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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 11, 2012

Date published:
August 11, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • RideLondon Classic to debut on UCI calendar in 2013

    The peloton winds their way up the Box Hill climb
    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 13:50 BST
    Daniel Benson

    UK's biggest ever one-day race on August 4

    The United Kingdom looks set to stage its biggest ever one-day race next August with plans already in motion for the RideLondon Classic to take place in the English capital. Stakeholders include the organisers of the Tour of Britain and the London Mayor's office, while the UCI look set to determine if the race will be awarded a 1.1 status on the calendar. A provisional date of August 4th and a 200-225 kilometre route are close to being confirmed.

    "It’s a new event on the calendar so there are specific regulations but we're looking at it being a 1.1 event in the first year, hopefully," Tour of Britain organiser and mastermind behind the Classic, Mick Bennett, told Cyclingnews.

    "We're looking at attracting WorldTour teams and there's a certain system and number of WorldTour teams we can have. We'll be discussing that with the teams during the Tour of Britain. That race is the perfect vehicle to talk about RideLondon and promote."

    The RideLondon Classics forms part of a greater project to encourage more of the UK's population to take up cycling. The professional race coincides with a 'Freecycle' which will aim to attract 70,000 cyclist onto an 8-mile loop through central London. There will also be an invitational set of criteriums for Women's Elite, hand-cycles and youth groups. The RideLondon 100 Challenge will set off before the professionals on August 4th and organisers expect 20,000 riders.

    The Classic is set to be formally announced in September but Bennett, who also organised the Kellogs Tour and Leeds and Rochester Classics in the 1990s gave an insight into the race route. "It's based a lot on the Olympic route but it's only once up Box Hill on the way to the finish. In the middle we'll have a 25k loop that RideLondon will do once but the pros will do five or six times. I can't give too much away on the route as it's still being planned out," he told Cyclingnews.

    Bennett is an experienced...

  • Valverde confirmed for Vuelta a España

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 14:41 BST
    Cycling News

    First appearance since return from suspension

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has confirmed that he will compete in this year’s Vuelta a España, which gets underway in Pamplona on August 18. The Spaniard has missed the last two editions of his home tour due to his suspension for his implication in the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation.

    Valverde returned to competitive action at the beginning of this season, and his stand-out result to date was victory on the final mountain stage of the Tour de France to Peyragudes, although he failed to make an impact on the general classification. He was also part of the Spanish team at the London 2012 Olympics and on returning home from the Games he decided to make himself available for selection for the Vuelta.

    “I was thinking about it already in the last stages of the Tour, but we preferred to wait and see how my body would recover after those three weeks and the additional effort of London," Valverde said. "After the Olympics, I took a couple of days off the bike and then started training afterwards. I did soft rides to kick off and then some strength training, and I found myself going well.”

    Valverde was the overall winner in his last Vuelta appearance in 2009 but he insisted that he harboured no ambitions of a podium finish this time around. Instead, he is slated to work for teammate Juan José Cobo, who won the race twelve months ago.

    “My goals in the Vuelta will be fighting for stage wins, since some finishes suit me well, and helping out Juanjo Cobo, who will be our team leader,” Valverde said.

    This year’s Vuelta takes place entirely in the northern half of the country and looks to set to benefit explosive climbers as it features no fewer than seven official summit...

  • Duggan: Liquigas-Cannondale need to be aggressive at Utah

    Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) leads the break.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 17:22 BST
    Pat Malach

    Expect more attacks from US national champion

    US professional road champion Timmy Duggan took his stars-and-stripes jersey on a day-long breakaway on Wednesday during stage 3 of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, and for a brief time he was the virtual second-place rider in the overall competition behind fellow escapee Johan Tschopp of BMC. Duggan's escape didn't pay off with a win or a change in GC, but he said he'll be trying again and again throughout the rest of the week.

