Latest Cycling News, August 1, 2008
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Tinkov denies excessive contract offers
By Gregor Brown
One day after Hendrik Redant reportedly turned down an offer from Russia-based Katusha, Team President Oleg Tinkov expressed that there are many false 'big-contract' speculations tied to the expanding team.
"There is only one true episode," Tinkov said to Cyclingnews concerning contracts with directeur sportifs and riders. "I offered a lot of money to [Fabian] Cancellara, being the best in world today, and he decided to stay with [CSC's Bjarne] Riis. The rest is lie and not true! This creates a negative background for our team."
Tinkov stated that there is an air of his Russian team buying staff at will and not making decisions based on experience. He pointed out it was his organisation that rejected the high proposal from Hendrik Redant, Directeur Sportif at Silence-Lotto. "We decided not to take him ... he named the price that is not in our criteria."
Team Katusha is an expansion of Tinkoff Credit Systems, which became a Professional Continental team in 2007. The new organisation will debut in 2009 and has the backing of the Russian Global Cycling Project, itself be funded by its main sponsors Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii.
Names linked with Katusha, which will have a budget of 15 to 20 million euro, are Belgian Gert Steegmans and Italian Filippo Pozzato. An announcement of official signings will be made September 1 stated Tinkov.
Further background on the Katusha team can be found here.
Schumacher looking to double Olympic challenge
Stefan Schumacher of Team Gerolsteiner was one of the sensations of the Tour de France, winning both time trials handily and often going on the attack. His next challenge are the Olympic Games in Beijing, where he will contest both the road race and the time trial for the German team.
Schumacher himself didn't know if he would be able to hold on to his level of fitness for another two weeks. "I will be interested to see if I can hold my form. Of course I hope so," he told German Radsportnews.
The Gerolsteiner rider foresaw some difficulties for himself in China. "How I cope with the weather in Beijing will play a very important role. It is no secret that I am not a friend of temperatures around 40° Celsius." He was also worried about the air quality and hoped "that a week is long enough to acclimatise myself." The German team flies to China today.
When asked for which team he will ride next year, 'Schumi' responded with a laugh: "Whatever the next sponsor after Gerolsteiner is. But seriously, I hope this question won't have to be answered - and that Hans Holczer finds a sponsor. That would be important. Not only for the team, but for all of German cycling."
Schumacher surprised even himself with his performance near the end of the Tour, as he had initially focused on the first week of the race. "In the third week I was quite surprised myself at my form. Until now, I fairly often had problems in the third week of a Grand Tour. But I am not upset that it was different this year."
Lefevere has high hopes for Chavanel
By Hedwig Kröner
During the Tour de France, it was announced that Frenchmen Jérôme Pineau and Sylvain Chavanel would be changing teams next year and join the Belgian squad of Quick Step, directed by Patrick Lefevere. Both riders were hired with a view to the Belgian Spring Classics; especially Chavanel, who had a breakthrough this early season with two important victories in Belgium: Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl.
"Chavanel is a very strong rider and I like to compare him to Stijn Devolder," Lefevere told Cyclingnews on the penultimate day of the Grande Boucle. "Devolder is a good rider, but couldn't win very often, so he came to our team. He took the pressure off Tom Boonen when he was in a breakaway. So I think the same thing will happen with Chavanel."
The Quick Step boss didn't hesitate to set Chavanel's goals up high for next year. "With the experience he has now coming out of Cofidis, he might be able to win Flanders or Roubaix," the Belgian added.
These predictions should have flattered Chavanel, whose stage victory in the Tour de France topped off his best season as a pro rider yet. The 29 year-old will be leaving Cofidis after team manager Eric Boyer also supported him during the harder times of his career. "I remain on good terms with Cofidis," Chavanel said. "The victory in the Tour was the best was I could thank them for the four years I spent with them. Now, a new adventure starts for me. If I leave for Belgium, it's because I want to broaden my horizon and add to my palmarčs."
Negotiating with Bernhard Kohl
Lefevere also has his eyes on Tour de France King of the Mountains and podium finisher Bernhard Kohl. The Austrian, who speaks fluent Dutch, was spotted talking to the Quick Step manager at the Tour. When asked about it, Lefevere did not deny his interest. "Everybody knows he's at the end of his contract, because Gerolsteiner hasn't found a new partner yet," the Belgian said. "So his lawyers sent me an e-mail to present him. That is why we're in talks. But talking doesn't cost anything, right? I'm always interested in good riders."
Quick Step and Milram for San Sebastián
Paolo Bettini and Carlos Barredo will be the leaders of team Quick Step at the upcoming Clásica de San Sebastián this Saturday. The Belgian squad has announced its line-up for the Spanish one-day race, and will send the following riders to Spain: Juan Manuel Gárate, Andrea Tonti, Jurgen Van De Walle, Matteo Carrara, Giovanni Visconti and Maarten Winants.
