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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 31, 2013

Date published:
October 31, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Hesjedal admits to doping, says evidence was given to USADA

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) took home the best overall Canadian jersey for today's ride.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 19:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cycling Canada, Garmin say case highlights need for amnesty

    Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, has admitted to doping after the publication of accusations by Danish rider Michael Rasmussen.

    According to his team, the Canadian had already given the information of his past doping offences, which took place in 2003, to the anti-doping agencies from the USA and Canada before the statements in Rasmussen's autobiography, which is being published this week, made the press. Rasmussen states in the book that he helped Canadian mountain bikers Seamus McGrath, Chris Sheppard and Hesjedal learn how to dope.

    "Cycling is my life and has been ever since I can remember. I have loved and lived this sport but more than a decade ago, I chose the wrong path," Hesjedal said. "And even though those mistakes happened more than 10 years ago, and they were short-lived, it does not change the fact that I made them and I have lived with that and been sorry for it ever since.

    "To everyone in my life, inside and outside the sport – to those that have supported me and my dreams – including my friends, my family, the media, fans, my peers, sponsors – to riders who didn't make the same choices as me all those years ago, I sincerely apologize for my part in the dark past of the sport. I will always be sorry."

    Garmin-Sharp stated that Hesjedal had testified to the US Anti-Doping Agency and their counterpart, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (CCES), well before Rasmussen's story came out.

    "As we have said from the beginning, Slipstream Sports was created because we wanted to build a team where cyclists could compete 100% clean. And, as we have previously stated, our expectation is that anyone in our organization contacted by any anti-doping authority must be open and honest with...

  • Riccò confirms 2014 record bids on legendary climbs

    Riccardo Riccò (Meridiana-Kamen)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 21:50 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    Banned Italian to take on Mayo's Ventoux mark and others

    Banned Italian rider Riccardo Riccò has confirmed to Cyclingnews that he plans to prove his credentials as one of the world's best climbers - by attempting to set new record times on some of cycling's most notorious ascents.

    Riccò said on Wednesday that he will take aim at three or four legendary climbs, including the Mont Ventoux, in June or July 2014.

    "The Ventoux is inked in, but I still have to decide on the other ones. One might be the Galibier, another could be Alpe d'Huez, but I don't know yet. It's all still in the planning stage. They'll be famous Giro and Tour climbs, that's for certain," the self-styled "Cobra" said.

    Riccò's fascination with Mont Ventoux apparently blossomed in June this year, when French magazine l'Acheteur Cycliste invited him to their "Ventoux Night Session", a mass-participation, twilight ride to the "Giant of Provence's" summit. Riccò said today that, on that occasion, he paid no attention to how long the ascent had taken him, but that in 2014 he'll be gunning for the 55 minutes and 51 seconds set by Iban Mayo in a mountain time trial at the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré.

    "I've got a feeling that'll be hard to beat, though," Riccò conceded.

    Given that the 30-year-old is currently serving a 12-year doping ban - and has appeared largely unrepentant in rare interviews since his most recent offence in 2011 - it seems legitimate to ask whether he will attempt the records without doping.

    "Of course!" he responded emphatically to that question today. "I'll be on top, top form but clean, yeah."

    Riccò wouldn't elaborate on possible commercial offshoots of his record bids, but it seems likely that a sponsor will provide some kind of backing and seek some public exposure. Riccò maintains a good relationship with the Giordana clothing...

  • Australian TV broadcast arrangement under threat

    Matt Keenan of SBS chats with rising sprinter Michael Matthews before the 163km race.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 22:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    SBS claims Cycling Australia owe AUD 150,000

    The broadcast arrangement between Australian government funded station, SBS, and the national cycling body, Cycling Australia, is reportedly under threat due to unpaid contractual fees.

    According to a report released by Fairfax Media today, Cycling Australia owes SBS 150,000 Australian Dollars -€103,000-, and whilst the money is in dispute, the 2014-2015 contract remains in limbo.

    "We don't have an agreement for next year," Ken Shipp, SBS head of sport, confirmed to Fairfax Media.

    Cycling Australia acting president Robert Bates remained optimistic for future negotiations stating to Fairfax Media that CA would fulfill "all outstanding obligations."

