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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Date published:
January 06, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Zirbel stays calm during a waking storm

    Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling) was third quickest over the stage.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 7:31 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    American's latest blog reveals sense of optimism

    American Tom Zirbel is in the midst of a potential storm as he awaits the results of a B sample anti-doping test from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). If it corresponds to a positive A sample for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) it could cost him a two-year suspension.

    The 6'5" time trialist, known to many as the 'Friendly Giant,' has chosen to look on the brighter side, however. "I have a t-shirt that says this on it," Zirbel said in his latest blog entitled 'Mi Bicicleta o Mi Muerte'. "It has a picture of a phat cruiser bike with long handlebars ("Easy Rider" style) that is popular in some Mexican cultures. I'd have to say that in light of my current situation - I'm bluffing."

    The blog's main page showcases a humorous photo of Zirbel, a tall blonde with a 200-pound frame, barreling head first down a sand dune. The latest headline is taken from a well-known Spanish saying printed on one of his t-shirts that when translated reads, 'My bicycle or my death.'

    "I love the sport of cycling and more specifically I love racing my bike," he continued. "But if that is taken away from me, I'm not going to give up on life or play the victim. Life is too full of OTHER cool and exciting things that I can dive into head first. It's also far too short to dwell in the past and be miserable.

    "Typing these words is much easier than putting their message into practice but I'm confident that if it comes to that, I can do it... with the continued support of my kick ass network of friends and family."

    The 31-year-old American announced he tested positive in an anti-doping test conducted by the USADA following the US Pro time trial championships on August 29, 2009. The A sample returned positive for an endogenous steroid DHEA. He awaits the response of the B sample.

    Both samples were tested at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) at the University of Utah.

    "On a...

  • Greipel gears up for another Down Under campaign

    Germany's André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) keeps his green jersey after the stage win.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 7:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    TDU 2008 champion aims to avoid last year's bad luck

    Columbia-HTC rider André Greipel makes his return to Australia keen to avoid the bad luck that plagued his 2009 Tour Down Under efforts. The German sprinter will lead the American team's campaign in Adelaide, Australia, from January 17-24.

    The event's 2008 winner - the first year the race was included on the UCI ProTour calendar - crashed in the third stage last year as defending champion and suffered a dislocated shoulder that put him out of competition for almost four months.

    "Last year I had some bad luck, although I did win the first stage. However, I don't expect to have that bad luck again," said Greipel. "When I race, I'll definitely be thinking about 2008 more than 2009. Every race is different, but I hope I can win at least one stage."

    Greipel looked set to take another Down Under crown last January, winning stage one to Mawson Lakes ahead of the likes of eventual overall winner Allan Davis and Robbie McEwen. But his crash on an extremely windy day to Victor Harbor put him out of contention and competition, although he's remaining focused on the breakthrough result two years ago.

    "The Tour Down Under in 2008 was the first time I could have real ambitions for myself, so it's a race I remember with a lot of affection. You could say Australia made me," said Greipel.

    Columbia-HTC's foreign contingent arrives in Adelaide on Sunday and Greipel indicated that the distance from Europe can also be a factor. "Adapting to the time difference is crucial, but so is good training beforehand," he said.

    "Marcel [Sieberg] and I will be down for breakfast in the hotel at 6:00 a.m and out training at 6:30 in the morning to avoid the heat. I've found that's the best way to do it, and long-term it really pays off."

    Columbia-HTC for Tour Down Under: Bernhard Eisel; Matt Goss; Bert Grabsch; Andre Greipel; Leigh Howard; Michael Rogers; Hayden Roulston; Marcel Sieberg

  • Garmin-Transitions wants both Australian jerseys

    Cameron Meyer (Australia)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 8:04 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    White delighted by Meyer’s win

    Cameron Meyer has rated the chance of Garmin-Transitions taking both the road and time trial Scody Australian Open Road Championship jerseys as high, after he won the elite men’s time trial today. Meyer put in a sensational ride to claim his first elite men’s title, winning over the 39 kilometre course by 28 seconds.

    “I put it really high, actually,” said Meyer. “We’ve got four really strong guys, so I think we’ll be one of the strongest. I know it’s going to be a really tough field, you’ve got so many good riders on Sunday but we’ll play a good team roll and hopefully we can come away with both jerseys and take them back to Europe for our team.”

    Team sport director and former professional Matthew White watched Meyer win on the Buninyong, Victoria course. He believes in former champion Matthew Wilson, rising star Jack Bobridge and West Australian brothers Travis and Cameron Meyer the team could win Sunday’s 163.2 kilometre event.

    “We’ve got four guys going well and that means we’ve got four options to play,” said White. “Definitely Cam isn’t going to be our leader but we’ve got four wildcards and we’ll play it from there. Jack’s going quite well, Travis is quite handy and Matt Wilson always has a good ride around here. We’ve got a few cards to play.”

