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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, February 19, 2009

Edited by Peter Hymas and Laura Weislo

Sprinters have their day in Clovis

Mark Cavendish (Columbia Highroad)
Photo ©: Matthew Moses
(Click for larger image)

The Tour of California finished in its second bunch sprint in a row, and Mark Cavendish gave the victory to Columbia-Highroad with a long dash to the line after the 187.7km journey to Clovis. Cavendish was nearly pipped on the line by a fast charging Tom Boonen (Quick Step), but held on to get the win. Juan José Haedo (Team Saxo Bank) was third.

The mountainous stage passed over the Sierra Mountains with five KOM bonuses. Serge Pauwels (Cervélo TestTeam), Jason McCartney (Team Saxo Bank), Tyler Hamilton and Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing) escaped after the first mountain, and with Mancebo a threat to overall leader Levi Leipheimer (Astana), he was ordered back to the peloton to allow the break to survive for the day.

The three built up a six-minute lead which was whittled down on the long, gradual descent into Clovis. The trio persevered until three kilometres to go when the Cervélo train came chugging by towing Thor Hushovd in search of a second stage win. But a last kilometre attack from a Rabobank rider, Pedro Horillo, disrupted the lead-out, allowing Columbia to put Cavendish in position to launch his sprint

Cavendish was highly complementary of the work done by Hushovd's former teammate, Mark Renshaw, who was brought over to the Columbia-Highroad team after the demise of Crédit Agricole. "I've never seen such a strong lead-out – Mark Renshaw went so fast that I had no choice but to win," Cavendish said.

The day was once again marred by crashes, the worst of which took out Rabobank's star sprinter, Oscar Freire. Team Columbia-Highroad lost Kim Kirchen in the crash as well. BMC's Scott Nydam also abandoned the race after crashing in a separate incident.

California teams weather UCI '3:1' tech rule storm

By James Huang

Thanks in part to the efforts of new AIGCP head Jonathan Vaughters
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Thanks at least in part to petitioning by current International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) president – and Garmin-Slipstream directeur sportif – Jonathan Vaughters, riders and teams at the Tour of California have weathered the UCI '3:1' tech rule storm, at least for now.

Though the official statement is still pending from Pat McQuaid later today, word among the teams is that the UCI now would not strictly enforce that clause until 2010 in order to give teams and manufacturers sufficient time to develop and test replacement gear.

According to UCI chief commissaire on site Josee Bevard, officials would not be disqualifying riders and equipment based on the updated ruling but rather would only be crafting a report on items that were not in compliance and sending it back to the UCI headquarters in Switzerland – the same as it apparently did during the opening prologue.

Strictly speaking, rule 1.3.024 isn't new as the 8x2.5cm cross-sectional dimensions and 3:1 maximum aspect ratios have long been in place. But the confusion surrounds the updated verbiage, which previously had been thought to only apply to frames.

The new text states that "a fuselage form" must have an aspect ratio no greater than 3:1 but does not explicitly specify what is classified as a ‘fuselage'. Based on written communication sent to teams from the UCI and obtained by Cyclingnews, those restrictions now also apply to ancillary items such as seat posts, aero base bars, and even crank arms, many of which adhere to 8x2.5cm guidelines but not the maximum aspect ratio.

Wheels are subject to their own set of technical rules and are not affected by the update.

While this stay is obviously good news for the riders and teams, other questions remain about how the UCI wields its all-powerful technical ruling authority: how are these rules decided and by whom? How much notice is given to teams and manufacturers before new rules are implemented? How much is open to interpretation?

Read the complete tech feature

Italy defends action on Valverde

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) rejected the Spanish judge's objections to its case against Alejandro Valverde, and intends to proceed with its hearing with the Spanish rider on Thursday.

CONI called Valverde to be questioned after it linked samples taken during the 2008 Tour de France to blood evidence obtained from the Operación Puerto case. The Spanish judge in charge of the case, Antonio Serrano, argued that the Italians had no jurisdiction to do so, but the Italian anti-doping prosecutors called his statement "groundless".

CONI issued a statement that said the evidence "have been obtained in full compliance with existing laws."

Valverde, who rides for the Caisse d'Epargne squad, has repeatedly denied any involvement with the clinic which was raided in 2006, turning up hundreds of bags of stored blood from athletes as well as doping products. The so-called Operación Puerto case has been stalled in the Spanish courts ever since.

The Italians have been successful in sanctioning two riders, Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi, in connection with the case.

CONI also stated that it had evidence which was independent of that obtained from the Spanish court, and that this makes it "possible to carry out a disciplinary action against Alejandro Valverde for an anti-doping violation."

