Latest Cycling News, December 2, 2008
Edited by Gregor Brown
Armstrong surfs with Astana
Lance Armstrong helped Team Astana start its first training camp with an afternoon of surfing off the shores of the Spanish island Tenerife. The team, meeting for it first time in preparations for the 2009 season, completed a training ride and attended a surfing class yesterday.
"I have surfed a few times, in Hawaii and in Mexico. It is fun and a similar sensation to being on a bike, beginning with balance," said Armstrong to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The press has focused attention on the team since USA's Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, announced he would make a comeback after retiring in 2005. He decided to reunite with his former team manager, Johan Bruyneel, at Team Astana.
The Luxembourg-registered team is staying at the five-star Las Madrigueras hotel in Tenerife. Armstrong and ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow frequented the hotel in 2005.
The hotel is complete with its own 18-hole golf course. "Maybe I will play in the downtime between training," Armstrong said.
Yesterday, Armstrong announced he intends to race the Tour de France. He will race alongside 2007 Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador.
Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Pete Goding Photography/www.petegodingphotography.com
Ullrich says no comeback
German Jan Ullrich re-stated that he won't make a comeback to racing despite the recent comeback of Lance Armstrong. The 1997 Tour de France champion, 35 years old today, is focused on family life.
"When I say I stop, then that's the way it is." However, Lance Armstrong "probably didn't think in the last few years that he would start again," Ullrich said to Eurosport.
Ullrich won the Tour de France for Team Telekom a year after finishing second behind his captain Bjarne Riis in 1996. He finished second in the race, behind Armstrong, three times, and also finished third and fourth. Team T-Mobile suspended him before the start of the 2006 Tour for his connection to Operación Puerto. He announced his retirement in February 2007.
"So far I have not missed pro cycling. I left the sport after a disappointment, but since then my broken heart has been repaired."
Ullrich followed the recent developments of his former Tour rival, Armstrong. He believes that the returning rider didn't find "fulfilment" in his life.
"He runs marathons, changes women and still can't find what he is looking for. I can imagine that he needs cycling again, to find his fulfilment. He certainly won't return to finish second."
Ullrich focuses on family life. "I want to continue my family life as perfect as it is at the moment. I hope that we will have more children." He and wife Sara have a son, Max, 1 year old, and he has a five-year-old daughter Sarah from a previous relationship. (SW)
Gilbert aims for more one-day wins
By Gregor Brown
Belgian Philippe Gilbert aims for more one-day Classics in 2009. The winner of this October's Paris-Tours has his eyes on one of his country's biggest one-day race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"I want to aim for the one-day races. Liège is possible, maybe in two or three year's time," he said to Cyclingnews. "You have to have experience and to be strong. With the years you get that – step by step."
"This year I was really strong at the beginning of the season. I have had a full season with around 100 races, I think it is the most I have ever raced in one year. Sanremo and Het Volk were high points for me. Sanremo is a different race and anything is possible."
He will have the support of Belgian team Silence-Lotto for Sanremo and other one-day races as he left his team of the last past seven years, La Française des Jeux. He raced the Tour de France this year, but does not expect the same in 2009 riding for the team of Cadel Evans.
"With Lotto it will be different. Evans is completely for the overall and so there will likely not be a place for me. ... I would like to do the Vuelta next year; it starts in Holland and passes my village. We will ride the La Redoute, so for me it is very special."
Zanini accepts Fuji-Servetto directeur role
Stefano Zanini will leave his position as directeur sportif at Team Silence-Lotto and take a similar role at Mauro Gianetti's Team Fuji-Servetto for 2009, according to sportwereld.be. His arrival fuels recent news that Paolo Bettini, with whom he rode with for six years, could take over management of the team.
Zanini's departure leaves the Belgian team with four directeur sportifs under Sports Director Marc Sergeant: Hendrik Redant, Herman Frison, Roberto Damiani and newcomer Dirk De Wolf.
Zanini, 39, rode professionally from 1991 to 2007. He won the Amstel Gold Race in 1996, a stage in the Tour de France (2000) and two stages in the Giro d'Italia (1994 and 2001). (SW)
Rock Racing manages negative attention in Leogrande aftermath
Rock Racing Team Manager Michael Ball is dealing with the negative impact on his team following the suspension of his rider, Kayle Leogrande, by the USA anti-doping agency. The Continental team based in the USA, known for contracting riders linked to doping investigations, confirmed Leogrande will not be on the 2009 roster.
"Whenever a rider is suspended – be it for doping or any disciplinary issue – it brings negative attention to the sport that so many of us are working hard to cast in a positive light," said Ball in a press release.
The anti-doping agency banned Leogrande for two years after it established he used EPO (Erythropoietin) in the 2007 Superweek series, a race where he won three stages. He continued to race through 2007 and 2008 with Rock Racing despite an ongoing investigation.
"In Kayle's case, knowing that several of the sport's governing bodies were also conducting their own investigations, we felt it was not appropriate to prevent him from racing until a verdict was reached. USA Cycling and the UCI [International Cycling Union] did not deny him the right to race."
Ball confirmed that Leogrande will not be on the 2009 team roster, but said the decision was performance based and not due to the doping case.
De Bonis to Diquigiovanni
Francisco de Bonis signed with Team Diquigiovanni Androni for the coming year, where he will ride for his former Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin.
Italy's De Bonis won the fourth stage of this year's Tour de Romandie while riding for Team Gerolsteiner, which turned out to be his last race of the season. The team said that the 26-year old "did not fit well to the team," and de Bonis said that he and team manager Hans-Michael Holczer "did not understand each other." It was his first professional year, and he joined the team on Rebellin's recommendation.
Rebellin apparently also recommended him for the new team. Bonis is "a highly regarded rider. Above all, he is a trusted helper for Rebellin," Team Manager Gianni Savio said to tuttobiciweb.com.
The signing gives the Italian Professional Continental team 18 riders for the coming season. Savio said that would be enough, but that if he finds a few new smaller sponsors, the team might sign two more riders.
Diquigiovanni Androni plans to open the season in South America, not in Venezuela as usual, but in Argentina. "We will begin January 16 and 17 with the Tour de San Juan," Savio said, followed by the Tour de San Luis. (SW)
Albert on the rollers
Just over two weeks after rupturing his spleen, Belgian Niels Albert is back on the bike. Doctors gave permission for him to start light training on rollers.
Albert started aqua-jogging over the weekend as his first activity and, after a medical check-up Monday, doctors said he could increase his movement.
"Everything is proceeding normally," said his manager Christoph Roothooft to sportwereld.be. "He can now move some, and therefore he can ride his bike on the rollers."
Roothooft noted, too, that the doctors impressed on Albert that he was not to force things or become overtired. "So this will drag on for weeks, under observation." (SW)
Bastianelli appeals suspension
Italian cyclist Marta Bastianelli filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for the one-year suspension issued by Italy's anti-doping tribunal in October. The 21-year-old 2007 World Champion tested positive for an appetite suppressant in July, but claims she did not take it to enhance her performance.
The tribunal reduced the suspension in half from what the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor requested in September. The Olympic committee made its decision after investigating the case, in which Bastianelli tested positive at the European Under 23 championships.
The one-year suspension will come to an end on August 6, 2009. The time frame means that Bastianelli will miss most of the season, but will be able to race the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
Bastianelli recently crashed and fractured her jaw on home roads near Rome. She faced two reconstructive surgeries, but should resume training this month.
Now online: 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll
It's that time of year again... the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online. Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.
As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!
(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)