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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 27, 2014

Date published:
February 27, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Cobbles to feature prominently in 2015 Worlds in Richmond

    The cobbles of Libby Hill Park in Richmond, Virginia.
    Article published:
    February 26, 2014, 17:58 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Tours in Utah, Colorado, Alberta could get a boost from US Worlds

    Organisers of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia yesterday revealed the courses which will be used to determine next year's champions, announcing two cobblestone sections which are expected to be decisive in the 16.5km urban road race circuit.

    "Traditionally the UCI frowns upon cobbles in the world championships," said Jim Birrell, managing partner of Medalist Sports. "But when we established 5th and Broad Streets as our start line, we knew we had to work with the UCI to incorporate Libby Hill. We went ahead and put that in there, and had a site visit with the UCI officials late last year."

    The UCI approved the use of Libby Hill Park, one of Richmond's first parks, which first featured in the US Cycling Open in 2007 won by Canadian Svein Tuft. The climb isn't particularly steep, but the cobbles are as rough as those of the Kapelmuur which until recently featured as a critical sector in the Tour of Flanders. It falls right at 3km to go on the 2015 road race course, and is followed quickly by the 23rd Street climb, which kicks up to 19 percent and is 110m in length.

    "We found an old route from Tour DuPont that went up 23rd street. It's enough to wreck havoc on the peloton," Birrell said.

    The Richmond course is unique in that the entire road race will take place on the circuit, unlike last year's race in Florence in which the elite men spent the first 100km of their race making their way from Lucca to the finishing circuits. The fans in Richmond will see the men go by 16 times.

    "We're concentrating all of the efforts in the city of Richmond," Birrell said. The outlying areas will be featured in the team time trial and elite men's individual time trial, but otherwise the city hosts the vast majority of the courses.

    The elite men's and...

  • Cassani names Ferretti as adviser to Italian national team

    Davide Cassani at the 1986 Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    February 26, 2014, 20:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Marco Velo set for time trial coaching role

    Davide Cassani has named his former Ariostea and MG-Technogym directeur sportif Giancarlo Ferretti as an adviser to the Italian national team. The announcement came in Camaiore, Tuscany, where Cassani is holding his first gathering since he was appointed as Italian road coach following the resignation of Paolo Bettini at the turn of the year.

    “I rode for Giancarlo for five years and I really learned a lot from him, so I’ve asked him to be my adviser,” Cassani told Tuttobici. “I’m new in this role, not only as national team manager but as a coach, and I want a valuable man next to me, a consigliere who can help me above in terms of management.”

    Nicknamed the “Iron Sergeant” for his supposedly authoritarian approach to team management, Ferretti spent thirty years as a directeur sportif at Bianchi, Ariostea, MG-Techogym and Fassa Bortolo, where he guided Moreno Argentin, Rolf Sorensen, Michele Bartoli, Bjarne Riis, Pascal Richard and Alessandro Petacchi, among others.

    Ferretti’s management career was not without its controversies, however. In 1997, he was fined by the Italian Cycling Federation after doping products were found by police during a search at the MG-Technogym hotel at Carano Fiemme during that year’s Giro d’Italia.

    When Fassa Bortolo withdrew from cycling in 2005 – the year of Dario Frigo’s second doping arrest while at the team – Ferretti began to put together a new team supposedly under the sponsorship of Sony Ericsson, only for it to emerge that he had been the victim of a hoax. Gilberto Simoni and Stuart O’Grady were among the riders who had been poised to sign with Ferretti.

    Meanwhile, earlier this week, Marco Velo told Gazzetta dello Sport that he will serve as a time trialling coach in Cassani’s Italian...

  • Wilcoxson looks for continued success at Optum women's team

    Jade Wilcoxson shows off her national championship kit as she flies down a descent.
    Article published:
    February 26, 2014, 21:41 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    US road champion begins season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    To say Jade Wilcoxson had a breakthrough year in 2013 is to stretch the meaning of the term to its maximum potential, and as she enters her third season as a professional cyclist, all with Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, the 35-year-old Oregonian faces a year with plenty to live up to for both herself and her team.

