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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 4, 2013

Date published:
August 04, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Lighter racing programme for Contador in 2014

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 10:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    "Before the Tour, I set my best-ever times in training"

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) eventually laboured to 4th place overall at the Tour de France but the Spaniard has revealed that he had entered the race with a lot of confidence after clocking up a number of personal bests on tests in the climbs near his home in Pinto.

    “Before the Tour, I set my best-ever times in training at Navacerrada and Morquera. I’d never gone as well on my climbs before and for that reason I went to France with a lot of confidence,” Contador told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I was certain that I would win or that I would go very close. Instead, as early as Corsica I didn’t have good sensations and the data was immediately much worse than in training.”

    Contador has lacked his usual effervescence for much of the 2013 season, and indeed ever since he returned from his doping suspension in August of last year. He hinted that he will look to race less often in 2014 and begin his season later than he has done in recent years, where he has tended to start his campaign with the Tour de San Luis in January.

    “In the end, the secret of winning the Grand Tours is finding the right alchemy that allows you to be on top form at the key moment. It wasn’t like that and I’ll have to change something in how I schedule my season,” Contador said. “I started too early, in Argentina. I didn’t have the right condition but if you put a number on my back, I like to fight to win. I shouldn’t have tried to force it.

    “And then, in the ten weeks before the Tour, I only spent two at home. I was away for the others, between training, racing and reconnoitring stages.”

    Contador has confirmed that he will not defend his Vuelta a España title and will instead focus on one-day races in the final weeks of the 2013 season. He will ride the GP Ouest-France, GP de Québec, GP de Montréal, the world championships –...

  • Kreuziger to ride Vuelta a España

    Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 11:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Czech to focus on stage wins and Worlds preparation

    Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) has confirmed that he will ride the Vuelta a España but stressed that he will not have designs on final overall victory and is instead focused on building up to the world championships in Florence.

    The Czech rider has enjoyed a strong debut campaign with Saxo-Tinkoff, winning Amstel Gold Race in April, finishing 3rd at the Tour de Suisse and 5th overall at the Tour de France. In spite of that showing in France, however, Kreuziger said that Rafal Majka – 7th at the Giro d’Italia – and Nicolas Roche will lead Saxo-Tinkoff at the Vuelta.

    “I’m not going in as leader, that would be too much for me this season,” Kreuziger told Biciciclismo. “I want to prepare the world championships, where I would like to do well, as the route is very hard. The leaders for the Vuelta will have to be Majka, Roche and maybe Chris Anker Sørensen. I’ll probably concentrate on trying to win a stage.”

    On Monday, Kreuziger will begin his Vuelta preparation in earnest with a ten-day training camp in Livigno, Italy with Nicolas Roche and a number of the Saxo-Tinkoff squad currently racing at the Tour of Poland. The Vuelta gets underway in Galicia on August 24.

    Kreuziger last rode the Vuelta in 2010, when he provided key support on the Liquigas team for Vincenzo Nibali as he rode to overall victory in Madrid.

     

  • Bakelants aims for Worlds and Tour of Lombardy

    Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 13:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian looks to extend Tour de France form

    After an aggressive Tour de France showing that yielded a stage victory and a spell in the yellow jersey, Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard) is looking to continue his purple patch through to the end of the season, where he hopes to shine at the world championships and Tour of Lombardy.

    “I had a great Tour, which doesn’t change my qualities as a rider but which should serve as a turning point. But confirming is as hard, if not harder, than getting to the top,” Bakelants told La Dernière Heure.

    Although Bakelants will not ride the Vuelta a España – and although Belgium is not yet guaranteed a full complement of nine riders in Florence – he expects to earn selection for the world championships.

    “I’m going to race the Eneco Tour and the two Canadian classics. Then at the end of the season, I’m looking at the Tour of Lombardy,” Bakelants said. “But above all, I want to focus on the world championships in Florence. I hope that I’m selected. I think that I can legitimately say that I have the right to be there. I’m not doing the Vuelta, but believe me when I say I’ll be ready on the day.”

