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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Date published:
November 25, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Belgians eager for new season with new RadioShack team

    Belgian Gert Steegmans joins Bruyneel and Armstrong's new RadioShack team
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 12:07 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Steegmans, Hermans praised by Directeur Sportif Demol

    RadioShack is strengthened with youth and sprinting experience from Belgium for next season. Tour de France stage winner Gert Steegmans and youngster Ben Hermans signed for Lance Armstrong's team this year and look forward to the team's camp next month.

    Hermans is moving up “from the minor leagues to the Champions League,” RadioShack DS Dirk Demol told Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg.

    Hermans, 23, comes over from the Professional Continental team Topsport Vlaanderen. He will primarily serve as a helper to the other riders, except during the Ardennes Classics, said Demol. "There he will have a free role.”

    “I can't expect to start in the Tour, but I want to do well in the Ardennes Classics,” said Hermans.

    Demol wanted to make sure RadioShack has one rider capable of winning the sprints.

    "When I mentioned Steegmans' name, Armstrong immediately agreed.” Steegmans, 29, will concentrate on the Spring Classics, but is also in the pre-selection for the Tour de France.

    Steegmans started the 2009 season with team Katusha but his contract was terminated in August after he refused to sign the team's anti-doping charter. Because of the problems and not racing, he's started training earlier than usual.

    “My head is completely free again," said Steegmans.

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  • Contentpolis-AMPO's Vera arrested in Spain

    A member of the Spanish Civil Guard
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 12:28 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Spanish neo-pro among those arrested in Civil Guard operation

    Spanish press have reported that Contentpolis-AMPO rider Pedro José Vera was among a number of individuals arrested in Spain Tuesday by the Spanish police, for his alleged involvement in a doping ring.

    Spanish newspaper Marca and Spanish news agency EFE have reported that the 25-year-old Murcian cyclist is being held by Spanish authorities for alleged involvement in the distribution of doping products to other athletes.

    The arrest of Vera, who rode as a neo-pro with Contentpolis-AMPO this year, was part of operation involving up to 60 members of the Spain's Guardia Civil police.  It carried out targeted searches of properties across Spain.

    Valencian newspaper Levante-El Mercantil Valencia reported on Tuesday that the searches came after more than a year of investigation by the Guardia Civil's Central Operational Unit (UCO).

    Peruvian physician and former Kelme team doctor Walter Viru was one of those arrested yesterday on suspicion of running the alleged doping ring. The group is reported to have been responsible for the distribution of EPO, CERA and growth hormones.

    It is not yet known whether charges have been made against any of those individuals arrested.

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  • Moreno expects captaincy at Omega Pharma-Lotto

    Giro del Piemonte runner-up Daniel Moreno (Caisse d'Epargne).
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 13:43 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spaniard says Evans' departure opens the door for Grand Tour leadership

    Daniele Moreno signed up with Omega Pharma-Lotto to help Cadel Evans in the 2010 Tour de France, but in the wake of the Australian's subsequent departure for BMC Racing Team the Spaniard now expects to assume a captain's role at Grand Tours.

    “Now that Evans is gone and there is no leader on the team for the Grand Tours, I think the role will be for me, because there is no star to sign at this stage of the season,” the Spaniard told “I will have my freedom at the races and that excites me greatly.

    “The challenge does not bother me in the least. It's a sure bet for me. I'm delighted and I know I can be a leader in the three-week races.”

    That would not be the only challenge facing the 28-year old, who will transfer from Caisse d'Epargne. Going to a team where no one else speaks Spanish “is a situation I love. It is a challenge for me to learn the language so as to show them they were not wrong to sign me.”

    Moreno said that he expects to keep improving as a rider, “because every year I feel better and have more experience. Next year I will have more freedom and if it is like the years before, I think I'll do very well.

    “I said long ago that I can be among the top five in the Vuelta a España, and with a little luck I think I reach the podium one day.”

    Moreno anticipates riding the three Spring Classics “which best suit me”: Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The highlights of his season, he said, would be the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

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  • Ziliute closes illustrious career

    Diana Ziliute has announced her retirement
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 15:28 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Lithuanian to become sports director with Safi-Pasta Zara

    Lithuania's Diana Ziliute has called to a close her illustrious six-year professional career after she announced her retirement today in Italy.

    A prolific sprinter, Ziliute's palmares includes stage victories at the Tour of the Ardeche, Giro della Toscana and La Route de France, as well as the Lithuanian road and individual time trial titles. She has also claimed multiple stage wins at the women's Tours of France and Italy, the Grande Boucle Féminine and Giro d'Italia Femminile.

    Her final season included the overall titles at the Trophée d'Or Féminin and Giro della Toscana Int. Femminile, and culminated with a fifth place finish at the World Championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    The 33-year-old will now turn her attention to the role of sports director with Italy's Safi-Pasta Zara, the squad with which Ziliute spent her entire racing career.

    Ziliute's career will be honoured in a ceremony at the Madonna di Ghisallo near Bellagio, Italy, Sunday.

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  • Schleck eyes Tour advantage over Contador

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) ahead of Alberto Contador (Astana) at the 2009 Tour de France
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 16:14 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Two-time Tour winner Contador to face problems on cobbled stage, says Schleck

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) has already begun to plan how he can beat two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador in next year's race.

    Contador will pass through the mountains without problems if he has two or three mountain helpers, Schleck told Le Quotidien. "But his problem will be the pavé. He could suffer, while [brother] Fränk and I will be able to rely on specialists Fabian [Cancellara], Stuart [O'Grady] and Matti [Breschel]."

    Stage three of the Tour de France will travel from Wanze to Arenberg on July 6. The 207-kilometre stage includes seven sectors of pavé, 13.2 kilometres of cobbles usually only seen in one-day race Paris-Roubaix. Both Cancellara and O'Grady are past winners of Paris-Roubaix.

