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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 20, 2012

Date published:
January 20, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Olympic Games anti-doping lab unveiled

    British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson (L), London 2012 Chief Executive Paul Deighton (2L), and British businessman CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Andrew Witty (2R), are shown a vial of blood by British professor David Cowan (R), the head of Science for London 2012 and director of King's College London's Drug Control Centre
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 18:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    WADA and LOCOG push for cleanest Olympics

    The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today unveiled the WADA-accredited laboratory that will provide drug testing and analysis during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    Over 6,250 tests are planned during the Games, more than at any other Olympic competition, with the laboratory set to operate 24 hours a day. Professor David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London will oversee scientific operations, which will aim to have 24 hour turnarounds on some samples.

    In total 1000 staff will be employed by LOCOG with 150 anti-doping scientists. The facility has been provided by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

    “These laboratories are the most high-tech labs in the history of the Games, analysing more samples than ever before,” Professor Cowan said.

    “We have developed, with GSK support, super-fast and super-sensitive technologies to be able to detect use of prohibited substances. Our role is to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the lab to deliver robust anti-doping testing for the Games.”

    “The Anti-Doping process during the London 2012 Games will create a legacy of knowledge about operations and processes. In July 2011, GSK signed an agreement with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to share information about its medicines in development, while LOCOG will debrief on all processes.”

    Organisers are planning to test one in two athletes at the Olympic Games, and WADA have attempted to tighten the noose on cheats by working with Interpol and border-control agencies in the lead-in to the 2012. WADA believe that this measure is a cheaper and more effective way of dealing...

  • Freire finding speed in Tour Down Under

    Oscar Freire on the stage
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 19:46 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Stirling stage a good sprint for Spaniard

    Oscar Freire has never started racing as early as in mid-January since he turned pro with Vitalicio Seguros back in 1998, but despite less than idea condition, the three-time world champion is already testing himself in the sprints at the Santos Tour Down Under.

    "I need a few days before I find the speed for sprinting", he suspected at the start of stage 1 in Prospect. But no later than stage 2, he finished sixth in Stirling.

    "It was a good stage finish for me", he mentioned to Cyclingnews. "But I'm not in good shape. I haven't trained much. I only rode during the team training camp in Italy in December, then I went back home and there were the Christmas celebrations. The first efforts in competition are always difficult and when I got here in Australia, I caught a bit of a flu. I wasn't feeling well but that's passed. All I have in mind is to get into form at Tirreno-Adriatico."

    Talking about the finale of stage 2, he explained: "I had followed the right wheel, the one of Michael [Matthews, who placed second behind solo winner Will Clarke] but I got blocked and was forced to stop my effort. I wasn't able to win the sprint but that was for second place, so I don't have big regrets. I wanted to test myself. I didn't feel too bad but I also didn't feel good. Had I trained more before this race, I would have been motivated by the Willunga Hill stage on Saturday, but I'm not."

    The triple world champion (1999, 2001, 2004) is making his debut with the last team of his career after spending nine years with Rabobank, the team he joined after the dismissal of Mapei in 2002. "I don't feel any pressure at Katusha", the Spaniard said. "I already knew everyone from this team. The strange feeling is at the feed zone. In the past, I quickly...

  • Sutton confident Team Sky is not far from a win

    Chris Sutton
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 20:51 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Boasson Hagen still well placed in overall

    While things may not have gone quite as well for team Sky in this year’s Tour Down Under as they may have hoped, the team still boasts two stage podiums [Down Under Classic and stage 3], and a rider in Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen well placed in the overall standings.

    It says a lot about the team’s pedigree, with Michael Rogers, Chris Sutton, Geraint Thomas, along with "Eddy" creating a formidable squad. For whatever reason things haven’t quite clicked for the team, but Sutton is confident that a win is not far away – if not a shot at the GC.

    "We’ve got a really versatile team here,” said Sutton, “which gives us a lot of options, each and every rider here for us is incredibly strong.

    "I had a crack in the classic on Sunday but got bumped out of position, and never got back on to Edvald’s wheel.

    "Then on the stage to Clare, I got caught behind the crash in the last kilometre. I had to get across the gap to Geraint’s wheel. I made it across but I think I panicked a little bit and went a little too early. I was a bit annoyed at myself, but that’s those early season nerves."

    To make the series of close-calls that much more frustrating, the team’s designated sprinter for today’s stage to Victor Harbor, Edvald Boasson Hagen rode the final kilometre on a deflating tyre. In the circumstances his third place was impressive - Sutton however dispelled suggestions that the team was suffering from a barren run of ‘luck’.

    "No, no - I don’t believe in luck, you create your own opportunities. We just need to keep trying, we’re not far away."

  • GreenEdge "waiting to pounce" as Tour Down Under concludes

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 22:37 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    White says it would have been too early to wear ochre

    Ahead of the decisive two stages of the Santos Tour Down Under, WorldTour neophyte GreenEdge has two riders within striking distance of the general classification lead: Simon Gerrans and defending champion Cameron Meyer.

    Thursday's fourth stage to Tanunda has the potential to see several splits form in the peloton with two categorised climbs on a lumpy 130-kilometre parcours, including the Cat. 1 Menglers Hill late in the day which traditionally is the scene for a major break but with its late occurrence in 2012, could have a major bearing ahead of Saturday's queen stage.

    "You just have to be on high alert," GreenEdge sports director Matt White said following stage 3 in Victor Harbour. "You just have to be present in all the breakaways. But we have riders who can cover that and we have two of the best top 10 climbers here [Gerrans and Meyer], so it's all good."

