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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 7, 2013

Date published:
June 07, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Yellow jersey day an "awesome" experience for Rohan Dennis

    Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) moved into the race lead
    Article published:
    June 06, 2013, 18:25 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin rider loses Dauphiné lead, but still in podium fight

    Rohan Dennis and his Garmin-Sharp team put in a valiant defence of the yellow jersey on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, but the Australian was powerless to stop the top climbers in the race and eventually lost his race lead to stage winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the slopes of Montée de Valmorel.

    Garmin controlled the peloton through the early section of the stage, helping to limit the gap to a 15-man break. At the approach to the summit finish of Montée de Valmorel the American team positioned Dennis on Chris Froome's wheel and with under five kilometres to go it looked as though the 24-year-old would be able to cling to his eight-second race lead.

    However, with the two-kilometre to go banner in sight, Dennis lost contact with the lead group, eventually finishing 14th on the stage, 59 seconds down on Froome but still holding onto third place overall.

    "That was tough. There was pressure from the get go with 15 guys up the road but the team did a great job in delivering me to the foot of the climb right on the back of Sky. I just tried to do what I could, but Chris Froome and Richie Porte are just a little bit too strong I think," he told Cyclingnews at the finish.

    "I just couldn't hold on. I started drifting and I knew that the last two or three kilometres eased up a bit, and I was hoping it would come a little bit quicker and that I could hold on for a little bit longer, but they really turned on the gas."

    Dennis was surprise leader of the race after pulling out an impressive ride in Wednesday's

  • Rolland left frustrated after Dauphiné crash

    Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar)
    Article published:
    June 06, 2013, 20:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Team Europcar rider hoping for a stage victory

    While Chris Froome and Team Sky celebrated another victory and race leader's jersey, Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) could only lick his wounds and try to refocus after a crash 20km from the finish as the peloton jockeyed for position before the climb to the finish.

    The Frenchman was unhurt but his pride took a beating. He initially tried to chase back to the front group but eventually eased off on the climb to Valmorel, finishing 4:50 behind Froome. After a disappointing time trial on Wednesday, he is now 36th overall, 7:21 behind Froome.

    "My legs are good but I was caught up in a crash, 20km from the finish and I lost a good minute," he told after the stage.

    "When the peloton approaches the foot of a climb everyone becomes nervous as if it's a sprint. People brake late, too late, and it gets amplified and causes crashes. I'm not hurt at all, the bike took it. I had to put my chain back on and in the meantime the peloton had gone. Et voilà."

    "I tried to chase but it wasn't worth it with Sky riding hard up front. There's no difference between finishing two minutes or four minutes back. Now I'm out of the GC, I'll focus on trying to win a stage during the weekend."

    Getting ready for the Tour de France

    Rolland finished eighth overall in the 2012 Tour de France and won stage 11 to La Toussuire. He has serious overall ambitions for this year's more mountainous Tour de France but is keen to test his form and land a morale-boosting victory.

    "It's obviously frustrating because there aren't fifty summit finishes a year like this one. It's a great finish for me," he lamented.

    "I can only hope to have a good weekend in the hope...

  • Move to Saxo-Tinkoff strictly financial, says Rogers

    Michael Rogers leads Alberto Contador near the front of the peloton
    Article published:
    June 06, 2013, 21:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Sky's zero tolerance doping stance not reason for transfer

    Michael Rogers' move from Team Sky to Saxo-Tinkoff Bank at the end of 2012 was one of the more surprising transfers of last season. It wasn't just the fact that Sky had lost one of their most important riders, but also the timing of the transfer, which came within weeks of the British team asking all their staff to sign an anti-doping declaration.

    However, the Australian has told Cyclingnews that the move was simply down to financials, with Saxo-Tinkoff offering him a more lucrative two-year deal that will probably see him through to his retirement.

    "I was negotiating and I was still negotiating with Sky and we came close to a deal but at the end of the day there was simply a better offer for me at Saxo Bank," Rogers told Cyclingnews at the Dauphine.

    "I had better financial details here. So contrary to what most people thought, and everyone thought that Sky kind of got rid of me, it was my decision to leave. I mean, I'm in the last couple of years of my career."

