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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Date published:
February 23, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Spanish association defends its pro riders

    Alberto Contador faces the press on Friday.
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 1:05 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Contador decision not reflective of attitude to doping

    Following accusations that its riders aren't doing enough to combat doping in cycling in the wake of the Alberto Contador decision, the Spanish Professional Cyclists Association (ACP) has released a statement defending the nation's professional riders.

    The ACP has called for more respect of its riders as they participate in all UCI and WADA anti-doping programs and collaborate with Spanish authorities to prevent the incidence of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

    "The Association of Professional Cyclists asks for respect for our riders, who as we have mentioned have maximum involvement in the fight against doping," read the statement.

    "Spanish professional cyclists, through the ACP, collaborate with Spanish sports institutions in the development of standards, prevention [of doping] and education campaigns with a cycling base, collaborate with the Spanish justice system to combat the actions of the athlete which are prohibited. And for all this, the involvement of [Spanish] professional cyclists is maximum."

    The statement comes after UCI President Pat McQuaid was critical of Spanish authorities in the wake of Alberto Contador's exoneration from doping charges by the sport's national governing body. He had previously criticised the same powers during last year's UCI Road World Championships in Australia when news of Contador's positive test emerged in the public sphere.

    In response to this criticism, the ACP stated: "The Spanish professional cyclists, as well as other cyclists, are subject to doping controls anywhere in the world where biological samples are analysed in anti-doping laboratories accredited by WADA, elected by the UCI, in Lausanne, Paris, Cologne, Madrid, Barcelona, etc.

    "That is, the fight against doping on Spanish professional cyclists and everyone else is controlled by...

  • Voigt calls for Worlds boycott over radio ban

    The ever-gregarious Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 2:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    German veteran warns that fatalities are a sacrifice too large

    Leopard Trek's Jen Voigt is calling for the peloton to boycott the World Championships if the UCI continues down the path of banning radio contact between team cars and riders.

    "If nobody will listen, then we must make it pain-filled, so people think: It hurt. Maybe we should listen next time," the German veteran told Sporten.tv2.

    Cycling's world governing body began the roll out of the ban last year in 1.2 and 2.2 level races (including all U23 races and women's stage races), and has been extended in 2011 to cover all races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below, and will continue to World Calendar races in 2012.

    "If we just get a single fatal accident, the price is already too high for something that someone thinks will make the sport more interesting," Voigt warns. "I would rather have a boring race where everyone is happy and alive, and [a rider] can come home and embrace his parents and say, ‘Hi mum and dad. I'm alive.'"

    Voigt's discontent follows the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams' (AIGCP) protest against the UCI's ruling by trying to use radios at the first race of the Challenge Mallorca series earlier this month.

    Numerous riders turned up for the first race in Mallorca wearing radios, sparking a stand-off between race judges, the riders and their teams. The start of the race was disrupted.

    Voigt drew comparisons between cyclists and journalists, as a way of explaining that radios were merely a tool of the trade.

    "Imagine all the world's journalists were suddenly told: From now on, do not use laptops, the Internet or pencils. Would you consider taking it seriously? Of course not!"

  • Skil-Shimano first option to replace Vacansoleil-DCM at Tour

    The Skil-Shimano riders pose for a picture with Kenny Van Hummel in the white Asia Tour leader's jersey
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 6:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spekenbrink waiting for decision from UCI Licensing Commission

    Skil-Shimano is relying on a wildcard to gain entry to the Vuelta a España in August but is holding onto a slim hope of an invitation to the Tour de France.

    "In principle, the door to the Tour is closed," said team manager Iwan Spekenbrink following discussions with the Amaury Sports Organisation in Doha. "But if 'crazy' things happen, we are the first option. That's because the Tour celebrates our policy."

    In an interview with De Telegraaf, Spekenbrink said that he was watching the UCI's Licensing Commission movements, if any, against Vacansoleil-DCM which stands to lose its ProTeam status following incidents involving Riccardo Riccó and 2010 Vuelta a España runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera.

