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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 18, 2010

Date published:
February 18, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Oman peloton makes Team Sky pay for their aggression

    Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    February 17, 2010, 19:02 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Hammond angry with Team Sky's tactics

    The huge crowd at the finish of the fourth stage of the Tour of Oman did not realise it but they had witnessed the most aggressive stage of the race and perhaps the first real evidence that Team Sky's early season success and the way they ride is starting to irritate some of their rivals.

    As the riders got a wipe down, changed and quickly readied for the long drive back to the hotel, the details of what happened out on the road started to emerge. And it became clear that several teams were quietly pleased that Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen had lost the race lead because of the way the new British team had ridden.

    Just exactly what happened during the 187km stage is very difficult to understand, with almost everyone Cyclingnews talked to giving a different version of events.

    Boasson Hagen made a fundamental error by stopping for a nature break so late in the stage, 55km from the finish, but other riders then took advantage and attacked, breaking one of professional cycling's key unwritten rules.

    The Team Sky riders were especially angry with the Cervélo TestTeam but some of the other teams had also worked hard in the decisive breakaway to make sure Boasson Hagen lost the race lead.

    Opinions on who was right and who was wrong continued over dinner as the 126 riders ate together in the official race hotel. One directeur sportif who did not want to be named was happy that Team Sky had been taught a lesson. Another felt sorry for Boasson Hagen and said he'd have never let his riders attack in that kind of situation.

    Roger Hammond justified the Cervélo Test Team's tactic by revealing how Team Sky had ridden earlier in the stage.

    "They brought it upon themselves," the veteran British rider told Cyclingnews.

    "I can understand they're pissed off because it was a hard race on the front. Unfortunately that's what comes from having the leader's jersey. It's a responsibility....

  • Papp pleads guilty to distributing drugs

    Joe Papp testifies during the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing.
    Article published:
    February 17, 2010, 21:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    Witness in Landis case faces time in prison

    Joe Papp, an elite-level cyclist who testified for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the 2007 Floyd Landis case, pleaded guilty today in a Pittsburgh federal court to two counts of conspiracy to distribute performance enhancing drugs.

    The 34-year-old faces up to five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to sell human growth hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) over the Internet, according to the Associated Press.

    Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen said Papp earned in excess of $80,000 between September 2006 and September 2007 selling drugs to 187 cyclists and other athletes both in the United States and internationally. The identities of Papp's customers were not revealed in court.

    At the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing in which Landis attempted to overturn his 2006 Tour de France doping violation involving synthetic testosterone, Papp provided accounts of how testosterone gel aided the recovery of cyclists during stage races like the Tour. The testimony directly contradicted opening statements by Landis's defense attorneys to the effect that testosterone does not benefit racers in stage races.

    Papp also admitted in his testimony to taking EPO, HGH, caffeine and a variety of other substances for performance enhancement purposes during his cycling career.

    Papp himself served a two-year suspension for a positive testosterone test during the 2006 Tour of Turkey.

  • Halliday not targeting second New Zealand title

    Open women's time trial champion Amber Halliday points to her tattoo in respect for the late Amy Gillett who competed in these championships before she was tragically killed in a car accident in Germany.
    Article published:
    February 18, 2010, 0:03 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Former rower has lost element of surprise

    Australian Time Trial Champion Amber Halliday will return to the site of her first cycling success - the Women’s Tour of New Zealand - next week, but she isn’t aiming for a second title. Halliday was a largely unknown rider at last year’s event, with the former rower surprising everyone as she claimed the Admiral Hill stage victory and subsequently the overall win.

    “It would be nice to have a good ride in NZ but part of the reason for my win last year is that people didn't know who I was and what I was capable of, not even me really,” Halliday told Cyclingnews. “I'm guessing that this year will be different.”

    Instead Halliday will play a domestique role for team-mate and fellow Australian national champion Ruth Corset. The pair will be joined by Australians Jessie Maclean and Davina Summers and South African pairing Cherise Taylor and Charlotte Van de Merve.

    “I'm lucky enough to be in a team with Ruth Corset, so I'm looking forward to taking up the super-domestique role to help her out,” said Halliday. “There is a time trial I believe, so my individual aim is to honour the national champion jersey in that. Beyond that, it's all about the team.”

