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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 11, 2011

Date published:
March 11, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Porte confident of turning the tables at Paris-Nice

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 0:09 GMT
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    TT beckons for Tasmanian after a tough fifth stage

    Richie Porte has foregone his hopes of winning Paris-Nice after he was dropped 500 metres before the top of the col de la Mûre with nine kilometres remaining in stage five but he still rates his experience in the "race to the sun" as a positive one.

    "I'm disappointed because my team-mates have done a great job for me but I was left with no legs 500 metres before the top," Porte told Cyclingnews.

    "It's frustrating to get dropped so close to the end of the difficult part of the race and to have a gap to the first group. But I want to stay positive. I move on. Compared to how I was riding at Paris-Nice one year ago, it's pretty exciting to be in contention this year," he added.

    "Richie's speed and strength and the form is there," said Saxo Bank-Sungard directeur sportif Bradley McGee. "We're disappointed but we also have to be realistic. There are older guys who know how to look after themselves better for now."

    Porte now lays in 26th position, 1:46 down on race leader Andreas Klöden of RadioShack. "There are many guys in front of me on who I can take time tomorrow," Porte said. "With the time trial, I hope to turn the tables. I probably can't win the time trial but I'll have a good shot at it. My time trialling has improved. I'm quietly confident to have a good TT but to win it is a pretty big call."

    Porte was fourth at the world championship in the time trial in Geelong, Australia, last year. He finished just seven seconds down on bronze medallist Tony Martin who had a mechanical incident. "Tony is in super form here now," Porte admitted. "He was the most impressive today in the climb with Tejay [Van Garderen]. They controlled the race. And there is a climb on the course of the time trial as well, so I think Tony has a good chance to win it."

  • Thor Hushovd signed rainbow jersey winner announced

    World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 1:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Did you sign up to our new YouTube channel?

    Cyclingnews is happy to announce that Canada's Shaun Adamson is the winner of the special Thor Hushovd autographed rainbow jersey all by subscribing to our new YouTube channel.

    We obtained one of the 60 limited edition rainbow jerseys that were made for the Cervelo TestTeam by Castelli after Thor Hushovd won the world road race title in Australia.

    Hushovd wore the same jersey when he rode the Giro di Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia last year before moving to the Garmin-Cervelo team for 2011. We got Hushovd to autograph the jersey before Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

    Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

     

  • Valjavec resumes racing with Turkish team Manisaspor

    Tadej Valjavec (AG2R) held onto his overall lead.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 9:15 GMT
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Slovenian awaits CAS decision by the end of March

    Slovenia’s Tadej Valjavec will resume racing on Saturday in Croatia, he told Cyclingnews from his home in Pokljuka. “Next on my agenda is the Tour of Istria next week and I strongly hope that CAS will come up with a positive decision by the end of March,” said the 33-year old. He was suspended by the UCI for irregularities in his biological passport in May last year, but was later cleared by the Slovenian anti-doping agency, and is now awaiting the final decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    He rode again in September for Ag2r-La Mondiale but his contract wasn’t renewed. “Now I’ve signed with the new Turkish team Manisaspor and if everything goes well, our big goal will be the Tour of Turkey (from April 24 to May 1),” Valjavec added.

    Since the Presidential Tour of Turkey was upgraded to 2.1 in 2008 and now HC, Turkish cycling has taken a strong initiative to be structured at every level. More races are organised in the country and two continental teams have been created this year. Manisaspor has nine young Turkish riders, all under 24, and six foreign riders to help them learn the job, and the roster includes Valjavec’s compatriot Dean Podgornik, 31, and former Junior world champion Jeremy Yates from New Zealand.

    Valjavec always denied doping accusations, as did Italians Franco Pellizotti and Pietro Caucchioli, both of whom were banned by CAS earlier this week for similar irregularities in...

  • Chavanel ill but not out of Paris-Nice

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 9:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman vows to show himself despite bronchitis and time loss

    After losing 1.34 minutes in general classification on stage five of Paris-Nice on Thursday, Sylvain Chavanel has promised to show himself in front of the peloton on one of the remaining stages of the race. The Frenchman, who has been a regular contender at the 'race to the sun' in recent years, could not live up to his own expectations on the first mountainous stage of the event due to respiratory problems.

    "Are you sure you're breathing through your nose?" Chavanel revealed he was asked by Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) on the Col de la Croix-de-Chabouret, the second climb of the day. "My breathing would have annoyed more than one guy in the bunch, because I have a bad bronchitis since the Tour of Algarve. I'm taking antibiotics for five days now. Today [yesterday], I would have needed a third lung to be able to follow the best riders. But I don't want to whine..."

    The Quickstep rider had to let go of the favourite climbers' group just before the top of the last climb of the day, the Cat. 1 Col de la Mûre. "I couldn't be operational to a 100 percent while under antibiotic treatment, that's all," he explained to L'Equipe. "It's not an excuse, just an explanation. Yet, I have the power, my feelings even are really good."

    Chavanel thus hopes that he can still have an impact on the race on one of the last three stages, even though the overall podium in Nice may be out of reach for him now. "I haven't said my last word yet, there's still the time trial today and, above all, the hilly stage on Saturday. You will see, Paris-Nice is not over yet. I will still give it all I can, I've never neglected this race," he announced.

