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Eisenga: "We want clear and credible governance"
The Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) has questioned the reasoning behind the Malaysian Cycling Federation’s call for an amendment to UCI Presidential elections that would allow candidates to be nominated by multiple federations.
The move backed by current President Pat McQuaid has been criticised from a number of quarters.
“I would see no need for such a resolution. There are two candidates who have made some clear statements, in the past and the present, about how they want to run the sport. That should be enough for the delegates to make a balanced assessment,” AIGCP’s managing director, Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews.
The UCI Presidential election, scheduled for September, is set to be contested between McQuaid and his only challenger Brian Cookson, who has the backing of British Cycling. The election has seen both men lay out out their manifestos. Cookson has laid out a path for change, promising to improve the UCI’s credibility after a number of scandals. McQuaid, on the other hand, has pointed to his role in the globalisation of the support as he seeks a third term.
“Cycling will benefit from clear and credible governance. The sport has gone through some rough times, the future can only be bright if there is a fair share for all stakeholders including teams. The AIGCP want 'clean riders in balanced races' and a sustainable, stable financial base for teams, so they can have the healthy environment for their riders. More stability is key to the (financial) health of the sport.”
The AIGCP has refrained from publicly backing either candidate, although former AIGCP President Jonathan Vaughters has positioned himself in Cookson’s camp, taking to Twitter on Wednesday to say, “At a time in cycling when we are trying to stop rules being bent to...
Former espoirs manager succeeds Jalabert
The French Cycling Federation has named Bernard Bourreau as the new manager of the elite men’s national team. Bourreau replaces Laurent Jalabert, who stepped down as national coach in April after four years at the helm.
The 61-year-old Bourreau has coached the French espoirs team with considerable success since 2006, and he guided Romain Sicard and Arnaud Démare to the rainbow jersey at under-23 level in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He also won the Tour de l’Avenir with Sicard in 2009 and Warren Barguil in 2012, and had served under Jalabert as an assistant coach with the elite men's team.
Bourreau spent 17 years as a coach with the French junior team prior to working with the espoirs squad, and he coached Arnaud Gérard to the world junior title in Zolder in 2002.
In spite of that track record with underage national teams, Bourreau’s appointment comes as something of a surprise, with L’Équipe reporting that the FFC’s initial short list of candidates had compromised of Christophe Agnolutto, Eric Boyer, Cyrille Guimard and Jean-Cyril Robin.
Bourreau raced as a professional with the Peugeot team in the 1970s and 1980s, participating in eleven Tours de France, and he also has experience at the business end of world championships as a rider. Bourreau was a bronze medallist in the amateur world championships road race on the Montjuic circuit in Barcelona in 1973 and he finished 5th in the professional race in 1984, again in Barcelona.
German does not want changes to roll of honour
Jan Ullrich has called for Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France titles to be restored to him, pointing to the prevalence of doping at the time of their rivalry.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles and handed a life ban last October after the publication of the US Anti-Doping Agency’s report on the systematic doping system in place at the US Postal Service team. Armstrong’s Tour wins have not been redistributed, but simply expunged from the record books.
“If it were up to me, I’d give Armstrong back his victories in the Tour,” Ullrich told Sport-Bild magazine, pointing to the precedent that saw Tour organisers ASO remove his former Telekom teammate Bjarne Riis’s name from the roll of honour after his 2007 doping confession, only to restore it the following year.
“Bjarne Riis was given back his victory from 1996. That’s how things were at the time. It’s not helping anyone to have lines struck through the roll of honour,” Ullrich said.
Unlike Armstrong, however, Riis was never formally stripped of his Tour de France title by anti-doping authorities due to the constraints of the statute of limitations.
Ullrich finished second to Armstrong in 2000, 2001 and 2003 (as well as to Riis in 1996), but was himself implicated in the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation on the eve of the 2006 Tour and never raced again. The German finally confessed to being a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in June of this year.
Last week, a French Senate Commission report also revealed that Ullrich had tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France following retrospective analysis of stored samples.
In that context, it is no surprise that Ullrich said that he had no interest in being awarded additional Tour victories, although he highlighted that he...
It's time to pick up the phone, says Euskaltel-Euskadi lynchpin
With Euskaltel-Euskadi’s hopes of continuing beyond the end of the season fading by the day, Igor Anton has acknowledged that it is “time to pick up the phone” and start looking for another team.
A shortfall in funding from Basque public institutions left Euskaltel to cover the deficit for 2014, but the telecommunications company will withdraw its backing altogether if another sponsor cannot be found. Although the search is ongoing, Euskaltel-Euskadi’s riders were told by management at the weekend that they are free to speak to other teams.
“They gave us the worst possible news, it’s all very difficult,” Anton told Marca. “They have allowed us to look for new teams because finding a new sponsor is complicated. You have to present part of the documentation to the UCI in September, so we have to resolve the sponsorship issue in August, when many businesses are close for holidays or moving slowly. The picture looks bad.”
The 30-year-old Anton is optimistic that he will remain a WorldTour rider in 2014 and Marca has linked him with a possible move to Lampre-Merida for next season.
“Up to now, it would have been too soon to move but it’s about time to pick up the telephone,” Anton said. “I hope to have some offers from some WorldTour teams. At WorldTour, they are practically all at a high level.”
A professional since 2005, Anton has spent his entire career at Euskaltel-Euskadi and claimed one of the team’s most significant victories in 2011, when he won the Vuelta a España’s first stage in the Basque Country in 33 years with a solo triumph in Bilbao. He...
