Latest Cycling News, November 11, 2008
Edited by Gregor Brown
ISD embraces cycling centre approach
New Italian-Ukrainian Team ISD will use a cycling centre approach to bring together its riders and staff. The team, led by Luca Scinto and Angelo Citracca, will base itself in San Baronto, Italy.
"The riders will live together at our centre ... and I will follow them personally even when they are not racing. It will be kind of a family atmosphere and I will act as a dad. Not leaving them alone also serves to avoid riders scouting around for 'trainers,'" said Tuscan Scinto, a former professional, to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The team has rising star Giovanni Visconti, 2007 Italian Champion, in its ranks. The 25 year-old is from Sicilia but already lives in the area of San Baronto, south of Pistoia. He is joined by compatriots Dario Cioni, Leonardo Scarselli, Alessandro Proni and Davide Ricci Bitti, Ukraine's Andriy Grivko, Dmitry Grabovskiy, Volodymyr Diudia, Denys Kostyuk, Dmytro Krivtsov, Oleksandr Kvachuk and Sergiy Matveyev, Poland's Bartosz Huzarski, Belgium's Igor Abakoumov and Russia's Maxim Belkov.
"Visconti? He needs the encouragement and consideration that he did not have where he was before [Quick Step - ed.]. ... We started the team because we were enamoured with Visconti. We are starting with our feet on the ground, but we hope to be one of the strongest ten teams in two to three years."
The team brought on board former World Champion Mario Cipollini to help guide the team and its technical decisions. He sees eye to eye with fellow Tuscan Scinto on the cycling centre approach.
"It is similar to my idea, that is, to have an area where the riders live and they prepare under everyone's eyes, from the trainers to the doctors, from the masseuses to the psychologist..."
The Professional Continental team will aim for an invitation to the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31. Visconti wore the leader's maglia rosa for eight days this year, which should help RCS Sport, race organiser, lean toward Team ISD.
Industrial Union of Donbass is a steel company based in Ukraine. It supports Sport Club ISD, which has more than ten sport disciplines under its watch.
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Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Verbrugghe's "dream come true"
Rik Verbrugghe says that his new job as a directeur sportif for Team Quick Step is "a dream come true." The 34 year-old, who retired from racing this year, is rejoining the team he rode for in 2005.
"I am a young sports director. I have actual cycling experience on my side and I think I can make a good impression with the riders on the team." said Verbrugghe, who signed a one-year contract. "My main objectives in this new adventure will be to learn and at the same time pass on all the knowledge I've acquired during my many years as an athlete."
Team manager Patrick Lefevere looked forward to his new DS. "He left an excellent impression when he rode for our team. We're sure he'll know how to live up to his potential as a sports director as well."
Verbrugghe turned professional in 1996 with Team Lotto, where he stayed until joining Quick Step for the 2005 season. He then rode for Team Cofidis for three years. During his career, he won three stages in the Giro d'Italia and one in the Tour de France. He was Belgian national champion in 2000, and also won the Flèche Wallonne in 2001.
The Belgian replaces as Directeur Sportif Dirk Demol, who will work for Team Astana in the coming year. (SW)
Cunego concludes demanding season at home
"Usually it is the beach, the sun, the warmth, but I will remain here this year. I will enjoy the time with my family and fans. Maybe it will allow me more time to take advantage of the some extra invitations," said Team Lampre's Cunego, 27, to La Gazzetta dello Sport during the EICMA bicycle trade show.
Cunego had a long and demanding season. He focused his spring on the training for the Tour de France and won the Amstel Gold Race in the process. Though the Tour did not go as planned, he shot back in the fall with second behind teammate Ballan at the World Championships, first in Lombardia and Japan. He is happy to now spend time off of his bike.
"It's been a little while since I have seen my bike. It should be in the garage, but I cannot swear to that. It was a long and adventurous season; I wanted to close it with Lombardia, in grand style, but I accepted the Japanese challenge. I did well."
Cunego will once again aim for the Ardennes Classics and the Grand Tours for 2009.
Bronze gives Breschel confidence
Matti Breschel of Team CSC Saxo Bank finally sees his career on the up-and-up, with a bronze medal in the World Championships topping off a strong year. The 24 year-old Dane collected five victories in total during 2008, including a stage win in the Vuelta a España.
"I've gained a lot of confidence and gotten a great moral boost from this," he said on the team's website. He finished behind an Italian one-two in Varese, Italy, after doing a huge effort in hopes the group would finish in a sprint.
In the weeks leading up to Worlds, he won the final stage of the Vuelta a España in Madrid. It made up for his second place in the 17th stage, when Quick Step's Wouter Weylandt threw his bike over the finish line just ahead of him.
The results were all the more spectacular in light of Breschel's medical history. Crashes and serious injuries have marked his four-year professional career. He was on the verge of winning the overall title in the 2006 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen when he crashed in the sprint of the final stage. He came away from that one with fractured vertebrae, a concussion and short-term memory loss, all of which combined to keep him off the bike for several months.
Breschel took his first two victories in 2007, winning the first stage of the Post Danmark Rundt which gave him the leader's jersey for three stages, and later winning stage two of the Tour of Ireland.
This season he overcame early-season knee problems. "I know so much more about what it takes to get great results – both as far as preparation goes and also during the season. I guess I've proved to myself that I do have what it takes to get results," he said.
He looks ahead to his favourite races, the Spring Classics, where he thinks he has a good chance to take some people by surprise. "Riders like [teammates] Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady are still the biggest names in the cobble stone classics so I don't think people will be taking too much notice of me. This means I might have to work that much harder, but it might also be to my advantage in certain situations." (SW)
Volksbank extends with two young riders
Team Volksbank-Corratec has extended its contracts with two young Austrian riders, Philipp Ludescher and Christoph Sokoll. In addition, Radsport-News.com reported that Gerolsteiner's Tim Klinger will join the Austrian team next year.
Ludescher, 21, and Sokoll, 22, both extended their contracts through the coming season. Both neo-professionals will look for their first win in the new year.
"I want to continue to improve myself, to become stronger and keep on learning, but also to take advantage of my opportunities," Ludescher said. Sokoll is looking forward to riding the Tour of Austria and the World Championships in 2009.
Klinger, 24, rode for Gerolsteiner in 2007 and 2008. He missed the first half of this season due to a nerve injury which required surgery. In his first year with the ProTour team he rode both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.
The Austrian Professional Continental team will be known as Vorarlberg-Corratec in the coming season. (SW)
McQuaid encourages cycling's growth in Turkmenistan
The International Cycling Union (UCI) President, Pat McQuaid, travelled to Turkmenistan to meet with its cycling dignitaries last week, November 3 to 5. The Irishman met with the Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), Azat Muradov, and the President of the Cycling Federation of Turkmenistan, Bayram Saparaliyev, to discuss the country's cycling infrastructure.
They discussed the construction of Turkmenistan's velodrome, which workers will start to build this January. Other topics included the possibility of setting up a national training centre and the growth of the country's diverse cycling disciplines over the next few years.
The Turkmenistan Cycling Federation is a member of the Asian Cycling Federation.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)