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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 8, 2013

Date published:
June 08, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Hesjedal renews with Garmin-Sharp through 2015

    Returning champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 14:44 BST
    Cycling News

    I'm very happy here, says 2012 Giro d'Italia champion

    US WorldTour squad Garmin-Sharp announced today thay Ryder Hesjedal has re-signed with the team through 2015.

    "I am very excited to continue with Garmin-Sharp for another two years," said the 32-year-old Canadian. "I have had the biggest results of my career riding for this team and I'm very happy here.

    "From my teammates to everyone involved with the organization, especially our sponsors and partners, everyone works exceptionally hard for the success of Garmin-Sharp and I want to continue to be a part of that."

    Hesjedal became Garmin-Sharp's first-ever Grand Tour winner in 2012 at the Giro d'Italia, and the first Canadian to win a Grand Tour. He joined the team in 2008 and his palmares include 6th overall at the 2010 Tour de France, 2nd at the 2010 Amstel Gold, stage wins at the 2009 Vuelta a Espana and the 2010 Tour of California and a member of the squad which won the team classification title at the 2011 Tour de France. Hesjedal has also been a part of three team time trial victories in Grand Tours: Giro d'Italia (2008, 2012) and Tour de France (2011).

    "Ryder is an important part of the team, not just because of his great results and exceptional talent but also because of who he is," said Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin-Sharp general manager. "We have seen his talent grow over his years with us, something we know will continue. He is a Grand Tour champion and an important part of the fabric of Garmin-Sharp. We are thrilled that he will continue with us."

    Hesjedal was unable to defend his Giro d'Italia title this May due to the effects of an upper respiratory infection which forced him out of the Italian Grand Tour after 12 stages. After a period of recovery...

  • Makarov responds to McQuaid's insinuations

    Igor Makarov
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 15:40 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Russian oligarch hits back as the presidential battle heats up

    Igor Makarov, the President of Cycling Federation of Russia and owner of the Itera company that sponsors the Katusha team, has hit back at insinuations by Pat McQuaid about his support of rival presidential candidate Brian Cookson and his funding of the European Cycling Union.

    In a statement issued by his press service, Makarov has called on the UCI Ethics Committee to review how McQuaid used Makarov's name in an attempt to discredit Cookson and his presidential bid.

    In a letter to the national federation presidents which was leaked on Monday, McQuaid stated, "I fear Mr Cookson may be a pawn in a larger game. Mr Makarov, owner of Katusha, has expressed his anger on a number of occasions that the UCI Licence Commission denied his team a place in the 2013 WorldTour for 'ethical reasons'. The independence and impartiality of the Licence Commission is exactly the sort of positive step forward that the UCI has taken in the past decade."

    In the carefully worded statement issued by the Itera Group, Russian Global Cycling Project, Makarov refuted those claims.

    He confirmed that he had held talks in Moscow with Cookson, and pointed out that sponsorship from European Cycling Union by his Itera company has been active for three years without McQuaid raising concerns.

    Highlighting the growing tension in the UCI Presidency battle and the power struggle for control of cycling's international federation, the Russian oligarch also reminded McQuaid that the Katusha team had secured its WorldTour licence 'by the most democratic way possible – through an...

  • Orica GreenEdge to announce decision on Matt White

    GreenEdge's Shayne Bannan
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 17:40 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Bannan says announcement coming next week

    GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan has told Cyclingnews that an announcement over Matt White's future should be made next week.

    White stepped down from his directing duties at the team last year after his name was published in the USADA Reasoned Decision. He admitted to doping during his career and cooperated fully with ASADA in their efforts to fight for a cleaner sport.

    He was issued with a six-month suspension which ended in May. He told Cyclingnews that he would welcome to the chance to work at Orica GreenEdge again, saying, "That's definitely the place where I'd prefer to end up. I put a lot into the team and I have lot of close friends there. I've definitely got a passion for that team more than any other."

    Those dreams had to be put on hold until the Nicki Vance report was released. The publication of which last month, recommended that White be reinstated.

    "Consistent with the advised general approach to past doping offences/admissions and the conditions already outlined it is recommended that Matt White have his position with OGE reinstated once any ASADA-imposed sanction is completed," read the report.

