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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 3, 2011

Date published:
February 03, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • McQuaid: There has never been corruption in the UCI

    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 23:33 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    UCI president "bored" by Landis accusations

    Pat McQuaid would welcome an investigation into alleged corruption at the UCI from any organisation including the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The comments comes after he told Cyclingnews' sister publication, Procycling, that corruption was impossible to facilitate at the UCI.

    The President of cycling's governing body also ruled out investigating Floyd Landis's allegation that 2006 Tour de France winner, Oscar Pereiro, doped during his time at Phonak and that the pair discussed doping practices during the 2006 year's Tour. The pair rode for Phonak in 2005 as teammates before Pereiro moved to Caisse d'Epargne.

    "It's impossible to be corrupt in the way we're being accused, in terms of bribery and assisting riders cover up doping positives," McQuaid told Cyclingnews.

    "We'd welcome any investigation into the UCI. There has never been corruption in the UCI."

    In May 2010 Landis alleged that a positive doping result by former teammate Lance Armstrong during the 2002 Tour of Switzerland was concealed after an agreement was reached between the American rider, his directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel and the former UCI President, Hein Verbruggen.

    Armstrong and the UCI were quick to dismiss the allegation. Lance Armstrong did not start the 2002 edition of the race and Johan Bruyneel told the press that Landis needed ‘help'. Last May, McQuaid stated: "It's completely false and completely untrue and we've made contact with a lawyer and will take appropriate action."

    So far no legal action has been taken against Landis, while an investigation by the FDA has been launched into Lance Armstrong's US Postal team. While McQuaid has stated that he would cooperate with any investigation, he confirmed that neither Jeff Novitzky nor any other agent at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approached him or the UCI.

    "The allegations made against the UCI about hiding Armstrong's doping controls are...

  • Gilmore reaps benefits of Australian summer

    Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto-Honda) after taking the race lead in Qatar.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 23:41 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Lotto-Honda rider claims stage one in Qatar

    Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto-Honda) credited an off-season spent racing on home roads in Australia for the fine form that carried her to victory on stage 1 of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. She out-sprinted no less a figure than world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) to take the first golden jersey of the race in Dukhan.

    "I had a really busy summer in Australia," Gilmore explained after the finish. "I've already done about 20 races this summer and I've come off a really big block of racing so coming here and taking the first stage is really unbelievable."

    Gilmore captured the Commonwealth Games road race title in Delhi in October, and has enjoyed a successful spell of racing in Australia in recent months, capped by two stages and the overall classification of the Jayco Bay Classic.

    After finishing second in stages of the Tour of Qatar in both the 2009 and 2010 editions of the race, Gilmore was delighted to finally taste victory on the peninsula.

    "It's getting to be a bigger race every year here in Qatar and there's gorgeous weather as well," she said. "It's very similar to Australia."

    Given her rapid finish and her obvious good form, Gilmore is in a very strong position to defend her race lead over the remaining two stages. The Australian was reluctant to discuss her overall chances but admitted that she can ride the remainder of the event free of pressure.

    "My aim was to win the first stage," she said. "Whatever happens now, I'm happy with taking the jersey in Qatar on the first stage."

    Gilmore was also keen to praise her Lotto-Honda teammates for their role in her win. With riders of the calibre of her fellow countrywoman Tiffany Cromwell and the day's early attacker Veronica Andreasson, Gilmore is not lacking in support in Qatar.

    "We've got a really...

  • Ballan looking to put past two seasons behind him

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is looking to put two tough seasons behind him.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2011, 23:54 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian understood BMC's position on Mantova investigation

    BMC Racing's Alessandro Ballan believes that his recent solid showing at the Santos Tour Down Under is an encouraging sign of his form as he attempts to put two difficult seasons behind him.

    The Italian’s 2010 campaign was marred by his part in the Mantova-based police investigation into doping, while he admitted that the burden of the rainbow jersey affected his 2009 season.

    “It was the first time that I went to the Tour Down Under and I really liked it, both for training and as a race,” Ballan told Cyclingnews. “In terms of my performance, well, I was one of the few riders in the top 15 who wasn’t a sprinter. So I have to say that I’m pleased with my preparation up to this point, even if the weather at home hadn’t been ideal.

