First Edition Cycling News, December 4, 2008
Edited by Sue George
Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
By Gregor Brown
Chris Horner will be one of the core supporters for fellow American Lance Armstrong in his next season at Team Astana. Despite past differences of opinion, the Oregon native is honoured to ride in the company of a seven-time Tour de France winner.
"The guy has been the Tour de France champion and I have been trying to get on his team for years. I don't have any problems working for him," said Horner to Cyclingnews.
The two and the rest of their Astana teammates are on the Spanish island of Tenerife for a team training camp. The last major meeting between the two was when they were racing for different teams at the 2005 Tour de France. Armstrong retired at the end of that race, but he is making a comeback for the 2009 season with his old team manager Johan Bruyneel. Horner joined the team at the beginning of this year.
Besides a daring escape with Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel in the 2005 Tour's stage 13, Armstrong might remember Horner from some of his remarks regarding the end of Team Discovery Channel. Horner insisted that he was simply expressing a difference of opinion.
"I don't have any problems working for him, having conflicts with riders throughout your career is completely normal. Nothing that Lance and I have had conflicts over has been anything major."
Horner explained that the team is splitting into different groups every day during the training camp in Spain. Tuesday Alberto Contador and Armstrong were in different groups, but yesterday they were training together. Horner has had his time with both the Tour winners.
His programme will follow closely to that of Armstrong. "It will probably be Tour Down Under, [Tour of] California, Paris-Nice, Giro [d'Italia]..." he said of his early races.
Thursday is the official presentation of the 2009 Astana team. With Levi Leipheimer, the team boosts three American riders in its roster.
Austrian Federation to take legal action against Kohl
The Austrian Cycling Federation (ÖRV) will file a complaint against Bernhard Kohl, joining a public prosecutor's inquiry into the Austrian rider for fraud. Kohl was suspended for two years for his use of CERA, a new form of EPO, during the Tour de France.
ÖRV President Otto Flum said there were two reasons for the action. One was "to very clearly show that we actively participate in every explanation of a doping case. But also because of the damage that has been done to ÖRV."
By filing a formal complaint, Flum said that the Federation could work together with prosecutors. "With these activities we hope to get to the dealers and suppliers."
Meanwhile, Stefan Matschiner, who was previously identified as Kohl's manager, said that he and Kohl had agreed to end their relationship. Matschiner said that he had served as the rider's press spokesman since the Tour de France 2008 In a statement issued Wednesday evening, he said that "the parameters have drastically changed in the last few weeks" and that there is no longer a "financial or media necessity," so that the two have agreed to stop their work together.
2009 Vuelta a España route not quite decided yet
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The route for the 2009 Vuelta a España will be officially announced on December 17 in Madrid. One thing that is already officially known is that the race director will be Javier Guillén. He replaced Víctor Cordero, who stepped down after the 2008 Vuelta. In another change, Unipublic will no longer hold the race on its own since ASO has purchased a 49-percent stakeholder share.
Some details have been made available by Spanish cycling paper Meta2mil. The start will be in the Netherlands on August 29, and the final will conclude with its traditional circuit race in Madrid (September 20).
The organisers have recently travelled to Alicante, to check out two mountaintop finishes, the Aitana and Xorret de Catí. Eladio Jiménez won on the Xorret de Catí in 2004, when the climb was part of the Comunitat Valenciana. Cyclingnews has also received information that the organisers have negotiated with Murcia.
The first option would have the race travel from Holland to Lloret de Mar on the first race day. From there, a clock-wise route would be followed.
The second option would also resume in Lloret de Mar after the Dutch experience, but then would mimic the Andorra stages from 2008. From there, it would head to the eastern part of the country again, before having several stages in the proximity of Madrid. This option would mean less transfers for the riders, except for the initial huge leap from the Netherlands.
Pellizotti faces Giro & Tour in 2009
By Gregor Brown
Italian Franco Pellizotti of Team Liquigas will race the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France Grand Tours in 2009. The winner of the Plan de Corones mountain time trial will co-captain in his home tour with Ivan Basso and join Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger in the French race.
"We will start with two captains," Pellizotti said to Cyclingnews regarding the Giro d'Italia. "The team gives me the responsibility to play my cards and I think it is right to allow me to make my race. If [Basso] shows to be better than me then okay, I will help him."
