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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, November 18, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson & Les Clarke

Keisse primed for home six

Track cyclist Iljo Keisse and his father Ronny Keisse
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Having taken out the Munich Six Day earlier this month, Iljo Keisse and Robert Bartko will go into the Gent Six as favourites. Starting tonight in one of Belgium's iconic cycling cities, the 68th edition of the Zesdaagse van Gent will be the chance for Keisse to secure a home turf win.

"The six lives in Gent. People talk to me on the street and wish me lots of happiness," Keisse told Sporza.be. "It is the first time I've been called the favourite. Now, I feel like I've won already. [Robert] Bartko and I are looking forward to this edition."

Franco Marvulli, who normally pairs with Bruno Risi, will be absent due to an illness which forced him to drop out midway through the Dortmund Six Day earlier this month. Also absent will be Robert Slippens, teammate of Danny Stam. Stam will instead team up with fellow Dutchman Peter Schep, while Risi will pair with his countryman Alexander Aeschbach.

"We will most likely get tough competition from the duo of Zabel and Lampater," he said, while adding that the win in Munich was an important step in cementing themselves as a pairing to watch throughout the season. "That was a prestigious victory. Bartko and I showed that we are the strongest tandem of the moment."

Keisse explained the reasons for the duo's success thus far. "I have a good relationship with Bartko," he said. "He is a super champion in super form and we are extremely complementary; he is strong and I'm fast."

Start pairings for the Zesdaagse van Gent: Iljo Keiss / Robert Bartko, Bruno Risi / Alexander Aeschbach, Danny Stam / Peter Schep, Erik Zabel / Leif Lampater, Mark Hester / Luke Roberts, Angelo Ciccone / Fabio Masotti, Tim Mertens / Andreas Muller, Leon Van Bon / Pim Ligthart, Kenny De Ketele / Andreas Beikirch, Casper Jörgensen / J-E.Madsen, Dimitri De Fauw / Steven Deneef and Nicky Cocquyt / Ingmar Depoortere

Boonen not nominated in '08

Tom Boonen
Photo ©: Northwave
(Click for larger image)

After a season of mixed fortunes for Tom Boonen, the selection panel for the Sportsman of the Year awards in Belgium has not seen fit to include him as a top-three nominee for this year's prize, according to Sportwereld.be.

Winner of this year's Paris-Roubaix, Boonen was found to have used cocaine recreationally in an out-of-competition test in June and hence was not selected for Quick Step's Tour de France squad the following month. The apparent snub would tend to suggest that the panel has reacted adversely to Boonen's indiscretion, given that he became a dual winner of the Roubaix crown and continued to post wins throughout the season.

Having won this year's Tour of Flanders, Boonen's teammate Stijn Devolder has been nominated for the top gong in Belgian sport, as has Sven Nys and track athlete Kevin Borlee. None of Belgium's female cyclists have been nominated for the sportswoman of the year.

Bobridge looking good for Melbourne

Jack Bobridge will start as the individual pursuit favourite at this week's UCI Track World Cup in Melbourne, Australia after posting an impressive time at the Oceania Championships over the weekend. Bobridge will be riding the individual pursuit and team pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Melbourne, held November 20-22 at Hisense Arena.

Bobridge laid down a time of 4:18.80 in the final of the 4000m race. The time would have been good enough to win the silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games and was nearly one and a half seconds faster than the time ridden by Brad McGee to silver at the Athens Olympics.

Even Bobridge himself confessed to being a little surprised by his performance. "After the Olympics the only serious training I did was riding the Jayco Herald Sun Tour so I was quite shocked by the ride," said the young South Australian. "It was a great ride but I didn't have that time in mind."

The performance marks the arrival of the 19-year-old as the man most likely to fill the void left by the recent retirement of McGee, who has been Australia's leading individual pursuit rider for more than a decade. "I haven't previously thought of myself as an individual pursuit rider but it looks like I'll be doing some specific pursuit work now," he said.

