First Edition Cycling News, February 18, 2009
Edited by Greg Johnson
Basso tells Cunego there is transparency
By Gregor Brown
Liquigas' Ivan Basso insists he is demonstrating the transparency he said he would when returning to cycling following a two-year suspension for links to the Operación Puerto investigation. The Italian responded to the remarks of his rival Damiano Cunego in Italy's leading sports newspaper.
"If he is talking about me I find it very funny because it does not have any meaning," Basso told Cyclingnews. "I said I would return to race and give the fans something else, which is publishing online my test and biological passport results - this is transparency."
The two past Giro d'Italia champions have long been rivals both on and off the road. Cunego's remarks in La Gazzetta dello Sport were not directly at Basso, but it was enough to provoke a response by Basso on his personal blog.
"I only hope that there is a balanced playing field, otherwise those who have talked so much about transparency would be better to keep quiet," Cunego said in a paragraph that spoke about the Giro d'Italia, Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso.
Basso, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, served a suspension for ties to Spanish Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. His ban ended on October 24 and he returned to racing two days later in the Japan Cup.
"Like always, I can't pretend that everyone is on my side, but those that continue to attack are wasting their time," he said. "I believe that it is right to do your work and not to become stressed out over nothing."
Basso will return to Italy after the Tour of California, February 14 to 22, and a wind tunnel test. His next race will be the Tirreno-Adriatico.
Hushovd outsprints the bunch in Californian rain
Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) sprinted to victory on the wet streets of Modesto at the end of stage three of the the Tour of California. The Norwegian rider won the stage over Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Mark Renshaw (Team Columbia - Highroad) after an uncomfortably wet and cold day in the saddle.
Hushovd's win came after a textbook leadout by his darkly-clad Cervélo TestTeam mates. They lined up along the finishing circuit and delivered him precisely to the front of the bunch at just the right moment leading up to the line.
"Hayden Roulston started it with a little more than one kilometre to go, then Dominique Rollin pulled into the last corner," said Hushovd. "Then Brett Lancaster took over after the last corner, and I passed him with about 150 metres to go. Our team did a great job today, and I am really thankful. It's the first time we've worked together and it went well, so that was a good start.
"I know that with these guys, we may be one of the best lead-out teams in the world, and I think today that we showed it."
MacGregor crashes out of California
Others still being examined
Team Type 1's Ian MacGregor has crashed out of the Tour of California on stage 3. The rider crashed into a parked truck on a downhill section of Tuesday's stage 3.
He was unable to make a corner on the rain-soaked descent, according to a team spokesperson. MacGregor has been taken to a nearby hospital where he was checked for possible broken bones and facial abrasions. Early reports suggest the rider is receiving stitches to his chin and shin.
The recently married MacGregor was just one of many riders to come unstuck on stage 3, with early reports suggesting Omer Kem (Bissell Pro Cycling) may have a broken femur while Edward King (Cervélo TestTeam) is undergoing X-Ray. The riders were confronted yet again by torrential rain.
MacGregor won a stage of the Fitchburg Longjso Classic last year and is the current Colorado state road champion. At the age of 21, he won the first of two consecutive Under 23 US National Road Race titles, soloing to victory in both. Those accomplishments followed five successful years as a national-level alpine ski racer.
Quick Step unsure of Algarve repeat
Quick Step's Stijn Devolder isn't confident in his chances of a repeat victory at the Volta ao Algarve that starts today. Devolder is recovering from knee surgery, but will be just one rider in a strong line-up for the Belgian squad.
"It won't be easy to repeat last year's victory," said Devolder. "The problems I have had with my knee have slowed down my preparation for the race.
"At present I'm fine and the Challenge Mallorca was great in getting me back into rhythm," he added. "The most important thing is that I no longer have any problems with my knee."
Steven De Jongh will also be in Quick Step's roster for the Portuguese race. The event will be De Jongh's first since a nasty fall at the Tour of Qatar.
"We are really pleased to have De Jongh back," said sports director Rik Van Slycke. "Devolder isn't in the same form as last year but we can certainly count on athletes such as Sebastien Rosseler and Sylvain Chavanel, who are both very good in the time trial. Once again the last day's time trail race will be decisive."
De Jongh said he is feeling good ahead of the race, despite having only just returned to training this week. The event will be used to test his condition.
"I only started training again on Saturday and I rode for four hours on Sunday," De Jongh explained. "Things seem to be going well and I feel good. After speaking to our team's medical staff we decided that I could take part in this race. This will be an important trial for me in light of forthcoming races."
Quick Step roster for Volta ao Algarve: Sylvain Chavanel, Steven De Jongh, Dries Devenyns, Stijn Devolder, Sebastien Rosseler, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe and Wouter Weylandt.
Now you can fly on Sir Chris Hoy
Briton launches British Airways' talent search
British Airways has named one of its aircraft after Sir Chris Hoy, as a part of the British carrier's efforts to find the next generation of Great Britons. The announcement is part of the airline's promotions ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, of which it is a tier one sponsor.
"I am proud and honoured to have an aircraft flying the Union flag named after me," said Hoy. "British Airways helped me achieve my personal dreams and I hope this programme can do the same for the UK's fledgling talent today."
The Edinburgh rider won three gold medals at last year's Beijing Olympics. The medal haul, which took his gold total to four, saw Hoy become Scotland's most successful Olympian, the first Briton in 100 years to secure a hat-trick of gold medals in a single Olympic Games, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time.
