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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, November 6, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training

By Bruce Hildenbrand

Lance Armstrong will be working on improving his speed and power
Photo ©: Mike Gladu
(Click for larger image)

As Lance Armstrong makes his professional cycling comeback for the 2009 season, he is relying on the expertise of his trusted support crew to guide him back to the form he will need to contest the Tour Down Under, the Giro d'Italia and the other races on his calendar. Chris Carmichael is taking care of one important aspect of Armstrong's return – his coaching.

A critical component in Armstrong's comeback is his training program. The rider from Texas, USA, is four years removed from his record-setting seventh Tour de France win and as he ages, a big unknown is how he will regain his winning form. Cyclingnews caught up with Armstrong's long-time coach Carmichael during Armstrong's testing at the San Diego Air and Space Technology Low Speed Wind Tunnel and asked him about his training plans.

With Armstrong being 37 years-old, will Carmichael be monitoring any new or different parameters this time around? "It is basically the same thing as with any athlete, the most objective marker is power," said Carmichael.

"Right now, it is just trying to see if we can get power to keep going up which we anticipate to happen. We also want to see that he is getting more efficient so his kilojoules will keep going down for similar types of workouts.

"Now he is starting to get more specific with his training moving out of the foundation phase and doing a little more specific work for the bike; a little more threshold work; a little more speed work. He goes to the Astana camp in December then we are planning a camp right after that where he will get behind the motor a little bit and up the volume from basically doing 24-25 hours a week up to 28-30 hours a week of training. That's a big jump on just energy expenditure so everything just has to start simplifying," said Carmichael, who once served as the US National Coaching Director.

But converting from cancer spokesperson to full-time athlete has been a bit difficult. "His schedule has still been pretty busy. It slows down here in another week. But, even since his announcement he has had to be fulfilling obligations that have been there all along."

Chris Carmichael & Lance Armstrong
Photo ©: Chris Carmichael
(Click for larger image)

Some of Armstrong's specific training will be used to clear out the cobwebs. "We are going to plan on more motor-pacing in December before he goes to the Tour Down Under and do some efforts at threshold behind and to the side of the motor, but at race speeds. That is something he has been out of. There is an element to speed that is important: how your bicycle reacts, how you pedal, how you sit on the bike, how you maneuver.

"All of that is different at 51, 52, 55 km/hr versus 38 to 40km/hr," said Carmichael. "Another thing we need to do is to get him around athletes that are pro cyclists. He has been doing a lot of rides with friends back in Texas and that's obviously not the guys who he is competing against.

"He did a training ride two weeks ago with Levi [Leipheimer] in northern California and that was good because Levi was just off the Vuelta [a España] not too long before, and Levi always stays in really good condition year round. Lance did 4-4.5 hours with him and he definitely knew it was different than riding with a lot of the other guys he has been riding with."

Putting on weight after retirement is one of the biggest pitfalls for professional athletes, but it appears that Armstrong's running and general commitment to good health has paid off. "He's light. Normally we would be concerned about weight, but he is about 76kg now and he is usually down to 72 at the start of the Tour so he is not that far off," he said

Carmichael shared his thoughts about the feasibility of Armstrong doing a Giro d'Italia / Tour de France double. "Is it possible? Yeah. We saw Indurain, Merckx, etc. do it. I think for Lance to win the Tour he really has to have good form at the Giro. It is not like he can just ride right through it and finish 50th. He needs to be, basically, on the podium because you need to have a training adaptation from the Giro to the Tour, but if you are so far off it is going to beat you up to much so you aren't going to recover and get that adaptation. It is just going to break you down."

"He needs to be in good enough shape to get on the podium. If he is there for a podium shot, he is a guy who doesn't like finish behind people in any, any race," said Carmichael.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

Diquigiovanni signs Rebellin

Davide Rebellin
Photo ©: Team Diquigiovanni - Androni
(Click for larger image)

Team Diquigiovanni - Androni signed Davide Rebellin a few days after the team's manager Gianni Savio confirmed the Italian rider was engaged in contract talks with the team.

The 37 year-old Rebellin finished second at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and won Paris-Nice this spring but found himself without a team at the end of this season with the disbanding of Team Gerolsteiner.

Rebellin's new contract was made official on Wednesday, and he will serve as his new team's leader during the Classics next spring. For stage races, the team will look to two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni. Rebellin will help developing racers like Mattia Gavazzi and Michele Scarponi.

Diquigiovanni - Androni for 2009: Davide Rebellin, Gilberto Simoni, Manuel Belletti, Alessandro Bertolini, Thomas Bertolini, Luca Celli, Francesco Ginanni, Mattia Gavazzi, Alberto Loddo, Leonardo Moser, Elia Rigotto, Michele Scarponi, Fabio Taborre, Carlos José Ochoa, Jackson Rodriguez, José Serpa and Luis Angel Maté

Bettini ok after crash

Paolo Bettini
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

After crashing Tuesday at the Six Days of Milan, Paolo Bettini assured followers on Wednesday that he would be fine. Bettini was taken to the hospital after crashing and hitting his head on a protective barrier, which broke his helmet. The Italian went down after Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych fell in front of him.

"I still have pain in the neck and back, but everything is fine," Bettini told Ansa. "The most important thing for me is not having suffered major injuries in what is the last race of my career."

"The incident was terrible. I couldn't remember anything for a few minutes," said Bettini to Gazzetta dello Sport. "Compared to the consequences that I could have suffered, my present condition is reassuring."

The 34 year-old Bettini initially announced his retirement on the eve of the UCI World Championships road race in Varese, Italy, in September. The six day event was scheduled to be his last race.

