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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, August 5, 2010

Date published:
August 05, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Holczer accuses Leipheimer of blood manipulation

    Gerolsteiner general manager Hans Michael Holczer
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 14:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Gerolsteiner boss reveals details of '05 Tour

    Former Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer has claimed that Levi Leipheimer's blood values during the 2005 Tour de France “showed a very high probability of manipulation,” the German press agency SID has reported.

    Holczer made the accusation during the presentation of his book called “Garantiert Positiv” (“Guaranteed Positive”) in Germany on Wednesday.

    He claimed that the UCI informed him on the first rest day of the 2005 Tour de France in Grenoble that Leipheimer's blood values had an off-score co-efficient of 132.8. That is just 0.2 under the limit of 133. A normal score is 85-95 and scores over 133 can be considered evidence of doping.

    “It was clear to me: Leipheimer had manipulated,” Holczer told SID and other media during the book presentation.

    With Leipheimer’s values just under the limit, Holczer said the UCI advised him to try and find another reason to remove Leipheimer from the race, something he felt unable to do. “I was caught between a moral obligation and a legal threat,” Holczer said.

    He knew that if there had been a scandal about Leipheimer’s blood values during the Tour de France it would have been the end of the team. The Gerolsteiner sponsorship agreement specified that if there were two doping cases in the team, the contract would end immediately. The team had already had its first case earlier that same year when Danilo Hondo tested positive. “Ever since then we’d been sat on an economic powder keg. I would have gone totally bankrupt,” Holczer said.

    Leipheimer went on to finish sixth overall in the 2005 Tour de France, 11:21 behind winner Lance Armstrong. a few weeks later he won the Deutschland Tour, beating Jan Ullrich. Leipheimer finished 13th in this year’s Tour de France, while riding with Lance Armstrong in the RadioShack team.

    Gerolsteiner announced in September 2007...

  • Lance Armstrong announces the Quiznos Pro Challenge

    Lance Armstrong announces the inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge stage race, set to take place in Colorado in August 2011.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2010, 19:43 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Colorado gains UCI-sanctioned stage race in 2011

    Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong officially announced the inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge set to take place next year from August 22-28. The seven-stage event, starting and finishing in Denver, Colorado, will be managed by Medalist Sports LLC and takes a prominent place on the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar as a 2.1 level event.

    The announcement was made at a press conference held on the front steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building in front a crowd of approximately 1,000 people convened to later take part in a social bike ride lead by Armstrong, who announced the ride via Twitter several days prior.

    While the Quiznos Pro Challenge will start and finish in Denver the details of the stage race were limited. Ellen Kramer, chief of communications for Quiznos, noted that the organization recently opened the bidding process for cities interested in hosting a start or finish during the stage race and they will begin reviewing those bids on Thursday, August 5.

    According to Kramer, Quiznos heard about the possibility of an international stage race coming to Colorado and contacted Governor Ritter with a sponsorship proposal. When asked about the length of the Quiznos commitment to the race Kramer said, "Long term, no specific years. Years to come."

    Governor Ritter added that the Colorado Tourism Office has an understanding with the bike race and will provide an undisclosed amount of support. Furthermore, it is undetermined if Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation will have a specific relationship with the race.

    A stage race in Colorado has been under discussion for years but has never quite came to terms. The proposed event was thought to mimic that of the former Coors Classic held between 1979-88 and considered one of the toughest events in the world in its day.

    Armstrong expressed an interest in bringing a stage race, as esteemed as the former Coors Classic,...

  • Cure well prepared for junior worlds time trial

    Amy Cure (TAS) collected her second gold medal of the championships in the U19 women's points race
    Article published:
    August 05, 2010, 3:02 BST
    Greg Johnson

    17-year-old time triallist loves Italian course

    Australia’s Amy Cure is feeling confident ahead of the UCI Junior Road World Championships, which commence in Offida, Italy on Friday. At just 17 years of age Cure will contest Friday’s time trial event, but the Tasmanian won’t be a member of the squad for Sunday’s road race.

