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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, September 7, 2012

Date published:
September 07, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Schenk doubts McQuaid has the credibility to clean up cycling

    Schenk wants the UCI to toe the line
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 22:04 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Former UCI member calls for fundemental changes to the culture of cycling

    Sylvia Schenk, the former German federation president and UCI management committee member, has said that she doubts that UCI President Pat McQuaid has the credibility to clean up cycling.

    Schenk's comments come after USADA banned and stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and several allegations have been laid at the feet of the UCI surrounding alleged collusion and the covering up of positive doping tests. The UCI has always denied that they have covered-up test results and McQuaid has gone on the record stating that corruption within the sport's governing body has never existed. However, the UCI's position has been questioned after USADA included the cover-up of positive tests in their statements to Armstrong and other individuals named in the US Postal investigation.

    The UCI has altered its stance on the case, first stating that the matter was for USADA to deal with before bringing a case to a US court where they fought for but failed to attain jurisdiction of results management. They await the evidence from USADA, which has yet to be made public, while Armstrong chose not to fight charges leveled at him.

    "There is a big effort needed in this historic situation in cycling to really change the sport. I doubt that McQuaid has the credibility to lead the reform that is needed," Schenk told Cyclingnews.

    Schenk has previously called for an independent inquiry into the UCI's actions after it was confirmed in 2010 that...

  • MTN-Qhubeka sign Volta a Portugal stage winner Thomson

    Jay Thomson (Unitedhealthcare) wins the opening stage at the Volta a Portugal
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 2:35 BST
    Cycling News

    South African team announce first contract ahead of 2013 Pro-Continental plans

    Volta a Portugal stage 1 winner Jay Thomson has signed for MTN-Qhubeka for the next three years. The 26-year-old, currently riding for the US-based UnitedHealthcare team, lead the 10-stage race for three days before relinquishing his position at the end of stage 4.

    MTN-Qhubeka is currently building their roster ahead of the 2013 season, where they will apply for a Professional Continental license and race a predominantly European-based schedule.

    "Jay is a great all round rider that can TT, sprint from a small group and ride all day in breakaways," said Team Principal Douglas Ryder.

    "He is best suited for hard European races and he will be a key component of our team’s European racing programme next year.

    "He has been working the last 3 years for other riders in races all around the world and now he can focus and specialise on races that suit his style of riding with team support to get him the results we all know he can."

    It’s a welcome return for the South African Thomson who spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the MTN team. Since then he has ridden for FlyV Australia where he won a stage at the Tour of Langkawi before heading to Bissell Cycling for 2011 - after the collapse of the Australian FlyV team.

    "I really think Doug and Team MTN-Qhubeka have taken things to the next step. With the team competing at a Professional Continental level it’s the logical choice for a guy like me to come back and grow with a team that’s going places," said Thomson.

    "And besides, who wouldn’t want to be on the first Professional Continental team coming from their own continent. I'm excited and all of South Africa and Africa...

  • Gallery: Challenge Sprint Pro kicks off Canadian World Tour events

    Bell won a close sprint over Pelletier-Roy and Goss
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 6:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Local rider Bell wins warm-up to GP Québec and Montréal

    As a prelude to the upcoming round of World Tour races in Canada, Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal, the Challenge Sprint Pro pitted riders against each other in a 1km long 4-man sprint competition. One rider was selected from each of the 24 teams competing in the two World Tour races.

    At the end of the evening it was Zachary Bell (Spidertech) who won the four-man final ahead of Rémi Pelletier-Roy (Canadian National Team), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Michael Matthews (Rabobank).

    "You had to push it to whole [time] in front of a tough field. To come here in front of such a great crowd in such a fine setting is just brilliant," said London Olympian Bell.

    "If Challenge Sprint Pro becomes a regular thing, for me it’s obviously a good race," he said.

    Bell, riding for the Canadian-bred Spidertech team recently finished 7th in the omnium at the London Olympic Games. After being knocked out in the opening round of the Challenge Sprint Pro in last year’s event, a determined Bell blitzed through the heats by winning each of his rounds.

    The 29-year-old was not originally included in his team’s line up but now finds himself ready for his first World Tour race of the year at the GP de Québec which begins tomorrow.


  • Van Avermaet seeks to end victory drought in GP Québec

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) leads a late break
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 8:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian rider yet to take a win for BMC Racing Team in 2012

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) is hoping the upcoming World Tour races in Canada - Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal - will spell the end of his season of near misses. It has been nearly a year since the former Vuelta a España Points Classification winner raised his arms in the air. Van Avermaet most recent victory came from a two-man breakaway in last year’s Paris-Tours where he outsprinted Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) for the win.

    An early season injury during Tirreno-Adriatico meant Van Avermaet was not at his best for Milan-San Remo and despite his otherwise strong start to the season he has lacked that extra pucnh to get across the line in first. A 5th place at Strade Bianche and 4th at Tour of Flanders have been some of the Belgian’s best results.

    "Regularity is my strong point," said Van Avermaet to Nieuwsblad. "It is not unusual for my condition to remain high for long periods. Maybe it's easier to win in the fall when some riders sit through it, but I'm still motivated. I am not yet satisfied with my season."

    Van Avermaet is using the two World Tour rounds in Canada as part of his lead up to the UCI Road World Championships where he will likely play a support role for the in-form Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and the resurging Philippe Gilbert (BMC).

    "I was there...

