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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 27, 2013

Date published:
July 27, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Sørensen has sympathy for Jalabert

    Rolf Sorensen scored Rabobank's first classics win at the Tour of Flanders in 1997.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 11:59 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Dane on the fall-out of revelations from 1998 Tour

    Rolf Sørensen has expressed sympathy for former rival Laurent Jalabert. The pair were rivals during the 1990s, competing in the one-day classics and year-long World Cups. Earlier this year, Jalabert stepped down from his role as national road coach, while in recent weeks he lost his position as a French television and radio pundit after it was announced that he had returned a retrospective positive test from the 1998 Tour de France.

    Jalabert has not admitted to doping while Sørensen admitted to breaking the rules in a confession that was published earlier this year. Sørensen has kept his job working on Danish television.

    "I feel really sorry for him. First of all he had a troubled year, maybe the worst year in his life with his big accident on his bike. After that he resigned as the coach at the French Federation, perhaps as a consequence of what was going to happen," Sørensen told Cyclingnews.

    "Then French television took him out just before the start of the Tour. I feel sorry for him. There's been a lot of confessions, some haven't confessed but it was a shit time. But he was one of my biggest competitors and we were rivals on an even basis. He was very good at what he was doing and was a humble guy. I know him as a real professional. It doesn't only come from doping but I feel sorry for him and I could have been in the same position," Sørensen added.

    Sørensen's confession came after years of denial but he says that his decision to tell the truth was down the realisation that he was taking fans' intelligence and trust for granted.

    "I thought the time had come. The crowds watching cycling in Denmark know a lot about the sport so I felt like I was lying twice when I was...

  • Australian Olympic Committee removes O'Grady from Athletes' commission

    Stuart O'Grady (Orica - GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 13:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Will no longer be remembered as great competitor but as doper, AOC says

    The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has removed Stuart O'Grady from its Athletes' Commission. The body had earlier asked him to voluntarily resign, in light of his doping confession.

    "A pre-condition of membership of the AOC Athletes' Commission is to have a clean doping record," AOC spokesperson Mike Tancred said, according to "As we have not heard from Stuart O’Grady following our request yesterday for him to resign we have decided to terminate his membership of the Athletes' Commission."

    O'Grady announced his retirement immediately after the Tour de France, although he had previously said he would ride through 2014. His name appeared on the “suspicious” list for the 1998 Tour de France, and he subsequently admitted to having used EPO that year.

    The AOC indicated that O'Grady's reputation is now tarnished. He will not be remembered as a "fantastic competitor" but as an "athlete who succumbed to the temptation of drugs in sport just to get an edge on some of his fellow riders".

  • Norway with tough choices for Worlds team

    Dauphiné stage 3 winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 14:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Likely only three spots for four riders

    Norway has a problem – four top riders but most likely only three spots in the World Championships. Two of those spots are filled, leaving selectors with a tough choice. The number of spots each nation will be awarded will be announced on August 15, with Norway figuring on receiving only three.

    Edvald Boasson Hagen and Lars Petter Nordhaug are set for the team, as they are both expected to do well on the climbing course in Florence the end of September. That leaves Alexander Kristoff and former World Champion Thor Hushovd to fight it out for the final spot.

    “Both Kristoff and Hushovd have said that they make themselves available for the national team for the Worlds,” coach Stig Kristiansen told “The next few weeks will be very important.”

    “It is important to look at the performance of riders over the next few weeks, and listen to feedback from trainers and riders on their form,” Kristiansen said.

    Hushovd (BMC Racing Team) will next ride the Tour of Poland, starting Saturday. Both he and Kristoff (Katusha) will ride the Arctic Race of Norway (August 8-11) and the Tour des Fjords (August 16-18).

  • Jaizkibel the key at Clásica San Sebastián, says Valverde

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) checks the position of Contador
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 16:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard leads strong Movistar line-up

    After finishing the Tour de France strongly, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lines up among the favourites for the Clásica San Sebastián and, as ever, he believes that the race will hinge on the double ascent of the Jaizkibel.

    “It’s a race that I like and a course that suits me, but it’s the same for a lot of other riders,” Valverde told Diario Vasco. “I know the parcours perfectly and the two ascents of the Jaizkibel – the first time up the climb makes a selection and the second time around, there’s even more of a filtering process. For me the key is the Jaizkibel, no doubt about it.”

    Valverde won the Clásica in 2008 and will be at the head of a solid Movistar squad that also includes Tour runner-up Nairo Quintana, and he is confident that the squad is capable of managing the race. “There will be more riders who want to win, but wherever we race, we always have responsibility for controlling things,” he said. “I expect a group of six or seven riders at the end, no more, but I don’t think anyone will win alone.”

    Valverde finished eighth overall at the Tour but stood as the closest challenger to Chris Froome (Sky) until the end of the second week, when a broken wheel on the road to Saint-Amand-Montrond ultimately saw him lose almost ten minutes to his general classification rivals.

    “I haven’t given a lot of thought to what happened there,” said Valverde. “The races come as they come. What is clear is that without the problem, we would have raced differently and maybe both Nairo and I could have been...

  • Belgium still to guarantee full Worlds representation

    Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) attacked on the final ascent of the Cauberg and soloed to a world championship title.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 18:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian riders in search of WorldTour points in San Sebastian and Poland

    Belgian national coach Carlo Bomans has stressed the importance of the Clasica San Sebastian and the Tour of Poland in order to ensure that he has a full complement of nine riders at his disposal for the world championships road race in Florence in September.

