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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, March 8, 2014

Date published:
March 08, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Jalabert returns to television punditry at Paris-Nice

    Laurent Jalabert led a rider protest in the wake of the 1998 Festina affair
    Article published:
    March 07, 2014, 13:44 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman decries "trial by media"

    Laurent Jalabert returns to television and radio punditry at Paris-Nice this weekend for the first time since he stepped down from his roles with France Télévisions and RTL just before last year’s Tour de France.

    Jalabert’s decision to excuse himself from his media duties last summer coincided with a report in L’Équipe that the retrospective analysis of one of his urine samples from the 1998 Tour had tested positive for EPO. A French Senate report on doping released in July subsequently confirmed the news, listing Jalabert as one of 18 riders whose samples were found to be positive for EPO.

    The tests had been carried out anonymously for research purposes in 2004 by the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD), but the results were released publicly as part of the French Senate’s anti-doping commission’s inquiry. In a statement released shortly afterwards, Jalabert “acknowledged” that his name had been cited by the French Senate inquiry, but did not confess to doping.

    At a French Senate hearing in May, Jalabert said: “I can’t firmly say that I’ve never taken anything illegal," adding: "We were treated, I’ve never said otherwise. Were we doped? I believe we weren’t.”

    Speaking to RTL on Friday, Jalabert complained that he had faced “trial by...

  • Brown: Belkin are almost perfect

    Graeme Brown celebrates another win from Belkin teammate Theo Bos.
    Article published:
    March 07, 2014, 14:36 GMT
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Dutch team looking to add fifth Langkawi victory

    Theo Bos (Belkin) sprinted to his third straight victory and fourth overall at the Tour de Langkawi. Right now the Dutch rider has looked invincible at the Malaysian race, and is the hot favourite for a fifth in the final stage.

    Bos was glowing in his praise of his teammates at the finish of stage nine, where he had to come from behind to take the victory. “We have a super team here and I’m really happy with the guys. It’s so much down to them. I always say to Brownie [Graeme Brown], just drop me off at 200 metres and he drop me off nine out of 10 times. So I’m really happy. He makes my job easy.”

    Things haven’t always gone to plan for Belkin, with two breakaways making it to the finish, and Bos getting boxed in on stage six and finishing outside of the top 10. Aside from that, they have been on song in Langkawi, controlling the peloton on most days before the final kick to the line. Bos’ lead-out man Brown believes the team are nearing perfection when it comes to their sprint train.

    “The team did an awesome job again. Theo is obviously the fastest, but as a team we’re riding not perfect but pretty close,” he said to Cyclingnews. “Hats off to Rick [Flens] and Jack [Bobridge] who have been closing all the breaks down and for taking me inside the last kilometre and Steven, he’s riding GC here but he’s still pulling full on the front.”

    The risk of a lead-out man is suddenly finding yourself going backwards when the rest of the peloton is racing ahead. When he dropped Bos off at the required distance, Brown had a few moments of worry as he rounded the final high speed bend.

    “I was a bit concerned in that last corner, because they all started passing me on both sides. I was stuck in the middle. I was actually very scared. It was a right, left corner and I was stuck in the middle with sprinters passing me on both sides. I was...

  • Campagnolo Super Record RS group spotted in Taipei

    Can't wait to get your own Campagnolo Super Record RS group? Unfortunately, we don't know yet when it'll be available or how much it'll cost - and for now, Campagnolo isn't saying much
    Article published:
    March 07, 2014, 15:45 GMT
    By:
    James Huang

    New racing-focused tweaks improve shift performance over standard package

    This article originally appeared on Bikeradar

    Campagnolo will soon announce a new Super Record RS group – but we spotted an early sample here at the Taipei Cycle Show on Colnago's brand-new C60. There's little to distinguish the RS package visually from Super Record but Campagnolo tells us that several hidden tweaks have been put in place to boost the shift performance.

    "It's a new version of Super Record that we developed with the sponsored athletes who choose to ride mechanical," Campagnolo press manager Joshua Riddle told BikeRadar. "While quite similar to the previous version, several angles and shapes were modified in order to further improve performance."

