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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 4, 2013

Date published:
November 04, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Van Winden back after career-threatening surgery

    Dennis Van Winden (Belkin)
    Article published:
    November 02, 2013, 20:07 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Side effects of iliac artery operation delay Belkin rider's return

    The Belkin team riders who swept up at the nine-day long Tour of Hainan returned home with just as many stage victories and some cash in their pockets for their holidays, but more importantly for Dennis Van Winden, the Chinese race marked his come-back as a pro cyclist after four surgeries, six months off the bike and doctor's predictions that he would never race again.

    A year ago, on November 15, Van Winden underwent an operation to his iliac artery to address a condition that had impacted his cycling performances for four years.

    "I didn't have energy in my right leg, and I was producing more and more lactate," he said.Having one surgery to address the issue is fairly common for cyclists, but the 25-year-old Dutchman had to go for a second surgery on December 7, a third one on December 30 and a fourth one on December 31st.

    "The surgery was successful but a band in the artery created a bacterial infection in my blood," Van Winden told Cyclingnews.

    "It didn't heal on time. The main artery was bleeding. It was painful. I couldn't feel my leg anymore. The pressure from inside was getting high. I had a 42-degree fever when I was at the hospital. I had to call a doctor if I wanted to do anything, like eating. They were scared that I'd faint."

    His hematocrit dropped to 17 and his hemoglobin to 4.1 for eight days. "Under 5.5, it's critical," he said.

    "The doctors told me that I'd never ride a bike anymore," he said. "But I was in a survival mood. I wasn't thinking too much, so I never believed what they said about my cycling."

    "I didn't touch the bike for six months. The first rides were very slow and no longer than half an hour. I improved a lot after I resumed racing with the Rund um...

  • Report: Riis sells Saxo Bank team to Tinkov

    Tinkoff team owner Oleg Tinkov at the race.
    Article published:
    November 03, 2013, 9:21 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Gazzetta claims Russian paid 7 million Euro to control team

    Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov has reportedly bought Bjarne Riis’ team, giving control of the Saxo Bank team for 2014 and beyond.

    According to Sunday’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Tinkov has paid Riis close to seven million Euro to take control of the team from Riis.

    Tinkov and Riis have had a difficult relationship this year, making news of a buy out very surprising. Tinkov announced the end of his sponsorship of the Saxo Bank team in the summer after failing to reach an agreement with Riis for 2014 and after publicly criticising team leader Alberto Contador about his high salary and poor performance at the Tour de France.

    In an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Oleg Tinkov confirmed that he was looking to buy a WorldTour but was ready to sit out a season and build his own team for 2015 after talks with the Cannondale team ended. It seems negotiations with Riis accelerated after the interview, following the successful stock market floatation of Tinkov’s credit card company Tinkoff Credit System.

    Gazzetta suggest that the recent revelations by Michael Rasmussen about Riis and his knowledge of doping, may also have played a factor in convincing Riis it was time to sell.

    Tinkov was not available for immediate comment but dropped a hint about his activities on Twitter on Saturday, writing: “The mood is good! I will not say who and where. Secret trip”

    Saxo Bank confirmed it would boost its sponsorship in 2014 to cover the loss of Tinkoff Credit Systems as a second sponsor and Alberto Contador said he would respect his contract and stay with Riis' team. Now both the Danish bank and the Spaniard could have a new and more difficult...

  • No deal yet between Tinkov and Riis

    Oleg Tinkov at the Giro
    Article published:
    November 03, 2013, 11:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Russian businessman considering several offers

    The Saxo Bank team has moved quickly to deny that team owner Bjarne Riis has sold out to Oleg Tinkov but Cyclingnews understands the Russian businessman is still in talks with Riis and several other teams, as he looks to take control of a major team.

    Speaking via his Italian legal advisor Stefan Feltrin, Tinkov dismissed a report in Sunday’s Gazzetta dello Sport that he had paid seven million Euros to take over Riis Cycling –the management company that runs the Saxo Bank team.

    However the recent successful floatation of his Tinkoff Credit Systems credit card company on the London stock market seems to be burning a hole in his pocket. As a former racer and cycling aficionado, Tinkov is keen to invest in professional cycling but to Cyclingnews in a recent exclusive interview that he wants direct control of his investment by securing ownership of a team.

