- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 10:20
- Pierre Carrey
UCI admit that Roux's points would have given Madiot's men higher status
The Française des Jeux team failed to secure ProTeam status for 2011 because the team did not submit contracts for three of its riders before the UCI’s application deadline.
UCI press officer Enrico Carpani has told Cyclingnews that contracts for Anthony Roux, Dominique Rollin and the neo-professional Geoffrey Soupe were sent to the UCI five days after the deadline of the 20th October.
“It's sad to say but it's the truth. Française des Jeux would have got their ProTour licence if their application was perfect and if they had sent all the contracts to the UCI on time,” Carpani said.
According to the UCI sporting hierarchy used to evaluate the quality of the ProTeams for 2011, Française des Jeux was 21st, just outside the top twenty teams and so was considered not to have fulfilled the sporting criterion necessary for a ProTeam.
However if Anthony Roux's points had been included in calculations, it appears that Française des Jeux would have been 20th in the rankings, ahead of Ag2r-La Mondiale, the only French squad to attain ProTeam status. Cofidis, ranked 19th, will ride as in Pro Continental like they did in 2010, alongside Saur-Sojasun and Europcar which didn't ask a ProTeam licence. Roux scored points for a stage victory in the Vuelta and at the Circuit Sarthe in 2009 and for a stage victory at the Circuit de Lorraine in 2010.
The new UCI sporting hierarchy and ProTeam evaluation process was decided last June at the UCI ProTour Council meeting in Birmingham, England. It is based on the results obtained in 2009 and 2010 by the 15 best riders in their 2011 squads, taking into account all the events on all the circuits of the UCI International Calendar. In addition, the calculation of a team’s sporting value takes into consideration the collective value of the team based on placings in team classifications of stage races on the UCI World Calendar and HC events on UCI Continental Circuits during 2010.
The UCI refuses to publish any further details or points totals, insisting that decisions on ProTeam licences are made by the independent Licence Commission.
Française des Jeux can appeal against the UCI's decision before December 10. Cyclingnews understands that the team is looking into this possibility and is doing an audit of its ProTeam application case.
Team manager Marc Madiot, refused to comment.
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 10:55
- Susan Westemeyer
Four-time world time trial champion named Swiss male cyclist of the year
Leaving Team Saxo Bank was not an easy decision for Fabian Cancellara but he figured it was finally time to make a change. “It was a difficult decision, but after all, I'm not married to Riis,” he told the Belga news agency.
“I rode for Riis' team for five years, and I had doubts for a while,” the four-time world time trial champion said.
Cancellara was not the only rider to leave the Danish team, but was about the last of 11 riders to leave.
“I have nothing against the arrival of Alberto Contador, but after the exodus, I realised I was no longer in a comfortable position. It was irritating to be the last big-name to announce my leaving, but that won't sink Riis' ship.”
The offer to join the Luxembourg Cycling Project was not the only one the 29-year considered. It was “one of many offers,” and he accepted it “not because the Schleck brothers are there, but mainly because it is a team for whom cycling is more important than big names. I think that at the age of nearly 30 I have made the right decision.”
Male cyclist of the year
Cancellara was also named Swiss male cyclist of the year by Swiss Cycling, the national federation. He “wrote history twice this year,” the Federation said. “The double with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in spring were followed up by Cancellara with his fourth world time trial championship title. A distinction which no other cyclist has achieved.”
Mountain biking dominated the other three awards. Female cyclist of the year was Esther Süss, winner of the world and European mountainbike marathon championships. Mountainbiker Mathias Flückiger was the best young rider, while the world and European champions relay team took the best team title.
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 11:39
- Cycling News
Riders claim not to have been paid since August
The riders of Xacobeo Galicia are now turning to the International Cycling Union in an effort to get paid. They claim not to have been paid by the Galego Cycling Foundation since August.
Francisco Pacheco notified the UCI last month that the salaries were outstanding. According to La Voz de Galicia, they have not been paid for four months.
"We feel we are waiting too long and the situation is untenable, some people are very worried about the subject of money," he explained.
