What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

The road season may well be over but the great cycling never stops! Today we have all the latest news from a tough weekend of Euro cross racing and 6 day action on the track. There’s also news from the Floyd/Armstrong story which never seems to stop plus a full round up of all the latest news. It’s all here and more in EuroTrash Monday!

Hometown Hero Keisse Takes Gent 6 Day
In his first race back after winning his court appeal, local hero Iljo Keisse and his partner Peter Schep took the Gent six day race on the legendary Gent 166-meter track in a tight battle with Kenny de Ketele and Leif Lampater. The result of the meet came down to the last madison and the team of De Ketele/Lampater tried their best to take a lap from Keisse/Schepp but they only managed to get 1/2 lap and the end result came down to the final points where Keisse and Schepp had a 61 point advantage.

Certainly a dream comeback for Keisse and for his thousands of adoring fans who packed the velodrome to see him triumph. Check out our own man in the trenches in Gent, Ed Hood’s report of the first few days of racing here for a great look at track racing at it’s best – from the inside!

Final Results Gent Six Days
1. Keisse/Schep (Bel-Ned) 406
2. De Ketele/Lampater (Bel-Ger) 345
3. Rasmussen/Mшrkшv (Den) 275
4. Bartko/Hondo (Ger) 346 + one lap
5. Stam/Van Bon (Ned) 254 + one lap

Early Retirement For Elijzen
In a somewhat surprising move, Dutchman Michiel Elijzen has been named as a director sportif for the Omega Pharma-Lotto team to replace the Pegasus bound Henrik Redant for 2011. Why a surprising move? Well, Elijzen is just 28 years old and has taken the decision to change from his position in the saddle to that of one in the driver’s seat a good 8 – 10 years earlier than most riders make that choice.

Elijzen rode for Cofidis, Rabobank and Lotto in his 5 seasons as a pro for a total of 2 wins, both of which were achieved in 2007. One was the prologue of the Eneco tour and the other was the two man time trial, Le Duo-Normand with Bradley Wiggins. Since 2007 though the results haven’t come and he has concentrated himself on being a team worker – something he will continue to do next year but this time in the car instead of on the bike!

Contador Presents His Evidence Then Goes To Camp
Alberto Contador and his legal team presented his defense documents to the Competition Committee of the Spanish Cycling Federation on Friday and he is hoping for a speedy resolution of the affair. According to reports in the Spanish media his defense is based around the contaminated meat theory plus the fact that the minute trace of Clenbuterol found in his system could be in no way performance enhancing.

After giving his evidence Contador then headed for Fuertaventura in the Spanish Canary Islands on Sunday where he will participate in the Saxo Bank-SunGard team camp. The team camp is normally the place where riders find out about their racing schedule for next year but this is of course something that will not be possible for Contador at this stage with such a question mark hanging over his future. Speaking before the camp with the Spanish newspaper, El Pais, Bjarne Riis stated;

“I speak regularly with Contador. He seems okay, relaxed and is training. Everything seems normal, but of course, if we try to draw up a calendar of events for next year, it is impossible.”

This will be one of the few statements Riis will be making though over the next few days as unlike other years with these camps this camp will be closed from the public and media with no press conferences given;

“It [the camp] won’t be a public event but a private gathering for internal team purposes, with a huge series of different activities that will keep us all very busy. Riders will not have time to speak to journalists and of course there will be no press conference.”

Landis Drops Some More Bombshells
In his first big European television interview since his famous doping allegations, Floyd Landis has delivered some more bombshells on doping in his time at US Postal and Phonak speaking last night to German TV station, ARD. The channel has often been credited with chasing down doping in sport in the last few years with their investigative reporting and yesterday’s broadcast of the Sportschau show included some stunning allegations from Landis.

