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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, July 28, 2013

Date published:
July 28, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Willett: There was an anti-doping community in the USA the nineties

    Former professional cyclist Kirk Willett is an emergency room physician at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 12:13 BST
    Pat Malach

    Former pro explains his decision not to take EPO

    Wednesday's revelations about which riders' samples tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France re-opened fresh wounds on the anti-doping front and prompted a familiar refrain about a "black period" in cycling and an unwritten acceptance that it was necessary to use performance enhancing drugs to compete.

    Many of that generation's top riders were caught up in what happened, including many from the US. Their Australian peer Stuart O'Grady, who was implicated just days after he retired from the sport, told The Herald Sun he "was basically trying to survive in what was a very gray area". Reacting to the revealing of the names of riders whose urine samples from the 1998 Tour de France revealed traces of EPO, Lance Armstrong told Cyclingnews that the nineties was "an unfortunate era for all of us and virtually all of us broke the rules, and lied about it."

    But former US pro rider and team director Kirk Willett, 43, an early anti-doping advocate who raced for the US national team in the mid-90s alongside several of the riders who have since been caught or admitted to using performance enhancing drugs, has told Cyclingnews recently that there was never any ambiguity in the USA at the time about the right-and-wrong of taking banned substances.

    "Perhaps in Europe that's all you knew back then, so you never knew a different choice, but I think for the most part riders in the US knew there was a choice," Willett said recently while taking a break from his duties as an emergency room physician at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City.

    "There was a strong anti-doping community in the US throughout the mid-90s," Willett said. "There was no confusion that doping was something that you were supposed to avoid. It was against the rules, unethical. We all understood that. It was very clear. I...

  • Prudhomme dismisses calls for a parallel women's Tour de France

    Christophe Prudhomme unveils the 2013 Tour de France route
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 15:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Race director visits Yorkshire before 2014 Grand Depart

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has described ideas to hold a women's Tour de France at the same time and in parallel to the men's race as 'impossible' due to logistical problems and the sheer size of the men's race.

    Prudhomme dismissed the idea and the recent 70,000 signature petition while visiting Yorkshire to see the road work being done for the Grand Depart of next year's race.

    Last week UK politician Harriet Harmon wrote an open letter to Prudhomme urging him to look at the idea of a women's Tour de France after former British rider Emma Pooley inspired the petition.

    Prudhomme shared his displeasure with Harman's calls while speaking to the Telegraph newspaper. He and ASO are not against  the idea of a women's version of the Tour de France but cannot see how it can be held in parallel with the men's race.

    “It would have been much easier to talk to us directly instead of a petition and [finding out by] opening your mailbox one morning and you don’t know what has happened," he said.

    “We are open to everything. Having women’s races is very important for sure. [But] the Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road – it is impossible.”

    The men's Tour de France is a huge logistical operation with thousands of people involved in the race convoy and caravan, and many thousands of spectators watching from the roadside each day. Accommodation and travel is often complicated due to the size of the men's race. For this reason the Etape du Tour, the sportif rides on stage routes, are held away from the men's race.

    More British Grand Departs

    Prudhomme was shown several sections of freshly surfaced roads in Yorkshire as the region gets ready to host the 2014 Grand Depart and was positive about the start of next year's Tour de...

  • Gallopin enjoys biggest victory of career at Clasica San Sebastian

    The 2013 Clasica San Sebastian podium (L-R): Alejandro Valverde, Tony Gallopin and Roman Kreuziger
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 21:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Redemption for a disappointing Tour de France

    A week after completing the 100th Tour de France, Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard) put his good form to use at the Clásica San Sebastián and rode himself onto the top step of the podium with a perfectly timed attack in the final 15km. Gallopin jumped away from the lead group on the day's final climb, the Alto de Arkale, and would not be seen again. For the 25-year-old Gallopin it was the biggest win in his career and made him only the third Frenchman to win the Spanish one-day Classic.

    "I gave everything with the plan to see where I would be on the top of the Arkale," said Gallopin. "I was alone, so I decided to go for it alone till the end. This is nice for me after a season with illness or mechanical problems at bad moments. This is a nice start of something new. Not that I will ask to be a leader now. I will not change. The team can continue to count on me.

