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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, February 13, 2010

Date published:
February 13, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Wiggins happy with time spent in Qatar

    Bradley Wiggins sits towards the back of the Sky train
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 18:04 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Good training, good weather, good racing appreciated by Sky rider

    While most of the riders at the Tour of Qatar prepared for an early Saturday morning flight to Muscat for the Tour of Oman, Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins was getting ready to head home to Britain.

    Wiggins will again target the Tour de France this season after finishing fourth in 2009, but opted to ride in Qatar to get in some early season racing and avoid the cold conditions in Europe.

    With Team Sky winning the opening team time trial and Wiggins working on his form and suntan in Qatar, he left the race satisfied and happy.

    "I was originally down to ride the Etoile de Besseges and looking at the weather they had and what it is like now, I made the right decision," he said to Cyclingnews.

    "I never get the best out of me in cold conditions but Qatar has been brilliant, especially with winning the opening team time trial. It's been a good six days and set me up nicely for the next part of the season."

    "The finale of the Thursday's stage, when we worked hard and chased the break down was what I came here for: a good workout when we drilled it for the last 10km. You just can't do that at home in training or when it's cold."

    Following a few days at home in Northern England, Wiggins will head to his base in Girona at the start of next week, before traveling to the south of Spain for the opening stage of his next race: the Ruta del Sol on Sunday February 21.

    "There's a nice 10km time trial in the Ruta, and I'll have a punt at that," Wiggins said.

    "I won't go for the GC because we've other guys like Simon Gerrans for that. For me it's about riding well for the team and then the time trial. I won't be taking anything for granted at this stage of the year. I don't want to be too relaxed about my racing even though the Tour de France is the big goal. We've got a plan to really build gradually and I feel I'm already coming into some really good shape."

    "My first go for overall will probably be at the...

  • Tour of California releases final stage details

    2010 Tour of California stage 8 profile
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 18:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Time trial in downtown Los Angeles, climbs on the final day

    The Tour of California will end this year with a time trial through downtown Los Angeles, to be topped of with a final stage which features four laps of a circuit including the 1,000-foot Mulholland Highway climb. Race organisers released the details of the final two stages Friday.

    Stage 7, an individual time trial, could set an all-time attendance record. The riders will cover two laps of the 10.5-mile (33.6km) circuit which goes past many of the city's landmarks. Starting at Figueroa Street and 12th Street, the riders will first head south, passing by the Los Angeles Convention Center and the University of Southern California and Exposition Park, before circling around the LA Coliseum and heading back north. The second half of the course will feature two short steep climbs, and the riders will probably not notice when they pass by the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the Los Angeles City Hall.

    Hitting the northernmost point of the course at the intersection of Temple Street and Grand Avenue, the riders will then head back south to the finish line at Chick Hearn Court and LA LIVE, an entertainment complex containing concert halls, theatres, museums, and restaurants.

    The riders are expected to cover the course in anywhere from 41 to 48 minutes. The first 90 riders will go off at one-minute intervals, with the final 30 at two-minute intervals.

    The Tour's final day, stage 8, will give the riders' tired legs another final test. The 21-mile (33km) circuit contains the Mulholland Highway climb, which takes the peloton up 1,000 feet.

    The course, to be ridden a total of four times, will start at "The Oaks" shopping mall and covering 4.8 miles (7.6km) on a neutralised section before starting on the circuit. The peloton will turn on to the Mulholland Highway about a third of the way into the course, and there they will face steep climbs and numerous switchbacks.

  • McQuaid elected as member of IOC

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 18:43 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Irishman willl remain in current role of UCI President

    UCI President Pat McQuaid was elected today as a Member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The 60-year-old Dubliner was one of six candidates nominated for membership at the 122nd IOC session, held prior to the start of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

    "I am deeply honoured to be elected as one of the IOC members and to represent and promote the interests of the IOC and Olympic Movement, in Ireland and elsewhere throughout the world," McQuaid said after he joined the other 114 members.

    "I look forward to working with its President, Jacques Rogge and its members and to building upon the productive relations that I have already established with the IOC through my role as President of the UCI."

    McQuaid follows the footsteps of former UCI president Hein Verbruggen in becoming part of the IOC. Verbruggen became a member in 1996 and was then made an Honourary Member two years ago. McQuaid succeeded him as UCI President in September 2005.

