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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 7, 2013

Date published:
November 07, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Second Armstrong fan pleads guilty to sending USADA head death threats

    USADA chief Travis Tygart (R) shakes hands with Senator Arlen Specter at a 2009 hearing in Washington, DC about screening dietary supplements for illegal steroids.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2013, 16:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Utah man to be sentenced in February

    A 60-year-old fan of Lance Armstrong from Utah issued a guilty plea to "interstate communications involving a threat" in a US District Court in Denver yesterday. Robert Hutchins of Sandy, Utah will likely not face jail time over e-mail threats made to USADA CEO Travis Tygart in reaction to the lifetime ban imposed upon Armstrong by the agency.

    Hutchins was one of many fans who wrote Tygart, but only one of two who ended up facing federal charges for crossing the line of making threats. In a similar but unrelated case, Gerrit Keats, a doctor from Clearwater, Florida, pled guilty to similar charges last month and will be sentenced in January.

    Hutchins' e-mail was sent with the subject “Travis Tygert [sic] Hope you have body guards and bullet proof vest”, and read: "Travis Tygert [sic], Hope you have body guards and bullet proof vest, your [sic] a dead man mother f@%&*#. You just don’t know what you’ve done!!!

    "You’re a** is f@%&*#."

    The FBI traced the e-mail to Hutchins, while Tygart took the precaution of hiring private security and moving his family to a safe location.

    Hutchins could have faced five years in a federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine, but agreed to probation with his guilty plea. He will be sentenced February 10, 2014.

    USADA Media Relations Manager Annie Skinner said, "We appreciate the hard work of the FBI and the US Attorney’s office in enforcing the laws of this country and protecting the safety and security of our staff and their families.”

  • Four new UCI Continental teams in USA for 2014

    Josh Carter of Predator heads the field
    Article published:
    November 06, 2013, 19:00 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Pro scene gets a boost from influx of teams

    At least four US men's teams have applied for first-time UCI Continental status in 2014, Cyclingnews has confirmed. Team Airgas, Astellas, Champion System-Stans No Tubes and InCycle-Predator Components all filed paperwork with USA Cycling before the final deadline passed on Tuesday.

    USAC spokesman Bill Kellick said the governing body would not comment on which teams have applied, choosing instead to release the complete list of US UCI teams in mid-December after the applications have been approved. But Cyclingnews confirmed with each of the teams that they recently filed the applications for Continental status.

    All four of the new Continental applicants raced at the Domestic Elite level during the 2013 season and had a strong presence at regional and national races.

    Racing as D3 Devo-Airgas in its debut season, the Philadelphia-based Airgas development team competed in the USA Crits Championship Series, the Sea Otter Classic, the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, the Cascade Cycling Classic and other national events.

    Director Chris Johnson told Cyclingnews that the team will continue with a development focus but will not be restricted to U23 riders. The 12-rider 2014 roster will be comprised of athletes who are all new to the Continental level and features four riders from the fabled Fort Lewis collegiate team.

    Team targets for 2014 will likely include the hometown race in Philly and the national championships, with the potential for some international racing as well.

    Airgas is the largest US distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, as well as welding equipment and supplies, according to the company's website. Airgas is a leading producer of atmospheric gases, carbon dioxide, dry ice and nitrous oxide. The company is also one of the largest US distributors of refrigerants, ammonia products and process chemicals.

    Mid-West based Astellas Cycling Team started in 2012...

  • Cavendish against a Truth and Reconciliation commission

    Stage winner Mark Cavendish on the podium
    Article published:
    November 06, 2013, 21:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Sprinter reveals why he left Team Sky in his new book

    Mark Cavendish has said that he is against a Truth & Reconciliation (T&R) process, suggesting that people's egos and riders' fear of losing the public identity built on the back of their successful careers will undermine a process in which people confess their sins in return for clemency.

    Cavendish made his thoughts clear in further extracts from his forthcoming second autobiography. The extracts were published by the Telegraph newspaper. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter also talked about Lance Armstrong and the USADA investigation and its witnesses. He bravely defended cycling, refusing to accept lessons from the world of tennis.

    Cavendish admitted he was left mesmerised after meeting Armstrong in Las Vegas in 2008, but his thoughts soon changed.

