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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Date published:
October 21, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Two-time world champ joins South African team

    Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog, 32, on her way to claiming victory in the Tour de Berne
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 15:30 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Ljungskog moves to MTN Energade for 2010

    Double world champion Susanne Ljungskog will join a reinforced MTN Energade women's team for 2010, the squad announced. The Swede and Danish racer Trine Schmidt come to the team from Team Flexpoint, which will not continue next year.  South Africans Robyn De Groot and An-li Pretorius are also new to the squad.

    Ljungskog told the Göteborgs-Posten that she would continue to reside in Göteborgs, but will attend the team's camp in Johannesburg at the start of 2010 for a month. The four-time Olympian has suffered from a medical condition called hemachromatosis, an unhealthy accumulation of iron in the blood, but now has her condition under control and is back to full strength.

    "I feel much better, my iron levels have gone down and I can train properly. It feels great."

    Continuing with the the team is South African Carla Swart, a US Collegiate champion in track, road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike and winner of the Tour of the Gila criterium this year.

    "We are very excited about the prospects that our women's team will have for local and international races in the 2010 season," said Bernard Pieters, senior sponsorship manager at MTN South Africa. "Strengthening the team with four quality signings reflects the commitment of the team to increase the awareness of Africa in the cycling world and showcasing some of the best talent we have on the continent."

    "We have a clear development pathway for our athletes that include world-class scientific training, international mentorship, and competition. The signing of Susanne and Trine to our team is the most exciting news in the history of women's cycling in Africa. We look forward to taking our South African talent to the next level in 2010 Commonwealth Games, World Championships, and on to London 2012." said Dr Carol Austin of Activeworx, Team MTN's coach.

    The team is aiming for a podium finish at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India and a top 20 in the...

  • NetApp announce 14-man roster for 2010

    Tassilo Fricke (centre) is one of the young riders announced in Team NetApp's 14-man squad.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 16:16 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Duyn leaves Garmin to lead new German continental squad

    Team NetApp today announced a 14-man roster for their 2010 debut in the professional peloton. Huub Duyn will join the team from ProTour team Garmin-Slipstream and, alongside former T-Mobile professional Eric Baumann, was named as a leader of the new German UCI Continental squad at a press conference in Raubling, Germany.

    Dutchman Duyn, 25, and Germany's Baumann, 29, will lead a team drawn from nine different nations. With an average age of 22 years, the team's first year programme will be designed to assist the development of young riders recruited to the squad. Sports Director Jens Heppner said the team will target one-day and shorter stage races from their base in Hamburg.

    "Developing this very young team into a new generation of racing professionals will be an exciting task. The squad we have put together is of a very high quality for a Continental team," said Heppner. "With a view to participating in single-day races and smaller tours in north-western Europe, we have selected both cyclists with ProTour experience and less experienced riders who have demonstrated the potential to reach the top. Every rider will be given the opportunity to prove their abilities."

    The team was launched last month in Switzerland, with an ambitious goal to attain ProTour status within three years. Although they will enter their first season two tiers below cycling's top flight teams, NetAppTeam Manager Ralph Denk today said that they expect to do more than simply make up numbers in 2010.

    "I am very proud to present a young, international team, with whom we will begin our first season," said Denk. "Since announcing the creation of our new team, numerous young cyclists have applied for a place in the squad. Reaching a decision was not easy. In the end, we selected a mixture young, talented and experienced racing cyclists. We don't just want to ride along...

  • Planckaert signs two-year Landbouwkrediet contract

    The team in Anderlecht.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 17:00 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Belgian rider brings team roster to 19 riders for 2010 season

    Baptiste Planckaert signed his first professional contract with Belgium's Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, the team announced today.

    Belgian Planckaert, 21, won a stage of the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux in April and recorded 19 top-ten finishes this season. He has been riding with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago as a trainee since August 1 and placed 25th overall in the Circuit Franco-Belge, on October 4.

    He has signed with the team for two years, 2010 and 2011.