  • Emma Pooley considers year off from racing

    Winner last year, Emma Pooley (AA Drink) in the lead group
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 9:46 BST
    Daniel Benson

    2008 Olympic medallist weighing her options

    With the AA Drink - Leontien.NL team confirmed to leave the sport at the end of the season, one of the team leaders Emma Pooley has told Cyclingnews that she may take a year out of the sport and that a complete retirement may follow.

    The 2008 Olympic medallist and Amnesty International advocate is currently racing the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardeche 2012. However despite still riding at the peak of her career, the 29-year-old said she may take a year’s sabbatical, which could extend to a full retirement.

    “It wasn’t a huge surprise that AA Drink - Leontien.NL were dropping out. Their sponsorship ran out at the end of this year and they gave us plenty of notice so it wasn’t like they left us in the lurch. But I’m still considering what I do for next year and whether I race at all, or what kind of race programme I do,” Pooley told Cyclingnews.

    One option that appears to be off the table is a ride in AA Drink - Leontien.NL’s new formation. The team’s bosses are hoping to put together a new outfit for 2013 but have stated that Pooley does not figure in their plans.

    “I think the director on AA Drink - Leontien.NL wants to start a follow-up team but he doesn’t seem to want me on it. He’s not spoken to me about it but all I know is that he did an interview with a Dutch cycling website where he named the riders he wanted and I wasn’t one of them.

    “I’m considering or taking a year off. I have spoken to other teams but the whole climate in women’s cycling is not very encouraging. Although some women’s teams are really well run, there's such a hand to mouth existence. Every year it seems like a team folds and it’s a lot of stress.


  • Voeckler low-key ahead of GP Québec

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was fully kitted out for Paris
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 12:59 BST
    Cycling News

    2010 winner points to Sagan and Sanchez for Canadian WorldTour race

    Ahead of Friday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, French cyclist Thomas Voeckler has remained rather low-key when answering questions about his objectives for the race he won in 2010. "I've come to this race with the same motivation as in the Hamburg Cyclassics - no more, no less," Voeckler told L'Equipe on the eve of the race.

    Asked whether he considered the two Canadian races more as preparation for the World Championships in Valkenburg in two weeks, he was just as enigmatic. "There are similarities between this parcours and the one in Valkenburg," he admitted. "Especially looking at the percentages of the climbs and the positioning the course requires, but my head is here now. Everything in its due time."

    The demanding circuit course in downtown Québec city includes a total of 3,000 vertical metres to climb. Even if these are divided into a series of short but sharp climbs, the end of the 201km-long race will be a selective one.

    "In the airplane, I looked around to see who was there," Voeckler told Canadian newspaper La Presse. "There's Peter Sagan, who I believe has the effect of a scarecrow on everyone. I think he and Luis Leon Sanchez are really the two riders [to count on]. But it's not my habit to observe any riders, I don't mark any of them. I just try to feel the race and then, it's all up to my legs."

    Voeckler will have a strong team around him in Québec, but the Europcar team leader was still adamant that he would not necessarily be the center of attention of his squad. His teammate and Quebec native David Veilleux has just won the Tre Valli Varesine, "one of the...

  • Storey makes Paralympic history in London

    Sarah Storey (Escentual For VioRed) is the lone chaser behind the lead group
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 13:53 BST
    Cycling News

    British cyclist wins 11th gold medal

    Sarah Storey made history on Thursday winning her 11th Paralympic gold medal and her fourth at the London 12 Games with a win in the women’s road race. Storey had also won gold in the time trial, as well as the 500 meter time trial on the track and the individual pursuit.

    Her win in the road race, in which she also caught and passed the men’s peloton, sees her draw level with wheelchair athlete Baroness Grey-Thompson and swimmer Dave Roberts in terms of career titles, but with a superior gold tally he has become the most successful Paralympian of all time.

    “It was a great day to do it after all these years competing and to match Tanni’s record is the biggest honour I’ve had,” Story told the press after her win.

    The 34-year-old won two swimming gold medals in the Barcelona Games in 1992 and followed that up with three in Atlanta. A further two gold medal followed in Beijing in 2008, this time in cycling, before her London Games success.

  • Contador’s Fuente Dé attack: History repeating itself

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) is now in control of the Vuelta
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 14:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Pistolero attacked on same climb when amateur in 2002

    Spanish sports daily MARCA has revealed that Alberto Contador’s spectacular attack in the 2012 Vuelta on the Collado de la Hoz was in fact a re-run of an attack he made as an amateur. The big difference? The previous one failed.

    In 2002, the second of Contador’s two years in the amateur peloton, during the prestigious Circuito Montañes stage race, he staged an attack at exactly the same spot, 3 kilometres from the summit of the second category climb where he attacked in the Vuelta this year.

    “It was a very similar stage to the one in the Vuelta this year,” Contador’s director in his amateur years, Juan Gonzalez, told MARCA, “but perhaps even harder.”

    Contador went away alone, was caught by Javier Ramirez Abeja, now racing with the Andalucia team, and by another rider shortly after the town of Potes at the foot of the Fuente Dé climb.

    “I told him to attack again on a ramp called Los Llanos, and Alberto went away again, but was caught 500 metres from the line.”

    “Wednesday’s stage was a carbon copy of that stage, with the difference that this time round it worked.”

    Gonzalez recalls Contador as being “unpredictable, he would attack anywhere and everywhere and you didn’t need to push him to make a move. And you couldn’t stop him either because once he’d attacked it was better to leave him in peace!”

    “He was the best climber of his generation “Gonzalez recalled “but despite his weight he was able to finish a close second in time trials like the Graniitier Breton prologue and the hillclimb in the Circuito Montañes” as well as winning the amateur Spanish time trials.

    After just two years in the...