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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 5, 2013

Date published:
April 05, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Fuentes: “I did therapeutic doping”

    Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 12:52 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Operacion Puerto doctor gives his first post-trial interview

    Back in the 1980s, Eufemiano Fuentes received a PhD cum laude on the effects on the human body of high performance sports. At the time he said that he was convinced that without sufficient recovery time, high performance sports caused severe damage to a human organism. Judging by his first interview after the Operacion Puerto trial has ended, he is still convinced of that.

    Speaking to Spanish sports newspaper MARCA, Fuentes refused, for legal reasons, to discuss details of the Puerto trial. But he was far more expansive about why he had allegedly established his Madrid laboratory, the use of his codes as a way of confusing the press -whom he was convinced were tapping his phone calls, and the degree of involvement of certain top figures in sport.

    Asked if he would deny that his activities constituted doping, Fuentes replied: “Doping? We are talking about activities that took place before Spain’s anti-doping law existed. It’s possible there was sports doping, but I would call it therapeutic doping, to avoid greater evils.”

    Rather than any financial reason, and there was certainly no indication that any of his clients were treated for free (Tyler Hamilton said in his declaration he was paying nearly 50,00 euros a year), Fuentes claimed his motivation was essentially altruistic.

    “You could use a doping substance for a worse end and it could have undesirable consequences...[but] I looked after my athletes’ health. I wanted to protect them from the immense danger that they were exposed to by the levels of training they did and by the intensity of their racing calendar.”

    However, since 2006 Fuentes’ idealism has, by his own admission, failed to find an outlet. Since his arrest during Operacion Puerto, Fuentes claimed he had had no relationship whatsoever with the world of...

  • Cancellara crashes during Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack - Leopard)
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 14:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Second crash in as many days for pre-race favourite

    Fabian Cancellara has crashed for the second day running in the build-up to Paris-Roubaix but a spokesman for his RadioShack Leopard team reported that his injuries are superficial.

    Cancellara took a tumble on the cobbles during a reconnaissance of the route of Paris-Roubaix on Thursday morning. The Swiss rider fell on his left side, as he had done at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday afternoon.

    “Suddenly he was lying there,” RadioShack press officer Tim Vanderjeugd told Sporza. “But the damage is not too bad. There is nothing seriously wrong. He followed in the car for a bit but then he got back on his bike.”

    Cancellara fell alone while sampling the Hornaing sector of cobbles near Wandignies-Hamage with teammates on Thursday morning. He sat in the RadioShack team car alongside directeur sportif Dirk Demol for the next part of the reconnaissance, but was back on his bike again by the sector at Orchies.

    Cancellara is the overwhelming favourite to win Paris-Roubaix on Sunday after claiming the Tour of Flanders and E3 Harelbeke in emphatic fashion in recent weeks. He has previously won the Hell of the North in 2006 and 2010, and finished second in 2008 and 2011.




  • Frank Schleck set for July 14 return to racing

    An unhappy Frank Schleck during the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 16:01 BST
    Cycling News

    WADA opts not to appeal one-year ban for Xipamide

    Frank Schleck's ban for doping will end on July 14 after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided not appeal the decision of the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency (ALAD), according to reports in the Luxembourg media.

    The UCI, the ALAD and Schleck all followed the same line, meaning his one-year ban can no longer be overturned or extended by an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Schleck tested positive for the banned diuretic and masking agent Xipamide during last year’s Tour de France in an anti-doping control after stage 13. Schleck quit the Tour de France when his positive was announced but has always denied taking Xipamide, suggesting it could have entered his body via contaminated supplement.

    The ALAD gave Schleck a one-year ban on January 30 instead of the usual two-year ban, because of the extremely low amount of the banned substance. The Agency suggested that he had not ingested the substance intentionally. It also said that hair analysis carried out didn’t show any evidence of doping, and that his biological passport was not suspicious.

    ALAD announced it would not appeal in February.

