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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Date published:
April 29, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Tinkov: Michael Rogers is an important missile

    Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) makes his 2014 racing debut
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 11:08 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team owner backs Australian for Tour de France team

    Tinkoff-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov has welcomed Michael Rogers back to the team with open arms after no further action was taken in the Australian’s Clenbuterol case from last year's Japan Cup. Rogers was provisionally suspended last December but was cleared by the authorities after providing them with a plausible explanation relating to contaminated meat in China.

    The 34-year-old returned to racing on Sunday at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and although he failed to finish he did a spell on the front and helped Roman Kreuziger to a top ten place.

    Tinkov spoke to Cyclingnews prior to the race and backed Rogers to make Alberto Contador's Tour de France team.

    "Of course I'm happy that he's back because he's a great helper for Roman today in the race and will be for Alberto Contador in the Tour de France. He's a powerful missile," Tinkov told Cyclingnews.

    "We'll see [about the Tour], normally yes but it depends. If he abandons all the races before the Tour de France then he won't do it," Tinkov joked.

    Rogers also spoke to Cyclingnews on the morning of Liege and recounted the moment he found out about his positive test – he was at a party for one of his daughters. Tinkov added that he and team had given Rogers their full support through out.

    "He called me when he was cleared, I said congratulations but from the very beginning I had faith in him and I believed him. I know there are many athletes from other sports having this issue in China, so he's not the only one, but we welcome the end of this story."

    Tinkov was at the Ardennes for the first time and planned to ride the last sections of the...

  • Savoldelli doping hearing set for May 13

    Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery)
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 12:48 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Former Giro d'Italia winner faces a ban of two years and eight months

    The Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal has announced that Paolo Savoldelli will face a disciplinary hearing on May 13 after being accused of doping by the Italian Olympic Committee investigators following a request from the UCI and key testimony from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

    Savoldelli retired in 2008 but is accused of doping as per the World Anti-Doping Agency's article 2.2 based on testimony from Tom Danielson during USADA's investigation into Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

    Both riders raced with Lance Armstrong at the US Postal Service team in 2005 and 2006. Savoldelli also rode for Team Telekom (2003-2004) and Astana (2007) before ending his career with LPR Brakes-Ballan. He won the Giro d'Italia in 2002 and in 2005, while riding with the Discovery Channel. He also rode in the Tour de France squad that helped Armstrong win his seventh Tour de France before retiring.

    Danielson admitted to doping and gave sworn testimony to USADA. He was given a six-month ban but returned to racing in 2013 with Garmin-Sharp.

    The Italian investigators have requested a ban of two years and eight months for Savoldelli.

    After being questioned by investigators in February, Savoldelli refuted suggestions that his was one of the redacted names (“Rider 1”) in the testimony provided by Danielson to USADA.

    Danielson described how “Rider 1,” a fellow Dr. Ferrari client, had organised a system for obtaining EPO during the 2006 Giro d’Italia. “I went to Rider 1 and asked him if he could help me with EPO for the race but he said that he had only enough for himself,” Danielson said.

    “Of course I know him, but I don’t know English and he...

  • 10 conclusions from the Ardennes Classics

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE)
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 17:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Detailed analysis of the hilly spring Classics

    1. Gerrans’ excellent strike rate

    When Simon Gerrans radioed through to Matt White with 'I'm not good' as he climbed Saint Nicolas, the Orica-GreenEdge team car fell silent for almost a minute as White began scratching around for a plan B. He need not have worried with Gerrans bouncing back to step up and deliver a tactical display of brilliance, timing and strength to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    White called it the team's biggest ever win – a lofty call given they've won stages in the Tour de France and Milan-San Remo. But with the Santos Tour Down Under and a Monument classic in the bag, and Michael Matthews primed for the sprints at the Giro d'Italia, White has a number of reasons to be happy.

    As for Gerrans, his palmares stands out for two reasons: firstly there's little fluff or as Cavendish would say 'shit little races.' Instead Gerrans sets himself the target of one or two major objectives in a season and works for them accordingly. Secondly, how many times does the Australian road champion give post-race interviews in which he complains or is questioned over his tactics. It very rarely happens, meaning the Australian has a brilliant strike rate whenever he,s in a position to win.

    Liège-Bastogne-Liège was a huge win for the Australian on a personal level and at 33, and with the final year of his contract winding down, he needed a win to ensure a bumper pay cheque for that final contract of his career.

    At the finish line a giddy Matt White made it clear to Cyclingnews that Orica-GreenEdge is where Gerrans belongs. He’s...

  • New Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL5 spotted in Belgium

    The down tube is nearly the same diameter as a water bottle
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 21:26 BST
    James Huang

    Updated model set to officially debut next week

    Last weekend's Liège-Bastogne-Liège not only delivered a thrilling race finale but also the public debut of the upcoming Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL5 under Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Official details will have to wait until the bike's expected official unveiling later next week but Cyclingnews editor-in-chief Daniel Benson was conveniently on site to snap a bunch of pictures for all of us to digest in the meantime.

    The new Tarmac SL5 is a clear evolution of the current SL4 with much of the same design methodology and a very similar look overall. The monstrous down tube and wide top tube both partially wrap around the hourglass-profile tapered head tube, the seat tube morphs from round up top to rectangular down below, and there's once again an oversized bottom bracket shell.

    The chain stays are huge once again but appear to have a more rounded profile than before, however, while the seat stays now have a slight curve just before melding into the top tube. Specialized is apparently sticking with a 68mm-wide bottom bracket shell but the bearings look to be pressed directly into the shell.

    Up top, there's now a hidden binder bolt for the seatpost and naturally, the cable routing is internal throughout (and presumably convertible between mechanical and electronic transmissions).

