- Article published:
- November 3, 2012, 17:35
- Cycling News
Celebrates the 70th birthday of cycling legend Felice Gimondi
This article first appeared on Bikeradar
Bianchi this week launched a limited edition version of its Oltre XR that celebrates the 70th birthday of Italian cycling legend Felice Gimondi.
Only 70 of the Oltre XR Gimondi 70 limited edition bikes will be made, and the retail price has been pegged at €13,490 (£10,820/$17,450).
Built up with Campagnolo’s Super Record EPS electronic group, the Oltre XR Gimondi 70 features a custom paint job, including a down tube filled with Gimondi’s race exploits, and comes with a full complement of special Bianchi swag.
Including with each of the bikes are:
- a semi-rigid bike bag with the Gimondi 70 logo
- a bike cover with the Gimondi 70 logo
- a certificate signed by Felice Gimondi
- a special Santini cycling kit (bib shorts and jersey) by Santini, with the same graphics and colors used by Felice Gimondi's Bianchi team in the ’70s
- a Bianchi/Gimondi book â¨â¨
Other special touches on the bike include the appropriate color stripes in deference to Gimondi’s wins at the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España and the World Championships. Bianchi also used its late ’60s/early ’70s logo on the bike.
- Article published:
- November 3, 2012, 19:30
- Daniel Benson
Road-focused year starts with Tour Down Under
After a year that saw him win three world championship medals on the track and a purple patch of form at the Tour de Pologne, Ben Swift (Team Sky) is already making plans for improvement in 2013.
The 24-year-old has targeted a slot in Sky’s Classics line-up as his first target but in terms of season objectives, he's looking to up his win rate.
“The biggest plans and targets are just to win as much as I can. I only had two wins on the road this year but I had 8 seconds and 5 thirds so I was close a lot of the time so I just want to turn those around and into wins. Id love to break into the Classics like Milan-San Remo and get some experience there,” he told Cyclingnews.
His pathway to Classics selection could be determined by his opening season form. As in 2011, he will race the Tour Down Under. Australia has been a successful patch for Swift. In 2011 he won two stages and finished third on the podium. This year, the Tour Down Under was shelved as Olympic track ambition took over but with the Worlds in Australia Swift picked up results.
“I love racing Down Under and it’s been pretty good stomping ground for me in the past,” he added, pointing to the World title he won in the scratch race and silvers he claimed in the points and Madison races.
However the Worlds were not a complete success. Swift’s participation in the scratch, points race and Madison events were based on the fact he was dropped from Great Britain’s team pursuit squad. It signalled the end of his Olympic ambitions.
“A lot of my early season and winter preparation was focussed on the track and trying to get selected for the Olympic team pursuit. That never materialised but then we made the call during the world championships that I wasn’t going to go continue on the track and that gave me opportunity to let me race events that I really love racing - points, Madison, and scratch - and I took full advantage of that,” he told Cyclingnews.
“I was there or thereabouts and it was good to have me there to add to the competition and fight for places and I really enjoyed that time but at the end of the day I didn’t quite have it and I wasn’t good enough for the speed they were going to go. At that time, there were just better riders. i was in and out of the team and was travelling to the Worlds in the four that were going to race but then as we got there I just slipped out of it. I could see it coming to be honest.”
Once back on the road Swift spent the rest of the spring building his condition for the road. While Bradley Wiggins and his stage race comrades were dominating the Tour, Swift was enjoying his own summer success at the Tour de Pologne. Despite untimely luck on the first stage Swift picked up two stage wins and the points competition.
“That race was definitely a highlight for me. I wanted to go there and have GC in my mind but that got shattered on the first day with a puncture. I had really good form, though, with two wins, a second and third.”
With the Vuelta just around the corner observers anticipated Swift would win his first Grand Tour stage. He came close on a number of occasions but found himself beaten by the pure sprinters. The race highlighted that Swift, although fast, isn’t in the same bracket as the world’s best out-and-out fastmen. The former Katusha rider prefers the terrain to sap the strength of his fastest riders, and for a whittling down process to eliminate the pure speedsters.
