- Article published:
- August 27, 2012, 19:46
- Cycling News
Suspected low-grade infection to be addressed in Milan
BMC's Cadel Evans may be forced to call an early end to his season after dropping out of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. The team announced that Evans is thought to have an off-and-on low grade infection and he is set to return to Europe for testing in Milan, Italy.
"Despite his usual full commitment and attention to training, Cadel has been experiencing unusual up and downs on his performance," said team doctor Max Testa. "Getting him back to full health and to his physiological standard of performance is a priority for the BMC Racing Team. If the testing goes as expected, Evans may return for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sept. 9 in Canada."
The 2011 Tour de France champion has had a turbulent season: he came into Tirreno-Adriatico lacking the form of the previous year, and although he recovered and went on to win the Critérium International later that month, he fell ill again during the Ardennes Classics and was forced to sit out the Flèche Wallonne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège.
He found some good form for the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, placing third overall, but he lacked the same fitness for the Tour de France and could not defend his title, despite the favourable parcours. He finished seventh overall.
Evans then took his place on Australia's team for the Olympic Games, but withdrew from the time trial.
His frustration at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge became apparent after he dropped out following the Golden to Boulder stage.
"I didn't know what was holding me down at the time," Evans said. "Now we have a better idea, and it's a relief to have some indicators as to why I have been under-performing.
"When you don't know why you're not performing, you have to ask a lot of questions of yourself."
"It's been disappointing for me, but I'd like to thank my teammates and people who are close to me – my family and so on – for supporting me during this frustrating period. The first thing is to get healthy and then come back to my best."
- Article published:
- August 27, 2012, 20:45
- Peter Hymas
Colombian squad animated race, hopes to return in 2013
For the second straight year at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge the Colombian Continental squad EPM-Une made its mark at what is becoming the premier stage race in the United States, amidst the rarified air of Colorado. Only one rider returned from the previous year's roster, Rafael Infantino, who had placed sixth overall and third on the mountains classification, but the squad yet again found itself at home in the high mountains while competing against strong ProTeam and Pro Continental teams.
Always on the attack, putting at least one rider into each of the road stages' deciding breaks, EPM-Une also cracked the top-10 on each road stage and scored points in all but one KOM. The team, which won the 2011 UCI America Tour, was one of just four that had all of its starters finish the USA Pro Challenge, the others were all ProTeams: Garmin-Sharp, RadioShack-Nissan and Astana.
While the final time trial in Denver was not kind to the team, their top GC rider Ramiro Rincon dropped from 5th to 15th, the most compelling result for the Colombian squad was how tantalizingly close yet again they came to claiming the USA Pro Challenge's climber's jersey. In 2011 EPM-Une's Walter Pedraza wore the jersey into the final stage from Golden to Denver, but lost the classification lead by one point to compatriot Rafael Montiel (Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antioquia) on the stage's only KOM, the final one of the race.
This year Francisco Colorado rode into the virtual KOM lead during Saturday's final road stage from Golden to Boulder, and its Flagstaff Mountain finish, after scoring points on each of the day's first two KOMs, but nobody figured what would happen on the day's third and final KOM, which doubled as the finish on the Flagstaff Mountain climb.
Colorado was part of the day's early break and dropped off the pace once they began climbing Flagstaff, content in the knowledge that he'd overtaken Tom Danielson's leading mountain classification points total by two points, 52 to 50. What Colorado, and virtually nobody else figured, was that Jens Voigt, who started the day tied on points with Colorado, also scored at the first two KOMs and then tried to win the stage. Voigt fell short of that, finishing third behind Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) and Fabio Aru (Astana), but unwittingly wrested the climbers jersey away from Colorado by scoring points at the finish, topping both Colorado and Danielson with 55 points.
"We weren't counting on the guy who won [the mountains jersey] yesterday," Colorado told Cyclingnews via translator before Sunday's concluding time trial in Denver. "I trusted my points total and never considered him (Jens Voigt) for the overall [mountains classification]."
Voigt was as surprised that he won as Colorado was about having the jersey slip through his fingers.
