- Article published:
- April 22, 2013, 14:16
- Cycling News
French sprinter to face Cavendish, Goss and Ferrari
French national champion Nacer Bouhanni will ride the Giro d'Italia for the first time his career, taking on rival sprinters Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Sella Italia).
The 23-year-old Bouhanni rode the Vuelta a España in 2012, taking several placings before climbing off during stage 13.
He has won four races this season, including the final stage at the Tour of Oman and the first stage at Paris-Nice. He will be the protected sprinter for FDJ in Italy and share leadership with overall classification outsider Arnold Jeannesson and veteran rider Sandy Casar.
"It'd be good if he won this time, the Giro sprints suit him," FDJ manager Marc Madiot told AFP, pointing out that several of the Giro stages include late climbs that should not be a problem for Bouhanni.
FDJ for the Giro d'Italia: Murilo Fischer, Anthony Roux, Jussi Veikkanen, Johan Le Bon, Nacer Bouhanni, Sandy Casar, Arnold Jeannesson, Laurent Pichon and Francis Mourey.
Dominique Rollin and Kenny Elissonde have been named as reserves.
- Article published:
- April 22, 2013, 16:48
- Cycling News
AOD-9604 makes it out of clinical trials into athlete community
The World Anti-Doping Agency issued its second warning about a drug which is still under development and is making it onto the black market and into the hands of athletes looking to gain an edge on the competition. After warning of toxicity for the endurance booster GW501516 last month, the agency has now turned its focus to AOD-9604, an anti-obesity drug.
AOD-9604 is a fragment of the human growth hormone peptide created by the Australian biotechnology company Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd which retains the ability to increase mobilization of fat from adipose tissue while avoiding the negative effects of the full hGH protein.
According to a press release by Calzada Limited, which now owns Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd, AOD-9604 also enhances the creation of muscle cells and the repair of muscles and cartilage. The company has filed patents on these new uses for the drug.
Both the fat burning properties and muscle repair aspects of the drug may prove highly tempting to endurance athletes, especially cyclists, as power-to-weight ratio can be enhanced by the drug. Several internet forums include discussions of athletes already gaining access to and using the drug, which led to the WADA statement today.
"AOD-9604 is a substance still under pre-clinical and clinical development and has not been approved for therapeutic use by any government health authority in the world," the WADA statement read.
"Therefore, under the 2013 Prohibited Substances and Methods List, the substance falls into the S.0 category which states ... 'Any pharmacological substance which is not addressed by any of the subsequent sections of the List and with no current approval by any governmental regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use (e.g drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use) is prohibited at all times.'"
- Article published:
- April 22, 2013, 17:50
- Cycling News
Bos injured in pile-up but set to continue race
Mark Renshaw (Blanco) sustained a fractured collarbone, a concussion and lost a tooth in a mass crash in the finale of stage two of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in Antalya on Monday. The Australian is currently in hospital near the stage finish but will travel to the Netherlands to undergo surgery on his collarbone.
Renshaw was leading his teammate Theo Bos near the front of the peloton inside the final kilometre when a touch of wheels brought a number of riders tumbling to the ground, including the Blanco pair. A small group avoided being held up by the crash and Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) took the stage win.
Renshaw was taken away by ambulance immediately after the finish, and his Blanco team later confirmed by Twitter that he had broken his collarbone in the crash.
“Renshaw fractured his collarbone today. It's officially confirmed. Because of his concussion he stays for observation in the hospital,” read Blanco’s statement. “Renshaw lost also one tooth and hurt his muscles in his neck. He needs surgery for his collarbone which will be done in Amersfoort [as soon as possible.]”
For his part, Theo Bos looks set to continue in the Tour of Turkey, with Blanco confirming that the Dutchman had broken no bones in the fall and had “only” sustained a big haematoma on his upper leg. Bos has left hospital and returned to the team hotel ahead of Tuesday’s stage three.
- Article published:
- April 22, 2013, 20:44
- Cycling News
Massive final crash changes standings
Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was leading the Tour of Turkey and had the chance of retaining his leader's jersey until a massive crash at the end of stage 2 on Monday. Affected by the crash, Kittel dropped to third place overall after finishing in 140th on the day. He has the same time as new race leader Andre Greipel (Lotto Bellisol).