    Overall, we don't anticipate much improvement from the Tarmac SL4 in terms of absolute stiffness but it's a safe bet that the SL5 is a touch lighter. We're also expecting a boost in ride comfort, too.

    Specialized wouldn't even officially confirm the bike's name but did at least admit that it was something new.

    "We're always working with athletes on testing," said team liaison Scott Jackson. "Some things make it into production, some don't. That bike does look different, yes. Unfortunately we can't say anything about it right...

  • Nibali ready for Tour of Romandie

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 22:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana prepares for Tour de France

    Vicenzo Nibali is confirmed for the Tour of Romandie from April 29 to May 4. The Italian rider will lead the Astana squad at the Swiss stage race.

    "It has always been on the program for Vincenzo to race Romandie - this is an excellent chance to come with a full mountain squad to test the fitness so far, and also to go for a win against targetted competitors ahead of the season's top goal at the Tour de France," said Astana DS Gorazd Stangelj to Cyclingnews.

    "The start list should be a good indicator of the team's prep ahead of the Giro with Brajkovic, and then will provide key Tour de France riders with a last chance to work together in a race environment before heading back to train in the month leading up to the Dauphine"

    Nibali will be joined by Jakob Fuglsang, Lieuwe Westra, Valentin Iglinskiy, Andriy Grivko, Tanel Kangert, Janez Brajkovic and Fredrik Kessiakoff.

  • Giant-Shimano sign Brian Bulgaç

    Brian Bulgac (Lotto Belisol) during the final time trial
    Article published:
    April 28, 2014, 23:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutchman returns to WorldTour level

    Having previously ridden at WorldTour level with Lotto-Belisol for two seasons, Dutchman Brian Bulgaç returns to the top-tier of professional racing with Giant-Shimano in 2014 after a short stint at Continental level.

    The 26-year-old started his career with the Rabobank Continental Team in 2010 and the next year moved to the Omega Pharma-Lotto development team. He signed for Lotto in 2012 and rode his debut Giro d'Italia in May, twice making his way into a long breakaway.

    Bulgaç started the year with Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team but impressed Giant Shimano, securing a contract and makes his debut this weekend at the 1.1HC Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt in Germany.

    "I am very thankful for the opportunity that Team Giant-Shimano have given me to allow me to return to the WorldTour and to continue progressing at the top level of the sport," Bulgaç said.

    "Last winter I unfortunately I had to take some steps back in my career, and made the step down to join a continental team at the start of the season, with a much reduced race program.

    "However, I got in touch with the coaches of Team Giant-Shimano and was invited to a team training camp at their training base in Spain."

    Bulgaç explained on the Giant Shimano website that is was his efforts at the training camp which was the catalyst for clinching a contract.

    "The training camp was a test to see whether cooperation from both sides was possible, as well as to get to know one another and to see if there was a fit.

    "We spoke about my development as a rider and in which direction I wanted to go and how the team...

  • GreenEdge look set to offer Gerrans new contract after Liège win

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) wins the 2014 Liège-Bastogne-Liège
    Article published:
    April 29, 2014, 1:30 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian rewarded for second monument victory

    Matt White has given the strongest indication yet that Simon Gerrans will sign a contract extension with Orica-GreenEdge after the Australian road champion won Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

    It marked Gerrans' second Monument win since moving to the team and capped an excellent spring for the rider which included a podium place in Amstel Gold Race.

    Gerrans won Liege ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to become the first Australian to ever win the race. Out of contact at the end of the season, the 33-year-old had told Cyclingnews that he would concentrate on his future only after Liège.

    At the finish of the race, as Gerrans enjoyed his winner's press conference, Matt White told Cyclingnews that "Simon is a crucial part of our team and he's delivered on the biggest moments. Simon's not going anywhere and this is his home. We'll be keeping him.

    "I knew that Simon would be very, very competitive but the win is a very nice surprise. This has got to be the biggest win we've had. Winning a stage in the Tour de France is big, and the yellow jersey off the back of that was awesome but I think this ranks with the best days we've had in the team. It's a big day for us, for sure."

    Gerrrans came into the race in form but had never quite delivered in Liège before. However the race was a cagey and...

  • Roche to lead Tinkoff-Saxo at Romandie

    Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) launches an attack
    Article published:
    April 29, 2014, 2:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Irishman's last preparatory race before the Giro

    With the 2014 Giro d'Italia Grand Partenza in Northern Ireland and stages in the Republic, Irishman Nicholas Roche was always going to target the Italian grand tour as a season goal. The 29-year-old has one final warm up race, the 68th Tour de Romandie, before the Giro and will be backed by a strong Tinkoff-Saxo team at the WorldTour race

    Roche has been training in Italy, fine-tuning his preparation for the Swiss race which begins and ends with a race against the clock and includes several mountain stages.

    "Having been on training camp near Etna on Sicily, my form is coming along nicely," Roche said. "We've all been working really hard over the past four weeks and I think it's finally starting to show.

    "It's been an important camp in terms of preparing for the Giro and hopefully, Tour de Romandie will brush off my condition so I'll be ready. I feel ready and that’s a good start," Roche said.

    Backing Roche will be Rafal Majka, who impressed at last year's Giro finishing seventh overall, and new signing Edward Beltran. The Colombian climber signed for the team in March on a two-year deal and will join Roche at the Giro where he will make his grand tour debut.

    Tinkoff-Saxo for Tour de Romandie: Nicolas Roche, Rafal Majka, Evgeny Petrov, Pawel Poljanski, Oliver Zaugg, Jay McCarthy, Christopher Juul-Jensen and Edward Beltran.