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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 3, 2013

Date published:
May 03, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Wiggins begins his Grand Tour in Naples

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) speaks to the press in Naples
    Article published:
    May 02, 2013, 21:15 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Englishman takes aim at Giro d'Italia

    The Castel dell'Ovo in Naples is not the most auspicious of places for an Englishman to begin an Italian sojourn. John Keats docked here in 1820 on his ill-starred journey to Italy and found his ship placed under quarantine for 10 days, passing the time, it is said, by thinking up puns to amuse his travelling companion.

    Bradley Wiggins was less given to wordplay when he turned up for the pre-Giro d'Italia press conference at the castle on Thursday afternoon, affecting an air of drowsy numbness for most of the proceedings. When asked to assess his form relative to the eve of last year's Tour de France, Wiggins' response reiterated that there is precious little poetry about Sky's methodological approach to cycling.

    "I feel better and it's not just a feeling. The evidence is that I've moved on from last year and I'm ready for this year," Wiggins said. "Sometimes you get mixed feelings but the evidence is in the training we do and the times we do and the numbers we produce. Years of doing that and having all that data, like your body weight, all of that goes towards judging how you are."

    After baldly stating his ambition to win a Giro-Tour double – and precipitating his contest with Chris Froome for Sky leadership in July in the process – Wiggins was decidedly more circumspect in his declarations in Naples as he sat alongside fellow contenders Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Robert Gesink (Blanco), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Cadel Evans (BMC).

    The 55-kilometre time trial to Saltara at the end of week one is widely seen as Wiggins's chance to strike a potentially decisive blow in the battle for overall honours, but he was steadfast in his...

  • Huon Salmon-Genesys hedging bets on Haig at Battle on the Border

    Jack Haig (Huon Salmon - Genesys Wealth Advisers) celebrates as he crossed the finish line on Stage 1 of the Battle of the Border
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 0:04 BST
    Alex Malone

    Mount Warning victory earns NRS rookie first leader's jersey

    There was little to be surprised about when Jack Haig crossed the finish line in first place atop the brutal climb to Mount Warning at Battle on the Border ahead of many who were expected to contend for victory in Stage 1. As a 19-year-old in 2012, he rode to victory atop Mount Hotham in the Tour of Bright and this, along with attending a pre-season training camp was enough to suggest Haig was ready to step into Australia's number-one domestic squad, Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers with only two previous starts in the Subaru National Road Series. He wasted little time in confirming the decision of Andrew-Christie Johnston to make room for him in 2013.

    Haig, near-fresh out of the junior ranks showcased his 'Orange Army' colours in the first month of the New Year when he took third-place in the U23 Road National Championships in Ballarat. Against a full complement of NRS riders he more recently rounded-out a stellar week at the Woodside Tour de Perth, won by teammate Joe Cooper, with third-place overall. With the leader's jersey firmly on his back at the Battle on the Border Haig is now in the hot-seat as one of the favourites to win the overall title.

    The first-year Huon Salmon-Genesys rider is more than just a pure climber. His background in XC mountain biking, where he is the reigning U23 national champion, means he is extremely capable in tests against the clock. A top-10 in the Rottnest Island time trial was enough to suggest Haig could be more than capable of taking out the Battle on the Border tour after taking out the tough hill-top finish on day one ahead of notable...

  • Exclusive: UCI reintroduce biological passport testing at Tour of California

    The riders' blood samples are taken
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 0:54 BST
    Daniel Benson

    USADA set to carry out pre-comp testing but no cooperation set with UCI

    The UCI has confirmed to Cyclingnews that they will carry out Biological Passport tests at the Tour of California later this month. The sport's governing body last conducted their passport checks at the race in 2009.

    "For the Tour of California, this year the UCI will be performing blood tests for the Biological Passport," said a UCI spokesperson, however they would not confirm if they would carry out additional testing at the race.