According to Kittel's team, when the bunch reached the final kilometer, Mark Renshaw (Blanco) touched the rear wheel of his teammate Graeme Brown and went down. The rest of the peloton plowed into them, and only a few riders avoided the pileup and were able to sprint for victory. Kittel was not among those who escaped the crash.
"It's a shame that Marcel lost his leader's jersey because of a crash," said Argos Shimano sports manager Marc Reef. "He is in such good shape and today he could definitely have gone for another stage win. From our team, Marcel, Bert De Backer and Warren Barguil crashed, and they have some bruises and contusions. We'll see how it goes tonight and decide tomorrow morning whether they can start."
After the race Kittel tried to cope with his disappointment by blasting his music, and writing in his blog. "Up until 600 meters from the finish, everything went perfectly. Then the misery spread out before me. A crash from fourth position is not something that happens every day. From that far forward, it should not happen, actually. But never say never," he wrote.
"This pain was inflicted upon me by the impact of the ungentle colleagues on the asphault. I do not know how many of them fell on me, and how many I was on top of. In any case, it hurt. And the fact that the top tube of my bike was on my thigh, and this was pressed down onto my muscles by the weight of the rider lying on me."
"The result? I have a thick swelling, probably a bruise, can barely bend my leg and am skeptical about tomorrow's stage, especially since it is so mountainous. Tomorrow morning I'll ride a little, and then decide whether I will start."
As a consolation prize, Kittel said his turquoise leader's jersey only had a small mark from a rear cog, unlike his ripped shorts, so "It's still good for the trophy cabinet."
- Article published:
- April 22, 2013, 21:42
- James Huang
Rolling showcase of custom program debuts in California
Trek's long-running Project One custom program allows customers to choose from a wide variety of paint schemes, colors and build kits, but only through the online portal, unless you happen to be located near the company's headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin. That's set to change in 2013 with the launch of the Project One Mobile Experience – a massive rolling showcase that will provide potential customers with the chance to see, touch and feel the possibilities firsthand.
Housed in an enormous custom trailer and towed by a similarly gargantuan Freightliner truck, the entire side of the Project One Mobile Experience opens via hydraulic cylinders to reveal an inviting showroom. Visitors are first greeted with three frames-in-white to introduce the starting points – the Madone 7-Series, the Domane 6-Series and the Speed Concept.
Multiple computer stations allow potential customers to tweak their creations directly on the project one web site: multiple computer stations allow potential customers to tweak their creations directly on the project one web site.
Afterward, they can see nearly three dozen paint scheme and color combinations firsthand along with a few build kit options, and then finalize their selections and place their orders at the on-board computer workstations.
Trek road brand manager Michael Mayer says the Project One Mobile Experience is scheduled to visit 250 dealers and several key events in North America this year alone and the program will likely expand into Europe next year with a second rig (albeit on a smaller scale).
Mayer wouldn't commit to how the Project One program itself might evolve moving forward but given its success – not to mention the obvious resources Trek has dedicated to it here – but we can't help but wonder if an expansion into mountain bikes or other segments might come next. Stay tuned.
For all our Sea Otter 2013 coverage, click here.
- Article published:
- April 22, 2013, 21:56
- Laura Weislo
A few surprises shape the WorldTour
The first big block of racing is behind our WorldTour peloton, with the exciting finale of Liège - Bastogne - Liège a fitting summary of the early action in 2013. The emergence of Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) is just one story of the understudies being called up to the spotlight as team headliners either take a slower approach to the season or fail to find their previous form. Cyclingnews counts out the top conclusions from the first part of the season.
Katusha rides with a chip on their shoulders
After the UCI denied its WorldTour license, and the Russian team had to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to get it reversed, Katusha came out swinging in 2013, eager to prove its worth in the Tour. Joaquim Rodriguez opened the team's account in Oman, winning the queen stage on Green Mountain and taking fourth overall. Luca Paolini followed that up with a cagey win in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, easily out-smarting and out-sprinting Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Stijn Vandenbergh. With Daniel Moreno capping off the spring campaign with a win in Flèche Wallonne, Katusha can confidently state that they have demonstrated their merit in the sport's top tier.