"I never really thought I could take it, because also the Colombian kept sprinting for the points," Voigt said. "So I thought, here he is, he can take it, I'm not in that business. I was just looking for the stage. And then they said, 'Yeah, you might have the KOM.' And I was like, 'Really?'"
Francisco Colorado didn't enter the KOM picture until the USA Pro Challenge's queen stage from Gunnison to Aspen on the third day of racing. Colorado infiltrated the break of the day and won top honours at the summit of Cottonwood Pass, the ceiling of the USA Pro Challenge at 12,126 feet. Colorado made it to the base of the day's final climb, Independence Pass and its 12,095 foot summit, in the company of Garmin-Sharp's Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie plus Jeff Louder of UnitedHealthcare. As soon as the ascent began in earnest it became a two-man race at the head of affairs between Danielson and the fittingly named Francisco Colorado. The 32-year-old Colombian led for much of the climb, but Danielson dropped him near the summit. Colorado, however, still scored second place points. Danielson remained in the lead of the classification with 45 points, while Colorado now had 22 as he entered the standings in fifth place.
On the following stage, Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) went on a rampage from Aspen to Beaver Creek on a near stage-long solo attack. The 40-year-old German swept up maximum points at each of the day's three KOMs and Voigt ended the stage with a hard-earned victory and third place on the KOM standings at 34 points. Danielson and Colorado failed to score any points, but Colorado's teammate Jorge Castiblanco was second on the day's first two KOMs and moved into second overall on the classification, just four points behind Danielson.
Stage 5, covering 189.7km from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs, featured just one climb, the category one Hoosier Pass, whose ascent began nearly from kilometre zero and whose KOM line was situated 16.3km into the route. Colorado joined the early break and crested the summit in first place, moving himself into a tie for third place on the classification with Jens Voigt. Colorado soon dropped out of the break, his KOM goal accomplished for the day. Colorado's teammate Castiblanco jumped away from the peloton to earn the final point on offer at the KOM and narrowed Danielson's lead to three points.
It would be Colorado, however, with the legs on the following day into Boulder to seek KOM points, but as happened last year, the EPM-Une team fell just shy of their goal.
Nonetheless, Colorado has enjoyed his stint in the United States, which began prior to the USA Pro Challenge at the Tour of Utah.
"I like it here a lot, I feel at home," said Colorado. "I feel very emotional about the whole race. There are so many people who embrace the sport and I didn't know that.
"Hopefully next year we'll come back again...and probably win it," Colorado said with a laugh. "We'll come again and show what we can do. This year we haven't raced much outside of Colombia but with all of the experience in travelling around it will be easier for us."
- Article published:
- August 28, 2012, 00:32
- Laura Weislo
Former WADA president calls Armstrong's tactics 'desperate'
The former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency Dick Pound today said USADA's lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong "is not a witch hunt, it's a duty", and called for the sport's governing body, the UCI, to engage in a "truth and reconciliation exercise" in order to rid the sport of doping and move forward.
USADA moved ahead last week with the lifetime ban and the disqualification of Armstrong's results dating back to August 1, 1998, a move which will strip him of all seven Tour de France titles, after a late appeal by Armstrong's legal team to block USADA's procedure was dismissed by a district court in Texas.
Pound, an attorney, former vice president of the International Olympic Committee and current IOC member for Canada, has been keeping a close eye on USADA's case against Armstrong and his attempts to block it from moving forward to arbitration where all the evidence would be heard in public.
"I thought frankly it was rather desperate," Pound said of the district court filing. "Any well informed lawyer would have been able to tell him it was not going to prevail."
Armstrong decided not to seek arbitration, he instead refused to acknowledge USADA's right to punish him for doping offenses and stepped away from the spotlight.
"It's not an untypical tactic. [Armstrong] was very careful about what he said. The fact of the matter is he fought tooth and nail to keep this from going to arbitration, and the court said 'no, sorry that's the route you have to go'. He [effectively] said, 'well, in that case I'm not going to fight anymore'. All of a sudden he turns from the world's toughest fighter to not even contesting it? Decide what you like."
Pound says that the process is not over, that the evidence, or at least some of it, will come out.