    SBS first covered the Tour de France in 1991 for Australian audiences and have continued to expand their cycling coverage with highlights of the Subaru National Road Series and live coverage of the Australian Open Road Championships coming as more recent additions. SBS have secured coverage of the Tour de France until 2021 but it is the continued coverage of domestic events that remains in dispute. The coverage of local events has been crucial in securing increased sponsorship for local teams and events and a loss of such coverage would be devastating for all parties involved.

    "Cycling Australia has enjoyed a very long and fruitful relationship with SBS. In the past two years we have embarked on a program to develop our broadcast assets in partnership with Subaru and various government entities," the statement continued. "The result has been a live telecast of the Subaru track and road national championships, UCI track world championships and post produced production of BMX, road, track and mountain bike content."

    Although Bates stressed that "contractual arrangements between CA and all of our partners remain confidential," he also clarified CA’s position adding that:

    "We expect CA's long-standing partnership with SBS to...

  • Leaked UCI report summarises future of cycling

    The numbers of riders within teams to be implemented by 2015.
    Article published:
    October 31, 2013, 0:20 GMT
    Jono Lovelock

    2020 world calendar with no US or British races

    The changes to the professional cycling calendar as previously outlined in a UCI technical bulletin have been further clarified after a new document was leaked to, with one of the biggest points of interest being no American or British races on the 2020 world calendar.

    Many of the changes outlined are simply confirmation of what was previously identified, but there are also are a number of new outcomes which shed light on the future of the sport. The general theme of less is more remains with division one and division two teams reduced down to 22 riders from their current maximum of 30. Most interestingly, continental teams are to be reduced to just eight to ten riders, a large reduction from their current maximum of 16.

    The reduction in the size of continental teams comes as an interesting counterpoint to the specification that all races in which these teams will participate in will require seven riders. Thus leaving teams little buffer against injury or illness within their roster.

    The length of multi-day races has been clarified with all Grand Tours to remain at three weeks in length but all other tours to be reduced to five or six days. A final point of contention is despite the clarification that there is to be no overlap between events, the 2020 calendar still has a clash between the Vuelta and the Grands Prix de Québec and Montréal.

    A summary of what's new:

    Main stakeholders identified

    • ASO, Tour de France organisers.
    • RCS, Giro d'Italia organisers.
    • Flanders Classics, Ronde van Vlaanderen organisers.
    • Tour de Romandie organisers.
    • The Grand Prix de Québec and Montréal organisers.
    • GCP, the UCI's own private cycling promotions company, responsible for the Tour of Beijing.
    • ...
    • 14 Belgian teams apply for Continental UCI licenses

      The Telenet-Fidea cyclo-cross team
      Article published:
      October 31, 2013, 3:16 GMT
      Cycling News

      Two women's squads look for UCI status

      The Royal Belgian Cycling Federation (KBWB/RVLB) announced today that it has accepted the applications of 14 men's team for the UCI Continental level in 2014.

      Four of the teams consist primarily of cyclo-cross riders: BKCP-Powerplus, Kwadro-Stannah, Telenet-Fidea and Sunweb-Napoleon Games. Newcomers are Cibel-Aliplast, International Cycling Team, Veranclassic-Doltcini and the Vastgoedservice Cycling Team, while Color Code – Biowanze, Josan-To Win, Team 3M, T.Palm – Pôle Continental Wallon, Verandas Willems and Wallonie-Bruxelles Credit Agricole seek renewal.

      Two women's teams were on the list of applicants: Lotto Belisol Ladies and Topsport Vlaanderen-Pro Duo.

      Team 3M also released its full 2014 roster of 19 riders:  Jaap de Man, Gertjan De Vos, Tom Devriendt, Gerry Druyts, Gregory Franckaert, Jimmy Janssens, Egidijus Juodvalkis, Sebastian Pot, Joren Segers, Christophe Sleurs, Timothy Stevens, Dylan Van Zijl, Jens Vandenbogaerde, Tim Vanspeybrouck, Stef Vanzummeren, Emiel Vermeulen, Jens Schuermans, Melvin Van Zijl and Michael Vingerling.

    • Baden Cooke to retire?

      Baden Cooke (Orica GreenEdge) tried to bridge up to Voigt in the finale
      Article published:
      October 31, 2013, 3:45 GMT
      Cycling News

      No contract for 34-year-old at Orica-GreenEdge

      Former Tour de France green jersey winner, Baden Cooke (Orica GreenEdge), is without a contract for next year and reportedly on the verge of retirement. As one of many professional cyclists currently without employment for next year, Cooke's optimism is reportedly fading quickly.

