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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 11, 2013

Date published:
January 11, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Alex Rasmussen angry at UCI over suspension end date confusion

     Alex Rasmussen (Denmark) approaches the line
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 13:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Return date bounces from April to January to March

    The confusion over the end date of Alex Rasmussen's suspension continues, with the date now standing at March 14.  The Dane had recently received notice from the UCI that it would end as of January 26, and had already made plans to start racing again, until he was notified of yet another date change.

    Rasmussen was given an 18-month ban for violating the whereabouts requirements, which was originally scheduled to end on April 1, 2013. The beginning of this month he was told the ban would be shortened by one month, to March 1.

    Only days later, his manager Dries Smets received an email from the UCI's legal department, saying the ban expires on January 26, according to  Rasmussen promptly made plans to ride the Copenhagen Six-Days race (January 1-February 5), and hoped to ride the Track World Championships in Belarus at the end of February.

    He was in fact preparing to attend a press conference when he received further word from the UCI. “It was not until a few minutes before I was going into the six-day press conference in Ballerup Super Arena to talk about my plans that I got  another order from the UCI,” he said.

    Rasmussen received another email from the UCI's legal department stating that the ban would not end until one minute before midnight on March 14, meaning he could only race again as of March 15.

    "It almost feels as if I have been convicted again, and I am frankly angry that I was not able to receive a clear message from the UCI.” he said.

    "The first mail suddenly created a completely new perspective, and I had already started to look forward to both the six-day race and the World Championships with high expectations."

    Rasmussen had...

  • Renshaw backs McGee or Peiper for Australian road coach

    Mark Renshaw (Blanco) has been making the transition from lead-out man to sprinter.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 16:24 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Blanco rider discusses ties between GreenEdge and national team

    Mark Renshaw has expressed his reservations about the ties between Orica-GreenEdge and the Australian elite men’s road team, and voiced his preference for either Brad McGee or Allan Peiper to be installed as the new professional men’s road coordinator.

    Matt White, the previous incumbent, stepped down from the post and from his role as Orica-GreenEdge sports director in October after he confessed to doping during his time as a rider at US Postal Service. Cycling Australia is expected to name his replacement early in 2013.

    Renshaw, who rides for Blanco Pro Cycling, was omitted from the Australian selection for both the world championships in Copenhagen in 2011 and the London 2012 Olympics, and he believes that Cycling Australia should look beyond the GreenEdge set-up for the new national coach.

    “I’d like to see Brad McGee or Allan Peiper take that role because these guys know the talent and the hard work I’ve put in,” Renshaw told Cyclingnews. “There’s a lot mentioned about GreenEdge but hopefully that doesn’t play a role, and hopefully those guys who know me can play a part in the future.”

    The close links between Cycling Australia and Orica-GreenEdge mirror those between British Cycling and Team Sky, and Renshaw took a pragmatic view when asked if he felt that such crossover between national federations and trade teams was counter-productive.

    “If I was in GreenEdge, I’d probably say no! But yeah, standing on the other side of the fence, there probably needs to be more division between the two," he said. "Of course the federation likes to see the link between the two, but it definitely makes it harder for riders who aren’t part of the trade teams linked to national federations.”

  • Katusha seeking MPCC membership

    The Katusha team training on the time trial course
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 19:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Ekimov pledges team's commitment to anti-doping measures

    The Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) announced today that the Russian Katusha squad has formally requested to join its membership.

    Katusha, the team of 2012 number one-ranked rider Joaquim Rodriguez, is currently appealing the decision of the UCI to reject its application for the WorldTour to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The UCI's license commission failed to approve the renewal of Katusha's license, reportedly on grounds it did not meet ethical criteria.

    The MPCC was founded in 2007 as a reaction to the multiple doping scandals of that year's Tour de France. The member teams pledge to adhere to stricter standards than those required by current sporting governance.

    These rules include not hiring riders who have served doping suspensions longer than six months, excluding those due to whereabouts violations, and limiting the use of corticosteroids. 

    Late last year, the race organizers' association AIOCC decided it would give MPCC members priority in the allocation of wild card invitations to their events.

    Should Katusha fail in its bid to overturn the UCI's decision on its WorldTour application, and accept a lesser, Pro Continental status, it would rely solely on wild card invitations for entry to the sport's major events.

    New Katusha manager Viatcheslav Ekimov stated that the team is applying to the MPCC for membership to, "Demonstrate to our full commitment to the struggle of any anti-doping measures", "to give guidance to all further top Katusha team members concerning personal behavior and the general struggle of doping", and "to most meet the actual requirements as set by various tour operators and / or organizers".

    Katusha joins Astana

  • Sanchéz targets Giro title for Euskaltel

    The 2013 Euskaltel-Euskadi team
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 20:10 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Mikel Nieve and Igor Antón will lead new-look team’s attack at the Tour

    Euskaltel-Euskadi team leader Samuel Sánchez has added his name to the growing list of high-profile contenders for the Giro d’Italia title. Speaking at the Basque team’s presentation at Euskaltel’s company HQ in Derio on Wednesday, Sánchez said that the Giro is likely to be "a very closely fought race because it will have a very classy field". He picked out, "(Bradley) Wiggins, (Ryder) Hesjedal, (Robert) Gesink, (Juan José) Cobo, (Vincenzo) Nibali, (Michele) Scarponi and (Ivan) Basso," as being among his likely rivals.

    According to returning Euskaltel team manager Igor González de Galdeano, Sánchez will decide whether to start the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España once he has completed the Giro. González de Galdeano explained that the responsibility of leading the team at the Tour will fall on Sánchez’s co-leaders, Igor Antón and Mikel Nieve. He added that his principal goal is to finish among the top 15 teams in the WorldTour rankings.

