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Third Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Date published:
October 19, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Charteau unimpressed by new 2011 polka-dot jersey points system

    Frenchman Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) won the mountains classification.
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 16:13 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Europcar team to start Tour de France on home soil in Vendée

    Frenchman Anthony Charteau was a surprised winner of the polka-dot jersey in the 2010 Tour de France but has said he'll target a second win in 2011, despite a reform of the points scale that favours uphill finish winners.

    In the past few years, the number of points awarded at the top of the last climb before the finish had been doubled but this will no longer be the case in the 2011. Only the points allocated at the top of the four mountaintop finishes will be worth double: on stage 12 (Luz Ardiden), stage 14 (Plateau de Beille), stage 18 (Galibier) and stage 19 (Alpe d'Huez). Only the first six riders at the top of the category 1, 2 and 3 climbs will score points, like at the Vuelta, and at the top of the category 4 climbs, only the first rider will score points.

    "That's good for me," Charteau insisted. "I'm not fast enough when it comes to sprinting, that's why Jérôme Pineau beat me on the 3rd and 4th category climbs. I'll need to be strong in the high mountains. It's a mountainous Tour de France and a very nice one in my opinion."

    "I don't see any reason why I can't compete for the polka dot jersey again," Charteau added. "After the Tour, I read some critical articles about my climbing skills but they probably came from people who don't know much about cycling and nothing about my climbing ability. My goal next year will again be the polka-dot jersey. I'll follow the same preparation, although it remains to be seen with our team whether or not we'll ride the Giro. That was a very good thing to do before the Tour. It gave me the pedalling rhythm needed for the mountains."

    Chartreau's Bbox Bouygues Telecom will be renamed Europcar next year, after the team from the Vendée region of France was rescued at the very last moment by the rental car company at the beginning of October. "There has been a lot of tension recently but when we'll start the Tour in Vendée, it'll be massive and highly emotional,"...

  • Americans highly ranked in UCI cyclo-cross standings

    Women's World Cup podium (l-r): Daphny van den Brand (, 2nd; Katie Compton (Planet Bike), 1st; Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), 3rd.
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 16:26 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Compton leads, Powers, Johnson next behind Stybar

    Thanks to a revision of the UCI's cyclo-cross points system and a strong early-season showing on the North American calendar, US riders are stacked near the top of the UCI's first published cyclo-cross world ranking.

    Katie Compton, winner of the first World Cup round and undefeated in six starts, leads the women's rankings. While world champion Zdenek Stybar, also undefeated over six straight races, leads a pair of Americans in the men's standings. 

    Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld duo Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson are second and third after a series of domestic wins. The top Belgian, Sven Nys, is down in sixth overall, behind Frenchman Francis Mourey and American Ryan Trebon.

    The UCI revised its points system for the 2010-2011 season, increasing the number of points available to C1 and C2 classified races while reducing the amount of points given in the World Cup events. All World Cup points will be included in the tally, but only a rider's top five C2 races and top six C1 finishes count toward the overall standings. The US riders have started strong but we can expect the European men to have an advantage as their intense and race-packed season goes on.

    On the women's side, Compton resumed her position as the top-ranked woman in the world, having also led the rankings early in last year's season. Back to back wins in the USGP Planet Bike Cup, the triple victories in the UCI3 weekend in Ohio, and the World Cup gold in Aigle, Switzlerland this weekend vaulted the American into the top spot over compatriot Laura Van Gilder.

    Czech Katarina Nash holds the third spot over Aigle runner-up Daphny Van Den Brand.

    UCI rankings as of October 18, 2010

  • Cavendish sees six possible sprint stage at the 2011 Tour

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 16:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    HTC sprinter will target the green jersey despite points changes

    Mark Cavendish was at the 2011 Tour de France presentation in Paris on Monday and looked on as six stages perfectly suited to his fast sprint finish were unveiled.

    The Manx Missile has won 15 stages in the last three editions of the Tour de France and will be hoping to win the green jersey in 2011. However with the Tour organisers changing the points system for next year’s race, he was unsure how next year’s race would unfold.

    “Initially, I’d say there are six potential stages but less than last year,” Cavendish told Cyclingnews.

    As for the rule changes, Cavendish said: “We’ve got to sit down and evaluate it properly. I’ve only known about the changes for ten minutes. We’ll sit down and look at it and see if it’s good or bad. It might be brilliant, it might be awful.”

    Changes from ASO mean that stage victories will carry 45 points, an increase from 40. However the biggest change regards the intermediate sprints. In previous years, six, four and two points were awarded at three intermediate sprints per stage. In 2011 there will be just one intermediate sprint per stage with 20 points going to the winner and 15 riders also picking up points on a sliding scale.

