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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 25, 2012

Date published:
May 25, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Vansevenant's doping products were only amino acids

    Wim Vansevenant recalled his career
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 17:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Belgian pro scammed by Australian firm

    The doping case involving former pro rider Wim Vansevenant has taken a surprise turn. An analysis has shown that the “doping products” he ordered did not contain the advertised contents, and that he was scammed by the company from which he bought the products.

    Last June custom officials intercepted a package to Vansevenant from an Australian firm, which contained several bottles labelled as containing the “ultra-modern” doping product TB-500, a peptide hormone purported to increase muscle strength and promote healing.  A Belgian court immediately opened an investigation, and suspicions arose that he was providing doping products to the Omega Pharma-Lotto team.

    Vansevenant had ridden professionally from 1998 to 2008, and was with the Lotto team for the last six years of his career.  He had been hired by Omega Pharma-Lotto to escort VIP guests at last year's Tour de France, but the team immediately cut its ties to him.

    An analysis of the contents of the three bottles Vansevenant received showed them to be amino acids, and his lawyer said the charges should now be dropped. "It's not about doping, so he deserves no punishment," his lawyer said, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

    The court confirmed the analysis. “Analysis showed at the content of these bottles does not correspond to the product, the label on the product and the statements of ex-racer," said prosecutor spokesman Johan Lescrauwaet. "There were amino acids found, no doping products. There is also no evidence that he supplied products to third parties. "

    The drug TB-500 is a synthetic protein, which consists of amino acids assembled into a specific order to replicate the active site of the Thymosin Beta 4. Presumably the amino acids...

  • Hincapie sad to see US Pro move from Greenville

    George Hincapie (BMC) riding near the front
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 19:15 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Three-time US Pro champion aiming at one last victory at home

    For seven years, George Hincapie has had the luxury of competing in his national championships right near his home in Greenville, South Carolina. But after this weekend, the race will move on to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the next two years at least. At 38, going on 39 next month, Hincapie will give it at least one more go to try and secure the stars and stripes jersey in his own backyard.

    Coming off a taxing Amgen Tour of California, Hincapie told Cyclingnews that he was feeling good after not having great form during the Classics. "I feel as strong as ever. I've worked really hard after the Classics. I didn't feel perfect during the Classics so I worked as hard as possible the last five weeks to be ready for the latter part of the season: the Tour of California, nationals and obviously the Tour de France."

    Hincapie won the US Pro championships in its first edition in Greenville, and in 2009 added another to his palmares to go with his 1998 victory in Philadelphia. Can he add a fourth title to his name and become the only rider to do so?

    "I'd love to win again, it's always great to win at home in front of friends and family," Hincapie said. "At the same time, we have a strong team, albeit a small team for the race. I can see any of our guys winning."

    BMC will line up in Greenville with Tejay Van Garderen, Brent Bookwalter and Hincapie, who will on May 28 compete in front of his home town crowd for the final time.


  • Guardini marks Giro debut with dramatic sprint victory

    Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) answered his critics in devastating fashion
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 20:23 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian sprinter comes of age after beating Cavendish in Vedelago

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) crossed the finishing line with rage as he lost stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia in Vedelago, arriving runner-up to second year pro Andrea Guardini, 22, from Farnese Vini-Selle Italia. The world champion admitted that the young Italian was "faster and more powerful" than him on that day.

    "I've always believed that I'd beat Cavendish one day," Guardini said. "I knew that I had to anticipate him in the sprint. In the last three kilometers, I took a place behind the train of Saxo Bank. I knew it was the best, even without the Haedo [Juan José] who beat me in the [French cup race] GP Denain, but with his brother [Lucas Sebastian who finished fifth]. They have surprised everyone but not me."

    Stage 18 was perfect for Guardini with its short distance of 149km, featuring a finale of sixty kilometers absolutely flat to finish. "There were maybe four or five sprinters left for today's bunch gallop," the Italian said. "We were 198 riders at the start in Herning and we're only 167 left in contention now. That means something.

