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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 9, 2013

Date published:
May 09, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Nibali takes heart from early omens at Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the finish in Matera
    Article published:
    May 08, 2013, 19:30 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Saving energy ahead of time trial crucial, says Sicilian

    Vincenzo Nibali's attempts to unseat Bradley Wiggins at last year's Tour de France were thwarted by the strong arm of the Englishman's Sky team but the Sicilian is hopeful that he can find terrain more amenable to his particular brand of ambush tactics on home roads at the Giro d'Italia.

    The signs from the opening days of racing in Italy's deep south have been encouraging for Nibali and his Astana team. While Sky's collective strength remains largely intact, the punchy climbs and sinuous descents in Campania and Calabria exposed chinks in the black armour that will doubtless be tested further as the race progresses.

    "The Giro d'Italia has always been like this. There are always lots of nervous stages and on days like these, controlling things with your team is a lot more difficult," Nibali told Cyclingnews in Cosenza. "There's a bit of confusion in the finale and you have some pretty fast riders in there too who are racing for the sprint finish and it all becomes quite complicated. Then when you throw in a bit of rain in the finale over roads that aren't exactly the widest, well, that just makes it all a bit more difficult again."

    After limiting his losses to Sky in the Ischia team time trial on stage two, Nibali moved ahead of Wiggins at Serra San Bruno on Tuesday, when the Sky captain yielded 17 seconds in a frenetic, rain-soaked finale that raised eyebrows at Gazzetta dello Sport. Noting that Wiggins's Colombian teammates Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao had contested the stage win rather than wait for their leader, the newspaper...

  • Rodriguez signs with Jelly Belly p/b Kenda

    Freddie Rodriguez (Predator) makes a move.
    Article published:
    May 08, 2013, 21:30 BST
    Cycling News

    "Fast Freddie" to debut at US pro road championship

    The Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team announced today that Fred Rodriguez has joined the US Continental pro squad for the remainder of the 2013 season. The 39-year-old Rodriguez, a three-time US professional road champion and Giro d'Italia stage winner, has spent the past several seasons racing domestically in the US following nine years, 1999-2007, in the European peloton.

    Rodriguez raced for the now defunct Exergy team in 2012 and showed well at major US  races like the Amgen Tour of California and Colorado's USA Pro Challenge, notching several top 10-stage placings. He has competed thus far this season for the California-based elite amateur Predator Carbon Repair team.

    "After dialogue with several teams, I decided Jelly Belly was a good fit," Rodriguez said in a press release. "There are a lot of things this team does both on and off the bike that makes sense for me at this stage of my career. The team has been a staple of American racing for more than a decade and I admire that stability. Plus, Jelly Belly Candy Company is a great company with great values to support."

    Rodriguez said he's been rejuvenated in recent years after racing his early career primarily in Europe. He said he hopes to show well in major North American races, beginning with the USA Cycling Professional Road National Championship on May 27 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    "We're more than excited to obtain Fred Rodriguez and have him part of the team for the remainder of the season," said team General Manager and Director Danny Van Haute. "Fred's experience and leadership will be a huge asset, not to mention he's a great bike rider who will no doubt garner great results."

    Nicknamed "Fast Freddie", Rodriguez's professional career spans more than 15 years. His career highlights include three U.S....

  • Mancebo leads 5-hour Energy Team at Tour of California

    Paco Mancebo (Kenda-5 Hour Energy) before he gets to the front to attack.
    Article published:
    May 08, 2013, 22:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Jenkins and English excited to compete in "home" race

    Francisco "Paco" Mancebo will lead the 5-hour Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team at the 2013 Tour of California, starting on Sunday, May 12. Fresh off winning the final stage of the Gila Monster Road Race and finishing third overall, Mancebo is a two-time NRC champion.

