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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, July 30, 2012

Date published:
July 30, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Leleivyte and Schleck doping cases mean lost Olympic places

    Frank Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 14:28 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Lithuania, Luxembourg penalized in Olympics over positives

    The men’s and women's road races at London 2012 Olympic Games each started with one rider fewer than originally planned due to International Olympic Committee rules barring countries from replacing riders who returned positive doping tests.

    In the men's race, Luxembourg lost one spot due to Fränk Schleck's positive during the Tour de France. Schleck returned a sample positive for Xipamide, a diuretic, on July 14th. The B-sample confirmed the result a week later.

    Lithuania's Rasa Leleivyte tested positive for EPO on June 12. The result was not announced until July 18, after Lithuania had named its team for the Games, naming her as its sole representative. Leleivyte’s positive test meant that her country had no starter in the women's road race.

    The two countries will also lose their spot for the individual time trial.

  • Puncture means heartbreak for Olds in Olympic road race

    Shelley Olds checks out the course
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 17:23 BST
    Laura Weislo

    American flatted out of the winning move

    When the winning breakaway escaped the peloton with 50km remaining in the women's road race at the 2012 Olympic Games, all of the USA cheered because in the very promising escape was sprinter and Chongming World Cup winner Shelley Olds. But the excitement turned to heartbreak for Olds and her country as a puncture put her out of the move 20 kilometers later.

    Olds had a slow wheel change and ended up back in the peloton, and at the finish she was crushed with the knowledge that she had been in the winning breakaway only to have ill fortune ruin her shining chance at an Olympic medal. Soaked to the skin and shivering from the cold, Olds overcame her sorrows to take a moment to speak with Cyclingnews about her race.

    "I'm really emotional right now. I was there. I knew that was the time, I knew Vos was going to go and I was on her wheel and I was there," she said, choking back tears. "Then I flatted and that was it. My race was over.

    "I tried to stay focused to see if maybe [the break] would come back, but I was pretty sure that was the winning move. So it's devastating to know that you were there in the Olympic Games, but that's bike racing."

    The support cars were not quick enough with the wheel change to give Olds a chance to get back into the breakaway, but at the speeds that eventual winner Marianne Vos and her companions were moving there was little chance at bridging any gap for any rider.

    "When I was in the breakaway, they were riding hard. It was hard to be in the breakaway," she said. Her flat tire was not changed quickly, and she had to fight to get back onto the peloton. "I thought that if Germany and Italy weren't represented, and when my team found out I wasn't in the break anymore that we...

  • Teutenberg just outside the medals at London Olympic road race

    Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Germany).
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 18:35 BST
    Daniel Benson

    German describes chase efforts

    Ina Teutenberg (Germany) won the bunch sprint for fourth place in the women's Olympic road race on Sunday after a brave but ultimately futile chase of the winning break.

    The experienced German team was ever-present in the 140-kilometre event until its riders missed out on the vital final break that included Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) and Shelley Olds (United States of America). While the four ploughed ahead to the finish, the German team was forced to chase, and even when Olds dropped out from the lead group, which ultimately led to her compatriots joining the chase, the leading trio weren't seen again.

    "We missed the break and that was a big mistake, that neither Trixi Worrack, Judith Arndt nor Charlotte Becker was in there. Not that we would have worked in the break but probably we could have destroyed it," Teutenberg told Cyclingnews.

    "They did everything afterwards to bring back the break, but the three up front were so strong, and we didn't ride slowly. We couldn't get them but the girls did everything to try and deliver me to the finish, but we were just missing a couple of seconds there."

    The German and American teams were joined by further allies when Sweden and Italy also began to commit to the chase and despite holding the gap through most of the run in to London, the deficit never fell below 20 seconds.

    "When I saw the US coming back, I thought we had a chance because there were three really strong time trialists on the front but they didn't have the total legs at the end, Evelyn [Stevens] was up there with Judith [Arndt] a lot and there were teams working with Sweden putting Emilia [Fahlin] on the front, but we just weren't good enough."