    While White was keen to talk about team’s chances for the road race, his genuine delight for Meyer’s success today was obvious. White took Meyer under his wing during the youngster’s first year as a professional with Garmin in 2009.

    “It’s a big thing too, his big race in Europe will be the Giro d’Italia and he gets to wear a national champion jersey,” said White. “It’s a big thing, it’s a big thing. Especially at the Giro, Tour de France and those sorts of races, so I’m happy...

  • Roberts looks to help Ciolek beat Cavendish

    Luke Roberts (Australia)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 9:51 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Milram's Australian aiming for German team's first win in TDU

    Luke Roberts of Team Milram has two major goals this season. The first is to bring in the team's first victory at the Tour Down Under and the second is to help Gerald Ciolek beat Mark Cavendish in sprints.

    The 32-year-old, who is new to Milram this season, says that Ciolek, "is every bit as fast as Cavendish or anyone else, or even faster."

    Interviewed by the Australian newspaper East Torrens Messenger, Roberts said that "Ciolek lacks a bit of guidance in the finish and you see the way Columbia rides for Cavendish, sometimes he doesn’t even have to sprint, he does two pedals out of the saddle and puts his hands in the air."

    "My job will be to get Ciolek to start the sprint in the best position possible and even attack against the Columbia train.’"

    Watching Cavendish take six stage wins at last year's Tour “was almost making me sick,” the Australian said. "It was good to see Mark Renshaw up there doing his job, he’s a good friend of mine, but on the other hand I was sitting there frustrated that no one was really making a big challenge on them."

    Roberts's spring schedule ends with the Giro d'Italia, and he hopes to do well enough there to secure his ticket to the Tour de France. He has already opened his season, with a third-place finish in the Australian national time trial race. But he hopes to bring in Milram's first 2010 win, at the Tour Down Under.

    "I think there’s going to be quite a bit of pressure on me to ride for the (win in the) overall classification," Roberts said.

    "Once I signed with Milram the first thing they spoke about was Tour Down Under. That was mid-September and since then I’ve been 110 percent motivated to do well."

    He is grateful to be back in the ProTour, after having spent the last two years at the Continental level. His hopes of returning to the top hit a set back after he broke his hip in a crash a year ago.


  • Devolder happy to train in Belgium

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 10:53 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Two-time Ronde winner sees no reason to flee cold weather

    Stijn Devolder doesn't understand why some of his fellow Quick Step teammates have fled to Spain ahead of the teams training camp next week. Continuing his training in Belgium this week, Devolder would prefer to spend as much time as possible and home while he has the opportunity and admitted that the freezing temperatures “harden your character.”

    "Why should I now go to Spain? On Monday I'll go to our team training camp in Calpe anyway,” he told “I'll be away from home enough this year. I got in five hours of training, a good 160 kilometres. All alone, but that does not bother me. I still do not see the point in a flight to Spain."

    It was announced earlier this week that Tom Boonen and several Quick Step teammates had travelled to Spain early to escape the snow, ice and sub-freezing weather.

    "It is not so cold that you freeze on to your bike," he said. “You go from a temperature of zero (Celsius) to minus one and you're not dead; It hardens your character.”

    The 30-year-old does take precautions against the conditions and described the equipment uses to tackle the cold. On his latest ride, he wore a thermal undershirt, long-sleeved sweater and a thermal vest, his usual socks and shoe covers. “I have not had cold feet. I ride with the ordinary gloves which I have from the team.”

    The two-time Ronde van Vlaanderen winner does have his limits, though. Too much unplowed snow on the roads, and he stays home. However, he has maximised his training time outdoors by employing his cyclo-cross bike on most of his longer road rides.

    And although some of his teammates have opted to ride indoors, as Boonen did last week at the Gent's Kuipke velodrome, Devolder expressed his satisfaction with his own regime. “I am content with my winter training. What others do is their business. "

  • José Rujano: I’m the third best climber in the world

    Diminutive Venezuelan Jose Rujano climbs to victory in the sixth stage of the Vuelta Pilsen Colombia.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 11:30 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Venezuelan says he’ll be riding the Giro d'Italia to win

    Will 2010 finally see a renaissance of the astounding climbing talents of José Rujano, that carried him to third place in the 2005 Giro d’Italia? The 27-year-old Venezuelan certainly believes so and has claimed that he will aim to not only ride this year’s Giro for his new team ISD-Neri, but win it. This will happen, he believes, because he is "the third best climber in the world".

    Of course, we’ve heard this before from Rujano. After his manager forced a breakdown in Rujano’s relationship with Selle Italia boss Gianni Savio in the wake of the 2005 Giro, the Venezuelan moved on to Quick Step and, more recently, Caisse d’Epargne but failed to shine for either of the ProTour giants. Lately, though, Rujano has been showing better form, becoming just the third foreign winner of the Tour of Colombia last June, and the first foreigner to win there since 1957.

