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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, June 7, 2009

Edited by Sue George

Motivated Evans enjoys taste of victory at Dauphiné opener

By Jean-François Quénet in Nancy, France

Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) gets the leader's jersey.
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Cadel Evans added to the Silence-Lotto tally of wins for the season with a stage one triumph at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré on Sunday. The individual time trial was Evans' second win of the year after he won stage five of the Coppi e Bartali in Italy in late March.

Prior to Evans' victory, the Belgian Silence-Lotto team had thus far logged three wins thanks also to Oliver Kaisen (stage five of the Tour of Turkey) and Philippe Gilbert (stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia).

Team Manager Marc Sergeant is still waiting for a Flemish rider to win a race. "I've faced a lot of criticism for a lot of things this year, but since the Tour of Romandie, I've worked out my own plan," said Evans after his Dauphiné win.

Evans' troubled relationships with his team management became public when his participation in the Giro d'Italia was announced without his consent. The Australian preferred his usual lead-up to the Tour de France with altitude training and the Dauphiné as a test. But he was compelled by his team to take part in the Tour of Romandie, which wasn't initially part of his personal plan and complained at the time. Time has helped, and he's more relaxed looking back at the Swiss race.

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Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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"I always have a rest break after Liège-Bastogne-Liège," said Evans in the post-race press conference at the Dauphiné. "But the team time trial at the Tour of Romandie was good practice for the Tour de France, and the team didn't have many other riders available due to injuries and illnesses."

One of the injured riders was Evans' "little brother" Matthew Lloyd, as he is sometimes called by Evans. The former Australian champion suffered a big crash at the Amstel Gold Race, but returned with a big smile to racing and helping Evans at the Dauphiné.

Silence-Lotto sent a mixed team for the Dauphiné, including some riders who have done the Giro d'Italia and some potential teammates for Evans at the Tour. "I have asked the directors if they could send the best team to the Dauphiné", said Evans. "Unfortunately Mario Aerts went home today with the flue, and we started with one rider less than the other teams."

That's not stopping Evans from his goals though. "Since we have the jersey, we'll try to defend it. It's difficult to field a full team at all the races we have to take part in, but it doesn't mean we can't get good results here this week."

Evans is adamant that his win on Sunday came at the right time. "At this point, it's a great confidence boost for the team", he said. "It's a welcomed boost." The Australia knows that winning is the best way to gain credibility and the support of teammates leading up to the Tour de France.

Katusha's new anti-doping policy refused by McEwen, Steegmans, De Haes

By Jean-François Quénet in Nancy, France

Robbie McEwen of Team Katusha
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)
Following the positive doping test of its Austrian rider Christian Pfannberger in early May prior to the start of the Giro d'Italia, the Russian team Katusha said it would implement stronger anti-doping regulations in its contractual relationship with its employees, the racers. The policies take the form of an additional chapter to the cyclists' work contracts including a clause which states that riders will have to pay a fine of five times their annual salary in the event of a sanction given for doping offenses.

Team president Andrei Tchmil took a step further than the UCI, which got all of the riders likely to participate in the 2007 Tour de France to sign a pledge in which they would give one year of their salary to the fight against doping in case of a positive test. In actuality, none of the caught riders (Alexander Vinokourov, Cristian Moreni, etc.) have paid their dues.

Three of the Katusha riders have refused this new clause for their contracts: Robbie McEwen, Kenny De Haes and Gert Steegmans. The latter has been allowed to take part in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré despite not adhering to the new team policy. He's rumoured to have made a counter offer to Katusha in which a rider tested positive would have to pay the team for interest and damage. The legal aspects are being studied by both parts.

"He'll be given a deadline," said team directeur sportif Serge Parsani. "We'll see who wants to stay with the team and who doesn't. This initiative is about transparency. It's not acceptable that only one rider can put about 60 employees of a cycling team in jeopardy. Our team is not looking for money but wants to put in place something that will really dissuade the riders to go against the rules."

Tension between Hinault and Armstrong

By Shane Stokes

Bernard Hinault at the Tour de Bretagne Cycliste
Photo ©: Fabrice Lambert
(Click for larger image)
The two have met many times on the victory podiums at the Tour de France, but if Lance Armstrong takes a stage or the yellow jersey this year, many will be watching for sparks between him and Bernhard Hinault. The latter was characteristically outspoken when giving an interview to Le Parisien last week, not pulling any punches when it came to the Texan.

"I hope he will not be there," he said, referring to this year's Tour. "Is he afraid of France? Nobody forces him to come, he only has to stay at home! He cannot win the Tour. I hope that Contador gives him a beating."

Armstrong was unimpressed and let fire on his Twitter feed. "What a wanker. Five TdF wins doesn't buy you any common sense," he stated, referring to the comments and further fanning the flames.

Hinault doled out some other strong words during the interview, commenting on a variety of subjects. He was scathing about French riders, saying that, "there are champions who become civil servants when they turn pro. It is necessary to put a knife to their throats to get results. The French earn too much money and don't make enough effort.

"The French don't go training. Nobody slaps them in the mouth to move them forward. A portion of their salaries need to be blocked and given back if they have a victory."

He doesn't believe it's a case that his countrymen are cleaner. "The French have taken as much as the others," he said. "What is unusual is that cyclists are not treated the same way as other sports."

In a bid to improve French performances at the World Championships, it was announced last month that Laurent Jalabert would succeed Frederic Moncassin as national selector. Jalabert was one of the most successful French riders of all time but Hinault appears to give the thumbs down to his appointment.

