Jelly Belly's Jeremy Powers spent most of stage four at the Amgen Tour of California in the break with former cyclo-cross rival Lars Boom (Rabobank). The two helped form the day's major escape on the early climb of Sierra Road and moved out to a lead of 6:30, before being brought back by the peloton with less than 10km-to-go.
Powers ups the 'cross quota in stage four break
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Garmin-Transitions rider resolved to win in California
Jonathan Vaughters is supporting Dave Zabriskie after the Garmin-Transitions rider was alleged to have taken EPO by Floyd Landis. Zabriskie is currently leading the Amgen Tour of California, a race he finished second in last year, and his team boss Vaughters told Cyclingnews that, “He can win this race with clear conscience and an open heart, and I think he will.”
Vaughters' support of his rider comes less than twenty-four hours after Landis accused several professional riders, including former-teammates Zabriskie and Lance Armstrong of doping practices. Armstrong is also currently racing in California.
With four more stages remaining in the race Zabriskie holds a slender lead on the general classification. Vaughters said he will not consider pulling his rider from the race, despite the potentially damning, but as yet totally unfounded allegations.
“Our next step is to win this race clean and under any level of scrutiny that any one would like to place on us. We’ve always been a completely open book as far as anti-doping authorities [and] scrutiny from the media [are concerned]. We’ve never closed doors on anyone and anything,” Vaughters said.
The team were created at the start of 2008 and quickly built a solid reputation has outspoken practitioners of clean cycling. Despite limited success in their first year the team have strengthened into one of the most competitive squads in the peloton, while also still advocating a no-needles policy. “We were created to support riders who are committed to clean cycling and it’s going to continue to be that way.”
Asked what the team’s next steps would be Vaughters said: “What were going to do is simply move forward in making sure that sport in general and this team is clean and real. We’re simply absolutely committed to the future of cycling and what we’re doing right here and right now....
RadioShack team manager claims Landis tried to blackmail him
Like Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel vehemently denied all the accusations made against him by Floyd Landis.
Speaking before the start of stage five of the Amgen Tour of California, Bruyneel claimed that Landis has been trying to blackmail him for four years.
Johan Bruyneel: I adamantly deny these allegations. It is not at all a surprise for us. We expected it for a long time. Floyd started contacting us immediately, four years ago, as soon as he tested positive at the Tour. I was threatened and blackmailed or whatever you want to call it. I was asked for specific things from me and from the team to help him. You can call that money, asking for a job when he was able to race again. Obviously we did not respond to that request.
From there on it has been a constant roller coaster for him. I think that Floyd has changed his story too many times. He said he has been saying something for four years, I’ve seen him on TV. I haven’t seen him in court but he said it in court and in all the meetings, wrote a book and set up funds to raise a lot of money because obviously he found out that the legal services are very expensive.
Now all of a sudden there are these changes. He is pointing at me, pointing at...
RadioShack team leader responds to doping accusations
Lance Armstrong has rejected allegations made by Floyd Landis that the seven-time Tour de France winner was involved in doping practices while the two were teammates at US Postal Service. Armstrong, accompanied by RadioShack team director Johan Bruyneel, gave the following statement to media gathered outside the team's bus before the start of stage five of the Amgen Tour of California in Visalia on Thursday morning US time:
Lance Armstrong: Obviously everyone has questions about Floyd Landis and his allegations. I would say that I’m a little surprised, but I am not; this has been going on for a long time. The harassment and threats from Floyd started a few years ago and really, at that time, we largely ignored him. Johan can speak to what Floyd exactly wanted from us and the team. A year ago, I told him, ‘listen, you do what you have to do.' We are not gonna, we have nothing to say and nothing to hide.
They started again with some consistency and energy about a month ago before this race when Floyd continued to text, email and harass myself, Johan, Dave Zabriskie, Levi [Leipheimer], Andrew Messick, the CEO of Amgen, right around the time that they [Ouch-Bahati Foundation Racing Team] was trying to get into...
RadioShack rider involved in early pile-up and off for x-rays
Lance Armstrong has quit the Amgen Tour of California after being involved in a crash during the early part of stage five.
The Texan was involved in a crash as the road narrowed after just a few kilometres of racing. According to reports he went down with several teammates including Levi Leipheimer and Chechu Rubiera. Riders from HTC-Columbia, BMC Racing, Fly V Australia and Rabobank were also caught up in the crash.
