Cyclingnews - the world centre of cycling Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recent News

January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008

2007 & earlier

Recently on

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, December 18, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Tinkov breaks with Team Katusha

By Gregor Brown

Stefano Feltrin, Andre Tchmil and Oleg Tinkov (l-r) at the Katusha team launch
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Oleg Tinkov is leaving cycling and the team he funded for the last two years – Tinkoff Credit Systems. The Russian businessman confirmed he will not be continuing in 2009 with Team Katusha.

"I tried to make it work with Andrei Tchmil. I am a president and he has not had any title, but just has been a representative figure, so it was a complicated a situation. For me cycling is, was and always will be a passion, an emotion. ... For Andrea Tchmil cycling is a business, and I am sure he would like to make some money on this deal. We just didn't get along," said Tinkov to Cyclingnews.

Tinkov transferred the team's structure to Russian Igor Makarov and became president in May. During the July presentation, Makarov brought on old friend and former professional Tchmil. Tinkov believed it was a parallel role. By September Tinkov saw that he could not have complete control over the decision-making process and stepped down.

"My dream was, is and will be to have a Russian national [team] win the Tour de France once, to be on the Champs-Élysées with the Russian flag waving. I still have this dream and maybe I will come back."

Tinkov, 40, will consider returning within the next 10 years. His main focus is on his Russian credit card bank, Tinkoff Credit Systems, and his chain of 12 micro-brewery restaurants.

Team Katusha – with new riders Filippo Pozzato, Gert Steegmans, Robbie McEwen and others – looks forward to competing in the sport's biggest races. Thanks to its ProTour license, it will have the ability to compete in the Grand Tours, including the Tour de France.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for a full interview with Tinkov in the coming weeks.

Contador leaves door open for Vuelta participation

Alberto Contador (Astana) on his way to a win at the 2008 Vuelta
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

Alberto Contador attended the presentation of the 2009 Vuelta a España, which will start in Holland. Contador was among a group of accomplished Spaniards, including Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Sastre and Samuel Sánchez, who commented on the details of the race and their expectations, although only the leader of the Euskaltel squad Sánchez confirmed his presence at the start next year.

Contador left the door opened for the possibility of defending his 2008 Vuelta title. "It is an option because this year the Vuelta left me feeling very good. My aim in 2009 is the Tour of France, which I could not race this year, but the door is opened to take part in the next Vuelta."

He said the mountain stages are what pleased him most about the Vuelta, and he pointed to the stages finishing at Aitana, El Catí, Velefique, Sierra Nevada and La Pandera.

The 2009 Vuelta designed by Unipublic stands out – especially for the absence of the Pyrenees and mountain stages in the Asturias like the Angliru and Covadonga's Lagos. Nonetheless, the edition can be considered a good one for climbers.

Although there will be no Olympic Games in 2009, Contador thought the Spanish cyclists, who had an impressive 2008 season, would still make their marks on the "three big tours".

Vaughters: Armstrong's explosiveness important for Giro success

By Gregor Brown

Jonathan Vaughters has transformed Slipstream
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

Jonathan Vaughters believes the 2009 Giro d'Italia will require an explosive effort at the beginning to win race overall three weeks later. At the course presentation Saturday night in Venice, the American Vaughters questioned whether Lance Armstrong's acceleration is back after his three-year retirement.

"It is hard to tell how he [Armstrong] will come back. If you look at the later years of his career, he was less explosive and had better recovery – more of a diesel later on in the race. Since he has taken time off, he may have regained that explosiveness just by being fresher."

Armstrong retired immediately after winning his seventh Tour de France in a row in July 2005. At 37 years of age he is making his comeback in 2009. The Italian Grand Tour, from May 9 to 31, is on his programme for the first time in his career.

Vaughters, who raced with Armstrong at US Postal Service, attended the Giro presentation to represent his team, Garmin Chipotle. The team made its Grand Tour debut by winning the Giro's opening team time trial this year. He saw organiser RCS Sport unveil a route completely different from 12 months earlier.

"It is bizarre. The bulk of the race is in the first nine days and then it kind of calms down. Then there is that 79-kilometre mountain stage [to Block Haus] that shoots right up the side of the mountain. How often do you have that sort of thing?

"It is an interesting race, the way it goes around. Normally in a three-week stage race there is this component that the guy who is less fatigued or freshest can win it. That will be somewhat the case in this race, but this is going more like the guy that comes in 100-percent – boom – and then hangs on for dear life until the end, which is totally reverse then how most three-week stage races are."