  • WADA praises CAS Pellizotti and Caucchioli decisions

    Franco Pellizotti has cut his blonde curls
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 10:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Say rulings uphold biological passport programme

    The World Anti-Doping Agency has praised the Court of Arbitration decision to ban Franco Pellizotti and Pietro Caucchioli. The two Italian cyclists were each given a two-year suspensions for violations of the biological passport programme.

    “These two completed cases involving the Athlete Biological Passport Program (ABP) represent a significant step in the global fight against doping in sport. The ABP has proven it can withstand legal and scientific challenges,” said WADA director David Howman in a statement issued this week.

    “Further, as stated in the Caucchioli decision, the ABP is considered a valid and reliable method for indirectly detecting doping.”

    Howman added, “These decisions send a strong message to athletes who take the risk to cheat that they will ultimately be caught”

    There are still two biological passport programme cases pending before the CAS. Francisco de Bonis' case was heard last month, while Tadej Valjavec expects a ruling on his case later this month.

    “WADA is satisfied with the progress made with the ABP and recognizes the rigour and the continuous efforts of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in its implementation,” Howman said. “The commitment of the UCI to the ABP has been considerable and with this legal backing from CAS, it will allow them to further advance their program. In the coming months and years, we look forward to the implementation of the ABP by other anti-doping organisations on a broad scale as we continue to enhance this instrument.”

    ...
  • Peloton threatens to boycott Tour of Beijing over race radios

    Mr Li, Director of the Beijing Sports Bureau and UCI President Pat McQuaid sign an agreement for a new stage race to join the UCI WorldTour
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 11:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian media cites boycott of UCI's “crown jewel” race

    The peloton will boycott the Tour of Beijing over the race radio ban, according to the Belgian media. The ProTeams have unanimously sent a letter to Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, announcing their intentions to boycott the race, to be held October 5-9.

    According to sportwereld.be, the teams picked this race as “the crown jewel of the globalisation of cycling”. The race requires extensive travel by all the teams, and if the ban is not lifted, the team will simply stay home.

    The radio ban has been a problem all season, with both the riders' association and the teams' association opposing it. Recently the UCI met with team representatives to hear their concerns, but did not alter its ruling.

    The first challenge this year came at the first race in the Challenge Mallorca, where the riders wore their radios in defiance of the UCI's ban. The UCI allowed the race to go on, but did not recognise the results. Plans to make another protest at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last month were called off at the last minute amidst fears the race might be cancelled.

    The UCI has banned the use of race radios in all races ranked 1.HC/2.HC and below. It will be extended to cover World Calendar races in 2012.

  • Gilbert downplays Astana rumours

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) salutes the crowds in Siena.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 11:17 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian will decide on future in August

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has moved to downplay recent speculation linking him with a move to Astana ahead of the 2012 season. The Belgian insisted that he is not currently contemplating his plans for next season, in spite of public overtures from his fellow Monaco resident, Alexandre Vinokourov.

    “I regularly have the chance to train with riders who live in Monaco, like Hushovd, Vinokourov or Boonen,” Gilbert told Het Laatste Nieuws, before outlining his status. “I am under contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto and at the moment I am not speaking with any other team.”

    Gilbert maintained that he will not discuss his future before August, and dismissed speculation linking him with a move away from Omega Pharma-Lotto as just that.

    “After August 1, I will examine all options,” he said. “At the moment, I’m going to concentrate on this season and my set objectives. All the rest is pure speculation and rumours that are not significant now.”

    The possibility first emerged publicly in December, when Eddy Merckx questioned Omega Pharma-Lotto’s ability to offer Gilbert absolute support and he named Astana as a possible destination for the Belgian.

    The rumours then gained further traction in February when Alexandre Vinokourov told L’Équipe of his admiration for his sometime training partner Gilbert. “I think he could have a good understanding with Maxim Iglinsky,” Vinokourov said then. “He would be an extra...

  • Mixed emotions for Samuel Sánchez

    Andreas Klöden (RadioShack) battles with Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) for the stage win in Paris-Nice.
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 13:19 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Euskaltel-Euskadi leader happy with his form but disappointed at losing out to Klöden

    Samuel Sánchez seemed to have shed his long-standing reputation for being one of the sport’s nearly men when he claimed the Olympic road title in Beijing three years ago. But after losing out to Andy Schleck in Morzine during last year’s Tour and, yesterday, to Andreas Klöden in the fifth stage of Paris-Nice, the Euskaltel-Euskadi leader is once again letting major opportunities slip away when most people would back him to win.

    Neither Schleck nor Klöden is renowned for his sprinting ability, particularly not the German, who has mystified his team managers throughout his career with his lack of confidence and ambition. But both have now beaten Sánchez on key stages.

    The Spaniard said after Paris-Nice’s stage five finish in Vernoux: “I am happy because I can see how good my form is. But it’s not so good to be so close to the stage win and the race lead and miss out on them.”

    Sánchez described the stage as “very hard and selective, typical of Paris-Nice. The conclusion I take from it is very good. I’m optimistic because my preparation is clearly on the right path and is paying off, as was shown today and in the second place I took on the final stage of the Vuelta a Andalucía. It’s always good to win and when you go so close it’s hard to take because I could have taken the yellow jersey, but Klöden was that little bit stronger and I can only congratulate him.”

    Sánchez, who now has a career-record of 32 second places, also pointed out...