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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 30, 2013

Date published:
May 30, 2013, 08:00
  • Contador: If my legs feel good, I'm not scared of Froome or Wiggins

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    May 29, 2013, 16:30
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard talks about the Tour and next week's Critérium Dauphiné

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) will test his form for the rapidly approaching Tour de France at next week's Critérium Dauphiné and is confident he can take on Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins in July.

    The Spaniard will return to the Critérium Dauphiné and the Tour de France for the first time since completing his ban for doping in 2012. He beat Froome to win the Vuelta Espana last September, but was beaten by Froome at the Tour of Oman and at Tirreno-Adriatico this year.

    Contador has not raced since Liege-Bastogne-Liege and did not seem at his best in the spring. However, after a month of training, much of it at his new base in Lugano in Switzerland, he is confident for the Tour de France, the big goal of his 2013 season.

    "My forms improving and if my legs feel good, I'm not scared of Froome or Wiggins," Contador told the Cadena Sur radio station.

    "Froome has been performing amazingly well in the last two years. He has a great chance to win a Grand Tour if the team works for him. It means he has a lot of responsibility, but he's having a good year and the results are going his way."

    Contador is convinced that Wiggins will ride the Tour de France, despite the British rider's troubles at the Giro d'Italia.

    "I think that Wiggins is going to ride the Tour. As last year's winner, I'd guess he wants to be there," Contador said. "I'm sure that if he rides, he'll be 99% at his best, especially after climbing off so early in the Giro."

    Ready for the Critérium Dauphiné

    The Critérium Dauphiné will see Contador up against Froome, with Wiggins also a possible starter in the Team Sky line-up. Contador spent last week training in the French Alps and is on form for the especially mountainous edition of the Critérium Dauphiné.

    "I'm ready for a good Dauphine," he said. "It'll be a very different race to last year. There were a lot time trials, this time there's only 30km and it includes a climb, so it won’t be as decisive. There are also four mountain finishes which suit me."

    "Yeah, I'm living near Lugano and I spend most of my time there. My teammates Rogers, Paulinho, Zaugg and Hernandez also live nearby and so I can train well, under the eyes of Bjarne Riis, who also lives in Lugano."

    Cadena Sur pushed Contador on a possible return to the Vuelta this year. Last year his ban stopped meant the Vuelta was the only Grand Tour of his season. The Tour is likely to be his only three-week stage race this year if things go well.

    "I'd like to ride and defend my title but it's a decision I'll only take after the Tour. It wouldn't make sense to ride just to take part," he said.
     

  • IOC confirms cycling's status in Olympics for 2016

    Ed Clancy’s Gold from the London 2012 Team Pursuit was on show
    Article published:
    May 29, 2013, 17:42
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sport remains in second category

    The International Olympic Committee today confirmed cycling as a "high category sport" for the 2016 Olympic Games. The status puts cycling in with basketball, football (soccer), tennis and volleball in category B, which "guarantees it more prestige and a larger share of Olympic revenue than most other sports", according to a UCI press release.

    The revenue from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London for cycling amounted to $22 million out of the total $520m in revenue for all sports. Athletics, previously the only Category A sport, collected more than twice that from London.

    The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations directed the IOC to revise the groupings for Olympic sports, and the most major change came at Category A. Athletics will now share its revenue with gymnastics and swimming.

    The sports were categorised according to several criteria, including television audience (40%), internet page views (20%), general popularity (15%), spectator ticket requests (10%), press coverage (10%) and the number of national federations involved (5%).

    “This is a real boost to our sport worldwide,” said UCI President Pat McQuaid, who is also an IOC member. “Cycling is one of the few sports to have been present at every edition of the summer Olympic Games, and this is further proof that it is now more popular than ever.”

    The revenue from the London Games was up 79% when compared with the 2008 Games in Beijing, IOC president Jacques Rogge told the Associated Press.

