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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 26, 2013

Date published:
April 26, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Froome comes through Romandie road stage unscathed

    Chris Froome (Sky) en route to victory in the Tour de Romandie prologue time trial.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2013, 10:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Sky leader retains yellow jersey

    Tour de Romandie race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) came through the first road stage unscathed after his team controlled much of the stage from St-Maurice to Renens.

    Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) picked up the win after sprinting to the line ahead Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) but Froome retained his six second lead over Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp).

    Far more testing stages lie ahead for Froome and his teammates as they look to win the event for the second time in a row after Bradley Wiggins won the race in 2012. However Froome was pleased with the start Team Sky’s 2013 contingent has made.

    “It was a good solid start from the team today," he said on Team Sky’s team website.

    "We started off in total control of the race. Even when the attacks came on the final climbs the guys just stayed calm and we all stayed together. Josh [Edmondson] in particular and Gabba [Rasch] spent a lot of time on the front today. That was fantastic and the team rode really well.”

    “There was a lot of road furniture coming into the finish. The sprinter teams took it up coming into the final. The main thing for us was just to stay out of harm’s way and save the legs for what is coming up."

    The Tour de Romandie is an important stepping stone in Froome's season with the main emphasis on winning the Tour de France in July. He has already been earmarked as Team Sky’s leader for the race, with Bradley Wiggins turning his attention to next month’s Giro d’Italia. It’s still expected that the 2012 Tour champion will still ride this year’s grande boucle as well.

    Froome has already tasted success this season having won the Tour of Oman and the Criterium International. However he...

  • Pinotti set to ride the Amgen Tour of California

    Marco Pinotti (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 25, 2013, 13:57 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    BMC rider recovering from injury, hopes to ride Le Tour

    Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing Team) was back in action at the Giro del Trentino after recovering from an early season crash at the Tour Méditerranéen. He is continuing to work on his form at this week's Tour de Romandie and will also tackle the Amgen Tour of California before riding the Tour de France in July.

    The likeable Italian spent the winter recovering from a crash in the world time trial championships that left him with a broken collarbone. He then crashed in his first race of the season, suffering a further collarbone fracture and two cracked ribs. Pinotti has suffered a series of injuries over the years but has always made a successful comeback thanks to hard work and dedication.

    "It was hard coming back this time. I'd already worked hard to comeback from my crash at the worlds and then I fractured my collarbone again. It gets harder every time. Fortunately I'm still here," he told Cyclingnews.

    Pinotti had changed his racing programme for 2013, with the Italian on the long list for the Tour de France rather than riding the Giro d'Italia. His injuries have ensured he will definitely not ride the Giro d'Italia, with Cadel Evans now team leader, allowing Pinotti to return to the Amgen Tour of California. He last rode the North American stage race in 2006. He last rode the Tour de France back in 2002

    "I won’t ride the Giro this year. That was the original plan at the start of the year and it's the right option now because I haven't got the base training to tackle the Giro," Pinotti said.

    "I hope to gradually get back better and be good for the Tour. I'm on the long list for the team, with the final riders decide nearer the race, considering everyone's form."

  • USA Pro Challenge aims high with 2013 route

    The peloton slowly climbs above 11,000 feet at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2013, 15:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Vail TT returns for third edition of Colorado race

    The route for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge stage race, A UCI 2.HC-rated event taking place August 19-25 in Colorado, will take riders on a taxing journey through the Colorado Rockies. The largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge continues to set records in professional cycling history by taking the riders to unprecedented elevations. In 2012, with a lead change nearly every day, one of the closest professional races in US history came down to the final moments of the individual time trial in Denver, and this year's route promises to bring just as much drama.

    "The most important thing to us in creating the route for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge was to find a course that would be safe and challenging for the riders, while providing ideal viewing locations for the crowds of spectators," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge.

    "This year we are, once again, taking them to the highest point of any professional cycling race with Independence Pass. We're also returning to the iconic time trial route in Vail. The best in the sport will be racing through Colorado communities for what will be an epic week in professional cycling."

