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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 29, 2013

Date published:
September 29, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Earle looking to emulate Porte with Tasmania victory

    Stage 5's winner Nathan Earle (Huon - Genesys)
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 0:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Strong field to challenge Huon-Genesys

    Nathan Earle is looking to emulate Richie Porte's 2008 Tour of Tasmania victory in what will be his last Subaru National Road Series (NRS) tour before he goes on to ride with Team Sky next year. Coming off a victory at the recent National Capital Tour, and cementing his overall Subaru NRS lead, Earle is optimistic about his chances.

    "I've wanted to win the Tour of Tasmania ever since I first raced it in 2006," said Earle. "After winning the Tour in Canberra I'm feeling pretty confident, my form is good and I'm climbing well but I'm nervous at the same time.

    "Also, this will be the last tour I'll do in Australia for a while and it will be my last tour with the team, so a win would be a way of saying thanks to the guys and a nice way to leave on a high."

    In the eight day race starting today with a 17km team time trial to the summit of Mt Wellington, Earle's Huon-Genesys team start as favourites, but Earle is cautious of being too confident.

    "It's definitely the toughest Tour of Tasmania I've seen for a while and it's also the longest. We have to be smart with how we race it because any silly mistakes early on will leave the team with nothing left to give for the rest of the week."

    Earle makes reference to tactical errors made by his team last year that saw them lose the race lead on stage two to then Budget Forklifts rider, Mark O'Brien. Lachlan Norris riding for Drapac Cycling took the overall win last year, with Earle finishing third.

    Huon-Genesys have fielded a strong climbing squad this year, including the return of climbing specialist Ben Dyball after a stint in Italy racing for Swiss team Velo Club Bellinzona. Dyball scored the biggest result of his career mid-way through 2013 when he won the prestigious

  • Heavy rain forecast for the men's world championship road race

    Heavy rain may play a role in determing who wins the elite men's road race world championship on Sunday
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 3:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Sciandri: "Racing on wet roads will make the race so much harder"

    This year's UCI Road World Championships have enjoyed warm, dry conditions so far but heavy rain, thunder and lightning is forecast for much of the day on Sunday for the elite men's road race. Forty-five minutes of rain is expected to fall mid-race, with forecasters claiming there is a 95 percent probability of inclement weather.

    The effects of the conditions on the outcome of the 272km race could be devastating, ruining the chances of success for many but boosting those of the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) who excel in the rain thanks to their excellent bike handling skills.

    BMC sports director and former Great Britain Under 23 national coach Max Sciandri lives close to Florence and predicts that rain will have a major influence on the road race.

    "We don’t often get rain that falls all day in Tuscany, it'll more likely be showers with possible thunder and lightning. Whatever happens, it'll make the race much harder and affect the chances of several riders," he told Cyclingnews.

    "People like Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara will be okay and probably even like the conditions. I think it also lifts Vincenzo Nibali back up the list of favourites. He's a great bike handler and will be a lot more comfortable on the circuit.

    "However it could affect people like the Spaniards and the Colombians who are used to racing on dry roads and the sun. It could also affect Gilbert's chances. I'd also say rain would be a huge blow for someone like Pozzato. I don’t honestly think he's on form anyway and don't think he will do anything."

    Sciandri tips Fabian Cancellara to win, whatever the conditions.

    "People in the peloton are saying he's very strong and very...

  • Cookson appoints vice-presidents

    Newly elected UCI President Brian Cookson speaks
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 4:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Gaudry, Lappartient, Wagih Azzam form new guard

    Newly elected President of the International Cycling Union (UCI), Brian Cookson, has announced the three vice presidents he has entrusted to help reform the sport under his watch. For the next four years, Tracey Gaudry of the Oceania Federation, David Lappartient of the European Federation and Mohamed Wagih Azzam of the African federation will serve under Cookson. The new vice-presidents replace Italian Renato Di Rocco, Korean Hee Cho and Portugal's Artur Lopes.

    "This is a new administration, I want to emphasise that, we will be making some changes," Cookson told reporters in Florence. "We have for the first time a woman in an important role in the UCI."

    "I have a lot of confidence in all of those three people and I'm sure that we can really move forward now to take the UCI in a new direction."

