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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 18, 2013

Date published:
April 18, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Dan Martin pleased with La Flèche Wallonne finish

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 18:52 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Garmin-Sharp rider gets close with fourth place

    Daniel Martin's fourth place in La Flèche Wallonne was a slow burn. The Garmin-Sharp Irishman was stoked with his finish on the Mur de Huy, but it was juxtaposed against a case of so close, yet so far.

    "To get so close to the podium, by only a couple of inches..." The first words uttered to the media, his face caked in sweat and dust, a brown film coating his sunglasses.

    "Flèche Wallonne is probably my favourite race of the year," Martin grinned, the 205km effort still etched on his face. "It's a beautiful race but... so close to the podium."

    The first of his teammates to seek Martin out in the chaos beyond the finish line was German champion Fabian Wegman.

    "I'm this far from the podium," Martin gestured. "Fourth. Thanks man."

    Short of the podium, the recent Volta a Catalunya overall winner was deeming Wednesday's finish as a definite result. Suffering a puncture with 25km left to race a spare wheel from Peter Stetina had him on his way again, but things looked grim for the Garmin team, with Ryder Hesjedal also victim of a mechanical. Carrying obvious great form, and showing no signs of the crash which resulted in a DNF against his name on Sunday at Amstel Gold Race, Martin and Hesjedal made it back to the front of the race and in position with the 30 or so riders that were first to the base of the Mur de Huy. Martin could be seen sticking close to the wheel of Amstel winner Roman Kreuziger, which on the face of it, wasn't a bad ploy, but he revealed that it was never about a game of marksmanship.

    "I concentrated on racing the climb instead of racing the riders," Martin said with Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) exploding out of the saddle and up the road on his own, 2011 winner Philippe Gilbert and Peter...

  • Wiggins pleased with climbing form after Trentino mountain finish

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader takes measure of Nibali's attacks

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) tested each other's form during the first mountain finish at the Giro del Trentino, with the Italian making several attacks and the Briton responding with his now trademark surges to close the gap.

    Wiggins was keen to get away from the chaos of the finish area but was clearly happy with his performance. He revealed that he had completed his course of antibiotics for his saddle sore infection on Tuesday and said he felt a lot better during the long stage to Vetriolo Terme.

    "I didn't feel great all day, but as soon as I started making an effort I feel better. As I said last week, my form is better than it was before the Tour de France, but I had a strong course of antibiotics and it knocked me for six coming into this race," Wiggins said after congratulating teammate Kanstantin Siutsou on his stage just after the finish line.

    "I wasn't sure of how I'd go but I finished the antibiotics yesterday and this morning I felt like a different man."

    Wiggins said he studied Nibali during the climb, swapping accelerations and chasing, like prize fighters swap jabs early in a big fight.

    He finished in the same time as Nibali, 19 seconds behind Siutsou. Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) is back in the race lead but Wiggins and Nibali have already pulled back three minutes with two more mountain stages to come.

    Wiggins is fourth overall, 3:48 behind Bouet and 29 seconds down on Siutsou. Nibali is a further nine seconds back. Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) are all more than a minute down after losing contact on the climb.

    "I was really within myself on the whole climb. It was good being with Vincenzo...

  • Non-stop Vos racks up fifth win at Flèche Wallonne

    World Cup series leader, Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) wins her fifth Fleche Wallone Femmes ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) and Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol Ladies)
    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 20:30 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Dutch star says 2012 defeat helped drive her on to Worlds and Olympic success

    After taking her fifth win in Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, Marianne Vos (Rabo-LivGiant) recognised that losing the same race last year was what spurred her on to Worlds and Olympic success.

    "It was a key moment to be defeated here by Evelyn Stevens," the multiple World and Olympic Champion told reporters on Wednesday. "I was ill in Flanders, I was not really in top shape here, and I knew if I wanted to do well in the Olympics I would have to start rebuilding all over again. It was good to be able to bounce back.

    "I think it was good for the rest of the season, in fact I never like to lose but from then on I started to focus as hard as I could on the Olympics."

    Fast forward 12 months and with the gold from London's road-race in the bag, not to mention the Giro Donne and a superb win in Valkenburg last September in the road world championships, Vos said she is "more relaxed" when racing. "I enjoy it more."

