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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Date published:
June 29, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Quick Step to announce Boonen's Tour replacement today

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) escaped to win the national championship.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 9:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    ASO rules out Weylandt

    Team Quick Step is expected to announce its final Tour de France roster after Tom Boonen was ruled out through injury last week. The team has said that it will choose between Stijn Devolder, Kevin Hulsmans and Wouter Weylandt.

    However, Tour organisers ASO have told the team that Weylandt is not eligible to ride, since he was not on the 15-man list which the team submitted at the start of April. Both Devolder and Hulsmans were on that list and are therefore eligible.

    Devolder won the Belgian national championship title on Sunday, but the rider has had a strained relationship with team manager Patrick Lefevere. Devolder had earlier said he did not want to ride the Tour.

    The other reserve rider is Kevin Hulsmans, generally considered to be Boonen's lieutenant and main helper. His presence would give the Belgian team a possibility in the sprint finishes. “It seems logical that a sprinter would be replaced by a sprinter,” he told sporza.be.

    Hulsmans also said that the loss of Boonen “is obviously a disaster for the team. Quick Step doesn't really have a classification rider and now our top sprinter is out.”

     

  • Le Mével aims for repeat performance

    Christophe Le Mevel (FdJ)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 9:21 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    FDJ rider has built season around July

    Christophe Le Mével (Francaise des Jeux) is aiming for a repeat of last year’s top ten finish in the Tour de France. As the highest-placed French rider in 2009, Le Mével has seen fit to alter his preparation in the run-up to this year’s race and for the first time in his career has tailored his season with the Tour specifically in mind.

    “I didn’t have any desire to keep the same programme,” he told L’Équipe. “Last year, I succeeded in doing a very good Tour, but that could all have been messed up. I‘d done a big Dauphiné, I’d prepared myself fully for the French championships, and I arrived in Monaco tired (for the start of the Tour). The last week was very difficult”.

    Le Mével’s season has been geared towards being fresh for the Tour’s tough final week. “My form is growing. The Dauphiné was my race for starting up. Since then, I’ve been getting better and better, and the aim is to rev up during the three weeks, as the Pyrenees come in the third week”.

    In 2009, Le Mével rocketed up the overall standings thanks to his presence in the breakaway that finished five minutes up on the bunch on the stage to Besançon, although he followed this with some very solid performances in the mountains. This time around, Le Mével hopes to complement this natural combative style with greater efficiency against the clock. “I’m not going to win any time trials, but I hope to save a minute or 1:30 over 40km”.

    Le Mével’s second place in Sunday’s French road race championship was a huge disappointment for the Breton, but he has comforted himself with the realisation that he is growing into his status as a leader. “I am capable of getting results when the team is counting on me”, he said. Le Mével was an impressive winner of the Tour...

  • Problems pile up for Riis

    Bjarne Riis waited patiently outside as his riders were presented
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 10:47 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Difficulty finding new sponsor, star riders looking to leave team

    The problems continue to mount for Bjarne Riis, who is struggling to secure the future of his ProTour team. In recent days he has learned that two of his top riders are working with one of his (now former) directeurs sportifs to set up their own team, and he has been turned down by a potential new team sponsor.

    Riis' difficulties began in January when Saxo Bank announced that it would end its sponsorship at the end of the year. Another problem also emerged for Riis that month, although he was unaware of it at the time. According to the Danish broadcaster TV2 Sporten, that was when Fränk Schleck first started making plans to develop his own team for the 2011 season. His brother Andy is also assumed to have been involved in the planning from the start.

    Last week it was announced that DS Kim Andersen was leaving Saxo Bank due to his participation in the planning of the new team. The team manager is to be Brian Nygaard, the former Saxo Bank and Team Sky press spokesman.

    The sponsor for the new team, according to the Swiss publication Blick, is to be French retailer Auchan, which runs thousands of hypermarkets, supermarkets and small stores around the world.

    Riis is said to have learned of the plan and Andersen's participation in the last few months, with discussions between the two being held during the Tour de Suisse. Riis was apparently only recently made aware that the Schlecks had been involved for so long in the development of the new squad.

    “I will now review the case of Fränk Schleck, which means I must have a serious talk with him. When I have had the talk, I will report the consequences,” Riis told TV2 Sporten.

    Riis has said that he hoped to announce the team's new sponsor either before or during the Tour de France, which starts this coming Saturday. However, he has had to accept more bad news as two possible sponsors have turned him down. Earlier it was speculated that the US...

  • Pereiro says this will be his final season

    Oscar Pereiro makes a last-minute adjustment to his cold weather gear.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 11:20 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Tour non-selection beginning of the end for Spaniard

    Oscar Pereiro (Astana) has intimated his intention to retire at the end of the 2010 season. “This will be my last year on the bike, definitely”, Pereiro told La Voz de Galicia. The 2006 Tour de France winner has been left out of Astana’s line-up for this year’s event, and it seems that this disappointment is a weighty factor in his decision. “I think that the time has come to say ‘enough’. I’ve thought about it for a long time, it’s correct. Also because there would be no sense in living another season like this one,” said Pereiro.

    Pereiro’s time with Astana has been fraught with difficulty from the beginning. After signing Pereiro as support for Alberto Contador during the winter, the Kazakh team sought to renegotiate a lower contract with him before the season had even begun. His season to date has been bereft of results as he has struggled for form, and he was philosophical about his exclusion. “This is a team going with the intention of winning the Tour, and you can’t go there to play around”, he said.

    His intention now is to take “an unexpected July holiday” and then “think about riding the Vuelta a España”, which will likely be Pereiro’s swansong in the professional peloton.

