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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 5, 2013

Date published:
January 05, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Is Lance Armstrong considering a confession?

    Lance Armstrong (US Postal) at the start of the 1999 Amstel Gold
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 5:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    NY Times report says yes, but it's complicated

    In what could be the most dramatic turnaround in the drawn-out saga of Lance Armstrong and the US Anti-Doping Agency's case against him, a report today states that the now ex-Tour de France champion, who has been banned for life from all WADA code signatory sports, is considering a confession so that he can resume his sporting career in running and triathlon.

    The NY Times' Juliet Macur writes that sources familiar with the case, which saw Armstrong stripped of his competitive results from August 1, 1998 on and banned for life, have "has told associates and anti-doping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career".

    According to the report, Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman said that a confession was not on the table. However, the report indicates that pressure from the wealthy Livestrong Foundation supporters have been urging him to come forward to spare the non-profit further damage. The Livestrong Foundation was previously known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, until the charity legally changed its name to strip Armstrong from its moniker following the release of the USADA's reasoned decision in October.

    The WADA code allows for reduced sentences in return for testimony from athletes on how they were able to engage in doping activities. Tyler Hamilton, one of the witnesses in the USADA case, was given a reduced 8-year ban for his second offense when he tested positive for DHEA.

    Four riders were given reduced bans of six months for their doping admissions and...

  • NetApp-Endura aiming for second Giro d'Italia appearance

    Team NetApp-Endura for 2013
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 10:05 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team manager says chances are "better than last year"

    Team NetApp-Endura is hoping for another wildcard invitation to the Giro d'Italia, and looking to claim its first grand tour stage win this year. The team sees its chances for the invitation as “better than last year,” when it was surprisingly invited to the race.

    "We have strengthened our team and shown that we can ride a three-week race well. We want to show what we can to not only for ourselves but also to help bring German cycling back to the top again that is important to us," team manager Ralph Denk told Cyclingnews.

    "Last year Michele Acquarone gave us the chance to ride our first grand tour. We did well with two second places in stages and this year I want a stage win.  We have several riders who could win a stage."

    One of those riders is Jan Barta, who last year brought in four individual wins for the German-based Professional Continental team. His performance in the Giro was Denk's best memory of the race: "the first stage in the Alps, when Barta was in the long escape and finished a close second."

    Barta would be more than happy to ride the Giro again. "It is a an enormous race and I would be excited to have this possibility, to be at the start of  the 2013 Giro," he told Cyclingnews. Last year's race "was unbelievable, the atmosphere was amazing, crowds of people at the start and finish, and especially in the hills."

    The Czech rider also reflected on his experiences from his first career grand tour. "It is the 21 days in which a rider experiences both good and bad. Sometimes you feel strong, in a good mood and have success. On the other hand, some stages could be very exhausting if the rider is not rested enough. Then you has to be mentally strong to survive...

  • Clarke rues lack of cooperation at Sun Tour

    Simon Clarke was looking comfortable on the Mt Massedon climb.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 10:28 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian National Team expected tough opposition

    The Australian National Team gave themselves every chance to blow the Jayco Herald Sun Tour apart on Saturday's second stage into Healesville.

    Heading into the penultimate stage, Simon Clarke and Simon Gerrans rounded out the general classification's top 10, trailing race leader Aaron Donnelly (Huon-Genesys) by 2:45. The race got away from the Australian team on the previous day’s opening road stage and so if Clarke or Gerrans had any chance of making a tilt for the final podium on Sunday it had to be on stage 2.

    The signs were positive for the team early on, with Nathan Haas making it into the break for the second day running, but this time he was also joined by Clarke and Jay McCarthy. If Clarke had been the only rider inside the top 10 overall, the break might have stood a chance but with Degani Bakery Cafe World Tour Academy's Adam Phelan (8th overall) also there, the interest of the chasing peloton was stoked. The remnants of the breakaway were eventually caught after around 45km.

    Clarke didn't think that the presence of three riders from the Australian team in the break was necessarily a problem in itself.

    "The more the better, usually," Clarke told Cyclingnews. "It was more about cooperation from the other guys, and whether there was more or less..."

