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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 25, 2011

Date published:
March 25, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Riis hopes for speedy decision from CAS in Contador case

    Alberto Contador and Bjarne Riis arrive for Friday's press conference.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 12:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank-SunGard continues to support Tour de France winner

    Bjarne Riis hopes for a quick ruling in the International Cycling Union's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport of the dismissal of doping charges against Alberto Contador. The Saxo Bank-SunGard team owner said that he would continue to support the Spanish rider.

    "The rules say, that the parties of a case have the opportunity to appeal any decision to the CAS. He UCI has decided to do so in the case concerning Alberto Contador, and naturally we respect this. Now my hope is, that we can have a final ruling as quickly as possible," Riis said in a press release issued Thursday afternoon.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. The Spanish cycling federation dismissed the charges against him, ruling that it was unintentional.

    "I would like to remind everybody, that this is still Alberto Contador's case. As a team we can't do much but to wait for CAS to reach a decision.

    “But I would also like to remind everybody, that Alberto Contador was acquitted in the first place and therefore is innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing until a ruling says something else. And as long as this is a case of accidental intake of a forbidden substance, we will continue to support Alberto Contador. In our opinion it would be unfair to do anything else."

    Contador is currently riding the Vuelta a Catalunya, where he has the overall lead. He plans to ride the Giro d'Italia, and Riis...

  • Video: Pre-race interviews at Dwars door Vlaanderen

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 13:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vaughters, Knaven and Haussler talk before the race

    Nick Nuyens may have taken the spoils in Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday but at the start of the race there were plenty of contenders with high hopes of winning.

    Garmin-Cervélo boasted two of the possible protagonists in Tyler Farrar and Heinrich Haussler. At the start of the in Roeselare, Cyclingnews caught up with team boss Jonathan Vaughters who discussed how the team were looking to bounce back from a disappointing Milan-San Remo.

    We also caught up with Heinrich Haussler, the last Garmin-Cervélo rider to throw in the towel in San Remo and Servais Knaven, the directeur sportif at Team Sky.

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  • CAS confirm Contador ruling may not be in time for Tour de France

    Alberto Contador flies up the finishing climb en route to a solo stage victory.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 15:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Court of Arbitration for Sport to issue decision

    By the time the 2011 Tour de France begins, cycling fans may still be wondering whether Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) will keep his 2010 Tour de France victory. The Spaniard tested positive for clenbuterol in a test during last year's Tour, and a final verdict in his doping case is still pending and may not be issued before the start of the 2011 Tour.

    After the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Thursday that it will be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) the dismissal of doping charges against Contador, CAS's general secretary warned of a lengthy procedure ahead.

    "I am puzzled that the UCI has waited until the very last moment to appeal," CAS's Matthieu Reeb told Reuters. "We lost a few precious weeks because of that."

    CAS is awaiting formal notification from the UCI of its decision to appeal. Whether the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will join the UCI's appeal remains to be seen. The international organization has 21 days left to decide.

    "If the parties really want a quick decision, 'we can arrange that'," said Reeb, who added that he is expecting a "fierce defence" from Contador's lawyers.

    "I am pessimistic we can make a ruling before the end of June." The Tour de France will start on July 2.

    Contador is eligible to compete while the appeal is pending. He has conistently denied doping and defended himself by saying the Clenbuterol got into his system after ingesting contaminated meat.

  • Video: Farrar philosophical after Dwars Door Vlaanderen

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 16:23 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    American shows his speed by winning bunch sprint

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) was the quickest in the sprint at the end of Dwars Door Vlaanderen but the American had to be content with third place as the late escapees Geraint Thomas (Sky) and eventual winner Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard) stayed a whisker clear at the finish.

    “I wanted to win, it was important for me today, but that’s bike racing,” Farrar told Cyclingnews at the finish in Waregem on Wednesday. “It doesn’t always go your way.”

    His Garmin-Cervélo team had a prominent role throughout the race. After attempting to send some of their riders clear on the race’s 12 hellingen, the men in black made a concerted bid in the finale to set Farrar up for the sprint.

    “Geraint and Nick jumped away and we knew they were strong riders,” Farrar said. “After the Varent we decided we were going to ride for the sprint. Of course I was suffering also, like everybody, but I felt ok. But we just needed 50 or 100 metres more at the end.”

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  • Bayern Rundfahrt issued eight wild-card invitations

    Maxime Monfort (Columbia-Highroad) about to start an excellent ride that garnered him seventh place.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 17:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team NetApp and four German Continental teams lead the list

    The Bayern Rundfahrt has issued its eight wild-card invitations to five German teams, and one each Dutch, Belgian and Polish teams. That rounds out the 18 teams which will appear in the race this May, with the other 10 being previously-announced ProTeams.

    Team NetApp, the only German Professional Continental team, got a wild-card to its homeland stage race, as did Continental-ranked teams Eddy Merckx-Indeland, Heizomat, NSP and Nutrixxion.

