Australia’s Graeme Brown is the only non-Dutch rider in Rabobank’s squad for January’s Tour Down Under. The sprinter, who won a stage of this year’s race, will be joined by two national championships from The Netherlands for the Adelaide 17 – 24 race.
Race director Mike Turtur is delighted his fellow Olympic gold medallist will return to the South Australian race. “Graeme Brown had a great start to the 2009 season with a stage win at the 2009 Tour Down Under and two stage wins at the Vuelta a Murcia race,” Turtur said. “Rabobank is fielding a very strong and competitive line up for next year’s Santos Tour Down Under.
“The Rabobank team line-up is quite formidable with two reigning Dutch national champions, a dual Olympic gold medalist and a Tour de France stage winner,” said Turtur. “The experience on this team should show on the results board come January.”
Dutch Time Trial Champion Stef Clement will be joined by the nation’s road race champion Koos Moerenhout at the event. Of course Clement's and Moerenhout’s jerseys won’t be the only unusual ones in the peloton come January, following the confirmation of Australia’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Champion Cadel Evans to take part in the year’s first ProTour race with his BMC Racing Team.
Rabobank will be led by Team Manager Frans Maassen at the Australian race.
Rabobank’s Tour Down Under line-up: Graeme Brown (Aus), Stef Clement (Ned), Rick Flens (Ned), Tom Leezer (Ned), Koos Moerenhout (Ned), Jos van Emden (Ned) and Pieter Weening (Ned).
Team without sponsors for 2010, but aims to return to the top of cycling
EquipeASADA have confirmed their intention to become the first Japanese team to race the Tour de France. The Continental squad is currently without sponsors for next year, but plans to return by 2011 and race the Tour soon after.
"If we successfully become a Pro Continental team in 2011 and have persuasive results then we can realistically aim to participate in the Tour in 2013," team press officer Kenichi Yamazaki told Cyclingnews. "Hopefully, we will gather the best Japanese riders and some experienced European riders, similar to Café de Colombia and 7-Eleven in the 1980s."
This season Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano) and Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) became the first Japanese cyclists to complete the Tour de France. Both are ex-ASADA riders.
But a Japanese team has never raced in the Tour de France, the sport's biggest event.
"Arashiro and Beppu's participation in the Tour de France expanded the popularity of cycling enormously in Japan , where baseball & sumo wrestling reign at the moment. This enthusiasm will help us find solid sponsors," said Yamazaki.
EquipeASADA wants to take a step up from the third division and race as a second division, or Professional Continental, team in 2011. It will use 2010 to search for sponsors and scout the Japanese races for young, talented riders.
This season the team won two stages, the points, mountains and overall classification at the Tour de Hokkaido. It also took the top three spots at the Kumamoto one-day race.
Could the Basque Country stage the Vuelta for first time since 1978?
The Basque regional parliament has voted in favour of a motion calling for the Vuelta a España to return to the region for the first time since 1978. The vote gives a further boost to initiatives begun at this year’s Vuelta, when Basque cultural and sporting minister Blanca Urgell met with Vuelta director-general Javier Guillén to push for the race’s return to the region.
The vote reflected a recent change in the balance of power within the Basque parliament. Previously, Basque regional parties were able to block a motion asking for the Vuelta to return to the region. However, nationally focused parties now hold sway in the assembly.
The proposal requests that Vuelta organisers Unipublic agree to a stage start and a finish within the Basque Country and requests the various regional cycling bodies to assist in this goal.
The Vuelta’s last visit to the region was for the 1978 edition, won by Bernard Hinault. The concluding four stages were scheduled to take place in the Basque Country, and three of them did, although the penultimate one was radically shortened. The concluding time trial in San Sebastián was cancelled due to fears of terrorist activity against the race. In subsequent years, some Basque towns and cities including Bilbao have requested the race’s return, only for their proposals to be turned down because of fears of terrorism.
Gorka Maneiro, a representative for the UPyD party, described the proposal, which also called for the Spanish football team to play matches in the region, as a demonstration of "normality, not of Hispanification". He said that until now sections of the Basque population "could not freely express their feelings".
Spanish minister of sport Jaime Lissavetzky welcomed the news. "This request expresses the feelings of Basque society," he said. "Like any other part of the country they have the right to watch the Spanish national team and the Vuelta....
Saxo Bank Team says warning has nothing to do with doping
Chris Anker Sørensen's warning for missing a doping control “just shows how difficult the system is,” according to Saxo Bank Sport Director Kim Andersen.
Right after the Tour de France, Sørensen rode a race in Kjellerup. Family and friends surprised him with a party after the race, and after having a few beers, the rider decided to spend the night there, rather than at his parents' house, as planned. However, he had given his parents' address in his “whereabouts” filing, and Anti Doping Danmark showed up the following morning. Since Sørensen was not where he said he would be, he was given a warning.
Andersen said the team was not worried about it. “It was just unfortunate,” he told spn.dk. "It just shows how difficult the system is. You have to really be careful with it. I think that Chris tells it to show that it can be almost hopeless.
"Such a warning has nothing whatsoever to do with drug use, and Chris is very attentive about is whereabouts," he added.
The team accepts and respects the whereabouts rules, but find them difficult for the cyclists. "It is very confusing. You have no privacy as a cyclist. I think it is good that Chris stands up with the story to show how difficult it can be. It is almost impossible not to get a warning one time or another,“ according to Andersen.
Franco Ballerini returns from reconnaissance trip of Australia's Worlds Course
The World Championships in Australia next year will suit sprinters, but only if they can handle the course's small climbs, according to Italian national team director Franco Ballerini.