Sagan is the most consistent performer
With eight wins and six second places to his name so far this season, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has been head and shoulders above the rest of the field in terms of both the quality of his victories and the regularity with which they occurred. From his first two stage wins in Tour of Oman, to his pair in Tirreno-Adriatico, it was clear he would pull off something special in the Classics. But after his near miss in Milan-Sanremo, who could have predicted the fireworks that were to come? Although Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack) soloed away in the E3 Harelbeke, Sagan mopped up second place with ease. His win in Gent-Wevelgem was nearly a given, and he showed the kind of tenacity in the Tour of Flanders that signaled to the peloton he will keep them worried for many years to come. His final win came in Brabantse Pijl, with the Ardennes Classics just a denouement to an enormously successful spring.
Second stringers grabbing the spotlight
Last season the big early season races went to, by and large, the biggest name riders. Bradley Wiggins won Paris-Nice, Simon Gerrans took Milan-Sanremo after making himself a favorite by claiming Tour Down Under, Tom Boonen swept the Classics with only Enrico Gasparotto and Maxim Iglinskiy showing some different colours atop the podium. This year, Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco) surprised in Tour Down Under, Richie Porte upgraded his 2012 Volta ao Algarve win in Paris-Nice, Nairo Quintana stepped out from the shadow of his Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde to win Pais Vasco, Roman Kreuziger did the same in Amstel Gold Race, and Dan Martin profited from the selfless teamwork of his more senior Garmin-Sharp mate Ryder Hesjedal to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Is this signaling a changing of the guard?
Where art thou Wiggo?
See above: where have these team leaders been? Bradley Wiggins has been carefully controlling his race schedule, leaving the major stage races up to Porte and Chris Froome and only dipping his toe into Giro del Trentino, Volta a Catalunya and Tour of Oman, with a couple digs in the Trofeo Mallorca as a warm-up. A mechanical in Trentino left him unable to fight for the overall victory, and left the rest wondering where exactly his form lies. He will skip Romandie, which he won last year, in favor of a bid for the overall Giro d'Italia title. But while Sir Bradley went into his successful 2012 Tour de France with a case full of race trophies from the early season, he will head into the Giro with zero individual victories to his name. Time will tell if the focus on training over racing has paid off when the Giro d'Italia ends in Brescia.
Colombians to the top
Colombia's cycling renaissance has been building for some time: those who witnessed the Continental teams sweep into the USA and attack each and every climb in the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge were not surprised to see some of the riders coming out of those programs rise to the top of the WorldTour. Sergio Henao was recruited to Sky from the Gobernacion de Antioquia - Indeportes Antioquia team largely due to those US performances. While 2012 was a building year for Henao, this year he showed he's gotten the hang of Europe - netting wins in Algarve and Pais Vasco before taking second in Fleche Wallonne. Similarly, Nairo Quintana, a product of the Colombia es Pasion program, upped his game with the overall victory in Pais Vasco. Carlos Betancur (AG2R) is another exciting Colombian talent with great results this year: a third in Flèche Wallonne and fourth in Liege signals good things to come.
Most exciting team debut: MTN-Qhubeka
The past few seasons have seen the emergence of huge new super teams: in 2010 it was Team Sky, in 2011 Leopard Trek, in 2012 it was Orica-GreenEdge, but in 2013 there were no new organisations applying to the WorldTour. With no debutantes, the early season seemed to lack a little bit of excitement, until the black and yellow colours of MTN-Qhubeka on the back of Gerald Ciolek flashed past Peter Sagan to win Milan-Sanremo. The fact that the Pro Continental team is Africa's first team of that level, and that it is competing in Europe and winning against much more established organisations is a heartwarming story in itself. But add the rags-to-riches type of tale of black Africans like Songezo Jim - who didn't even know how to ride a bike until a teenager - and the team's charitable mission (mobilising kids on bikes) and it is just the kind of balm the sport needed after the whole USADA/Lance Armstrong report.
- Article published:
- April 23, 2013, 01:15
- Cycling News
Orica GreenEdge rider avoids huge pile-up in crash-marred finale
It may have taken him five stage placings to reach the top spot but Aidis Kruopis is finally off the mark in 2013 after crossing the line in first place on Stage 2 at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. There was a sense of relief from Kruopis at the end of the day after he not only cleverly avoided the crash that occurred inside the final kilometre but also put five third-placings behind him to begin his victory tally for season.
The entire Orica GreenEdge squad was lucky enough to miss the carnage that occurred when Mark Renshaw touched wheels while sitting in second position heading into the final sprint. Renshaw, piloting Theo Bos, went down hard with a ricochet effect ripping through the peloton. Kruopis was one of a handful of riders to avoid the fall that sprawled across the road and waited patientently on the wheel of André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) before opening up his sprint with 200m remaining.
