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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 19, 2013

Date published:
January 19, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Sutton steps down as Team Sky head coach

    Not heading for the door just yet - Coach Shane Sutton watches the GB team have a good day
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 15:41 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian to serve as "troubleshooter" for team

    Shane Sutton has stepped down as head coach of Team Sky although the Australian will continue to serve a consultation role as a performance advisor and “troubleshooter.”

    While a report in the Telegraph suggested that Sutton would also step back from his coaching role at British Cycling, Team Sky’s statement said that he would dovetail his new position with his job as head coach of the British track programme.

    “I’m working in a support role alongside Dave as an advisor and a troubleshooter," Sutton said, according to the Team Sky website. "We’ve worked together for a long time and we’ve got a good working relationship. If there is an issue that the team has identified or an area that needs exploring then Dave will be able to bring me in and we can take a look at it.”

    Sutton is particularly close to Bradley Wiggins and was a key member of the Briton’s coaching team in 2012 as he rode to victory at the Tour de France, but it is understood that he will no longer work directly with the riders on a daily basis.

    “I’m being led by Dave and whatever he wants and whatever I can do to help the performance team then I’ll deliver that for Team Sky,” Sutton said.

    Sutton’s change of position brings the number of departures from Sky’s 2012 management team to four. Bobby Julich and Steven De Jongh resigned from the team’s staff in October after they confessed to doping during their riding careers as part of Sky’s new “zero-tolerance” anti-doping policy, unveiled in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair. Shortly afterwards, Sean Yates announced his retirement, citing health...

  • Kimmage frustrated by Armstrong interview

    Paul Kimmage
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 16:35 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    "He said as little as he needed to"

    Paul Kimmage has expressed his frustration that Oprah Winfrey missed opportunities to ask Lance Armstrong telling follow-up questions during their televised interview, which was screened on Thursday night.

    The journalist and former rider said that he awoke at 4:30am to watch a recording of the interview to find a note from his son attached to the side of the television warning him that he might end up putting his foot through the screen in frustration.

    “I started off with low expectations to say the least,” Kimmage told Irish radio station 98FM. “It was enlightening but some parts were very interesting, but it was also incredibly frustrating. As well as she [Winfrey] did – and she did ok – I just felt that at the key moments when she could really have landed a significant blow, she didn’t know where to go with it. That’s where the frustration is for me.”

    Kimmage was impressed by Winfrey’s firm opening line of questioning, which saw Armstrong confess to doping in a series of yes or no answers, but felt that she failed to pursue certain avenues later on. “That was a fantastic start but just when you thought it was going fantastically well, she let it get away from her,” he said, pointing to Armstrong’s reiteration of the old lie that he never failed a doping test. “She didn’t remind him of his contradictions. Had Oprah been on her game, she would have said ‘you did fail a test in 1999.’”

    The Irishman was not surprised by the decidedly incomplete nature of Armstrong’s confession, his continued denial of doping after his comeback in 2009 and his...

  • US cycling fans unimpressed with Armstrong's confession

    The small theater at Rapha North America HQ filled up fast and soon spilled over to the lobby.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 17:42 GMT
    By:
    Pat Malach

    "It was pretty much what I expected: a lot of nothing"

    In a country that by now almost gleefully repeats the cycle of building public figures into near mythic proportions only to watch them inevitably and spectacularly fall from grace later, living rooms and brew pubs across the US filled up Thursday night as sports fans and curious observers waited to watch Lance Armstrong on the Oprah Winfrey Network to admit doping throughout his now-disgraced career.

    At the Rapha North America headquarters in Portland, Oregon, a boisterous group of industry insiders, amateur racers and cycling super fans gathered at an open-house showing of the made-for-TV confession.

    “I think we just thought this was a public spectacle,” said Rapha North America General Manager Slate Olsen, who previously collaborated with Armstrong on cycling projects when Olsen worked at Oregon-based Nike. “This was the biggest event that's happened – certainly in a decade – since maybe Festina but on a larger scale, and especially in Portland, where he's been involved through Nike and everything like that. We just thought it would be a great thing for people who were informed about the sport or fans of the sport to come together and watch it together. And it was a chance to have a party, which we're always looking for.”