"It will be a Worlds for the sprinters, but the consistent climbing, even if they are small climbs, will see only those riders in the best of form reach the finish line," said Ballerini in a press release.
Ballerini returned to Italy from a reconnaissance trip to Australia last week. He travelled with Dino Salvoldi (women's director), Marino Amadori and Andrea Colinelli (Under 23).
The 2010 Worlds is the first point-to-point course in the Championship's history. It will take the Elite men from Melbourne to Geelong, a distance of 85 kilometres. Once in Geelong, they will ride 11 15.9-kilometre circuits, each covering The Ridge climb (120m), for a total of 259.9 kilometres.
"Neither the first part of the course from Melbourne nor the climbs on the circuit are able to make a decisive selection in the group," continued Ballerini. "Whoever attacks on the climb knows that before the finish there are six kilometres of flat or light downhill for the others to chase back."
The last metres to the finish line are uphill after a right-hand turn away from Corio Bay.
"It's the surprise, a light climb 700 metres long. Only those that are in top form and still have the legs will be able to fight for the sprint win."
Ballerini has guided Italy's team to four wins since becoming national team director in 2001. The first of those wins was Mario Cipollini's sprint victory in Zolder, Belgium. However, the team failed to win on the sprinters' course in Madrid in 2005. Team leader Alessandro Petacchi lost contact with the leaders on the climb.
Petacchi (Lampre) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) are possible team captains for the 2010 team.
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Cofidis, Bouygues, BMC and Cervélo on track for Pro Continental licence
Former ProTour squads Cofidis and BBox Bouygues Telecom have both passed the first stage in their application for a Pro Continental licence as the International Cycling Union (UCI) today announced 19 teams who have satisfied the initial requirements for Professional Continental status next season.
The two French squads were named on the list, which also includes BMC Racing Team and the top ranked Professional Continental team for 2009, Cervélo TestTeam.
The list released by the UCI details those teams who have completed their application for Professional Continental licence by an initial deadline of November 15. The teams named today will now be evaluated by the UCI and Ernst & Young before a final decision is made on their licence status in December.
The documents filed by the teams outline their management and financial structures. The latter includes the team's budget, as well as a bank guarantee and confirmation of sponsorship for the entire year.
The teams are also required to submit a minimum of 10 confirmed rider contracts, with a minimum roster of 16 riders to be subsequently confirmed by December 1.
Spain's Contentpolis-AMPO and Czech squad PSK Whirlpool-Author are the only continuing Pro Continental teams who have failed to meet the November 15 deadline for applications. They will now have until the start of next month to satisfy the UCI's requirements.
2009 Pro Continental teams Amica Chips-Knauf, Agritubel, Barloworld and Elk Haus have all withdrawn from cycling this year.
Teams that have met the UCI's initial requirements for Professional Continental status in 2010:
Liquigas-Doimo's 28-man team to come together at Italian training camp
Liquigas-Doimo has announced their full 28-man rider roster for the 2010 season. The Italian squad will welcome nine new riders to the team when the conduct their first training camp at the end of this month.
Croatian Robert Kiserlovski and Italian Elia Viviani were confirmed on Monday as the riders who will complete the 2010 team sheet. Kiserlovski, 23, joins the team from Fuji-Servetto, while Viviani, 20, will makes the move up from the Liquigas feeder squad, Marchiol Sport.
Viviani will begin racing on the road with the team in April, after he completes his track objectives at the World Championships in Denmark next March. He finished sixth in the men's scratch race at the Manchester round of the track World Cup at the start of this month.
The team have retained 19 members of their 2009 roster, including stars Ivan Basso, Daniele Bennati, Roman Kreuziger, Sylvester Szmyd and Tour de France polka dot jersey winner Franco Pellizotti.
Liquigas have also confirmed two new additions to their management team. Team Principal Robert Amadio will be supported by new sports directors Alberto Volpi and Biagio Conte. The newcomers join Stefano Zanatta, Dario Mariuzzo, Mario Scirea, and Paolo Slongo on the management team.
The entire 2010 team will come together for the first time at training camp at Passo San Pellegrino in Val di Fassa, on November 27 to December 4.
Proposed prologue and circuit race to pass many of city's national monuments
Washington, DC, has begun a push for the right to host the first two stages of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. The United States' capital city wants to hold a prologue and circuit race, both passing many national monuments.
"The course promises to be one of the most spectacular prologues ever used in a Grand Tour. It seems very appropriate that the prologue for the first US start be held in the heart of the nation's capital," said Mark Sommers, race director of DC's Capital Criterium.
Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan said two weeks ago that there is a possibility of the race starting in the USA thanks to the interest from DC. Sommers and g4 Productions have started to design two possible stages for proposal to Giro organisers.
The prologue would pass the Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington monuments, the National Mall, the US Capitol and other US national monuments.
Stage one would stay in Washington, DC, for a circuit race. It will use most of the prologue course with a climb through one of the city's neighbourhoods. It will likely finish on Pennsylvania Avenue, which joins the US Capital and the White House.
"We recognize that the potential economic impact of bringing the Giro d'Italia to Washington, DC, is tremendous," said Gregory A. O'Dell, president and CEO of the Washington Convention and Sports Authority. "Hosting this race would not only provide the District with a tremendous economic boost, but further legitimise its status as an international destination for world-class sporting events, conventions and tourism."
The city's mayor, Adrian Fenty, is expected to support the bid. He is a fan of cycling and competes in triathlons.
The Giro started outside of Italy for the first time 44 years ago, from San Marino in 1965. Next year, it will start with three stages in The Netherlands, all based from Amsterdam. However, none of the three Grand Tours (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta a España) has...