“The Vuelta was super hard race but the sprint days were almost too easy in a sense and they were for pure sprinters. My sprinting shows on the harder days when the peloton has split. In a big Grand Tour, in the sprints, I’m going to run top ten but it would have to be a really lucky day for me to get the win.”
With Mark Cavendish leaving the team Swift will undoubtedly have more chances to race for himself but don’t expect him to even try and fill the Manxman’s shoes.
“Cav is the fastest man in the world and he’s a pure out and out sprinter. I’m not a pure sprinter. I like getting involved in them and I get results but I prefer it when it’s more undulating. I think we’ve got a few fast guys in the team though.”
- Article published:
- November 4, 2012, 09:42
- Cycling News
Double Olympic medallist dies aged 91
Tommy Godwin, a double Olympic medallist from the 1948 Games, has passed away aged 91.
The British rider lost the best years of his racing career to the Second World War but came back to win two bronze medals on the track at Herne Hill in the first post-war Games. His medals came in the team pursuit and the kilometre but he was involved with cycling throughout his life.
Godwin, who was born in America, devoted his life to cycling. From the age of 14, when he got his first bike to deliver groceries, right up to this summer, as an ambassador for the London 2012 Games.
Godwin moved back to England as America was hit by a huge recession. His parents found a home in the West Midlands. After quitting school at 14, he went on to labour in a factory where he worked for 6 months until he got a job delivering groceries in the front basket of a bike.
After his first race, Godwin’s love for cycling grew and was given a second hand SunWasp which that 27 and sixpence, about £1.75 in today's decimal money. Friends of his used to go on cycling weekends to North Wales but Godwin couldn’t due to work and therefore quit his job and found a new one working for the BSA – a big cycle firm.
He received his first racing bike, a gift from his father, shortly after that race. It was a Gameson with wooden wheels - a significant upgrade. In 1939 his reputation started to grow, and after winning a race in Birmingham he was invited to the Olympic trials.
During the war, Godwin was working 50-60 hours a week and had to ride all around the Midlands. It kept him very fit. On top of that, he raced a 25-mile time trial every Sunday morning before working the rest of the day.
After his career held a managerial position after his retirement from the sport, leading the British squad at the Tokyo Games in 1964.
Current British Cycling president, Brian Cookson led the tributes: "Tommy Godwin represented all that is great about our sport - a true gentleman who achieved great things as a competitor, a coach and an administrator."
Sir Chris Hoy added on Twitter account: "So sad to hear cycling legend and Olympic medallist from 1948, the great Tommy Godwin, has passed away."
- Article published:
- November 4, 2012, 13:16
- Cycling News
Admits it will be hard to repeat 2012 dominance
Wilfried Peeters expects Omega Pharma QuickStep to face sterner opposition in next season’s spring Classics campaign with Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan as two of their main challengers.
The Belgian team enjoyed an incredible spring. They won seven races by the end of January but were almost unstoppable in the Classics, winning Dwars door Vlaanderen – Waregem, E3, Gent – Wevelgem, de Panne, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
“I think we have a strong team, just like this year with the leader Tom Boonen and all the victories we had in 2012. However to be as successful in 2013 in going to be difficult but we’ll try and do it. We’ve got a very similar team for the Classics and have only changed a few riders,” Peeters told Cyclingnews.
The signing of Mark Cavendish adds another string to the team’s bow. The 2009 Milan San-Remo winner has struggled to match his only Classics win but Peeters believes that the British rider's new surroundings in the squad can benefit from two leaders in Cavendish and Boonen.
“With Cavendish we’ve more chances. It’s very possible to work with both Boonen and Cavendish in the team and line up. We might have to change tactics slightly. Maybe Tom goes in the early break at San Remo on the Poggio. With two riders like this we have more chances of wining the race. More options is a good thing for us.”