    "I've really suffered on the climbs but I've endured it. During the first week of the Giro d'Italia I didn't believe in myself enough. I'd been struggling in the sprints. I was not happy with finishing tenth in Denmark. That wasn't at the height of my value. Also at the Tour of Turkey, I didn't collect the results I wanted before the Giro. I knew this sprint was the last chance I had. It was today or that I'd have to wait until next year."

    All of Guardini's previous victories this season were collected in Malaysia where he won six stages...

  • Gallery: Women's Exergy Tour gets underway

    The Exergy team at the presentation.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 21:01 BST
    Pat Malach

    Photos from team presentation, press conference

    The women's Exergy Tour in Boise, Idaho, a UCI 2.1 race that boasts an international field of 2012 Olympic hopefuls, gets underway tonight with the 3.2km prologue time trial through the streets of downtown.

    Four more stages – three road races and an individual time trial – follow before the race crowns its first-ever champion on Memorial Day. The race offers a $100,000 purse and important UCI points, which determine how may riders each country can send to the Olympics.

    "The opportunity for these women here to score UCI points for their country is profound," said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. "And most countries actually use performances by their top athletes at events like this to ultimately select the Olympic teams. So the individuals who are competing here will be competing both for their country's overall international rankings and for themselves, in terms of selection to the final Olympic team for their home country."

    Although the looming Olympics are certainly on everyone's mind, most of the riders agreed that the race within a race wouldn't have too much affect on tactics or the ultimate results.

    "The Americans ranked in the top five in UCI points are well spread over the top teams that are represented here," said Exergy-TWENTY12 team leader Kristin Armstrong, the 2008 Olympic time trial champion. "So I think that makes it a great opportunity for each of us to still play our role within our trade teams. Of course, at the end of the day, we want to get as many UCI points as possible, but I think with all five us here, if we race as hard as we can and as smart as possible and stick to our own team strategy within our trade teams, we're going to come out on top."

    TIBCO-To the Top team leader Megan Guarnier backed up Armstrong's thoughts, adding that the competitive nature of the...

  • Video: Stetina discusses his support role for Hesjedal at the Giro

    Peter Stetina and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) before the start.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 21:55 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Garmin-Barracuda captain enters final weekend well-positioned

    As the Giro d'Italia enters its final three days, featuring two difficult days in the mountains followed by the concluding time trial in Milan, Garmin-Barracuda leader Ryder Hesjedal is perfectly positioned to win his and his US ProTeam's first Grand Tour. Heading into Friday's 19th stage, Hesjedal occupies second place on general classification, just 30 seconds behind Giro leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

    Playing a crucial support role in the mountains for Hesjedal is Peter Stetina, a 24-year-old American climber in his second Giro d'Italia. In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews, Stetina talks about their team's Giro thus far in which Hesjedal has already held the jersey and is poised to make history. Stetina himself has worn the best young rider jersey at this Giro, but any personal ambition has been set aside in the team's pursuit of the final maglia rosa in Milan.

    "We're all in it for Ryder, he's had our trust from the beginning and he's backed it all race for two and a half weeks," Stetina told Cyclingnews. "We just have to stay vigilant."

    Stetina also discusses the upcoming climbs of the Pampeago, Mortirolo and Stelvio plus the tactics of Ivan Basso and his Liquigas-Cannondale team.

  • Giro d'Italia boss Michele Acquarone promotes globalization

    Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) is all smiles
    Article published:
    May 24, 2012, 22:51 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian wild-card teams have won five stages out of eighteen

    As a new Grand Tour promoter, the Giro d'Italia's general director Michele Acquarone inaugurated a previously unseen way of communicating about the wild-cards, giving total transparency about the identity of the candidates, the panel of selectors and the reasons of their choices for teams invited to Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Giro d'Italia and Il Lombardia by RCS Sport.

    With three days to go into the Giro d'Italia, NetApp is the only invited team without a stage win but they have animated the race and claimed a second place with Jan Barta at the top of Cervinia. Androni Giocattoli (with Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez and Roberto Ferrari), Colnago CSF Inox (with Domenico Pozzovivo who is also seventh on GC) and Farnese Vini-Selle Italia (with Matteo Rabottini and Andrea Guardini) have all performed and also given the event an interesting media exposure due to the personalities like Gianni Savio, the Reverberis (father and son) and Luca Scinto who run these three teams, respectively, and which have won five stages out of eighteen so far.

