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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 24, 2013

Date published:
January 24, 2013, 12:00
  • Paris-Nice, Criterium du Dauphiné wildcard selections announced

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) won Paris-Nice ahead of Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
    Article published:
    January 23, 2013, 17:05
    Cycling News

    Strade Bianche, Giro del Lazio teams unveiled

    The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) today announced the team selections for two of the WorldTour events it organises: Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné. With their status as WorldTour races, all 18 ProTeams receive automatic invites, leaving four wildcard invites remaining for each event.

    The 71st edition of Paris-Nice, taking place March 3-10, is the second event on the WorldTour calendar and the first to take place on European soil for the season. The four wildcard selections include three of the four French Pro Continental teams - Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, Sojasun and Team Europcar - plus Swiss Pro Continental team IAM Cycling. The 2012 edition of Paris-Nice was won by Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

    Cofidis, Solutions Crédits and Team Europcar were also given the green light for the 65th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné, whose June 2-9 dates provide Tour de France contenders a final tune-up event. Joining those teams as wildcards are French Pro Continental team Bretagne-Séché Environnement and German Pro Continental squad Team NetApp-Endura. The 2012 edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné was won, too, by Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

    2013 Paris-Nice teams
    ProTeams: Ag2R La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, Blanco Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Pro Cycling, Euskaltel Euskadi, FDJ, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Belisol, Movistar Team, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, Orica GreenEdge, RadioShack Leopard, Sky Procycling, Team Argos-Shimano, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    Pro Continental teams: Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, IAM Cycling, Sojasun, Team Europcar

    2013 Critérium du Dauphiné teams
    ProTeams: Ag2R La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, Blanco Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Pro Cycling, Euskaltel Euskadi, FDJ, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Belisol, Movistar Team, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, Orica GreenEdge, RadioShack Leopard, Sky Procycling, Team Argos-Shimano, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    Pro Continental teams: Bretagne-Séché Environnement, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, Team Europcar, Team NetApp-Endura

    RCS Sport unveils Strade Bianche/Giro del Lazio weekend

    Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport unveiled today a new race weekend featuring the 7th edition of Strade Bianche on Saturday, March 2, followed by the return of the Giro del Lazio on Sunday, March 3, an Italian semi-classic absent from the race calendar since 2008. Fabian Cancellara won the 2012 edition of Strade Bianche while Francesco Masciarelli, who retired midway through last season, was the winner of the 2008 edition of the Giro del Lazio.

    Seventeen teams, 11 ProTeams and six Pro Continental squads, have been invited to Strade Bianche while 16 teams, eight ProTeams and eight Pro Continental teams, will contest the Giro del Lazio, whose route will soon be presented in Rome.

    2013 Strade Bianche teams
    ProTeams: Ag2R La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, Blanco Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Pro Cycling, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Movistar Team, Radioshack Leopard, Team Argos-Shimano, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    Pro Continental teams: Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Crelan-Euphony, IAM Cycling, Katusha, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia

    2013 Giro del Lazio teams
    ProTeams: Ag2R La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale Pro Cycling, Lampre-Merida, Movistar Team, Team Argos-Shimano, Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    Pro Continental teams: Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Colombia, Caja Rural, Crelan-Euphony, IAM Cycling, Katusha, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia

  • Démare starts on a high note

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ) mulls over his second place finish on stage 1 of the Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 23, 2013, 20:50
    Jean-François Quénet

    Calendar shared at FDJ with fast teammate Nacer Bouhanni

    It’s often complicated for youngsters to confirm their potential after a promising debut professional season, but 21-year-old Arnaud Démare started his 2013 campaign on a high note when he took second place behind André Greipel at the end of stage 1 in the Santos Tour Down Under. The Frenchman from FDJ collected the best result that he could have hoped for.

    “I might have opened my sprint a bit too late but the Lotto train, which had already proven to be the strongest at the criterium on Sunday, once again rode to perfection,” Démare said. “Had I been on Greipel’s wheel, I guess I would have stayed on his wheel anyway. It came from a great work by my team, even from climbers like Arnaud Courteille who is not exactly built for that role.”

