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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 23, 2012

Date published:
February 23, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • CAS hearing on Sevilla case fixed for March 21

    Article published:
    February 22, 2012, 12:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch

    The UCI’s appeal to extend Oscar Sevilla’s doping ban from six months to two years will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on March 21.

    Sevilla tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch during the Vuelta a Colombia in August 2010 but was not formally sanctioned by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) until September of last year. When the RFEC then decided to hand Sevilla a six-month suspension, the UCI announced its intention to appeal the matter to CAS.

    Hydroxyethyl starch is a blood plasma volume expander that can be used as a masking agent for EPO. The specified substance is illegal only if used intravenously, and Sevilla blamed his positive test on the treatment he received in a Colombian hospital following a crash. The RFEC took this explanation into account when handing him the reduced suspension.

    Ezequiel Mosquera also tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch in the autumn of 2010, after finishing second at the Vuelta a España, as did his Xacobeo Galicia teammate David Garcia. Both men were ultimately handed two-year bans.

    Sevilla raced for much of the 2011 cycling season for Gobernacion de Antioquia - Indeportes Antioqua, including the Vuelta a Colombia, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge before beginning his suspension on September 14 last. His ban expires on March 12, a little over one week before the CAS hearing that will decide whether or not it is to be extended.

    In 2006, Sevilla was fired by T-Mobile following his implication in the Operacion Puerto blood doping scandal, although he never served a suspension for the...

  • Brice Feillu to swerve Paris-Nice test

    Brice Feillu is new to the Saur-Sojasun team for 2012
    Article published:
    February 22, 2012, 13:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    French rider still getting back to full race fitness after injury

    A top half finish at Haut Var last weekend served notice that he is on his way back, but Saur-Sojasun's Brice Feillu will not be ready to tackle Paris-Nice at the start of next month according to his team.

    Feillu suffered a broken collarbone during the winter, with the injury hampering his pre-season preparations and meaning that he is short of the level that the rest of his team have reached. The 26-year-old Frenchman, who is in his first season with Saur-Sojasun after a difficult year riding with Leopard Trek last term, won a stage at the 2009 Tour de France and is hoping to return to similar heights. But with a long season ahead his team do not want to rush him, which means missing Paris-Nice.

    This year's eight stage 'Race To The Sun' takes place from March 4 to 11, and in the opinion of team manager Lylian Lebreton it comes too soon.

    "He broke his collarbone during the offseason and has fallen behind his teammates," Lebreton told L'Equipe. "It is better for him to continue to grow until the Tour of Catalunya (March 19-25). He still has to work rather than embarking on Paris-Nice."

  • Saxo Bank to appear before Licence Commission on Monday

    Article published:
    February 22, 2012, 14:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team risks WorldTour place after Contador suspension

    Bjarne Riis is set to appear before the UCI’s Licence Commission on Monday as it deliberates on whether or not Saxo Bank should retain its WorldTour status following the suspension of Alberto Contador.

    Contador accounted for over 67% of the WorldTour points accumulated by Saxo Bank in 2011, and without his haul, the team would have finished bottom of the team standings and would also have failed to have fulfilled the sporting criterion required for entry into the WorldTour.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport handed Contador a two-year ban for a his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, and all of his 2011 results have been expunged from the record books.

    UCI press officer Enrico Carpani confirmed to Cyclingnews that representatives from Saxo Bank will appear before the UCI Licence Commission on Monday but he said that he does not know how long it will take the commission to reach a verdict.

    “A hearing will take place on Monday, but as the Licence Commission operates independently of the UCI, we cannot say when the final decision will be made,” Carpani said.

    For their part, the Saxo Bank team is putting together its case to present before the Licence Commission. “I can confirm that we have been summoned to a hearing on February 27 and we’re obviously preparing fully for that,” Saxo Bank press officer Anders Damgaard said to

  • Boasson Hagen to miss Omloop Het Nieuwsblad through illness

    Stage 2 winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) is all smiles on the podium.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2012, 17:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider sidelined by a cold

    Edvald Boasson Hagen will sit out the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this weekend due to illness.

    "I'm glad I got the cold now," he said, according to "It would have been worse if it had come later in connection with Paris-Roubaix."

    The 24-year-old Norwegian, who races for Team Sky, has shown he is on good early season form after winning stage 2 of the Tour of Algarve last week.

    In 2011, he finished 41st in the Belgian classic, but in 2010, he was sixth.

  • Mancebo nonplussed by revised 2005 Tour de France result

    Paco Mancebo happy to have another year of racing with the team.
    Article published:
    February 22, 2012, 19:50 GMT
    Clara Cureton

    Spaniard looks ahead with Competitive Cyclist racing team

    Francisco “Paco” Mancebo is quietly preparing for second successful season with the US-based Competitive Cyclist team, formerly named, with a focus toward bettering his 2011 NRC results.

    The Spanish climber’s palmares now boasts an upgrade to third place in the 2005 Tour De France, due to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s recent ruling finding past Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich guilty of doping offences related to the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation, terminating all of his results back to May 2005.

    “That race was seven years ago, and it’s in the past, something I don’t care about anymore. My future is with this team, with Competitive Cyclist and I want to do the best I can with them,” Mancebo said.

