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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 27, 2012

Date published:
April 27, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Scarponi to be presented with 2011 Giro pink jersey

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 22:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro to honour Italian as 2011 champion prior to start of 2012 edition

    Michele Scarponi will be presented with the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey of the 2011 champion in a ceremony in Denmark two days prior to the start of this year's Giro, according to the Associated Press.

    Scarponi finished the 2011 Giro d'Italia in second place, but winner Alberto Contador was stripped of his title after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed the Spaniard a two-year sanction for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. All the results earned by the Spaniard from the 2010 Tour through to his sanction were annulled.

    "For the fans, Contador won the race last year and he wore the pink jersey in Milan. But according to the ban Contador never raced, so statistically Scarponi becomes the winner," Giro d'Italia director Michele Acquarone told the AP.

    "I know that's not how Scarponi wants to win it, so I'm sure this will make him want to win it more than anyone else this year," Acquarone said. "This should serve as motivation for him."

    Scarponi will start the Giro d'Italia, which begins May 5 in Denmark, with the number one dossard reserved for defending champions.

    Additionally, no rider will wear number 108 as the number has been permanently retired in honour of Wouter Weylandt. The Belgian started the 2011 Giro wearing that number and was tragically killed in a crash during stage three.

    This year's third stage will be dedicated to Weylandt and the Belgian's family has been invited to Denmark for the stage.

  • Landis federal investigation confirmed

    Landis ponders Floyd Landis ponders a question from the audience.
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 22:50 BST
    Cycling News

    "Fairness Fund" under examination by authorities

    Retired professional Floyd Landis has confirmed that federal authorities in San Diego have initiated an investigation into his "Floyd Fairness Fund", confirming a report by Cyclingnews published earlier this month.

    The San Diego Union-Tribune reported earlier today that its sources confirmed that Landis had received a "target letter" from the US Attorney's office. The officials would not confirm the investigation, but sources say the fund is being looked into for "possible wire and mail fraud". Landis later confirmed the story with ESPN.

    The Floyd Fairness Fund was launched in 2007 to raise money to pay for Landis' legal defense against the doping charges that ultimately lost him his 2006 Tour de France victory.

    Landis vigorously denied he had used synthetic testosterone during the event, and challenged the accuracy of the lab tests that showed he did. But years later he admitted he had doped during his career, up to and including the 2006 Tour.

    In a letter to ESPN, Landis said he intended to repay the donors, and was "acutely aware that accepting money on a false premise and then later returning it does not erase the lie".

    According to today's ESPN report, Landis did not have check-writing authority on the Fairness Fund, and all of the donations went to his legal defense. His fund was audited by an external firm.

    Landis' attorney Leo Cunningham said of the investigation, "I know that there are very experienced lawyers in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office, and we are confident they would do the right thing once they had a complete understanding of all the facts behind anything...

  • Amgen Tour of California stage 8 circuit open to amateurs

    L.A. law: no surface shall go unbranded.
    Article published:
    April 26, 2012, 23:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Fans can ride closed Los Angeles course prior to 2012 finale

    The Amgen Tour of California organisers announced today that a free public ride on the closed Los Angeles circuit starting at L.A. Live will be open to the public on the morning before the professionals take to the 2012 event's final stage.

    The 'Nissan Ride Before the Pros,' will take place on Sunday May 20, 2012 from 8-9:30AM, when the public can ride along the 5-mile, closed circuit, which will be part of stage 8, the pro men's final stage, for free. riders must register in advance at the event website.

    The route begins at L.A. Live at the foot of Staples Center, and will head up Olive Street passing Pershing Square before a "sprint" past the historic Biltmore Hotel. After a challenging climb towards Disney Hall and the Los Angeles County Music Center, riders will ultimately reach City Hall and City Hall Park before making a loop back towards the iconic Jewelry District prior to arriving back at L.A. Live.

    "One of the most often made requests from our fans is for us to provide the opportunity for them to experience our race by riding the actual course like the pros," said Kristin Bachochin, Executive Director, Amgen Tour of California and Senior Vice President, AEG Sports.

    "The Nissan Ride Before the Pros will allow all of our fans and the thousands of serious and weekend cyclists the chance to participate in the Amgen Tour of California by riding the same course that the best cyclists in the world will be competing on just minutes later."

    The course will also host the Amgen's Breakaway Mile, part of Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative, a walk that ends at the Stage 8 finish line to honor the millions of cancer survivors worldwide. Registration for the Breakaway Mile is limited to the first 150 people. Sign up at...

  • Nicolas Roche puts off contract talks to work on results

    Inside the Peloton
    Article published:
    April 27, 2012, 9:07 BST
    Daniel Benson

    AG2R captain still looking for 2012 form

    2012 is an important season for Nicholas Roche. Out of contract at the end of the season, the 27-year-old needs a string of results if he is to command the status of team leader he currently holds at AG2R La Mondiale.

    However the Irishman insists that contract talks are far from his mind at present, and that his focus is centred on picking up results.

    "To be honest I’ve been thinking about getting results before thinking about anything else,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “Talk of contracts hasn’t gone through my mind yet. I’ve not thought about any options, just about getting good feelings on the bike first. I’ll concentrate on the bike and think about that later in the year.”

    Roche has so far struggled for form, picking up an illness around Paris-Nice and struggling for much of the spring. He has pinpointed over training as a possible reason but with an altered race programme as he builds towards the Tour de France he is aware that results will be all important.

