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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, January 8, 2009

Edited by Sue George

Bartoli to decide on comeback soon

By Gregor Brown

Michele Bartoli dropped by the Ronde van Vlaanderen last spring
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Michele Bartoli will decide on his comeback to professional cycling in the coming month. The 38-year-old Italian from Pisa retired from cycling in 2004 and announced his desire to race again last month.

"I am training with the idea of returning. ... I like the challenge of the comeback. If I return it will be for fun, not to recreate my career – it happened and no one can take it away," Bartoli said to Cyclingnews.

Bartoli won the 1996 Ronde van Vlaanderen, 1997 and 1998 editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, plus the 2002 and 2003 editions of the Giro di Lombardia. He raced for 13 years as a professional.

"My condition is reasonable. I can not say I am not the same as before, but I am not far off. We need to see how I progress."

He is training with current professional riders. Ivan Basso visited Bartoli over the holidays and the two trained together. Bartoli will also often go out training with neighbours Alessandro Petacchi, Fabio Sabatini and Manuele Mori.

Like Lance Armstrong in his comeback, Bartoli put his name in the International Cycling Union's Anti-Doping Administrative Management System (ADAMS). Bartoli has talked with officials and he indicated he will not be subject to the six-month advance notice requirement.

Bartoli has talked to four or five teams. He said that some of the teams are ProTour level and some are Professional Continental level.

Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under

Lance Armstrong heads out
Photo ©: Luca Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Chris Carmichael is impressed with Lance Armstrong's improvement following a three and a half year break from professional cycling. The American is training the seven-time Tour de France winner for his comeback that starts this month in Australia at the Tour Down Under, 20 to 25.

"The progress I am observing is equal to what he had before retiring," Carmichael said to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Carmichael first noticed the American at the 1989 Junior World Championships in Moscow. He helped Armstrong to win the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. Armstrong retired after the 2005 edition, but announced his comeback this last fall.

"At first he thought he would not be in acceptable form for the first races. He will continue to train in Australia because he is still at the start of the road leading to the Tour de France [July 4 to 26 - ed.]."

Carmichael arrived in Hawaii this week to meet Armstrong. He is training on the American Island prior to the Tour Down Under. (GB)

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback.

Lampre riders seek better weather

Damiano Cunego
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Cold weather in Northern Italy has driven some of Lampre-NGC's riders further south to train. Giro di Lombardia winner Damiano Cunego relocated to San Vincenzo, near Livorno, along with teammates Marco Marzano and Mirco Lorenzetto to train without snow in preparation for the 2009 season. The three cyclists and Lampre's team director Brent Copeland were scheduled to reach their destination in Tuscany on Wednesday evening.

"I've been training for many weeks after a break, but this winter is too cold," Cunego said. "Now it's snowing, too, so it's hard to train in a proper way. I thought it would be better to move to a place where I can keep my training going in a good way."

"Damiano told us about his idea and we received it positively," said Copeland. "I'll be with Cunego, Marzano and Lorenzetto for some days to follow them training and to give assistance. Maybe some other teammates will join the group."

Lampre-NGC's first training camp will take place from January 19 to 27, probably in San Vincenzo, where the team held camps in previous years.

Doctor advises injured Sánchez

Olympic Champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) consulted with his doctor on Wednesday about a nagging injury. Doctor Mikel Sánchez examined his left knee and determined that there was no serious damage.

After hitting his knee, Sánchez reported discomfort and swelling, especially when training long distances. The pain has not prevented the Spaniard from training, but he has been forced to lower the intensity of his efforts.

Sánchez will receive ultrasound and icing treatments and undergo physical therapy exercises to help him heal. He will be re-examined again in 20 days.

"I am more relaxed after the tests which have ruled out any serious injury that could have significantly impeded my preparations for the first goals of the year," said Sánchez. "Now I want to make a complete recovery and remain calm to focus on my main objectives of the year, like the Vuelta a País Vasco."

Landis to lead Ouch in Mexico

By Kirsten Robbins

Floyd Landis will lead his 2009 squad OUCH presented by Maxxis at the Vuelta a Mexico Telmex held on March 1-8. The UCI 2.2 category event is a part of the UCI American Tour, offering eight days of tough climbing stages located around Mexico City.

"There is a big gap in racing in the US circuit after Tour of California leading into Redlands," said Directeur Sportif Mike Tamayo regarding the five-week absence of NRC level racing beginning at the end of February and into March. "Tour of Mexico fills that void with seven days of good, hard racing."

The number of NRC events offered in the California is declining yearly. This year the Redlands Bicycle Classic will be held on March 26-29 and marks the only NRC event offered in the early season months.

Columbia guns for Australian titles

Michael Rogers (Columbia)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Australian time trial experts Michael Rogers and Adam Hansen are gunning for the honour of taking their Columbia team's first victory of the season this week at the Australian National Championships in Buninyong. Rogers is a former three-time time trial World Champion and Hansen won the national title in 2008. The two will square off with the 39km race against the clock on Thursday. Heat and strong winds are expected to factor along with a hilly course.

As defending time trial champion, Hansen will be last rider off, and will thus have the advantage of knowing his rivals' time references. He also knows the route from last year's nationals, which were held over the same roads.

Rogers on the other hand could be favoured by the sheer amount of climbing included on the course. So far his only senior national title is on the track, but he will be looking to put that straight this week.

As for the heat, Hansen can be encouraged by the fact he had no problems with that last year. Despite temperatures hitting around 40 degrees Celsius then, the Queenslander still managed to take a convincing victory in the searing heat, winning by 56 seconds over Rory Sutherland.

In addition to a time trial win, Hansen has his sights set on the road title. "My aim is to win both races," he said. "I know that nobody has won the double before, but there's always a first time for everything and I am a lot better prepared this year."