    Rogge congratulated McQuaid on his appointment, and said that the IOC would benefit.

    "I am very happy to have Pat McQuaid on board the IOC. As a former cyclist Pat knows the sport inside out and has done a tremendous job since his election at the head of the UCI. He has been instrumental in strengthening the reputation of the federation and rejuvenating the cycling programme at the Olympic Games.

    "He brings a great expertise and we look forward to working with him in the future."

    McQuaid's new role will be complementary to his work in the UCI, and he will continue at the helm of the world governing body. Last September he was returned unopposed for another four-year term.

    His initial four-year period in the role saw him have to deal with two major doping scandals in cycling, namely Operacion Puerto and the Floyd Landis positive at the 2006 Tour de France, as well as a long-running battle with the Grand Tour organisers over the UCI's ProTour...

  • Phinney considers pro career options after successful Qatar

    Axel Merckx called Taylor Phinney's U23 Paris-Roubaix win the highlight of the team's 2009 season.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 21:40 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Young American finding answers to road v. track, U23 v. pro questions

    Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestong) left the Tour of Qatar thinking about his future career as a professional road rider after taking two top tens in sprint finishes and successfully mixing it with the likes of Tom Boonen and Tyler Farrar.

    The 19-year-old Phinney was seventh on stage three and eighth on stage four.

    Phinney headed home to Colorado after the Tour of Qatar to begin his training for the world track championships in Copenhagen, Denmark in March.

    However he will soon have to decide his future in cycling and turning professional in 2011 looks the most likely option after his performance in Qatar.

    "Now I'm more clear on the direction I'm going in my career and what I want to be doing in a couple of years, which is the road," he said to Cyclingnews.

    "I'm not sure if I'm going to go pro or stay under 23 but based on racing here with the pros and how well I've done and well I feel, it's becoming more and more of a logical decision to go pro."

    "I always knew that I had the sprinting ability of my dad, so it's really good to be able to get in the mix with those guys. I was happy to come out this race with some kind of result. We got two top tens and so it's pretty cool for me to be up there. It's as close to a video game as you could get, just being up there with Boonen, Farrar and the other guys fighting for position is cool."

    "I think learnt a lot of where I need to be in the pack and that I can get up to the front of the pack through the middle like Boonen does. I saw he snakes all the way through and so I just got on the drops and tried to do the same thing. It worked so far."

    The Trek-Livestrong is a natural feeder team to Lance Armstrong's Radioshack ProTour team. Phinney is not obliged to join Radioshack if he gets a better offer from another team but it seems likely he would stay loyal to Armstrong.

    "I signed a two-year deal with Trek-Livestrong and next year...

  • Riccò splits with girlfriend Rossi over CERA positive

    Vania Rossi and partner Riccardo Riccò
    Article published:
    February 13, 2010, 12:15 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Italian says he will only return to Vania Rossi if she is cleared of doping allegations

    Riccardo Riccò is reported to have split from his domestic partner and Italian cyclo-cross rider Vania Rossi in the wake of her positive test result for EPO-CERA at the Italian cyclo-cross Championships.

    The Italian Olympic authority (CONI) announced on January 29 that Rossi had tested positive for the substance in a sample taken at the Italian cyclo-cross championships on January 10. Rossi was handed an immediate preliminary suspension and is currently awaiting the results of B-sample tests.

    Riccò, who has a baby son with Rossi, indicated that the length of the couple's separation will hinge on the outcome of disciplinary action against Rossi.

    "I am disappointed with my girlfriend and there can be no reconciliation until Vania is shown to be innocent of the allegations that were raised," said Riccò, according to Italian website

    Rossi has continued to maintain her innocence since the announcement of the original result.

    Riccò is currently serving his own suspension for the use of CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. He will be free to return to competition next month with Italian squad Ceramica Flaminia when his ban ends on March 18.

    Last month, he had denied any involvement in Rossi's positive test.

  • Roger Kluge shows road talent in Tour of Qatar

    Team Milram works for best young rider Roger Kluge
    Article published:
    February 13, 2010, 12:33 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    German track rider takes best young rider prize for Milram

    Milram's Roger Kluge was one of the revelations of the Tour of Qatar after he took several good placings in the sprints, finished fourth overall and won the best young rider's blue jersey after the six days of racing.

