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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 18, 2011

Date published:
September 18, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Rasmussen admits his mistakes

    Denmark's Alex Rasmussen looks pretty pleased with the evening's progress
    Article published:
    September 17, 2011, 16:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane explains circumstances of his whereabouts problems

    Alex Rasmussen has claimed that the three warnings he received for problems regarding his whereabouts for out of competition doping controls were due to sloppiness on his part and had nothing to do with cheating or doping.

    Rasmussen was temporarily suspended by the Danish Cycling Union and fired by his team HTC-HIghroad earlier this week after it was disclosed that he had commited three “whereabouts” violations. He now risks up to a two-year ban and has lost his place with Garmin for 2012.

    The 27-year-old explained how the three violations occured to the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

    The first one came from Anti-Doping Denmark in February 2010, when he was not where he had stated he would be, but instead was competing at the Six Day race in Berlin.

    “I had actually completed my whereabouts and had written the name of our hotel in Berlin. Unfortunately I forgot to press the 'Send' button on the computer and the update never reached doping authorities,” he said. Ironically, he underwent a UCI doping control at the Six Day race.

    He then compounded his mistake by making an unfounded assumption. “I explained it to them afterwards and actually thought that the warning was cancelled. It was not.”

    Eight months later he was warned again by Anti-Doping Denmark, for filing his whereabouts for the fourth quarter of 2010 too late. “There is not much to say about that. It cannot be explained away. I'm forgetful and just didn't get it done in time. I accepted the warning, but still believed that the first was annulled. At this time I had two warnings, but I thought I only had one. It was not super, but I was not worried. I knew I just had to be very careful.”

    He was not careful enough, however. The third...

  • Vinokourov promises to race on in 2012

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2011, 19:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kazakhstani rider fighting to save control of Astana team

    Alexandre Vinokourov has confirmed that he is ready to race in 2012 to help keep the Astana team in the WorldTour and has fired a blow across the bows of the managers within in the team who are trying to get rid of him.

    Vinokourov crashed out of the Tour de France on stage nine, fracturing his femur. On July 17 he told French television that his professional career was over but a growing power struggle with managers at the Astana team seems to have lead to him changing his mind.

    The Kazakhstani rider trained on the road for the first time last week and celebrated his 38th birthday on Friday. He intends to ride the Tour of Lombardy to confirm his career is not over.

    “I’m going to ride to show that I am a fighter. I’m not someone that gives up so easily,” he told L’Equipe. “I created the Astana team in 2006 with the government of my country but I’ve felt since my crash at the Tour that some people have only one idea in their heads: get me out of the way. I’ve discovered a lot since July. I haven’t had one visit from my new managers during my recovery, only my true friends have stayed with me.”

    Vinokourov claimed that the Astana managers had told the UCI that his contract had been terminated. He has refuted that and is now ready to race in 2012 and perhaps target the London Olympic Games. He knows he is a key part of the team because of the UCI ranking points he has scored in 2010 and 2011.

    “I want to just save the Astana team,” he claimed in the lengthy interview, where he again criticised former friend and new Astana arrival Andrey Kashechkin and the way the

  • Kersten sees only positives in Goulburn performance

    Ben Kersten (Swan Hill Heart of the Murray) takes out stage seven in his new Jayco/2XU outfit after crossing over from V Australia.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2011, 9:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former Kilo specialist rides ‘in the red’ all day after early puncture

    Jayco-2XU may have hoped to have taken the win with star sprinter Ben Kersten in the Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic on Sunday, but were left to rue what could have been after a puncture early in the race followed by a long chase, took their toll.

    The Classic does not allow the presence of team vehicles in the convoy which meant that Kersten, and teammate Mark Jamieson, had to bridge back up to the main field completely unassisted, eventually making the juncture after the better part of an hour yo-yoing behind. That effort proved costly as Kersten was later dropped from the front group on the final decisive climb up Razorback Hill, less than 25 kilometres from the finish.

    "By the time I got back [from the puncture], I was so far in the red I couldn’t come back out of it for the rest of the day," said Kersten. "I was drinking bottles and gels and food and splashing water on my face. I averaged 170 heart rate for the some four hours. I just went too far into the red and stayed there."

    Despite the incident, Kersten felt that in retrospect Razorback may well have been too much for him in any case.

    "I just tried to do my best [here in Goulburn], but I climb like a dead-weight," Kersten said. "I think I’d forgotten just how hard that climb up old Razorback is. Our team and Suzuki-Trek did a fantastic job to get it set up for a sprint but, I know that at the end of the day I suffered because I couldn’t make it up the final hill. Not, because we didn’t do everything right."

    Kersten has ridden impressively since his return to the National Road Series in August, posting three wins, as well as third overall at the recent Tour of the Murray River. He has recently been recruited by Jayco-2XU, after leaving his former team V Australia by mutual consent.

  • Basso looks ahead to Giro in Denmark

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) wins at the Giro di Padania.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2011, 10:41 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian with good memories of Scandinavian land

    Ivan Basso is looking forward to the start of the Giro d'Italia in Denmark next year, as he has fond memoires of his years with Danish Team CSC. While the Liquigas rider would like to win the Giro again, he knows it will be a hard task.