Given his status as a newcomer to the senior individual pursuit ranks and the fact that Chris Boardman's 1996 world record of 4:11.114 has surely become a target in the minds of the Australian coaching staff, Bobridge is certainly an exciting prospect for the national team. "It's awesome compared to my last ride in the individual pursuit at the Australian Championships at the start of the year when I rode about a 4:28 so it looks like the Olympic training has served me well," said Bobridge.

USADA announces third quarter testing statistics

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced its third quarter testing numbers Monday, with cycling sitting in third as the most tested sport behind track and field and swimming, respectively. USADA performed 90 out-of-competition tests and 146 competition tests on cyclists in the third quarter, which is during the second half of the North American racing season.

"USADA announced six anti-doping rules violations in the third quarter of 2008, including one lifetime suspension for a non-analytical positive of a coach, two suspensions for THC, one suspension for Boldenone and 19-Norandrosterone, and two public warnings for Triamcinolone Acetonide," a USADA statement said.

Of the violations, three were cyclists – one road racer and two BMX racers. Ricardo Hernandez, 42, tested positive for exogenous testosterone during the Vuelta Independencia Nacional. He accepted a two-year suspension and forfeiture of results since March 2, 2008, the date his urine sample was collected.

BMX racer Michael Kapes, 20, tested positive for the steroid Boldenone and 19-norandrosterone during the National Bicycle League's Gator Nationals on March 15, 2008 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Kapes accepted a two-year suspension from July 7, the day his provisional suspension was accepted, and is also disqualified from all competitive results obtained since the day the sample was collected.

Finally, Steven Cisar, 22, a silver medalist at the 2008 UCI BMX World Championships in China, accepted a three month deferred suspension for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active substance found in marijuana. In an open letter, Cisar apologized for his actions.

"I make absolutely no excuses for my actions, other than to say, I did an incredibly dumb and irresponsible thing," the letter said. "I want to express my most sincere apologies to my sponsors, fellow competitors, family, friends, and fans who have supported me over the years.

"I can only hope that I will not be judged by one poor decision, as that is not who I am or what I stand for. I value hard work, clean racing, integrity, and the camaraderie I share with the racing community. More than anything, I love racing my bike. Throughout the course of life, we will all make mistakes. I have certainly learned from this one, and will not compromise my values or let down my fans again."

The number of tests carried out during the third quarter for cycling was higher than the second quarter (192) and lower compared to the first quarter (283). The total number of tests carried out by USADA across all sports for the third quarter was 1,789, part of 6,115 for the year.

Cervélo TestTeam names Albasini sports director

By BikeRadar

Marcello Albasini has been named a Sports Director for the newly formed Cervélo TestTeam. Albasini is a seasoned cycling coach who has developed many pro riders over the years, notably Olympic and multiple World Champion Fabian Cancellara, who won the Junior World Champion title under Albasini's watchful eye.

"We are pleased to welcome Marcello Albasini to our team," said Thomas Campana Cervélo TestTeam managing director. "Marcello has been instrumental in formulating, training and encouraging the careers of many young Swiss athletes and we are most fortunate to have him working with our new riders.

"He has a stellar reputation as a coach with the Swiss Olympic team, the Junior National Team of the Swiss National Cycling Federation, and the Swiss U23 National Team with whom he has worked since 1999. His expertise and talents will work well with those of Jean-Paul van Poppel and Jens Zemke as the team's three sports directors."

The 51-year-old is also the father of cyclist Michael Albasini of Team Liquigas.

"This is a dream come true," said Albasini. "I'm really happy to have the opportunity to develop myself and to work next year together with the Cervélo TestTeam riders."