      "I think pretty much it's over," Cooke told News Limited. "It's a really bad year for cycling with so many teams shutting down, there are hundreds of guys on the market with no job and I'm one of those guys."

      A professional since 2000, Cooke revealed he is talking with one WorldTour team, and is open to riding for a Pro-Continental team, but only if it pays the bills.

      "I'm speaking with one WorldTour team at the moment but it's a very small chance, there are probably 50 guys going for the one spot," he said. "I had no inkling this could be my last year, I thought I'd do two more years and at my age I can still ride fast enough to do my job well."

      Cooked added that although disappointed to possibly be ending his career earlier than first planned, he remained grateful for the support he has received to get him this far.

      "It's a shame if I do have to go out not on my own terms but I'm not angry or anything, I've had a really good run," he explained. "I'm very close with Gerry Ryan the owner of the team and Shayne Bannan who have both helped me immensely during my career.

      "I'll never forget that and I wouldn't be here today if I didn't have their help over the years."

      The rider who won a stage and became just the second Australian ever to win the green jersey at the 2003 Tour de France said that that victory stood out as a special moment in his career.

      "I've won 50-odd professional races and I'm proud of every one of those," he said. "Obviously the green jersey stands out as a life changing...

    • Rasmussen autobiography precedes outcome of Danish investigation

      Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watchces-Ofone) returns to the Tour de San Luis
      Article published:
      October 31, 2013, 9:00 GMT
      Stephen Farrand

      Year-long investigation likely to reveal the full extent of doping in Denmark

      Just like Tyler Hamilton’s book was a warning of what would later emerge in the USADA reasoned decision, Michael Rasmussen’s Yellow Fever book has added details to doping practices that were widely suspected of going on in Danish cycling and more widely in the sport.

      Like Hamilton, Rasmussen has already given anti-doping authorities details about his own doping plus information on those who did it with him and helped him for so long during his career.

      Rasmussen was given a two-year ban for his doping sins but avoided a longer sentence because he helped Anti-Doping Denmark (ADD) and the Danish Sports Federation (DIF) with a list of names and details. That information sparked the much more detailed investigation, with Bjarne Riis apparently at the centre of it all. Rasmussen has also accused former teammates Nicki Sorensen, Frank Hoj and Rolf Sorensen, former Rabobank and Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders and others of doping or knowing about his own doping.

      Riis has confessed to doping during his own career but has never discussed his involvement with the doping of Laurent Jalabert, Ivan Basso, Tyler Hamilton, Rasmussen and many others. He has used the ongoing investigation as a defence against responding to claims he was complicit in doping with his riders.

      Excerpts from Rasmussen’s book has sparked an avalanche of doping headlines in Denmark and revealed new details of his doping. However the full investigation by ADD and DIF reportedly goes much further. Investigators have apparently co-operated with anti-doping agencies in the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Germany. It seems a wide range of evidence, as well as direct testimony has been...

    • Thomas plans more traditional approach to classics in 2014

      Geraint Thomas receives a gift from Saitama Sakae High School.
      Article published:
      October 31, 2013, 10:46 GMT
      Barry Ryan

      Welshman aims to return to Paris-Nice

      Geraint Thomas plans to revert to a more traditional build-up to the spring classics in 2014 after Team Sky’s decision to send its one-day unit on an extended training camp in early March did not yield the expected dividends this season.

      On the instruction of Sky’s head of performance, Tim Kerrison, Thomas and his classics teammates took the unusual – though not unprecedented – step of attending a two-week camp in Tenerife instead of lining up at Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico.

      Although Thomas says that he was pleased with his condition coming out of the training camp, neither he nor his Sky teammates went on to land significant results at Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and he envisages a more race-heavy classics preparation next season.

      “Physically, I was in great shape, but maybe it felt for a while as if every race we did was like the start of the year, because there were such big gaps between them all. That may have affected us a bit. Next year, I think I’ll definitely ride Paris-Nice,” Thomas told Cyclingnews.

      “At the end of the day, we like racing our bikes really and any big race you miss, it’s always a shame. Hopefully I can go there and ride well for whoever our leader is there.”

      If Thomas fell shy of his expectations last spring, it was not without some mitigation. A 4th-place finisher at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and E3 Harelbeke, the Welshman was left frustrated by crashes in the finale of both Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, and then took another tumble at Paris-Roubaix for good measure.

      “From my point of view, I just had some bad luck but it was disappointing,” Thomas said....