    Halliday has spent most of this week in Melbourne, Australia where the Australian Institute of Sport has held a training camp focused on time trialing. The camp involved recorded rides over the course that will be used in this year’s UCI World Road Championships and sessions in Monash University’s wind tunnel.

  • Howard shows his sprinting skills in Oman

    Leigh Howard (Team HTC - Columbia) wins the sprint.
    Article published:
    February 18, 2010, 0:12 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Omnium world champion beats Bennati, Boonen

    As Leigh Howard wiped his face clean after winning stage four of the Tour of Oman, he still couldn't believe what he'd done. The 20-year-old Australian is the current Omnium world track champion but had just beaten Daniele Bennati and Tom Boonen on the uphill finish in Nakhal.

    "To beat guys like that in my second ever senior race and in my first race with the new team is a wonderful feeling," Howard said before heading to the podium.

    "I'm over the moon. I've been sprinting for Bernie Eisel but today I spoke to him with 30km to go, when we'd got away, and told him I had the legs and he said 'okay',” added Howard. “He took me to about 500 metres to go and then I came off seventh or eighth wheel, so I think I sprinted really well."

    Thanks to the stage winner's 10-second time bonus, Howard also moved up to fourth overall, just six seconds behind new race leader Bennati.

    Howard only turned 20 in October and the Tour of Oman is his first race as a professional with HTC-Columbia. But he had the confidence and the form to go for the win.

    "I'd only ridden one previous race with the pros, the Tour of Ireland last year, so to come here and beat some of the top guys in the peloton is an amazing feeling.

    “I think it being a smaller group of riders like at today's finish was an advantage for me because I'm not so used to the big bunch sprints,” he explained. “That should come in the future.

    "I didn't feel too well yesterday and went a bit early on stage two but today was different. Some of my teammates were caught out when the split happened and the front group got away, but we powered across the gap in about a kilometre. After that, I felt confident I could go for the win."

    Daniele Bennati was surprised to be beaten in the sprint and shouted out 'Who's that?' when Howard went past him to win. Now he knows.

  • Gerrans testing himself as week long specialist

    Simon Gerrans (Cervélo TestTeam), 29, wins Vuelta a España stage 10 to Murcia
    Article published:
    February 18, 2010, 0:23 GMT
    Richard Moore

    Australian aiming for Paris-Nice, Ardennes Classics

    Simon Gerrans has yet to make his debut for Team Sky, with the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol starting February 21 set to be the Australian’s first outing in his new colours. But after spending much of the winter training in Spain, he is optimistic he will be in more than decent form for his first major target of the year, Paris-Nice.

    The ‘race to the sun’ should offer a clue as to whether Gerrans, who has won a stage in each of the last three Grand Tours he has started, can re-style himself as a general classification rider. The 29-year-old is taking a new approach this season, targeting week-long races, though he hopes to maintain his well-deserved reputation as a master opportunist, with an apparently innate sense for sniffing out the right break, then winning from it, on tough stages and in one-day races.

    He offers a neat, if rather modest, explanation for this ability. “I’m not strong enough to go with the best climbers, and not fast enough to win a bunch sprint, so my best opportunity to win is to go with the breakaway,” said Gerrans. “By putting that emphasis on it, and working really hard at it, the luckier I’ve got.”

    But this season he is planning to add another string to his bow. “I want to put an emphasis on Paris-Nice and target the overall,” said Gerrans. “It’s not something I’ve really done for European races before, and I’m not expecting big things in the first year, but it’s something I want to work towards.

    “I want to keep my strengths in one-day races,” he added. “But I also want to start working on new things. I think week-long stage races can complement [my goals in one-day races] quite well. I can try both, and if it doesn’t work out I can go back to what I know I’m good at.”

    In terms of what he could be capable of in Paris-Nice, Gerrans confessed he...

  • Phillips finds a home with Colavita-Baci

    Elite women's podium (L-R): Evelyn Stevens (CRCA), Jessica Phillips (Lip Smackers) and Alison Powers (Team Type 1).
    Article published:
    February 18, 2010, 9:20 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    United States time trial champ aims to improve

    Jessica Phillips jumped back on the women's pro cycling radar when she won the United States of America Time Trial Championships last year. Now she is gearing up for an international comeback, combing US stage races with her Colavita-Baci team and some overseas racing with the USA National Team in 2010.

