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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 14, 2012

Date published:
June 14, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Schleck confirms he will miss Tour de France

    Andy Schleck confirmed that he won't be competing in the Tour de France due to a fracture to his pelvis sustained at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2012, 14:56 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Dauphiné crash rules out Luxembourg rider

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) has announced that he will not ride the 2012 Tour de France after he sustained a fracture to his pelvis in his crash during the Critérium du Dauphiné last week.

    In a press conference in Strassen, Luxembourg on Wednesday afternoon, it was confirmed that Schleck had fractured the sacral bone of his pelvis when he fell early on in the stage 4 time trial to Bourg-en-Bresse.

    Although Schleck battled through to finish the following day’s stage, he withdrew on the penultimate day of the race. Still in pain on Monday morning, Schleck underwent an x-ray and then an MRI scan, which ultimately revealed the full extent of his injury.

    “Yesterday, when I came out of the MRI scan and they told me the news, my world fell apart," Schleck said. "I won't win the 2012 Tour de France, I won't even be in it.”

    Flanked by his doctor Charles Delagardelle and orthopaedic surgeon Thorsten Gerich, who said that it would take “between four and six weeks” for the fracture to heal, a solemn Schleck told reporters that he aimed to return to competitive action in time for the London 2012 Olympics on July 28.

    Schleck’s absence from the Tour means that he is now on course for a head-to-head battle with his great rival Alberto Contador at the Vuelta a España. Contador returns from suspension shortly before his home Tour, setting up an intriguing clash between the pair in August.

    “I hope to be back to ride the Olympics and then my main goal will be...

  • Leipheimer using Suisse as final Tour de France warm up

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma - Quickstep)
    Article published:
    June 13, 2012, 17:57 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Former Tour podium finisher aiming high

    Sustaining a broken leg certainly isn’t the best preparation for a Tour de France but in Levi Leipheimer’s case it could be a twist of fate that allows him to peak in July for the first time in a number of years.

    The 38-year-old has regularly built his season around the Tour of California and Tour de France, aiming to attain peak form for both races. However it has rarely, if at all, worked. Despite three straight wins in the US stage race (2007-2009) he has struggled to repeat his podium place from the 2007 Tour. Bad luck and crashes have played their part in recent Tours but this year Leipheimer’s leg break –sustained in April when he was hit by a car - has meant a restructure of both his left leg and his Tour training.

    The Tour of California was a comeback race rather than a overall objective, and he’s currently racing at the Tour de Suisse.

    “When the Tour of California was in February it was much simpler,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “There was so much time in between that you could go up and down with your form but May is always tricky because it’s just too close and yet too far to try and hang onto the form. It’s better to hit the Tour with an upward trajectory and it feels like I’m doing that now.

    “I’m looking forward to the Tour, though, and I want to get another shot at it. The goal is take it day by day and make it through the first week but I think that’s more and more of a hurdle each year, especially last year which was one of the most stressful Tours. I would love to be top five or go for the...

  • Issue 7 of Cyclingnews HD now available

    Issue 7 of Cyclingnews HD is now available
    Article published:
    June 13, 2012, 20:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Download it in the App Store today

    Issue 7 of our weekly digital magazine for iPads, Cyclingnews HD, is now available to download from the Apple App Store. This week's highlights include:

    Critérium du Dauphiné: Bradley Wiggins repeats as the Dauphiné winner and puts down a marker for the Tour

    Tour de Suisse: Peter Sagan runs riot in Switzerland, plus a detailed look ahead to what will be the Tour de Suisse's decisive stages

    Exclusive interview: Lotto-Belisol's Jelle Vanandert

    We also round-up the week's biggest news stories and Basque in the news that Euskaltel will continue its sponsorship of cycling's biggest local team

    For more information and to download your copy of issue 7, click here.

  • Armstrong charged with doping by USADA

    The 2004 Tour podium with Armstrong and Basso
    Article published:
    June 13, 2012, 21:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Seven-time Tour de France winner banned from competitions

    Lance Armstrong has been formally charged with doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) according to the Washington Post. The seven-time Tour de France winner has been banned from competition effective immediately, including triathlons which he has been racing since he retired from pro road cycling in 2011.

    The Washington Post reported on a copy of a 15-page letter sent to Lance Armstrong by USADA on Tuesday. In it, the agency alleged that some of Armstrong's blood samples from 2009 and 2010 were "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."

    Armstrong has never tested positive in any doping tests.

    The news comes after the US federal government ended an investigation into doping allegations abruptly in February. The nearly two-year grand jury investigation was closed with no charges brought.  The Food and Drug Adminstration's Jeff Novitzky had headed the investigation.  Armstrong had welcomed the end of federal investigation earlier this year.

    The Washington Post reported that Armstrong's attorney Robert D. Luskin called USADA's latest allegations a product of "malice and spite" on behalf of USADA, which for years has been seeking information on whether Armstrong doped. He pointed to all of Armstrong's passed drug tests and said the letter was a result of a conspiracy against Armstrong since several teams and riders are mentioned, but his client is the only one charged.

    USADA has been conducting its own investigation separate from that done by the federal government. USADA has the authority...

  • Armstrong and authorities comment on doping charges

    A pensive Lance Armstrong
    Article published:
    June 13, 2012, 22:20 BST
    Daniel Benson & Peter Hymas

    USADA and UCI statements reveal levels of intent and knowledge

    "I have never doped," said Lance Armstrong.

    "USADA only initiates matters supported by the evidence," said USADA.