"Without qualification, it is not normal he will be the technical director of the French team," he said. "How can you lead the riders when you only do it three days a year?"

He gave short quotes spoke on other subjects, including: The Tour de France: "The Tour is not too hard. It's necessary to stop complaining. Cycling is a difficult job, but it's better than going to the factory. A rider who wins is never paid too much. If you want to win, you try until your last breath."

Of 2009 race, he said, "We will see beautiful stages, magnificent landscapes, and people who will have fun on the side of the road. This will give us the wish to continue another year."

He also offered his opinions on the following topics:

Ear pieces: "I am against [them]. It is only a Game Boy with a gigolo at the end who tells the rider when he must go and piss. With [Cyrille] Guimard, we studied the map and the winds on the morning of the stage.

Pollution: "Riders do anything. There is a pack of pigs in the bunch. One day it will be necessary to fine them."

Greg LeMond: "A very good rider, but not an attacker. [He was] unable to make a tactical decision alone. In 1986, I kept my promise in helping him to win the Tour. I had only one desire; to have fun.

Friends in cycling: "Eddy Merckx is the one with whom I spend the most time," he said. "The riders of today see me as an old fart. Except that I do not hide the truth."

Home favourite Fränk Schleck wins Tour de Luxembourg

Teammate Breschel claims final stage

Fränk Schleck, 29, wins Tour de Luxembourg
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Fränk Schleck won the overall of the Tour de Luxembourg stage race Sunday in Luxembourg City. Team Saxo Bank's Luxembourg Champion took the stage victory in Diekirch yesterday to gain classification lead.

German Andreas Klöden (Astana) finished second overall at 10 seconds, Italian Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) in third at 1:32.

Schleck's Danish teammate Matti Breschel won the final stage, 160.4 kilometres from Mersch.

Breschel's Saxo Bank team controlled the race after the final climb of Clausen. A group of 35 riders, including Romain Feillu (Agritubel) and Baden Cooke (Vacansoleil), contested the sprint. Alexandre Usov (Cofidis) and Marcato finished second and third, respectively, in the sprint.

Breschel's last win came in Spain's Volta a Catalunya stage two to Roses.

Schleck won the Tour of California's stage Escondido in February. It was the first time he took victory the Tour de Luxembourg. His brother Andy won Friday's stage to Differdange. (GB)

Packed evening entertains in Smithfield Nocturne

A crowd of over 10,000 spectators enjoyed a packed evening of fast and furious cycle entertainment at the third Smithfield Nocturne, held on Saturday, June 6 in the UK.

Folding bike enthusiasts, amateur city cyclists, corporate businesses and elite professional riders joined forces to offer a unique free night out in the capital. The ever-popular Le-Mans style start to the folding bike race kicked off proceedings, with competitors battling it out in two heats to take a chance to race in the final.

London's strong cycling community ensured a top class field of female racers put on an exciting race for the spectators in the elite women's race. A new concept for the Nocturne Series, the fixie-skid competition saw single-gear enthusiasts attempting to pull the longest continuous skid along the finish straight.

The climax of the event was the men's elite circuit race. Olympic, world and national cycling champions lined up on the streets of Smithfield for the flagship race. Competitors from the UK super teams made up the majority of the field and raced for one hour and five laps at a blistering pace of up to 45mph, giving spectators close access to world class cycle racing. Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) had the edge on rival Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven) and rising star Ben Swift (Katusha).

Special guests Olympic Gold medallist Geraint Thomas and iconic fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith presented prizes on the main Rollapaluza stage, popular with autograph hunters.

"We've had the Smithfield Nocturne as a key UK event for three years now, 2009 was bigger and better than ever before," said event director James Pope. "Our spectator base just keeps growing and growing, it's a real testament to how cycling is growing in London, and the rest of the UK."

"It was great to see everybody enjoying something fresh, exciting and free in the capital. Our races proved to be a spectacle once again."

Support races also gave the opportunity for amateur cyclists in the city to race on the testing circuit around the historic Smithfield Market. Businesses entered teams of three into the team challenge for a relay to prove which is the fastest business in the city.

The Nocturne Series will travel to Blackpool for the final event on Saturday, August 1.

American Velodrome Challenge draws international field

The American Velodrome Challenge (AVC) will be held at the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, California on June 26-27. The event will feature sprint and endurance racing including the keirin, points race, miss-n-out, scratch, Madison and sprint events in which racers compete for nearly US$15,000 in cash prizes.

In the endurance women's events, Shelley Olds (Proman) will be back to defend her points and scratch race titles.

"The AVC is one of the highlights of my season every year," said Olds. "It's fantastic to have a race of this caliber at my local track."

The women's sprint events will see Jen Featheringill (Bike Central) defend her keirin and sprint titles against US national champion Cari Higgins (Proman) and Cristin Walker, the US Under 23 National Sprint Champion.

2008 winner Kenny Williams (First Rate Mortgage) will defend his points race title against the 2007 winner Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (Bissell). Jason Allen (Subway - Avanti), a track World Cup Gold medalist, Daniel Holloway (Holowesko-Garmin), US Champion and World Cup bronze medalist, and New Zealand's Hayden Godfrey (Subway - Avanti), the 2008 Omnium World Champion, will also be in the mix.

Gio Rey (Montano Velo) will be back to win after being pipped at the line in the 2008 elite men's keirinExpect Jimmy Watkins (Empower Coaching), current US sprint and keirin champion, and his team sprint teammate Kelyn Akuna to make the race fast.

Other nations represented at AVC include: Canada, Slovakia and Germany.

For more information, visit

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