GreenEdge signs more riders in quest for ProTeam licence

Robbie McEwen leads overall, Tour Down Under 2011, stage two

GreenEdge is taking big steps to become Australia's first top-level team.

It announced on Thursday that it had signed Australian star, Robbie McEwen, who follows several other acquisitions over the last week.

A press release read, McEwen "will join GreenEdge Cycling next year to share his experiences with the next generation of Australian cyclists."

He won 12 stages and the green jersey three times at the Tour de France in his last 16 years as a professional. With GreenEdge, he will finish his racing career and transition into a technical advisor.

"It's a similar role to the one Erik Zabel has been doing for the past few years at HTC-Highroad," said McEwen, "scouting the finishes and informing the guys of what's coming up and what I think might be the best way to tackle it."

GreenEdge also announced this last week it signed Jens Mouris (from Vacansoleil-DCM), Simon Clarke (Astana), Svein Tuft (SpiderTech powered by C10), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-SunGard), Matthew Wilson (Garmin-Cervélo), Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) and Daniel Teklehaymanot (neo-pro).

Japanese cyclist, Fumiyuki Beppu is also said to be joining from RadioShack.

The cyclists' points will help it receive a top-level, ProTeam licence when awarded by the UCI this autumn.

BMC add Pinotti and Van Garderen

BMC Racing Team has further strengthened its line-up for 2012 by adding HTC-Highroad pair Marco Pinotti and Tejay van Garderen.

Experienced Pinotti is a five-time Italian time trial champion and Giro stage winner, who has worn the maglia rosa a couple of times.

"Marco brings power to our team time trials, as well as incredible talent in the mountains," team manager Jim Ochowicz said in a team press release today.

23-year-old Van Garderen is one of the most talented of the new generation of American riders. A gifted stage racer, he placed second in last year's Dauphiné and fifth in this year's Tour of California.

 "Tejay is a gifted young talent; his time trialling continues to improve, as does his cimbing. With Cadel [Evans] acting as his mentor, success should come quickly," Ochowicz said.

With Tour de France champion Evans on board and Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd already confirmed as new signings for next season, the American-Swiss squad is set to be one of the top teams next season.

Tony Martin, HTC, Tour de France 2011 stage two TTT

Quick Step signs Martin and maybe Leipheimer

Belgian team OmegaPharma-Quick Step confirmed it signed German talent, Tony Martin from HTC-Highroad.

"Martin is a highly valuable athlete, a world-class cyclist who actually holds 12th place in the WorldTour rankings," said team manager, Patrick Lefevere. "His arrival will allow us to face time trial tests with new ambition; and considering his fantastic athletic

potential, he'll also have more to give in other areas."

Martin beat Brits Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins Monday at the Vuelta a España's time trial.

American Levi Leipheimer is said to be leaving RadioShack and joining OmegaPharma-Quick Step. Neither the team nor the rider has yet to confirm any such agreement.

Changes at Katusha

Andrei Tchmil is likely leaving his post as General Manager of team Katusha, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The former Paris-Roubaix winner is already the Moldavian sports minister, but is said to have accepted a higher political position.

Former Gerolsteiner boss, Hans-Michael Holczer is said to be taking Tchmil's post in the Russian team. Valerio Piva already confirmed he will join as a sports director when team HTC-Highroad stops this season.

Emma Pooley wins women

Pooley narrowly denied Plouay treble

Emma Pooley came close to a third consecutive GP Plouay title in Brittany on Sunday.

The world time-trial champion escaped with a group and then went for it solo, but was caught with five kilometres to go. It was chiefly down to the work of Marianne Vos, who crossed to the chasing group and hammered on the front for her teammate Annemiek Van Vleuten.

Van Vleuten (Nederland Bloeit) out-sprinted Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Highroad) for the win, while Pooley finished sixth.

"I was a bit disappointed. I thought I could pull off the triple at one point. Marianne Vos chased me down," she told Cycling Weekly

"She's just so strong, and Nederland Bloeit had two in the break. I'm a bit disappointed with myself for not riding strong enough.

"I came off a big training block - it would have been nice to win, but I'm not expecting it."

Pooley had hoped to defend her national time-trial championships on Sunday in Cambridgeshire, but on instruction from British Cycling she will race the Memorial Davide Fardelli time-trial in Italy instead, to collect precious Olympic qualification points.

She then flies to France for the Tour de l'Ardeche. The French stage race, September 5 to 10, which includes a short prologue and 3.5km time trial, is likely to be her last race before an attempted defence of her world championship title in Copenhagen.

"I've got a snowball's chance in hell of winning," she said self-deprecatingly of her chances on the flat course. Pooley added that a top ten finish is her target in order to qualify for London


UCI grants E3 Prijs WorldTour status

The Union Cycliste International (UCI) granted the E3 Prijs in Harelbeke, Belgium, its top WorldTour designation. The E3 Prijs, this April won by Fabian Cancellara, is considered as a Tour of Flanders tester and an important, historical one-day race in its own right.

"By integrating this race on the UCI WorldTour calendar," read a press release, "the UCI confirms its determination to ensure the durability of European cycling - in parallel with its commitment to the globalisation of cycling."

It has attempted to globalise cycling in recent years by granting the Tour Down Under in Australia the same top status and introducing new races in Canada and China. In October, it will help organise the first edition of the Tour of Beijing.

The E3 Prijs is apart of cycling's history in one of the most cycling passionate countries. Though shorter than the Tour of Flanders, it is just as tough, incorporates many of the same hills used one week later.

"The Flanders area," said UCI president, Pat McQuaid, "has a remarkable heritage and remains a landmark for cyclists around the world."

The WorldTour licence extends through 2015. It also sees the race moves from Saturday to Friday, allowing more recovery time for cyclists also taking part in Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

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