    "Both the team and I are very motivated to race against the big ProTour teams and leave it all on the road," said Mancebo. "My goal is top 10 in the general classification, especially after seeing how tough the stages and time trial will be. I really like the second stage with finish in Palm Springs due to the distance and difficulty, also stage 7 with finish on Mt Diablo, but you need to be strong from the first day. I believe the 5-hour Energy team is capable of winning a stage and doing well in the general classification."

    Team Directeur Sportif Frankie Andreu said, "The Tour of California is one of the highlights for the team. The new route covers some exciting new ground and includes some very difficult obstacles that will suit our team. Many of our riders are familiar with Palomar Mountain, the Tramway in Palm Springs, and Mount Diablo, and we can utilize our team's strengths on these epic California climbs. This will be a great opportunity to race against the world's best cyclists, showcase our sponsors, and interact with our fans. The event continues to grow each year and we are excited to take part in the race in 2013."

    The 5-hour Energy squad will include seven American riders: Max Jenkins, Nate English, Jim Stemper, and David Williams.

    The Tour of California is a home race for the team's two California riders, English and Jenkins. English grew up in Berkeley, California, and is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley.

    "The Tour of California will be a special race to me, not...

  • Budget Forklifts plot attack for Tour of Toowoomba defence

    THe long open road ahead of Peter Herzig and Michael Cupitt
    Article published:
    May 08, 2013, 23:55 BST
    Alex Malone

    Last year's second-place Cupitt aiming for top step at NRS round

    Coming off the back of a solid showing at the inaugural Subaru National Road Series round at Battle on the Border, Budget Forklifts is planning a defence strategy for the FKG Tour of Toowoomba. Last year it was Mark O'Brien, now riding for the Raleigh team who stole the show after winning the hill-top finish to Bunya and then consolidated his overall lead with a win in the team time trial. This year Budget plan on doing it again but this time it will be O'Brien's former teammate MIchael Cupitt, who filled spot number-two on the podium in 2012, that is looking to step up.

    The team walked away from last week's Battle on the Border with some promising results. The final results from the first-year men's NRS round left Budget with the green points jersey worn by Jesse Kerrison and Alex Wohler and Marc Williams pushed into the top-ten with eighth and ninth-overall respectively. The team was active throughout the four stages and showed consistency and depth by finishing fourth in the team classification.

    With an entirely fresh squad in for Toowoomba and with a title to defend, perhaps without pressure, the team won't rely soley on Cupitt to fly the flag. There's a team that could ride high up into the GC standings but as the previous two rounds at the Woodside Tour de Perth and Battle on the Border have shown, overcoming the dominant force that is Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers is going to take some...

  • Champion System chasing breakaways in Tour of California debut

    Matt Brammeier (Champion System)
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 8:30 BST
    Pat Malach

    Lewis to miss season target after leg fracture

    Champion System will make its debut at the Amgen Tour of California this year with an eight-rider roster representing three continents.

    Chad Beyer, Chris Butler and Canadian national road champion Ryan Roth will make up the North American contingent of the Chinese-registered UCI Pro Continental team. They'll join Irish national champion Matt Brammeier, Slovakia's Gregor Gazvoda and Bobbie Traksel of the Netherlands on the roster. Asian riders Chun Kai Feng of Chinese Taipei, and Kin San Wu of Hong Kong, both former national champions, will race in the states for the first time.

    Notably missing from the roster is Craig Lewis, a former World Tour rider with Slipstream and HTC-HighRoad. Lewis broke his elbow during La Flèche Brabançonne in Belgium on April 10 and will skip the tour.

    "It's a big disappointment to us," Beamon said. "It was a big goal and target last year to get Craig in this race. And certainly we went into the start of the season at training camp with the high hope that we would get the start, and, you know, some big expectations on Craig."

    Beamon said that although Lewis can ride, his form is not very high at the moment and the two of them made the tough decision to sit this one out.

    "This race would be so much pressure on him that I'm afraid we could hurt his season if we tried to push him into it," Beamon said. "So we kind of agreed that probably the best - albeit disappointing - solution was to just pass."

