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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Date published:
November 23, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • First five teams announced for Tour of Langkawi

    The Langkawi bunch on the final day
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 12:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Asian-Pacific teams the first to get starting places

    The Tour of Langkawi has announced the first five teams, all from the Asia-Pacific region, for the 2011 edition of the race. Tabriz Petrochemical (Iran), Aisan Racing Team (Japan), Polygon Cycling Team (Indonesia), Drapac-Porsche (Australia) and Giant Asia Racing Team (Taiwan), all Continental-ranked teams, are assured of starting places at the race in Malaysia.

    "As Le Tour de Langkawi is one of only four UCI H.C. races on the Asia Tour, it’s part of our duty to give exposure to some of the teams from our continent”, said the CEO of Le Tour de Langkawi, Mohamed Salleh. “Some teams are faithful to our event and we’re happy to reward them by inviting them once again.”

    Tabriz Petrochemical won the teams’ competition at the race this year, and had three riders in the top ten overall, including Hossein Askari as third.

    Aisan will be making only its second appearance at the race, after its successful 2010 debut. Taiji Nashitani won the fourth stage, outsprinting eventual U23 world champion Michael Matthews.

    Drapac-Porsche also won a stage this year, and the team features Peter McDonald, who not only finished fourth overall but also won the King of the Mountains title. The team has signed Malaysian national road champion Adiq Husainie Othman for 2011.

    David McCann will lead Giant Asia Racing Team and the 37-year-old Irishman is hugely motivated. “There’s one race I’d like to win in Asia before I quit racing, it’s Le Tour de Langkawi,” he said.

    Eighteen more teams will ride the race, for a total of 23. Of these, three will come from Malaysia, ten from Asia-Pacific and ten from Europe and the US. “Our technical department is working hard on getting good teams to attend our race," Mohamed said. “We’re confident that the sixteenth edition of Le Tour de Langkawi will be a very good one on an international scale.”

    The Tour of...

  • Tosatto critical of Lefevere after Quick Step departure

    Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 13:13 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian happy to have signed with Saxo Bank

    Italian veteran Matteo Tosatto has vented his anger against former Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere after he struggled to find a team for 2011.

    Tosatto has ridden for Quick Step for five years and hoped to end his career with the Belgian team. But he failed to reach an agreement with Lefevere for 2011 after months of drawn out talks and only recently signed a one-year contract with Bjarne Riis’ Saxo Bank team.

    “I have a lot of things I’d like to get off my chest but I’ll wait until the end of the season…” Tosatto admitted to Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “I tried to get in touch with Lefevere for six months. At the Vuelta I got an offer in a text message. We’d agreed I could speak to other teams but then Patrick stopped answering my phone calls and just sent me an email telling me my time was up. Things could have worked out better because I was ready to end my career with Quick Step.”

    After several refusals from other teams, Tosatto began talking to Riis at the world championships in Australia, where he again played a key role in the Italian team. The Danish team manager has been forced to rebuild his squad after many of his key riders and staff moved to the new Luxembourg Cycling Project and needed an experienced domestique.

    “We talked at the Tour of Lombardy and reached a deal in ten minutes. It took a month to sign the contract because Bjarne had other riders to sort out,” Tosatto explained. “But we kept talking. He’s a great motivator. At one point he asked me how old I was and I thought that would end things but he told me: ‘A rider like you can still win races. You’ve still got another three years in you.’ ”

    Saxo Bank training camp

    Tosatto is set to join up with his new teammates at their first training camp in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands on Sunday. He hopes Contador can...

  • Lavenu concerned that AG2R are sole French ProTeam

    Team Manager Vincent Lavenu answers questions while flanked by AG2R-La Mondiale Director, Yvon Breton and Director General André Renaudin.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 13:43 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Gadret stresses importance of riding all three Grand Tours

    Vincent Lavenu has said that he is taking no pleasure from the fact that his AG2R-La Mondiale team is the only French squad to obtain a ProTeam licence for 2011. The AG2R manager also credited Nicolas Roche’s performances as being pivotal in securing the team’s status for next season.

    “I’m really sorry for French cycling, which deserves far more than just one team in the first division because it is a structured cycling that carries true values,” Lavenu told L’Équipe. “I can’t revel in being the only French team at the highest level as we risk becoming a bit isolated in the big international races.”

