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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 1, 2012

Date published:
June 01, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Riis hopeful of signing Contador

    Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis
    Article published:
    May 31, 2012, 11:25 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Spaniard's ban expires on August 5

    Bjarne Riis hopes to tie Alberto Contador to a contract in the next few weeks. The Spaniard was released from his contract with Riis Cycling and Saxo Bank after the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down a two-year retrospective ban earlier this year for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. Contador had signed for Riis for the start of the 2011 season but due to his ban cannot return to cycling until August, when he will target both the Vuelta a España and Worlds.

    However, recent speculation has linked Contador with a number of teams, including Astana, RadioShack, Movistar and the creation of a new Spanish team. With Saxo Bank's current sponsorship coming to an end this year - although Riis says they're keen to commit to the future - Contador's signature could be the key to the continuation of any Riis and Saxo Bank's relationship.

    "When I have something concrete to say then I'm going to say it," Riis told Cyclingnews. “We're working on it and of course I want him to stay in the team. This is what both parties want. Of course there's lots of speculation but I have good feeling."

    Asked why Alberto Contador has not categorically stated he would sign for Riis, the Dane added: "There have been reasons for that. As far as I understand there are also the UCI rules that we have to follow on what we can do. Hopefully we'll have something soon but I'm looking around."

    Riis went to say that Contador was the best rider he'd ever worked with, reaffirming his belief that despite his ban from cycling he believed that the Spaniard was innocent.
     

  • Coppel looks to follow in Wiggins' path

    Jerome Coppel (Saur - Sojasun).
    Article published:
    May 31, 2012, 12:23 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman aims at Dauphiné and Tour de France

    Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) is taking inspiration from Bradley Wiggins as he prepares for the Tour de France. A solid time triallist, Coppel continues to make strides in the mountains and is aiming to follow in the footsteps of the Briton and develop into a stage race contender.

    “I’m a long way from his level, but seeing Wiggins finish fourth in the Tour [in 2009 – ed.] reassured me with the idea that it was possible to be a good rouleur and a good climber,” Coppel told L’Équipe.

    The 25-year-old Frenchman finished 13th overall at the Tour twelve months ago, and with significantly more time trialling on the route in 2012, Coppel aspires to a place in the top ten this time around. His cause could well be helped if Wiggins’ Sky team look to impose a steady pace in the high mountains.

    “When there’s hard attacking, I get a bit asphyxiated,” Coppel said. “At the Galibier and Alpe d’Huez last year, I blew straight away, but afterwards, when I got into a rhythm, I made up the ground on a lot of people. I climb like a rouleur, but if I manage myself well at the foot of the climb, I’m capable of following the leaders for a long time.”

    In spite of his solid showing last July, Coppel’s performance went largely unnoticed by the wider French public, thanks in no small part to the exploits of Europcar pair Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland.

    “In another year, 13th place would have made me the first Frenchman. But if people didn’t talk about me, it’s because French cycling had a super Tour,” Coppel said. “Above all, I saw what I was capable...

  • Operacion Galgo comes to an end in Spain

    Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes
    Article published:
    May 31, 2012, 17:09 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Charges against Eufemiano Fuentes dismissed

    Operacion Galgo, or “Operation Greyhound,” the Spanish investigation into an alleged blood doping ring involving Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes has been closed due to “a lack of evidence.”

    In an order dated May 24 and released on Wednesday, Judge Mercedes Perez dismissed the charges against the twelve defendants. The Madrid Provincial Court had already ruled in March that the telephone interceptions and searches carried out as part of the probe were invalid.

    “There are no reasonable grounds for having committed the acts which gave rise to the formation of this case,” Perez wrote in his dismissal of the proceedings, according to AFP.

    Operacion Galgo first entered the public domain in December 2010, when Spanish police arrested 14 people, including Fuentes, his sister Yolanda and the middle-distance runner Marta Dominguez.

    Fuentes was previously at the centre of the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation, which broke ahead of the 2006 Tour de France and eventually led to sanctions against a number of riders, including Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi and Alejandro Valverde.

    In late 2011, it emerged that Fuentes and former ONCE manager Manolo Saiz would be among six people to stand trial for their part in Operacion Puerto. A date for the hearing has yet to be fixed, although details of the written statements presented to the Madrid court were leaked by El Pais in March.

     

  • Video: Phinney on battle for Olympic time trial slot

    Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 31, 2012, 19:09 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final Giro time trial upset by lead moto

    After making headlines at the beginning of the Giro d’Italia for his prologue victory and his finishing straight crash in Horsens, Taylor Phinney (BMC) reached Milan looking to bookend his race with a strong showing in the concluding time trial.

    Phinney knew that a solid performance in the test would buttress his chances of getting the nod to represent the United States in the individual time trial at the London 2012 Olympics, even if he acknowledged that it would be difficult to leapfrog David Zabriskie (Garmin-Barracuda) and Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

    “The Milan time trial was really an important target of mine for the last couple of weeks, it was sort of the carrot I was chasing,” Phinney told Cyclingnews. “For myself to qualify as an Olympic spot, I needed to have a good result in that time trial. It wasn’t an automatic qualifier but it would have been a good way to show my abilities because you’ve got Dave Zabriskie winning races and Levi Leipheimer who’s always good.”

    To Phinney’s dismay, however, his progress was stalled when his lead motorbike veered off course, and the American brought the curtain down on his Giro in 16th place in the time trial, 1:31 down on his BMC teammate Marco Pinotti.