    A brief synopsis of Wilcoxson's multi-disciplined accomplishments from 2013 are as follows: silver medal to Katie Compton at cyclo-cross Nationals, 15th at the historic Louisville, Kentucky-hosted 'cross Worlds, the winner of the inaugural US women's professional road race title, stage wins at Sea Otter and Nature Valley Grand Prix, part of the team which finished second overall on the NRC standings, part of the team which finished eighth in the women's team time trial world championship, national champion on the track in both the individual and team pursuits, plus as track season stretched into 2014, part of a team which finished second in the team pursuit at the final UCI Track World Cup round of the season in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Wilcoxson qualified for the UCI Track World Championships, starting today in Cali, Colombia, but opted to end her stint on the boards earlier this year to find a bit of downtime and then make it to Oxnard, California instead for the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies' combined men's and women's training camp which wrapped up this past Sunday.

    In need of pre-road season base miles plus time with her family, Wilcoxson was able to combine both into a...

  • Gallery: Riders prepare for Le Tour de Langkawi

    The Tour de Langkawi team presentation
    Article published:
    February 26, 2014, 22:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team presentation and pre-race training in Malaysia

    Both riders and their bikes are ready for the 19th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi, and as the race motto goes, the heat was indeed back - both literally and figuratively.

    A strong field assembled for the team presentation on the tiny island off of the Malaysian west coast in steamy conditions, with the "hot favorite", Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge), looking to move up from his second place finish in last year's race, but is unsure of his current state of form.

    “Last year it was my first time in Malaysia and I came second in Le Tour de Langkawi. I hope to do better this year! For many of the Europeans, it’s the first race of the year. I don’t know how good my shape is. In my preparation, I’ve been dealing with food poisoning and crashes but now I’m feeling good. Stage 4 to Genting Highlands will be the main stage for the overall classification.”

    Belkin's Theo Bos is also looking for some revenge after being knocked out of last year's event by illness after winning two stages. "Looking at the map, there’s a potential for a lot of bunch sprints, probably eight or nine out of ten stages. I haven’t won a race yet this year but I rode the Tour of Qatar and the legs were feeling good."

    The Tour de Langkawi allows teams of only six riders, making it more challenging for the sprinters' teams to control the race and line up a powerful lead-out, but Bos is confident that his Belkin team can get the job done.

    "We have a well-balanced team with excellent lead-out men for me," Bos said. "It’s great to have an Olympic champion, Graeme Brown,...

  • Strong OPQS teams for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has his eyes on the classics.
    Article published:
    February 27, 2014, 2:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Boonen "excited" for Belgian races

    Having once again conquered the flat straight roads of Qatar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step return to racing in Europe buoyed by early-season performances with Tom Boonen looking like recapturing his blistering 2012 form while super domestigue Niki Terpstra enters the cobbled classics having won the overall at the Tour of Qatar. The Belgian squad enter both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with strong squads capable of winning both races.

    In 2013 at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Stijn Vandenbergh made it into the breakaway but couldn't match Luca Paolini (Katusha) in the sprint and finished second. 2014 sees the return of the Muur-Kapelmuur to the race which has been excluded from the previous three editions which is likely change racing conditions.

    The reintroduction of the climb to the Omloop Het Nieuwsbladit comes at the 81km mark in the 69th edition which features several short sections ranging from steep to false flat, and some are cobbled while some are on asphalt. The Wolvenberg is on asphalt which reaches 17% at its steepest. The challenge at the Haaghoek are the cobbles and the weather could add an extra challenge to the parcours.

    "Omloop is first race of the season in Belgium," Tom Boonen said. "Everyone is excited about it. It's a race a bit different from the other Classics because it's the first one, but also tactically the teams tend to ride it differently than how they do the other cobbled Classics.

    "There are a lot of riders in good condition and there will be a great fight to stay in the front. But we have a good and balanced team, and we are looking forward to this race to try and get a good result. As usual the wind will be a factor....

  • Judge rules against Armstrong in SCA Promotions lawsuit

    Lance Armstrong retired for a second time in his career in 2011
    Article published:
    February 27, 2014, 9:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell dismisses FRS energy products fraud case

    A Texas judge has cleared the way for an arbitration panel to review the $12 million in bonuses paid by SCA Promotions to Lance Armstrong before admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs.

