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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Date published:
November 14, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Michael Rasmussen verdict postponed until December

    Embattled Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 1:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team leaders "not telling the truth", Dane claims

    Theo de Rooij, former general manager of the Rabobank team, testified that he was convinced that Michael Rasmussen was in Mexico training for the 2007 Tour de France. Rasmussen had claimed to be in Mexico but was actually in Italy, and he was removed from the Tour whilst leading the race and subsequently fired by the Dutch team when the truth came out. The Dane said that de Rooij and Erik Breukink "did not tell the truth" to the court.

    After being fired for lying about his whereabouts, Rasmussen sued the team, saying it was aware of where he was, and demanded 5.8 million Euros in damages and back pay. The trial continued on Monday, with the next session scheduled for December 18.

    De Rooij did not find it unusual that Rasmussen would apparently travel to his wife's homeland of Mexico to train. "Riders are training more in distant places," he said, according to the ANP news agency.

    Rasmussen's lawyer pointed out that de Rooij may have thought the rider was in Mexico, but faxed him information during that period to an Italian phone number. "I did that without thinking," de Rooij said.

    Team director Erik Breukink also testified that he thought Rasmussen was in Mexico, as claimed.

    De Rooij resigned shortly after Rasmussen's firing. Breukink's contract with the team is to end this year. Rabobank has also announced that it will stop sponsoring the team as well.

    Rasmussen attended the day in court, and after seven hours of testimony, disagreed with what de Rooij and Breukink said. "I'm sure they're not telling the truth.

    "Maybe there are more truths," he said cryptically, "but I'm sure they knew here I was before the Tour."

  • 2013 Cycling Australia Road National Championships unveiled

    The field assemble on the startline in Buninyong for the men's open road race.
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 3:12 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Major changes to courses in Buninyong and Ballarat

    The highly anticipated routes for the Australian Road National Championships have been revealed with major changes to the road course designed to create a more open race to both domestic and international riders. The time trial will be run on completely closed roads early in the Championship week with the criterium circuit undergoing a minor location shift into the heart of Ballarat's CBD.

    The decision by race organisers to hold the time trials earlier in the week will also hopefully increase the number of starters as riders will have a number of days to recover before the weekend's road races.

    The traditional road race loop around Buninyong had come under criticism from a number of international riders including Mark Renshaw, Robbie McEwen and Graeme Brown for lacking variation. Matt Goss attended the launch of the Championships and offered his opinion on the route changes.

    "It's a tough course at Buninyong, no doubt, but it's a course where you always get a good winner," said Goss. "The strongest guy on the day wins and the course changes for 2013 are really exciting.

    "This new course opens the door a little more for the sprinters so I think the 2013 race is going to be an open and exciting one," Goss added.

    Next year's course will utilise the familiar and demanding circuit with additional 27.8km laps to start each race before tackling the Buninyong loop.

    The start/finish line will be in the usual location on Geelong Road before turning onto the Midland Highway, left up Mt Buninyong Road and then making a right-hand turn at the top onto Yendon Number One Road. This sends riders onto the longer loop that the elite men will tackle three times before...

  • Dropped from Argos-Shimano, Kluge joins NetApp-Endura

    Leif Lampater and Roger Kluge race to the lead on day 1 in Berlin
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 6:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Olympic silver medal winner finds new home for 2013

    With no road victories during his two-year stint at Argos-Shimano, the management of the Dutch team announced they would not be renewing Roger Kluge's contract for 2013. The 26-year-old has recently found a team for 2013 in the form of the recently merged NetApp-Endura Professional Continental squad.

    Kluge, a former silver medallist in the points race at the 2008 Olympic Games has achieved a number of victories over the last two seasons however, none of them have been on the road.

    The current German individual pursuit track champion rode mainly in support of Argos-Shimano sprinters John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel during the road season. His only podium of 2012 in Argos-Shimano colours was a third-place at Classica de Almeria won by Australia's Michael Matthews.

