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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 20, 2010

Date published:
June 20, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • UCI to start bike scanning

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    June 19, 2010, 16:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Battle against motorized doping begins

    The UCI will begin testing for motorized doping in time for this year’s Tour de France. The measure was put in place at the recent UCI Management Committee, held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, on June 17.

    The sport’s governing body recognised that it was “necessary to bolster measures that have already been put in place (in particular the visual inspection of bicycles, a procedure that was recently reinforced). As a result, a scanner will be used from the time of the Tour de France,” the UCI said in a statement.

    The move comes off the back of recent allegations that riders within the professional peloton were using bikes powered by small batteries during races.

    After a short but successful phase of testing, the new scanner will allow officials to check for any illegal devices within the frame of the bike.

    The UCI will also work with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a Swiss technical institute that was involved in the aftermath of the swimsuit scandal that affected the swimming world championships in Rome. The two parties will collaborate on the future control of the development of cycling equipment.

    The UCI will also enforce stricter regulations in order to ensure that only equipment that has been checked at the start or finish can be used during competitions.

     

  • Hoste breaks eye socket in Suisse crash

    Leif Hoste (Omega Pharma-Lotto) with his race face on.
    Article published:
    June 19, 2010, 16:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Questionable for Belgian championships

    Leif Hoste was more seriously injured in his crash in Friday's seventh stage of the Tour de Suisse than originally thought. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider has broken his eye socket, according to Sportwereld.be

    Hoste crashed early in the stage and had to abandon the race. The team originally said that he suffered only abrasions.

    According to the Belgian website, his participation in the Belgian championships next weekend is now questionable.

    The 32-year-old Belgian turned pro in 1998. He has been with the Lotto team since 2007. He won the Belgian national time trial title in 2006 and 2007. His best result this season is an eighth place finish in Paris-Roubaix.

  • Freire seeks stage win at the Tour de France

    Oscar Freire won the sprint for second place in the Tour de Suisse's seventh stage.
    Article published:
    June 19, 2010, 18:55 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Spaniard committed to helping Gesink win Tour de Suisse

    Triple world champion Oscar Freire was prominent on yesterday’s seventh stage of the Tour de Suisse, making it into the day’s break and then winning the sprint for second place. He played down that achievement a little this morning, saying that he has not yet hit top form.

    “I think I am not so bad, but I am not in my best condition,” the affable Spaniard told Cyclingnews. “Yesterday it was very difficult to be in the front as I spent a lot of energy in the beginning to close the gaps. In the end, I think the strongest guy won the stage. I am happy because I got a good place, and also because we controlled the situation of the race.”

    His Rabobank teammate Robert Gesink started the day as race leader and the Dutchman said afterwards that placing two riders in the break was one of their tactics to defend yellow.

    “I think I did a good job yesterday. The objective now is not to win a stage, but to win the general classification. So we are trying everything for that.”

    Freire said that he expected today’s penultimate stage to be a complicated one, and that attacks could go clear in the lumpy finale. The team will try to mark the other contenders and make sure that nobody is able to steal a march in advance of tomorrow’s time trial.

    Freire has shown a return to form this season, winning Milan – San Remo and netting five other victories – double stage wins in both the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Vuelta a Andalucia, and also the Trofeo Calla Millor in Majorca.

    He has two races where he wants to perform strongly in. The first is the Tour de France, although the fact that the team will have other goals means that it can’t dedicate itself to him. “The Tour is different because we also have a good team for the general classification,” he said. “I will be alone, but will try to win a stage. The green jersey is so difficult [to...

  • Gesink determined to fight for Tour de Suisse victory

    Race leader Robert Gesink (Rabobank) celebrates another day in yellow.
    Article published:
    June 19, 2010, 20:42 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Dutchman wants to seal first ProTour stage race win

    Rabobank's Robert Gesink was a happy but focused rider at the finish of today's penultimate stage of the Tour de Suisse. After medical control, he chatted to some fans, signed some baseball caps and then got into a waiting team car to go and drive the course of tomorrow's time trial.

