- Article published:
- May 20, 2011, 22:52
- Stephen Farrand
Lampre leader hoping Contador will have a bad day
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) tried to attack Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on the climb to the finish of the Grossglockner but yet again he went into the red, faded and could do nothing as the maglia rosa surged clear and gained more time in the overall standings.
While the likes of John Gadret, Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) had some fuel left to attack the front chase group, Scarponi could only stay with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas- Cannondale), Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC), David Arroyo and Vasili Kiryienka (Movistar). They all finished 1:36 behind Jose Rujano and Contador.
"I attacked, I tried a couple of times and I even got away. I feel better than I did on Etna and my legs are better, my form is growing too. But what Alberto did yet again is amazing," Scarponi said.
Eddy Merckx suggested during a post-race chat show that Contador's Saxo Bank-SunGard team may leave him isolated and therefore vulnerable. Scarponi agreed with him, in a desperate attempt to find a chink on the Spaniard's armour.
"Alberto is really strong but you're right Eddy," he said.
We've got to try and tire his team and then try and do something.
We've got Saturday and Sunday to race yet and there are a hell of a lot of climbs. We can't give in yet."
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 00:27
- Daniel Benson
Testimony adds weight to Hamilton's confession
The news agency AP has reported that George Hincapie (BMC) has informed the FDA that he witnessed Lance Armstrong using performance enhancing drugs.
The claims come as part of an investigative report by 60 Minutes which also broke the news of Tyler Hamilton’s confession for doping and several similar allegations against Lance Armstrong. Armstrong has denied all accusations levelled against him by Hamilton.
Hincapie rode in the US Postal colours from 1997 to 2004 with Armstrong, and was a teammate of Armstrong in each of his seven Tour de France victories. He is currently riding the Amgen Tour of California for BMC Racing.
CBS News has also reported that, "Hincapie testified that he and Armstrong supplied each other with the endurance-boosting substance EPO and discussed having used another banned substance, testosterone, to prepare for races."
Cyclingnews attempted to contact both Hincapie and his BMC racing team but all calls went unanswered. He said on Twitter, "I can confirm to you I never spoke with 60 Minutes. I have no idea where they got their information."
George Hincapie’s now former lawyer Zia F. Modabber told the Wall Street Journal last year that he had spoken to Novitzky on behalf of his client. At the time he refused to comment on the reports that Hincapie would speak directly with Novitzky after the Tour de France in 2010.
"My desire is to let George do his job with as few distractions as possible," Modabber said at the time.
Armstrong's spokesman Mark Fabiani would not comment on the story, saying "We have no way of knowing what is said to a grand jury or investigators, so we can't comment on these anonymously-sourced reports."
60 Minutes will broadcast its full show this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
- legal case
- Lance Armstrong
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 02:23
- Daniel Benson
Financial sanctions threatened by UCI boss
In the clearest indication yet that the UCI and several teams look set for a collision course over the possible formation of a breakaway league, UCI President Pat McQuaid has threatened at least one team with financial repercussions if they push ahead in their discussions.
Cyclingnews obtained a letter in which UCI president Pat McQuaid has confronted Jonathan Vaughters, manager of Garmin-Cervélo. According to the UCI, Vaughters is "seen as one of the leaders of the group of teams that are apparently considering to split from the UCI and set up a new cycling circuit."
The UCI's letter, dated April 21, continues, pointing to the meeting held in Brussels last month at which all but two ProTeams walked out in protest at the UCI's ban on race radios. Though Vaughters was not present at the meeting, Cyclingnews is not aware of any other team or team manager having received a similar letter to the one Vaughters was sent on April 21.
Threat and blackmail
The most critical part of the letter comes when McQuaid threatens to bill Vaughters for the costs incurred for the Biological Passport. Currently, squads at ProTeam level pay the UCI €120,000 per season, either in a one-off payment in January or spread over three payments throughout the calendar year.
"Now you must understand that you cannot expect from the UCI that it continues to work for and invest in a team that is planning to break away from the UCI and to participate in a series not sanctioned by the UCI," wrote McQuaid.
"This will include, in the first instance the Biological Passport, the cost of which exceeds the contribution paid by the teams."