    "Lance and I had met at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas in September 2008. Introduced by George Hincapie, once Lance's domestique de luxe and then mine, we had instantly struck up a rapport. There was something mesmeric about Lance."

    "That's something that people often say about so-called 'celebrities', but not until I spent an hour or two with Lance did I fully appreciate what it meant," Cavendish wrote in his book. "There was a buzz, an electricity that seemed to take hold of the room. The energy that he radiated seemed to hang everywhere, yet when Lance spoke the space suddenly emptied to leave just you and him."

    "Like everyone else, I was well aware of the doping rumours that had swirled around Lance, but never dwelled on them: firstly because I hadn't been competing against him between 1999 and 2005; and, secondly, I had gathered from riders who had competed in that era that doping had been widespread if not endemic."

    "Now we're asked to comment on Armstrong and have our morals...

  • Optum Pro Cycling announces men's, women's rosters for 2014

    Mike Friedman won overall at the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the Optum squad also won the team prize.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2013, 21:55 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Three key signings for men's team, women's squad has new director plus two new hires

    The Optum Pro Cycling men's and women's teams will return for 2014 with their core squads intact plus a few new additions. After losing two of 2013's top US domestic riders and the women's director during the annual off-season shuffle, Optum performance director Jonas Carney didn't waste any time reloading for next year.

    Former Spidertech and Accent Jobs rider Will Routley, 2013 Tour of California mountains classification winner Carter Jones of Bissell and veteran Jelly Belly speedster Brad Huff will complete a men's roster that also includes 10 returning riders from 2013.

    There will be a big change at the top for the women's team, as former Symmetrics, Spidertech and Bontrager director Kevin Field takes over the director duties from Rachel Heal, who moved to the new UnitedHealthcare women's team in the off-season. Experienced European racer Amber Pierce, who rode for the Italian Diadora-Pasta Zara team for the past three seasons, will join former Now & Novartis rider Maura Kinsella along with nine returning riders from last year's women's squad.

    Shake-ups for men's roster

    The men's 2014 road roster, which will see seven riders not returning from 2013, experienced more shake-up than the women's. With the addition of just three riders to plug the vacant spots, the 2014 Optum men's road roster will shrink from 17 in 2013 to just 13 next season.

    "We are downsizing our men's program slightly for 2014," Carney said. "It's not a big drop in roster size, but it is going to take some pressure off of our staff and help us to focus more effectively on our most important objectives."

    Joe Martin Stage Race overall winner and National Race Calendar podium rider Chad...

  • Impey excited for yellow jersey celebration in Australia

    Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) on the podium.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2013, 22:36 GMT
    Jono Lovelock

    South African expands on 2014 and beyond

    With his tenure at Orica-GreenEdge extended by three years, Daryl Impey is at home in South Africa preparing for his return to Europe in March. One part of looking forward, rather conversely, is to look back and reflect on how life has changed since he wore the maillot jaune.

    "Life has been a bit different to what it was in the past that's for sure. People start to recognise you in the streets and there are people asking for autographs and photos and that certainly hasn't happened in the past," Impey explained to Cyclingnews. "I think it shows the country has a lot more appreciation for what happened at the Tour."

    Appreciation provides validation, and for Impey it only fuels his motivation to set new benchmarks.

    "It's always important to set yourself new goals, once you've achieved something so high, you always think there's nothing bigger or better to do," Impey said. "But there's still lots of races and I still have a bit to do to become a real household name in cycling, the yellow jersey is a great start and hopefully next year we can just add on from all that.

    The 'shocking' omission

    One organisation that did not seek Impey's autograph, however, were those in charge of the South Africa Sports Awards. Missing a nomination for the headlining Sportsman of the Year award, amongst a domestic scene drowning in rugby and cricket, was something Impey stressed was not going to change his life; he rides to win races not impress awards committees. The bone of contention for Impey was simply that having such an important achievement go unheralded...

  • African Wildlife Safaris beefing up for 2014

    Certainly no safari for Gillett (African Wildlife Safaris) and his teammates as the snow begins to fall
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 3:30 GMT
    Jono Lovelock

    NRS getting stronger yet

    Behind the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) headline acts of Drapac Cycling, Huon-Genesys and Budget Forklifts come a raft of developing teams that are constantly augmenting the depth of the Australian domestic scene. African Wildlife Safaris is one of these teams and after just two years they have already secured a maiden NRS victory with Rhys Gillett's hill-top win at the Tour of Tasmania in October. Now with Nathan Elliott coming across after the folding of Target-Trek, and Jason and Trevor Spencer transferring from the Charter Mason Drapac Development Team, African Wildlife Safaris are set for an exciting 2014.