As to German team Milram, Sergio Ghisalberti will lead the line-up in Spain on Saturday. "The course is supposed to be very challenging, so we will do all we can to support our climbing specialist Sergio Ghisalberti," said Classics specialist Markus Eichler. "It will be interesting to see how the race develops. Small escape groups have often won in the past - I hope that this year we will be in the successful group."
Milram for San Sebastián: Alberto Ongarato, Elia Rigotto, Enrico Poitschke, Fabio Sabatini, Luca Barla, Markus Eichler, Martin Velits and Sergio Ghisalberti.
Silence-Lotto adds two more
Jonas Ljungblad, the Swedish national champion, has signed a two-year contract with Belgian Silence-Lotto team. The Scandinavian rider is currently having a successful season within the Dutch Continental team P3Transfer-Batavus and said to have received offers from teams Vacansoleil as well as Tinkoff, but finally opted for the squad directed by Marc Sergeant.
Belgian rider Tom Stubbe, after riding one year for French team Francaise des Jeux, is also leaving to Silence-Lotto for the next two years. At the moment, the 27 year-old is out of action after a crash at the Tour de la Région Wallonne.
Ljungblad and Stubbe are the latest additions to Silence-Lotto after Wilfried Cretskens and Philippe Gilbert already announced their transfers to the Belgian team earlier this month.
Clement to Rabobank
After Maarten Tjallingii (Silence-Lotto) and Belgian Nick Nuyens (Cofidis), Rabobank has signed the third 2009 newcomer to its squad: Stef Clement. The gifted time triallist had started out his career at the Rabobank Continental team and then moved to French Bouygues Télécom in 2006. Clement is now returning "home", where he will be working his climbing abilities in view of Grand Tour participation.
More criterium results
Bernhard Kohl won the Volksbank Nightrace in Waidhofen/Ybbs, Austria. The Gerolsteiner rider escaped on the last lap and won solo ahead of Thomas Rohregger (Elk Haus) and Columbia's Bernhard Eisel, in front of 15,000 fans. "I thought I was riding on the Champs-Elysees today," Kohl said after the race.
There must have been a speedy finish in Herentals, Belgium, Thursday, judging by the results: Mark Cavendish (Columbia) won the three-man sprint ahead of Quick Step's Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux).
In the Netherlands, Fränk Schleck proved to be the fastest in Wateringen. He beat Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) and Milram's Niki Terpstra.
Thomas and Clancy line up for Salford Nocturne
Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy will swap the Olympic Velodrome for Salford Quays promenade on August 30 as they head the line-up at the next event in the Nocturne Series; the Salford Nocturne.
The British Team Pursuit World record holders demonstrated their criterium skills at the Smithfield Nocturne on June 7, dominating the racing from start to finish. Thomas was victorious on that occasion and now the Barloworld pro is looking for a repeat performance at the Salford event.
"The Smithfield Nocturne was a good event," said Thomas. "I came to race for a bit of fun and didn't expect to win but really enjoyed it. It's not often I get to race criterium events so I'm looking forward to the next Nocturne in Salford."
Thomas and Clancy have the small task of winning Olympic gold to deal with first. As world record holders in the discipline, the GB team are hot favourites and Thomas is 100 percent focused on delivering the goods. "This is going to be a level up and I am really looking forward to it," he commented. "I have ridden three World Championships, numerous World Track Cups and the Tour de France as well so this does not phase me.
"I visualise a ride but I try not to think about it too much. Before the race I picture the perfect ride in my head and do that."
Whatever the result, Thomas and Clancy will receive a heroes welcome at the Salford Nocturne and will join the likes of Chris Hoy as star attractions as they make their first appearance following the Beijing Games.
The Salford Nocturne is free to the public with roller racing open from 3pm and racing starting at 6pm. Full details can be found at www.salfordnocturne.com.
Court rules Museeuw subject to narcotics laws
The Belgian constitutional court has ruled that athletes who are punished for doping under Flemish anti-doping regulations can also be charged with violating federal narcotics laws. The court heard an appeal of a previous case by Johan Museeuw.
The former champion had argued that both laws could not apply simultaneously, but the court disagreed. Health education, preventative health care and sports medical control fall under the control of the Flemish Community, it agreed, but laws regulating the use of drugs are enforced by the federal government. This means that the Belgian narcotics laws may be applied to the Museeuw case, even if he had previously been sanctioned by the Flemish Community for doping.
The charges in the case date back to 2003, and concern the unauthorized possession and sale of a number of drugs. Museeuw was suspended for two years for his participation in the affair, although he had already retired from pro cycling.
The legal case against Museeuw will thus continue in front of a Kortrijk court on September 28.
Devenyns injured again
Dries Devenyns of Silence-Lotto crashed in the Tour of Denmark and broke his left forearm - again. The second-year pro went down 30 kilometres into Thursday's second stage when a rider swerved in front of him. Devenyns was taken to a local hospital and was expected to fly home to Belgium on Friday, to be operated on.
The 25 year-old has lost a lot of time to crash-related injuries. He crashed in last year's Etoile des Bessčges and broke the same arm. When he started training again, a crash left him in a coma, and he was unable to ride at all for seven weeks.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)