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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 2, 2012

Date published:
June 02, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Euskaltel close to new deal?

    Team Euskaltel wating for the start.
    Article published:
    June 01, 2012, 17:44 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Team boss Madariaga says that plans for new sponsorship deal are “advancing”

    Euskaltel-Euskadi team bosses Miguel Madariaga and Gorka Gerrikagoitia have moved to calm fears among their riders that the team will not continue beyond the end of this season. However, Madariaga has admitted he is not sure whether the team will be “WorldTour, Professional or Continental”.

    Madariaga travelled out to the recent Giro d’Italia with the express intention of reassuring riders competing there, some of whom are being courted by rival squads. “I could see that things were turning ugly, because some of the riders are in the hands of vultures,” Madariaga said of riders’ agents when contacted by Marca. “I went to Italy to tell them that, although no one has said anything to me officially, something is going to happen, although I am not sure if the team will World Tour, Professional or Continental.”

    Madariaga, who has been the team’s figurehead since its establishment 19 years ago, added: “Third parties have told me that the new project is advancing. But it has to be confirmed within two weeks at the very most.”

    Speaking on his return to Spain after his stage-winning appearance at the Giro, Ion Izagirre told Basque newspaper Gara that Euskaltel’s riders had been reassured by the team management’s reassurances. “They gave us peace of mind by informing us that the team would go one in one way or another,” said Izagirre, who is one of a number of the squad’s big names who are out of contract at the end of this season. Others include team leader Samuel Sánchez, Igor Antón and Mikel Landa.

    Mikel Nieve, who finished seventh in the Giro and does have a deal with the team running into 2013, also admitted he has been reassured by what he has been told by the management. “We...

  • Video: Bjarne Riis on the decision to take EPO

    Bjarne Riis has his say at a meeting of team bosses
    Article published:
    June 01, 2012, 18:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Danish Tour de France winner's book translated

    From Tour de France winner to team manager, Bjarne Riis has attracted his fair share of controversy, success and criticism over the years. and now his autobiography Stages of Light and Dark has been translated from Danish to English, roughly 18 months after it was first published. To coincide with the English edition, Riis travelled to the London for a one-stop pit stop, where he took part in an questions and answers interview with the book's translator and former Procycling deputy editor, Ellis Bacon.

    Riis was questioned about everything from his doping past to his current predicament of competing in the Tour de France without his team leader Alberto Contador.

    Riis confessed to doping in 2007 but only after years of denial and lies but his life since hasn’t been smooth either, with a number of his riders facing either suspicions and suspensions. Still he remains central to the sport as the manager of Saxo Bank.

    In this video Riis talks frankly about his first steps into the world of doping, his first self-inflicted injection, to the moral backdrop behind the peloton of the 1990s.

  • Spanish Olympic team named

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2012, 20:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Sanchez, Valverde and Freire all included

    The Spanish Cycling Federation has named a strong five-man selection for the men’s road race at the London 2012 Olympics. Defending champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is joined in the line-up by two of his companions from his winning effort in Beijing four years ago, Oscar Freire (Katusha) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

    With a group finish predicted in London, there is also a place for fast man José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), while Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) completes a solid line-up.

    “Taking into account the circumstances, I think I’ve come up with the best team possible,” said Spanish coach José Luis De Santos. “They are five riders who will compete at the Tour and will arrive in London in their best form of the year, and everybody has options as the race develops.

    “They have experience in big events like the Olympics and the Worlds, and on a human level, there is a good relationship between all of them, which is crucial in a race like this.”

    Samuel Sanchez and Luis Leon Sanchez are also slated to compete in the time trial, even if De Santos recognised that it will be hard to discommode the favourites in London.

    “We’re aware that we’re not at a level to compete for the podium, because that’s for specialists such as Martin, Cancellara or Wiggins, but they’re still two riders who will do well,” he said.

    Spanish team for men’s road race: Oscar Freire (Katusha), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskai), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank).

    Men's mountain bike team: José Antonio Hermida, Carlos Coloma and Sergio Mantecón.

    Track team: Leire Olaberría (women's omnium), Eloy Teruel (men's omnium), Pablo Aitor Bernal,...

  • Don't expect a repeat of Norwegian 2011 Tour de France success, warns Boasson Hagen

    A focused Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2012, 9:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Says he has faith that Wiggins can do well this year

    Don't expect as many Norwegian wins in the Tour de France this year as there were in 2011, Edvald Boasson Hagen has warned. “We will be happy if we get one Norwegian stage win,” the Team Sky rider said, and of course he hopes that he would bring in that win.

    In 2011, Norwegian cycling had more wins than ever in the Tour. Thor Hushovd won the team time trial with Garmin-Cervelo and wore the leader's yellow jersey for seven days, before going on to win stages 13 and 16. Boasson Hagen also won two stages, the sixth and the seventeenth.

    “It is clear that expectations rise when you do well, but it is hard to live up to what happened last year. I will however do my best, and have a goal of winning a stage,” he told the Norwegian website

    His task will not be made easier by the fact that Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins will be going for the yellow jersey and teammate Mark Cavendish the green jersey.

    He will “mainly be used” as a domestique, he said. “It goes without saying that this can be a little rough. But there are 21 stages, which means there are 21 possibilities. So it's about taking the chances you get.”

    Boasson Hagen sees a good chance for Wiggins in France this year. “I have faith that he can be fight for the top. He has done very well this year and has been very high up in the overall in the Tour de France before. Last year, he was unlucky when he broke his collarbone, because he seemed very strong when it happened.”