    Lacking a realistic GC podium threat, the Champion System team will focus on stage wins and possibly chase some jerseys. With no pure sprinter or time trial specialist, stage wins will have to come from breakaways, and Champion System hopes to be well represented.

    "Our approach is going to be a little bit more optimistic,...

  • Perez denies using any performance-enhancing drugs

    Race leader Marlon Perez sports bandages from a crash suffered in stage 1.
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 8:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Colombia “surprised” at positive doping control from Costa Rica

    Marlon Perez said that he was “surprised” at his positive doping controls from the Vuelta a Costa Rica, denying that he had ever used performance-enhancing drugs. The UCI announced last week that he had tested positive at the race last December.

    He returned analytical findings of metabolite GW1516 sulfone – Metabolic Modulator and sibutramine in urine samples collected from him during tests at the Vuelta a Costa Rica on 19 and 26 December, 2012, after winning the stages on those days.

    In a statement released on Friday, he said “I am very surprised by this, because in no time have I taken any medications to improve my athletic performance.”

    The 37-year-old, who did not find a team for the 2013 season, mentioned the possibility that he may have used a tainted product. “During the months of August and September, because I was a little overweight, consumed a natural product to help decrease my size, but not to improve my athletic performance.”

    Perez reiterated that he did not dope for the race and that his team was also innocent. “I wish to make clear that my participation in the Tour of Costa Rica 2012, did not consume any medication thinking of improving my athletic performance and GW-Shimano team had nothing to do with my preparation for this event.”

    The Colombian turned pro in 2003 with 05 Orbitel, riding later with Colombia-Selle Italia, Tenax and Universal Cafe before hitting the top league with Caisse d'Epargne in 2008 and 2009. From there he went to the amateur team GW-Shimano


  • Tour of California: Zabriskie and Farrar headline for Garmin-Sharp

    David Zabriskie (Garmin Sharp) back to business at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 9:11 BST
    Cycling News

    American team will battle for overall and stages

    Garmin-Sharp has announced their Tour of California team with Dave Zabriskie set to lead the US-based WorldTour squad once again.

    The 34-year-old American has finished second overall in the race on four occasions. In 2006 he was runner-up to one-time teammate Floyd Landis and despite winning several stages in the race since he has yet to snatch the overall title, with second places in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The race marks Zabriskie's first race on US soil since serving a six-month suspension for doping.

    This year he will be supported by a blend of youth and experience as Garmin have already dispatched a strong squad to the Giro d’Italia to defend Ryder Hesjedal’s 2012 title.

    Rohan Dennis, Alex Howes, Caleb Fairly, Lachlan Morton, Jacob Rathe, and Johan Vansummeren are all set to ride. Tyler Farrar also makes the trip and will be looking to end Peter Sagan’s recent dominance of the sprint stages. The Cannondale rider picked up five stage victories in last year’s race.


  • Luis Leon Sanchez returns to racing at Tour of Belgium

    2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    May 09, 2013, 11:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Blanco Team had suspended Spaniard for alleged links to Dr. Fuentes

    Luis Leon Sanchez will return to racing for Team Blanco at the Tour of Belgium later this month. The team had removed the rider from racing in February, in light of his apparent links to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, and he appealed to the UCI to allow him to ride.

    Sanchez was mentioned in the USADA's Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case, issued last October, as being in St. Moritz in 2007 at the same time as Dr Michele Ferrari. The then-Team Rabobank said it saw no need to investigate the relationship.

    In January, however, Rabobank had left as sponsor and Team Blanco said it would investigate Sanchez's ties to Fuentes, after a Dutch newspaper said that he was the client who used the name of “Huerto”. Shortly thereafter, the team suspended him and he has not raced.

    In mid-April, Sanchez appealed to the UCI about the matter, saying that the team was denying him his right to work and asking for arbitration. While that matter is apparently still unresolved, the team has decided to allow him to ride again.

    Blanco stated simply on its Twitter, “Newsupdate: Luis Léon Sanchez will race the Baloise Belgium Tour.”