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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Date published:
April 30, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Basso named as Cannondale team leader for the Giro d'Italia

    Ivan Basso leads Cannondale out of a corner.
    Article published:
    April 29, 2013, 18:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Viviani gets his chance in the sprints

    The Cannondale Pro Cycling team has confirmed Ivan Basso as the team leader for the Giro d'Italia, with Elia Viviani named as the team's designated sprinter.

    Basso won the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and 2010 and has built his 2013 season around the Italian Grand Tour, with teammate Peter Sagan targeting the Classics and the Tour de France. While Basso and his eight teammate compete in Italy, Sagan will lead another Cannondale squad at the Amgen Tour of California.

    Basso is now 35 and has yet to show any signs of form for the Giro d'Italia but he claims he has worked hard in training and the team management back his bid for a third pink jersey.

    “Basso’s results and preparation were as expected. He focused only on the Giro and we wanted him ready for this race. After two difficult years, this time Ivan followed his program without problems or injuries. He did all he had to do. Now the roads will give the verdict, but not many riders are as tough and determined as Ivan," directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta said in a press release from the team.

    Viviani will make his debut at the Giro d'Italia and is expected to use his track racing skills to go shoulder-to-shoulder with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) in the sprint finishes.

    "It’s important that he takes his chances and gains experience. We’re confident in him but he’s not under pressure to win. Elia is a young guy with a great talent: he will be free to race without pressure,” Zanatta explained.

    Basso and Viviani will be backed by seven strong domestiques, with Cristiano Salerno and Josè Sarmiento there to help him in the...

  • Froome sixth overall in WorldTour standings following Romandie win

    The final podium of the 2013 Tour de Romandie: Simon Spilak (Katusha), winner Chris Froome (Sky) and Rui Costa (Movistar).
    Article published:
    April 29, 2013, 21:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky extends team lead, Spain remains top nation

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) moved up to sixth place in the UCI WorldTour rankings thanks to his overall victory at the Tour de Romandie on Sunday.

    Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) still leads the individual ranking with 351 points after his dominance in the cobbled Classics. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) is second with 312 points and recent Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) is third with 247 points.

    Froome led the Tour de Romandie from start to finish. He won the hilly prologue time trial, then controlled the attacks in the hills thanks to the work of his teammates, before making his own move on stage 4 to set up overall victory. Froome finished third in the final individual time trial stage behind world champion Tony Martin but had a final winning margin of 54 seconds on Slovenian Simon Spilak (Katusha) and 1:49 on Portugal's Rui Costa (Movistar Team). It was Froome's first overall victory in a UCI WorldTour stage race.

    Froome scored a total of 112 points at the Tour de Romandie: 100 for overall victory, and the other 12 for stage results. He moved up from 21st to sixth place in the individual rankings and now has a total of 198 points in the season-long standings.

    Froome helped Team Sky extend its lead in the team ranking, with Richie Porte's fifth place in the individual ranking and Sergio Henao's ninth place, giving the British squad the top spot with a total of 751 points. The Katusha team is second with 655 points, while Movistar is third with 536 points.

    Spain continues to lead the nations rankings, with 697 points. Colombia is second with 491 points and Great Britain rose from ninth to...

  • Youth and experience for Orica GreenEdge at Giro d'Italia

    Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) found his speed in Indicatore
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 0:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Goss chasing third Giro stage victory

    The sprint train of Matt Goss has received an added boost with Leigh Howard joining his compatriot in the Orica GreenEdge line-up for the Giro d'Italia.

    Goss claimed the team's maiden grand tour stage victory in Horsens in 2012 when the Giro was raced through Denmark. The 26-year-old was in action at the Tour of Romandie last week where he finished seventh on Stage 1 won by Lotto Belisol's Gianni Meersman. Last month, he scored his first victory of the season at Tirreno - Adriatico.

    Howard provides an extra sprint option for Orica GreenEdge, with the 23-year-old racing just his second grand tour, having made his debut at the Vuelta a Espana in 2011 with HTC - HighRoad. Howard had been expecting to ride the Tour of California off the back of the Tour of Turkey and earlier this season, nabbed a podium at the Tour of San Luis, followed by two race wins in Mallorca, and then another podium at Paris-Nice.

