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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 17, 2013

Date published:
June 17, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Mike Plant publicly ends his support of Pat McQuaid

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    June 16, 2013, 10:33 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Influential UCI Management Committee member calls for credible leadership

    Mike Plant, a key member of the UCI Management Committee has announced that he can no longer support UCI President Pat McQuaid, saying that cycling is at a critical turning point and needs strong, credible leadership.

    Like McQuaid, Plant has been involved in cycling for more than 20 years. He organised the Tour de Trump and Tour DuPont in the USA and first Tour of China, and has sat on the board of USA Cycling and the United States Olympic Committee. He was a member of the UCI Management Committee between 1997 and 2004 and was re-elected in 2009.

    Plant is an experienced sports politician but also understands the business of professional sports. He has been critical of the UCI in recent times, especially after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the lack of credibility in professional cycling following the publication of the USADA reasoned decision.

    Plant allegedly produced a secret dossier on McQuaid's work as UCI President and presented it to UCI Management committee meeting in Norway on Thursday. Several sources indicate that the explosive dossier sparked a heated debate on Friday and possibly a vote of no confidence in McQuaid. The outcome of the vote is not known.

    When contacted by Cyclingnews, Plant refused to reveal what happened behind closed doors at the UCI Management meeting but in a significant move, he has now publicly ended his support of McQuaid in a damning statement sent to Cyclingnews.

    After Irish Cycling club members voted against nominating McQuaid for re-election on Saturday, the Irishman's position and hopes of re-election have become even more untenable.

    "I have been asked by a number of media outlets to...

  • Former pro Barton finding form after difficult journey

    Chris Barton (CashCall) comes out of the break for a KOM.
    Article published:
    June 16, 2013, 15:50 BST
    Pat Malach

    CashCall rider in KOM jersey at Nature Valley Grand Prix

    CashCall Cycling's Chris Barton has been to the pinnacle of the sport and back again, now the 25-year-old from Camarillo, California, is hoping to ride his way back to the top one more time.

    Barton took over the KOM jersey during Saturday's stage 5 Menomonie Road Race at the Nature Valley Grand Prix after a gutsy ride in a seven-rider breakaway where he claimed enough KOM points to take over the climber's jersey lead from previous leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman).

    It's been a long road back for the former BMC development team and pro team rider who contracted mononucleosis shortly after signing his first pro contract.

    "When I signed my first professional contract with BMC, right after training camp that year I got mononucleosis, and it was a pretty acute case of it," Barton said Saturday just before receiving the KOM jersey. "So I was bedridden for awhile. Then I came back a little too soon that season. I had a couple of good races and then I relapsed and had to take more time off. And then I was just kind of playing catch up with training and racing."

    The disease is an offshoot of the Esptein Barr Virus, which is sometimes referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it can be tough to overcome. It's the same virus that Team Saxo-Tinkoff's Michael Rogers had to overcome.

    "It affects different people differently," Barton said. "Some people just get tired in training, but with me it was like I woke up and thought I had some kind of infection or something because it was super painful. I thought I had tonsillitis because I looked in mirror and everything was white. I went to the doctor and he told me I have mono. Since then it's been a slow process, and I had some other issues with some...

  • Costa celebrates back-to-back Tour de Suisse victories

    2013 Tour de Suisse champion Rui Costa (Movistar)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Movistar rider confirms form in advance of Tour de France

    It's been 26 years since a rider has won consecutive overall titles at the Tour de Suisse (Andy Hampsten, 1986-87), but Portugal's Rui Costa (Movistar) achieved that feat today after a convincing victory in the concluding mountain time trial from Bad Ragaz to Flumserberg. Costa started the 26.8km time in second overall behind Mathias Frank (BMC), but the 26-year-old Costa put in a masterful effort against the clock to win his second stage of the year's Tour de Suisse and the final yellow jersey.

    Unlike the previous Tour de Suisse victory in 2012, where Costa took over the yellow jersey after winning stage 2 and defended his lead through to the finish, this year the only time Costa donned yellow was on the final podium.