    The July 14 date means Schleck will not be able to ride the Tour de France. However he could return to action at the Tour de Wallonie in Belgium, which begins on July 20.

    The RadioShack-Leopard team has yet to confirm if Frank Schleck will make his come back with the team. 

  • Huffman set for Paris-Roubaix debut

    Evan Huffman (Astana Pro Team)
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 17:04 BST
    Barry Ryan

    American neo-pro learning on the cobbles

    Have bike, will travel. The neo-professional’s lot is rarely a meticulously pre-planned one and so it is that Evan Huffman finds himself thrown unexpectedly into Astana’s roster for Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

    The Californian was informed of his late call-up last week and he linked up with the Classics squad in Belgium on the eve of Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs. The 200-kilometre race in the Antwerp hinterland was Huffman’s first fleeting taste of the cobbles since a brief flirtation in his first year out of the junior ranks and he was glad to get in some practice ahead of the main event at the weekend.

    “I never did the amateur Roubaix or anything, and I’ve only raced a little bit on the cobbles – in Belgium back in 2009 – so it’s going to be good to get a little bit more experience,” Huffman told Cyclingnews as he prepared himself for Scheldeprijs.

    Not that Huffman has spent the past four years silently pining for the pavé. “Honestly, I didn’t really like it that much,” he said. “But it’s just the way it’s worked out with our team. We have more guys for the Ardennes Classics and there was an open spot on the roster, so I was happy to fill it.”

    Rather than bemoan the lack of certainty that defines the new professional’s racing programme, Huffman has looked to embrace it. During his debut at the Tour of Qatar in February, the 23-year-old said he was determined to make the most of the sometimes random learning opportunities that might fall his way, and he approaches Paris-Roubaix as much as enthusiasm as trepidation.

    “I’m a little nervous but I’m excited at the same time,” Huffman said. “I...

  • Redlands Bicycle Classic TT start times

    Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) will be a favourite in the opening stage time trial at the Redlands Bicycle Classic
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 17:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Official starters as of April 4, 2013

    While in previous years the opening Redlands Bicycle Classic time trial has been an uphill test of prologue length, and has been less decisive to the overall classification, this year's race throws a brand new element: a relatively flat, 12.5km test at Big Bear Lake. Situated at nearly 7000ft (2100m), the elevation could bring unexpected results.

    The 2012 winner of the men's race, Phil Gaimon (now with Bissell, then with Kenda/5 Hour Energy), was in good form to defend his title but suffered a head injury in a crash at the San Dimas Stage Race in March, and instead the #1 dossard will go to his teammate, the 2012 runner-up and final stage winner Patrick Bevin.

    Bevin may suffer in the more lengthy time trial, and the lead could fall to the hands of Merco Classic winner Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman). It will also favor the likes of Optum's Tom Zirbel and Chad Haga, and Nate English (5-hour Energy p/b Kenda).

    The defending champion for the women's field, Megan Guarnier, will also miss this year's race. Guarnier left Team TIBCO in favor of the Rabo-Liv Giant women's team, and will be competing this week in Europe with her team.

    Last year's runner-up in the women's race, Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS), will be a prime candidate to take home the overall title, as the Big Bear Lake time trial plays to her strengths.

    Powers will have to face former world time trial champion Amber Neben (racing with her charitable foundation, Dare to Be), Claudia Häusler (TIBCO), Olympian Lauren Tamayo, Alison Tetrick (Exergy-TWENTY16), Optum's Jade Wilcoxson and Brianna Walle, Vanderkitten's Rhae Shaw, and Specialized-lululemon's new stand-out Tayler Wiles.

    Following are the...

  • Boonen diagnosed with rib fracture from Tour of Flanders crash

    Defending Tour of Flanders champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) crashed out early in the 2013 edition.
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 18:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Devenyns undergoes surgery for broken arm

    Classics stalwart Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was still feeling pain from his early crash at last Sunday's Tour of Flanders and upon further examination the Belgian champion was found to have fractured a rib. Boonen's team announced today that following X-rays this morning at a hospital in Herentals, Boonen has been diagnosed with a fracture to the 10th rib of the left hemitorax.

