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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 1, 2013

Date published:
June 01, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • McQuaid calls for analysis of Puerto blood bags

    UCI president Pat McQuaid at the start of the Tour of Flanders in Bruges.
    Article published:
    May 31, 2013, 15:58 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI president on decision to appeal Madrid verdict

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has said that it would be a defeat for the fight against doping if the blood bags seized as part of Operacion Puerto were not released for analysis.

    The UCI is appealing the decision taken by a Madrid court judge not to release evidence from the recently-concluded Puerto trial, which could lead to the possible identification of riders and other athletes who blood doped under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

    “I’m in total disagreement with that decision, which is why the UCI is appealing,” McQuaid told Marca, according to AFP. McQuaid added that the destruction of the Fuentes blood bags would be “defeat in the fight against doping.”

    191 blood bags were seized by investigators as part of Operacion Puerto in 2006, the doping investigation which left Ivan Basso, Alejandro Valverde, Jan Ullrich and Michele Scarponi among those who served suspensions for their ties to Fuentes.

    Following the conclusion of the Puerto trial in April, however, in which Fuentes was given a one-year suspended prison sentence for damaging public health and banned from working as a doctor for four years, Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria rejected requests from anti-doping authorities and international sports federations for permission to analyse the blood bags from 35 different people in order to identify the athletes involved.

    “I still think that there are more athletes implicated [beyond cycling],” said McQuaid. “That’s the information I have but I don’t have proof. It’s a pity that cycling is the only sport that has been affected.”

  • Wiggins ruled out of Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) kept in touch until the final few moments
    Article published:
    May 31, 2013, 16:16 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Defending champion out due to knee injury, says Team Sky

    Bradley Wiggins has been ruled out of the Tour de France by his Sky team. In a statement on the team website on Friday afternoon, it was announced that the defending champion will not be on the start line of the Tour due to an “ongoing knee condition.”

    Wiggins abandoned the Giro d’Italia citing a chest infection and a knee injury, and had struggled to train since, prompting speculation in Friday morning’s newspapers that he would be forced to forgo his Tour defence.

    “With illness, injury and treatment Brad has gone past the point where he can be ready for the Tour. It’s a big loss but, given these circumstances, we won’t consider him for selection,” Sky manager Dave Brailsford said.

    “He hasn’t been able to train hard since the Giro and now he needs further rest. Whilst we all know these things happen in sport, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a huge disappointment for everyone in the team – and above all for Brad.”

    Wiggins admitted that it was a disappointment to miss out on lining up for the Tour with the number one dossard but explained that the nature of his injury – an inflammation of the left knee – meant that he could not train sufficiently to ensure an adequate level of form in July.

    “It’s a huge disappointment not to make the Tour. I desperately wanted be there, for the team and for all the fans along the way - but it’s not going to happen,” Wiggins said. “I can’t train the way I need to train and I’m not going to be ready. Once you accept that, it’s almost a...

  • Gesink disappointed with Giro d'Italia performance

    Robert Gesink (Blanco) had bad luck today but looked strong
    Article published:
    May 31, 2013, 21:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Blanco rider questions his role at the Tour de France

    Robert Gesink was “in a slump” after returning to the Netherlands after abandoning the Giro d'Italia. The Team Blanco rider is now questioning what his role might be at the upcoming Tour de France.

    "It will be no surprise when I state that the Giro d'Italia has ended in one of the biggest disappointments of my career,” he wrote in De Telegraaf.  Upon his return home, “Frankly I was at that moment in a slump.”

    Gesink rode well in the first week of the race, and went into the first rest day as third overall. He started to fade, however, as the climbing started, and by the second rest day had dropped to 13th.  He suffered the most on the 14th stage, held in freezing conditions. “Got so cold I couldn't move my legs anymore at the last climb,” he tweeted.

    Stage 18's mountain time trial proved too much for him as the team announced the next day that Gesink “did not feel well during and after the time trial. In consultation with the medical staff he won't start anymore."

