- Article published:
- January 26, 2011, 11:48
- Cycling News
Pegasus victim to South African Continental team
Daryl Impey is returning to his roots in 2011, and has signed with the South African Continental-ranked MTN Qhubeka team. Impey, who rode for Team RadioShack in 2010, had signed with the ill-fated Pegasus project for this season.
"I am really appreciative about the opportunity that MTN Qhubeka has given me,” the 26-year-old said on his new team's website. “I originally signed a two year contract with Pegasus. Unfortunately our financial backer dropped us at the last moment (mid December) leaving my new teammates and I jobless."
Being left without a team so late in the year was a difficult situation. “So when Douglas Ryder, team owner of MTN Qhubeka offered me a place on the team, I did not think twice about accepting it.”
He already has his eyes on a higher goal, saying, “I share Douglas’ dream of getting a South African team to qualify for the Tour de France. It is going to be tough but it is doable challenge.”
Impey's first goals are local. “My first big goal is to get good results at the South African Road Championship in Port Elizabeth. I will be going flat out to try and win the road race as well as the individual time trial.”
His new team will also ride some European races in May and June. “We will be competing in some of the UCI 2.2-events. Getting the chance to win international races is going to be a good confidence booster. I want to get my name back up in international cycling where it belongs
- Article published:
- January 26, 2011, 13:00
- Cycling News
Says Contador knows what he thinks of him
Andy Schleck needed solitude and time to get over losing the Tour de France by 39 seconds. “I was not physically tired, but gutted mentally, exhausted and very disappointed,” he told the French newspaper L'Equipe.
“Just at the foot of the podium in Paris, when I saw Contador in the yellow jersey, was when I realised that I had lost the Tour and it fell upon me like a boulder,” he said. “I needed to isolate myself, to put some distance between myself and others.”
Schleck, who in 2010 rode for Saxo Bank, acknowledged that the turning point of the Tour was when he dropped his chain on stage 15. While the Luxembourger struggled with his equipment, Alberto Contador attacked and went on to take the leader's jersey, which he held until the end.
“Without this incident, he wouldn't have gotten away,” Schleck said. “I have regrets.”
The 25-year-old, who now rides for Leopard Trek, also said that their “hug” on the Tourmalet, several stages later, was not any kind of show of friendship, but a staged act by the Spaniard.
“I have my arm on his shoulder, but I am not doing anything. It was his way of saying, look, we are friends (….) But he knows what I think of him, and he knows that if we find ourselves in the Tour, I won't wait for mechanical trouble.”
- Article published:
- January 26, 2011, 16:25
- Cycling News
Race director would welcome Contador
Organisers of the Vuelta a España remain undecided regarding Geox-TMC's participation in the event this year. The Spanish team has already been excluded from the Tour de France although race director Julian Guillen stated separately that Alberto Contador would be welcome at the race.
Geox-TMC's two captains have both done well in the Vuelta in the past; Denis Menchov won the race in 2005 and 2007 while Carlos Sastre has finished on the podium three times.
As a Professional Continental team, Geox-TMC would need a wildcard invitation to the Vuelta. The wildcards are “unrestricted,” Guillen told Europa Press. The Tour de France “is entitled to issue its invitations as it sees fit. I respect that. We also have freedom for our criteria in the selection of teams.”
He put the blame on the team, however. “Perhaps the question would be not why Geox is not one of the four wildcards, but why the team has not satisfied the qualification criteria which required it to be among the 16 or 18 which are automatically invited.”
Guillen said that the invitations would be issued “after the Giro d'Italia”. He added that “I do not deny that Sastre and Menchov are highly qualified riders. A decision has not yet been made, but they are also not excluded.”
“Delighted” to have Contador
Guillen also said that he would be “delighted” to have Alberto Contador ride the Vuelta this year. Contador is scheduled to hear this week whether he will be suspended for a positive doping control from the Tour de France.
If Contador is found guilty and given a one-year ban, he would probably be able to ride the Vuelta, which starts on August 20.
"We would be delighted if Contador could contest the Vuelta, among other things because it would mean that administrative-sport status would allow it, but at this time there is no sense in discussing it, because everything we say today may not worth anything tomorrow,” said Guillen.
