Latest Cycling News, October 30, 2008
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Cancellara targets Flanders
Team CSC Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara will be focusing on the victory of the Tour of Flanders next season. "My next big goal is winning Ronde van Vlaanderen," he said. "I consider it entirely possible that I would be able to win the five big one-day races during the course of my career and I feel that by losing a small amount of weight I could be ready to win in Flanders."
The time trial specialist, a two-time world champion of the discipline and winner of Paris-Roubaix as well as Milano-Sanremo, has decided to set new goals for himself. Even though it could be tempting to go for a string of victories in Paris-Roubaix – or something similar – the multiple Tour de France stage winner and Olympic time trial champion needs continuous challenges within the sport.
"I sort of feel like if I've won a race I'll tick it off my mental list and aim for something else. That doesn't mean I don't want to win the big races more than once, but I try to aim for new things all the time," Cancellara said.
The Swiss rider has already won two out of five monuments after his victory in Paris-Roubaix in 2006 and Milan-Sanremo in 2008, but it takes entirely different skills to win Ronde van Vlaanderen, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro di Lombardia as well. But the Swiss powerhouse has developed some talent in covering the mountains this year, and believes this could be an asset in achieving his new goals.
"If you look at how I won Tirreno-Adriatico this year, how I did on the climbs in the three big races and especially my performance at the Olympics with a very hilly route, I don't think it's unrealistic that I might be able to win them all at some point," he confidently continued.
At 27 years of age, Cancellara could even evolve to be a Grand Tour contender at some point. But he doesn't want to set his goals too high right now: "I said a few years back that winning the Tour would be a dream come true for me. But I also sometimes dream of owning a small island in the Pacific and taking it easy – there's a world of difference from having dreams to setting yourself realistic goals to aim for. That doesn't mean I won't try one day to win the Tour, but that's not on my agenda right now. Now I'm going to focus on Ronde van Vlaanderen," he concluded.
Milram introduces Gerdemann and Ciolek
By Susan Westemeyer in Dortmund, Germany
Team Milram introduced its new captain Linus Gerdemann and announced that he would be joined by sprinter Gerald Ciolek at a press conference Thursday in Dortmund, Germany. The two German riders are transferring over from the USA-based Team Columbia.
"German cycling has a difficult past and I think I can help," said Grand Tour hopeful Gerdemann to Cyclingnews. "German cycling has given me a lot in the past and I want to pay it back."
Milram manager Gerry van Gerwen said that it took four contracts to secure Gerdemann's services as the 26 year-old still had an agreement with Columbia through the coming season. He was not allowed to say how much was paid to buy out the contract.
It had long been expected that Tour de France stage winner Gerdemann and Ciolek would join Milram. Gerdemann had said that he wanted to ride for a German team and fast man Ciolek, who did not attend the press conference, was not offered a new contract at Columbia, which has top sprinters Mark Cavendish and André Greipel.
The team also confirmed its complete roster of 25 riders for 2009. More details on its signings will come soon on Cyclingnews.
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Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Schleck back to racing in Curaçao
Fränk Schleck from Team CSC Saxo Bank is riding his last 2009 competition on the Caribbean island of Curaçao this week-end. The Amstel Curaçao Race has been a regular season's closing event for the Luxemburger, who did not race the Giro di Lombardia after a link from the rider to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006 was revealed at the World Championships in Varese, Italy.
Schleck, who denied ever having doped or used the services of the doctor in the centre of Operación Puerto, said he had "a clear conscience", which is why coming back to racing was not an issue for him.
"If I had done something wrong, then I would not want to be here," he told reporters of Dutch Telegraaf on Curaçao on Thursday. "Then, I would not want to look people in the eyes. A lot of rubbish was written in the press during this time, for example about CSC suspending me. There was never talk about that. After the Worlds, I should have participated in the Giro di Lombardia, but because of the turmoil we decided it would be better for me to explain myself to the various instances. I also went to Denmark on my own initiative to tell my sponsors the whole story."
Schleck maintained that he had indeed paid a some 7,000 euro into a Swiss bank account in 2006, which allegedly benefited the Spanish doctor. But he said he did not know this or know of the doctor at the time. "I paid for a training programme that I should have received from Switzerland. I was young and naive. I had never heard of the name of Fuentes and have not been in contact with him. I never had anything to do with doping," he continued.
The Luxemburger, who wore the yellow jersey during the Tour de France this year, offered to give anti-doping authorities full insight into his medical files to prove he was clean. "I proposed to [the UCI and the Luxembourg anti-doping agency ALAD] to examine all my blood values since 2005 with modern techniques," Schleck said. "They can test me on everything, since I have nothing to hide. I will collaborate on everything."
Despite the fact that the investigation of Schleck's explanations is still ongoing at the ALAD, the CSC Saxo Bank rider detailed his objectives for the coming season. "I'm already looking forward to the hard classics next year. [Both my brother Andy and I] can win Amstel or Liège at some point. And at the Tour, both of us can reach the top five," he said.
