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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Date published:
November 16, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Schleck looks ahead to the Luxembourg life

    All eyes will be on Andy Schleck in 2011.
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 7:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Relationship with Riis "not the same anymore"

    A vital part of the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, Andy Schleck should go into next year's Tour de France as an overwhelming favourite and he believes being a part of the newest squad in the sport should help him achieve that elusive Tour crown.

    In an extensive interview with Spanish sports daily Marca, Schleck played down comparisons between the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project and Team RadioShack, which was essentially built around the comeback of Lance Armstrong and will disband at the end of next year.

    "I'll just be riding," he explained. Those who run it, of course, listen to me, but I'll just be a cyclist, I have no share in the team. I do not want more problems."

    He added that the project has been given a minimum life of five years, whilst he has signed for four. As the 25-year-old approaches the peak of his career, the stability of a long-term project is appealing for the man who sees a first Tour de France crown as the main goal for 2011.

    "The Tour will be the big goal, that's for sure, but not the only one because I also want to do well in the Tour of the Basque Country and [Ardennes] Classics; the month of April is also a very important period in cycling," he explained.

    "I'll go one hundred percent to the Tour, so therefore the Giro is not in my plans."

    While Schleck said that technical and minor sponsors are in place, a headline sponsor is yet to be anounced. He gave assurances that the project was very much on track, however. "A Luxembourg person - a millionaire who from the outset has put money in to get it going, has invested very heavily into cycling," said Schleck.

    "We have small sponsors, but the primary is still undecided. The team was created in a manner similar to how teams started a few years ago, such as Garmin-Slipstream or High Road-Columbia-HTC," he said.

    As for the result of this year's Tour de France, Schleck reiterated that he would not wish to take the title "in...

  • Sørensen moves from Luxembourg to Italy

    Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) celebrates his stage win. It was also his first victory of the season
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 9:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank rider seeks better weather, mountains and coffee

    Chris Anker Sørensen is on the move again, this time from Luxembourg to Italy. The Dane is not changing teams, as he is staying with Team Saxo Bank, but simply moving house.

    The Dane had moved to Luxembourg earlier to be close to the team's service course and training partners Andy and Fränk Schleck, among others.

    Now, however, he is moving further south, partially in search of better weather. “I was in Italy part of this year to train and I was really happy with it. The weather is better in Italy than in Luxembourg,” he wrote on his blog on “I think it rains a lot in Luxembourg. As you probably know, I am more friendly with the sun than the rain. I don't know many people who prefer the opposite.”

    Italy offers him another training advantage. “In Italy I train in real mountains, bigger than the small climbs in Luxembourg. I believe training in real mountains will make me a better climber," he said. “I think can become a better cyclist by living in Italy.”

    Sørensen also disclosed a more personal reason for making the move. “Additionally, Italian cuisine and its great coffee are second to none. It's unbelievable how much difference there can be in a cappuccino. After all, it's just hot water, coffee and milk."

    Coffee seems to be especially important to Sørensen, as he also reported on his experiences in Starbucks on his recent vacation to the United States. "Starbucks sizes are a little confusing," he lamented. "Even the staff has trouble keeping track of them."

  • Hosking handed one-year deal with HTC-Columbia

    Eventual winner Chloe Hosking (HTC-Columbia) staying tucked into the field.
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 10:14 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Young Australian looks to develop in second year with team

    Chloe Hosking (HTC-Columbia) has been rewarded with a new one-year contract after a successful debut season in the professional ranks. Now back in Australia for the off-season, she is already focused on paying back her team’s faith with an even stronger season in 2011.

    The 20-year-old won two stages at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, as well as a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games. However it was a season based around attaining experience and the Australian did enough to impress the team.

    “It was a pretty easy to decision to stay,” Hosking told Cyclingnews.

    "I’m happy there, they’re supportive and the rider they want me to develop into is the rider I want to be as well. They’ve got the support and infrastructure to help me do that.

    "I was stoked when they offered me my first contract. I went from there, to training camp, to Qatar, to Europe, America, and then at the end of this year I was offered another one-year deal so I’ll be back there this year.”

    Hosking will be looking to hit the ground running in 2011, kicking off her season at the Tour of Qatar, where her strong sprint will give her the chance to inflict damage on her rivals. This year she won HTC’s first race of season at the Australian criterium championships.