    At 37, it's unclear whether...

  • Vos completes Olympic circle after road race win

    Marianne Vos (Netherlands).
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 19:29 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Dutchwoman strongest in London

    Marianne Vos (Netherlands) finally claimed an Olympic road gold medal after the disappointment of missing out in Beijing four years ago. Arguably the most gifted rider of her generation, Vos now joins an elite group of female cyclists who have won Olympic gold medals on the road and track.

    "After Beijing, [taking the Olympic road title] was the only thing on my mind for four years," said Vos, who won the points race on the track in 2008. "Now it's happened, it's incredible. The gold is mine."

    Vos and her Dutch team were aggressive throughout the race, with a number of concerted efforts to split the field after the second and final climb of Box Hill. However it was Vos who made the telling difference, bridging to the attack of Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) with 50 kilometres to go and drawing out her closest opposition, Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain), with Shelley Olds (United States of America) latching onto the move.

    Once she was in the breakaway, Vos had just one thought on her mind: "I've got to cross the line first. That's what's simple about cycling, but in the end it's very tough. We made it a tough race. There were not so many countries that also attacked, but we did very well to make the race aggressive. When we arrived at Box Hill there was a lot of wind so it was difficult to get into a breakaway. It stayed all together, but after Box Hill there was another small climb, and we knew that."

    With the Germans and Italians leading the initial chase - they were later joined by USA after Olds punctured - the leading three riders reinforced their commitment, knowing that a medal was a certainly if they remained ahead of the field. The gap rose and the chase began to fall in on itself as Vos and Armitstead - the two strongest riders - eyed the sprint.

  • Silver lining for Armitstead in London

    Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) carries most home hopes.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 21:50 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Briton finishes second behind Vos

    Lizzie Armitstead kick-started Great Britain's Olympic Games with silver in the women's road race. The 23-year-old joined an attack in the final 50 kilometres with Marianne Vos (Netherlands), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) and Shelley Olds (USA) and although she finished strongly, Armitstead was unable to come past Vos on the line.

    Armitstead's performance capped off a fine display from Great Britain's women with Emma Pooley laying down the ground work for Armitstead move.

    "I feel really strange. I'm a bit shocked. Emma did everything that was asked on Box Hill. We wanted to have an aggressive race. I'm happy. Maybe I should have jumped Vos earlier, but she was the stronger rider. I am thrilled. I am still a bit shell-shocked, to be honest. I cannot really get my head around it. I suppose the disappointment of not winning gold is starting to sink in a little bit, but I am overjoyed with silver."

    "I'm just so happy that I committed to the breakaway and I was thee with Vos and if you know much about women's cycling then you know that she's the best rider in the world on most kinds of course."

    Armitstead, who fell out with teammate Nicole Cooke during last year's Worlds in Copenhagen praised her teammates at the finish. Cooke came into the race as the defending Olympic champion but saw her chances of victory disappear from view once Armitstead and her break companions had built up a lead.

    "I'm just really proud of the team of girls," she said. "We stick together through quite a lot and there was a lot of talk, there's team Sky, and as a group of women who came together from different teams to work together it's just a really good result."

  • London mayor Johnson enjoys watching Olympic road race

    The peloton flashes past Buckingham Palace.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2012, 22:00 BST
    Daniel Benson

    One million spectators estimated to have attended men's race

    Mayor of London Boris Johnson was on hand to witness as professional cycling engulfed London this weekend. Johnson attended the men's Olympic road race on Saturday and although Great Britain's road team came up short with Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) taking the gold, the Mayor praised the efforts of the men's team while also predicting that the home nation's cyclists would bounce back. On Sunday Johnson's predictions came true with Lizzie Armistead taking silver in the women's race.