In addition to 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd, the international team roster includes Spaniards Joaquin Novoa Méndez, Iñigo Cuesta and Xavier Florencio; Lithuanian Ignas Konovalovas; Aussies Simon Gerrans and Brett Lancaster; Germans Martin Reimer and Andreas Klier; Norwegian Gabriel Rasch; Great Britain's Daniel Lloyd, Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond and Dan Fleeman; Irishman Phillip Deignan; New Zealander Hayden Roulston; Belgian Serge Pauwels; Swiss Marcel Wyss; American Ted King; and Canadian Dominique Rollin, winner of a stage during the 2008 Tour of California.

Rock Racing announces 2009 roster

Baden Cooke will join Rock Racing
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Rock Racing has bolstered its ranks for 2009 with the signings of European specialists Baden Cooke, Francisco Mancebo and José Enrique Gutiérrez, as well as top domestic talents Ivan Dominguez, Glen Chadwick and Chris Baldwin. Columbian Santiago Botero will not return for 2009, racing closer to home since the birth of his daughter.

Rock Racing owner Michael Ball also announced the re-signing of United States of America National Champions Tyler Hamilton (Road), Rahsaan Bahati (Criterium) and Justin Williams (Under 23 Criterium). Oscar Sevilla, Fred Rodriguez and Victor Hugo Peña will all return to the squad for another season.

"We have assembled a world class team and acquired a mix of tremendous talent and experience," said Ball. "We have the strength, depth and tenacity to compete in any race around the globe."

Rock Racing's line-up for its third season includes riders from eight different countries who have won stages at all three of cycling's Grand Tours – the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España – as well as multiple national championships.

"Last year was a year of redemption," Ball said. "Given the opportunity to ride, we proved we were able to win. In 2009, we will continue our winning tradition, and from a branding and fan perspective, be the number one team in the world."

In 2008, Rock Racing scored 45 victories and 106 podium finishes. In the final two months of the season, the team came away with five medals at the 2008 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships and Sevilla became the first non-Colombian in 48 years to win the RCN Classic.

Among those not returning to Rock Racing for 2009 is Botero, who represented Colombia at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The 2002 world time trial champion decided to race closer to home following the birth of his daughter earlier this year. Controversial criterium racer Kayle Leogrande was also left off the roster.

Rock Racing's 2009 roster: Rahsaan Bahati, Chris Baldwin, Alex Boyd, Austin Carroll, Glen Chadwick, Baden Cooke, Michael Creed, Freddy Cruz, Ivan Dominguez, Danny Finneran, Jose Manuel "Chepe" Garcia, Cesar Grajales, José Enrique Gutiérrez, Tyler Hamilton, Sergio Hernandez, Sterling Magnell, Francisco Mancebo, Caleb Manion, Ian Moir, Víctor Hugo Peña, Fred Rodriguez, Oscar Sevilla, David Taner, David Vitoria and Justin Williams.

Xacobeo-Galicia names final two

By Monika Prell

Xacobeo-Galicia signed Pedro Fernández and Héctor Espasandín, the final two riders to join the Galician team's 2009 roster. If the squad is invited for the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España, it could sign two more riders.

Fernández rode with Portuguese teams since 2002, including Ovarense, ASC - Chenco and Loulé. The 32-year-old's biggest win was at the Volta ao Minho where he won two stages.

"He is a team worker and a very competitive one, who deserved this for his personality and also for his sportive life," said Álvaro Pino, according to the homepage of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC).

For the Culleredo-born Espasandín next season will be his first as a professional. Espasandín has been with amateur team Caja Rural since 2006, winning the Aretxabaleta (Gipuzkoa) race in 2008 and finished second in the Vuelta al Goierri.

Xacobeo-Galicia 2009 roster: Ezequiel Mosquera, David Garcia, Gustavo César Veloso, David Herrero, Carlos Castaño, Gustavo Dominguez, Serafín Martínez, Gonzalo Rabuñal, Alberto Fernández, Juan Francisco Mourón, Delio Fernández, Eduard Vorganov, Ivan Mayoz, Alejandro Paleo, Vladimir Isaichev, Pedro Fernández, Hectór Espasandín and Marcos García.

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