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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 23, 2012

Date published:
June 23, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Different approach for Saxo Bank at Tour de France

    Nick Nuyens
    Article published:
    June 22, 2012, 12:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Bjarne Riis unveils his team

    In the absence of the suspended Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank has named a team designed to chase stage victories at the upcoming Tour de France. Bjarne Riis’ nine-man selection features sprinter Juan José Haedo, former Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens and Chris Anker Sørsensen, who will look to make an impact in the mountains.

    "We will bring JJ for the sprints, and we have some trusted helpers around him,” said Riis. “In Chris we have a rider with the potential to really influence the mountain stages and maybe he is even a guy to watch for the mountain jersey.”

    The Saxo Bank selection also features three former stage winners at the Tour – Sergio Paulinho, who triumphed in Gap in 2010, Nicki Sørensen, who won in Vittel in 2009 and Karsten Kroon, victor in Plouay in 2002.

    “We are entering this year's Tour de France with our eyes set on stage wins and with the aim to make an impact on the race, and I'm convinced that this is possible,” Riis said. “We have tried to put together a group of riders that will enable us to open up possibilities, and I believe we have found a great mix of experience, aggressiveness and different competencies.”

    The Saxo Bank squad is completed by Michael Mørkøv, Anders Lund and Tour de France debutant Jonathan Cantwell of Australia.

    It was a very different Saxo Bank squad twelve months ago, as Alberto Contador lined up for the Tour as the favourite for overall honours. In the meantime, Contador was suspended for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour, and he will not return to action until August, in time for the Vuelta a España.

    “Of course this is a very different job waiting for...

  • Italian Federation: Pozzato will miss Olympics if charged

    Article published:
    June 22, 2012, 15:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Attends national team camp after Ferrari hearing

    Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) president Renato Di Rocco has defended Filippo Pozzato’s presence at a national team training camp in Trentino this week but confirmed that he will not ride at the London 2012 Olympics if he is charged with having been a client of Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    “It would have been right to send him away if he had been charged but for now there hasn’t been anything,” Di Rocco told Gazzetta dello Sport. “But it’s clear that if the procura were to refer the case, he would have to bid farewell to the blue jersey because there wouldn’t be enough time afterwards to close the proceedings before the Olympics.”

    Pozzato appeared before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome on Tuesday to discuss allegations published in La Repubblica that he was a client of the infamous Ferrari. The newspaper quoted a 2009 phone conversation that had been intercepted by investigators from the Padova-based anti-doping investigation centred on Ferrari’s activities. Evidence from Padova is understood to have been used by the United States Anti-Doping Agency to help build their case against Ferrari, Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.

    Ferrari was banned by the FCI on the back of rider testimony relating to his activities and in February 2002, the body announced that it would hand down suspensions of up to six months to riders who were found to have consulted with him. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Pozzato told CONI that he had received training programmes from Ferrari...

  • Teklehaymanot prepares for London 2012 in Eritrea

    Daniel Teklehaimanot (Orica-GreenEdge) rides through the fields in the Dauphine
    Article published:
    June 22, 2012, 18:30 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Orica-GreenEdge rider on his debut WorldTour campaign

    Daniel Teklehaymanot’s graduation to WorldTour level at Orica-GreenEdge this season has been a significant stride in Eritrean cycling’s progress at international level and he will continue in that pioneering fashion at the London 2012 Olympics on July 28.

    “It’s going to be the first time that Eritrea has been represented in cycling at the Olympics, so I’m very happy,” Teklehaymanot told Cyclingnews. “I’m looking forward to riding for Eritrea in the national jersey at the Olympics in London. It will be special.”

    Like Colombia before it, Eritrea’s rich domestic cycling tradition had long been overlooked by the rest of the world, but in recent years, the East African country has begun to make an impact on the international stage, with Teklehaymanot its leading light.

    The 23-year-old has been a dominant force in African cycling in recent years, winning the continental road title in 2010 as well as back-to-back crowns in the time trial and team time trial, but it was his performance at the 2009 Tour de l’Avenir that first saw the major European teams sit up and take notice.

    Riding for a UCI World Centre selection, Teklehaymanot rode to an impressive 6th overall behind Romain Sicard and Tejay van Garderen, and was set to join Cervélo TestTeam at the end of the following season, only for the outfit to disband due to financial problems. After another year in Aigle with the UCI, Teklehaymanot did reach the ProTour ahead of the 2012 campaign when he signed for Orica-GreenEdge.

    Following his move to Italy in February to base himself near GreenEdge’s European training centre in Varese, Teklehaymanot made his debut for the Australian team at...

  • Bruyneel to skip Tour de France

    Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel face the press
    Article published:
    June 22, 2012, 20:34 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan general manager cites "unfounded accusations"

    RadioShack-Nissan will be without its general manager in this year's Tour de France, as Johan Bruyneel has decided to stay away from the race after being embroiled in a possible doping case with the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA).

    Bruyneel was named along with other former staff of the US Postal Service team and Lance Armstrong in charges of widespread, organised doping within his former team. USADA is currently considering whether to issue an anti-doping rule violation after it collected evidence in the form of multiple witness testimonies corroborating the doping allegations. Bruyneel has repeatedly asserted his innocence of the charges.