    “I wanted to have a good race in Milan but unfortunately I had a lead moto that kind of took me off course at a certain time,” Phinney said. “One could argue that we need to know the race course but after 21 days when you can only see it once and it’s a 30k course that has at least 30 turns in it, it’s a lot to ask.”

  • Theo Bos raced Giro d'Italia with broken vertebrae

    Theo Bos
    Article published:
    May 31, 2012, 20:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Herning crash damage revealed weeks later

    Rabobank sprinter Theo Bos learned today that he had completed two weeks of the Giro d'Italia with a broken back. Bos crashed in the final bend leading into the bunch sprint on the second stage in Herning, Denmark on May 6, but raced on through the pain through stage 16 after which he withdrew.

    "Even after the Giro, I was still suffering," Bos said. "I had a lot pain after cycling, which was not so crazy as it turns out."

    The 28-year-old was diagnosed with a fractured L3 vertebrae in his lower spine, and will be forced to rest for the next few weeks to let it heal.

    "I have ridden quite long with the pain, so there was no recovery. Now I will just take it really easy for two weeks, and the fracture should heal with rest. This is really frustrating, but at the same time I'm happy that it is clear where the pain is coming from."

    Bos, a former world champion and Olympic medalist on the track, transitioned to the road in 2009. He's won stages of the Vuelta Murcia, Castilla y Leon, Tour of Oman and Tour of Denmark, but in 2011 he struggled with a blocked iliac artery. After undergoing surgery during the off-season, Bos scored a victory in Dwars door Drenthe and two stage wins in the Presidential Tour of Turkey before being selected for Rabobank's Giro d'Italia team.

  • Kristin Armstrong says she will be in top form for London Olympics

    Kristin Armstrong (Exergy) happy to be racing in her home town.
    Article published:
    May 31, 2012, 22:30 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    2008 Olympic TT champion more determined than ever following recent clavicle fracture

    Kristin Armstrong told Cyclingnews Wednesday there is "no question" she will be in top form for the London Olympics if USA Cycling's selection committee puts her on the team when it announces its decision June 15.

    "As far as being ready and being medal capable, which is what is described in all the selection procedures, yeah, there's no question," Armstrong said.

    The 2008 Olympic time trial champion broke her clavicle May 24 after crashing during the prologue time trial of the Exergy Tour in her hometown of Boise, Idaho. Surgeons repaired the break with one screw the following morning, and she was at the finish of stage 1 just hours later to watch her Exergy-Twenty12 teammate Theresa Cliff-Ryan take the win.

    Armstrong is in a tight battle for the two Olympic time trial spots the US has earned this year, competing neck-and-neck with a list of riders that includes Specialized-lululemon teammates Amber Neben and Evelyn Stevens, who finished 1-2 during the time trial stage of the Exergy Tour and then swapped spots for the overall.

    While the final allocations have yet to be confirmed, the US will likely have two time trial spots and four road race spots for the London Games; the two riders selected for the time trial will also compete in the road race. Placing in the top three of the 2011 world championships was the only way to earn an automatic spot on the London time trial team, and because no rider achieved that result, both spots will be filled at the discretion of the five-rider selection committee. Dylan Casey, Jeanne Golay, Jeff Pierce,...

  • Tour de France spots on the line for Orica GreenEdge at Dauphiné

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2012, 1:19 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Weening the man to watch, says White

    Orica GreenEdge sports director Matt White has told Cyclingnews that the team's line-up for the Tour de France is far from being settled with three races left to decide the final nine.

    "I don't want to speculate on exact numbers but there are a couple of spots," he said ahead of the Critérium du Dauphiné which begins Sunday.

    Three programs are being run by the team in the lead up to the second grand tour of the season, with performances at the Tour de Suisse and the Tour du Slovenie also being taken into consideration along with how recovery from illnesses and injuries are progressing.

    Already believed to be locked in for Orica GreenEdge are Matt Goss, Simon Gerrans, Stuart O'Grady, Pieter Weening, Sebastian Langeveld and Daryl Impey.

    While the team is "not expecting much" from Gerrans given the Australian national road champion will be coming off an altitude block, White says that the Dauphiné is an important race for Weening. The Dutchman had been planning to start his season at the Tour of Sardinia having spent much of his pre-season preparation in Australia. The race was cancelled meantime, Weening developed a knee injury pushing his season back a further six weeks. The 31-year-old eventually began racing at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire, a performance that really impressed White.

    "It just...

  • Movistar announces Tour de France long team

    Movistar pushes the pace in the peloton.
    Article published:
    June 01, 2012, 3:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Ten riders vie for nine spots in July

    The Movistar team today named a list of ten riders from which will come the final nine-man selection for the Tour de France. The contenders, who have been training at altitude in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain, include Alejandro Valverde, winner of the Vuelta a Andalucia, runner-up on the Tour Down Under and third place in Paris-Nice this year, as well as 2011 Vuelta champion Juan Jose Cobo.

    Also on the list is Rui Costa, who claimed third in the Tour de Romandie, José Joaquín Rojas, David Arroyo, Rubén Plaza, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Vladimir Karpets and Vasil Kiryienka. Ignatas Konovalovas and David López will act as reserves.

    Most of the team has been in the mountains in Granada for the past two weeks, but will soon be heading to either to France for the Critérium du Dauphiné or to the Tour de Suisse.

    While the team did not reveal which riders will participate in which races, the preliminary rosters for the Critérium du Dauphiné list Cobo, Arroyo, Erviti, Kiryienka and Plaza while Valverde, Costa, Gutierrez, Karpets and Rojas are listed under the Tour de Suisse.