    “There’s a big focus on the first half of the season,” she said. Coming from Australia you have one over everyone else because you can train more. Qatar is my first race and I’m looking to really show that I’m fast there. Then I head to Belgium and Valencia for a five-day race. Then it’s the classics.”

    Hosking will again be surrounded by one of the most experienced teams in the women’s professional ranks, with Ina-Yoko Teutenberg Judith Arndt both riding for HTC in 2011. It should give the young Australian a continued environment of stability where she can learn her trade and as...

  • Xacobeo staff unpaid for three months

    Spanish team Xacobeo Galicia
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 10:30 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Riders and support staff reported to have had no wages since before the Vuelta

    According to a newspaper report in Spain, the members of the Xacobeo-Galicia team have not been paid for over three months. El Correo Galicia says sources close to the team have revealed that the riders and team staff were last paid in the summer and have not received any wages since before the start of the Vuelta a España.

    The newspaper reports that this is the second time this season that wages owed to the team’s 16 riders and several support staff have been significantly delayed. In the summer, members of the team threatened to go public if wages weren’t paid.

    The UCI retains a bond covering the team’s wages for three months, which should ensure that all members of the staff are paid what they are owed for August, September and October. But El Correo Galicia says that concern is growing within the team about wages owed for November and December.

    This latest news comes after Xacobeo’s successful Vuelta campaign was clouded when David García tested positive and a doping investigation was launched into team leader Ezequiel Mosquera, who had won a stage and finished second overall at the Vuelta. Those setbacks contributed to Galicia’s regional government pulling its backing from the team late in the season, leaving most of the riders without any chance of finding a new contract elsewhere.

  • Guercilena reveals objectives for Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Luca Guercilena talks to Paolo Bettini
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 11:10 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian directeur sportif talks riders and race programmes

    The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project has signed some of the best riders in the world for the 2011 season but has also carefully picked the staff and directeur sportifs who will work with the riders.

    The team has hired many of the staff from the Saxo Bank team but specifically hired Italian Luca Guercilena from Quick Step to coach the riders.

    Kim Andersen, Torsten Schmidt and Lars Michaelsen are all former riders but Guercilena is a sports scientist who worked closely with Aldo Sassi at the Mapei Centre before combining coaching with the role of directeur sportif.

    Guercilena paid his way out of his contract at Quick Step to join the Luxembourg team but was determined to work with Andy Schleck.
    “I had to pay a penalty to get out of my contract with Quick Step but that’s okay,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “It was nothing personal against my old team but I wanted to study and continue to learn. I still haven’t targeted grand tours as the big goal of the season. Now I’ve got to try and win the Tour de France with Andy Schleck. But it’s not only about the Tour. We’ll be competitive all season. We’ve got the first get-together in Crans Montana in Switzerland. I’m very curious and can’t wait to get started.”

    Fuglsang, Bennati and Frank Schleck for the Giro

    The Luxembourg team has signed Italy’s Daniele Bennati as its leading sprinter. He has suffered with injury and health problems in the last three years. However Guercilena is confident of helping him get back to his best.

    “I’ll be seeing him on Wednesday for his first test of the season. The goal is to get him back to the level he was at when on the Champs Elysees at the 2007 Tour de France,” he explained.

    “When we draw up his race programme, we’ve got to keep in mind that he’s had an Achilles heal problem. We hope he...

  • Antón given all-clear by his doctors

    Igor Anton smiles on the podium
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 12:00 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Euskaltel climber set to join his team-mates at first training camp

    Euskaltel-Euskadi climber Igor Antón has been given the all-clear to return to full training by medical staff who had been treating the injuries he received when he crashed out of the Vuelta a España when leading the race. Antón fractured his elbow when he fell on a fast descent 6km from the finish of stage 14. He had already picked up two stage wins and looked well set for at least a podium finish in his national tour.

    The 27-year-old rider, who has been working on the turbo and doing some light road work, will now join up with the rest of his team-mates at Euskaltel’s first pre-season gathering at Derio in the Basque Country on November 21. Speaking on Basque television, Antón said that his goal in 2011 is to return to the Vuelta with the intention of winning the title.

    “I’ve still got the memories of 14 very happy days there [this year], it was like living a dream,” said Antón. “I won two very beautiful stages and was leader of the race for a few days, which showed me that I can aim for victory in a grand tour. I will return with the intention of winning it. I’ve already had a few knocks in life and I know how to deal with situations of this kind. The only lesson that I can take from it is that in 2011 I will return stronger than ever.”