Together with his brother, Schleck had shown impressive performances in this year's Tour de France Alpine stages. Leading the overall classification for three days, the classics specialist sacrificed it for teammate and later Tour winner Carlos Sastre in L'Alpe d'Huez and finally finished sixth in Paris. He said he could imagine winning the Tour next year.
"Yes, after studying the new Tour route I can see myself as a candidate for the victory. Just like I believed that I could win the Tour this summer. On L'Alpe d'Huez, we played the card Sastre, but I was really strong that day, too."
2009 Tour de France stages in detail
Next year's Tour de France route was announced in Paris one week ago , and even though the organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) is still working on the exact roads the riders will tackle in July 2009, Cyclingnews already took a closer look at the daily itineraries. Be it time trial, sprint, transitional or mountain stages, the route descriptions are online for everyone who likes to see what exactly is in store in the next Grande Boucle.
Another analysis of the 2009 parcours was made by Procycling's editor Peter Cossins, who thinks it will have a slow fuse which will ignite the fireworks on the penultimate stage.
Paolini renews with Acqua e Sapone
By Gregor Brown
Luca Paolini renewed his contract with Italy-based Team Acqua e Sapone for one year yesterday. The Italian, winner of Trofeo Laigueglia and Coppa Placci this season, will point towards his country's big races in 2009.
"I think that I can show my self well in a team like this one. There is a good group of guys and they have faith in me," said Paolini, 31, to Cyclingnews. The team of Palmiro Masciarelli is a Professional Continental team, or second division.
Paolini made the most of his chances this year with two wins, several high placings and place in the national team that helped Alessandro Ballan to World Championship victory. Race organiser RCS Sport overlooked his team in Italy's big races and it was the same for Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he finished third in 2007.
"I will aim for the races that I did not have a chance to ride this year, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo. It would be very wonderful to be invited with the team to the Giro d'Italia."
Giro d'Italia's organiser passed on the team in 2008 despite its captain Stefano Garzelli winning two stages in 2007. "We were not invited and we still don't know why. It was a year of transition for the team. We are hoping for the best... I think we will be able to race them in 2009."
Vanhuffel still looking
Belgian Win Vanhuffel still doesn't know if or for whom he will be racing next season. The Silence-Lotto rider, whose contract was not renewed, is still looking for a team that will take him on, and is ready to make major cutbacks to continue his career.
"I will take everything that comes my way," he said to Belgian media. "I have some contacts with some teams, and I'm anxiously waiting for a phone call every day. Whoever calls me now, I will be endlessly grateful to. I would be willing even to race for minimum wage."
Vanhuffel, who finished 11th in the 2005 Giro d'Italia, doesn't want to hang up the bike just yet. "I want to invest one more year in myself. I'm prepared to take a step backwards. I don't have to be a leader – if you're good, that will follow."
Vanhuffel has not been able to repeat his Grand Tour feat since then. "Everyone always compares my performances with that 2005 Giro. Afterwards, I still finished 20th in the mountain stages, but nobody looks at those placings," he concluded. The Belgian completed this year's Giro in 38th place.
Contentpolis-Murcia to expand in 2009
By Antonio J. Salmerón
After achieving four victories in 2008, Spanish Pro Continental team Contentpolis-Murcia is working very hard to ensure its continuity. Despite its successful season, Contentpolis-Murcia's management is seeking additional sponsors. "We have the backing of the regional government, but we are still finalising negotiations with major sponsors," team manager José A. Ortuño told Cyclingnews.
The squad started winning last February, when Manuel Vázquez won in the queen stage in the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana and finished in second place overall. Later, Oleg Chuzda had a great performance in the Vuelta a Madrid, as well as Manuel Calvente in the Vuelta a La Rioja. Jesús Buendia got second in the Trofeo Agostinho overall classification and Adrián Palomares finished in the third place in the Euskal Bizikleta. In the Rothaus Regio Tour, Vázquez won in the first stage and finished third overall.
For next year, Contentpolis-Murcia will count on most of the current staff. "We have some interesting promising young riders, such as the local Sergio Domínguez, or the time triallist Rafael Serrano, who finished fifth in the elite European time trial championship," Ortuño added.
Racing an international calendar in 2008, the team wants to try to expand its schedule in 2009 and race the Spanish Grand Tour. "The most important thing for all of us will be to participate in the Vuelta," said Ortuño, who has acquired verbal agreements with some important Spanish riders for the next season in order to be competitive enough for the Vuelta organisers. "We want to have a sprinter," Ortuño concluded.
Praties Cycling looking for riders
The Australian Continental registered squad Praties Cycling is in the final stages of finalising its roster for 2009. After an outstanding 2008 with the team winning Goulburn to Citi and stages in the Tour of Gippsland and the Tour of Murray River, as well as four stages and the overall at the Tour of Tasmania, the team will be looking to defend their position as the National Teams Champions.
The squad will contest the national series and Herald Sun Tour as well as selected races in Asia and possibly the United States. Interested riders should send their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)