The Garmin team will aim for the race leader's maglia rosa in the opening day's team time trail in Venice. Vaughters also intends on sending along a rider to battle for the overall classification.

Saxo Bank continues with Damsgaard

Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard
Photo ©: Sabine Sunderland/Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)
Team Saxo Bank will continue its anti-doping programme with Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard in the coming year, and will expand the programme to include PWC GmbH – Medizinische Testverfahren im Sport, a German company which will conduct many of the tests associated with the UCI's "biological passport".

Team manager Bjarne Riis said on the team's website,, that the inclusion of PWC, saying that "we'll be getting a more permanent set-up, as all the other teams at ProTour level will be submitted to the same kind of tests as us." The German firm will take over the work previously done by the Bispebjerg Hospital.

Damsgaard will continue to monitor all testing of Saxo Bank riders, and noted that "as all tests will be handled by PWC there won't be any unnecessary double testing and in the long run our original program will be fully integrated with UCI's and I will still be able to refine it."

Lotto wants Evans in the Giro

Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The question of Cadel Evans' participation in the Giro d'Italia has not yet been settled, with the team now saying that it would like the Australian to ride the race as preparation for the Tour de France.

The Italian media reported last week that Evans would ride the Giro, which he subsequently denied.

Directeur Sportif Roberto Damiano told the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that the team will discuss it with Evans again in January. "I have said that he must reflect some more, that the ball is in his court."

The Italian sees the Giro as the ideal warm-up for the Tour, with its "long time trial and not too difficult climbs."

Damiano added that the Belgian team will have a strong squad for the races, despite the loss of Yaroslav Popovych and Dario Cioni, and the absence of Bernhard Kohl, who will not be joining the team as planned. "The team is not weak, on the contrary," he said, warning not to underestimate newcomers Sebastian Lang and Charly Wegelius, as well as Thomas Dekker and Jurgen Van den Broeck.

German group calls for eliminating B samples

A German sports medicine group has called for the elimination of the B sample in doping controls, calling it "anachronistic". The German National Anti-Doping Agency opposed the proposal.

Jürgen H. Steinacker of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sportmedizin und Prävention (BGSP, German Society for Sport Medicine and Prevention) said, "The B samples increase the legal uncertainty and the income of lawyers." He added that the samples sometimes "fly around the world for three weeks without being cooled," according to the dpa press agency.

"That is not so," contradicted German NADA spokeswoman Ulrike Spitz. "There is a worldwide standard for A and B samples, they are always sent together." Hans Geyer of the anti-doping laboratory in Cologne, Germany, called the proposal "an absolute step back and a violation of athletes' rights."

B samples are sent to a different laboratory from the A sample only upon the express wish of the athlete, and that is a rare occurrence, Spitz said. And in 99 percent of the cases, both samples give the same result.

According to the DGSP, the B sample "takes up time and money and hurts the results of the fight against doping." DGSP President Herbert Lollgen said that the results "are often manipulated" and can deliver false negatives when the samples are held or transported too long before testing.

De Groot breaks collarbone

Rabobank was on the road, all too literally, on the Spanish Island of Lanzarote this week for its training camp. On Tuesday, Rick Flens went down and right behind was Bram de Groot, who was unable to avoid his fallen teammate and went down, too, breaking his right collarbone.

De Groot, who turns 34 on December 18, flew home to the Netherlands and will be examined at hospital in Amersfoort before starting his rehabilitation. The team said it is not yet known whether he will be able to start in the Tour Down Under from January 18-25 as planned.

Flens, 25, suffered only scrape wounds and was expected to return to training on Wednesday.

Cross-training with the pro

By Bobby Julich

Julich at the 2005 'boot camp' in Denmark
Photo ©: B.S. Christiansen
(Click for larger image)

I hope that you have enjoyed your time off because it is time to get back to work! That was the mantra I used to tell myself at this part of the season and during my career it would usually coincide with a team training camp.

Each team's camp is different depending on the level of organisation and the team's aims for the upcoming season. I was at Motorola, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole and Telekom during my career and feel that they were all similar. There were meetings and nights at the bar bonding with teammates, but I never felt like I got anything spectacular out of them. I felt it was more of a chance for the directors to check up on us and make sure no one was too much out of shape or had been piling on the pounds. Oberall, I didn't look forward to them and couldn't wait to get them over with, but that all changed when I signed with Bjarne Riis at CSC.

