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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 1, 2013

Date published:
November 01, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Arbitration panel to rule on SCA's Armstrong appeal

    Lance Armstrong (US Postal) protected by his body guard at the 2004 Tour de France
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 12:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Insurance company looks to recoup $7.5 million payment

    An arbitration panel will deliberate on an appeal from SCA Promotions for Lance Armstrong to repay the $7.5 million settlement he received from the insurance company in 2006.

    The win bonuses due to be paid to Armstrong by Tailwind Sports, the management company behind the US Postal Service team, were insured by SCA, who paid out $4.5 million for his victories in 2002 and 2003.

    The Dallas-based SCA then refused to pay out a further $5 million following Armstrong’s 2004 Tour win, pointing to suspicions that he had doped his way to victory. The case went to arbitration, where Armstrong denied doping and SCA was ultimately ordered to pay him the $5 million, as well as an additional $2.5 million in damages.

    After Armstrong was formally stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last October, SCA announced that it was launching legal proceedings to recoup the money that it had paid out to him. Armstrong has since confessed to doping during each of his Tour victories.

    According to a report on, arbitrators in the dispute have ruled that they “will exercise jurisdiction to determine and make a final award resolving any disputes between or among Tailwind Sports Corp., Lance Armstrong and SCA Promotions, Inc.”

    The news has been welcomed by SCA spokesperson Jeff Dorough, who said: “SCA is pleased with the ruling and looks forward to a timely resolution to this matter.” Dorough confirmed that SCA

    However, Armstrong’s lawyer Tim Herman has argued that the matter was settled by the binding agreement made during the initial arbitration hearing in 2005, and maintains that under Texas law, the...

  • Vote and win! Who was the best rider of the year?

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) takes the win in the Saitama Criterium
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 15:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Take the Cyclingnews 2013 Reader Poll and win Dan Martin's Cervelo

    Now that the season is over, it's time to look back on 2013 and decide who was the best rider of the year. Cyclingnews has nominated 10 men and women in our 2013 Reader Poll for you to choose from.

    At the top of the heap are two stand-out athletes, one of whom took home two world championship titles, had victories across three cycling disciplines and was consistently one of the best every time she threw her leg over a bike: yes - we're talking about Marianne Vos, cyclo-cross and road world champion, winner of the World Cup overall and five rounds, including the Tour of Flanders and La Flèche Wallonne.

    Vos's palmares, as impressive as they were, did not net her the designation of UCI number 1 - that honour went to the ever-consistent Emma Johansson.

    The men's number 1 was not Tour de France winner Chris Froome, another nominee in our rider of the year category. A late-season injury meant that Joaquim Rodriguez (also nominated) wound up atop the WorldTour individual rankings.

    Peter Sagan led the field in the number of wins in 2013, with 22 to Mark Cavendish's 19 and Marcel Kittel's 16. What Fabian Cancellara lacked in numbers, he made up for in quality of his victories with the Tour of Flanders - Paris-Roubaix double featuring in his six season wins.

    While Vos racked up 22 wins, our third female nominee, Giorgia Bronzini had 17, including six straight stage wins in La Route de France - out of seven total stages in the race.

    So who was the best? Only you can decide. Vote today and be entered to win Dan Martin's Garmin-Sharp Cervelo.

    Giorgia Bronzini
    Fabian Cancellara
    Chris Froome
    Chris Horner
    Emma Johansson
    Marcel Kittel
    Vincenzo Nibali
    Joaquim Rodriguez
    Peter Sagan
    Marianne Vos

  • 2014 Tour de Suisse set for mountainous finale

    Tour de Suisse winner Rui Costa (Movistar)
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 16:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Verbier and Saas-Fee to feature on final weekend

    The 2014 Tour de Suisse will conclude with two tough mountain stages to Verbier and Saas-Fee. Race organisers IMG confirmed the 2014 stage towns on Wednesday, although the full details of the route will not be formally unveiled until February of next year.

    The Tour de Suisse will get underway with a short time trial in Bellinzona, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, before heading north to Sarnen the next day, and then winding anti-clockwise around the country via Heiden, Ossingen, Büren an der Aare and Delémont.

    The greatest shake-up of the race ought to come in the final three days, however. Stage 7, starting and finishing in Worb, looks likely to be a time trial, and that will precede a testing weekend in the high mountains.

    First up is a summit finish at Vebier, where Alberto Contador famously laid the foundations for overall victory at the 2009 Tour de France. The 8.8km climb has an averages gradient of 7.5% and last featured at the Tour de Suisse in 2012, when Rui Costa claimed the win en route to final overall victory. The Portuguese rider went on to win a second successive Tour de Suisse last June.