    The 26.9 kilometre race against the clock will be a hugely important test for the 24-year-old. His ability is obvious, but if he can pull off the win, it will have considerable benefits for his confidence, morale and focus.

    "I will try to do the best time trial of my life and then we will see what happens," he told Cyclingnews.

    Gesink seized the race lead with a superb solo attack two days ago to La Punt. Since then he and his team have controlled the attacks from his rivals, particularly in the finale of today's lumpy stage to Liestal. He complemented his teammates this evening, saying that he was impressed by their defense of his yellow jersey.

    "Today was really good. In fact, the first thing I must say is that the team was really good. Three of our guys were working from the beginning and in the final they were still there," he said. "They were all there and they all did their best. It is thanks to them I am still in the leader's jersey."

    He will start last in tomorrow's TT and have the benefit of time checks. As things stand right now, Gesink is 29 seconds clear of Caisse d'Epargne rider Rigoberto Uran, 36 seconds ahead of Swiss favourite Steve Morabito (BMC Racing), and 38 seconds in front of stage two winner Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank). Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) and Lance Armstrong are all between 42 and 55 seconds back, with Morabito and the latter being two of the riders he is most worried about.

    However, Gesink is determined to hang on and reports that he is feeling very good at this point of the race. "I felt very strong today, I could answer a lot of the attacks," he said. "Hopefully...

  • Morabito motivated for race against the clock

    The BMC team controls the race early on stage 3
    Article published:
    June 20, 2010, 8:24 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Swiss rider could improve on his third overall

    Race leader Robert Gesink has said that he is worried about several riders heading into tomorrow’s time trial, the closest being BMC Racing’s Steve Morabito, who is 36 seconds off the yellow jersey and ready for a big time trial performance tomorrow.

    Morabito is Swiss so the motivation is obvious. He won a mountain stage of the Tour de Suisse to Leukerbad in 2006 and would love more success in the event. Additionally, his team sponsor hails from the same country and an overall victory would be huge. It would also be a nice response after the team was not invited to last year’s event.

    Thus far, the squad has picked up two stage wins thanks to Marcus Burghardt, who triumphed on Wednesday and Friday and holds the points classification lead, while Mathias Frank heads the mountains and intermediate sprints classifications.

    “Today was a small Amstel, and with really bad weather at the start, it was not an easy day,” said Morabito on Saturday evening. “I managed to stay to the front and not lose time. I am pretty happy and confident to start the time trial tomorrow in third place. It is a big thing for me.”

    What would be even bigger is if he managed to take the final victory. He didn’t want to make any predictions but he’s certainly hoping that things work out well.

    “I don’t know how it will go,” he stated. “I am going to give my maximum tomorrow. If I have good legs, I can have a good TT. But it's the last day… it is not only the technique but how fresh you are that determines if you can make a difference.

    “Today I lost some energy in order to stay at the front. I have tired legs, but I think it is the same for everybody.”

  • Armstrong chasing yellow in Tour de Suisse time trial

    Lance Armstrong is showing signs of coming into form
    Article published:
    June 20, 2010, 9:29 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    American aiming to beat Gesink and Morabito in today’s test

    Nine years ago Lance Armstrong won the Tour de Suisse en route to his third Tour de France victory. Today he starts the concluding 26.9 kilometre time trial with the possibility of scooping the final yellow jersey, but he needs to make up over two seconds per kilometre on race leader Robert Gesink.

    The Rabobank climber is 55 seconds ahead and is determined to fight all the way to the line in Liestal. In all six riders are ahead of Armstrong going into the test; Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne) and Steve Morabito (BMC Racing Team) are 26 and 19 seconds ahead respectively, while Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank), Joaquin Rodriguez (Team Katusha) and Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) are closer.