    The results keep coming, or as she put it "the book [her biography, which was published recently] has now got some more chapters". So far in 2013, Vos has put in some textbook racing, with a perfectly calculated first win in the Tour of Flanders, the one big event that had been lacking in her road palmares, preceding this fifth, equally clinical and seemingly effortless, victory in Flèche Wallonne. Her other wins here came in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011. At 25, the odds are this will not be the last.

    "Every win is special but to win here a fifth time is really great, it's not getting any easier," she said. "As a big favourite, everybody looks to me and of course the team has to do a big job and they did it perfectly. I was feeling a bit tired, but I still had enough power to make a sprint effort on the...

  • Siutsou proves he is back to his best

    Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) on the podium
    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 21:02 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky domestique earns his moment of glory in Trentino

    Kanstantin Siutsou proved he is back to his best and ready to play an important role in Bradley Wiggins' assault on the Giro d'Italia with his solo stage 2 victory at the Giro del Trentino on Wednesday.

    The former under 23 road race world champion was one of Wiggins' key teammates in 2012 but crashed out of the Tour de France on stage 3, fracturing his tibia. He has gone through a long rehabilitation to return to form but showed his class on the 14km climb, attacking with Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) and Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole) with nine kilometres to go and then going clear alone to win.

    The quiet but classy Belarus rider put his hand on his heart as he celebrated victory, thanking his family and team.

    "This is a special day for me, for my family and for the team. The team gave me time and a lot of help to come back, they helped me in the difficult moments. I can say I'm back and at a high level and even a bit better than I was last year,' he said in the press conference near the finish.

    "I knew I as riding well after our Tenerife camp, and I thought I could win today. Bradley gave me the green light to try something. We were there to help Brad, but he said I could go for it, so I did. I think we proved yet again that we're a team with more than just one or two team leaders."

    Siutsou was the first to attack before being joined by Rolland and Pirazzi. He was clearly much stronger.

    "I did two attacks and when I realised they couldn't do much, I accelerated gradually to make them suffer," he said.

    "I also knew that the higher we went, it would be harder for them and easier for me because I've done the work at altitude to be good on the climbs."

  • UCI releases "full facts" on Armstrong's 1999 Tour de France doping controls

    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 22:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Governing body defends inaction in cortisone case

    In response to documents leaked to the media showing that doping tests detected glucocorticosteroids in multiple samples from Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France, the UCI has responded by releasing what it declares are the "full facts" surrounding the controls.

    In 1999, it was reported that one sample on July 4 had shown traces of the drug triamcinolone acetonide, but Armstrong and his team excused the result saying it was the result of saddle sore cream. On Tuesday, it was reported that three more of Armstrong's samples from the 1999 Tour showed traces of triamcinolone acetonide, based on a leaked internal memo. The UCI confirmed that data today, but insisted that none of its actions, or lack thereof, concerning the test results was incorrect because under the rules in place at the time, none of the actions by Armstrong were a violation: from the use of corticosteroids to the back-dated medical prescription.

    The UCI states that it only became aware that Armstrong had received a back-dated prescription for a topical cream containing triamcinolone acetonide upon his televised confession to Oprah Winfrey this year, despite a first-hand witness account from soigneur Emma O'Reilly being included in David Walsh's 2004 book LA Confidentiel.

    Armstrong did not declare the use of any such cream prior to his doping controls, and only after being informed of trace levels of glucocorticosteroids in his July 4 control did he produce a document from team physician Luis Del Moral. He declared the use of the cream on subsequent controls, the UCI stated. The same substance showed up in tests taken July 14, 15 and 21.

  • Bouet back in leader's jersey at the Giro del Trentino

    Maxime Bouet (AG2R - La Mondiale) in the leader's jersey
    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 23:06 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Frenchman worried about Siutsou, Wiggins and Nibali

    Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) is back in the Fuchsia leader's jersey at the Giro del Trentino after an intelligent performance on the climb to Vetriolo Terme in the Dolomites, east of Trento during stage 2 on Wednesday.

    The Frenchman knew he had to distance Josef Cerny (CC Polsat) and Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Colombia) and paced his effort after he watched them lose contact on the climb to the finish.

