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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 31, 2013

Date published:
January 31, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Operacion Puerto trial: Fuentes goes on the attack

    Jesus Manzano Photo: © Daniel Schamps
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 18:40 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Says he didn’t treat Manzano because he “took cocaine”

    During his second day on the stand at the Puerto trial in Madrid, Dr Eufemiano Fuentes once again asserted that he only provided blood transfusions for athletes for health reasons. One of five defendants facing a charge of crimes against public health, Fuentes also went on the attack in an attempt to discredit some of those who have made accusations about his involvement in doping practices, including doping whistleblower Jesús Manzano.

    Fuentes claimed that former Kelme rider Manzano had approached him for treatment during his racing career. “He used to take cocaine and that’s very dangerous in high-level competition. I got that information both from him and his mother, who called to tell me. Cocaine consumption can lead to serious cardiovascular damage, and for that reason I didn’t include him among my patients,” said Fuentes. Manzano’s lawyer made an immediate complaint to the judge about these comments and asked for the right to launch a suit against Fuentes.

    Fuentes, who now operates as a gynaecologist in the Canary Islands, had previously revealed that an ex-pro who works for a government body that is backing the case against Fuentes had been one of his clients. The ex-rider in question is former Kelme pro Javier José “Pipe” Gómez, who is president of the Spanish riders’ association (ACP) and director-general of the Foundation for Youth Sport, which is part of Spain’s Superior Council for Sport (CSD). Fuentes said that Gómez had never objected to his methods.

    Later in the day, the CSD revealed that Gómez had offered his resignation to the CSD’s president “in order to facilitate his defence and to avoid damaging the foundation”.

    Asked to provide more...

  • Downing heads to Tour of Qatar

    Downing talks to CNHD
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 22:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    CNHD chat to British pro rider

    After a year with Continental squad Endura, Russell Downing makes his return to professional cycling at the Tour of Qatar on Sunday.

    Qatar will be the second race for the team under their new guise of NetApp-Endura, after starting the season in San Luis. They will also be heading to some of the year’s biggest races; Tirreno-Adriatico, Il Lombardia and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    As a Pro Continental team, they are heavily reliant on invitations. They missed out on a return to the Giro, “I was keen to ride the Giro after riding it two years ago,” Downing tells Cycling News HD. I’ve got good memories and I’ve always thought that the Giro was the nicest and most colourful Tour to ride.

    Downing sees the up and coming races in Qatar and Oman as a chance to add a Grand Tour to that list. “We will do everything we can in the early season race and we won’t just go there and roll around,” he tells Cycling News HD. “We’ll go to perform and impress and hopefully we’ll get one.”

    The former Sky rider was one of the eight to move when Endura linked-up with German team NetApp, at the end of last year. In 2011 Downing was left what he’d done wrong when Sky decided not to renew his contract, “I was pretty pissed off at the end of Sky and I’d done nothing wrong.

    “They didn’t even give me a phone call,” Downing says when asked if they’d given him a reason. With nowhere to go the 34-year-old spoke to, his friend and Endura team manager, Brian Smith who convinced him to join the Scottish outfit.

    “There were possibilities of other things happening,” he says of his move. “But I normally have a date when I need to make a decision by and that is what I did. I probably had two more offers after I...

  • Marathon woman Cromwell takes first steps of 2013

    Tiffany Cromwell (Orica - AIS) wins in Portarlington
    Article published:
    January 31, 2013, 0:00 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian on the offensive at Ladies Tour of Qatar

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so the adage goes, and the 42.195 kilometres of a marathon are usually prefixed by a steady accumulation of training runs. Not so for Tiffany Cromwell.

    After wrapping up her 2012 season at the world championships in Valkenburg last September, the Orica-AIS rider decided to take aim at the Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes, near her European base in Monaco, scarcely a month later and on a severely limited diet of training miles.

    "I told myself I would be able to train for a month from the Worlds onwards, but I didn't quite do that," Cromwell admitted, explaining that she totalled a mere 80 kilometres in training beforehand. "I did a week of good training but my ankles and knees didn't like it, so I didn't run for 10 days after that. I did manage a 5k run three days before it, but luckily I had the base endurance from cycling to do it."

