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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 7, 2013

Date published:
December 07, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Dustin Hoffman to star in Armstrong movie

    Stefano Garzelli, Lance Armstrong and Ivan Basso on the 2005 stage to Ax-3 Domaines
    Article published:
    December 06, 2013, 17:05 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Oscar winner joins Stephen Fears project

    Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman has reportedly signed up for a role in the movie Stephen Frears is making about Lance Armstrong.

    According to various media sources in the movie industry, Hoffman will join filming of the movie in the US. It is not clear which character Hoffman will play in the movie, which has still to be given a final title.

    Ben Foster will play Armstrong and has already completed some filming in France. David Millar has been working as a consultant on the movie. Lee Pace from 'The Hobbit' has also signed up to the movie. Chris O’Dowd will play journalist David Walsh, while French actor Guillaume Canet has reportedly been cast as Dr. Ferrari. The movie is based on Walsh’s "Seven Deadly Sins" book published after Armstrong was banned for life by USADA.

    Hoffman and Frears last worked together on 'The Accidental Hero' in 1992. He attended the 1984 Tour de France with director Michael Cimino to study the making of a movie about the race but the project was never completed.

    Armstrong's fall from grace has sparked a race in Hollywood to produce the first movie about his life. Frears is the first to start shooting but both Paramount and Warner Bros are reportedly working on movie projects as well.

    The Warner Bros movie is apparently called 'Red Blooded American', with Bradley Cooper set to be a producer and play either Armstrong or Tyler Hamilton.

    The third movie is based on "Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong" by New York Times journalist Juliet Macur with D.V. DeVincentis recently hired to write the script.

    The documentary by Alex Dibney – ‘The Armstrong...

  • RCS president defends Acquarone’s dismissal

    Michele Acquarone and Mauro Vegni, the Giro's directors, present Michele Scarponi with the 2011 title
    Article published:
    December 06, 2013, 18:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Giro d’Italia director blamed for not preventing alleged misappropriation

    The president of RCS Media Group Angelo Provasoli has hit back after claims by Michele Acquarone that he has been made a scapegoat following the alleged misappropriation of funds from the accounts of the Giro d’Italia organisers.

    The Milan-based company sacked Acquarone on Tuesday and he vented his anger and promised legal action to defend his name in a press conference in Milan on Thursday.

    "I'm here because I need to get rid of the mud that has been thrown at me. I've not been able to speak because I was an employee of RCS. Today I need to say what I feel, to shout that I'm totally extraneous to what has happened," Acquarone said.

    Acquarone and his lawyer insisted he was sacked because RCS Sport believe “he should have and could have” prevented what happened. He has always denied any involvement in the apparent disappearance of 10 million Euros from company accounts.

    “All the reasons were there so that it happened,” Provasoli told Italian news agency AdnKronos when asked about Acquarone’s firing, after leaving the meeting of the board of Telecom, the Italian telecommunications company.

    On Friday Italian news agency La Presse corrected a report, confirming that Matteo Pastore –the head of Rights and External Relations at RCS Sport, has been suspended but has not been fired as part of the internal investigation into the alleged missing funds.

    RCS Sport CEO Giacomo Catano was also fired by RCS Sport, while the director of administration Laura Bertinotti, who is at the heart of the investigation, has also left the company.

    Former 400m runner Paolo Bellino is reported set to be the new CEO of RCS Sport, with technical director Mauro Vegni...

  • 2013 Report Card: Cannondale

    Points leader Peter Sagan (Cannondale) celebrates victory in stage 7 of the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2013, 19:15 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Sagan saves the day as Basso and Moser struggle

    2013 WorldTour Ranking:
    Win Count: 36
    Top riders: Peter Sagan (4th), Elia Viviani (64th), Ivan Basso (99th), Moreno Moser (120), Damiano Caruso (154th).

    Grade: B+

    The Cannondale team is becoming more international, growing out of its Italian roots as it repositions to match the bike company’s global profile. The team has riders from around the world but its success in 2013 was largely thanks to one rider: Peter Sagan.

    Of course Sagan needs a loyal, hard working team of domestiques to help him contest the sprints and fight for position in the Classics, but the Slovakian landed 26 of the team’s 36 victories during the 2013 season. While Ivan Basso struggled with a saddle sore and old age, and Moreno Moser’s form stuttered and then faded completely, Sagan was always up there and seemingly always able to win.

