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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News, January 10, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Hansen Australian TT champ

Adam Hansen (Team High Road) was delighted to become TT national champ
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Queensland road professional Adam Hansen claimed his first national title with an impressive ride in hot conditions to win the 39 kilometre elite men's time trial at the Scody 2008 Australian Open Road Championships near Ballarat, Victoria.

The 26 year-old, who rides for Team High Road, averaged a little over 45 kilometres an hour for a time of 51:41.23, almost a minute faster than silver medallist Rory Sutherland (Healthnet), with Queensland's Ben Day (Toyota-United) coming in third. "It hasn't sunk in yet," said Hansen who represented Australia in the event at last year's World Championships in Germany. "I came down here to win so I am really happy."

The Cairns native was not affected by the soaring temperatures in the region, attributing a strong programme, that included training up to eight hours a day in the Queensland heat, as the reason for his win. "I was really geared up today coming all the way down from Cairns and I trained really hard for this race," said Hansen. "The great thing about TTs is that they are not a gamble like a road race, its man against man, so I had a great chance today and it paid off."

Hansen now turns his focus towards the men's road race on Sunday, where he will ride alongside High Road team mate Michael Rogers. Rogers, absent from the time trial, played a small part in his victory giving him the pre-race advice of "ride hard".

Fresh from his team's win at the Bay Cycling Classic last week, Sutherland took silver for the second year in a row. "It's a trend that I don't really want to keep happening," said Sutherland who was nonetheless satisfied with his ride.

2003 champion, Day was unable to match the pace of Hansen. "It was damn hot today and hats off to Adam and Rory, they rode really well," said Day. "There was nothing more that I could have done out there."

Hansen targets road race win, too

By Paul Verkuylen

Newly crowned Australian time trial champion Adam Hansen not only came to Ballarat looking for a win in the time trial, but would like to leave with the road race title as well.

"I hope to do well. I came down to win both, so that's my goal. I'm feeling really good on the road bike, much better than on the time trial bike," he explained to Cyclingnews.

Hansen will have two team-mates with him on Sunday, Michael Rogers and Scott Davis, but stressed that it was most important for the team to win the jersey. "We haven't really discussed it yet. If he [Rogers] wins it, Scott wins it, or I win it, we will all be happy.

"The better the rider that you have the more cards we have to play, I think that we will all support each other. The better the other riders on our team are, the better it is for us."

Hansen's tactics for the title come down to a simple formula that has worked many times before in road races that have been as open as this Sunday's title will be. "I am not much of a sprinter, so I will definitely try something on the hills," he said.

With the championships taking place so early on in the season for many, preparation is the key to success on such a tough course, one thing that Hansen believes he has. "I have had some really good training before coming here. I have a good base and have had four weeks of solid intervals," he explained.

With so many of the top riders only having ridden against one another a hand full of times in the lead up to Sunday's race, Hansen was not willing to gamble on who may or may not have winning form. "The thing about the Australian championships is, I think anyone can win it. We always watch the top rider, but there are a lot of good middle class riders that we don't really know about. I think anyone has a chance, so I will keep my eyes open on anyone," he concluded.

GB women's pro team launched: Halford's Bikehut

Team Halfords Bikehut General Manager Dave Brailsford (right)
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

Halfords Bikehut has been revealed as the naming rights sponsor of the new British womens' professional team to be led by national champion Nicole Cooke. Cyclingnews' UK Editor Ben Atkins was at the team's presentation at London Zoo on Wednesday, January 9, 2008.

Introduced by Dave Brailsford, British Cycling's Performance Director, who is taking on the role of general manager, the rationale behind the new British women's team was laid out. The major force behind British Cycling's performance philosophy is the winning of Olympic medals; in Brailsford's words, "Our job is to convert opportunities into medals". The reason behind the team is to give Nicole Cooke - Britain's greatest woman cyclist - the best chance possible of winning Gold in Beijing, and beyond that give the best possible chance to Cooke - or any emerging talent - a similar opportunity to claim Gold on home soil at the London Olympic Games in 2012.

