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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 3, 2013

Date published:
June 03, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Slagter ready to fight for white jersey in Critérium du Dauphiné

    Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) showed the promise of the next generation of Dutch talent
    Article published:
    June 02, 2013, 18:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Blanco rider third in opening stage

    After taking the white jersey as the best young rider on the opening day of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco) has vowed to hold the jersey for as long as possible.

    The 23-year-old finished third on the opening stage Champéry behind David Veilleux (Europcar) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) after a challenging first day of racing.

    “I didn’t expect this,” Slagter said.

    “I knew I had a small chance at this arrival, but I didn’t consider a top five finish possible in this field. Of course wining is better, but this is a good start of the week. Veilleux was too far ahead and Meersman was just a little bit too quick for me.”

    Slagter, who won the Santos Tour Down Under earlier the season currently leads the young rider standings from Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Movistar) and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard), but knows that hold the jersey for the duration of the race will be a difficult proposition.

    “There’s a long time trial later on, so it will be hard to maintain the lead up until the end, but I’ll try a day-to-day approach and I’m going to defend the jersey with everything I have.”

    Blanco’s overall contender for the race, Laurens Ten Dam, finished the stage in the same time as Slagter and the main contenders for GC.

    “Everything went according to plan. It was a difficult first stage, but we managed to do well. Tom-Jelte did a good job in the sprint for second place, while our leader Laurens ten Dam was where he belonged, in the first peloton together with all the favourites,” said sports director Merijn Zeeman.

  • Rodriguez plays down Dauphiné ambitions

    Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez of Team Katusha celebrates after winning the Fleche Wallonne
    Article published:
    June 02, 2013, 20:05 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    'Purito' extended contract with Katusha to win the Tour de France

    It's pretty unusual to see Joaquim Rodriguez staying away from racing for so long but the 34-year-old looked like a beginner when he reached the start line of the Dauphiné in Champéry, Switzerland. Obviously, something was missing in his life as his last competition was six weeks ago with Liège-Bastogne-Liège where he came second behind Dan Martin.

    "For once, I don't come to a race with the aim of winning, I don't have the legs for that," the Spaniard warned Cyclingnews on the start line – but that was a few seconds prior to going and inspecting the last 200 metres of stage 1, so he still had some intention to be a protagonist. When the peloton entered the final hill in the last ten kilometers of racing, two Katusha riders, mostly Mikhail Ignatiev, went to the front of the bunch to reduce the deficit to eventual winner David Veilleux of Europcar who still had a lead of three minutes.

    "I like the Dauphiné," 'Purito' added. "When I discovered this race two years ago, I kind of regretted that I didn't take part in it earlier in my career because the terrain suits me very much with uphill finishes in the Alps. But in the past, I've had different programs, I've often done the Giro and not the Tour."

    In 2011, Rodriguez won the two best stages of the Dauphiné that were included late in his schedule, because he was still feeling fresh and hungry for racing towards the end of the Giro. "The Giro gives riders a great condition," his directeur sportif Valerio Piva explained. "For those who are still able to race after, it's a good option to prolong with the Dauphiné. That's what Joaquim did two years, that's what we did again with Dani Moreno who also won two stages here last year.

    "But this year, they don't have that condition to win. Joaquim is resuming racing. He has trained well but he doesn't have...

  • BMC signs Rick Zabel

     Rick Zabel (Germany) is congratulated by his dad
    Article published:
    June 03, 2013, 9:42 BST
    Cycling News

    19 year-old German follow in his father footsteps

    The BMC team has confirmed it has signed Rick Zabel for the 2014 season. The 19 year-old German and the son of Erik Zabel, confirmed his pedigree by winning the Under 23 Tour of Flanders. Zabel is riding for the Rabobank Development team this year but will soon rub shoulders with the big names on the BMC roster.

    The team did not reveal details of Zabel's contract but it is likely to last for several seasons. There was no announcement if Erik Zabel will also work for the BMC team. He currently works as a directeur sportif and sprint coach for the Katusha team.

    "For me this is really a dream," Zabel said in a statement issued by the team. "I want to get better year to year and improve my qualities. I don't turn 20 until December so I am still very young. I want to learn, do my work as well as possible and help the team however I can."