    Pereiro was awarded overall victory in the 2006 Tour de France following Floyd Landis’ positive test for testosterone, although his own victory was also marred by controversy when it emerged that he had tested positive during the race for salbutamol on two occasions. However, in January 2007, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) dropped its investigation after Pereiro offered justification for his use of the substance as a treatment for asthma. Pereiro suffered a serious crash in the 2008 Tour de France, and has struggled to regain his previous levels in the past couple of seasons.
     

  • Rabobank signs Dutch Under 23 champion for coming year

    Tom-Jelte Slagter (CT Rabobank) celebrates his title victory on the podium.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 13:12 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch team also extends with Kruijswijk and Tjallingii

    Tom-Jelte Slagter, the newly crowned Dutch Under 23 national champion, will move up from the Rabobank Continental team to the ProTour team next season. The team also announced that it has extended its contracts with Steven Kruijswijk and Maarten Tjallingii.

    Slagter, 20, only joined the continental team this season. The climbing specialist said that he was very happy with the prospect of moving up. “I hope to keep on learning,” he said. “My education will continue, but now at higher levels.”

    This season he has won a stage at the Circuit des Ardennes, finished seventh in the Espoirs Liège-Bastogne-Liège and was eleventh overall in the Circuito Montanes.

    The ProTour team also extended its contracts with Kruijswijk and Tjallingii through 2011. Kruijswijk, 23, rode for the continental team for three years before joining the ProTour team this year. He made an impressive Grand Tour debut by finishing 18th overall in the recent Giro d'Italia.

    Tjallingiil, 32, turned pro in 2003 and joined Rabobank in 2009.

    “With Kruijswijk and Slagter, we have two boys who fit perfectly into our vision,” said team technical director Erik Breukink. "They are young and talented. Steven has made a very big step and Slagter has also surprised us.

    “Tjallingii has already become one of the strong pillars within the team. A real team player who brings the necessary balance in the team."

  • Reda fills final spot on Quick Step Tour squad

    Francesco Reda (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 16:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian replaces injured Boonen

    Francesco Reda will make his Tour de France debut on Saturday, replacing the injured Tom Boonen. Team Quick Step announced the substitution Tuesday afternoon.

    The team had wanted to take sprinter Wouter Weylandt, but was unable to do so, since he was not on the list of 15 riders the team had submitted to race organisers earlier in the year.

    Reda, 27, is in his second year with the Belgian team. He fractured his collarbone in a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico, but returned quickly to racing. He has ridden the Giro d'Italia twice.

    "We have loads of confidence in Francesco and his athletic freshness," said team manager Patrick Lefevere.

    "I'm very excited. I've always dreamt of competing in the Tour de France," Reda said. "I'm starting out with the goal of riding my best, stage after stage, and, if I get the chance, I'll try to take advantage of my chances to capture the best results."

    "We're absolutely sure that Francesco will prove his worth during the race," said sports director Wilfried Peeters. "We're definitively counting on standing out in the stages in which we do best, and we'll be pushing for at least a partial success."

  • Riccò escapes jail time in French doping case

    Riccardo Riccò
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 16:58 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian rider given suspended sentence, fined €3,000

    Riccardo Riccò was handed a two month suspended sentence by a French court for the use of harmful substances today. The charges relate to Riccò’s doping positive from the 2008 Tour de France, where he became the first athlete to be found using a third-generation form of EPO known as CERA.

    L'Equipe reports that the Italian rider was also fined €3,000 and ordered to pay a similar sum in damages and interest to the French Cycling Federation (FFC).

    Riccò did not attend Tuesday’s hearing in Foix and has yet to react to the sentence. He was already fined €5,710 by an Italian court in February of this year in addition to his 20-month sporting sanction, which he completed in March of this year.

    Riccò has re-entered the professional peloton under the Ceramica Flaminia colours, but his team has been not been invited to either the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France.

  • Prudhomme welcomes Vinokourov back to Tour

    Christian Prudhomme announces the 2010 route.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2010, 17:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour de France director optimistic for clean race

    Two riders will race this year's Tour de France after being absent since serving doping suspensions, but Tour director Christian Prudhomme is not embarrassed by their presence in his event.

    Alexander Vinokourov has not competed in the race since he left in disgrace in 2007 after testing positive for blood doping, while Ivan Basso has been absent from the Tour since 2005, having been excluded from the 2006 edition after being linked to blood bags seized from a Madrid clinic in the Operación Puerto doping investigation.

    Vinokourov returned to racing after his suspension was up last July, while Basso's case was more prolonged. He finally admitted to his involvement in the doping operations prior to the 2007 Tour, and served a suspension through the end of 2008. While he returned to racing last season with Liquigas, he did not compete in the 2009 Tour de France.

    "The riders who are returning have served their penalty," Prudhomme told AFP. "They cheated, they were punished, they've come back, I hope they are accepted. Should the punishments we deliver in cycling be any different than those required in life in general?"

    Prudhomme said he feels as if there has been a real breakthrough in cleaning up cycling over previous years. He cited improved doping controls, the biological passport and sanctions as the factors in making the sport more fair.

    "Those who cheat can be convicted of doping by standard doping tests or by the biological passport. Although it's not a 100 percent guarantee, it is definitely a plus in comparison to the way things were done in the past."

    The doping controls of this year's Tour de France will be under the domain of the UCI after the French Anti-doping Agency's (AFLD) demands to be included were denied, but Prudhomme said the inclusion of observers from the World Anti-Doping Agency will "guarantee transparency". Last year the AFLD complained that the UCI's doping...