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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, March 19, 2011

Date published:
March 19, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Evans says Volta a Catalunya is for pure climbers

    Tirreno-Adriatico winner Cadel Evans (BMC) with his winner's trophy.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 16:26 GMT
    Daniel Simms

    Australian expects very different race to Tirreno-Adriatico

    Cadel Evans (BMC) has insisted that he is not the favourite for overall honours at the Volta a Catalunya, which gets under way in Lloret del Mar on Monday. The Australian leads a strong BMC line-up that includes young talents Taylor Phinney and Tim Roe.

    Evans was a hugely impressive winner at Tirreno-Adriatico, but he believes that the Italian race was better suited to his characteristics. Evans explained that the longer climbs of Catalonia may come a little too early in his preparation for him to aspire to overall victory.

    “It's a different style of racing in Spain," Evans said. "It'll be more for the pure climbers. I'm going good on the short climbs, but these are longer and steeper. Tirreno-Adriatico, with a few hard finishes, short climbs and a time trial, was a bit more suited to me."

    BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue acknowledged that Evans’ impressive showing in Italy means that the former world champion will be a marked man, particularly on the stage 3 summit finish at Andorra-Vallnord.

    "For us, Cadel's win doesn't change anything,” Lelange said. “But the other teams will be looking more toward him now.”

    RadioShack has also announced its Volta a Catalunya roster, with Jani Brajkovic, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner looking to build on their form.

    BMC team for the Volta a Catalunya: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Chad Beyer (USA), Cadel Evans (Aus), Mathias Frank (Swi), Karsten Kroon (Ned), Jeff Louder (USA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Tim Roe (Aus).

    RadioShack team for Volta a Catalunya: Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Manuel Cardoso (Por), Philip Deignan (Irl), Chris Horner...

  • UCI president McQuaid addresses pro riders on radio ban

    UCI president Pat McQuaid with race director Mike Turtur.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 17:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Claims riders are being coerced by teams

    UCI president Pat McQuaid today issued an open letter to the sport's professional riders, who have recently been caught in the midst of a contentious debate over the progressive banning of race radios by the UCI.

    The teams' organisation AIGCP and riders' organisation CPA have threatened to boycott the UCI-promoted Tour of Beijing unless the rule, which bans radio communications between a team and its riders during all but WorldTour races, is rescinded by May 1.

    McQuaid would not allow the organisations' representatives take part in a meeting scheduled to discuss the issue yesterday unless they retracted the threat, which they did not.

    The UCI has repeatedly stated that it will not back down on the rule, and below McQuaid goes into more detail on why the regulation was put into place.

    He also responds to open letters from riders Jens Voigt and Grischa Niermann, who publicly opposed the ban.

    Cyclingnews has reproduced the letter in full, unedited.

    Dear Riders,

    The discussions are heated concerning the progressive banning of earpieces during races. That is why I feel it is necessary to address you collectively to try to clarify some points in the debate that is unfortunately no longer calm and constructive.

    However, I would first of all like to congratulate most of you for your ability – up until now and despite your opinions – to remain reasonable...

  • Sinkewitz HGH positive remains a rarity

    Patrik Sinkewitz (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) returned an adverse analytical finding for HGH.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 18:21 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Dr Saugy of Anti-doping laboratory in Lausanne says the detection window is very short

    Labelled “a big step in the fight against doping” by UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani, Patrik Sinkewitz’s adverse analytical finding is certainly the first time a cyclist has officially returned a sample positive for human grown hormone (HGH or GH). The blood test, which has been in use since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and which was validated in 2007, had appeared not to be efficient and HGH was sometimes said to be “undetectable.”

    Against such a backdrop, Sinkewitz’s positive test at the GP Lugano on February 20 might be expected to mark the beginning of regular cases of positive tests for HGH.

    However, Dr Martial Saugy, director of the WADA Swiss accredited laboratory in Lausanne, which analyzed Sinkewitz samples, has dampened the UCI’s enthusiasm.

    “The detection methods haven’t really changed or improved since 2007 and we’ve always been stunned to find so few positive tests,” he told Cyclingnews. The first athlete suspended for a positive test for HGH was Terry Newton in February 2010. That English international rugby league player committed suicide in September.

    Dr. Saugy thinks that the myth of undetectable growth hormones offers a partial explanation of Sinkewitz’s positive test. “In that case, riders let up on their attention and they are caught,” he said. This supports the UCI’s stance in keeping the development of the HGH test as a secret, and the international federation never officially announced when it began looking for the substance in the cyclists’ samples.

    The HGH test is very delicate to run because of the short detection window of the substance in the human body, of between 8 and 24 hours. “We have to test the riders at the right moment,” Dr Saugy said. It is thus...

  • First look: Mark Cavendish's Specialized McLaren Venge

    The complete package: Mark Cavendish's Specialized McLaren Venge
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 18:54 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Photo gallery: A preview of Cav's new Milan-San Remo rig

    Specialized yesterday launched its newest product, the McLaren Venge, an advanced high modulus carbon fiber frame designed to be as light as possible while increasing aerodynamics and stiffness. Cyclingnews caught sight of Mark Cavendish's bike as he prepares for his shot at a second Milan-San Remo title tomorrow.

    Only Cavendish, Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel will be atop the Venge for HTC-Highroad in tomorrow's race.

    Note the aerodynamic features of the frame, including "cambered airfoil cross-section seat stays", designed to reduce drag in cross-winds, the tapered head tube/steerer which beefs up stiffness - something important for powerful sprinters - and the bladed fork.

    Add in details like the internal cable routing, a specially designed bar/stem combination made just for Cavendish by Pro as well as the electronic Dura-Ace group with SRM power meter, and you have the complete package.