    "Every victory is different, and I got this one in quite a different way than last year's," said Costa. "Then I grabbed the leader's jersey too early, and that long week cost me much energy. All those days on the podium, the press conference... that's two hours off your recovery and that's crucial. This time, I'm fresher at the end of the race, and got better and better feelings throughout the race.

    "It wouldn't have been possible without my team. They were sensational, all week - this victory is dedicated to them, as well as the Portuguese fans, who came here to support me."

    Costa first hinted at his fine condition with a second place to Peter Sagan (Cannondale) on stage 3, the day in which Frank, fourth on the stage, took over the yellow jersey. Costa, meanwhile, moved into third overall at 35 seconds. The Portuguese rider kept his powder dry...

  • Safety takes on Olympic proportions for Santos North Western Tour

    Pat Shaw (Genesys) leads the bunch on the descent
    Article published:
    June 16, 2013, 22:56 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Rolling or total road closures with both lanes utilised in second edition

    Four decades of successful, high-level race promotion meant that Phill Bates was not going to compromise when he was asked to take the reins of the second edition of the Santos North Western Tour earlier this year.

    He demanded police involvement and road closures.

    "If that wasn't the case I wasn't interested in being involved," Bates told Cyclingnews.

    The 2013 Santos North Western Tour is stop number five for the men and the fourth for the women in the Subaru National Road Series. The race beings this Wednesday in the town of Narrabri.

    The inaugural North Western Tour descended into farce on the final stage in 2012, stopped with 90km remaining after riders within the peloton continually crossing-over the middle line of the road. The New South Wales Police-issued permits only allowed for the left-hand side of the road to be used. The race had not been scheduled to be a part of the National Road Series calendar until this season however, pressure from sponsors - mining giant Santos - saw the tour fast-tracked.

    "Maybe it was a bit of inexperience but it was a good concept," explained Bates. "We are working around the model that they had in place but we've changed a few things."

    First, there's the police presence and road closures – rolling on the road stages with the full width utilised and total closures for the time trial and criterium. Initial plans put in place by Bates to have at least two police motorcyclists with the race, were upped weeks out from the event with NSW Police doubling their numbers – it means that it will be the largest police contingent to undertake a cycling event in New South Wales since the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. The vast majority of motor police cyclists will be coming from...

  • Blanco take wins across Europe in tour de force

    Lars Boom (Blanco) was able to successfully defend his yellow jersey on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer
    Article published:
    June 17, 2013, 3:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Overall victories for Boom, Martens while Mollema finishes runner-up at Suisse

    Sunday proved a big day for Blanco, with Lars Boom securing overall victory in Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk, Paul Martens taking out the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg while Bauke Mollema secured second overall at the Tour de Suisse.

    Boom's task was to stay upright on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer, with his lead not under threat on Sunday, where Pim Lithgart (Vacansoleil-DCM) took the win.

    "Everything went well today, just like it did the entire week," said Boom afterwards. "With an eye on the Dutch Championships, I wanted to confirm my form here and that is a tick in the box. This is good for my confidence."

    Sunday's result was an improvement for Boom who finished second overall in 2012.

    The team produced consistent results over the five days of the event with Robert Wagner winning the prologue and donning the yellow jersey for two days. Theo Bos got the better of sprint rivals André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Marcel Kittel (Argos – Shimano) to win the second stage before Boom took the honours in the Queen Stage with a powerful late attack.

    Martens' victory in Luxembourg moved up from third overall with his performance on the final day, finishing second to RadioShack Leopard's Bob Jungels to be...

  • Astana trio injured in training crash on Tenerife

    A focused Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 17, 2013, 7:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Updated: Fuglsang to resume training, Grivko and Bazayev uncertain for Tour de France

    A high-speed training crash took down three riders of the Astana Tour de France squad on Sunday. Team captain Jakob Fuglsang is expected to resume training again later this week, but Andrei Grivko and Assan Bazayev are apparently injured severely enough to miss the Tour.

