Tour of Utah first stop for Australian U23 and Oceania TT champion
Reigning Australian U23 national time trial and Oceania champion Damien Howson will step up to the professional ranks this season after the announcement of a multi-year deal with the Australian WorldTour squad Orica GreenEdge. Howson will step into the team as a stagiaire for the Tour of Utah in August after spending the 2013 season with the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy where he took out the prologue at the Thüringen-Rundfahrt.
Howson has showed tremendous progression this season, having won the U23 national TT and finishing second in the road race, the 20-year-old received the call up for the Santos Tour Down Under where he raced for the Australian National Team. Another title at the Oceania championships followed by a couple of wins in Europe along with multiple placings including third-overall at Thüringen-Rundfahrt has earned the young rider a place in Australia’s only ProTeam.
"Damien has shown strong progression within our national program," said Orica GreenEdge sports director Matt White. "We've seen obvious improvements from him first with Jayco-AIS last year and then this year with the Jayco-AIS WorldTour Academy. He's ready to turn professional, and we're ready to support his development."
It’s a "dream come true" for last year’s bronze medallist in the U23 TT at the UCI Road World Championships. Stepping into a stagiaire role for the rest of the season is ideal for the South Australian who had already signaled his intentions to return to the World’s as a espoir in an...
Second insurance company suit goes forward on statute of limitations decision
Lance Armstrong can be subjected to a lawsuit from a second insurance company seeking to recoup bonuses paid to the Texan during his Tour de France reign.
According to the Associated Press, Travis County judge Darlene Byrne denied a request to dismiss a $3 million suit from Acceptance Insurance Holdings, which was contracted to pay Armstrong's bonuses for his now-disqualified victories in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tours de France.
Armstrong's attorneys argued that any statute of limitations on breach of contract or fraud expired in 2011, but AIH argued that the timing only started when Armstrong publicly admitted to doping in January of this year.
With that ruling, Mark Kincaid, the attorney for AIH said he will move to question Armstrong under oath.
"Lance Armstrong would be the number one witness," Kincaid said to AP.
The case of AIH is similar to that of SCA Promotions with one exception: SCA Promotions went after Armstrong in 2005 after allegations of doping were levelled against him by journalist David Walsh and his L.A. Confidentiel author Pierre Ballester, and the two sides settled out of court.
While it is still to be decided whether the settlement can be undone, a point which Armstrong's attorneys argue is not possible under Texas law, the suit from AIH has no such issues.
"That's an obstacle they have to overcome that we don't," Kincaid said.
The $3 million suit is just a drop in the bucket of actions against Armstrong since the US Anti Doping Agency successfully stripped him of all seven Tour titles following a lengthy investigation into doping on his teams. The US Federal government is seeking...
Zero tolerance towards dopers but perhaps not past, says former Tour winner
Stephen Roche expects Alberto Contador to bank his Tour de France bid on one major attack and says that even if Chris Froome escapes without enduring a bad day, he is still capable of losing the race.
"Champions don't die and Alberto is one of the riders that I have a lot of respect for his race intelligence and his tactics," Roche told Cyclingnews on Wednesday.
"Alberto knows his terrain and it's the mountains and he has two stages where he can do it: l'Alpe d'Huez and Ventoux. He'll get one shot but he has to make sure it's the right one. He has to take the opportunity when he sees it."
Contador currently lies in fourth places, 3:54 down on Froome after the stage 11 time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel say the Sky leader increase his lead in the race.
"Saxo and Bjarne Riis are very good at judging a race and making the most of an opportunity. Bjarne wants to win, Contador wants to win and they're a very strong team," added Roche.
Froome has looked imperious thus far, the only question marks surrounding his team and whether the Sky leader can see out a maiden grand tour victory.
"I don't see Froome having a bad day but even if he has a good day he can be beaten on tactics as we saw the other day in the mountains. Maybe what happened the other day will fuel the ambitions of other riders."
Zero tolerance but possible protectionism
Last week Roche told Dutch website Nusport that a zero tolerance policy towards dopers should be enforced for the future and that cycling should no longer try and look towards the cheats of the...
Mont Ventoux to offer next big GC shake up, says BMC captain
In classic Cadel Evans style, the 2011 Tour de France winner continues to slowly chip away at the deficit to some of his fellow general classification rivals. Posting a time far from the top of the day’s standings, a full 2:30 behind Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and admitting he was far from his best, the Australian managed to move up two places to 14th overall.
"My time wasn't bad, but it wasn't anything particularly special," said Evans on his team site in response to 21st on the day which saw Froome gain another 2:18 on the 36-year-old Australian.
"Looking toward Paris and the end of the race, it would have been ideal to take back more time on some of the rivals ahead of me, but I didn't have it in the legs today to do better. From here, I hope to improve myself for the next set of mountains and the next time trial and keep moving ahead on the GC," he added.
The next big test for Evans and the remaining GC hopefuls will come at the weekend when the peloton will faces the iconic Mont Ventoux. The race’s longest stage offers only one real test along the 242.5km route...