However with Fabian Cancellara set to return from injury and the growing prowess of Peter Sagan, Peeters is aware that QuickStep’s 2012 dominance could be hard to replicate.
“Cancellara had a lot of bad luck this year. Sagan, in every race this year, he was one of the best riders and I think he can go even higher. Cancellara, will be very motivated to get back to his level.”
- Article published:
- November 4, 2012, 16:20
- Cycling News
Sponsor thought doping was 'contained' and scandals 'minimised'
The sports clothing manufacturer SKINS has launched a $2 million law suit against the UCI, claiming that their brand name has been damaged by the UCI’s governance of the sport in the wake of the recent doping headlines. The sport has been rocked by USADA’s case into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. The fallout has involved a number of other teams and riders.
The clothing company has been in the sport since 2008 and worked with a number of teams and organisations, including CyclingAustralia, BikeNZ, USA Cycling, Rabobank Professional Cycling Team, Team Europcar, Team NetApp and Team Telekom.
The SKINS legal representative has written to the UCI, stating: “As a supplier and a sponsor, SKINS is particularly concerned by its brand image and since it strongly believes in the true spirit of competition, it is firmly against doping.”
“When it decided to invest in cycling not only as a sponsor but also in extending its product range through massive investments in R&D, SKINS was under the illusion that professional cycling had been fundamentally reformed to contain doping and to minimise the risks of scandals with which the brand of any sponsor could be associated,” the letter continues.
The USADA case investigated doping throughout Armstrong’s career but focused primarily on his career from 1998 until 2005.
According to the letter, the UCI’s handling of the anti-doping fight “harms SKINS, as well as any other sponsor or supplier. Therefore, the acts and omissions by the UCI, Henricus Verbruggen respectively Patrick McQuaid have caused the prejudice SKINS now suffers, which prejudice exceeds the amount of USD 2,000,000, sum which the latter intends to recover through the Courts.”
- Article published:
- November 5, 2012, 00:35
- Daniel Benson
More power for the anti-doping body in the future?
News that the UCI has called for an external commission to examine allegations made against them in the Lance Armstrong affair has been welcomed by WADA. The anti-doping agency has offered assistance, if called upon, a measure that may help remedy the relationship between the two organisations.
However while USADA's reasoned decision and ruling against Armstrong has put the UCI under the microscope, the role of WADA has been somewhat bypassed. When USADA's ruling was handed down, WADA praised the US Anti-Doping Agency's rigor and handwork. But what of WADA itself and their role in cycling's fight against anti-doping?
Although their ability to operate has only been in motion since August 2004, and the bulk of the Armstrong deluge belonged in a previous timeframe, they aren't inescapable from the story and discussion has been raised over both their role in the fight against anti-doping and whether their current mandate should be enhanced.
"I don't think it's about WADA's credibility," says their director-general David Howman when asked if his agency should review their own position.
"First of all the code didn't come into effect until August 2004 for there was considerable stuff that was going on before our rules came into effect. Secondly we for a long time complained about what was going on in cycling."
WADA has indeed stuck to their charter since their inception and have had previous altercations due to the phlegmatic lack of urgency that has seeped through the walls in Aigle. The low point came when the UCI sued former WADA President Dick Pound.
In the wake of a L'Equipe story involving Lance Armstrong's positive tests from the 1999 Tour a commission was set up by the UCI. The Vrijman enquiry, as it was called, cleared Armstrong but the head of the enquiry had close ties to Hein Verbruggen. It went further than just exonerating the rider, criticising WADA's ethics in the process
"We pointed out the substance that came to the fore when L'Equipe published its article," says Howman.
"We pointed out the foibles of the so called independent report when it was commissioned as a result of the article. We suggested that we host and hold a summit on cycling and that was rejected. We did join with the French Minister in 2007 to hold a summit on cycling because that was another time it was facing a crisis and we suggested at that stage that the UCI should pilot the passport. So we did as much as we could from our position to reject some reality into cycling. A lot of it was rejected and that doesn't bode well in terms of those that rejected us."