    The 27-year-old Dutchman is now looking to the future, but not sure how things will work out. He starts training again next week, but “what my role on the team will be, is not yet clear. Bauke Mollema is the man who has fully prepared for the Tour de France,” he said.

  • Renshaw convinced he'll be ready for Tour de France

    Blanco sprinter, Mark Renshaw (Blanco)
    Article published:
    May 31, 2013, 22:07 BST
    Alex Malone

    No sprint support as Blanco chase GC, Tour de Suisse to test form

    Mark Renshaw has been pleasantly surprised by his ability to bounce back from the high-speed crash that took him out of the Tour of Turkey on stage 2 and he believes that he will be ready for the Tour de France.

    The Blanco sprinter spent just two weeks off the bike following surgery on the broken collarbone he sustained in Turkey, while a few of the associated injuries took a little bit longer to get right. Renshaw returns to racing at the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports this Sunday to get some last-minute leg speed before heading to the Tour de Suisse, where his performance will ultimately determine his Tour inclusion.

    "The plan has always been for the Tour but now it just means that at Tour de Suisse I have prove I'm back on the level. If I can prove I'm right to race then there should be no worries," Renshaw told Cyclingnews.

    "I had two weeks completely off the bike, one week on the home trainer. I've been back on the road for almost two weeks. I'm going pretty well actually and quite happy with how the recovery has gone. I thought it was going to be a lot harder to come back but it's [the form] has come back quite quick."

    Blanco has a formidable line-up for the 200km Zeeland race, with Theo Bos leading the line. Renshaw admits that while his condition is on the up, he probably won't have the legs to contribute to Bos' sprint train, which features fellow Australian Graeme Brown. At Suisse however, there's a number of stages earmarked for sprints but with a difficult parcours and a field full of riders testing themselves ahead of the Grand Depart, bunch sprints are never certain.

    "The only chance to race before Suisse is at Zeeland. I can't see myself playing a big role in the race, it's more to get a day of racing under the belt. It seems like there will be a few sprint stages but in saying...

  • Report: Belkin signs sponsorship deal with Blanco

    Maarten Tjallingii goes back to the Blanco team car during the stage
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 8:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Contract starts at the Tour de France

    Team Blanco’s sponsorship worries seem to be at an end with reports that the American firm Belkin will start a two and a half year deal to back the team. The contract will commence at the start of this year’s Tour de France, which begins in Corsica on June 29.

    News of the deal broke this morning in De Telegraaf although the team did not return calls immediately to Cyclingnews.

    Reports of a possible deal between Belkin and Blanco surfaced mid-way through last month's Giro d'Italia with the team determined to stress that a final agreement had yet to be signed.

    Last week Blanco boss Richard Plugge confirmed that negotiations between the two parties were ongoing and that a decision would be announced within ten days.

    Blanco is the former Rabobank team. The bank announced last fall that it was ending its name sponsorship. This year's budget is still being paid by the bank, and 18 riders are guaranteed through 2014. The team's UCI WorldTour licence runs through 2014, but a new sponsor is necessary to guarantee the team's survival in the future. Its yearly budget is said to be 15 million Euro.

    Founded in a garage in southern California in 1983, Belkin has grown to be a privately held company with more than 12,00 employees in 21 countries. It describes its products as ranging from “wireless home networking and entertainment, to mobile accessories, energy management, and an extensive range of cables.”

    More to follow...

  • Teklehaimanot starts season at Dauphiné

    Daniel Teklehaimanot (Orica-GreenEdge) displayed his strength in the breakaway, ultimately netting the KOM jersey
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 10:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Orica GreenEdge targets stage wins

    Daniel Teklehaimanot (Orica GreenEdge) will make his 2013 racing debut this weekend at the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Eritrean missed the first half of the season due to visa issues but will line up as part of the Australian team's eight-man squad.

    "It's very hard to step in from no racing to racing the Dauphiné," said director sportif Matt Wilson. "We're not putting on pressure on Daniel for this race. We'll ease him back into things as much as you can ease anyone back into racing with the Dauphiné. If he can give the other guys a hand, great. If he can try something himself, fantastic. We'll need to see where he’s at during the week."