  • Tour of Austria: 1153km from Innsbruck to Vienna

    Mother nature threw a little bit of everything at the Tour of Austria today.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2012, 11:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Traditional climbs Kitzbüheler Horn and Großglockner feature in race

    The Tour of Austria will start this year in Innsbruck for the first time, before covering 1153.9km and 12,900 climbing meters and ending in Vienna for the 55th time. In between, the 144 rider-strong peloton will face climbs including the Kitzbüheler Horn and the Großglockner, and a 24km time trial in the eight-stage race to be held from July 1-8.

    The first stage, with both the start and finish in Innsbruck, features five laps of a 30m long course. The climbing starts on the second stage, which finishes atop the Kitzbüheler Horn. Stage three starts with climbs but ends flat, giving the sprinters a chance.

    The fourth stage is the queen stage, with the hors categorie Großglockner in the middle of the stage. That marks the end of the major climbs, although the fifth stage, the longest at 228.3km, ends with a short but steep – up to 22% -- unranked climb up to Sonntagberg.

    The sprinters will have their chance again on the sixth stage, and the time trial specialists on the seventh stage. The race then takes its traditional finish in the national capital of Vienna, where the overall winner will be crowned.

    Sweden's Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) won the race in 2011.

    64th Tour of Austria:

    Stage 1, July 1: Innsbruck - Innsbruck, 153 km
    Stage 2, July 2: Innsbruck - Kitzbüheler Horn, 157,4 km
    Stage 3, July 3: Kitzbühel - Lienz, 141,8 km
    Stage 4, July 4: Lienz - St. Johann/Alpendorf, 141,3
    Stage 5, July 5: Skt. Johann/Alpendorf - Sonntagberg, 228,3 km
    Stage 6, July 6: Waidhofen/Ybbs - Melk, 185,2 km
    Stage 7, July 7: Podersdorf am Neusiedler See, ITT, 24,1 km
    Stage 8, July 8: Podersdorf am Neusiedler See - Wien, Burgtheater, 122,8 km


  • Turgot cleared of whereabouts violations

    Sébastien Turgot (Europcar)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2012, 12:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Europcar rider won't face ban, French federation says

    The French Cycling Federation have announced that Europcar rider Sebastien Turgot will not face a ban for three whereabouts violations in an 18-month period after concluding their investigations.

    Last month L'Equipe reported that the 28-year-old was almost certain to be sanctioned and in another French newspaper Europcar team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau labelled him "an idiot", stating that his violations were "indefensible". However, it is now reported that the FFC has decided to dismiss one of the violations, a missed test.

    Europcar released a statement that is at odds with Bernaudeau's initial reaction. "[We] welcome this decision and have never doubted Sebastien, whose comments and explanations were real and serious. Sebastien retains full activity within the team," it said.

    Turgot enjoyed argubaly the biggest day in his career earlier this year when he finished in second place at Paris-Roubaix, behind Tom Boonen. He will now be able to focus fully on building on that result without the sceptre of a potential ban hanging over him.

  • Liquigas and Saxo Bank to merge in 2013?

    Liquigas-Cannondale are presented at the start of stage 15
    Article published:
    June 02, 2012, 12:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Gazzetta dello Sport says teams are negotiating

    The next “super team” may come together through the fusion of Liquigas-Cannondale and Team Saxo Bank next year, according to an Italian newspaper report. The Gazzetta dello Sport claims that the two teams are working towards that goal. The Italian team is losing its sponsor at the end of the year, but has the UCI points that Saxo Bank desperately need to retain its WorldTour licence.

    Vincenzo Nibali is apparently leaving Liquigas after this season, but the team will still feature Ivan Basso, Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani, Moreno Moser and Damiano Caruso. The Gazzetta reported that Nibali will move to Astana, with Sylvester Szmyd and Daniel Oss going to BMC Racing Team. Roman Kreuziger is said to be returning to the team, and Gianluca Brambilla (Colnago-CSF Inox) and Alessandro De Marchi (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) will allegedly move to it as well.

    Saxo Bank boss Bjarne Riis would provide Alberto Contador, who will not be able to provide the team with any UCI points for the next two years. The Spaniard is currently serving a doping-related suspension which ends in early August, and is expected to re-sign with the Danish team.

    Basso and Contador have ridden together before, as both were with Discovery Channel in 2007, but only for a few months. Basso resigned from the team before serving a doping-related suspension. The two riders are said to have a good relationship.

  • Olympic ban to be included in WADA code change

    David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2012, 14:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Doping offenders to be ruled out of following Games

    The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) is to bring in measures to exclude athletes convicted of doping offences from their next potential Olympic Games - even if the ban imposed by their sport's governing body runs out beforehand.

    Proposed changes to the WADA code, which are due for approval next year and are intended to be fully implemented in 2015, come on the back of the high profile case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) involving the British Olympic Association (BOA). CAS ruled that a lifetime ban imposed by the BOA on convicted dopers violated WADA's existing code, which already provided guidelines for punishments and sanctions.

    The new rules are explicitly laid out in article 10.15 of the proposal:

    "Where an athlete or other person has been sanctioned for an anti-doping rule violation other than under Articles 10.3.3 (Filing Failures and Missed Tests), 10.3.4 (Prohibited Association), 10.4 (Specified Substances), or 10.5.2 (No Significant Fault or Negligence), and Article 10.5.3 (Substantial Assistance) is not applicable, then, as an additional sanction, the athlete or other person shall be ineligible to participate in the next Summer Olympic Games and the next Winter Olympic Games taking place after the end of the period of ineligibility otherwise imposed."

    British cyclist David Millar is one of the main beneficiaries of the CAS ruling by the BOA. Originally banned from competing at the London 2012 Olympics due to a positive dope test in 2004, Millar is now eligible for selection to the British team.