    The 24 year-old from Eisenhüttenstadt in the east of Germany, travelled to Qatar expecting to help lead-out Gerald Ciolek in the event's sprint finishes but when Ciolek crashed out, Kluge took over. He showed strong early-season form by getting in the front echelon on stage two and then won the battle for third place behind breakaways Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaaanderen) and eventual overall winner Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil).

    Kluge also finished sixth on stage four and eighth on stage six to win the best young rider competition by over a minute.

    "It's been a good race for me and the team," he told Cyclingnews.

    "To be honest I didn't think I'd go so well. I came to Qatar thinking I'd be riding for my teammates but they rode for me as we defended the best young rider jersey."

    "Unfortunately we lost Gerald [Ciolek] in a crash and with he's going to be out for two months but we've had a good start to the season with my ride here, Linus Gerdemann's win in Mallorca and before that at the Tour Down Under, where we won the mountains jersey. Hopefully we can keep it going. It's good to get some momentum going."

    Kluge is lanky and lean, revealing he is on-form thanks, in part, to his recent participation the Berlin six-day.

    "Yeah, I've got good legs after training well this winter. We had a camp in December and then another in January. I also rode the Berlin six-day. I think that was good preparation for Qatar."

    "It's a special kind of racing in Qatar; it's very fast and nervous. It's the first time I've ridden [here] but I like it because it's a lot like a points race on the track."

    Olympic silver in Beijing

    Kluge won a silver medal in the points race...

  • Ratti tests positive for EPO

    Eddy Ratti (De Rosa-Stac Plastic) tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test last month. He is pictured here in 2008 while a member of Italian team Nippo-Endeka
    Article published:
    February 13, 2010, 13:17 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    De Rosa-Stac Plastic rider provisionally suspended by UCI

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the provisional suspension of De Rosa-Stac Plastic rider Eddy Ratti after he returned positive test results for EPO.

    The 32 year-old Italian tested positive for the illegal blood booster in an out-of-competition urine test conducted on January 21. The sample was analysed at the World Anti-Doping Agency's approved laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    The UCI announced that Ratti's test had been carried out as part of his profile for the biological passport programme.

    "This sample was collected as part of the UCI’s focused testing program to ensure that all new riders in the biological passport programme were adequately tested before the start of the new season," read the UCI's statement.

    Ratti can request counter-analysis of a B-sample.

    He joined Professional Continental team De Rosa - Stac Plastic this year having had his 2009 season with Amica Chips-Knauf cut short following a series of doping scandals that forced the squad to fold.

    Ratti began his 11-year professional career at Mapei-Quick Step in 2000 and was a winner of a stage at the Regio Tour and Tre Valli Varesine during his three-year tenure with the team.

    In 2008, he won the GP Industria & Artigianato - Larciano and a stage of the Brixia Tour while riding for Nippo – Endeka.

  • Marco Pantani to be remembered at special mass

    Pantani brought Bianchi the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double in 1998
    Article published:
    February 13, 2010, 13:48 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Family and friends gather six years after his death

    Six years after his mysterious death in a hotel in Rimini, Marco Pantani will be remembered with a special mass and gathering of friends and family in his hometown of Cesenatico on the Italian Adriatico coast.

    Pantani was perhaps the greatest pure climber of all time but died alone and addicted to cocaine on St Valentine's Day 2004, at the age of 34.

    Pantani's audacious attacks in the mountains at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, his shaven head covered by a bandana and his often melancholic expression captured the hearts of millions of Italians and many more cycling fans around the world.

    His career was tainted by accusations of doping and a failed haematocrit test at the 1999 Giro d'Italia. But his double success at the 1998 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France stands, and his solo attack on the Col du Galibier in the rain to take the yellow jersey in that year's Tour remains one of the greatest ever achievements in the sport.

    A special memorial foundation was created by Pantani parents to remember him and has helped hundreds of young people take up cycling in Italy in recent years.

    Family and friends from the Pantani Corse teams will gather for a memorial mass on Sunday morning in the church of San Giacomo, the same church in Cesenatico where thousands of people attended Pantani's funeral in 2004.

    "We won't forget him. Honouring his memory means in some way keeping him alive," Pantani's father Paolo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    After the mass, flowers will be taken to Pantani's white memorial monument in the nearby cemetery by the president of the Magico Pantani supporters club and several of his former teammates.

    The cemetery will stay open for an extra hour so that the expected crowds will have more time to visit the Pantani monument and remember him.