    “My form is so-so. I had a difficult start to the season and I’m just getting there now. I’m not trying to rush things now.

    “The weather was pretty good this winter but looking at my training I think I might have overdone it and arrived at the first few races in tired shape. I had flu after Paris-Nice and it took me a while to come back and now I had a short break to recover and taking it step by step and working towards the Tour of California, Tour de Suisse and then the Tour.

    Roche had a disappointing 2011, failing to make an impression at the Tour and

  • GreenEdge to announce title sponsor next week

    The GreenEdge team is presented
    Article published:
    April 27, 2012, 9:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Newly-formed Australian team hadn't expected a sponsor this season

    GreenEdge Cycling will finally announce its team sponsor before the start of its first grand tour, the Giro d'Italia. “We're pleased to announce that our new title sponsor will be revealed at a press conference in Melbourne this coming Tuesday,” the team said on Facebook Friday morning.

    The new team has run so far under the name of its management company, GreenEdge, as did Leopard-Trek last year, and Highroad for several seasons.

    The Australian team had consistently denied any pressure for a title sponsor, with team principal Shayne Bannan telling Cyclingnews last year that a sponsor in the first year was unlikely and that there was no “aggressive” search for a sponsor.

    GreenEdge has gotten off to an extremely successful start in its first season. It opened the year by winning both the road and time trial titles in the Australian national championships. Simon Gerrans has proved to be the team's top rider, winning both Milan-San Remo and the overall title in the Tour Down Under.

  • Giro d'Italia 2012: Scarponi and Cunego lead Lampre challenge

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    April 27, 2012, 10:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Scarponi to defend title, Cunego for stage wins

    Lampre-ISD has announced their 2012 Giro d’Italia team today, with Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego both set to start the race in Denmark on May 5.

    Alessandro Petacchi will not race the Giro for just the third time since 2002 as he builds up for the Tour de France.

    Michele Scarponi will lead the team in the fight for the overall classification. The 32-year-old was crowned the 2011 winner of the Giro after Alberto Contador (Saxobank) was stripped of the title following a suspension for doping.

    Perhaps the most interesting inclusion is that of Cunego. The 2004 Giro d’Italia winner cracked the top ten at the Tour last year but will not be riding for the GC at the Giro, with the team giving him a pass to ride his own race and attempt to pick up stage wins.

    “Giro d’Italia will be a highlight of the team season,” general manager Saronni said.

    “The race for pink is a top target for Michele Scarponi: the team supported him in his choice of accept the challenge of the Giro and it will sustain Michele with full trust during the whole three weeks of race in order to try to battle for the overall standing.

    “Cunego’s presence will be very remarkable because Damiano will be important on the tactical side. This won’t preclude him to be free to act in some appropriate situations. All the other blue-fuchsia cyclists were chosen for the guarantees of quality they’ll assure.”

    Lampre-ISD for the 2012 Giro d’Italia: Matteo Bono, Damiano Cunego, Adriano Malori, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Daniele Pietropolli, Daniele Righi, Michele Scarponi, Alessandro...

  • UCI stands firm on Contador's WorldTour points

    Article published:
    April 27, 2012, 11:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Contador's WorldTour points will not count for two years

    The UCI has confirmed that any points Alberto Contador may win the his first two years back from his doping suspension will not count towards his team's ranking in the WorldTour. “That is the rule, and it will be respected,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said.

    “Personally, Alberto Contador wins good points. He may even win the WorldTour. But when the season ends and the sporting evaluation of the teams are made, his points will not be included in the in the accounts,” Carpani told the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

    Both the Danish cycling federation and a Danish attorney with experience as an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitraiton for Sport have criticised the UCI's stance. The ruling should not apply in this case as it was adopted after Contador's offense was committed, they said.

    Contador is expected to re-sign with Team Saxo Bank, and team manager Bjarne Riis has said he would be prepared to challenge the UCI's point ruling in court.

    Carpani did not appear worried. “As we see it, the rule is in order. Therefore we won't look at it again now, just because some Danish lawyers believe that we should do it, or because someone thinks that we will lose a case before the CAS. There were also many who thought that we would lose the Contador case at CAS, but we won.”

  • Tony Martin returns to racing May 1 in Frankfurt

    Tony Martin (Omega PHarma-QuickStep) is a favourite for overall victory at the Volta ao Algarve.
    Article published:
    April 27, 2012, 13:29 BST
    Cycling News

    World time trial champion recovering quickly from training crash injuries

    Tony Martin will return to racing much sooner than expected after his training accident earlier this month. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider will be back on his bike at Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on Tuesday, May 1.

    The world time trial champion was hit by car whilst training on April 11, and suffered fractures of the eye socket, cheekbone, jaw, shoulder blade and upper arm.

    “In the last two weeks I have totally concentrated on the healing process. The pain decreased from day to day and I could increase the intensity in training,” he wrote on his personal website.

    “My injuries are healing as well, that there are not medical reasons not to turn me loose on my colleagues again. I am happy that I can come back so quickly and prepare for my season highlight.”

    His team is also pleased with his quick comeback. "Tony is a hard nut and he's proved so yet again. In the race he will be free to move as he sees fit, without taking any risks; he won't have any special tasks,” said sport director Jan Schaffrath. 

    “After the race we'll see how he's feeling. Concerning the race, the team can count on fast men like Ciolek, Steegmans and Van Keirsbulck. The sprinting arrival is the most obvious outcome in this race, but if necessary, we will also try to get into the breaks with some of our athletes."