    Professional Continental-ranked Dutch team Skil-Shimano, Topsport-Vlaanderen of Belgium, and Polish team CCC Polsat Polkowice were also invited.

    “Some of the teams will have a hard time against the world's elite, but the invitations to the best German teams is a matter of honour for us, because for them the Bayern Rundfahrt is the absolute season highlight,” said Uwe Peschel, a former rider who is now the race's sport director.

    “Plus in the past we have seen that the small teams never miss a chance to bug the 'big boys'. And if they are lucky, they can win.”

    The 'big boys' will be represented at the race by Leopard Trek, Saxo Bank SunGard, Sky ProCycling, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Lampre-ISD, Europcar, HTC-Highroad, FDJ, Garmin-Cervélo and Ag2R.

  • Contador committed to proving innocence before CAS

    Race leader Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 19:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard reacts to UCI's appeal after finishing the day's Catalunya stage

    Alberto Contador said he knew of the UCI's latest decision regarding his Clenbuterol doping case at the end of today's stage at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, a race in which he is the overall leader. As the Spaniard finished stage four, he was swarmed by media wanting to get his reaction to the latest development in the ongoing case.

    Earlier today, the UCI said it would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) the dismissal of doping charges against 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador. The UCI said that its appeal was based on "an in-depth study of the file received from" the Spanish cycling federation.

    "I don't like the situation, but I am confident in all the arguments my lawyers have given, and I fully trust them," said Contador. "Things happen and have to pass. Maybe we should go to CAS to prove my innocence even more clearly."

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during last summer's Tour de France. The Spanish cycling federation originally recommended a one-year suspension, but ultimately cleared him from doping charges.

    "I wish that there were no appeal or that they would act with more logic, but as I said before, if this happens, it is because it has to pass, and I have full confidence in resolving the case at CAS."

    Contador vowed to continue with his racing program as he has done so far with the support of his Saxo Bank Sungard team. ...

  • Basso praises Contador's form in Volta a Catalunya

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Cannondale) bests Rigoberto Uran (Sky) and Xavier Tondo (Movistar) for 7th place.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2011, 20:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian lost some time but vows to fight on

    Ivan Basso, who had announced that he came to the Volta a Catalunya to win it, had to give in to somebody stronger than himself in yesterday's queen stage up to Andorra-Vallnord. Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador simply shrugged off any attempts to destabilise his reign as he set out on the final climb's steep slopes to take the stage victory and overall command.

    Basso finished seventh, 38 seconds down on the Spaniard, and acknowledged his helplessness with regard to his rival. "There was nothing I could do," the Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Contador was clearly stronger. When he attacked, it was impossible to follow him.

    "I'm not happy with my performance, but I'm not really disappointed, either. I had other expectations for this stage, but you also have to remain realistic," said Basso, who had announced his will to win the summit finish stage as well as the overall classification before he started the race.

    The 2010 Giro d'Italia winner assessed his showing in light of his competitors. "When all the best riders are there, it's always difficult to know whether it's you who are going slowly or the others who go very fast. I lost 15 seconds on Scarponi, who has exceptional form, and I took 12 seconds from Evans... It's a discreet performance. Now, I will try to do something on the remaining stages."

    The Volta a Catalunya still has three stages left before it finishes in Barcelona on Sunday. Friday's stage five is particularly mountainous and could see Contador's overall lead threatened, even if it is not a summit finish.

  • Leopard Trek ride reconnaissance over Tour of Flanders course

    The climbs from yesterday's Dwars door Vlaanderen were marked on headsets
    Article published:
    March 25, 2011, 1:03 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    70km's of the crucial sections of climbs and cobbles covered

    The Tour of Flanders might be over a week away with many an important race between now and then but that didn’t stop the Leopard Trek team from riding reconnaissance over the route on Thursday.

    The team, led by last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara, used their recovery ride after yesterday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen to ride 70 kilometres of the most crucial sections of climbs and cobbles.

    Basing themselves in Marke, just outside of Kortrijk, Belgium for the cobbled Classics, the team took a short bus ride to the Kruisberg before mounting up and enjoying the two and a half hour spin in the sunshine.

    “We’ll do between 60 or 70 kilometres, the central part of the Tour of Flanders,” said the team’s director Torsten Schmidt.

    “We do this every year so they get the pictures back in their heads. It’s all for Flanders.”

    “It’s a big goal, for every team, but especially if you have the defending champion in your squad. It’s always good to use the time here in Belgium to do things like this.”

    Before reaching Flanders though, Leopard Trek will compete in both of this weekend’s races, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. Cancellara won the former last year after breaking away with Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) and dropping the pair before the finish.

    “We have two more races this weekend and then the whole of next week,” said Schmidt.

    “I’m confident that we have other cards to play in the race and the guys are loyal to each other so we can fulfil a number of situations with other riders in the team.”

    In all likelihood Cancellara will be supported by the majority of the team on show in Belgium, with Dominic Klemme, Joost Posthuma, Stuart O’Grady and Wouter Weylandt forming the core of the team for Flanders.

    “It’s too early to talk about...