    If this was the Armstrong of five years ago, many would consider the time trial to be a foregone conclusion and the final race victory to be almost certainly his. However, as Armstrong admits, his time trialing since his return has been inconsistent and this means the final result is up in the air.

    Does he think he can win? “I would say yes, but my time trials have disappointed me in the last two years,” he told Eurosport. “But we'll see how it goes Sunday. I will do my best and I think the fact that there is only one race against the clock in the next Tour is a real chance. But I must be happy. I am almost 39 years, I am professional cyclist for 17 years and I'm still ahead, despite the nonsense I read in newspapers or on internet every day.”

    Armstrong is presumably referring to the recent hullabaloo caused by Floyd Landis’ accusations against his former team captain and the US Postal Service squad. USADA and federal investigators are taking the claims seriously and investigating further.

    Whether or not that will have future consequences remains to be seen, but for now Armstrong will focus on the immediate task at hand. Today’s time trial is gradually uphill for the first 11.4 kilometres,...

  • Kirchen remains in induced coma

    blank
    Article published:
    June 20, 2010, 10:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Reason for collapse still unknown

    Kim Kirchen remains in an induced coma in a Swiss hospital, while the reason for his condition remains unclear. The latest press release from Team Katusha refers to his “heart attack”, but says that “it is possible to exclude both an infarct or thrombosis.”

    According to the Luxembourger newspaper Tageblatt, the 31-year-old collapsed at 11:40 p.m Friday night in the hotel room he shared with teammate Joaquin Rodriguez. His heart is said to have stopped, and he was revived by team doctor Andrei Mikhailov and family friend Marc Joseph.

    Kirchen has struggled with health problems all season, and is said to have undergone minor heart surgery this spring. According to the Luxembourger newspaper, Wort.lu, he suffered from faintness and breathing problems.

    At the end of May he told Wort that while he felt fine at the moment, “The cause of my illness cannot be precisely diagnosed.” There was speculation, he said, that he was having a bad reaction to an antibiotic, or too much stress. “Nobody knows exactly and it is also possible that the problems will suddenly reappear. Especially because the situation in races can't be compared to training.”

  • Hansen hopes Elektrotoer win secures Tour spot

    Hansen on the podium
    Article published:
    June 20, 2010, 11:24 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    HTC-Columbia rider takes stage and overall lead

    Adam Hansen hopes that his stage win and lead in the Ster Elektrotoer will be enough to secure a place on the HTC-Columbia Tour de France squad. Apart from the 2008 Australian national time trial title, it was his first win in four years for the team.

    The 29-year-old was in the escape group of the day, which finished over 16 minutes ahead of the peloton. He jumped from 18th overall to first place, going into the race's final stage with 15-second lead over Topsport Vlaanderen's Johan Coenen.

    The race started with multiple escape attempts by large groups, and Directeur Sportif Tristan Hoffman kept after the team to get into the groups.

    “The plan worked well and I made it into the main group,” Hansen told Cyclingnews on Saturday night. “The course was very hard and there were attacks going everywhere I always made the front group.

    “On the last lap before the final climb we had 36 seconds in front of Pieter Weening from Rabobank. I knew he was 11 seconds up on me in GC and in those last 3kms we slowed down and it went from 36 to 17 just before the final climb.”

    Looking to the finale, Hansen said, “I wanted to wait for the sprint but I had to make a move before that to keep the distance to Weening, Björn Leukemans was the only one who stayed with me over the final climb, we sat up a bit and the others came back and it came to a sprint, so I started with just under 200m to go.”

    Hansen is on the team's long list to ride the Tour de France, and he has good hopes of riding the race for the second time. “I've been riding really well coming into this. So I was hoping to do something in this race to show myself for the Tour team. (Directeur Sportif) Alan Peiper and (Sport Director) Rolf Aldag have changed my season for this reason, so its looking good. One can only hope.”