    “I can’t go for yellow, white or the polka dot, so I think I’ll go for the green,” Cavendish said.

    HTC directeur sportif, Alan Peiper, was also in Paris for the route announcement. He agreed with Cavendish on the severity of the 2011 route but believed that the HTC team would be fully united in working for their top sprinter.

    “The first eight days look like something we have to focus on. The first stage, if Cavendish can be close, with the team time trial the next day, it’s not a given that we’ll win. But if we can do a good result then possible he can have the yellow jersey.”

    As for the points classification changes,...

  • Nygaard tips Andy Schleck as 2011 Tour favourite

    Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 17:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Luxembourg team to reveal rider names this week

    Bryan Nygaard has tipped Andy Schleck as the number one favourite for next year’s Tour de France.

    The team manager of the new Luxembourg-based team was in Paris on Monday for the unveiling of the 2011 race route and liked the mountainous profile and limited amount of time trial kilometres. Schleck finished a close second to Alberto Contador this year and won the white jersey as best young rider.

    “For me the favourite is Andy,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “I would be bullshitting if I said this wasn’t the perfect parcours for him. It’s still nine months to go and a lot can happen in that time, but if you look at the parcours he as an athlete couldn’t ask for more. We have to be satisfied. We won’t downplay his role as a favourite.”

    Nygaard’s team are still waiting for the UCI to approve their ProTour licence for next year but he is confident that the team is on the right track. They have already announced that they will be riding Trek bikes and that Mercedes will be providing team cars. Several of the Schlecks’ former Saxo Bank teammates and staff are expected to join the team, creating one of the strongest teams in the peloton.

    “We’ve filed what we need to file. I have to say there are some tough criteria in order to get the license but I really support that. You can’t show up with a half finished dossier. It’s a serious matter,” Nygaard said.

    As for rider rosters and sponsors, he added: “We’ll announce riders this week and in the coming weeks. Everything will come in the next couple of months, including the team’s identity, and we’ll have a big presentation in Luxembourg in January.”

    Recent reports have indicate that the team will be funded by a pool of sponsors, rather than one leading company, and may compete under the name of Pro Team Luxembourg.

    Looking to the route...

  • UCI puts the brakes on an early conclusion to Contador case

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has been nominated for membership to the International Olympic Committee.
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 17:57 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Scientific evaluation still on-going

    UCI President Pat McQuaid has played down the possibility of a rapid conclusion to the investigation into Alberto Contador's positive dope test for Clenbuterol during this year's Tour de France, but insisted the UCI was not dragging its heels on the case.

    Contador was not at the presentation of the 2011 Tour de France route in Paris but McQuaid was, and insisted the UCI wants to fully investigate how traces of banned drug Clenbuterol ended up in Contador's urine. The Spaniard has claimed it came from contaminated meat, but according to experts, food contamination in Europe is rare as the use of the drug in livestock has been banned for years.

    “It’s a very important case and we need to be completely sure before a decision is taken,” the Associated Press reported McQuaid as saying after the Tour de France presentation.

    “It’s quite complicated. We are waiting for the results to come back and I don’t know how long it’s going to take. In fairness to Contador, in fairness to the sport, in fairness to the Tour de France, we need to go into the details to make sure the decision that will be taken is the right one.”

    McQuaid denied that Contador had received preferential treatment because he is the biggest rider in cycling and winner of the Tour de France.

    “We don’t treat him differently than the others, but let’s be honest, the fact that it was Alberto Contador means that we have to be certain we take the right decision,” McQuaid said.

    “We can’t speed the process up. The scientific evaluation is still going on, there is nothing you can rush. We just have to wait until we can sit down together and decide what the next step is.”

    McQuaid also dismissed the opinions of the many experts who have commented on the Contador case. In particular those who have suggested traces of plastic from blood bags could indicate Contador...

  • Team selection criteria for 2011 Tour de France still up in the air

    Christian Prudhomme reveals the 2011 Tour de France route
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 18:06 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Discussions ongoing between ASO and the UCI

    There will be either 21 or 22 teams taking part in the 2011 Tour de France, but exactly which teams will be invited to the sport's biggest event is still to be determined. The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) today revealed the route of next year's Tour, but is still waiting to sit down with the UCI to come to an agreement regarding how the participating teams will be selected.

    The UCI and Grand Tour organisers struck an agreement in 2008 where the top 17 teams in the UCI's world rankings at the end of the 2010 season would receive automatic invitations to all three Grand Tours in 2011, but Prudhomme indicated that the selection may not be set in stone.

    "We don't know the rules precisely yet," said Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme. "New rules are to be decided in the near future."

