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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 30, 2012

Date published:
September 30, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Argos-Shimano applies for WorldTour licence

    John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) salutes from the podium.
    Article published:
    September 28, 2012, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Third Dutch team to enter top league in 2013?

    Professional Continental team Argos-Shimano is hoping to step up into the UCI World Tour as of next season. The Dutch outfit's management has recently sent in its application dossier to the world governing body of cycling in a bid not to rely solely on wildcard invitations to the greatest races anymore.

    "It's the next logical step," team manager Iwan Spekenbrink told Dutch news outlet NOS. Argos-Shimano could thus become the third Dutch WorldTour team after Rabobank and Vacansoleil-DCM, but first it needs to pass the four selection criteria imposed by the UCI: one sporting, one financial, one organisational and one ethical. At the end of 2011, the outfit then called Skil-Shimano had already applied for the desired licence, but failed only by four points on the sporting criteria.

    This year, Spekenbrink is hopeful that the increased rider points from the past season will be enough to enter the top league. "We hope that our results will get us a good placing," continued the Dutchman, who is still working on his final team roster for next season.

    But the 22 victories scored by only two riders of the squad - Germany's Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb - will have pushed the outfit higher up in the UCI points rankings. Degenkolb moreover finished fifth in Milan-Sanremo, won five stages in the Vuelta and finished fourth of the Worlds road race in Limburg just recently.

    As for further new additions to the team, Spekenbrink assured that he was "currently busy negotiating with a number of interesting riders. We expect to have between 27 and 30 riders for the upcoming season." At the moment, the team has let go of five of its 2012 riders: Dutchman Ronan van...

  • Valverde out of Tour of Lombardy with influenza, ends season

    Bronze medalist Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
    Article published:
    September 29, 2012, 10:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Movistar's Amador out following collarbone fracture

    Alejandro Valverde will not ride the Tour of Lombardy today and has ended his 2012 season. The Movistar Team captain has been diagnosed with influenza. In addition, his teammate Andrey Amador is out with a fractured collarbone. They will be replaced by Juanjo Cobo and Sergio Pardilla.

    Valverde did not even travel to Italy, as he came down with a high fever on Wednesday, which increased on Friday. He will “be missing a race in which he was very confident about his chances after his bronze medal at last Sunday's World Championships,” according to the team's press release.

    Amador suffered the fractured collarbone in a crash at Thursday's Gran Piemonte, also putting an end to his season.

    Movistar was at the start of the Tour of Lombardy this morning with Juanjo Cobo, Sergio Pardilla, Giovanni Visconti, Marzio Bruseghin, Rui Costa, Jose Gutierrez, Pablo Lastras and Nairo Quintana.

  • Wiggins should target Giro and Vuelta in 2013, Sutton says

    Bradley Wiggins on the podium with the gold medal that saw him become Great Britain's most successful Olympian
    Article published:
    September 29, 2012, 11:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Winning all three grand tours would cement Briton's status as a “legend”

    Bradley Wiggins should try to win the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana next year, to establish himself as a cycling “legend”, British Cycling head coach Shane Sutton has said. Adding the two grand titles to the Tour de France victory and Olympic medals would grant the Sky rider “legendary status”.

    Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour. "Nothing can take that away from him. It took 106 years in the making, not of Brad obviously, but to find a British winner, and it is a phenomenal achievement," Sutton told the Sportsbeat news agency. "And whether we have an appetite to go back and repeat I am not sure yet."

    Next year's Tour is expected to be heavily mountainous, which would suit his teammate Chris Froome better.

    If Wiggins does not ride the Tour, that would open up the opportunity to ride the other two grand tours. Winning them both would make him one of the few to have won all three of the grand tours.

    The Tour and Olympic wins already make him a legend, Sutton said. "But I think the legendary status for him could be enhanced by winning the three grand tours. I think he should target the tour of Italy and then the Vuelta.”

    In 2011, Wiggins finished third in the Vuelta only a few weeks after surgery for a fractured collarbone. “So that is doable. The Giro is a different one; it is a different kettle of fish. But if anyone can do it Brad can.”

  • Rodriguez closes campaign on a high

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) wins Il Lombardia
    Article published:
    September 29, 2012, 18:03 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Catalan wins Tour of Lombardy and leads WorldTour standings

    The climb of the Muro di Sormano did not ultimately decide the Tour of Lombardy – although the greasy descent would end Philippe Gilbert’s challenge – but by the time the curtain had fallen in Lecco, it turned out that its vertiginous slopes had quietly doled out a verdict all the same.

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) looked the strongest on the 1.9km-long wall as his forcing caused a temporary split in the group of favourites, but with over 80 kilometres still to race, it was inevitable that the group would come back together. Perhaps emboldened by that effort, however, Rodriguez duly went on to take the spoils after making a rather more decisive break on the final climb to Villa Vergano in the final ten kilometres.

    Buffeted by torrents of rain on the subsequent descent to the shores of Lake Como, Rodriguez held his nerve to hold off a chase group featuring Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) by 9 seconds to claim his second classic victory of the season, following his Flèche Wallonne triumph in April.

    “For me, winning Lombardy in itself would have been a great win, but obviously when there are more strong riders, it adds value to the win,” Rodriguez said afterwards. “Alberto was very strong at the Worlds last week and in Milan-Turin, but it wasn’t just him, there were also riders like Nibali and Gilbert in the race.”

    Entering the race, Rodriguez knew that he needed to finish 9th or higher to move ahead of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and into the final overall lead in the WorldTour standings (neither rider will make the long haul to the last event, the Tour of Beijing.)

    But while the Tour of Lombardy was so often the site of last-minute calculations and combines when it was the final leg of the World Cup – and indeed,...

