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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Date published:
March 16, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Hincapie improvement good news for Classics

    George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 7:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Evans' form keeps BMC's Giro d'Italia aims on target

    Experienced American George Hincapie has admitted that despite not feeling well at the beginning of Tirreno-Adriatico he has improved throughout the week, a good sign for his Classics aspirations next month.

    Speaking after stage six of the race, Hincapie said that while the team has shown itself to be up to the task of contending for overall honours, he started the event struggling for form.

    "On a personal note, when I started Tirreno I wasn't feeling very good but I feel a lot better now, which I hope is a sign for the upcoming races," he said.

    While Katusha's Mikhail Ignatiev took out the stage to Macerata, BMC Racing has Cadel Evans in third position overall and the team rode accordingly, as Hincapie explained: "Today was very tough from the beginning; we had a guy in the breakaway [Marcus Burghardt], which was part of the team plan and it put the team under a little less pressure.

    "We were on very small roads and it was windy all day - our job was to keep Cadel out of trouble and we did a great job of that."

    With a log jam at the top of leaderboard, Evans' work is cut out for him to retain and possibly improve his position near the top of the standings. Hincapie indicated that the reigning world champion is taking up that task well.

    "All day was a battle for position; we then arrived at the circuits, which we had to do four times with two really steep hills in there and it was quite technical. Cadel did a great job and the whole team worked together very well," he said.

    "This week the team should be really proud - we've done a great job and shown we're one of the best teams here."

    While Hincapie has his eye on next month's Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, for which this week's racing acts as excellent preparation, Evans' major season objectives take place a month later. The perennial Classics contender wasn't giving anything away regarding his own form, but commented on where he think his...

  • Haussler out of Milan-San Remo

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) dropped out with a knee problem.
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 9:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hushovd to lead Cervélo in Classics opener

    The Cervélo TestTeam today confirmed that Heinrich Haussler will not ride Saturday's Milan-San Remo. Haussler finished second last year but has been plagued by knee trouble since a crash in the Volta ao Argave. Despite starting Paris-Nice he was forced to pull out of the race on stage four.

    In his absence the Cervélo TestTeam will be led by Thor Hushovd, who was third in last year’s race.

    “Heinrich is currently receiving intensive treatment from our medical team so he will recover as soon as possible to be ready for the upcoming Belgian classics,” said Sports Director Jean-Paul van Poppel. “Thor, who proved at Tirreno-Adriatico that he is in good form now after a difficult season start, will be our team leader in Milan-San Remo.”

    The news is blow for Haussler who despite the knee injury was strong enough to finish second in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Hushovd will be backed by the experienced Andreas Klier, Roger Hammond and Dominique Rollin.

    Cervélo TestTeam Milan-San Remo:
    Xavier Florencio (ESP), Roger Hammond (GBR), Jeremy Hunt (GBR), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Andreas Klier (GER), Brett Lancaster (AUS), Gabriel Rasch (NOR), Dominique Rollin (CAN).


  • Bbox and Cofidis snubbed by Amstel organisers

    Cofidis and Bbox patrol the front of the peloton
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Sky, RadioShack and BMC in as Dutch Classic confirms teams

    Pro Continental squads Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis have been overlooked by organisers of Amstel Gold Race after they missed out on the final wild card invitations offered for the Dutch Classic.

    The two French teams, who lost their ProTour status at the end of 2009, have made way for ProTour newcomers Team Sky and RadioShack in the final list of 24 teams that will compete in the 45th edition of the race on April 18. It will be the first time since 2004 that Bbox and Cofidis will not take part in the race.

    On Monday, Amstel Race Director Leo van Vliet announced Cervélo TestTeam, BMC Racing Team, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator and Landbouwkrediet as the final four wild card teams invited to the race. BMC replaces Italian team Androni-Giocatolli, who had competed in the event for the first time in 2009.

    Cofidis' exclusion is particularly surprising given their strong start to the 2010 season. The team are the current leaders of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) Europe Tour rankings, with Samuel Dumoulin the leader of the individual ranking.

    Sky and RadioShack will now join the other 16 ProTour squads will take part in the event, with Dutch Pro Continental teams Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil earlier installed in two of the six wild card places on offer.

