TechPowered By

More tech

First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 4, 2011

Date published:
March 04, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Pellizotti hopes to ride Tirreno-Adriatico if cleared of doping

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo)
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 10:16 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian confident after 10-hour Arbitration hearing

    Franco Pellizotti is confident he can be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico next Tuesday after a marathon hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    The former Liquigas rider was in Lausanne as the UCI appealed against the decision of the Italian Tribunale Nazionale Anti-doping to clear him of doping. Pellizotti was snared by the UCI’s Biological Passport before last year’s Giro d’Italia and has not raced since.

    Pellizotti has requested a rapid verdict from CAS and hopes the chief arbitrator, Anglo-Italian Romano Subiotto, will issue a verdict before Tirreno-Adriatico begins on Wednesday in Marina di Carrara. He is reported to have an agreement in place to ride with the Movistar team if he is cleared.

    “I was happy when I heard the date of the hearing because it meant we’ve reached the end of the whole thing. I want to ride Tirreno: in the last few weeks I’ve been training as if I was about to start a race,” Pellizotti told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    The UCI is convinced Pellizotti has committed an anti-doping violation and is fighting to defend the validity of its Biological Passport programme.

    Pellizotti has always insisted he is innocent and claims his blood value variations were caused by natural factors such as altitude training.

    The UCI’s team of experts included Giuseppe D’Onofrio, Olaf Schumacher, Pierre Edoard Sottas, Michael Ashenden and Martial Saugy. Pellizotti has hired skilled anti-doping lawyer Rocco Taminelli and was defended by Giuseppe Banfi and the former head of the Lausanne anti-doping laboratory Laurent Rivier.

    “We clarified our position and we repeated that we want the sentence issued by the Tribunale Nazionale Anti-doping to be upheld and...

  • Leukemans confident for Paris-Nice after strong ride at Le Samyn

    Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) rode solo in the race lead for more than 50km.
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 11:27 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Vacansoleil rider on the attack for 50km in Le Samyn

    Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) finished the GP Le Samyn tired and disappointed after being caught close to the finish but was proud to have animated the race and confirmed that he is on form for Paris-Nice.     

    The 33-year-old Belgian was away alone for more than 50 kilometres, only to be caught with six kilometres to go. He ultimately finished in 22nd position, 44 seconds down on the winner Dominic Klemme (Leopard Trek).

    “Je suis complètement choco, je suis mort, lessivé - I'm completely blown, I'm dead, cooked," he told Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure.

    "In the morning, I saw the weather and I knew that we were going to suffer with the wind. I wanted to ride hard, make huge efforts and see the stars. Well, I did! I was riding flat out all day. I've never did such a long solo breakaway."

    Leukemans was initially joined by Romain Lemarchand (AG2R La Mondiale) but the Frenchman did not have the legs to hold the pace.

    "Unfortunately, Lemarchand could not help me," Leukemans continued. "When he took a turn, I had to gear down onto the 17 and my computer showed 5km/h less. There was no point in waiting fro him when he got dropped. I asked myself what I had gotten myself into..."

    Leukemans was able to hold his lead for more than an hour before his efforts finally took their toll. "The six riders did not take any time on me, but I suffered because of the wind, I was unable to re-launch when my advance started to melt, " he said.

    Despite missing out on victory, Leukemans now has high hopes for Paris-Nice and the Classics.

    "I have to recover before

  • Alberto Contador adds Jean-Louis Dupont to his legal team

    Alberto Contador faces the press on Friday.
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 12:36 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Spaniard combines his defence with Spanish races

    Alberto Contador will be back in action at the three-day Vuelta a Murcia on Friday, but the he is also preparing for a possible appeal at the Court of Abitration and has hired high-profile Belgian lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont.

    Dupont has assisted many sports stars and national and international federations over the years. In 1995 he represented football player Jean-Marc Bosman, a case which led to allowed players to transfer for free at the end of their contracts.

    He was also Tom Boonen's defense lawyer in 2009 when the Quick Step rider successfully took on the decisison of the Tour de France organisers after they tried to stop him riding following his out of competition tests for cocaine.

    Contador tested positive for traces of Clenbuterol at last year's Tour de France. The Spaniard has been cleared by his national federation, but the UCI and WADA may appeal that decision.

