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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, November 29, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo

Kreuziger on the rise

Roman Kreuziger won
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Roman Kreuziger, the winner of the Tour of Switzerland and runner up in the best young rider competition at his first Tour de France, is one of the most promising prospects of the coming years. Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet spoke with the 22-year-old in his home town of Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Born in May 1986 in Moravska Trebova, in the north of the Czech Republic, Roman Kreuziger has already stamped his mark on the Tour de France at an age where most riders are vying to succeed in the under-23 ranks.

Kreuziger confirmed his ascension to the upper echelon of the elite ranks when he dropped Cadel Evans, then in the yellow jersey, on the climb to Prato Nevoso on the stage 16 . The effort earned him the white jersey which he was able to show to his parents when they visited him at the Tour.

That day he actually took the jersey for best young rider from the shoulders of friend and teammate Vincenzo Nibali, who also represents Liquigas' sporting future. Kreuziger doesn't just speak for himself when he recalls how bravely he and the young Italian battled on the roads of France.

"We thought we could win the best young rider classification, either he or myself," Kreuziger says while drinking a non-alcoholic beer at the famous Restaurace Na Spilce inside the brewery of Pilsner Urquell, in Pilsen. "But Andy Schleck proved himself to be better than us in the climbs during the following stages. It was a big eye-opener for me."

Continue to the full feature.

Doping to be criminal in Austria?

Athletes in Austria who are caught doping may be subject to criminal penalties in the future. The country's new Sport Minister, Norbert Darabos, has proposed making athletes criminally liable, as suppliers already are.

In an interview with, Darabos said that he believed such a law would not end with athletes in handcuffs, but rather would have a deterrent effect. "Because of the threat of criminal prosecution, doping would become less likely for the athlete. He knows that doping could put him in jail."

Otto Flum, head of the Austrian cycling federation (ÖRF), greeted the addition of athletes to the law. "The threat of criminal action against only the suppliers has shown itself – as in the recent Kohl case – to be a totally toothless act," he said on the ÖRF's web site,

In his hearing before the the ÖRF earlier this week, Kohl had refused to give the name of the doctor who supplied him with the CERA for which he tested positive.

Dekker to Rotterdam Six Day

Winner of the Tour of Romandie, Thomas Dekker (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Dutch rider Thomas Dekker will kick off his 2009 season at the Rotterdam Six Day, his publicist announced Friday. Dekker will pair up with his friend Jens Mouris, an experienced track cyclist for the event.

Dekker had a difficult 2008 season, during which he was left off the Rabobank team's Tour de France squad and subsequently split with the team. He signed with the Silence-Lotto squad, and is beginning to solidify his programme for the coming early season.

Dekker's preliminary schedule has him at the Silence-Lotto camp from December 9-17, followed by the Rotterdam Six Day on January 2-7. He will then take in another team camp in January before kicking off the race season at the Etoile de Bessèges.

He hopes to then tackle the Vuelta a Andalucía (Ruta Ciclista Del Sol), Tirreno-Adriatico, which he won in 2006, Milano-Sanremo, the Vuelta a País Vasco, followed by the Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Cinelli to sign Jaksche?

The new Cinelli team is reportedly close to signing German cyclist Jörg Jaksche. Last week, Jaksche was ready to call an end to his career and devote his time to studying for a law degree, but also did not rule out returning to the peloton. "If a team would call me tomorrow and want to take me on, I would think about it," he said, and apparently, the call came.

Cinelli team director Nico Mattan confirmed that the team is close to an agreement. "I heard Thursday that Jaksche is coming," Mattan told "Only the signature is still missing." If the deal goes through, Jaksche will join Frank Vandenbroucke on the team.

Jaksche has been out of competition since being embroiled in the Operación Puerto doping scandal in 2006. He was part of Manolo Saiz' Liberty Seguros team, which lost its sponsor when Saiz was arrested as part of the Spanish sting operation on the Madrid clinic of Eufemiano Fuentes. The police raid netted hundreds of bags of stored blood as well as other doping products.

