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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Date published:
December 25, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Rodriguez: I'll leave Katusha to win Tour de France

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is world number one.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 9:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard determined to ride the Tour de France

    Joaquim Rodriguez is determined to “fight for the win” at the Tour de France in 2013 – even if it means leaving Team Katusha to do so. The Russian team has been denied a WorldTour licence by the UCI and has filed suit with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the matter.

    If the Court turns down the team's appeal, then Rodriguez will leave the team and sign with another WorldTour team, he and his agent told  El Periódico de Catalunya.  “I want to do the Tour and fight for the win,” he said.

    “I know it's a very difficult challenge. But next year the Tour has a very hilly course that may be extraordinary for me. This is my desire,” he said, but admitted, "It is a difficult time.”

    His agent, former rider Angel Edo, put it more bluntly. “The Tour next year is perfect for him. He is 33 and can not pass up an opportunity like this.”

    He also pointed out that Rodriguez must know in advance whether he will ride the Giro d'Italia or the Tour. “You can not sacrifice the season pending an invitation, which is awarded in the spring. Because preparing to contest the Giro is completely different than if you leave the Italian race and focus on the Tour.”

  • Ballan making progress after horror crash

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) celebrates winning stage 7 at the 2012 Eneco Tour
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 10:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian recovering in hospital

    The BMC Racing Team has released a statement indicating that Alessandro Ballan is recovering from his recent crash. The Italian rider crashed at a recent training camp and suffered a number of serious injuries. Ballan broke a femur and rib and had to undergo several operations, one of which led to the removal of his spleen, while Gazetta reported that he also suffered internal bleeding and could have lost a kidney.

    Now stable in hospital, the team said Ballan was “resting comfortably Saturday after undergoing successful surgeries to remove his spleen and repair a double fracture of his left femur.”

    The team, physician, Dr Max Testa, added: "When the doctors realized he would have to stay in the hospital longer because of his abdominal injuries, they decided to take care of his femur at the same time since he was already sedated.”

    "The orthopaedic surgeon said he was very pleased with how the bones lined up and the doctors are cautiously optimistic that he will make a full recovery with no complications."

    Ballan has received a wave of good will messages from fans via social media. "I have been moved by all the messages of support I have received," he said. "It lifts my spirits to know there are so many people all over the world who are wishing me well for a fast recovery. Thank you to everyone."

    As yet BMC has refused to put a timescale on Ballan’s return but at the very least it looks as though he will miss the spring classics. Last year the Italian was the team’s best performer in the spring with third places in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.



  • Nys: Leinders is a "very honest person"

    Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) shoulders his bike on one of the more technical sections
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 13:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross star personal friends with controversial Belgian doctor

    Sven Nys said he was surprised by charges that former Rabobank team doctor Geert Leinders was involved in doping whilst at that team. “I know Geert as a very honest person, with whom I always worked correctly,” he said.

    Leinders is said to have been named in Levi Leipheimer's affidavit in the USADA Lance Armstrong case, having sold the rider EPO and helping him use it.

    Cyclo-crosser Nys rode for Rabobank from 1998 to 2008, and formed a friendship with Leinders .

    “He was very important in my career. He used to write my training schedules and can give good psychologically analyze and motivate an athlete,” Nys told Het Nieuwsblad. “We still call each other occasionally."

    “Geert knows me through and through. He is the man who counseled me not to stay still too long after a cyclocross season as I get older.  These are small details that ensured that I won't make mistakes. So now he is in the news, and that surprises me so very much. "

  • Omloop Het Nieuwsblad organisers deliver invitation to MTN-Qhubeka

    European riders: Andreas Stauff, Kristian Sbaragli, Martin Reimer, Sergio Pardilla, Gerald Ciolek and Ignatas Konovalovas
    Article published:
    December 24, 2012, 20:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    African Pro Continental squad aims for 2015 Tour de France

    Africa’s first Professional Continental squad, MTN-Qhubeka has been granted an invitation to one of the opening races of the season, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. MTN-Qhubeka’s Classics squad will hope to show themselves at the 200km semi-classic with the expectation that additional invitations will follow.

    The 21-rider team roster includes the experienced Gerald Ciolek - who signed from Omega Pharma-Quickstep. The team is hopeful Ciolek’s addition to the Pro Continental squad will deliver greater influence when it comes time for race organisers to select the chosen teams.

    "We are very happy to receive the invite to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad from the organisers," said sports director Jens Zemke.

    "This will be the first and most important race of the season so far for our Classics group. We're a little frustrated that we did not get any other race invites in February, especially when we have Gerald Ciolek who won a stage in the Tour of Algarve this year and Mallorca in the past. However, we understand it will take a bit time but we will find our place in the cycling world."

    The 2013 MTN-Qhubeka team was recently unveiled just outside of Johannesburg and is part of an ongoing project and part of the World Bicycle Relief network, rewarding South African people with bicycles with plenty of carrying capacity.

    While the squad has ambitions to ride the Tour de France by 2015, team principal Doug Ryder turned down an offer to ride next year’s Giro d’Italia citing a longer-term approach to the team’s goals.

    "Our team is different to all other teams....

  • Greipel reluctant to target green jersey at Tour de France

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) outsprints Andre Greipel for the stage win in Metz.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2012, 4:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol sprinter sees more value in stage wins and UCI points

    André Greipel may have won three stages of the 2012 Tour de France, but he still has no desire to compete for the race's green jersey.

