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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Date published:
February 19, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Roma Maxima race presented by RCS

    The Roma Maxima logo
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 10:09 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian race replaces Giro del Lazio

    Italian race organisers RCS have presented their new race, the Roma Maxima, which replaces Giro del Lazio on the calendar.

    The Giro del Lazio was last run in October 2008 after it was postponed from its original March slot in the calendar. However after a five year absence RCS has confirmed that the new incarnation of the race will take place on March 3.

    The race will start from the Roman Forum before heading towards the official start to the racing on the Via Appia Antica, part of the Appian Way, the “Queen of the Long Roads”.

    After that, the 180 kilometre race will move towards the Castelli Romani through Rocca Massima, Rocca Priora, Campi di Annibale, Albano Laziale and Cappuccini, finally finishing in the spectacular setting of the Roman Forum on Via dei Fori Imperiali, in the shadow of the Coliseum.

    The race takes place a day after another one of RCS’ flagship events, Strade Bianche.

    “We received 140 proposals from 22 countries, including Italy, UK, USA, Portugal, France, Canada and Holland," an RCS statement read in connection to the event’s new name.

    “The winning project combines a strongly evocative name with an elegant and aggressive logo. The name “Roma Maxima” shows the magnificence of Rome and the image of the city to the world, reflecting values that are easily recognised abroad from the cycling community and beyond.”

    RCS Sport Operating Director, Mauro Vegni added, “The Giro del Lazio has always been a jewel in the crown of this region and of international cycling. For many reasons it hasn’t been raced since 2008, but we never forgot it. We put a lot of thought into re-branding, as is shown by the new name and logo.”
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  • Terpstra to lead Omega Pharma-QuickStep at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) takes the win
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 10:27 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch champion steps up as Boonen builds towards April

    After demonstrating his early-season form with an impressive shift in the service of Mark Cavendish at the Tour of Qatar, Niki Terpstra will be given the opportunity to ride in a leadership role for Omega Pharma-QuickStep at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday.

    Although Tom Boonen will also be in action, he is short of racing miles after an elbow infection saw him make a belated start to the season, and directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters explained that Terpstra and Sylvain Chavanel would instead spearhead the Omega Pharma-QuickStep challenge.

    “It’s giving other riders a chance to show what they can do,” Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad. “Niki Terpstra will have a free role, and with Sylvain Chavanel there too, we will certainly have a team that should be able to get a result at Omloop.”

    The Dutch champion Terpstra has just completed the Tour of Oman and he was particularly prominent in the previous week’s Tour of Qatar, where he helped marshal Cavendish to four stage wins and final overall victory. Winner of Dwars Door Vlaanderen last year, Terpstra is looking to continue his progress this spring.

    “Niki was very good for the past two weeks but that goes for the whole team,” Peeters said. “Niki has already proved that he can finish it off in races like this, such as last year at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. And that was without Tom Boonen.”

    Peeters pointed to Lars Boom (Blanco), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) as the danger men for Saturday, and said that Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s tactic would be straightforward – “Just get as many riders as possible in the final.”

    As for...

  • Caja Rural Pro-Conti Team Secures Second Sponsor

    The Caja Rural team in San Luis
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 11:25 GMT
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Rare piece of good sponsorship news for Spanish cycling

    Pro-Continental squad, Caja Rural, has announced that it will have a second sponsor, the bank’s insurance company, to add the team’s jersey. As of Thursday 21st February, the team will be known as Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

    Seguros RGA already had a one-off sponsorship for the team during the 2012 Vuelta a España, but has now decided to back the team throughout the year.

    The news come shortly after Spain’s other Pro-Continental team, Andalusia, was forced to announce that it would be unable to continue in 2013 after running into financial trouble when one key sponsor defaulted on payments last year.

    Spain now has just three teams in the top two categories - Movistar, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Caja Rural - and in the country’s ongoing recession, sponsorship is proving increasingly hard to come by. Whilst no question marks hung over Caja Rural’s future, Seguros RGA’s involvement gives the team an added level of financial security.

