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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 13, 2012

Date published:
July 13, 2012, 03:00
  • WADA expects ban of Armstrong associates to be accepted worldwide

    Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 17:57
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Banned but non-licensed people should be refused participation

    The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement on Wednesday in response to numerous inquiries regarding the case against Lance Armstrong and his former US Postal and Discovery Channel team associates who were charged by USADA of doping and a cover-up conspiracy, stating that any action taken by a WADA code signatory should be upheld by signatories worldwide.

    Not only are Michele Ferrari, Jose "Pepe" Martí and Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral not licensed by any sporting federation, they are not from the USA, which led UCI president Pat McQuaid to question the process of banning them. WADA has indicated that it is up to the sport organisations to comply.

    "WADA strongly recommends all Signatories to take such steps in order to protect athletes from unscrupulous individuals who have a proven record of being involved in doping activities," a statement from WADA read.

    "In the case of members of the athlete entourage that can happen in a number of ways, as the IOC and other international federations have demonstrated in the past by withdrawing accreditation or permission to be involved in events, refusing team membership or participation, and removing the right to be part of a medical or coaching commission for itself or National Federations.

    "In addition, most Signatories will immediately alert athletes not to seek treatment, guidance or advice from those banned, and to cease any association accordingly."

    USADA has clarified in the past that non-US citizens are covered under the WADA code which places the option to take action against individuals upon the signatory that discovers the evidence of an anti-doping violation, regardless of whether that individual was licensed by that agency.

    In regards to the non-licensed individuals, WADA cited article 15.4.1 of its code which reads: "Subject to the right to appeal provided in Article 13, Testing, therapeutic use exemptions and hearing results or other final adjudications of any Signatory which are consistent with the Code and are within that Signatory's authority, shall be recognized and respected by all other Signatories."

    This means that any action taken by USADA will be expected under the code to be enforced by all signatories worldwide, since the purpose of creating WADA in 1999 was to provide a system of anti-doping rules that could be agreed upon by all sports in all countries which agreed to the code.

    "Without this harmonization and mutual recognition the fight against doping in sport would revert to the pre-WADA days when there was little uniformity and consistency in terms of sanctioning and the decisions handed down to athletes and others," the agency's statement read.

    That very concept is now under attack by Armstrong's attorneys, who has filed a federal lawsuit questioning the jurisdiction of USADA and calling the proceedings against him "unconstitutional".

    The agency would not comment further on the case of Armstrong, stating, "As with all cases under the Code, both the International Federation concerned - the UCI - and then WADA has a right of appeal. Until the time for exercising such rights has passed it is inappropriate for WADA to comment further on specifics of the case."

  • Wiggins relieved after La Toussuire mountain finish

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 19:26
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Sky team boss Brailsford confident in Wiggins, pleased to have 1-2 on GC

    Bradley Wiggins faced his most difficult day so far in this year's Tour de France with multiple attacks from his opposition, but in a twist of fate, it was his Sky teammate Chris Froome who appeared to place him in the most amount of discomfort. The pair finished the day just two seconds apart with Froome moving into second overall but for a brief moment on the final climb Froome's strength had Wiggins struggling.

    The 148-kilometre stage from Albertville to La Toussuire was penciled in as the battle ground to test Wiggins's true mettle on the mountains after the British rider secured yellow last week in Porrentruy. With four cols sandwiched between the start and the mountain top finish in Les Sybelles today, the climbers had to attack.

    Cadel Evans (BMC) was the first GC threat to test Sky. Having sent his teammate Tejay van Garderen up the road on the lower slopes of the Col de la Croix der Fer, the Australian soon followed, latching onto van Garderen's wheel. However, with over 60 kilometres to race and with strength in numbers, Sky were able to reel in the defending Tour de France champion.

    Although Evans's attack decimated the field, there was a slight regrouping before the final climb to La Toussuire where Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) were among those that tried to break Sky's stranglehold on the race. With the key favourites down to just Wiggins, Froome, Nibali, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) and Van den Broeck – Evans had already cracked - Froome accelerated inside the final five kilometres.

    All were able to follow except for Wiggins, who briefly dangled off the back of the elite pack as his teammate surged forward. However, the order quickly came over Team Sky's radio into Froome's earpiece that Wiggins was in trouble and order was restored as the yellow jersey holder regained contact.

    "At that moment I was just concentrating on my effort and keeping in contact because I'd been riding [at the front] for a two and a half [or] two kilometres before that so we came down on that dip and I just had to clear the lactate," Wiggins said at the finish.