    Also joining Antón at the Euskaltel gathering in Derio will be Juanjo Oroz, who fractured his left cheekbone during a training crash last week. Speaking to the El Pedal de Frodo website, Oroz explained that he had seen Caisse d’Epargne’s Imanol Erviti and Katusha’s Vladimir Karpets riding in the opposite direction and turned round to catch up with them. As he chased up to them, he hit a pot-hole and fell face-first onto the road, losing consciousness for a few moments.

    “It was nothing really, the kind of accident that happens when you’re not expecting it, no more than that....

  • Proposed Vuelta route is leaked

    Is this the 2011 Vuelta route?
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 12:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rough draft of the 2011 route is posted on newspaper website

    Spanish newspaper El Diario de León has posted a rough draft of the route for the 2011 Vuelta a España, which confirms that the race is set to return to the Basque Country and will also feature summit finishes at Sierra Nevada, the Alto de Pandera, the Puerto de Ancares and the Alto de Naranco.

    The official presentation of the Vuelta route is not due to take place until January 12 in Benidorm, where the race is due to start on August 20. According to the details in the image published on the newspaper’s website, the proposed Vuelta route is as follows:

    Stage 1, Aug 20: Benidorm time trial

    Stage 2, Aug 21: La Nucia-Orihuela Costa

    Stage 3, Aug 22: Petrer-Cartagena

    Stage 4, Aug 23: Cartagena-Almería

    Stage 5, Aug 24: Almería-Sierra Nevada

    Stage 6, Aug 25: Granada-La Pandera

    Stage 7, Aug 26: Jaén-Málaga

    Stage 8, Aug 27: Marbella-Jerez de la Frontera

    Stage 9, Aug 28: Jerez de la Frontera-Córdoba

    Aug 29: Rest day

    Stage 10, Aug 30: Toledo –Segovia

    Stage 11, Aug 31: Ávila-Zamora

    Stage 12, Sept 1: Zamora-Laguna de los Peces

    Stage 13, Sept 2: Puebla de Sanabria-Orense

    Stage 14, Sept 3: Pontevedra time trial

    Stage 15, Sept 4: Lalín-Fonte da Cova

    Sept 5: Rest day

    Stage 16, Sept 5: Lugo-Puerto de Ancares

    Stage 17, Sept 6: Villablino-Monte Naranco

    Stage 18, Sept 7: Oviedo-Santander

    Stage 19, Sept 8: Santander-Bilbao

    Stage 20, Sept 9: Bilbao-Vitoria

    Stage 21, Sept: Alcalá de Henares-Madrid time trial

    The Diario de León story also includes details on the climbs likely to feature on the key stage through the province of Castilla y León to the extremely tough Puerto de Ancares climb. Five categorized climbs feature before the Ancares: three 3rd-cat hills then the...

  • US Postal investigation steps up as Novitzky heads to Paris to meet with AFLD

    Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team
    Article published:
    November 16, 2010, 12:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Updated: Armstrong not concerned

    The US government investigation into doping in professional cycling has moved to France. The AP reports that an American delegation including Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigator Jeff Novitzky, federal prosecutor Doug Miller and US Antidoping Agency CEO Travis Tygart is said to be in France.

    The delegation will meet with the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) which plans to share everything it knows and answer all questions, according to an anonymous source within that agency. The source further said that the meetings were planned for this week.

    A source based in the US and who has talked to Novitzky on several occasions told Cyclingnews that, “he told me he’s going to Europe in November.”

    “He’ll be talking to a few people. I hope whoever he talks to tells them everything they can."

    Cyclingnews contacted Novitzky last week and he refused to be drawn on the matter saying, “No comment,” when asked if he was coming to Europe. If asked he had any plans to travel to Europe in the future, he repeated the statement, before adding, “I’m not going to comment on anything.”

    Tygart did not respond to the AP's calls, with a recording message saying only that he was out of the office on business.

    Pierre Bordry, the now-retired head of the AFLD, had earlier said that he would give Novitzky Lance Armstrong's doping control samples from the 1999 'Tour de France, if requested. The AP's source said he did not know whether the request had been made.

    The French newspaper L'Equipe published reports five years ago which claimed that Armstrong's leftover samples from the '99 Tour were tested retroactively as part of a research study, and some were found to contain EPO. Armstrong mounted a vigorous defense against the reports at the time.

    In a statement provided today, Armstrong's counsel Mark...