    Despite the move from the UCI the competition testing is still some way short of the grand plans that were put in place in 2011 when the UCI and USADA were set to coordinate a joint-venture involving pre and in competition testing. USADA were set to complete all testing with the UCI in charge of the results management.

    However those plans fell through weeks before the race after USADA CEO Travis Tygart likened the UCI's stance to that of a 'fox guarding the hen house'. Since then, relations between the UCI and USADA have been fraught. No passport checks were in place in 2012 and when USADA released their Reasoned Decision stemming from their investigation into US Postal both USADA and the UCI clashed over jurisdiction and authority. USADA even alleged that Lance Armstrong had made it sufficiently clear to them that the UCI had been complicit during the Postal era, a charge the UCI have vehemently denied.

    When Cyclingnews emailed the UCI to confirm several further testing details for this year race, they replied swiftly on Thursday.

    "This year the UCI will be performing pre-competition tests. We have approached USADA and email exchanges are still ongoing on the BP testing plan."

    Tygart confirmed that he and USADA had received correspondence from the UCI but that a...

  • Spanish courts initiate criminal doping investigation of Armstrong's US Postal team

    Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 2:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Alicante courts follow up on details of USADA's 2012 report

    After the Operacion Puerto verdict in the doping case of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes was announced earlier this week, the Spanish courts were confirmed to have opened a criminal investigation into doping which is following up on the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation and 2012 report detailing the doping of Lance Armstrong and his teammates.

    According to The Guardian, a magistrate in Spain's Alicante province, initiated a criminal investigation. Some of the happenings in USADA's report occurred in Alicante, where Lance Armstrong's US Postal team sometimes trained in 2001.

    Ana Muñoz, head of the national anti-doping agency in Spain, told The Guardian, "Both the investigating magistrate and a prosecutor agree with the agency that there is evidence that a crime may have been committed."

    The investigation came about after the Spanish anti-doping agency shared details of the USADA report with Spain's attorney general, who in turn passed them onto prosecutors in Alicante and other provinces.

    USADA's report named Spanish doctors Luis García del Moral and Pedro Celaya as well as coach José "Pepe" Martí as involved in the doping scandal. In addition, Dr. Michele Ferrari was identified as present in Alicante at a team camp.

    García del Moral and Martí are not from Alicante, but come from a nearby province and it is uncertain whether they are under investigation. The team also trained in Girona, but there is no word on whether courts there are also investigating.

    Because doping was not prohibited by Spanish law at the times of the incidents detailed in...

  • Evans riding the Giro with high hopes

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 4:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian warns against high expectations

    Cadel Evans' motives at the 2013 Giro d'Italia are simple: "ride a good race," the BMC Australian told media before getting underway in Naples on Saturday.

    "Whether I'm at the level to be with the best guys here, I really don't know," he admitted. "They come here thinking about this race, preparing for this race for six, seven months, eight months ago - I come here on a few weeks preparation but that's okay. That doesn't mean we can't do a good race."

    There are many question marks over what the 36-year-old can produce over the corsa rosa, with even Evans himself riding into the unknown.

    "I come here seeing what I can do on a little more than a month's concentration and preparation so I come here with high hopes but not high expectations," he explained.

    "I'm very pleased to come back here again. I'm a little bit more, bit better prepared, a lot more experienced and over the next three weeks, we'll see what I can do."

    Evans was the first Australian to wear the magia rosa when he took on the Giro for the first time under the Mapei banner in 2002, since then, he has ridden the Italian grand tour only once in 2010 where he won the stage to Montalcino having donned the leader's jersey for a second time earlier on. It's a race that he clearly enjoys.

    "The Giro for me is about the passion of the people in the Giro, the passion of the people who come and see the Giro," Evans explained. "It's certainly a very different ambience [to the Tour de France].

    "I've only won one stage of the Giro, more than a few second places but the one stage win was pretty special."

    Asked to single out the decisive stages over the next three weeks, Evans would not be drawn.

