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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, April 28, 2013

Date published:
April 28, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Spekenbrink: The sport of cycling has to change

    Team boss Iwan Spekenbrink (Argos Shimano)
    Article published:
    April 27, 2013, 23:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Argos-Shimano maps out path for a cleaner cycling

    Argos-Shimano team boss Iwan Spekenbrink has called for reform of the structure of professional cycling, and stressed that riders who are caught doping in the future should receive a zero tolerance response. Spekenbrink's reform consists of three main areas: the fight against anti-doping, the race calendar and how teams should manage riders.

    Spekenbrink has built the Argos-Shimano team up from the Pro Continental ranks into a newly established power within the WorldTour. The team has a strict anti-doping policy and have shied away from signing controversial athletes in the past. Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb are arguably the most established stars, but Spekenbrink has created a squad that blends experience and youthful promise. However it's a team without egos, where riders appear to fit into part of Spekenbrink's jigsaw.

    His recent comments are set against a backdrop of disillusionment within the sport, with a number of sponsors having pulled out and a string of doping confessions.

    "In my opinion what we need to do in cycling is organise a better structure in which the top priority is the make the sport more credible. When we're thinking about having a new structure within the sport that should be the first and more important criteria," Spekenbrink told Cyclingnews.

    "There are three options. One we just don't talk about doping. The second is that we have a mix of priorities with anti-doping, globalisation and business are important and the last option is that we create a structure within the sport that eradicates doping from the sport. In my opinion it has to be the last option.

    "There's no other way to deal with doping other than tackling it head on and trying to get rid of it. Otherwise every five years you're looking at a new scandal."

    Last fall cycling had to endure the fallout from the US Postal investigation carried out by...

  • Prudhomme rues lack of fourth Tour de France wildcard

    Christophe Prudhomme shows the 2013 Tour de France route
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 10:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour director on decision to invite three French teams

    While ASO’s decision to award the three Tour de France wildcards to three French teams was hardly a surprise, Tour director Christian Prudhomme has insisted that it was not simply a question of supporting home teams and pointed to the sporting merits behind Cofidis, Europcar and Sojasun’s invitations.

    Prudhomme said that “there was never any debate” over the participation of the Europcar team of Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland, but admitted that the cases of Cofidis and Sojasun required a little more deliberation.

    “Up to now, Cofidis’ results have been thin but with riders like Jerome Coppel, Rein Taaramae, Dani Navarro and Christophe Le Mével, the team gave us some compelling arguments that we had to keep in mind,” Prudhomme told L’Équipe, before admitting that the final wildcard slot came down to a straight battle between Sojasun and IAM Cycling.

    “In the latest Europe Tour classification, Sojasun is ahead of IAM Cycling and we took into consideration when we made the cut off,” Prudhomme said. “We’ve seen a lot of [IAM Cycling] since the start of the season and they weren’t missing much. It’s a team that’s started well. Frankly, a fourth invitation would have been welcome.

    With 19 teams in the WorldTour this year following Katusha’s successful appeal of its initial exclusion from cycling’s top flight, ASO had just three places to assign in 2013 rather than the usual four. Giro d’Italia organisers RCS had already named its four wildcards when Katusha was added to the WorldTour, and consequently there are 23 teams at the Giro, but Prudhomme was not keen on having a peloton in...

  • Wiggins: "It was easier to spit out from the tent than spit into it"

    An unhappy Bradley Wiggins (Sky) after a mechanical
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 11:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider on Landis, Armstrong and Froome

    Bradley Wiggins has admitted to the Sunday Times that comments he made at the 2010 Tour de France undermining Floyd Landis’ credibility when he revealed the extent of the doping programme in place at the US Postal Service team “look really stupid now.”

    Wiggins raced with Landis’ former teammates David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde at Garmin, and with Michael Barry at Sky, and said that their descriptions of Landis coloured his own thinking on the matter during.

    “People were saying that he had four or five Twitter accounts and he was posting crazy stuff,” Wiggins told the Sunday Times. “Then you walk out of the Team Sky bus, someone says, ‘What do you think of what Landis has said?’ and you reply with some throwaway remarks that are misinformed and with the benefit of hindsight you would never say. I wasn’t going well in that Tour, I was feeling the pressure and it was easier for me to spit out from the tent than spit into it.”

