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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 14, 2012

Date published:
January 14, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Black light blood treatments in Germany?

    It's all about blood - performance-enhancing methods abound in pro cycling
    Article published:
    January 13, 2012, 17:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    NADA confirms investigations

    Germany may have its next blood doping scandal, as a cyclist and a speed skater are said to be under investigation for having their extracted blood treated with UV light.  A doctor at the Olympic training camp in Erfurt is said to have carried out the procedure.

    According to the, a doctor identified only as Andreas F. was suspended by the Olympic committee and has been under investigation since April 2011.  The Olympic camp is for speed skaters, cyclists and track and field athletes.

    Public prosecutors in Erfurt are investigating whether the doctor was involved in the “illegal use of medical procedures for the purpose of doping,” spokesman Hannes Grüneisen said.  The doctor refused to comment on the matter to the newspaper.

    Dr. F is said to have possibly treated both speed skaters and cyclists with the UV light.  The German National Anti-Doping Agency confirmed that an investigation into a female speedskater was opened last summer.  There are also “other cases we are looking into,” rumoured to involve one or more cyclists.

    The procedure involved taking blood from the athletes, treating it with UV light, or black light, and then re-introducing it into the athlete's body. This is said to help the oxygen in the blood. It was practised in East German sports in the 1980s.

  • Förster finding satisfaction with UnitedHealthcare

    Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare)
    Article published:
    January 13, 2012, 19:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sprinter hopes for revival of German cycling

    One of the most experienced riders on the UnitedHealthcare team, German Robert Förster is entering his 12th professional year with the American Pro Continental outfit, but rather than rue the fact that he's no longer racing at the WorldTour level, the 33-year-old is delighting in his role as mentor for the young squad.

    Förster made his claim to fame with stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, and has plenty to offer his young teammates in terms of advice. As captain of the sprint squad, he is working with young American hopeful Jake Keough, Dutch sprinter Boy Van Poppel and Australian Hilton Clarke to perfect the team's lead-out train.

    At 33, Förster is having more fun than ever in the sport, and said that at this point in his career, winning isn't everything - it's equally as satisfying to launch his teammate to victory. "The guys are more together," he told Cyclingnews at the team's camp in Palm Springs, California. "I can say to Keough, 'we make the sprint for you'. I'm not pissed about that. I have a job, I can work with the young guys, they listen to me and it feels good."

    The affable German described the team's well-rounded quiver of fast men, naming himself as the man for the high-speed sprints where the peloton comes into the finale single-file, while Keough is the man for the "crazy sprints". Clarke, he said, is good for the US races but is still unproven in Europe, while Van Poppel is a specialist for when the road tilts uphill in the final kilometer.

    "Van Poppel, he's a fast guy, I think he's a little bit of a special sprinter. For him the uphill sprints are...

  • Video: Durbridge remains focused only on the year ahead

    Luke Durbridge approaches the finish to the men's elite time trial during his gold medal ride.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2012, 21:09 GMT
    Jane Aubrey & Alex Hinds

    Hopes his "healthy rivalry" with Meyer continues

    Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) would not be drawn into any suggestion that his elite men's time trial title would be the start of a long streak for the 21-year-old, but maintained that he wanted to return "each and every year" to the event out of respect for the green and gold jersey.

    "I'm going to come here every year to do the nationals," said Durbridge. "I'll worry about next year, next year, and the year after that the year after that. For now I just want to take pride in wearing these colours."

    Durbridge took the title with a thrilling ride over friend and teammate Cameron Meyer, who as the final rider down the ramp saw the title slip from his hands by just seven seconds. Durbridge, who also picked up the under 23 world time trial championship, explained that his growing rivalry with Meyer was not something that affected how they worked together or for that matter their long standing friendship.

    "It's not like we don't talk to each other before the race or anything, it's not like that. We just do our own thing, and I think it's a really healthy rivalry. I won this year, but maybe Cam will take [the title] back next year."

    Durbridge next heads to the Tour Down Under as a late replacement for Jack Bobridge before shifting his focus to the track as he builds toward team pursuit gold in London.

    Watch the full interview with Luke Durbridge below:

  • Gallery: GreenEdge, one year on, finally a reality

    The new Australian Champion.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 6:30 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Official kit, team song unveiled, as Merckx praises team ideals

    Almost 12 months to the day from when Shayne Bannan fronted the Santos Tour Down Under media to confirm that he was in fact launching a bid for the first Australian WorldTour team, GreenEdge was today officially presented, days before the start of the 2012 season.

    Fanfare was at a minimum however the excitement in the room was tangible. The results of the men's team's efforts in the recording studio was finally there for all to see and hear with their cover of Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down, the theme of the afternoon.

    Members of both the men's and women's team, known as GreenEdge-AIS team lined up in an Adelaide hotel in the fluorescent green and yellow kit with Simon Gerrans' new Australian Champion's jersey the jewel in the outfit's crown.

    Much has been made of the GreenEdge men's roster and the lack of a general classification contender for the Grand Tours however general manager Bannan maintained that in its inaugural season, it was the best position for the team to be in.

    "Not having a GC rider makes you more flexible," he explained. "When you have a GC rider you tend to be very focussed [on the Grand Tours], as you should be, because you spend a lot of money on GC riders.

    "Structuring the way we have, it gives us the flexibility to concentrate on most events. We'll definitely look at that being the focus for the first two years."

    The women's team was presented first, having started 2012 with overall victory at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic through Melissa Hoskins and a clean sweep of the Australian Championships with Alexis Rhodes (criterium), Amanda Spratt (road) and Shara Gillow (time trial). Wearing team tracksuits,...