    Courteille encountered different fortunes in South Australia, as he was one of the riders who crashed on the descent of Corkscrew on stage 2. He broke his left collarbone and might stay for three days in the same hospital in Adelaide where his former teammate Frédéric Guesdon was treated for a fracture of his femur one year ago.

    “It’s a pity because Arnaud was going really well since we got here to Australia,” said the other Arnaud [Démare]. “On the other hand, I had doubts about myself. I didn’t handle the heat and the climate change as well as my teammates but the criterium helped me to turn the gas on. I didn’t want to come into my first World Tour race of the year in poor condition. That’s why I’ve done about 10 cyclo-cross races before I started road racing again. Last year’s early part of the season has given me some ambitions for races like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and GP Samyn, which I won, and others.”

    Under the Australian sun, Démare was talking with passion about historical and local races in Belgium. He admitted that he forgot how important it was to score points for the World Tour on the other side of the world. “That’s right, it’s great to score points from the first day, as we’ve had a difficult off-season waiting for World Tour status,” the 2011 under-23 world champion said.

    “It’s nice to see such a young rider asking for responsibilities and assuming them,” said directeur sportif Yvon Madiot. “He’s truly aware of the importance of teamwork and sincerely thanks his teammates.”

    Démare is highly regarded since he won six races during his first pro season, including the WorldTour classic in Hamburg, the Vattenfall Cyclassics. At the same time, FDJ developed another top sprinter in the person of Nacer Bouhanni, who preceded him on the finishing line of the French championship.

    How will the team of the Madiot brothers cope with two sprinters of approximately the same age?

    “It’s not that difficult because they are very different kinds of sprinters,” Yvon Madiot told Cyclingnews in Mount Barker. “One [Démare] is built for the Classics while the other one is a puncher with pure speed. They’ll begin the 2013 season on separate programmes, with Bouhanni making his debut in the Tours of Qatar and Oman prior to doing Paris-Nice, while Démare will ride Tirreno-Adriatico. They might be together at Milan-San Remo but that has yet to be decided. Something new in our team is that many of our riders put their hands up for the big races and we’re looking for candidates for the French cup races. It’s a good sign!”

    Madiot explained that no decision has been taken yet as per the selections for the Grand Tours. “None of our sprinters has been designated for the Giro, the Tour or the Vuelta yet,” he said. “They’re young, so we first have to see how the season evolves. Part of our pre-season training has been focused on the lead out. We’ve hired Murilo Fisher [from Garmin-Sharp] for the final job and we’ve got specific riders for the different positions before the sprints: William Bonnet, Mickaël Delage, Laurent Mangel, Yoann Offredo, Geoffrey Soupe, Dominique Rollin, Matthieu Ladagnous and David Boucher. Our mental coach [and former coach of Le Havre and Paris Saint-Germain football teams] Denis Troch has worked a lot with them on how to divide the roles. There won’t be any clash between the interests of our two sprinters. We’re ready.”

  • Boonen ruled out for Tour of Qatar

    Tom Boonen ready for the 2013 season with Omega Pharma Quickstep
    Article published:
    January 23, 2013, 21:30
    Cycling News

    Elbow surgery hampers 2013 season start for Belgian champion

    Belgian champion Tom Boonen will not take part in the Tour of Qatar this year, his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team announced today. Boonen underwent surgery on Sunday to clean out an infection in his left elbow which had become septic. He is scheduled to leave the hospital in Herentals tomorrow, and according to his team his health has improved. He no longer has a fever or pain in his elbow.

    The incident follows a severe intestinal infection which Boonen suffered in late November. That setback put him out of the Tour de San Luis, where Mark Cavendish is racing in his stead.

    This additional delay means Boonen will not travel to the Tour of Qatar, and his team has yet to announce when he will make his season start.

    "I'm happy the situation now is improving even if I am still weak," Boonen said. "To have news released I can go home is good because it was a difficult moment for me and my family. Unfortunately I won't be in Tour of Qatar, one of my favorites races, as I decided with the team that it is too early. I feel sorry for Eddy Merckx and the race organization there. Everybody knows how much I like this race, but I really can't make it. First, I need to recover 100 percent physically and then start training again to see how things go. I will look into the best schedule to prepare for the Classics at the end of next week, and then I will decide with the team which will be the best approach."