He added that he knew "absolutely nothing beyond what has been published in the media," and would make no further comment “until there is a resolution.”
- Article published:
- January 26, 2011, 18:25
- Cycling News
Criminal court in Tarbes gives Spaniard suspended sentence
More than two years after testing positive for EPO at the 2008 Tour de France, former Barloworld rider Moises Dueñas Nevado has been sentenced in criminal court in Tarbes, France.
Dueñas received a four-month suspended sentence and a fine of €3,000 - 2,000 of which was suspended, according to LaDépêche.fr.
The now-retired Spaniard was one of several riders to test positive at the 2008 Tour, and after his failed doping control, police searched his hotel room in Tarbes and found a number of banned substances and medical equipment. He was convicted of possession of poisonous substances. Along with blood bags, syringes and saline used to adjust the rider's blood values, policed seized Viagra and a masking agent from Dueñas's hotel room.
Prior to the conclusion of his criminal case, Dueñas received a reduced, one-year suspension from the Spanish federation. He said at the end of 2009 that he was seeking a professional team for the 2010 season, and there were rumours he would join the Xacobeo-Galicia team, but the contract never materialized.
According to the report, Dueñas ended his professional career, but still races as an amateur (with the Supermercados Froiz team in 2010) and works as a ski instructor.
- Article published:
- January 26, 2011, 18:43
- Cycling News
Spanish federation decision final on February 9
The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) has decided to impose a one-year ban on 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador for his Clenbuterol positive, El Pais reported today.
Contador confirmed this afternoon that the RFEC proposed the one-year ban, and will hold a press conference on Friday, January 28, at 16:00, at the Hotel Son Net in Palma de Mallorca along with his new Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis.
Contador has 10 days to appeal the decision before the final opinion is issued on February 9.
Contador tested positive for a low level of the banned substance Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France's second rest day in Pau. He claimed the adverse finding was the result of contaminated meat. He was provisionally suspended by the UCI in September after the announcement of the test results was made.
Contador signed with the Saxo Bank team before the doping controversy erupted, and has been preparing for the season with the team at a training camp in Mallorca this week.
Contador stands to be stripped of his title in the Tour, his third victory in the race and fifth Grand Tour win.
More on the story as it unfolds.
- Article published:
- January 26, 2011, 23:57
- Kirsten Frattini
USA Cycling maintains its position on UCI rules
Albany-based Capital Bicycle Racing Club President Constantine Kontogiannis has written a letter to USA Cycling asking it to grant Tour of Battenkill organizer Dieter Drake's request to be a National Racing Calendar (NRC) 1.HC event held on April 10 in Cambridge, New York.
In the letter, Kontogiannis also threatened to contact New York State Attorney General and US Senators should USA Cycling not allow ProTeam and ProContinental teams participate in the single-day classic.
"I fully expect the USAC to adopt this position immediately and to start advocating (in earnest) for single-day road classics like the Tour of the Battenkill, instead of continuing its current unfair and arbitrary practices of selective favoritism for certain lower category events," Kontogiannis wrote in a letter to USA Cycling Chief Operating Officer, Sean Petty.
"If you choose to ignore this request, I will be contacting the NYS Attorney General, both New York-based U.S. Senators, and every newspaper from New York City to Buffalo. And I will be meeting with the other clubs in early February to discuss our relationship with the USAC going forward."
The dispute between Drake and USA Cycling came to a boiling point this month when the national governing body announced that the International Cycling Union (UCI) would allow ProTeam and Professional Continental teams to participate in NRC level criteriums which would be added to the UCI Criterium Calendar, according to code 2.7.005.
USAC said in a statement that the situation was all due to pre-existing rules, and hopes to resolve the issue through dialogue.
The announcement came on the heels of the UCI's decision to strictly enforce rule 2.1.009 that prohibits such teams from competing in national level events on the road such as stage races and single-day events like the Tour of Battenkill.
However, Drake felt that allowing ProTeams and Professional Continental teams to participate in NRC criteriums and not other road events was detrimental to his event, especially under the economic downturn that has made it increasingly difficult for promoters to find sponsorship.
