Latest Cycling News, November 5, 2008
Edited by Bjorn Haake
Armstrong looking for balance
After his session in the San Diego Air and Space Technology Low Speed Wind Tunnel on Tuesday, Lance Armstrong sat down with Cyclingnews' Bruce Hildenbrand to talk about his comeback, the Tour, Linus Gerdemann and time trial positioning.
Of course, the subject of Armstrong's possible participation in the 2009 Tour de France was a hot topic. "I want to say that I am not trying to be coy. I am not playing games with them [ASO], with the fans, the media. I simply don't know and I am not in a hurry to decide." said the seven time champion.
"I am realistic about a lot of things when it comes to the Tour and I know there is tension between the French fans, French media and certainly with the organizers. And I don't want to deal with it now or perhaps even in July. I don't think we are all going to sit around and sing 'Kumbayah'."
"So, I have to find this balance of 'do I want to try to go for an eighth Tour or help the team win a Tour' or 'do I want to help further the international cancer campaign' and all this over the animosity that exists."
Read the full feature on Armstrong.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
Boonen allegedly used cocaine "often"
Hair tests have allegedly shown that Tom Boonen used cocaine "often" over a period of months, according to sportwereld.be.
Boonen tested positive for cocaine at an out-of-competition control in May. He claimed innocence, saying someone must have spiked his drink at an outdoor cafe. According to the Belgian website, the investigating judge did not believe that story and ordered the hair test, which was carried out shortly after the Belgian championships.
The hair test results showed that while the Quick Step sprinter had not used the drug lately, he had used it earlier. "It is not a one-time thing," an anonymous investigator said on sportwereld.be.
"He used coke often for a couple of months. Then he stopped. We infer that from the fact that hair grows one centimetre per month and there is no drug trace in the newest hair growth."
The use of cocaine out-of-competition does not carry any sporting penalties. However, the judicial investigation is continuing.(SW)
Kohl's comeback plans?
By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Kohl is either working on his comeback or not yet making any plans for it, according to contradictory statements by his trainer and his manager.
His trainer, Werner Zanier, told nachrichten.at that the Gerolsteiner rider, who twice tested positive at the Tour de France, was making specific plans to come back for the 2010 Vuelta a España. He was looking at a two-year ban which would run until July 4, 2010, too late for that year's Tour de France. "I really think it is possible, that Bernhard will be among the best riders again after his suspension," Zanier said.
The trainer added that Kohl will stay in training over the winter with mountainbiking, and is planning a training camp for March 2009. "Bernhard will change the minds of everyone who believes that he rode so well in the Tour de France only because of the CERA." The Austrian finished third overall in the race and won the mountain jersey.
However, Kohl's manager Stefan Matschiner takes a different view, telling Cyclingnews there are "no specific plans. No one – not even himself – can make a prediction of how the future is going to look like."
He added, "Basically Bernhard is waiting until the case is closed with whatever kind of penalty comes with it. Personally I think that he won't be able to set his mind until everything is over that relates to his terrible mistake."
ACE anti-doping firm closes
The Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE) is going out of business, effective immediately, because of financial problems. The US-based firm had done anti-doping testing for the American teams Columbia, Garmin-Chipotle and BMC Racing.
"I can confirm that the Agency for Cycling Ethics is closing operations," co-founder and CEO Paul Strauss, told ESPN.com "We have no other comments regarding this."
The three US teams were among those who had an independent doping-control firm to keep an eye on its riders. Garmin owner Doug Ellis said that he was working with Columbia owner Bob Stapleton, "hoping to be able to get something else in place by the beginning of next season. There's no way forward that doesn't include this kind of program."
Under the ACE program, riders would have blood and urine tests about 26 times a year, in order to establish their baseline values and establish profiles to be used in conjunction with the UCI's biological passports.
A similar program is offered by Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, who does controls for Teams CSC Saxo Bank, Astana and Liquigas, but who might not be able to take on any more teams. "The problem is that there aren't that many people with expertise in this field, people who we trust and that the world also trusts,"' Ellis said.(SW)
Berlusconi at EICMA trade show in Milano
By Gregor Brown in Milano
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited the EICMA trade show in Milano. He paid a visit to Italy's most established bike manufacturer, Ernesto Colnago. Colnago presented Berlusconi with an AC Milan city bike. Berlusconi is owner and president of the AC Milan football club.
On his way out, Berlusconi greeted other manufacturers and was given another bike by Montante. Montante is a bike manufacturer from Sicily.
If Berlusconi will spent much time on his new bicycles remains to be seen. He is a much bigger football fan, unlike his predecessor as prime minister, Romano Prodi. Prodi liked to ride his bike and he rode with some of cycling's greats.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
The last half: A review of the ProTour teams' seasons
What was the last half of the 2008 season like for the 18 ProTour teams, and how did the whole year turn out? As the Cyclingnews staff asked, "What went right and what went wrong?"
Here is part two of a team-by-team analysis, with the teams listed in no particular order
What went right:
The second half of the season was pretty much like the first half: nearly perfect. Young sprinter Mark Cavendish continued to dominate, winning four stages in the Tour de France on his way to taking the most victories of any professional on the season, for a total of 17. Marcus Burghardt claimed another Tour stage win for the team, and Kim Kirchen wore the yellow jersey for four days. The team ended up the season with 76 victories, far more than any other team, with those coming from 17 different riders.
In addition to Cavendish, who had 10 wins in the second half of the year, fellow sprinter André Greipel scored eight victories. He spread them out from January to October. Young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen had five wins in the later part of the season, as did Bert Grabsch. One of Grabsch's most prestigious wins was the World Championships time trial. The comeback rider in the second half was Linus Gerdemann, who successfully recovered from his serious injuries from a Tirreno-Adriatico crash to take five wins, including the overall title in the Deutschland Tour.
