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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Date published:
November 29, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Ben Jacques-Maynes is eager for Tour of California finale on home roads

    Ben Jacques-Maynes has raced in every edition of the Amgen Tour of California
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 20:21 GMT
    Pat Malach

    California native seeks eighth straight start at 2013 edition

    Ben Jacques-Maynes is part of a very small group of riders who can say they've ridden each and every edition of the Amgen Tour of California. The 34-year-old rider from Corralitos, California, who moves from Bissell Cycling to Jamis-Sutter Home for 2013, hopes to line up at the start for the eighth time when the race rolls out of Escondido on May 12.

    "I was talking with Jens Voigt and Levi [Leipheimer] last year, and we were trying to come up with somebody besides the three of us off the top of our heads who had ridden every edition," Jacques-Maynes said. "That's good company to keep, even if there's someone else on the list. It's been a good run, and I hope to continue with more."

    If Jacques-Maynes and his team are selected for the race's upcoming edition, he'll join an event that will run from Southern California to Northern California for the first time, and Jacques-Maynes believes the new route should shake up the dynamics of the race.

    "I think that the racing action should culminate in a hot bed of cycling," he said. "I like how NorCal gets to decide the winners, as opposed to letting people show off and then defend. The defense will have happened all week, and now it will be push come to shove on my home roads. I couldn't ask for anything more. It should be a spectacular show."

    Unlike last year's largely ceremonial final stage from Beverly Hills to downtown Los Angeles, the final 2013 stage from San Francisco to Santa Rosa could be the last decisive battle for the overall, Jacques-Maynes said.

    "It's honestly going to change the dynamics, because the terrain is quite difficult and we've always...

  • Tour of the Battenkill withdraws from 2013 UCI America Tour

    It's a show of power at the start line of the Tour of the Battenkill
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 23:00 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Organiser cites UCI's handling of recent doping scandals

    The 2012 Tour of the Battenkill was one of only three UCI-sanctioned one-day races taking place in the United States as part of the American Tour, but for 2013 the race organisers have opted to withdraw their bid for a UCI 1.2 sanction citing the sport's governing body's handling of recent doping scandals.

    The flagship men's pro/am invitational event at the 2013 Tour of the Battenkill will still take place, with Sunday's finale to a weekend of racing April 13-14 in Cambridge, NY, still part of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar (NRC) as it was in 2012.

    "It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have that UCI tag on an event, at least at our level, because it has such a negative connotation with the public and sponsors," race organiser Dieter Drake told Cyclingnews. "That's the principal reason we're ditching it (UCI sanction). The first or second question sponsors ask is our opinion of the whole doping scandal that's been going on. They already come into the sponsorship discussions with those thoughts in their mind and it doesn't really set a good template for moving forward with sponsorships.

    "It's a disappointing situation the last six months or so and in my opinion really hasn't been handled so well by the UCI. It's really had a negative effect on professional cycling in the US, I think the professional teams domestically in the US would vouch for that."

    The Tour of the Battenkill returns for its ninth edition in 2013, but only twice has there been a UCI-sanctioned event as part of the weekend's racing in upstate New York: 2010, won by Caleb Fairly, and 2012, won by Francisco Mancebo. The 2012 UCI-sanctioned invitational, rated 1.2, featured 11...

  • Team Sky too hard on ex-dopers, says Hamilton

    Tyler Hamilton (Tinkoff Credit Systems) at the 2007 Trofeo Laigueglia
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 23:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Believes Armstrong is "still denying the past"

    Retired professionals and former Team Sky personnel Bobby Jullich and Steven de Jongh should be allowed back into their positions, says Tyler Hamilton. The confessed doper and co-author of the book "The Secret Race" hopes Jullich and de Jongh can remain in the sport after the two were removed from their respective race coach and director sportif roles following their doping confessions.

    Hamilton also believes Lance Armstrong would be going through a similar process to what he went through, before he eventually confessed and says that if he came clean, he would be "much better off."

    "He's still denying the past and that picture saddens me, Hamilton said in an interview with Telegraph Sport after receiving the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award. He's most likely going through a similar process that I went through."  "Maybe he's reflecting on the whole situation now. I think he's probably spending a lot of time thinking about it and you know it's got to be tearing him up in side."

    The former professional Hamilton who rode alongside Lance Armstrong at US Postal from 1998-2001 can understand what Team Sky is trying to achieve with its zero tolerance policy but feels everyone deserves a second chance. Jullich and de Jongh admitted to using performance enhancing substances during their professional careers and promptly left the team.

    "I get what they [Team Sky] are...

  • Gilbert chooses Tour Down Under over San Luis

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) waves to the crowd at the start of the race
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 0:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    World Champion says he's suited to Adelaide parcours

    Philippe Gilbert will lead a "super strong" BMC Racing Team line-up at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under in January, with the Belgian happy with what the Australian WorldTour event has on offer for him.

    Gilbert had also been considering starting the season at the Tour de San Luis or Qatar.

    It will be reigning World Champion's first appearance in Adelaide since 2008 when he was racing for Française des Jeux. That year he won the King of the Mountains classification. His first taste of Adelaide was actually four years earlier when he won a stage, along with the Young Rider classification to finish fourth overall.

    "My winter training and preparation so far has been perfect," Gilbert said. "I saw the parcours on the Internet and it looks good for me. So I will go there with some ambition and we also bring a great team. But for the first race, it's hard to know how you will really feel."

    Gilbert will be joined by Alessandro Ballan, Martin Kohler, Klaas Lodewyck, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito and Danilo Wyss. In 2012, Ballan sacrificed his own chances for Kohler, who was in the ochre leader's jersey on two occasions, but the Italian was hopeful that he will have more opportunities in 2013.

