First Edition Cycling News, November 5, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson
Armstrong returns to the wind tunnel
By Bruce Hildenbrand
Lance Armstrong's return to the top level of professional cycling has taken place at the San Diego Air and Space Technology Low Speed Wind Tunnel. It was the first time in almost four years that the Texan has tested his aerodynamic form on a bike, but Armstrong settled quickly back into the groove and started the first wave of what will undoubtedly be many sessions tunnel.
"What we are trying to do today is establish a baseline so we are starting with Lance's position from 2005 and will go from there," remarked Steve Hed, who, as Armstrong's chief aerodynamic consultant, had scheduled the time in San Diego.
Coming off two wins this past weekend in time trial events in Texas, it might seem like Armstrong is already back in racing form but long-time coach Chris Carmichael was quick to point out that Armstrong needs to start ratcheting up his training program to focus on speeds of 30+mph which are necessary to win major time trials. Clearly, while Armstrong has a powerful motor a lot of the groundwork needs to be done in the wind tunnel, especially after such a long hiatus.
Today's session focused on the working on the fore and aft position of his arms on the time trial bars combined with a fore and aft position of Armstrong on his saddle trying to find the best combination of comfort and aerodynamics. "For me it is always hard to find power," noted Armstrong. "You are looking for the perfect intersection between position and power."
Armstrong gave an assessment of his first session. "It feels a little different right now because I am fitter now than I usually am in the off season," he said. "I haven't been bent over in a time trial position in a few years. It is a lot different than coming in the middle of the season. I have a better appreciation now of going into the wind tunnel. I suspect we will come back during camp before the Tour of Calfornia."
Trek's road brand manager Scott Daubert indicated that the time trial bike Armstrong was testing, the TTX, was only a prototype when he last rode the bike at the 2005 Tour, now it is in full production and has been ridden successfully by Armstrong's new team-mates Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer.
The Texan gave some insights into his racing program for 2009. "I am going to Italy [Giro], I am going to do Tour of Flanders, all the classics of cycling [except Roubaix], Tour of California, Criterium International, Circuit de la Sarthe," he said.
Also slated to join in the testing in San Diego are Contador, Leipheimer and phenomenon Taylor Phinney who will lead Armstrong's U23 Livestrong team.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Gary Boulanger
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
Moletta cleared, but without team
By Gregor Brown
The doping case against Italian cyclist Andrea Moletta was shelved last week by Padova prosecutor Claudio Marassi, but the rider from Cittadella now faces a difficult team search. The Gerolsteiner rider, 29, was suspended in May when his father was questioned about Viagra tablets and other substances.
"Everything is okay. I heard the news last Tuesday," Moletta told Cyclingnews. "It was a very difficult period for me. To be accused of something that you don't know anything about is terrible."
Team Gerolsteiner pulled Moletta from the Giro d'Italia and placed him on inactive status after Italian Guardia Finanza stopped his father and questioned him about the Viagra tablets and unidentified fluids. Both father and son denied any knowledge of or participation in any doping.
His last race was in the Giro stage to Urbino on May 20, but Gerolsteiner continues to pay him through the end of 2008 when the team is due to disband. (Read: Gerolsteiner's forgotten riders)
Moletta has continued to train with locals Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan and Davide Rebellin while his lawyer Fabio Pavone helped the case move through the justice system. Now that the case has been shelved, he can safely look for a 2009 team.
"The problem is to find a new team - there is not a lot of money around," he said. "It would be hard to find a team even if I have not done anything, but, you know, once someone says something you are viewed wrongly."
His best mate and former Gerolsteiner rider Rebellin will likely go to Team Diquigiovanni, a team that already boasts Gilberto Simoni. Moletta admitted the budget on the team is limited with two big stars.
"The problem is to find a team and someone who believes in me," he said. "I have put out my requests, but no one has called."
Bettini hospitalized after Six Day fall
Paolo Bettini was taken to hospital after falling and hitting his head while contesting the Six Days of Milan in Italy on Tuesday. Doctors at the Sacco hospital cleared the Italian of any serious injuries and he has since been discharged.
The 34 year-old came down after Ukranian Yaroslav Popovych fell in front of him. The two times UCI World Road Champion hit his head on a protective barrier which broke his helmet, according to local media reports.
The race is the 2004 Olympic Games gold medallist's final race after announcing his retirement earlier this year. Bettini's Quick Step road squad decided not to renew the rider's contract, instead signing several big-name riders to replace the star.
Bettini will decide today whether he will continue to ride at the Six Days of Milan.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
German TV to televise Tour?
German broadcasters ARD could be forced to broadcast next year's Tour de France, after the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it had no basis to not honour its agreement with Tour owner Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). Both networks had announced their intentions to not broadcast next year's Tour, in response to the sport's ongoing doping problems.
EBU president Fritz Pleitgen told AFP the network's attempt to boycott the Tour was "against the rules" of the EBU and its contract with ASO. "ARD, in conjunction with ZDF, signed a contract last January that covers the period from 2009-2011 for a total of six million euros a year," he said.
The network's only exit clause in the contract would be if ASO wasn't employing "the most modern anti-doing controls" currently available, according to Pleitgen. "If these conditions are not respected by the organisers, the television channels can end their contract once it becomes valid on January 1, 2009," Pleitgen said.
Another step up in the fight against doping saw ASO catch several riders at this year's Tour, including Riccardo Ricco, Leonardo Piepoli, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl. These riders tested positive despite using the latest generation of EPO called Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator (CERA).
The latest generation of EPO from Roche Pharmaceuticals was largely unknown and believed to be undetectable, however procedures had already been put in place to help detect that drug's presences in an athlete's sample.
Bissell ready to sizzle in '09
While issues with the United States of America's economy has hurt some of its local squads, Bissell Pro Cycling Team has announced its title sponsor has renewed for 2009. The squad has also announced the signing of two time national criterium champion Kirk O'bee (Health Net-Maxxis) as well as Peter Latham (Albi Velo Sport) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant) for next season.
In addition to the new riders joining the Continental squad next year, the team will also undergo a management change with Glen Mitchell taking over the helm. Eric Wohlberg will join Mitchell on the management team, with the experienced Wohlberg taking on the role of sport director.
"The team has had a fantastic year and has surpassed the goals that we had in the beginning of the year," said Mitchell. "I am very excited about becoming more involved with the team, and I look forward to the challenges ahead in building this team to the next level.
"We have a solid platform of riders from this year and have recruited some talented athletes to strengthen the squad at our targeted races for '09," he added.
The team will see Ben Jacques-Maynes, Tom Zirbel, Burke Swindlehurst, Jeremy Vennell, Omer Kem, Joao Correia, and Graham Howard return for another year with the outfit. They will be joined by up-and-coming riders Morgan Schmitt, Sheldon Deeny, Cody O'Reilly, Paul Mach and Tim Farnham.
Clark announced as Carnivals ambassador
The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania has announced that Nathan Clark will be its ambassador for this year's Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. Nathan is an Australian scratch man who has been contracted to ride at this year's carnivals.
"Throughout his sporting career Nathan has been a credit to himself and the sport," said organisers. "He is a local person who has been able to combine the rigours of professional sport with full time employment - which is somewhat of a rarity in sport today."
In recent months Nathan has excelled as a member of the Praties cycling team by winning several road tour criteriums and stages. He is also a former winner of the 2004 Latrobe Wheel race and has been a very successful rider at past Tasmanian carnivals.
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(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)