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Third Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 4, 2011

Date published:
August 04, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Michael Ball: Don’t call it a comeback

    Rock Racing owner Michael Ball and Mario Cipollini
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 14:50 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Former Rock Racing chief downplays talk of a return

    Former Rock Racing manager Michael Ball has quashed speculation linking him with a return to professional cycling. Ball managed the controversial Rock Racing team but Rock & Republic, the firm behind Rock Racing, filed for bankruptcy in the US courts in April 2010 and Ball was forced to step down and eventually sell the brand. The team folded soon afterwards.

    However, last week Italian businessman Roberto Tronconi told Cyclingnews that he was set to relaunch the brand in Europe after long negotiations with Rock Racing founder Michael Ball. The team are now racing at an amateur level in Italy.

    “There are no names or up and comers, it’s a bunch of weekend warrior types. It’s not a matter of relaunching, it’s just that there are a lot of fans that wanted to continue to wear the kit. It’s cool stuff,” Ball told Cyclingnews.

    “I’m not supporting it or anything. I know that they’re out there racing in the colours though. So I’m not coming back and I’m not going to be in the ProTour any time soon.”

    Asked if he had contemplated a return to the sport, Ball distanced himself, saying that he was taking more time to spend with his daughter.

    “I can tell you this, cycling is one of the greatest sports and it’s close to me. I still feel that way but the things that have happened over the course of the last few years weren’t fun and it didn’t feel right to continue in the sport in the way that I was doing it. I got out and maybe some time in the future who knows, but I still like riding my bike. That’s what it was all about in the first place anyway.”

    Ball and Rock...

  • Teklehaymanot signs for GreenEdge

    Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea) became the new leader of the Tour of Rwanda.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 16:17 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Eritrean talent is the first known transfer to the new Australian team

    Multiple African champion Daniel Teklehaymanot has signed a two-year contract with GreenEdge. The World Cycling Center (WCC), Switzerland, where the Eritrean talent has ridden since 2009, has confirmed the transfer to Cyclingnews.

    Teklehaymanot, 23, is the first confirmed transfer to the new Australian structure, which he hopes will join the WorldTour in its first year in the professional peloton.

    Cyclingnews understands that he met with GreenEdge's managers for the first time in early June, when the Australians went to Switzerland for some meetings with the UCI. Some other teams were interested in signing him, like Quick Step, FDJ and, above all, AG2R-La Mondiale.

    Teklehaymanot wore a pro team's jersey in 2010, as a stagiaire for Cervélo-TestTeam, but never signed any contract afterwards.

    Last winter, two squads had tried to recruit him, the American-based Team Type 1 and a Chinese project which ultimately never got off the ground. The WCC, however, advised Teklehaymanot to remain an amateur one more year.

    Teklehaymanot showed himself in 2008 at the Tour de la Paix, in Ivory Coast, finishing 5th overall ahead of riders such as Nicolas Roche. As WCC rider he had good performances at the Under-23 Nations Cup, finishing 6th overall in the Tour de l'Avenir (2009) and winning a stage of the Tour du Lac de Saguenay, Canada (2010).

    This year, Teklehaymanot has divided his time between Switzerland and African competitions. Last November, he became African Continental Champion in the team time-trial, individual time trial and road race, both at Under-23 and senior level. Ten days later he triumphed at the hilly Tour of Rwanda (2.2).

    Well-known by the western media, which depicts him as an ambassador of Sub-Saharan cycling and the first...

  • Riccò ban extended

    Riccardo Riccò (Meridiana-Kamen)
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 17:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    CONI prevents Italian from come-back in August

    Riccardo Riccò, who hoped to return to competition with his new Meridiana-Kamen team this summer, will have to wait at least until September 10 in order to be allowed to race again. The Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal of CONI has extended the rider’s suspension, which had been due to end on August 10, for another 30 days.

    “To protect the rider’s health”, CONI president Francesco Plotino ordered Riccò to be excluded from any competition in early June, and has now reiterated his concerns as the end of the two-month suspension drew near.

    Italian anti-doping authorities are still investigating whether or not the ‘Cobra’ transfused his own refrigerated blood before he was admitted to a hospital in critical condition in February this year.

    At the time, Riccò had been reported as having admitted his ill-practices to the doctors, but he later denied having done so. If an auto-transfusion is proven, the Italian faces a lifetime suspension after already having tested positive for EPO CERA during the 2008 Tour de France.

  • Amgen continues with Tour of California

    The 2011 Amgen Tour of California GC podium was all-American: Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Chris Horner (RadioShack) and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Cerv
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 18:13 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Pharmaceutical company to support 2012 race

    The Tour of California will continue under the banner of pharmaceutical giant Amgen for the seventh consecutive year. AEG vice president Kristin Bachochin confirmed the news to Cyclingnews today.

    "We are happy and pleased to confirm that Amgen will remain as the title sponsor of the 2012 race," Bachochin said.

