In an action-packed final hour of racing on Stage 5 at the Tour Down Under it was the Movistar squad that unleashed the biggest threat to overall leader Geraint Thomas (Sky). Javier Moreno finished third on the stage up Old Willunga Hill and moved into second-place overall but he'll be the one to shout his teammates an Australia Day beer at the hotel tonight.
The Spanish squad launched riders up the road on the first ascent of Old Willunga in an attempt to force the chase from Geraint Thomas and his Sky team. While the attacks from Eros Capecchi, Jose Herrada and Andrey Amador were eventually swallowed up, it providing Javier Moreno with the perfect launch pad to capture third on the stage and take the lead in the King of the Mountains classification.
Blanco's Jack Borbridge wore the KOM jersey on Stage 4 as the outright leader of the competition but Moreno's podium place on the hilltop finish meant he overtook the Australian for the lead. The Spaniard also pushed himself into second-overall behind Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco).
"In the last climb, I got a good lead with 1km to go," explained Moreno.
"I was at the front but I got passed by two riders [Simon Gerrans and Tom-Jelte Slagter] who were stronger than me."
Bobridge will have his work cut out for him tomorrow defending new race leader Slagter's position but he may have an opportunity to retake the KOM jersey. The Adelaide City circuit provides two Catergory 3 climbs on Lap 10 and 15 but Bobridge will need to ride aggressively throughout the 20-lap race if he is to capture the overall KOM prize.
Unfortunately for Moreno the Cat 3 climb is just 635m long with an average...
Team Blanco riders begins new era with Tour Down Under lead
Tom Jelte Slager has kicked off the new year and new era for Team Blanco, establishing a difficult to beat lead in the Tour Down Under with just one day of racing to go, thanks to finishing behind stage winner, Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) on Old Willunga Hill on Saturday.
Pulling on the race leader's ochre jersey, which he snatched from three-day leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), caps an incredible week for the young Dutchman who on Thursday, claimed his first professional win in Stirling earlier in the race.
"This whole week is amazing for the team," he said. "First with the win for me and today that I can hang the jersey on my shoulders. It's really amazing."
"I knew that I had to do it in the last, for sure in the last kilometre. The last 200m is more flat so I knew I had to catch bonus on the finish and I had to make a gap with the rest of the guys. That all went good."
Slagter started the day five seconds down on Thomas, but Team Blanco controlled the race to perfection, with an incredible team effort to ensure the 23-year-old had the best launch pad possible to the finish line.
"Every rider of our team did a great job," Slagter said. "They go for bottles; they ride in the wind all day for me. They pulled the last 60-70km they bring the front group back to the peloton and I'm really proud of the team."
With Dutch cycling firmly under the microscope in recent weeks because of a series of doping scandals and Rabobank's sudden decision to end their support to the team, Slagter had great perspective on his victory given the current climate.
"I think this is the best way to show to Dutch people and to the world how nice cycling can be and what we can do as Dutch riders," he said. "I only can say that I'm proud of the team. I hope we can find a new...
It was a dejected Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) who faced the media following Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under, having led the race for the previous three days.
The final 600 metres of the three-kilometre climb brought an end to Thomas' hopes of being crowned overall winner. He was unable to go with the attacks of Movistar, Orica GreenEdge and Blanco and lost 28 seconds.
"Immediately afterwards you're pretty gutted, you want to win," he said. "When we look back tonight I'm sure we'll have a lot of positives to take from [the week. It's only the first race of the year and it started with a bang, ended with a bang - the wrong kind of bang - but it's been a good week. It's been hard racing."
Lance Armstrong's legal team has indicated that the disgraced former rider is ready to reveal more about the doping he did during his career but has made it clear he will not give detailed evidence to USADA – the United States Anti-Doping Agency - whose detailed investigation led to Armstrong's downfall.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart is due to appear on a special CBS 60 minutes programme on Sunday evening to respond to Armstrong's confession on Oprah Winfrey last week. USADA has confirmed to the media that Tygart met with Armstrong in December and talked about a detailed confession but has given Armstrong until February 6 to talk.
Armstrong's lawyer Timothy Herman confirmed USADA's request but told the Associated Press that "logistically, it is simply not possible" to do in the next two weeks "due to pre-existing obligations." It is not clear what obligations Armstrong has.
Herman wrote that Armstrong is more likely to cooperate with international sports authorities -- specifically the Union Cycliste Internationale, rather than USADA, claiming it does not have global jurisdiction over sport.
"USADA has no authority to investigate, prosecute or otherwise involve itself with the other 95% of cycling competitors," Herman claimed. "Thus, in order to achieve the goal of 'cleaning up cycling,' it must be WADA and the UCI who have overall authority to do so."