    In the event, Cromwell managed a creditable 3:37 and shortly afterwards, she was back in formal preparation for the Australian championships in mid-January. "It was just fun to do something a little different instead of being totally bike-focused," she said. "I think that's how you get on top of things and avoid getting burnt out."

    Given her active off-season, it's perhaps not surprising that Cromwell has hit the ground running in 2013. Fresh from the Antipodean summer, Cromwell and her Orica-AIS teammates have been the principal aggressors at the Ladies Tour of Qatar, taking advantage of the peninsula's gusty conditions to split the peloton on the opening two stages. Two days in, Cromwell is one of three Orica riders in the top seven places overall.

    "We don't have an outright sprinter here, so obviously we rely more on the wind to take an advantage," said Cromwell, reminding Cyclingnews that...

  • Gallery: Cofidis, Solutions Credits team presented in Paris

    The Cofidis, Solutions Credits squad for the 2013 season
    Article published:
    January 31, 2013, 1:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Le Mevel, Taaramäe, Coppel and Navarro amongst 25-rider roster

    The Professional Continental squad Cofidis, Solutions Credits has presented its 2013 line-up with marque signings Christophe Le Mevel and Daniel Navarro among the 25-rider roster. Four Paralympic athletes were also at the team presentation in France with a special appearance from the recently-retired David Moncoutié.

    Le Mevel announced his move from the ProTeam Garmin Sharp squad at the end of 2012 citing frustration on missing out on riding the Tour de France – for the second consecutive year. The move to Cofidis should see him with more freedom to decide his race calendar for the coming two seasons.

    Jérôme Coppel will hope his new team will provide the support necessary to continue his development as a general classification rider at the Grand Tours while Rein Taaramäe readies for his fifth year with the French outfit.

    Daniel Navarro was a surprise signing after spending a number years by the side of his former leader Alberto Contador and is no doubt looking to break free of his usual domestique duties and also pursue his own objectives.


  • Orica GreenEdge set to join MPCC?

    Shayne Bannan (right) with Neil Stephens in Melbourne with GreenEdge.
    Article published:
    January 31, 2013, 3:31 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Bannan and Dr. Barnes set to attend February 7 meeting

    Orica GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan, along with chief medical officer Dr Peter Barnes will attend the next meeting of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) with the organisation granting provisional membership for the time being.

    A vote will take place at the next meeting of the MPCC on February 7 to confirm Orica GreenEdge's membership.

    The move comes after the anti-doping group prematurely announced that GreenEdge had signed on in mid-March of last year. Bannan at that stage had attended meetings with the MPCC on the team's behalf.

    Orica GreenEdge is currently holding an independent review into its anti-doping policies, headed by former WADA director Nicki Vance. When contacted by Cyclingnews this morning, Vance would not comment on the team's dealings with the MPCC as she had not been involved in any plans to join the group. Vance's initial findings are expected to be released in April.

    Founded in 2007, the MPCC imposes stricter anti-doping measures on its members that go beyond the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, including additional testing to combat the use of corticosteroids. Member teams also do not allow their riders to race while they await decisions regarding anti-doping procedures.

    Its current WorldTour members are AG2R La Mondiale, Argos-Shimano, FDJ, Garmin-Sharp and Lotto Belisol.

    Other teams with provisional membership which will be voted on at next month's meeting include Astana, Katusha, Lampre-Merida, Blanco, Crelan-Euphony, Bardiani-CSF, La Pomme Marseille, Big Mat-Auber 93 and Novo Nordisk.

    Late last year, the race organizers' association AIOCC decided it would give MPCC members priority in the allocation of wild card invitations to their events.


  • Omega Pharma - Quick-Step announce Challenge Mallorca roster

    The 2013 Omega Pharma - Quickstep team trains in the new kit.
    Article published:
    January 31, 2013, 5:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Meersman and Martin make 2013 debut

    Gianni Meersman and reigning world time trial champion Tony Martin will make their European debut at the upcoming Challenge Mallorca series. The four-day event marks the first race for the majority of the Omega Pharma - Quick-Step riders with Meersman, Martin and Michal Golas expected to do well on the more selective days. The four-day event allows for a roster of up to 10-riders which can be rotated throughout the various races.

    The team arrives without a dedicated sprinter which after the successful showing of neo-pro Andy Fenn in 2012, may hurt the team’s chances for victory. Fenn won the Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Migjorn just months after taking a bronze medal at the U23 world road race championships early last year.