Amongst the allegations, Landis stated that the product Clenbuterol which Contador has famously tested positive for this year is widely used amongst the peloton;

“I know that riders have taken Clenbuterol. I think that the risk of taking Clenbuterol is higher now than it was earlier, when there weren’t any training controls. Nevertheless, there is still the risk of being caught, even if it is rather small now, since the product has usually degraded when the control takes place.”

Landis also alleged that the UCI plays favourites in protecting certain riders;

“It is known in the peloton that Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen or others responsible at the UCI over the last 20 years have protected some people and not others. That is the way they manipulate results and create stars.”

And when questioned on whether he and his teammates were clean when they rode in support of Lance at the Tour de France he stated;

“Every person and me, who took part in the races that Lance won, did it [doping].”

So once again Floyd has made the news with his allegations and of course once again Lance Armstrong’s spokesmen have responded stating that Floyd is a ‘proven liar’ and is simply making the allegations for profit. Whatever the case, this is one story that is not going away and with the Novitsky investigation continuing I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from Floyd and others in the coming weeks and months.

Peter Sagan Has Twitter Troubles
Neo pro sensation , Peter Sagan (Liquigas) allegedly criticised his team’s medical staff over the handling of his recent stomach problems under the twitter id, ‘petersagannews’ over the weekend before then coming out yesterday in the press to deny the account was his.

The account listed the following tweets over the weekend which talked about his recurring stomach problems which have plagued Sagan in the 2nd half of the season;

“Sagan in dispute with Liqs doctors: “They think they have all the wisdom of the world. They try to change my eating habits by prescribing…” “..food my body responds not well to.” Sagan is still on antibiotics recovering from stomach problems that plagued the second half of his season.

These tweets were then picked up by media around the world who reported them on which led to the ‘real’ Peter Sagan then releasing the following to try and douse the fire that the tweets started;

“I’ve been caught up in a case of identity theft. The ‘petersagannews’ profile does not belong to me and is not managed by anyone I trust. I want to make it very clear that there is no problem between me and the medical staff of the team. I’ve got huge trust in Dr Roberto Corsetti, Dr Emilio Magni and Dr Antonio Angelucci. What was written on Twitter is totally false: I’ve never spoken about this and the words have been totally made up by somebody I don’t know.”

The ‘real’ Peter Sagan also stated that he has requested the Twitter account to be closed as soon as possible.

Basso To Go For The Tour
With two Grand Tour winners on their squad, team Liquigas-Cannondale were in the unique situation of not being sure who to work for in the Giro and the Tour next year. This year’s Giro winner, Ivan Basso has now made things easier for the directors though stating this past week that he will not ride the Giro. This now means that Vuelta Espana winner, Vincenzo Nibali can now have the full and unique support of the team for his quest to win the Giro whilst Basso will concentrate exclusively on the Tour de France.

Basso tried to do the Giro/Tour double this year but failed badly in France eventually finishing exhausted in 32nd. With the mountainous Giro route announced for 2011 Basso has realised that it will be even more difficult to try for the double next year and he has taken the difficult decision not to defend his title and instead try to win his first ever Tour de France. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport Basso stated,

“If I won the Giro again I’d be in the records on the list of triple winners, but a victory in the Tour would help to put those two Giro titles into perspective. If I concentrate on the Giro then I think I’d be failing my fans.”

Basso’s previous best finishes at the Tour de France came in 2005 finishing 2nd behind Lance Armstrong and 3rd in 2004 behind Andreas Klцden and Lance Armstrong.

Two More For Luxembourg
The team with the still unannounced title sponsor, ‘The Luxembourg Cycling Project’ has announced two new signings in the form of Germany’s Robert Wagner and Denmark’s Martin Pedersen. Wagner comes to the team from Skil Shimano and will be called upon to work mainly as a domestique with an emphasis on the Northern Classics. He will also be hoping to get some victories himself in the smaller races like he has done this year with 4 in total which included a stage at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and one at the Bayern-Rundfahrt.