    "I think they are one of the most professional teams in the WorldTour and the riders speak for themselves – guys like Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert, Thor Hushovd and Tejay van Garderen – a lot of big stars. To have those guys as teammates for a young guy like me is really cool because I can learn a lot from them."

    The BMC team has a proven history of signing and developing young riders. Zabel follows on from Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen, who both signed with BMC at a young age.

    "We are always on the lookout for future talents like Rick," team manager Jim Ochowicz said.

    "He and his family have a great passion for the sport and it will be a pleasure to work with him during these early years of his career."

    BMC Performance Manager Allan Peiper raced against Erik Zabel and pointed out the similarities between father and son.

    "Rick has a long list of results in the last few years to back...

  • De Gendt concerned by Dauphiné start

    Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil - DCM)
    Article published:
    June 03, 2013, 11:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian loses 14 minutes on day one

    Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) entered the Critérium du Dauphiné aiming to get his Tour de France preparation on track with a high overall finish but the Belgian suffered a worrying setback when he lost 14 minutes on stage one to Champéry.

    De Gendt struggled as soon as the road went uphill on Sunday’s stage and he was distanced by the main peloton on the climb of Morgin. The Belgian, who finished third overall at last year’s Giro d’Italia, came home in 138th place, almost a quarter of an hour down on stage winner David Veilleux (Europcar).

    “There’s something not right, my heart rate was too high,” De Gendt told Sporza. “I was trying to ride in the peloton when I got dropped by 160 or 170 riders and I realised that I couldn’t do any more.

    “My heart rate was way too high and I don’t know where that comes from,” De Gendt said. “I was at 170 beats per minute very quickly and on that long climb I peaked at 180 beats per minute even though I didn’t go very deep.”

    Before the Dauphiné, De Gendt had spoken optimistically of aiming for a top five finish overall and declared himself pleased with the form he had shown at a recent Vacansoleil team time trial training camp. He believes his travails in the Dauphiné opener might be explicable by illness.

    “On Monday I’ll know immediately if it’s because of illness or not,” De Gendt said. “It’s not to do with my condition, because I had good sensations in the team time trial training, with a normal heart rate.”

  • Report: Cookson to run for UCI presidency

    Doug Dailey MBE collects his Hall of Fame certificate from British Cycling President, Brian Cookson OBE.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2013, 15:21 BST
    Cycling News

    McQuaid surprised by British Cycling president's decision

    British Cycling president Brian Cookson is set to stand against Pat McQuaid for the presidency of the UCI in September, according to The Telegraph. It is understood that Cookson will formally announce his candidacy on Tuesday.

    Cookson has been president of British Cycling since 1997 and was elected to the UCI Management Committee in 2009. He has been president of the UCI Road Commission since 2011.

    Cookson is likely to face current incumbent Pat McQuaid in the election in Florence in September. McQuaid’s nomination for re-election was endorsed by the Swiss Cycling in May after his home federation, Cycling Ireland, opted to call an Emergency General Meeting to decide whether or not to support his bid.

    McQuaid has been UCI president since 2006 and is now seeking a third term at the helm.

    “I have no problem with other candidates coming forward. It’s a democracy and everyone has that right. As long as it’s a good campaign and a clean campaign I have no problem with that,” McQuaid said when contacted by Cyclingnews on Monday afternoon.

    “I’ve not started my campaign yet. I’ve enough with UCI work to consider my campaign yet.”

    In the aftermath of the USADA's reasoned decision in to the Lance Armstrong affair in October, Cookson warned that it was the UCI's "last chance to re-establish itself as a credible organisation" but in February, he moved to downplay speculation that he was considering running for president. “I think McQuaid has being doing a good job in many ways and he has my support. Pat is showing all the signs of wanting to continue," he told

  • Santambrogio suspended by UCI for EPO positive

    Mauro Santambrogio (Fantini Vini - Selle Italia)
    Article published:
    June 03, 2013, 15:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Teammate of Di Luca positive on stage 1 of Giro d'Italia

    The UCI has announced that Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) has returned an adverse analytical finding for EPO in an anti-doping test carried on the opening day of the Giro d'Italia.