    BMC's inaugural inclusion also opens the possibility for last year's top-three to return to the race. Russian Champion Sergei Ivanov (Katusha) won the 2009 edition, ahead of BMC's Karsten Kroon (then Saxo Bank) and local hero Robert Gesink (Rabobank).

    The 24 teams that will participate in the 45th edition of the Amstel Gold Race are:

    Ag2R-La Mondiale
    Caisse d’Epargne
    Française des Jeux
    Lampre-Farnese Vini
    Omega Pharma-Lotto
    Quick Step

  • Cancellara returns to Milan-San Remo

    Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 10:39 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Saxo Bank names roster for Italian Classic

    Fabian Cancellara will return to Milan-San Remo on Saturday for the first time since his victory in the Italian Classic two years ago.

    The Swiss, who was a surprise winner of the event in 2008, will be one of three national road race Champions in his Saxo Bank squad's eight-man line-up for the 101st edition of La Primavera on Saturday.

    Cancellara will start alongside Danish Champion Matti Breschel and Luxembourg Champion Andy Schleck. The trio are currently competing in Tirreno-Adriatico alongside Baden Cooke, Stuart O'Grady and Frank Høj.

    At the conclusion of Tirreno on Tuesday, those six will travel north to Milan, where they will be joined by Gustav Larsson and Anders Lund for Milan-San Remo.

    Last year, the team's best-placed rider was Karsten Kroon (14th), who transferred to BMC Racing Team at the end of the 2009 season.

    Saxo Bank for the 101st Milan-San Remo: Fabian Cancellara, Matti Breschel, Andy Schleck, Baden Cooke, Stuart O'Grady, Gustav Larsson, Anders Lund and Frank Høj.

  • Dan Martin looks forward to Critérium International

    Dan Martin stops for a quick chat.
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 11:32 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Not fazed by tough Paris-Nice

    Earlier this season, young Irish pro Dan Martin pinpointed Paris-Nice as a race he’d like to do well in, but a crash, a block of endurance training and domestique duties for teammate David Millar saw him end the race 71st overall. The 23-year-old Garmin Transitions rider is not at all fazed by this and is looking forward to his next competitive appointment, Critérium International.

    “I felt okay in the race,” he told Cyclingnews. “It is still very early in the year for me and I have never really gone fantastic at the start of the season. My training has been going well. I have been doing a lot of endurance work. I kind of paid for that at the race because it was so intense…I didn’t quite have that top end to be fighting at the front. Riding on the front was no problem, but it was just that top end of form that I was lacking.

    “Christian [Vande Velde, 79th overall] was in the same sort of situation as myself. He is in good shape, but he has been doing a lot of endurance work. We are just lacking that top end to be winning races at the moment. It is probably a lack of racing.

    With the start of the season getting earlier and earlier, and riders like Alejandro Valverde and Luis León Sanchez already showing form, Martin said that this difference in form made things tougher for those who have chosen a slower build-up towards the Tour.

    “A lot of those boys who were at the front, such as the Caisse d’Epargne guys, have been Down Under and been racing for a couple of months already. Paris-Nice is basically our second race,” he said. “So it is partly self-inflicted, but hopefully it will pay dividends in July.”

    One of those who didn’t compete in Australia but who still rode well in Paris-Nice was his teammate David Millar. He was seventh in the prologue and held ninth place overall going into the final stage, although he did drop to...

  • Ag2R name revamped Milan-San Remo line-up

    Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R)
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 11:50 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Mondory to return, lead French squad in Italy

    Twins Alexandre and Vladimir Efimkin have been named as part of Ag2R-La Mondiale's final selection for this weekend's Milan-San Remo.

    The Russian pair are part of a number of changes to the French team's Milan-San Remo line-up of twelve months ago. They will take to the start line alongside the French squad's highest place finisher at the 2009 edition of the event, Lloyd Mondory. The Frenchman finished 11th place last year and will be one of just three members of that squad who will return for the 2010 race.