    Asked if the Australian National Team had been getting the cooperation of others in the race, Clarke was blunt. "Nah, we're not," he admitted. "That's the problem."

    Clarke was also reasonably tolerant of the dilemma the rest of the peloton, which is mostly made up of young Australian National Road Series teams, is faced with.

    "It's expected," Clarke rationalised. "We're the only pro team here so the young guys in this race look at...

  • Martin loses to racehorse in Dubai dash

    Time trial world champion for 2012 Tony Martin (Germany)
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 11:34 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    World time trial champion hopes to race in 2014 Dubai Tour

    Tony Martin was well beaten by an Arabian racehorse in a special race in Dubai but he seemed to enjoy making an early season debut in the Middle East.

    The German world time trial champion arrived in Dubai on January 2, joining Alberto Contador, Ryder Hesjedal and Vincenzo Nibali as the ambassadors of the new Dubai Cycling Course and the new Dubai Tour stage race that will be contested for the first time in the spring of 2014.

    Martin heads back to Europe on Saturday and will join his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates in Spain for a training camp. He will then attend the official team presentation at the Ghent velodrome on January 15. Martin was hesitant to reveal his race programme until the presentation.

    "It was the first time I've raced against a horse and it was a fun experience. It's something I can tell my kids about in 30 years' time," he said after being beaten by several lengths after the one kilometre race.

    "When I heard about it, I laughed about it. But for people here horses are a big symbol and they want to combine their culture with ours, so it's a good idea."

    Martin trained in the desert for several hours on Thursday, joining Contador, Hesjedal and Nibali for another ride on Friday before the race.

    "This is my first time in Dubai but I think the race will be really well organised. It's an amazing place, with all the skyscrapers and buildings. I think the new circuit will be a great place for people from Dubai to ride their bikes because it's not so safe in the city. It's been a nice experience riding in the desert.

    Martin's time trial ability makes him an automatic contender for week-long stage races. The German rider has won the Eneco Tour, Volta ao Algarve, Paris–Nice, the tour of Belgium and the last two editions of the Tour of Beijing.

  • Vuelta aims high with 11 summit finishes

    An all Spanish final podium at the Vuelta (L-R): Alejandro Valverde, 2nd; Alberto Contador, 1st; and Joaquim Rodriguez, 3rd
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 12:51 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    2013 route to contain one more mountain-top finish than 2012?

    Short, lung-burstingly steep ‘walls’; 17.3km-long gentle but interminable ascents; two mountaintop finishes in the race’s first three days and the Angliru to finish off with – should Spanish media reports on Friday be believed, the 2013 Vuelta a España will be a guide to all the different varieties of mountain climbs possible within a single stage race.

    According to Spanish newspaper As, the 2013 Vuelta will have no fewer than 11 summit finishes – that’s an average of more than one every two days. The decision to maintain such a climb-heavy course is partly inspired, it is thought, by the huge increase in public interest in the Vuelta in 2012, which contained no fewer than ten uphill finishes of one sort or another scattered throughout the course and which developed into a fiercely fought three-week battle for the red leader’s jersey as a result.

    The route itself is due to be presented on Saturday, January 12 in Vigo. Running from August 24 to September 15, the opening three days will create some important differences, according to the As report. The initial team time trial through rugged coastal territory will be followed by two short, steep uphill finishes, at Alto da Groba and the Mirador de Lobeira, and by a return of the Mirador of Ezaro climb – where Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won in 2012 with one of his trademark late attacks – midway through stage four.

    After sweeping southwards through the little-known province of Extremadura, perhaps after taking in a stage on the 2014 Worlds circuit in Pontevedra, three stages in Andalusia on three consecutive days – completely bypassed in 2012 – provide the next ‘package’ of uphill finishes. The first, As claims, will be a 16-kilometre climb near the coastal town of Estepona which has never previously been tackled in the...

  • Cycling has already changed, says Schleck

    Road map to success? Andy Schleck weighs up his options in the woods of the Luxembourg Ardennes.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 13:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack rider on Julich, Armstrong and bio passport

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) has claimed that cycling is already doing everything it can to combat doping and said that the Lance Armstrong case belonged to “another era.”

    Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins following as US Anti-Doping Agency investigation in 2012, as well as all other results from August 1, 1998, including his third-place finish at the 2009 Tour, just behind Schleck.

    “The Armstrong affair, that was another era,” Schleck told Le Monde. “We’re ready to accept other measures but I don’t believe we can do any more. Some people want to change cycling, but cycling has already changed. The Armstrong affair harmed us but we can take lessons from it, develop things within the existing framework and with the tools at our disposal.

    “What do we, the riders, have to do to prove that we don’t dope? We have the biological passport, the whereabouts system, we are the most tested athletes… We need to attract people to watch cycling again, but we can’t do more than we are doing today.”

    Projections and analysis of riders’ power outputs has been an increasingly popular feature of media coverage of the Tour in recent years, but Schleck dismissed the idea of using such data in the fight against doping.

    “I don’t think it would enlighten the public that much to know those statistics. On the Tour, we have peaks of watts and that’s completely normal. That changes from one day to the next. For me, the biological passport is the sole way to control riders. There should maybe be more tests, and not just for the best riders.”

  • Offredo readies himself for return from suspension

    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 16:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman frustrated by length of ban in comparison to former US Postal riders

    Yoann Offredo has spoken of his frustration at serving a twelve-month suspension for whereabouts violations while a number of riders who confessed to blood doping as part of USADA’s Lance Armstrong investigation received only six-month bans.

    Offredo was handed the ban by the French Cycling Federation last February after he was late in updating his whereabouts for the purpose of out of competition testing on three separate occasions in the space of 18 months. The 26-year-old’s ban expires on January 31 and he is set to return to competition with FDJ at the Tour of Qatar.

    “Initially, I refused to believe it. I said, damn, there are guys who have doped and who haven’t been caught at all, and it was like that again with the Armstrong case, where guys got six months even though they were at the heart of an organised doping programme!” Offredo told L’Équipe. “Fortunately, I didn’t know that in the month of March, otherwise I would really have been angry.”

    Offredo admitted that he had avoided watching the spring Classics and Tour de France on television during his suspension, and he said that he missed many other minor details beyond the racing itself.

    “Having a routine, having pointless meetings that last two hours, I missed all of that,” Offredo said. “Sometimes, at the end of a stage, you would say to yourself: ‘Why do the journalists piss me off by asking these questions?’ But now, it’s the contrary, I want people to ask how it went, why I missed the split, why I attacked there. It’s like eating overcooked pasta in the hotel. Well, ok, maybe I don’t miss that so much…”

    Offredo’s sole appearance at a race...

  • Franco Pellizotti's Bianchi Sempre Pro - First look

    Pellizotti pictured behind his 2013 team bike
    Article published:
    January 05, 2013, 20:53 GMT
    Oli Woodman/BikeRadar

    Italian national chamion's 2013 bike

    Bianchi has unveiled the bike Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti will be riding for the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team in 2013.

    The carbon Bianchi Sempre Pro is the latest evolution of the Sempre, and features a Campagnolo Super Record groupset combined with an FSA K-Force crankset and SL-K brakes.

    Pellizotti’s Sempre Pro bike is finished in matte black and boasts the Italian national colours to match his champion's jersey. The pro seems to fit well with his new machine, saying, "My new Sempre Pro is exactly the bike I was looking for – it reflects my characteristics and the geometry is pure racing."

    The rest of the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team are set to ride the Sempre finished in Bianchi's traditional celeste colour scheme, with red and black detailing.

    Sempre Pro frame features:

    • Bianchi Sempre Pro carbon monocoque

    • Internal cable routing

    • Double-compatibility mechanical and electronic group

    • Carbon Nano Technology

    • UTSS (Ultra Thin Seat Stay) Technology

    • BB30 bottom bracket standard

    • 1,040g


    • Fork: Bianchi full carbon B4P (Born for Performance), 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in

    • Crankset: FSA K-Force Light BB386 EVO, 53/39

    • Bottom bracket: FSA BB30

    • Chain: FSA K-Force Light

    • Brakes: FSA SL-K

    • Headset: FSA Orbit 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in

    • Stem: FSA OS-99 CSI alu / carbon