    "Previously under World Tour riders under a normal Super Record paint job — camo if you will — this new paint scheme was done to differentiate it," Riddle continued. "As it was done with pro teams with which we partner as OEM suppliers, they wanted to test the waters regarding demand using Taipei as a good opportunity to get feedback."

  • Froome out of Tirreno-Adriatico with sore back

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the Green Mountain stage in the Tour of Oman
    Article published:
    March 07, 2014, 18:25 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Sky reshuffles Porte to Italy, Thomas to lead in Paris-Nice

    Team Sky has had to rework its rosters for the upcoming races Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico after its leader for the Italian race, Chris Froome, had to withdraw due to back problems.

    Richie Porte will now take on the leading role in Tirreno-Adriatico, rather than defend his title in Paris-Nice. Team Sky will be led by Geraint Thomas at Paris-Nice.

    Bradley Wiggins will now skip his debut appearance in Strade Bianche, choosing to focus on Tirreno-Adriatico. He will be replaced on the gravel roads by Ben Swift.

    "Slight inflammation in my lower back, so I’ll be putting my feet up for a few days on doctors orders. No racing for me in Tirreno next week," Froome announced on Twitter.

    "It’s disappointing to miss out on a week of solid racing, but rather safe than sorry at this point of the season."

    Paris-Nice race director Chrstian Prudhomme was incensed at the last minute shift, which leaves his race without the number one dossard.

    "We find it cavalier to have the reigning (Paris-Nice) champion pull out just before the start," Prudhomme said, according to AFP.

    "We were told that to win points for the world rankings, the Tirreno was more favourable (to Porte) due to its technical characteristics and the presence of an (individual) time-trial."

    The organisation chose a course without a time trial nor a decisive summit finish for the first time since 1955, hoping to see a more exciting dynamic on a course which could force a GC battle on just about any stage.

     

    "We wanted to move away from stereotypes and we're going to continue on this path. Bearing in mind it's the riders who decide, we'll keep proposing more open courses. I'm convinced...

  • Japanese keirin experience helps Pervis conquer the world

    Francois Pervis holds his three gold medals won in Men's Sprint, Men's 1km Time Trial and Men's Keirin
    Article published:
    March 07, 2014, 19:45 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Triple gold medallist on the difficulties of competing against Britain

    François Pervis has travelled a long way since he was passed over for selection for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Then approaching his 28th birthday, it appeared as though the Frenchman’s career might simply peter out, but less than two years later, he is belatedly at the very summit of his art.

    After breaking Arnaud Tournant’s longstanding kilometre world record in Aguascalientes in December, Pervis carried his form through to the world championships in Cali last week, where he made history by winning three individual gold medals in the kilometre, sprint and keirin.

    Pervis’ first rainbow jersey in the kilometre in Minsk last year was widely seen as a turning point in his career, but in reality, the déclic had already taken place a few months earlier, when he immersed himself in Japan’s fiercely-contested keirin circuit. He had already sampled Japanese keirin racing some years earlier, but his stint in the Far East in the autumn of 2012 was as much about soul-searching as it was about gaining experience.

    “After the London Olympics, I was really very disappointed that I hadn’t been picked and it was a hard thing to live with,” Pervis told Cyclingnews on Friday. “I took myself off to Japan and I cut off my communication with France and I questioned everything. I asked myself why I was always second, third or fourth at the Worlds and why I hadn’t been selected for the Olympics.”

    There is a very big difference between the keirin as seen in the Olympics and as practised in its country of origin, where its popularity is tied closely to the betting industry that built up around it. Riding on concrete tracks and uniform steel frames, Japanese keirin seems a lifetime away from the marginal gains of an Olympic velodrome. In was perhaps precisely what Pervis needed.

    “Japan did me a lot of good, I had to train all by myself,” Pervis said....

  • Sagan, Basso, and Moser lead Cannondale in Tirreno-Adriatico

    Stage winner Peter Sagan on the podium
    Article published:
    March 07, 2014, 21:12 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    High expectations for Italian race

    Cannondale is sending three aces to the Tirreno-Adriatico, including Peter Sagan, Ivan Basso and Moreno Moser. The three riders will attend the Italian stage race to with the goal of capturing important results for the team.

