UCI Presidential candidate supportive of expanded Oceania calendar
UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson has raised concerns over the plan being raised via a petition to have women race their own Tour de France.
Speaking to the Le Tour Prologue program in Australia in an interview set to air on Thursday evening, Cookson covered off a number of issues currently facing the sport of cycling including doping, truth and reconciliation, globalisation and the development of women's cycling.
Last week, Multi-discipline world champion Marianne Vos, former world champion Emma Pooley, world champion ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington and Kathryn Bertine published a letter to Amaury Sports Organisation and Tour director Christian Prudhomme with an accompanying petition outlining the reasons they believe that women should have an event running in conjunction with the men in what is the most recognisable cycling event in the world.
"We seek not to race against the men, but to have our own professional field running in conjunction with the men's event, at the same time, over the same distances, on the same days, with modifications in start/finish times so neither gender's race interferes with the other," the letter states.
Cookson however, does not believe that such a plan would work.
"I have to say I think that's unrealistic," he said. "I would like to see a women's Tour de France but I think it needs to be over modified distances, modified number of days and so on."
The Brit reiterated that the time was now right to introduce a minimum wage on women's pro teams and what he also plans, if elected, to put women into more positions of power within the UCI to "take the sport forward in a positive way and that works for women. So it's not just a shadow of men's events and men's teams."
Riders not responsible for use of banned asthma drug, says MPCC
The board of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) has handed down an eight-day suspension for the RusVelo team after three of its riders testing positive for the asthma medication Fenoterol.
RusVelo confirmed last week that Andrey Solomennikov, Roman Maikin, and Artem Ovechkin all tested positive for Fenoterol after the Russian national championships in late June. The substance is banned for in-competition use by the World Anti-Doping Code.
The Professional Continental team is a member of the MPCC, whose rules call for a four-week suspension in the case of three positive tests within a 24 month period.
In April, Valery Kaykov was provisionally suspended and sacked by the team after failing a test for the new fat-burning drug GW1516.
The MPCC released the following statement explaining the short sanction.
"The MPCC board has received the explanations given by RusVelo team manager Renat Khamidulin. At this occasion, he stated that Roman Maikin, Andrey Solomennikov and Artem Ovechkin’s positive controls to fenoterol were due to a mistake. They were given anti-allergic medication by the team doctor, which has therefore been dismissed. Considering this is one sole infraction and that the riders are not responsible for this medical error, MPCC pronounced for the autosuspension of the team RusVelo from July 13rd to July 21st."
Australian takes it easy in time trial, hoping for a good Alpine campaign
The thought of Cadel Evans losing over eight minutes to Chris Froome in a Tour de France time trial looked unimaginable two weeks ago - let alone two years ago - but that is what happened on stage 17 after the Australian deliberately lost time.
The 32 kilometre test from Embrun to Chorges saw the 2011 Tour winner coast home in a time of 59:37 with a number of sprinters beating him.
Evans’ ride comes after a frustrating opening two weeks for the Australian and his BMC team with all GC aspirations slipping away in the Pyrenees and then disappearing into the abyss on the moonlike slopes of Ventoux. It has left Evans needing to adapt to a new role of stage hunter in the Alps as the team look to rescue their race.
"If we’re going to have any chance of doing something in the stages ahead, I’m going to have to be a bit more recovered and back off today and see if there’s an opportunity tomorrow. If not, take it easy again in hope of coming around for one of the stages. It will be tricky but we’ll try," Evans told the press as he warmed down after his time trial.
"Tomorrow to have a chance you have to be in a pretty good breakaway early on and be going away early and getting a lot of time which would be unusual to enter into, judging on past experiences in breakaways at the Tour, what few I’ve had."
Evans chances of slipping into an early break on the road to Alpe d’Huez depend on the tactics of others. Despite soft pedalling around the time trial today he still sits inside the top twenty, in 18th place, in fact. Those around him in GC may well try and defend their positions, while the true battle for yellow may be the biggest element in any break surviving.
De Gendt, Leukemans, Westra willing to wait, says Luijckx
There is growing concern for the future of the Vacansoleil-DCM team with general manager Daan Luijckx saying that rider's careers were now hanging in the balance.
Current title sponsors Vacansoleil which promotes luxury camping holidays and DCM, a fertiliser manufacturer have previously announced that they will not renew their current agreements. Bike sponsor Bianchi is reportedly willing to up its stake in the team but that won't be enough to see them take over from the current sponsors.
"Right now I have nothing concrete in my hands," said Luijckx on Wednesday to news agency, Belga. "I have three options open, but even with these I still have no signature."
One option if the funds cannot be raised is for the team to continue at WorldTour level, is to drop back to Professional Continental status. Luijckx had also hoped to have some plans in place by the start of the Tour de France but given nothing has come to fruition, he is resigned to the fact that some of his riders will be looking for a new home sooner rather than later.
"I had promised to have some news for the riders so they can find a new employer at the end of the Tour," he explained. "I do not want to and cannot impede on their careers. I know that some of our high profile riders like Thomas De Gendt, Björn Leukemans and Lieuwe Westra are willing to wait longer. And I also know that managers have shown interest and are offering more money and I can't do anything about that. The guys will start making decisions from late July, early August. I can't be angry about that."