Brailsford began by highlighting the success of British Cycling since the Performance Plan began receiving funding form the United Kingdom national lottery. Before this funding, Great Britain had only ever won one Gold - that of Chris Boardman in 1992 - and that was achieved almost single-handedly. Since funding has been available, the GB team has won eight medals; a haul that he referred to as 'okay'. Approaching the Beijing Olympic Games, the GB team, Brailsford says, should be competitive in 13 of the 18 events, by London that number will hopefully be up to at least 16.

To read the full feature, click here.

Team presentations held

Caisse d'Epargne

The Caisse d'Epargne cycling team was presented this Wednesday, January 9, at the bank headquarters in Paris. The 2008 squad counts a total of 26 riders, with eight newcomers rounding out the outfit for its season objectives, namely the stage races, the Tour de France and the Olympic Games.

The leader of the Spanish team, Alejandro Valverde, expects the new season to be a successful one: "My personal preparation and goals will be slightly different from last year because I will mostly concentrate myself on the second part of the season," he announced. "Our team is a very strong one, reinforced by some very talented riders' arrival. That is very important considering the work the team will have to achieve throughout the whole season to be present in all the most important races of the calendar."

General team manager Eusebio Unzúe explained that the his goals remained more or less the same from last year, highlighting that "for the second time in a row, the team Caisse d'Epargne won the combined classification of the UCI ProTour. The team 2008 will again try to be in the foreground of all the races in which it will take part. One more time, the stage races will be our priority and we will also try to be key players of the most important classics."

The 2008 Caisse d'Epargne team: David Arroyo, Anthony Charteau (Fra), Arnaud Coyot (Fra), Mathieu Drujon (Fra), Imanol Erviti, Txente García Acosta, Iván Gutiérrez, Joan Horrach, Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Pablo Lastras, David López, Alberto Losada, Luis Pasamontes, Fabien Patanchon (Fra), Oscar Pereiro, Marlón Pérez Arango (Col), Fran Pérez, Mathieu Perget (Fra), Nicolas Portal (Fra), Joaquím Rodríguez, José Joaquín Rojas, José Rujano (Ven), Luis León Sánchez, Rigoberto Uran (Col), Alejandro Valverde and Xabier Zandio.

Watch out for a full feature of the team launch coming up on Cyclingnews.


Daniele Bennati will give Liquigas
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

This year's Liquigas team was also presented yesterday in Bibione, Italy, a town which has become co-sponsor of the squad for 2008. For its fourth year, the team's roster will rely on two leaders, namely Filippo Pozzato and Daniele Bennati. After the departure of Danilo Di Luca to LPR, Pozzato and Bennati will be the riders trying to go for a maximum of victories. General manager Roberto Amadio wants the squad to focus on all race categories, with the Classics remaining a special target, and doesn't fear rivalry between the two leaders.

"The team as a whole remains fondamental," he told Gazzetta dello Sports' Luigi Perna. "With this roster, we have increased our chances to win in Sanremo, Flanders or Roubaix. Between the two [Pozzato and Bennati], the legs will decide who is stronger. I wouldn't have a problem to have Bettini and Boonen in one team, neither."

Alongside Pozzato and Bennati will be Leonardo Bertagnolli, Francesco Chicchi, Murilo Fischer and Vincenzo Nibali, amongst others. For the stage races, Liquigas will count on Manuel Beltran and Andrea Noè, with Franco Pellizotti already a designated captain for the 2008 Giro d'Italia. "Last year, Pellizotti could have made the podium, but he sacrificed himself for Di Luca," said sponsor boss Paolo Dal Lago. "We owe this to him."

