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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Date published:
November 11, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Lance Armstrong ignites USA Cycling growth

    Armstrong's profile has increased cycling's popularity in the US
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 12:30 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Lance Armstrong factor leads to record high memberships

    Lance Armstrong’s return to professional bike racing has had a direct impact on the number of cyclists registering with USA Cycling in 2009. The number of license holders is expected to reach an all time high of 66,600 members by the end of this year, according to Andrea Smith, USA Cycling's director of communications.

    USA Cycling statistics show a steady increase in the number of licenses issued between 2002 and 2008 that can be directly related to Armstrong's popularity during and after his seven Tour de France victories. “There is no way to say exactly why we have had such an increase, but common sense lets us figure that one of those factors is certainly Lance Armstrong,” Smith told Cyclingnews.

    By the end of the year, USA Cycling expects to see a 5.62 per cent increase in memberships over the 63,273 registered members last year. Of the 66,600 expected total, 45,000 memberships come from the disciplines of road, cyclo-cross and track, while the remaining figure includes mountain bikers, coaches and officials.

    Armstrong retired from professional bike racing in 2005 after seven successive Tour de France victories (1999-2005) with the former US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. He returned to the pro peloton with Astana in January, beginning his comeback with Australia’s Tour Down Under and the North America’s Tour of California in February. He went on place 12th in the Giro d’ Italia in May and third in the Tour de France in July.

    The membership increase following Armstrong’s comeback in January is similar to a membership spike during the peak of Armstrong’s popularity. USA Cycling reports that the most significant increases occurred between 2004-2005 and again in 2006, the year following his retirement.


  • Vinokourov says Kashechkin a risk for Astana

    Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 14:14 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    McQuaid clarifies position on Astana's former riders, Vinokourov will back Contador's Tour ambitions

    Alexandre Vinokourov says he expects former Astana teammate Andrey Kashechkin will be forced to find another team for the 2010 season. In an interview with Kazakh website Vinokourov also stated that if Alberto Contador remains with the team in 2010, he will be fully committed to the Spainard's attempt at a third Tour de France victory.

    Vinokourov and Kashechkin were both dismissed from Astana in 2007 for blood doping. Both riders served two-year suspensions for their respective offences, though, only Vinokourov has been able to make a return to the sport's professional ranks after he re-joined Astana in time to start at this year's Vuelta a España in August.

    Vinokourov was quoted by as saying that International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid had expressed opposition to Kashechkin re-joining the team because of the team's chequered doping history.

    "McQuaid was opposed to Kashechkin being part of Astana. The team said he had told them 'you already have a racer who will have recently returned from suspension', referring to me," said Vinokourov.

    "If Astana sign a contract with Kashechkin, I think the team will have problems in the coming season. For that reason, I think Kashechkin will have to look for another team."

    McQuaid today acknowledged that he had warned Astana's management that the recruitment of riders with a doping history could affect the renewal of their ProTour licence, but denied that he had referred to any specific riders during his meetings with Astana officials.

    "That was one of the subjects that I discussed with them earlier in the year," McQuaid told Cyclingnews. "It wasn't specific names, it was simply that they need to bear in mind that they had former riders coming back and that Astana has a [doping] history.

    "If they wanted to remain in the ProTour it would have to be the complete opposite of the situation before....

  • Sedun to join Astana as director in 2010

    Team Astana led by Alberto Contador
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 14:43 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Russian is experienced former professional rider

    Dimitri Sedun has been named as a Directeur Sportif for Team Astana in the coming year. The Russian will join Italians Giuseppe Martinelli and Guido Bontempi at the Kazakh ProTour team.

    Sedun, 38, is married to pro cyclist Nicole Brändli. He is a former pro rider himself, having ridden for teams Roslotto, De Nardi and MAT from 1996 to 2001.

    He was a sports director of the women's team Acca Due, where he worked with Brändli, Zulfiya Zabirova, Diana Zilute and Edita Pucinskaite. He has also worked with the Brazilian cycling federation.

  • Serrano recovers in hospital after nose surgery

    Spaniard Rafael Serrano Fernandez (Contentpolis-Ampo)
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 14:58 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Doctors corrected nasal septum deviation caused in crash at Delta Tour Zeeland

    Spaniard Rafael Serrano Fernandez (Contentpolis-Ampo) is recovering from successful surgery in Murcia, Spain, today on his nose. Doctors corrected a nasal septum deviation caused in a crash at Delta Tour Zeeland in June.

    "With the season over, it was time to solve the problem that made breathing difficult for me," Serrano told Europapress.

    Serrano crashed with Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) in the second stage of the Delta Tour Zeeland June 13. He abandoned the stage race, but returned to competition soon after. He finished 28th in the World Championship time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Doctors will release Serrano from the hospital in two days.

    Serrano, 22, said that, after two seasons of progression as a professional, he is ready to take a big step ahead in 2010. "Taking into account my age, it's gone well for me," he said.

  • Ivan Dominguez signs with Jamis-Sutter Home

    Ivan Dominguez rode for Colavita Bolla in 2004, when he led the Tour de Georgia.
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 15:04 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Cuban-American sprinter boosts US team

    Jamis-Sutter Home presented by Colavita has added Ivan Dominguez to its 2010 roster, bolstering a tough-to-beat sprint squad. The Cuban native accepted the late-season offer from the USA's top ranked National Racing Calendar (NRC) team after his lengthy wait for a Rock Racing contract failed to come through.

    "I signed with Jamis," Dominguez said candidly. "Basically, I got a called from their directeur Sebastian [Alexandre] asking if I was available. I said yes because I had not signed with Rock Racing yet. I was talking with them but they weren't ready to or able to give me a contract yet, so I hadn't signed yet. We went from there, it took two days to have everything done."