    At the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday Bannan would not confirm the team's plans but stated that a release would be forthcoming.

    "We're getting pretty close to a decision and I'd say we'd have something to announce next week. I'm not saying what the announcement is but we'll have an announcement to make based on the Nikki Vance report, next week."

    "I think what we've taken out of the report are some...

  • Cancellara, Horner will not contest 2013 Tour de France

    Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack) showed he was back to full form after his troubled 2012 season
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 18:34 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack Leopard without two key riders

    RadioShack Leopard will be without two key riders for the upcoming Tour de France as both Fabian Cancellara and Chris Horner today revealed they would not be part of the team's roster when the French Grand Tour kicks off on Saturday, June 29 on Corsica.

    Horner has been sidelined for much of the season by an injury in his left knee, iliotibial band friction syndrome, which was sustained near the conclusion of Tirreno-Adriatico in March, where Horner finished sixth overall. Six days later Horner started the Volta a Catalunya but only rode the opening stage on March 18 and withdrew the following day. The 41-year-old American has not competed since as his injury has repeatedly flared up in training following periods of recovery. After he was ruled out of the Amgen Tour of California Horner underwent knee surgery in the United States two weeks ago.

    "It all hurts as I was so good in the early season," said Horner prior to the Tour of California. "In Tirreno-Adriatico I was as good as the best riders in the world."

    Horner now hopes to salvage his season with a start at the Tour of Utah (August 6-11) followed by the Vuelta a España, which begins on August 24.

    Cancellara's absence from the Tour will be a heavy blow for RadioShack Leopard. The Swiss powerhouse was the shining light in last year's Tour for RadioShack after he won the prologue time trial in Liège, Belgium and held the maillot jaune...

  • First teams named for Tour of Alberta

    Riders who take part in both the USA Pro Challenge and the Canadian WorldTour races, such as the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, will have the six-day Tour of Alberta to fill the gap next year between the events.
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    BMC, Cannondale, Argos-Shimano, Blanco join Garmin-Sharp

    The Tour of Alberta named the first nine teams invited to the inaugural event, which will take place September 3-8, 2013: joining the already announced Garmin-Sharp team from the WorldTour are BMC, Cannondale, Argos-Shimano and Blanco.

    Also invited from the Professional Continental ranks is the Champion System team and Continental squads Equipe Garneau-Quebecor, SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis and Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.

    Most of the teams announced today have Canadian connections: Garmin-Sharp will likely bring 2012 Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal, Quebecois riders Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale) and François Parisien (Argos-Shimano) are two of seven Canadians in the WorldTour, while Champion System employs three Canadians: Zach Bell, Ryan Roth and Ryan Anderson. (It remains to be seen if the Orica-GreenEdge team of Svein Tuft and Christian Meier will be included). Garneau is one of only two Canadian professional teams this season, and Optum has two riders from the country, Sebastian Salas and Marsh Cooper. SmartStop has Canadian crit champion Ben Chaddock amongst its ranks, and is managed by Alberta native Jamie Bennett. The team will bring one aspiring professional from the province to the event.

    Blanco has had success in Canada before, with Robert Gesink winning the first edition of the GP de Montréal in 2010, and has courted North American technology company Belkin as a sponsor. 

    The race organisers are pleased with the quality of the selections so far.

    "The initial teams, especially the five Pro Tour teams and Canadian cycling hero Ryder Hesjedal's Garmin-Sharp team, bode well for a first-year event," said Duane...

  • Van Garderen aiming high at Tour de Suisse

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) nears the finish of his first big stage race win.
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 20:15 BST
    Cycling News

    American coy about ambitions, but Gilbert says team is backing him to win

    After his early promise in stage races and a series of ambitious pronouncements, BMC's Tejay van Garderen has backed down from declaring himself as his team's undisputed leader in recent years, but according to his teammate, world champion Philippe Gilbert, the team's Tour de Suisse leadership belongs to him.

    "It's clear we will go for the GC win with Tejay and I will help him as far as I can," Gilbert said in a pre-race chat. "If I can go for a stage win on a certain day I can try, because I need it. It's time to win now. The form is good, and I'm healthy. I feel very good and it's time to make a nice win."