    Bakelants’ contract expires at the end of the season, and he is a man in demand after his aggressive showing at the Tour. While reports from Belgium suggest that he is likely to continue in the same set-up and sign with the revamped Trek team for 2014, there is also firm interest from Lotto Belisol.

    In any case, Bakelants stressed that he is not looking for the statute of team leader, but simply the freedom to seek out his own opportunities when his form allows it. “On days...

  • Ribeiro handed 12-year ban by Portuguese federation

    Sérgio Ribeiro (Barbot-Efapel)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 18:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Passport irregularities constitute second doping offence

    The disciplinary committee of the Portuguese Cycling Federation has handed a 12-year ban to Sergio Ribeiro after anomalies were found in his biological passport. It was the Louletano-Dunas Douradas rider’s second doping offence. He previously served a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control in 2007.

    “I have a clear conscience and I’ll try to defend myself as clearly as possible in this case by consulting doctors, haematologists and medical specialists on the passport,” Ribeiro told the Lusa news agency. “I have information to hand that tells me that my passport is perfectly normal for an athlete. I’m very sad. This is completely ruining my career and my life.”

    It is understood that the anomalies in Ribeiro’s biological passport date back to 2011, when he raced for the Efapel-Glassdrive team, although his directeur sportif at the time, Carlos Pereira, is quoted as saying that “the responsibility is solely Sergio’s.”

    Ribeiro’s suspension does not expire until 2025 and is back-dated to January 6, 2011. Ribeiro was also named as Portugal’s rider of the year for 2011 and 2012, and won stages in each of the past two editions of the Tour of Portugal.

    The 32-year-old Ribeiro has been a professional since 2002 and has raced exclusively for Portuguese teams during his career.


     

  • Two years on, Lewis finally gets Utah start with Hincapie Sportswear

    Hincapie's Joe Lewis escapes from the break.
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 23:07 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian enjoying newfound stability with American squad

    When the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah begins on Tuesday, Australian Joe Lewis, who rides for the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, will have come full circle. But for the 24-year-old, it's not a case of having unfinished business with the event known as 'America's Toughest Stage Race'.

    Two years ago, Lewis was riding for the Trek-Livestrong team when the UCI enforced a ruling which meant that due to the squad's ties with RadioShack, the development team could not enter some of the biggest races on their schedule, including the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Lewis then returned to Australia, racing on the domestic circuit as well as doing the odd stint in Belgium. Twelve months where he was left questioning whether to turn his back on racing on more than one occasion finally came to a close late last year when a deal with the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team emerged and fresh life was breathed into the career of the former Tour of the Gila stage winner.

    Taking this into account, Lewis has had more time to think about the Tour of Utah than most, but he told Cyclingnews that it's not about having a score to settle with the race.

    "I'm just coming into it fresh and considering it as a new, big race that I'd really like to do well in," Lewis said.

    A contract for 2014 is "in the works" for Lewis with the USA Crits Final and the Bucks County Classic left on his schedule. At the moment, he's weighing up whether to enter the iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool or have an early break before a build up for the Cycling Australia Road National Championships, where in 2011 he finished on the podium in the under-23 race behind Ben Dyball and Garmin Sharp recruit Nathan...

  • Wiggins on track for Worlds time trial

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on the podium
    Article published:
    August 04, 2013, 10:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Briton wins final stage in Poland

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) signalled his intentions for the individual time trial at next month’s world championships by winning the final stage of the Tour de Pologne in Krakow on Saturday.

    The Englishman scorched around the 37km-long course some 56 seconds quicker than Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) and 1:14 up on Taylor Phinney (BMC) to claim his first victory since the time trial at the London 2012 Olympics last year.

    The Tour de Pologne was Wiggins’ first race since he abandoned the Giro d’Italia in May, as a nagging knee injury prevented him from lining up to defend his Tour de France title last month.

