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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, November 14, 2008

Edited by Peter Hymas

Popovych to Astana

By Susan Westemeyer

Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto)
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Yaroslav Popovych is the final addition to the 2009 Team Astana, the team announced Thursday afternoon. The Ukrainian signed a two-year contract with the team.

Team spokesman Philippe Maertens denied rumours that Popovych was joining the team at Lance Armstrong's request, telling Cyclingnews, "It was a super opportunity offered to us. Bruyneel did not have doubts about it."

"When I heard that Yaroslav was free, I was immediately interested," Astana manger Johan Bruyneel said. "He is another cyclist that has proven himself not only as a reliable teammate but also as a rider that can achieve his personal ambitions."

Popovych said that he was happy to return to Bruyneel, saying, "He is one of the few people I know that has successfully been able to manage both individual and team goals."

The 28-year-old turned pro with Landbouwkrediet in 2002, and rode for Discovery Channel from 2005 to 2007. This season he rode for Silence-Lotto. He won the best young rider's jersey at the Tour de France in 2005, won a stage in the Tour in 2006, and finished eighth overall in 2007. He also has two top ten finishes in the Giro d'Italia.

Team Astana for 2009 includes Lance Armstrong, Assan Bazayev, Jani Brajkovic, Alberto Contador, Valeriy Dmitriyev, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Jesús Hernández, Chris Horner, Maxim Iglinskiy, Roman Kireyev, Andreas Klöden, Berik Kupeshov, Levi Leipheimer, Steve Morabito, Dmitriy Muravyev, Daniel Navarro, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, Bolat Raimbekov, Gregory Rast, Sergey Renev, José Luis Rubiera, Michael Schär, Tomas Vaitkus, Andrey Zeits and Haimar Zubeldia.

Schumacher fighting to return

Stefan Schumacher rides in yellow
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Despite a positive test for CERA involving blood samples from this year's Tour de France, Stefan Schumacher contends he has a right to race in 2009. Schumacher's attorney Michael Lehner told the German news magazine Welt, "Schumacher is not suspended and there is no sporting procedure against him. He must be given a license for 2009."

The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) head Pierre Bordry told Welt, "The procedure against the German rider is underway. We want to sanction him."

In October, the AFLD announced that re-tests of Schumacher's blood controls from the Tour de France were positive for CERA, a new generation of EPO.

Lehner questioned, among other things, the re-testing of the samples. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allows samples to be re-tested for "research purposes" or for a further investigation of a positive analysis, neither of which applies to Schumacher's case, the attorney argued.

If Schumacher does receive a license, he would still have to find a team. His former team Gerolsteiner stopped after this season. He had signed with Quick Step for the coming year, but in light of his positive test, the Belgian team declared his contract void.

Two other riders came up positive for CERA after being re-tested, Leonardo Piepoli of the then-Saunier Duval Team and Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate, Bernhard Kohl. Kohl has admitted to using the drug, while Piepoli requested examination of the B-sample.

Passport to a clean sport

Anne Gripper spearheads the biological passport.
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

International Cycling Union (UCI) anti-doping head Anne Gripper has come under pressure from antidoping advocates who wish to see the organisation's new biological passport programme begin to catch cheaters. Cyclingnews' Bruce Hildenbrand caught up with the Australian to find out about the status of the groundbreaking antidoping effort.

With riders like Riccardo Riccò making it to the Tour de France still bold enough to use new versions of EPO, the UCI's biological passport is seen as the one system which should deter riders from doping. However, even though the agency has collected enough data on the ProTour and wild card team riders to generate complete profiles, and passed a "no start rule" for riders with suspicious values, no rider has even been kept out of competition or punished for doping based on the passport data.

The UCI's antidoping head Anne Gripper understands that people are anxious to see action. "I know it is a little bit frustrating that we have gotten to this point and haven't actually opened any cases," Gripper said of her less than year-old system. "But it is a new ground-breaking program. We have to be really careful, really cautious that when we do open some cases they stand up to the legal and scientific scrutiny that they will definitely be subjected to.

Continue to the full Gripper interview

CAS hears Rasmussen appeal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) heard the appeal of Michael Rasmussen on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland regarding the Dane's two-year suspension for missing out-of-competition doping controls. Rasmussen was suspended in July, 2008 by the cycling federation of Monaco, the country where he received his racing license.