    "If there is a chance, we'll go for it. We will train as much as necessary to be familiar with this stage," said Schleck.

    Tour organiser ASO presented a course last month that starts in Rotterdam, Netherlands on July 3, and ends in Paris on July 25. Its first mountains come in the Alps, at Morzine and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Four Pyrenean mountain stages come in races final week, with a summit finish at the Col du Tourmalet only four days before the finish in Paris.

    This year, Luxembourg's Schleck finished 4:11 behind Alberto Contador and 1:13 ahead of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong.

    "My career goal is to win the Tour," Schleck continued. "For the moment there is someone stronger than me. I'd prefer not to have to face Contador. With him we've crossed a great talent; perhaps he is even stronger than Lance Armstrong.

    "He does show some weaknesses, like this year at Paris-Nice. So he is not unbeatable. To succeed, we must do everything at 100 per cent. But, for the moment, the big favourite is Contador."

    Schleck admitted he has to improve in time trial stages. Next year's Tour de France has two time trial stages, the eight-kilometre prologue and a...

  • RadioShack leave Beppu matter to Skil-Shimano

    Fumi Beppu
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 16:20 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Bruyneel says RadioShack were unaware of Beppu's status

    The direction of Fumiyuki Beppu's 2010 season remains in limbo after discussions between RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel and Skil-Shimano concluded that the Japanese rider remains contractually committed to the Dutch squad.

    Beppu was announced on Monday as part of RadioShack's 26-rider roster, despite having a year to run on his current contract with Skil-Shimano. The latter squad told Cyclingnews that they had spoken to Bruyneel, who confirmed that RadioShack had engaged Beppu on the basis of information provided by the rider.

    "Johan Bruyneel confirmed that RadioShack has signed a contract with Beppu," said Skil-Shimano's press officer Benny Ceulen today. "He said RadioShack had trusted information provided by Beppu that said he was free to sign with their team, which he was not."

    Skil-Shimano informed the International Cycling Union (UCI) of the situation on Tuesday. However, the sport's governing body is unlikely to be drawn further into the matter after RadioShack agreed to let Skil-Shimano resolve the conflict with Beppu themselves.

    "Bruyneel agreed that we have a valid contract with Beppu and said he would step back and allow us to sort it out," said Ceulen. "He [Bruyneel] does not want to be involved in the discussions as it is a matter between our team and our rider."

    Ceulen reaffirmed Skil-Shimano's intention that Beppu, who is currently at home in Japan, will complete the final year of his contract with the Pro Continental team.

    "The team's lawyer will now get in touch with Beppu in order to clear things up," he said.

    "Our goal is that Beppu will ride with Skil-Shimano in 2010."

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  • Treviso welcomes 2010 Italian Championships

    Filippo Pozzato wins the 2009 Italian Championships in Imola
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 16:22 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Championships return to Treviso province after eight years

    The Italian cycling federation (FCI) announced today in Bergamo, Italy, that the province of Treviso would be the host of next year's national championships. Eight years have passed since the nationals were last in Treviso, when Daniele Nardello won.

    "It's up to us now to give the athletes spectacular locations where the fans can spend an enjoyable and memorable day," said Gian Pietro Forcolin, director of Team 2000 Marchiol ASD.

    Team 2000 Marchiol ASD is the organisation that will be in charge of the week's races in Treviso, known as Settimana Tricolore. There are nine days of racing, time trials and road races for beginners (15-16 years old), juniors (17-18), under 23, elite without contract and professionals. The women will have elite and junior level races.

    Team 2000 Marchiol ASD will announce the locations of each race in the middle of February.

    The 1999 time trial and 2008 cyclo-cross World Championships also took place in Treviso. The national championships were in Imola this year, Bergamo in 2008, Genova in 2007, Friuli Venezia Giulia in 2006, Abruzzo in 2005, Terra di Pisa in 2004 and Saltara in 2003.

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  • CAS upholds first suspension based on blood profiling

    It's all about blood. Increasing the ability of the blood to deliver oxygen to the muscles is a potent performance-enhancer. Athletes are prepared to go to tremendous lengths to beat the tests.
    Article published:
    November 25, 2009, 16:22 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Speed skater Pechstein suspended for two years in landmark ruling

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled for the first time on the suspension of an athlete based on irregular blood values alone, and said that manipulation was the only explanation for such blood values in the case. The CAS on Wednesday upheld the two-year suspension of German speed skater Claudia Pechstein, who never returned a positive doping control.

    The Pechstein case is considered to be the test case as to whether athletes can be convicted of doping offences based solely on their blood profiles.

    The court ruled that the discrepancies in Pechstein's blood values could not "be reasonably explained by any congenital or subsequently developed abnormality. The Panel finds that they must, therefore, derive from the Athlete’s illicit manipulation of her own blood, which remains the only reasonable alternative source of such abnormal values."

    This summer the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced that it had requested disciplinary procedures be opened against five riders based on their abnormal testing results as part of the UCI's biological passport programme.

    Pechstein, 37, is Germany's most successful female Olympic athlete, with five gold medals, two silver and two bronze.

    The International Skating Union (ISU) took 27 blood samples from her between October 2007 and April 30, 2009, with 12 of those samples being after January 1, 2009. Based on those samples, and fluctuations in her reticulocyte values at the World Championships in Hamar, Norway, in February 2009, the ISU filed a complaint against her with its Disciplinary Commission. She was charged with “having used a prohibited substance and /or a prohibited method, i.e., some form of blood doping, which would constitute an anti-doping violation.”

    Pechstein was subsequently suspended for two years, and she appealed this suspension to the CAS.

    The Court acknowledged that the speed skater had never tested positive for...