    Bouet finished 20th on the stage, 2:23 behind Siutsou but was four minutes ahead of the young Colombian, while Cerny cracked early and lost 12 minutes.

    "I'm happy to have the leader's jersey back. I like this race," he said after the stage.

    I could have stayed with the leaders longer but after seeing that the other guys had been dropped, I eased off a bit and rode a paced effort, like a time trial. It was the right thing to do."

    Bouet leads Siutsou by 3:19, with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) fourth at 3:48 and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) fifth at 3:57.

    "I lost two minutes today but overall victory is still possible. I think it's possible to defend the jersey. I believe in destiny," Bouet said, knowing that Friday's mountain finish will be decisive.

    "Tomorrow is up and down all day. A break could go and stay away. Me and my team will have to be control who gets in the break. On Friday it'll be up to me and my legs to see if I can win. Everything could be decided by a few seconds."

    "A place on the final podium would also be a good result for me. We've also got Pozzovivo for the GC, so we've got two cards to play."

    Bouet picked Siutsou as his biggest threat.

    "He's strong, perhaps as much Wiggins," he said.

  • AEG optimistic about Tour of California future

    The Amgen Tour of California 2012
    Article published:
    April 17, 2013, 23:46 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Anschutz staying in control of AEG helps negotiations with Amgen

    March's news that the Anschutz Company would retain ownership and control of Anschutz Entertainment Group and AEG sailed by without much consideration in the world of cycling but Cyclingnews understands that the decision could have positive implications for the Tour of California with the race negotiating to retain its title sponsor Amgen.

    AEG, owned by American billionaire Philip Anschutz had been put up for sale but Anschutz, a cycling fan himself, pulled the plug on the move. ESPN reported that he would be taking a more hands on role with the company's stock and one source told Cyclingnews that Anschutz's decision, along with the Tim Leiweke leaving AEG could see the Tour of California prosper. Under the restructure Dan Beckerman will take over as the president and CEO of AEG.

    "Phil has always had an extraordinary passion for the Tour of California," a source with strong ties to the race and AEG told Cyclingnews.

    The source went on to add that Leiweke had a polar opposite view of cycling.

    "The Tour of California is race Phil cares about personally and to a tremendous extent. Tim didn't. Tim never had the passion for cycling or the passion to really realise Phil's vision to create a truly international stage race. He viewed it very much as a distraction."

    "When AEG were up for sale there was a great deal of concern of what the future of the race would be under a new owner. Would there still be a passion to grow the race? There were a lot of question marks."

    AEG and Amgen, which has been the title sponsor of the race since its inception in 2006, are currently in negotiations to extend their partnership. The current deal runs out this season but the source told Cyclingnews that "renewal conversations are ongoing now. I think they're...

  • Costa has high hopes for Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Rui Costa (Movistar)
    Article published:
    April 18, 2013, 2:32 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Portuguese rider talks to Cycling News HD

    Rui Costa is in fine form after taking his opening win of the year at Klasika Primavera just over a week ago. After some bad luck, his Movistar team are on the up and they have three options for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Costa tells Cyclingnews HD about his ambitions for La Doyenne.

    CN HD: Klasika Primavera was your first victory of the season, how do you feel?

    Rui Costa: "Very happy. Like you said it was my first victory of the season and there will be many wins to follow it. Also, it was a very emotional win, because until the final metre I wasn't winning."

    CN HD: What has this victory done for your confidence?

    Costa: "As always it is important to recover the confidence after what happened in Paris-Nice."

    CN HD: It was a good weekend for the team, did Nairo Quintana's win give you a boost?

    "It was a spectacular week for the team. Nairo's victory on the Arrate stage, the general classification on Saturday and Sunday, with my win. We have been missing some luck in some of the races this year and this time it all went perfectly."

    CN HD: Has your crash at Paris-Nice caused you any problems?

    Costa: "No it has totally recovered. It is only an inconvenience at times."

    CN HD: Did it take long to recover?

    Costa: "I spent a week recovering. So I came to País Vasco with a little bit of form, but day by day I was finding it better. I ended the week very well like I demonstrated in Amorebieta."

    CN HD: What were you hoping to achieve at Paris-Nice, before the accident?