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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 23, 2012

Date published:
April 23, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • No Tour de France start in Berlin

    The Berlin Six-Day celebrates its 100th edition.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 6:11 BST
    Cycling News

    German capital considers bid for track Worlds instead

    Berlin will not bid for the start of the Tour de France in the coming years, but may look at at a bid to host the track world championships. Economic reasons dictate the change in plans, according to the politicians involved.

    Hosting the start of the Tour would coast about 10 million Euros, “a damned high sum of money,”  Berlin Sport minister Andreas Statzkowksi told the Tagesspiegel website. “We will dismiss that idea.”

    The world championships would be much more affordable, only about 1.5 million Euro.  “We are considering whether we should bid for that,” he said.  The Berlin velodrome is an appropriate venue.

    Such a world championship, which could take place in the next five to six years, would “also attract foreign guests, which is good for Berlin's image.”

  • 2012 Tour de France prologue in Liege extended by 300 meters

    Christian Prudhomme announces the 2012 Tour de France route.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 8:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Road constructions causes route change

    The 2012 Tour de France will be 300 meters longer than planned. Specifically, the prologue on Saturday, June 30, which has been extended, due to road construction.

    The prologue will now run 6.4km through downtown Liege “We wanted to make the prologue of this Tour identical to that of 2004, but that is just not possible,” said sport director Jean-Francois Peschaux.

    The flat course from 2004, which combined the city with a ride along the Meuse River, was won by Fabian Cancellara, then with Fassa Bartolo. Only 23 years old, it was his breakthrough success, as he rode the third fastest prologue in Tour history to date and beat Lance Armstrong by two seconds.

  • Unlucky crash for Voeckler in Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) recons the Côte de La Redoute.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 10:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Europcar rider "could have won"

    Thomas Voeckler finished his Spring Classics programme with a very respectable fourth place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, after having won the Brabantse Pijl and achieved several top 10 placings. The Europcar rider started the race as one of the favourites and could possibly have made the podium, if it hadn't been for an unlucky crash at the foot of the La Redoute climb, with little more than 30 kilometres to go.

    "I crashed by myself and without really understanding why," the Frenchman told L'Equipe. "It was raining and maybe I slid on a manhole." Voeckler was with the best riders at the time, and decided not to wait for his teammate Cyril Gautier to help him in the chase back onto the group.

    "I chased on my own in the climb and of course I left some energy there. After that I scared myself a little in the bends on the descent. The solo effort certainly took some strength from me," he added.

    In the finale, when Nibali attacked, Voeckler and the remainder of the group counted on the defending champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) to initiate a chase, but the Belgian did not move. "The crash and the chase that I did afterwards somewhat affected my morale," admitted the 32-year-old, who finally finished off the podium after being outsprinted by Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) for third place. "That doesn't change much..."

    According to his team management, Voeckler could have hoped for the win if he hadn't crashed. "A fourth place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège is not bad but we still have reason to be disappointed," stated directeur sportif Andy Flickinger. "I know that he was very strong and that he had the means to win."

    Ever since last year's Tour de France, which...

  • Saxo Bank disappointed with Spring Classics

    A pile of Saxo Bank Specialized Roubaix machines in need of a wash
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 10:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Still “much work to be done”, Bradley McGee says

    Bradley McGee didn't call Team Saxo Bank's Spring Classics campaign a disaster, but he expressed much disapppointment over the team's recent performances. The blow to the team's morale of losing Alberto Contador to a doping ban was followed by the loss of Nick Nuyens with a fractured hip, and the Danish team was unable to accomplish anything in the big races.

    The team's best result in the Classics was Matteo Tossato's seventh place in Paris-Roubaix. In the recent Ardennes Classics, Nicki Sorensen was twice the team's top finisher, 16th in Amstel Gold Race and 33rd in Fleche Wallonne, with Karsten Kroon claiming the honours Sunday in Liege-Bastogne-Liege as 25th.

    “We are not satisfied with our spring, we've had no victories,” sport director McGee told “We know there is much work to be done, and it's a long process. We have to accept where we are right now, and then we dig ourselves out of here. The process started long ago, but I am confident that we will get there.”

    There is only one direction for the team to go from here, he said. “I think we are at the bottom, so now we can move upwards again.”

    Chris Anker Sorensen was sixth last year in Liège, but this year managed only 31st, and although he blamed the cold, wet weather, he knew it was time to stop making excuses. “I hope it will be time soon that we should stop talking about excuses and instead start talking about good results.”

    The loss of Nuyens, who last year won the Tour of Flanders, was the biggest factor, according to McGee. The Belgian “was our front man, so it has obviously been of great importance. One must...

  • Vanendert surge on Saint-Nicolas too little, too late

    Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 11:27 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Lotto-Belisol leader isolated in tactical Liège finale

    After several strong performances in the races preceding ‘la Doyenne’ Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) had high hopes of going for the win in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Vanendert was second in the Amstel Gold Race last week and finished fourth in the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. He concluded his first spring classics season as team leader with three top ten results and the knowledge that he can mix in for the win at any of the three races in the Ardennes classics week.

    “I hope I can come back to win here. Liège suits me most. The finish suits me a bit less but it should be possible for me to ride away in the finale,” Vanendert said.