The total cost of creating passports for applicable riders was €5.3 million in 2008. Currently the largest component of this cost is the haematological profile which costs approximately €3 million per year and is divided up between the teams and number of other stakeholders, including the UCI and race organisers. It is unclear from the letter as to how much extra Vaughters would have to pay the UCI.
McQuaid gave Vaughters the ultimatum of confirming in writing to the UCI that he is not part of the breakaway league, and thus not contravening article 1.2.019 of the UCI regulations, by April 30. If Vaughters did not bend to the UCI's will, then from May 1 his team would incur the full costs of the UCI Biological Passport. Cyclingnews contacted Vaughters, who would not comment on whether he responded to the UCI.
McQuaid adds: "Should you fail to pay these invoices, the program on your team will be scaled back down to the level that your team is actually paying for," implying that Garmin-Cervélo would be reduced to a Pro Continental team.
"On the other hand if you would confirm that you are not and will not be involved and this would turn out not to be the case, you will be held responsible for the real cost of the blood passport programme on your team and any other costs or damage incurred by UCI because it relied on your statement."
Cyclingnews contacted McQuaid, but he would not comment, saying that he "would not make any public comment on a private letter."
Vaughters also declined to comment but the letter is a clear indication both of how seriously the UCI is taking the proposition of another league and of the teams' growing discontent with how the sport is being governed. Yet the fact that the UCI has taken this step despite no formal announcement of a league being planned nor any race organiser like ASO or RCS giving their public backing suggests that they are panicking.
Cyclingnews reported in March that up to 11 teams had signed up to the breakaway idea but we understand that the number now stands at 14. Earlier this month, McQuaid told Cyclingnews that, "I think they've lost a little common sense as to what their role is. In cycling we have the UCI, the governing body, organisers and you've got teams. What's happened here is that some team managers have got a little bit too ambitious and they want to be in the role of manager and or organiser of events. It doesn't work, it's crazy."
This rule states that, "No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. A national federation may grant special exceptions for races or particular events run in its own country."
However the UCI's threats could be seen to contravene European Law and EU Competition Law, as under Civil Law.
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 03:41
- Jean-François Quénet
Six year wait rewarded on top of Grossglockner
José Rujano is again a stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, six years after his fabulous ride of 2005. The Venezuelan acknowledged that his return to the team that made him famous, now called Androni Giocattoli-C.I.P.I. was the key ingredient to his successful come back on Italian roads.
For the second time in the Giro, he accompanied Alberto Contador when the wearer of the pink jersey accelerated on the Grossglockner.
"I already wanted to win on the Etna but I had a mechanical with 1.6km to go", Rujano explained of stage 9 where he finished second.
"It’s an honour to climb and finish for the win with such a great champion who has won the Giro, Tour[s] and a Vuelta.
"We made an agreement to ride together - I’d help him to create the biggest gap possible and he’d let me win the stage. I’m very happy to win after all the problems I’ve had since 2005."
In 2006, Rujano was signed by Quick Step and left Gianni Savio’s then team [Colombia-Selle Italia] in the middle of the Giro d’Italia. He pulled out with 3km to go into a mountain stage in the Valle d’Aosta where his agent Giuseppe Acquadro was waiting for him. "There were a lot of problems [that year], I also had to ride the Tour de France", Rujano tried to justify at the top of the Grossglockner. "Let’s leave that behind." That episode was only the starting point of a reputation that the Venezuelan was difficult to deal with but Androni team boss Gianni Savio thinks the Venezuelan may have finally turned a page in his career.
"He has admitted his mistakes", Savio noted. "Every young person can make mistake but he has reached a psychological and physical balance now, so he deserves all the credit for his come back."
Androni Giocattoli-C.I.P.I.’s team manager echoed Rujano’s own comments that the team and rider are working well together, as they have in the past.
"I’m really happy to work with them again", Rujano insisted. "They know how to talk to me, especially when I have a hard time."
In fact, Savio and Franco Bellini seem to be the only ones able to get good performances out of Rujano. The Venezuelan’s former teams; Quick Step, Unibet, Caisse d’Epargne and ISD have all systematically failed, and not withstanding his Le Tour de Langkawi victory with ISD, results have been few and far between.
