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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 14, 2013

Date published:
March 14, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • USA Cycling enforcement of UCI participation rules shakes up Oregon events

    The elite men's peloton races through stunning Oregon scenery.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 14:16 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Swindlehurst left wondering what to do with mixed Crusher in the Tushar event

    Changes this season in how USA Cycling cooperates with non-sanctioned events and how it enforces UCI rules across all disciplines will shake up the organization of several national events and exclude riders on UCI-registered pro teams from some competitions.

    USA Cycling announced late last season that it will no longer allow dual sanctioning for events that previously used USA Cycling for the pro and elite races while the amateur categories were sanctioned by an unrecognized organization or operated without a sanctioning body.

    "The decision by USA Cycling going forward is that we will not accept a permit for an event that is dual sanctioned (meaning an event that is held the same day on the same course)," USAC Communications Director Bill Kellick informed Cyclingnews in an email.

    Kellick said dual sanctioning blurs the lines between when one organization’s insurance is in effect versus another organization's. Lack of access to the venue and course before USA Cycling takes over as sanctioning body creates a liability issue.

    "Many of the tasks required by USA Cycling officials at a dual-sanctioned event must be conducted prior to USA Cycling’s insurance coverage that is outlined in the permit," Kellick explained in the email.

    The new policy is especially pertinent for races in Oregon, a state that operates under the independent Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and not under the USAC umbrella. The Cascade Cycling Classic, a National Race Calendar event and the longest running stage race in the US, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic and the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross races in Bend will no longer be able to simultaneously sanction amateur races under OBRA and pro/elite races under USAC at the same event.

    USGP director Joan Hanscom told Cyclingnews that the Bend races have been inscribed with the UCI for 2013, but she declined to comment on how the new USAC policy would alter the event.

  • Vayer calls for SRM and blood data from Sky

    Bradley Wiggins go used to yellow at Paris-Nice in March.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 15:45 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    French physiologist wants complete transparency

    Antoine Vayer has called for the UCI, teams and if necessary, individual riders, to publish all their biological passport and SRM data in a move to quell suspicions of doping within the professional peloton.

    The French physiologist, who trained the Festina team of the 1990s, and who last month labelled Pat McQuaid incompetent, has turned his attention to the peloton and specifically Sky after a string of dominant performance from the British squad.

    The team has never had a rider fail a doping test or been flagged up through the biological passport. However, suspicions were raised about the team last year and have continued into 2013, but with innuendo and pure speculation rather than hard evidence at the cornerstone of the debate the team has been forced to answer questions over its strength. The short-term hiring of Rabobank’s former doctor Geert Leinders last year only added fuel to the fire.

    Vayer, who has question marks over Sky’s recent performance at Tirreno-Adriactico, told Cyclingnews, “The riders and teams have to prove their innocence.”

    “They can’t do it by doing what they’re doing at the moment. The judge from the Festina trial sent me a 30-page handwritten letter recently. He concluded by saying that maybe we should have clarity on all the black years of doping because there’s still a shadow.”

    “So it’s up to teams, it’s up to Sky to prove their innocence. If I was president of the UCI I would clarify all of this and say to the public, ‘the guy you see at Paris-Nice, at Tirreno, you can’t have suspicion because here is all their SRM data, here’s the biological...

  • Roelandts and Greipel as co-captains for Milan-Sanremo

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) wins
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 17:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol riders rate Sagan's chances to win

    Andre Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts will be co-captains for Lotto Belisol in Milan-Sanremo on Sunday, and the final decision will be made on the Poggio. And while Greipel expects Peter Sagan of Cannondale to take the win, Roelandts sees a good chance for himself and others.

    The two hope to be brought to the finale together, they told Het Nieuwsblad. “And on the Poggio we will see,” according to Roelandts.

    Greipel sees his teammate as having better chances. "It was never the intention that I be the only leader. If Jürgen is good, we had better play his card because he climbs better than me. "

    Both Lotto riders have had a successful start to the season. Greipel has five wins, and Roelandts one, with both winning a stage in the Tour Mediterraneen.

