Lance Armstrong is closer to paying back the $12m in bonuses received from SCA Promotions. According to the Associated Press news agency, the Texas-based insurance company said an arbitration panel ruled yesterday that it would hear its case.
SCA Promotions sued Armstrong to receive the Tour bonuses it paid, estimated at £8.5m ($12m), after the US anti-doping agency found he doped throughout much of his career. Armstrong asked a judge to dismiss the case in April.
Wanty eyes Sam Sánchez
Samuel Sánchez, who remains without a team after Euskaltel disbanded, is rumoured to be considering Belgian second division team, Wanty-Groupe Gobert. His signature would help the team attract additional sponsors and invitations to races, like the Vuelta a España.
Hilaire Van der Schueren will run the team after years as a sports director at Vacansoleil, also stopping this winter. He confirmed Björn Leukemans. According to Belgium's Het Nieuwsblad newspaper, Sánchez and Kevin Seeldraeyers are now on his radar. Belgium's Seeldraeyers won the white jersey at the 2009 Giro d'Italia with team Quick-Step and raced the last two years with Astana.
Astana and Pellizotti to honour anti-doping movement
Team Astana will honour the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) and not race Franco Pellizotti until May.
Pellizotti placed third in the 2009 Giro d'Italia and won the Tour de France's mountains classification. Following a high, he hit rock bottom. The curly-haired Italian lost those results and served a two-year ban, though May 2012, for abnormal biological passport numbers. He returned to race with team Androni and won the Italian championships.
Astana signed Pellizotti on August 1 to help Vincenzo Nibali in 2014 but as a member of the MPCC, it must wait five more months. Teams that join the voluntary movement must adhere to his standards of conduct, one of which is not to sign a rider for two years following his ban.
Baden Cooke pushed towards retirement
Baden Cooke, without a renewal offer from Orica-GreenEdge and other contract options, faces retirement. The Australian, winner of the Tour de France's green jersey in 2003, told News Limited, "I think it's pretty much over."
The 34-year-old said that he is speaking with one first division and one second division team now. With the current market situation, including both Euskaltel and Vacansoleil disbanding, he thinks his chances are slim.
"There are probably 50 guys going for the one spot [in the first division team]," he said. "I had no inkling this could be my last year, I thought I'd do two more years."
Copeland back with Lampre
Brent Copeland returns to team Lampre-Merida after helping African team MTN-Qhubeka. Italian newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport said yesterday that he will become Lampre's team manager.
The South African told Cycling Weekly in May that it was not working out. He felt the team was moving away from its African roots and relying too much on the Germans, including sports director Jens Zemke.
German cyclist, Gerald Ciolek gave the team its biggest win this year by winning Milan-San Remo. Since, MTN General manager Douglas Ryder signed German Linus Gerdemann. He also welcomed Eritrean Daniel Teklehaymanot (from Orica-GreenEdge) and former Sky rider and South African, John-Lee Augustyn.
Copeland worked as sports director for Lampre before helping Moto GP rider Ben Spies. Lampre's current team manager, Roberto Damiani leaves to join US second division team, United Healthcare.
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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