    Greipel finished second in this year's competition, 41 points behind classification winner Peter Sagan. This hasn't enticed the German to put his efforts into the intermediate sprints and try to go one better in 2013.

    "I like going for the stage wins and the points do count and you get the most at the finish line," the sprinter told Cyclingnews. "Maybe if I have enough points from stage wins then maybe, but in the end it is the points for the stage win that is important to the team."

    For several years Greipel rode in the shadow of Mark Cavendish, at HTC, until he joined the Omega Pharma-Lotto team for 2011. He went on to win his first stage of the Tour de France that year, but this season's race was his best to date. Greipel also went on to win more races than any other professional in 2012, "it will be very difficult to repeat what I did," he says. "I never expected to do what I did, but it would be nice to do it again.

    "I want to do well in the classics and obviously there is also the Tour. If I win one stage at the Tour then I will be happy. This year I won three and it will be hard to do it better, but I would like to try."

    If he wants to match this season's haul then he'll have to get the better of his traditional foe in the sprints, Cavendish and his new Omega Pharma-Quickstep team. The Manxman matched Griepel and Sagan in the number of stage wins without the benefit of a leadout train.

    It is likely to be the battle of the sprint trains in 2013. Greipel is confident of his

  • Cancellara back to Classics with eye on pink at Giro d'Italia

    Fabian Cancellara was once again incredible strong this spring, but luck completely eluded him
    Article published:
    December 25, 2012, 5:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider says RadioShack team will be stronger in 2013

    Fabian Cancellara has set his sights firmly on next year's spring Classics, where he hopes to turnaround his disappointing 2012 campaign in which he failed to repeat his 2011 wins at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. His early season 2013 goals will, as usual, circle around victory at Flanders and Paris-Roubaix before looking to the Giro d'Italia.

    The time trialling powerhouse will have a good chance for early Giro success with a team time trial coming on Stage 2 of the Italian grand tour. The maglia rosa, the pink jersey, is a prize which the Swiss rider has yet to obtain.

    With no prologue at next year's Tour de France, Cancellara had already suggested he may skip the Grand Boucle in favour of later season goals.

    "First of all, I will ride the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The Tour... I could skip, especially now there is no prologue," he previously announced.

    Cancellara's desire for a repeat win in 2012 at De Ronde was derailed by a terrible fall that occurred approximately 60km from the finish. He suffered a quadruple fracture of his collarbone which required surgery and while he returned to competition less than two months after his operation, he ended his season after the Olympic Games – to have the screws removed from his healed bone.

    "Now the team has a new coach, We're on the same page, we want to win. I only regret not having Bennati as a companion, but Devolder and Hondo are two good riders. As a team we are stronger," Cancellara told...

  • Barredo retires in light of biological passport violations case

    Carlos Barredo
    Article published:
    December 25, 2012, 9:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard stops after nine years

    Carlos Barredo has announced his retirement from cycling. The Spaniard is under investigation for violations of the biological passport programme. Rabobank suspended him earlier this year and his contract ended this season.

    His problems started in May 2011 when he was given a top ranking of 10 on the UCI's “suspicious list” which ranked all the starters of the 2010 Tour de France and gave their individual scores on suspicion of doping. Those scores were based on the riders' individual biological passport values up to the event, and included the readings of the first blood test performed just before the start of the 2010 Tour.

    The 31-year-old earlier this year received a letter from the UCI concerning the fluctuations in his blood values, and he responded, proclaiming his innocence, Rabobank said. His last race for the team was the Criterium du Dauphine in June. He then broke some ribs in a training accident and the team said it would withhold him from racing until the matter was cleared up.

    In October the UCI formally requested that the Spanish cycling federation open disciplinary proceedings against Barredo and the team suspended him.

    “I will not return to the bicycle,” Barredo told El Pais. “On Wednesday I start my new job,” for a coffee-making company.

    Barredo won a stage at the Vuelta a Espana in 2010, and won the Clasica de San Sebastian in 2009, finishing second there in 2011. However, he is perhaps best known for attacking

  • Video: Horner misses Bruyneel's motivational skills

    Chris Horner (Radioshack) stayed out of trouble in the bunch on today's stage.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2012, 11:46 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    American believes Schlecks can return to the top

    Chris Horner has opened up on the bad luck and disappointing season he and the RadioShack team has had and admitted that he has missed Johan Bruyneel since the Belgian was dismissed from the team.

    Horner had a consistent season on the road, finishing second at Tirrieno and 13th at the Tour de France. He was unable to win back-to-back titles at Amgen Tour of California but his consistency saw him finish 9th at the Tour of Utah and 13th at the US Pro Cycling Challenge.

    Despite Horner’s consistency, RadioShack’s season was anything but homogeneous. Bruyneel left under a cloud due to USADA’s investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team, while Andy and Fränk Schleck endured their worst seasons since becoming professional riders. Fabian Cancellara crashed out of the classics but rescued the season by winning the Tour prologue and wearing the yellow jersey for a week.

    In this exclusive video recorded at RadioShack’s recent training camp, Horner talks about his own season before discussing the motivational importance of Bruyneel. The American also touches on the 2013 Tour de France and the team’s chances of success.

    For a longer interview with Horner, click here.