    “I think I’m on the right path. I got those results in the Tour Down Under without great stress and above all I’m working well.”

    Ballan was under considerably more stress in early 2010. After leaving Lampre for BMC, he admits that he was already struggling to adapt to his new set-up when he was sidelined for his part in an anti-doping investigation in Mantova in April. Ballan’s relationship with pharmacist Guido Nigrelli came under scrutiny and he was withdrawn from racing by BMC ahead of Paris-Roubaix, before being cleared by an internal team investigation in May.

    “Last year I paid for the change of teams, after six years at Lampre where I knew everything,” Ballan confessed. “Here, I had language problems and there were very few people I knew and few Italians, so it was very hard for me.

    “I lost my morale at the beginning of last season when I wasn’t at 100 percent and then again when the Mantova inquiry was taking place. It was a hard time. I just tried to get through it but it wasn’t...

  • Lloyd looking for opportunites in 2011

    British pro Daniel Lloyd of Cervélo TestTeam
    Article published:
    February 03, 2011, 5:00 GMT
    Daniel Simms

    Competition for rides intense at Garmin-Cervélo

    Like all of Garmin-Cervélo's riders, Daniel Lloyd has entered the team camp ready to prove that he deserves a place among the cream of the Classics riders on a team whose biggest problem, in theory, is whether there's room for water carriers and domestiques among all the stars.

    Whatever happens, the English rider's 2011 season will look very different from 2010.

    Last year, he started with Paris-Nice, then rode five of the Belgian Spring Classics in a fortnight, including Ronde van Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, taking a break of a month before riding the Giro, Critèrium du Dauphiné and Tour de France. This heavy schedule took its toll – but he has no regrets.

    "By the end of the Tour I'd done 80 days of racing, and it felt like 80 days of racing as well. From then on it was quite difficult for the rest of the season, mentally as much as anything," Lloyd told Cyclingnews.

    "In hindsight it was too much, but at the time I did the Dauphiné, I wasn't down to do the Tour. It was only when Heinrich [Haussler] got injured that I was a replacement for him.

    "I got through it though, and I did do the job as best I could - and I felt quite good in some stages - but I felt I could've been better if I'd had a break between each one, with slightly better preparation.

    "But it was fantastic to do the Tour in the first place. I tried to make the most of it, and do what I could"

    The packed programme has its advantages, however – Lloyd's last race of the season was the Tour of Britain, which enabled him to take a break, and start his winter training earlier than usual, meaning he enters the team camps feeling further ahead than he'd usually be, which puts him in a good position to be on the roster for races he really wants to ride – the Spring Classics.

    "As everyone knows, a lot of riders want to do the same races. It's going to depend on...

  • Amgen Tour of California teams to undergo rigorous testing

    Andrew Messick of AEG talks about whats in store for this years race.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2011, 5:14 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Provisional teams to be tested for three months prior to race start

    The Amgen Tour of California race organizers AEG have tasked the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with executing its anti-doping protocol, which was announced in a press conference today. The comprehensive program will begin 90-days prior to the event's scheduled start date on May 15.

    Teams are now required to submit provisional rosters of 12 riders to the race organization with in the next week so that all riders can then be added to USADA's registered testing pool for 90-days prior to the start of the race. Teams must select their final eight-man rosters from that original 12-man registered list.

    During the 90-day period leading up to the race, domestic racers may be tested with no notice. International racers will be subject to no-advance-notice, out-of-competition testing prior to competition in accordance with their international federation and national anti-doping organization testing pools.

    According to USADA's Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart, the agency performs out-of-competition testing on US riders overseas regularly and it will coordinate with the national anti-doping agencies and the UCI to conduct testing on riders in the pool who will be in other countries.

    Furthermore, the UCI will receive the results, but USADA will also have the information of any adverse findings. If the UCI fails to take action, Tygart said there are precedents which enable USADA to take disciplinary action on a foreign athlete.

    "The biggest change is the expanded pre-competition testing program," said AEG president Andrew Messick. "Typically we don't ask for provisional rosters from the teams until, I believe, ten days before the beginning of the race. So, for three months, USADA will have an ability to target that pool of athletes that we know are going to be competing in our race."

    "They will be targeted at a time when, according to USADA, is the highest possibility of the improper use of drugs and methods is occurring,"...