    Prudhomme's comments seem to indicate that the World Tour announced by the UCI after their congress in Melbourne won't be as easy to put in place as president Pat McQuaid said. "We as the governing body set the rules and race organisers have to respect them and it's good for them as well," the Irishman warned in Australia. Giro d'Italia organiser Angelo Zomegnan stated that he would stick to the agreement signed in Varese in 2008.

    But three weeks ago, the UCI announced the Varese agreement was no longer valid and a new system was in place for the 18 best teams to be automatically qualified for the Grand Tours, but how the rankings are calculated and who will get into the Tour de France has not been revealed.

    However, it seems that the battle between the UCI and the Grand Tours organisers will not be as intense as it was between 2004 and 2008 when the latter rejected the concept of the Pro Tour and ran the 2008 Tour de France outside the UCI's sanctioning. "Within one month, we should finalise with the UCI if we go for the proposed new system or if we keep the agreement of 2008," said Prudhomme.

    The director of the Tour de...

  • Virenque tips Sastre for mountains jersey at 2011 Tour de France

    Richard Virenque was on hand
    Article published:
    October 19, 2010, 18:52 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman says new points system will favour GC contenders

    Richard Virenque believes that the winner of the king of the mountains jersey at the 2011 Tour de France will almost certainly be among the top ten in the general classification as a result of alterations made to the scoring system. Double points will be on offer at summit finishes, while only the first six riders will collect points atop hors categorie climbs.

    "I think it will be more difficult to win the king of the mountains, you’ll have to be stronger now perhaps," Virenque said after the 2011 Tour presentation in Paris. "As a result, it seems as though one of the top ten overall will automatically be king of the mountains."

    Virenque is a somewhat divisive figure in Tour de France history, but nonetheless there are few men better placed to offer an opinion on the revamped mountains competition than a seven-time winner of the polka dot jersey. He noted that tactically, the race for the jersey will alter radically in 2011.

    "Before you had to concentrate on the all the cols and maybe look to get into a good early breakaway at the start of a stage," Virenque said. "But now the tactics will change. You’ll have to ride a more cautious race, and wait until the final climbs with the strongest riders, which will make it more difficult."

    Virenque believes that the new scoring system will add to the prestige of the jersey, won by Anthony Charteau (Bbox-Bouygues Telecom) in 2010, and he feels that one rider in particular could benefit from the changes.

    "Carlos Sastre is certainly a rider who could take the jersey in 2011," Virenque said. "Sastre is a rider who I think will be in the top 10 overall because this Tour looks very difficult, especially in the final week, and he’s a rider who generally does well in the final week."

    Virenque was hard-pressed to pick out one queen stage from a race packed full of serious climbing, although he placed the finish at Super Besse-Sancy at the end of week one...

  • 2011 Tour de France route reveals Prudhomme's lessons learned

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 6:05 BST
    Richard Moore

    Summit finishes in Pyrenees, Alps ensure fireworks

    On first glance the route for the 2011 Tour de France, announced in Paris, France, on Tuesday, appears to adhere closely to what has become the Christian Prudhomme formula.

    With three successive stages in the Alps in the final week, including Alpe d’Huez just 48 hours before Paris followed by a time trial on the penultimate day, it looks back-loaded, the intention being to keep the race - and people’s interest - alive until the very end.

    Yet a closer inspection reveals this as an overly simplistic interpretation. And it also suggests that Prudhomme, the race director, has learned the lesson of 2009, when the route appeared designed to bring matters to a head on Mont Ventoux.

    It was in 2009 that a relatively easy passage through the Pyrenees was followed, in the third week, by three days in the Alps, before, finally, the anticipated denouement on Mont Ventoux, 24 hours before the finish in Paris.

    Unfortunately for Prudhomme - and for all of us - it didn’t quite work out like that. With the exception of Lance Armstrong’s escape in the Camargue crosswinds of stage three, the battle for the yellow jersey was barely worthy of being described as a battle.

    Too many stages were too straightforward, and the Pyrenees were an irrelevance, with a procession up the Col du Tourmalet that embarrassed Prudhomme and short-changed the thousands of fans by the roadside. In short, the cost of trying to shoehorn all the excitement into the final days was two weeks of boring preamble, with the Ventoux merely confirming rather than deciding the final order.

    It would seem, however, that Prudhomme is determined to avoid a repeat. As in 2009, the third week is brutal, but there would appear to be no danger in 2011 of another Pyrenean procession, with two summit finishes, at Luz Ardiden and Plateau de Beille.

    There are also some loud echoes of 2008 in the 2011 route - some welcome; some less so. No prologue...

  • # Rider Name (Country) Team