    Three sports will vie for inclusion in the 2020 Games, it was announced today: wrestling has applied to be reinstated, and will compete with baseball and squash for addition to the programme.

  • Fearless Wells maintains momentum with Somerville win

    Kimberley Wells (Fearless Femme Racing p/b Pure Energy takes the win
    Article published:
    May 29, 2013, 19:12
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian crit champ thinking beyond mastering circuit racing

    Kimberley Wells waited a long time to be able to race overseas and so now, with a contract with US-based Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Cycling-Vie13, there's no holding back.

    Momentum (noun)
    1 Physics the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.
    2 the impetus gained by a moving object.
    3 the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events.

    Wells, 27, earned her second victory of the US season on Monday winning the Tour of Somerville criterium. The result followed a month teeming with podiums, including another win at the Midtown Grand Prix but her victory on the Memorial Day holiday was particularly special, first across the line having sprinted away from a rare breakaway that stuck to the finish.

    "The Tour of Somerville course is wide and open - it's not a breakaway course at all," Wells described to Cyclingnews. "As a team, we just kept attacking and attacking. You know, we thought we'd give it a go to see if a break could get away. There was actually a good break up the road with three riders in it, one of whom was my teammate, Erin Silliman, and she's not much of a sprinter but she's a good breakaway rider so we decided that one of us needed to go up there and help out as well.

    "I bridged the gap and another girl came a bit later and we had a break of five riders. Even on the last lap I didn't know if the break would survive. It was really hard and trying to keep everyone motivated and working together was pretty tricky but we ended up averaging nearly 42k's an hour so we weren't slacking."

    The back story

    Wells win on January 1 this year at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic at the Geelong waterfront brought to light not just the Australian's talent but also her hunger to be racing in the first place. A doctor by trade, Wells had cut back her working hours in order to spend more time on the bike under the guidance of Olympic gold medallist, Sarah Carrigan. She finished the three-race criterium series in third place overall behind Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS) and Peta Mullens (Anytime Fitness Trek).

    A week later, Wells was in shock having won her maiden Australian Criterium Championship in Ballarat in a photo finish from Loren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon). Before the end of a superb month, Wells had also won the Santos Women's Cup in Adelaide.

    The form female rider of the Australian summer, Wells' name was on everyone's lips in cycling circles, from national selectors to the mainstream media, amazed by the gutsy decision to put her 'career' in the medical profession on hold. Her phone ran hot with offers but it was new team Fearless Femme that was the most attractive.

    Knowing that a move Stateside wouldn't be until mid-March, with snow still on the ground in her New Hope base on the banks of the Delaware River, Wells took it easy, something she admits was "tricky" coming off such a hot run.

    "It's a long season over here," Wells said. "We're racing for a solid six months right through to September so I really didn't want to get over here and burn out. There's always a part of you that finds it hard to let go of good form because you know how long it takes to get there and feels great to feel so fast. If you see the end goal you've got to let that go a bit and just bring yourself back up there again.

    "The first couple of races here were hard because I knew I could go faster..."

    Fearless in green and gold

    Much like compatriot Jonathan Cantwell over three seasons before her, there is no better place to wear the green and gold bands of the Australian criterium champion than the US, with the calendar packed with the intense circuit racing. Wells' first race, was the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte before hitting her stride during Speed Week where she finished third overall, behind Erica Allar (CARE4CYCLING powered by Solomon) and teammate Theresa Cliff-Ryan.

    It was actually the prospect of working with the likes of Cliff-Ryan that attracted Wells to joining Fearless Femme.

    "It's hard to choose teams but I just wanted to go with the momentum of where I'm at, at the moment," Wells explained. "In the Fearless Femme line-up we are doing a lot of criteriums but I get to ride with some really great cyclists - Theresa Cliff-Ryan and Kelly Fisher-Goodwin - they've been there and they've done that and they carry so much experience with them that I'm just learning so much in being in a team with them. In terms of my development as a cyclist it's been a good move for me."