    "I didn't want to make any more of an acceleration but there was a lot of noise and things going on [with] the radio and a bit of confusion at that point as to what we were doing really. But yeah, I think he (Froome) showed today that he had the legs, certainly. It was another great day for the team, it really was.

    "I didn't have a radio at that point, my piece had fallen out, but this morning we certainly talked about Chris maybe attacking in the final and we'd already got rid of Cadel. This morning we'd talked about him maybe making the 20 odd seconds and moving up into second on GC because Chris wasn't 100 percent confident that he'd have the better of Cadel in the last time trial."

    With Wiggins having latched back on, Froome settled his pace to a more measured tempo but the episode provided evidence to suggest that Wiggins is not Sky's strongest rider in the mountains and that the race leader can be unsettled by sharp changes in pace. Sky came home intact, even putting valuable time into Evans and eliminating the threat of Denis Menchov completely, but with Nibali and Van den Broeck both appearing as worthy contenders for yellow they'll have seen cracks in Sky's position.

    Still, Wiggins admitted that he was relieved to have overcome today's stage.

    "Once Cadel had got dropped and we were in that little group, the sense of relief was sort of slightly overwhelming that we'd actually made it through this stage and we can tick that one off and in fact have taken more time off Cadel which I don't think we ever expected this morning," Wiggins said.

    At the Sky team bus Dave Brailsford appeared resolute but displayed some signs of stress. Although clearly pleased with the fact that Wiggins has distanced Evans and that Froome had moved into second on GC, the sight of Wiggins's slightest sign of weakness had been seized upon by the waiting media.

    When asked if Wiggins was vulnerable the Sky boss replied with more than a hint of sarcasm: "He looked vulnerable to me, he looks vulnerable in yellow, he's looked vulnerable all week, he's looked vulnerable all season.

    "At the end of the day, we're still in 1 + 2 on GC, what a fantastic place to be, and that's all we're worried about."

    However, when asked if Wiggins was the strongest rider Brailsford finished with a more direct response. "Look at the result of the time trial. Stands for itself, doesn't it? The fact of the matter is it's your job to make as much as you want out of this. We're in first and second on the Tour de France and let's look for a scandal."

  • Injury update: Wynants and Terpstra improving

    Thumbs up from Andy Schleck on the stage 4 start line.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 20:03
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour Devil will miss Tour but also on the mend

    Two injured riders have received good news: Maarten Wynants has been released from hospital, and Niki Terpstra's injuries will not hold him out of the Olympics. Even the Tour Devil had good news.

    Wynants (Rabobank) suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung in last week's sixth stage of the Tour de France, and since then has been in hospital in Nancy, France. But yesterday, he went home. “Never thought to be so happy with a dismissal: dismissed from hospital,” he tweeted.

    Terpstra's injuries from the first stage of the Tour of Poland have proven not to be as serious as feared, and the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider will be able to ride in the Olympics, Dutch national coach Leo van Vliet has announced.

    "There is nothing broken or torn. Niki has a deep wound in his knee, so he that he can't cycle at least the next two days,” he told ad.nl. 

    Terpstra is scheduled to ride both the road race and individual time trial at the Olympics.

    “Tour Devil” Didi Senft confirmed that he will miss the Tour this year for the first time, but that things are finally looking up after his surgery last month. 

    “I just got back from having my head x-rayed, the third time in three weeks, I feel like a Chernobyl reactor.,” he told Cyclingnews. “Today the results were much better and I can start doing more things every day, (unfortunately without the Tour).”

  • Froome breaks from the script at La Toussuire

    Christopher Froome (Sky) leads his teammate Bradley Wiggins
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 20:35
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Sky rider ordered to wait for Wiggins

    After running according to the agreed script for 10 days, Sky's Tour de France challenge experienced its first plot twist on stage 11 to La Toussuire. Four kilometres from the summit of the climb, Chris Froome ad-libbed by accelerating with such ferocity that he left yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins flailing off the back of the group of favourites.

    For a delirious 500 metres, it seemed as though the character actor Froome was about to overshadow the team's box office star. Quite what the studio would have made of it is anyone's guess, but within seconds the director had scrambled into action, and the frantic command to cut the action crackled over Froome's radio earpiece.

    His hand pressed against his ear, Froome duly followed orders and slowed the pace accordingly, allowing Wiggins to latch back on to the back of the group, where he would remain until the end of the stage.