"Tomorrow is another big mountain stage with the Zoncolan to finish", Rujano said. "If I have the same condition as today, I’ll try and win again. Now I’d like to win another stage and move up to third on GC like in 2005." The 29 year old Venezuelan whose height is 1.62m and weight 48.5kg lost five minutes to the favourites on the strade bianche in stage 5 to Orvieto and now sits 5:57 back from Contador.
"Rujano is the biggest talent we’ve had in the 27 years of existence of this team", Savio continued.
"His successful career can re-start from today."
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 04:39
- Kirsten Frattini
World Champion Bronzini to ride in Philadelphia
The Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12 recently announced that it would not be participating in the UCI-sanctioned Liberty Classic, and has instead opted to compete in the four-day Mt Hood Cycling Classic held over the same weekend near Portland, Oregon.
"We have decided to send a full squad of eight riders to Mount Hood Classic. June 2nd-June 5th," said Team Manager Nicola Cranmer. "For several reasons, this is going to be a better race for us. This is already being touted as a Kristin Armstrong-Clara Hughes showdown."
Armstrong returned to the professional peloton in March after taking one year off to give birth to her first child. She has made it no secret that she returned to professional bike racing with the main goal of winning a time trial world title in September in Copenhagen, Denmark and a gold medal in the time trial at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Her goals are identical to those of Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes, who also recently came out of retirement. Hughes is a former winner of the Liberty Classic, however, she will compete at the Mt Hood Cycling Classic this year.
Armstrong started her season at the San Dimas Stage Race, the Redlands Bicycle Classic and Tour of the Gila. Tour of the Gila would have been the first chance for Hughes and Armstrong to go head-to-head in a lengthy 25km time trial, however, Armstrong pulled out of the race following the opening stage with a stomach bug.
Hughes dominated the Tour of the Gila time trial, winning by more than two minutes ahead of her nearest competitors. Recently, she out-paced Americans Evie Stevens and Amber Neben to win the time trial at the Panamerican Championships in Colombia. Her victory garnered an automatic spot at the UCI Time Trial World Championships in September in Denmark.
Mt Hood Cycling Classic features a flat 17km time trial, and an opportunity for Armstrong and Hughes to test each other legs against the clock. The rest of the race is set around the outskirts of Portland, through the Gorge Valley and will include a great deal of climbing.
World-class field to race Liberty Classic
The UCI Liberty Classic, held in conjunction with the pro men's UCI TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships, has not fallen short of a stellar peloton. The one-day race has once again attracted world-class teams US-registered teams HTC-Highroad, Diadora-Pasta Zara and TIBCO-To the Top.
In addition, Canadian-based UCI Juvederm-Specialized and the Italian-registered UCI Colavita Forno D'Asolo will field a team that includes current World Champion Georgia Bronzini and her teammate and strong sprinter Theresa Cliff-Ryan.
"I am looking forward to bringing a really strong team to the Liberty Classic," said Colavita Forno D'Asolo Directeur Sportif Rachel Heal in a press release. "With the World Champion and 2010 Liberty Classic podium finisher, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, I am expecting great things. We're on a roll this year with eight victories already, and with New Jersey being home to our major sponsors Colavita and Jamis, I am hoping to bring them a result on their own doorstep."
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 05:32
- Jean-François Quénet
Gadret and Dupont looking formidable for France
Italian cycling fans may well be sceptical about the chances of their idols Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi after less than inspiring performances on the Grossglockner but for the French, there may still be hope yet with John Gadret and Hubert Dupont. The two riders from Ag2r-La Mondiale have ridden well so far in the Giro and capped it today with an impressive performance in Austria. Gadret and Dupont came third and fourth on the Austrian summit and have now entered the top ten on GC; eighth and tenth respectively. Cyclingnews caught up with Dupont at the end of stage 13.
"I got dropped in the first part of the Grossglockner", said Dupont.
"[However] I came across at the bottom of the second part and I attacked just to see if anyone would react. I though that I was lost anyway and I was nowhere on GC, so I was free to move. The best part of my move was that John (Gadret) came across and I gave him a quick turn. I just maintained my effort after that and that’s how I ended up fourth," said Dupont.
The Lyon rider still has plenty in the tank for the final week of the Giro having missed plenty of days of racing in Spring.
