First Edition Cycling News, September 24, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson
Basso to return in Japan
By Miwako Sasaki
Ivan Basso has been training hard
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Ivan Basso will return to professional cycling at the Japan Cup on October
26 with Liquigas. Basso's name appeared on the list of teams and riders
for the next edition released by the race organiser on Monday.
Basso has been on the cycling sidelines since his confession on May 7,
2007 to attempted doping. The Italian rider confirmed widespread rumour
that he was involved in the Spanish doping ring enquiry Operación Puerto,
revealing that documents surrounding the case containing the name Birillo
where in fact referring to him.
Basso was given a suspension of 24 months by the Italian Cycling Federation
(FCI) disciplinary commission in July 2007. The Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes
client will be able to resume racing from October 24, 2008.
The rider confessed to his involvement after increasing pressure from
Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri and
mounting evidence against him. Italian outfit Liquigas announced in April
it had signed the former Giro d'Italia winner to join its ranks once his
suspension had been served.
Four ProTour teams will go to Japan for the event: Bouygues Telecom,
Quick Step, Lampre and Liquigas. Damiano Cunego will be one of the star
riders making the trip to Japan for the race.
Armstrong to address the world...
Lance Armstrong Photo ©: James
Lance Armstrong will rub shoulders with world leaders this week in New
York City, USA, where the rider is expected to announce his 2009 comeback
plans later today. Armstrong will make the announcement regarding his
"new global effort in the fight against cancer" at the Clinton Global
Initiative held at the New York Sheraton today.
CGI is a gathering of world leaders in both political and business landscapes,
with the focus to address global challenges such as the fight against
cancer. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be among those in attendance
at the event.
The former Tour de France champion is then expected to travel to Las
Vegas, Nevada where he will address the world's cycling media which are
gathered in the gaming capital for the Interbike trade show.
Armstrong announced two weeks ago that he would return to professional
cycling to further the global awareness of his charity Livestrong and
its role in fighting cancer. The American again made headlines when he
teamed up with Max Taam and Len Zanni and won the 12 Hours of Snowmass
mountain biking race one week later.
…then contest CrossVegas
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Las Vegas
Of the many rumors swirling in recent weeks about Lance Armstrong, one
of them has included him racing cyclo-cross events this season - and that
rumor appears to have some truth. While the details of his 'official'
comeback are not to be released until Wednesday morning when he will announce
his 'official' comeback at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting
in New York, his manager Mark Higgins confirmed with Cyclingnews
that his first race following that announcement will likely be the UCI
category 1 Cross Vegas cyclo-cross race held in conjunction with the Interbike
trade show in Las Vegas.
"We are going to try to make it," he said. "It will be tight with
so many heads of state at the Clinton Global Initiative [event] and then
air traffic control as well." While the events are scheduled for the morning
New York time (EDT) and the men's Cross Vegas race does not start until
9:00 p.m. (PDT), Armstrong's private plane could be at the mercy of the
US air traffic control system.
Even if he does make it to the race on time, having no UCI points from
last year will mean he will likely start well back in the grid - in the
middle at best.
He also is scheduled to be on the David Letterman show this Friday as
well, though Higgins said that was taped Monday and will not conflict
with his travel.
Armstrong return would upset Astana apple cart
Alberto Contador (Astana)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Johan Bruyneel's new star Alberto Contador has admitted the return of
former favourite Lance Armstrong to the Astana fold could hurt him. While
Armstrong never rode for the current Astana squad, he was the major player
in Bruyneel's US Postal and Discovery Channel teams, with the latter winding
up its involvement at the end of last season.
"I think I've earned the right to be the leader of a team without having
to fight for my place," Contador told AS. "And with Armstrong some
difficult situations could arise in which the team would put him first
and that would hurt me."
While Bruyneel's squad is remaining quiet on any future involvement with
Armstrong, until he outlines details on his return to the sport, the team
director has admitted it would be hard to imagine the former Tour de France
champion returning to the sport with anyone else.
"The team will say nothing before Armstrong explains himself," Astana
spokesman Philippe Maertens said.
Lefevere: Bettini could have taken over
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
Quick Step's general manager Patrick Lefevere has said that he offered
Paolo Bettini a position within the team's management after retiring from
cycling. The Belgian said his star Italian rider had originally planned
on retiring at the end of this season.