  • Eisel calls for better promotion of UCI WorldTour

    Bernhard Eisel (Sky) lines up for stage 1 of the Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2013, 00:26
    Jean-François Quénet

    Athletes commission members sees improvements in the sport but lack of communication

    Two years ago, Bernhard Eisel raised questions to Cyclingnews in a story entitled “Eisel bemoans lack of clarity and promotion of UCI World Tour calendar” as the new series had just been introduced after the ill-fated ProTour. In the meantime, the road captain of Team Sky took a constructive stand as he entered the athletes commission of the UCI. Two years on, same place (Hilton hotel, Adelaide), same time, we’ve asked him to comment on what has been done since.

    In January 2011, Eisel said: “If I’m asked what is the WorldTour, I’d say it’s like the Champions League of cycling, but there should be a proper presentation somewhere. Is there a leader’s jersey? Does the individual ranking or the team classification determine the order of the team cars at the next one day race? If it’s hard for me to understand which races are in there, how can people who are out of the sport understand?

    “Is the World Tour a league in its own or is it part of the UCI? There must be a clear decision on where we’re going, let’s say for the next three seasons. Teams and riders must be united to go in the same direction. We want the public to understand our sport. We want a world ranking that determines who is the best rider and which is the best team. The ranking must sanction the season and qualify for the WorldTour the following season. The sporting evaluation system is very confusing. We need clarification.”

    In January 2013, Eisel says: “Through my meetings in a commission that includes all aspects of cycling like mountain biking, paracycling, track racing etc. I’ve realized that the UCI has also done many good things for cycling, but their PR has been so bad that they never got any good publicity out of it.

    “I’m not here to defend the UCI”, he continued. “Those meetings haven’t changed my mind, but for example, they have pushed hard to make sure that teams have the money in the bank and riders get fully insured. They have taken this part to a much higher professional level in recent years.”

    About the introduction of the WorldTour to a large public, Eisel is confident that “the UCI website should become attractive soon.” The series has started this week at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide in the absence of a representative, and with nobody from the governing body for the teams and media to talk to, but Eisel explained that [World Tour coordinator] “Javier Barrio had so much work at the office that he only managed to attend two races last year and that was during his off-days.”

    “It’s again a question of PR,” the Austrian said. “We could use the WorldTour as a brand.”

    “It was easier for me to comment from the outside two years ago”, he added, but yet noted – like everybody else – that “the sporting evaluation system could be better.” The man who called for clarification two years ago still awaits a proper explanation from the governing body on why Katusha has been excluded from the World Tour. “Whatever the reasons were for the decision of the commission, the public and the riders need to know. Once again, it’s a problem of communication.”

  • Video: Goss says he's twice the guy he was last year

    Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    January 24, 2013, 09:36
    Jane Aubrey

    Orica GreenEdge sprinter fights for second place in Stirling

    The signs are encouraging for Orica GreenEdge sprinter Matt Goss after he finished as runner-up on the Stirling stage at the Tour Down Under on Thursday.

    Goss, 2011 Milan San Remo champion, is very different form at the Australian WorldTour event compared to last year, when he was struggling at the beginning of the season after sustaining a knee injury during his build-up.

    Goss' second placing behind stage winner Tom Jelte-Slagter (Blanco) was confirmation that the Tasmanian's season is on track.

    "This is great for the start of the season and compared with last year I'm twice the guy that I was then and it's great to get a top-three in a finish like this but tomorrow's another day and I definitely want to go one better," Goss said, admitting that he wasn't feeling "100 per cent" during the finishing circuit around Stirling.

    "The boys gave me a lot of motivation in the last lap to hang in there and keep going and it was worth it," he explained. "We didn't quite get the win but still, I'm happy with the sprint. Slagter slipped away and Gilbert closed it right down but just not in time."