    The final stage promises to be tougher again, bringing the peloton through mountainous terrain of the Valais region from Martigny to a summit finish at Saas-Fee, where Francesco Casagrande took stage victory in the 2003 edition of the race.

    2014 Tour de Suisse route:

    Stage 1, June 14: Bellinzona – Bellinzona (Individual time trial)
    Stage 2, June 15: Bellinzona – Sarnen
    Stage 3, June 16: Sarnen – Heiden
    Stage 4, June 17: Heiden – Ossingen
    Stage 5, June 18: Ossingen – Büren an der Aare
    Stage 6, June 19: Büren an der Aare – Delémont

  • Canadian anti-doping confirms no violation for Hesjedal

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin - Sharp)
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 17:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    CCES "disappointed" Hesjedal waited 10 years to disclose doping

    The Canadian anti-doping agency, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) has confirmed that Ryder Hesjedal had disclosed his past doping activities to it and to the US Anti-Doping Agency in the spring of this year "as part of the CCES’ ongoing investigation into doping in cycling in Canada".

    Hesjedal publicly admitted to having doped in 2003 after an excerpt of a book written by Michael Rasmussen was published in the Danish press in which Rasmussen recalls teaching Hesjedal and two other Canadian mountain bikers how to use EPO and cortisone.

    "Mr. Hesjedal shared with the CCES and USADA, the information that was disclosed regarding his previous doping involvement," the CCES statement read.

    "It is important to note that the World Anti-Doping Code has an eight-year statute of limitations. As such, unfortunately Mr. Hesjedal’s acknowledgement of doping in 2003 will not result in a violation or any sanction."

    Although the Garmin-Sharp team and USADA pointed to this sudden need for a public admission as more evidence that the UCI needs to hasten its plans for an amnesty programme for past doping, CCES took a different approach, even admonishing Hesjedal for waiting 10 years to come clean.

    "This announcement involves one of Canada’s most elite and accomplished athletes. It is another example of the systemic doping that occurred in cycling over many years.

    "The CCES is disappointed that Mr. Hesjedal waited more than a decade to publicly disclose his past involvement in doping. His conduct has deprived many clean Canadian athletes from the opportunity to shine in the sport of cycling."

    Why the agencies did not disclose...

  • Rasch to become Sky directeur sportif after 2014 classics

    - Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 19:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Norwegian will retire from racing after Paris-Roubaix

    Gabriel Rasch will retire from racing and become a directeur sportif at Team Sky following the 2014 classics. The 37-year-old’s new role had been rumoured in the Norwegian press in recent weeks, and was confirmed in a statement by Team Sky on Thursday.

    "I'd always hoped to become a Sports Director once my riding days had come to a close and this is a big chance for me to do what I'd love to do with a team that I love,” said Rasch.

    Although Rasch won the Norwegian road race title in 2003, he was a relative latecomer to the upper echelons of the sport, making the step up to ProTour level at the age of 32 with the Crédit Agricole team of fellow countryman Thor Hushovd in 2008.

    Rasch joined Hushovd at Cervélo TestTeam and Garmin-Cervélo in the years that followed, before parting company to sign for FDJ in 2012. At the end of last season, he was linked with a move to IAM Cycling, but ultimately opted to sign for Team Sky.

    Rasch was part of Sky’s classics squad in 2013, where he rode alongside Edvald Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas, and he hopes to tread the cobbles for one final time next spring before swapping the bike for the directeur’s car.

    “No one ever wants to stop riding but this is the right time and the right opportunity to pass on some of my experience,” said Rasch. "I'm not hanging up the bike just yet; I plan to fight for my place up until Paris-Roubaix and after that I will become a full-time DS for the team. I can't wait to get started."

    Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth maintains that the swiftness of Rasch’s change from rider to directeur sportif will aid his transition between the two roles.

    “Gabba will join the DS team fresh from the bike which will make all the difference and will help him...

  • Scarponi to Astana on one year contract

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) was voted most combative
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 23:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Set to lead Kazakh team at Giro d'Italia

    Current Lampre-Merida rider Michele Scarponi has formalised his move to Astana after signing a one year contract the team announced yesterday. Astana general manager Alexander Vinokurov confirmed that Scarponi was the last rider to be signed for the team and that Giro leadership was focus for the 34-year-old Italian.