Garmin rider slips a few GC spots in time trial stage
For Dan Martin, the Tour de France is a series of one-day races, and it's a mantra that he has been asked to repeat in two languages ever since his stage victory at Bagnères-de-Bigorre alerted the large swathes of the host media to his fluent French, honed during his apprenticeship as an amateur at VC La Pomme in Marseille.
Martin slipped from eighth to 13th place overall after he finished 3:36 down in Wednesday's stage 11 time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel, but the Irishman was unconcerned when he wheeled to a halt past the finish, explaining first to France Télévisions and then a wider media scrum that he is taking the race day by day.
"It wasn't really the best course for me, but I did the best I could out there," Martin said. "I rode as hard as I could for the whole way. I've got a lot to learn as far as pacing goes in time trialling and I struggled a little bit in the headwind in the last few kilometres, but I think everybody's the same.
"I probably started a little bit too hard but I wanted to use the first part of the parcours to try and not lose too much time. My legs weren't great today, but that's normal after 11 days of racing. I'm happy - I did my best, so I have to be happy."
The ability to place performances in their proper perspective within seconds of crossing the finish line is a rarity, least of all in the heightened atmosphere of the Tour de France, but Martin patiently explained why he is not putting the cart before the horse when it comes to the general classification.
"It's not my goal to finish in the top five: my goal is just to take every day as it comes and now I've got 10 more one-day races to come," Martin said.
It was put to the Garmin-Sharp man that this Tour was something akin to...
We're almost halfway through the second week of the Tour de France and Cofidis is one of several teams yet to hit the mark so far. The French team has been without a stage victory in their home race since 2008.
New recruit Daniel Navarro is hoping to break that run in the mountains this weekend. "It would make me very excited to win a stage," the Spaniard told Cycling News HD. "I haven't marked any objectives in stone, it would make me very excited to win a stage."
This weekend sees the first of two iconic stages, with the riders tackling the Mont Ventoux. While remaining coy about his chances, Navarro believes it's a stage where he can do well. "It is a climb that I can see suiting my characteristics, so I will try to stay with the best," he said.
"Unfortunately I don't know Mont Ventoux, but I've been told it is a long and hard climb. I think this will be a decisive day."
Navarro is riding his first Grand Tour without Alberto Contador since the 2007 Tour de France – when they rode for separate teams. In years gone by the Spaniard could be seen leading Contador though the mountains at the big races. Most recently Navarro helped Contador at the 2012 Vuelta a España. He decided to split with his long time teammate and move to Cofidis.
Since making the move, the Spaniard has taken a win at the Vuelta a Murcia and top 10 placings at the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Vuelta a Andalucía. "I think that the changes have gone very well," said Navarro. "The most important thing is that I am very happy with how things have...
Having recently released his warts and all book featuring both the highlights and low lights of his career, titled 'Domestique', Charly Wegelius has some perspective on the often cathartic process.
"After a while I think I realised that it was a story that was worth telling," Wegelius tells Cyclingnews in this video.
Domestic charts his journey from Vendee U in France to Mapei, De Nardi and Liquigas in Italy, a difficult two years with Lotto, through to his final season with then-UCI Continental outfit UnitedHealthcare in 2011.
The book makes no apologies as it dismisses the often-romanticised notion of the role of the domestique in professional cycling and Wegelius says that he hopes that it sheds some light on the day-to-day, race-to-race rigour of the job.
Now a directeur sportif with Garmin Sharp, Wegelius tells Cyclingnews that he "never imaged" feeling as passionate as he does now for the sport, given the low ebb he was at in 2011.
Watch the video below for more from Charly Wegelius.
Contrasting styles in young rider classification contest
In an echo of one the Giro d'Italia's most entertaining sub-plots, the battle for the white jersey at the Tour de France looks set to involve a Colombian and a Pole, with Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) firmly in place atop the standings in the best young rider classification.
In Italy in May, it was Quintana's fellow countryman Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) who eventually won out, as his punchier climbing saw him edge a close contest with Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff). The contrast in styles is less nuanced at the Tour and more of a confrontation between two opposing schools, as the rouleur Kwiatkowski is pitched against the pure climber Quintana.
When Quintana danced away on the Porte de Pailhères on Saturday's opening mountain stage, it looked as if he was about to take a decisive hold of the white jersey. Kwiatkowski rode well to limit his losses, however, and he regained the lead with a fine fifth place finish in the stage 11 time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel, 1:31 down on teammate Tony Martin.
"I think I did a pretty good TT and I'm happy with my improvement and my progression in the TT," Kwiatkowski said afterwards. "I pushed from the beginning and I was looking for my speed all the time. I was going 55kph a lot of the time, so it was a fast course."
That performance was enough to catapult Kwiatkowski to seventh place overall and also saw him leapfrog Quintana in the young rider classification after the Colombian finished 3:28 down on the stage. The gap between the two is now just 34 seconds....