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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Date published:
October 13, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Fleeman fighting for his future

    Englishman Dan Fleeman (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 8:49 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Cervélo rider under pressure at last races of the season

    After an injury-hit year, Dan Fleeman is hoping to rescue his season with his final two races of 2009. The Cervélo TestTeam rider broke his wrist in May when competing at the Bayern Rundfahrt and was forced to spend three months away from racing. A comeback in August had given him a chance to find his form, but with just the Giro del Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia left on his schedule, and his one-year contract coming to an end, the 27-year-old knows it's time to perform.

    "Since coming back I've been getting better and better with each race," Fleeman told Cyclingnews. "It's been difficult though. I've been playing catch up against the pros and it's my first season at this level, so I can't think of anything more challenging. I've stuck to my task and I'm going to give it everything for these final two races."

    Fleeman raced last week at the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, but "it was a flat race that didn't suit me but I worked hard for our sprinter. With Lombardia I'm a bit worried about the distance as it's a really selective race. The hills should suit me and unlike lots of riders, I'm still fresh, feeling good and I've got a point to prove."

    Fleeman knows that time is against him, and with a disappointing season, he could find himself struggling to pick up a contract for next year. Last year he won the Tour of the Pyrenees and finished seventh overall in the Tour of Britain. "It's been disappointing. I was just getting going and then I broke my wrist. I've not got to the level I had last year and I wanted to step up but these things happen. As for my future, it's all up in the air at the moment but I'm hopeful that I can work something out soon."

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  • Drugs found by Vandenbroucke's bed?

    Frank Vandenbroucke (Acqua e Sapone)
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 9:56 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    VDB could be a victim of drug mix and/or burglary

    One day after the tragic news about Frank Vandenbroucke's death in a hotel room in Senegal, an investigation has yet to take place on the possible reasons for the passing of the Belgian legend. Early reports indicated that the rider died of a blood clot in his lungs (pulmonary embolism), and while this could be true, French newspaper L'Equipe has this morning reported that witnesses spoke of several medications lying beside his bed.

    According to the paper, investigators found insulin, a treatment of diabetes, some sleeping pills called Stilnox and an anti-anxiety medication by the name of Xanax.

    Vandenbroucke was not known to suffer from diabetes, but insulin is known to be used in cycling for doping purposes. Stilnox also has a reputation in the sport, as it is reportedly used as a drug in large quantities and mixed with alcohol. Former French pro, Philippe Gaumont, detailed in his book "Prisonnier du dopage" ("Prisoner of doping") that he and several former Cofidis team-mates including VDB took Stilnox as a party drug in 1999.

    Furthermore, the French paper reported that Vandenbroucke could have been the victim of a burglary. Two cell phones, as well as 300 Euro in cash were said to have disappeared from his room.

    An autopsy as well as further investigation by Senegalese police authorities are expected to shed some light into what feels like the another tragic death in the world of cycling after the passing of Marco Pantani in similar circumstances in a hotel room in Rimini, Italy, five years ago.

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  • Astana: Bruyneel not out yet

    Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 11:59 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    RadioShack's structure dependent on Kazakh squad

    While 2009 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is still tied to the Kazakh Astana team for next season, his current director, Johan Bruyneel, has planned to leave the team, joining Lance Armstrong's RadioShack in 2010. But the mastermind behind the American's seven Tour victories is still in negotiations with Kazakh officials about his leave, as well as the signing four of the team's riders, also bound by contract to remain with Contador: Andreas Klöden, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast and Haimar Zubeldia.

    On Monday, Bruyneel met with representatives of the Kazakh outfit in Monaco to settle his own and the riders' futures, but the meeting ended without being conclusive, according to L'Equipe. "When I understood that we weren't going to agree, I got up and told them the best would be that everyone went home to think it over," said Bruyneel, reportedly angry, as the newly-formed team RadioShack finds itself dependent on Astana's fate.

    As long as the Kazakh squad does not free Bruyneel or the four riders for next year, the American outfit cannot present a proper structure to the UCI license commission. But Bruyneel is confident the team will get a ProTour license in any case. "If I have to, I could even take a year off in 2010," said the Belgian, who will be attending the 2010 Tour de France presentation with Armstrong in Paris on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, Astana might find itself considerably cut down in terms of staff and riders next year and appear as an almost empty shell around its leader Contador. If the team loses its ProTour status, however, the Spaniard has a last chance of leaving according to his contract.