"I feel very good to have won today," said Kruopis on his team site. "I had a bit of bad luck with Qatar and Langkawi. I was looking for a victory at both of those races and came up empty. It was especially nice to take the victory today after that.
Kruopis enjoyed a couple of third-place finishes at his opening race of the year at Tour of Qatar, on Stage 3 and 5 but was unable to match the speed of Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) who won four stages. The Lithuanian sprinter then arrived at Le Tour de Langkawi with good form and a team capable of launching him into a winning position and prior to crashing-out of the race, the likes of Theo Bos (Blanco), Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini - Selle Italia) had proved too good. His win in Turkey however, is a testament to his consistency and is especially pertinent given his desire for a start at the Vuelta a España this year.
Yesterday's sprint was dedicated to Leigh Howard but Stage 2 was all for Kruopis. Howard delivered his man to the front just at the right time before leaving Kruopis to finish it off - albeit in difficult and unusual circumstances.
"I saw the last two kilometres on the television," said sports director Laurenzo Lapage. "Leigh did a perfect job for Aidis. We had talked about the left-hand corner at 1.2 kilometres. They knew they needed to be in the top ten riders at this point, and they were there."
"Today’s result was somewhat lucky," admitted Lapage. "It was also about the plan, and our plan for the sprint had everything to do with that last corner. Before the crash, the boys were in good position. They did what we asked of them. I’m happy for them to take the win."
The second day at Turkey was once again a nervous and chaotic affair with no single team unable to control the frantic peloton. Stage 2's crash surprisingly came from the head of the bunch with Renshaw, one of the most experienced lead-out men in the business, the first to hit the pavement along the streets of Antalya.
"The sprint was very dangerous," said Kruopis. "Leigh helped me a lot. There was a big crash, and after the big crash, I managed to come through with five guys ahead of me. I basically started right after the crash happened, and I passed all the guys before me to take the win."
- Vuelta a España
- Article published:
- April 23, 2013, 02:57
- Cycling News
Opportunistic BMC squad readying for Swiss WorldTour round
Steve Morabito is looking forward to getting his shot at riding for the general classification at the Tour de Romandie without the responsibility of riding for a defined leader such as 2011 winner Cadel Evans - who is polishing up his form ahead of the Giro d'Italia. A domestique two years ago, Morabito performed well enough to finish 13th overall and with no duties slated for this year's edition, he's hoping to achieve a similar result again.
Morabito begun his season in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under before more recently finishing 13th-overall at the Volta ao Catalunya - won by Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp). The Swiss rider has only raced 17 days this year but with his next tour in his home country, the 30-year-old could be poised to improve on his result on two years ago.
"This year will be the first time I will not have to work for a leader," said Morabito on his team site. "After the Volta a Catalunya, I spent two weeks at altitude, so I am really motivated to have a good ride."
The eight-man BMC Racing outfit for the six-day race is somewhat of a mixed bag. Marco Pinotti will start just his second race this year after crashing out of the Tour Méditerranéen in February where he broke two ribs and his collarbone. The Italian finished the Giro del Trentino and assisted his squad to a top-ten in the team time trial and is coming to the race with high hopes, according to his team.
"This is an important race for a lot of the guys and for the team as a whole, especially," said sports director Yvon Ledanois.
Three of the riders will be racing on home roads and this could provide a slight advantage, said Matthias Frank who has been outlined as a co-leader for the Swiss tour and is gunning to perform in the opening prologue.
"There are only a couple of WorldTour races; Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse so it's always something special to start in your home country and normally you are extra motivated for these races," said Frank in an interview shortly after completing Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"I've done some reconnaissance and studied the profiles and talked to guys like Danilo (Wyss), who knows a lot of the roads that are close to his home. I think everybody will have their chance every day and the prologue should suit me well," added Frank.
The Stage 2 finish at Granges is actually just outside the BMC headquarters and this stage, perhaps not suited to Frank, may be a day for someone like Adam Blythe or Brent Brookwater.
"The finale is pretty challenging but my opinion is that there will be a sprint from a group of about 60 guys," said Frank. "This is something for Adam Blythe, who is out sprinter or even Dominik Nerz or Brent could try there. We have a lot of cards to play. We'll try day by day."