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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 19, 2013

Date published:
December 19, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Final stage of 2014 USA Pro Challenge decided

    Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp) leads a break over gravel climbs at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 21:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Boulder to Denver stage closes out Colorado race

    The final stage of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge will run from Boulder to Denver, Colorado, as decided by popular vote. The peloton will race through Golden and over Lookout Mountain before three finishing circuits around Denver. The routing decision for the final stage was determined with input from fans.

    "Cycling fans are so passionate and such an important part of the sport, so we decided to give them a voice in the route selection process," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. "We wanted to try something new this year and by incorporating fan feedback we have come up with what is going to be an incredible final day of racing."

    The host cities of stages 1-6 were announced in early November.

    Boulder served as the stage 6 finish in 2012, while Golden drew record crowds as a start city in the same year. Denver has served as the finish city during every edition of the race thus far.

    The USA Pro Challenge will happen August 18-24. The race's complete itinerary is below. Route details will be revealed in the spring of 2014.

    USA Pro Challenge for 2014
    Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 - Aspen and Snowmass Village Circuit Race
    Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 - Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte
    Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 - Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish)
    Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 - Colorado Springs Circuit Race
    Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 - Woodland Park to Breckenridge
    Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 - Vail Individual Time Trial
    Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 - Boulder to Denver

  • Jonathan Breyne provisionally suspended over Clenbuterol

    Jonathan Breyne
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 2:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian rider tested positive in early November

    It has been revealed that Jonathan Breyne recorded a positive test for Clenbuterol on November 5 during the Tour of Taihu Lake. The Belgian federal prosecutor will decide whether Breyne has infringed the doping regulations and the 22-year-old's contract with the UCI Continental To Win-Josan Cycling Team for the 2014 season is now in doubt. His team Crelan-Euphony previously announced it was withdrawing its sponsorship of the road team due to financial reasons.

    Breyne has said he is unsure how he tested positive to the drug which was announced on the same day as Michael Rogers positive test after winning the Japan Cup in October.

    The UCI statement on Breyne's test reads, "the decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Beijing indicating an adverse analytical finding of clenbuterol in a urine sample collected from him in a test during the Tour of Taihu Lake on 5 November 2013."

    Breyen's father, Philippe, told Belga the news of the test was received by mail. "Jonathan has confirmed that he has taken nothing," he said. To Win-Josan's team manager Willy Teirlinck said he would not take hasty decisions regarding Breyen's contract. "A weeping and sobbing Jonathan Breyne told me that he does not know how the stuff came into his body. According Breyne it possibly would have been from his in his diet. His world had collapsed," said Teirlinck.

    "He was going to ride for us from January 1, but if it is true that Breyne has tested positive for the use of clenbuterol is obviously not the case. Chances are that we should look for a replacement,...

  • Cycling Australia responds to provisional suspension of Rogers

    Cycling Australia
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 5:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Recommends 'maximum sentence' for Australian

    Cycling Australia (CA) CEO Adrian Anderson has responded to the provisional suspension of Michael Rogers for a positive clenbuterol test from the Japan Cup, stating the national federation would support a maximum suspension.

    "CA were alerted of the positive test via the UCI media release this morning," said Anderson. "Whilst we respect Michael Rogers' right to defend himself, we will support the maximum sanctions under the WADA code if he is found guilty of doping."

    Rogers can request for his B-sample to be tested but as Rogers does not hold an Australian racing licence, if he is found guilty the sanctions will not be determined by CA. In light of this Anderson added, "CA will support WADA, ASADA and the applicable National Federation in whatever action they deem appropriate."

    While Rogers would escape punishment from CA, Anderson stated that the national body fully supported international efforts to prosecute riders who violate anti-doping rules. "The fact that the drug testing process continues to uncover positive tests should be a lesson to all cyclists that if they choose to dope they can expect to be caught," Anderson said.

    "For too long the sport of cycling has been let down at the international level by drug cheats and CA supports every measure to detect and prosecute doping offenders."

    While CA has become fully committed to clean cycling, evident in its commitment to introduce a strict no needles policy in 2004, Rogers is the second high profile Australian to be caught up in a doping scandal following the admission by Stuart O'Grady in July that he used EPO prior to the 1998 Tour de France.