Ace chrono rider times solo attack to perfection
While Taylor Phinney (BMC) is no stranger to the top step of the podium with victories in both the individual and team time trial disciplines, today's dramatic solo victory in stage 4 at the Tour of Poland was the first time the 23-year-old American had won a road race as a professional.
Phinney's finishing kick had gotten him close to victory before, such as third place results in this year's Giro della Toscana and stage 6 at the Tour of Oman in field sprint finales, but on the streets of Katowice, Poland it was his renowned time trialing prowess which propelled the BMC rider to the stage win.
A multi-time individual pursuit world champion on the track and a silver medalist behind Tony Martin at the 2012 time trial world championships, Phinney launched off the front of the peloton with 7km to go, built up a lead of 15 seconds, and held off the hard-charging peloton by the slimmest of margins.
For Phinney, it was a dream come true.
"This is how I always dreamed of winning – foiling the sprinter's plans at the end of the race," said Phinney. "It was sort of a Fabian Cancellara-style, Milan-Sanremo victory scenario. It's really amazing to have it happen and it was a great feeling to finally put my hands up."
"I told Taylor he could try an attack, but it was amazing what he did," said BMC's assistant director Fabio Baldato. "It was like a prologue – and I was screaming that to him on the radio. I told him to go full gas and don't look...
UCI president claims to be part of "new guard"
UCI President Pat McQuaid believes he is the man who has "completely changed the culture of doping" in cycling ever since he came into power in 2006.
Speaking on Irish radio this morning, McQuaid insisted he is part of the "new guard" in the sport and has done more than most others to fight the scourge of doping which reached its nadir in October last year when Lance Armstrong was exposed as a drug cheat and subsequently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
"I'm the beginning of the new guard because I'm the one who has completely changed the culture of doping in our sport since I came in eight years ago," said McQuaid.
"Eight years ago, the sport was riddled (with drugs). We had Armstrong, who had just retired, and I was aware there was a culture of doping and I stated I was going to attack it over those years. I've done many things to attack it over those years. And changing the culture isn't something you do overnight. I brought in the Biological Passport system, I brought in the corticosteroid rule, I brought in a no-needles policy, I brought in a rule where riders who were caught doping could not come back to the sport as part of an entourage and a whole raft of measures to combat doping in the sport," he continued.
McQuaid has come under sustained attack this week after it emerged a proposal from the Malaysian cycling federation could aid his quest for a third term in office (to be announced at September's UCI presidential election in Florence).
The proposal, if adopted, would enable any two cycling federations to come together to nominate a candidate for the presidency, and it emerged on Monday that the Thai and Moroccan federations had given their backing to McQuaid.
The Irishman's only opponent for...
Gippsland leader switches focus in 2013
Ben Grenda has lived bikes his whole life. Along with father Michael and grandfather Ronald, the Launceston-based 23-year-old has done a lot to cement the Grenda family name in Tasmanian and Australian cycling history.
Having contested the Subaru National Road (NRS) in previous years with the Huon-Genesys team (nee Praties), Grenda performed the rite of passage as he was shipped off to Belgium for a season. After a successful 12 months during 2011 with the Rock Werchter squad, Grenda's signature was sought by British team Rapha Condor-Sharp who were at that stage expanding their racing program to incorporate all of Europe and Asia for the 2012 season.
As Rapha secured a sponsorship deal with Team Sky, their involvement with their continental team was scaled back. As such, Grenda found himself on the periphery and faced a return to Australia for the 2013 season.
With the writing on the wall, Grenda changed plans and a full-time course studying Education at the University of Tasmania was the result.
After moving into the overall lead after day one of the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland, Cyclingnews caught up with Grenda to see how he fits his training in around his studies and to get his predictions for the rest of the race.
With Polygon Australia charged with defending a race lead for the first time, Grenda is not apprehensive about his team's plans for the coming days.
"We're [Polygon Australia] just here to and get on the podium as much as we can so I suppose getting yellow comes with that," he said. "Now we've got it we'll definitely try to defend it, and because we've got Huon-Genesys on the same time I'm sure we'll get some help from them as well."
As he has come from full-time racing in Europe to part-time racing in Australia, Grenda believes...
"Real, genuine change has to start at the top", says ex-AIGCP president
Garmin-Sharp team manager Jonathan Vaughters has questioned the anti-doping campaign platform of UCI president Pat McQuaid made as part of his re-election bid, saying that the Irishman's history contradicts claims made in a recent interview that he is part of the "new guard" and has "changed the culture of doping" in cycling.
McQuaid is facing strong opposition in his re-election campaign, not just from his only opponent in the race, British Cycling's Brian Cookson, but from his own Irish Cycling Federation, members of the Swiss federation, USA Cycling, the AIGCP and a member of the UCI's Management Committee, Mike Plant.
While most of the negative press for McQuaid has revolved around the doping case of Lance Armstrong, and allegations that the UCI at worst covered up suspicious tests and at best turned a blind eye to the culture that was rife with doping, McQuaid has turned the UCI's anti-doping efforts into one of his main platform points.
McQuaid took credit for instituting the biological passport, no-needle policy, restrictions on corticosteroids and restricting the value of riders returning from doping bans by not allowing them to accumulate WorldTour points as evidence that he has championed this new, clean cycling.
That came of no surprise to Vaughters, who has butted heads with McQuaid over numerous issues...