks. It was originally scheduled to announce its decision the middle of December, but postponed it until this week. Now it has given itself until January 25.

    “You can't treat athletes like this,” Schumacher's attorney Michael Lehner told the SID news agency in criticism of the Court.

    However, Lehner indicated that the move may be good news for his client. “My guess is that there has been some lively discussion within the panel over the decision. I think there is no basis for a conviction. Many errors were made.”

    Schumacher tested positive for the EPO variant CERA at the Tour de France, and the French National Anti-doping Agency suspended him for two years. The International Cycling Union subsequently adopted the suspension, which runs until January 21, 2011, and made it applicable worldwide.

    Schumacher appealed the suspension on the grounds that, among others, the analysis method used for CERA was not approved for use at the time

    “I didn't dope. I know that everything is against me, but there are so many procedural errors,” Schumacher said in an interview with the SID.

    Another error was that “the samples were no longer anonymous. My samples were no longer sealed and had been opened months before.

    “I have the impression that that they wanted to find specific riders positive.”

    If the CAS upholds the suspension, then he will appeal it in the Swiss judicial system. “I will fight and am convinced that a regular court would acquit me.” Schumacher acknowledged that the...

  • Valverde to kick off 2010 season in Australia

    What's that Skippy? CAS are in the bushes and about to pounce?
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 16:20 GMT
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Vuelta champ makes debut appearance at Tour Down Under

    On his first visit to Australia, Alejandro Valverde got the opportunity to spend a day on Kangaroo Island with his Caisse d'Épargne teammates scheduled for the Santos Tour Down Under: Luis Leon Sanchez, José Joaquin Rojas, Ivan Gutierrez, Chente Garcia Acosta and Frenchmen Mathieu Perget and Mathieu Drujon. Under the guidance of their Australian directeur sportif Neil Stephens, they observed koalas, took a swim in the Pacific, fed kangaroos and ended up their wild animal experience with seals on a beach.

    "This is the kind of things that are very different to what we do in Europe when we go racing," said Valverde, who seemed delighted to be far away from the worries brought to him by the hearings at CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) about his ban in Italy. "To have a koala at home would be great, this is a nice little sleeping animal," he joked. But as much as he liked the kangaroos as well, he rejected the idea of bringing a seal to his backyard in Murcia.

    As the Caisse d'Épargne riders went for a short training ride following sightseeing on the island, the winner of the Vuelta a España was the most aggressive of them on the bike. "I was just playing around," he told Cyclingnews. "I'm feeling good on the road these days, though. I have decent condition even though I'm not at 100 percent yet. I'm excited to resume racing."

    Valverde chose to make his first trip to Australia after hearing his training partners from Murcia talking very positively about the Santos Tour Down Under. Sanchez won the event in 2005 and Rojas finished third last year. "This is a race I've never ridden before," Valverde said. "I need to know more about it and I presume that many riders have better experience than me here."

    Although the format of the Australian event suits his characteristics of a sprinter that can go uphill and always starts a new season with good form, the Spaniard ruled out the idea of racing for the...

  • Saur-Sojasun presented in Paris

    The 2010 Saur-Sojasun team
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 16:21 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Pro Conti team hoping for Tour invite

    The French Saur-Sojasun team presented its 2010 line-up in Paris on Tuesday, choosing the Eiffel Tower as the site for its first step into the sport's second tier.

    Manager Stephane Heulot voiced the all-French team's goal: to become players in the big races, and the man to lead that charge is Jimmy Casper.

    For stage races, he will look to Jonathan Hivert, Jerome Coppel and Sebastien Joly (three new recruits), while sprinter Jimmy Casper will lead the team for stage wins and in one-day races. Casper was the winner of the Coupe de France series and was the third-ranked rider in the UCI's European Tour last year, having won 10 races over the course of the season.

    With a sprint train bolstered by Cyril Lemoine, Stéphane Poulhiès and Rony Martias who will add reinforcements for Casper's main lead-out man, Jimmy Engoulvent, Heulot thinks that Casper, who at 31 has had 11 seasons in the sport's top tier, can take on the biggest sprinters in the ProTour.