"It's like if someone sues you for money you owe them, and you don't file a defence. That doesn't mean that the process stops. The person you owe money to can carry on and get a judgement by default, and that's what's going to happen here. USADA, don't forget, is not going to want to look like it's been mean or petty and it has trumped up any evidence - notwithstanding all the purple prose Lance and his team gave us. They're going to show this was a very careful, deliberate process in which they investigated, got evidence, weighed the evidence, and decided whether or not they had enough to make it stick, even though some of it goes back a long time.
"All of those elements will go in, I assume the final report will make all that clear. Personally, as a lawyer, I think the public at large would be more satisfied if there was the full blown process where Armstrong could make his case, and if the arbitrators believed him he would win and that would be the end of it. But he's chosen not to do that."
Pound has a history of being outspoken on the problems of doping in cycling. He came into the position with the newly formed agency the year after the Festina scandal rocked the sport, and during the year of Armstrong's first Tour victory in 1999. There is no shortage of quotes from the next eight years in which he is critical of the UCI's efforts, or lack thereof, to combat the problem.
The UCI even filed a lawsuit against Pound for defamation after his tenure, the statements were so strong, but the case ended in an agreement after it was decided that Pound was tasked with pointing out flaws in the anti-doping programs of federations, even if he might have been a bit vehement in his public criticism.
WADA came under fire again in recent weeks, with the current president, Pat McQuaid accusing the agency of having a "political campaign against cycling".
"Both McQuaid and [former UCI president Hein] Verbruggen have made some very unfortunate statements along those lines," Pound told Cyclingnews. "The fact is that their sport has been inundated with doping for years. It's part of the culture and practically part of the DNA.
"I think what they have to do at some point, it may be so bad, they're going to have to do a truth and reconciliation exercise and say 'let's get it all on the table so everyone knows how bad it was and let's now turn the corner and if anybody from now on is using any of these things they're out, period'. Until that happens and they acknowledge there has been a problem and the problem continues, there's almost no hope for a cure."
Should the reports that Armstrong was warned of impending doping controls and had positive tests covered up by the sport's governing body prove to be true, Pound says that, "If there is substance to the speculation it could have a serious impact on the sport and its credibility".
"The IOC is firm on its zero tolerance policy [for doping]. It may very well say this is not good for the Olympic movement to have this kind of situation. Maybe it will be one of the sports that will be removed [from the Olympic programme]. I sincerely hope not, it's such an exciting sport I would rather see it be cleaned up and remain on the program than suspended. That's for the IOC to decide.
Told you so?
Pound was in charge of WADA in 2005 when Damien Ressiot, a reporter from the French newspaper L'Equipe, managed to get a hold of both the research results of an EPO test study which used samples from the 1999 Tour de France and the anti-doping control forms from the race, and in doing so matched up the control numbers of six EPO positives to forms signed by Lance Armstrong.
When he suggested Armstrong might have to answer to the results, Pound experienced first hand the onslaught of anger hurled at anyone who dare try to taint Armstrong's legacy.
"I had said, listen, I don't know, but if the forms were Lance's and the sample numbers are right, you might have a case to answer. That's all I said. That led to screaming and yelling about what a dreadful person I was and I should be kicked out of the IOC."
The UCI buried the case under an "independent report" which concluded that there was not enough evidence to prove that Armstrong used EPO. That was not good enough for Pound, who continued to call for action from the UCI until his term as president expired in 2007.
All through his eight-year term as WADA's first president, Pound insisted that dopers were adapting quicker than the testers, and only a small percentage of the cheaters were being caught - it's a view he maintains to this day.
"Here we are a few years later, Landis imploded in front of everyone's eyes - from the great hero to someone who clearly cheated and clearly lied about it, and spent a lot of other people's money on a useless defence - a double defence, he went to USADA and to CAS, to the point he's going to have to raise money to pay back the people who supported his defence fund.
"Marion Jones could look you in the eyes and say I've never taken anything, and repeat that on cue until her time came up, and yes, she had taken it all along. It's a shame, but it's the way it worked out.
"It's across all sports, swimming, rowing, track and field, cycling. I don't think there's any sport that's immune."