    On Sunday it turned out that the 27-year-old Belgian had the legs to win a rainy edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège but the lack of teammates in a tactical finale reduced his chances dramatically.

    “Our team took its responsibility, which not all teams did. I have to thank the boys for that. They showed they had the courage to go for it. [Jurgen] Van den Broeck didn’t keep up very long. I think he wasn’t very well, but that was possibly due to the rain and coldness. Not everybody stands that weather very well. I’ve been cold too and I understand it,” Vanendert said.

    “Astana was very strong and they had three or four guys up front. Katusha had two guys as well. It made it hard for an  individual to do something. It was very tactical and hard to control. You can keep reacting but once in a while you have to take a risk. That way it was possible to win or to finish tenth with the same efforts. You needed a bit of luck.”


  • Vuelta a Espana announces its 22 teams for 2012

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) on the podium.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 12:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Both Spanish Professional Continental teams with wildcards

    Twenty two teams will be at the start of the Vuelta a Espana on August 18 in Pamplona. All 18 WorldTour teams will take part, as will four Professional Continental teams. Race organiser Unipublic announced on Monday afternoon that the wildcard invitations had been issued to Andalucia, Caja Rural, Cofidis and Argos-Shimano.

    Andalucia and Caja Rural are the only two Spanish Professional Continental teams, and will most likely participate in as many escape groups as possible. Andalucia featured in the 2011 Vuelta.

    Cofidis features David Moncoutie, who has won the mountains classification at the Vuelta for the last four years. He also has four Vuelta stage wins under his belt.

    Argos-Shimano can look to German sprinter Marcel Kittel, who last year took his first Grand Tour stage win in the Vuelta, when the team rode under the name Skil-Shimano.

    “La Vuelta is a major, important race. Our cyclists, our staff and our sponsors are anxiously looking forward to this. We would like to thank the organizer for his faith in us,” said team manger Iwan Spekenbrink.

    “We have a strong team, who will start at Pamplona with ambition,” said co-manager Sissy van Alebeek. “We will attempt to contend for success with a strong collective, via the attack or in the sprint.”

  • Goss spearheads GreenEdge at Giro

    Matt Goss (GreenEdge) has held the leader's jersey since stage 1.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 14:11 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Keukeleire and Impey to make Grand Tour debuts

    Less than two weeks before the start of the Giro d’Italia, the first Grand Tour of the season, the GreenEdge team disclosed to Cyclingnews some of the names that will line up at the start in Herning, Denmark. Matthew Goss is the dedicated man for the sprints during the first two weeks. Daryl Impey and Jens Keukeleire will make their Grand Tour debuts, and Jack Bobridge, Fumiyuki Beppu, Cameron Meyer, Christian Meier and Svein Tuft are the other names on the team sheet so far.

    The race kicks off with three stages in Denmark before heading to Verona for the team time trial. On the road book there are seven flat stages in which bunch sprints might decide the winner. The last part of the Giro looks extremely hard with five high mountain stages featuring in the last nine days.

    “The Giro is hard but in the team we know we have the objective with Matthew Goss in the first two weeks and after that we take it easy. The team consists of Beppu, Cameron Meyer, Christian Meier and Svein Tuft,” Marie said. On his personal website Daryl Impey wrote that he’ll be making his Grand Tour debut while Jack Bobridge is expected to travel to Denmark as well.

    Sports director Lionel Marie told Cyclingnews that Goss will be supported by a sprint train which will likely feature Meyer, Bobridge and Keukeleire. “A man like Keukeleire will learn a lot in those sprints. He’ll be part of our train to set up Goss,” Marie said.

    One more rider must still be named.


  • Contador accused of doping in 2005 by fomer team masseur

    Alberto Contador maintained his innocence at a press conference on February 7, 2012.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2012, 15:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Witness told WADA under oath that he saw the Spaniard use insulin

    According to a Spanish newspaper, a former masseur of the Liberty Seguros team has stated under oath that he personally saw Alberto Contador being injected with insulin, a forbidden substance, during the 2005 Tour de France, when Contador rode for the Spanish squad. The source, who has remained anonymous, made the allegations on May 11, 2011, in front of representatives of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which was looking into the Spanish Tour de France winner's Clenbuterol positive from the Tour 2010 and preparing to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Contador's lawyers, according to Interviu, managed to avoid having the witness testify in front of CAS as the Contador case unfolded.

    "They administered insulin injections to Contador at the Tour de France 2005," the former soigneur is reported to have said. "Eufemiano Fuentes was the doctor of the team as a matter of fact, and insulin was part of the treatment for all of the riders."

    Contador, as well as Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki, raced for Manolo Saiz's team in 2005, one year before Spanish police revealed Fuentes' doping activities in what became known as Operacion Puerto. The witness, according to the paper, was going to testify in front of the CAS in the Contador case, but the Spaniard's lawyers were able to block this.

    "We deny the accusations of the unnamed witness, according to which [Contador] was implicated in a doping plan or that he received insulin injections," stated Contador's defense. "The tribunal must have noticed that that the witness refers to the infamous doctor Fuentes, the center of Operacion Puerto. The accused has already been subject to an extensive investigation in 2006, and in August of that year he was cleared from any implication whatsoever by the Spanish...