    Heulot aspires to gain selection in the Tour de France now that the team has been granted a Professional Continental license, up from the third tier last year. In order to competed against former ProTour teams Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis, Heulot knows the team must make its mark in the early season to gain the attention of the Tour organisers.

    The team will take on the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman in February to dial in the train.

    2010 Saur-Sojasun team

    Cyril Bessy
    Jimmy Casper
    Jérôme Coppel
    Cédric Coutouly
    Anthony Delaplace
    Jimmy Engoulvent
    Jérémie Galland
    Jonathan Hivert
    Fabrice Jeandesboz
    Sébastien Joly
    Cyril Lemoine
    Guillaume Levarlet
    Laurent Mangel
    Jean-Marc Marino
    Rony Martias
    Romain Mathéou
    Stéphane Poulhiès
    Julien Simon
    Yannick Talabardon

    General Manager:...

  • BMC Racing Team awarded Wild Card status

    BMC Racing Team in action at the 2009 Redlands Bicycle Classic.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 17:39 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    UCI decision clears way for Tour Down Under start

    The BMC Racing Team announced today that the International Cycling Union (UCI) has granted the squad Wild Card status for the 2010 season. The decision by the UCI licence committee confers on the U.S.-registered Professional Continental team the right to be invited to races on both the UCI ProTour and Historic calendars.

    "This was critical to fulfilling our central goals, not only for 2010 but also into the future," said Jim Ochowicz, BMC Racing Team president. "It paves the way for an ambitious schedule of racing that will expose even more people to the BMC Racing Team and our outstanding line-up of sponsors."

    In 2009, the UCI created the World Calendar, which brought together UCI ProTour events and the "Historic Monuments of Cycling" races. A total of 28 events comprise the 2010 calendar, 17 on the ProTour and 11 in the Historic division. The Santos Tour Down Under is the first event on the 2010 UCI ProTour road calendar. BMC's participation in the race (Jan. 19-24) in Australia was contingent upon it receiving the Wild Card.

    Director Sportif John Lelangue, in Adelaide, Australia with the seven-member squad that will contest the Santos Tour Down Under, said being able to showcase riders like current world road champion Cadel Evans and U.S. road champion George Hincapie in the world's most prestigious races is a plus for both the team and cycling fans alike.

    "We expect to be competitive in every race we enter, whether it's a one-day classic, a one-week stage race or a Grand Tour," Lelangue said. "All the pieces are in place for this team to get the most out of its talent - be it in Europe, the United States or anywhere in the world."

    Teams undergoing review for Wild Card status had to meet strict sporting, legal, financial and ethical criteria. As a Wild Card team, BMC will participate in the UCI's biological passport program by contributing to the funding of the project and providing whereabouts documentation for testing...

  • Details released for opening Giro d'Italia stages

    The course of the Giro d'Italia's 2010 opening stage.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2010, 20:24 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Stage one to pass through Amsterdam's city centre

    Organisers of the Giro d'Italia have announced the details of the race's opening stages in the Netherlands. The opening stage of the race's 93rd edition will take place on Saturday May 8.

    An 8.4km time trial will send riders directly through Amsterdam's historical city centre, beginning at the Museumplein in the heart of Amsterdam and finishing at the Olympic Stadium, passing the Van Gogh Museum along the way.

    The second stage will also depart from Museumplein, sending riders out for a 213km stage to the centre of Utrecht. The final stage in the Netherlands will run from Amsterdam's financial district, the Zuidas, and finish in Middelburg.

     “Amsterdam loves both the bicycle and top-level sport, making it the ideal city to host the start of this prestigious international cycle event. Amsterdam is looking forward with excitement to the beginning of May," said Deputy mayor Carolien Gehrels.

    The Giro d'Italia will not be the only Grand Tour to start in the Netherlands this year. The Tour de France will have its depart from Rotterdam in July. The Vuelta a Espana began in Assen in 2009, making an unprecedented three Grand Tour starts from the country in a row.