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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Date published:
April 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Van Avermaet hopes form holds through to Amstel Gold Race

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
    Article published:
    April 10, 2013, 20:55 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian to conclude his spring campaign on Sunday

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has proven remarkably consistent in garnering top results this spring with today's sixth place at Brabantse Pijl the latest in a string of top-seven finishes stretching back to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in late February. Van Avermaet and teammate Philippe Gilbert provided BMC with a powerful one-two punch in the Brabantse Pijl's endgame, with only a spectacularly on-form Peter Sagan (Cannondale) to spoil their endeavours. Sagan neutralised Van Avermaet's attack on the final climb and accompanied by Gilbert, the Slovak champion came around the world champion metres from the finish to claim victory.

    Despite showing top form today, the Amstel Gold Race this coming Sunday will be the conclusion of Van Avermaet's spring campaign - there's no Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on his schedule. Van Avermaet spoke to Cyclingnews after Brabantse Pijl and reflected on his results garnered thus far this season, including 5th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 6th at Strade Bianche, 3rd at Gent-Wevelgem, 7th at Tour of Flanders and 4th at Paris-Roubaix.

    "I was always there in every race. I don't think I can blame myself for anything. I always ran into riders who're superior. Today, during the final 500m, I thought I was going to win but sadly enough they still came over me. Once they overtook me my motivation was gone. So be it.

    "I really suffered today, although in the finale I managed to improve a bit. I hope the form is still there. There's three days to recover and then I think I can show something in the Amstel Gold Race. I think I can ride for my own account at the Amstel, probably a bit like today. If I would...

  • Leukemans pleased with Brabantse Pijl podium finish

    Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM)
    Article published:
    April 10, 2013, 22:16 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Belgian still feeling effects of Paris-Roubaix

    There are few men who can keep up with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC) once they go flat-out on uphill roads. Unsurprisingly, Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) lost ground, too, but the 35-year-old Belgian fought his way back to their wheel at the Brabantse Pijl, just before cornering into the 220m-long finishing straight. By that time there was no more fuel in his tank and he settled for third place once the sprint got underway. Leukemans was pleased by his performance, especially considering he was the only rider of the trio to have raced Paris-Roubaix three days earlier.

    "I can accept this result," Leukemans said. "Especially if you've done Roubaix and you're not completely recovered from that one and run into the world champion and Sagan who both didn't race Roubaix... I also had been in a move that drained my energy levels for a quite a while."

    In the Brabantse Pijl Leukemans anticipated the attack from the big guns. Just before hitting the second of three local laps at 50km from the finish, he followed Paul Voss (NetApp-Endura) in chasing down a move from compatriot Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard).

    "I didn't even know it was Devolder. I just tried something quite early because the local laps are longer than in the past, which allows for more recovery. Voss went and I was well positioned in front. I just followed. I also spotted Gilbert and I thought that if he went the selection would already have been made. Once up the climb there was only the two of us and that wasn't so good," Leukemans said.

    Nevertheless the duo kept going and eventually they made it to the early leaders. Only 30km later...

  • Ewan continues European dominance with victory at La Côte Picarde

    Caleb Ewan (Jayco-AIS) wins the under-23 GP Palio del Recioto
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 3:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian National Team on top step at first round of Nations Cup

    Australia's up-and-coming under-23 rider Caleb Ewan has scored his second big victory of the season - in Europe - by taking out the opening race of the Nations Cup at La Côte Picarde in France.

    The youngster, who is part of the revamped Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy squad but was representing the Australian National Team at the U23 race had to scrape himself off the ground after crashing inside the final 15km before he could even consider the win into the finishing town of Mers-les-Bains. The Australian team ensured Ewan made his way back into the bunch before placing him in the right spot leading into the final climb with 10km to go. It's from there Ewan jumped across the 25-second gap to bridge to the leading group.

    Ewan performed a long sprint to take victory at the end of the 172.2km race in 3:59:52 to notch up his second win from two starts. Ewan most recently took out the Grand Prix Palio del Recioto earlier this month in similarly dominant fashion when the sprint opened up.