    USADA's investigation is separate from a now-closed US federal probe into the same topic.

    "I’m sad to say that I’ve decided that for the first time in many years I will not be attending this year’s Tour de France," Bruyneel stated on his personal web site. "The story of the Tour should be the achievements of its riders and the thrill of our great sport. I dearly wish to be there but my attendance in light of the recent USADA allegations against me would be an unwelcome distraction to my team, and to all those participating in and supporting the Tour.

    "This is why I’ve decided - after consulting with the Team’s main sponsors and in agreement with the Senior Management of Leopard - not to attend the race. It is unfortunate...

  • Evans glad pre-Tour de France spotlight has been on Wiggins

    Cadel Evans (BMC) rides in with teammates
    Article published:
    June 22, 2012, 23:29 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    BMC leader content with preparation for title defence

    Defending Tour de France champion, Cadel Evans (BMC) is the first to admit that leading rival Bradley Wiggins (Sky) has had the better run of form but remains confident that he can once again stand on the top of the podium on the Champs-Élysées in July.

    Evans will lead a BMC outfit to the Tour de France which has been bolstered by potent off-season signings Philippe Gilbert and Tejay van Garderen, along with the experienced Stephen Cummings, off the back of his third-place performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné. It’s been acknowledged from the release of the 2012 parcours, generous in time trials, that the 35-year-old Australian should find himself in his element for this 99th edition of the Tour.

    "The only thing that has changed mainly has been the level that Team Sky has come to," Evans explained of the time between October when the route was revealed, and the present. Evans was speaking to journalists from his home country over conference call from a low-key and relaxed setting of a teammate’s house where he is currently working through his final preparation for the French Grand Tour. His young son Robel playing in the background Evans was at ease, despite the difficulty communicating throughout the call, saying that he felt he was in much the same space mentally as he was at this time last year.

    Overall victories at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné have ensured that the spotlight has shone brightly on Wiggins while Evans has had a comparatively quiet lead-in with the...

  • Armstrong attorneys respond to USADA charges

    Article published:
    June 23, 2012, 0:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Review board will now decide whether to file anti-doping rule violation

    Lance Armstrong's attorneys have today filed a formal response to the allegations of doping brought by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), just inside the 10-day deadline to respond that is spelled out in USADA's protocol for arbitration of sport doping disputes.

    On June 13 the Washington Post and ESPN made public the 15-page letter from USADA to Armstrong outlining new allegations against the seven-time Tour de France winner, Johan Bruyneel and former team doctors, staff and trainers, including use of EPO, transfusions and other banned drugs by Armstrong and a conspiracy to cover up the doping.

    Armstrong has vigorously denied the charges, his attorneys writing to USADA that these are "stale allegations disproved long ago and short on evidence" in today's letter.

    One of the objections raised in the correspondence is an assertion that USADA is illegally relying on evidence leaked to the press from the US federal grand jury investigation into similar allegations which was closed without charges being filed earlier this year,

    However, a source close to the case confirmed to Cyclingnews that the agency accumulated its own evidence, and while it requested the information from the federal case, it yet has not received any information.

    The letter goes on to object to witnesses not being named, insufficient time given to Armstrong and his team to respond, and that USADA cannot point to a positive test to corroborate the claims. However, the World Anti-Doping Agency's code provides for "non-analytical" rule violations in cases such as this where evidence is limited to witness testimony or other information. The rules have been used in the past to ban numerous athletes, including Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery after the...

  • Wellens doping investigation officially dropped

    Former world champion Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) takes his first major victory of the season.
    Article published:
    June 23, 2012, 6:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Telenet-Fidea rider can rest easy

    Cyclo-cross racer Bart Wellens has been officially cleared of suspicion of doping, a court in Tourhout informed the rider Friday.

    According to the Telenet-Fidea team, Wellens's case was dropped after investigators found no evidence that his sudden illness in January had anything to do with the use of performance enhancing drugs.

    Wellens was rushed to intensive care on the eve of the Belgian cyclo-cross championships in January, after he came down with a sudden high fever, heart problems and organ failure.

    His team insisted the illness was a result of an infection but there were immediate reports that doping was involved. The rider recovered fully, but three weeks later, authorities searched Wellens's house for two hours taking his computer and also getting his medical records from the hospital.

    Hair and blood samples taken from the rider on February 2 eventually came up negative for doping and his case was officially dropped this week.

  • 2012 National Championships index page

    Tom Boonen in his national champion's jersey
    Article published:
    June 25, 2012, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Quick links to national championships around the globe

    It's that time of year when national championship results are arriving fast and furious. Keep abreast of all the national championship action throughout the globe with this handy reference to road race and time trial events.

    Australia: Road race - Elite men, Elite/U23 women, U23 men; Time trial - Elite men, Elite/U23 women, U23 men
    Austria: Road race - Elite men, Elite women
    Belgium: Road race - Elite men, Elite women
    Brazil: Road race - Elite/U23 men, Elite...