As for Armstrong's fans, Pound said, "A lot of people bought into the image and to see that crumbling away over the last two or three years, and now smashed into pieces, it's unsettling [for them]. They feel badly for him, about him and about themselves for having bought it."
- legal case
- Lance Armstrong
- Article published:
- August 28, 2012, 01:46
- Jane Aubrey
Hayman and O'Grady ruled out following surgery
Cycling Australia has announced the long teams for the 2012 UCI Road World Championships to be held in Limburg next month. Selections will be finalised by September 10, with the championships beginning six days later.
Australia has been allocated the following places in each category:
Elite Men - nine riders in the road race and two in the time trial.
Elite Women - six riders in the road race and two in the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected.
U23 Men - five for the road race and two for the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected.
Junior Men - three for the road race and two for the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected.
Junior Women - four for the road race and two for the time trial plus Oceania Champion in each event if selected.
Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta, says that the Limburg parcours has played a major role in long list selections.
"It's a solid world championship course," said Tabotta. "The 16.5km road circuit contains two climbs each lap including the famed 1200 metre long Cauberg that boasts a six percent gradient.
"The elite men's event also covers a hilly 100km loop prior to reaching the finishing circuits around Valkenberg so a tough day in the saddle is expected.
"We have athletes listed in the long teams for men, women and U23 men who have shown form in recent selective races and we believe we can compete with the best nations for results in both road and time trial events."
Winner of Stage 4 of the Vuelta a España, Simon Clarke could find himself more-closely watched as a result of his recent performance. The classics specialist also played a key role in protecting Cadel Evans when he won the world title in 2009.
Evans is set to undergo medical testing in Italy having struggled with form for much of the season. Most recently, he withdrew from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
"If the testing goes as expected, Evans may return for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sept. 9 in Canada," said BMC team doctor Max Testa.
2011 silver medallist Matt Goss was never expected to be named due to the parcours while Mathew Hayman and Stuart O'Grady have both been forced to end their seasons prematurely following surgery.
The full men's long list is: Clarke, Evans, Allan Davis, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Adam Hansen, Heinrich Haussler, Michael Matthews, Cameron Meyer, Richie Porte, Michael Rogers, Rory Sutherland, and David Tanner. Durbridge has been named solely for the time trial while Meyer, Porte and Rogers have been named for both disciplines.
Meyer is unsure of his position in the team and currently racing the Vuelta, will be hoping to impress.
"I think the guys who through their hands up for the worlds will be guys like Simon Gerrans, Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Mick Rogers," he told Cyclingnews on Monday. "They have really gotten the results on the board this year and can really lead the Australian team at the worlds.
"I'd love to get selected to play a support role for one of those guys at the worlds. I think over the next couple of weeks I still need to prove myself and show that I'm good enough to be able to help those guys out."
The elite women's long team appears strong with Tiffany Cromwell, runner-up at GP de Plouay-Bretagne, and Carlee Taylor who finished third overall at the Route de France Feminine both named. National and Oceania time trial champion Shara Gillow has been named for both disciplines, as has Taryn Heather, with Alexis Rhodes the other Australian rider to race against the clock.
The full women's long list is: Cromwell, Gracie Elvin, Gillow, Rochelle Gilmore, Heather, Joanne Hogan, Chloe Hosking, Melissa Hoskins, Jessie Maclean, Rachel Neylan, Loren Rowney, Rhodes, Carla Ryan, Amanda Spratt, and Taylor.
The Tour de l'Avenir will go a long way to deciding the final line up of the men's under 23 team with prologue winner Jay McCarthy, Adam Phelan, Michael Freiberg, Sam Spokes, Patrick Lane and Nick Aitken all currently racing in the prestigious French race. Also named on the long list to ride in dual disciplines is national under 23 road champion Rohan Dennis, who has announced he will ride for Garmin-Sharp in 2013, and Oceania under 23 time trial champion Damien Howson.
Junior teams were selected in July with Georgia Baker, Jessica Mundy, Allison Rice and Emily Roper selected for the women while Caleb Ewan, Bradley Linfield, Robert-Jon McCarthy, Alex Morgan and Nicholas Schultz named for the men.
