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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, December 17, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson

Petacchi requires strong team for diverse Giro

By Gregor Brown

Petacchi, r, thinks that stage wins will be hard fought in next year's Giro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Alessandro Petacchi thinks that stage wins will be hard fought in next year's Giro d'Italia, after the event's route was revealed at the weekend. The Team LPR sprinter, on hand at the presentation Saturday night at Venice's Teatro Fenice, believes that stage wins in the three-week Italian Tour will require a strong team.

"It is a truly diverse and opposite Giro; there are climbs right away," Petacchi told Cyclingnews.

Organiser RCS Sport presented a 2009 Giro, May 9 to 31, with climbs into the Dolomites after just four days of racing. Typically the race faces the northern mountains in the final week, but this year they appear early in favour of the Apennine mountains and a finish in Rome. Italian Petacchi, with 19 Giro stage wins to his name, will call on his teammates to keep the race together in some of the demanding stage finishes.

"There are five or six stages [available for sprint finishes], but to arrive in a group in some of those stages you have to be going very hard," he said.

After the opening team time trial in Venice, the first two stages available for sprinters feature climbs in the second-half. The 95-metre climb of Montebello appears three times before the finale of Stage 2 to Trieste. Stage 3 has similar ascents that will make organising a sprint difficult.

Petacchi, wearer of the maglia rosa in 2005, said it would require a strong effort for him to take the leader's top in the opening days of the race.

Clarke follows Dominguez to Fuji-Servetto

By Kirsten Robbins

Hilton Clarke will join the ProTour in 2009
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

Australian sprinter Hilton Clarke will join the ProTour ranks alongside his former Toyota-United teammate Ivan Dominguez at Fuji-Servetto in 2009. Karen Bliss, director of marketing and sponsorship at Fuji Bikes, confirmed with Cyclingnews that both sprinters will join the team at the top of their game, having won races for nearly a decade.

"We just signed Hilton Clarke," said Bliss noting that he is the second Australian to join the squad, next to former Rabobank rider William Walker. "That was an Ivan Dominguez connection and we are very happy to have him. He's English speaking and a great addition for us. Our Australian distributors are thrilled too."

Fuji Bikes has had a long-standing relationship with Dominguez and Clarke, who have competed on its frames for the past three seasons. Combined, the sprinters have won more than 100 of the most prestigious events held in the United States of America, such as stages of the Tour of California and Missouri, along with events of the Triple Crown series held in Philadelphia.

"They are awesome and have been great representatives for us," said Bliss. "Dominguez is super professional and an incredible athlete and a winner. Gianetti is really great, a good marketer and sensitive to his sponsors. Being an American sponsor we wanted to have riders who have raced here."

The squad will meet at the end of December for the first time at a preliminary training camp held in Italy. It will be the first opportunity for the European riders to test their sponsored Fuji SL1 road bikes and Fuji D6 Professional time trial bikes, according to Bliss. They will start the 2009 season at the Tour Down Under held January 18-25 in Adelaide, Australia.

"The team will ride the SL1, which is the same frame that Toyota-United rode and that Tyler Hamilton won the US national championships on this year," Bliss said. "It's too late for special team graphics so for the training camp, they'll have plain bikes and we'll supply them bikes with team graphics at a later date."

Clarke is the 22nd rider to join Fuji-Servetto's roster. His teammates include Dominguez and Walker along with José Alberto Benítez, Iker Camaño, David Cañada, Eros Capecchi,Ermanno Capelli, Juan José Cobo, David De La Fuente, Jesús Del Nero, Arkaitz Durán, Alberto Fernández De La Puebla, Ángel Gómez Gómez, Héctor González, Beñat Intxausti, Josep Jufré, Javier Mejías, Daniele Nardello, Ricardo Serrano, Andrea Tonti, Davide Viganò.

Schumacher, Holczer in court

Stefan Schumacher
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Stefan Schumacher and Hans-Michael Holczer will soon be facing off in court. The rider has filed suit against his former Gerolsteiner team manager for wrongfully cancelling his contract after the announcement of his positive Tour de France doping control.

Michael Lehner, Schumacher's attorney, told the dpa press agency that he expected the Stuttgart Arbeitsgericht (labour court) to rule next month whether it would accept the case.

According to Lehner, Holczer did not have contracts with Schumacher and the other riders as independent contractors, but "normal work contracts", which would put the case in the labour court rather then the normal court.

A judge had already issued a recommended settlement to the two parties. Holczer has not yet made a public announcement and Lehner said he had rejected it.

In an interview in the Stuttgarter Zeitung, Lehner criticised Holczer's contracts with the riders. "That is very interesting, that an attorney first advises someone to sign a contract and later recognises [negative aspects]," Holczer responded.

Holczer added that all of contracts treated the riders as independent contractors, as compared to employees, at their own request, "which by the way is the general usage" in the other German teams.

UCI decides on ProTour details

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has decided upon the final details of next years UCI ProTour. The international governing body announced it had renewed ProTour event licenses for Belgium's Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and the Netherlands' Amstel Gold Race.

Both European events were awarded a one-year licence for next season. The new licence means they join Tour de Romandie and Tour Down Under on the list of races whose ProTour licence expires after the 2009 event.