    Sagan raced for 90 days in 2013, starting at the Tour de San Luis in January and ending at the Japan Cup on October 20. He started winning at the Tour of Oman – taking two stages - and held his form until the Spring classics. He was second at the snow-affected Milan-San Remo, caught by surprise by Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) and then finished second behind Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders, only losing his wheel on the final climb of the race.

    He finally won at Ghent-Wevelgem, with a late attack that allowed him to celebrate with a wheelie as he...

  • Merco Cycling Classic cancelled for 2014

    2013 Merco champion Phil Gaimon (Bissell)
    Article published:
    December 06, 2013, 22:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Early-season California race ends 20 year run

    Organisers of the Merco Cycling Classic announced today that early-season California race has been cancelled for 2014, bringing to a conclusion the event's 20-year run. In a press release, the organisers cited "committee atrophy" and "risk of financial burden" as the twin factors contributing to the event's demise in Merced, California.

    "I am proud of the organization we have had over our 20 year run," said race founder and event director Doug Fluetsch. "There is nothing I would ever hide behind regarding this event. We have always paid our bills, treated athletes with respect and carried the torch proudly for our sponsors.

    "We have provided the community of Merced with an event and venue they could always be proud of and enjoy, all the while offering the athletes a broad stage to perform on. There is not more I could ask for, which makes me very proud that our last year in 2013 was our best edition ever."

    Phil Gaimon (Bissell) and Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) won the respective elite men's and women's races at the 2013 edition which took place February 28-March 3.

    The event, which started in 1993, had grown over the years from a single-day race in downtown Merced to a four-day stage race featuring venues in Merced County, Stanislaus County with the Hilltop Ranch Road Race and Mariposa County with the recent addition of the MID Lake McClure Road Race. Initially the event drew regional attention but quickly began to attract both national and international recognition as a proving ground for current and future champions. Riders such as Baden Cooke, Chris Horner, Jay Sweet, Gord Fraser, Mike Sayers, Ben Jacques-Maynes, J.J. Haedo, Ina Teutenberg, Emilia Fahlin and Evelyn Stevens have earned victories at the race.

    The core organizing committee has been intact for nearly the length of the event's life, with Doug Fluetsch for the full 20 years,...

  • Van den Broeck aiming for Tour de France podium in 2014

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) leads Javier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) across the finish line.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2013, 9:40 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Ardennes classics return to Belgian's programme

    Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) hopes to put his injury-marred 2013 season behind him with his first Tour de France podium finish.

    Van den Broeck has taken two fourth places at the Tour, in 2010 and 2012, but hopes that he can make the step up next season. "That's what we're working for," he told Cyclingnews. "It's a nice parcours. The beginning won't be easy and then we've got the cobbles, which will be a tricky stage.

    "It can be a benefit, but if you have bad luck with a flat tyre or something then you don't have any more benefit. Ok, I know how to ride on the cobblestones, but I think everybody knows."

    As they have done for the last few years, Lotto-Belisol will combine their general classification challenge with André Greipel's sprint ambitions. Van den Broeck doesn't think this will hurt his chances.

    "I think we've showed every year that we've been able to do it," said Van den Broeck. "We've found a way to be able to do it and it's worked out well. I'm not afraid of that. They (Sky and Astana) have another target. We want a podium and they're going for the win. If you want the win, that's another thing."

    The 30-year-old Belgian will kick off his 2014 season at Argentina's Tour de San Luis, where he finished fifth at the beginning of this year. From there Van den Broeck will head back to Europe for the Challenge Mallorca and then to the Middle East for the Tour of Oman.

    Tirreno-Adriatico also features in his schedule for the first time, to give him a tougher challenge early on. "I wanted to have a big race at the beginning of the season," said Van den Broeck. "I've done Paris-Nice before, but that's not really my...

  • Armstrong meets with Bassons to apologize for past behaviour

    Christophe Bassons signs autographs during the 1999 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2013, 12:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    14 years after dispute, Armstrong and Frenchman bury the hatchet

    Following his meeting with former US Postal soigneur Emma O’Reilly in Florida a few weeks ago, L’Équipe has reported that Lance Armstrong was in Paris on Friday where he made a second public burial of the hatchet with another of his old enemies, Frenchman Christophe Bassons.

    The two could not have followed more different career paths since they fell out during the 1999 Tour, when Bassons was one of the first high-profile victims of Armstrong's bullying.