    He is the second rider from Vini Fantini-Selle Italia to fail a test for the blood booster after the UCI announced during the Giro d'Italia that Danilo Di Luca had failed an out of competition test taken before the start of the race.

    Santambrogio won stage 14 of the Giro to Bardonecchia in the snow and finished ninth overall despite fading in the final week of the race.

    According to the UCI the EPO test was done at the Rome anti-doping laboratory.

    The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team has yet to comment on the news of the positive test, while Santambrogio was happily tweeting about recovering from the Giro d'Italia and the party his supporters organised on Saturday until just before his EPO positive was announced.  

    Directeur sportif Luca Scinto spoke briefly to Tuttobiciweb before being formally questioned in Rome by Italian anti-doping officials about Di Luca's EPO positive.

    "It's the end of our project," Scinto said.

    "What can I say, I'm stunned. I defended him more than any other rider because right from the start in Naples there were really bad rumours going around about him. I didn’t want to believe him and more than once I talked to him face to face. He said: 'It's only jealously, don’t worry but you can't keep asking me questions because they're offensive."

    Soon after Scinto tweeted: "You're right. Massacre me. I trusted them. They're mad and I'm an idiot to believe them. They're crazy and...

  • Nibali likely to stay with Astana until 2016

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is a worthy winner of the 2013 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    June 03, 2013, 17:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro d'Italia winner in talks to extend contract

    Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali is likely extend his contract with the Astana team until 2016, with reports that the Italian could earn close to four million Euro per year as team leader of the Kazakh squad.

    Nibali dominated the Giro d'Italia and is set to target the Tour de France in 2014 in the hope of completing a full set of Grand Tour victories after winning the Vuelta a España in 2010.

    Nibali joined the Astana team this year, signing a two-year deal then rumoured to be worth around two million Euro per season. According to the Messina Sportiva website, from Nibali's hometown in Sicily, the new deal would be worth four million Euro per year, making him one of the best-paid riders in the peloton.

    Nibali is apparently already earning around three million Euro at Astana this season and any new deal could move him closer to four million Euro per year.

    Cyclingnews understands that Nibali and his agent have held talks with Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourov, with further discussions due this week before Nibali travels to Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a state celebration of his Giro d'Italia victory.

    The Sicilian has confirmed he will not ride the Tour de France, taking a long break from racing in July, before riding the Tour of Poland (July 27-August 3) and then the Vuelta a España. His major goal for the second is the world road race championships in Florence, where he is expected to be leader of the Italian team.

  • Andrew Fenn: More than just a sprinter

    Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    June 03, 2013, 18:18 BST
    Owen Rogers

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider's season on the upswing after kermesse win

    Amid the celebrations of Mark Cavendish's Giro d'Italia success, it's easy to forget Andy Fenn is the second British sprinter on the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team. In his first year with the WorldTour team, Fenn kicked off his career with two wins in the 2012 Trofeo Mallorca, but since seems to have slipped off the radar. Now though, he hopes that a victory in last week's Gullegem Koerse will be the kickstart he feels his season needs.

    It's not like he's not been getting results, last year he managed 17 top 10 finishes and he's come close a few times this year too. "It [this season] hasn't been poor," 22-year-old Fenn told Cyclingnews, "but it hasn't been good. I've been getting close in some races, a few races I probably should have won."

    Margins have been tight on occasions, like in Turkey, where his final stage third place was a bike length from winning, "But sprinting is all about winning. Last year as well I had a few good second places, if those seconds were firsts it would have changed my season a lot."

    The win finally came in one of Belgium's biggest kermesses, hardly a major race, even if it is close to team headquarters and a high priority. It was the company in which he was racing which showed that Fenn's season is on the up. In true kermesse style there were attacks from the start and Fenn managed to join an early 17-man break with teammate Guillaume Van Kiersbulck and notables like Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) and BMC's Greg Van Avermaet and Phillipe Gilbert, who is still searching for a first win in the rainbow jersey.

    As if proving that he doesn't want to be seen as a pure sprinter, more a rouleur with a fast finish, Fenn attacked with about 8km to go, and stayed clear to take the win, "It's always hard to get the...