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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Date published:
June 28, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Boasson Hagen training again, hopeful for Tour de France

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 9:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider recovering from shingles

    Edvald Boasson Hagen has started training again and looks set to ride the Tour de France as planned.The Sky rider was diagnosed with shingles last week after winning the Norwegian time trial title, and had to miss the national road race.

    In a press release, his manager Birger Hungerholdt said that doctors had cleared the 24-year-old for two light workouts, and he took the first of those on Monday.

    “We will see how his body responds to the exercise, but it does look rather promising,” his trainer Frederic Mohn said to aftenposten.no. He said that the medication that the young Norwegian had taken required him to rest over the weekend.

    Mohn said that he hopes Boasson Hagen will retain his form, and that the start of this year's Tour is good for him.

    “This year there is no prologue at the Tour de France, and that my be advantageous for Edvald. There will be less pressure on him in the first stage, and he can focus more on just getting through.”

     

  • Quick Step and Omega Pharma to become one team?

    The official Omega Pharma-lotto team photograph
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 9:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UPDATED: Omega Pharma confirms talks, but with three teams

    Omega Pharma and Quick Step may be on the verge of joining to form a Belgian “super team” for the coming season, the Gazet van Antwerpen said.The announcement could be made this week before the Tour de France start on Saturday. Omega Pharma has confirmed the talks but said that it is talking with two other teams.

    Omega Pharma and Lotto had already announced that they would part ways the end of this season, and both have said that they intend to keep sponsoring a team in the future.

    Quick Step was recently acquired by Czech businessman Zdenek Bakala, giving it financial security, but manager Patrick Lefevere is still searching for a new title sponsor.

    Omega Pharma and Quick Step previously worked together as Quick Step-Davitamon in 2003 and 2004.

    Negotiations between the two teams started several weeks ago, the Belgian website said, with an announcement expected soon.

    Quick Step recently announced that former world champion Tom Boonen had extended his contract through 2014. The current Omega Pharma-Lotto team features top-ranked Philippe Gilbert, who has said he would like to continue to ride for a Belgian team.

    UPDATE

    Omega Pharma-Lotto financial manager confirmed that the team wants to announce which team it will work with next...

  • Evans fresher for 2011 Tour de France

    Cadel Evans (BMC) on his way to taking over the race lead.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 10:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian wary of Wiggins and Sky

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has said that he arrives at this year’s Tour de France fresher than he did twelve months ago. In 2010, the Australian rode to 5th place in the Giro d’Italia before travelling to the Tour, but this season he has carefully limited his racing days.

    “Up to now 2011 has gone as predicted. Better than predicted, in fact,” Evans told L’Équipe. “I feel well-prepared for July and fresher than the last couple of seasons. My team is stronger, motivated and confident.”

    While Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck are widely fancied to occupy the top two steps of the podium in Paris, Evans is certainly not giving any quarter before the race begins on Saturday.

    “I’m not going to ride for second place,” he said. “You don’t win by starting off looking for second place.”

    Evans’ last race before the Tour was the Critérium du Dauphiné in early June, and he was impressed by the performance of winner Bradley Wiggins. “You mustn’t underestimate Sky and Wiggins,” Evans warned.

    Since his second place finish at the Dauphiné, Evans emphasised recovery during his final Tour tune-up in the company of teammate Steve Morabito.

    “The Dauphiné was very hard this year, so I tried to recuperate well,” he said. “Afterwards, I went on a training camp with Steve Morabito, a mechanic and a masseur from the team.”

    While Evans is committed to BMC for the foreseeable future, he welcomed the arrival of the GreenEDGE team to the peloton. The new Australian outfit is set to debut...

  • Transfer Round-up: Quick Step, Rabobank and Vacansoleil

    Jetse Bol (Rabobank Continental Team) is having a storming race
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 10:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Quick Step extends three contracts

    Quick Step has extended the contracts of three riders for another year. Dries Devenyns, Kristof Vandewalle and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck will now ride for the Belgian team through 2013.

    “Dries, Kristof and Guillaume are three athletes who have different skills, who've proven their worth and have always been team players,” said team manager Patrick Lefevere in a press release. “This is also one of the reasons they're a part of our work project. We're counting on them a lot, both for the present as well as the immediate future. These athletes are young talent that are essential to our team's strategy.”

    Devenyns, 27, has been with the team since 2009. This year he finished sixth in the Brabantse Pijl. Vandewalle, 26, joined Quick Step this year after three years with Topsport Vlaanderen, and made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia.

    Van Keirsbulck, 20, is in his first year as a professional. Tragically, his girlfriend Emilia Bonami was killed in a traffic accident Monday evening. In a statement on its website, Quick Step said “The entire team has united around Emilia's family, Guillaume and everyone who knew and loved Emilia. There are no words to express the sadness in our hearts.”

    Dutch comings and goings

    Jetse Bol will move up from the Rabobank Continental team to the Rabo ProTeam as of next season, the...

  • Basso: Tour de France a dream, not an obsession

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is still searching for form.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 12:07 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian unsure of effects of Etna crash

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is approaching the Tour de France under less pressure than in the past, and says that the race is now a dream rather than an obsession.

    The Italian finished on the podium in 2004 and 2005, but did not ride the Tour again until last season following his implication in Operacion Puerto. Now 33 years old, Basso claims that his mindset has changed in the intervening period.