    "I was so tired after the Tour de France and even disappointed because I couldn't win a stage," added Gallopin. "But this morning I immediately knew that I had super good legs. I like the one-day races but this is the first time I've done this race so it was really new for me. But I'm so happy. To be here on the podium with [Alejandro] Valverde and [Roman] Kreuziger means a lot to me."

    The 232km race in San Sebastián featured plenty of horsepower from the Tour de France with 66 Tour finishers taking the start, including 14 from the top 20 and seven from the top 10. Runner-up Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who took the sprint for second place 28 seconds after Gallopin, finished eight overall in the Tour while Kreuziger placed fifth on general classification in Paris.

    Gallopin made the decisive 13-rider selection that formed on the final ascent of...

  • Valverde has to settle for second at Clasica San Sebastian

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) outsprinted Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) for second place at Clasica San Sebastian
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 22:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Movistar rider denied second victory in Spain's premier one-day race

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was unable to add a second Clasica San Sebastian victory to his palmares today as he finished 28 seconds in arrears of solo victor Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard). The 33-year-old Spaniard sprinted in for second place from a five-man chase group ahead of Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff), Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Mikel Landa (Euskaltel-Euskadi) to earn a podium spot in his home country's biggest one-day race.

    Valverde's teammate Nairo Quintana, fresh off his finishing second overall and claiming the mountains classification at the Tour de France, ripped the Clasica San Sebastian field to shreds on the final ascent of the Alto de Jaizkibel, but once the Colombian pulled off and dropped from the front group Valverde found himself without teammates in the 13-man selection.

    Following the final climb, the Alto de Arkale, Valverde would join a five-man chase group behind solo leader Tony Gallopin in the company of two Saxo-Tinkoff riders plus two Euskaltel-Euskadi riders, a difficult tactical position.

    "I was hopeful we could chase him (Gallopin) down, because we were getting closer and closer and even saw him on the final small climb in the city, but it was impossible. I was there with two Euskaltels and two Saxos and couldn't simply push more than them and burn myself," said Valverde.

    "We have to be happy with this result, because we did the best we could to win, as well myself as the rest of the team. We knew we were the favourites - though it's even more difficult to show it when everyone is looking at you - and took charge of the pace into the bunch from the beginning.

    "My teammates were phenomenal today. The strategy was making the race hard with Nairo into the second Jaizkibel climb to...

  • Atapuma makes his mark on Tour of Poland's first stage

    Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) finished second in the Tour of Poland's opening stage
    Article published:
    July 27, 2013, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    First WorldTour podium result on mountain finish in Trentino

    The Tour of Poland broke new ground this year with the opening two days of racing taking place in the Trentino region of Italy with a pair of mountain stages in the Dolomites. The WorldTour event's most taxing days of racing are front-loaded in the first two of seven stages and the climbing-heavy stages are the ideal terrain for Team Colombia, a Pro Continental squad which garnered a wild card invite, to make its mark.

    While Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) sprinted to victory and the leader's jersey on the Madonna di Campiglio mountain finish at the conclusion of today's opening Tour of Poland stage, the second man to cross the finish line was Team Colombia's Darwin Atapuma, no stranger himself to success in the Dolomites. Last year Atapuma won the final stage of the Giro del Trentino when it finished on the Pordoi summit, and with the Tour of Poland's queen stage utilising that same finale tomorrow on stage 2 Atapuma has already garnered a confidence boost one day earlier.

    "It is another close second, but I am very glad I was able to deliver a good result to reward the excellent work of my teammates, who were totally committed to support me since km 1," said Atapuma. "The sweltering weather made things really tough, but the guys were nothing short of super on a difficult day, in which I also had to negotiate with a crash at the halfway. The finale was very fast, and I was able to make a good sprint despite a weary effort in my first race in a month."

    After finishing 18th overall at the Giro d'Italia in May, Atapuma's Grand Tour debut, the 25-year-old Colombian competed at the Tour of...

  • Wiggins: I couldn't watch the Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) makes his first start since the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    July 28, 2013, 8:46 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky reveals the pain of missing this year's race

    Bradley Wiggins has admitted that it was difficult for him to watch Chris Froome win this year's Tour de France, saying that instead he tried "to focus on positives, really, rather than sitting depressed in front of the TV."

