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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 17, 2013

Date published:
January 17, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI reject calls for a cycling-only Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 18:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    McQuaid defends the UCI as anti-doping helpline is launched

    The UCI has hit back at calls for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be incorporated into the ongoing UCI Independent Commission investigation, claiming that any amnesty for individual confessions would constitute a violation of the WADA Anti-Doping Code and would have limited effect because governing bodies and police could still pursue athletes who admit to doping.

    The UCI Independent Commission members have called for the UCI to change their terms of reference for the wider good of professional cycling and in an attempt to convince the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the Change Cycling Now (CCN) group to contribute to their work.

    The UCI stated their case in a long press release, suggesting it would be willing to help WADA fund and develop a truth and reconciliation process covering all sports.

    "If WADA is serious about uncovering the full extent to which modern science and the limited methods of detection available to sporting bodies and anti-doping authorities (including itself) have prevented doping, it should establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The UCI, for one, would be happy to participate in such a process and contribute to its funding," the press release reads.

    The UCI's often cozy and controversial relationship with Lance Armstrong has come under renewed scrutiny as the Texan's reported TV confession is close to airing. The New York Times has reported that Armstrong may be ready to testify against UCI officials about their involvement with doping in cycling.

    The UCI has tried to defend its track record by claiming that even WADA or USADA failed to catch Armstrong via anti-doping...

  • Schleck doping use of Xipamid unlikely, expert says

    An unhappy Frank Schleck during the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 18:52 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cannot rule out the possibility of “manipulation” though

    It is unlikely that Fränk Schleck used Xipamide for doping purposes or to cover up the use of some other product or doping method, according to the expert opinion submitted to the Luxembourg National Anti-Doping Agency. However, the report did not exclude the possibility.

    The five page report was prepared by Dr. Hans Geyer, deputy director of the WADA-approved laboratory in Cologne. Tageblatt.lu obtained and released the report. The ALAD has indicated it will release its final decision on the Schleck case on January 30 .

    Schleck tested positive during the Tour de France for the diuretic Xipamide, which can be used to conceal other doping products. He has denied doping.

    Geyer concluded that “it cannot be excluded that an effective dose of Xipamide has been administrered for manipulation purposes between the 6th of July and the 14th of July.

    “Several aspects of plausibility should be taken into consideration: 1. the application of a diuretic during a stage race leads to a decrease of performance by dehydration. 2. during the Tour de France many doping controls can be expected, where diuretics can be detected and 3. the use of a diuretic for weight loss reason makes no sense during a stage race.

    “Therefore the scenario of an application of a low, non-effective dose of Xipamide is more likely that the manipulation scenario with an effective does of Xipamide.”

    Schleck's urine test showed a concentration of about 100 pg/ml which  is “an extremely low concentration,” Geyer noted. He said that he is not aware of any studies done on the possible effects of such a low dosage.

    It was also not possible to exclude the possibility of the use of another...

  • USA Cycling proposes two-tiered National Racing Calendar

    Looking down on the last corner of the Tour of the Gila crit course.
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 20:23 GMT
    By:
    Pat Malach

    New points system to favor UCI-sanctioned races

    USA Cycling will change the ranking and points structure of its National Race Calendar for 2013, putting an emphasis on UCI-sanctioned events and tightening the differences in series points that individual races award. But not everyone is happy with the changes or how they were implemented.

    Micah Rice, USAC vice president for national events, told Cyclingnews the new structure would create a two-tiered ranking system, with UCI races occupying the top tier and non-UCI races forming a second tier. The NRC previously featured a five-tier ranking system, ranging from 2.4 to 2.HC for stage races and 1.4 to 1.HC for one-day events. Points differences between rankings jumped from 40 to as much as 100.

    Although USAC has not yet released the final details, under the proposed two-tiered system, the SRAM Tour of the Gila in New Mexico would likely supplant the Nature Valley Grand Prix as the NRC's top-ranked stage race, while two Pennsylvania one-day races, the Keystone Open in Philadelphia on July 7 and the Thompson Bucks County Classic in Doylestown on Sept. 14, would likely be the only other races to qualify for the national calendar's top tier.

