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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 28, 2012

Date published:
June 28, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • USA Cycling, USADA headquarters evacuated in face of wildfires

    Racers arriving in Boulder on Friday were greeted with this view of a fire in Boulder Canyon. It was put out in time for the race
    Article published:
    June 27, 2012, 22:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colorado blazes burn parts of USA Pro Cycling Challenge route

    The headquarters of USA Cycling and the US Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs have been evacuated in the face of raging wildfires outside the Colorado town.

    Extremely hot, dry weather combined with 65mph winds yesterday to create a fire storm "of epic proportions" yesterday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of some 32,000 residents on the western edge of Colorado Springs.

    USA Cycling issued a statement today, saying that its offices are "closed until further notice".

    "We are in the process of establishing a remote location in order to continue to serve high-priority customer needs. As soon as possible, staff will be working remotely to address membership needs on a prioritized basis."

    The Waldo Canyon Fire doubled in size over the course of the past 24 hours, and according to the incident command is only five percent contained. It has burned the area near the Garden of the Gods park, which was slated to host a portion of stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs.

    Another blaze outside Boulder is threatening the Flagstaff Mountain communities. The area is part of the penultimate stage of the August race, which runs from Golden to Boulder. It is not yet known how the fires, which have exploded across Colorado's Front Range this week, will impact the race.

    The cycling-rich area is home to the thousands of fans who lined the course last year, as well as numerous professional cyclists and their families. Optum Pro Cycling's Michael Creed was the most directly impacted, his father's house was in an area where fire raged through, but there is no word if the house burned or not.

    The American Red Cross is directly involved in providing aid to those affected by the wildfires. Donations can be made here.

  • French agency opens investigation into Europcar

    The Europcar team hit the front
    Article published:
    June 27, 2012, 23:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bernaudeau denies accusations from 2011 Tour de France

    A French prosecutor has confirmed that an investigation into the Europcar team has been opened, according to L'Equipe. The news comes three days before the start of the 2012 Tour de France. Information on the team has been given to the OCLAESP, the body which administers civil doping cases. According to prosecutor Dominique Pérard, the investigation relates to the 2011 Tour de France, but could amount to nothing.

    "We open preliminary investigations a lot, and often, they do not lead to anything," Pérard said.

    The allegations are reported to involve the use of intravenous solutions of vitamins and the use of corticosteroids. The World Anti-Doping Agency code bans corticosteroids administered by "oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes" in competition, and limits intravenous infusions to 50mL in cases of all but emergency situations.

    The Europcar team had its best ever Tour de France in 2011, with Thomas Voeckler wearing the yellow jersey until the final time trial and Pierre Rolland coming home with a stage win on Alpe d'Huez plus the white jersey of best young rider.

    Interviewed by Reuters, Europcar manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau denied the team had engaged in any wrongdoing.

    "I have called my lawyer immediately. We have a clear conscience and we will answer every question as we have always done," Bernaudeau said.

  • O'Grady: 15 Tours de France and no sign of slowing down

    Stuart O'Grady working hard up Old Willunga Hill.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 0:52 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Veteran plans on sharing points classification experience with Goss

    After 15 Tours de France, Stuart O'Grady will be taking on a different role when he lines up for Orica-GreenEdge this Saturday. The veteran says that while the often gruelling three-weeks in the saddle does not get any easier, time has resulted in certain perspicacity.

    "It's going to be a new experience this time around without having someone like [Fabian] Cancellara who's normally won the prologue the last few years. I don't think they get any easier but it does get easier knowing that unless you have any physical problems or injuries you can get to Paris – normally," he laughs.

    Consider O'Grady's recent Tours and the sight of the Australian drilling the pace at the front of the peloton in the first week was a regular one. This time around, it's unlikely that he'll be as obviously spotted. He will maintain his role as 'road captain' though but it's the wheel of sprinter Matt Goss that he'll be protecting.