    Rogers was an integral cog in Sky's 2012 Tour de France winning machine. His experience as a road captain, coupled with his pace-setting abilities in the mountains, made him one of the most respected super-domestiques in the bunch.

    Sky's zero-tolerance stance on doping came after the USADA report into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. Bobby Julich and Stephen de Jongh, the former of which was a redacted name in the report, were forced to leave the team after admitting to doping during times in their careers. Sky's pledge involved all staff having to sign a document stating that they had never taken drugs in sport, nor been part of any doping practices.

    "I went through the same meetings as everyone, I signed it," Rogers told Cyclingnews.

    However, within weeks Rogers...

  • Contador: I'm where I want to be

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) on the start line in Ambérieu-en-Bugey
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 0:13 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Grand tour specialist talks Froome, Schleck and Saxo - Tinkoff

    Alberto Contador (Saxo - Tinkoff) may have had a disappointing individual time trial and seen Chris Froome (Sky) distance him in the mountains but the Spanish grand tour specialist was a picture of calm when Cyclingnews caught up with him after stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    "When you're here in the race you want to win but the plan that I put in motion two months ago is still the plan that I've got at the moment, so I'm where I want to be. Okay, when I'm in race I want to go as quickly as I can, but at the moment the plan is going well," he told Cyclingnews when we sat down with him at the team hotel atop Montée de Valmorel.

    Froome has looked in imperious form so far in the Dauphiné and his stage win on Thursday saw him move into the race lead for the first time. While the Sky leader has tallied up wins through the season, Contador has enjoyed a steady but less spectacular start to the season. He was runner up to Froome at the Tour of Oman earlier this year and again finished one place behind him at Tirreno Adriatico.

    "At this moment in time Froome is strong," Contador says. "He's solid in the time trials and in the mountains and this year he's having an incredible season. At the moment he's the strongest guy in the Dauphiné. There's not much more I can say about it."

    Froome's strength, plus that of his team, has seen him move into the position of outright favourite for this year's Tour de France. However, unlike Contador Froome has yet to win a grand tour, his best results coming in the Vuelta in 2011 and Tour last year where he was second in both events.

    "I don't think that's a big problem for...

  • Intestinal parasite rules Vanendert out of Tour de France

    Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) was steadily building for his Ardennes campaign at Tirreno
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 3:18 BST
    Cycling News

    New focus on Vuelta a España, World Championships and Lombardia

    Jelle Vanendert has been ruled out of the Tour de France after medical examination revealed an intestinal parasite. One of Lotto Belisol's key climbing domestiques for Jurgen Van Den Broeck has been forced to sit out this year's edition after the reason for his sub-par performance and withdrawal from the Critérium du Dauphiné was finally explained.

    A former stage winner at the Tour, Vanendert was expected to line up alongside general classification hopeful Van Den Broeck in three weeks time for the start of the race on the island of Corsica but will instead spend the next 10 days resting before looking to other targets later in the season.

    "Tests have showed that a parasite has developed in the intestines of Jelle. The consequences of these parasite in the body of Jelle are tiredness and not being able to make full use of his capacities. After a period of rest the symptoms seem to go but from the moment he has to exert himself, they return," explained team doctor Jan Mathieu.

    "Many people who have a parasite in their body never notice it. For a sportsman that's different, they have consequences much easier. Because they spend much time outside, they are more susceptible for this phenomenon as well. Such a parasite can be formed after contact with contaminated water from puddles during their training rides or in races. Now we know the cause of his problems, we have started an adequate course of antibiotics cure," he added.

    Vanendert should make a full recovery from his current health troubles and the team has already begun to formulate a plan for the later part of the year. Instead of riding the Tour, Vanendert will begin...

  • Dauphiné test gives Valverde Tour de France reference point

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 6:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Froome a level above in TT, mountains more equal, says Spaniard

    Pushing ahead alone with 6km to go before the summit in Valmorel at the Critérium du Dauphiné may not not have given Alejandro Valverde the desired stage win but it did provide him with indication of his current form and just as importantly, where his Tour de France competitors stand just weeks before the Grand Départ.