    The crowd was transfixed as Winfrey peppered the former cyclist with a staccato opening round of yes or no questions in which he admitted using EPO and/or blood transfusions through all seven of his Tour de France wins. Armstrong's admission that he hadn't read former teammate Tyler Hamilton's recent book ignited a round of laughter that broke the silence. By the time it was over, about 75 minutes later, the interview drew mixed reviews from the people Cyclingnews spoke with, although most agreed there was very little new information and certainly no earth-shattering...

  • Prudhomme says Britain was obvious choice for Tour

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, right, with chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity following a press conference in Leeds, England to announce the routes for the opening stages of the 2014 Tour De France.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 19:00 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Tour de France director gives more details on 2014 Tour stages

    Christian Prudhomme has revealed that Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 Tour de France victory and the success of the cycling events at the London Olympics played a decisive role in persuading him and his organising team to return to Britain “as soon as possible.”

    Speaking at the presentation of the opening stages of the 2014 Tour de France in Leeds, Prudhomme said: “The Grand Départ in London in 2007 was spectacular. We were wondering then how long it would be before we came back to Britain. Would it be 10 years? Twelve perhaps? But this amazing British summer for cycling convinced us to come back sooner, if not as soon as possible.”

    Prudhomme also admitted it had been easy to be convinced by Yorkshire’s bid to host the 2014 Grand Départ. He offered praise to the team behind the Yorkshire bid, describing Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity as “an exceptional asset”, and adding: “I knew of Yorkshire, but I hadn’t realised it was so gorgeous till I spent a few days here in the spring.”

    Prudhomme also pointed out that the Tour can now look forward to island starts for its next two editions. “In 2013 the Tour will have its most southerly Grand Départ in Corsica, while in 2014 it will have its most northerly in Yorkshire,” he said.

    Yorkshire’s successful bid to host the Tour is reported to have cost £10 million or more, but Gary Verity insisted that bringing the Tour to the county will boost Yorkshire in many ways. “One of the reasons we bid for the Tour was to raise the profile of Yorkshire significantly on the international stage. We’re insistent on putting Yorkshire on the international cycling map and today is the start of a long and happy relationship with ASO....

  • WADA contends it was never consulted on amnesty

    WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 19:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Agency expresses lack of confidence in UCI, independent commission

    The World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey hit back at the International Cycling Union, stating that his agency was never consulted on the topic of amnesty for cycling’s dopers.

    WADA refused this week to take part in the UCI’s independent commission, which was set up to examine the UCI’s anti-doping efforts in the wake of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban.

    The UCI had reacted to both WADA and USADA’s refusal to join the study, stating, “WADA had proposed late last year that the UCI agree an amnesty for those coming forward to give evidence before the Commission. UCI has explained to WADA that any amnesty from UCI would have limited effect as the IOC, national anti-doping authorities, sponsors and indeed criminal authorities could, as we have seen in the Lance Armstrong case, pursue actions against athletes admitting to doping.”

    The UCI press release detailed a WADA amnesty proposal, stating, “WADA’s proposal was that anyone who came forward with information would be given a complete amnesty, with no period of ineligibility and no loss of results, and, incredibly, would be given psychological support to be financed by the UCI.”

    “It is disappointing that after UCI’s concerns were raised with WADA, rather than addressing them, they have indicated that they will pull out altogether.”

    Fahey replied on Thursday, stating that his agency was not the one that initially made the amnesty proposal, USADA was, and said the UCI never consulted WADA regarding the concept.

    “WADA was never approached by the UCI to discuss how it could be achieved and only recently...

  • Video: Analysis of Armstrong's confession

    Lance Armstrong speaks with Oprah Winfrey in his first interview since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life following the USADA investigation into doping by Armstrong and his US Postal Service team.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 20:11 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Reaction to Thursday's doping admissions

    The day many thought would never happen finally came to fruition Thursday evening when Lance Armstrong admitted to doping in a televised interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey. Armstrong had already been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life based on a mountain of evidence contained in the US Anti-Doping Agency's reasoned decision, released last October, but the Texan had opted to not speak with USADA and until his interview with Winfrey had made no public statement regarding his spectacular descent from world sporting icon to utter ruin.