    "Once upon a time I was sprinting for the green jersey so I know what it takes," he told Cyclingnews. "I know when and when not to expend energy so hopefully I'll be trying to pass on all my knowledge to Gossy and the boys so we can hopefully go for the green jersey with Gossy in Paris."

    O'Grady was second in the points classification in 2001 and 2005, third in 2002 and while the structure may have changed with an intermediate sprint added last year, the battle remains the same. He admits to missing the adrenaline rush "for a while" but those days are long gone.

    "I've had my time and I guess as you get older, guys get faster and you get slower," he says. "I've had my fair share of pretty massive crashes and seeing all those guys up there boxing on, it's not for the faint...

  • Another year without the Tour for Christophe Le Mevel

    Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin - Cervelo)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 3:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Garmin - Sharp rider considering options for next season

    Christophe Le Mevel will not be riding in this year’s Tour de France. It wil be the second year running that the 32-year-old Frenchman has missed his ‘home’ race. However, last year it was planned as he focused on the Giro d’Italia where he finished 14th overall but this time he intentionally missed the Italian race to focus on building for the Tour - something he hasn't done since 2010.

    It was a huge disappointment for Le Mevel who has been given a limited calendar of racing this year compared to previous seasons. He will instead ride the seven-day Tour of Poland. His non-selection was in part due to his unspectacular showing at the Critérium du Dauphiné where his 44th place overall was not enough to convince his directors for a start in Liège.

    Le Mevel is more familiar with a heavy program of racing, completing nearly 100 days in 2011. This year he has only completed 35 days of racing and has not completed a grand tour since the Vuelta last year, a stark comparison to his previous two seasons in which he has ridden two grand tours.

    "I explained the same thing, that I could not be strong in this race because of my lack of competition and my time spent at altitude" he told cyclismactu.net.

    There were a mere six days of racing included in Le Mevel's program between March's Paris-Nice and the recent Dauphiné however, he was confident  his condition was where it needed to be.

    "I had done everything and I think I was quite in the state to be there. It's a real blow" he said.

    His contract expires at the end of the season and yet he remains motivated for the remainder of the season, looking to impress his directors enough to be selected for the Vuelta later in the year. For a rider who has finished in the top 15 in each of...

  • Rabobank releases "miracle" athlete Monique van der Vorst

    The 2012 Rabobank Women's Team
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 5:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team doctor and management advise against racing

    Monique van der Vorst (Rabobank Women’s Team) had been disabled since she was 13-years-old and competed in handcycling until early 2010 when she was involved in an accident with a bicycle rider. Interrupting her preparation for the 2012 Paralympic Games, she began a solid rehabilitation program and amazingly she began to slowly recover the use of her legs.

    One year on and apparently able-bodied, she signed for the Rabobank Women’s Team late last year. This was a headline story at the time and given the right training and support, the team was confident she could develop a professional road cycling career.

    In a bizarre twist and barely six months into her season the team has released a statement saying she will be leaving the team. Limited details were issued however medical reasons have been cited for the immediate decision. A statement on rabobsport.com wrote:

    “As of July 1, the Rabobank Women's Team will say goodbye to Monique van der Vorst. The team doctors have advised her no longer to take part in bicycle racing, which the team is in agreement on. This puts an end to the team’s plans to cultivate Van der Vorst into a pro racer, and so keeping her on the squad is no longer a workable situation.”

    Little else is known about the Dutchwoman apart from the confusion over the precise nature of her previous disabilities. It appears there’s more to this story than has been told.
     

  • Colombia names Olympic team

    Sergio Henao (Sky) on the podium to receive white jersey for best young rider.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 7:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Three young riders chosen for London

    Colombian national cycling coach Jenaro Leguizamo has named the three-man team that will head to London for the Olympic Games road race on July 28. Two WorldTour riders, Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling) and Sergio Henao (Sky Procycling) will be joined by the former under-23 road world champion Fabio Duarte (Colombia Coldeportes).