    Wiggins spoke after making a low-key return to racing at the Tour of Poland, more than two months after puling out of the Giro d'Italia due to injury and illness. He missed Friday's team presentation and finished nine-minutes down on stage one to Madonna di Campiglio in Italy, along aside Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

    Wiggins said in June that he may never again target overall success in the Tour de France but admitted he missed not riding this year's race as defending champion. He was not selected for the Team Sky Tour de France line-up due to his knee injury.

    “I didn’t watch it – I couldn’t watch it,” Wiggins said of the Tour de France after the stage.

    “I would have loved to have been there and would have found it very difficult to watch. I’ve just been trying to focus on positives, really, rather than sitting depressed in front of the TV. I only watched the first stage, as I heard the bus had knocked the finish line down. I followed it from afar but it was too painful to watch.”

    Chris’s performance was dominant

    Wiggins has not been in direct contact with Chris Froome to congratulate him on his victory but praised his teammate despite their often tense relationship, highlighting how this year's Tour route suited Froome perfectly.

    “Chris’s performance was dominant – it was a brilliant team performance and brilliant individual performances so they...

  • Report: Euskaltel riders free to find new teams

    Team Euskaltel wating for the start.
    Article published:
    July 28, 2013, 11:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Future looks bleak for Basque WorldTour team

    The riders and staff of the Euskaltel-Euskadi have reportedly been given the green light to look for new teams for 2014 by the management as the future of the Basque squad seems more and more uncertain.

    According to a report in the Basque newspaper Deia, Mikel Astorkiza, the corporate director of Basque Cycling Pro Team, the squad's management company, told the riders competing at the Clasica San Sebastian the bad news on the team bus before the start of the race. Mikel Nieve, Igor Antón, Mikel Landa and Mikel Astarloza all rode aggressively in their home Classic but missed out on victory.

    In early July, it was reported that the team had just 45 days to find a sponsor or it would risk losing its WorldTour status or disappear all together after a shortfall in funding from Basque public institutions left telecommunications company Euskaltel to cover the deficit for 2014.

    There is no sign of a new sponsor coming on board and so the team management has rightly given its riders a chance to find places with other team. There is currently no sign that the team will continue even as a Professional Continental team with a lower budget and lesser race programme.

    The squad also includes 2008 Beijing Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez and several international riders after the team dropped a long-running requisite that riders had to be born or have develop in the Basque region.

    Should the team disappear, Spain -once a major powerhouse in cycling- will have just one WorldTour team: Movistar, and one Professional Continental squad: Caja Rural. And the Basque Country, traditionally considered the heartland of the sport in Spain, would be without its team.


  • Huzarski impresses at the Tour of Poland

    Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) leads the sprint classification
    Article published:
    July 28, 2013, 14:03 BST
    Cycling News

    NetApp-Endura rider takes climber's, sprinter's jerseys on opening stage

    Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) made an impressive start at the Tour of Poland, going in the break of the day during Saturday's opening stage and taking both the climber's and sprinter's jerseys.

    The Polish rider is determined to again make a mark in his home national Tour as NetApp-Endura tries to take advantage of being in a major WorldTour race.

    Huzarski was first over the two big climbs of the stage to Madonna di Campiglio and so leads the climber's competition ahead of Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff). He wasn't able to fight for the stage victory but is hopeful of defending the climber's jersey.

    "I tried to win some sprints and the mountain jersey which is really important for me, because I won already two times the mountain jerseys in previous editions of Tour of Poland. My goal is to not go through this Tour unknown since it is my home race," Huzarski told Cyclingnews.

    "Funny enough I said a couple days ago that I doesn't really like the Italian stages because of the long climbs. And even after yesterday's success winning the mountain jersey, the jersey for the most active rider and the new classification for attractivity, it is still the same, but the race started well for me and I decided to go for a good stage performance. Cycling is unpredictable and it always depends on the daily shape.

    "I am very happy about my good start for the second part of the season after a six week break. I didn't expect the legs to be so good. Now I try to keep the jersey. Therefore the stage on Friday is very important. But of course also today I want to try to go in the break and get some points. You never know."