Martin Pedersen comes to the team from Footon-Servetto this season but has previously ridden for CSC so he will already be very comfortable with most of his new teammates and management. Pedersen will be the 4th Dane on the team and Wagner the 5th German on this ‘Luxembourg’ cycling project. Is it just me or are the Luxembourg riders on the team a bit thin on the ground? In fact there are just as many Australians on this ‘Luxembourg’ team as there are Luxumbergois – 2!!

Kolobnev To Get His Medal
It’s been a long while since the Beijing Olympic Games but 4th place finisher in the road race, Russia’s Alexandre Kolobnev will finally get his bronze medal after silver medallist, Davide Rebellin’s suspension for doping means that he lost his medal. At the start of the year Kolobnev wrote to Pat McQuaid at the start of the year asking about his medal following from Rebellin’s suspension and it appears that that request will finally be answered. Earlier this month CONI reclaimed the silver medal from Rebellin and the International Olympic Comittee has subsequently sent a bronze medal to the President of the Russian Cycling Federation, Alexandre Joukov. Joukov is now organising a medal presentation ceremony for Kolobnev which will take place soon in Moscow – better late than never!

Albert Solos To Victory In World Cup
Saturday’s 3rd Round of the Cyclocross World Cup in Belgium went to hometown hero Niels Albert who soloed to victory ahead of current World Cup leader, Zdnek Stybar. Amazingly Albert missed the start of the race and gave the field a 20 second headstart but he was able to recover from this mistake early and by the halfway point he was ahead of the field alone and he was then able to hold onto his lead until the finish.

The win is the first of the season for Albert who is now in 2nd place in the World Cup standings just 15 points behind Stybar.

1. Niels Albert
2. Zdenek Stybar 0’27
3. Sven Nys 0’31
4. Bart Aernouts 0’32
5. Bart Wellens 0’42
6. Francis Mouray 0’56
7. Gerben de Knegt 0’58
8. Kevin Pauwels 1’01
9. Tom Meeusen 1’03
10. Rob Peeters 2’43
21st Jonathon Page 4’54
32nd Tim Johnson @ 2 laps

World Cup standings after round three
1 Zdenek Stybar 230
2 Niels Albert 215
3 Kevin Pauwels 181
4 Sven Nys 164
5 Francis Mourey 160

Meeusen Upsets Favourites In The SuperPrestige
Tom Meeusen of the Fidea team won his first ever Superprestige race in the Netherlands yesterday when he sprinted away from an elite 4 man group in the closing stages. Sven Nys was looking good for the win when he was in the 4 man group but he broke his pedal just before the finishing sprint and instead had to run to the finish line.

Meeusen led home emotional favourite, Radomir Simunek who was racing in memory of his deceased father in this round of the Super Prestige series which was actually called the Radomir Simunek Memorial race (Both father and son have the same name). Radomir junior certainly put in a great performance for his dad, almost coming home with an upset win and beating all the big favourites for the race like Nys (4th), Pauwels (5th), Stybar (17th) and Wellens (dnf).

With 3 rounds remaining in the Superprestige series Sven Nys still leads having significantly increased his lead yesterday over main rivals Kevin Pauwels and Zdnek Stybar.

Results SP Gieten – Superprestige Round 5, Radomir Simunek Memorial
1. Tom Meeusen (Fidea)
2. Radomir Simunek (BKPC Powerplus) @ 10s
3. Dieter Vanthourenhout (BKPC Powerplus) @ 10s
4. Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) @ 25s
5. Kevin Pauwels (Fidea) @ 45s
6 Eddi van Lizendoorn st
7. Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) st
8. Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank) st
9. Marius Gil st
10 Enrico Franzoi (BKPC Powerplus) @ 55s

Superprestige Standings
1. Sven Nys 68 points
2. Kevin Pauwels 56
3. Zdenek Stybar 51
4. Bart Aernouts 49
5. Niels Albert 46
6. Bart Wellens 45
7. Tom Meeusen 39
8. Klaas Vantornout 35

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