    Only the top 10 countries in the UCI WorldTour national classification are allowed to field teams of nine riders for the world championships. Belgium currently lies 10th in the national standings and risks racing with just six riders if it slips outside the top ten. The Clasica San Sebastian and the Tour of Poland are the last counting events before the UCI announces the squad sizes for the Worlds.

    “It will be very tight to maintain a place in the top 10, it’s not earned yet because two countries are really very close – the United States and Poland,” Bomans told La Dernière Heure.

    Belgium currently has 412 points, just 18 ahead of the USA, with Poland a further 21 back in 12th. The Belgian national squad delivered Philippe Gilbert to the rainbow jersey in Valkenburg last year but this time around, the national team risks paying a price for the low-key collective showing by Belgian riders at the Classics.

    “It’s important that we score points in these last two events and the riders are aware of the situation,” said Bomans, who is hopeful that BMC duo Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet can combine to give Belgium some breathing room in San Sebastian on Saturday.

    “It would be ideal if one of them won on Saturday,” Bomans said. “I hope for a Belgian win on Saturday, it doesn’t matter from whom. But the ideal...

  • Vacansoleil-DCM Team in talks with new potential sponsors

    The Vacansoleil team with new Dutch champion Johnny Hoogerland
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 20:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Time limited before its racers switch to other squads

    The quest for a new sponsor for Vacansoleil-DCM continues. The Dutch World Tour team will lose Vacansoleil as their main sponsor after five years and also the second title sponsor DCM will leave the team after this season. The team is optimistic about procuring new sponsors.

    "Three companies are currently considering our proposal," PR and sponsor manager Frank Kwanten told Cyclingnews today. "It's up to them now."

    Vacansoleil, a camping firm, started sponsoring the Dutch team in 2009 when it operated on a Pro-Continental level. It was promoted to World Tour level in 2011. A return to the second division of cycling remains a possibility for 2014.

    "It is possible to take a step back for one season and return to World Tour level in 2015," Kwanten said.

    There has been speculation in the Dutch media about whether TVM would return to cycling. The Dutch insurance firm is now the main sponsor of a speedskating team but that commitment ends after the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. "They are investigating a return to the sport," Kwanten told Cyclingnews, "but as of today they are not one of the three parties I mentioned before."

    TVM sponsored a pro cycling team from 1986 to 1999. "A sports marketing bureau currently investigates what our goals with sports sponsoring will be after 2014," TVM corporate marketing manager Jaap Stalenburg told Cyclingnews. "A return to cycling is a serious option and we already had informal talks with Vacansoleil-DCM manager Daan Luijckx, but our schedules don't match."

    Vacansoleil-DCM needs a sponsor for 2014 while TVM wants to finish their commitment to speedskating throughout the Olympic 2014 season. "We are not betting on two horses," Stalenburg said." The results of the sports sponsoring enquiry are expected in autumn of this year. "It's not said we return to cycling and take over...

  • Nibali back in action at the Tour of Poland

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 9:51 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana leader already thinking of the 2014 Tour de France

    Two months after dominating the Giro d'Italia, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is back in action at the Tour of Poland, two kilos above his race weight but motivated to kick off the second half of his season and is already thinking about an expected clash with Chris Froome at the 2014 Tour de France.

    The 28 year-old Sicilian's next big goal is the world road race title in Tuscany at the end of September. The Tour of Poland is the first step toward that goal with the Vuelta Espana also part of his build-up.

    While the world of cycling has been focused on the Tour de France, Nibali spent two weeks training at altitude in the Dolomites –where he sealed his victory in the Giro d'Italia and where the Tour of Poland starts with two mountain stages on Saturday and Sunday before transferring north to Krakow.

    "After winning the Giro I was kept pretty busy, I had a weeklong holiday and then started training again. We held a camp in the Dolomites with 16 Astana riders training together for two weeks," Nibali explained to Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "I haven’t done a lot of training and I've put on two kilos. That's annoying but I know I've got time to make up for it. We'll see how I go in Poland. The most important thing is to not get stressed out to stay the front because my goals for this second part of the season are the Vuelta and the world championships."

    Taking on Froome in 2014

    Nibali watched the Tour de France on television, carefully observing Froome, Contador, Quintana and Rodriguez as they battled for the places on the final podium. He has already confirmed that he will target the Tour de France in 2014, meaning he will almost certainly not defend his victory...

  • Gallery: Cancellara, Hushovd and Phinney star at the Tour of Poland

    Thor Hushovd in his Norwegian champion's jersey
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 10:29 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Riders gather for the team presentation in Italy

    The 23 teams that will compete in the 70th edition of the Tour de Pologne attended the official presentation on Friday evening, as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard) all began the second half of their season with the weeklong WorldTour race.

    This year's Tour of Poland begins in Italy, with two mountain stages in the Dolomites before transferring north to Poland on Monday for the final five stages. The race ends on August 3 with a 37km time trial to Krakow.

    The team presentation was held at the MART Art museum in Rovereto, whore Saturday's opening stage begins. As part of a new experiment initiated by the UCI to try to create more open, aggressive racing, each team includes just six riders with special time bonuses on offer on each stage to riders who score points in intermediate and mountain sprints.

    Nibali and Wiggins face each other for the first time since the Giro d'Italia but the Tour of Poland is the first race for both riders and their form remains a mystery. Both were also absent from the team presentation due to arriving late in Rovereto. However Team Sky can also count on Rigoberto Uran and has Ben Swift for the two expected sprint stages.

    Other big names in action at the Tour of Poland include Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Giovanni Visconti, Sylvester Szmyd (Movistar), Thor Hushovd, Taylor Phinney, Marco Pinotti and new Italian national champion Ivan Santaromita (BMC). Thomas Dekker and Johan Vansummeren stand out in the Garmin-Sharp line-up.