- Article published:
- August 28, 2012, 02:46
- Cycling News
Basso, Sagan and Moser renew with Italian team
Brixia Sport will be the new holding company behind the Liquigas-Cannondale team in 2013. The team managed by Roberto Amadio will announce the its new sponsors and technical partners within the coming weeks. The Italian squad has a ProTeam license valid till 2014 and with the new sponsor Brixia, will no doubt meet the criteria necessary to remain in the WorldTour next year.
Brixia Sport, with Paolo Zani as president and Paolo Papetti and Amadio as managing directors, has acquired the structure from Liquigas Sport, which has managed the team since its foundation in 2004.
"This sports project was created with passion and produces excellent results so it couldn’t end here," said Zani. "Therefore I decided to take over the company to ensure this invaluable experience is put to good use."
A number of key contract renewals have been announced including Ivan Basso, Peter Sagan, Moreno Moser, Elia Viviani and Damiano Caruso. Existing riders Stefano Agostini, Maciej Bodnar, Federico Canuti, Mauro Da Dalto, Ted King, Kristijan Koren, Paolo Longo Borghini, Alan Marangoni, Maciej Paterski, Daniele Ratto, Fabio Sabatini, Juraj Sagan, Cristiano Salerno and Josè Cayetano Sarmiento will also remain on the team.
"We need to use what we have created up till now as our new starting point. We plan to pursue the project with maximum attention to detail in every aspect of competitive riding that ensures athletes have the right framework, facilities and professionals at their disposal," said Amadio.
"The most intriguing challenge will be to renew our organisation while retaining our character, particularly when it comes to selecting athletes. We are renowned for the way we bring on talented young riders, and this will be our main concern," he said.
Three new riders will join the Brixia Sport project next year: Italian Alessandro De Marchi (Androni-Venezuela), Austrian Matthias Krizek (Neo-pro) and former Liquigas-Cannondale rider Cameron Wurf (Champion System) from Australia.
- Article published:
- August 28, 2012, 04:43
- Cycling News
Popovych: "This team feels like a second family"
Giacomo Nizzolo and Yaroslav Popovych have extended their contracts with RadioShack-Nissan. The team managed by Johan Bruyneel was pleased to announce the developing sprinter Nizzolo and trusted domestique Popovych would be staying with the team for the coming season.
"Giacomo is one of the most promising youngsters out there. He's been progressing a lot in these two years as a neo-pro and I'm really excited that he has chosen to stay with us, despite other interesting offers. It shows that confidence works both ways. I'm confident that Giacomo is going to claim his spot within the top tier of sprinters in the next years," Bruyneel said.
Nizzolo has signed a two-year deal with the team after moving to RadioShack-Nissan from Leopard-Trek last year. The 23-year-old Italian will remain with the team until at least 2014. Nizzolo is a second-year professional who this year won stage 5 and the points classification at the Eneco Tour and most recently, took out stage 3 at Tour du Poitou Charentes.
"I'm pleased to stay in the team where I have gotten the chance to grow as a pro bike rider," said Nizzolo. "My victories in the past weeks were reassuring for all parties. Some sprints were won with amazing support of the team, others were necessarily done with fighting my way to the finish line, but that's life for a sprinter. I'm hoping to step up now and return the faith the team has given me with some nice results," he said.
Popvych has spent the majority of his 11-year professional career alongside Bruyneel and the 32-year-old couldn’t think of a better place to be for the coming season. The Ukranian signed a one-year deal with the team and has been an important member of Bruyneel’s squad during his many grand tours including eight Tours de France.
"This team is pretty much like a second family for me. I know a lot of riders and staff since years and I've gotten to know a lot of new faces over the last year. I feel very good in this team, so there's really no reason to consider to change," said Popovych.
"There's still the TTT at the Worlds left on my calendar, but I can already look back at a fulfilling 2012 season, having helped our captains at the Classics and in the Tour," he said.
"There are few guys in the peloton that are as strong and loyal as 'Popo'. He's always there when he's needed and he has become one of the strongholds of the team over the years. It was very important for me that he stays on board," Bruyneel said.