    The race will visit eight official host cities for the starts and finishes of each stage, ranging from small towns to cities as large as Denver, with a population of more than 615,000. All with varying elevations, the start and finishes of most stages in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge are above the highest points in the Tour de France. The two new cities joining the 2013 race - Loveland and Fort Collins - each offer breathtaking scenery that will add to the overall excitement

    Back by popular demand, the 2013 route will feature the Vail time...

  • Tygart says Armstrong has evidence of UCI complicity

    USADA chief Travis Tygart (R) shakes hands with Senator Arlen Specter at a 2009 hearing in Washington, DC about screening dietary supplements for illegal steroids.
    Article published:
    April 25, 2013, 18:30 BST
    Cycling News

    USADA chief wants the information

    Travis Tygart, the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency, believes that Lance Armstrong has evidence that the UCI was complicit in covering up his doping, and wants him to come forward with that information.

    "Armstrong led us to believe -- during the course of our interaction with him -- that he had evidence of their complicity in this situation," Tygart told the Associated Press.

    Tygart made the statements from Paris, where he spoke before a French Senate investigation committee on doping. In his speech, he followed points that USADA made in its reasoned decision on the case of Armstrong and his fellow doping defendants: Johan Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari, Pedro Celaya, Jose "Pepe" Martí and Luis Garica del Moral, which accused the UCI of having failed to act to combat doping, stating today that the UCI continues to stall on any decisive action.

    "The only decisive action came a few weeks later when UCI disbanded the established independent commission when it actually started to act independently by taking off the handcuffs and removing the blindfolds that the UCI had placed on it from the onset," Tygart said, according to Reuters.

    "The UCI's current strategy is to play a stall game, let the cycling season start, let another Tour de France occur, let another six months go by and people will forget," he said. "Stall or delay yourself out of the problem."

    The UCI most recently defended itself from accusations of covering up positive drug tests by Armstrong, first stating that samples from the 2001 Tour de Suisse were only suspicious but did not meet the threshold for an adverse analytical finding, and then revealing that results which Armstrong returned in the

  • Ji Cheng to be first Chinese rider in Giro d'Italia

    Chinese rider Ji Cheng (Skil Shimano).
    Article published:
    April 25, 2013, 21:22 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    "Breakaway killer" gears up for his second Grand Tour

    Giro d'Italia boss Michele Acquarone, a proponent of the globalization of cycling, is excited about welcoming the first ever Chinese rider to participate in the Italian Grand Tour. Eight months after completing the Vuelta a Espana, Ji Cheng will line up under the colours of Argos-Shimano next week in Naples.

    "I'm looking forward to it even though I don't know much about Italy, except that I've heard about the climbs being harder than in Spain," Ji told Cyclingnews in Marmaris during the Tour of Turkey.

    Ji is not a total stranger to Italy, He has taken part in the past two editions of Milan-San Remo, but admitted that he doesn't know the existence of organizing newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport which gives its pink color to the leader's jersey.

    Ji hails from Harbin, a "small" city of 3.3 million people in the province of Hei Long Jiang in the far north east of China near the Russian border. "Our normal climate in the winter is -36°C," he said. "The record is -55°C, but I've not experienced it personally."

    A son of a housewife and an interior designer, he comes from a family that contravened the one-child policy. He has a sister and remembers that his parents were fined 3000 yuans (around 370 euros) for the birth of a second child.

    "At school, I was a runner, and I always won, so I got a chance to enter a sports school," said the 25-year-old. "In 2002, because it was still cold for running in April, I moved to cycling and started on a home trainer. Only one month later, I took part in my first competition on the road: 12 laps around Laoshan, the venue of the Beijing Olympics for track, BMX and mountain bike. It was been the hardest race in my life. I didn't even have cycling shoes." He was then assigned to track cycling for the...

  • Gallery: Optum Pro Cycling's spring European campaign

    Tom Soladay and Mike Friedman share a moment after the extremely tough opening stage at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon
    Article published:
    April 25, 2013, 22:25 BST
    Sam Wiebe

    US Continental squad spent nearly a month in Portugal, Spain

    Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, a US-based Continental squad, spent four weeks racing in Europe from the latter portion of March through mid-April and made its mark at both the one-day and stage race events contested in Portugal and Spain.