    “We wanted to revamp it a little bit, to make it a little simpler and less subjective,” Rice said. “And we wanted to make it a little more competitive, so we kind of narrowed those points differences down a little bit to make it more interesting.”

    The 10-race NRC series starts with the Redlands Bicycle Classic on April 1-4 in California and concludes September 14 with the Thompson Bucks County Classic. Francisco Mancebo won the men's individual title the past two years, while Carmen Small, riding for Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, won the 2012...

  • IOC unlikely to cut cycling from Olympic programme

    Lance Armstrong (United States) on the podium for the time trial at the Sydney Olympics
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 21:12 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Any decision to come after Oprah/Armstrong interview

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) countered statements by its Canadian member Dick Pound, who suggested cycling could only be cleaned up by being removed from the Olympic programme, by stating that any such move is "highly unlikely".

    Pound, a former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) made the comments in light of rumours that Lance Armstrong may implicate the UCI in his doping conspiracy as part of an effort to extricate himself from the lifetime ban imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

    It is expected that in tomorrow's interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong will confess to doping during his seven-year winning streak at the Tour de France, and he may address how he was able to avoid testing positive and what role the UCI may have played in that. 

    IOC communications director Mark Adams dismissed the notion of excluding cycling from the Olympics as premature, and reiterated the Committee's support of cycling's anti-doping efforts.

    "In recent years the UCI has done more than most to fight doping," Adams said in a statement. "Its possible exclusion from the Olympic Programme is highly unlikely. Furthermore, it is premature to talk about such things as the interview has not yet been broadcast. Once it has - and once UCI and USADA have commented - we will have a clearer idea on what our next steps will be."

    The UCI has been accused of inappropriately taking payments from Armstrong, purportedly for anti-doping efforts, in exchange for looking the...

  • Gallery: Omega Pharma-Quick Step takes to the track in Gent

    Iljo Keisse is intimately acquainted with the Eddy Merckx velodrome in Gent, utilised as part of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team launch.
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Riders race on velodrome at team presentation

    Following the introductions of Omega Pharma-Quick Step's 2013 roster at the team launch in Gent's Eddy Merckx velodrome, the riders took to the track for some friendly competition. Several members of the team have considerable track pedigrees which were showcased in events such as the flying lap time trial, match sprint, elimination, derny race and team sprint.

    One of the highlights was Iljo Keisse going head-to-head with Dutch road champion and frequent Six-Day partner Niki Terpstra in a 30-lap derny race. Keisse, paced by trainer Tom Steels, came out with a victory while racing in his hometown.

    "It was the perfect race," Keisse said. "It was a good start, and the last 10 laps were great. It is really fantastic to do the presentation on the track. Track is really the foundation of cycling and I think the fans will appreciate it."

    Perhaps the most anticipated battle of the night was the match sprint final, which came down to Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen. The two battled neck-and-neck in the final stretch, but it was Boonen who managed to get the win.

    In the team sprint final, it was the "Challenger" team — Michal Kwiatkowski, Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Iljo Keisse, and Mark Cavendish — who won. Cavendish raised his hands in victory as he was the final rider for his victorious team.

    Cavendish was also the fastest rider in the flying lap competition over Keisse.

    "For me, Omega Pharma-Quick Step is the most traditional team out there, with the most historical roots," said Cavendish. "This team is steeped in the culture of cycling. Ask any young rider,...

  • Ochowicz: BMC don't want to be like Sky

    Jim Ochowicz
    Article published:
    January 17, 2013, 1:42 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    BMC team boss outlines strategy leading into the Tour de France

    Following last year's Tour de France, BMC were widely expected to bring in another climber or two in order to beef up their support for team leaders Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen in the mountains. However, despite being seriously outgunned by Team Sky on the climbs at last year's Tour de France, the Swiss/American outfit have stuck pretty much with what they already had, believing that what worked so well for them in 2011 when Evans won the Tour can work just as well this year, when the Australian hopes to be back to full fitness. 