    A deal with Riis seems possible, perhaps with Riis staying on as part owner and team manager, but no agreement has been finalised.

    “It’s wrong to say that we’ve bought Riis’ team. Nothing has been signed and were still talking to a number of teams about possible projects,” Feltrin told Cyclingnews.

    “Following Oleg’s interview with Cyclingnews we received proposals from several current teams, both WorldTour and Professional Continental teams, and other ideas for teams from people in Italy, France, Britain and the USA. We’re still talking to several of them and considering their proposals but nothing has been signed.”

    “We’re still talking to Riis, we have been talking for two months despite the past differences, but it’s...

  • Hoogerland and Van Dijk win the Amstel Curacao Race

    The podium of the 2013 Amstel Curcao Race
    Article published:
    November 03, 2013, 17:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gallery of the racing and fun in the Caribbean

    Dutch national champion Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) and women’s world time trial champion Ellen Van Dijk (Lululemon-Specialized) enjoyed some success while enjoying a holiday on the Caribbean island of Curacao, with a victory in the Amstel Curacao Race.

    Hoogerland announced he will ride for Androni Giocattoli in 2014 but gave Vacansoleil-DCM one last win, crossing the line alone after just over two hours of racing with a group of fellow European professionals and local riders.

    Jan Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard) finished second, 16 seconds behind Hoogerland, with Curacao-born professional Marc De Maar (United Healthcare) third at 19 seconds.

    Van Dijk beat four other riders in a sprint to win the women’s race.

    Before the racing, the riders, including other professionals Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) Boy Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) and former Tour de France winners Bernhard Hinault, Jan Janssen, Joop Zoetemelk, and Pedro Delgado enjoyed some time in the sea and scuba diving after showing off their yellow jerseys.

  • Rasmussen: Entire 2007 Rabobank Tour de France team doped

    Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) wins on the Aubisque
    Article published:
    November 04, 2013, 1:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sørensen, Leinders, Cassani also under fire

    With the release of his auto-biography imminent, Michael Rasmussen has come out in an interview on Danish public broadcaster DR claiming that the entire Rabobank team at the 2007 Tour de France used doping products. He also delved into his 2007 Tour de France expulsion, how Rolf Sørenson introduced him to cortisone use and how he even approached his father for a blood donation so that he could use it for blood doping purposes. Additionally, Rasmussen explained his motivations behind his recent revelations that have already enmeshed Ryder Hesjedal, with many more now in the cross hairs.

    The Rabobank team for the 2007 Tour de France consisted of Rasmussen, Dennis Menchov, Michael Boogerd, Bram de Groot, Thomas Dekker, Juan Antonio Flecha, Oscar Freire, Grischa Niermann and Pieter Weening with Rasmussen claiming each rider was given performance enhancing drugs by the team.

    "Within the Rabobank team: 100% [used doping products]. Not everyone took the same products, but all riders were on some form of doping provided by the team," Rasmussen told

    The implication that the products were provided by the team is a point of interest given Rabobank's team doctor for the 2007 Tour was Dr Geert Leinders, the same doctor that was hired by Team Sky in 2010 but subsequently let go at the end of last year as doping rumours involving the Rabobank team began to circulate.

    Rasmussen went on to reveal that he even approached his father Finn, on the advice of Dr Leinders, asking him to donate blood so that he could inject it. Rasmussen said that Dr Leinders explained he had done so previously with two brothers and...

  • UnitedHealthcare seeking Grand Tour invitation in 2014

    With three riders out front on a break, UnitedHealthcare is about to take this train out of the station.
    Article published:
    November 04, 2013, 5:52 GMT
    Pat Malach

    NCC changes see less domestic racing for men's team

    The UnitedHealthcare UCI Pro Continental team is hoping to garner its first-ever WorldTour invitations in 2014, possibly even a Grand Tour, team general manager Mike Tamayo recently told Cyclingnews.

    Team representatives attended route presentations for both the 2014 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in October and have had individual meetings with Giro owner RCS Sport and Tour owner ASO. Both companies also own several other one-day and multi-day WorldTour events.

    "We threw our name in the hat, if you will," Tamayo said. "We definitely want to be included, we want to be considered. We've been growing for years in order to be able to request an invitation, and it's not an invitation that we request lightly."