- Article published:
- August 28, 2012, 06:17
- Cycling News
Time trial to decide tactics in high mountains
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank – Tinkoff) didn't have much to offer against the attack of red jersey Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on Stage 9 of the Vuelta a España but believes that the second week of racing will be better suited to his abilities.
Contador is one minute down on Rodriguez with Sky's Chris Froome seven seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank rider. Speaking during the Vuelta's rest day, Contador is happy with his performance so far as he rides in his first grand tour since returning from his back-dated doping ban.
"We have experienced a few days with fatigue and tiredness but now the Vuelta truly begins," the 29-year-old said. "I think the ITT and next the mountains will take its toll on the overall classification. On the coming stages the differences will be bigger than last week.
"It's been a long period of time without competing for me and the parcours have so far been suitable for explosive riders,"
Contador continued. "Now it will be suitable for me and the climbers. We're going into a terrain where I feel more comfortable."
Wednesday's 40km individual time trial, with a climb of the cat 3 climb of Alto Monte Castrove and technical descent, is suited to Contador as well as Froome and Rodriguez.
"It's seems to be a pretty good time trial for me but also for the other three in the top of the GC," he said. "There's one climb and one descent and that's better for a rider like Joaquim [Rodriguez] than if it were a purely flat time trial. I think the four of us will perform well and the outcome of that stage will decide the tactics in the big mountains."
- Article published:
- August 28, 2012, 07:45
- Alex Malone
"My body is still used to riding the track"
Cam Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) is looking forward to the remaining stages of the Vuelta a España after a difficult start in which he saw his ambitions for the general classification disappear in the opening days. Meyer came into the grand tour - the fourth of his career - with the hopes of riding GC but it things haven’t quite worked out for the 24-year-old Orica-GreenEdge rider.
"I didn’t really know what to expect. All I did was train as hard as I could and I’d had a few good results earlier in the year with a 10th at Tirreno [Adriatico] and 11th at [Tour of] California so we thought ‘let’s test it in a grand tour for the general classification’. We didn’t know if I’d last 3 days, 1 day or if it would be three weeks - if I was going really well," Meyer told Cyclingnews.
Meyer spent a number of months preparing specifically for the three-week race, completing a number of high altitude training camps and back-to-back days behind the scooter in the mountains of Spain but the Australian quickly realised he needs more time before being a true general classification contender.
"In this instance we found out pretty quickly. I didn’t have the best start in the first four days and sort of lost the GC hopes. But I didn’t know what to expect - we found out pretty quickly that the level is really high for the general classification and it’s going to take a few more years of experience.
Despite the extra effort in training and nutrition Meyer believes his years on the track have meant he will need a little longer to adapt to a full time road career.
"I spent a lot of time doing the extra percentages in training, nutrition and different things like massages and plunge pools. I did everything right but my body is still getting used to coming off the track. I’ve grown up, over the past five or six years doing a lot of track racing. It’s new to me doing these real heavy blocks training on the road, spending time at altitude and doing long training camps. I spent a lot of time in the mountains whilst really trying to drop my weight, which you really have to do to be able to ride with the front group at these types of races," he said.
Meyer says his form is still very good and with a rest day and the first week behind him, that the next couple of weeks should offer a number of opportunities to go "hunting" for stages.
"I’ve still got good form and I’ve come in with a really good training block under me so now I’m just going to look at hunting for a stage win now. I really want to show that I have the form to back up over a number of tough stages through the remaining weeks," he told Cyclingnews.
"It was certainly a tough start but I’ve relaxed a lot since the general classification ambitions are gone. I had a crack during the Andorra stage and I’m feeling a bit better and looking forward to having another crack in a few more stages. Stage fifteen looks on paper, like a good one for the breakaway. I’ve sort of pencilled that one in but there are few others that I like the look of. I might have a nudge in the time trial [on stage 11] and see if I can get a top-10."
While the Australian public may have to wait a little longer to see another general classification contender at the grand tours, Meyer is confident that with some more experience in the coming years, that he will be able to be up there with the best.
It’s a new experience for me and I think it’s going to take my body a little while to handle day-in and day-out at the highest level on the road. I was used to being more of a power athlete with more weight for the track and now it’s time to change. I think in a couple of years, hopefully I’ll be able to ride for a better result.