    "We've signed three new riders so far for next year, and they're three pretty quality bike riders," said African Wildlife Safaris director Joel Pearson to Cyclingnews. "One's Nathan Elliot and the other two are the Spencer brothers. We're bolstering our GC riders to give Rhys [Gillett] some support."

    The team's headline sponsor does exactly as one would think, they run wildlife safaris -in Africa- and it's this sense of adventure that has lead the company's CEO Steve Cameron to devote time to sponsoring a cycling team. Not just the casual enthusiast, Cameron has begun to take his cycling seriously enough to compete himself at the UCI Amateur World Championships in Trento, Italy, earlier in the year. His passion is palpable, but the team is chasing co-sponsors -on top of current arrangements with Giant and Mavic- so it can provide more...

  • No Basque cycling team in 2014 after all?

    The Euskaltel-Euskadi team vehicle
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 4:45 GMT
    José Been

    Deal with ner business group stranded

    The chances that the Basque country will go without a professional cycling team for 2014 is getting bigger and bigger. After the demise of World Tour-team Euskaltel-Euskadi, the Continental team Euskadi is also on the verge of disappearing. Fans of Basque cycling are trying to persuade local institutions and the Basque cycling union to fund a team for 2014 to create continuity in the region.

    There seemed to be an agreement between the ner business group and Fundación Euskadi to continue the Continental feeder team Euskadi which operated in 2013 too. However, that deal seems to be off, Spanish media report.

    The Fundación Euskadi is led by Miguel Madariaga and the ner group appointed former pro cyclist Jon Odriozola as team principal. “This new venture is looking to the future, [to] support the promotion, development, dissemination and development of Basque sport of cycling, where thousands of young people have a place,” the press release of October 24 stated.

    The ner consortium and the Fundación have however parted ways which makes the future of the Continental team very insecure. Now both Madariaga and Odriozola have applied for a Continental license at the Spanish cycling union but neither has announced that the project will actually take place under their management. And time is running out.

    A Facebook group of fans called SOS ciclismo en Euskadi is trying to save the team by asking public institutions, companies and the general public to help Basque Cycling. “We need continuity for our amateur-cyclists and our young riders. Euskadi has been a name that travelled around the world. We have the riders and we have the best fans in the world. We ask the Basque government and the Basque Cycling Union to find a solution. Our...

  • Rasmussen: The bus driver hid EPO in his underpants

    Denmark's Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) won stage 16 of the 2006 Tour.
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 9:39 GMT
    José Been

    Dane asked father to give his blood for homologous blood transfusion

    Michael Rasmussen continues to reveal details about his doping following the publication of his autobiography written with Gul Feber, "Yellow Fever". In an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS, the Dane reveals more about the use of banned substances at Rabobank ,and how he was almost caught with EPO at the Tour de France.

    “One day in 2007 the gendarmerie came to check our bus. We had drugs hidden in the bus, but our bus driver Piet hid the EPO in his underpants,” Rasmussen said.

    Rasmussen expresses little if any regret about his years of doping and cheating in his book. In a story about the 2005 Tour de France he tells how a chance to beat Lance Armstrong was taken away from him.

    “In 2005 the team refused to let me take a second blood transfusion. My weapon was taken away from me by my own team. The consequence was that I lost a lot of time on my rivals.”

    Furthermore he blames the team’s mechanic for ruining his chances of finishing on the podium in 2005. Rasmussen claims the mechanic was drunk on champagne before the penultimate time trial stage. He lost over seven minutes to stage winner Lance Armstrong, slipping from third to seventh overall. 

    “My rear wheel and handlebars were not fixed properly,” he said. 

    “I saw our mechanic in a chair sleeping off his champagne hangover. I put my bike against the truck and walked his way. I was three metres from the guy with my fists ready when Erik Dekker pulled me away."

    The Danish climber has revealed he also asked his own father for a homologous blood transfusion in 2004.

    Rasmussen claims it was Dr. Geert Leinders who proposed the idea to him. Leinders told Rasmussen he had done the same thing with two...