Valverde's lawyer requested that the hearing be rescheduled. It was due to occur Wednesday, but has now been moved to Thursday, February 19 at 5PM.

Italians on top in Spain

Italians Davide Rebellin (Serramenti) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) took the top two spots in a difficult, mountains stage of the Vuelta a Andalucia into Benahavís on Wednesday. The two were challenged by Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), who took third on the long, gradual uphill finish.

Pozzato was disappointed to be denied the stage win. "What a pity," he said . "Above all for my teammates that worked for the whole day. Rebellin was strong and the final was designed for him, but I spent too much to catch Flecha when he attacked at 550 metres to go, and to catch De La Fuente after. In the final 200 metres I started and Rebellin was on my wheel and he passed me in the last 80 metres."

The general classification of the race, also known as the Ruta del Sol, remained unchanged. Dutchman Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) holds a slim two second lead over Xavier Tondo (Andalucia-Cayasur), and five seconds on Milram's Martin Velits.

Thursday should see changes to the overall classification on the final stage, a challenging 165.8km parcours which features a category 1 climb, the Puerto del Torcal, with just 14km to go.

Cervélo gets win number two for the week

A day after Thor Hushovd handed the new Cervélo TestTeam a stage win at the Tour of California, German Heinrich Haussler duplicated that effort by sprinting to victory in stage one of the Vuelta a Algarve in Portugal. The 24-year-old won the bunch sprint ahead of Dutchman Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank Continental) and the Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), taking the overall leadership of the five-day tour.

"It's nice to get back to winning stages after being so often second or third," Haussler said to dpa. The Australian-born German citizen took second overall and the best young rider's prize at the Tour of Qatar in January.

CSF Group-Navigare for Laigueglia, Sardegna

The CSF Group-Navigare team announced its roster for the Italian one-day race, the Trofeo Laigueglia, which takes place on February 21. The team will look for more good results from Marco Frapporti, who won the second stage of the Giro dell Provincia di Grosseto and took seventh overall. Mauro Finetto and Tiziano Dall'Antonia will be also looking to excel on the hilly parcours.

The squad's sprinters may not fare too well with the many climbs in the Trofeo Laigueglia, but are looking forward to the revived Giro di Sardegna stage race from February 24-28. Mauro Abel Richeze and Ruben Guillermo Bongiorno will look for stage wins. Bongiorno has already taken two second places this year and will be keen to get his first win of the year on the fourth and fifth stages.

CSF Group Navigare for Laigueglia and Sardegna: Marco Frapporti, Mauro Finetto, Tiziano Dall'Antonia, Mauro Abel Richeze, Ruben Guillermo Bongiorno, Enrico Zen, Marcello Pavarin, Alessandro Bisolti D.S.: Giuseppe Lanzoni

Team Barloworld target Laigueglia with a strong line-up

Following Robert Hunter's stage win at the Tour Méditerranéen and a string of other recent placings, Team Barloworld will target further success at the Trofeo Laigueglia on Saturday February 21 with three team leaders.

Team Manager Claudio Corti has selected a powerful line-up for the demanding race in the hills along the Liguria coast near San Remo. The 176km route for this year's race is harder than usual, with the climbs of the Passo Balestrino, Passo del Ginestro and the Cima Paravenna. The last climb could be the ideal place to launch a decisive attack because it is just 20km from the finish.

Team Barloworld's line-up will be lead by Steve Cummings, Chris Froome and Mauricio Soler. Cummings was second in the 2006 Trofeo Laigueglia, while Froome and Soler showed their form with an aggressive performance on the climb to Mont Faron on the last stage of the Tour of the Mediterranean.

Also in the team are South Africa's John-Lee Augustyn, Switzerland's Patrick Calcagni and Italians Diego Caccia, Gianpaolo Cheula and Marco Corti.

Tour of Colorado race and dates finalized

The Koppenberg Road Race opens the 2009 Tour of Colorado series on March 29. This Spring Classic in Superior, Colorado will set the tone of the series as a difficult event with a long history.

Following events include the Sunshine Hill Climb on May 16 and the legendary North Boulder Park Criterium the following day.

The Tour of Colorado will again visit Durango May 23-25 for the long running Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Run as an omnium, the Iron Horse has its famous Durango Coca-Cola Road Race, the Morehart Subaru Criterium, and the Alpine Bank East Animas Time Trial.

New this year, the Tour of Colorado visits Glenwood Springs June 12-14 for the popular weekend races consisting of a time trial, road race and downtown criterium.

The Salida Omnium in Salida, CO will be the final stop on the 2009 Tour of Colorado on July 31-August 2.

For information on the 2009 Tour of Colorado visit

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