    Planckaert's arrival brings the total number of Landbouwkrediet-Colnago riders up to 19 for next season. He joins Dutchman Hans Dekkers, Belgians Steven Caethoven and Bart Dockx as the team's new riders.

    The team has 15 returning riders: Belgians Frédéric Amorison, Koen Barbé, Jonathan Bertrand, Sébastien Delofsse, Bert De Waele, Benjamin Gourgue, Kevin Neirynck, Sven Nys, Kevin Peeters, Bert Scheirlinckx and Geert Verheyen; Dutchman Dirk Bellemakers and Frenchmen David Boucher, Mathieu Drouilly and Martial Ricci Poggi.

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  • Ribeiro, Nozal and Guerra's B-samples positive

    Not so happy now. Nuno Ribeiro with former Liberty Seguros teammates at the 2009 Volta a Portugal
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 17:44 BST
    Richard Tyler

    UCI advises Portuguese and Spanish federations of counter-analysis findings

    Counter-analysis of samples from former-Liberty Seguros riders Nuno Ribeiro, Isidro Nozal and Hector Guerra have confirmed the riders' positive results for EPO-CERA, according to reports in Portuguese and Spanish newspapers on Wednesday.

    Portugal's Diario di Notas reported that the International Cycling Union (UCI) had confirmed Ribeiro's counter-analysis to the Portuguese Cycling Federation (UVP-FPC) and Liberty Seguros, who withdrew from cycling immediately after the announcement of the original positive test results on September 18. Spanish daily Marca reported that the UCI has also reported a positive finding to the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) in the cases of Nozal and Guerra.

    The positive tests were based on samples taken from the rider prior to August's Tour of Portugal. Ribeiro won a stage and the overall at the race, but is now expected to be stripped of the title. Spain's David Blanco (Palmeiras Resort/Tavira) will be instated as race winner, his third overall victory in the race. Guerra, too, is likely to have his stage 10 time trial victory withdrawn from race records.

    The trio were issued provisional suspensions after the release of the original test results. The confirmation of the counter-analysis result will clear the way for the UVP-FCP and RFEC to open disciplinary action against the riders, who could face a two-year ban from competition if found guilty of doping.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the...

  • Merlo and Vitoria to join Footon-Servetto

    Michele Merlo, 25, to join Footon-Servetto
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 18:38 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Team signs two new riders after securing sponsor

    Michele Merlo and David Vitoria have each signed a one-year contract with Mario Gianetti's Footon-Servetto team, according to Tuttobiciweb.

    "At Footon I will be able to ride to the best of my abilities," said Merlo. "I ask only be able to continue to better myself in regards to what I accomplished at Barloworld."

    Italy's Merlo, 25, leaves Barloworld after the team failed to find a replacement sponsor for 2010. He became a professional with the team at the beginning of this year and won the Tour of Britain's final stage in London in September.

    He had an offer from British team Sky, but turned it down because Gianetti's Footon better suited him, he said.

    Gianetti announced yesterday Footon would replace Fuji and Fuji-Servetto would become Footon-Servetto next season. The new sponsor enabled him to sign Merlo and Vitoria.

    Switzerland's Vitoria, 25, joins from USA-based team Rock Racing. He won two stages and finished third overall in the Vuelta Mexico in March.

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  • De La Fuente joins Astana

    David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval-Scott) was eager to defend his polka dot jersey.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Spanish climber bolsters Kazakh team

    Spaniard David de la Fuente is the latest rider to confirm a transfer to Team Astana. The former Fuji-Servetto rider brings a prowess for attacking in the mountains, a talent which propelled him to the overall climber's classification in the Vuelta a España this year and a win in the GP Miguel Indurain.

    De La Fuente has been a professional since 2003, when he joined Mauro Gianetti's Vini Caldirola squad. He remained with the team as it became Saunier Duval and then this year Fuji-Servetto.

    During his time with Gianetti, De La Fuente claimed the overall most combative rider award in the 2006 Tour de France, twice led the mountains classification in the Tour and led the best young rider category in the Vuelta a España.