    "Jean-Louis Dupont arrives to bring his extensive experience to this case and is already working on preparing the defense of Alberto Contador in anticipation of future events," a statement from the Contador camp read.

    Contador recently attended a Saxo Bank-Sungard training camp in Mallorca and the Vuelta a Murcia will be his second race since being cleared.

    “I did good training in Mallorca,” he said in a statement issued to media. “I tried to recover from the effort of the Algarve and although it has not been a very good weather, I hope that step by step I'll go a little better every day.”

    "I love this race and I have good memories of 2008 (he finished third in the overall). It's a shame it had to be reduced to three days due to financial problems, but remains three spectacular stages, an initial one with a lot climbs and then a descent that may finish with a sprint, a second one that provides a good opportunity for climbers and the final time...

  • Junior Paris-Roubaix winner Fabien Taillefer arrested in doping investigation

    Fabien Taillefer (Véranda Rideau).
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 15:51 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Amateur riders and Taillefer's father involved in the case

    The winner of the 2007 Junior Paris-Roubaix, Fabien Taillefer is under investigation in Brittany along with a dozen other people, including amateur riders, a doctor and a pharmacist, as part of a French doping investigation called ‘Medi14’. The investigation has been carried out by French gendarmes and Taillefer’s father, a national veteran champion, is also involved.

    Taillefer was one of the best Junior riders in the world in 2007, winning Paris-Roubaix, Classique des Alpes, Chrono des Nations and the French National Time Trial Championships. He was also second in the Junior European Road Race Championships. In June 2008, he had a test with the Quick Step team but continued to compete as an Under 23 rider.

    In 2010 he finished third in the Under 23 Paris-Roubaix. After being in the thick of the action all race, he was able to stay with Taylor Phinney and Belgium’s Jens Debusschere when they attacked on the cobbles. Despite a breaking his gears with two kilometres to go, he launched the sprint and finished third.

    Taillefer talked about doping in June 2008, responding to allegations about a friend, who is now linked to the “Medi14” investigation.

    “There are athletes who make people jealous, which prove they have got enviable results," he wrote on his personal internet forum.

    "We speak a lot about doping when we speak about cycling. But don’t often speak about the hours of training or about the sacrifices that most cyclists make. If a foot player doesn’t train during the week for some reason, he still knows how to play on Sunday and nobody can see the difference. If we don’t train the week before the race, we can’t expect a miracle but we can’t cheat!”

    Guimard and French Federation President...

  • Radio ban to go forward after UCI/AIGCP meeting

    The riders of the Challenge Mallorca mounted a protest against the UCI's ban on radios at non-World Tour events.
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 18:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vaughters to meet with teams to formulate reaction

    The International Cycling Union will continue to stand firm on its rule banning radio communications between riders and their teams during races, it announced after its president Pat McQuaid met with team representatives in Aigle, Switzerland today.

    The meeting follows rider protests of UCI rule 2.2.024, which has phased in bans of radio communications in all events outside the World Calendar.

    Riders defied the radio ban rule at the Trofeo Palma de Mallorca last month, leading the UCI to refuse to record the results. A similar planned protest at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was abandoned after the UCI threatened to cancel the race. The issue of rider safety was the main reason why teams oppose the rule.

    McQuaid held discussions over the issue with AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Groups) members Harold Knebel (Rabobank), Patrick Lefevre (Quick Step) and Bjarne Riis (Saxo Bank Sungard) today, according to a UCI press release "in a calm and constructive atmosphere".

    The UCI promised to work with race organisers and its commissaires to ensure that the safety of riders is "give the highest priority".

    In addition to concerns over safety, teams also opposed the radio ban on the grounds that they had no say in the creation of the rule, a stand which McQuaid called "not at all justified". In the UCI press release, McQuaid stated that there are two members elected to sit on the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) [Dario Cioni and Paulo Couto -ed] whose role is to discuss these matters.

    AIGCP president Jonathan...

  • Hesjedal to make Paris-Nice debut

    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 21:09 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Canadian to race Strade Bianchi prior to French event

    After using Tirreno-Adriatico as part of race schedule for the last two years, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervelo) will alter his programme, scrapping the Italian race for Paris-Nice, which starts this weekend.