    "Every stage is going to be decisive in the Giro," he said. "There's particularly hard mountain stages, particularly hard time trials - a...

  • Matt White completes six-month anti-doping ban

    Orica-GreenEdge's Stuart O'Grady (left) and sports director Matt White before the start of the Down Under Classic in Adelaide.
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 8:49 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Keen to return to work with invaluable experience

    Former US Postal, Cofidis rider and Orica GreenEdge sports director Matt White has issued a statement to Cyclingnews announcing that he has completed a six month ban as of April 13, 2013.

    On October 13 of last year, White confessed to doping explaining he was "part of a team where doping formed part of the team's strategy, and I too was involved in that strategy. My involvement is something I am not proud of and I sincerely apologise to my fans, media, family and friends who trusted me and also to other athletes in my era that consciously chose not to dope."

    That confession was in the wake of the USADA report into Lance Armstrong and his associates, whereby White was identified as Rider 9 as part of the organisation's Reasoned Decision. He was subsequently stood down from his role as sports director with Orica GreenEdge and the team then began their own external review of anti-doping policies and procedures, led by former WADA director Nicki Vance. White was also sacked from his role as men's professional road co-ordinator with Cycling Australia.

    "I have so much passion for cycling and I would like the opportunity to again work with the cyclists of the future," White said on Friday. "I believe that my experience will prove invaluable when advising these athletes of the importance in making the correct decisions.

    "In my roles with Slipstream Sports, Cycling Australia and at Orica-GreenEdge, I have always acted within the ethos of clean sport...

  • Stybar undergoes knee surgery

    Cyclo-cross star Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has had solid results thus far this season on the road.
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 10:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider out for three weeks

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Zdenek Stybar will undergo a three-week rest period following surgery on his right knee today. The former cyclo-cross world champion had been suffering from knee pain since his successful Classics campaign, in which he placed sixth in Paris-Roubaix.

    "We decided with the team to perform this surgery to solve this problem that affected me since the Classics," Stybar said. "We tried to observe a period of rest after the Classics, but the problem didn't solve itself. That's why, together with the team medical staff, we decided I should have surgery performed. It's a pity, but it was necessary. Now I will take the time to recover and then in the upcoming week with the team we will reschedule my program."

    The 27-year-old Czech was hoping to be selected for the team's Tour de France squad, but will be unable to train for the next three weeks.

  • Giro d'Italia 2013: Durbridge excited for first grand tour

    Luke Durbridge
    Article published:
    May 03, 2013, 11:35 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Australian Champion talks to Cyclingnews HD ahead Giro d’Italia

    2013 has been a year of firsts for Luke Durbridge. He became the first Australian to win both the national road race and time trial in the same year, at elite level. Durbridge also took on Paris-Roubaix for the first time, in April. The Aussie is about to embark on his first grand tour, in two days, at the Giro d’Italia. Durbridge spoke to Cyclingnews HD ahead of this particular landmark.

    CN HD: How are you feeling ahead of the Giro?

    Luke Durbridge: “I’m feeling good. I’m only home for 48 hours from Romandie and then I’m off again to the Giro. We’ve got a few days to recover by the time we get down to Naples. So I should be ready to go once the Giro starts.”

    CN HD: This is your first Grand Tour. How will you approach it?

    Durbridge: “I’m not sure what to expect. I think the first week will be like any other race and then it will start to bite in the second. I’ve never raced this long so I’m going into the unknown. I’m excited and I’ll be a bit of a kid in a candy shop for the first week. I look forward to it.”

    CN HD: Have any of the guys told you what the fatigue is like in one of these races?

    Durbridge: “All the guys are great, they give me loads of tips. One of the most common tips is to just be prepared to be on your knees and still rock up day after day. I think, if you can get through the second week you’ll be right. I don’t think you get too much more fatigued, you just go through the motions. I’ve just got to struggle through that second week and then hopefully I can get to Milan.”

    CN HD: What will your role be at the race?