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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Date published:
November 22, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Euskaltel-Euskadi's future hinging on WorldTour

    Samuel Sanchez descended to the lead group on the Galibier
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 2:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Full team rolled out at training camp

    The UCI announced its final selections for the 2012 WorldTour today, including Euskaltel-Euskadi among 16 approved teams and two pending squads, RadioShack and GreenEdge. For the Spanish team, the news must come as a great relief as they attend their autumn camp in Derio.

    Before the UCI's statement came out, Euskaltel-Euskadi general manager Miguel Madariaga told Diario Vasco that making the WorldTour was "very important" as it faces a difficult year when the contract of telecom company Euskaltel ends.

    He estimated that the team had brought Euskaltel advertising value of "about 120 million Euros" over more than 80 countries topped by Spain, France and the USA.

    Yet the relative bargain of supporting a cycling team hasn't kept companies like HTC involved in the sport, and the Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez knows the squad will have to work hard all year to earn its future.

    "I hope this project will continue because it is a unique project in the world and the oldest in the WorldTour. It would be very sad for cycling if this project were to die," he told AS.

    Sanchez said the best way to keep the team alive is to win races and have good performances, but his own training will not commence with the team's camp this week. He was with the team in street clothes, having recently undergone surgery for a calcification on his hip.

    The Basque squad has 23 riders for the upcoming season, including Sanchez, Igor Antón, Mikel Nieve, Egoi Martínez, Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Rubén and Alan Pérez, Romain Sicard, Gorka and Ion Izagirre, Iván Velasco, Pablo Urtasun, Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Juanjo Oroz, Miguel...

  • Adrien Niyonshuti, from hell to hope in Rwanda

    Adrian Niyunshuti is surrounded by crowds at the stage finish in home town in Rwanda.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 4:17 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    An overall victory at the Tour of Rwanda would be a symbol for his people

    A thick crowd was held back by barriers closing the road in Rwamagana, even after the podium presentation, when their hero finally appeared wrapped in a polka-dot jersey. Adrian Niyonshuti, a professional with the South African continental team MTN Qhubeka, is both the toast of this town where the Tour of Rwanda stopped after Monday morning's half stage and the favourite for overall victory.

    The stage was dedicated to the 800,000 victims of the genocide. On the asphalt where the finish line was drawn, in Kicukiru district, more than 5,000 people died, some of which were a large fraction of Niyonshuti's family.

    "Adrien is really popular in the country," Jonathan Boyer, the US coach of Team Rwanda, told Cyclingnews. "We can say 80% of the people know him and often recognise him in the street. He is surely the most famous Rwandan, after the president [Paul Kagame] of course."

    On the line, the 24-year-old Niyonshuti was outsprinted only by the race's leader, Kiel Reijnen, from Team Type 1. He was the people's winner, however.

    In his home town, Niyonshuti was hugged by people he sometimes didn't know, hiding his fatigue and his usual demeanour behind a smile as large as possible. He took a few minutes to embrace two ladies named Jeanne who were waiting in the VIP area, a friend in a wheelchair, and his sister. His mother was not here, but may attend the final stage Saturday in Kigali with, perhaps, her son in yellow.

    That's more or less all of the family Niyonshuti has left in the area: his father and six of his brothers died in the genocide 17 years ago.

    The Rwandan icon encapsulates the horror, the fears, the chance for redemption and...

  • Gallery: A year through the lens of CJ Farquharson

    A 'fleche' fired in the Fleche Wallone by Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) - celebrating her historic fourth victory in the event.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 6:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Our women's cycling expert shows off her 2011 pictures

    The final edition in our photographer gallery series, we present CJ Farquharson.

    CJ is a specialist when it comes to shooting the women's peloton. This year she started at the Jayco Bay Classic in Australia before covering events all over the world, the Tour of Qatar, the Giro Donne, and the Open de Suede but to name a few.

    CJ's passion for the women's professional cycling scene is clear in every photo she takes. Whether her photos have been carefully crafted, or are taken on the fly, CJ never seems to miss a beat. We look forward to working with CJ again in future years as she continues to provide world class coverage of the best women's races.

    To see CJ's gallery in full click here.

    You can also check out CJ's full portfolio or get in contact with her, through her website

  • Landis to appeal hacking sentence

    Floyd Landis during his 2007 doping case.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 10:08 GMT
    Neil Browne

    But American undecided over return to France

    On November 10 a French court handed down a 12-month suspended sentence to Floyd Landis on the charge he hacked into a computer at the French Chatenay-Malabry laboratory (LNDD). According to his lawyer, Landis was given the option of appealing, but at the time he hadn't decided what was the best course of action.

    "I have to take a few days to reflect as I don't want to add to my anxiety a second time," Landis told Cyclingnews last week.

    However, after some time to reflect Landis has decided to appeal. When asked what was next after filing his appeal he succinctly replied, "I don't know."

    When further asked if he would travel to France and face the charges with his attorneys he replied, "I'm considering it."

    The former pro has mentioned in the past he doesn't have the funds available for travel. Also, he has some reservations about returning to France, a country that does not have fond memories of his 2006 Tour de France performance.

    "My concern about traveling to France is that they may not allow me to return home," said Landis suggesting that the French authorities might like to see him behind bars.

    Something else that Landis has reconsidered is racing in the masters category. Initially he wanted to be a competitive on the bike again, but instead he's focused on his plan of joining NASCAR. In the short term he will be attending a fundraiser December 1st in New York that is raising money for a local junior development racing team.