Jose Ramon Lete, the foundation president, promised to pay the riders this week, but has not yet done so. Some of the team's 16 riders are already preparing their documentation to file with the UCI.
The UCI bank guarantee covers three months' salary, leaving the situation for November and December up in the air.
This is the second occurrence of late payment or non-payment for the team this year. Over the summer wages were “significantly delayed.”
Xacobeo will not exist in the coming season. The positive doping tests of second-placed Ezequiel Mosquera and David Garcia Da Pena at the Vuelta a Espana were the final blows to the team's bid to find a new sponsor and it did not apply for a new license.
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 11:53
- Cycling News
L’Equipe report professional riders are involved
L’Equipe has revealed that French police have taken several people into custody, including professional and amateur riders, as part of a doping investigation carried out in the Normandy town of Caen.
Officers from the Office Central de Lutte contre les Atteintes à l’Environnement et à la Santé Publique (OCLAESP) apparently carried out the operation on Tuesday morning, dismantling a trafficking ring of suppliers and users.
There are few details on the outcome of the operation but French newspaper L’Equipe's report suggests that other sports could also be involved. The people held in custody are being questioned.
The OCLAESP investigate environmental and public health crime and is investigating the discovery of syringes and illegal transfusion equipment in a trash container at the 2009 Tour de France.
They recently met with US Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky in Lyon as part of his investigation into doping.
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 12:27
- Pierre Carrey
Eritrean star fresh from Tour of Rwanda win
Former Cervélo Test Team stagiaire and current UCI World Centre member Daniel Teklehaimanot does not have any concrete professional offer for 2011. The Eritrean prodigy’s entourage is talking with a North-American Pro Continental team and a new Continental project in China. Despite his five Africa Continental Champion crowns and his Tour of Rwanda win in the last three weeks, the 22-year-old Teklehaimanot did not manage to convince a ProTour squad to recruit him.
However, his uncertain future isn't particularly worrying, says his French coach and adviser Michel Thèze, who is in charge of examining the professional offers, alongside his countryman Frédéric Magné, UCI World Centre's Director.
“We need to be sure that the team where begins will be the safest and most helpful for Daniel, otherwise we'll wait,” Thèze told Cyclingnews. “It's a pity that Cervélo folded because we can be almost sure they would have signed Daniel and they were the precise kind of team we are looking for.”
Teklehaimanot rode the last two seasons for the UCI World Centre, based in Switzerland. In the U23 Nations Cup, he finished 6th in the Tour de l'Avenir in 2009 and won a stage at the Ville de Saguenay, Canada last June. He crashed six times between August and September, struggled in the U23 World Championships and wanted his season to stop.
Eventually, he went on to ride in Italy with Cervélo as a stagiaire to prepare the African Continental Championships and the Tour of Rwanda, where he overcame the Moroccan and South African riders. He leads the Africa Tour 86 points ahead of the Moroccan Jelloul and 103 points ahead of his teammate Russom.
“Daniel is very focused on his results,” his mentor Thèze adds. “His bad Worlds were more stressful for him than the questions about his future. He really wants to turn professional but he is staying very cool. He's upright, fair, altruistic and clean. He's the kind of athlete cycling needs. That's why we are so protective of him.”
Teklehaimanot will ride in January’s Tropicale Amissa Bongo, in Gabon, with the Eritrean team. He will then train at the UCI Continental Centre based in South Africa before a possible switch back to the UCI World Centre if he has no professional team. He may also divide his 2011 schedule between the World Centre and a Continental or Pro Continental squad.
For now, he is enjoying some holidays near Asmara, the Eritrean capital. He received a triumphant welcome at the airport on Sunday morning on his return from the Tour of Rwanda. The Commissioner of Eritrean Sports and the Minister for Public Works was on hand to congratulate. A meeting may be planned in the coming days with the President of the Republic. Teklehaimanot and other Eritrean riders' success in Rwanda (six stages wins out of nine) inspired a statement of the Ministry of Information which underlined the status of sport and especially cycling in the country: “Sports events constitute the building blocs of culture that reinforce broad-based psychology and nationalism.” The statement concludes by saying, “Congratulations to the Eritrean people! Glory to the ever-champion Eritrean youth!”