    The trio, together with teammates Egor Silin, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Dmitriy Muravyev, Alexey Lutsenko and Kevin Seeldraeyers, were at a training camp on Tenerife. Shortly after starting out Sunday morning, Fuglsang, Grivko and Bazayev "crashed together on a right turn during a high-speed descent," the team said. The other riders were able to stop in time.

    The three injured riders were all taken to hospital. Fuglsang injured his back and elbow, but is expected to be able to resume training later this week.

    Grivko injured his hand, apparently damaging the scaphoid bone in his wrist. He is said to be "50-50" as to further riding, and will see a specialist today.

    Bazayev was the most severely affected, suffering unspecified injures to his face. "He will stop his Tour de France preparations and fly back to mainland Europe for more medical consultation," the team said.


    Later, Astana Pro Team Director Sportif Dmitriy Sedoun said the injuries looked less serious on Monday after more medical consultation.

    "Bazayev begged me not to take him off the Tour de France preliminary selection. If you look at him you automatically think there is no way he could do the race. Unfortunately thats because he absorbed most of the crash with his face. There is a 4-5cm scrape on his chin, another one on his nose, and the whole side of his body is road rash as well. But he got up and went to train again today," Sedoun said.

    "Grivko for sure has a broken scaphoid bone in...

  • Cavendish wants yellow jersey in Corsica

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished third on the day
    Article published:
    June 17, 2013, 10:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Manxman takes aim at Tour de France

    Mark Cavendish may be among the chief contenders for the green jersey at the Tour de France but yellow will be the only colour on the Omega Pharma-QuickStep man’s mind when he lines up for the opening stage on June 29.

    The Manxman has never worn the maillot jaune during his career but with the peloton facing a flat road stage from Porto-Vecchio to Bastia on the opening day of the race, he has the best opportunity of his career to date to hold the overall lead at the Tour.

    “I’d like to wear the yellow jersey after the first stage in Corsica. It’s the only one of the three grand tours where I haven’t worn the leader’s jersey, so I’d like to do that,” Cavendish told Sporza.

    Cavendish’s rivals at the Tour will include Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), who each got the better of him in bunch sprints at the Ster ZLM Toer last week. The Dutch race was Cavendish’s first since completing the Giro d’Italia three weeks ago, however, and he will be confident of adding to his running tally of 23 Tour stages next month in France.

    “I don’t fear anybody. It’s irrelevant who’s there. There are some strong guys but if you’re looking at the other guys, you’re not looking at the goal, which is crossing the finish line first,” Cavendish said.

    Cavendish has won twelve races in 2013 after making the switch from Sky to Omega Pharma-QuickStep during the off-season and he paid tribute to the efforts of his new teammates, who helped pilot him to five stage wins and the points competition at...

  • Gilbert concentrating on Belgian national road race

    World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 17, 2013, 11:38 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC rider pleased with Suisse performance

    Philippe Gilbert is still looking for his first win in the rainbow jersey of the world road champion, but he hopes to change that this coming weekend at the Belgian championship race in La Roche. The BMC rider came close in the Tour de Suisse, placing third in Saturday's penultimate stage, a placing with which he is satisfied.

    A difficult climb near the end of that eighth stage narrowed the field down to 40 or so riders, and Gilbert finished behind Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff), both of whom he described as “very strong. It is no shame to finish third behind those names. If you check my sprints, that third place is where I belong. Of course you always hope for better.”

    It was far and away his best finish in the Swiss race, and he was pleased with his overall performance. “The condition is there, the speed too. I am satisfied with my Tour de Suisse. I worked well.”

    One reason why he did not place higher is that he was not riding for himself. “We worked our the race leader, Mathias Frank, and Tejay van Garderen all week. When you have a team like BMC, the leaders have to work for each other in each race.”

    Gilbert is apparently still not assured a place on the Tour de France squad. Team principal Jim Ochowicz has publicly said that only Cadel Evans and Van Garderen are set for the team, although Gilbert said earlier that he has been told privately that he too will ride the Tour.