    In January 2011, Wiggins had told Cyclingnews that he had “always been a bit of a fan” of Lance Armstrong and said that he “sided on the side of innocent until proven guilty with him. There isn’t an athlete or a cyclist out there that isn’t more tested than he is.”

    Speaking to the Sunday Times, however, Wiggins looked to offer an explanation for his stance in 2010-2011. “Lance was still a powerful figure in the peloton and it was just easier to say something that meant he wasn’t going to be on your case,” Wiggins said.

    Wiggins also claimed that he was surprised by his former teammates Zabriskie and Barry’s confessions of doping in USADA’s Reasoned Decision on...

  • Consistency the key for Nibali at the Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) bloomed with the switch from his Italian team
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 13:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Sicilian trains at altitude with Astana

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) showed his pre-Giro d’Italia condition by winning the Giro del Trentino last week and the Sicilian acknowledged that one of the biggest challenges of his pink campaign will be maintaining his form for three weeks.

    Nibali is currently putting the finishing touches to his Giro preparation at a training camp at altitude at Campocatino in the Apennines. Although he appeared tired at last Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Nibali is confident that he has recovered well from his recent exertions.

    “I’m feeling good and to maintain my form I came to altitude with the team,” Nibali told La Stampa. “It’s a way of oxygenating but it’s also a way of staying together with the team and building team spirit.

    “I’ve worked a lot and if anything, the problem will be maintaining this form for three weeks. For this reason, after Liège, I preferred not to race anymore and train at altitude without overdoing it.”

    Nibali has identified Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) as his primary rivals for the maglia rosa, and named the two individual time trials and the final mountain stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo as the key days of the race.

    “But the Giro is dangerous every day, you only have to remember the soft break that went away at L’Aquila in 2010, when the favourites came in almost 13 minutes down,” Nibali warned. “The essential quality will be consistency. Beyond that, I’ll look to gain more in the mountains that I lose in the time trials.

    “Wiggins is in form and has studied the course a lot. Hesjedal has come out of the Ardennes...

  • NetApp-Endura hoping for Vuelta place after Tour de France exclusion

    The 2013 NetApp-Endura team jersey
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 16:51 BST
    Cycling News

    German team still aiming for Grand Tours

    Stung by the disappointment of being left off the list of teams invited to the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, the German team NetApp-Endura is still hoping to compete in a Grand Tour in 2013, and are actively pursuing a bid for the Vuelta a España.

    "Of course we are disappointed not to be riding in the world's most famous cycling race this year," said team manager Ralph Denk. "It was a great honor for us to be among the small group of candidates for both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

    "We are sticking to our goal for the season, to compete in a Grand Tour once again this year. We are already engaged in very promising discussions with the Vuelta a España and we will now further intensify our talks.

    "The Vuelta is extremely demanding this year and with many mountain finishes it suits us fine. We are all the more motivated to adjust our season's planning and to shift our moment of peak form into August," Denk concluded.

    The Tour de France has not included any German teams since 2010, after Team Milram folded and no teams from that country made it to the WorldTour. Since 2010, the ASO has awarded all available wildcard spots to French teams. The late addition of Katusha to the WorldTour this year, making 19 teams automatically invited to the Tour de France, meant there were only three spaces available. Those were awarded to Team Europcar, Sojasun and Cofidis.

  • Costa on track after Tour de Romandie podium

    Rui Costa (Movistar) held on to his podium place in the Geneva time trial.
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 19:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Portuguese rider hoping to defend Tour de Suisse title

    Movistar's Rui Costa posted his second consecutive third place finish in the Tour de Romandie, showing that he is on track to defend his title in next month's Tour de Suisse.

    The Portuguese rider has been racking up consistently strong results in recent years, with a fifth place overall in Volta ao Algarve in February mirroring his 2012 result, and a win in the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta.

    He was then best of the rest behind the Chris Froome/Simon Spilak breakaway on the uphill finish on stage 4 of Tour de Romandie, but it was his defense in the final time trial today which was the biggest morale boost.

