Shorts: TDU, CSC, Heras, Hondo

Top French rider out of TDU after training crash, CSC for California, McEwen suggests Games age limi

Top French rider out of TDU after training crash, CSC for California, McEwen suggests Games age limi


Crdit Agricole's Patrice Halgand is out of next week's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under after he crashed today during a training ride. The 31 year old suffered a broken right collar bone and dislocated his right AC joint and will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair the damge.

"It's quite a nasty injury actually," said TDU medical director Dr Peter Barnes. "The end of his collar bone has actually broken off and the bone is sticking up so we need to go in and repair that damage and the disclocation."

The crash occurred when Halgand clipped the end of a branch which was lying on the side of the road. The branch flew up into the forks of his front wheel, which locked up resulting with him flying over the handlebars and landing heavily on his right shoulder.

Meanwhile, the TDU's all-time record stage-winner, Robbie McEwen, has called for the organisers of the Commonwealth Games to consider placing an age limit on riders competing at the event. McEwen, like most of Australia's leading riders, will miss the Games in Melbourne in March because of pro team commitments, but told ABC news that one solution to the clash with pro races would be restricting Games entry to riders under 25.

"It may open up a chance for some of the younger Australian riders to step up into a leadership role," said McEwen, who believes Australia could still win the road title despite his and others' absence. "Even though you might not have some of the bigger names I think we can still a very good team that's still very capable of winning the race."

- CSC have confirmed their participation in next month's Tour of California (Feb 19-26). Among the CSC riders scheduled to compete in the event are Americans Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie.

Prior to the Tour of California, the full Team CSC squad of 30 riders will participate in a training camp in Solvang, California. The US-based training camp will mark the first time Team CSC has held one of their its important early season preparation events outside of Europe.

"With CSC, our title sponsor, headquartered in California and so many of our other important sponsors like Cervelo based in North America, I'm pleased to see a race like the Tour of California come about," said Bjarne Riis, Team CSC manager. "It's only natural that we have high ambitions for such a fine event," said Riis. "It's a challenge for the teams based in Europe to bring a squad to America and perform well, but it's an important step in making the sport more global. We're looking forward to letting America get a better look at Team CSC in February."

- Sports company Dcathlon, which supplies bikes to the French Ag2r team, have announced that they are rebranding their cycling division under the name B'Twin. Currently in the process of moving their bike division from the north of France to the Alpine town of Chambry, Dcathlon will make an official announcement of the rebranding at Ag2r's team presentation on January 24.

- Roberto Heras is set to appear before the Spanish federation's disciplinary commission on Friday to protest his innocence of doping following his positive drug test for the blood-booster EPO on his way to a fourth victory at the Vuelta last September. If convicted of doping by his federation, Heras will be stripped of the Vuelta title and victory handed to runner-up Denis Menchov.

There is not expected to be an immediate decision in the case. "It's a normal stage in the process during which the rider's defence presents its arguments and can demand new tests," federation secretary-general Eugenio Bermudez told AFP. Heras's defence have admitted they are considering a demand for new tests to take place.

- Meanwhile, Danilo Hondo's legal team are to take the German rider's case to the Swiss civil courts after his one-year ban for doping was increased to two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday. "We are going to appeal against this decision and the impact of this appeal goes well beyond the case of Danilo Hondo," said the rider's lawyer Michael Lehner. Hondo has returned to training in the hope that the case will eventually turn out in his favour.

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
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