    Criteriums however, aren't everything in the mind of Wells eager to take on other pathways in cycling, starting this weekend with the Philly Cycling Classic. Beyond that, she is also looking for opportunities to guest ride and tackle tour events, something she has the team's blessing on.

    "I would really like to establish myself as an endurance sprinter on the road so the criteriums have been a great transition for me coming and racing overseas and being in such a well-supported team with lots of experience is letting me learn my craft as a sprinter. We just do so many races where I can practice that sprint craft so if I can transition well into road tours that's something that I'd really like to do.

    "It's just a matter of opportunity and moving into the right environment."

    With changes to the Australian national program coming into effect this season, allowing for a more flexible line-up of riders, Wells' name was mentioned by the likes of head coach Martin Barras as a potential starter back in January, all the while keen to see where the late bloomer would end up for 2013.

    Should her plans to take on stage racing come to fruition, that spot on the national team might just happen. Wells certainly would like it to.

    "It's something that I think about and since January I've had constant contact with the Australian development powers that be so we're definitely keeping each other informed of what's going on so it's happening," Wells admitted.

    All roads in cycling tend to lead to Europe, how she'll get there, Wells is still unsure but it's unlikely that she'll take a backward step along the way.

    "Just going with the momentum of it all is really important," she told Cyclingnews. "Everything that's been happening thus far has been continuing that momentum. I'm really enjoying my cycling, I'm learning lots, I'm having fun... I'm getting faster every day."

     

  • Armstrong renews call for "truth and reconciliation"

    Lance Armstrong (US Postal) protected by his body guard at the 2004 Tour de France
    Article published:
    May 29, 2013, 20:23
    By:
    Cycling News

    American replies to McQuaid's criticism

    Lance Armstrong has responded to UCI president Pat McQuaid's assertions that he has not apologized for his doping infractions, and that he should come forward and pitch in to clean up the sport, by reiterating his desire to see a 'truth and reconciliation' commission formed.

    "As I have said repeatedly, I am fully committed to participating in a comprehensive and global effort to help close this chapter of our sport," Armstrong told Cyclingnews. "For this to happen the sport desperately needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be convened to address multiple generations and not just a single team.

    "There has been too much posturing and politicizing of this already. It is time to get down to work. Let me be clear, I plan on being the first man in the door. Tell me when and where."

    The World Anti-Doping Agency and the US Anti-Doping Agency have both supported the idea of such a commission, while the UCI rejected the idea on grounds it should not be limited to cycling, and then because it could not fund both the TRC and its independent commission. The IC was disbanded in January before it was able to complete its investigation of the UCI's anti-doping policies.

  • Gilbert with strong desire to race the Tour de France

    World champion Philippe Gilbert attacked in the finale
    Article published:
    May 30, 2013, 00:28
    By:
    Cycling News

    World Champion not officially selected by BMC squad

    A disappointing start to the year and a spring campaign without a single victory has not deterred the current road world champion Philippe Gilbert from announcing his intentions to ride the Tour de France, even when faced with the possibility of limited opportunities to secure his own results during the three-week race.

    Gilbert's BMC Racing Team has two dedicated leaders for the French grand tour in the form of Cadel Evans, who comes from finishing third-overall at the Giro d'Italia and will attempt to topple the record held by Firmin Lambot as the oldest Tour winner. Waiting in the wings if Evans should falter is his teammate van Garderen who won his first stage race at the Tour of California just a couple of weeks ago.

    BMC'c nine-man roster is yet to be finalised and will likely come after the Tour de Suisse at the Critérium du Dauphiné but it's assumed the World Champion will be included in the line-up.

    "I do not understand why the team is waiting to communicate the news but I very much want to go," Gilbert told nieuwsblad.be. "Officially, I cannot say but I think everyone understands that I will be in there and I will ride Switzerland [Suisse] in preparation."

