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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Date published:
May 31, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Beppu becomes the fourth Japanese to complete the Giro d'Italia

    Fumiyuki Beppu (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 3:51 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    RadioShack rider thankful to Contador for his good action for Japan

    Fumiyuki Beppu completed the Giro d'Italia without having a go at stage 18 as he had planned but he was still a happy man on the finishing line in Milan, as he became the fourth Japanese rider to complete the Italian Grand Tour.

    Listening to the 28-year-old from Chigasaki, the Giro d'Italia wasn't as hard as some people expected. Probably the tail wind the riders enjoyed a lot during those three weeks of racing has helped them to endure the difficulty of the climbs. "I don't feel too tired," Beppu told Cyclingnews in piazza Duomo. "I've got some experience by now, so it makes three weeks of racing a little easier."

    Beppu was the second Japanese to finish the Tour de France, as he crossed the line of the Champs-Elysées behind his compatriot Yukiya Arashiro even though he was ahead of him in the overall ranking (111th). He's now the fourth man from the Country of Rising Sun to have completed the Giro d'Italia, after Masatoshi Ishikawa (50th in 1990 with Hitachi), Hidenori Nodera (139th in 2002 with Colpack) and Arashiro (93rd) last year (with Bbox Bouygues Telecom).

    Beppu wanted to have a go at a stage win like Arashiro who came third in Novi Ligure behind Frenchmen Jérôme Pineau and Julien Fouchard. The RadioShack rider also broke away with two Frenchmen, Euskaltel's Pierre Cazaux and Ag2r-La Mondiale formerly Ukrainian Yuriy Krivtsov, during stage 10 but Mark Cavendish was too ambitious for a first stage win for HTC-Highroad to let them arrive in Teramo before the peloton.

    "There weren't many stages to suit my characteristics," Beppu regretted at the end of the Giro. "I identified stage 18 (won by Eros Capecchi in San Pellegrino Terme) as a good one for me but we rode at 54km/h during the first part of that...

  • European Training Centre gives GreenEdge access to "best facilities"

    The European Training Centre
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 5:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bannan says agreement with Australian Institute of Sport makes perfect sense

    Should GreenEdge be successful in gaining a UCI ProTour licence later this year, cyclists will have the benefit of using the Australian Institute of Sport's European Training Centre which was opened in March, in the northern Italian province of Varese.

    It's a base that GreenEdge General Manager, Shayne Bannan, has used in his previous roles as Cycling Australia's National Performance Director and the Australian Institute of Sport's Head Cycling Coach.

    "The national program has been based in this region for a long time for good reason. The roads are ideal for training and it's a good central point for travelling to races around Europe," Bannan said at a media presentation for the centre.

    "Being able to use the AIS European Training Centre, under the commercial agreement we have with them, is going to give our riders access to the best facilities and support staff available.

    "Working with the AIS, rather than trying to recreate our own training centre, makes perfect sense. Not many cycling teams, regardless of how big their budget is, are going to be able to provide the sort of support our riders will be able to access.

    "This will not only be important for our team once it's established but will also attract the best from around the world. We'll have rehabilitation and recovery facilities, a world class gymnasium, science labs for testing to aid the development of training programs for riders, as well as educational support for life after cycling.

    "There aren't many teams in the world, if any, that can offer a rider this level of support for them to then achieve their career goals."

    Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib...

  • Gilbert still tops WorldTour ranking ahead of Contador

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 10:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spain moves up to top nation, HTC-Highroad still top team

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is still number one on the International Cycling Union's WorldTour ranking, with Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador of Saxo Bank-SunGard moving him up to a close second place. HTC-Highroad maintains its lead in the team ranking, while Spain moved up to top the national ranks.

    Contador's victory in the Giro moved him up from twelfth place to second. He has 349 points to Gilbert's 356. They are closely followed by Michele Scarponi (Lampre) with 348 points.

    From there, there is a sharp drop to fourth-placed Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) at 236 points. The Swiss rider dropped from second to fourth, and BMC's Cadel Evans went from third to fifth. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) jumped from thirteenth to sixth, and Vincenzo Nibali made the huge leap from twenty-fourth to seventh. The top ten are rounded out by Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) and Tony Martin of HTC-Highroad.

    The next points will be awarded in the Criterium du Dauphine (June 5-12) and the Tour de Suisse (June 11-19).

    HTC-Highroad maintained its lead in the team ranking with 604 points. Saxo Bank-SunGard moved up from tenth to second place, and Leopard Trek dropped one to third place.

    Spain used six stage wins and the Giro title to move to the top of the national rankings from its previous third place. Italy moved from fourth to second, and previous leader Belgium dropped to third.

    Rankings

    # Rider Name...
  • Lavenu hopes Gadret will ride Tour de France

    John Gadret (AG2R) after the win
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 10:58 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Insists Roche feud is no longer an issue

    Ag2r-La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu has refused to rule out the possibility of fielding John Gadret alongside Nicolas Roche at the Tour de France.

    Gadret, who finished the Giro d’Italia in 4th place on Sunday, told Cyclingnews at the finish in Milan that Tour participation was a “big question mark” but Lavenu has listed the Frenchman in his provisional roster of 13 pre-selected riders.

    “I hope that he does the Tour, but the decision hasn’t been taken,” Lavenu told L’Équipe. “We’ve put his name on the list of thirteen, and in a week or ten days John will say what he plans on doing.”

    Lavenu admitted that Gadret’s stunning performance at the Giro meant that the 32-year-old’s standing in the team had grown, and that he had the freedom to decide for himself if he felt capable of performing at a high level so soon after his endeavours in Italy.

    “I’ll leave the decision to him, his status after the Giro gives him the authority,” Lavenu explained. “But if he goes to the Tour, it won’t be reluctantly.”