    Judge Tonya Parker has decided not to stop the panel from considering whether the Dallas-based agency should be repaid the bonuses it awarded Armstrong for three of his seven Tour de France victories.

    Jeff Tillotson, an attorney for SCA Promotions, said on Wednesday that the panel is set to meet next month to consider his request for the repayment of $12 million in bonuses and penalties for lying under oath by Armstrong.

    SCA Promotions filed one of several lawsuits against Armstrong after he admitted to doping.

    Court win

    While the SCA ruling is a further blow to Armstrong as he faces several lawsuits, a Los Angeles judge dismissed a fraud lawsuit, ruling that he engaged in mere "puffery" and not illegal false advertising when claiming that FRS energy products were his secret weapon for success.

    In 2013, Armstrong was sued by a group of FRS consumers who sought more than $5 million from FRS and Armstrong for misleading them into buying their products, which include energy drinks.

    Armstrong claimed the products were his "secret weapon" behind his seven consecutive Tour wins when in fact doping was his real secret weapon, according to their suit. The plaintiffs argued that if they had known the truth about his doping, they would not have bought FRS products.

    Federal judge Beverly Reid O'Connell disagreed with the plaintiffs' argument. "The court finds that defendants' statements about a 'secret weapon' constitute non-actionable puffery,"...

  • Androni will not sign Briceño after biological passport was denied

    Jimmy Briceño (Loteria Del Tachira) wins the stage
    Article published:
    February 27, 2014, 10:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Venezuelan reported to have recorded haematocrit of 63%

    Vuelta al Táchira winner Jimmy Briceño recorded a haemotocrit level of 63% according to newspaper Diario de los Andes. The 27-year-old Venezuelan rider underwent tests for his biological passport after he signed with Pro Continental team Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela. The team decided not to pursue the signing of Briceño.

    "Blood analysis resulted in a worrying haematocrit level of 63 and a haemoglobin level of 21," the national federation told Briceño after a meeting, according to Diario de los Andes. He was therefore denied a biopassport which he needs to be able to compete in a Pro Continental team.

    Briceño and his teammate and countryman Carlos Gálviz signed a contract with Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela in February. Briceño had just won the Vuelta al Táchira for the second time in his career with Gálviz as runner-up. "We contract the best young riders in Venezuela," team manager Gianni Savio said when visiting the country in February.

    The Italian team works together with the Venezuelan government and cycling federation. "These riders from Venezuela are the future of cycling in this country. We want to let them grow and prepare them for the big leap to the World Tour," Savio said.

    Briceño was part of the Lotería del Táchira team for the past four seasons. He won the Vuelta al Táchira in 2012 and 2014. He also managed to win three stages in the UCI 2.2 race in Venezuela.





  • Langeveld sees possibilities at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) leads Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    February 27, 2014, 11:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman approaches weekend without stress

    Sebastian Langeveld left Orica-Greenedge for Garmin-Sharp this season to focus more on the Classics. "After the Spring campaign in 2013 we decided to part ways because Greenedge would focus less on the Classics. Garmin-Sharp is a team with huge quality when it comes to these races. We hope to be strong as a team," Langeveld told Wielerflits.

    Langeveld won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2011 after beating Juan Antonio Flecha in a two-up sprint, although this year he feels less pressure for the traditional opening race of the Belgian season.

    "I want to peak a bit later this year. That's the difference with 2011 when the Omloop was my primary goal," Langeveld said. "In my first race this season, in Dubai, I felt that my form is good but am not at 100 per cent yet. I want to use Paris-Nice to get to that point. I hope to be good in the other Classics. Therefore I'm going to the Omloop relatively stress-free." 

    It doesn't mean that Langeveld won't try for a good result if the opportunity arises. "I hope to be there in the final of the race. When there is a chance to win, I won't let it slip. I'll give it 200 per cent."

    For Langeveld, Tom Boonen is the man to beat. "He's very motivated to go for a result after last year's crash [in the Tour of Flanders]. I hope to be among a group that sits just below Boonen in terms of favourites with riders like [Greg] Van Avermaet, [Jürgen] Roelandts and [Luca] Paolini. If I succeed in that, everything is possible." 

    Garmin-Sharp has a strong line-up for the Classics season with former Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens and Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren. The quality in the team is not a...