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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, March 24, 2013

Date published:
March 24, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Rujano denies any links to the Operacion Amateur

    Jose Rujano (Vacansoleil-DCM)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 2:48 GMT
    Fran Reyes

    Italian investigation uncovers widespread doping by amateurs

    José Rujano (Vacansoleil-DCM) said today that the information about his implication in Operacion Amateur, an inquiry about the traffic of doping products such as EPO, CERA and Retacrit in Italy, are "not true". "This information has been published by someone to hurt me, and it may be very hurtful indeed", he told Pasados de Volta.

    The investigation, led by the Procura di Massa, netted 25 individuals linked to trafficking doping products, an industry valued at 425 million Euro, according to La Repubblica.

    The Italian newspaper reported that "a mountain climber on Vacansoleil from Venezuela" had allegedly purchased doping products from a network which operated in several regions of Italy. It also stated that he was the only professional rider implicated on this inquiry.

    "I haven't got a lot of details about this, but I know that this investigation comes from 2009, a year when I wasn't even racing in Europe," Rujano said. That year, Rujano was a member of the Gobernación de Zulia team, back in Venezuela.

    "I've talked to my team and am in touch with its manager. They are not nervous about this. We are going to find out who this info came from and take legal actions", Rujano said. "I can't sit still and not lift a finger now that I have the opportunity of competing in Europe with a very important team". He later added that the "anti doping commitment of Vacansoleil-DMC is very strong".

    Vacansoleil-DCM to open an internal investigation

    The director of Vacansoleil-DCM at the Volta a Catalunya, Michel Cornelisse, said that this news about Rujano came "as a surprise". "We don't know anything, and so does the rider". Cornelisse also...

  • Gaimon crashes out of San Dimas race lead

    Phil Gaimon takes today's Stage 1 win
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 3:43 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Bissell rider suffers concussion, lacerations

    Bissell Pro Cycling's Phil Gaimon was transported Saturday by helicopter ambulance to a Los Angeles hospital after crashing dramatically in the second road stage of the San Dimas Stage Race.

    Bissell director Omer Kem told Cyclingnews Saturday evening that Gaimon, who was reportedly in relatively good spirits at the hospital, suffered a concussion and needed more than 20 stitches to close lacerations on his face and forehead but did not suffer any broken bones.

    Gaimon was in the leader's jersey after winning Friday's opening time trial, but tangled with some barriers near the start/finish about halfway through the 12-lap, 84 mile San Dimas Hospital Road Race and went down hard, Kem said. Gaimon was unconscious for several minutes but had regained consciousness by the time emergency medical personnel arrived.

    Kem said Gaimon was undergoing a CAT scan but would likely return with him to the team hotel and would not need to spend the night at the hospital.

    "He's doing pretty well considering how bad the first reports were that he was found unconscious laying in a pool of blood, and he had to be lifeflighted to Los Angeles," Kem said. "He seems more cognitive than a lot of other guys I've seen in this situation. We'll need to keep a close watch on the concussion, but the rest is basically scrapes and road rash."

    Kem said Gaimon will likely be unable to defend his overall title at the upcoming Redlands Bicycle Classic, a race he won last year while riding for Kenda/5-hour Energy. Gaimon will also likely miss Sea Otter as well, but Kem said there is a good chance he could return in time for the Tour of the Gila and Amgen Tour of California in May.

    "It sucks to lose Phil because he's riding so well right now," Kem said, adding that the team would not put any pressure on the rider to return....

  • Demol wary of Boonen Classic fight back

    Tom Boonen seems surprised to win the 2012 Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 8:03 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Momentum is key heading into Flanders and Roubaix

    RadioShack’s Dirk Demol has told Cyclingnews that despite Fabian Cancellara’s form, Tom Boonen cannot be written off ahead of the Tour of Flanders. While Cancellara soloed to one his most impressive trademark wins on Friday in E3 Harelbeke, Boonen was left languishing in the fight for minor placing in scenes that were reminiscent of Cancellara’s all-conquering 2010 Classics season.

    “I wasn’t really that surprised with how strong Cancellara was,” Demol told Cyclingnews.

    “I enjoyed being behind him in the car and seeing how strong he was but I have to be honest, we’ve seen him improving over the last couple of weeks. He was good in Tirreno and third in San Remo, when he was one of the strongest even in the bad weather.”

    Boonen crossed the line in seventh place in E3 although he did win the bunch sprint. Coming into the race his form was somewhat of an unknown after he’d abandoned Milan-San Remo and when he was dropped by Cancellara and a number of other rivals he blamed hunger knock. However Boonen has had a less than ideal preparation with illness and surgery on an elbow delaying his training.

    “Tom had some problems in December and January and it’s clear that he’s a little bit behind but he wasn’t bad in E3 and he recovered to take the sprint for seventh place. He’s not on the same level he was on last year but to be honest I still think he’s going well.”

    Last year the roles were reversed, with Boonen in the form of his life and Cancellara, although competitive, not quite at the same level. The contest was over by the time the pair reached Flanders though with Cancellara crashing out and breaking his collar...