    The Astana team lost a large number of riders and staff to Lance Armstrong's new RadioShack team, including most of its mountain domestiques. So far it has acquired only a few new riders, including Alexander Vinokourov, who came back from suspension this summer, and Paolo Tiralongo from Lampre.

    Its ProTour status is pending UCI approval after the squad suffered financial difficulties this year and was slow in paying its riders.  While two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador has stated that he would not fight to get out of the squad, if the team loses ProTour status, he may be able to break his contract and look for another situation.

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  • Sean Kelly Academy closing

    Where the team came from and where it will be based: The Sean Kelly Cycling Academy in Merchtem, Belgium
    Article published:
    October 21, 2009, 20:33 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Cycling Ireland to consider other options in a bid to save costs

    Cycling Ireland has decided to close the Sean Kelly Academy House in Merchtem, Belgium, due to the ongoing costs and also the fact that the house has not been used to full capacity.

    The Academy was launched in April 2005 and was intended to house Irish riders of all levels who wished to spend time racing in Belgium. These included some riders with the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team, who were based out of the facility in recent seasons. Riders from others teams have also stayed there on occasion.

    However, Cycling Ireland’s High Performance Unit has now taken the decision not to continue renting the facility in 2010.

    “The High Performance Unit has evaluated the resource and following extensive consultation with Sean Kelly, staff, officials and riders, has taken the decision to review the High Performance (HP) funding that was directed towards this facility,” said Cycling Ireland in a press release.

    “The emphasis on the Academy has shifted a little in recent years due to the emergence of the Sean Kelly An Post UCI Continental Team. Additionally, the house needed considerable upgrading to be of HP [High Performance] standard, and usage in 2009 has been relatively low.”

    Cycling Ireland’s High Performance Director Phil Leigh said that he is investigating alternative options. “The Academy has played an important part in Cycling Ireland’s overseas development over recent years,” he said. “But the time has come to look at a new model going forward, especially now that we have High Performance Irish riders based in Belgium in the Sean Kelly An Post Team. There are also other initiatives such as Dany Blondeel’s Belgium Project for development riders.”

    The latter helps young riders from Ulster compete in Belgium.

    A difficult climate in the Irish economy has led to many cutbacks from government departments, and there are concerns...

  • Cromwell signs for former Nürnberger squad

    Tiffany Cromwell (Colavita-Sutter Home)
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 11:12 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Young Australian on for full 2010 European campaign

    Australia’s Tiffany Cromwell will contest a full European campaign with the Skyter Shipping women’s squad in 2010. The South Australian rider spent much of this season riding with Colavita-Sutter Home in the United States of America, with a limited appearance in Europe with the Australian National Team.

    "I've actually signed with Nürnberger, so they will be Skyter Shipping next year," Cromwell told Cyclingnews. "It's exciting stuff, a full season in Europe. I’ll probably head over in February for the training camp in Majorca and then do some of the classics, it's going to be a full European season next year.

    "I'm extremely happy with it," she added. "That was my goal this year, to step up and try to get a European contract."

    Cromwell claimed some solid results in North America this season, including third on stage two of the San Dimas Stage Race and ninth overall at the Tour of the Gila. Those results were complimented by her victory at La Route de France Feminine’s time trial and her seventh place at the Montreal International Cycling Union (UCI) Women’s World Cup round.

    "It was a really good year back with Colavita, they’re a really good team," said Cromwell. "I had an ideal race schedule as I focused more on tours instead of criteriums. I had quite a few top 10 finishes, I’d say it was probably my strongest year over there.

    "Road races and tours suit me more than criteriums," added Cromwell. "That was the biggest thing this year. I wanted to step it up to try and head over to Europe [in 2010]."

    While she’s yet to discuss her 2010 race program with her new squad's management, Cromwell already has some ideas of what she'd like to achieve next year. "I'd maybe like to give Tour de l'Aude a crack and line-up for the women's Giro again," said Cromwell. "I'd also like to do some of the classics, but like I said, I need to sit down with the director and work...