Read the entire second part of the review here.
Australia announces track team for the Melbourne World Cup
Kerrie Meares will try to shine at home
The Australian team announced for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Melbourne is a clear indication of generational change in Australian cycling. It's also a chance for Kerrie Meares, the older sister of Beijing silver medallist Anna Meares – who is taking a well earned break after her Olympic campaign – to take a step towards her objective of making the Australian team for the 2009 World Championships in Poland and stake her claim as a contender for London 2012.
The 26-year-old looked set for stardom when she won gold in the sprint and 500m time trial at the 2002 Commonwealth Games but was struck down by a back injury the following season, which derailed her bid for the Athens Olympic Games.
Meares is no longer a part of the Australian Institute of Sport program and has returned to Queensland to work with her old coach Peter Day, where she is aiming "to get back that horsepower I had in 2002."
It has been almost 12 months since Meares competed at such a high international level and she said she was excited about the Melbourne Track World Cup. "The past season I've been working really hard," Meares said. "I've gone back to basics focusing on getting my style and technique right and have worked on some fitness. Things are starting to look really positive for my career and I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go. After Melbourne we'll have a look at my times and the areas I need to focus on more."
With so much of Australia's attention focused on her younger sister, Athens Olympic gold medallist Anna, over the past four years Meares has taken the only approach she could in focusing on her own performance.
"I'm in the sport because I enjoy it and I want to do the best I can do," Meares said. "Anna has done some remarkable things and as a sister I'm really proud of her. It's great to train with her – how good to have a training partner who is World and Olympic champion and your sister."
The former Commonwealth champion will be riding the team sprint at the Melbourne Track World Cup with Emily Rosemond, with whom she won the Australian title this year. It's likely that Meares will also ride the sprint and keirin. Prior to coming to Melbourne Kerrie Meares will ride the Oceania Championships in Adelaide between 13 and 15 November.
The Australian 'Cyclones' team that will contest the Melbourne round of the 2008-09 UCI Track World Cup Classics being staged at Hisense Arena from 20 to 22 November is comprised of Ashlee Ankudinoff, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, Mark Jamieson, Sarah Kent, Joel Leonard, Kerrie Meares, Cameron Meyer, Shane Perkins, Emily Rosemond, Chris Sutton and Josephine Tomic.
South Africans ready for African Championships
A small, but strong South African contingent arrived in Morocco on Wednesday to defend the country's position as the leading cycling nation in Africa at the 2008 International Cycling Union's Continental Championships, which start on Friday.
Nicholas White, winner of both the men's time trial and road race at the 2007 edition of the event, which was held in Cameroon, is returning to one of his happiest hunting grounds outside of his home country to not only defend his titles, but also receive a prestigious award.
White is the 2007/2008 International Cycling Union (UCI) Africa Tour champion and a special ceremony to hand over a new trophy for the competition will be held at the Continental Championships in Casablanca.
"I have achieved a lot of success in my career in Morocco, racing five Tours du Maroc, winning two and taking four stages in the process between 1993–2008," said the 34-year-old veteran campaigner, who has had to fund his own trip. "I feel it is only fitting that I am present when they host the African Champs.
"It would be great to be able to retain my two titles, not only for me but for South African cycling. I also think that riding as a defending champ will increase the value of the championship, and if somebody else wins, then his win will be more worthy!"
White will be joined by rising star and MTN Energade teammate, Jay Thomson, who won the Tour d'Egypte early this year and who aims to improve on his silver (time trial) and bronze (road race) performances at the African Championships last year.
"With only two of us from South Africa, we'll be a bit limited when it comes to the road race, but I'll be making the most of my years of experience. If I'm not able to win, then I'll do my best to help Jay win," White said.
White sees the Eritreans, Moroccans, Rwandans and Namibians as having the strongest opposition on what is an undulating 143km road race course. At 22km, the individual time trial is relatively short, but both White and Thomson, the current national Under 23 time trial champion, are expected to shine.
"Cycling South Africa has had a very busy year with a healthy increase in the number of riders and teams we've been able to send to race international events," said Cycling SA Chief Operating Officer, Carinus Lemmer. "Unfortunately, our budget isn't huge and we selected a team for the Continental Championships on the provision that the riders would have to cover the costs themselves, or have their team cover the costs. It's not ideal, but it's a reality and will hopefully improve when the newly restructured CSA secures corporate sponsorship."
Joining White and Thomson are top women, Marissa van der Merwe and Cashandra Slingerland, both members of the MTN professional team.
Van der Merwe, the current South African time trial champion and Beijing Olympian, is heading to Morocco to defend her continental road race title as well as have a crack at the podium in the individual time trial. Slingerland, a former South African time trial champion, who lists among her success this year wins at the Jock Tour and Pick n Pay Amashovashova, will also contest both events.
"Zimbabwe and Mauritius have some strong riders we need to be wary of," said Van der Merwe of the opposition, adding: "While it's been a long year, I'm very motivated to defend my title in what is becoming an increasingly prestigious event."
Schedule of events: Friday 7 November 2008: Individual Time Trial – men and women, Casablanca Sunday 9 November 2008: Road Race – men and women, Casablanca
South African Team Men: Nicholas White, Jay Thomson Women: Marissa van der Merwe, Cashandra Slingerland
For the Continental Championship results or more information on South African cycling, visit www.cyclingsa.com
Celebrate with Cyclingnews' End of Season Sweepstakes
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the road and mountain-bike seasons are winding down and it's time to plan to get through the off-season blues (and if you live in the Southern hemisphere and your season is just getting started, no worries – your offy will be here in no time so this sweepstakes is for you too). We and our friends at CycleOps and DiNotte Lighting want to help you.
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(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)