    "The UCI is not aware of the information," said UCI.

    Three press statements within less than a two-hour window and three authentically contrasting messages. The first was delivered by Lance Armstrong after the Washington Post broke the news that USADA had formally charged the seven-time Tour de France winner and five other individuals with doping violations.

    Armstrong, a winner of the Tour from 1999 to 2005, has always denied doping and has claimed to be one of the "most tested athletes on the planet" and his defiant vitriol calls USADA's efforts both a "witch hunt" and "wide-ranging conspiracy" - a complete contrast to the message he eked out at the conclusion of the FDA investigation in February where he appeared to tired of fighting authorities, but nevertheless poignant.

    After Armstrong's rebuttal, the UCI made its views clear. Caught between a position of knowing nothing and a huge degree of uncertainty, it began by declaring that USADA had at no point contacted them with information regarding the case. Not surprising, perhaps. At the completion of the FDA investigation in February, the UCI expressed relief that the two-year saga had been put to bed, while Travis Tygart and USADA appeared intent on not only retrieving evidence from the FDA and Attorney General's office, but also pressing ahead with its own investigation.

    "This is the first time USADA has communicated to UCI on this subject," the sport's governing body said in a statement.

    "The UCI is not aware of the information that is available to USADA on the persons concerned and has not been involved in the proceedings opened by USADA."

    With all the information to hand, USADA's statement is far more detailed...

  • Bruyneel could face lifetime ban if USADA charges are upheld

    Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    June 14, 2012, 8:59 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    RadioShack-Nissan manager charged with doping and cover-up conspiracy

    Johan Bruyneel's future, and that of Team RadioShack-Nissan, is unknown in light of doping charges brought against the team manager. He is facing doping charges brought by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He is charged with possession and trafficking in prohibited substances, as well as conspiring to cover up the illegal activities and if found guilty,  could face a life-long ban from the sport.

    Also charged were Dr. Pedro Celaye, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, Dr. Michele Ferrari, and soigneur Pepe Marti, as well as Lance Armstrong. Armstrong has already been temporarily suspended from participating in triathlons.

    Bruyneel may also be suspended from any further participation with the team until the charges are resolved. However, neither the team nor the UCI has yet publicly addressed the issue, and Cyclingnews has not been able to reach them for a statement.

    Bruyneel, 47, could face up to a lifetime ban from pro cycling if he is convicted.

    The illegal products and methods

    In a 15-page letter sent to all of the respondents, the USADA went through a list of illegal products and methods said to have been used at the teams USPS, Discovery Channel, Astana and RadioShack. Bruyneel has always denied any knowledge of doping practices being carried out on teams he has managed, criticising both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis – both of whom are former US Postal riders who have admitted to have taken doping products.

    The first one mentioned was that that those named had implemented “a number of means to avoid detection of EPO use”. Bruyneel is specifically named by “multiple riders” as having “developed training plans dependent upon EPO use and instructed riders to use the drug.”

    Similar charges...

  • USADA case against Armstrong could damage UCI, Ashenden says

    Dr Michael Ashenden
    Article published:
    June 14, 2012, 11:34 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Case discusses possible cover up of alleged 2001 Tour de Suisse positive for EPO

    Dr. Michael Ashenden, a former independent member of the UCI's passport panel, has reacted to news of USADA’s charges against Lance Armstrong, noting his concern that the charges have implications for the UCI’s credibility.

    Ashenden’s reaction is based on USADA’s letter to Armstrong and five other individuals charged with doping violations in a time span stretching from 1998 to 2010. However Ashenden’s concern does not relate to the alleged use of banned substances such as EPO or human growth hormone, but an alleged cover up of a doping control at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

    Armstrong took part in the race and, according to USADA, several witnesses have given testimony that Armstrong told them that a positive test had been covered up. Two former teammates, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, have both gone on record to substantiate the claims.

    USADA’s letter of notification also includes reference to their own interview with the Lausanne lab director, Dr Martial Saugy, who conducted the tests in 2001. Saugy told USADA that Armstrong’s samples were indicative of EPO use. In May 2011 Saugy  admitted to attending a meeting with former US Postal sports director Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong to discuss details of the early EPO test method.

    “For me the thing that has the most far-reaching consequence is that several witnesses said that Armstrong talked about having a test result covered up,” Ashenden told Cyclingnews.

    “That has enormous implications. If the evidence supports that charge it’s likely to descend cycling, which is already fending off a fair bit of criticism, into chaos. It’s hard to understate the ramifications. If Armstrong believed that he had a test that was covered up then that story doesn’t just end with him being sanctioned or not...

  • Fränk Schleck sorry not to have brother Andy at the Tour de France

    Frank and Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    June 14, 2012, 12:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Brothers have started together last five years

    For the first time in five years, the Schleck brothers will not be together at the start of the Tour de France. With Andy Schleck out due to injuries, Fränk Schleck must face the Tour alone, “but this belongs to the rider's life.”

    The younger Schleck announced on Wednesday that he had suffered a fractured sacral bone in his pelvis in a crash at the Tour de Suisse, and would not be able to ride the Tour.  He was to have been the team captain for RadioShack-Nissan.

    “This shows once again that we do not always master the situation," Fränk Schleck said, according to

    “Of course I would rather have Andy at my side, but this belongs to the rider's life. His forfeit is disappointing for him, for me, for the whole team. But at the same time we must not speak of a disappointment.

    "What his absence will mean for me? I haven't had time to think about that.  I've heard from Andy a few times, but we didn't talk about my Tour.”