    The Garmin-Sharp squad of race leader Christian Vande Velde eventually pulled the breakaway back near the end of the stage, and Duggan and Tschopp finished at the tail-end of a 60-rider lead group for 55th and 57th place. But the 30-year-old Liquigas-Cannondale rider, who currently sits 1:29 behind Vande Velde in 32nd, said it will take a similar concerted effort from multiple teams to break the stranglehold Garmin-Sharp currently has on the overall standings, with four riders occupying the top four spots.

    "We have to be aggressive," Duggan said of his six-rider Italian-based team. "I hope that some of the other GC riders on other teams are going to have the same plan as myself and be aggressive, because the rest of us who aren't on Garmin have no choice; we have to go on the attack. I think there's enough teams that are in the same boat that it's going to be a pretty aggressive final two days of racing."

    Duggan, Tschopp and fellow breakaway riders Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack-Nissan), Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare), and Michael Matthews, who eventually sprinted to the stage win, put Garmin-Sharp under a bit of pressure Wednesday and made the US-based team work hard to keep their team leader in yellow.

    "We knew Tschopp and Timmy Duggan were the best [placed] guys in the move, and we didn't want to let them get more than three minutes so that it would come back on the final...

  • Vinokourov to lead Astana in San Sebastian

    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 19:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion finished second in race in 2010

    Alexandr Vinokourov, fresh off his victory in the 2012 London Olympics road race, will lead Team Astana in the Clasica San Sebastian on August 14. It is expected to be one of the last races, if not the last one, for the Kazakh rider.

    Pro Team Astana will be ready to ride out of their skins on the 234km parcours as they hunt for victory on the famous Donostia Boulevard,” according to the team press release. The course includes six ranked climbs, including two times up the category one Alto de Jaizkibel.

    Astana's line-up “features a good mix of skills and characteristics. Given the unpredictable route, this variety adds an extra competitive edge to Astana's chances.”

    The team will look to Francesco Gavazzi and Simone Ponzi “to do really well.” Vinokourov, who finished second here in 2010, “will, as ever, give 100 percent to add yet another flourish to the end of his incredible career,” said director sportif Alexandr Shefer.

    Astana for the Clasica San Sebastian: Alexandr Vinokourov, Alexandr Dyachenko, Francesco Gavazzi, Assan Bazayev, Simone Ponzi, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Egor Silin and Paolo Tiralongo

  • McQuaid: I'm not trying to save Lance Armstrong's skin

    UCI President Pat McQuaid speaks to the press
    Article published:
    August 10, 2012, 20:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Accuses WADA of a vendetta against cycling

    Allegations of corruption, a stand-off with anti-doping organisations and a lack of understanding over the severity of the Armstrong case – just when will the sport's leaders wake up?

    Out-played and outclassed, first by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and then the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in a spate of publicly leaked letters, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has found itself outnumbered, out-gunned and now out-thought. Their arguments surrounding jurisdiction have fallen down at the first hurdle, their case diluted by first their vilification of Floyd Landis's whistle-blowing and then by Hein Verbruggen's unwavering support of Armstrong with his ‘never, never doped' lingo. If U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks finds against them and grants USADA the rope they need then cycling's governing body will find itself on the outside looking in as the biggest anti-doping case in the sport's history is decided upon. Not only that but its reputation - according to WADA's David Howman - will be further diminished.

    But the question that remains unanswered is why the UCI is behaving in such a manner? Why go to these desperate lengths when in the cases of Landis's allegations, Valverde's dodgy blood and the lesser known case of Phil Zajicek's credit card statements, they stood back and allowed the national anti-doping federations to exercise complete control? What's the difference now? If Hein Verbruggen is so sure that Lance Armstrong is the poster boy of clean cycling, then why the need for control?

    Part of the issue lies with the evidence USADA has amassed, but more specifically in the fact that USADA named the UCI in their...