    "First Nations cup race and win today! Thanks to all the boys who rode so hard to set me up! Also to the support staff for their hard work!," Ewan tweeted.

    The team lined-up with a powerful five-man team that included Mitch Mulhern, Damien Howson, Campbell Flakemore and Adam Phelan who took to controlling the race after the day's breakaway stretched their advantage to over two minutes with approximately 50km still to race.

    Howson, the current under-23 national time trial champion and bronze-medallist from the U23 World TT Championships in 2012 took to the front along with Mulhern in order to bring the race back into the fold for the final finishing laps around the 18km circuit.

    Ewan's crash may have seen the chance of...

  • Van Der Ploeg looking into the unknown at Tour de Perth

    Paul van der Ploeg talks to reporters after winning.
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 4:48 BST
    Alex Malone

    Former World Cup winner shows promise in recent Asia Tour debut

    The Van Der Ploeg name is one that's fairly well known within the National Road Series but this year it's Paul, not Neil who is hoping to convert his already-proven mountain bike talent onto the Australian domestic and Asia Tour road scene. Fresh off winning the KoM classification at the Tour of Thailand, along with a podium result on Stage 1, Paul is hoping a few easy days will see him perform well at the opening round of the NRS at the four-day Woodside Tour de Perth.

    The racing which kicks-off today on the famous Rottnest Island will be only the third road tour he has contested. There was a brief showing in the NRS with search2retain at the Tour of Tasmania in 2011 but since then his focus has been circled around stints in the domestic XC National Series and the European XC World Cup circuit - where he won a round of the eliminator in 2011.

    "I did the Tour of Tasmania one year with search2retain but that was at the end of a long mountain bike season and I was really cooked when I entered it. I didn't take a real serious approach to it," he told Cyclingnews.

    The experience at Thailand had its ups and downs, according to the 23-year-old who lost the green points jersey on the final stage of the six-day tour.

    "Thailand was massive experience for me, I hadn't competed in any road racing at that level internationally before. The first five days were pretty awesome; getting on the podium on the first day, getting the KoM jersey and then getting into the green [points] jersey at the end of Stage 5. I was going into Stage 6 pretty amped and excited and then tactically I just made a couple of bad decisions and the whole dynamic of the race changed for me, Van Der Ploeg told...

  • Lance Armstrong sells off Austin estate

    US president Bill Clinton flanked by Lance Armstrong and his wife Kristin as he presents Clinton with a Trek and yellow jersey in 1999
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 9:59 BST
    Cycling News

    $3.1 million paid for rider's US estate

    Lance Armstrong has sold his home estate in Austin, Texas for a reported value of $3.1 million. The sale was confirmed by Armstrong’s spokesperson according to ESPN, with the property obtained by an oil-and-gas-rights agent.

    According to ESPN, “The Austin American-Statesman reports a deed of trust filed with Travis County last week showed Al Koehler obtained a $3.1 million loan to buy the property, which had been Armstrong's home since 2004."

    Armstrong plans to remain in Austin, Texas, where he has lived since retiring from the sport.

    In 2012 he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as well as all his other results dating back to 1998, by USADA. Their Reasoned Decision led to Armstrong confessing to using performance enhancing drugs during his career. The confession came during a live interview with Oprah Winfrey in January of this year.

    Since his confession Armstrong has kept a relatively low profile. In February he called for a truth and reconciliation commission within the sport of cycling, even admitting that he would help with the process. However the American has also had to do deal with several litigation issues with both The Sunday Times and SCA trying to obtain sums of monies they lost in legal battles with Armstrong before his confession.

    In February it was also reported that the government of the United States was reportedly intending to join a whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and others who ran the US Postal Service-sponsored cycling team.

    Last month Armstrong attempted to compete in a Masters level swimming competition but was blocked from racing due to his life-time doping ban.

