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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 21, 2011

Date published:
May 21, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Scarponi loses time after trying to attack Contador in Giro d'Italia

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre) attacked Contador
    Article published:
    May 20, 2011, 22:52 BST
    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."

  • Report: Hincapie tells FDA Armstrong took PEDs

    George Hincapie in action in 2001
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 0:27 BST
    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...

  • UCI ramping up pressure on teams over breakaway league

    Pat McQuaid faced a barrage of questions.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 2:23 BST
    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...

  • Rujano's comeback complete with stage win at the Giro

    Jose Rujano (Androni) on the winner's podium
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 3:41 BST
    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...

  • Armstrong and Hughes choose Mt Hood over Liberty Classic

    Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co) works to bring back a couple of riders.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 4:39 BST
    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...

  • Dupont says 'freshness' the key to good result on the Grossglockner

    Hubert Dupont talked to Cyclingnews at the end of the stage.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 5:32 BST
    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...

  • Denifl escapes with only cuts and bruises after dramatic crash on stage five

    Stefan Denifl (Leopard Trek) sweats through the California sunshine.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 6:18 BST
    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...

  • Video: Boardman arrives at Amgen Tour of California

    Boardman and Meier enjoy the morning sun in Solvang.
    Article published:
    May 21, 2011, 7:18 BST
    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.