The body also awarded Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi a two year licence through to 2010, while Bbox Bouygues Telecom has had its licence renewed for next year.

Haussler, Marchante sign with Cervélo TestTeam

Heinrich Haussler
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Cervélo TestTeam has signed German Heinrich Haussler and Spaniard Jose Angel Gómez Marchante to race for the new team in 2009.

"This is a really good opportunity for me," Haussler told Cyclingnews. "It's a new year, new team, new luck. I am really looking forward to it."

Born and raised in Australia, Haussler moved to Germany to pursue cycling in 1999. He comes to Cervélo TestTeam as an experienced member of the peloton – having ridden for Gerolsteiner since 2005 – with numerous stage wins to his credit, including a stage in the 2005 Vuelta a España, two stages in the Vuelta a Murcia, and a stage in the 2007 Dauphiné Libéré.

Marchante has ridden for Saunier-Duval (and subsequently Scott-American Beef) since 2005. His career highlights include overall victory at the Vuelta al País Vasco in 2006 after winning the final time trial.

"I am excited at having strong riders like Heinrich Haussler and José Ángel Gómez Marchante on our team," said Cervélo TestTeam managing director Thomas Campana. "They are seasoned and smart and will contribute greatly to the team."

Spanish teams confirmed for Tour Down Under

Euskaltel-Euskadi and new UCI ProTour team Fuji-Servetto have announced the rosters they will bring to Australia's Tour Down Under in January. The South Australian event is the first ProTour round in next year's season.

"The Euskaltel-Euskadi and Fuji-Servetto teams are welcome additions to the already talented rider and team line-up for the event," said race director Mike Turtur.

Daniele Nardello joined the Fuji-Servetto team in 2008 after a career with professional teams, Mapei, T-Mobile Team, Team LPR and most recently Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni. Nardello began his cycling career in 1994.

"Nardello was the 2001 Italian road race champion and in 1998 had a Tour de France stage win," said Turtur.

Australia's Will Walker will return to the Tour Down Under after finishing 17th overall at the 2008 event when riding for the Rabobank team.

"Will was the 2006 U23 Australian road race champion, giving him a great start to his professional cycling career," said Turtur. "He is a young and very talented rider."

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team works as an unofficial Basque representative team, partly funded by the Basque Government.

Fuji-Servetto roster: Daniele Nardello, Ermanno Capelli, Ángel Gómez Gómez, Javier Mejías, Davide Viganò, William Walker and Ivan Dominguez.
Euskaltel-Euskadi roster: Josu Agirre Aseginolaza, Pablo Urtasun, Iñaki Isasi, Andoni Lafuente, Markel Irizar, Sergio Andres De Lis and Aitor Hernández.

Kirsipuu returns to racing

Jaan Kirsipuu in 2003
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Jaan Kirsipuu is making a return to the peloton at age 39. He will ride for the small Wallonian team of Geofco-Jartazi in 2009.

Kirsipuu turned professional in 1992 with Team Chazal, and rode for Casino, Ag2r and Crédit Agricole before retiring in 2006. He continued riding in his homeland after his retirement, winning the Estonian national time trial title in 2007 and the road title in 2008.

He is perhaps best known for starting the Tour de France 13 times and never once finishing the race. Despite this fact, Kirsipuu won four stages of the Tour and wore the leader's jersey for six days in 1999.

Soeder aims for 2009 world title

Christiane Soeder (Team Cervélo - Lifeforce) has decided to continue riding in 2009, with a definite goal in mind. "I want to become world champion in the coming year," she told

The 33-year-old Austrian had a number of wins in 2008, but finished second in the UCI World Championship time trial event in Varese, Italy, and fourth in the Olympic Games road race in Beijing, China. Her five wins included the Open de Suede Vargarda and the overall title in the Grande Boucle.

"I will definitely ride another year," she said. "I thought about it a long time, but I think another year will be a lot of fun."

Soeder added that she sees room for improvement, too. "A lot of things have occurred to me, how I could improve," she said.

Milram's van Gerwen "family affair"

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Milram is firmly in the hands of the van Gerwen family, with papa Gerry van Gerwen being the team owner and manager, daughter Marlies Liebregts-van Gerwen as business manager and even son-in-law Raoul Liebregts serving as a directeur sportif and head of human resources for the team.

Marlies and Liebregts met through cycling. "We met on a blind date," she told Cyclingnews. She was working as a hostess at a race in the Netherlands, and got to talking to the commissaire's driver, who said, 'I have a nice friend to introduce you to'.

That was about six years ago, and the couple married in 2007, a big year for them not only personally but professionally. Liebregts, who rode as an amateur up until 2002, was working for the police when they met, but had previously worked as a sport teacher and was studying sport management in the evening.

In 2007 Gerry van Gerwen bought the team's ProTour license and became not only its manager but also its owner, with daughter Marlies, who turns 28 on December 18, becoming business manager. "We said that when we have the whole team, then we will do it as family," she said.

Liebregts quit his job with the police and joined the team, serving as a part-time directeur sportif and full-time human resource manager. "He is in contact with all the riders, their personnel files, he knows what is happening with them, and makes sure that they have all the right equipment," she said.

Marlies van Gerwen will be one of the women featured in an upcoming Cyclingnews feature on 'Women in Men's Cycling'.

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