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 13:28
- Barry Ryan
American looking to build on impressive start
Evelyn Stevens has extended her contract with HTC-Highroad for another two seasons. The 27-year-old American turned professional with the squad in 2010 and enjoyed instant success, taking the national time trial championship and a stage of the Giro Donne.
“The team took an enormous risk in signing me, but this has been an incredible year for me," Stevens said. "I knew it would be challenging, and it's been a lot of hard work, but I've made the right decision.”
The Cyclingnews blogger left a job with investment bank Lehman Brothers in New York in order to pursue her cycling career. In spite of a season filled with personal glory, Stevens singled out her part in helping teammate Judith Arndt to overall victory at the Giro della Toscana as the highlight of her year.
“There were a lot of high points in the year, but maybe the highest was the Giro di Toscana this autumn, which was an awesome team experience all around," Stevens explained.
HTC-Highroad sports director Ronny Lauke was pleased with Stevens’ decision to renew her contract and praised the impact she has had on the team as well as the year-round consistency that saw her finish the year inside the top 25 of the UCI rankings.
“Evelyn had a really impressive rookie pro year,” Lauke said. “The way Evelyn approaches cycling is inspiring for our other riders. Rather than see the pain and suffering sometimes involved in road racing, she'd rather see all of the advantages. We're thrilled she's continuing with HTC-Highroad."
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 13:44
- Daniel Friebe
Says Gianetti has "no shame"
Saur-Sojasun manager and former Tour de France yellow jersey Stéphane Heulot is hopeful that the team can make its Grande Boucle début in 2011 – but insists they are under no pressure from their sponsor to do so.
Saur-Sojasun were placed 22nd in the UCI rankings issued last week, with the top 18 teams granted ProTeam licences and, in all likelihood, automatic entry to the three major tours. With French squads La Française des Jeux, Cofidis, Europcar and Saur-Sojasun all missing out on ProTeam status – not to mention Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov’s Geox-TMC outfit – competition for starting berths at the 2011 Tour is set to be fierce.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on Wednesday, Heulot seemed unfazed by the difficult task which awaits his team. Saur’s all-French roster amassed an impressive 27 wins courtesy of 11 different riders in 2010 – and Heulot is confident of an even better display next year.
“The Tour’s a long way away,” he said. “We’re not in the business of space travel, so let’s keep our feet on the ground. We’ve kept our roster very stable, and our policy is one of slow growth. We’re under no pressure from our sponsor or anyone else. Our priority is to stay true to our beliefs, our work ethic and keep improving. That’s got us to number 22 in the world rankings and 22 teams should ride the Tour, so there’s no need for us to worry.”
For most fans, Heulot’s name will forever conjure images of an epic alpine stage in the 1996 Tour. While he tearfully ripped the race number from his yellow jersey on the Cormet de Roseland that afternoon, Miguel Indurain was counting down the final moments of his Tour de France dynasty, as Luc Leblanc’s attacks en route to Les Arcs plunged the Spaniard into crisis.
Having retired as a rider in 2002, Heulot worked briefly in a PR role for his former Française des Jeux team-mate Mauro Gianetti’s Saunier Duval team. That association ended badly with Saunier Duval rider Riccardo Riccò’s positive test for CERA at the 2008 Tour. “Doping is so ingrained in certain managers, like Gianetti, that they can't conceive of cycling any other way," Heulot said at the time. “With people like Gianetti, we're heading straight for an impasse […]When people ask me if there's a risk of organized doping at Saunier Duval, I say 'yes' because I believe it, I feel it.”
Asked on Wednesday whether the prospect of vying with Gianetti’s Geox-TMC team for a Tour de France start provided added motivation, Heulot did his best to remain diplomatic. “He has his life and I have mine. I’ll just concentrate on our team,” he replied.