    "We are delighted to have signed up Roger Kluge to further support our sprint section. Roger has experience in the UCI WorldTour and was most recently lead-out rider for world class sprinters including Kittel and Degenkolb. His speed makes him ideal for our sprint team," said NetApp-Endura team manager Ralp Denk.

    The newly formed Professional Continental team is happy to give the German freedom to manage his track and road ambitions throughout the coming season. Kluge was a close fourth in the omnium at this year’s London Olympic Games and is a previous winner of the Berlin Six-Days. He won the 2011 edition alongside countryman Robert Bartko.

    "Roger was last used in preparing for sprints, but we will now give him the chance to ride on his own account," added Denk. "We will change his preparations for the season so that, besides competing in a six-day race, he can concentrate fully on the...

  • Knebel confirms interest in sponsoring the Rabobank team

    A Rabobank rider drops back to the team car
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 9:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Manager calls for international teams to agree on how to treat former dopers

    Several companies are interested in taking over sponsorship of the Rabobank team, but team director Harold Knebel has revealed that the the companies want to ensure that the team will deliver “clean” cycling.  “They want a kind of 'clean earth' warranty,” Knebel told the Dutch Federation at its autumn meeting Tuesday in Utrecht.

    Knebel said he has received numerous enquiries from potential sponsors for the team after Rabobank announced they were ending their long-term backing. However he called on clear rules on how major professional teams operate.

    "It is important that we have an international legal structure, created in consultation with the international professional teams, “ Knebel said according the ANP news agency.

    By that, he meant that the major international teams should all agree on how to treat former dopers.

    “You see that a team like Sky treats them differently than for example Garmin. It would be good to all agree on a process. If that is not internationally possible, we will work with the Dutch pro teams, the National Federation or the NSF (the Dutch Olympic committee) to find a national method to recover cycling's credibility.”

    Rabobank announced on October 19 that it would end its title sponsorship of the team as of the end of the year, although it would fulfil its financial obligations beyond that time. The team said that it would continue as a “white label” team until a new title sponsor is found.

    Rabobank is currently being sued by Michael Rasmussen for 5.8 million Euros for his...

  • Team Sky appoints Shaun Stephens as Performance Coach

    Team Sky was the last team to take on the Valkenberg course
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 10:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian leaves AIS and national triathlon team

    Team Sky has appointed Australian Shaun Stephens as Performance Coach for 2013 to work alongside Team Sky’s Head of Performance Tim Kerrison.

    Stephens has worked with Australian athletes through four Olympic cycles and is currently head coach and programme manager at the Australian Institute of Sport and Triathlon Australia. He is considered one of the top triathlon coaches in the world and was head coach for the Australian team at the 2012 London Olympics.

    Stephens boosts Team Sky's coaching staff after the departure of road coach Bobby Julich. The American left the team in October after confessing to having used doped during his own professional career.

    "I'm very excited about the opportunity to work as part of the Team Sky programme,” Stephens said in the team's press release. “I have watched their outstanding performances with interest over the last three years and have been impressed by how they have assembled their team and introduced innovative performance strategies to cycling.”

    “I believe it is Dave Brailsford's vision of introducing a diversity of skill sets into Team Sky, and ultimately the cycling staff and riders' embracement of new training and competition strategies, that has given Team Sky a competitive advantage over other teams.”

    Team principal Dave Brailsford hailed the arrival of the new coach, saying, "It is incredibly exciting to be bringing fresh expertise into the sport, and further reinforces this team's desire to break new ground in the field of performance.”

  • Duggan and Petrov join Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank

    Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) arrives on the podium.
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 11:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Danish team also re-signs Miyazawa

    Timmy Duggan and Evgeny Petrov have signed with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank for 2013, with the Danish-based team also extended its contract with Takashi Miyazawa of Japan.