    Should Vacansoleil-DCM lose its ProTour license, it could remain as a Professional Continental team. However, the change in status could be a considerable blow to Vacansoleil-DCM as only ProTeams are guaranteed entry into the Grand Tours and the UCI World Tour races.

    The Dutch team raced the 2010 season as a Professional Continental squad and was unable to garner an entry to any of the three Grand Tours.

    "Vacansoleil has successfully adapted its policies to the system of the UCI," Spekenbrink said. "They look especially for riders who win point. That way they placed themselves at the level of World Tour teams. Their goal is the big races. I think that publicity is important.

    "We [Skil-Shimano] do not adjust our philosophy to adjust to the UCI system [of ranking]," he elaborated. "We want talented riders a chance to grow in our team. We prefer to invest in a responsible progression than the points of a rider.

    "One of the best examples is perhaps

  • Voeckler rues Paris-Nice time trial

    French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) climbs to the summit of Mont Faron.
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 10:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman motivated for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Fresh from overall victory at the Tour du Haut Var, Thomas Voeckler’s (Europcar) next objective on home roads is Paris-Nice, but the Frenchman has admitted that the race’s stage six time trial means that his ambitions for the general classification are limited.

    “I think it’s one of the few stage races where I’m capable of doing well overall, like a lot of riders,” Voeckler told “But when I saw that they’d put in a time trial, I admit that I was disappointed because I’m not a specialist. Sure, I have a time trial bike at home and I try to work on it, but over 27km, it’s going to be hard not be a long way down on the general classification.”

    Nonetheless, the French champion will arrive at the Race to the Sun intent on making an impression and he has promised to be aggressive throughout the week as he goes in search of stage victories.

    “Let’s say that Paris-Nice isn’t complicated… and yet very complicated at the same time,” he joked. “It’s not very long and you can’t allow yourself to be calculating. The advantage is that, in general, there are a maximum of two stages that end in sprints, so you don’t have to say ‘I’ll wait until Saturday and do a good stage down south.’

    “If you have the condition, you have to take advantage of it every day.”

    Indeed, racing every day is something that Voeckler and his Europcar teammates have been instructed to do by their manager Jean-René Bernaudeau. The team failed to win a ProTeam licence for 2011 and with the qualifying criteria for next year’s licences as yet unclear, the Vendée-based squad is leaving nothing to...

  • SRAM offer RED in black

    SRAM's Black RED group.
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 11:00 GMT
    Matt Pacocha

    New groupset on sale in March

    Yes, the only difference between SRAM's RED and Black RED groupsets is color and an oversized ‘team’ logo on the DoubleTap levers. The new option, simply, speaks to a core philosophy within the brand: if function is on target, then form can't be ignored.

    The new color option is a product of the success of SRAM’s Limited Tour Edition (LTE) RED group, which debuted at the Tour de France in July 2010 and was produced from September through December 2010. The group sold out in January; in total, SRAM sold 5,000 LTE groups.

    Black RED isn't a limited edition group and falls into the line as an option to the original polished version of RED. Black RED’s shifters are adorned with larger ‘team’ style SRAM logos, still in red and silver, and the derailleurs, chainrings, brakes and alloy PowerDome cassette back plate are anodized black and polished.

    The group is available with GXP or BB30 cranks, with multiple road chainring options available. A cyclo-cross outer ring is not yet offered. Cassette options mirror the standard RED group, including the latest 11-28t model.

    “Consumers and [OE] customers get excited by more custom options,” said Michael Zellmann, SRAM’s road PR manager. “[The Black finish] was a balance demand from different sources [both OE and retail] and we’ve found that color options have proven successful for us. LTE was successful and Black RED is expected to rival or exceed that.”

    The new color will slowly trickle out onto the professional circuit. It's currently in the hands of individual riders, including Tim Johnson, Thor Hushovd, Chris Horner and Robbie McEwen, as well as triathletes Chris McCormack, Michellie Jones and Terenozo Bozzone.