    Leading into stage 4, Gerrans is 16 seconds back on the ochre jersey of Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) who many believe still has the potential to be competitive given his form despite the fact that it's not a day for the sprinters. Meyer is 20 seconds in arrears.

    "There are a few guys who are waiting to pounce like we are in the next two stages," said the 2011 overall winner.

    Griepel told reporters following his stage 3 win that he wouldn't have the climbing legs on Willunga to be a contender for the final general classification on Sunday. At this point, White agrees.

    "Andre has to win nearly every sprint to win it [the Tour]," he said. "He is definitely the fastest guy...

  • De Gendt in the hunt for overall at Tour Down Under

    Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil - DCM)
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 23:15 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Belgian eyeing Willunga hilltop finish

    At the Santos Tour Down Under, Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) took out both intermediate sprints as well as the day’s only king of the mountain on stage 3 to Victor Harbor, but the Belgian has his eyes on a bigger prize – the general classification.

    De Gendt has fond memories of the Australian WorldTour event; he was second on stage 4 last year, behind eventual overall winner Cameron Meyer (GreenEdge). That result marked the start of an impressive 2011, one where the 24-year-old rode to victories in Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse, as well putting in a strong time trial in Grenoble in the Tour de France.

    It prompted the Belgian to ask his team specifically to start his season again in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under, a race he credits for much of last year’s results. With the newly introduced hill-top finish at Willunga and the bonus seconds from today, De Gendt could actually make his general classification hope a reality.

    "More often than not, the Tour Down Under is decided by a matter of seconds," said De Gendt. "Taking bonus seconds here and there can make a big difference. You need to be able to hang on though on Willunga.

    "The pace up Willunga is going to be really quick this year. I think the average up the hill will be four km/h faster – so it’s going to be a lot harder."

    De Gendt’s time trial ability means he prefers a smooth fast climb, turning over that diesel to stay with the peloton rather than hitting out early.

    "I like to start at the back and just turn keep riding my own pace. I think I’ll start the climb on Saturday somewhere in the top 40 and that should be okay.

    "We will try, that's...

  • Roberts hoping to unseat Dennis in bid for fourth 'Tanya Denver' award

    Luke Roberts
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 9:29 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    South Australians battling it out at TDU for local rider classification

    The battle for the Tour Down Under general classification is set to come to a thrilling climax on Saturday, but it’s another battle that Luke Roberts (Saxo Bank) has his focus on. As a South Australian, Roberts is in a fierce competition with UniSA-Australia rider Rohan Dennis for the ‘Tanya Denver Award’, awarded to the best local rider.

    "It’s something you always keep in the back of your mind," said Roberts to Cyclingnews. "I think every year it’s a nice little bonus, if you target the GC and you finish up there you’re always a good chance to take the Tanya Denver award. It’s always nice to get up on the podium on the last day there in Elder Park."

    Roberts has won the award three times previously, in 2007, 2010 and 2011, but Dennis currently holds the edge with a three-second lead. Something that may play into the hands of the 34-year-old is the state of the King of the Mountain Classification.

    Dennis is the current jersey holder and, with two category one climbs up Willunga, the under 23 Australian road champion has stated his intent to take top points on the first climb and guarantee himself the jersey.

    "Tomorrow at the bottom of Willunga it will be all or nothing," said Dennis at the end of today’s stage in Tanunda, further adding that the general classification was less of a goal.

    Roberts, meanwhile, is firmly targeting the general classification and is extra motivated by the ‘special significance’ of the award. In theory that should be enough for Roberts to overtake the younger Dennis but nothing is guaranteed.

    "I’m happy with my form and I hope I can be right up there at Willunga for the finish. We'll see how it goes."

  • Video: Cervelo P5 up close

    The UCI-legal version shares many features of this triathlon aero bike
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 10:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Footage of new aero bike courtesy of our sister sites

    This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

    Cervélo launched their P5 aero bike amid much fanfare earlier this week and Tom Ballard, who works for one of our sister publications Triathlon Plus, was there to get the full scoop for BikeRadar, Cyclingnews and TriRadar.

    While he was at the launch on the Spanish island of Fuertaventura, Tom also filmed a video first look at aero version of the new bike. This version is specifically designed for triathletes but gives Cyclingnews users a feel for what the UCI-legal time trial bike, which is part of the same range, looks like.

    This focuses on some of its key features, like its hydraulic Magura RT8 TT brakes, 3T Aduro bars and Shimano Di2 electronic shifting. You can check out the video below:

  • Breschel recovered from injuries and ready to go

    Matti Breschel is determined to have a better season in 2012
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 11:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider to tackle Amstel Gold and L-B-L

    Matti Breschel's first year with Rabobank could be summed up in one word, and the word he used himself was “crap”. After an injury-filled 2011, the Dane is ready to stay healthy and show again what he can do.

    “Things are going well and I can feel that my form is good,” he told “I can feel a tingling inside me as it always used to do at this part of the season.”

    Breschel came to Rabobank last season to lead the Dutch team in the Spring Classics, but he ended up missing virtually the whole early part of the year with knee problems. He went into the Vuelta a Espana with an eye towards getting ready for the world championships in Copenhagen, but those hopes were dashed on the sixth stage. A crash in the neutral section led to hand surgery, which ended a frustrating season.

    Now he feels well, though, and is ready to start anew. He opens his season at the Mallorca Challenge (February 5-9) and the Volta ao Algarve (February 15-19).

    “And then the circus starts again in Belgium,” he said happily.

    "So there's races like Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and the other classics. I have to ride the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year instead of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix as usual."