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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Date published:
January 24, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Fédrigo eager to race again

    Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ)
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 11:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Agressive Frenchman back on track after 2011 illness

    After a disappointing 2011 season due to illness, Pierrick Fédrigo is excited to be back on track ahead of the upcoming European season. The Frenchman, who was out with Lyme disease for much of last year, is confident that the setback has made him mentally stronger and that the form he is currently building up will pay off in competition.

    "I'm very excited to race and I really want to win again," Fédrigo told L'Equipe. "Last season showed me that you also have to go through diffucult periods in order to grow and step up. I felt that I was below par and that I wouldn't win. Perhaps I needed [the illness] to get out of my routine. Before, I didn't dare to attack and I regretted it afterwards. Now, I want to go for it and not look at the other riders anymore."

    The FDJ-BigMat rider was satisfied with his winter preparation, saying he has physically progressed. At 33 years of age, Fédrigo feels he is at the peak of his career.

    "I haven't changed my habits, I started on December 1 with a fixed wheel," he said of his training. "This is my 13th season and I need to restart on the same basis every year. I picked relatively flat routes to build up a base and build up the workload. That way, I progressed slowly but constantly. I put the big ring back on two weeks ago to work on my power. I feel I've progressed."

    The three-time Tour de France stage winner will have a very French programme this season, even if his FDJ-BigMat team is back in the World Tour ranks. "I prefer to ride in France, we have very nice races. My first competitions will be the Etoile de Bessèges, the Tour du Haut-Var, Loire-Atlantique Cholet,...

  • Rasmussen suit against Rabobank still pending

    Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watchces-Ofone) returns to the Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 12:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dane wants 5.6 million Euros for 2007 Tour de France affair

    Michael Rasmussen, who is currently racing the Tour de San Luis with his team Christina Watches, still has a legal procedure with his former employer Rabobank pending. The Dane, who was pulled from the 2007 Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey, and subsequently sacked by his Rabobank team for having lied about his whereabouts prior to the race, is currently waiting for the verdict of a lawsuit brought before a Dutch court.

    Rasmussen has asked for 5.6 million euro in damages from the 2007 affair, a substantial sum even for Dutch Rabobank.

    In 2008, a civil court in Utrecht already ruled in his favour. "I was given the sum of 715,000 euro but that wasn't enough. My Dutch lawyer André Brantjes told me that the higher court of Arnhem will be announcing its verdict on May 25," Rasmussen told Nieuwsblad.

  • Contador rides through the storm at Tour de San Luis

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 13:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard begins season with CAS verdict still pending

    Although it may yet be cut short by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) got his 2012 season underway at the Tour de San Luis on Monday. Like many European riders, Contador travelled to Argentina in search of some warm weather miles, but was instead greeted by torrential rain and plummeting temperatures on the opening stage.

    “We came for heat and sun, and instead we met with rain and cold,” Contador told Marca. “We even had to stop for a moment because of the hailstones. Some of the hailstones that fell were bigger than marbles. It was more complicated than we expected and there was considerable tension.”

    Contador admitted that he came close to crashing in the treacherous conditions, and then punctured just as the pace began to ratchet upwards towards the end of the stage. After chasing back on, his Saxo Bank team worked to set up home rider Juan José Haedo for the sprint, but he lost out to Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

    “In the finale, I almost had a fall, but I avoided it,” Contador said. “Then I punctured with about 40km to go, when the peloton was going fast. It was hard to get back on, but in the end we did it, and then we decided on the responsibility of the peloton.”

    With two summit finishes and a time trial to come later in the week, Contador should come to the fore as the race progresses. “In the end, it went well,” he said. “My sensations were good and overall it’s positive.”

    Stage two of the Tour de San Luis brings the peloton from Fraga to Juana Koslay, and should again favour the...

  • 16 teams named for Tour of Oman

    Final Tour of Oman podium (l-r): Giovanni Visconti, 3rd; Robert Gesink, 1st; Edvald Boasson Hagen, 2nd.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 13:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    ASO announced 11 World Tour squads to Middle Eastern stage race

    Race organiser ASO has released the list teams that will participate in the upcoming Tour of Oman. From February 14-19, a total of 16 teams will battle it out in the Category 2.1 stage race, which is part of the UCI Asia Tour calendar.

    Once again, the majority of teams announced are WorldTour teams: 11 top level squads are expected in the Sultanate of Oman, including all three American WorldTour teams (BMC, Garmin-Barracuda and RadioShack-Nissan) as well as new Australian outfit GreenEdge and British Sky.

    The full list of participating teams is as follows:

    BMC Racing Team, Bridgestone Anchor Pro Cycling Team, Champion System, Farnese Neri Cycling Team, FDJ-BigMat, Garmin-Barracuda, Greenedge Cycling Team, Katusha Team, Liquigas-Cannondale, Lotto-Belisol Team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team, Project 1t4i, Rabobank, Radioshack-Nissan, RTS Racing team and Sky Pro Cycling.

    While all-rounders and sprinters will be in their element on the roads that run along the Gulf of Oman coast, puncheurs and climbers will also be able to showcase their talents on the country's steep terrain. The stage at Jabal Al Akhdar (the Green Mountain) with a final climb of 5.8 km at an average gradient of 10.3 percent, reaching up to 13.5 percent over the last two kilometres, will be one of the highlights of the third edition of the Tour of Oman. Last year's event was won by Rabobank's Robert Gesink.

    The route details are:

    Stage 1: February 14: Al Alam Palace - Wadi Al Huwqayn (159 km)
    Stage 2: February 15: Sur - Wadi Dayqah Dam (140.5 km)
    Stage 3: February 16: Al Awabi (Al Alya) - Bank Muscat HQ (144.5 km)
    Stage 4: February 17: Bidbid (Nafa'a) - Al Wadi al Kabir (142.5 km)
    Stage 5: February 18: Royal Opera House - Jabal Al Akhdhar / Green Mountain (158 km)
    Stage 6: February 19: Al Khawd - Matrah Corniche (130.5...