    "He was instrumental in helping Aidis [Kruopis] take the stage two win in Turkey," said sports director Neil Stephens. "We think he'll be good in the lead out train with Lancaster and the rest for Gossy. He'll also function as our back-up sprinter. Leigh's been ticking off quite a few boxes this year, and I think this will be another step forward for Leigh."

    With Daryl Impey unavailable due to the impending birth of his child, Brett Lancaster continues to provide key lead-out support for Goss in the sprint stages, but will find extra power in the form of Jens Mouris who should also prove handy in the team time trial.

    As expected, Luke Durbridge will make his grand tour debut at the Giro with the current Australian time trial and road champion telling Cyclingnews earlier in the season that he would be "playing it by ear" as to whether he will ride the entire three weeks. Another strong time...

  • Operación Puerto verdict due today in Madrid

    Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 1:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Defendants facing two-and-a-half year prison sentences

    Seven years after the Spanish doping probe began, a verdict is set to be delivered later today in the Operación Puerto case in which Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and four co-accused face accusations of endangering public health.

    The five defendants, Fuentes, his sister Yolanda, former Kelme manager Vicente Belda, former Kelme trainer Ignacio Labarta and former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz face maximum sentences of two-and-a-half years in prison if found guilty, although regardless of the verdict, there is likely to be an appeal.

    Fuentes argued that "The law only demands that the locations are hygienic," and said the locations the transfusions were performed "met the minimum requirements laid out by the law".

    The prosecution's experts disagreed, in particular after hearing testimony from Tyler Hamilton - who spoke of his urine turning black after a botched transfusion - or from Jesus Manzano, who claimed to be near death after a similar experience.

    News of the Operación Puerto investigation first broke in May 2006, with the arrests of Fuentes and Saiz, while a number of Fuentes clients, including Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, were prevented from starting that year's Tour de France.

    Other riders who later faced sporting sanctions for their links to Fuentes include Alejandro Valverde and Michele Scarponi, although many of his clients have not been formally identified and criminal proceedings have moved slowly. Operación Puerto finally went to trial in January of this year and the hearing took place in 23 sessions, from January 28 to April 2.

    The 216 blood bags seized during Operación Puerto - which belong to 36 different athletes, are currently in storage in Barcelona's anti-doping...

  • Is Drapac about to go ProContinental for a second time?

    Thomas Palmer (Drapac Professional Cycling) with Malcolm Rudolph on the wheel
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 2:04 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Melbourne-based outfit set to say goodbye to Australian registration

    Australian-registered Continental outfit Drapac Professional Cycling's Team Principle and financial backer, Michael Drapac has indicated to Cyclingnews that his team may be on the verge of racing at the next level in 2014, once again joining the UCI Professional Continental ranks.

    It would be the second time that Drapac has raced in the ProConti ranks, given that the team became the first Australian team to do so in 2008.

    "We've thought of registering in the US, it's where most of my business is these days, it's highly likely," Drapac, a wealthy property developer and the largest benefactor to Australian cycling outside of Gerry Ryan, told Cyclingnews. "We already tried to register in Singapore but as a Continental team you've got to register where the bulk of your riders are. I think we'll end up going ProContinental next year and we'll probably register in the US or Asia."

    After the team's one-year stint at ProConti level, in recent seasons Drapac has gone back to racing as a Continental outfit with programs in Australia, Asia and Europe. Since the team's inception in 2004, Drapac has grown to become a substantial force in the region with national titles added to victories in Australia, throughout Asia and Europe. The major target this year for the outfit is making good on their goal of becoming 'Asia's most dominant cycling team by 2013', and so far, they're well on their way.

    Drapac has so far claimed two victories this season, with Bernard Sulzberger claiming the overall win at Tour de Taiwan while Tom Palmer took out stage five of the New Zealand Cycle Classic. The team begins its Australian National Road Series campaign on...

  • Degenkolb to lead Argos-Shimano at Giro d'Italia

    John Degenkolb (Argos Shimano)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 4:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Colombia team set for Giro's mountains

    A multi-national Team Argos-Shimano squad is ready to contest the first Grand Tour of the 2013 season with John Degenkolb leading the Dutch WorldTour team at the Giro d'Italia. The 27-year-old German, who won five stages at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana, will make his Giro debut on Saturday with stage victories in mind.