    "Michele is a Giro leader, and he can be our Captain for Astana Pro Team in May," explained Vinokurov. "Our young Fabio Aru will ride with him, as will Alexey Lutsenko, and we see an environment where these very talented young riders will learn race leadership skills and strategies alongside Scarponi as he rides for a podium at the Giro d'Italia next year."

    Having finished first in the Giro in 2011- after the disqualification of Alberto Contador- as well as fourth in 2010, 2012 and 2013, Scarponi is again aiming for a podium at his home Grand Tour. In exchange for team support in May, Scarponi will then become a key lieutenant to Vincenzo Nibali in July when he targets victory at the Tour de France.

    "Our main goal next year is to build up a team that can come together around the massively complicated and extraordinarily difficult task of riding for Vincenzo Nibali and his shot at a podium, and why not, a win, at the Tour de France," added Vinokurov. "Michele Scarponi has experience and strength that after the Giro we can go with him into the Alps and Pyrenees in July.

    "It is worth an attempt, because the Tour is so important, and requires so much coordination and commitment. We need strong riders and we will need just as much good luck as anything else."

    Jakob Fuglsang is another rider crucial to Astana's Grand Tour ambitions for 2014 be it the Giro or the Tour. Fuglsang

  • Gallery: Riders who retired in 2013

    Juan Antonio Flecha was a perennial in the cobbled Classics. The Spaniard is pictured in action on Muur during the Tour of Flanders
    Article published:
    November 01, 2013, 2:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    The highs and lows of Cooke, Flecha, Pinotti, O'Grady, Zabriskie and more

    With another road season in the books it's time to look back at the riders who called it a career in 2013.

    The year kicked off with Nicole Cooke announcing her immediate retirement from cycling in January. In her farewell press conference the 29-year-old spoke of winning "every race and more that I dreamt I could win" and looking back at her career that's indeed the case. In 2008 Cooke achieved arguably her greatest accomplishment as she became the only cyclist to win both Olympic gold and the rainbow jersey in the same year on the road but she was a prolific winner throughout her years who could win both stage races and one-day events on any terrain.

    Cooke was a three time La Flèche Wallonne Féminine winner (2003, 2005, 2006), a champion at Amstel Gold (2003) and Tour of Flanders (2007), and won the overall World Cup twice (2003, 2006). She twice won the Grande Boucle Tour de France Feminine stage race (2006-2007) and claimed victory in the Giro d'Italia Femminile (2004) as well. Cooke was also a 10-time British national champion and the 2002 Commonwealth Games road race champion.

    While Cooke was justifiably proud of her cycling career, she also utilised her farewell press conference as a means to speak out regarding what she saw as the UCI's failure to commit to developing women's cycling during here 11-year professional career.

    In May Russia's Denis Menchov announced his retirement with immediate effect after a knee injury kept him out of the Giro d'Italia. The 35-year-old left the peloton with three Grand Tour victories in his palmares (Vuelta a Espana in 2005, 2007 plus the 2009 Giro d'Italia). He twice finished on the Tour de France podium and won stages in all three Grand Tours. Menchov won the Tour's best...

  • Sagan set to showcase Noosa Criterium

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) smiling at the start line
    Article published:
    November 01, 2013, 4:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    No 'off' in off-season as riders gear for an hour of power

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) remains busy in his off-season with a number of engagements keeping his calendar filled. After taking on sumo wrestlers and battling it out with Chris Froome (Sky) and Rui Costa (Movista) in Japan, the Tour de France green jersey winner's next appointment is the Subaru Australia Open Criterium in Noosa, Australia.

    Sagan travelled Down Under with his brother Juraj at his side where the duo spent the day before the race fulfilling a number of media appointments on the town's beach front as well as the regular pre-race press conference. On the main stage Australian commentator Matt Keenan questioned Peter Sagan along with other headline stars Simon Clarke, Luke Durbridge, Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge), Cameron Wurf (Cannondale), Gracie Elvin, and Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS) about the criterium to be run on Saturday.

    Andrew Caie, Subaru General Marketing Manager said that having Sagan in town is a great way to boost the profile of cycling.

    "His showmanship has without a doubt helped to make the sport of professional cycling more fun," he said. "The more energy and personality guys like Peter bring to the sport, the more people will want to watch it.

    "Plus having Peter here will help people appreciate how good our local talent is, which is important to growing the appeal of cycling in Australia. Having Peter here is also a great way for our young kids to get a sense of what it's like to be a part of the big wide world of professional cycling as it appears in Europe."

    The women's criterium over 30 minutes and three laps is first up at 14:30 pm AEST with Wiggle-Honda bringing a team of three...