Silence Officially Drops Kohl
Austria's Bernhard Kohl, the best climber at this year's Tour de France and third overall, has been sacked by his Belgian team Silence after testing positive for CERA, the new generation of banned blood booster EPO. Kohl admitted to using CERA on Wednesday, 48 hours after he failed a test for the drug in retroactive controls carried out by France's national anti-doping agency. Geert Coeman, general manager of Silence, confirmed Thursday that Kohl's new three-year contract with the team had been cancelled.
"We were feeling good but now we're disappointed. We feel cheated and for us it's finished (with Kohl)," Coeman told the APA news agency. "Maybe he'll find another team but it won't be with us."
Laurent to Agritubel
In transfer news, Frenchman Christophe Laurent will return to the Continent with a contract to rejoin Agritubel in 2009. Laurent, 31, rode this season for the American Garmin-Chipotle team after spending 2007 with Credit Agricole.
|The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup kicks off in Belgium on Sunday |
|(Photo: Roberto Bettini) |
Cyclo-cross World Cup Starts Sunday
As cyclo-cross season heats up in both the USA and Europe, this Sunday will mark the first event of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Kalmthout, Belgium.
Reigning World Champion, Dutchman Lars Boom (the Netherlands) will be a man to watch in his rainbow jersey. Boom was the first person in eight years to take the rainbow jersey from 'cross-crazy Belgian riders. Also setting off in a strong position in Kalmthout will be the Belgian Sven Nys, winner of four of the nine World Cup races last season. Other contenders include the Belgians (and former world champions) Bart Wellens, Erwin Vervecken and emerging talent Niels Albert.
On the women's side, reigning World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany will face off against last season’s UCI Rankings leader Daphny Van den Brand and American Katie Compton.
This season includes the re-introduction of a separate World Cup ranking, which will join the UCI Ranking based on all the events on the world calendar. The leaders of the World Cup will wear a distinctive white leader’s jersey, and at the end of the season trophies will be awarded to the overall winners. The overall World Cup ranking will be based on nine races for the Elite Men, eight for the Elite Women and four for the Under-23 riders and Juniors.
2008-2009 UCI Cylco-cross World Cup schedule:
October 19 - Kalmthout, Belgium
October 26 - Tabor, Czech Republic
November 9 - Pijnacker, Netherlands
November 29 - Koksijde, Belgium
December 7 - Igorre, Spain
December 21 - Nommay, France
December 26 - Hofstade, Belgium
Janurary 18 - Roubaix, France
January 25 - Milan, Italy