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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 1, 2013

Date published:
March 01, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • AFLD comes to agreement with UCI over Tour de France tests

    The doping control van isn't hard to miss.
    Article published:
    February 28, 2013, 21:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    French anti-doping agency will be allowed to carry out controls

    The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has reached an agreement with the UCI to carry out additional testing at the Tour de France.

    The agency has been at odds with the sport’s governing body in recent years, most recently over its obligations to provide medical supervision of controls at Paris-Nice. The AFLD refused to be involved with the UCI, citing the federation’s “serious mistakes” made in the past.

    The organizers of the Tour de France, ASO, expressed a desire to have the AFLD perform controls at the Tour de France this year in order to have a “truly independent” anti-doping body involved.

    The UCI has reached an agreement with the agency today, in which it will provide whereabouts information on riders and biological passport data so that the AFLD can perform random tests.

    The independence of the UCI has been called into question repeatedly by the AFLD and ASO in the past. The ASO went so far as to hold its events outside the UCI's sanction in 2008, using the French agency to perform controls.

    In 2009, the UCI was back in charge of controls for the Tour, but former president of AFLD, Pierre Bordry, accused the UCI of giving extra time for Lance Armstrong and his team to arrive for their doping controls.

    The conflict led WADA to send independent observers to the 2010 edition, but it found no serious violations by the UCI. More recently, the dossier of evidence against Armstrong has again called into question the independence of the UCI.


  • Phinney remembers Casartelli with GP di Camaiore breakaway

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) leads the early break in Camaiore. He would spend 165 kilometres off the front.
    Article published:
    February 28, 2013, 22:53 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    BMC rider looking forward to Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico

    Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) tested his form and remembered the late Fabio Casartelli by going in the early break at the GP di Camaiore race in Tuscany on Thursday.

    The American Classics rider and time trial specialist spent close to 175km out front with Stefano Agostini (Cannondale), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Alessandro Proni (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Pedro Paulinho (Ceramica Flaminia). They opened a 13-minute lead at one point but were caught by the leading contenders on the final climb of the race. Phinney went on to finish 50th, exactly a minute behind winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling).

    "That was my first-ever European breakaway, the first time I've ever gone in a breakaway from the start," Phinney told Cyclingnews as he headed to the podium to collect the special Memorial Casartelli prize.

    "I saw that there was a special intermediate sprint in memory of Fabio Casartelli and so I decided to go for it. I know his family pretty well, he was a close friend of some close friends of mine, like George [Hincapie], Jim Ochowicz and [team doctor] Max Testa, so there's a special link there. That gave me the extra motivation to go out there. I wanted to win it."

    Phinney will travel to Siena on Friday for Saturday's Strade Bianche race. He revealed he will not have a leadership role within the BMC team but hopes to do well in the testing race on the dirt roads of the Chianti region.

    "I don’t know if I'm in the right place with my weight to be able to handle it and do something but this ride was a good opener and a good test for Saturday," he explained.

    "I felt quite strong on the climb. I'll be up there. I won't be a...

  • Crash knocks Kruopis out of Langkawi

     Aidis Kruopis (Orica - GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    March 01, 2013, 0:06 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Orica GreenEdge sprinter involved in early fall on Stage 8

    A crash in the opening kilometres of Stage 8 has ended Aidis Kruopis' Tour de Langkawi campaign. The Orica GreenEdge sprinter went down hard in the early part of the 164.5km stage from Kuala Terengganu to Tenah Merah and was forced to pull out.

    Little information was available about the extent of the Lithuanian's injuries apart from some brief information supplied by the team. He was also seen picking himself off the ground holding a bloodied arm, clearly in a lot of pain.

    "He [Kruopis] was forced to withdraw. He's okay. Just a bit battered and bruised," wrote his team.

    Kruopis had been enjoying a consistent run of results in the bunch sprints at the 10-day Malaysian race despite having been involved in a fall earlier in the race.

    The 26-year-old achieved his best biggest result to date at last year's Tour of Poland when he won Stage 4 and had picked up three third-place stage results at Langkawi before being forced out of the race.