    Van Garderen, fresh off his first overall stage race win as a WorldTour rider at the Tour of California, would only say he is aiming for a high placing. "I definitely would like to get a good result here. It would be a nice race to pick up a result or even a win, but it's also kind of final preparation for the Tour de France," he said. "I haven't looked at the start list, but there's going to be some good riders here."

    Having already broken his stage race duck, van Garderen said there is less pressure on himself and the team to perform, but that the win hasn't changed much for him. "You have to move past the win and start focusing on the next race because it comes up quickly."

    Gilbert expressed confidence in his young American teammate, emphasizing that he enjoys riding in service of him. "He's really relaxed, he knows how to race, how to manage the stress and to focus on the race. He's just very focused on the most important things, resting and being in a good spot at the right moment. He never loses energy for nothing, he's a smart rider and he's a fighter. I like to...

  • UnitedHealthcare a dominant force on USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar

    United Healthcare sweeps the podium at the 2013 Tour of Somerville (L-R): Karl Menzies, Hilton Clarke and Carlos Alzate
    Article published:
    June 07, 2013, 22:45 BST
    Pat Malach

    Continental squad SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis out to "slay the dragon"

    In just its second year on the US schedule, the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) has become a personal playground for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, whose vaunted Blue Train has steamed through nearly every stop of the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar so far this year. In an unparalleled display of dominance, the UCI Pro Continental team has taken 15 of a possible 17 wins on its way to stacking four riders in the top five of the overall standings.

    The team has swept the podium clean three times and taken two of the top-three spots nine times. In all, UnitedHealthcare has claimed 32 of a possible 51 NCC podium spots so far this year. In the team standings, UnitedHealthcare leads SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis by more than 1,000 points. Third-placed Jamis-Hagens Berman is nearly 2,500 point in arrears.

    But for team general manager and director Mike Tamayo, the nearly complete NCC dominance is almost incidental to the team's very simple goal.

    "I know it seems like we're just pursuing the series or trying to maximize our overall points, but the truth is we're just trying to win bike races," Tamayo told Cyclingnews while en route to this weekend's NCC events in Virginia.

    As a second-division team, UnitedHealthcare is restricted to UCI races and national championship events. That means aside from the marquee stage races in California, Utah and Colorado, the team's US schedule is limited to US Pro, Tour of the Gila, Philly Cycling Classic and all of the NCC events.

    "UnitedHealthcare is an American company, and they want to see us compete in the US as much as we can and be successful there," Tamayo said. "So obviously we try and perform for them by winning Tour of the Gila and Philly; being on the podium at California; and with our stage wins at...

  • Greipel extends contract with Lotto Belisol

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) makes his way through the Arenberg forest.
    Article published:
    June 08, 2013, 9:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Two more years for German sprinter and Marcel Sieberg

    André Greipel is set to continue his stay with Lotto Belisol for at least another two years after he signed a contract extension with the Belgian squad. He arrived at Lotto from the defunct HTC-Highroad ahead of the 2011 season and has enjoyed a very successful spell at the team.

    Greipel, who has won 44 races in his spell at Lotto including four stages of the Tour de France, has been able to rely on one of the best-drilled lead-out trains in the peloton. His fellow countryman Marcel Sieberg, who also joined Lotto from Highroad in 2011, has also re-signed with the team for a further two seasons.

    “For me there's no better team than Lotto Belisol. Not many teams focus on the sprint,” Greipel said on the team website. “I find it important that the guys from my train stay as well, like Marcel Sieberg with whom I'm already riding together for many years and who's a good friend. I don't see him in another team than me. Like the team, I wanted to sign the agreement as soon as possible, now we can fully focus on the Tour."

    Although Lotto’s sponsorship is devoted largely to the development of Belgian riders, team manager Marc Sergeant underlined the importance of Greipel to the project in hand, describing him as “an indispensable part of the Lotto Belisol puzzle.”

    “The vision of our team is to be a Belgian team, completed with foreign riders who give an added value and let us play a role on the highest level. The number of top sprinters is limited and in Belgium there are no sprinters of his calibre, so for me it was never an option that André would leave the team,” Sergeant said.

    Greipel continues his Tour de France preparation at the Garmin ProRace...