    FDJ manager Marc Madiot recently pointed out that France’s tax system impedes its cycling teams from competing with the financial clout of the peloton’s big hitters, and Lavenu admitted that French squads need to look at alternative ways of bolstering their line-ups.

    “Faced with stronger and stronger financial competition at world level, France perhaps needs to revise its strategy,” he said.

    AG2R were placed 20th on the UCI’s initial ranking of ProTeam applicants, which was based on sporting criteria, and Lavenu confessed that it was a huge relief to finally get the nod ahead of Cofidis and Geox. He also praised Nicolas Roche for showcasing the team at the highest level in 2010.

    “It’s a huge relief after some sleepless nights,” Lavenu said. “I think that Nicolas Roche saved our season.”

    Gadret eyes Giro d'Italia ride

    Meanwhile, AG2R’s John Gadret, who famously clashed with Roche during the Tour de France, underlined just how important it is for the squad to ride at ProTeam...

  • McQuaid hits back after ProTeam selection criticism

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has been nominated for membership to the International Olympic Committee.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 14:21 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    UCI President insists the 18 teams will ride the Grand Tours

    Pat McQuaid has hit back at criticism of the rules governing the allocation of ProTeam licences, calling the process “a just system” and adding that “there’s nothing secretive.”

    On Tuesday evening the UCI announced the 18 teams registered as ProTeams for 2011, the sport's highest division formerly know as ProTour.

    However, immediately after the announcement was made Geox-TMC team manager Mauro Gianetti criticised the selection process, saying: “The UCI isn’t coherent. Its decision gives the message that the important thing isn’t ethics but points.”

    The Geox-TMC team was listed 17th in the UCI’s sporting criterion rankings based on riders signed for 2011 but ultimately missed out on a place in the final 18.

    McQuaid, who is currently in China, insisted to Cyclingnews that the rules were fair and that any internal decisions on final licence allocation were made in the interests of the sport and by an independent licence commission.

    “It was a system that was explained to the teams in April and once again June. They knew the system and that’s that,” McQuaid said.

    “We want to have the best riders in the best teams, at the best races and that’s what this system will give us in time. Everybody wants to be ProTeam status but we can only take so many.”

    Points mean places

    While Geox-TMC, the team of 2008 Tour winner Carlos Sastre, and Denis Menchov miss out, Ag2r has moved from 20th place in the initial listing to secure a ProTeam place. Cofidis, who were originally ranked 19th have also missed out.

    The rules on final selection come down to a mix of rider points, sporting ethics, team administration and finances. However McQuaid was unwilling to specify how the final selection for places were made, but added that all four elements were equally important.

    “The exact...

  • Rubiera: My best move was joining US Postal

    Chechu Rubiera (RadioShack) sets off for his last major race.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 15:42 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Retiring Spanish climber reflects on his 16-year pro career

    José Luis Rubiera has said that he has no regrets at the end of a 16-year professional career that started in 1995 with Artiach and has ended at the age of 37 with RadioShack. Winner of two stages of the Giro d’Italia and a top 10 finisher in both the Giro and Vuelta, the rider known almost universally as “Chechu” acknowledges that he will be remembered by most people for helping Lance Armstrong to the last five of his seven Tour de France wins.

    “I am very satisfied with my career. It’s true that my palmarès is not all that spectacular but I’ve had the chance to ride a lot of races and alongside some great champions such as Freire at the Worlds, Armstrong at the Tour, Heras in several Vueltas and Contador at the Vuelta,” Rubiera told Spanish website El Pedal de Frodo.

    Asked for the personal highlight of his 16-year career, Rubiera said: “My most memorable victory would have to be the stage in the Giro, because it was my first win and because of the way they ride in Italy. There’s a lot of romanticism in the racing there, with lots of attacks and escapes and the riders always get on so well together, which always gives me the impression that it’s a more passionate form of racing. In other races likes the Tour there are always a lot of interests in play and the race is more controlled by very strong teams.”

    Having broken through with Kelme and looking set to become one of their key leaders, Rubiera surprised many when he opted to leave the Spanish team in 2001.

    “From 2001 my career was totally different and I think joining US Postal was the best thing I could have done,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time with Lance and I experienced things that I simply wouldn’t have in another situation. It might seem stupid or frivolous, but mixing with Robin Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sheryl Crow, and important people from...

