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Third Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 14, 2011

Date published:
January 14, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Cancellara Voted Cyclingnews Rider of the Year

    Fabian Cancellara (Team Leopard-Trek)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 16:09 GMT
    Daniel Benson & Barry Ryan

    Swiss rider dominates voting

    For Fabian Cancellara, 2010 was the year of the double. His twin victories at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in April set the tone for his stunning season form, and the Swiss rider book-ended his year by adding the Best Rider of the Year title to his Male Road Rider of the Year crown in the Cyclingnews annual reader poll.

    As was the case in that dominant display over the cobbles to Roubaix, Cancellara’s margin of victory was striking. The four-time world time trial champion racked up a mammoth 58% of the votes cast by readers to beat Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) into a distant second place.

    “It’s a nice new victory for the season,” Cancellara said on hearing of his latest honour. “Also Cyclingnews has a pool of lot of fans who are into cycling from all over the world, so it’s a nice award.”

    Cancellara’s roll of honour for 2010 makes intimidating reading in and of itself – three major one-day victories (E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke came before his wins in Flanders and Roubaix), two Tour de France stage wins, six days in the yellow jersey and a fourth rainbow jersey in the time trial. Those stark figures alone would surely have been enough for the Swiss to top the poll, but it was perhaps the remarkable nature of some of those wins that ultimately saw him so dominate the voting.

    While acknowledging that the quality of his wins made an impression on voters, Cancellara also believes that his willingness to work for Andy Schleck in July won him some additional admirers among Cyclingnews readers.

    “I think there are three or four reasons [for the win],” he said. “There was the spring, and then the Worlds and then what I did in the Tour de France with the yellow jersey and the way I helped Andy in the race.”

    Cancellara was a news maker from start to finish in 2010. His dominance on the cobblestones in...

  • Rodriguez denies calling for Mosquera's disqualification

    Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) back in red at the Vuelta a España.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 16:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says there must be the presumption of innocence

    Joaquim Rodriguez has denied saying that Ezequiel Mosquera should be disqualified if he doped at the recent Vuelta a Espana.

    After the race, it was announced that Mosquera had tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch. He finished second overall, and Rodriguez, of Team Katusha, was fourth.

    The Spanish newspaper AS quoted Rodriguez as saying, ““If Ezequiel has cheated, I’d want him to be disqualified and for me to be given third place.” He denied having said that, instead claiming that he merely said that he did not understand why it was taking so much time to resolve the issue as it was damaging to the image of the Vuelta and to that of cycling in general.

    As for being given third place, “that would not be the same, because that is to be enjoyed live and in Madrid, and not in January or February.”

    In a press statement, he concluded, “Let me make clear that at no time have I expressed any desire to have him punished. It is not up to me but to the national authorities. By putting these words in my mouth, an uncomfortable situation is being created with a colleague who must be considered innocent until proven guilty.”

  • Quick Step enjoy the sun in Spain

    It's easy to spot Tom Boonen because of his rainbow stripes.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 17:09 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Boonen, Steegmans and Chavanel working hard in Calpe

    The Quick Step riders have been taking advantage of bright sun and 20°C temperatures in Calpe, Spain, to log some quality training rides at its second pre-season camp.

    The team was in Calpe in December for a week and this second camp will last a total of 10 days. The team will hold its official presentation at the Velofollies bike show in Kortrijk, Belgium on January 21.

    While northern Europe suffered in the cold and rain, the spring-like conditions in Calpe meant the Quick Step riders have been able to train wearing just arm warmers and leg warmers. One layer of lycra was enough to keep warm in the sun.

    The Quick Step team slipped to 18th in the UCI ranking based on the rider roster for 2011, but team manager Patrick Lefevere has dismissed the ranking, insisting that his team will be far stronger out on the road than it looks on paper.

    Tom Boonen seems to be back to his best after his knee injury and will surely be a major contender in the classics. Stijn Devolder has moved to Vacansoleil but the arrival of Gert Steegmans, Francesco Chicchi and Gerald Ciolek means that Quick Step will be a big threat in every sprint finish.

    Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau will again form a French double-act for the Tour de France, while Niki Terpstra and Marc De Maar will bolster the all-round strength of the team.