The team continued as Astana-Würth, but then pulled out of the 2006 Tour de France after the majority of its team was named in the case. While several of the team's riders, including 2007 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, were cleared by the Spanish court, Jaksche and Italian Michele Scarponi admitted to their involvement with Fuentes.

In 2007, Jaksche gave an unusually thorough admission of his doping practices over the course of his career. He admitted to using Fuentes for blood doping in 2005 and received a one-year suspension.

World Cup heads to the sand box

By Laura Weislo

Some of the sand sections
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup presented by Safety Jogger heads to the beach front town of Koksijde for Saturday's fourth round. While the race is a World Cup for elite men and women, the day will also decide the champions of West Flanders in the Under-23, Junior and Debutante categories.

The elite men's race will begin without the series leader, Niels Albert (Palmans-Cras), who ruptured his spleen in a freak accident during the warm-up of the Superprestige in Gavere two weeks ago. It will also start without the last round's winner and world champion, Lars Boom (Rabobank). Boom has recovered from a urinary tract infection, but on the advice of his doctor will take one more weekend off to get back to full health.

This leaves the door open for Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner), who is currently second in the World Cup standings between Albert and Boom, to take a commanding lead in the series. Nys prevailed in a tight battle with Erwin Vervecken (Fidea) in last year's race after then-Belgian champion Bart Wellens suffered an untimely puncture on the penultimate lap.

Read the full preview.

Amore e Vita goes American

Although still based in Tuscany, Italy, the Amore e Vita-McDonald's team will be registered as a continental team from the US in 2009 and no longer in Poland. Team manager Cristian Fanini has finalized a multi-national 18-man roster including Ukrainian sprint ace Yuriy Metlushenko and former CSC rider and Tour de l'Avenir time trial winner Christian Müller from Germany.

The team will also include American Chad Gerlach, who will make a return to the sport after having declined into drug addiction and homelessness. His story was the subject of a US television programme called "Intervention." Following the show, where troubled people are helped into a recovery regime, Gerlach began training again. The 35-year-old was previously off the bike for six years.

Also joining the team, according to La Nazione, is Roberto Gaggioli as a third directeur sportif.

2009 Amore & Vita roster: Alexey Bauer (Rus), Vladislav Borisov (Rus), Matt Brandt (USA), Phil Cortes (Can), Jaroslaw Dabrowski (Pol), Richard England (Aus), Peter Femal (USA), Graziano Gasparre (Ita), Chad Gerlach (USA), Fabio Gilioli (Ita), Sergey Grechyn (Ukr), Philip Mamos (Ger), Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr), Nathan Miller (USA), Christian Müller (Ger), Soren Nissen (Den), Volodymyr Starchyk (Ukr), Andrew Talanski (USA).

Marco Polo dynasty reigns supreme in China

By Steve Thomas

The Chinese registered Continental Trek-Marco Polo team has been having a great 2008 season, scoring numerous stage and other race victories all around the world through their mix of Asian, Antipodeans and European riders – and as an primarily Asian based team their season has not yet come to an end. It will finish with the Tour of South China Seas between 14th-21st December around Hong Kong. They demonstrated their regional strength just a few days ago in the Chinese National Road Race Championships, where all four of the teams Chinese riders finished in the top seven places in the title race.

With a full season of international racing already in their legs, the blue clad Marco Polo riders were expected to be a step ahead of the rest of the field and to dominate the Chinese title race; and that's exactly what they did. Escaping in the closing kilometres, from a small lead group, Liu Yilin timed his move for victory to perfection, while his Marco Polo team mate Fuyu Li (who rode for Discovery Channel last year) came home with the remains of the lead group to take third spot.

Marco Polo's other two Chinese riders Han Feng and Xing Yan Dong followed the medal winners home in fifth and seventh place respectively, completing a great day out for the team. Breaking the Marco Polo domination on the podium, in second place, was their former teammate Xu Gang.

The full team roster for 2009 is still to be finalised, but the Chinese contingent of riders has been confirmed; Liu Yilin, Fuyu Li and Xing Yan Dong will remain with the team, and two soon to be announced new Chinese recruits will be signed up to ride for Marco Polo Next year.

Now online: 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll

(Click for larger image)

It's that time of year again... the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online. Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!

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