    View the photo gallery here.


  • Tour of Elk Grove adds women’s stage race

    Meredith Miller (Tibco) leads the Colavita squad at the front of the pack early in the race
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 21:51 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Three-day race gains NRC status

    The USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) for women gained a significant boost with the news of the addition of a women's field to the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove.

    A three-stage race for women, held from August 5-7 in Elk Grove Village on the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois will be held in conjunction with the professional men’s four-stage event that is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

    "I think it is great that another organizer is putting on a stage race for women, especially alongside a high profile men’s race," said Colavita-Forno D’Asolo directeur Rachel Heal, who won the Tour of Elk Grove Criterium in 2006. "I think the women’s peloton really appreciate it and it is going to be a great race. I’ll be sending a team."

    Race organizers have traditionally hosted a double-header criterium for the women’s field. This year, the women will compete in a time-calculated stage race that will kick off with a 7.2-kilometre individual time trial on Friday. The race will continue at the stage two 50-minute timed criterium on Saturday. The event will conclude at the stage three 115-kilometre circuit race on Sunday.

    The prize list for the entire event including all categories is $150,000. The amount designated for the women’s competitors will be announced at a later date.

    The NRC will kick off at the Redlands Bicycle Classic held from March 30 to April 3 in California. Other NRC stage races include the SRAM Tour of the Gila, Joe Martin Stage Race, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Tour de Toona, Cascade Cycling Classic and the Tour de Nez.

  • Garmin-Cervélo has three aces for Milan-San Remo

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    March 18, 2011, 22:02 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Vaughters confident about every race scenario

    With Thor Hushovd, Heinrich Haussler and Tyler Farrar as leaders and contenders for victory, Garmin-Cervélo team is arguably the strongest of the 25 teams that will line-up for Saturday's Milan-San Remo.

    Yet, as Mario Cipollini pointed out, that is also the team's dilemma. Do they ride aggressively and hope to distance the likes of Mark Cavendish or do they wait for the sprint and then ride for whoever is feeling strongest?

    Hushovd, Haussler and Farrar have shown they are on form at either Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, yet all three would probably prefer a different scenario in the finale to bolster their own chances of victory.

    Farrar admitted he hopes for a 50-rider sprint, Heinrich Haussler hopes for a group of ten riders, while Hushovd hinted he hopes there will be plenty of attacks on the Poggio. Perhaps the most important thing is that they ride as a team.

    Team manager Jonathan Vaughters sat next to his trio of team leaders and confirmed to Cyclingnews he will be in the team car for the race. The riders had yet to hold their final team strategy meeting and Vaughters rightly refused to reveal any details of how they will race.

    "The ability to be able to confuse everyone is our greatest asset so that needs to remain that way. If I say (the race plan) we'd lose all the tactical advantage we've got," Vaughters said.

    However he did hint that Garmin-Cervélo could opt for an aggressive race strategy.

    "I think we have to play some fairly atypical tactics," he said. "The race can develop three or four different ways and we have a different rider most suited to that. It must be a real pain in the ass for the other teams because whatever you do, you're f___d."

    "Of course, other teams have a more singular strategy and that's pretty good too. They (Hushovd, Haussler and Farrar) have to be the most cohesive unit and the best on the day. I'm sure there will be another team that is...

  • Tygart critical of Spanish flip-flop on Contador

    Article published:
    March 19, 2011, 10:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says authorities must not be afraid to bring down heroes

    Anti-doping authorities must not be afraid of “bringing down our heroes,” Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency said.  He also criticised the Spanish federation's “flip-flop” on the Alberto Contador Clenbuterol case.

    The Federation initially recommended a one-year ban. Before the decision became final, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that that there was “no legal reason” to sanction him.  The Federation ultimately cleared Contador of the doping charges.

    “If there are questions about whether the outcome is fair and just based on the rules and particular facts they should appeal that to the supreme court of sport,” Tygart said in an interview with the Associated Press. “WADA plays the great equalizer to ensure justice is even and in line with the facts and the rules around the world.”

    “Clearly what has been reported was a flip-flop—there was a one-year agreement (ban) and then there were statements from the prime minister … and then there is a zero sanction,” Tygart said.   “I don’t know what the right outcome is, I haven’t seen the evidence, but from a perception standpoint, something is not right there.

    “Something should be looked into, and it looks (like) it is right at the heart of the lack of independence when you have a national...

  • Picture gallery: The early action from Milan-San Remo 2011

    World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) was one of the favourites.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2011, 11:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Japanese champion Miyazawa and Mikhail Ignatiev in break

    The peloton assembled in the shadow of Milan’s magnificent Castello Sforzesco for the start of Milan-San Remo on Saturday, and after rolling through the streets of the city as far as Via della Chiesa Rossa, the race got underway.

    With almost 300km ahead of them on the road to the Riviera, the riders had plenty to ponder as they signed on in Milan this morning, but the peloton took the time to honour the victims of the recent tragic events in Japan, with each rider signing a Japanese flag, which will be auctioned to raise money for the recovery effort there.

    Japanese champion Takashi Miyazawa (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) was visibly moved on the start line, and as soon as the flag dropped, he set about trying to infiltrate the break of the day.

    The move came 10km into the race, when the classy Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) powered clear, bringing Alessandro De Marchi (Androni Giocattoli) and Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) with him, but Miyazawa refused to give up, and the Japanese rider managed to jump across to join the escape.

    As the race trundled through the Lombard plain and into Piedmont, the escapees were building up a sizeable advantage, but the chase will begin in earnest when the bunch hits the Turchino pass and the Ligurian coast.

    For a gallery of the opening stages of the race, and pictures of favourites such as Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) signing on in Milan, click here.