  • Gilbert crashes out of Giro di Lombardia

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) in his new rainbow jersey
    Article published:
    September 29, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    World champion reports no serious injuries

    Philippe Gilbert's hopes of debuting his rainbow jersey with victory at the Giro di Lombardia were dented on the way up the Muro di Sormano and definitively ended on the treacherous descent, as the newly-crowned world champion crashed out of the race after he had chased to latch back on to the group of favourites.

    A resolute spell of forcing the pace from eventual winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on the 1.9km-long climb saw Gilbert tailed off by 15 seconds, although from his perch aboard RAI's in-race motorbike, Paolo Savoldelli said that the Belgian appeared the freshest of all the contenders at the summit.

    Regardless of whether Gilbert was simply bluffing on the much-touted "wall" or if the stardust of the Cauberg had indeed already abandoned him, his challenge was to come to a shuddering halt shortly afterwards. As he hurtled down the Sormano in pursuit of Rodriguez, Alberto Contador et al, Gilbert's wheels slipped from under him and he slid across the road.

    By the time the television cameras had caught up with the bloodied Gilbert, he was already sitting glumly in the passenger seat of the BMC team car, alongside manager John Lelangue. Six days after salvaging his season with victory in the world championships at Valkenburg, the curse of the rainbow jersey had reared its head.

    "He hasn't broken anything but the damage is still significant. He took blows to his arm, leg, hip and back," a downbeat Lelangue told RAI through the rolled down car window. "There was a lot of blood and he was a bit groggy, but he never lost consciousness."

    Gilbert had just caught up to the favourites when he came a cropper on the descent of the Sormano, but in the time it took for him to gingerly get to his feet, the race had simply...

  • Sanchez and Uran powerless to stop Rodriguez at Giro di Lombardia

    Sanchez, Rodriguez and Uran on the podium
    Article published:
    September 29, 2012, 21:30 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Third podium place for Euskaltel-Euskadi rider

    After 107 years, the Giro di Lombardia speaks Spanish. Not only did Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) become the first Spaniard to win the hallowed classic in apocalyptic rain in Lecco, Italy, on Saturday afternoon, but his fellow countryman Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) won the sprint for second ahead of Colombia's Rigoberto Uran (Sky).

    Indeed, when Rodriguez launched his race-winning move with a vicious acceleration on the final climb to Villa Vergano with 9km to go, the chase group that formed over the top was initially almost entirely Hispanophone, as Sanchez, Uran, Sergio Henao (Sky), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) led the pursuit behind.

    In spite of their shared tongue, however, they could not find a lingua franca when it came to forming a smooth chase behind the rampant Rodriguez. His advantage stretched out to 12 seconds with 4km to go, and while the second group on the road would swell with reinforcements in the finale, they would not see him again before the finish.

    There were no recriminations among the chasers afterwards, however, simply acknowledgement that the strongest man had won the day. When Rodriguez jumped away on the final climb, Sanchez said, nobody could follow.

    "'Purito' beat me and I can only congratulate him because he was the best," Sanchez said after coming down off the podium. "It was a really demanding and exciting race, and I can only imagine that it must have been a spectacle for the fans."

    It would, had they been able to see television pictures of the final climb, but the weather conditions meant that Rodriguez's attack was not transmitted live. In any case,...

  • Report: Armstrong’s ex-wife involved in doping scheme

    Lance Armstrong has been a huge part of George Hincapie's career
    Article published:
    September 30, 2012, 10:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Hincapie said to have lied to US Customs about EPO in luggage

    Lance Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin, is said to have not only known about but also participated in his doping practices, helping to refrigerate EPO and distribute drugs to US riders at the 1998 World Championships, according to a report with alleged details from the USADA's "reasoned decision" on its lifetime ban for Armstrong.

    The report also claims that George Hincapie said that he lied to US Customers officials about EPO in his luggage. Armstrong has always denied doping but decided not to fight USADA's charges.

    In August USADA  issued a lifetime ban against Armstrong after he declined to go to arbitration. The US agency's next step is to submit its "reasoned decision" on the matter to the UCI and WADA, which is expected to happen within the next two weeks.

    David Walsh, writing for The Sunday Times, introduced Kristin Armstrong's name into the matter for the first time. A rider is said to have claimed that cortisone pills wrapped in tin foil were distributed to USPS riders at the 1998 World Championships in Valkenburg. In his affidavit, the rider said that Kristin wrapped and handed out the pills. "Kristin is rolling the joints," one rider supposedly said at the time.

    There are also reports that the Armstrongs used to call EPO "butter", as they kept in the butter compartment of their refrigerator.

    The story further claims that George Hincapie told another rider over the telephone that he had once been stopped by US Customs. Upon his return to the US from Europe, EPO was found in his luggage, but he reportedly said that he lied, calling it prescription medicine, and that this story was believed.

    In addition, the "reasoned...

  • Gallery: Behind the lens at the Giro d'Italia

    Germany's Jan Ullrich during the
    Article published:
    September 30, 2012, 11:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Iconic photos from the previous 10+ years of the Italian Grand Tour

    While Giro d'Italia organiser RSC Sport has provided teasers regarding the 2013 parcours, such as a start on May 4 in Naples and the debut of the Col du Galibier as a summit finish at the conclusion of stage 15, the full corsa rosa will be unveiled on Sunday, September 30 in Milan.

    Race director Michele Acquarone and his staff certainly have a taste for the theatric, having recently released a promotional video where the narrator states regarding the Giro: "The past is not forgotten, but is the soul of a myth that has been past on for over 100 years."

    With the unveiling of the complete Giro d'Italia route imminent, Cyclingnews has delved into the past to compile a large gallery of photographs from the previous decade of racing, courtesy of AFP.