  • Fraud charges against Schumacher dismissed

    Stefan Schumacher made his 2011 debut with Miche at the Challenge Calabria.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2011, 9:30 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German rider happy, team manager Holczer disappointed

    Stefan Schumacher won't go on trail for fraud, a court in Stuttgart, Germany, has ruled. The Stuttgart public attorney had filed charges that by doping, Schumacher had defrauded Team Gerolsteiner.

    Schumacher tested positive for EPO CERA at both the Tour de France 2008 and the Beijing Olympics. He served a two-year ban and returned to riding in August 2010. The 29-year-old, who has consistently denied doping, is racing with the Italian Continental team Miche this season.

    “Fraud in a legal sense was not found," said court spokesman Lars Kemmner, according to the SID news agency, with “no damage existing” for Team Gerolsteiner. He added that there must be financial damage for fraud to have occured.

    The German rider was “happy, of course” with the ruling, “even though I have pushed the case sort-of aside and fully concentrated on sport.”

    Former Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer was disappointed with the decision. “The case is closed. But it could have been a decisive step in the fight against doping, if a doper had been charged with fraud.”


  • Boonen looks for early success at the Tour of Qatar

    Tom Boonen is ready to roll.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2011, 10:16 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Bronchitis forces Petacchi to miss sprint battle in Qatar

    Tom Boonen will once again target stage victories at the Tour of Qatar for Team Quick Step. The Belgian will face major competition from Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad),  Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek), Theo Bos (Rabobank) and Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli). However key rival Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) will not ride because the Italian rider is suffering with bronchitis.

    Boonen, 30, has won the overall title in Qatar three times, most recently in 2009. He was third overall last year.

    “I’ve been training well," Boonen said in a press release from the team.  "I feel good. I can’t wait to race and see where I stand with respect to the competition.”

    The Tour of Qatar is an important race in which we’ve always done well,” said sporting director Wilfried Peeters. “The team’s goal is to win at least one stage.”

    Quick Step also announced its line-up for the Tour of Oman (February 15-20). Boonen will again lead the team there, with only three riders changing for the hillier second race in the gulf.

    Petacchi out with bronchitis

    Lampre-ISD will have to do without star sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, who is suffering from bronchitis, but the team hopes he will be well enough to ride the Tour of Oman.

    "For the Tour de Qatar we'll be forced to not rely on our top sprinter Petacchi, who would have been a sure protagonist ,” said sport director Fabrizio Bontempi in a press release. “Anyway, we will be competitive in the sprints thanks to Hondo, who is in a good form also because he...

  • Iglinskiy targets the Tour of Flanders

    Kazakh Maxim Iglinsky smiles for the camera
    Article published:
    February 03, 2011, 12:08 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Kazakh to share team leadership for Flemish Classics with Allan Davis

    Maxim Iglinskiy will target the Tour of Flanders in the first part of the season and will be team leader for the Astana team at the cobbled Classics along with Allan Davis. 

    "I will be team leader for the Flandrian races. I will prepare well for them in order to get results there," the 29-year-old Iglinskiy told Cyclingnews last week at the team's official presentation.

    Iglinsky is a powerful rider - strong on the climbs and versatile on a hilly parcours. Winner of a mountain stage in the 2007 Dauphiné, he confirmed his capacities in 2008 by scoring the best climber's jersey at the Tour de Suisse. In 2009 he shifted his attention more to the Classics. He finished third in the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and broke through one year later, winning the Monte Paschi Strade Bianche. He also finished seventh in Gent-Wevelgem, eighth in Milan-Sanremo and eighth again in the Tour of Flanders.

    The Kazakh confirmed that it was his team captain, Alexander Vinokourov, who encouraged him to explore success in the Classics. "Yes, Vinokourov told me I could do well in the one-day races, so I followed his advice," said Iglinskiy, who will be racing in a support role for his team leader in the Ardennes Classics of Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne.

    "I think I can become a great Classics rider like Vinokourov," he continued. "Races like Gent-Wevelgem or Flanders suit me well. I want to win one of them this spring. I also want a victory in Tirreno-Adriatico."

    In 2010, Iglinskiy finished fourth overall in the week-long race but failed to score a stage win. Before heading to Belgium at the end of March, he will also ride Milano-San Remo, an event where teammate