Pellizotti spent four days in the early part of this year's Giro wearing the maglia rosa of race leader. Though he lost the jersey, he went on two win one of the Giro's most epic stages, the 12.9-kilometre time trial up the dirt and gravel roads of Plan de Corones. It was his only win of a season marked with numerous top finishes, including fourth overall in the Giro, second in the Tour de Slovénie and third in the Tour de Pologne.
Pellizotti will share leadership responsibilities with Basso, a new signing and winner of the 2006 Giro. Basso is returning to the sport following a two-year suspension for his implication in the doping investigation Operación Puerto. He will face his first Grand Tour in three years, slightly less time away than that taken by Lance Armstrong. The American is returning to the sport following his retirement in July of 2005 and will be one of Liquigas' rivals for victory.
"The years also pass for Armstrong. ... I have matured and, hopefully, he has aged some. We will see."
Pellizotti is training and programming the season with teammates at Liquigas' first camp for the new year. He remarked there is little actual training, but lots of bonding and group building exercises.
Kreuziger and Nibali, both who battled for the Tour's maillot blanc of best young rider this year, will not race the Giro.
Danielson looks forward to "good pressure" in 2009
By Peter Hymas
Tom Danielson has wrapped up the Garmin-Slipstream camp in the team's home base of Boulder, Colorado, and now the 30-year-old will set to work on executing the plan for his 2009 season with the intent to ride the Tour de France. An integral part of Danielson's training regime for the upcoming season is the guidance of Garmin-Slipstream Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters.
"I'm working closely with Jonathan Vaughters on my training schedule," said Danielson to Cyclingnews. "Basically we sat down and looked at all my weaknesses from last year and from years past, even the years that I had great years, and put together a program that's really thorough. Right now I'm doing typical things like weights, some cross training and I've gotten back on the bike. I'm also incorporating a few changes regarding my diet and my fat-burning capabilities. Genetically I'm really efficient with sugars and glycogen but I'm not very efficient at burning fats. It's been good because Jonathan and I are similar riders. He also had the efficiency with glycogen and the inefficiency with fat-burning so he has some motivation and interest to research that. He's sharing a lot of things, problems that he had when he was racing, so it works out well."
Danielson commented on the pressure he feels regarding Garmin-Slipstream's greater expectations for the 2009 season. "I'm definitely putting a lot of pressure on myself. Good pressure. Last year I felt a pressure where I was forced to play catch-up and I was uncomfortable in that role. Now I have a different kind of pressure where things are all coming together and I feel very confident. I'm having a normal off season and I'm glad that I have a great infrastructure around me."
Danielson's 2009 season will start off domestically at the Tour of California before making the transition to Europe. "I'm looking forward to the Tour of California, particularly Mt. Palomar," said Danielson. "During college I used to go on spring break in San Diego with my friends and ride Mt. Palomar so I'm really excited to see that's the critical day in the Tour of California. It's really the emphasis of the race."
"After the Tour of California I'll head over to Europe for the long haul," continued Danielson. "I will start with the Tour of Murcia, the Vuelta a Castilla y León and then the Vuelta al País Vasco. Then I'll most likely do a training camp with Christian [Vande Velde] at altitude and do the Giro d'Italia.
"I've done the Vuelta al País Vasco three years ago and it's a really hard race," said Danielson. "You come out with good form which will help me in the Giro. The key to the Giro is to just finish the race, to become stronger throughout the race and really make sure that I'm ready for the Tour de France. It's a good schedule, almost the same as Christian. I really enjoy racing with him and I think we work well together."
Basso, Bettini and Bugno ride the Pedalata con i Campioni
By Kirsten Robbins
The Italian city of Varese was recently put on the cycling world's map after hosting this year's UCI Road World Championships in September. Dig deeper into the city's cycling roots and the Pedalata con i Campioni - A ride with the champions - on December 8 will emerge as one of the most well-known one-day, annual group rides. Over one thousand cyclist are expected to gather for the ninth edition in Brinzio to ride alongside riders like the former world champions Paolo Bettini and Gianni Bugno along with Ivan Basso.
Twelve of Varese's professional riders started the group ride nine years ago to inaugurate a monument that they restored. It was built into the mountainside on the road up to Brinzio, and it memorializes a Varesini cyclist who died. It uses a brick wall set into a rocky slope with a shiny crank arm bolted to it and a pedal attached. Every deceased cyclist has his or her name engraved onto a small plaque which is hung on the monument. The twelve founders of the group ride chose December 8 as the event's date since it is symbolic of the date of Immaculate Conception.