    The team opened their European campaign in Portugal with the one-day Classica Aviero-Fatima, won by Optum's Ken Hanson, followed by the five-day Volta ao Alentejo highlighted by Chad Haga's second place general classification result plus Tom Zirbel and Scott Zwizanski's 1-2 finish on stage 4.

    The rest of the team's racing took place in Spain, beginning with a pair of UCI 1.1-ranked one-day races: the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain (March 30), where the team's Jesse Anthony claimed the Special Sprinter's Prize, followed by the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja (March 31), where Ken Hanson finished on the podium with a third place result.

    The gallery presented here is from the remainder of the team's stint in Spain in which they contested the 1.1-rated one-day Basque event, the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta (April 7), and wrapped up their European trip at the 2.1-rated Vuelta a Castilla y Leon stage race (April 12-14).

    Against solid WorldTour competition at the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta, where the podium consisted of Rui Costa (Movistar), Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff), Marsh Cooper would be the team's highest finisher at 2:11 down.

    Eager to conclude their European trip on a high note, the team focused on winning a stage at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. The team's line-up included...

  • UCI hit back at accusations of complicity in Armstrong's doping

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    April 26, 2013, 9:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Governing body attacks USADA CEO Travis Tygart

    The UCI has hit back at suggestions from USADA CEO Travis Tygart that Lance Armstrong may have evidence that the sports governing body's was in some way complicit in the Texan's years of doping.

    Tygart appeared before a French Senate investigation into doping on Thursday. The Associated Press news agency reported him as saying: "Armstrong led us to believe - during the course of our interaction with him - that he had evidence of their complicity in this situation."

    In a press release, the UCI insisted categorically that they have nothing to hide.

    “The fact is that Mr Tygart has no evidence of any wrongdoing and has chosen to make headlines on a convenient interpretation of a conversation he had with Lance Armstrong," a unidentified spokesperson was quoted in the press release.

    “He should establish the facts before jumping to conclusions. The UCI welcomes any assistance and clarification that Lance Armstrong may wish to give Mr Tygart on the matter”.

    Going on the offensive, the UCI also refuted Tygart's comments about why the UCI deciding to disband of the Independent Commission that was established to look into the UCI’s role in the Armstrong affair.

    “It’s all very well Mr Tygart talking about cooperation, but let’s not forget that the Independent Commission was only disbanded because of USADA’s and WADA’s point-blank refusal to cooperate with it. Simply, the UCI was left with no choice but to close it down; it made no sense to go forward without the participation of these two bodies,” the spokesperson said.

    “One can only assume that their refusal to cooperate with the Independent Commission was due to their fear that their own...

  • Giro d'Italia 2013: Can Sir Wiggins arise to the challenge?

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 26, 2013, 10:55 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Giro Countdown: 8 days till Naples

    When Bradley Wiggins lines up at the start of the Giro d'Italia in Naples on May 4 he will unequivocally be a different athlete a different athlete to the one that made his Grand Tour debut in Italy in 2003. This time he will be riding to win.

    Ten years ago survival was the order of the day. A debut Grand Tour is typically the case: pick your way through each day, drag yourself over the mountains and if you are lucky and brave enough, show your sponsor’s jersey with an attack or two.

    Ten years is a long time, especially in cycling. Wiggins did not finish the 2003 Giro d'Italia, missing the time cut on stage 18 along with 35 other riders. Since then Lance Armstrong has soared to his greatest height before falling to earth in shame, peloton speeds have slowed and Wiggins became a Grand Tour leader, Tour de France winner and collected a knighthood.

    Leaving the rhetoric of flag waving home press of ‘boy from Kilburn done good’ aside, it’s been an astronomical rise. Before taking Grand Tours seriously in 2009, Wiggins’ focused on time trials and breakaways, never believing he could become an overall contender. Three years later he’d bludgeoned his way to fourth [later third] and picked up an eye-watering contract to boot, moving up from the gruppetto to battling shoulder to shoulder with the Schlecks, Armstrong and Contador.

    Fast forward to the present day and Wiggins will start this year's Giro d'Italia as the favourite to win the maglia rosa. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) might dispute that claim but this year's race is Wiggins to win, if he can repeat the form he displayed in last year’s Tour de France.

    A different Grand Tour objective, without...