  • GreenEdge finally unveil official kit

    The GreenEDGE kit.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 6:45 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    No sponsor, team happy to focus on building the brand

    It was the moment everyone had been waiting for. After what seemed an almost interminable wait which included the launch of a prototype kit to whet the appetite of fans for the Jayco Bay Classic series, and the recent Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships, GreenEdge finally produced the colours the team will be riding in for the 2012 WorldTour.

    There had been several hypotheticals, but the result lived up to expectation in every way, with a simple but distinctive look being unveiled at an official ceremony in Adelaide today.

    To the tune of the team’s official song ‘I Won’t Back Down’ the full Tour Down Under team as well as director Matt White were presented on stage, with the kit officially launching ahead of the opening WorldTour event.

    More green than the prototype kit, the official strip continues on the "green and gold theme" combined with some black which Robbie McEwen joked "will keep New Zealander Julian Dean happy."

    "We think we look pretty good," said McEwen. "But the best way to look good is to have the hands in the air across the finish line. We look the part, now we just need to walk the walk."

    The two national champions in attendance, Simon Gerrans and Fumiyuki Beppu also showed off their unique kits. Gerrans was beaming in his freshly earned Australian jersey, with the simplicity of the traditional green and gold stripe on a white background the fitting symbol of his achievement.

    "I’ve been dying to put it on all week since the win last weekend," said Gerrans.

    Beppu’s meanwhile pays homage to the Japanese red and white with a...

  • Merckx: Tour de France climbing speeds no reflection of clean cycling

    Eddie Merckx is in Adelaide as a guest of the Santos Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 9:23 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Legend believes 95 per cent of the peloton is drug-free

    Cycling legend Eddy Merckx has suggested that the much-hyped performances on the mountain stages of the 2011 Tour de France being due to a cleaner peloton is in fact false.

    Post race, many were of the belief that the less explosive performances on the decisive mountain stages for last year's Tour de France was evidence of the Grand Boucle being one of the cleanest the sport had witnessed. Fatigue appeared to be more obvious and any attacks were less destructive.

    "The speed is nothing to do with the controls," Merckx, fresh off the plane in Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under, said. "It depends on also the weather – headwinds or backwinds. If you look at the Galibier stage and what kind of wind it was, it was a headwind, it was strong, and Andy Schleck won the stage. I don't think they go slower now than before."

    Schleck (Leopard-Trek) won the 18th stage of the Tour after attacking on the slopes of the Col d'Izoard and soloing his way to take the stage win atop the Galibier and moving up into second place overall. His brother and teammate Fränk sprinted to second place with Cadel Evans (BMC) third. Schleck (25 minutes) made it up the steep 8.3 kilometre climb nearly two minutes slower than those in pursuit who put the hammer down in the final 10 kilometres of the 200.5 kilometre stage.

    Merckx steered away from airing his thoughts on the Alberto Contador case apart from that he hopes "he will be free," with a Court of Arbitration for Sport decision due to be handed down in coming days.

    "I'm not a doctor, I don't know what happened," the 66-year-old said. "Mentally it would be very...

  • Contador and Basso to testify in Operacion Puerto trial

    Dr Eufemiano Fuentes
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 10:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Riders amongst those listed as witnesses in Fuentes hearing

    Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso are amongst those expected to testify at the trial for Operacion Puerto, the Spanish media has reported.The trial stems from the blood doping scandal around Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, which was exposed in 2006.

    The EFE news agency reported that the judge of instruction, Antonio Serrano, “has already received the prosecution and and defense arguments”, which will be referred to the criminal court. The court will then “decide what evidence is allowed before setting the final date of the hearing.”

    In addition to three-time Tour de France winner Contador and two-time Giro d'Italia winner Basso, who has already served a two-year ban for his involvement in the affair, witnesses are expected to include a doctor and a former employee of the Spanish cycling federation.

    While it was not explicitly stated which side was requesting their appearance, the EFE said that the prosecution has asked that all members of the Liberty Seguros team and Michele Scarponi also appear as witnesses. Scarponi has also served a ban because of Operacion Puerto.

    In November, the Court of Instruction issued an order to bring the case to court.  Prosecutors have  indicated they will seek prison sentences for Eufemiano Fuentes, his sister Yolanda, doctors José Luis Merino and Alfredo Córdova as well as team managers Manolo Saiz, José Ignacio Labarta and Vicente Belda.

  • Q&A: Mark Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2012, 11:36 GMT
    Mark Robinson

    World champion speaks exclusively to Cyclingnews

    Cyclingnews caught up with Mark Cavendish yesterday at the Team Sky preseason training camp in Mallorca, and the current world champion and holder of the Tour de France green jersey spoke frankly about his career to date, his hopes for 2012 and how his new team has exceeded all his expectations so far.

    Cyclingnews: You're about to enter the new season with a reputation as the best sprinter in the world, and in Great Britain you are fast becoming a household name. Looking back to where it all began, as a child starting out on your BMX did you think that you would be in this position by your mid 20s?

    Mark Cavendish: If I’m honest, then yes. At that point though I didn’t think that cycling would become so big in the UK. I didn’t start off wanting to be famous or wanting to be a celebrity but I always wanted to be successful. I didn’t just want to settle for being the best in the Isle of Man or the best in the north west of England. And I didn’t want to stick with being the best in Great Britain or the best in Europe either – I wanted all along to be the best in the world. I knew back then that I just had to keep progressing. My detractors were more numerous than my supporters in the early days. But I’ve had great people around me who have helped me a lot since I was young. They’ve encouraged me and also kept me focussed.

    CN: And how does it feel to have achieved so much at a relatively young age? Do you feel any pressure because of that? It's often said in sport that it's easier to get to the top than stay at the top.

    MC: I think that's true in any job, not just in sport. But I don’t really think about it that much. I’ve been successful since I turned professional and so I don’t know any different. I...