    A name to remember is that of Guillaume Van Keirsbulck. He will be just 20 on February 14, and is the youngest rider professional in Belgium and the youngest rider in a ProTeam squad. He won the Junior Paris-Roubaix in 2009 and is being touted as the next Tom Boonen.

    Eighteen riders were out for the ride on Friday, creating a long double line on the road. The only riders not in Calpe were track rider Iljo Keisse and those in Australia who will ride the Tour Down Under. These include new sprinters Francesco Chicchi and Gerald Ciolek, who will take on Cavendish, Greipel and McEwen from...

  • Felline ineligible for Italian team says federation president

    Fabio Felline (Footon - Servetto)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 18:51 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Rider too young to represent country

    Italian cycling federation president Renato Di Rocco has explained that Fabio Felline (Geox-TMC) will not be eligible to ride for the Italian national team for another two years.

    The 20-year-old turned professional with Footon-Servetto last season, but had to do so with a Spanish racing licence in order to circumvent a rule designed to prevent Italian riders from racing in the pro ranks before the age of 21. In spite of his impressive debut season, which included a Tour de France start, Felline will not be considered for selection for the world championships this year.

    “Since 2010, the federation has a regulation which obliges three years of racing as an amateur before turning professional, in order to protect our youngsters,” Di Rocco told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Felline has only done one year: for the next two season, that is, until he reaches the age at which he should have turned professional, he can neither be called up to the national team nor take part in its camps.”

    Speaking of the national team, Di Rocco praised Paolo Bettini’s progress to date as coach of the Italian squad. Bettini took over the role from the late Franco Ballerini last summer.

    “He is becoming the director general of Italian cycling,” Di Rocco said. “Ballerini used to be out for 180 days – he was an extraordinary public relations man. I ask 60 days of availability from Bettini. He has begun by coordinating himself with teams and trainers, even from the track.

    “Then there’s the idea of the mini gatherings, the first of which we’ll announce in a few days and will be for time triallists. There will even be some amateur riders there, selected by [Italian under 23 coach Marino] Amadori, so that they can start on a common path.”

    The existence of the Continental tier of professional cycling was called into question by CPA president Gianni Bugno last week but Di...

  • Sanquer objects to premature end to Astana position

    Yvon Sanquer and Alberto Contador at the 2010 Astana team presentation
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 20:49 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman says he was hired to ensure a ProTour license, then dropped

    Yvon Sanquer has objected to his premature dismissal from his position as general manager of the Astana team in a written statement today. Sanquer was appointed as general manager of Astana in late 2009 and stated he had a contract through the end of 2011 with the team. The Frenchman was replaced as general manager by Giuseppe Martinelli ahead of the 2011 season.

    “I was employed by Astana as general manager in October 2009 with the primary objective of making Astana a team like the others: respectful of financial, legal and ethical regulations, all the time preserving its exceptional sporting character,” Sanquer said in a statement issued on Friday.

    Sanquer came on board the Astana set-up at the end of 2009 after Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong left the squad to form the new RadioShack team. However, he claims that his own status within the Astana changed as soon as its ProTour status had been secured for 2010.

    “Once the team was ‘saved’ (registered for 2010), I quickly had the private conviction that the Kazakh management had hired me above all to be their moral guarantee and shop window,” Sanquer said. “I thus have the feeling that the Astana patrons’ decision to end their collaboration with me was taken early last season. I really felt that from the month of May onwards.”

    Nonetheless, Sanquer said that Alberto Contador was pleased with his management of the team. The Spanish rider was allegedly prepared to continue riding for Astana in 2011 and had even requested that Sanquer remain in his role as general manager.

    However, Sanquer’s contact with the upper levels of Astana management was significantly reduced after a meeting at the end of the Giro d’Italia.

    “My emails asking for details of the team’s plan went without response,” Sanquer said. Although Sanquer was involved in Contador’s first place finish at...

  • Europcar confident of Tour de France invitation

    Thomas Voeckler surrounded by the Europcar team
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 22:05 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Voeckler and co. model new kit in Paris

    Jean-René Bernaudeau believes that his Europcar squad will not be overlooked when the wildcard invitations to the Tour de France are handed out. The Frenchman was speaking at the team’s official presentation in Paris on Friday.

    “The Tour de France isn’t a problem,” Bernaudeau said, according to L’Équipe. “We’ll do what we have to in order to be there but imagine a Tour départ without Voeckler, without Charteau, without Gautier.”