    Orica GreenEdge waved goodbye to their general classification hopes on Wednesday with Simon Gerrans struggling with breathing difficulties and falling out of contention to defend his Tour Down Under title. The team switched its focus to stage victories and had Simon Clarke in the main breakaway of the day, while Luke Durbridge joined the late escape which formed with around 50km to go but little advantage was gained.

    Friday’s fourth stage is one for the sprinters with, Goss determined to challenge the André Greipel’s Lotto Belisol juggernaut.

    "I think we'll just try to control the race, probably pretty similar [to today]," he explained. "If we can slip a guy in the break again it takes the pressure off for our guys to work for a sprint and I'm feeling confident in the sprint if I get a good run at it. I definitely want to try and have another one."


  • Argos-Shimano DS Kemna confesses to EPO use at Bankgirolterij

    Team director Rudie Kemna
    Article published:
    January 24, 2013, 09:57
    Susan Westemeyer

    Update: Will serve six-month suspension as set out in Dutch anti-doping agreement

    Rudi Kemna, directeur sportif at Argos-Shimano, has said that he used EPO in 2003 whilst riding for Bankgiroloterij. His current team said that it supported his decision to make the confession, but that he will be suspended as required under an agreement with the Dutch cycling federation. Former Bankgiroloterij team management said that it had suspicions, but knew nothing.

    Kemna, 45, told that he used EPO in the spring of 2003, with the drug supplied by the team doctor. “I knew it was forbidden and yet I took the step,” he said.

    He started using it, he said, when the team in 2002 hired a new manager, Johan Capiot, and signed a number of experienced riders. That changed the atmosphere of the team, he said, with Capiot introducing “green zones,” when riders using EPO were not to race.

    Kemna stopped using the drug after Gent-Wevelgem 2003, being panicked and feeling himself fooled. “How could I be so stupid?” he asked. He went on to win the Dutch national road title that year, but insists he won it clean.

    The EPO was purchased for him by team doctor Peter Janssen, he said. Neither Janssen nor Capiot responded to the newspaper.

    Kemna said that he decided to reveal his doping past because he wants to show the current Argos-Shimano riders how the cycling and doping culture has changed. “I hope my story and a little insight can contribute to that change, so that we have more guys on the right side and we can prevent them from having to make choices that they do not want to make, as I have done."

    Six month suspension but with team support

    In a statement issued Thursday morning, the team said that Kemna's decision to come forward was made in November, in conjunction with team management and sponsors.

    It applauded his decision and said “it appreciates the transparency Rudi Kemna displayed and hopes that this will have enough impact to contribute to the most significant task that is facing competitive cycling at present: that for this and the next generation of cyclists, match outcomes can only be determined on the basis of talent, efforts and tactics, supported by modern coaching, guidance and innovation.”

    However, Kemna will also face a suspension of six months, as required by an agreement by the Dutch cycling federation, the Dutch Doping Authority and the three Dutch WorldTour teams. Kemna also requested that this step be taken.

    “Kemna furthermore stated that he thought it appropriate for him to be struck off after publicly sharing his experiences, simply because doping is not allowed and Kemna does not want to dodge his own responsibility, thereby also giving a signal to the outside world. The team respects this request and will lay off Kemna on the same basis as the penalties stated in the agreement between the two other Dutch cycling teams and the Dutch Cycling Union.”

    Update: “He proposed the suspension himself,” team spokesman Geert Broekhuizen told Cyclingnews Thursday evening.  “He has agreed to the six-month sanction specified in the covenant signed by the Dutch teams and the Dutch federation and Doping Authority.

    “It is only uncertain when the sanction will start.”

    Bankgiroloterij manager and team leader respond

    Arend Schippink, Bankgiroloterij general manager from 1999 to 2004, said he knew nothing about doping at the team, but admitted that he may have been “naive” about it. “Maybe a little, yes.”

    He also said that he changed his mind about Capiot after hiring him. “He tried to take things over behind my back. He was a deceitful little man,” Scheppink told Nusport. “If I had been allowed to so so, then Capiot would never have worked a day for me. Capiot was for me a loser.”

    Former team leader Piet Hoekstra also said that he “did not know” about doping at the team, but that “I had suspicions. Serious suspicions.”