    RadioShack, Liquigas-Cannondale, Garmin-Cervélo and Saxo Bank-Sungard will race Black RED at select Classics this spring, according to Zellmann. SRAM Black RED will be available for sale in...

  • Vacansoleil ends contract with Riccò's soigneur

    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 11:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mongiardo worked only for Italian, team says

    Vacansoleil-DCM has parted company with the soigneur who came to the team with Riccardo Riccò. The rider was fired last week, and the team noted that Flavio Mongiardo worked only for the controversial Italian.  It was mutually agreed that his contract would end on March 31.

    The team last week terminated its contract with Riccò, who had been hospitalised nearly two weeks ago  after apparently undergoing a contaminated blood transfusion.

    “He worked in principle only for Riccò.  Now that he has gone, we no longer need his services,” the team said, according to De Telegraaf.

    The team noted that there were no indications that Mongiardo was involved in Ricco's apparent doping.  However, Mongiardo is understood to be in a relationship with Riccò's sister.  “We are helping Flavio to protect himself.  He is very close to Riccò.  It is a difficult situation,” team spokesman Frank Kwanten told De Telegraaf. 

  • Dessel eyes March return

    Cyril Dessel (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 12:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman sidelined by acute prostatitis

    Cyril Dessel (AG2R-La Mondiale) has returned to full training after missing the early part of the season due to acute prostatitis. The Frenchman was diagnosed with the ailment ahead of his planned season debut at the Tour de San Luis in January.

    Although he was forced to spend 40 days off the bike, Dessel was able to train in the gym in the intervening period and he is hopeful that he will soon be back up to speed.

    “I’ve only just returned to training, but I managed to maintain myself physically in the meantime so I’m not starting from zero,” he told the AG2R-La Mondiale team website. “I couldn’t ride my bike but I was able to do some running and weights.”

    Dessel is currently at a week-long training camp in Aups with ten of his teammates and he is working towards making a comeback to racing in the next month.

    “I have a bit of work to do get back to an acceptable level and compete again,” he admitted. “But it’s already a relief to be at the camp. I don’t know the exact date of my return to competition but if there aren’t any problems, it should be around the middle of March.”

    Once Dessel is back in action, his thoughts will immediately turn towards preparing for May’s Giro d’Italia, where he will ride in support of John Gadret. Although his palmares boasts a 6th place finish and a stage win at the Tour de France, Dessel will be making his debut in the Italian race.

    “My main objective is to prepare myself in order to get the Giro in the best condition,” he said. “John will be our leader for the overall, and for my...

  • Rohregger signs with Leopard Trek

    Mountains classification winner Thomas Rohregger (Milram)
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 13:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Austrian climber survived Milram and Pegasus foldings

    Yet another former Milram and Pegasus rider has found a home for the 2011 season, as Leopard Trek announced on Wednesday that it has signed Thomas Rohregger. The Austrian climber is expected to make his season debut at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, which takes place from March 21 to 27.

    "I couldn't be happier about having the opportunity to race with such a strong team," said Rohregger, 28. He already knows several of his new teammates from previous teams, and said that he was sure he would "enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie."

    Rohregger will help strengthen the team's climbers in the Grand Tours. "Though the details of my program and role on the team are still under discussion, I'm hoping to ride the Giro again," he said. "There is a lot of climbing, and two of the stages even run through my home region. I have had good days in the Giro, so I hope to build on those experiences."

    "Thomas comes to us a little late in the signing process and through the misfortune of another team's license application," General Manger Brian Nygaard noted. . "But we are really glad to have him at any time. I am sure he will add greatly to our team."

    Rohregger turned pro in 2005 with Elk Haus-Simplon, and rode for Team Milram from 2009 to 2010. He had signed with the Pegasus Cycling Project, which folded when it failed to get a licence. He won his homeland tour, the Tour of Austria, in 2008, and was King of the Mountains in the 2010 Tour Down Under.