Piepoli requests counter-analysis

Following his two positive doping tests for EPO CERA as announced last month, Leonardo Piepoli called for a counter-test on Wednesday. The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) said the Italian's "B" sample would be controlled in the coming weeks according to AFP. AFLD did not provide details.

Piepoli and his then Saunier-Duval teammate Riccardo Riccò both tested positive for EPO CERA in samples taking before and during the Tour de France. While Riccò admitted his offense after being caught, Piepoli has maintained his innocence.

Another set of teammates also tested positive for EPO CERA in their samples from the Tour de France. Austria's Bernhard Kohl and Germany's Stefan Schumacher were riding for Gerolsteiner at the time of their infractions. The analysis of their samples from the Tour were also returned last month.

Dortmunder decided

Germans Erik Zabel and Leif Lampater won the 67th Dortmunder six day on Wednesday. With 394 points, they finished just three points up on runners up and fellow Germans Robert Bartko and Andreas Beikirch. The Danish team of Michael Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen finished third with 386 points.

The 38 year-old Zabel announced his retirement in September.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the 67th Dortmunder six day.

Spitz says doctor offered her EPO

The German national anthem plays for Sabine Spitz
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

Olympic cross country mountain bike gold-medal winner Sabine Spitz said that she was offered EPO and other doping products by a sports doctor in 2003.

"I would rather ride behind the others" than dope, she told the German magazine Sport-Bild.

Shortly afterwards, she became the world mountain bike champion, "and that showed me: It is possible to win clean. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning."

Spitz, 36, clarified in a separate press release that it was not a doctor from the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR, German federation). She did not name the doctor.

As deterrent to doping, she suggested life-long bans or prison. "For me, doping is cheating and criminal. If there is a threat of imprisonment, then maybe people will think twice before they take some illegal product."

She also said that she did not think that Lance Armstrong's return would be beneficial to cycling. She said that there are test from the 1999 Tour de France which link him to EPO use, and "I absolutely do not understand, why he is welcomed back with open arms."

ValueAct Capital finalizes team and joins forces with USWCDP for 2009

Capitalizing on a successful 2008 season, the ValueAct Capital Women’s Cycling Team has added more depth and top talent to its roster for 2009. The team, which had wins at Tour of the Gila and podiums at Mt. Hood, Elite Nationals and the CSC Invitational, will be contesting a full NRC calendar in 2009.

"This team is destined to be one of the top teams in the country," predicted VAC team director Lisa Hunt. "We've got a powerful mix of climbers, time trialists and all-arounders."

New additions to the squad include Kristin McGrath from Colavita-Sutter Home, Kristin Sanders from Aaron's and Robin Farina from Cheerwine. Returning riders include Sharon Allpress, Nicole Evans, Tour of the Gila winner Leah Goldstein, Martina Patella, bronze national time trial medallist Chrissy Ruiter and Emily Zell. Courtenay Brown, a former elite road racer turned triathlete, will also be returning – racing as a professional triathlete.

McGrath garnered a stage victory at Fitchburg-Longsjo and went on to take second overall A powerful climber, who excels at altitude, she took second at the infamous Mogollon stage at Tour of the Gila. Most recently, McGrath rode for the US National Team at the Giro di Toscana in September.

Sanders brings added stage racing and time trialing expertise to the team. She won the stage two, with its mountaintop finish, at the Cascade Cycling Classic and was part of the Aaron's powerhouse that went won the overall at Mt. Hood. She has garnered multiple top placings at Tour of the Gila, Nature Valley Grand Prix and the US national road race and time trial.

Farina, a strong breakaway and criterium rider, won stage two at Fitchburg-Longsjo and helped the team to their top placing in the 2008 NRC standings.

For 2009, the team will be working very closely with the US Women's Cycling Development Program, to foster the development of women's cycling in the US.

"Women's cycling has grown significantly over the past few years. Michael Engleman has put together an amazing program, and has an incredible talent pool of women who want to gain experience racing," said Hunt. Riders like McGrath, Allpress and Ruiter have all benefited from the USWCDP. "We're planning on tapping into his resources, by bringing on a rider or two to guest ride with the team for selected races."

The team is planning other programs to help promote the sport of cycling among women, including women's cycling clinics and group rides. "We've got some exciting things happening with the team that we'll be announcing shortly," said Hunt. "2009 is going to be a great year!"

ValueAct Capital for 2009: Sharon Allpress, Courtenay Brown, Nicole Evans, Robin Farina, Leah Goldstein, Kristin McGrath, Martina Patella, Chrissy Ruiter, Kristin Sanders, Emily Zell.

Bikes & Gear magazine: The essential 2009 preview guide

Now is the time of year when many of us start thinking and dreaming of the bikes and gear that we want to buy in time for the start of the season. Bike companies produce a wonderful array of products which we all get excited about owning.

To help you make a more informed buying decision we've produced a magazine that gives you an insight into the bikes and gear that'll be available in 2009. The Bikes & Gear 2009 Preview is the essential guide to the newest, coolest and most technologically advanced bikes, wheels and gear for the 2009 season.

Industry insiders attend the yearly unveiling of new products at events such as Eurobike and Interbike. This guide will give you the opportunity to see some of the same wonderful bikes and gear that they viewed there.

We've assembled a mix of both road and mountain bikes and components. You'll see the bikes the pros ride both on and off roads but we've also looked at a huge line of bikes encompassing all price ranges in both disciplines and as a bonus, we've included women's, kids' and cyclo-cross bikes, too.

It's a must-read. Find out more and order your copy.

(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)

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