    Uran and Henao most recently rode the Giro d’Italia where they finished 7th and 9th respectively. Uran won the maglia blanca (Young Rider) classification and Henao finished second. After such an achievement it would be too much for the two young stars to ride this year’s Tour as Sky look to win the race with Bradley Wiggins. Their racing schedule leading into the Games has not yet been announced.

    Fabio Duarte showed great promise in the Mount Baldy stage of this year’s Tour of California, coming third behind Robert Gesink before going to the Vuelta a Columbia where he won the prologue on his way to 12th place overall. Duarte will also ride the time trial.

    "I'm very satisfied, this news is so important to me, I really wanted to represent my country in the biggest sporting event in the world" said Duarte.

    "We have a good selection to represent us in London, the choice was very difficult as big names like Carlos Betancourt, Jose Serpa, Miguel Rubiano, Leonardo Duque among others were left out but I have the confidence these three will make a good turnout" said Leguizamo.

     

  • Hesjedal: I can win a Tour de France

    After three weeks of racing Ryder Hesjedal walks away with the Giro
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 9:25 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Canadian recovered from Giro victory, on top form

    After his win in the Giro d'Italia, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) took an extended break from racing as he began his preparations for the Tour de France, but on Saturday in Liege he will begin his campaign for a second Grand Tour in just three months. And while the Giro-Tour double is still a dream away the Canadian believes his top form is with him.

    "I think I can win [the Tour de France]. I don't know if it will be this year but definitely after what I was able to do in the Giro, that was a big indicator for myself and now it's about how I can apply that further down the road," he told Cyclingnews.

    "I got in a good recovery after the Giro, had some training and got the hours in around Girona. It's all good."

    The true effects of his Giro win won't be evident until the Tour is underway but Hesjedal will be aware that his competition will be greater with both Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans tipped as the favourites. The Tour itself is an entirely different challenge to the Giro, too, and is littered with recent episodes of Giro champions who have failed to repeat their Italian exploits: Ivan Basso, Paolo Savoldelli, Denis Menchov and Gilberto Simoni, who declared he could drop Lance Armstrong but was comprehensively beaten in 2004.

    "There are a lot of riders I've not seen for a while and a lot of riders basing their season on the Tour so we'll have to wait and see how it shakes out. In the Giro I just focused on what I had to do and did that as well as I could. If that moves me into contention for the win then I'll address that when it happens," he said.

    "We saw what...

  • Europcar put faith in Rolland for Tour de France

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) was one of the relevations of the 2011 Tour. He was happy with his steed at the Tour finish.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 10:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team built around general classification hopes

    Team Europcar may be reeling from the news that a doping investigation into the team's performance at the 2011 Tour de France has been launched, but they will head into this year's race with a squad capable of putting a rider, notably Pierre Rolland, high up in the standings. And the young Frenchman isn't just focussing on the overall classification.

    "The polka dot jersey is a dream," he said during an online interview on his team's website.

    Rolland’s 2011 Tour was impressive and not only due to his Alpe d’Huez stage win, white jersey classification win and 10th-place overall. He achieved all this while also riding in the service of Thomas Voeckler, who finished just off the podium - in fourth - after wearing the yellow jersey for 10 days.

    Team director Jean-Rene Bernaudeau spoke about the team's hopes for this year’s race, which, thanks to a fine display in last year’s edition and some unfortunate injury woes for Voeckler, will rest on Rolland's shoulders.

    "Our selection was partly built around Pierre," he said. "Thomas is our natural leader. But we will play the standings with Pierre."

    It would seem that a repeat of last year’s accomplishments will be near impossible to repeat for the French team, especially given the knee trouble that has interrupted Voeckler’s Tour preparation. Voeckler has already stated his form is not the same as last year.

    Rolland places high expectations on himself but is also realistic about his chances for the overall classification.

    "I do not think about winning [the...