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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, October 28, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson & Les Clarke

Contador won't defend Giro crown

Spanish star eyes Tour revenge

Alberto Contador (Astana)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Alberto Contador's preparation for next year's Tour de France will not include the Giro d'Italia, according to the Astana rider. Arguably Spain's hottest cycling property, Contador told reporters at a charity race in Spain on Sunday that the best preparation for the Tour excluded the Giro, in 2009 at least. This comes despite him being the defending champion.

"After winning the Giro and Vuelta this year, I'll return to the Tour to try to win," he explained. "I will not participate in the Giro. Last year I did, but I had more trouble recovering late in the season."

Instead, Contador will focus on early-season stage races such as Paris-Nice, which he won in 2007, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and Vuelta al País Vasco. Later in the season the Dauphiné Libéré will fine tune preparations the as Astana squad tailors it program to peak at the Tour. This preparation will include reconnaissance of the Tour's major passes. The Spaniard's season following the Tour remains a little uncertain, however.

"I will race after the Tour and then decide if I'll participate in the Vuelta or not," he added. "But the one goal I will sacrifice 100 per cent for is the Tour."

Milram signs another two

After the Gerolsteiner outfit ceased operations, another two of its German riders, Robert Förster and Ronny Scholz, have been recruited by Team Milram's management. The pair have been signed for one year, with the Dortmund team having now hired eight riders from the defunct squad. A total of 12 new riders have been added to Milram's roster for next season.

"We have won two experienced riders in Ronny Scholz and Robert Förster, who will strengthen our team," said Team Milram General Manager Gerry van Gerwen. "Ronny Scholz is very experienced and a good helper while Robert Förster will surely bring us a few wins."

Having taken wins at the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España and Deutschland Tour, Förster strengthens Milram's sprinting stocks following the retirement of Erik Zabel. "I am looking forward to the new season", said Förster, who is currently on vacation. "It was enormously important to me, to ride in another German team."

Ronny Scholz is a domestique with plenty of experience, having ridden five Tours de France and two editions of the Giro d'Italia. The son-in-law of Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer, the 30 year-old all-rounder expressed his contentment with continuing to ply his trade for a team from Germany.

"I am very much looking forward to the new team and the new challenges," he said. "As a German rider, it is of course something special to ride on a German team. I rode for Team Gerolsteiner for eight years and can't wait to see how I make the change from water to milk."

Catch up on all the latest transfers with Cyclingnews' comprehensive list.

Devolder's bro' to Silence-Lotto

Stijn Devolder will enjoy the presence of a family member in the peloton next season, according to His brother-in-law, Dieter Verleye, has signed a one-year contract as a soigneur at Silence-Lotto.

Today, Devolder will head to Curaçao with countrymen Greg Van Avermaet, Wouter Weylandt, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Jürgen Roelandts for the Amstel Curaçao Race on Saturday. They'll be up against the likes of the Schleck brothers and Edvald Boasson Hagen in the Caribbean race.

Meyer gets Garmin gig

By Greg Johnson

Cameron Meyer
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Australia's Cameron Meyer is the latest neo-professional to be picked up by Jonathan Vaughters' Garmin-Chipotle squad. The West Australian youngster will join the American outfit in 2009 for the first of a two year contract.

"I am very excited about joining the professional ranks," said Meyer. "Garmin-Chipotle is one of the best teams in the world and I am very happy to be joining them. It was certainly a dream and goal of mine to become a professional rider and to have had it happen so quickly, I can't wait to begin."

Meyer has spent 2008 riding for the squad while working towards his Olympic Games debut in Beijing, China where he claimed fourth place in the men's points race. The 20 year-old claimed victory at the Tour of Japan and also enjoyed success on the track with a victory in the points race at the Los Angeles Track World Cup round.

The rider's main priorities for early 2009 lay with track racing at the World Championships in Poland and at home with the Tour Down Under.

"For 2009 I will begin with the Australian Open Road Championships and then the Tour Down Under," he said. "These are two events which I would really love to perform well in. I will still have a track focus early in the season and I hope to represent Australia at the World Track Championships in Poland again, where I hope to take that extra step out of fourth place in the points race and be on the podium."

Cameron is the older of the Meyer brothers, with 19 year-old Travis also showing signs of a promising future in the sport. Travis claimed victory at the Tour of Berlin and Tour of Wellington this year while also riding for the squad.

Goss to ride home carnivals

Matt Goss (CSC-Saxo Bank)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Matthew Goss (CSC-Saxo Bank) will rider the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals in Australia this year, following a successful outing at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania was delighted to announce Goss will again contest the series.

"The signing of Matthew Goss is a real gem for the Skilled Cycling Series at the carnivals and Tasmanian crowds will relish the opportunity to see this highly successful international cycling star back at the carnivals," said organisers of the event.

The Tasmanian in a former two time winner of the Launceston International Criterium and also won the 2006 Latrobe Wheel race.

Cioni to new Ukrainian outfit

Italian rider Dario Cioni has left Silence-Lotto and signed for the new Italian-Ukrainian ISD Danieli-team. Having been recruited two years ago as an ally for Cadel Evans in the Tour, Cioni failed to make an impression and was therefore not offered a new contract.

He'll join countryman Giovanni Visconti and former T-Mobile rider Serguei Honchar in the squad led by Luca Scinto.

Rabuñal breaks collarbone, elbow

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Promising young Xacobeo-Galicia rider Gonzalo Rabuñal has a fractured left collarbone and elbow following an accident while riding his mountain-bike. Rabuñal took part in a popular local race in Cambre, where the accident took place.

"[I went] over the handlebars of the bicycle after the front wheel went in a pothole," he said. "There had been a fall in front of me and between that and pretty hard braking dust, it prevented me from seeing the pothole. It was something unexpected. When I realised it was already in the air and I could not protect myself from the fall, hence the consequences."

The rider expects the accident is going to hurt his preparations for early 2009. "Doctors told me that I will have to spend for about six weeks at home," he said.

Rabuñal experienced success in 2008 with a third place on the Vuelta a Asturias' queen stage and a sixth place in the overall standings, as well as eighth in the overall standings at the Tour of Ireland.

Australian people's choice awards open

Simon Gerrans (Crédit Agricole)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Cycling Australia has announced the opening of voting for its People's Choice award for 2008. Entries, which must be made by Thursday, October 28, will be tallied to find out who is the most popular Australian cyclist of 2008.

It's been another big year for the Pacific nation on the international stage. In addition to another Tour de France second place finish by Cadel Evans, the nation has enjoyed a Tour de France stage victory at the hand of Simon Gerrans and a remarkable comeback from injury by Anna Meares to claim silver at the Beijing Olympic Games in China.

To make your vote count, go to Cycling Australia's voting page here.

(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)

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