    "I thought it was wonderful, brilliant," Johnson told Cyclingnews on Saturday as he witnessed the finish of the men's race on the Mall.

    "Team GB are coming back, they're coming back. I thought it was brilliant and we'll see what happens in the days ahead. I thought they did brilliantly, I couldn't go that fast."

    While some of the pro peloton criticized the marshalling, or rather the lack of it, on sections of the course Johnson praised the estimated one million spectators who came out the cheer the rider on.

    "It was immense. I think it was the biggest sporting event, the crowds were enormous and it shows the growing popularity of cycling."

    Johns also attended the Games' opening ceremony on Friday, during which the Queen made a television performance alongside James Bond [Daniel Craig] before appearing to jump out of a helicopter. Johnson was not part of the London opening but did share some of the details of a subsequent chat with the monarch.

    "I was blubbering like a baby from the beginning and I thought it was absolutely brilliant and the most stupefying thing I've seen for a very long time. I was still dreaming about it this morning. I think it was wonderful, and what was so good was that it was genuinely us. It was true. It was about...

  • Evans withdraws from Olympic time trial

    2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC) lost 1:43 to Bradley Wiggins today.
    Article published:
    July 30, 2012, 0:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Inadequate recovery and fatigue too significant to start race

    Cadel Evans hadn't enjoyed the most ideal lead-up to this Olympic Games. His bid to win a second Tour de France began well but as the race developed it became clear the defending champion didn’t have the condition to topple the consistent Bradley Wiggins. The final time trial on stage 19 was the primary indicator that something was wrong. His Olympic participation was immediately put in doubt.

    Evans rode in support of his team in Saturday’s road race but following the end of the 250km event, he seemed unsure whether he would start the time trial on Wednesday. It has now been confirmed that Evans will not be taking to the start ramp, leaving a single Australian competitor for the event, Michael Rogers.

    A representative from the Australian Olympic Committee issued a media release early Monday morning regarding Evans’ condition following the road race. Evans mentioned he would need to assess his recovery before making any decision about the time trial.

    “He has been seen by the cycling doctor Mark Fisher and Olympic team medical director Peter Baquie,” a AOC representative said.

    “They have confirmed he is fatigued and will not recover in time for Wednesday.”

    The Australian team sports director Matt White confirmed the decision to pull out of the time trial was not purely up to Evans. The decision...

  • Uran equals Colombia’s Olympic medal tally from 2008

    Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) before the start of the men's Olympic road race
    Article published:
    July 30, 2012, 2:41 BST
    Cycling News

    25-year-old continues impressive season following Giro d'Italia success

    When Kazakhstan’s Alexandre Vinokourov attacked out of the leading group in the closing kilometers of the men’s Olympic road race there was only one rider who had the tactical nous to follow the move. Rigoberto Uran was quick to latch-on to the wheels of Vinokourov and the two promptly established a winning margin over the chasers.

    The two cooperated until the final 500m when Vinokourov opened-up his sprint. The winner of the young rider classification at this year’s Giro d’Italia seemed to be caught by surprise and failed to react fast enough to win gold.

    "To be honest I wasn't counting on the medal but we have it now. This one is for all the people of Colombia who were hoping. Colombia, this medal is for you," Uran said at the finish.

    ‘Winning’ the silver medal just days into the London Games was a proud moment for the rider and his country. Beijing’s Olympic Games saw Colombia take home just one medal - a silver in the women’s 55kg wrestling. Uran was hoping for more but didn’t have the strength to overhaul the Kazakh.

    "I attacked and at the sprint I was thinking of the gold [medal]. However, one thing is what you think and another thing is what the legs say," the cyclist told RCN Radio.

    "I looked to my right and suddenly Alexandre took off. I didn't have anything left for a sprint. It was a very long day," he said.

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos immediately reacted to the news of the country’s first medal in London for 2012.

    "I want to express my happiness and I believe the happiness of all Colombians because we have just won the first medal at the London...