  • Bernaudeau responds to Europcar WorldTour license snub

    Jean-Rene Bernaudeau can't imagine the Tour de France without his team
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 11:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    French team "victims of points system" and will remain at Pro Continental level

    Following confirmation that the AG2R-La Mondiale, FDJ and Euskaltel-Euskadi teams are to receive World Tour licenses in 2012, Europcar boss Jean-René Bernaudeau has commented on the UCI's decision not to allocate his team with the precious automatic entry to the world's greatest races.

    The French team has already spent this year at Pro Continental level and despite its 21 victories, the fourth overall placing at the Tour de France of Thomas Voeckler and the overall win of the Tour's white jersey for best young rider by Pierre Rolland, the squad could not convince the UCI of rewarding it with a World Tour license.

    "We have just ended a magnificent season but we are victims of the points system," Bernaudeau commented. "You have to know that the white jersey does not bring any points. We have given the people a lot of emotion and happiness, but that also does not bring any points. There is a world hierarchy and we respect that."

    The allocation of a license, amongst other criteria, relies heavily on a team's UCI points tally, a complex system of evaluating the team's sporting value. Europcar has not met all of the UCI's criteria and will therefore continue as a Professional Continental team next season - but Bernaudeau wasn't worried.

    "That will not prevent us from pedaling," he added. "We have succeeded a fabulous season on Pro Continetal level and we hope to be even better in 2012. We will be the first to ask for invites to certain WorldTour events. Last season, these races - particularly Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné and the Tour de France - were quite successful for us."

  • Saxo Bank holds team get-together in Israel

    Alberto Contador and Bjarne Riis talk to the media at their pre-Tour press conference.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 12:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team facing possible loss of WorldTour ranking?

    Bjarne Riis has long been known for his unusual team training camps, which often incorporate some sort  of survival exercises, and he is continuing that tradition. The 2012 Saxo Bank team will meet up ahead of next season for the first time this coming weekend in Israel.

    Meanwhile, Riis must also worry about his own team's survival, as an International Cycling Union spokesman indicated the team could face the possibility of losing its WorldTour licence if Alberto Contador is banned. The Spaniard's doping case is currently being heard by the Court of Arbitraiton for Sport, with a decision expected sometime in January.

    “I can say so much that there will be a survival exercise, which we will take advantage of at some point," Riis said.

    He did not confim the location, but says the team will be in Israel from November 28 to December 11.  It would apparently be the first time a top-ranked team has done its season prepation oveer there.

    The reason for the choice may well be new signing Ran Margaliot. The 23-year-old rode as a stagiaire for the team this season and subsequently signed a one-year-contract. He has said he hopes to become first Israeli to ride the Tour de France.

    Loss of WorldTour ranking possible?

    Riis has received the good news that his WorldTour licence has been renewed by the UCI for one year. However, according to, he could stand to lose that ranking if Contador is suspended.

    The licenses are to a large...

  • UCI doesn't want Keisse at Gent Six Days

    Iljo Keisse has been at the centre of controversy all winter.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 13:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian could face extended ban if he attends

    Iljo Keisse is banned from riding in Belgium through January, and that ban also extends to his attendance at cycling events.  The UCI has told him not to attend the Gent Six Days race, according to the Belgian media.

    Keisse tested positive for Cathin and the masking agent Hydrocholothiazid at the Gent race in 2010. After seemingly endless legal wranglings, he was banned separately worldwide and in Belgium.  The worldwide ban ended August 6, but the Belgian ban runs through January 27, 2012.

    “The UCI doesn't want me in the neutral zone,” he told Radio 1.  “I can't greet my fellow riders at the center area. Otherwise I would risk an extra suspension.  And I will definitely not take any risks.” 

    He added, “The UCI is just showing its muscles and showing me who is boss.  It's ridiculous, but I won't lose any sleep over it.”

    Tom Van Damme, head of the Belgian Cycling Federation, agreed.  “I don't understand that the UCI has nothing better to do,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

    “That the UCI wanted to get things right on the positive tests, I can understand.  But this is nitpicking.”

    He called the situation “pathetic” but noted that “protesting won't help.”

    Keisse, 28, has been successfully riding on the track since his worldwide ban ended, winning Six Day races in Grenoble and Amsterdam.  He also won the European Madison title with partner Kenny De Ketele. 

    He had ridden on the road for Quick Step in 2010 and 2011, but his legal problems gave him limited riding time.  His contract was not renewed for next year.

  • Sanchez: Planning and experience the keys to success

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) wins the king of the mountains.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 14:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion to fight for Tour de France glory again in 2012

    Spanish climber Samuel Sanchez is looking forward to next season and already eyeing the defence of his 2011 polka dot jersey at the Tour de France. Speaking to Biciciclismo, the Euskaltel-Euskadi leader said that the most important asset in the sport was to aim for realistic objectives, using precise planning and the experience he's accumulated over the years.

    "I think that you have to fight for real objectives. We know that winning the overall Tour is complicated for us because there are riders that just have a little bit more than we do. But I can continue to fight for stage victories, a top overall placing close to the podium and the mountains jersey," Sanchez said.

    The Olympic champion has had his most successful year at the Tour de France, winning at Luz-Ardiden and receiving the honours on the podium in Paris for having been the race's best climber. Although he admits that there is always room and a will for improvement, he said: "It may be impossible to do better. This year our outcome was excellent. Of course you always want more, but this year's Tour was very, very good for us."

    He cited seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and 2011 overall winner Cadel Evans as examples for his realistic policy. "You have to plan things really well. The perfect example is Armstrong, who knew how to plan and how to win the Tour. This year for example the guy that's done it the best was Cadel Evans: every race that he did he won, or finished in the top three. But he knew how to set up a plan, and moreover showed that at more than 32 years of age, you can be at the top. Cadel did an impressive season and you have to follow his line: to know how to choose your goals and set up a plan, do things with more and...