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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Date published:
December 22, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Breschel voted Danish rider of the year

    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 8:47 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Saxo Bank rider finished second in Worlds road race

    Matti Breschel has been named as Denmark's cyclist of the year. The 26-year-old, who has switched from Team Saxo Bank to Rabobank for 2011, beat Chris Anker Sørensen. Jakob Fuglsang, Alex Rasmussen and Lasse Norman Hansen.

    The award, voted by readers of the Cyclingworlds magazine, was made on Tuesday night in Copenhagen.

    In accepting the award, Breschel referred to the fact that he had been nominated before but had never won. “I've always thought that this event was deeply corrupt,” he joked, according to the Ritzau news agency. “But now I have faith in it again.”

    He continued, “Of course I am very proud. It is great recognition that my performance has been recognised and appreciated.”

    Breschel finished second in the Worlds road race. He won Dwars door Vlaanderen, and a stage in the Tour of Denmark, as well as he points jersey in the latter. He has recently undergone surgery on his knee and faces a race against time to be at his best for the classics.

  • CAS hears Caucchioli's appeal against biological passport suspension

    Pietro Caucchioli when he rode for Credit Agricole
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 9:12 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Italian the first to challenge the UCI anti-doping programme

    Pietro Caucchioli presented an appeal against his two-year ban for doping before the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday. It is the first legal challenge to the International Cycling Union's biological passport programme.

    A decision is expected within a few weeks.

    The Italian never tested positive for a banned substance but was one of five riders named in June 2009 for having abnormal biological passport values. In June of this year the Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal fuond him guilty  banned him for two years.

    Caucchioli was discovered with abnormal results in September 2008 before the Tour de Pologne, when he was with the French team Credit Agricole. He was with the Lampre team when he was named in 2009.

    In 2001, while with Alessio, Caucchioli won two stages at the Giro d'Italia and the following year finished third overall in the race.

    CAS will soon hear another appeal as the fight over the validity of the biological passport system intensifies. The UCI has appealed against the decision to drop charges against Slovenian rider Tadej Valjavec for violations of the biological passport programme. That hearing is scheduled for January 20.

  • Sørensen hoping to help Contador in 2011

    Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) celebrates his stage win
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 10:11 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dane and Spaniard shared a room at training camp

    Chris Anker Sørensen shared a room with Alberto Contador at the recent Team Saxo Bank-SunGard training camp, an indication that the Dane could act as a key helper to the three-time Tour de France winner if he avoids a ban for his positive test for Clenbuterol in this year's Tour.

    ”If all goes well, we're going to ride a lot of races together and I will hopefully be valuable help for him," Sørensen optimistically told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

    “It was super cool to meet Contador. He seems fine. I had great sympathy for him and shortly after having learned to know him, I am more convinced of his innocence.”

    “It's a crazy tough situation for him and I could feel that it's affecting him, but we did not talk about it much. He needed to relax and talk about other stuff, so I let him talk about things that he wanted to," Sørensen concluded.

    Sørensen, 26, took his first major win this season at stage eight of the Giro d'Italia. He fought his way alone through the fog to win the first mountaintop finish atop Monte Terminillo.

  • McEwen contemplates retirement after Pegasus failure

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) in the red jersey
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 11:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Still a possibility of moving to RadioShack with season about to start

    Robbie McEwen must decide whether to continue his career or retire. The Australian was part of the Pegasus Sports project which failed to get a ProTeam or Professional Continental licence for the coming season. Retiring now would, “not be the good-bye I have dreamed of.”

    "I had not expect this decision,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. “And the new season starts in 10 days. Which team still has a place available? Or a handful of dollars to pay my salary?"

    Team RadioShack might be the one to come to his rescue. “It is true that Bruyneel is interested in some Pegasus riders,” team spokesman Philippe Maertens said. “I do not exclude that McEwen is one of them. The questions is whether there is still enough in the budget for another leader.”

    McEwen, 38, said that he would like to ride for another year, "but for a team that can participate in the important races. I have proved this year that I can still ride at that level."

    "I have a few days to get everything straight,” he continued. “Next week I will make the decision. By then I will learn from my manager, who is making calls all day, whether he has heard of anywhere I might go.”

    "For now, I would not think the worst. But maybe I should indeed stop. This is not the goodbye I've dreamed of."

  • Di Luca confesses to doping mistakes

    Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes)
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 12:19 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian speaks in front of 500 students

    Danilo Di Luca has publicly confessed that he doped during his career in front of an audience of 500 students but insisted that he has learnt from his mistakes and is ready to make a comeback in 2011.

    The disgraced Italian was speaking at an event organised by Italian priest Marco Pozza called 'I've got a dream: I'll tell you about it'.

    Pozza raced with Filippo Pozzato as a schoolboy and met Di Luca's lawyer by chance on a train. That led to Di Luca's public confession.

    The Italian has been implicated in a long series of doping investigations during his career and was banned for two years in the summer of 2009 after testing positive for CERA during the Giro d'Italia, when he finished second overall behind Denis Menchov. However his ban was cut to just nine months after he revealed details of his doping techniques to Italian police.