    Cure spoke to Cyclingnews after she’d previewed the 15.1 kilometre course on Wednesday. Cure will be joined by Jessica Allen and Sinead Noonan as the three Australian entrants in the junior women’s time trial race.

    “Leading up to the championships I have had good preparation in Adelaide at a pre-world’s camp with the track team, as well as doing some training on the road,” she said. “As I went over the time trial today it felt great. I loved the course. Whether it was suited to me or it was adrenalin, I don’t care, it was fast.

    “I cannot wait until the race,” she added. “It shall be a very quick time trial and I hope to be right up amongst the top riders.”

    After the time trial event Cure’s focus will turn to the UCI Junior Track World Championships which take place in Montichiari, Italy from August 11.

    Click here to see a full schedule, maps and start list for the 2010 UCI Junior Road World Championships.

  • Astana interested in Schleck brothers

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) waves from the podium at Clasica San Sebastian
    Article published:
    August 05, 2010, 9:55 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Kazakh team still in search of new leader

    With cycling's transfer season in full swing, one major team that still needs to substitute its outgoing leader is Alexandre Vinokourov's Astana squad. With three-times Tour de France winner Alberto Contador officially off to Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank-SunGard outfit next year, the Kazakh team now lacks a Grand Tour contender.

    Speaking at the Criterium de Castillon-la-Bataille in France on Tuesday this week, Astana rider and decision maker Vinokourov told the newspaper Sud-Ouest that his team was interested in "(Denis) Menchov, (Roman) Kreuziger and - why not - the Schleck brothers."

    Even though Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and his elder brother are widely expected to join a new team in their home country of Luxembourg, Vinokourov did not seem fazed by this. "To the best of my knowledge, nothing has been signed yet," he added.

    All options thus remain open for Astana, whose contract negotiations seem to be well under way. Rabobank's triple Grand Tour winner Menchov, who rounded out the podium at this year's Tour de France, may be a more realistic possibility for the Kazakh team than the Schlecks, however. The brothers are allegedly already committed to signing for RadioShack in the unlikely case that their deal with the new Luxembourg squad does not work out.

    Liquigas' Kreuziger, who came ninth at the 2010 Tour, is potentially a very talented GC rider and just 24 years of age, but he is also still a rough diamond lacking the years of experience a Grand Tour leader needs for victory.

    Meanwhile, Vinokourov paid tribute to Contador, and insists that there are no hard feelings in the wake of the announcement of his departure. "I would have preferred Alberto to stay, but he can do what he wants and those who go with him, too," said the Kazakh. "That's just pro cycling. With Alberto on the team, we have won the Tour de France twice and the Giro d'Italia, that's a good outcome. If he got a better proposal, it's...

  • Contador's agent downplays Grand Tour triple goal

    Alberto Contador was easy to spot in his yellow kit.
    Article published:
    August 05, 2010, 11:53 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Focus is on the Tour de France, says brother Fran

    The brother and agent of Alberto Contador has poured cold water on Saxo Bank team boss Bjarne Riis' intentions to try for a Grand Tour Grand Slam with the triple Tour de France winner in the next two years.

    Speaking to Spanish Eurosport on Wednesday, Fran Contador downplayed the Danish team manager's announcement. "I think this must have been a translation mistake," said Fran Contador when asked about the immensely ambitious plan to win all three Grand Tours in a single season. "To win the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta in one year is quite simply impossible. We have always been clear: the Tour de France is the main objective and we will work towards this in the two coming years."

    In the history of cycling, a clean sweep of the three major tours has never been done, not even by Eddy Merckx who used to win many races in a season alongside his five Tour de France victories. With two more Tour victories, Contador could join the prestigious ranks of five-time winners Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Merckx and Miguel Indurain, but it seems that he and his new team manager have yet to finalise the exact objectives of their collaboration.