    In 1999, after writing a column for French newspaper Le Parisien in which he questioned performances at the race, Bassons – already identified by his former Festina team-mates as the one rider who would not dope on the team – was allegedly pressured by Armstrong to quit the Tour, something Bassons now says did not happen in such clear terms. "I maybe felt it like that, but it's [also] been reported that Armstrong did me harm and threw me out of cycling, and that's not the case," Bassons told Armstrong, according to L’Équipe. "If you felt it like that, I'm sorry," Armstrong replied.

    Bassons abandoned the race shortly afterwards, and retired from cycling two years later, at the age of 27. He then qualified as a sports teacher and now works in anti-doping in Bordeaux.

    Sometimes described as a symbol of the Armstrong years and how clean riders were all too often frozen out of the sport, Bassons caught the train to Paris to meet up with Armstrong for their first conversation since 1999. Meanwhile, the American posed half-way down the Champs Elysées for a picture for the paper – "The taxi driver who brought me here didn't recognise me, he asked me if I knew it [the Champs]" the American wryly commented – before...

  • Second Tour win would bring credibility back to cycling, says Froome

    Tour de France winner Chris Froome shows of his maillot jaune at the head of the Saitama criterium in Japan.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2013, 13:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    "It really is a minority of riders breaking the rules now"

    Chris Froome believes that a repeat Tour de France victory in 2014 will help to restore cycling’s credibility. The Briton acknowledged that the performances of his Sky team have been met with scepticism in some quarters but reiterated the point he made on the Champs-Élysées in July, namely that his results would stand the test of time.

    “I'd like to think if I can go back and do it again it will bring some credibility back to the sport,” Froome told the BBC. “I know for a fact some people were dubious about the results I got last [season] and Bradley [Wiggins] the year before.

    "I know myself that my results aren't going to be stripped, but it will take time before people will see they are going to stand.”

    Froome said that cycling is now in a “post-doping era” and that only a minority of riders are resorting to the use of banned substances. His comments came on the day after the veteran Danilo Di Luca was handed a life ban by the Italian Olympic Committee following his positive test for EPO earlier this year.

    "I think we're through the toughest time of it now,” Froome said. “It is really a minority of riders breaking the rules now and getting caught, but we are still living in that post-doping era where we are having to deal with a lot of negativity.”

    Froome also confirmed that the Tour de France will be his primary goal not just in 2014, but for many years to come. Speaking after his Tour victory in July, the 28-year-old suggested that he was more interested in winning multiple Tours than in expanding his palmares to include the Giro d’Italia or Vuelta a España.

    "The biggest goal and challenge for me is going to be to try to...

  • NetApp-Endura completes 2014 roster

    The Czech Republic's Frantisek Padour has been signed by Team NetApp-Endura for the 2014 season
    Article published:
    December 07, 2013, 15:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Czech Frantisek Padour final addition to Pro Conti team

    Team NetApp-Endura has signed 25-year-old Czech rider Frantisek Padour, bringing the final roster of the German Pro Continental team to 20 riders for the upcoming season. Padour moves to NetApp-Endura from the Czech Continental team Bauknecht-Author. In 2012 the former Czech junior national champion (2006) topped the general classification of the Czech Cycling Tour, the biggest victory in his career to date.

    "We've had a lucky hand with the Czech riders we've signed," said Ralph Denk, NetApp-Endura team manager. "With Jan Barta and Leopold König we have the current national champion and a Grand Tour stage winner riding for our team. We have seen both cyclists develop from the amateur level to riders who guarantee top results in the biggest races.

    "We know Frantisek to be an experienced rider with qualities on any terrain. Above all, he is strong in the mountains, and he will be a big help to our classification riders in stage races. Of course he will also have the opportunity to ride for himself."

    After the first team meeting in December, the season will kick off with a two-week training camp in January on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

    2014 NetApp-Endura roster:
    Jan Barta (Cze), Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Sam Bennett (Irl), Iker Camaño (Spa), David de la Cruz (Spa), Zakkari Dempster (Aus), Bartosz Huzarski (Pol), Blaz Jarc (Slo), Leopold König (Cze), Tiago Machado (Por), Ralf Matzka (Ger), Jonathan McEvoy (GBr), Jose Mendes (Por), Frantisek Padour (Cze), Erick Rowsell (GBr), Andreas Schillinger (Ger), Daniel Schorn (Aut), Michael Schwarzmann (Ger), Scott Thwaites (GBr), Paul Voss (Ger)