    The Canadian Tour de France and Classics specialist will still race in Italy this weekend though, starting Monte Paschi Strade Bianche on Saturday before jetting over to Paris for the start of the eight-day stage race.

    "Jumping into Paris-Nice for the first time will be new, but I’ll be taking it as it comes and obviously the main objective is to get where I was last year in terms of the spring and later on in the year," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews.

    Strade Bianche has been a staple of Hesjedal's racing diet, and he has finished in the top 10 for the past three years. He arrived in Italy on Tuesday to begin riding reconnaissance on the course, but played down his own chances even though he finished fifth in last year’s race and told Cyclingnews that his training has put him in better shape than last year.

    "I’ve just been going through the same routine and I’ve come out of Algarve in better shape than last year. It’s the same roads and climbs, so I’ve been able to test my numbers from last year and everything seems good," he said.

    "I’d like to ride well and I know I can but I won’t be putting a huge amount of pressure on myself. It’s more about putting this block of racing together and then coming out of it in a good way."

    Switching to Paris-Nice will put Hesjedal on a more traditional Tour de France race schedule, with the majority of the big hitters in Tirreno...

  • Sastre starts season at Vuelta a Murcia

    Carlos Sastre (Geox-TMC)
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 23:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Tour champ leads Geox-TMC charge in Spain

    Carlos Sastre will begin his first race for new team Geox-TMC tomorrow as the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia gets underway with a 178.7km stage from San Pedro del Pinatar to Alhama de Murcia.

    Whilst Sastre hasn't had much contact with his teammates since a training camp in January and hasn't yet raced in 2011, he's hoping for a solid start to the year on a parcours that has a little something for everyone.

    The opening day has three category three climbs over the 178.7km and will be a good test for the 2008 Tour de France champion before the second stage, a 183.2km journey from Estrella de Levante to Sierra Espuña where the experienced climber should be amongst the leaders. The final day is a 12.4km time trial that could sort out the general classification.

    "There are three stages that will act as three important tests to see the results of these past two months of preparation and to know how things are going faced with the most important points of this season," said Sastre in a media release.

    "As I said, there are three tests: a flat stage, a mountain stage and a time trial, in which I will be able to see how strong I am compared to the other riders and to get a feel for what kind of shape I'm in, which you can only really do when competing," he added.

    "I think the first race is important, because up until this point, all you've been doing is training. After the team's training meet in Tarragona in early January, I haven't had any other point of contact with the other riders and it's important to be able to do this in a relatively calm race, but in a race that's really important to me, such as the Vuelta a Murcia," Sastre explained.

    Geox-TMC has endured a tough start to the season after it was denied...

  • Australia's European Training Centre opens in Italy

    Anna Meares (Aus) on the top spot of the podium for the women's sprint.
    Article published:
    March 03, 2011, 23:40 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Bannan's GreenEDGE project to make use of facilities

    A new era in training facilities is now available for Australian athletes, with the opening of the European Training Centre (ETC) in Gavirate, northern Italy overnight.

    For Australia's cyclists, road, track, BMX and mountain training and competition facilities are catered for with the Shayne Bannan-led GreenEDGE project joining in commercial partnership with Cycling Australia and the Australian Sports Commission to make use of the centre.

    Bannan, formerly Cycling Australia's high performance manager, ran the national training base in Varese and was a major player in the ETC's development.

    Michael Rogers was in attendance for last night's launch and Tweeted his enthusiasm for the facility saying it was "an exciting day for Australian sport."

    Cyclists will share the facility with other sports including sailing, rowing and basketball, with more to follow.

    "As well as accommodation, the centre will provide world class sporting facilities and services such as sports science and sports medicine, strength and conditioning training and athlete career and education support where it is needed," explained federal sports minister, Senator Mark Arbib, at last night's launch.

    In the short-term, the focus is on Australia's success at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Australian Government has committed $12.5 million to the ongoing operation of the ETC in the lead up to the London Olympics and Paralympics and beyond.

    Australian Olympic Committee President, John Coates, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the Government's commitment to giving Australian athletes the best possible preparation and training.

    "To make it to the podium in sports which have most of their top competitions in Europe, such as rowing, cycling and sailing, Australian athletes need to have access to quality competition without the financial and physical toll of travelling back and forth between Australia and Europe," Coates...