    Gaudry, the first women to serve on the UCI management committee after her election as Oceania President in 2012, now takes another step up the rung as she aims to further improve equality within the professional cycling ranks.

    "Those decisions are not symbolic decisions, they are deliberate decisions to ensure that the sport of cycling embraces everything that it's about, and gender is naturally one part of that," Gaudry told AAP.

    Aside from equality, Gaudry also emphasised the importance of globalisation, grass-roots development and improved anti-doping measures.

    "We've already started the conversations with the right people and the right groups," she continued.

    "We are already on the way. We won't change the world tomorrow and the last thing the community of cycling could and should expect, and hope, is that suddenly tomorrow everything is 500 per cent changed."

    One of those conversations soon to be underway will be between the UCI and the IOC, one of the partnerships that McQuaid touted as being under serious threat...

  • Tiernan-Locke called to clarify irregular blood values

    Jose Rujano (Vancansoleil-DCM) rides next to Jonathan Tiernan-Locke at Fleche Wallonne
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 7:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Period in question pre-dates rider's time with Sky

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling) has received a letter from the UCI calling into question his blood values dating back to September 2012. According to an article in the Sunday Times written by David Walsh, the period in question predates his time with Team Sky, with his results whilst with Endura now under suspicion.

    Although Endura were not part of the Biological Passport system at the time, owing to their continental status, Tiernan-Locke was monitored following his victory at the Tour of Britain. The baseline values ascertained after a season of passport measurements during 2013 are what testers are now claiming render his limited 2012 data as suspect.

    Tiernan-Locke had a banner 2012, winning the Tour Méditerranéen, Tour du Haut Var, Tour Alsace and the Tour of Britain, and signed with Sky on the merit of those results.

    Tiernan-Locke was a surprise late withdrawal from the British team to take to the start line today in Florence at the time tweeting:

    "Was sorry I had to withdraw from the worlds line up, just don't have the form to help the lads there. Good luck to team GB though!"

    It appears, however, form is the least of his worries as he now has three weeks to provide an explanation to the UCI before proceedings will continue.

    Team Sky respond

    Team Sky, who pride themselves on a strict zero tolerance toward doping - going as far as demanding that riders sign a declaration confirming that they have had no past or present involvement in doping - issued a statement saying they have "no doubts over his performance, behaviour or tests at Team Sky."

    "Team Sky has been informed by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke that the UCI has notified him of...

  • Vos raising the bar after third Worlds title

    Emma Johansson (Sweden), world champion Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Rossella Ratto (Italy)
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 9:57 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Dutch star leaves peloton in her wake

    Since graduating to the elite ranks, Dutchwoman Marianne Vos has finished no lower than second place in the UCI road race world championships. Now with three elite road race rainbow jerseys to go with her five silver medals, Vos has shown herself to be a notch above the rest of the peloton. She is a figure who will go into the annals of cycling history as one of the most dominant racers on two wheels, male or female, but it was also the strength of her Dutch team which proved unbeatable.

    In the women's road race in Florence, Italy, on Saturday, Vos had just one teammate in the leading group - her young trade teammate Anna van der Breggen - against a trio of Italians determined to claim victory on their home soil.

    Van der Breggen marked the multiple attacks by Tatiana Guderzo, Rosella Ratto and Elisa Longo Borghini, keeping Vos in contact on the penultimate climb and then allowing her to be in a position to put in the winning blow on the short, steep ascent with 5km to go.

    "She was so good," Vos said of van der Breggen's performance. "She did a great job to keep it together to give me an opportunity to attack on the last climb.

    "Last year she did the same great job. She was the one we wanted to have in the final. Of course she can be good, but still - when we were there with two [of us] and three Italians and you have to react."

    The sheer brilliance of Vos consistently leaves her competitors scratching their heads and wondering just what they have to do in order to match her power.

    "She makes you finish the season and go home and train harder," fifth placed American Evelyn Stevens said. "[You ask yourself] what do we have to do to get to that level? She's raising...

  • Former Endura manager defends Tiernan-Locke

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 12:09 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Says he would vouch for rider 100 per cent

    Brian Smith has moved to defend Jonathan Tiernan-Locke after it was confirmed that the Sky rider has been asked to explain data relating to his biological passport to the UCI.