    Speaking earlier this week to the Entorno Inteligente newspaper in his native Venezuela, Rujano stated: "I can’t go to the Giro just to race. No. I will fight to finish in the first three. I want to win it. I am much more mature now, I know what I have to do and the key thing is that the ISD-Neri team have accepted that my preparation must be the same as it was in 2005."

    That year Rujano built up to the Giro by winning Venezuela’s Tour of Tachira and then finishing second at the Tour de Langkawi. Both races are on his 2010 programme. "I am going to be very careful doing the Tour of Tachira. My goal is to win but I can’t take any risks. I need to get into the rhythm of racing to be ready for Europe and I can assure that with this in mind I am following a superior training plan to the one I used in 2005," he said.

    Pressed on why he believes he can compete with the best at the Giro, Rujano responded: "At the moment I consider myself the third-best climber in the world, behind the Spaniards Alberto Contador and...

  • Rock Racing favourites to sign Simoni

    Italian veteran Gilberto Simoni has been a fan of mountain biking for some time.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 13:02 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    Ex-Giro winner eyes move to controversial US outfit

    Gilberto Simoni’s agent on Wednesday revealed that Rock Racing are “clear leaders” in the race to sign the veteran Italian for his swansong season.

    Alex Carera of A&J Sport Management said that he and Simoni could fly to the United States to conclude negotiations with Rock Racing boss Michael Ball as early as next week. However, Carera also stressed that both Rock Racing’s offer and that of Italian squad Lampre-NGC hinged on forthcoming UCI announcements about the teams’ status for 2010. Rock Racing’s application for entry to the Professional Continental division is currently under review by the UCI, as is Lampre’s bid to have their ProTour licence renewed.

    “We’ve been in talks with Rock Racing for a couple of months now. Gilberto really likes the idea of riding for an American team, and the project they’re putting together,” Carera said. “If he was to sign with them, it wouldn’t just be about him racing, but also getting involved with their bike brand, and bringing three Italian riders and an Italian directeur sportif to the team. One of the riders would be his old Diquigiovanni team-mate Denis Bertolini.

    “The Lampre idea is different, in that he has a very good relationship with the Galbusera family, the Lampre owners,” Carera, whose clients also include Lampre star Damiano Cunego, continued. “Should they get their ProTour licence, it would also be a different type of race programme. In both cases, Rock Racing and Lampre, the offers are on the table and we could very quickly come to an agreement, depending on what the UCI announces. We’ve also had offers from the Meridiana-Kamen Continental division team and a Bulgarian Continental division team.”

    Now 38, two-time Giro d’Italia champion Simoni hinted earlier in the winter that, should he ride, the 2010 Corsa Rosa would be his final race in a career about to enter...

  • 2009 Reader Poll: Cervélo top-dog in team bike tally

    Cervélo takes top honors in the 'Best Team Bike' category for a fifth straight year, this time with its revamped S3 aero road machine.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2010, 14:31 GMT
    James Huang

    Cervélo TestTeam's slick machines top poll for fifth year running

    Cervélo has again taken the prize for 'Best Team Bike' in the 2009 Cyclingnews Reader Poll. The Canadian company has won the category for an unprecedented fifth straight year, and yet again with a bike that prioritizes aerodynamics over low weight, the Cervélo TestTeam S3.

    If the S3 looks familiar, it should: it's a direct descendent of the SLC-SL (last year's 'Best Team Bike' winner) and aside from more cleanly concealed cable routing, uses a virtually identical front triangle. Major changes come out back, though, as Cervélo aimed to temper the SLC-SL's somewhat rough ride by infusing some of the design traits of the lighter and more comfortable R3-SL.

    The SLC-SL's already-bulbous chain stays grew substantially as a result but the seat stays got far smaller, thus preserving bottom-end stiffness but gaining rear-end comfort that even managed to convert long-time R3-SL holdout Carlos Sastre – at least for a while.

    Frame weight changed only negligibly, too, and the new frame even retains the old model's good looks.

    Updated models from major brands Trek and Specialized continue to make inroads up the ranks, though, now occupying the second and third-place positions (up from last year's third and fifth, respectively).

    Trek's latest Madone 6-Series veers further into the pure race bike territory with an all-new chassis that is lighter, edgier, and markedly more rigid than before. Front triangle stiffness is now more in keeping with its demanding competition while still retaining very good overall levels of comfort, not to mention the previous Madone's superb handling characteristics.

    Also carried over is the slick Net Molded carbon fiber bottom bracket shell with drop-in bearings, the no-cut semi-integrated seatmast, tapered front end, and ultra-wide down tube and chain stays for a decidedly tech-laden package.

    Add in nine Tour de France overall victories with Lance Armstrong and...