    In addition to Boonen being sidelined due to injury and unable to defend his Paris-Roubaix title on Sunday, teammate Dries Devenyns will miss the Ardennes Classics after undergoing surgery on his left radial bone at the hospital in Herentals on Wednesday. Devenyns had suffered a complicated fracture as a result of a crash during the first stage of Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco on Monday.

    Devenyns must wear a cast for three weeks, and then the medical staff will make another evaluation to determine the progress of his recovery.

    "I would like to thank the hospital and medical staff for their professionalism," Devenyns said. "Unfortunately the fracture was complicated and I have to wear a cast for a few weeks. It's really a shame, I was in good condition and ready for the Ardennes Classics. There's nothing I can do now, only recover and try to be ready as soon as possible."

  • High hopes for neo pro Walle

    Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) on her way to a 4th place finish.
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 20:50 BST
    Pat Malach

    Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies racer set for Redlands

    Conventional wisdom says that lightning doesn't strike the same place twice, but Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies director Rachel Heal is trying to beat the odds this year by signing a relatively unknown rider, Brianna Walle, whom she hopes will prove to be another diamond in the rough.

    Heal hit the jackpot last season by signing Nature Valley Pro Chase discovery Jade Wilcoxson after the relative newcomer earned the Nature Valley Grand Prix berth and took the top amateur prize there. Wilcoxson rewarded Heal's risk-taking by placing third overall this season in the National Race Calendar individual standings and then topping it off with a silver medal at the cyclo-cross national championships and a chance to compete at the world championships in Kentucky.

    Like Wilcoxson, Walle, of Portland, came up through the independent Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and found her national opportunity through the Pro Chase program, which allows amateur riders a chance to qualify at select races around the country to compete with a composite team against the pros at the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota.

    "It worked out pretty well the first time around," Heal said. "I've been told by a few people that Brie is the next Jade, so she's got a lot to live up to. So far I'm really happy. She fits in really well with the team, she's strong on the road and she's got a good sprint and a good lead out on her, so I see good things coming from her."

    Walle has already shown signs of that potential this season. She set the fastest mark during the team's time trial tests at team camp in February, and during last month's San Dimas Stage Race, Walle finished fourth in the opening day time trial before sneaking off the front near the finish of the following day's road race and holding off a hard-charging Amber Neben (Dare To be Project) for the win. She backed that up with a second-place finish in the final criterium to take third-place overall behind former...

  • Docker hungry for the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix

    Mitch Docker (Orica-GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 0:28 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian ready for fourth battle at Hell of the North

    It's been two years since Orica GreenEdge's Mitch Docker was at Paris-Roubaix. The 2012 edition passed by in a bit of a blur and so battle ready, the 26-year-old is excited to be making a return to the race known as The Hell of the North.

    Paris-Roubaix stands apart from the Flemish Classics, for Docker at least. It's a race that tapped into his conscious as his interest in cycling was beginning to grow and then, the first time he rode the cobbles that seem to take on anthropomorphic qualities in 2009 riding for Skil-Shimano, he had an inkling that while sapping every inch of his energy, this classic could give something back.

    "The first year that I did it - it was a really hard race, don't get me wrong - but I just felt like I could do something," Docker told Cyclingnews. "I didn't finish that first year but I felt like I could handle the cobbles a bit better than a lot of the other races that I'd done."

    The following year Docker made the large breakaway of 19 riders which escaped the peloton, only to be dropped at Arenberg, the 2.4km stretch of cobbles which now stands as his own personal line in the sand. In 2011, his final season with Skil-Shimano, Docker made his own mark on Roubaix, finishing an impressive 15th in the sprint for seventh, having once again featured in the break of the day.

    Docker's first season with Orica GreenEdge didn't exactly go to plan, with a crash in a January training camp leaving him with a fractured cheekbone, a screw in his wrist and a serious concussion. It