    Duggan is the reigning US road champion. He rode for Liquigas-Cannondale in 2010 and 2011, and had signed for Team SpiderTech for 2013. However, the Canadian team last month announced that it was suspending operations for 2013 in order to concentrate on getting a WorldTour licence in 2014. Spider Tech produces kinesiology tape used by many athletes. It will become a partner of the Saxo Bank team in 2013.Duggan has signed a one-year contract, with the team announcing his arrival on the day of his birthday.

    Petrov signed a two-year contract and has spent the last two years with Astana. He won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2010. Miyazawa joined the team this year, and has extended for another year. He wore the leader's jersey for one stage at the Tour of Taiwan in March.

    "We are getting close to finalizing our 2013 roster, and with the confirmation of these three riders, we are adding solid depth in different areas of the team,” said team owner Bjarne Riis in a press release. “Duggan is a climbing all-rounder, Petrov a strong all-rounder and Takashi a great helper when setting up a sprint for his team mates. I believe these guys will bring great value to our roster, and I look forward to them joining our team for next year.”

    “I am thrilled to make a late signing into a fantastic situation,” said Duggan. “Throughout my career I've admired Bjarne's world-class focus on the team...

  • Rodríguez calls for major changes in UCI WorldTour points system

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) tastes victory at the Tour of Lombardy
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 12:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    World number one describes points system as very unbalanced

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) who ended the 2012 season ranked number one in the world, has called for a major shake-up of the UCI WorldTour points system to try to ensure that domestiques, as well as the leaders, get more recognition for the work they do.

    The current WorldTour ranking awards points to the top 20 riders the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta Espana and the top ten finishers in the Classics and the other stage races on the WorldTour calendar. A few points are awarded to the top five finishers on the stages and race leaders but riders who sacrifice themselves for their leaders and their teams, rarely score points.

    “It’s very unbalanced because the points system does not give anything to those who finish further down the classification. They should set it up so it provides a much broader range of points,” the Katusha rider told Cyclingnews.

    “The winner shouldn’t finish the season with 600 points, he should finish with 15,000. That way a team worker who gets 300 or 400 will have something to offer, in terms of points, to a squad.”

    Rodríguez cited the case of Joost Posthuma, the Dutch rider retired at the end of this season partly because he did not have any points to offer a WorldTour team.

    Posthuma was part of the 2011 Leopard Trek line-up for the Tour de France team which put both Andy and Fränk Schleck on the final podium behind Cadel Evans. However, his important role as a domestique was of little value in a system which puts UCI points as one of the most critical factors in any team's bid for the WorldTour.

    “Posthuma didn’t get a team because he didn’t have any points, it’s a...

  • Rick Zabel pleased with first year at Rabobank Continental

     Rick Zabel (Germany) is congratulated by his dad
    Article published:
    November 14, 2012, 14:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Won German U-23 national road title

    Rick Zabel is more than satisfied with his first year in the U-23 ranks, especially since he won the U-23 German national road title. He will remain with the Rabobank Continental team in the coming year, despite the loss of the team's sponsor.

    Zabel, who turns 19 next month, is the son of retired professional Erik Zabel, and showed at the German U-23 championships in September that he has inherited his father's legendary finishing speed, winning in a three-man sprint. “Going into the race as an outsider was an advantage for me,” he told “Beforehand I had certainly not reckoned with the win.”

    Overall he was pleased with his year. “At Rabobank I have made another step forward. We ride pro races, where I have learned a lot. The development is going up and I hope that at some point I can become a pro.”

    The national title was Zabel's only win, but he also placed second in the Ronde von Limburg, and was 20th in the U-23 Tour of Flanders.

    “Rabobank is one of the best teams in the U-23 area. Everyone who can ride there can consider themselves lucky. In winter we have four training camps, including one very long one.”

    Zabel has a contract with the team through 2013, and the team will continue despite Rabobank's withdrawal as sponsor. And after that? “I haven't looked that far into the future. I live in the here and now and only look at the upcoming things and take it all step for step.”