    Team Sky and Valverde's Movistar squad had done much of the pace setting on the earlier slopes of the final climb but once Valverde's teammate Imanol Erviti- who had spent the day in the day's 15-rider breakaway - was in sight, the plucky Spaniard launched ahead to join him. Knowing his team captain was making inroads, Erviti patiently waited and recovered before giving a maximum effort to try and break the stranglehold of the then Sky-lead group.

    Struggling to get more than 50 metres advantage, Valverde took off solo with 6km remaining. He showed his intentions but unfortunately they didn't quite pay dividends. Under the impetus of Richie Porte he was eventually caught but not dropped. It was a restrained effort to test himself and also see how the Tour's GC favourites Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) fared just a few weeks away from the start of the three-week race.

    "I knew that maybe it was too soon to attack alone but with the situation of the race with Imanol ahead I thought the time was right," said Valverde on his team site. "We decided to go my pace and move forward but always keeping something in reserve because the climb was not super hard and there were still many riders at the front. It gave me a...

  • Novikov tests positive for Hydroxy-ostarine

    Nikita Novikov
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 9:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil-DCM team devastated by latest doping case

    The UCI has announced that Vacansoleil-DCM rider Nikita Novikov has been provisionally suspended after failing an out of competition anti-doping test for Hydroxy-ostarine/O Dephenyl-ostarine in a urine sample collected on 17th May 2013.

    Hydroxy-ostarine/O Dephenyl-ostarine is steroid that helps increase muscles strength and increases lean body mass.

    Novikov has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample but remains suspended until a disciplinary hearing convened by the Russian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

    Vacansoleil-DCM team manager Daan Luijkx said he was disappointed about the news. Luijkx has been trying to find a new sponsor for the Dutch team but this latest doping case in the team will be a blow to his hopes of securing the team's future.

    Novikov had an impressive season as an Under 23 rider in 2011, finishing third in the mountainous Giro della Valle d'Aosta despite his background as a track rider. He rode for the Itera-Katusha team at the time but jonied Vacansoleil-DCM in 2012 instead of the Katusha WorldTour team. He finished 26th in Thursday's GP Kanton Aargau – Gippingen just a few hours before his positive test was announced.

    “At the end of 2011 we hired this young talent for two years. Since that time he didn’t manage to reach his old level in our environment despite all the efforts of our team. It needs no clarification that as a team we are devastated by this," he said in a statement on the team's website.

    "As a team you try to give your riders a safe environment with good coaching and staff and that makes it very disappointing when a rider does something wrong, like it appears this is the case now. When I talked to the rider last night, after the UCI informed...

  • Pinotti welcomes Brian Cookson's UCI Presidency bid

    Marco Pinotti (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 12:33 BST
    Daniel Benson

    BMC rider talks about Santambrogio's EPO positive

    Marco Pinotti (Team BMC) has welcomed the news that Brian Cookson will stand for election as the UCI President later this year. Cookson will run against current president Pat McQuaid.

    “It’s a good thing that we have two people running for the presidency. Competition brings the best out of everyone. I hope that the competition McQuaid and Cookson will only bring the best for the future of cycling,” Pinotti told Cyclingnews at the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this week.

    Pinotti added that he would decide on his favoured candidate only after both men had published their complete manifesto but stated that the process by which a president is elected is one that confuses him.

    “I don’t know the exact election process but maybe every licence holder should have a way of influencing the election. It’s quite indirect now but the fact that I don’t know how the election process works is important. I’m sure it’s democratic in one sense but it’s not exactly a poll.”

    The election is set for September during the road race world championships in Florence. Cookson has already drawn his battle lines to some extent, pivoting his position on improving the UCI’s credibility in the wake of damning allegations that fell in the wake of USADA’s investigation last year.

    McQuaid has been at pains to stress that the governing body has acted appropriately at every turn but the public perception over how the issue of doping has been handled could be central to the outcome of the election.

    Santambrogio's EPO positive

    In recent months there has been an increase in the number of positive tests within the peloton. One of the most high profile came from Mauro Santambrogio who raced alongside Pinotti at BMC last year. Santambrogio tested...