Gianetti’s complaint last week that his team merited a ProTeam licence on “ethical grounds” prompted a more forthright reaction. “I didn’t read that…but the man’s obviously got no shame,” Heulot smiled.
Should Saur-Sojasun be on the start-line on the Passage du Gois on July 2nd, it’s highly likely that Jérôme Coppel’s performances will have played a key part in getting them there. The 24 year old’s fifth place overall at the 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné was arguably the outstanding stage-race result of the season by a French rider. It also led many pundits to suggest that Tour chief Christian Prudhomme would be foolish to overlook the best French GC prospect of his generation when it comes to allocating places for the 2011 race.
“Jérôme is a real talent and one of the most exciting young riders on the international stage,” Heulot said. “He’s more mature than he was a year ago and his engine is bigger. He’s at the start of his adventure. But we also have lots of other talent on our books. Jonathan Hivert, Julien Simon and Guillaume Levarlet are all guys who, for one reason or another, perhaps haven’t fulfilled all of their potential yet, but are ready to do that. Then we have guys like Jimmy Engoulvent and Yannick Talabardon, who are real mainstays of the team.”
As if they needed any extra incentive, Heulot and his riders will be especially keen to make their bow in a Tour which spends much of its first week in the team’s home region of Brittany. The stage 4 uphill finish on the Mûr de Bretagne, in particular, has already whetted Heulot’s appetite.
“They will all be dangerous days in Brittany, but especially that one,” Heulot predicted. “A lot depends on the weather, of course. They’re tricky, undulating roads. I think that the team time trial will shake up the GC before the race gets to Brittany, but there could be more drama there. I really can’t see Cavendish’s team just getting on the front and controlling everything on the stage to the Mûr de Bretagne. It’s not the high mountains, but it’s not for sprinters either.”
Heulot reserved his final comment for the doping controversy which may yet see Alberto Contador barred from the 2011 Tour.
“I just wonder whether this would all still be going on if it was another or lesser rider,” he said. “The substance was present in his system and that should be enough to close the case. Beyond that, I don’t know whether the whole meat excuse is valid. I just know that it’s all very bad for cycling’s image.”
- Article published:
- December 1, 2010, 14:19
- Susan Westemeyer
Team presentation in Holland
Rabobank will continue its presence in professional cycling for another four years after the Rabobank Group announced it has extended its agreement to sponsor the team through 2016.
At the team's presentation on Wednesday at the Efteling amusement park, Bert Bruggink, CEO of Rabobank Group said that the contract, which was due to run through the end of 2012, had been extended.
"As Rabobank we have full confidence in the future of cycling, and in the quality of our teams. With this in mind we present the riders today in their new Rabobank outfit. Along with the contract extension, I expect that we will once again have another six years of beautiful and inspiring cycling ahead of us,” Bruggink said.
There were not only sporting reasons but also economic considerations for the decision. “Studies show that many Dutch people and especially our customers appreciate it. Cycling really fits with Rabobank. This year we again made a mid-term review and concluded it's good to have them continue. Also, with this extension, we express our confidence in the squad. There is now a solid structure, the future is solid.”
A new jersey and a departing Russian
Dutch cyclist of the year and team leader Robert Gesink helped to present the new jersey that the riders will wear in 2011. It continues the traditional orange, blue and white design: the body is orange, with a blue stripe bearing the sponsor's name across the chest. One shoulder is blue with a white sleeve; the other is white with a blue sleeve.
One rider who won't be wearing that kit in 2011 is former captain Denis Menchov, who is going to ride for Geox-TMC. The Russian has been with the Dutch team since 2005, and in that time he won the Vuelta a Espana twice and the Giro d'Italia once.
The team said goodbye with a look back at his “most beautiful victories” and presented him with a work of art to celebrate his victory at the Giro d’Italia.
“I think these six years were the most important part of my sporting career and I am really proud of things we achieved together,” Menchov said. “I just want to again say thanks to all the members of the team who spent so much time and energy for me.”