  • Rusvelo's Kaikov fails drug test

    The RusVelo jersey
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 10:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian rider fired from team, positive for GW1516

    Valery Kaikov (Rusvelo) has failed an out of competition drug test and has been fired by his team with immediate effect. The rider tested positive for GW1516. The UCI have since moved to suspend Kaikov.

    “Rusvelo team notes regretfully that the out-of-competition drugs test for rider Valery Kaikov gave a positive result,” the team announced in a statement Thursday morning.

    “Immediately Kaikov´s contract with the Russian team has been terminated and UCI Administration has been notified about this incident.”

    In a press release the UCI stated: "The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Köln indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of metabolite GW1516 sulfone – Metabolic Modulator in a urine sample collected from him in an out of competition test on 17th March 2013."

    "The provisional suspension of Mr. Valery Kaykov remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Russian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules."

    Rusvelo were formed in 2012 as a programme for young Russian riders on the track and road. Their team management includes Serhiy Honchar who was suspended for 30 days and later fired in 2007 by T-Mobile for failing a blood test.

    However the team also state that they have zero tolerance towards doping.

    “Moreover Rusvelo team declares that the main team´s ideology is zero tolerance to doping in cycling. We do support clean cycling and we will stick firmly to our policy.”


  • Alex Rasmussen finally makes comeback

     Alex Rasmussen (Denmark) approaches the line
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 12:16 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Blames UCI, UCI blames Garmin team for delay

    Administrative problems at the Circuit de la Sarthe kept Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Sharp) from making his comeback on April 2. The Danish rider was banned after missing three out-of-competition doping controls which were part of the whereabouts system (ADAMS). His ban ended on March 18 but when heading to Sarthe Rasmussen was denied the start.

    At the time the 28-year-old Dane believed that he received a lifetime ban from racing instead of the backdated 18-months ban he received from the International Cycling Union (UCI). Later it was suggested that the race officials on site might have mistaken him with Michael Rasmussen. Problems were eventually resolved and on April 11th, Alex Rasmussen managed to make his comeback race at the Brabantse Pijl, a Belgian semi-classic.

    Though lining up in miserable weather conditions at the Town Hall in Leuven the Dane was all smiles. “I’m really happy to race in the rain. Then I can really see how much I missed cycling. I’m super excited to race in the rain,” Rasmussen told Cyclingnews.

    It was still unclear to Rasmussen why he wasn’t allowed to take the start in the Circuit de la Sarthe. When not being allowed to race he tweeted: “Just got taken out of La Sarthe by the evil and powerful UCI. Lifetime ban in effect by the UCI apperantly [sic].” Two hours later a new tweet followed: “UCI have finally cleared me for racing again. One hour after denying me the start in La Sarthe.”

    On Wednesday Rasmussen figured the rumours about an identity switch were true. “I don’t think it was that. I think that it was because of Easter. At the UCI they have a four Easter holiday while I had my start in Sarthe on Tuesday so they didn’t get it through. They had to send a mail to the...

  • UCI postpone enforcement of rule 1.2.019

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 12:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Reprieve given until end of 2013 but rule looks set for 2014

    The UCI backed down from enforcing its controversial rule 1.2.019, stating that it will not be enforced in 2013. However, the rule looks set to be pushed forward in 2014 with the sport’s governing body keen to discuss the implementation with race organizers, national federations, teams and riders. The UCI's initial enforcement of the rule had been met with anger and frustration from race organisers and riders, especially those in the American mountain bike community.

    UCI general regulations include a section called "Forbidden Races". Within it, Rule 1.2.019 states, "No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI."  Related rules 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 provide additional details, including specifying punishment via fine or suspension for all UCI licence holders who violate the rule.

    A February letter from UCI President Pat McQuaid to USA Cycling made it clear that rule 1.2.019, which prohibits all UCI licensed riders from competing in events that are not sanctioned by a national federation, should not only apply to riders on UCI-registered teams, as a USA Cycling spokesman previously told Cyclingnews, but to all riders who hold a UCI license. According to the rules, athletes who participate in a...