    In accordance with CA Policy - every staff member,...

  • Nibali's Tour de France not just a race against Froome

    Vincenzo Nibali climbs through the driving snow on Tre Cime en route to the stage win and his first ever overall Giro d'Italia victory.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 9:34 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian calls for clarification of MPCC rules following Pellizotti case

    Another year, another grand tour, another rival from Team Sky. After patiently fielding questions about tackling Bradley Wiggins at the Giro d'Italia through the early months of 2013, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) turns his sights to the Tour de France in 2014 with a certain sense of déjà vu. A thousand inquiries on how to solve a problem like Chris Froome await between now and next July.

    “It’s a long way off, but I’ve never thought about it in terms of Nibali versus Froome, or Astana versus Sky,” Nibali told Cyclingnews at Astana’s training camp in Calpe. “Besides, there are plenty of other riders who have to be taken into consideration, like Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez or Alejandro Valverde. There are some important riders out there.”

    Nibali unseated Froome from the leader's jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico in March by turning the general classification on its head with an aggressive showing on the sinuous stage to Porto Sant'Elpidio. He followed a similar template to put time into Wiggins at Pescara during the Giro's opening week, a day that set the tone for his eventual overall victory.

    It suggested a fundamental difference in styles not just between Nibali and the Sky leaders, but also between the Astana and Sky teams. For all that the Kazakh squad has gone about putting an extensive arsenal of climbing talent at Nibali's disposal, he acknowledged that they are unlikely to try to replicate Sky's tactic of controlling races and gradually whittling down the front group on summit finishes.

    "Sky have some very strong riders who are able to do that particular work. There are clearly very strong guys at Astana too but maybe we interpret the race in a very different way," Nibali said. "Instead of controlling a race from start to finish, we...

  • Report card: RadioShack-Leopard

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) on his way to victory in the time trial
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 10:42 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cancellara and Horner land team's major wins

    RadioShack-Leopard 2013
    WorldTour Ranking: 4th
    Win Count: 24
    Top riders: Fabian Cancellara (7th), Chris Horner (13th), Jan Bakelants (40th), Giacomo Nizzolo (59th)
    Grade: B-

    RadioShack-Leopard took 24 wins during the 2013 season, with Fabian Cancellara proving to be the team's most prolific winner with six victories, while the unexpected Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner and the talented young rider Bob Jungels both finished on four wins each.

    RadioShack was without the suspended Frank Schleck, as he served out a ban for his Xipamide positive at the 2012 Tour de France (he failed to reach an agreement with backer Flavio Becca when his ban expired in July), while Andy Schleck proved not to be a factor for most of this season. Considering his travails earlier in the year, he will hope that his 20th place finish at the Tour de France can at least be a building block for the season to come.

    Hayden Roulston kicked off the 2013 season with the team's first victory at the road race national championships in New Zealand. Next up to the top step of the podium was Bob Jungels at the GP Nobili Rubinetterie-Coppa Citta di Stresa.

    Then it was time for Cancellara to do his Spring Classics thing. March brought victories at E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders. The following week, Cancellara delivered again, this time at Paris-Roubaix to complete the second Flanders-Roubaix double of his career.

    There wasn't much to write home about from the Tour of California, but crowd favorite Jens Voigt proved that age is not slowing him down too much when he won stage five from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach.

    RadioShack-Leopard's most successful month was June, with 10 of the season's victories. Gregory Rast got the month off to a good start with a Tour...

  • Paolo Bellino appointed as general manager of RCS Sport

    RCS Sport
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 11:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian arrives following dismissal of Michele Acquarone

    Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport has appointed Paolo Bellino to the position of general manager. Bellino arrives from the Italian Track and Field Federation and will take up his new role from January 13.

    Bellino’s appointment follows the dismissal of Giro d’Italia director Michele Acquarone earlier this month. Acquarone, who served as Chief Operating Officer of RCS Sport, was fired following an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of some €10 million from the company’s accounts. Acquarone has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

    The 43-year-old Bellino is a former international 400 metres runner, and is currently general secretary of the Italian Track and Field Federation. He has been operations consultant for the International Olympic Committee since 2010 and worked on the organising committees of both the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and the 2013 World Master Games.