Rogers and Hansen will be joined by new Columbia team-mate Mark Renshaw for the 163.2 kilometre road race event on Sunday.

Columbia's Judith Arndt of Germany will be taking part in the Australian Women's Road Race Championships. The women's event is an "open" race, meaning riders from any nationality can start.

Lelangue readies for BMC training camp

BMC team manager John Lelangue
Click for larger image

With BMC Racing Team's January training camp just a few days away, Directeur Sportif John Lelangue is making final preparations for the 15-day gathering. Beginning his second full year with the team, Lelangue learned a lot from the past year.

"The big advantage I have this year over last is that I have had the chance to follow most of our riders for an entire year," Lelangue said. "I have a 12-month history with the guys on the team in 2008 and I have been working with the few new riders since November; we have really kept good contact."

For the already close-knit group, riding will be the focus at camp. BMC is hosting just one two-week camp in January instead of one in December and one in January. "We have found that a longer camp in January where we can fine tune the training the guys have done since November, works much better for us than splitting them into two camps," Lelangue said.

"The January camp will always have time taken up for team photos and medical testing, but this way we can also have the time to reconnoitre Tour of California stages, and get the team going to the Tour of Qatar ready for their particular stages like the team time trial." Managers will get three training blocks of five days each to work with their riders. "We can have three periods of ramping up intensity for four days to have a fifth day for recovery, which is a very good way to put on the finishing touches," Lelangue said.

The team is seeing very little turnover from 2008 to 2009. "We still have a large core group from last year which works very well together," Lelangue said. "And of the new riders, the four new Swiss members are all very familiar and friendly with each other, as their Mallorca mini training camp proved, and Chad Beyer is well known from his time on the US National team."

The team is preparing for the early season races. "Each rider has been working on his training regime since November," Lelangue said. "I have been keeping track of their progress by having weekly discussions with everyone so we know where they all are in terms of intensity." The riders have known the first two months of their racing schedules since November, which has helped guide them in their preparations.

"We are not a ProTour team with big leaders targeting goals like the Tour or the Classics, rather every race we consider to be our main objective," Lelangue said. "We are certainly focused on performing well in UCI events, and will have to be more conservative in our tactics, so that we are more prominent in the final hour of every race we do."

However, rather than just animating the race as it so often did in 2008, the team is under orders to focus on results. "For each race we need to enter at least the top 10, and all our riders know that we will build the teams for the April and May events on the strength of their February and March performances. Gavin and I have told the guys that we will field the best team for any given event, and they have to be ready to prove themselves throughout the year."

Lelangue said overall the team's attitude is more competitive and winning-oriented. "The attitude is totally different from last year, but we have earned our confidence."

Team ESGL-93 GSD Gestion aiming high for 2009

The ESGL-93 GSD Gestion team bonds at a training camp
Photo ©: ESGL Cyclisme
(Click for larger image)
Over the past few seasons, the French women's professional team ESGL-93 GSD Gestion has quietly been working its way up through the European and world rankings. The team is looking forward to its best season yet coming up.

In 2008, the team was ranked number one in France, thanks in part to the help of English rider Leda Cox winning the final round of the French Cup in Loudun. In the World Cup final in Plouay, the team came tantalizingly close to a podium place with Beatrice Thomas' last lap breakaway as she chased down the leaders on the run in.

The team recently held a training camp in Chambery in the French Alps. Activities included cross country skiing, rock climbing and a chance to get to know new teammates like French juniors Laurena Cussy and Jennifer Letue.

The team grew out of Paris-based cycling club "ESGL-93" and has been supported by general manager Jaques Gautier, who owns the French Business Analysis firm of GSD Gestation.

In 2009, the team will ride Specialized Tarmac Pro machines. Early season plans include classics as Het Volk in Belgium and the GP Lago Maggiore in Switzerland.

ESGL-93 GSD Gestion for 2009: Leda Cox (Great Britain), Audrey Lemieux (Canada), Estelle Patou (France), Elodie Belz (France), Sandrine Bideau (France), Nathalie Cadol (France), Sophie Creux (France), Fabienne Gautier (France), Christine Majerus (Luxembourg), Céline Nivet (France), Joelle Numainville (Canada), Béatrice Thomas (France), Laurena Cussy (France) and Jennifer Letué (France)


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by ESGL Cyclisme

USA Cycling seeks volunteer collegiate conference director

USA Cycling is recruiting a volunteer director of the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC) which covers North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.). The volunteer will work to promote the growth of collegiate cycling through individual membership growth, member retention, club stability, and new club development and will attend conference-related races, events and schools to support conference activities. He or she will coordinate conference scoring, results and rankings for each race, event and season and contribute conference news to USAC's website and other outlets. The position will require significant work during business hours.

For more information or to apply, contact Daniel Matheny at 719.866.4664 or submit resume and cover letter to

Partnership raising money for Project Rwanda

Ritchey Design has teamed up with beta social networking site Plus 3 Networks to encourage cyclists and non-cyclists alike to turn their exercise routines into contributions for the non profit organization Project Rwanda. Effective Wednesday, Plus 3 members can choose to raise money for Project Rwanda with every mile they ride, walk, run or swim.

Founded by Tom Ritchey after a compelling personal visit to Rwanda in 2005, Project Rwanda is committed to the concept that the bicycle can be an important tool in rebuilding a country, fostering national pride and addressing local issues facing Rwanda and other African nations.

"In the last two years, Project Rwanda has specifically helped Rwandan coffee farmers through our coffee bike program by providing a tool – our bike – that allows them to change the structure of their work day in a way that benefits their lives and the lives of their families and communities," said Susan Brown, executive director for Project Rwanda.

Interested individuals can sign up to become a member of Plus 3 Network at

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