    Team manager Jim Ochowicz recognises that BMC don't have a lot of climbers, but insists that there is no reason to think that they won't challenge for the yellow jersey again.

    "It's not a secret that we don't have a lot of climbers. Everybody knows that. We weren't like Sky, for example, last year and we won't be like Sky this year either. In fact, we don't want to be like Sky. We want to be like us. We have our ideas about how we can race this team, and I think we have a good balance. We can go to every race and be competitive, and that includes the Tour," the veteran team boss explained at BMC's press presentation.

    Ochowicz added that the team's signings, of which the most notable is Italian sprinter/rouleur Daniel Oss, had been made with the whole season in mind rather than just one race.

    "What you have to remember about the Tour is that it changes every year. I can't build a team of 26 riders around what the Tour is going to decide to do in 2014, for example, because I won't know until next October where the race is going to be in...

  • Follow the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah live on Cyclingnews

    Lance Armstrong speaks with Oprah Winfrey in his first interview since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life following the USADA investigation into doping by Armstrong and his US Postal Service team.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2013, 3:22 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Live coverage of the two-part interview as it happens

    In what will be one of the most watched interviews of the year, Lance Armstrong has reportedly admitted to the use of doping substances during his illustrious cycling career with arguably the most influential woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey. Live coverage of the two-part show will be covered right here on Cyclingnews.

    Armstrong's apparent confession comes in response to the mass of evidence compiled by the United States Anti-Doping Agency which exposed the systematic use of banned substances by the U.S Postal and Discovery Channel teams. USADA's 'Reasoned Decision' document and subsequent fallout saw Armstrong stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.

    Cyclingnews will follow what is said to be a tell-all interview with the Queen of television - as it happens.

    The details of his discussion with Oprah are not yet known but the next two days will no doubt bring a huge response from the general cycling community. Follow the reactions, interviews, statements and related coverage right here.

    Cyclingnews' live coverage of Armstrong's interview will start 30 minutes prior to the show's start.

    Coverage will begin on Thursday 17 January 8:30pm EST with broadcast to commence at 9:00pm EST. Friday's second-part will also be covered live on Cyclingnews, starting at 8:30pm EST with television broadcast at 9:00pm EST.

    The interview will be shown during Oprah's Next Chapter program through the Oprah Winfrey Network.

     

  • Meares responds to Pound's call to remove cycling from Olympics

    Anna Meares (Australia) happy after winning
    Article published:
    January 17, 2013, 5:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Armstrong issue should be put in perspective, says Olympic champion

    London Olympic Sprint champion Anna Meares has responded to the suggestion by International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound that cycling could be removed from the Olympic programme. Pound's comments come in the build-up to the possible confession of Lance Armstrong in a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey.

    Meare's voiced her opinion on her personal website, expressing her concerns for the younger and upcoming generation who would essentially receive the punishment for the actions of others.

    "It would be disappointing to see cycling pulled from the Olympics and we all need to keep it in perspective that it is a Lance Armstrong issue, not every cyclist," said Meares on annameares.com.au.

    "Just as we here in Australia have issues with drink driver's on our roads, this does not mean every driver is a bloody idiot; so to that just because cycling in its past and even in its recent past have had issues with a minority of its athletes cheating, doesn't mean every cyclist cheats.

    "Drugs have been taken in cycling's past, there is no denying it. I believe we deserve the reputation we have as a result of the bad choices and decisions of some of its athletes, but it is not the only sport with issues.

    "It is disappointing reports suggest that from his interview with Oprah, that Lance has been dishonest but this behaviour is not a part of my life practice privately nor professionally. 

    Meares is one of Australia's most decorated track cyclists, having amassed ten world championship gold medals and two Olympic titles; in Athens, 2004 and London in 2012. She was most recently awarded the prestigious Sir Hubert Opperman Medal at the