    Mondory, Sébastien Hinault and René Mandri are the only riders to return from last year, with the Efimkins, Maxime Bouet, Blel Kadri and French road race Champion Dimitri Champion completing the 2010 line-up. The team were dealt a blow last month when the in-form Rinaldo Nocentini crashed and broke his leg at the GP dell'Insubria-Lugano. Nicholas Roche, Martin Elmiger and Yuriy Krivtsov are the other Ag2R riders that will forgo the event after participation last season.

    The last French team to win Milan–San Remo was Super U-Raleigh-Fiat in 1989, when Laurent Fignon successfully defended his 1988 title. He remains the only two-time French winner of the Italian Classic. Laurent Jalabert was the last French winner in 1995 while riding for the Spanish ONCE team.

    Ag2R-La Mondiale for the 101st Milan-San Remo: Maxime Bouet, Alexander Efimkin, Vladimir Efimkin, Dimitri Champion, Sébastien Hinault, Blel Kadri, René Mandri and Lloyd Mondory.

  • CAS confirms Valverde's Italian ban

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) looks relaxed at the start
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 14:22 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Updated: UCI intends to make the Spaniard's two-year ban worldwide

    The Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed Alejandro Valverde's appeal against his two-year in Italy, confirming he cannot ride in Italy until May 10, 2011. The International Cycling Union (UCI) has stated that it will now pursue extending the ban worldwide.

    CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, banned Valverde for two years on May 11, 2009 after establishing that a blood sample obtained during the 2008 Tour de France contained the same DNA as a bag of blood seized by Spanish police during the Operación Puerto investigation (see timeline below).

    The Italians had obtained a sample of the blood evidence as part of a police investigation in December, 2008. According to analysis performed in a Barcelona laboratory as part of the initial Spanish investigation, the bag of blood contained EPO and so the CONI banned Valverde for two years.

    The Spaniard appealed against the ban, claiming the CONI had no legal right to use the evidence. However the CAS dismissed his claims, saying: "The evidence analysed by the judicial authorities and used in the CONI proceedings was not only admissible but also relevant and could reasonably lead to the outcome determined by the CONI Anti-Doping Tribunal."

    The CAS also ruled that the two-year ban was "proportionate to the violation of the CONI regulations by Alejandro Valverde."

    Following the CAS decision, it will now be up to the UCI to decide on extending Valverde's two-year ban worldwide. The UCI stated its intent to do just that.

    The UCI welcomed the decision, stating that it confirmed what the UCI had determined after a "conducting a thorough review of the documents relating to the Puerto case, and of Alejandro Valverde’s involvement in it."

    "Consequently, after careful study of the grounds of the CAS decision, the UCI expresses its determination to take the necessary measures to secure a suspension that is applicable...

  • Valverde disputes CAS decision on his Italian ban

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    March 16, 2010, 14:38 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Spaniard questions impartiality of arbiter

    Alejandro Valverde and his representatives have challenged the decision announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold the two-year ban from racing in Italy that has been imposed on him by the Italian Olympic Committee.

    In a statement, the partiality of one of the CAS arbiters was questioned, as was the right to use evidence collected during the Operación Puerto blood doping investigation. It was also claimed that the decision had violated Valverde's basic human rights.

    On the first point, the statement claimed that "one of the arbiters is not impartial having worked for the World Anti-Doping Agency". The statement added: "The partiality of this arbiter is being analysed by the Swiss Federal Court, which will making a ruling on this. If the Swiss Federal Court decides that this arbiter is not impartial then the decision the CAS has made today will be meaningless. The impartiality of the arbiters is a necessary part of a just hearing."

    Valverde and his representatives also challenged the ability of the CAS to effectively overturn a decision made by the Spanish courts to rule that all evidence secured during the Puerto investigation is inadmissible in any potential prosecution.

    The statement read: "The CAS considers illegal… the decision made by the 31st Court of First Instance and confirmed by the Provincial Court of Madrid that prohibits the use of evidence from Operación Puerto. The CAS does not have the competence to rule that a decision made by the Spanish courts is illegal."

    With regard to an alleged breach of Valverde's human rights, the statement said that, "the decision of the CAS clearly violates the fundamental rights of the rider, especially the right to a fair trial and the right to privacy".

    The statement indicated that Valverde's legal team will challenge the decision made by the CAS in the Swiss Federal Court.