The ex-Rabobank rider was not present in Lausanne, where arbitrators met for five hours. The ruling will follow in a few weeks.

The 34-year-old Dane was wearing the leader's yellow jersey in the 2007 Tour de France when his team removed him from the race because he had lied about his whereabouts for antidoping controls in the months prior to the Tour.

In July, 2008, Rasmussen was awarded 700,000 euros in contract fees and interest for wrongful termination by his Rabobank team in a civil lawsuit.

Down and dirty 'cross in Asper-Gavere

By Laura Weislo

Sven Nys has won four years in a row in Gavere
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

The third round of Belgium's Superprestige cyclo-cross series heads deep into the heart of West Flanders for a messy 'cross in a cow pasture at Asper-Gavere. With rain in the forecast for the weekend, the course should revert to the ankle-deep muck that eats drive trains for breakfast of two years ago. The course typically involves the kinds of tight, off-camber turns and muddy ascents which favour the most powerful and skilled riders in the peloton.

For the past four years in a row, that rider has been Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner), but the Belgian champion isn't as dominating this season as he has been in recent years. Niels Albert (Palmans-Cras) and Nys are tied one-one in the series, with Nys out-sprinting Albert and Sunweb-Projob's Klaas Vantornout in Ruddervoorde, and Albert putting in a spectacular performance in Veghel-Eerde.

Nys, who raced the last round in the Netherlands with a dislocated finger sustained during his winning ride in Oudenaarde should be all healed up from two weekends of injuries, and will be looking for revenge after a sound beating by world champion Lars Boom in the Pijnacker World Cup.

Continue to the full preview

No Niedersachsen Rundfahrt in 2009

The Niedersachsen Rundfahrt won't be held in 2009, just as it was not held this year, the organisers have announced. "Since virtually all of our sponsors have cancelled their engagements, the financing is absolutely hopeless," Otto Pätzold, head of the organising group, told

The group announced in January that the race was cancelled in 2008, but that it hoped to be back in 2009.

Not only were sponsors and money lacking, there was also difficulty finding cities to host the stages. The organisers tried to set the race up for the coming year as an U23 race, but were unsuccessful.

However, there will still be racing in 2009. A juniors race of 85 km and an everyman's race are planned for April 26 in Göttingen, Germany, and the Neidersachsen Rundfahrt for juniors will be held July 25 to 26, in and around Wallenhorst, Germany.

Tour of Ireland gets earlier start in 2009

Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia) was a deserving
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)

The 2009 Tour of Ireland will be a week earlier next year with the five-day race running from August 19 to 23. The UCI approved the change in the European Continental Calendar following a request by the race organisers.

"The new date will allow us to avoid clashes with major events like the Vuelta Espańa," said Event Director Alan Rushton. "The August sporting calendar is very busy in Ireland, too, and avoiding key Gaelic sporting dates will allow even more people to come out to watch what is just a superb event."

This year's race saw Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) win the first three stages before his Italian teammate Marco Pinotti wrestled the yellow jersey from the shoulders of Russell Downing (Pinarello CandiTV) on the dramatic final day in Cork city.

"We were privileged to see some great racing this year," continued Rushton. "We had some large crowds on the route and the TV figures for world wide audiences were excellent. We are already in the process of planning next year's route and should be able to announce full details by the end of March. It was great to have top teams like Columbia and Team Garmin-Chipotle in the race this year and we believe that the success of the race will tempt even more big names to the Emerald Isle for next year's race."

The USGP returns to New Jersey

by Kirsten Robbins in West Windsor, New Jersey

Georgia Gould contrasting nicely with the autumn leaves in 2007
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

The US Gran Prix of Cyclo-Cross (USGP) will return to the Mercer County Park in New Jersey for round three on Saturday, November 15 and round four on Sunday, November 16. Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and Katrina Nash (Luna) currently lead the series standings, both with a seven point lead over their nearest competitors.

The expected wind, rain and chill will provide an advantage to the 'mudders', those 'cross riders who thrive on technical circuits under sloppy weather conditions. The familiar front row riders will line up to contest Anthony for the prestigious series lead, including the trio Tim Johnson, Jamey Driscoll and Jeremy Powers.