    With no rider for the GC the team will be looking to reignite their season with a stage wins after missing out on a win during last month's Giro d'Italia.

    "We're not focused on the overall at all. We have a few riders here that are using the Dauphiné as one last tune-up before the Tour. For someone like Simon Gerrans, the focus is on the final hit out. If he can get up with an opportunity in the process, fantastic, but the pressure isn't really on him for that."

    "The other guys are on the team will be attacking each stage," Wilson continued. "There aren't many stages for Michael Matthews, so on the days where it's a projected sprint, we'll put all our eggs in his basket. On other days, any of our riders can look for opportunities."

    Orica GreenEdge for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Daniel Teklehaimanot, Fumy Beppu, Michael Matthews, Mitch Docker, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Travis Meyer and Wesley Sulzberger.

  • Fuglsang leads Astana into Dauphine

    Jakob Fuglsang
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 11:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane leads for GC as Gavazzi targets stage win

    Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) will continue his Tour de France build up with the start of tomorrow’s Criterium du Dauphine. The eight-day stage race begins in Champéry, Switzerland, on Sunday with a difficult 121 kilometre stage.

    Fuglsang has had a consistent start to the season with 6th overall at the Vuelta a Andalucia, followed up by 11th at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. However the Dauphine marks the Dane’s final stage race preparation before this year’s Tour de France, his main objective for the season.

    The 2013 Dauphine route is one of the toughest in recent years with only one stage earmarked for the sprinters and several difficult days of undulating and mountainous terrain.

    "At some point or another in my career I have raced up most of these mountains. A lot of the same climbs are used again in races in some way. For the Tour this year it was good to see the important climbs with the team. In training we had bad weather, with temperatures at 3C on the top of the climb and wet snow. But we got through it and it was really good to see where we will return in July," Fuglsang said.

    "It's going to be a very hard race, with no easy stages. Each day is up and down, and at least in the first part of the week the weather forecast does not look so good, so that will only make it extra hard," Fuglsang said.

    Fuglsang, who finished 6th overall at the Dauphine in 2009 will be supported by a strong line-up including Kevin Seeldraeyers, Andrei Grivko and Dmitri Muravyev.

    However Fuglsang isn’t the only rider on the Astana team with high expectations. A highly motivated and in in-form Francesco Gavazzi is looking...

  • Top Canadians assemble for national team at Tour de Beauce

    Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2013, 14:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Rollin, Meier, Boivin, Houle return home for UCI points

    Some of the top professional cyclists from Canada will take a brief hiatus from their WorldTour duties to join the Canadian National Team at the upcoming Tour de Beauce on June 11-16. Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale), Dominique Rollin (FDJ), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale Pro Cycling) will take part to help their country rack up UCI points toward qualification for the World Championships.

    Also joining the team will be domestic riders Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly Cycling), Rob Britton (Team Raleigh) and Marsh Cooper (Optum-Kelly Benefit), whose trade teams are not participating in the Tour de Beauce.

    Houle finished as runner-up last year, just 19 seconds off the overall victory, and is looking to climb to the top step this year.

    "I'm excited to race at home in front of family and friends," he said. "I am motivated to do better. I think I have what it takes to win the 2013 Tour de Beauce.

    Rollin, fresh off racing in the Giro d'Italia, is happy to be coming home to his native Quebec. "It's nice to return to a race in which I grew up and discovered the international field," Rollin said. "This little homecoming the national team has given me will be a great pleasure and offers me a chance to express myself on roads I know well."

    The Canadian team has several options to contend for the overall victory here. In addition to Houle's second place, Meier was third in last year's general classification, while Hamilton was second in the mountains classification.

    "The Canadian Team is racing the Tour de Beauce with the objectives to win stages and contend for the overall classification, to score big UCI America Tour points," national team manager Gord Fraser said. "We are bringing our A-list of riders with the intention to show how strong Canada has become, with four of our seven riders racing every week on some of the most prestigious races around the globe.

    "We want to give our...