    Happily for Sky, their chief nemesis Cadel Evans (BMC) had already been distanced (he dropped to fourth overall, 3:19 off Wiggins), and the only further frisson came in the final 500 metres, when Froome clipped off the front with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) to claim third place on the stage.

    On crossing the line, Froome was asked if he realised that his fierce effort had put Wiggins into difficulty. "I heard on the radio and they asked to slow down, so I waited for him," he said, before carefully and deliberating reiterating that he is happy to follow the preordained script.

    "I think Bradley's in a better position to win the Tour this year than I am to be honest," he said. "I follow orders at all costs. I'm part of a team and I have to do what the team ask me to do. He's just as strong as me I think and he's stronger than me in the time trial and we've still got a 50km time trial coming."

    While Wiggins showed his superiority in the time trial at Besançon, there is an increasing sense that Froome is stronger in the mountains. By ordering him simply to control affairs in the climbs, Froome could be forgiven for feeling the dice were loaded in favour of Wiggins.

    "It depends on how the team rides it, but this is how Team Sky are choosing to ride and I'm sticking to that," Froome said diplomatically, who insisted that the priority on the day was to put time into the struggling Evans. "It's obviously good to get more time on your rivals."

    Control

    Indeed, Evans' losses meant Froome moved up to second overall, 2:03 behind his leader Wiggins, and while the pair stumbled over their lines on the road to La Toussuire, the team remains very much in control of the race.

    Off the bike, of course, the team has also strained to be in control of every situation. Reporters at the rest day press conference were informed that questions on Twitter-circulated doping suspicions were off-limits. Subsequently, the team was understood to have been displeased by the attention Tuesday's newspapers afforded to its hiring of former Rabobank doctor Geert Leinders.

    After the stage, team principal Dave Brailsford was typically determined to put a wholly positive spin on a situation that will surely require delicate internal management. "At the end of the day, we're still in first and second on GC, what a fantastic place to be, and that's all we're worried about," he insisted, before admonishing a television journalist who dared to break from the party line and wonder if Wiggins was indeed the strongest rider on the Sky team.

    "Look at the result of the time trial. Stands for itself doesn't it? The fact of the matter is it's your job to make as much as you want out of this. We're in first and second on the Tour de France and let's look for a scandal."

    Froome, meanwhile, was gamely insisting that he was happy to play the role of lieutenant. Deep down, however, he must wonder if he is on the verge of a remake of last year's Vuelta a España, when he missed out on overall victory by just 13 seconds after Team Sky only belatedly elevated him above Wiggins to the role of leader.

    Asked if he would harbour regrets about such compliance if he were to end his career without a Grand Tour victory, Froome again chose to measure his words.

    "That's a thing I'm going to have to see in five or six years time," he said. "I'm happy with the work I'm doing here and I think I'm doing a really good job."

    Whether he still feels that way in the Pyrenees remains to be seen.

  • Evans fails after brave attack

    Cadel Evans (BMC) lost time on stage 11
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 21:05
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    BMC say Tour de France win is still possible

    Cadel Evans (BMC) made his intention clear with a daring attack on stage 11 of the Tour de France to La Toussuire, but the defending champion ended the stage with his Tour chances hanging by a thread after he dropped back on the final climb.

    The Australian started the stage in second place on general classification, 1:53 down on race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky), but after the first mountain finish, the defending champion sits in fourth, 3:19 down on the Sky leader.

    Evans was the first of the big favourites to try and unsettle Sky. It was well executed and daring, but in the end a futile strategy. Amaël Moinard, who had been in the day's early break, sat up. In the main peloton of favourites, Tejay van Garderen attacked on the lower slopes of the Col du Glandon. Sky seemed untroubled but would have been wary of the threat. The sight of Evans attacking next was certainly unexpected, especially with over 60 kilometres to go.

    The move shattered the bunch as Sky attempted to react and to keep Evans in check. At one point, the yellow jersey group contained just Wiggins, Michael Rogers, Richie Porte, Chris Froome, Vicenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot, Jurgen Van den Broeck, and Janez Brajkovic as the trio of BMC merged up ahead.

    "We were trying to rattle Wiggins a little, to try and isolate him from his team and put his team under pressure," van Garderen said at the finish.

    However when Moinard was dropped, there were signs that Evans wasn't in his best form. Van Garderen, riding his best ever stage in the mountains pressed on, distancing his captain briefly. Behind, Sky were able to control the situation, the gap never threatening to dislodge yellow from Wiggins's shoulders.