    Still, the German sprinter doesn't give much any of a chance against Sagan, who won two stages at Tirreno-Adriatico, including the difficult Porto Sant'Elpidio stage. "I don't see who can beat Sagan. Perhaps on the Cipressa, Cancellara, Gilbert or Hushovd can do something.”

    Roelandts isn't convinced of his rival's sure success. “Look at Fabian Cancellara two years ago in the Flemish classics. He could not lose, but he was alone. Sagan is only human. And his team is not as strong. And if you get stuck between Cipresso and Poggio, it's really hard. "

    Lotto Belisol for Milan-Sanremo: Lars Ytting Bak, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Vicente Reynes Mimo, Jurgen Roelandts,
    Marcel Sieberg, Frederik Willems.

  • MTN-Qhubeka makes Classics debut in Milan-San Remo

    Gerald Ciolek (MTN - Qhubeka)
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 19:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    South African team brings message of hope to RCS Sports gala

    Africa's first Professional Continental team, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung makes its debut in cycling's Monuments with this weekend's Milan-San Remo in support of its German leader Gerald Ciolek, who scored the team's first European victory in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and had several top finishes in Tirreno-Adriatico.

    In addition to bringing its talented athletes the team also brings its mission of hope - mobilising African children on bikes - to the pre-race gala on Thursday.

    RCS Sport will donate proceeds of the La Primavera Gala Dinner to the Qhubeka foundation, an organisation that trades community service for the sturdy, utilitarian Qhubeka Buffalo bicycles. It is one small sign of the impact this new team is making on the European cycling scene.

    "This will make such an impact in the lives of many South African kids and encourage them to take up cycling," said team principal Doug Ryder. "This is an incredible week for our team, especially in only its first year in the Pro Tour."

    The MTN team has been developing talent in South Africa for years, and this year expanded its programme to include both a development program and its Pro Conti team. Although the Barloworld team had a South African sponsor and South African riders, MTN-Qhubeka is the first team at this level registered in that country, and the first to incorporate a significant number of black Africans in the team. For Milan-San Remo, Songezo Jim will be the first of those to tackle the 298km course.

    Jim, 22, is looking forward to the opportunity. "I am very excited about it,” he said. “I am looking forward to learning from the older guys like Ciolek and Jay Thomson and getting some coverage for the team. It’s a big step for me. It’s a dream come true...

  • Cancellara, Boonen headline teams for Milan-Sanremo

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard)
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 20:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack, Omega Pharma-Quick Step name teams

    The teams of Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara, two of the top favorites for the upcoming Milan-Sanremo, have announced their rosters for the race.

    Omega Pharma - Quick Step has both Boonen and 2011 winner Mark Cavendish, who made claims recently that he cannot win La Classicissima - in addition to strong attackers Sylvain Chavanel, winner of stage 6 in Paris-Nice and Niki Terpstra.

    "We have a good, strong team that can be competitive for each moment of the race," said OPQS directeur sportif Davide Bramati. "We have riders good for the sprint, and also to be present in the main actions, such as on the Cipressa and the Poggio, or even in a final if it does not come down to a bunch finish. The team is in good condition and really motivated after a good result after Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. We are ready to do a good race and to be protagonists."

    RadioShack-Leopard's best bet will be 2008 Milan-Sanremo winner Cancellara after the withdrawal of its most promising sprinter, Tony Gallopin. The 24-year-old Frenchman expressed his disappointment via Twitter, saying that he is "sick and empty", but looking forward to the upcoming races in Belgium.

    The team has its young Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo, who took a close second to Theo Bos in a stage of the Volta ao Algarve last month as well as his experienced teammate Danilo Hondo for the bunch kick should it come down to that.

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step for Milan-Sanremo: Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish, Sylvain Chavanel, Michal Kwiatkowski, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, Stijn Vandenbergh, Martin Velits.

  • Orica GreenEdge banking on bunch sprint for Milan-Sanremo

    Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) found his speed in Indicatore
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 22:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Goss on form for repeat victory

    Orica GreenEdge has the past two winners of Milan-Sanremo in its ranks, but defending champion Simon Gerrans is betting on a bunch sprint for this year's edition and is hoping that 2011 winner Matthew Goss will return to the top step of the podium.