The Liquigas team for 2008: Michael Albasini (Sui), Valerio Agnoli (Aurum Hotels), Manuel Beltran (Spa), Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Leonardo Bertagnolli, Maciej Bodnar (Pol, Team Moser), Kjell Carlström (Fin), Dario Cataldo, Francesco Chicchi, Claudio Corioni (Lampre-Fondital), Alberto Curtolo (Elite 2), Mauro Da Dalto, Murilo Fischer (Bra), Enrico Franzoi (Lampre-Fondital), Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr), Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro), Matej Mugerli (Slo), Vincenzo Nibali, Andrea Noè, Franco Pellizotti, Roberto Petito, Filippo Pozzato, Manuel Quinziato, Guido Trenti, Alessandro Vanotti, Charles Wegelius (GBr) and Frederik Willems (Bel).


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

CONI to hear Puerto witnesses, Austrian lab investigated

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has announced that it intends to hear riders, doctors and team directors that could shed some further light in the Operación Puerto doping scandal that has rocked cycling since May last year. CONI's anti-doping prosecutor has received further elements which could be used to open disciplinary proceedings against implicated riders, even if they were not Italian.

The anti-doping entity said it had jurisdiction over the affair because it was responsible for guaranteeing that foreign nationals involved in competitions in Italy had not broken anti-doping regulations. It added it had informed Rome magistrates of its decision so they could assess whether to take criminal action.

According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, doctors and managers will be called first, then riders. It has been suggested that one possible consequence of non-attendance at the hearings is that CONI could ban those who are absent from competing on Italian soil. This would logically prevent their participation in the Giro d’Italia, but also from this year’s world championships (which are taking place in Varese) and even the Tour de France, given that it enters Italy this year.

The news will consequently be a concern for riders such as Alejandro Valverde, who is suspected by both the UCI and WADA of being involved in the Puerto affair. Attempts were made to block him from riding the world road race championships last autumn.

Also, L'Equipe reported on Thursday that an Austrian laboratory, Humanplasma, is currently being investigated as it is suspected to be practising in blood doping. Roland Achatz, representative of the Austrian government, revealed that the investigation was opened following a written query by the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Richard Pound. So far, the lab director, Dr Lothar Baumgartner, has denied being involved in any blood doping affair whatsoever.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Swift Racing looking to recruit

Team Swift Racing, a Women's Professional Cycling team based in Belgium, is looking to recruit a senior rider for its 2008 road squad. Backed by Swift Motorhomes under a long-term contract, the team is building up a young roster with huge potential.

Around these young riders are several experienced heads including Olympian Emma Jones, Cyclo-Cross star Helen Wyman, and leader New Zealander Toni Bradshaw. However, the team has confirmed they are interested in hearing from other riders interested in joining the team.

"I believe we have the right structure in place in terms of our location, staff and sponsor base," said team manager Stefan Wyman. "To finish things off, we are looking to add another rider to the roster who can give us a different dimension in major races such as the Tour de l'Aude and the Tour of Flanders. The added support of Museeuw and continued support of Bio-Racer means we can look to strengthen our team and increase our race calendar." .

The team's season starts with a two-week training camp in the South of France at the end of February, followed by a return to its base in Belgium for the early season classic races. The focus of the first half of the season will be the Tour de l'Aude, in which the squad also took part last season.

"Our team house in central Belgium gives us the perfect location to base ourselves. Within easy reach of so many races, the riders enjoy the benefit of much reduced travel times and longer periods in a familiar place." added Wyman.

Any riders interested in applying should do so by e-mailing Wyman at, providing full contact details.

2008 Around the Bay in a Day

The 2008 Around the Bay in a Day, Australia's premier mass participation bike ride located around the city of Melbourne, will be held on Sunday, October 19, 2008. Leading into it's sixteenth year, the event is experiencing significant growth, with over 14,000 riders participating in 2007. With a final figure yet to be announced, it is anticipated that these riders will raise a record tally for the official charity partner, The Smith Family.

The event offers a choice of four ride distances: 50km, 100km, 210km and 250km. With the exception of the 100km ride, which starts in Sorrento, all rides will start and finish at the same location: Alexandra Gardens in the heart of Melbourne.

The Melbourne Cycling Festival will also be held over the weekend of October 17-19, 2008.

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