"We were even sued," Howman says, pointing to the litigation the UCI and former president Hein Verbruggen brought against Dick Pound in 2008. Pound made comments that suggested the war on doping was not being fought as vehemently as possible by the UCI.
"I think they now recognise this themselves, they have not done the job as an anti-doping organisation to the best of their ability and what we wait to see is what an independent commission tells us as to what was going on. We exist under protocols which mean that all the international federations do testing and we don't do to that. We monitor then and we're therefore reliant on the genuineness of those that conduct the day to day activities."
"Let's hope it's not another Vrijman"
The members of the UCI commission have yet to be chosen, however WADA have made it clear that although they would cooperate, running the panel would be outside of their jurisdiction. Howman's primary concern is that the panel is independent.
"They're now setting up a commission to look at what they did and we'll willingly contribute to that if it's set up in an appropriate way and run by independent people because that's their chance to remedy the problems they probably still have."
There could be a stumbling block to any cooperation, however. Beyond the Vrijman case, the relationship between the UCI and WADA appears strained. Pound and McQuaid were happy to be seen publicly conversing at the velodrome during the London Games but within days McQuaid stated: "Historically over the last 10 to 15 years there has been a political campaign against cycling by senior people within WADA and I don't think that's acceptable."
The quote could have led to legal action and highlighted the polarised positions of the UCI and WADA.
"Mr McQuaid should be asked that question again now," Howman says.
"He should have an opportunity to answer it and remedy the bad will that existed as a result of the bad will he provided. He was wrong and I said at the time that I was disappointed to hear that. It was a personal attack on me and Dick Pound. We didn't sue him but it wasn't backed by evidence. We've never conducted any sort of witch hunt or campaign against the UCI. We've just encouraged them to do the job to help them clean up their sport."
Does Howman have faith that the UCI, still led by McQuaid and influenced by Verbruggen – the honorary president – can put their house in order? A simple yes, or no couldn't be provided. Instead, Howman said:
"I hope I will have faith in the system they're putting together to enquire as to what they can do better."
Did he have faith in the pair before they initiated plans for a commission?
"I think there are questions that need to be answered and the way to do that is to have an independent inquiry," says batting back the question.
"There are questions that were raised from the USADA report. I would say it's there in black and white and therefore it requires and answer. I don't have a personal opinion at all. Let's hope that it's independent, that it's not a Vrijman style report and don't forget there are still two cases that have to go through the USADA system and I don't think we've seen all the evidence yet."
Truth, reconciliation and the omerta
WADA has voiced approval of a platform in which individuals can provide information about their knowledge of doping. It's somewhat at odds with the zero-tolerance policies put forward by Sky and Orica-GreenEdge and Howman hopes that the commission can define rules and a safety net for those that do cooperate. Therein lies another contradiction between the UCI and WADA.
When Landis confessed and told all about the US Postal doping he was lambasted by the UCI. On May 26, 2010 McQuaid then called for USADA to investigate Landis's claims, only to then retract and argue that the UCI owned jurisdiction.
Tyler Hamilton was also discredited and Jorg Jaschke felt he had been ostracised for the same. All three gave evidence in USADA case. Contrast the UCI to WADA's position and as far back as December 2011 Howman told Cyclingnews that Landis could be telling the truth but the WADA chief admits that his organisation, if truthful with its own past, can admit to being bullied.
He now sums up Landis in following terms: "I think he must feel a much better man than he did in those days and I applaud him for doing what he did and coming forward. You don't just discount someone because in the past they once told a lie. I think he has to be listened to very carefully. I would never turn down a discussion with anybody."
"Look at 2005 when we called for an enquiry into the L'Equipe article. We had that that information and what happened? We were sued. We weren't supported by any one at that stage. We issued a report after the Vrijman report that was pretty straight up and down and direct and I think at that stage no one really got in behind us. From a retrospective point of view that's disappointing from a bullying point of view which everyone seems to be suffering from at the time, perhaps it's understandable. Maybe we have to put ourselves in the bullied category."