The Tour of Battenkill was tentatively scheduled as a UCI 1.2 event on April 16 and its amateur counterpart was scheduled one week prior on April 10 in Cambridge, New York. Drake was forced to pull the men's event from the UCI calendar due to a lack of funding. He proposed to combine the two events onto April 10 and run the men's and women's races as NRC events.
"We have a calendaring process and there is an established time line for that," Smith said. "We work months in advance with these event organizers to establish these dates and our job is to manage that overall calendar and try to minimize the conflicts and keep the entire group's goals and perspective in mind when doing that."
It was reported that the Tour of Battenkill attorney Eugene Grenz has sent a letter to USA Cycling and the UCI threaten to take legal action should they not allow ProTeam and Professional Continental teams to participate in the event.
"All we can do when we receive a legal threat is to turn it over to our lawyers," Smith said. "But we hope that there is some dialogue before that point and we hope that it is something that can be resolved without all this."
Dieter Drake was not immediately available for comment.
- Article published:
- January 27, 2011, 00:26
- Barry Ryan
Photo gallery from BMC team presentation
Cadel Evans believes that BMC’s ProTeam licence will help him arrive at this year’s Tour de France in a fresher state than in 2010. Last season, the Australian began his season at the Tour Down Under and rode for the general classification at the Giro d’Italia as his team sought to earn an invitation to the Tour.
“Last year’s Giro-Tour plan was partly because we were a Pro Continental team and we didn’t know whether we’d have the start in the Tour or not,” Evans told Cyclingnews at BMC’s training camp in Denia, Spain.
BMC’s automatic Tour de France invitation means that Evans will start his campaign almost eight weeks later this season, at the Strade Bianche. The 2009 world champion estimates that he will reach July with around twenty days less racing in his legs than he did last time around.
“One year in my life I have to really concentrate on the Tour and this year, with the period it is in my career and so on, was the year to do it,” he said.
“I’ve always in the past years arrived at the Tour quite fatigued and quite tired and obviously it’s not good for a three-week race. Hopefully I’ll get there a little fresher and have a little bit less bad luck when I get there.”
In the second half of the season, Evans will focus his energies on the Vuelta a España, where he finished 3rd in 2009.
The importance of ProTeam status
BMC directeur sportif John Lelangue explained that the Tour de France will be the team’s major objective of 2011. He also reiterated the importance of BMC’s ProTeam status, as it allows Evans and his teammates to plot out their programme further in advance than last season.
“Of course the Tour with Cadel is very important,” he said at the team presentation in Denia on Wednesday. “We’re building a team around him and being in the World Tour is a very big advantage in that regard compared to last year, as we already know our calendar of races.”
Outside of the Tour, Lelangue expects his men to be a significant factor in the cobbled classics, with Alessandro Ballan and George Hincapie to the fore, while the American calendar, particularly the Tour of California, will also be an important feature of the US-registered team’s agenda.
The development of young talent like Taylor Phinney and Tim Roe is another key part of the BMC’s ethos, and Max Sciandri has arrived as a directeur sportif from British Cycling to take responsibility for that specific task.
“Max Sciandri is totally focused on the young guys, he’ll have constant contact with them and organise training camps,” Lelangue said. As well as handling the team’s Italian calendar with Fabio Baldato, Sciandri will also scout for talent at under 23 and junior races as the team continues to build for the future.
Meanwhile, BMC team president Jim Ochowicz attributed his squad’s ProTeam licence to the solid results obtained by Evans and his colleagues over the course of the 2010 season and to the new signings the team has made to bolster its roster.
“We applied for a ProTeam licence for 2011 and in doing so we felt that we’d done a number of things to allow us to gain selection,” Ochowicz said.
“Firstly, we had reasonable results in 2010. Not outstanding, but results that showed the level of the team. Secondly, we really looked at where we could strengthen the squad for 2011. We felt we put a strong roster together and I’m sure the UCI took a look at that.”