    "It's not important how you fall but how you get back up," Di Luca said during the event, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "Why did I do it? That's a good question. When you're in a system, you end up being part of it and you make mistakes. However I told the investigating magistrate Roberti everything and in some ways that was liberating. I spoke about myself and how the doping system works."

    Successful comeback

    Despite being 35 in January, Di Luca is convinced he can make a successful comeback in 2011.

    "Now I'm ready to make a comeback with my head held high, sure that I can win without cheating," he said.

    "Ten years ago it would have been impossible. I haven't got any proof but I think most riders were doping. Now things have changed. I've spoken to other riders about it and I'm convinced that it's in the interest of talented riders to clean things up."

    "I've been training hard for two months with the same passion as always and even with a bit more, because I can't wait to race again. The thing I miss the most is the...

  • Travis Meyer leaves the track to focus on road goals

    Oh yeah baby! Gold medallist and Aussie Road Champion Travis Meyer from Western Australia.
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 13:59 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Garmin-Cervelo rider looks to defend national title

    Travis Meyer has decided to abandon track racing to concentrate full time on the road. The 21 year-old will target stage races like the Eneco Tour in Belgium and the Netherlands, where the time trial stage and positioning is vital.

    Meyer, who will ride with Garmin-Cervélo in 2011, told, “I first started (on the track) when I was 11, so I have a real passion for it. But now that I have a pro road career and a pro contract I really have to focus on my road career because, realistically, the track was probably not going to happen for London. I was probably going to be the reserve for the next two years."

    Garmin-Cervélo sports director Matt White said that Meyer is “a real racer,” and that “Racing up in Holland and Belgium is not for everyone but I can definitely see that style is going to suit him in the future.”

    Defending his national road championship title will be the young Australian's first priority, but he is also looking forward to the Eneco Tour of Benelux as a later highlight. He rode the race this year and called it a “turning point” in his career, where he learned a lot about positioning himself in the peloton.

    “In Belgium and Holland it’s so important to know where to position in the bunch because if you’re too far back you get dropped before you even realise it,’’ Meyer said. “I really, really went well there and never really got caught out at all in the whole eight days of the tour."

    The Eneco Tour will be followed by Meyer's grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España.

    White said that Garmin-Cervélo liked to give its young riders experience of the grand tours. “It’s a great experience and it does make you a little bit stronger but you’ve got to be able to handle the rest of the season first,’’ White said.

    "It’s just that balance of...

  • Madrid Federation president hits back at accusations

    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 14:39 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Javier Fernández Alba denies doping charges and links to Alberto Contador

    Javier Fernández Alba, the president of the Madrid Cycling Federation, has hit back at the Spanish magazine that alleged he is embroiled in a doping investigation. He has also confirmed that he has no professional links whatsoever to Alberto Contador.

    In a statement responding to a story that appeared in this week’s edition of Spanish tabloid magazine Interviú, Fernández Alba said he has no knowledge of a doping case relating to Spanish masters champion Francisco Prieto, who had tested positive for nandrolone. Fernández Alba added that he will be taking legal action against Interviú.

    In the statement, Fernández Alba explained: “I have got no knowledge of being under investigation, nor do I know of any allegations made against me on the part of Francisco Prieto. The only information that I have, from the cyclist himself, is that he… has told the Spanish cycling federation’s commission that the substance he tested positive for was present in a complex vitamin product that he had been using for years without having any problems with it, and that he had acquired it in a sports centre where I offer my services… With this fraudulent action, Prieto has managed to delay the case against him at my cost and has been able to compete for the last year without anybody being able to stop him. This is the real motive for this farce.”

    Fernández Alba added that he has had no professional link with Contador, as has been indicated in Interviú, who described him as the Tour de France winner’s “discoverer, manager and coach”. Fernández Alba also said that he has no professional link with cyclists Luis Pasamontes and Luis Pérez, and ex-pro and now triathlete Iván Raña, who were also mentioned in the story.

    Contador also released

  • Cornu finds a team after Pegasus Sports problems

    Dominique Cornu (Skil - Shimano) on his way to winning the time trial stage at the Tour of Belgium.
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 17:55 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Belgian to ride for Topsport Vlaanderen in 2011

    Belgian time trial expert Dominique Cornu is set to become the second Pegasus Sports rider to find a new team for 2011 after Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator team manager Christophe Sercu indicated Cornu would become the team's 21st rider.

    On Tuesday Canada's Svein Tuft secured a place with the Spidertech team but most riders, including sprinter Robbie McEwen, are still desperately looking for a new team for 2011 after Pegasus Sports was refused a place in the UCI's Professional Continental ranks.

    Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team seems interested in signing McEwen, but the veteran sprinter has hinted he will retire if he fails to secure a suitable deal for 2011.

    25-year-old Cornu was Under 23 world time trial champion in 2006 and rode for Skil-Shimano in 2010. Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator will help him target time trial events at the 2012 London Olympics.

    "He will be with us so he can have the opportunity to further his career on the road and the track, with the objective in 2012 to compete in the London Olympics in the various races against the clock," Sercu told Belga.

    The Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator will now have a roster of 21 riders for 2011. They will get together for their first training camp of the new year in Calpe between January 12 and 23.