    A professional team since 2010, Caja Rural are still angling for an Vuelta invite for 2013. However, their strong performance in the Vuelta last year, with Seville-born climber Antonio Piedra winning a stage on one of Spain’s most prestigious summit finishes, the Lagos de Covadonga, makes it almost certain the team will once again be part of the line-up of Spain’s top stage race next August.

  • Roelandts looking to score well in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) wins the final stage
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 12:29 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol looking for Belgian's breakthrough year

    Jürgen Roelandts is looking forward to the spring races this year, having missed them last year after suffering serious injuries in a crash in the 2012 Tour Down Under. He will lead the Lotto Belisol team on Saturday at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and his team hopes that a win there wold be the start of a breakthrough year for the Belgian.

    Roelandts suffered a fractured cervical vertebra in the first stage of last year's Australia race, and recovery and complications kept him out of racing for four months. He ended the season with a fractured collarbone and this year at the TDU he broke a finger, but has been able to keep on riding.

    Although the finger presents minor problems, he is still anticipating doing well in Saturday's Belgian spring opener. “I am very motivated, I have trained and I've done everything to be good,” he told sporza.be.

    "There are few opportunities in the spring, so I hope that everything will now fall in place,” he said. “If I don't have a bad day or bad luck, I will be there in the final.”

    The 27-year-old has already shown his good form this year, having won the closing stage of the Tour de Med earlier this month.

    Sport Director Herman Frison took his team over the Omloop course on Monday, and is pulling hard for Roelandts. “Jürgen deserves to win once.  He has worked hard and has been doing well for a while.

    “I hope this will be a breakthrough year. You have to work hard to get there and I think that Jürgen has done that the past two years. He has the talent and I am sure he will do beautiful things...

  • Puerto trial: Liberty Seguros manager had authorization for corticoids seized by police

    blank
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 13:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saiz had the ok from Spanish government agency for Synacthen

    Former ONCE and Liberty Seguros manager Manolo Saiz, currently standing trial for crimes against public health, has been exonerated of suspicions that he was illicitly in possession of a medical product, when he was arrested by police during the Operacion Puerto investigation in May 2006.

    According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Maria de los Angeles Dal-Re, a former sub-director of the Spanish govenments’s Medicine and Health Products Agency, said that she authorized the use of a number of medical products by Liberty Seguros in March 2006, incuding the corticoid Synacthen  - not for sale in Spain  - which Saiz was carrying when he was arrested. She also said he was authorized to take it with him to the Tour de France.

    Dal-Re said that she recognised that it was not normal to have requests for these medicines, but that there would have been a procedure in place to check they were for correct use before any authorization was given.

    Saiz’ possession of Synacthen when arrested was central to the accusations made against the former Liberty Seguros manager.

    Amongst those testifying on Tuesday is Tyler Hamilton, who will declare by video conference from the USA. Hamilton has already identified Fuentes in his autobiography and in declarations to the US Anti-Doping Agency as the man behind his blood transfusions in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

    Hamilton tested positive twice during this era for blood transfusions, once after the 2004 Olympics (although it was never confirmed because the B sample was tarnished) and again in the Vuelta a Espana that same year. Given a positive test for transfusions was not possible when the blood belongs to the original donor, there is speculation that the positives could indicate Fuentes' chain of...

  • Only three wildcard places at 2013 Tour de France, says Prudhomme

    Team Katusha time trials
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 15:08 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Katusha confirmed for Tour, Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has announced that there will only be three wildcard invitations on offer for this year’s race following the belated admission of Katusha to the WorldTour.

    Katusha was originally omitted from the UCI WorldTour in December of last year but successfully appealed the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. On Monday, the UCI confirmed that it would not relegate another team to make room for Katusha and that the WorldTour will thus be made up of 19 teams in 2013.

    Speaking to AFP on Tuesday, Prudhomme said that ASO would now issue three wildcard invitations to the Tour de France rather than the usual four, thus keeping the field at 198 riders and 22 teams. “Given that the invitations haven’t been made yet, there will only be 22 teams at the Tour de France,” Prudhomme said.