Climber Johan Tschopp is among the new signings who will be on hand to aid Cadel Evans, while Greg Van Avermaet and Manuel Quinziato add weight to the classics line-up. With BMC committed as sponsor until the end of 2014, the team has also made a conscious decision to invest in youth, with American hope Taylor Phinney and Belgian climbing sensation Yannick Eijssen at the head of an exciting new generation of talent on the team.
“We’ll get wins and we’ll take lumps,” Ochowicz said. “But in 2011 you’ll certainly see a development in our performance.”
For Cyclingnews' exclusive photo gallery of the BMC team presentation in Denia, Spain, click here.
- Article published:
- January 27, 2011, 03:38
- Les Clarke
Garmin-Cervélo boss rues former rider's actions
After yesterday's revelations that former Garmin-Transitions rider Trent Lowe threatened to release details about former US Postal team physician Dr Luis Garcia del Moral during a contract dispute, team boss Jonathan Vaughters says he's baffled why the Australian chose to take his current course of action.
It followed the dismissal of former Garmin directeur sportif Matt White, who referred Lowe to del Moral's clinic in Valencia. Slipstream Sports fired White on the grounds that his actions contravened team policy concerning the use of physicians not approved by the squad's medical staff prior to any consultation.
According to a press release issued by Slipstream Sports yesterday, Lowe "threatened to publicly expose certain information relating to Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral unless Slipstream acceded to their demands, which included a payment of $500,000".
"That's a figure ($500,000) that was given to us by Martin Hardie; that's just a figure he came up with and the implication is that he would release information that showed [Slipstream Sports doctor] Prentice [Steffen] and myself overlooked del Moral's name on letterheads if we chose not to comply with the $500,000 demand," Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
"I don't know what Trent's motivations are in all this; Trent's a nice guy, a respectful person and I've always liked him a lot. I don't know what kind of advice he's getting from the outside at this point in time."
Lowe had been advised by Martin Hardie, a law lecturer at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, and Vaughters says that the team has only had contact with the man who organised last year's anti-doping conference which featured presentations by the likes of Floyd Landis and the late Aldo Sassi.
"The only person we've had contact with is Martin. I've tried to write to Trent a couple of times to talk to him directly but every single time Martin has answered for him as opposed to [me speaking to him] directly," explained Vaughters.
"This is very much a new experience for us - we've always said from the beginning of the team that we'd be totally transparent and we are - we're being transparent about everything that's going on."
Bill of clean health?
Lowe took his third quarterly health check - which requires a blood test, as mandated by the UCI - in June 2009 and in December last year the rider told Vaughters via email that this procedure had taken place in del Moral's clinic.
"The quarterly health check does not require you to go to a doctor - it doesn't require any interaction with a doctor who could prescribe medicines or a treatment to you," explained Vaughters.
"It's simply that the rider, of his own volition, can go to any clinic and he simply gives them a list of different elements that need to be tested for in his blood that is required by the UCI - that clinic then sends those results to the rider and then he would send those to [Slipstream Sports doctor] Prentice Steffen and Prentice then sends it onto the UCI.
"We make absolutely no requirements [regarding the choice of doctor to conduct the health check]," continued Vaughters. "Is it annoying that he went to del Moral's clinic? Sure. But that was his choice and since there's no interaction with the doctor or medicines being prescribed as a result of that, we're not going to require that the rider goes to a certain clinic because they're just going for a quarterly blood test - as is required by the UCI."
Vaughters explained the implications inherent in Lowe's correspondence thus: "I think that they're implicitly saying, 'Look, here's some letterhead that you didn't read, we're going to go public and show that you were complicit'. Prentice or myself can't name any letterhead on any of the riders' [letters] who have sent in their quarterly exam.
"It's not something that we look at - we're focused on the data. When you go into a clinic for a blood test this is not an interaction where medications could be prescribed or treatment could be prescribed. It is simply an interaction to get a test that is then sent to the team physician which is then sent to the UCI," he continued.
"All of these clinics have an attending physician, and the attending physician was del Moral. Did we miss that on the letterhead? Yes we did. But is that nefarious and imply complicity? I certainly don't think so but that's the threat here.
"It's really unfortunate timing but our decision was based on policy and nothing more. It is pedantic of us to have to take that action. It's just that we have to live and die by the rules we make for ourselves."