    But while Armstrong quickly confessed to utilising doping methods such as EPO, blood transfusions, human growth hormones and testosterone during each of his seven Tour de France victories, full disclosure and complete transparency regarding what USADA dubbed "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" was not entirely forthcoming.

    Following the first of two successive evenings of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Lance Armstrong, three UK-based editors within Future Publishing's family of cycling media, Jamie Wilkons (Procycling deputy editor), Paul Robson (Cyclingnews HD editor) and Mark Robinson (CyclingPlus deputy editor) provide analysis of Armstrong's 90-minute interview with Winfrey, highlighting the importance of both what was said and not said during this initial confirmation of his lengthy doping regimen.

  • Merckx disappointed by Armstrong confession

    Eddy Merckx with Prince Albert of Monaco
    Article published:
    January 18, 2013, 22:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian says Armstrong had denied doping in private conversations

    Eddy Merckx has said that Lance Armstrong had always denied doping when he had raised the matter with him and the Belgian expressed his disappointment following Armstrong’s confession to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday evening.

    “Since the USADA report, I could well imagine that things would turn out badly for him. My disappointment was already enormous at the time and it’s even more so now,” Merckx told Le Soir. “He has admitted and that’s hard to hear. I was quite close to him: he often looked me right in the eyes when we discussed doping, and of course it was a big ‘no'."

    Merckx reserved particular anger for Armstrong’s comment that it would have been impossible to win the Tour de France without doping, opining that it cast a pall over Armstrong’s contemporaries and Tour winners over the past 110 years.

    “It’s a scandal for the other riders, the other winners, to affirm that. It’s so easy and hypocritical,” Merckx said. “The Armstrong era was hard for cycling, it came after the Festina Affair, there was EPO etc. but that’s no reason to say that you can’t win the Tour without doping.

    “I just hope that the current crop of riders will not be too disillusioned by this news because it’s they who have seen their jobs put under permanent suspicion. It’s not simple but it’s them I’m thinking of first.”

    While Armstrong offered a limited confession to doping, he shed little light on the doping programme in place at his US Postal team. He did, however, allude to the role of Dr. Michele Ferrari, even though he insisted that the...

  • McEwen: Everybody wanted to believe the fairytale

    Robbie McEwen shares a laugh with Lance Armstrong at the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    January 19, 2013, 1:28 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    O'Grady and Gerrans talk from Adelaide

    Former Lance Armstrong teammate Robbie McEwen has said that he's confident that current anti-doping measures leave him confident that violations the likes of which the American got away with could never be repeated.

    Orica GreenEdge convened a press conference in Adelaide on Friday in the wake of the Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey with McEwen, Stuart O'Grady and Simon Gerrans fronting the media.

    McEwen was on the front line with Armstrong as a teammate for what would be his final race of his career, the Tour Down Under in 2011.

    "I think it's changed everyone's opinion of him," the now Orica GreenEdge sprint coach explained. "Everybody wanted to believe the fairytale, the hero, the whole story so I don't think there's a person in the world that even remotely follows cycling that hasn't changed their opinion of what we thought Lance was."

    O'Grady meanwhile like McEwen rode multiple Tours de France throughout the Armstrong era and said that the overwhelming sense following today's confession was that of relief.

    "In a way I'm glad he's come out and confessed," said O'Grady. "It's been an on-going saga and as much as it's been a shock to the cycling world, it's cycling that's suffered... we can look to the future and hopefully something good can come out of this.

    "There was so much mounting evidence. You can't hide for that long. He had to come out of his closet and confess and as strange as it is to hear it, it's relieving in the way that he's finally done it."

    Asked if he believed that there were more riders that were doping throughout the 90s and early 2000s, O'Grady was reluctant to open up on any suspicions that he may have.

    "Obviously all the people that were in his team at the time weren't doing too bad either," he explained. "I think he used, abused and manipulated all the people around him but...