There are no words to describe the difference between the other camps that I attended and the ones that Riis and B.S. Christiansen arranged. All I can say is that they were massive! Our exploits have been well documented over the years and journalists who attended described the camps as "boot camp" or "survival camp." This is an appropriate description because of B.S. Christiansen's military background. (Read about the 2008 camp.)

People always wonder why we wore military clothing and trounced around looking and acting like soldiers. The reason for wearing the military clothes was so that we all looked alike and dealt with the elements in the same way. It wouldn't be fair if a rider who made a big salary went out and bought the most expensive gear, when a young rider or member of the staff who makes less, was forced to make do in the same conditions with less quality equipment.

The focus of the camp was to put the riders and staff under mental and physical stress in order to see how they reacted under pressure. Cycling is full of pressure and drama. A cycling team that understands how to react and who to look to for leadership during testing times will become more successful. Opinions vary on how far this should be taken and whether jumping into freezing lakes is necessary, but in nine years of doing these exercises, there have been no serious injuries. Yet!

Read the complete feature.

Spanish federation recognizes Vilajosana

The Spanish Cycling Federation recognized Marta Vilajosana as its top female racer for the year. The Iberian Dila Kuota racer had a successful year with success in Barcelona in the Catalan Cup and seventh place in the UCI World Road Championship in Varese.

"I am happy for this recognition," said Vilajosana from her home on the outskirts of Barcelona. "My emotions are strong because the honor is conferred by my national federation."

Viljaosana finished in the ranking with 430 points, ahead of teammate Silvia Tirado (Dila Kuota) with 317 points and Azpiroz Arantzazu (Bizkaiko) with 266 points.

British cycling's funding nearly doubles

Sport England has awarded British Cycling £24.3 million in funding for 2009 to 2013 to deliver grassroots sport as part of a plan to get one million more people playing sports The funding represents a 96% increase compared to the 2005-2009 funding period, the second highest increase of the 46 sports eligible for funding.

"This is a fantastic result for British Cycling. It will ensure that we can continue to get more people participating in cycling for sport and regular recreation," said British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake. "It will also enable us to continue to develop our playground-to-podium talent system through the successful Go-Ride programme."

"No other sport has demonstrated the same level of growth in general participation, club sport and medal success during the current funding cycle. We welcome Sport England's support in the development of our plans and the approach of funding governing bodies on their record of delivery to date and potential to deliver in the run up to 2012."

On Tuesday, Sport England announced a total investment of £480 million to deliver grassroots sporting opportunities to all 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sports on the basis of their ability to increase the number of people playing and enjoying sport and to create development pathways for those with talent.

British Cycling developed a four-year proposal that includes a new network of permanent traffic-free cycle sport facilities to create a safe environment for existing and new participants in cycle sport plus a Sporting Events on the Highways Unit to work towards securing the long-term future and availability of sporting events on the public highway. It also will deploy 10 full-time regional competition development officers to co-ordinate and support the volunteer delivery of the cycling competition programme for each region and will also aim to increase quantity and quality of existing coaching to support the development of talent and lifelong participation.

To promote the involvement of children and young people, 25 full-time Go-Ride coaches and nine part-time cycling specific community sports coaches will operate around traffic-free facility hubs. And for recreational cyclists, British Cycling will expand its Everyday Cycling programme, including the deployment of 10 full-time Everyday Cycling activators operating around traffic-free facility hubs.

British Cycling will work with Sport England to refine and finalise its plan in line with the new funding, which will come on stream in April 2009. Sport England will monitor and evaluate results on a quarterly basis and will hold governing bodies of sport accountable for their plans. Its second Active People Survey, which was released last week, has provided a baseline for participation in each sport against which specific growth targets will be measured.

World Bicycle Relief runs holiday giving campaign

World Bicycle Relief has undertaken an ambitious drive to raise US$13,400 in just 48 hours – from noon CST Wednesday, December 17, through noon CST Friday, December 19, the organization looks to raise enough money to purchase 100 bicycles for its programs in Africa. What's more, a generous donor has agreed to match all donations through the end of the year, so the goal is really 200 bikes – impacting the lives of more than 4,000 people.

Donations are being accepted through, and any amount will help, with each $134 representing an entire bicycle.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

Previous News   Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)