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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Date published:
July 26, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Post-Tour criteriums begin in earnest

    Rabobank duo Lars Boom and Paul Martens during the race.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 6:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Riders welcomed home all over Europe for celebratory races

    The Tour de France may have only finished on Sunday, but many riders are already returning to racing - albeit at a slightly lower level of competition. The post-Tour criterium races give those that weren't able to get to France in July a chance to see their heroes in the flesh a little closer to home.

    Racing kicked off on Monday with the Boxmeer criterium race won by Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank). Boxmeer is the earliest of what is a two week 'festival' of criterium races throughout central and Western Europe. Belgium and the Netherlands host the lion's share of events, but Austria, Germany, Denmark and France all host their own races.

    Often the winner (sometimes even the top three) is fixed before the race, but the riders always put on a spectacle for the crowds who come out to attend. Jersey winners from the Tour as well as local favourites and retired legends will generally make an appearance - though of course they are often nudged along by the promise of a lucrative fee.

    A yellow jersey winner for example can command upwards of 60,000 Euros for a single event - and even lesser riders can command some tidy sums.

    Watch out for the races over the coming fortnight - but don't read too much into the results.

  • Boardman: Wiggins should focus on Tour in 2012

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is enjoying life as British champion.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 9:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Track and road legend believes Briton has 'done the gold medal thing'

    Chris Boardman has told the BBC that Bradley Wiggins (Sky) would do better to focus solely on the Tour de France in 2012, rather than attempting another bid for Olympic gold. Wiggins crashed out of this year's Tour with a broken collarbone on stage seven, but many had tipped the British rider to challenge for a high position on general classification.

    "The key thing is you have to choose what your priority is because you are taking a risk," explained Boardman. "If you are going to do the double then you are risking the Olympics and saying the Tour is most important - and frankly for Bradley I think it should be at this stage of his career."

    Wiggins won the Criterium du Dauphine in June and made the podium of Paris-Nice back in March. According to Team Sky principal, Dave Brailsford, Wiggins went into the Tour de France on 'the form of his life'.

    "When something's broken, there's no answer. All the decisions are taken on your behalf, so you just get on with it," Boardman said, recalling his own curtailed Tour of 1995, when a crash in the prologue ended his race. "I came back the next year in '96 and had the best form I ever had."

    Though mindful of the importance Wiggins places on Olympic success, Boardman said that at this stage of his career, Wiggins should be looking to focus entirely on road riding.

    "He's done the gold medal thing. This [the Tour de France] should be more important for him."

    Fellow Sky teammate Geraint Thomas has already flagged his intention to ride the Olympics in favour of the Tour, but speculation remains as to exactly what Wiggins will choose to do.

  • French teams not all winners at 2011 Tour de France

    Jérémy Roy (FDJ) crosses the finish line in Lourdes for third place.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 9:51 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Saur-Sojasun satisfied but FDJ and Cofidis lost out

    On the face of it, the 2011 Tour de France was a very successful one for French riders and teams, with Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) spending ten days in yellow, his teammate Pierre Rolland winning the white jersey and an historic stage win, and five Frenchmen finishing in the top 15 in Paris. But not all French riders and team managers were satisfied with the outcome.

    FDJ team manager Marc Madiot put it bluntly. "I'd be happy if we'd won a stage, but we didn't," he told Cyclingnews after the final time trial in Grenoble. "I can't be satisfied."

    Known for speaking his mind, Madiot praised the performance of his young rider Arnold Jeannesson, who finished in 15th place on GC at 25 years of age, but still maintained that a stage victory would have been more important. "Yes, Jeannesson's result is promising, but you have to win a bit more. Last year, there were six French stage victories and no placing on general classification. This year, it's the opposite..."

    FDJ's Jérémy Roy, who was voted most aggressive rider of the whole race, was very close to that goal on stage 13 to Lourdes but Garmin-Cervélo's Thor Hushovd and David Moncoutié (Cofidis) came back to him in the finale. Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer, whose rider was much criticised by the French press for having collaborated with Hushovd in the chase, also didn't achieve his objectives at the Tour but said that the criticism of Moncoutié had been disproportionate.

    "David didn't ride to make Jérémy lose, he rode to win the stage,” Boyer said. “Thor was just much stronger than him and even if he hadn't taken turns, Thor would have probably won the stage...

  • Dekker to make Chipotle debut at Tour of Portugal

    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 10:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutchman set to sign for American development team

    Thomas Dekker looks set to ride for Garmin-Cervelo’s development team, Chipotle Development Team, for the remainder of the 2011 season.

    Cyclingnews understands that the 26-year-old will make his debut for the team at the Tour of Portugal, which starts next month.

    Slipstream Sports were set to announce the news on August 1. Cyclingnews contacted Dekker's management company SEG International, and although they refused to confirm the details, they also refrained from denying that Dekker would ride for the team, and stressed that riders signing for new teams would be announced after the August 1 transfer window opened.

    Dekker served a two-year suspension for taking EPO but his ban finished on July 2, 2011.

    In April, Jonathan Vaughters, manger of Garmin-Cervelo, confirmed to Cyclingnews that he had been testing Dekker with a view to possibly signing him to Garmin-Cervélo’s development team, although no contract had yet been discussed between the two parties. A move to the development team does not guarantee Dekker a pass onto Garmin-Cervelo for next year, and Cyclingnews also understands that Dekker's ride at Portugal is part of the rider's tests.