    Next season will mark the US-based team's fourth year in the Pro Continental ranks. Not counting its dominant run through the 2013 US criterium calendars, the team scored eight wins in UCI races last season in Europe, Asia and the US, and UHC riders hit the podium a total of 22 times. Tamayo said he believes the team has reached the point where it can handle competing in a Grand Tour, prompting the meetings with the race organizers.

    "It's one of those things where two years ago I wouldn't have gone and had the meeting with them, but now as the team has grown and we've shown our strength in Europe and we're not just prepared not just as riders, but as management structure, to take on something like a Grand Tour," he said. "Now we feel confident we can do it, versus two years ago when we weren't ready for it. We were willing to admit that to ourselves and prepare accordingly."

    The team recently added experienced Italian director Roberto Damiani to its staff. Damiani worked with three-year UHC director Hendrik Redant previously at Lotto when the team competed in all three Grand Tours. Damiani also worked at Mapei, FassaBortolo,...

  • Contador in the dark on reported Riis-Tinkov talks

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) at the start of the Brussels Cycling Classic
    Article published:
    November 04, 2013, 10:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Russian magnate wishes to purchase team

    A report that Oleg Tinkov has agreed to purchase Riis Cycling, the holding company behind the Saxo Bank team, has been greeted cautiously by Alberto Contador and his entourage.

    On Sunday, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Bjarne Riis had agreed to sell Riis Cycling to Tinkov for €7 million, just three months after it had been announced that Tinkoff Bank would no longer be a co-sponsor in 2014.

    Both Saxo Bank and Tinkov have denied that any deal has been done, although Cyclingnews understands that the Russian is still in talks with Riis and several other teams for 2014. Tinkov’s recent negotiations to take a controlling interest in the Cannondale team ultimately came to nothing.

    Tinkov’s public criticism of Alberto Contador’s Tour de France performance precipitated his break with the Saxo Bank team in August of this year, and the Spaniard preferred not to discuss the prospect of riding a team owned by Tinkov. Contador is contracted to Riis Cycling for the next two seasons.

    “It’s not the moment to talk about it,” Contador told Gazzetta dello Sport via text message, while a spokesman for Contador told Biciciclismo that the rider was not aware of the possible sale of the team.

    “The story has nothing to do with the facts. There is no agreement, and if there was, it would be very new,” he said. “At this point, we don’t know anything about it, we’re left just with the denials of both parties in the press."

    In spite of the denials of Saxo Bank and Tinkov, Monday’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Riis signed off on the sale of the team on Friday for a sum just under €7...

  • Ghisallo museum to close for at least five months

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Cannondale) passes the Madonna di Ghisallo chapel and museum
    Article published:
    November 04, 2013, 12:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Museum requires additional funding to ensure survival

    The cycling museum at the Madonna del Ghisallo closed its doors on Sunday and will remain shut for at least the next five months due to a lack of funds. A provisional reopening date of March 31 is dependent on the museum securing additional funding.

    The late Fiorenzo Magni was the driving force behind the establishment of the museum, which opened in October 2006. Located atop the Tour of Lombardy’s signature climb and alongside the church dedicated to the patroness of cyclists – as declared by Pope Pius XII in 1949 – there is hardly a more evocative site for a memorial to cycling’s heritage.

    As well as housing a collection of historic bike and artefacts, in recent years, the museum had received donations of some 50 original pink jerseys from the Giro d’Italia thanks to the concerted efforts of the “Giro for Ghisallo” campaign.

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport, only two of the museum’s three staff members will be re-hired – and on seasonal contracts – if the museum eventually does reopen next spring, while over half of the board of directors have resigned. The remaining directors will hold a meeting on November 13 or 14 to discuss plans to reopen the museum.

    A cut in public funding as well as a slowdown in private donations has meant that the museum has been increasingly reliant on entry fees and merchandising to ensure its survival. Those revenue streams reportedly brought in just €12,000 in the past year, however, and the cost of running the museum is some €100,000 per annum. Gazzetta estimates a current shortfall of €80,000 in the museum’s finances.

    The Lombardy region’s assessor for sport, Antonio Rossi, has pledged that the regional government’s sports and...