    Ireland’s Nicolas Roche, 15th last year and then 7th at the Vuelta a España, is nominally Ag2r’s leader for the Tour, but Lavenu insisted that his team did not operate on a strictly hierarchical structure.

    “There isn’t an uncontested leader like Nibali at Liquigas or Scarponi at Lampre,” he said.

    A lack of clarity regarding the roles of Roche and Gadret could cause its own headaches,...

  • Christina Watches-Onfone looks to strengthen team for Tour of Denmark

    Michael Blaudzun, Christina Hembo and Michael Rasmussen
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 11:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rasmussen eligible for national team, federation says

    With the news that Christina Watches-Onfone will ride the Tour of Denmark, the small Danish team is preparing to go on a shopping expedition. And team captain Michael Rasmussen has been told that he might be allowed to ride the world championships in Copenhagen this fall.

    The Danish Cycling Union (DCU), which organizes the national tour, announced this week that the last invitation had been given to Christina Watches-Onfone.

    Team manager Claus Hembo said that the team is now looking to add additional riders in time for the race. “We are working on whether we can strengthen ourselves further now that participation in the Tour of Denmark is a fact. We are talking WorldTour riders on par with Angelo Furlan,” he told the Ritzau news agency.

    The team signed Furlan, who had previously ridden for Lampre and Credit Agricole among other teams, in the middle of March. He has brought in one of the team's two wins this year, at the Tallinn-Tartu GP last week.

    The finances should not be a problem, Hembo added. “We have 33 sponsors, and the finances of the team are excellent.”

    Chance to ride the world championships

    Rasmussen may be able to ride the world championships this year, as well. The DCU said that there are no legal problems to his participation on the national team.

    “Theoretically there is no problem in it. But he has not shown Worlds form yet, so it is perhaps going a step too far,” DCU President Tom Lund told Ritzau.

    Rasmussen has had a stormy relationship with...

  • Vuelta a España wildcards announced

    The 2011 Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 11:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Geox-TMC, Skil-Shimano, Cofidis and Andalucia Caja Granada set to race

    Vuelta a España organisers have announced the four teams that will be awarded wildcard invitations to the race. Geox-TMC, Skil-Shimano, Cofidis and Andalucia Caja Granada will join the 18 pre-selected WorldTour teams in the race, which begins in Benidorm on August 20.

    Unipublic have also taken the measure of listing Caja Rural as a reserve team, in the event that one of the 22 invited teams is forced to withdraw from the race.

    “If, for whatever reason, a team cannot participate in the 2011 Vuelta a España, and the organiser decides to replace it with another team, this place would be occupied, provided that time allows it, by the Pro Continental team Caja Rural,” read a statement from Unipublic.

    The organisers have also reserved the right to modify the list of invited teams in light of the “ethical responsibilities and sporting qualities of the participants.”

    Perhaps the most high-profile team to miss out on an invitation is FDJ. The French squad took a stage last year though Yauheni Hutarovich, but after failing to secure a ProTeam licence for 2011 they were reliant on a wildcard slot this time around.

    2011 Vuelta a España teams:

    Omega Pharma-Lotto (Bel)
    Quickstep Cycling Team (Bel)
    Saxo Bank Sungard (Den)
    Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
    Movistar Team (Spa)
    Ag2R La Mondiale (Fra)
    Sky Procycling (GBr)
    Lampre - ISD (Ita)
    Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
    Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
    ...

  • Riders with doping histories to be barred from Italian Championships

    Italian Cycling Federation boss Renato Di Rocco (l)
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 13:26 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Di Rocco announces planned change to regulations

    Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco has announced plans to bar riders who have been suspended for past doping infractions from participating in the national championships.

    Di Rocco has proposed an alteration to the federation’s existing rules for access to the championships. According to a statement from the FCI, the new regulation will “prevent the participation of riders sanctioned for doping in all categories and specialities.”

    When contacted by Cyclingnews, the FCI confirmed that the statement referred not only to riders who are currently under suspension, but also to those who have served doping bans in the past.

    If implemented, the rule would thus prevent a number of top-level Italian riders from participating in the Italian road race championships in Aci Catena, Sicily on June 25. Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca, Alessandro Petacchi, Michele Scarponi and Emanuele Sella are among the members of the Italian gruppo who would be excluded from contesting the tricolour jersey, as they have all served suspensions for doping infractions.

    Both Riccardo Riccò and Davide Rebellin, currently without contracts, would also be unable to start the race. It was recently reported that Riccò was considering a return to racing with Amore e Vita ahead of the national championships.

    It is understood that Di Rocco’s resolution will be ratified at the next meeting of the FCI’s Federal Council.
     

  • Sicard still recovering from knee problem

    Under-23 World Champion Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    May 31, 2011, 14:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Euskaltel manager worried about young French rider

    Romain Sicard is recovering very slowly from knee problems which have kept him out of racing most of this season. Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano admitted that he was worried about how long the recovery is taking.

    “The truth is that I am worried,” he told Biciciclismo. “He has a major injury, which isn't too serious, but has taken a long time to heal and is still in the recovery period. I trust that within a week or 15 days he will be back on his bike.”

    So far this season, the former U23 World Champion has finished the Ruta del Sol and had to abandon both Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya.

    The problem was originally diagnosed as stemming from new cycling shoes, but that is not so, Gonzalez de Galdeano said. “He fell at home in December and that created a problem with his pedalling. That produced a problem which affects one leg, which has now been weakened, and he hasn't been able to recover his pedal stroke.”

    He continued, “These things are rare but the truth is that we are concerned. I hope he can train within a week, and then we'll practically have to start from scratch.”

    If things go well, Sicard, 23, could start racing again the end of July and may be able to hope for a spot in the Vuelta a Espana.