  • Judge delays ruling in Armstrong and USADA case

    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 1:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Seven days given to submit additional information

    The ongoing Lance Armstrong doping case experienced further delays on Friday when U.S District Court Judge Sam Sparks gave both parties; Armstrong and USADA, a further seven days to deliver additional information. Among the possible outcomes expected from Sparks in a week’s time include dismissing the Armstrong’s lawsuit against USADA  or an injunction against USADA that will cease the case against the seven-time Tour winner.

    Sparks’ concerns and subsequently delayed ruling on jurisdiction were primarily based around the specifics provided by USADA, or rather apparent lack of which did not provide Armstrong with enough information to mount an edequate defence.

    "I couldn't find anything but conclusions (in the charges)," Sparks said. "Not one name, not one event, not one date,” said Sparks.

    The judge also questioned Armstrong’s lawyer Tim Herman, regarding the actual reasoning behind the federal court being involved at all.

    “Where do I have jurisdiction in this case when you can litigate this in the arbitration process?" Sparks said.

    Sparks’ request for further documentation has thus delayed Armstrong’s deadline to accept sanction or to engage in binding arbitration to a new date of 23 August. Armstrong’s lawyer Herman believes the system of arbitration will not provide a just and fair playing field. USADA’s record of cases which go to arbitration is 58-2, according to USA Today.

    “The Christians had a better record versus the lions than the athletes there,"...

  • Tour rookie Cantwell aiming for success at Vattenfall

    Jonathan Cantwell at the start of his first race with Saxo Bank
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 5:25 BST
    Alex Malone

    Team support a huge motivator for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff rider

    Jonathan Cantwell has a lot to be thankful for this year. After being part of the failed Pegasus project in 2010 the likelihood of obtaining another contract for the 2011 season were slim. The rider from Brisbane rode out the 2011 year on a limited schedule of races but during a time of mergers and teams folding, things weren’t looking so good for the talented sprinter.

    "I'm not 22 or 25 anymore I thought ‘do I want to keep racing in America and have all these hurdles put in my way?’ It's not good for me or for my family," Cantwell told Cyclingnews.

    It was largely in part to his connection with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff’s sports director Nick Gates that Cantwell signed a contract to ride with the ProTeam for 2012. Gates played an important role in setting up the chance for Cantwell to prove himself at the sport’s highest level.

    "Nick had been saying ‘look this guy deserves a shot’. They saw me at the Sun Tour and I spoke with Brad McGee but Nick was the main guy who put my name forward and said 'listen I believe in this guy and I want to give him an opportunity’. The tables turned for me. I can’t be any happier to have this opportunity," he said.

    Despite being 30-years-old he’s a first-year rookie to the WorldTour. Cantwell completed his first grand tour at the Tour de France and shortly after riding into Paris, came close to his first European victory at Paris-Corrèze - taking second-place in the opening stage. It’s been a season of highs and lows but Cantwell is...

  • Jeannesson to lead FDJ-BigMat at Vuelta

    French champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-Big Mat) celebrates victory in stage 1 at the Tour de Wallonie.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2012, 7:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Bouhanni to take command in the sprints

    Arnold Jeannesson was a late withdrawal for this year’s Tour de France but he hopes to make amends when he leads his FDJ-BigMat team at the final grand tour of the year, the Vuelta a España. The nine-man line up includes the current French road champion Nacer Bouhanni, who will be looking for a stage win after his near misses at the recent Vuelta a Burgos.

    The 22-year-old will start his first grand tour in his second full year as a professional. The young sprinter has already amassed five wins this year and an overall victory at Circuit de Lorraine.

    Jeannesson will put the disappointment of missing his home Tour aside when he attempts to ride for the general classification. The 26-year-old finished 14th at the Tour de France last year and ended his campaign fourth in the young rider classification. The former mountain biker Jeannesson pulled on the white jersey following the completion of stage 12

    The remaining seven riders included in roster for the Vuelta, beginning on 18 August with a team time trial in Pamplona are:

    William Bonnet, David Boucher, Arnaud Courteille, Remi Pauriol, Dominique Rollin, Gabriel Rash and Benoit Vaugrenard.