    Mancebo was himself implicated in Operación Puerto and was pulled from that year’s Tour de France on the eve of the race. Contrary to reports circulating at the time, Mancebo denies that he ever retired after news of the affair broke.”

    “I never retired. Some journalists said I did, but that never happened,” The 2004 Spanish National Champion told Cyclingnews. “I changed my focus.”

    After spells at teams including Relax-GAM and Rock Racing, at this point in the 35-year-old’s career, racing in the US is what keeps him motivated.

    “It’s a different experience,” he said when asked about how the US racing scene stacks up to his past experiences in Europe. “I feel good here and I like it here.”

    Mancebo, who will once more act as team captain and leader, has saddled up seven times for the...

  • Specialized-lululemon ready for Belgian frontier

    Specialized - lululemon before the start, they would finish as best team
    Article published:
    February 23, 2012, 2:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn next stops for women's team

    After a successful start to the season for Specialized-lululemon in Qatar, where Trixi Worrack picked up a stage win and Chloe Hosking won the best young rider's classification, the fledgling team is now turning its focus toward Europe, with the first foray coming in this weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

    With a light wind, sunshine and relatively warm spring weather forecast for Saturday's race, it's not the typical cold, wet and windy classics conditions, but they may better suit the team having just come from the heat in Qatar.

    Worrack will be counted on again if the race comes down to a small selection, with the German already having shown her strong form in the lead-up to the race.

    The team will stay in Belgium and hit their next race on the Wednesday, Le Samyn des Dames. The French race has normally been run exclusively as a men's event but has expanded to cater for the women as well in 2012.

    Specialized-lululemon for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Le Samyn:

    Chloe Hosking (Aus), Ellen van Dijk (Ned) , Emilia Fahlin (Swe), Katie Colclough (GBr) and Trixi Worrack (Ger)

  • Phinney finally makes senior classics debut in Belgium

    The USA's Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    February 23, 2012, 3:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC ready for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

    Taylor Phinney will finally make his long-awaited debut in the classics this weekend in Belgium, having been sidelined in 2011 due to the spring season due to a knee injury and then concussion from a training incident.

    Saturday's BMC Racing Team roster for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad includes past race winners Philippe Gilbert (2006, 2008) and Thor Hushovd (2009).

    "It's the first big classic for the guys and the first time to check everything: the weather, the team, the materials," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. "So our first objective will be to test everything because we'll be doing the same climbs and cobblestones of Flanders, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem."

    For Phinney, a two-time Under 23 Paris-Roubaix winner, this weekend marks a return to a comfort zone.

    "I've always felt at home racing in Belgium," Phinney said. "The flats, the wind and the cobbles really suit my racing style. I am beyond excited and honored to be lining up with our big classics team. Qatar and Oman were a great experience, as well as great training. The legs are responding well and I am looking forward to testing them this weekend."

    When it comes to Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday Gilbert, Hushovd and Marcus Burghardt sit out while Adam Blythe, Danilo Wyss and Tour of Oman most aggressive classification winner Klaas Lodewyck will be on the start line. Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said much of the team's approach to the 195-kilometre race will depend on how Omloop Het Nieuwsblad plays out.

    "We will have three fresh riders who are free to make the race or an attack or be part of the action right from the start," Baldato said. "The day after Het Nieuwsblad,...

  • Roelandts is a big loss for Classics, says Sergeant

    Marc Sergeant The directeur sportif of Predictor-Lotto
    Article published:
    February 23, 2012, 8:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Course recon over as Lotto banks on Greipel

    Lotto Belisol's team manager Marc Sergeant says that the experience and strength of fast-man Jurgen Roelandts in this weekend's opening classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne will be sorely missed with the team now counting on Kenny de Haes and Andre Greipel solely. In an interview with Sporza Sergeant noted that losing Roelandts had made the team's options in both semi-classics limited.

    "We have a team of really strong riders, but we have no one that can replace the role of Jürgen Roelandts," said Sergeant. "We're definitely missing reliable winners. The flip-side is that it does allow some of our lesser known riders to stand up and shine, someone like Bak or Willems for example."

    Roelandts suffered injuries to his cervical vertebrae at the Tour Down Under after a crash on the Tour Down Under's opening road stage. He has only recently returned to riding, and is expected to make a return to racing in the late spring or early summer. Lotto Belisol will have Andre Greipel to count on in Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne however, the German has returned to his talismanic best having already taken six wins for the season.

    "On Saturday [in Het Volk] we just want to focus on animating the race, the result isn't as important. Sunday however in Kuurne, with Greipel there, that is another matter."

    Lotto Belisol for Omloop Het Neiuwsblad: Lars Ytting Bak (Den), Sander Cordeel (Bel), Jens Debusschere (Bel), Kenny De Haes (Bel), Maarten Neyens (Bel), Mimo Vicente Reynes (Spa), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Frederik Willems (Bel)

    Lotto Belisol for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: André Greipel (Ger), Gregory Henderson (NZl), Lars Bak (Den), Vicente Reynes (Spa), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Sander Cordeel (Bel), Jonas Vangenechten (Bel),...