    “When I was obsessed with having to win it, I burned myself with negativity that certainly didn’t help me,” Basso told La Stampa. “A dream instead is something that you follow with a smile because it is a very beautiful and fulfilling thing. I’m serene.”

    Even though he passed up on the defence of his Giro d’Italia crown in order to focus on energies on July, Basso said that he feels no additional pressure for having built his season around one race.

    “I’ve concentrated everything on the Tour by skipping the Giro and for me it wasn’t an easy decision, but that doesn’t mean that a defeat would send me into a crisis,” Basso said. “Nobody will complain to me about that, be it the management at Liquigas or my supporters.

    “I think that people judge me based on the effort I put in. I’ve done all I could to prepare myself well.”

    Despite an early victory at the GP Lugano, Basso endured a listless spring and complained of fatigue following a solid but unspectacular showing at the Volta a Catalunya. A crash in training on Mount Etna in May further complicated his build-up, and the Italian’s sub-par showing at the Critérium du Dauphiné...

  • National elections could change course of Worlds time trial

    Fabian Cancellara powers to Worlds TT victory.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 13:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Politicians object to race blocking access to Parliament

    The course of the World Championships time trial in Copenhagen may have to be changed. National elections may be held that weekend, and some politicians are saying it would “not be appropriate” to have the race hindering access to the Christiansborg Palace, home of the Danish Parliament, or Folketing.

    Other politicians challenged that view, noting that the election date had not even yet been set.

    The Worlds time trial races are scheduled for September 19, 20 and 21, and the course goes directly by the Christiansborg Palace, amongst other Danish cultural highlights.

    According to Folketing Vice President Per Anker Hansen, the elections would bring a great number of broadcasters to the building. “If we end up having a choice at the time, it would not be appropriate to have a race run the gauntlet between transmission vehicles and camera tripods," he told sporten.dk.

    Race organiser and Danish cycling federation president Jesper Worre said that he would adjust the course if necessary, but has appealed to Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the Folketing “to be as flexible as the rest of Copenhagen.”

    "If there are elections on Tuesday the 20th, we won't ride there, we are not that dumb,” he said. “But if the elections are later in October, there are no problems,” he said. Worre noted that even if the street is closed, there will still be pedestrian access to the building.

    President of Cultural Affairs and member of parliament Karin Nødgaard told the Ritzau news agency, “If you intend to attract major sporting events to Denmark, then it's just natural to also run it past our political stronghold.”

    She didn't see the point of waiting for the possibility of elections. ...

  • Tour of Utah route announced

    The break in action during the final stage of the 2010 Tour of Utah.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 15:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Nearly 30,000 ft. of climbing on tap for six-day stage race

    The complete route for the 2011 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah has been announced today, comprising 409 miles over six days from August 9 to 14. Now in its sixth year, the stage race was elevated this year by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to a 2.1 ranking and will begin with a new uphill prologue at Utah Olympic Park on Tuesday, August 9. There will be a combination of familiar terrain and fresh territory for the following five stages, including a new circuit course in downtown Salt Lake City. The Tour of Utah culminates on Sunday, August 14, with its signature mountaintop stage finish at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

    The Tour of Utah promises to uphold its distinction as "America's toughest stage race" with close to 30,000 feet of climbing over the total route, as well as providing stunning scenery along the Wasatch Front in and around the six host venues.

    "The route this year will definitely challenge the best cyclists from around the globe. We expect each course to be packed with spectators, while enjoying the striking parts of the state of Utah and the local communities. Six days of challenging courses and terrain will not only test pro cyclists, but showcase Utah in a national and international spotlight," said Steve Miller, president of the Utah Cycling Partnership which owns the Tour of Utah.

    The race kicks off on August 9 with the debut of an uphill prologue time trial at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) in Park City. The prologue will cover 1.25 miles (2 km) from the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, which houses the Alf Engen Ski Museum and 2002 Eccles Winter Olympic Museum, to the summit of UOP, near the start house of the sliding track used for bobsled, luge and skeleton.

    The stage one road race on Wednesday, August 10 is the longest stage of the week at 116 miles (187 km). The start/finish is located in downtown Ogden, hosting a stage for the first...

  • HTC-Highroad wants sponsor question answered by second Tour de France rest day

    Rolf Aldag and Bob Stapleton
    Article published:
    June 28, 2011, 18:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Riders already looking around for teams

    The second rest day of the Tour de France – July 18 – is the day of reckoning for HTC-Highroad, according to team manager Rolf Aldag. The team and riders must know by then if a sponsor has been found for the coming year.

    "On the second rest day of the Tour de France, we must be told,” he told the dpa news agency. “Big companies have shown interest, and also HTC has not yet said no.”

    Team owner Bob Stapleton said last week that if no sponsor was found by the end of the Tour, “we will have to sit down and start considering how to wind down operations.”

    The uncertainty of the team's future presents a problem for the riders, who must look somewhere for a contract for the coming season. “I would like to stay, but I am getting contacted by other teams,” Tony Martin said.

    "On the one hand, you have loyalty to your team, but on the other hand, you want security for the next years,” he pointed out.

    Aldag doesn't like the situation but empathizes with the riders. “We understand that careers are hanging on this decision.”