    With the Tour set to start in the team’s home region of the Vendée this year, Bernaudeau cannot envisage that his revamped squad will be left on the sidelines in July. Indeed, the exposure offered by Tour de France participation was one of the key motivations behind Europcar’s late decision to take over sponsorship of the team from Bouygues Telecom in October.

    Another crucial factor in securing Europcar’s patronage was French champion Thomas Voeckler’s decision to turn down a contract offer from Cofidis in order to stay with Bernaudeau’s team.

    “I’ve been part of Jean-René’s set-up for over twelve years,” he said. “I wanted this team to continue especially after the fine year we had last year.”

    As well as the tricolour jersey, Voeckler also captured a Tour de France stage win and the Grand Prix Quebec in 2010. While he was the undoubted star attraction at Friday’s launch, he also called on the team’s younger riders to step up to the mark and replace him as leader.

    “I wouldn’t be jealous of anyone,” Voeckler said. “On the contrary, it will be a good sign if a young rider on the team can steal my thunder.”

    Although the team lost senior riders Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ) and Nicolas Vogondy (Cofidis) over the winter, as well as directeur sportif Didier Rous (Cofidis), Europcar can still...

  • US Postal service sponsorship cost nearly $32 million

    Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 22:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    New report reveals doping links cost the team

    The US Postal service spent nearly $32 million in the sponsorship of Lance Armstrong's team during the 2001-2004 seasons, a new report by ESPN revealed.

    Previously kept secret, the financial details of the contract between the government agency and Tailwind Sports, the team's management company, were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The details emerge as the team's activities during those years come under scrutiny by a federal grand jury, which has been hearing testimony of former US Postal team members. The hearings are part of a federal investigation, led by the Food and Drug Administration's Jeff Novitzky, which has been focused on allegations made by Floyd Landis into widespread doping activities on the team. The American was a member of the US Postal squad from 2002 to 2004.

    ESPN also confirmed that Landis has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit based upon the argument that doping on the team constituted a fraudulent use of government funds. Landis stands to gain a portion of any damages recovered should the lawsuit succeed.

    Armstrong and team manager Johan Bruyneel have repeatedly denied any doping within the team, and indeed were bound by a "moral turpitude and drug clause" which was instituted when the contract was renewed for four years in 2000.

    The clause was added after a French television station aired footage of supposed US Postal staff disposing of medical waste at the 2000 Tour de France, including a product called Actovegin. An investigation by French officials was closed after two years.

    The unwanted attention of doping allegations led the US Postal Service to hire a PR firm to handle the team's affairs, at the cost of $50,000 which was taken from the team's operating...

  • Peloton primed for Santos Tour Down Under

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) is looking to rack up some wins in Australia.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 0:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery from Australia

    Some of the biggest names in world cycling have been gathering in Adelaide in recent days ahead of the Santos Tour Down Under, the season’s first World Tour event.

    The race gets under way on Tuesday but before that, the peloton will have the chance to blow away the early-season cobwebs with Sunday’s fast 51km Cancer Council Classic criterium in Adelaide. In the meantime, the gathering riders are availing of the opportunity to shake off any lingering jet lag by training in the Adelaide area.

    Most eyes are trained firmly on Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto). The erstwhile teammates will now be fierce and open rivals in the sprint finishes and both men seem in determined mood. The season’s major spoils may well be on offer later on in Italy, France and Copenhagen, but neither rider will want to yield any sort of leeway, even at this early stage.

    Plenty of Australian riders will also be looking to have their say on home roads. While the Tour Down Under may traditionally favour the sprinters, Michael Rogers is a hugely popular figure in his home country and he will be keen to show off his new Sky colours. His teammate Simon Gerrans is another man who can be relied on to show some aggression during the race.

    As the opening act of an increasingly lengthy season, the Santos Tour Down Under is the also the first opportunity many fans have to see new riders, new kit, new bikes and new sponsors enter the peloton. Among the fresh designs on the streets of Adelaide in recent days have been those of Liquigas-Cannondale, Katusha, HTC-Columbia, Omega Pharma-Lotto and, of course, a first glimpse of the new Movistar kit after Caisse d’Epargne’s replacement as title sponsor.

    Enjoy Cyclingnews’ extensive gallery of the peloton preparing for the Santos Tour Down Under