    The team still has Allan Davis in the race who finished in fourth-place, one spot behind his teammate Kruopis on Stage 7 with the team also looking to protect Pieter Weening's second-overall on the general classification.

    Cyclingnews will update Kruopis' injury as more information comes to light.


  • Yale panel describes dismantling cycling's doping culture

    Floyd Landis during his 2007 doping case.
    Article published:
    March 01, 2013, 1:15 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Tygart, Vaughters light the way forward

    The "Spinning Our Wheels" panel discussion at Yale University offered little new information on the fight against doping in cycling, but panel participants Jonathan Vaughters and Travis Tygart gave some insights into what must be done to ensure clean sport.

    Floyd Landis made his first public appearance since 2010, but was not at liberty to speak about the most pressing issue - his Federal whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel. He was addressed only a few times, once to clarify a statement made in an interview with Paul Kimmage, and only spoke in general terms about his history and his decision to come forward.

    Yale professor Thomas Murray provided some context for the discussion by speaking about the "ecosystems" that enable doping. He compared the current situation in cycling to the state-sponsored doping in East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell, and noted that individuals who were involved in the doping regime fled to China and coincidentally athletes began to excel and test positive there.

    It brought to light the main theme of the evening, which was that until the system that allows doping to occur is dismantled, it will be very difficult to ensure clean athletes get a fair chance.

    Tygart spoke of the essence of sport, and he contrasted professional wrestling with Olympic wrestling - pure entertainment versus pure sport. "They have two entirely different purposes. You have to ask the question, if we open it up, or we don't use best efforts to ensure clean athletes can compete on a level playing field, you take a risk that sport is not going to maintain its essence - which is pushing human, not artificial, performances as far as you can."

    Vaughters went on to describe how the EPO-fueled peloton in the late 1990s and 2000s was artificial, and how other kinds of drugs lacked the...

  • Attacking Meyer finding his legs at Langkawi

    A long day out front is coming to an end for Travis Meyer
    Article published:
    March 01, 2013, 2:14 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Australian yet to discover his calling in professional peloton

    Entering the breakaway for the third day in a row at Tour de Langkawi not have delivered an outright result but just being back in the action has given Travis Meyer some much-needed confidence ahead of his 2013 European campaign with Orica GreenEdge.

    Life as a professional hasn't been the easiest of paths for the 2010 national road champion Meyer. The Australian turned professional at the tender age of 20 with Garmin-Transitions and enjoyed a promising neo-year, taking results throughout his first season but lifting his performance after a strong start has been difficult.

    It's been a number of years since the Meyer won his national title - his most recent victory - during his neo-pro year and believes he's still trying to find his calling in the upper echelon of the WordTour.

    "I haven't had a lot of success since I've become a pro, it's been a bit of a struggle really," Meyer told Cyclingnews.

    Meyer has been ridden a variety of races over his short professional career and was included in many of the semi-classics before realising he didn't have the power to match the pure classics riders. He's since been thrown a bit of a mixed bag since his first two seasons with Garmin, with his current Orica GreenEdge squad entering him in a huge number of WorldTour events in 2012, to build his still-developing engine.

    "When I first joined Garmin I was sort of thrown in a bit of everything, more the smaller races but then when I went to Eneco Tour in August, in my first year (2010) I had a really good tour there and rode quite well in that style of racing," said Meyer.

    "So, in the following year in 2011 I did more of the semi-classics but that's where realised there was a massive difference between the Eneco Tour and the...

  • Vacansoleil assessing team sponsorship

    The riders of Vacansoleil-DCM line up for their 2013 team photo
    Article published:
    March 01, 2013, 4:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Current contract nearing conclusion

    Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that European camping holiday operator, Vacansoleil is currently assessing whether to continue its sponsorship of the UCI ProTour team.

    A decision will reportedly be made in April.

    John Gerards, senior marketing manager with Vacansoleil, made clear that the assessment was not due to recent doping controversies within the sport, but rather the current five-year sponsorship contract with the team was coming to an end.