    ASO has already issued its wildcard invitations for Paris-Nice and the Critérium du Dauphiné, however, and had opted to overlook Katusha. Prudhomme explained that Katusha would now be allowed to take part in both races, with the field of each race being expanded to 23 teams.

    “We couldn’t leave a team on the side of the road,” said Prudhomme.

    Europcar, Cofidis, Sojasun and IAM Cycling have been handed wildcard places for Paris-Nice, while Europcar, Cofidis, Bretagne-Séché and Team NetApp-Endura have been invited to the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    With only three wildcard berths now on offer, competition for invitations to the Tour de France is set to become even more keenly contested.

    Last year, ASO handed three of its four wildcard places to French teams (Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun and Europcar), while Argos-Shimano took the fourth....

  • Haga postpones engineering career to pursue pro cycling dreams

    Chad Haga (Optum Pro Cycling)
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 17:01 GMT
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Optum rider motivated for better season after two broken hands in 2012

    A handful of factors have contributed to Chad Haga's current spot on the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies professional cycling team: natural talent and hard work combined with an unfortunate family circumstance that changed his parents' attitude about his desire to forgo a well-paying job after college and pursue his cycling dream.

    The 24-year-old, second-year pro started racing for the Texas A&M collegiate team in 2006 when he was still a 17-year-old junior. He rode for the Aggies' team through his senior year in 2010 and then picked up with the Austin-based Super Squadra amateur club that year as well. He joined the Rio Grande domestic elite squad out of Colorado in 2011 and signed with Jonas Carney's UCI Continental Kelly Benefit Strategies team in August of that same year.

    But a career in professional cycling was never part of the plan while Haga was attending college in Texas, where he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree in the summer of 2010. His parents had supported his cycling hobby while he was in school, but they were less certain about pursuing the sport professionally.

    "There's not a whole lot of money in it," Haga said of racing domestically at the Continental level. "And with my engineering degree, I could have made $60,000 straight out of school. It's a much more comfortable lifestyle, but I wouldn't have been as happy."

    About that same time, Haga's father was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. The 50-year-old non-smoker - with zero risk factors for the disease - and his family were stunned by the news. Haga said his father is currently doing well and is being treated with a promising new drug, but the original diagnosis shifted his family's outlook about a lot of things, including Haga's own cycling aspirations.

    "My dad spent 25 years working at his desk job in the hopes that when he...

  • Contador excused from Operacion Puerto testimony

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    February 19, 2013, 18:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saiz lawyers waive Contador's appearance

    Alberto Contador will not be required to testify before the judge in the Operacion Puerto trial on Friday, as previously scheduled. The Saxo-Tinkoff rider was due to appear as a defense witness for his former directeur sportif Manolo Saiz, but the attorneys for Saiz waived their request.

    Saiz is on trial for crimes against public health along with Eufemiano Fuentes, who ran a Madrid clinic that facilitated blood doping. Contador was scheduled to testify alongside Marcos Serrano and Angel Vicioso on Friday.

    According to EFE, the attorneys for Saiz had already established what they had hoped to get from Contador. Ignacio Arroyo told reporters after today's session that he had not spoken to Contador's attorneys, but decided to waive his testimony because "the evidence we sought to establish with him has already been established."

    Saiz was found in possession of large sums of money and medical products when detained as part of Operacion Puerto in 2006, while he was directing Liberty Seguros.

    Maria de los Angeles Dal-Re, the former sub-director of the Spanish government's Medicine and Health Products Agency, testified today in the trial that she authorised Saiz to carry the products to the Tour de France.

    The judge Julia Patricia Santamaria also announced today that the court has been unable to locate Vicioso to appear for his scheduled time on Friday. Vicioso's testimony was postponed from February 12 because he was suffering from back pain. The judge added that if the rider did not make himself available voluntarily that she would send security forces to bring him to court.