    The move was neutralised and by the lower slopes of the La Toussuire. Evans was unable to launch a second move when Nibali and van den Broeck both attacked. Inside the final kilometres, Evans could not match the pace set by Froome and Wiggins, and although van Garderen was able to help pace, for Evans, the damage had already been done.

    "Hats off to Wiggins. He kept his cool and stayed behind his guys and slowly pulled us back. I think it was the perfect day to launch a move because Sky was a little but under pressure. It's just a pity Cadel wasn't on his best day," van Garderen said.

    "Before he lost contact, I said if you have the legs you should go because Wiggins is looking a little isolated and then next thing you know he was coming of the back, and I was thinking this wasn't the plan. I did my best to try and pace him and limit our loses."

    Evans retreated to the team hotel at the finish, unwilling to talk to the press, a shame after a gutsy ride that although cost him time, will have won him many plaudits.

    Team manager Jim Ochowicz was on hand though and admitted that while the strategy helped Sky's position on GC, and eliminated a number of rivals, the Tour was not over for Evans and that yellow in Paris was still possible.

    "We had to test ourselves to see if we could either launch an attack or hold it or do it again. If we hadn't done that I think we'd be going into the Pyrenees thinking what do we do next? It was a strategy, it didn't work, we tried," he told Cyclingnews.

    "In the end, our strategy didn't work. We've got no bragging rights but we made an effort that needed to be done."

  • Nibali on the offensive on La Toussuire

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)  and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Cannondale) congratulate each other.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 22:01
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian makes his peace with Wiggins

    After vowing to take the battle to Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) was true to his word on the road to La Toussuire on stage 11 of the Tour de France, as he launched two dangerous attacks on the final climb.

    Although Nibali's attempts to put time into the Briton were ultimately frustrated, he did have the consolation of moving up to 3rd place overall after Cadel Evans (BMC) proved unable to follow when the pace ratcheted up in the closing five kilometres.

    Thursday morning's L'Équipe colourfully mused that Wiggins would have to surf through the Shark's waves if he is to win the Tour, and Lo Squalo dello Stretto made his first ripples midway up the final haul to La Toussuire.

    Nibali's initial attack with 10 kilometres to go was quickly snuffed out, but just when it was safe to get back in the water 500 metres later, he struck again, this time opening a decent gap over the dwindling group of favourites.

    "I was feeling good and I waited for the last climb to attack," Nibali said. "There weren't too many teammates with Wiggins, so I decided to go for it. I attacked twice. The first time they brought me back and then I tried again, because I wanted to make them work."

    Nibali held a 20-second advantage at one point as he bridged across to an earlier move featuring Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat). Further down the climb, however, Chris Froome was cranking into action in the service of Wiggins.

    "It was hard," Nibali said. "I saw that Froome was very strong and as always he showed himself to be a wonderful gregario. He did all of the dirty work on the climb."

    By the time Nibali was pegged back with 5 kilometres remaining, however, Evans had been unceremoniously deposited out the back of the yellow jersey group. Nibali now holds a lead of almost a minute over the Australian and has positioned himself as the man most likely to trouble Sky's pre-eminence. "I didn't think we'd drop Evans," Nibali said. "He's a great champion as we all know and anyone can have a day of crisis."

    Nibali will have been an interested observer in the finale as a show of force from Froome saw Wiggins briefly distanced off the back of the group of favourites. "Yes, Wiggins had left a little gap," he said. "We were all up there but we also all a bit tired as the pace was very high and on the climb we had all made a lot of accelerations, so it was logical that it was difficult to follow."

    After accusing Wiggins of a show of disrespect at the previous day's finish in Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, Nibali also revealed that the pair had spoken about the matter on Thursday. According to one source, Wiggins's contentious glare was at Maxime Monfort (RadioShack-Nissan), who he felt had ridden carelessly in the finishing straight.

    "He said that look wasn't for me," Nibali said. "That's the beauty of cycling right there, we can talk calmly and clear things up amongst ourselves. Wiggins has been a great rival. And he has great teammate in Froome."

  • Farrar battles on at Tour de France

    Stage 4 was a frustrating day for Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) as he flatted inside the final 5km and finished 14 seconds behind Boonen..
    Article published:
    July 12, 2012, 23:52
    By:
    Cycling News

    American hopes for better in remainder of race

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) was one of the worst affected in the crash-strewn opening week of the Tour de France but in spite of his travails on the first mountain stages of the race, the American sprinter is looking to manage his injuries and continue to Paris.