    Instead, there’s a mix of riders who can battle for the win from smaller bunch finishes with new recruit Gianni Meersman amongst the quickest in the team. The squad has been preparing itself over the past week and has already pinpointed the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana and Trofeo Platja de Muro as best suiting the team's characteristics.

    "We have been here since the 24th," said sports director Tom Steels. "We will do a few good training rides before the race in the next days. We already did reconnaissance for one of the stages. In the next days we will do other stage parcour training. Mallorca is the first race in Europe, and the riders really want to race. Now it is time to ride. Last year we came here with Andy Fenn and he won two stages.

    "This year we don't have a sprinter, so we will have a good chance in the 3rd and 4th stages, the up and down days, with Meersman, Martin, Golas, and other riders who have the possibility to do well....

  • Rasmussen expected to confess to doping

    Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches)
    Article published:
    January 31, 2013, 9:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Rabobank rider to speak at Danish press conference

    Former Rabobank rider and Tour de France contender Michael Rasmussen is expected to reveal that he doped during his career in a press conference in Herning, Denmark.

    According to reports in the Danish media, Rasmussen will talk about his past in a press conference at 2:00pm CET, arranged by his current ChristinaWatches/Onfone team.

    The Danish Anti-Doping Agency has also called a press conference in Brondby for 3:30pm CET. DR, the Danish national broadcaster has suggested Rasmussen has negotiated a deal with Anti-Doping Denmark, offering names and information in exchange for a two-year ban.

    Rasmussen has always been a controversial figure. Nicknamed 'the chicken' for his skinny, pure climber's physique, he first emerged as Tour de France contender in 2005. He won a stage and the polka-dot climber's jersey but crashed twice in the final time trial and was seventh overall. He was again best climber in 2006 and took the yellow jersey in 2007 after wining the mountain stage to the Col d'Aubisque.

    However he had been exposed as a liar after trying to avoid out of competition testing in June. He claimed he was training in Mexico but was spotted in the Italian Dolomites by Italian TV commentator Davide Cassani.

    Despite leading the Tour de France, Rasmussen was sent home by his Rabobank team and dismissed. He was later banned for two years but made a defiant comeback in 2009 thanks to support from Christina Watches. He won the Ringerike GP in 2012 and was third overall in the Tour of China.

    Rasmussen has been locked in a legal battle with he Rabobank team for wrongful dismissal and hopes to secure 5.8 million Euro damages and lost pay.

    Any confession could dramatically change the course of his legal battle and further reveal the scale of doping in Dutch cycling and the Rabobank team during the last 20 years.

  • Ashenden quits the Change Cycling Now group

    Michael Ashenden, formerly of the UCI's Biological Passport panel, at the Change Cycling Now press conference.
    Article published:
    January 31, 2013, 12:35 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Australian anti-doping expert against meeting Armstrong

    Michael Ashenden has quit the Change Cycling Now lobby group with immediate affect after learning that the group had approached Lance Armstrong through French physiologist and coach Antoine Vayer.

    In an email to the members of the board obtained by Cyclingnews, the highly respected Australian anti-doping expert wrote: “I am writing to inform you that I am removing myself, effective immediately, from the CCN movement.”

    "It is clear to me that there are irreconcilable differences in the approaches used by CCN and myself. Put simply: I will not be associated with any group that seeks to meet with Lance Armstrong, with the obvious exception of USADA."

    "If I had been informed of the intention to approach Armstrong I would have made my position clear immediately. Unfortunately, the approach to Armstrong was made without my knowledge, it cannot be undone, and nor can my decision to leave CCN.”

    “I wish you all well and remind you that we are all still pushing in the same direction - we just don't agree on how to go about that.”

    The Change Cycling Now group was formed in November 2012 with the goal of creating a platform and pressure group that will "help generate positive changes for the future of professional cycling."

    Skins Chairman Jamie Fuller has been the driving force behind the group, with support coming from a range of influential figures including Ashenden, journalists Paul Kimmage and David Walsh, Garmin-Sharp team manager Jonathan Vaughters and former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.

    In December key figures of the group held a two-day meeting and issued their idea for a road map for the future of competitive cycling. This includes the creation of an independent...