Founders of the charity ride include Basso, Stefano Zanini, Davide Frattini, Simone Zucchi, Gabriele Colombo, Dario Andriotto, Stefano Garzelli, Tupak Casnedi, Andrea Peron and Oscar Mason. But according to Zanini the most important person involved in organizing the festivities is Sergio Gianoli, a local journalist and author of L'Annuario del Ciclismo Varesino. Gianoli organizes the event's logistics and publicity at www.pedalaconicampioni.com.
"We're very excited to have the ninth Pedalata this year," Zanini said in pre-event press conference. "Every year we donate the money to a charity of choice."
The 50-kilometre starts and finishes in the small town of Brinzio, located on the outskirts of Varese, and goes over a scenic mountain pass. The city was chosen because of its historical ties to cycling. The ride grew from its twelve founders to more than one thousand participants in nine years. Bettini is one of numerous professional cyclists who donate a signed jersey to raffle off to the people who participate in the event. The funds collected from the entrance fee cover the insurance costs for holding the ride and the rest is donated to local charities. The objective of this year's event is to raise donations for Il Ponte Del Sorriso a project to build a pediatric centre for Varese's Filippo Del Ponte Hospital.
The long list of cycling champions living in Varese who will be present is topped by Italian cycling legend Claudio Chiappucci. Other attractions include Michael Rogers (Columbia), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), Charlie Wegelius (Silence-Lotto), Danielle Nardello (Fuji-Servetto), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Noemi Cantele and Nicole Brandli (Bigla) and Luca Paolini (Aqua & Sapone). Ex-professionals who dust their bikes off for event include Francesco Frattini, Stefano Zanini and Gabriele Colombo. The large group of retired and current professionals encourages and maintains a hometown camaraderie by hosting the event, bringing the community together and involved in the sport.
The event is not only a chance to ride beside Italy's cycling greats but also draws champions from other sports like motorcycle driver Roberto Locatelli, Para-Olympic medallists Fabrizio Macchi and Olympic medallist in rowing Andrea Luini.
US 'cross nationals course map, registration
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
US cyclo-cross racers who were waiting to see the map of the newly designed course for the national championships before registering can now download one from the race web site: www.kccrossnationals.com. The site also features a video preview of the course. But organizers encourage people to act fast as online registration closes this Sunday night.
"Online registration closes this Sunday night at Midnight," said race director Bill Marshall. "The long range forecast is looking sweet and gas is cheap!"
Organizers are hopeful that the weather will be more enjoyable for everyone compared to last year, which saw a week of ice storms almost cancel the event, followed by a Saturday of frozen conditions and a slightly warmer Sunday resulting in a mud fest.
SRAM Neutral Support has once again signed on to support all riders entered in the championships, likely again amid the soothing smell of hot apple cider.
Euskaltel-Euskadi racers spend some time in the wind tunnel
The Basque team of Euskaltel-Euskadi has sent two of its riders to the wind tunnel in San Diego, California, with the goal of improving their positions on their bikes and analyzing sponsors' products. It's the second time some of the team's riders are visiting the tunnel.
During a three-day period this week, the aerodynamic positions of Samuel Sánchez and Mikel Astarloza are being tested while riding on Orbea Ordus. The wind tunnel tests will be complemented by exercise tests in the Anoeta velodrome.
The testing is part of a joint AIZE project by Orbea and the team. "Aize" means "air" in Basque, and in the project's name it is an acronym standing for "Aerodynamic Investigation Zone for Euskaltel-Euskadi by Orbea". Orbea intends to use the test results for developing new models of bicycles.
Sánchez was among the riders the team sent last year for similar testing. He was there with Igor Antón, and Haimar Zubeldia. It was that round of testing that resulted in the Orbea Ordu time trial bike.
Tour of Bright coming this weekend
The15th edition of the Tour of Bright will be held this weekend on December 6-7, with more than 500 entrants expected. The three-stage road race will run over two days in the Alpine area of Victoria in Australia. Participants in all eight categories will use transponders for the first time to enable more accurate results. Among the elite racers, Scotsman Evan Oliphant is one of 91 racers taking a crack at the title.
For more information, visit www.tourofbright.com.au.
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)