    Contador himself has not yet reacted to Riis' statements. The Spaniard has raced his last event wearing Astana kit, a post-Tour criterium in Castillon-la-Bataille on Tuesday, and is now taking a holiday before preparing for next season with Saxo Bank-SunGard.

  • Basque councils back Vuelta return

    The peloton rides through the stunning Basque region of Spain.
    Article published:
    August 05, 2010, 12:55 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Spanish team directors also voice their support for Vuelta’s Basque stages

    There has been widespread and enthusiastic support within the Basque Country for the proposal to return the Vuelta a España to the region for the first time since 1978. Most importantly, the mayors in Bilbao and Vitoria, the two Basque cities mooted for stage finishes during the 2011 Vuelta, have declared their support for the project. However, both mayors admitted that the respective city councils would have to debate the proposal before final approval could be given.

    Bilbao mayor Iñaki Azkuna, writing on his Facebook page while on holiday, said that he had been pushing for the Basque Country to host major sporting events such as the Vuelta or Tour de France for a decade. Speaking to El Correo, Bilbao’s representative for sporting affairs, Jon Sustatxa, also offered his backing, saying: “In principle, all sporting events of this magnitude are positive for Bilbao and will be generate money in the local economy. But what matters most is the way in which the city will be able to promote itself.”

    Vitoria’s mayor, Patxi Lazcoz, was cautious in his comments, telling El Correo: “We’ve still not been told how much hosting a stage might cost us. But when we get an official proposal we will discuss and evaluate it.” But he described the prospect of the Vuelta’s return to the city for the first time since 1972 as a “fantastic dream”.

    He added: “The Basque Country is a land of cyclists and there will be many fans of the sport who will be relishing the arrival of a race like this.” Lazcoz also emphasized the economic benefits the Vuelta is likely to bring to Vitoria.

    Miguel Madariaga, former manager of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team and now president of the Fundación Euskadi that promotes cycling in the region, also welcomed the prospect of the Vuelta’s return. “It’s good for cycling… our fans and our members are...

  • Leipheimer to ride Tour of Utah

    Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack)
    Article published:
    August 05, 2010, 13:13 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack man will take part as solo rider in Utah race

    Levi Leipheimer will compete in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah presented by Zions Bank, which begins on August 17. As his RadioShack team will not be participating, Leipheimer will take part as a lone rider in the six-day event and is expected to ride in the colours of Mellow Johnny’s, Lance Armstrong’s bike shop in Austin, Texas.

    Race president Steve Miller was pleased to announce the former US Postal rider’s participation. “Racers of Levi’s calibre enhance the competition on the course and his participation speaks volumes about the professionalism and reputation of the Tour of Utah,” Miller said. “We have captured the attention of the best cyclists in the world and we plan to make sure their experience here is a good one.”

    Leipheimer has been the subject of some controversy in recent weeks. He was implicated by Floyd Landis in his allegations of doping among American riders and suspicions regarding his blood values in 2005 were voiced by his former Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer at the presentation of his book Garantiert Positiv (“Guaranteed Positive”) in Germany this week.

  • Tondo breaks collarbone

    Xavier Tondo (Cervelo) leaves Cunego behind on the Col de Vende.
    Article published:
    August 05, 2010, 13:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Cervélo TestTeam rider remains focused on Vuelta objectives

    Cervélo TestTeam rider Xavier Tondo suffered a broken collarbone after a crash in the fourth stage of the Tour of Poland on Wednesday.

    "Xavier suffered a break of his right collarbone," said team doctor Andreas Goesele. "We will not perform surgery; he will recover completely without it. This way he can start training again in a reasonably short time."

    Tondo, a stage winner in Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a Catalunya this year, nevertheless remains focused on his next objective, the Vuelta a Espana. "I knew the final of yesterday's stage was pretty tricky so I went to the front to be safer and I felt really good," said the Spaniard.

    "I took a drink and I didn't see the gap in the road. I went down and when I stood up I immediately felt that my collarbone was broken. Fortunately it is a little fracture, and I hope to be fit in time for my next goal, the Vuelta a España."