    Team management had reason for concern late last year with new recruit for the 2013 season, Grega Bole named in USADA’s Reasoned Decision documents in a conversation between Leonardo Bertagnolli and Dr Michele Ferrari, which is part of Bertagnolli's sworn statement to Italian police. Bole was cleared of any wrong-doing by an internal investigation by the team in late December.

    The team was founded in 2009, first in the Professional Continental ranks before joining the UCI WorldTour in 2011.

    The team reached arguably its greatest success in 2012, with Thomas De Gendt placing third overall at the Giro d’Italia.


  • Porte "nervous" ahead of Sky leadership role at Paris-Nice

    Article published:
    March 01, 2013, 5:12 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Rare opportunity comes Australian's way

    In a Sky line-up that's dominated by Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and their respective grand tour ambitions, Richie Porte is relishing the opportunity coming his way at Paris-Nice but it comes with some trepidation.

    "I'm a little bit nervous I guess, to have the team riding for you," he told Cyclingnews before the course au soleil.

    Porte, 28, has been gifted the lead role courtesy of the fact that Wiggins won't be defending his 2012 Paris-Nice title. The tables have turned somewhat from 12 months ago, where Porte was coming off his first stage race win at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, with the support of Wiggins who finished third on GC. Porte then went into battle for the then-future Tour de France victor at Paris-Nice. Essentially, in the rock-star line-up that is Team Sky, Porte is happy to accept his role as one of more than a few bass players to Wiggins' frontman. It's part of what makes his upcoming ride at Paris-Nice so special.

    "I've done Paris-Nice the last three years so I know what to expect going in to it," Porte said. "It's nice to have an opportunity to ride for myself. It doesn't happen that often in Sky."

    Being at the forefront of a team's ambition is not a new experience for Porte. He was of course thrust into the spotlight in 2010 with three stages in the maglia rosa at the Giro d'Italia, and in the GC's top 10 for the duration of the race, eventually claiming the best young rider classification - all as a neo pro for Saxo Bank. But this 71st Paris-Nice is set to be an altogether different experience for the über-relaxed Tasmanian.

    "I think when you go into it knowing that the team's going there to help you, it's a little bit more nerve-wracking than rocking up as a neo pro with no pressure and things just happening out on the road," Porte explained.


  • Peloton struck down by illness at Tour de Langakwi

    Aidis Kruopis crashes out of Tour de Langkawi after showing consistent form in the bunch sprints
    Article published:
    March 01, 2013, 11:03 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Orica GreenEdge, Blanco, Astana hit by suspected food poisoning

    It was a smaller bunch that rolled out for the penultimate day at Tour de Langkawi as illness had ripped through the peloton on Thursday night, with suspected food poisoning the most likely cause for the mass exodus from the race. Ten riders in all failed to either start or finish the stage with Orica GreenEdge, Blanco, Astana, Europcar, UnitedHealthcare and a number of other teams all reporting stomach ailments of varying degrees.

    Orica GreenEdge has been one of the worst affected in final few days of the race after Aidis Kruopis was forced to withdraw in the early part of Thursday's stage after crashing inside the opening kilometres. The Australian squad was delivered more bad news on Friday morning with Wesley Sulzberger and Luke Durbridge failing to sign on.

    Team director Matt Wilson told Cyclingnews that Durbridge and Sulzberger had been sick throughout the night prior to stage 9.

    Kruopis' injuries had also been assessed with the Lithuanian sprinter in better condition than had been originally feared. Kruopis pulled himself off the ground after crashing, but with a bloodied left arm and damage to his left knee, it became immediately apparent that he would not be finishing the race. He had been a consistent finisher in the bunch sprints, picking up three third-place finishes before being forced out.

    "He landed directly on his knee and immediately he couldn't bend it at all and thought he couldn't continue," Wilson told Cyclingnews.

    "Getting back to the hotel [last night], he hasn't broken anything, he's ok. We have our doctor here who checked him out and said: 'he's ok', [gave him] a couple of stitches and that was it. He's still here but is heading back to the hotel."

    The team was started the second-to-last stage with just three riders: Pieter Weening, who lies in second-overall, Travis Meyer and Stage 9 podium finisher Allan Davis.

    The supposed food poisoning also saw neo-pro Steele Von Hoff...