    In April Vaughters told Cyclingnews, “If Thomas is successful in showing he has the physiological capability of competing clean, then we would consider testing him on the Continental team.”

    Dekker had been in negotiations with Vaughters back in 2008 and the two men met after the Tour de France that year but Vaughters never offered the Dutch rider a contract and he subsequently signed for Lotto.

  • Highroad's race against the clock

    Congratulations shared among Mark Cavendish and his HTC Highroad teammates
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 11:40 BST
    Cycling News

    New sponsor could be announced this week, but riders are edgy

    Time is running out for Bob Stapleton and HTC-Highroad – will the team find a new sponsor and if so, in time to hold on to its current riders? Team management has indicated that a new sponsor may be lined up, with contracts to be signed possibly as early as this week, but many riders are apparently on the verge of signing with other teams.

    Over the weekend, team owner Stapleton said that while nothing was signed, he was optimistic about a three-year, big budget deal. Yesterday team manager Rolf Aldag told the dpa news agency that “I reckon the contracts will be signed this week.” There was no indication as to who the sponsor might be.

    “Now the Tour de France is over and so it goes fast with the contracts. Riders don't want to wait too many days for an agreement - there are also teams at the other end, they must have an answer,” directeur sportif Brian Holm told Ekstra Bladet.

    Mark Cavendish is the team's most successful rider, having just won five Tour de France stages and the green jersey, and his contract expires the end of this season. It is commonly assumed that he will sign with UK-based Sky next season, but he has apparently indicated that he is considering staying with Highroad if the team continues.

    Cavendish's deadline for the team has actually expired, but Holm thinks he might extend it.

    On the second rest day, said Mark that Bob had one week. It's gone now. But if can he wait seven days, he may also wait eight,” said Holm.

    The Danish DS also indicated that he and Cavendish will be on the same team next year, whether it is Highroad or elsewhere. “I'd love to stay with Mark, and we have agreed on...

  • Zomegnan replaced as Giro d'Italia director

    Angelo Zomegnan addressed the press following the death of Wouter Weylandt
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 12:13 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Acquarone and Vegni to split duties

    Angelo Zomegnan has been replaced as director of the Giro d’Italia by organisers RCS after seven years in the role, and is set to move to a new position in the organisation of the 2013 world championships in Florence.

    Rather than appoint a direct replacement, it appears that RCS will divide Zomegnan’s former duties largely between Michele Acquarone and Mauro Vegni.

    A statement from the company said that Acquarone, director general of RCS Sport since 2008, now moves to take “direct responsibility for cycling organisational structure.” Giro technical director Vegni will be in charge of the sport and race management, and he is to be assisted by former professionals Stefano Allocchio and Alessandro Giannelli. Marketing will be handled by Marco Gobbi Pansana.

    Rumours of Zomegnan’s departure first surfaced towards the end of this year’s Giro d’Italia. While the 56-year-old was widely praised for his sensitive handling of the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt, he engaged in a heated dispute with teams and managers over the safety and support measures put in place for the descent of the Crostis.

    The Crostis was removed from the Giro route the night before the stage, while the route of the final time trial in Milan also had to be altered at short notice due to local elections in the city.

    As well as working on the Florence 2013 organising committee, Zomegnan will remain an RCS consultant “on specific development projects” and will maintain an editorial collaboration with Gazzetta dello Sport, where he...

  • Sanchez to skip Vuelta a España

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) wins the king of the mountains.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 12:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Hopes to become first Euskaltel-Euskadi rider to win San Sebastian

    Samuel Sanchez will skip the Vuelta a Espana again this year, his team Euskaltel-Euskadi has announced. Sanchez won the mountaintop finish at Luz Ardiden and took the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France.

    “The Tour has been extremely intense and demanding, and we have to wait and see how he recovers from the efforts of this Grand Tour to face the rest of the calendar, which does not include participation in the Vuelta a España,” said a statement on the team's website.

    Sanchez's first race after the Tour will be the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday, in his team's Basque homeland.  Interestingly, Euskaltel-Euskadi has never won this race, giving Sanchez the chance to “write a new page in history,” the team said.

    From there, the 2008 Olympic road champion will look to other WorldTour races such as those in Quebec and Montreal in September. These are “races in which Euskaltel-Euskadi must score well if it wants to continue in elite cycling in 2012. Samuel Sanchez, ranked fifth in the WorldTour ranking, is a guarantee to collect points.”

  • Contador CAS hearing postponed until November

    There's no denying that Alberto Contador suffered on the Alpe d'Huez.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2011, 15:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Another delay in final ruling

    Alberto Contador's hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has been postponed again, until November. The exact hearing dates have not yet been set.

    Both the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the decision of the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) to clear Contador of charges resulting from his positive doping control for Clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France.

    The CAS said that it “has allowed a request for a second exchange of written submissions between the parties as well as for a new procedural calendar. Such request was formulated by WADA with the unanimous agreement of the three other parties.”

    According to the CAS statement, issued Tuesday afternoon, "The second round of written submissions will allow the parties to complete their evidence and arguments relating to some specific scientific issues."

    The RFEC issued its decision in February, and the UCI and WADA filed their appeals with the CAS in March. The CAS hearing was initially scheduled for early June but then postponed until August.