     "That's what I'd like, but I know it is not easy. Not many riders win the Giro d'Italia three times. I'd love to be in the small group of riders who have done it, but we shall see," Basso, who won the race in 2006 and 2010, told Feltet.dk.

    The Giro is scheduled to start on May 5 in Herning, Denmark, and stay in the Scandinavian land for three stages.

    "My program for 2012 is not completed yet, but there is good chance that I will be starting. It's something I will talk to the team about when I'm finished with this season. It also comes down to what the other riders could imagine."

    Basso rode for Team CSC from 2004 to 2006, and whilst there won the Tour of Denmark. He recently returned there for a criterium.

    "It was nice to be back in Denmark. There are many who support me there and a part of my heart is still there. I had some great years at CSC, and the heart of the team is in Denmark, as manager, Bjarne Riis, is from Denmark. I will never forget those years and for me it would be nice to be back to the start of the Giro next year.

  • Tour de France finish in Liege said to be changed for Gilbert

    A focused Philippe Gilbert awaits the start of his time trial.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2011, 12:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Harder finish could give Belgian victory chances

    The Tour de France has changed the finish of the first stage of the 2012 Tour in Liege, making it harder in an apparent attempt to attract Philippe Gilbert to the race. The Belgian had previously criticised the course, saying it would lead to a mass sprint and nothing for him.

    In consultation with representatives from the Province of Liege, the Amaury Sport Organisation has now changed the course, according to Belgian media sources. The stage would now finish at the  Avenue du Centenaire instead of at the Val-Saint-Lambert crystal factory.

    In May, Gilbert, now with Omega Pharma-Lotto, said that he was "very disappointed with the parcours" and that he might not even ride the Tour.

    Now, he has told RTBF that if the change is confirmed, it would be great news and a motivation for him. He would expect to lose time in the prologue, but thought that he could make it up on a more difficult first stage and take the yellow jersey in his homeland.

    Gilbert has been the dominant rider this season, winning amongst others, La Fleche Wallonne, Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the first stage of the Tour de France, and both national titles. He will ride for BMC Racing Team as of  2012.

  • Video: Sean Kelly on Tour of Britain growth

    Cycling legend Sean Kelly at the start in Taunton
    Article published:
    September 18, 2011, 13:01 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Irishman talks about the importance of the British race

    Sean Kelly from An Post - Sean Kelly spoke to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 6 of the Tour of Britain and highlighted the race’s growing importance within the racing calendar.

    The event has seen steady growth in terms of stature and field over the last few years, illustrated by the number of WorldTour teams taking part this year.

    The An Post - Sean Kelly team went on to win stage 7 with Gediminas Bagdonas out sprinting his breakaway companions. It was a major win for the Belgian team.

    With the race just two stages away from complete Kelly also talks about Lars Boom’s (Rabobank) chances of securing the overall win.
     

  • Video: Brailsford on Froome, Tour of Britain and Worlds

    Sky manager David Brailsford
    Article published:
    September 18, 2011, 14:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky boss says rival teams 'threw a lot of money' at Froome

    Dave Brailsford has praised Chris Froome for re-signing with Team Sky despite interest and substantial pay offers from rival teams. Froome was without a contract for next year heading into this year’s Vuelta but rode out of skin to secure second place overall, Sky’s highest place in a grand tour. Bradley Wiggins finished third overall.

    However Froome was approached by a number of teams during the Vuelta but eventually put his faith and signature in Sky, the team that signed him two years ago from the defunct Barloworld squad.

    In many ways Froome’s re-signing will feel like a new signing. Heading into the Vuelta he had endured a difficult year and had suffered with illness and despite Sky knowing he had talent, they had been distracted by other transfer targets.

    Froome can now legitimately call himself a grand tour leader now and will certainly help relieve pressure surrounding Bradley Wiggins in 2012.

    In this video Brailsford also talks about Sky’s remaining yet to be announced transfers, Sky’s successful year and the team’s performance at the Tour of Britain. This video was recorded before Sky’s Alex Dowsett won the penultimate stage of the race.

     

     

  • Boasson Hagen supports Oslo bid for 2016 Worlds

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) in red
    Article published:
    September 18, 2011, 15:23 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Norwegian cities competing for right to bid

    Edvald Boasson Hagen plans to win the World Championships road race – in Lillstrom, Oslo in 2016.  He will ride as a helper to defending World Champion Thor Hushovd next Sunday in Copenhagen, but has his eye on a title n Norway in five years.

    Six Norwegian cities have submitted plans to the Norwegian Cycling Federation. One of the following hopes to be selected for a bid for the Worlds:  Stavanger, Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansand, Oslo and Dramman.

    Boasson Hagen supports the Oslo application.  “I know the area well since my grandparents live on the trail, and I have trained there a lot,” he told aftonbladet.no.

    The Federation will select up to three candidates at the end of October, and narrow it down to one in November. At that point the national parliament will decide whether the country will submit an application.

    The proposed course in Oslo would be a 23.5 kilometre circuit course, to be ridden 10 times. It is considered medium hard, with a total of about 3,500 climbing meters.

    “We have elected the course so that it will be perfect for Edvald,” said consultant Birger Hunger Held – who also happens to be Boasson Hagen's manager.