  • Dutch cycling federation questionnaire recommends post-2008 doping bans

    The doping control van isn't hard to miss.
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 9:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Results due for release on April 2

    Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) employees have called for the immediate dismissal of anyone found to have made an anti-doping infraction after January 1, 2008. The revelation comes as part of the results of a survey, with the rest of the recommendations to be released on April 2 in a bid for transparency.

    The survey revealed that anyone who was guilty of an anti-doping infraction prior to January 1, 2008, should be given a six month suspension on three months’ salary.

    The deadline for confessing to doping offences is April 1. All employees and riders from Argos-Shimano, Vacansoleil-DCM and Blanco Pro Cycling - including non-Dutch riders and staff - are to fill in a signed statement and questionnaire by that date, detailing whether they took part in or witnessed doping between the years 1993 and 2008. Even if the questionnaire is left blank, it must still be signed.

    A final report is scheduled to be released in June.


  • Gent-Wevelgem to go on despite the cold

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) powers to the win in Gent-Wevelgem ahead of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Matti Breschel (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 10:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Clear roads mean no further route changes

    Gent-Wevelgem will be held today as planned, it was announced Sunday morning. After a meeting of the teams and organizers, it was decided that no further changes in the route were necessary.

    However, the peloton will be taking off in -4°C temperatures. There is not wind at the start, but it will certainly play a role along the way.

    The sign-in will be as originally planned in Deinze at 11 a.m. From there, the riders will climb back into the team buses and travel 50 km to Gistel. The official start will be held there at 12:30.

    There are no further changes in the course, and no concerns about the weather.

    Several races have been cancelled this season due to bad weather, as the European winter refuses to let go. Milan-San Remo had to cancel several climbs in the middle of the race and many riders subsequently complained about the conditions. Gent-Wevelgem organizers said on Saturday, “We will not make the mistake of Milan-San Remo."

  • Gallery: On the startline at Gent-Wevelgem

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 12:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Snow, Gilbert's ear-warmers and start delays

    Gent-Wevelgem felt the effects of Europe’s cold weather snap with a change of start location and course cuts on Sunday morning. Traditionally the race starts in Deinze but with snowfall in the last 24 hours organisers were forced to cut the first 50 kilometres of the race and begin the race in Gistel.

    The race started at cafe Tourmalet which is a pub that was once founded by cycling legend Sylveer Maes. The riders will not have time to hop in for a drink as the race would be hectic right from the start. Team director Eric Van Lancker (Garmin-Sharp) referred to crosswinds right after turning away from the coast into the flatlands De Moeren.

    The majority of the course remains the same but with a few climbs under threat as the race heads north towards the coast and then south to Wevelgem.

  • Video: Greg Henderson talks cold weather racing at Gent-Wevelgem

    Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) tries to stay warm before the sign on at Gent-Wevelgem
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 13:44 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    A "nervous" New Zealander in Gent

    With below zero temperatures delivering their icy greeting to the peloton at the Gent-Wevelgem sign on, Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) was doing his best to stay warm in spite of the elements.

    Cap pulled down low, a buff up around his face, arms folded, the New Zealander had grabbed as much clothing as he could from his suitcase but he could not keep warm.

    "It's just like ice right now," he told Cyclingnews.

    Henderson, a key support man for Andre Greipel, was hoping that once he got moving on the bike, the situation would improve, but he remained "nervous".

    Click on the video below to watch Henderson's thoughts on a race he believed would not be a battle of the riders, but instead a battle against the elements. 

  • Parisien fights back from injury and depression to win first WorldTour stage

    Francois Parisien at a press conference
    Article published:
    March 24, 2013, 14:15 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Quebecois targets Ardennes Classics after Catalunya

    Canada's Francois Parisien took the biggest win of his cycling career during the stage five bunch sprint at the WorldTour Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. He spoke with Cyclingnews about his turbulent year before joining ProTeam Argos-Shimano, that included a battle with injury and deep depression, along with the highlights of his upcoming schedule racing the Ardennes Classics and possibly his first Grand Tour.

    "The big targets for me are Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège," Parisien said following his stage win. "They're important for me, dream races that I've always wanted to do. I also want to do my first Grand Tour. The Giro would be a strong possibility for me but I don't have confirmation yet. I'm 30 now and I've been through hard things in my career so I'm not going to waste this opportunity.

    "As a professional rider, starting a Grand Tour and finishing one is a goal. It's something really special. I would want to go to the Giro and do the best job that I can."

    Parisien is a well-known breakaway rider in North America. He's earned respectable results over the years, a Canadian road championship title in 2005 and he spent two season with Jonathan Vaughters's former development team TIAA-Cref. He had a five-year term with Steve Bauer's SpiderTech p/b C10 that ended last year.

    He considers 2012 his worst season to date, having developed severe pain in his right knee that took more than six months for doctors to diagnose as nerve damage. He also suffered from a deep depression and sought out help from a sport psychologist.

    His career took a turn for the better when he...