Additional American powerhouses include former USGP winner Ryan Trebon and Barry Wicks (Kona), brothers Todd Wells (Team GT) and Troy Wells (Clif Bar) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Specialized).

Continue to the full preview

Three Germans for Volksbank

Team VolksbankCorratec continues to build up its squad for the coming season, when it will be known as Vorarlberg-Corratec. It confirmed the signing of Gerolsteiner's Tim Klinger, as previously reported, and announced that it has extended its contracts with Daniel Musiol and Rene Weissinger. All three German riders have signed one-year contracts with the Austrian Professional Continental team.

Klinger, 24, called the signing "a chance to show my potential. Here I can ride for myself, just as I can help the team when it needs my services." He missed much of the 2008 season due to a nerve injury which ultimately required surgery.

Weissinger, 29, rode for Volksbank in 2004-2005 before joining Team Skil-Shimano for one year and then returning to Volksbank. He won the sprint jersey at this year's Tour de Suisse.

Musiol, 25, turned pro with Team Wiesenhof in 2005, rode for Team Milram in 2006, and returned to Wiesenhof for a year before signing with Volksbank for 2008. He won the mountain jersey at this year's Deutschland Tour.

Team Toshiba ready to take on the world

Aussie duo Glenn O'Shea and Leigh Howard
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The upcoming UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Melbourne from November 20 to 22 will see more than one Australian team in action. Team Toshiba will be testing a crop of young hopefuls in the heat of international competition as Australian cycling begins the road to London 2012.

Leading the charge will be Geelong's Leigh Howard and Bendigo's Glenn O'Shea. The two 19-year-olds recently returned from a successful stint in Europe that saw them finish fifth in the Madison at the opening round of the World Cup in Manchester and take wins at UIV Talents Cup events in Amsterdam and Munich.

"We are both really keen to do well in Melbourne in front of our home crowd so that will be a bit of extra inspiration for us," Howard said.

For Tasmania's Belinda Goss that extra inspiration should come from being so close to a big win having collected four silver medals and one bronze at World Cup events over the past two seasons plus a bronze medal in the scratch race at the 2008 World Championships.

"Silver is great but I'm just one off getting the gold which is what we're all trying to achieve so it's definitely a goal for this year,” Goss said. "I've prepared better this year than others. I've concentrated on my weakness, which is my endurance, so I've done a lot of work on my aerobic capacity and lactic acid tolerance. That way I'm not just relying on my sprint."

Having narrowly missed selection for the Beijing Games the 24-year-old said she definitely has a four-year plan aimed at London but is just trying to get everything right without getting too far ahead of herself.

In the men's sprint events Team Toshiba will be led by Canberra's Daniel Ellis who made his Olympic debut in Beijing where he finished fourth in the team sprint riding alongside Ryan Bayley and Mark French. With Bayley and French taking a rest the 20-year-old Ellis will get his first taste of the additional pressure that comes with being the team's main sprinter.

The complete Team Toshiba squad that will contest the Melbourne round of the UCI Track World Cup is comprised of Daniel Ellis, Zakkari Dempster, Leigh Howard, Leigh Howard, Glenn O'Shea, Scott Sunderland, Belinda Goss and Kaarle McCulloch. The team is currently in Adelaide fine tuning their form at the Oceania Championships held November 13 to 15.

Cervélo TestTeam adds a sponsor

Cervélo TestTeam has added clothing company Castelli as a sponsor for the 2009 season.

"We are very excited and honored to have Castelli as a partner in Cervélo TestTeam," said Gerard Vroomen co-founder of Cervélo. "They have a rich history, but also focus on product innovation. In fact, they beat us to the TestTeam concept by over 50 years when they provided the legendary Fausto Coppi with revolutionary silk jerseys to wear in time trials."

Steve Smith, director of marketing at Castelli, said, "Castelli will provide technical race clothing to the men's and women's race teams. Clothing for us is not decorative, it is equipment. With Castelli's pioneering development in the lightest and most aerodynamic clothing in the professional peloton, the Cervélo TestTeam members will have an advantage in their clothing as they have in the rest of their equipment. Castelli is also committed to anti-doping efforts, and we feel that this team shares our dream of seeing cycling cleaned from this scourge."

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