USADA worked with Interpol and other anti-doping associations around the world to snare Armstrong and force other riders to confess and testify. It has also banned Dr Michele Ferrari and other doctors who worked with Armstrong and the US Postal Service Team. The UCI ratified USADA's bans after studying the 1000 pages of...
New Astana leader ready to take on Wiggins at the Giro d'Italia
Vincenzo Nibali has told Cyclingnews that he regrets not being able to break his contract with the Liquigas team at the end of 2009 and sign for Team Sky.
The Italian was lined up to sign for the British team to be their Grand Tours leader in their inaugural year. As well as meeting with a Team Sky intermediary, Nibali also met with Team Sky’s management with a multi-year contract put in front of him.
Speaking exclusively to Cyclingnews at the Tour de San Luis, Nibali said: “I was very close to joining Sky, yes that’s true. I met with Max Sciandri to discuss a move and we met a few times. Then I had a meeting with the Team Sky management during the year. In the end I couldn’t move because of the contract with Liquigas. Sky offered me a contract though and I was very close to signing but couldn’t break the Liquigas contract.”
“Do I wish I’d signed? It was new team and I was looking forward to being part of a big international team. Yes, I wish I’d been able to ride for them then.”
Nibali eventually left Liquigas this winter, signing for Astana, where he will lead their charge at the Giro d’Italia this May. With Alberto Contador heading to the Tour in July many expect Nibali and Bradley Wiggins – the rider who was signed after the Italian's Team Sky deal fell through – to fight it out for the maglia rosa.
The Giro d'Italia organisers have attempted to create a finely balanced route for 2013, one that offers both the climbers and time trialists equal opportunities to shine. With 74.9 kilometres of time trialing, Wiggins can expect to severely dent Nibali’s chances. The Italian lost roughly six minutes in last year’s Tour de France to...
Team Wiggle Honda will support 12 riders in total, with a host of female champions and future talent from Britain and around the world. As well as Gilmore herself, the group includes 2012 British Olympic trio Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell. Three-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy is also in the lineup, as is seven-time Japanese national champion Mayuko Hagiwara.
As far as competition is concerned, direction for the team will mostly be focused on single-day classic events along with sprint races. Many of the riders will be making a transition from track to road cycling this year, with the ultimate goal being to win as many races as possible without putting too much pressure on the team.
Rochelle and her teammates have set out to raise the professionalism and perception of women's cycling, and have received backing from both the Bradley Wiggins Foundation and British Cycling. Rochelle's aim is to provide everything necessary for her fellow athletes to perform at their best, something that hasn't always been possible.
Headline sponsor Honda Motor Europe have provided the team with cars. Support also comes from a whole host of Wiggle-stocked brands, from Fizik and Muc-Off to Skins.
The riders will use Colnago C59 bikes in Wiggle's black and orange team livery, while matching kit comes courtesy of Wiggle's in-house clothing brand DHB.
Dutch media suggest the Spaniard was code-named Huerto
Team Blanco has said it will investigate accusations that Luis Leon Sanchez is implicated in Operacion Puerto after reports in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad suggested that he was known by the code-name of Huerto and number 26.
Sanchez has always denied doping but was part of the Liberty Seguros team in 2006 that was hit by the Spanish police investigation and saw police discover dozens of bags of blood in Eufemiano Fuentes's lab in Madrid. Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michele Scarponi, Alejandro Valverde and others have all served bans for doping.
It seems a conversation between Fuentes and former directeur sportif and coach Ignacio Labarta helped NRC identify Sanchez as being Huerto.
Sanchez was named as a possible client of Dr Michele Ferrari after police testimony by Volodymyr Bileka said Sanchez was seen training in St Moritz with other riders. Sanchez was a member of the Caisse d'Epargne team at the time and joined Rabobank in 2011. The Rabobank team admitted that Sanchez had worked with Dr. Ferrari but Sanchez had insisted that no doping was involved.
Team Blanco manager Richard Plugge has tried to take a firm stand against doping after Rabobank ended their backing of the team. He told the De Telegraaf newspaper: "New data has now emerged. We will therefore certainly confront him," he said. "We already knew that this would come out. Now we know what kind of information it is, we can explain this to him and we can give him time to react."
Sanchez won the Clasica San Sebastian in 2012 and stage 14 of the Tour de France to...
Gerrans edged out Tom Jelte Slagter at the line, and while the young Dutchman fell just short of adding a second Tour Down Under stage victory to his palmares the Blanco rider put 28 seconds into GC leader Geraint Thomas (Sky) to take over the ochre jersey with just one stage remaining.
Phil Anderson and Cyclingnews' Australian Editor Jane Aubrey take a look over all the action from Stage 5, assessing the performances of Orica GreenEdge, Blanco and Sky Procycling, and look ahead to the concluding stage on Sunday.