    It was recently announced that Colavita stepped down from its title sponsorship after a seven-year venture and Jamis Bicycles took over the leading position. Dominguez is no stranger to the team, having raced for them in 2004 when it was titled Colavita-Bolla.

    "I haven't met any of the people at the Jamis Bicycles yet," Dominguez said. "But I know Sebastian and almost all the guys from the team because I raced with them before. I went to Health Net and other teams but ever since then, I always had a good relationship with all of them."

    Dominguez joins a team of criterium specialists including Argentineans Sebastian Haedo, who ranked third in the NRC, and Alejandro Borrajo. The returning riders include Anibal Borrajo, Luis Amaran, Guido Palma, Andy Guptill and Tyler Wren. New riders include, Jamey Driscoll, Nick Frey, Jackie Simes and Frank Trevieso.

    "I feel like I fit very well there," Dominguez said. "I know how they race and they work well together. We can play a lot of cards. We have so many fast guys we can go in breaks and the others can sit in the back. I feel very comfortable going to these guys and they are very happy about it. I can't wait to start the season."

    Leaving Rock Racing on good terms


  • Spanish director De Santos scouts Australia's 'uncomplicated' Worlds

    The 2010 World Championship circuit in Geelong, Australia, 15.9 kilometres
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 16:42 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Next year's World Championships likely to end in sprint, says José Luis De Santos

    The World Championships in Australia next year lack climbs significant enough to prevent a sprint finish, according to the director of the Spanish World Championship team, José Luis De Santos.

    "It's one of the least complicated ones I can remember," De Santos said to Todociclismo.

    The 2010 Worlds is the first point-to-point course.  It will take the professional men from Melbourne to Geelong over 85 kilometres. Once in Geelong, they will ride 11 15.9-kilometre circuits, each covering The Ridge climb (120m), for a total of 259.9 kilometres.

    The route to Geelong is "without complications and a very wide road" and the circuit is "in an area of residential development," said De Santos. "It has two climbs, but they won't be selective enough."

    The last metres to the finish line on Moorabool Street are uphill. "It's slightly upward, but nothing excessive, so the logical outcome would be a sprint."

    The women and Under 23 men will only race on the Geelong circuit, skipping the start in Melbourne. The circuit is the base for the time trials, too. The Under 23 men will race it twice (31.8km), and there will be extended versions for the men (two laps, 45.4km) and women (one lap, 22.7km).

    "Those who consider [Mark] Cavendish and [Fabian] Cancellara as favourite for the Worlds are not mistaken, although we will fight to upset this prediction," he said.

    Spain has won four World Championships in the last 10 years including three in sprints with Oscar Freire.

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  • Chances of Contador staying at Astana high, says manager

    Spain's Alberto Contador enjoying a vacation in Curaçao
    Article published:
    November 11, 2009, 17:48 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Any deal will be for just one year

    According to Alberto Contador's manager/brother, Francisco, the two-time Tour de France champion is increasingly likely to stay with Astana for 2010.

    Speaking to Spanish website Biciclismo, Francisco Contador revealed that the work of recently appointed team boss Yvon Sanquer at Astana had resulted in a "good impression" of the work being done. "Yvon Sanquer wants to do things in the right way and move the project forwards," said Contador.

    However, he quickly added that there were still hurdles that needed to be crossed before a deal could finally be agreed between his brother and the Kazakh-backed team. "We're very close to Astana but it's not certain," he explained. "If Astana receives a ProTour licence from the UCI the chances of Alberto staying with them are greater. If they don't, Alberto and the rest of the riders will leave."

    He added that any deal with Astana would definitely only cover the 2010 season, no matter what the UCI's decision. "This is a new project [with Sanquer] and we don't know how it's going to work, so signing for any more than one year would be like going in with our eyes closed," Contador explained.

    As for reports of an €8 million a year offer for four years from Astana, Contador said they were nothing more than a joke. "It's incredible. This weekend I was in Florence relaxing with my wife so it was impossible for me to have met with anyone as was said, and the figures and years mentioned were also lies," he declared. "They've got nothing to do with reality… It's like someone reporting now that Alberto is going to sign for Contentpolis-AMPO."

    Contador refused to be drawn on which team is the favourite for Contador's signature if Astana don't retain his services. "Quick Step have shown great interest, but so have the rest of the teams," he stated, adding that he will discuss all the options with his brother when the Tour champion returns to Madrid from the Caribbean on...

  • Prudhomme considers boosting Tour wild cards

    The Cofidis boys certainly stand out in the peloton.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 0:04 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    More teams possible for 2010 French Grand Tour

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has admitted that he and his organising team have been considering increasing the number of wild card places they will offer to teams for next year's race. Speaking to the magazine of the French national federation, La France Cycliste, Prudhomme confessed that he has even considered selecting as many as 26 teams for the Tour, although 22 looks more likely.

    "I can't say anything now, but we are certainly considering an expansion to 22 teams," Prudhomme revealed. "Sixteen teams are guaranteed participation, but the choice of four or six wild cards is extremely difficult. We will first wait for the final composition of the teams and their performance in the year before we announce our selection."

    Prudhomme's annual dilemma over which teams to award the Tour's wild card places to has been complicated by the sudden emergence of new contenders and the departure of French outfits Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Cofidis from the ProTour. The two French teams are almost certain to get two of the wild card slots that will be made available, leaving the likes of Team Sky, the Cadel Evans-led BMC racing team, Dutch teams Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil, and emerging French team Saur-Sojasun battling for the other wild card places.

    Prudhomme has admitted in the past that increasing the number of teams riding the Tour is difficult not because of the increase in size of the peloton but because of the logistical problems involved, particularly finding accommodation for them.

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