"I had a tendinitis after Paris-Nice, so I only got six days of racing prior to the Giro, with the Tour du Finistère, the Giro del Trentino and the GP Frankfurt. I came out pretty well of Trentino, so I knew I’d be all right at the Giro. I’m fresh. I’ve done well in the past during Grand Tours but more between tenth and twentieth. To finish fourth on a big mountain stage is enormous," he continued.
The Frenchman who turned pro with RAGT in 2005 is now doing his tenth Grand Tour. He rode the Tour de France twice and has already finished fourth in stage 10 of the 2006 Giro d’Italia but - that wasn’t a mountain stage, and so today was even more special for Dupont. When asked about his thoughts on who will win the 2011 edition of the Giro d’Italia he was not shying away from picking the inform Contador.
"I don’t think that Contador will lose anything [on Zoncolan]. He’s pretty good at profiting from the work of other teams and he hasn’t burned his own team yet. They have resources, so he should be all right. He’s got the race in his hands."
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 06:18
- Jen See
Leopard-Trek rider reflects on what could have been
The Amgen Tour of Califonia's fifth stage did not go as smoothly for Stefan Denifl as he would've liked. After riding in the break all day during Thursday’s long 217.4 kilometer stage between Seaside and Paso Robles, Denifl was caught up in dramatic incident just 15km out from the finish. The Leopard-Trek rider instigated an attack from the breakaway that drew out three-time World Champion Oscar Freire . The twosome looked likely to leave their breakaway companions behind and divide the spoils of stage victory.
"We were working together, we had a really good chance to come together to the finish. We had already two minutes to the peloton and the other guys in the break were also losing time," Denifl explained. The race then began to unravel for the 23-year-old Austrian when he punctured on a fast descent. "It was really fast there, but I managed to stop and then, they changed the wheel," he said. "It was all normal routine up to that point."
"Then [suddenly] it was really hectic with some team cars here and there. Then, I was crashed and I was lying on the floor," he said.
"It all happened so fast, and I can’t remember anything. The bike was destroyed and they’ve nearly run over me."
Denifl was riding close to his team car when he crashed. The car then hit his shoulder, tearing off his jersey and leaving deep cuts. The resulting photos were dramatic.
"I was just happy [that it wasn’t worse]. I saw the photo today with the car, and I was happy that nothing more happened. It was really scary, I saw [the photo] today, because some of my Twitter followers posted it, and then, I was like, oh God."
Despite the frightening photos, the Leopard-Trek rider escaped without serious incident. "I’m happy that I’m here now, and nothing is broken and I can go on." He suffered some deep cuts, and went to the start today with a heavily bandaged elbow. Though Denifl did not think he had much chance of beating Freire, he was disappointed to crash out of the move.
"For sure it would have been a good chance, but these things happen [sic]," he said.
Denifl is better known for his climbing and time trialing talents than for a having fast finish. He began his career racing mountain bikes, and in 2008 won the Austrian National Championship in the time trial. Even had he not beaten the speedy Freire, second on the stage would have been a nice result for Denifl.
"It would just be cool to come to the line with him," Denifl said of Freire.
Looking ahead, Denifl will continue to ride in support of Leopard-Trek’s general classification hopes, Andy Schleck and Linus Gerdemann, who both remain in the top ten after Friday’s Solvang time trial.
"It was a hard night, to be honest, but now the weather is good again, so I’m motivated for the next days. We will try to keep fighting," he said.
- Article published:
- May 21, 2011, 07:18
- Cycling News
Boardman steps UnitedHealthcare through Solvang time trial
Former time trial world champion and Tour de France prologue winner Chris Boardman was on hand at the Amgen Tour of California Solvang time trial to walk the UnitedHealthcare team through the stage 6 course.
The British cycling legend and former hour record holder flew in to ride with the team, which has been competing on the Boardman bikes this season, and to ride with its general classification hopeful Rory Sutherland on the morning of the stage.
Whatever advice Boardman gave, it must have worked because Sutherland jumped up two places on the general classification following the stage, and is now on pace for the final podium in Thousand Oaks on Sunday.
Photographer Jonathan Devich captured the group as they took to the roads of Solvang in this gallery. Cyclingnews was also on hand for Boardman's press conference, which took place in Paso Robles the evening before.