    According to the Sunday Times, Tiernan-Locke was sent the letter in relation to tests carried while he was contracted to Smith’s 2012 team, Endura Racing. Sky signed Tiernan-Locke on the back of a stellar season in which the rider won the Tour Méditerranéen, Tour du Haut Var, Tour Alsace and the Tour of Britain.

    Tiernan-Locke has not tested positive for any substance and has three weeks in which to submit a response to the sport’s governing body. A three-person panel will then asses whether to open a biological case against the rider.

    “I can’t explain any of the irregularities but I would definitely vouch 100 per cent for John,” Smith, who was Endura's general manager, told Cyclingnews.

    “For me, I don’t know how he’s going to explain this to the UCI but I don’t think he should have anything to worry about. I can put my hand up though and say 100 per cent that I don’t think he was doping at Endura Racing. There was no suspicion, no nothing.”

    In 2012 Endura were ranked as a Continental team and therefore were outside of the UCI’s passport system. Tiernan-Locke’s performances raised eyebrows though and at the time he and his team stated that they would aim to publish test data in order to back up the rider’s assertions that he was riding and wining clean.

    At the same time both Garmin and Sky expressed interest in signing...

  • Alonso in Florence for the world championships

    Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso was on hand at the start of the elite men's world championship race
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 14:20 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    F1 driver studying riders for his 2015 team

    Spanish Formula One pilot and future team owner Fernando Alonso was at the start of the road race in Lucca, getting to know the world of cycling and the best riders in the world as he begins to build his team to debut in the 2015 season.

    Alonso visited the Spanish team but also made a point of stopping by to say hello to Peter Sagan of Slovakia.

    Speaking briefly to Cyclingnews and Slovakian state television, Alonso confirmed that he will create his own team for the 2015 season, hinting that he was at the world championships to study the riders and to get to know the world of cycling.

    "I love cycling and for 2015, my own team will be on the road for sure. We want to win races and have the best riders in our team. I'll be watching and studying all riders today," he said after spending a few minutes with Peter Sagan on his team bus.

    Alonso will base his team in his home region of Asturias in northern Spain. He confirmed he is hoping for a Spanish victory in Florence.

    "I hope Spain can do a good job. We'll see. But I think Sagan is the best cyclist in the world at the moment and he's the favourite. I'm sure everybody will be watching him."

    Alonso rides a lot and so understands the difficulties of riding in the rain.

    "I wish everyone all the best because they're all heroes today for racing for so long in the rain," he said.

  • Crash proves costly for Nibali at the world championships

    Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) came back from a crash but had to settle for fourth
    Article published:
    September 29, 2013, 18:41 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    "I didn’t want to take any risks and so couldn't hold Rodriguez's wheel"

    While Rui Costa stood emotionally on the podium, with the rainbow jersey on his shoulders, Vincenzo Nibali could only limp slowly to anti-doping control behind the podium area, in pain after his crash and hugely disappointed to finish fourth and out of the medals at the world championships.

    The Italian team worked incredibly hard to set up Nibali in the finale. He came back from a high speed crash, rode aggressively and was able to go clear with Joaquim Rodriguez on the final time up the climb to Fiesole, but then lost contact with the Spaniard. If the two had stayed together they would perhaps have made it to the finish and sprinted for victory. Instead Rodriguez was caught and beaten by Rui Costa and Nibali was beaten by Alejandro Valverde in the sprint for third.

    "After I crashed earlier, I was a bit scared. I could feel that my bike was slipping and I was scared of crashing again. I didn’t want to take any risks and so couldn't hold Rodriguez's wheel," Nibali revealed to Cyclingnews and Italian magazine Cycling Pro.

    "I made a huge effort to get back on after crashing. My legs were hurting, I managed to get back because my form is good but I couldn't do any better than I did."

    No help from Costa and Valverde

    Nibali was seen waving to Valverde and Costa to help him chase after Rodriguez in the final kilometres before the finish. Valverde naturally defended Rodriguez's lead but Costa refused to come through until he made his own move to catch and then beat the Spaniard.

    "I knew Valverde wouldn't help out but Costa only came past me briefly to do a bit and then to attack," Nibali lamented.

    "I thought Valverde would go after...