    A UCI WorldTour event, Tirreno-Adriatico opens with a team time trial on March 12 in Tuscany and a closes with an individual time trial on March 18 in Marche. For Sagan, Basso and Moser, there is opportunity for the Cannondale team to be among the protagonists almost every day.

    "This is a key moment in my season. Tirreno-Adriatico is a challenging competition and a delicate phase in view of the Classics; Milan-San Remo being first," said Sagan, winner of two Tirreno-Adriatico race stages in 2013 and one in 2011. "My first target will be stage wins, many of which are desirable. The second is the improvement of condition - I want to finish the race better than I started."

    "Stage races are my favorite and suited to me, so I have the confidence to do well" Basso said. "The opportunity to challenge many strong GC riders is a push, and I want to be in the front when the going gets tough. I am a work in progress, but I am riding at a high level. Tirreno-Adriatico is not just a step on the road to the Giro; it's a race where I want to generate important results."

    "Riding a high level competition such as the Tirreno-Adriatico is a goal in and of itself. The desire to perform well and, why not, take a win, is strong but not a stress," said Moser. "I think the best way for me to attend the race is to live day by day - I don't want to target one stage or another. I just want to be ready maximize all my...

  • Hope remains for GP Miguel Indurain to go on

    Daniel Moreno (Katusha) wins the GP Miguel Indurain
    Article published:
    March 08, 2014, 2:48 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    One last chance for Spanish one-day race

    Although Grand Prix Miguel Indurain was announced as cancelled for 2014, there is a chance that the race will still happen. Organizers have until Monday to decide if they can muster the support needed to make the Spanish race happen.

    News of the cancellation hit the media on Thursday, but the government of Navarra then announced its intention to help meet the budget for putting on the race. According to biciciclismo.com, the race organizers CC Estalla are waiting until Monday for the final word on whether that support will come through.

    It takes 60,000 euros to put on the race and the City of Estalla typically provides 25,000 to go with the 30,000 in other contributions. The City council has expressed interest in providing another 10,000 euros in the interest of keeping the race going. However, bureaucratic delays mean that promised payments haven't come through.

    If the government of Navarra comes through with the money in time, the race could still occur.

    First run in 1951 and re-named GP Miguel Indurain in 1999, in recent years the one-day race was used as a curtain-raiser on a week of cycling in the Basque Country, preceding the Vuelta al País Vasco and the GP Amorebieta on the following Sunday. It has had a host of top name winners including Alex Zülle, Miguel Indurain, Pedro Delgado, Samuel Sanchez and Joaquim Rodriguez. Won last year by Simon Spilak, and currently classified 1.1 in the UCI calendar, the next edition was due to take place on April 5th.

  • Video: Rigoberto Urán targets Giro d'Italia podium in 2014

    Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) comes in third
    Article published:
    March 08, 2014, 10:16 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider talks Quintana, Ireland and lasagne

    Having finished second in last year’s Giro d’Italia Rigoberto Urán returns to the race this year with his eyes fixed firmly on a place at the podium.

    After signing for Omega Pharma-QuickStep, the Colombian will head into the race as the team’s sole leader. It marks a contrast to last year’s performance when the former Sky rider worked for Bradley Wiggins. The British rider abandoned the race and Uran was given the chance to race for himself, overtaking Cadel Evans in the final week to finish just behind eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali.

    Now with his new team and with greater challenge, Urán believes that the podium is once again the aim for the race. With no Nibali in the race this year – the Italian will target the Tour de France – Urán will face a host of new challengers.

    “It’s a good year, a new team for me and the most important thing is to do well in a grand tour and that’ll be Giro d’Italia for me and the idea is to be up there, to get on the podium,” Urán told Cyclingnews in this exclusive video interview.

    He will compete in Tirreno next week before racing in Catalunya and Romandie before the Giro d’Italia starts on May 9, in Ireland.

    “Finishing second last year doesn’t mean that I’m going to win,” adds Urán, who also talks about the race route, never having been to Ireland, and perhaps his biggest challenger in Nairo Quintana.