    "This will be difficult," he confessed. "If you achieve this it means that you have taken some great results." As part of this primary goal, González de Galdeano said that his team’s objective will be "to win a stage in the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta". He continued: "If we can be in contention for the podium [at the Giro] so much the better as that would mean that Samuel would have taken a top three finish in all three Grand Tours."

    The fact that Sánchez...

  • Overseas ride the goal for Wells after Australian criterium win

    Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) shows off her medal
    Article published:
    January 10, 2013, 22:35 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Specialized-Securitor hoping national title puts her in spotlight

    Kimberley Wells was in a state of disbelief after taking out the Australian criterium title early Thursday evening. Wells won her first national championship in a photo finish against European professional Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) and hopes that she can use that momentum to gain a spot on a professional team overseas.

    Wells and her teammates were warming-down shortly after the race, ensuring their legs remain in good condition ahead of the Australian Road Race Championships on Saturday. For Wells, who really only focussed on cycling full-time since 2012, has been one of the top criterium riders in recent months but was elated with her biggest win to date.

    "It's massive to me, I just wanted this so badly," said Wells still in shock following her narrow win over Rowney. "For it to finally happen I just can't believe it.

    "I think it's going to take quite a while for it to sink in. It's such a big win for me and our team. We've really struck ourselves on the map," Wells told Cyclingnews.

    Wells' Specialized-Securitor teammates assisted her throughout the 30-lap women's race and have supported her superbly at the recent NSW Grand Prix races in December and the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic - which began on New Year's Day. Wells won the opening round on the tight Geelong course and took another podium finish on the way to third overall.

    The 27-year-old thanked her teammates during her post-race interviews and says the level of support given by her squad means she can concentrate solely on getting the job done....

  • Phelan hoping Australian U23 road title is just the ticket

    Adam Phelan (Drapac) has his game-face on
    Article published:
    January 11, 2013, 2:00 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Canberran unconcerned after time trial crash

    While there will be of course a lot of athletes who are gunning for a result in the Under 23 men's road race at the Cycling Australia Road National Championships on Saturday, one genuine contender's determination was on show for all to see during the time trial on Wednesday.

    Adam Phelan, off the back of an impressive performance at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, looked set to post a time which would have placed him inside the top five and easily on the podium when he rode too hot into one of the final corners with around one kilometre left to race. His immediate instinct was to go for his right brake when he should have been putting the squeeze on the left lever, his set up on his road bike. Phelan's back wheel locked up and next thing he knew he was on the asphalt.

    A decent chunk out of his shoulder, and some skin off his elbow, the 21-year-old had dropped his chain and also couldn't use his pedals properly. It meant for a much slower ride into the finish than what he'd been hoping and an 11th placing.

    "It shouldn't affect me too badly," Phelan told Cyclingnews. "There's a bit of soreness but all my bones are okay. It just makes me all the more hungry for the road race on Saturday."

    The 2013 edition of the Australian Championships brings Phelan full circle, having missed out on last year's event due to a head injury suffered during a December training camp with his team, Drapac Professional Cycling. Since, he's ridden with the Australian Under 23 Continental team,...

  • Tour Down Under performance key to Howson's next step

    Damien Howson charges to the line to take the gold medal in the U23 TT
    Article published:
    January 11, 2013, 5:12 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Under-23 TT winner tracing footsteps of past Australian champions

    The recently-crowned Australian under-23 time trial champion, Damien Howson, says he wants to follow in the footsteps of riders like Rohan Dennis and Luke Durbridge and use the opportunity of riding the Santos Tour Down Under to really put himself on the map.

    Second at the Australian National Championships, gold at the Oceania Time Trial Championships and bronze at the UCI World Championships in 2012 meant Howson was a hot favourite for the 29.2km test in 2013.

    "It was brought to my attention by a few people and also the pressure I put on myself," said Howson. "It was just a matter of putting it together on the day and make sure I got those green and gold bands."

    "The improvement that I've seen in myself over the past two years, there's been some huge steps forward. I always set myself goals along the way and for this year I think by winning the National's in the TT - I'll have to wait till Saturday - but they are two big objectives of mine," he told Cyclingnews.

    The 20-year-old Damien Howson took to the top step of the podium after winning the Australian under-23 Time Trial Championships on Wednesday and after a powerful ride in the criterium the following afternoon, it's all eyes on taking another national title in the 137.2km road race.

    Last year it was his former teammate Dennis who took both the TT and road titles before finally joining the Garmin-Sharp team at the end of 2012. It would appear that Howson is on track to repeat that same achievement.

    Howson's Stage 3 performance at last week's Jayco...

  • Knee injury rules Gavazzi out of Tour Down Under

    Francesco Gavazzi (Astana)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2013, 9:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Astana name Guarnieri as replacement

    Pro Team Astana has been forced to make a change to their Tour Down Under roster, with just over a week until the start of the WorldTour event.

    Francesco Gavazzi had been scheduled to make the trip to Australia with the team however the winner of the queen stage at the 2012 Tour of Beijing suffered a knee injury in training.

    "I have an inflammation of the cartilage around the left kneecap from simple overtraining. I have been suffering for 10 days, but hope to get it fixed soon," Gavazzi said.

    His replacement will be sprinter, Jacopo Guarnieri, who should prove to be handy support for new recruit Andrea Guardini who will be making his debut for the team at the event.

    Meantime, Gavazzi will undergo treatment from physiotherapists in an attempt to recover from his knee injury and hopes to resume racing in February.

    "For now I can only train at maximum for a few hours on the bike. With regards to our training camp in Alicante, it all depends on my knee, but I think I should be ready for the Ruta del Sol for certain," Gavazzi said.