    He added, “What could I accomplish if I did know, what do I get from it when I'm fighting a battle? (....) It was fighting a losing battle and I was voice crying in the wilderness.”

  • Van Garderen moves into a strong position at San Luis

    Tejay van Garderen looking serious about the 2013 season
    Article published:
    January 24, 2013, 10:34
    Daniel Benson

    BMC leader drops Contador as new rivals appear

    After a strong ride on stage 3 of the Tour de San Luis, Tejay van Garderen finds himself in solid position in the overall classification. Although there are two mountain top finishes remaining in the race, the BMC captain was able to hold onto the coattails of his major rivals on the first mountain test and with Thursday's 19.2 kilometre time trial, he is within touching distance of the lead.

    Van Garderen finished fifth on the 173 kilometre stage, 25 seconds adrift of the winner Alex Diniz (Funvic Brasilinvest). Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali lost 48 seconds and 1:51, respectfully, leaving Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) and van Garderen as the likely contenders. However Diniz stated that he would go on the attack in the mountains and with just over a minute still separating the top 20 riders in GC the race is far from over.

    "I was surprised to see some of the guys dropped, like Contador because his team was pretty active all day," van Garderen said at the finish.

    "I was equally surprised to see Van Den Broeck up there today because he usually comes into form a little later in the year and his team wasn't the most active. But going into the time trial, today was a pretty successful day."

    Heading towards the final climb of the day BMC joined forces with Astana and Saxo Bank in driving the pace, only allowing Diniz' opportunist move to break clear.

    "I just wanted to take it as it came and see who was active and who wasn't. If there was a chance I'd take it but if nothing else I wanted to stay close the leaders for the time trial. We still have a time-trial and two mountain stages to come and you can't tell too much from today but the overall is possible."

    Mathias Frank and Dominik Nerz both worked van Garderen into position on the final climb before the ultimate selection.

    "They were the first long climbs of the season and some of the guys here are already in such good shape," Frank said.

    "We kept our leader out of trouble up until the final climb and then he took over with around 3 kilometres. I've got a bit of a cold so had to pull up a little bit earlier than planned."

  • Thomas happy with another second in the bank at Tour Down Under

    Geraint Thomas (Sky) retains the ochre jersey.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2013, 11:17
    Jane Aubrey

    Sky's ability to hold onto ochre tested in Stirling

    Geraint Thomas (Sky) is more than aware that an extra second gained in an intermediate sprint could be the difference between winning and losing the 2013 Tour Down Under.

    The Welshman, who took command of the ochre leader's jersey on Wednesday, was third across the line in the first sprint of the day on Thursday's third stage, which eventuated in a five second buffer over the day's victor, Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) in the overall.

    "This race is always the same, it always comes down to a few seconds and bonuses always come into it," Thomas said post-stage.

    The intermediate sprint bonus also ensured Thomas retained the lead in the sprint classification.

    The 26-year-old was certain that Sky would have the gauntlet thrown at them from their rivals, and it took the steadying influence of Bernhard Eisel at the front of the bunch to ensure that the breakaway of Will Clarke (Argos Shimano) and Simon Clarke (Orica GreenEdge) was never allowed more than three-and-a half minutes before the race came back together for a bunch sprint after the Stirling circuit.

    "We were always in control, but we were definitely tested and a lot of guys were attacking us," explained Thomas.

    "It just shows it's an important race to everyone and everyone wants to do well. But the boys were tremendous, really, and I can't thank them enough.

    "It was down to me at the end to try and get a podium and a couple of bonus seconds. I didn't quite do that, but we still have the jersey and that's the main thing."

    There was one nervous moment for the team when last year's third overall, Tiago Machado (RadioShack Leopard), attacked towards the end of the final lap but it was another of Thomas' teammates who was able to rise to the challenge.

    "Hayman was super-strong and I trusted him to bring it back - it was perfect," he said.

    With Friday’s stage to Tanunda set to be one for the sprinters, the GC is not likely to be affected unduly, meaning that regardless of the placement of Corkscrew Hill early in the week, the race will be decided on Saturday at Willunga, ahead of the traditional final criterium in Adelaide.