    "We knew it was certainly hard to be on top of the overall, with Froome the strongest in the mountains and more than a decent time triallist, but there were two podium places up for grabs," Costa said.

    "It was sad to lose the chance to be second yesterday with Spilak at the front, but it was a really hard stage and there wasn't any cooperation at all into the pursuit group. Alejandro and I always spoke a lot within ourselves and we were feeling not so well, so we couldn't really get any further yesterday."

    Costa was leading RadioShack's Robert Kiserlovski by just one second heading into the time trial, and his teammate Alejandro Valverde was another five seconds back, tied with best young rider Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). Costa was able to post the 12th quickest time in the individual test, and as a result secured third overall by five seconds over Garmin's Tom Danielson.

    "I don't know if it's due to the big...

  • Mullervy rallies to big win in Athens Terrapin Twilight

    Kevin Mullervy (Champion System) was the winner in Athens
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 21:15 BST
    Pat Malach

    Victory takes sting off career uncertainty after Exergy's departure

    Kevin Mullervy's rollercoaster ride with elite cycling hit its highest point so far Saturday night when the former Team Exergy rider won the Terrapin Twilight Criterium in Athens, Georgia, the first of seven races that make up the USA Crits Speed Week.

    Riding for the Champion Systems-Stans No Tube domestic elite team, the 24-year-old is the first rider this season to derail the dominant UnitedHealthcare "Blue Train" that had taken every national calendar criterium up to that point.

    "A lot of people are reaching out and congratulating me, so it feels really good," Mullervy told Cyclingnews Sunday while preparing for the Roswell Critetium later in the day. "But it hasn't really sunk in yet."

    It's a long way from the disappointment Mullervy endured when Team Exergy fell apart over the offseason. Mullervy and his identical twin brother, Conor, had ridden for Escalera Racing's Team Exergy since it was an amateur squad in 2010. Mullervy signed his first pro contract with the UCI Continental outfit in June of 2011 after graduating from Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado. He raced for the Boise-based pro squad throughout 2011 and 2012, working mostly as a domestique in criteriums across the country.

    The brothers planned to continue with the team for 2013 until Exergy Development Group CEO James Carkulis abruptly pulled the plug on the program. Like many of their teammates, the Mullervy bothers found out about the team's demise when they read the news online.

    "We kind of knew something was coming," Kevin Mullervy told Cyclingnews at the time. "The management said keep tight, and then we found out that night. Management...

  • BMC devo team to make US debut at Tour of the Gila

    Improving performance and preparing riders for the ProTour are the goals of the new BMC Development Team, managed by former professional Rik Verbrugghe.
    Article published:
    April 28, 2013, 22:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Dillier to headline roster

    The BMC Development Team will make its US debut this week when eight of the young riders take part in the 27th Tour of the Gila in Silver City, New Mexico.

    The team will likely put its support behind recent Tour de Normandie winner Silvan Dillier, and led by general manager Rik Verbrugghe, who says the high altitude will be the main challenge for his riders.

    "It is a new experience for a lot of the guys to race in the high mountains, especially the European guys," he said. "So we will see how they adapt and decide on a leader after a few stages." The team has been training in the area since April 22.

    T.J. Eisenhart, 18, of Lehi, Utah, is one of four Americans who will be in the race for the BMC Devo team, along with Paul Lynch, Alexey Vermeulen and Tyler Williams, plus Swiss riders Dillier and Arnaud Grand, Belgian Loic Vliegen and Jakub Novak of the Czech Republic.

    "All of the top Utah riders who I looked up to when I was young have always done really well here – guys like Burke Swindlehurst and Jeff Louder," Eisenhart said. "So this race is very important to me. I also know it's a very hard one because many American teams bring their guys to this race to prepare for the Amgen Tour of California."

    BMC Development Team for the Tour of the Gila:
    Silvan Dillier (SUI), T.J. Eisenhart (USA), Arnaud Grand (SUI), Paul Lynch (USA), Jakub Novak (CZE), Alexey Vermeulen (USA), Loic Vliegen (BEL), Tyler Williams (USA).