These include Bernhard Eisel (Team HTC-Columbia), Tony Martin (Team HTC-Columbia), Jakob Fuglsang and Stuart O’Grady (Team Saxo Bank), Paul Mach (Bissell), Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo Test Team), Lars Ytting Bak (Team HTC-Columbia), Will Routley (Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda), Marc De Maar (Unitedhealthcare Presented by Maxxis) and Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda). All the riders got back up, including Armstrong and O’Grady. They and others got medical assistance from the race doctor but after a few kilometres both Armstrong and O’Grady retired.
Armstrong climbed into the lead RadioShack team car and team manager Johan Bruyneel confirmed via Twitter than Armstrong was being taken to hospital for x-rays.
Cycling's governing body "deeply shocked" over allegations
The International Cycling Union (UCI) rejected accusations made by Floyd Landis in an official statement released Thursday evening. In particular, it rebutted the allegation of a concealed positive doping test.
The UCI refuted "the allegation that a positive doping result by Lance Armstrong during the 2002 Tour of Switzerland was concealed after an agreement was reached between the American rider, his directeur sportif Mr Johan Bruyneel and the former UCI President, Mr. Hein Verbruggen.
"Deeply shocked by the gravity of this statement, which considerably impinges on the honour of all persons who have dedicated themselves to the fight against doping, the UCI wishes to clearly state that it has never changed or concealed a positive test result," read the statement.
Cycling's governing body pointed out that Armstrong did not participate in 2002 Tour of Switzerland, although that statement may have been a result of misinterpretation of Landis' email however, which read:
"He later, while winning the Tour de Swiss, the month before the Tour de France, tested positive for EPO at which point he and Mr Bruyneel flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement with Mr. Vrubrugen [sic] to keep the positive test hidden."
Armstrong did win the 2001 Tour de Suisse before going on to win that year's edition of the Tour de France. The context of Landis' claim in this case refers to Dr Michele Ferrari's direction to Armstrong not to use EPO at the '01 Tour de Suisse, the story of which was recalled by the seven-time Tour de France winner to Landis in 2002.
The UCI went on to call the accusation by Landis "unfounded" and added that it was "outraged at this new attempt to harm the image of cycling".
Landis had won the 2006 Tour de France when a urine sample showed the rider had an...
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford responded to questions about Michael Barry at the end of stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, after the Canadian was accused of doping by Floyd Landis.
Brailsford said he was “aware of the allegations” and said that he would clarify the facts with the Canadian cyclist before taking any action.
"My whole motivation for getting involved in this in the first place, is that we believe we can race clean as a team. The whole philosophy of the performance by the aggregation of marginal gains is something we've used to great effect at the Olympic Games and it's something we want to bring to this discipline of the sport. In that respect that's why we're in the sport," he said.
“Barry came from a team (HTC-Columbia) we have a lot of respect for. They have an ethical code. We’ll speak with Michael and the procedure will be based on facts. We’ll listen to his thought on the matter and we’ll be transparent as always.”
When building Team Sky, Brailsford established a policy ruling that anyone who has been involved a drug scandal or tested positive cannot ride or work for Team Sky. That meant his personal friend David Millar was ruled unsuitable for the British team despite the Scot taking a strong stand against doping
“If Michael Barry or anybody held his hands up, that goes to the next level which is WADA”, Brailsford added. “I imagine if that goes forward, we’ll take further action. We’ll establish the facts.”
While an early crash on the Amgen Tour of California’s fifth stage claimed big names like Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) and Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank) there have been no serious injuries reported from the incident. Armstrong received eight stitches under his left eye before being transported to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital where precautionary x-rays showed no broken bones.
Armstrong had feared a broken elbow after the pile-up, which led to his abandonment around 10 kilometres later. “It was a shame to have to abandon early and not be able to help Levi to another victory,” said Armstrong. “It was one of those crashes that put a bunch of us down.
“I tried to give it a go but my eye was swollen so I couldn't see properly and the pain in the elbow prevented me from holding the bars for the remainder of the stage,” he added. “It was a relief to learn there were no breaks. I will take a few days to recover and be on the bike as soon as possible.”
Cervelo Test Team’s Heinrich Haussler also suffered some bad news as a result of the crash, with the rider’s knee pains returning. California marked the German rider’s return after his knee injury plagued the first half of the year, cancelling what was hoped would be a successful Spring Classics campaign.
“I fell twice during the Tour of California and now my knee hurts but not at the same place as my previous injury,” said Haussler. “As a precaution, I will now return to Switzerland, to the CrossKlink in Basel for a check to be 100 percent prepared for the Tour de France.”