  • Cipollini to work with Katusha

    Mario Cipollini and Andrei Tchmil shake hands on the deal
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 16:06 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Former world champion will coach Russian sprinters

    The Katusha team has announced that Mario Cipollini will work with the team to help develop the young Russian sprinters in the squad.
    The 2002 world champion will work with riders from the ProTeam, Continental and Under 23 teams including Denis Galimzyanov, who took several placings in the second part of the team.

    “Our organization is becoming more and more structured: the experience of a former World Champion can’t be anything but useful,” team manager Andrei Tchmil said in a statement issued by the team.

    “Everybody knew his ability as a sprinter when he used to race, so I think his experience will give us something extra. He will be the master of our young, talented riders in our Global Project”.

    Tchmil was hoping Cipollini would work with team leader Filippo Pozzato to help him be more successful in 2011. However Cipollini’s role appears limited after Pozzato came out against the idea in his recent Cyclingnews blog.

    “Some people think that I need Mario Cipollini at Katusha to help me, that he will somehow toughen me up and suddenly help me win more. I've nothing against Cipollini and it's not up to me to decide who works at Katusha team, but I know he won't help me win any more. And I think Andrei Tchmil knows that too,” Pozzato said.

  • Rogers and Gerrans to lead Team Sky at the Tour Down Under

    Greg Henderson (Team Sky) celebrates with team-mates Chris Sutton and Benjamin Swift.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 17:48 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Swift, Thomas and Henderson join Australians for early start to the season

    Team Sky has announced its squad for the Tour Down Under, with new signing Michael Rogers leading the team in the early season ProTour race along with fellow Australian Simon Gerrans.

    Also named in the team are countrymen Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton, with Kiwi Greg Henderson and Britons Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas completing the line-up.

    Team Sky made its racing debut in Australia last year with Greg Henderson and Sutton taking first and second in the opening Cancer Council Classic criterium.

    "We did well in it last year and we're going to go there with high expectations this time around," team manager Dave Brailsford said.

    "It's a well-organised race and a great season opener because it's centralised, with the riders staying in the same hotel all week. It really does set you up nicely. We've got quite a few Aussies in the team and they're very keen to perform in front of their home crowds.”

    Sprinters showdown

    The Team Sky sprinters will take on multiple stage winner and two-time overall champion Andrei Greipel, who will make his debut with Omega Pharma-Lotto. His nemesis Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) will also be riding, setting up an immediate sprinters show down in Australia.

    “The race will be based around sprinters - the world's best will be there which is going to make it tough for everyone but we'll be in the mix, looking to get the lead-out train working well again, and will give it everything,” Brailsford said.

    "Looking at our team we've got Greg who finished third overall in 2010 and performed really well, and he'll be the main man in the sprints. Simon Gerrans and Mick Rogers, who are both former winners of the race, will also be in our line-up. Simon is looking forward to racing hard and getting stuck in and while the race might come a little bit early in the season for Mick, he's obviously another top-level performer who will be contributing to the...

  • Di Luca to decide on 2011 team in coming week

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) after the stage.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2010, 20:14 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian sees no obstacle to riding Giro d'Italia

    Danilo Di Luca has revealed that he has been in talks with a number of teams for next season and that he will make an announcement on his future next week. The Italian, who has recently returned from a suspension for the use of CERA, hopes to sign for a ProTeam and expects to ride the Giro d’Italia in 2011.

    “Yesterday the UCI announced the list of ProTeams, so I’ll decide where I’m going as soon as possible, probably before the end of next week,” Di Luca told Cyclingnews. “I’d rather go to a ProTour team as it would give me greater guarantees of riding in the big races.”

    The Italian rider is understood to have been in talks with Lampre, Quick Step, Astana and Geox in recent weeks. His desire to ride in cycling’s first division would appear to rule Mauro Gianetti’s team out of the equation after Geox failed to win a ProTeam licence.

    Di Luca recently had a two-year suspension for a positive test for CERA reduced by nine months as a result of his collaboration with the Italian authorities. He spoke to both CONI anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri and Padua-based public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti about the doping practices he had observed in the peloton but is adamant that he didn’t name any of his fellow professionals in his testimony.

    “Other riders who collaborated in the past named the names of their colleagues and I didn’t like that,” Di Luca said. “My collaboration with Roberti was a different kind of collaboration in that I spoke to him about that various different methods of doping that I’ve seen in my years as a rider.

    “I did it because I want to improve cycling for young people coming into the sport. I think things are improving now,” he claimed.

    Di Luca also insisted that he sees no obstacle to riding the Giro d’Italia in his comeback season, in spite of comments from race organiser...