Asked if WADA were bullied by Armstrong or the UCI, Howman says:
"Look at what stopped us from going forward. We were sued. We put the matter out there and we did it again in 2007 when we offered to host a cycling convention in order for it to do better. That was turned down. They [the UCI] refused to meet with us and it was only by invitation from the French minister was a meeting convened. There were a lot of protective screens that were thrown up at the time that we couldn't do anything about."
Is there a pilot on board?
WADA is far from toothless. Since the Declaration of Lausanne in 1999 and the first code in 2004 they have worked on harmonizing the rules governing anti-doping in sport. However Howman believes that the agency could strive to increase their powers in the future.
"We monitor the anti-doping fight. We don't run it," Howman says.
"We don't tell the UCI how to run the sport, we say we'll help you run the anti doping work and here's some guidelines and rules and we'll monitor you. We've got no sanction power or penalty power. Maybe that should change.
"At the end of the day we have some authority. We don't have the power to conduct investigations ourselves. I think that ought to be considered. At the moment we require consent but it's not very effective as people won't talk to you."
- legal case
- Lance Armstrong
- Article published:
- November 5, 2012, 06:27
- Cycling News
Lack of UCI license may impact race invitations
Former world champion Emma Pooley will ride for Team Bigla in 2013. The 2010 time trial world champion had previously suggested the idea of spending a year away from the sport after her AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team announced they would discontinue sponsorship in 2013.
Those initial suggestions have been cast aside as the time trial specialist looks set to race in 2013, albeit on what has become a smaller non UCI-registered team. Team Bigla was once a dominant force amongst the UCI women's peloton from 2004-2009, winning a number of stages at the Giro Donne before the main sponsor Bigla pulled back on sponsorship at the end of 2009.
For the past three seasons the team has existed as a development squad for Swiss riders with Pooley's experience to be used in assisting the younger riders step into the professional ranks. Without a UCI license the team will likely race a reduced schedule to what Pooley has been familiar with over the past seasons.
"Bigla is a professional team again," said team founder Fritz Boesch on the signing of Pooley. "This is the requirement to be successful."
Having registered as a Swiss national team, the team may receive invitations to a number of bigger races however, it's unlikely Pooley and her younger teammates will be attending the World Cup circuit, Tour de Feminin or the Giro Donne.
"I am looking forward to the new task and will give my best to help the young riders," said Pooley.
Pooley will join another 14 riders who have been named on the 2013 roster: Andrea Graus and Verena Eberhardt (Aut); Nathalie Lamborelle (Lux); Isabelle Becker (Bel); Katarina Hranaiova (Cze); Emilie Aubry, Désirée Ehrler, Martin and Sandra White, Nicole Hanselmann , Larissa Brühwiler Imstepf Rita, Caroline Baur and Stefanie Bochsler (Swi).
- Article published:
- November 5, 2012, 10:49
- Cycling News
Argentinean sprinter joins Petacchi and Ferrari
Lampre-ISD has boosted its line-up of sprinters for 2013 season, signing current Pan-American champion Maximiliano Richeze of Argentina.
Lampre-ISD secured a UCI WorldTour licence for 2013 last week and has moved quickly to increase its roster further.
"It's an honour to have the chance to be part of Team Lampre. (Giuseppe) Saronni and the staff always know how to get the best out of the riders. I hope to soon win wearing my new colours," Richeze said in a press release from the Italian team.
Richeze won 13 races during the 2012 season while riding for Team Nippo, including overall success at the recent Tour de Hokkaido. He also finished third in the Coppa Bernocchi in Italy in August.
"Richeze is definitely fast but most of all, he's good at taking his chances in any kind of sprint. (Alessandro) Petacchi and (Roberto) Ferrari are the key sprinters but Maximiliano will be an important alternative. I hope he gets some good results," Saronni said.
Lampre-ISD has also signed Filippo Pozzato, Jose Serpa and Elia Favilli for the 2013 season. Damiano Cunego and Michele Scarponi remain as team leaders.