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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 3, 2011

Date published:
June 03, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Gesink, Martin look to Dauphiné time trial as Tour test

    German Tony Martin fulfilled his promise in the Paris-Nice time trial
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 1:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Grenoble time trial a preview to July

    Rabobank's Robert Gesink and HTC-Highroad's Tony Martin are just two of the top climbers who will look to the Criterium du Dauphiné for the final true test of form ahead of the Tour de France.

    The race offers a unique opportunity to preview a Tour stage in competition, since the stage 3 42.5km time trial in Grenoble exactly mirrors that of the penultimate stage of the Tour de France.

    "It's a first. This never happened before and it will obviously be a genuine test for the Tour contenders, not just a reconnaissance. All kind of riders will find what they're looking for in this route. The two big difficulties of the week will be this time trial and the ascent to the Col du Glandon before the finish in La Toussuire on the last day," said race director Bernard Thevenet.

    Brian Holm, directeur sportif for HTC-Highroad, said, "Tony Martin will be seeing what he can do in the Grenoble time trial, which is identical to the one in the Tour, so that's a great opportunity for him to get to know it."

    Gesink, who last year rode the Tour de Suisse in preparation for the Tour is hoping to show off his much improved time trialing abilities on Wednesday.

    The Dutch rider won the 18.5km time trial en route to overall victory in the Tour of Oman at the start of the year, and since then has placed top 10 in both the Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta al Pais Vasco tests.

    Rabobank for Critérium du Dauphiné: Carlos Barredo, Lars Boom,...

  • Coppel returns to Dauphiné with more ambition in 2011

    Jerome Coppel (Saur-Sojasun)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 4:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    24 year old Frenchman targeting Tour de France

    Jerome Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) will return to the Critérium du Dauphiné this week with one eye on the podium after last year’s fifth place overall. The 24 year-old Frenchman is hailed by many within France as the real deal, and like others before him (Philippe Gilbert and Rémy Di Grégorio) seems to have really come out of his shell after leaving Marc Madiot’s Francaise des Jeux at the end of 2009.

    "The Critérium du Dauphiné [last year] was the confirmation that I could keep up with the big guns. After the mountain stage [on l’Alpe d’Huez], I knew where I stood, and that helped me to draw a real career plan. I am ambitious, but I know what I’m capable of," said Coppel.

    So far in 2011 the Frenchman has had a fairly measured season. Some consistent results in March and April in smaller stage races (2nd in Tour of Murcia, 4th in Ruta del Sol, 5th in Castilla y Leon) gave the Saur-Sojasun rider confidence, but despite not winning yet this year the Frenchman is on track to be in top condition for the Tour de France.

    "My whole team want to shine in the big races we’re invited on but I won’t start the Critérium du Dauphiné in a shape as good as last year’s. In 2010, I was at my best. Since I’m young, I know I can’t be at my best for two months and I have to be on top in July," Coppel said.

    The route for the 2011 Dauphiné looks, at least on paper, significantly harder than last year’s edition. Coppel rode some of the course last month as part of his reconnaissance for the Tour de France and agreed with this assessment, adding that he won’t be going too deep...

  • Ricco lashes out at doping accusations

    Riccardo Ricco happy after his Coppa Sabatini win
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 9:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kidney failure can happen to anyone, Italian says

    Riccardo Ricco is happy to return to cycling but lashed out against those who accused him of doping during his recent health problems. The controversial Italian again insisted, “I have not done anything.”

    After rumours of being offered a contract with Amore e Vita, it was announced Wednesday that Ricco would sign with the Croatian Continental-ranked Meridiana-Kamen team, and start n the Tour of Serbia later this month.

    The 27-year-old served a twenty-month suspension for doping and started this season for Vacansoleil-DCM. In February he was hospitalised in critical condition, allegedly telling a doctor that he had given himself a blood transfusion. He later denied having said that. Vacansoleil later fired him.

    “My position is very clear: I have not done anything, I was hospitalised for kidney failure, a problem that could happen to anyone, even to that individual who leads a perfect life,” he said in a statement issued to the press.

    “Regarding my serenity, I can say I have never been so calm. This experience made me realise who the real people are to trust. It made me realise that, to combat doping in cycling we do not want to confess, but to get facts.”

    His new team has welcomed him, “with open arms and I do not have any problem. I would rather hear from the person who represents me as a cyclist, that my return is an important event to get a...

  • Traksel fears career end due to nerve damage in hand

    Bobbie Traksel in his new team colors
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 10:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Unable to use left hand since April training crash

    A hand injury suffered in a training crash in April may spell the end of Bobbie Traksel's career. The Landbouwkrediet rider has gone through surgery and numerous tests and hospital visits, but to no avail.

    Due to nerve damage, “my hand feels dead, and the doctors wonder if the feeling will ever return,” he told De Telegraaf.

    Traksel crashed while training in April. He landed on both arms, but fractured his left hand. One nerve was so badly damaged that it died.

    Another hospital visit this week gave him some hope, but only in the far future. Some feeling is returning to the hand, and tests showed that the dead nerve is regenerating, but very slowly.

    The dead nerve is growing again at the rate of one millimetre a day. “I was startled. I did not believe it. That means 150 days in which I can't do anything. One millimetre per day. That is a frustrating speed for a cyclist.”