    It remains to be seen if Bellino will play as public a role in the organisation of the Giro d’Italia as his predecessor Acquarone, who was a keen proponent of the globalisation of the race and of increased interaction between organisers and fans.

    Mauro Vegni remains as the Giro’s technical director. The experienced Vegni was in charge of the sporting aspects and course design under Acquarone, and he will continue in that role.

    Bellino’s appointment is the third major change in the RCS Sport boardroom since news of the alleged misappropriation first broke in September. Raimondo Zanaboni replaced Flavio Biondi as chairman, while...

  • Spanish stars test out the Worlds 2014 route

    Igor Astarloa, Abraham Olano, Oscar Freire, Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain test the 2014 Worlds course in Ponferrada.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 12:21 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Indurain, Delgado, Freire, Olano and Astarloa brave rain on Ponferrada circuit

    Retired Spanish stars Miguel Indurain, Pedro Delgado, Oscar Freire, Abraham Olano and Igor Astarloa - who have seven World Championships titles and six Tours de France between them - tested out the 2014 World Championships circuit in Ponferrada, Spain on Wednesday. And they almost unanimously described it as “tough, but not excessively so.”

    “It won’t be the toughest World’s in history, but it will wear the riders down” Indurain commented after the five braved light rain as they tackled the 18.2 kilometre circuit. Ponferrada’s 254 kilometre course has 4,284 metres of total climbing in its 14 laps. Its three fairly gentle ascents total 6.2 kilometres of climbing per lap, with a maximum steepness of 11 percent.

    “This won’t end in a bunch sprint, rather the race may well be decided by a small group of riders.”

    “It’s the kind of circuit I’d have liked in my last years as a pro,” added Freire, Spain’s three-time World Champion. “It’s a pity I’m no longer racing.” Freire politely rejected an invitation to stage a comeback in 2014 made to him yesterday by Spanish national trainer Javier Minguez, saying that he had now moved on from being a pro. “I might have the legs if I trained for three months,” Freire said, according to sports daily MARCA, “but I don’t have the head for it any more.”

    “It’s a circuit which gives a lot of opportunities to everybody,” Freire commented, “both the guys who’ll want to break the race apart and those who are trying to bring it all down to a sprint.”

    “It will be difficult to control and very fast. Sometimes a World’s without very difficult climbs can be really tough.”

    Said to be similar in format to...

  • Cancellara: Koppenberg will cause explosion at Tour of Flanders

    Once Fabian Cancellara dropped Peter Sagan and Jurgen Roelandts on the Paterberg, the Swiss powerhouse went into time trial mode for the Tour of Flanders finale.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 13:51 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Trek rider on new Ronde and Milan-San Remo routes

    Fabian Cancellara believes that the revised route of the Tour of Flanders will make the race even more difficult and selective in 2014, pointing to the new positioning of the Koppenberg as a particularly important alteration to the course.

    After complaints that the three laps over the Kwaremont and Paterberg in the finale had made the race too predictable over the past two years, organisers Flanders Classics have altered the route for next season. The Kwaremont-Paterberg combination will now be tackled just twice, while riders will now face the fearsome Koppenberg just 44 kilometres from the finish.

    “I think it will become even harder and more selective. We’ve seen in the past two years that there’s been a selection but not an explosion,” Cancellara told Cyclingnews at Trek Factory Racing's training camp in Benidorm. “The Koppenberg is important because of its position but it depends on who has the legs. The race will be more open but it will also be more difficult, because it’s not just the Paterberg that will make the selection anymore. The Koppenberg will cause the big explosion and then the drama will unfold on the final two climbs.”

    The current Ronde finish at Oudenaarde was first introduced in 2012, and saw the Kwaremont and Paterberg replace the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg as the final two climbs of the race.

    A winner on both courses – he famously dropped Tom Boonen on the Muur in 2010 and repeated the feat against Peter Sagan on the Paterberg this year – Cancellara is...