    "The Santos Tour Down Under will be very difficult," said Ballan. "I think the decisive stage will be the next to last one - Stage 5 - with its two ascents of Old Willunga Hill and uphill finish. In my opinion, it's not too demanding, but it will be a factor."

    Fabio Baldato will be guiding BMC in Adelaide and explained that it was important to start the year in the right fashion.

    "This will be an exciting race for us,...

  • Sánchez likely to race Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España in 2013

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at the start of stage 4.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 3:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Thirty-four-year-old considering retirement after Rio Olympic Games

    Samuel Sánchez, about to enter his 14th season with Euskaltel-Euskadi, is doubtful that he will start the Tour de France in 2013, despite being eager to wash away the bad memories following his crash on stage 8 which left him with a broken left shoulder blade and a fractured finger on his right hand.

    Sánchez, though his race schedule is not yet finalised, believes it most likely that he will contest the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, but is waiting for confirmation of the latter's route.

    "Man, how weird would that be not to race [at the Tour de France]," the Spaniard told biciciclismo. "Now, Wiggins, for example, it is not racing, and he's the current winner. We see that cycling is changing."

    The 34-year-old is still working on his rehabilitation in the wake of both his crash at the Tour, which kept him from the Olympic Games and his other major accident at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.

    "I think the best thing would have been to have broken it because if you have a broken collarbone you operate, you put the plate in and three days later you are like new," he said in regards to his second fall. "Look at Rojas who went to the Olympics. I, however, had a very painful dislocation and mentally it was hard. But cycling is. You can go and then you say 'I am human'."

    In August, Sánchez re-signed with Euskaltel-Euskadi for a further three seasons which will take him up to the end of 2015. He suggests that his current deal might not be his last with the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero an event which...

  • Duque heads home to Team Colombia

    Leonardo Duque (Cofidis)
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 4:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Pro Continental outfit looks to build on 2012

    Capping the announcement that Team Colombia will be Pro Continental for 2013, was news that Leonardo Duque will join the outfit after seven seasons with Cofidis.

    "With Duque, we get a solid all-rounder, who is capable to hold his own on different terrains and situation, but also a professional with a strong knowledge of European and GT racing," General Manager Claudio Corti explained. "It's not a mystery that debuting in three-week races is one of our 2013 goals, and we feel like Leonardo's signing is a good step in that direction."

    The team will be hoping to build on its strong 2012 which included six victories, four in Europe and two at their home race Vuelta a Colombia.

    Duque adds experience to the roster with 10 Grand Tours under his belt, having turned professional in 2004.

    The 32-year-old scored top-10 results at E3 Harelbeke, Tour de Picardie, and Paris-Bourges in what was a short season with 70 race days. At the Vuelta a Espana, his best result was 9th on Stage 5. Duque has claimed just eight victories over his professional career.


  • ASO: No special consideration for Contador

    Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) was all smiles after winnnig Milano-Torino
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 9:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff captain threatened to skip Tour de France 2013

    Tour de France organizers will not change the way they distribute wildcard invitations in light of Alberto Contador's veiled threat to miss the race if he is not given enough advance warning.

    The WorldTour teams automatically receive places in all the major races but the UCI has still not confirmed if Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff team will receive a WorldTour licence for 2013.

    Contador recently gave an interview to French tv in which he said, “I would love to do the Tour obviously. I missed it this year. But if I only find out two months before, then I won't [be there]. I need enough time to prepare. Otherwise I won't be a part of it."

    “We can not say too much right now, because it is up to the UCI, whether Alberto Contador's team gets a license and thus an automatic invitation,” ASO spokesman Fabrice Tiano told “But we will not change our distribution of wild cards to give special consideration to Alberto Contador.”

    The wildcard invitations for the 2012 Tour de France were issued in early April, about three months before the race's start.

    Ironically, Contador won the Giro d'Italia in 2008 when his Team Astana received a last-minute wildcard invitation to the race – about one week before the start. He said that he was spending a holiday on the beach when he was notified that the team would ride the Giro.

    Saxo-Tinkoff could fail to secure a WorldTour licence for 2013 because the points Contador received for winning the Vuelta a Espana this year do not count towards the team's licence. Riis has signed numerous...

  • Degenkolb hoping for Tour de France debut

    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 10:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    German sprinter says he can share sprints with Kittel

    Argos-Shimano sprinter John Degenkolb says there’s ‘no battle’ between himself and teammate Marcel Kittel for a place at next season’s Tour de France, insisting the two can work and win together.

    The two German riders won 25 of Argos-Shimano's 30 victories in 2012. Degenkolb took five of those wins at the Vuelta a España. He believes that performance should secure him a place in the Argos-Shimano Tour squad.

    “It is a big goal for me next year,” the 23-year-old told Cycling News HD. “First, I hope that we make the step to the WorldTour and then we are guaranteed to be there.”

    “If we cannot make the step (up to WorldTour status) then I hope the ASO will give us a wildcard pretty soon and then we can focus on the Tour.”

    Argos-Shimano rode the 2012 Tour de France thanks to a wild card invitation but struggled to make an impact. Degenkolb didn't make the Tour team, while Kittel’s debut was cut short with stomach problems.

    Both sprinters have improved since the summer and Degenkolb doesn’t foresee any problems in the future.

    “I really would like to ride with him and to split the stages in some way. Then we could say ‘today we will ride for you and tomorrow it will be my turn’,” he suggested.

    “I am strong enough to hold the position and bring him into position. He is strong enough to bring me there when we have a hard final. I also have, with Koen de Kort, a really good leadout man and he can lead me out after a hard stage.”

    Degenkolb made his name last season, his first as a pro, with two stage...