    Farrar hit the deck three times in as many days last week. The crash at Saint-Quentin that ruined his chances of contesting the sprint and saw him in an atypically angry confrontation with Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) grabbed the headlines, but it was his fall the following day on the road to Metz that hit the hardest.

    "The last of the three was the worst of them," Farrar told Cyclingnews. "That one messed me up pretty well. It was touch and go for a couple of days if I was going to continue but it’s slowly getting better and I think I’m slowly working my way back into the race."

    Farrar’s worst moment would come the following day on the road to La Planche des Belles Filles. While first his own Garmin-Sharp team and then Sky set a relentless tempo on the approach to the final climb, Farrar was left dangling off the back of the peloton. "That was by far the lowest point," Farrar said. "It wasn’t even an issue of the speed in the peloton, it was that my back was destroyed that day.

    "We actually went straight to the hospital after the stage and had some CT scans to make sure I hadn’t broken something in the crashes, because if I had I would have stopped. Luckily it showed that it was all clear and that it was just muscle damage, so I can grit my teeth and fight through that."

    Straining to stay in contact with the peloton is as much a mental challenge as a physical one, and Farrar admitted that were it not the Tour, he would already have packed his suitcase and headed for home.

    "It wasn’t that I was riding as hard as I could, it was that my body was incapable of riding hard so it just becomes more of a mental game than a physical game at that point," he said of weekend. "You just have to remind yourself that this is the Tour. I’ll be honest - with the crashes I had, if this wasn’t the Tour, I wouldn’t still be here, but the Tour is something special.

    "This year at Garmin we had more than nine riders who were good enough and deserved a spot on our team. So I reminded myself that there were guys sitting at home who hadn’t been given the chance, so I needed to stick it out as long as I could."

    Mercifully, Farrar was able to use Monday’s Besançon time trial as something of a recovery day - "although I had to move the pads on my aero-bars around a little bit to avoid the various wounds," he explained - and after the rest day on Tuesday, he was hopeful that his Tour had turned a corner.

    Farrar finished safely in the autobus on the first day in the high mountains, and lies one place ahead of Lanterne Rouge Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), determined to give a different slant to his Tour over the coming ten days.

    "As a team we had a pretty disastrous first week and we’ve had to sit down and re-evaluate," he said. "Some of the goals we had coming into the Tour are gone. We don’t have a GC rider anymore. The team GC is gone. We’ve had to change a bit but we still have guys who can go in breaks and try for stage wins. And I would like to think that by the time the next sprint stage rolls around I’ll be able to actually take a crack at it again."

    Without an individual win since stage three of last year’s Tour, however, Farrar is aware that his chances to break his duck in the remainder of this race are thin on the ground. Indeed, that win in Redon apart, Farrar has enjoyed precious little luck in his Tour career.

    "That’s just sport," he shrugged. "I would love to have things go a little better in the second half of the Tour."

     

  • Menchov's podium goal crushed by Sky

    Denis Menchov turned himself inside out on the climb
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 01:10
    By:
    Cycling News

    Katusha leader loses huge time to rivals

    Denis Menchov (Katusha) could do nothing but watch, like a spectator, as his Tour hopes disappeared up the road – lead by the dominant force of the Sky Procycling team. Menchov was looking forward to the final week of the Tour, where he believes his strength comes to the fore, to stamp his position as one of the best grand tour riders in the peloton.

    Alas, stage 11 didn’t go to plan for the Russian and he finished over 14 minutes behind stage winner Pierre Roland (Europcar) and just one minute less to overall leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky). It was a big blow for the man who has won the Vuelta a España multiple times (2005, 2007) and the Giro d’Italia in 2009. Not to mention he’s no Tour rookie, finishing third in 2008 and second overall in 2010.

    “Now, obviously, the goal of trying to fight for final victory is gone. Anyway, I can still hope for a good position in the overall standings. What happened to me can happen to anyone and over the next days I will try to recover my energies to achieve the best possible position,” Menchov said.

    Prior to the stage to Les Sybelles Menchov was sitting in fifth place, just 3:02 behind Wiggins however, following the second proper mountain stage of the Tour he’s now in 16th and 16:20 in arrears.

    “Today was a bad day for me, recognised - and that's a surprise for me because the last few days I felt good. I cannot really say why I felt like this. I could not keep pace of the group of the favourites, so I dropped and continued my pace. I have to also thank my teammates because they waited for me,” he said.