    The 30-year-old Walloon will captain the squad for the WorldTour race while supporting van Garderen for the overall classification. Greg van Avermaet will also be in attendance for the nine-stage race and faces a similar situation to his rainbow-band wearing teammate, expressing his desire to be at the start on 29 June in Porto-Vecchio on the island of Corsica. Van Avermaet has not ridden the Tour since 2009.

    "I'm on the short list of fifteen names," he explained.

    Both Gilbert and van Avermaet will have the Swiss tour to prove to team selectors they have the right condition for the Grand Départ. The certainty of Evans and van Garderen leaves just seven available seats on the BMC Tour bus and with the world champion and van Avermaet yet to collect an individual victory in 2013, they will be hoping their next race delivers the kind of result they need to assure their place come the final day of June.

     

    Tags:
    Tour de France
    Tour de France 2013
  • Ten Dam spearheads Blanco line-up for Critérium du Dauphiné

    Laurens Ten Dam (Blanco) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) tried their luck with a little over 50km to go
    Article published:
    May 30, 2013, 02:04
    By:
    Cycling News

    Clement, Garate back up after Giro d'Italia

    Laurens ten Dam will lead Blanco to the Critérium du Dauphiné when the WorldTour event begins this Sunday in Champery.

    The eight-stage race looms as a key test, not just for the 32-year-old but also for the rest of the squad with spots in the Tour de France line-up up for grabs.

    The Dauphiné represents a shift for ten Dam who in previous seasons has raced the Tour de Suisse in the lead up to the Tour.

    "During the winter, we made a plan with him wherein the Dauphiné formed a primarily goal," explained sports director Merijn Zeeman. "Laurens will enjoy a protected status and have a free hand. As a team, we'll support him in the best possible way."

    Stef Clement meanwhile will be coming off a Giro d'Italia where he finished in the top-10 in each of the two individual time trials with the discipline again his priority on Stage 4 of the Dauphiné, a 32.5km race against the clock. Juanma Garate is the other rider with the short break following the Giro.

    "As for Tom-Jelte Slagter, we're aiming for a few of the trickier arrivals and by that I mean the arrivals falling just within the category of high mountain," continued Zeeman.

    "Finally, we want the entire team to ride aggressively", he added. "Additionally, it is going to be a chance for some of our riders to improve their form ahead of the Tour."

    The Blanco squad for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Laurens ten Dam, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Juanma Garate, Robert Wagner, David Tanner, Bram Tankink, Marc Goos and Stef Clement

  • Davison on Belgian winning run with Australia National Team

    Luke Davison salutes the crowd.
    Article published:
    May 30, 2013, 03:57
    By:
    Alex Malone

    Kermesses and Tour de Korea part of track development program

    It's been a little over three weeks since he arrived in a drizzly Gent, Belgium but the weather has done little to dampen the winning streak of Luke Davison who is relishing his racing the kermesse circuit with members from the Australia National Track Team.

    Davison has 'enjoyed' just a few rain-free days since landing earlier this month and has already accumulated a handy tally of wins in the kind of circuit races that helped forge his National Road Series title in 2012. Admittedly, the kermesses Davison and his teammates have been riding are more than twice the distance of the usual one-hour criteriums that heavily feature in the NRS calendar.

    "We are here to get some k's in the legs," Davison told Cyclingnews. "The NRS is great but once you come to Europe there's such a depth and quality in the racing. Instead of a 60k crit, it's 120k's."

    However, there were some tough kilometres to endure before the start of Davison's already promising European trip with the first stop at the Tour de Azerbaijan, where he experienced a tough five days of racing.

    "It was a bit of an eye-opener. Most of us are used to racing the NRS or just one-day races. The first day was a flat stage that didn't really test the legs too much - a lot of teams were holding back but on the second day every man and his dog wanted to be in the EB [early break] and we were racing like a pack of 16-year-olds. The next day had three or four Category 2 climbs and we all got spat. It was pretty tough, from there it was hard to recover."