    Wiggins maintained a low profile throughout the week and he finished the race in 48th place overall, explaining that his focus was purely on the concluding time trial.

    “My goals have changed now, I didn’t come here for GC. I came here to win the time trial and I’ve done that,” Wiggins said afterwards. “Everything I’m doing is working towards the world championships time trial. It’s a good confirmation. I’ve won it, so we’re on the right track.”

    Remarkably, it was only Wiggins’ second individual time trial of the season – he finished second to Alex Dowsett in the Giro d’Italia time trial to Saltara – but he looked immediately at ease as soon as he rolled down the start ramp.

    “It was a great course and the weather was good, so everything was perfect for me,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been training very hard during the last six or seven weeks for this race, so I’m not too surprised to win. I was hoping to get a result like this to confirm that the work I’ve been doing has been good.”

    Sky performance director Dan Hunt praised Wiggins’ performance as “a lesson in how to time trial,” telling the team website: “The climbs suited him, the descents...

  • Rodriguez: World champion will come from Vuelta a España

    Joaquim 'purito' Rodriguez lights a cigar during the roll-out from Versailles
    Article published:
    August 04, 2013, 12:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Katusha rider keen on Florence circuit

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has hinted at his credentials to lead the Spanish team at the world championships by predicting that the rainbow jersey will be won by a climber who races the Vuelta a España beforehand.

    Rodriguez, who finished 3rd at the Tour de France last month, will line up among the favourites for the Vuelta, which gets underway on August 24, but the Catalan admitted that he already has one eye on the demanding world championships circuit in Florence.

    “I’m really up for the Worlds, because it’s very hard in Tuscany. As well as being 270 kilometres long with 5,000 metres of altitude gained, there’s also a very steep climb 3 kilometres from the finish – it’s 800 metres long and it hits a gradient of 15%. It will do a lot of damage,” Rodriguez told Periodic de Andorra. “I think the Worlds will be won by a climber who comes out of the Vuelta.”

    Rodriguez took bronze in the world championships road race in Mendrisio four years ago, and will be part of a strong Spanish team in Florence, a line-up that could also include Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Dani Moreno (Katusha).

    Before the Worlds, Rodriguez will be hoping to complete some unfinished business at the Vuelta a España. In both 2010 and 2012, the Catalan led the race in the final week only to slip to third overall in Madrid.

    Rodriguez is again among the favourites this time around, although he pointed out that the list of potential winners is a long one. “I know I’ll be one of them, but there are others too,...

  • Cancellara unconcerned by Poland time trial defeat

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard)
    Article published:
    August 04, 2013, 13:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider happy with Worlds preparation

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) may have suffered defeat to Bradley Wiggins in the final time trial of the Tour of Poland, but the Swiss rider was happy to have clocked up another week of work as he builds towards his great objective of the second half of the season – the world championships in Florence.

    Cancellara finished in second place, 56 seconds down on Wiggins, and admitted afterwards that he had suffered on the 37-kilometre course from Wieliczka to Krakow, particularly on the undulating opening section.

    “I didn’t really have the greatest feelings on the bike. I felt quite tired after this tough week of racing,” Cancellara said afterwards, according to his team website. “It was very hard and then of course doing the time trial at the very end is never easy. I did what I had to do.

    “From what I felt before the race and during, the results were actually ok. The parcours wasn’t perfect for me. It was very hard, up and down a lot but the second half was more to my liking.”

    Cancellara praised the stylish performance of Wiggins, who claimed his first victory since winning gold in the Olympic Games time trial last year. “Wiggins looked comfortable yesterday; he didn’t look like he suffered too much,” Cancellara said. “A minute is a lot of time to lose but considering the course, I’m not too unhappy about it.”

    Cancellara opted to forgo the Tour de France for the first time since 2006 in a bid to ensure the best possible preparation for the world championships, where his primary target will be the road race rather than the time trial, which he has already won on four occasions.

    The...