     “You simply can't do anything with a dead hand,” he said. “Cycling is not an option. I cannot brake, can't shift, can't hold my wheel. Today I'll go buy running shoes because I have to do something to try to keep in shape."

    Traksel at least knows that his team is sticking to him. "I'm lucky: Gerard Bulens, the boss at Landbouwkrediet, has strongly committed to me. "You just make sure that the hand is better again, because you still need it after cycling," he told me last week."

  • Light schedule for Contador before Tour de France

    Giro champion Alberto Contador with his winner's trophy.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 11:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Riis to narrow down Tour short list

    Rest and relaxation are what Saxo Bank-SunGard has ordered for Giro d'Italia winner Alberto Contador, with the Spaniard set to scale down his race programme between now and the start of the Tour de France on July 2.

    “Now he can relax a little, and so we look calmly forward and later make the program prior to the Tour,” Bjarne Riis told the Ritzau news agency.

    Contador will skip the Tour de Suisse and Criterium du Dauphine, the traditional Tour-lead up races.

    “The only thing that maybe he should ride is the national championships in Spain. I would basically like to see him ride both the road race and the time trial, but we will see about that a little later,” Riis said.

    Contador may not race, but will make a trip to France to pre-ride some of this year's key stages, Riis said.  It has not yet been decided which teammates will accompany him.

    There are still 14 teammates in the running to be amongst the eight to support Contador in the Tour, and Riis hopes to name his final nine before the Danish championships, to be held the end of this month.  “There are 14 riders in the game for the Tour. Now we see how it goes in the Dauphiné and in Switzerland.”

     

  • Saugy said to have reported Armstrong samples to FDA

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) has had a quiet race on the bike but faced tough questions off it
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 12:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sources claim Swiss lab director knew who the samples were from

    Swiss anti-doping laboratory director Martial Saugy told US authorities last fall that Lance Armstrong's doping controls from the 2001 Tour de Suisse were “suspicious” and “consistent with EPO use,” the Associated Press has reported.

    This contradicts earlier statements from Saugy, in 2001 the lab's scientific director, who had previously said publicly that he did not know who the four “suspicious” doping samples were from.

    Last week he confirmed to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung that there were four “suspicious” samples, but that they were anonymous. The subject first came to light when Tyler Hamilton discussed it on the “60 Minutes” television programme.

    His claims that he did not know the name of the person or persons who submitted the doping controls in question “was contrary to what he said in his statement made to officials from the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration and anti-doping authorities, the person familiar with the investigation told the AP. Though Saugy was not under oath, there are potential legal ramifications for lying to authorities working on a federal probe.”

    The AP said that it could not reach Saugy for comment on the story.

    Saugy told US authorities on three different occasions about the Armstrong tests and said that he would turn over the results to anti-doping officials, the AP reported. “But he never produced them, which prompted the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to send him a letter in...

  • No Tour de France this year for Taylor Phinney

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) rides in defense of his TT title.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2011, 17:33 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    BMC neo-pro to focus on Worlds

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) has confirmed to Cyclingnews that he will not ride this year's Tour de France. He will instead focus on the Worlds later this season.

    The American neo-pro has had a season blighted by injury and illness and although a recent stint of racing in the US with the Amgen Tour of California and national championships saw Phinney show glimpses of his promise, he has decided to miss this year's Tour.

    "I was going to do the Dauphine but I had a rough last week with a couple of all-day travel days that I wasn't expecting and then a virus that had me knocked out with a fever for another few days. Then I had the nationals and had a tough weekend there. My body is telling me I need a bit of a break and that's what the BMC staff think is good for me," Phinney told Cyclingnews.

    "My next race isn't until the Tour de Wallonie which is in July so it's about cutting the season in half. I'll go back to Tuscany in the next few days and just hang out with Max Sciandri. I'll get back into the rhythm and live the life of a bike rider until the middle of July."

    Phinney's absence from the Tour de France will give another BMC rider the chance to ride the Grand Tour but the American is happy to see a spot going to a more deserving rider.

    "Personally I'd feel like I was taking a spot from someone who is working really hard to get there. To be honest I don't want to go there and just finish half of it and I'd rather do the whole thing.

    "The team had a long list of 15 guys and I was on there but just how the season has panned out and how I've been able to respond from some other races and also having talking to older guys like Cadel [Evans], I think that has a neo-pro and with the problems I've...

  • Arriagada facing prospect of retirement after four year ban

    Marco Arriagada (Chile) won the overall title.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2011, 6:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Chilean rider failed five separate doping tests in 2011

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has recommended the maximum possible suspension be handed down to Marco Arriagada after the Chilean rider failed five separate doping tests earlier this year.

    The UCI has no actual authority to suspend Arriagada directly, but expects the Chilean cycling federation to enforce the suspension, based on the serious nature of the offences. Arriagada’s suspension comes in the wake of a number of South American’s failing drug tests in the past few months.

    Arriagada has won the Tour de San Luis and Tour de Chile so far this year and was the number one ranked rider on the UCI America Tour, before being provisionally suspended at the end of spring.

    The 35 year old is one of Chile’s most well known and successful cyclists, but with the possibility of being faced with a four year ban, he will likely retire from the sport.