Luijckx also said that he was "grateful" for the...
If ever a narrow defeat felt like a victory of sorts for Alberto Contador, it was this one. He began stage 17 of the Tour de France some 4:25 down on Chris Froome (Sky) and mindful that any further misstep in the hilly time trial would see the yellow jersey move emphatically out of reach.
Instead, Contador somehow conjured some of his time trialling vim of old to lead through both of the intermediate check points before ultimately settling for second place on the stage, 9 seconds down on Froome. As the Tour reaches its endgame in the Alps, the Spaniard lies in second place overall and still – just about – in contact with the seemingly unassailable Froome.
“It was good and I'm happy because it's good to be so close, although at the same time, it’s true that it was a shame not to win when the gap was so small,” said Contador, who led Froome by two seconds at the first check and by 11 after the second, with 12 kilometres still to race.
“Froome is at an impressive level both uphill and in the time trial and so even though I had the best time, when I saw he was still up there, I was mentally prepared for the likelihood that he would overtake me.”
While Froome opted to switch to a time trial bike for the finale, which saw the course drop into Chorges, Contador decided to stick with the same machine he had used on the ascents of the category two climbs of the Côte de Puy-Sanieres and the Côte de Réallon. He suggested, too, that he was happy simply to more or less break even with Froome ahead of three successive days of hardship in the Alps.
“On the last descent it started to rain and I decided to go a little softer because I had a fall yesterday,” said...
If Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana have genuine aspirations of knocking Chris Froome off the top step of the Tour de France podium by Paris they must make the race as aggressive as possible, says Sean Kelly.
The former all-rounder was talking to Cyclingnews on stage 17, a time trial that Froome won, with Contador finishing in second. The Spaniard now trails Froome by 4:34 but with three Alpine stages to come and Contador vowing to go on the attack at every opportunity the race is not quite over.
In this exclusive video Kelly talks about the tactics that may play out in the coming days, starting with stage 18 to Alpe d’Huez. An aggressive front from Saxo-Tinkoff and Movistar, Kelly believes, may well isolate Froome, as was the case on stage 9 to Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
That day Froome and Sky faced a number of attacks and the race leader was without teammates for most of the stage. He survived and has since bolstered his lead in the time trials and on the stage to Mont Ventoux.
But Kelly still sees Sky’s line-up as a opportunity for others to exploit.
Movistar rider would like make more time on Kwiatkowski
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has provided much of the excitement in this year's Tour de France, with his relentless attacks and his ability to make riders look like they're pedalling in slow motion in the mountains.
The 23-year-old Colombian rider arrived at the Tour on good form and much was expected of him. He came to the race with the intention of helping his teammate Alejandro Valverde but, when his leader lost over 10 minutes on stage 13, the main focus of the team became Quintana. As the race has progressed, the Movistar rider has been slowly moving up the general classification, especially after his attack on Mont Ventoux.
Quintana currently sits just over two minutes down on Saxo-Tinkoff's Romain Kreuziger, who moved into third after Wednesday's stage 17 mountain time trial. Despite the proximity to a possible podium position, Quintana isn't focussing about that just yet. "I'm not really thinking about Paris," said the Movistar rider at the finish. "I'm just trying to stay calm."
"I am fighting to maintain my place and I am fighting against [Michal] Kwiatkowski for the white jersey." Quintana increased his lead in the competition to, what looks like an unassailable, 4:12 gap. Quintana isn't counting his chickens yet and would like a larger buffer in the young riders' classification. "I extended my lead on Kwiatkowski in the white jersey. I hope that I can get a bit more time to make things less stressful."
With two ascents of the mythical Alpe d'Huez due up on stage 18, for...
The Association of Professionals riders (CPA) issued a statement today supporting the Tour de France leader Chris Froome "against unjustified allegations of doping".
"It's not fair to blame someone without evidence against him," said Gianni Bugno, president of the CPA. "We demand more respect for Chris and for all the riders. We are witnessing a daily attack against the dignity of the riders in a manner that can no longer be tolerated."
Bugno, himself a Grand Tour champion (1990 Giro d'Italia) and twice World Champion (1991-1992), had suffered his own share of scrutiny when it came to drugs. In 1994 he tested 30 times above the limit at the time for caffeine and served a reduced ban after he claimed to have only consumed coffee prior to the race. He also was part of a 1999 investigation when he served as a directeur sportif for the Mapei team, after police uncovered a package of amphetamines that was addressed to his family home. He was given a suspended six month prison sentence and fine in 2002.
The CPA statement went on to state that it "has always supported the importance of the fight against doping" but condemns "the fury of media and institutions which over the years has often led to the association cycling = doping."
Froome has come under attack by both the fans, who have taken to internet forums to guess the Sky rider's power values, values which his team principal David Brailsford refuses to publish, and by media who spent seven years reporting on the dominance of Lance Armstrong only for an avalanche of doping confessions to follow.
"Despite all the efforts that cycling face to combat this scourge and despite the professional riders are the most controlled athletes in the...