    "For the 2010 season I would really like to dial in my time trialing and become a strong GC rider," Phillips told Cyclingnews. "I am always motivated to help the team win races and I want Colavita-Baci to be the strongest team out there.

    "I will also focus on some races with the US National team and I would like to make a name for myself internationally," she added. "That being said, I am really happy to help either team win races and take whatever role I need to make that happen."

    Phillips won the US Road Race Championship in 2002 and went on the compete for some of the most well-known teams in the world. She rode with the US-based team Saturn in 2003 and German-based Nurnberger in 2004, when she abruptly walked away from professional cycling mid-season.

    Phillips returned to professional racing in last summer with Lipsmackers and by the end of the season she had earned her second stars and stripes jersey, this time in the time trial. Lipsmackers offered her a contract renewal however the team unexpectedly disbanded in November last year.

    "I felt loyal to Lipsmackers and I wanted to be an integral part in developing a strong and cohesive women's team," Phillips said. "After Lipsmackers fell through, Colavita-Baci still honoured the contract they had offered me, and I greatly respect that."

    The Colavita-Baci Women's Cycling Team was formerly known as Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light. The team's star sprinter Tina Pic has retired and taken over the responsibility of directeur sportif along side former teammate Rachel Heal.

    "I truly believe that Tina will make a great directeur,"...

  • Colnago expands website with seven languages

    Article published:
    February 18, 2010, 9:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian bike manufacturer also introduces Colnago Club has gone international, presenting its website in seven different languages. Bike fans from around the world can now check out their favourite bikes online.

    The Italian bike manufacturer revamped its website at the beginning of February, presenting it in Italian and English. Now it has added French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese versions.

    “The addition of five more versions means the site is now available in languages spoken by three billion people worldwide,” the company said.

    “Colnago Made in Italy now speaks seven languages, so it’s easier than ever for us to keep in touch with Colnago fans and riders all over the world” said company founder Ernest Colnago.

    The website doesn't just inform about the bikes though. It also has news about the company and the teams and races it sponsors, as well as “an interactive timeline detailing landmarks in Colnago’s technical and racing history.”

    Colnago also now offers the “Colnago Club,” a special area for its bike owners and fans. This club, has its own area on the website, and allows users to upload photos of their bikes, and also offers exclusive downloads and specials.


  • Papp: Charges relate to distant time, place

    Joe Papp testifies during the 2007 Floyd Landis arbitration hearing.
    Article published:
    February 18, 2010, 10:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former rider comments on guilty drug distribution plea

    An admission of guilt to drug distribution charges yesterday doesn’t represent the person Joe Papp has become, the former rider has said. Papp entered a guilty plea to two counts of conspiracy to distribute performance enhancing drugs in a Pittsburgh federal court.

    "What happened today has its origins in a very distant time and place, during a part of my life that long ago closed,” Papp told Cyclingnews. “It's unfortunate in a way, the timing of this announcement, since its somewhat out-of-context and not representative of the person who I've become.

    “Having escaped the corrupt system in which doping was a practice as accepted and normal as brushing one's teeth, I strongly believe in clean-sport and for several years have been fighting against doping both publicly and in ways that I simply can't comment on,” he added.

    Assistant US Attorney Mary McKeen said Papp earned in excess of $80,000USD between September 2006 and September 2007 selling drugs to 187 cyclists and other athletes. Papp said he’s unable to detail his involvement in the fight against doping since selling human growth hormones (HGH) and Erythropoietin (EPO) via the internet.

    “I wish I could, though,” he said. “I'd like to help everyone to understand the enormity of the efforts being made to rid sport of drugs, but prudence and good legal sense dictate that I don't. Nevertheless, this is certainly not an excuse for behavior I previously engaged-in.

    “So I acknowledged my guilt for past actions and continue to do my part to ensure that young cyclists aren't led astray into situations where they have to choose between the needle and their conscience," he added.

    Papp testified for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in the Floyd Landis case, providing accounts of how testosterone gel aided the recovery of cyclists during stage races like the Tour. Papp himself served a two-year...