British Airways Great Britons programme has launched a £500,000 fund offering up to 180 free flights a year until 2012. It is open to anyone aged over 16 years old who need support to develop their talent in any field.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to help young people achieve their goals," said British Airways global sponsorship manager Luisa Fernandez. "We know how important it is to connect people to places and with our extensive network, we can do this better than anyone."
Nearly 1,500 athletes from 28 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports will also benefit from the partnership, which offers up to 20 percent off flights for them and their families, as well as support with baggage and equipment.
While judges of the 180 free flights per year include Denise Lewis, film director Jeremy Gilley and British Airways representatives, the final vote will go to the public. Applications can be made at www.greatbritons.ba.com.
Roll, Fatty Nelson raising money for Livestrong
By Gary Boulanger, Bikeradar.com US editor
Popular race commentator and former pro road racer Bob "Tour Day France" Roll has agreed to shave his head if US$5,000 can be raised for the Livestrong Foundation by February 22, the last day of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, on behalf of Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting for Susan.
Elden "Fatty" Nelson, who blogs at fatcyclist.com, has partnered once again with Ibis Cycles founder Scot Nicol to raise money on behalf of Nelson's wife Susan, who has cancer.
Simply put, according to Nicol, if folks donate to Roll's Livestrong page and reach $5,000 by Sunday, the loqacious Roll will shave what little hair is on his head. The gapped-tooth former 7-Eleven professional raced alongside 1988 Giro d'Italia winner Andy Hampsten and multiple Tour de France stage winner Davis Phinney.
To donate, click here.
Battenkill announces teams
Tour of the Battenkill organisers have announced the teams for this year's race, to be held in April. BMC Pro Cycling tops the list of teams participating in this year's race, as the only Professional Continental squad taking part in the race.
This year's event includes an all-new Professional Men's Invitational race on Sunday April 19. The race follows the Tour of the Battenkill, which organisers expect to draw more than 1500 professional and amateur racers from throughout the USA and Canada.
Teams for Battenkill: BMC Pro Cycling, Bissell Pro Cycling, Kenda Pro Cycling, Team Mountain Khakis, Team Type 1, DLP Pro Cycling, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Team Planet Energy, Équipe Volkswagen, Ride with Rendall, Jet Fuel Pro Cycling, CCB, Bikereg/Cannondale, Jittery Joes Cycling, Haymarket Cycles, Main Line/Mazur Cycling, Metlife Pro-Am Cycling, Champion System, CRCA/Empire and IF Racing/ Lionette's Elite Cycling.
Tour of Colorado dates announced
Organisers of the Tour of Colorado in the United States of America, have announced the dates and events that comprise this year's series. The series is made up of a single day race and four multiple day races.
The series starts in Boulder with the Koppenburg Road Race on March 29, the only single day event in the series. The series' second round will also be held in Boulder before visiting Durango, Glenwood Springs and concluding in Salida.
Tour of Colorado:
New Zealand gets more international squads
The list of riders entered in next week's NZCT Women's Tour of New Zealand and the International Cup of Cycling continues to grow, with two more national squads confirming their participation. National teams from China and Japan have confirmed their start in the races, as well as the New Zealand national team.
Two other squads - Champion Systems Cycling team and the NZ base Cyclosport team - have also announced they will contest the women's races.
"It's great overseas teams are coming to New Zealand to participate," said race director Jorge Sandoval. "The Chinese and Japanese have been here before, so they obviously rate the tour.
"The Champion Systems team is made up of international riders from Canada, Australia, USA and a couple of Kiwis," he added. "The only women's teams base in New Zealand, the Cyclosport team, is lead by up-and-coming Wellington road rider Rachel Mercer."
A total of 70 riders in 14 teams will start the only international women's cycling event in Oceania next Wednesday, February 25. The NZCT Tour finishes on Friday, February 27, with riders take part in the NZCT Women's International Cup of Cycling in Masterton that Sunday.
"We've got a fantastic field with lots of different experience and style," said Sandoval. "Riders who come here go home speaking highly about our tour and organisation - and this encourages even more overseas teams to come."
Australians rally behind bushfire victims
The Australian cycling community has been busy over the past week, raising money and donating equipment to those who have been affected by the nation's worst bushfires. Over $42,000 dollars and some 65 bicycles have been donated through various fund raising events over the weekend.
Victorian mountain biking clubs held the first Enduro Series round in aid of the bush fire victims. The event, which was moved from Eildon to the You Yangs due to the devastating bushfires, raised some $35,000 for the Fire Relief Fund.
Melbourne-based Eastern Veterans Cycling Club is among those holding fundraisers to help victims of the crisis. The club races $7,000 AUD at its criterium event on Saturday, after two of its own members lost their homes while others suffered damage.
The club raised the money by donating all entry fees, holding a raffle, auctioning off gifts from members and also through direct donations.
"Like all Australians, club members are deeply shocked at the February 7 fires and would like to pass on its deepest condolences to everyone who has suffered personal and/or property loss," said club member Colin O'Brien.
CycleSport Victoria announced that some 65 bicycles had been donated for bush fire victims at the weekend's Clipsal Austral Wheelrace. Amongst the bikes were seven brand new kids bikes and helmets donated by a generous person who wasn't even able to stay to use his free tickets to the event, while a seven year old child donated his own new bike he got for Christmas.
Total Transport are moving the bikes from Hisense Arena to National Storage in Port Melbourne, with both the transport and storage being donated. CSV will accept bikes at DISC for the next two-weeks before it facilitates distribution of the bikes through regional cycling clubs in the affected areas. Brunswick Cycling Club has also offered to collect bikes at its Harrison St Clubrooms all-day Sunday for those who can't make it DISC during the week.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2009)