    "If we look at what the image of what the Giro has to be in a few years time, the eighteen ProTeams are those supposed to do the race," Acquarone told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview at the start of stage 18 at San Vito di Cadore. "If we look at Wimbledon [tennis tournament], the top seeds are expected to play towards the final.

    "As race organizers, we have in our hands four wild-cards. We see them as a way to create interest prior to the Giro but we don't select those teams with the idea that they'll win the overall classification. If they do well, fine,...

  • Tetrick lines up for Exergy Tour in comeback bid

    Allison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY12), winner of last year's Merco Cycling Classic time trial and overall, took fourth place.
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 2:33 BST
    Pat Malach

    American back in International action after concussions

    Alison Tetrick will take the start line for Exergy TWENTY12 when Idaho's Exergy Tour flies off the start line with the downtown Boise prologue time trial Thursday night. Tetrick was not originally on the team's race roster but will be filling a spot left vacant when Pascal Schnider fell ill.

    The Exergy Tour will mark Tetrick's return to top-level international racing since recovering from multiple concussions in just 18 months. Doctors cleared Tetrick to start racing again just before the Sea Otter Classic, where she competed as a warm up for the Tour of the Gila, but this will be her first race against international competition in more than a year.

    "It's been a long road, but things are looking good," Tetrick said. "And my team's given me the opportunity to recover and build into it. It's been very good for me to stay healthy and focused on little goals at a time."

    It's not the first time Tetrick, 27, has had to come back from a serious injury. She crashed during stage 1 of the Cascade Cycling Classic in 2010 and had to be airlifted from the course after suffering a double fracture to her pelvis. Tetrick stormed back from that injury, although the recovery time off the bike and the subsequent concussion when she returned to racing have delayed her Olympic hopes, which she has pushed back to 2016 and possibly beyond. Nevertheless, Exergy TWENTY12 team director Nicola Cranmer said she was pleased to have one of her veteran riders back in the fold.

    "She's going pretty good," Cranmer said after Tetrick finished fourth during the women's time trial at the Tour of California. "I think she's still working on getting comfortable in the pack after her concussion. She's definitely getting stronger, and her time trial...

  • Rodriguez optimistic ahead of the “three most important days of the Giro”

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) in the maglia rosa
    Article published:
    May 25, 2012, 8:47 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Pink jersey fears Liquigas-Cannondale more than Basso

    Joaquim Rodriguez remains in the lead at the Giro d’Italia prior to the three big stages set to conclude the race: uphill finishes at Alpe di Pampeago and Passo Stelvio, and a 30km individual time trial in Milan on Sunday. “Those are the three most important days of the Giro”, the Spaniard said after putting the pink jersey on his shoulders once again at Vedelago.

    Stage 18 wasn’t exactly to his taste. He didn’t mind the sun in the region of Veneto but the 149-km course that ended up with a bunch gallop with Andrea Guardini beating Mark Cavendish was a big change in terms of race rhythm after two days in the Dolomites. “We’ve done three hours at 50km/h”, “Purito” said. “After using a gear of 39x17, I was on the 53x11, which is far from being my favorite one! I got sore legs because of that constant speed.”

    With 30 seconds of advantage over Ryder Hesjedal, 1.22 over Ivan Basso and 1.36 over Michele Scarponi, Rodriguez is not in the best situation considering his poor performances against the clock in the past. “I wish I had more time over Hesjedal, it would give me more possibilities to defend the pink jersey”, the Catalan commented. “I’m hoping for Hesjedal to have a bad day in the mountains. He’s 70kg, Basso is 67. Hesjedal is very lean. I don’t foresee him getting dropped uphill. He won’t lose two minutes. Either he’ll stay with us or he’ll lose a lot.” Weighing in at 58kg, the Spaniard is clearly the purest climber of the four contenders.

    “For sure, l’Alpe de Pampeago suits me”, Rodriguez admitted. “It matches my climbing skills. I’m a little more of a climber than my rivals....