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  • Bellis out of coma, still in serious condition

    Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 15:22 BST
    Cycling News

    British cyclist recovering from scooter crash

    British cyclist Jonny Bellis was brought out of a medically-induced coma, British Cycling announced Tuesday. The 21-year-old has been in the coma since he was seriously injured in a motor scooter crash near the federation's training base in Italy three weeks ago

    "Jonny Bellis was brought out of his medically induced coma late last week but remains heavily medicated. Whilst his condition is still serious, the hospital staff are slowly bringing him off the ventilator and are keeping a close eye on his progress," a statement read.

    Bellis was wearing a helmet, but still suffered head injuries after crashing his scooter into a wall near Quarrata in Tuscany, where he was training with the national team in preparation for the World Championships.

    He underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain two weeks ago. The cause of the accident is still unknown.

  • Van Gilder aims to increase MAC lead

    Few can beat Laura Van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) to the line.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 19:48 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Van Gilder seeks second consecutive series title

    Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) is hoping to improve on a successful rookie cyclo-cross season last year by winning a second consecutive Mid Atlantic Cyclo-Cross (MAC) series title. The ten-round series heads into its second weekend in Wilminton, Delaware and Ludwig's Corner, Pennsylvania on October 17th and 18th respectively.

    "I don't want to put pressure on myself because last year was very special and I had no expectations and I had a great time," said Van Gilder who has achieved more than 300 career victories as a professional road cyclist.

    Van Gilder ended her rookie season at the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cyclo-Cross Championships held at Hoogerheide in the Netherlands. After a lengthy road season she takes on cyclo-cross by balancing serious training and competition with equal amounts of play time.

    "I'd like to have as much fun as I did last year," she continued to outline her focus. "I want to improve where I'm weak and stay as strong where I'm strong. It's a great dynamic out here, the people, the riders, the whole environment. It's an atmosphere that I've been looking forward to all year and it's just great to have started and to have a couple of wins for the team."

    Van Gilder leads the MAC series by virtue of winning the season openers at the Nittany Cross in Pennsylvania and the Charm City Cross in Maryland, both held in mid-September. This year she is not alone. Instead, she has the help of a strong teammate Deidre Winfield, who joined C3 Athletes Serving Athletes after a long term relationship with the Velo Bella squad.

    "Dede is a very good rider," Van Gilder said. "We had a lot of fun last year as competitors and we were really looking forward to doing it together this season. It is the two of us at...

  • Vandenbroucke post-mortem to be done this week

    Frank Vandenbroucke at the 2003 Ronde van Vlaanderen.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 20:11 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Examination to be done at VDB's parents request

    There has been much speculation as to the cause of the death of Frank Vandenbroucke, but some answers may be forthcoming after an autopsy is performed this week.

    Vandenbroucke's parents requested the autopsy be done, and on Tuesday the local gendarmerie declared that it would happen in one or two days in Dakar and that "too many presumptions shouldn't be made," reported.

    The cyclist died on Monday in a small hotel near to his own hotel in Saly, Senegal where Vandenbroucke was spending a vacation with Fabio Polazzi, a 24-year old Belgian cyclist.

    Vandenbroucke's body was transported to Senegal's capital on Tuesday afternoon, said Bart Ouvry, spokesman of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    "Two people from the Belgian embassy will be there to see if all goes correctly and they will stay in touch with the family," Ouvry said to Ouvry couldn't say when the body would be repatriated to Belgium.

  • Astana under investigation in France

    Team Astana takes the podium after its win in the TTT
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 20:49 BST
    Cycling News

    (Updated) Team's syringes disposed at Tour de France being analysed

    Two and a half months after the Tour de France, public prosecution in Paris has opened a preliminary investigation against the Astana team, whose rider Alberto Contador won the event. The object of the investigation is the content of several syringes that the squad disposed of at the event, according to L'Equipe.

    At the Tour de France, organiser Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) provides the teams with special containers to collect medical waste. The Central Office against environmental damage and public health (OCLAESP) has opened the proceedings after discovering several "suspect" syringes in the containers that belonged to the Astana team during the race.

    The content of the syringes is currently being analysed by expert judiciary laboratory Toxlab in Paris. It is not known when the results are being expected.

    Team Astana reacted to the news with surprise. "These reports are the first we as a team have heard of an investigation," read an official statement. "According to the press articles, the investigation involves a number of cycling teams having participated in the 2009 Tour de France."

    "The Astana Cycling Team has nothing to hide, the riders use no forbidden substances. The Team is confident in the result of analyses performed or to be performed by a Parisian laboratory and is prepared to cooperate."

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