    Amgen has partnered with the race since its inception, using the race to promote its cancer advocacy initiatives. In conjunction with the race and non-profit partners, Amgen launched the Breakaway from Cancer to promote awareness of resources for cancer patients.

    The Amgen Tour of California will begin in Santa Rosa in 2012.

  • 1932 Olympic champion dies, aged 100

    Riders will start the season in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 18:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Oldest Italian Olympic champion passes away in Argentina

    Attilio Pavesi, the oldest Italian Olympic champion at 100 years, has passed away earlier this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The former cyclist was awarded two gold medals of the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, one in the individual road race and the other in the team event. Both were time trials over 100 kilometres.

    Pavesi was born on October 1, 1910, in Caorso, Emilia Romagna, as the eleventh child of a well-situated family. After his Olympic feat, he became a professional road racer but could not score any important victories except a 1934 Tour of Tuscany stage win.

    At the beginning of World War II, Pavesi left Italy for Argentina where he took part in the Sixday races of Buenos Aires. Once retired, he continued to organize cycling races in the country that became his home.

    Pavesi passed away on August 2, aged 100 years and ten months.
     

  • HTC-Highroad disbands after failed sponsor search

    HTC-Highroad's Bob Stapleton talks sponsorship before the start in Limoux.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 19:00 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Riders allowed to find new teams for 2012

    The HTC-Highroad team will end its association with professional cycling at the end of the season, drawing to an end its five-year spell in the sport.

    The squad has consistently been ranked as the number one team in the world, but struggled to attract a new sponsor or convince cell phone maker HTC to renew. Team owner Bob Stapleton today announced that the squad would fold at the end of the year, and encouraged riders from both the men's and women's teams to find new homes for 2012.

    However, Stapleton held out hope that the women's team could continue.

    Stapleton had pushed the search for a sponsor to the line, even going beyond the UCI’s transfer window opening on August 1st and although he had a sponsor lined up, the interested party pulled out of negotiations at the weekend.

    “We went public with our sponsorship search just before the Tour. We were frustrated by the indecision of our title sponsor HTC who, after many months of assurances, had not come forward with a commitment to the team. That indecision remains a mystery to me,” Stapleton told the press in a phone conference.

    Meanwhile, riders have already been in negotiations with other teams. Sprinter Mark Cavendish said he would announce his decision later this week, while the Velits twins, Martin and Peter, have already been announced as joining the QuickStep team, and Patrick Gretsch was confirmed with Skil-Shimano.

    Down to the wire

    The squad had one of its most successful Tours, with Cavendish winning the points classification and five stages, and Tony Martin claiming the stage victory in the Grenbole time trial, but at the same time Stapleton was honest about the uncertainty...

  • Boonen and Chavanel set for London 2012 test event

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) returns to action in Poland.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 22:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgium and France name teams for London Surrey Cycle Classic

    Tom Boonen will lead the Belgian selection at the London 2012 Olympic test event on August 14 while his Quick Step teammate Sylvain Chavanel will line up for France.

    After being forced out of the Tour de France due to the effects of a crash in the opening week, Boonen returned to action at the Tour de Pologne this week. The London Surrey Cycle Classic marks an important step in Boonen’s preparation for the world championships in September as well as an opportunity to reconnoitre an Olympic course touted to favour a sprint finish.

    Joining Boonen in the five-man Belgian squad are Quick Step teammate Kevin De Weert, Omega Pharma-Lotto duo Jan Bakelants and Jurgen Van De Walle, and Stijn Joseph (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator).

    The French line-up was also released on Thursday, and national coach Laurent Jalabert has selected a number of riders who should also figure in his plans for the world championships in Copenhagen.

    National champion Syvlain Chavanel is sure to be aggressive on the Olympic circuit, while Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) will carry French hopes should it all come down to a sprint finish.

    Youngsters Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) are rewarded for their Tour de France displays with selection, while Yoann Offredo (FDJ), whose promising spring was cut short by a crash at Gent-Wevelgem, is also named in the French squad. Like Chavanal and Feillu, he will be looking to stake a claim for a protected position at the Worlds.

    28 teams of five riders will take part in the...

  • Video: Alex Rasmussen reacts to HTC-Highroad's end

    Denmark's Alex Rasmussen looks pretty pleased with the evening's progress
    Article published:
    August 04, 2011, 22:55 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Danish rider laments end of team

    The news of that HTC-Highroad would come to a close at the end of the race season came as a surprise to everyone, but not the least of which were the riders currently competing at the Tour of Poland.

    Cyclingnews spoke with Alex Rasmussen, who was new to the team this season, and he was sad about the situation.

    "The best team in the world is closing, nobody was really counting on it. I was sure they were going to find a sponsor," Rasmussen said.

    Rasmussen said the team would soldier on, racing the rest of the Tour of Poland and the season as professionals, but that he would miss the atmosphere of the team. "I will definitely miss that. I loved it there."

    He would not give into speculation about where he might go in the future, but said that "everything is an option at the moment", and added that he would go home, relax and consider his future.