"But he didn't want it," Lefevere explained. "The plan was for Bettini
to retire at the end of 2008 and to step into a management role with the
"He would work with me for two years before purchasing my business,"
he added. "He would then be the general manager from a top team."
Bettini decided this year that he would continue for one more season,
but Lefevere was unable to meet his demands for the Italian's salary.
Bettini became an Olympic Games champion at Athens in 2004 and has won
the last two UCI World Road Championships.
"I am not bitter about it," Lefevere said. "I listened to my head and
not my heart, otherwise Paolo would have stayed.
"Now I have four top riders for the price of Bettini: Chavanel, Devolder,
Tosatto and Schumacher," he added. "My decision was made quickly."
Brochard wants to come back
By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy
Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Despite being 40 years of age, Laurent Brochard has been inspired by
the announcement Lance Armstrong will return to professional cycling and
now the Frenchman is also tempted to return. Brochard, the last Frenchman
to win the World Championship title in 1997 in San Sebastian, Spain, will
be watching this weekend's race in Varese, Italy closely as he hasn't
lost any of his passion for cycling.
"I haven't stopped for three years," Brochard noted, despite being three
years older than Armstrong.
Brochard was forced to quit at the end of last year, after breaking a
collarbone. The Tour of Poland accident saw the Frenchman sustain his
firs broken bone in a 16 year-long career. Following the accident he wasn't
offered a new contract by Bouygues Telecom, the last team he rode for
between 2005 and 2007.
"I don't want to enter into any polemics with the team," he told the
Ouest-France newspaper, but he's obviously still bitter that he
didn't get the chance to continue racing. Until January this year, Brochard
had hoped to find a potential employer but none of his discussions resulted
in a contract.
Brochard kept doing some sports activities and returned to his first
sport: running. He recently completed the 10 kilometre Alençon to Médavy
in Normandy in 34.20, despite training only once or twice a week.
"Some directeurs sportifs know that I'm still able to ride, they have
my number, they're welcome to call me," he said.
The former professional is so keen to return to cycling, he is rumoured
to have contacted team managers himself.
Miguel Martinez has retired from professional cycling for the second
time. The French rider is best known for his long time duel with Cadel
Evans for the Mountain Bike World Cup in the 1990s.
Martinez, known as 'little Mig', was third in the inaugural Olympic Games
MTB Cross Country event in Atlanta, USA. He followed the result up with
gold in Sydney, Australia in 2000 and was also the UCI World Mountain
Bike Champion in the same year.
He switched to the road in the late 1990s and rode for a number of top
professional squads including Mapei, Phonak and most recently Amore e
Martinez retired for the first time in 2006, but returned this year with
Amore e Vita, winning just one stage at the Tour de Beauce.
Rusty Chain Projects call it a day
Symmetrics will close its doors
at season's end.
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
The management company behind Canadian Continental squad Symmetrics,
Rusty Chain Projects Inc, has announced it will not run a squad in 2009.
Symmetrics announced it would cease its sponsorship of the team at season's
end, however Rusty Chain Projects' Mark and Kevin Cunningham have been
unable to find a replacement sponsor, faced with a difficult economic
climate in North America.
"We've been searching for a new title sponsor since Christmas," said
Kevin. "We've had some positive discussions and some near misses. But
at this time we do not have the right partner in place to move forward
with the team in 2009.
"We are continuing to search for a new title sponsor in hopes of reactivating
the team 2010 and beyond," he added. "We let our riders know during the
Tour of Missouri that we wouldn't put the team on the road next year."
In the past five years the team won 12 Canadian National Championships
(road and time trial) with a staggering 25 championship medals, won more
than 180 races and has been ranked in the top three teams in the UCI America
Tour for the past three seasons. This year the team achieved one of its
long-term goals of building Olympians-sending Svein Tuft and Zach Bell
to the Olympic Games where they each had remarkable seventh place finish.
"We could put the team on the road again next year," Kevin added. "But
we wouldn't be moving towards our long-term goals. It's better for us
to stop the team while we search for the elusive title sponsor who is
the right strategic fit."
News Next News
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)