    “The way I won last year is rare,” said Gerrans. “Milan-Sanremo isn’t often won by a breakaway that forms in the closing kilometres of the race. Obviously, it can happen – and if it does, we know that I can win in that type of situation. In that regard, we have a couple cards to play. Our main card, our ace, is that we’ve got Gossy in great shape.”

    Goss won Milan-Sanremo in 2011by taking the sprint of an eight-man group. In 2012 he had just joined Orica GreenEdge and went into the race with two rounds of antibiotics and knee problems behind him, and finished only 15th. He had one victory all season, a stage at the Giro d'Italia. The Australian already has one win this year, taking the sprint in the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, and seems to be back to his top speed.

    “With Gossy’s Tirreno win late last week, he’s shown that he’s in fantastic shape at the moment,” said Gerrans. “If the race comes down to a bunch sprint, which is the most likely scenario, he’ll be our man. The team will line up with the plan to support Gossy. I’ll have a bit of free rein in the final. That was our approach last year, too.”

    Orica GreenEdge named its team for Milan-Sanremo today, listing nine riders although the team can only start with eight. Either Jens Mouris or Svein Tuft will join Gerrans, Baden Cooke, Jens Keukeleire, Daryl Impey, Matt Goss, Sebastian Langeveld and...

  • More headline acts for search2retain in 2013

    Cal Britten fronts the 2013 search2retain powered by squad
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 0:03 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Bayly, Britten and Sheppard lead the way

    Search2retain powered by head into the coming season bolstered by several new signings and the increased motivation of some established faces that will not only diversify their options when it comes to race tactics, but also add to the support available for 2012's stand out performer, sprinter Neil Van Der Ploeg.

    The team essentially having all their eggs in Van Der Ploeg's basket last year took a toll on the 25-year-old.

    "Hopefully it takes a little bit of the pressure off," he told Cyclingnews. "I felt bad a few times. [The points jersey] It's a really hard jersey to get and it wraps up a lot of the resources but this year, particularly for the hilly races we've got a really strong team. Stu [Smith], Cal [Britten], Cam [Bayly], and Eric [Sheppard], Tim [Guy] - we've just got a ridiculous number of hill climbers," he said of the 2013 roster.

    "It will be good to do a domestique role for those guys on the hillier stages."

    January's Jayco Herald Sun Tour proved to be a real eye opener to the quality of the National Road Series ranks with some of the best domestic talent taking on an Australian team made up of Simon Gerrans, Matt Goss, Simon Clarke, Stuart O'Grady, Nathan Haas and Jay McCarthy. While the WorldTour regulars may not have been at peak form, the savvy required to defeat the National team on the road was considerable.

    While Van Der Ploeg again pushed for yet another points jersey - he was second only on a countback to Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) - it was the performance of Cal Britten which signaled that search2retain powered by may be on the verge of having another card to play in terms of their race tactics for the coming season.

    The 25-year-old had been plugging away quietly over the opening three stages but while he wasn't troubling the top-20 across the finish line,...

  • Evans puts disappointment of Tirreno-Adriatico into perspective

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    March 14, 2013, 2:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC leader admits form was not at level of other climbers

    Starting the seven-day Tirreno-Adriatico as a candidate for the general classification, it quickly became clear Cadel Evans (BMC) would not be taking home another trident trophy like the one he secured in 2011. Rounding the week in 22nd overall, the Australian admitted he simply was not at the level of the general classification riders while adding his victory in 2011 came under far better weather conditions and on a course with shorter climbs.

    Evans begun his season at the Tour of Oman and explained that his first race in 2013 was a very different one to what the peloton endured in Italy. Evans was pleased with his podium-finish at the Omanian race won by Chris Froome (Sky) however, with a 2012 season interrupted by illness and his final race of last year coming in August, he had few expectations coming into his next assignment for 2013.

    "I came here with only one race in my legs in the past seven months so in that respect I can't have really high expectations," he said on his team site after completing the final time trial.

    "I saw a race with a course that had two really long climbs [which was] different from when I performed well here in 2011. [There were] a lot of top level climbers, every day whether it was a hard course, weather conditions, particularly long [stages], or the level was really high, it did make for a really solid Tirreno....