    "I hope to win a stage and we have a good team to achieve this," Degenkolb said. "The Giro d'Italia is a great race, I've already been looking to start this race for while as it will be my first one.

    "After the Classics I was focusing on this race, I did lots of sprint exercises and of course longer endurance rides to strength my endurance especially for the longer and harder climbs we have to pass this Giro d'Italia. Our team is sending a good group to this race; I expect a good sprint train set-up with guys like Bert De Backer, Albert Timmer and lead-out man Koen de Kort who have plenty of experience."

    "We have a clear goal in mind and that is sprinting for victory with John Degenkolb in this Giro d'Italia," added Team Argos-Shimano sports manager Addy Engels. "When the stages become more challenging we will use an offensive strategy and we will give the other guys the chance for a good result in a break."

    Meantime Chinese rider Ji Cheng will ride his second Grand Tour having made his debut at the Vuelta a Espana last year.

    "I will be more than satisfied if we can win a stage and if I finish the race,"said Ji. "I am expecting a huge fight."

    Team Argos-Shimano Giro d'Italia roster:
    Bert De Backer (Bel), Thomas Damuseau (Fra), John Degenkolb (Ger), Patrick Gretsch (Ger), Cheng Ji (Chn), Koen de Kort (Ned), Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe), Luka Mezgec (Slo), Albert Timmer (Ned)

    The Pro Continental Colombia team, a wild card selection to the Giro d'Italia, will...

  • Kišerlovski leads RadioShack Leopard at Giro d'Italia

    Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 5:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Croatian in form at Romandie

    Robert Kišerlovski's move to RadioShack Leopard has been rewarded with leadership for the Giro d'Italia starting this Saturday in Naples.

    The Croatian shifted from Astana at the end of the 2012 season and in 2010 while with Liquigas, finished a career-best 10th overall at the Italian Grand Tour. Most recently, Kišerlovski had been in fourth overall on the penultimate stage of the Tour of Romandie before losing 10 places over the final stage individual time trial to eventually finish 2:54 down on the winning time of Chris Froome (Sky).

    Hoping to join Kišerlovski at the pointy end of GC will be climbing specialist Tiago Machado, Nelson Oliveira and Yaroslav Popovych.

    Three New Zealanders feature in the nine-man squad - Hayden Roulston, Jesse Sergent and George Bennett.

    Veteran sprinter Danilo Hondo meanwhile, will be charged with aiding the hopes of Giacomo Nizzolo on the flat stages.

    The full squad: George Bennett, Danilo Hondo, Robert Kišerlovski, Tiago Machado, Giacomo Nizzolo, Nelson Oliveira, Yaroslav Popovych, Hayden Roulston and Jesse Sergent


  • Omega Pharma-Quick Step interested in Petacchi for lead-out role

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida) at the start of stage 5.
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 8:20 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    UCI rules could stop Italian joining forces with Cavendish for Tour de France

    The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team confirmed to Cyclingnews that it is interested in signing Alessandro Petacchi as a lead-out man for Mark Cavendish, but UCI rules could delay the move or even stop it all together.

    Petacchi ended his contract with the Lampre-Merida team last week, announcing he needed to take a break from racing. However, he hinted he would be interested in taking up a lead-out role in the swansong of his career. He was immediately linked to Omega Pharma-QuickStep after the Belgian team struggled to provide a consistently strong lead-out train for Mark Cavendish.

    However, it seems that current UCI rules make it impossible for teams to recruit new riders during the season.

    "We'd be interested in signing Petacchi but it's not clear if he can join our team. We held some explorative talks but they went no further," Alessandro Tegner, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step press officer, told Cyclingnews.

    It has been suggested in the Belgian media that Petacchi has already trained with Omega Pharma-QuickStep and that he was already using a Specialized bike. Tegner denied this.

    "He didn't train with us in Montechiari, that's completely false," he said.

    Tegner did not specify the problems but Cyclingnews understands that the UCI is against allowing mid-season team changes to stop the development of a rider transfer market and problems following the transfer of rider's points.

    Under UCI rules, rider recruitment is only allowed from August 1-15. The end of season, end of contract period runs from August 1 to December 31.

    Rule 2.15.120 specifies: "A...