  • Gallery: Team Type 1 - Sanofi fine tune form in Italy

    Thumbs up from Javier Megias
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 14:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bigger, stronger, better for 2012

    Bigger, better and stronger, that’s the message emanating from American Professional Continental squad Team Type 1 – Sanofi. The team recently finished a ten-day camp in Terracina, just south of Rome, clocking up over 1,900 kilometres in a bid to fine tune their form ahead of a number of key races dates in Europe.

    Along with the obligatory six-hour rides, the riders split their duties between motor pacing and sprint training and with a stronger team this year they’ll be looking to make an early impact on the season with their two European racing programmes running in tandem. The first targets being the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise later this month and the G.P. Costa degli Etruschi in early February.

    But training and hard work make up only a segment of training camps. Along with the long hours on the bike riders are measured for kit, set their race programmes and practice the age old pastime of ‘team bonding’.

    In Team Type 1 – Sanofi’s case that involved celebrating Will Dugan’s 25th birthday and having all five off the team’s neo-professionals sing their respective national anthems.

  • Lefevere hails arrival of Leipheimer and Martin

    General manager Patrick Lefevere at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team press conference
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 17:10 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step has not 'bought points' says Belgian

    After struggling near the foot of the WorldTour rankings for much of last season, Omega Pharma-Quick Step begins 2012 with a significantly bolstered line-up. While Tom Boonen will again lead Patrick Lefevere’s squad at the classics, the team has made a significant investment in stage racing talent, snapping up Levi Leipheimer, Peter Velits and Tony Martin.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team presentation in Vilvoorde recently, Lefevere dismissed the idea that he had ‘bought’ WorldTour points, and said that his new signings were made with a longer term picture in mind.

    “Buying points – I don’t like that expression, because it’s as if you’re buying something but don’t believe in the rider and only take him because he has points,” Lefevere said. “Instead, we have given a very strong signal to the riders. We’ve signed Tony Martin for three years, which means that we believe in him and in his progression as a rider.”

    Quick Step’s previous forays into the transfer market to secure stage racing talent have been mixed at best, with riders like José Rujano and Juan Miguel Mercado ultimately failing to live up to expectations at the team. Lefevere insists that his expanded budget for 2012 has allowed him to sign riders who offer greater guarantees of success.

    “In the past it was more perhaps to try and buy a joker or a wildcard, because I didn’t have the money to buy somebody of value, someone who was sure of going in the top five,” he said. “Some of those guys disappointed me, but now really we have the potential to...

  • BigMat-Auber 93 presents 2012 rosters

    BigMat-Auber 93 looking ahead to a new season.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 19:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sponsor stands by French Continental team despite recent affair

    French Continental team BigMat-Auber 93 has revealed its 2012 roster on Monday evening in Aubervilliers. Overshadowed by a cloud of doubt since the team's former doctor, Philippe Bedoucha, was indicted on doping trafficking charges almost two months ago, the team directed by Stéphane Javalet as well as its Women's and Amateur squads will continue to be supported by sponsor BigMat.

    "Our partnership with Auber 93 was never put into question," BigMat France operations director Philippe Lejal told RMC. "We will be standing behind them for at least another two years. This doping affair did not implicate the whole team but only one man: doctor Philippe Bedoucha. We are a 100 percent confident in the work of manager Stéphane Javalet."

    Bedoucha, who was the team's doctor from 2007-2010, was arrested on November 29, 2011, suspected of having provided athletes with EPO and growth hormone. However, the ongoing police investigation has not incriminated any riders of the current team nor its management to this date.

    With Sylvain Georges and Maxime Médérel, the team's two best riders during last year, gone to join AG2R La Mondiale and Saur-Sojasun, the outfit will continue to develop young talent. Benoît Drujon and Steven Tronet have joined the squad which will count on its sprinter Fabien Bacquet and experienced riders Mathieu Drujon and Nicolas Rousseau.

  • Deignan fine-tunes form with UnitedHealthcare

    Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare)
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 20:45 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Tailored training programme has Irishman aiming higher in 2012

    As Irishman Philip Deignan enters his eighth professional season, now with the UnitedHealthcare squad, he is looking to overcome a string of sub-optimal years fraught with illness and injury and regain the form that helped him win a stage and take ninth overall in the 2009 Vuelta a España.

    After his break-out season with the Cervélo TestTeam, Deignan (pronounced DIE-gnan) wasn't able to follow up with similar performances in 2010 because of self-admitted impatience with recovery from an early-season injury, but he isn't going to make the same mistake twice.

    "In 2010 I had a knee injury at the start of the year so I missed four to five weeks extra off the bike, so I tried to rush back a bit too quick, and I think I overdid it," the 28-year-old told Cyclingnews at the UnitedHealthcare team camp in Palm Springs in January.

    "I started getting sick every two to three weeks. I'd come back again too early and I suppose, looking back, it was avoidable if I had taken the proper rest and built back slowly up again. I think a lot of times when you get injured you start to panic and you try to make up for lost time, but it's always a recipe for disaster."

    His less-than-stellar 2010 meant that when Cervélo folded and the some riders were taken along with the bike sponsor to the Garmin team, Deignan wasn't among them. RadioShack boss Johan Bruyneel plucked him out of the unemployment line, but after one year, that team, too, was folded into another organisation, leaving no space for an unproven quantity.

    "A lot of things happened last winter, but that's cycling," Deignan said of the RadioShack/Leopard Trek merger. "We found out pretty late on - it's kind of unfair that the riders don't know what's going on - a lot of...