    Racing 770km in five days came as a bit of a shock for Davison but the experience is exactly what track coach Tim Decker wanted to achieve.

    "After the second day we were all knackered. It's about learning to understand your body and then adapt to to race over the full week. Tim has put emphasis on getting to know each other because track work is actually very individual a lot of the time.

    "In a team pursuit you are going full-bore and you can't help someone through it or race tactically with someone."

    With three wins on the board Davison says it's much too earlier to start thinking about a professional contract for 2014 but with three more kermesses before flying out for the Tour de Korea, he says being able to win in the NRS and do the same in Europe certainly doesn't hurt. The next step will be to demonstrate his winning capacity in the AsiaTour race that begins in a little over a week's time.

    "I think it's important to win back home in the NRS but you need to show you can come to Europe and do the same. You get a bit more exposure being closer to the professional scene and even though it's at an amateur level it shows good signs.

    "I have to continue to step up and Korea will be important to try and put a few marks up there on the scoreboard," added Davison in regard to the eight-stage, 1,077km tour.

    After Korea Davison will fly back to Australia for a small break before hitting the boards in Adelaide for a Category-1 track meet ahead of his bigger objectives; the UCI Track World Cup, World Championships and Commonwealth Games. It'll be a busy back-end to the year for last year's Tour of Murray River winner who will squeeze in a number of NRS events racing for the Drapac squad in the latter part of 2013.

    "I'm pretty happy with how things are going, we've got a good team here and some good facilities. It'll be a bit of a balance heading into later in the year but I'll still have Gippsland, Murray and South Coast."

    The Tour de Korea begins on 6 June with a 172km stage from Cheonan to Muju. Professional Continental squads MTN-Qhubeka, Novo Nordisk and Champion System will line-up alongside the Australia National Team and a number of Continental and national teams.  

     

    Tags:
    World championships
    NRS
  • Voeckler and Rolland to test condition at Critérium du Dauphiné

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) finished the race as lantern rouge
    Article published:
    May 30, 2013, 06:22
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour de France KoM winner knocked back by Tour of Belgium crash

    Team Europcar will send their two French captains to the Critérium du Dauphiné as part of their final preparation before the Tour de France. Thomas Voeckler is coming from a difficult week at the Tour of Belgium, where he was lantern rouge while Pierre Rolland has been steadily building his condition at the Bayern-Rundfahrt where he finished 17th-overall.

    Voeckler and Rolland find themselves in very different stages of their build-up ahead of their season's biggest goal at the Tour de France which comes in less than a month's time; Voeckler is searching for race condition while his younger compatriot will be testing where he stands against a number of his key Tour rivals Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol).

    Last year's King of the Mountains winner Voeckler is still on the comeback trail after breaking his collarbone at Amstel Gold and received another knock when he crashed on Stage 1 of the recent Tour of Belgium. Voeckler spent the remaining 55km of the 194km stage on his own and spent the rest of the five-day race nursing his injuries while finishing the race as the last rider on the general classification.

    "It will be difficult to get a result by the end of the race because I still feel the lack of competition over the recent weeks," wrote Voeckler on Facebook.

    Rolland on the other hand has a stage win and the overall classification at the Circuit de la Sarthe to his name while also banking plenty of trouble-free race days since the start of the year. Going off team reports and recent results, Rolland will likely be the team's protected rider while Voeckler looks to support his teammate over the eight days.

    Team Europcar for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Natnael Berhane (Eri), Anthony Charteau (Fra), Cyril Gautier (Fra), Davide Malacarne (Ita), Kevin Reza (Fra), Pierre Rolland (Fra), David Veilleux (Can) and Thomas Voeckler (Fra).

     

    Tags:
    climber
    crash
    Tour de France
    Tour de France 2013