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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Date published:
January 15, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Degenkolb: tough Vuelta route motivates me

    John Degenkolb (Argos Shimano)
    Article published:
    January 14, 2013, 13:03 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Five-time stage winner will return in 2013

    Up-and-coming sprinter John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) has said that despite the lack of many flat stages in the 2013 Vuelta a España, he plans on returning to the race where he took no fewer than five victories last summer.

    Degenkolb was the almost undisputed king of the Vuelta sprints in 2012, winning as early as stage two into Viana and as late on as the final dash up the Paseo de Castellana in Madrid. Only the bunch sprint into Valladolid, won by Daniele Bennati, escaped the German’s clutches.

    In 2013, on paper, as few as five stages look likely to end in bunch sprints, but Degenkolb told Cyclingnews that it “increases my motivation, we have to take advantage of the stages that suit us. If your team is strong enough and you are strong enough, you’ll be there.

    “I’m looking forward to the Vuelta, it was a great race to take part of last year and I plan to come back in.”

    Degenkolb will go into the race, though, with the same objective as 2012 - to win a stage as soon as possible, “and then everything else is a bonus. It worked fine for me in 2012, and I won’t be doing it differently in 2013.

    “We’ve got a stronger team this year, maybe not to try for the GC overall but with some really talented climbers: it’s looking very good.”

    Fifth in Milan-San Remo last year and sixth in E3-Harelbeke, Degenkolb will start the year in the Tours of Qatar and Oman to “try and boost my Classics performances. It’s always a bit hectic there, but it’s a good place to get some early results.”

  • A season of two halves for Phinney in 2013

    Taylor Phinney is on point at the BMC presentation
    Article published:
    January 14, 2013, 15:05 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    American looks to time trial at Florence Worlds

    2013 will again be a season of two halves for Taylor Phinney as the American looks to continue his development in the Classics and against the watch. As was the case last year, the opening months of Phinney’s campaign will be built around the cobbled Classics while the back end of the season will see his thoughts turn firmly to the time trial at the world championships in Florence.

    “The first half of the year is pretty Classics oriented and then I can ride the Giro, finish it, then go back home for a little rest,” Phinney told reporters at BMC’s team presentation in Nazareth, Belgium.

    After completing the Giro last May, Phinney didn’t race again until the Olympic Games in London and he credited a lengthy block of training at home in Colorado as the foundation for his twin fourth place finishes in the road race and time trial, and he is set to repeat the formula in 2013.

    “Where I live in Boulder is perfect for time trial training. One way you go to the mountains, the other you just go flat and it’s at altitude, so I’ll be able to go home and focus specifically on what I need to do in Florence,” Phinney said.

    Along with his near-misses in London, Phinney picked up a brace of silver medals in the time trial events at the world championships in Valkenburg, but he freely admitted that luck had not been a factor in his narrow defeat to Tony Martin in the individual event. The 22-year-old is hopeful that an injury-free winter and another Giro d’Italia outing can bring him closer still to the German’s standard.

    “I think having another Grand Tour under my belt – hopefully the Giro this year – will just bump me up another level,” he said. “I also had...

  • Nicole Cooke retires from cycling

    Great Britain's Nicole Cooke took the Olympic title in Beijing
    Article published:
    January 14, 2013, 15:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    UPDATE: Full statement from Beijing Olympic champion

    Nicole Cooke has retired from cycling with immediate effect. The former Olympic and world road race champion announced her decision in a press conference in London on Monday afternoon.

    During the press conference, Cooke expressed her satisfaction at winning “every race and more that I dreamt I could win” but decried the UCI’s failure to commit to developing women’s cycling during her 11-year professional career. In particular, Cooke pointed the finger at the UCI’s focus on the fall-out of the Lance Armstrong affair.

    “While they have been busy with all these priorities, the women's road sport, that looked so promising in 2002 when I turned professional, has crumbled," Cooke said.

    "My time in the sport has finished. I hope I will look on in 10 years' time and see a vibrant and healthy women's road scene. The key to that will be that the female athletes are treated with respect."

    Cooke also spoke of how she had to take four of her teams to court over the years to recoup unpaid wages and compared her situation with some figures involved in the Armstrong case.

    "When Lance cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward,” Cooke said. "Tyler Hamilton will make more money from a book describing how he cheated than I will make in all my years of honest labour."

    Cooke entered the elite ranks in 2002 after dominating on the world stage as a junior. She continued in that vein in her early years as a professional, winning the World Cup in 2003 and 2006, as well as the Giro Donne in 2004.

    Cooke’s greatest season would come in 2008, however, when she took

  • Giro d'Italia unveils 2013 leaders' jerseys

    British fashion designer Paul Smith with the jerseys created for the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2013, 19:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    All four jerseys designed by Briton Paul Smith

    Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport today unveiled the four leaders' jerseys for the 2013 edition of the Italian Grand Tour, designed by British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. An avid cycling enthusiast since childhood, Smith's involvement with the project grew out of an informal meeting with RCS Sport at the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

    "Having been a huge cycling enthusiast and follower of the major Tours and Classics for many years, it's an absolute privilege to be asked to design the four jerseys for the Giro d'Italia," said Smith in a press release.

    "I started cycling at the age of 12 and raced until I was 18. A bad crash put me in hospital for several months, after which I discovered the world of creativity, design and fashion and started my career, which luckily has progressed to what it is today," continued Smith.

    "During that period I have always followed cycling and have been privileged to meet many key riders, building friendships with Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, David Millar and many more. I also have a huge collection of jerseys from the '70s right up to current times, often signed by the riders.

    "With all this in mind, it was an absolute honour and delight to be asked to design the four jerseys for the Giro and I hope that the simple approach that I've made is acceptable to you all; putting red piping with the pink, cleaning all of the jerseys up to keep them as simple as possible and adding a little drawing of a cyclist by myself onto the jerseys."

    The Giro d'Italia's four jerseys include the leader's pink jersey, the points classification leader's red jersey, the mountain classification leader's blue jersey and the best young rider's white jersey. For the 17th straight...

  • Vaughters calls on Armstrong to speak to WADA

    Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters was present in Milan for the unveiling of the new leaders' jerseys for the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2013, 22:10 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Sharp manager hopes he will help the broader fight against doping

    Jonathan Vaughters attended the presentation of the 2013 Paul Smith Giro d'Italia pink jersey in Milan and was able to celebrate Ryder Hesjedal's victory in the 2012 Giro d'Italia one more time.

    Vaughters heads to Spain on Tuesday for his Garmin-Sharp team's training camp but perhaps more than most people, he is awaiting Lance Armstrong's expected television confession.

    He was a teammate of the Texan and has since confessed to doping while at the US Postal Service team. His confession and his work to support other riders to confess helped lead USADA collect a critical amount of evidence, reveal Armstrong's sins and lead to him being banned for life.

    Vaughters revealed to Cyclingnews that he will be on a plane when the Oprah show is broadcast on television and also asked people to see the bigger picture and understand that any confession from Armstrong will not mark the start of a new era.

    "Everyone always looks for definitive points but I don't think the world works like that, there's always progression," Vaughters argued.

    "The progression to cleaner cycling started in 1998 with the Festina Affair. Did that end doping? No, by no means. Did it help? Did it get the process started? Was WADA created because of the Festina scandal? Yes.

    "If you move forward, having high-profile athletes like Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis go positive, Operacion Puerto, David Millar's story, and all of these events, each one moved things forward in a positive way. Everyone sees it as bad news...

  • Armstrong to Livestrong staff: I'm sorry

    Lance Armstrong zips up his Livestrong jersey and is ready to go.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2013, 23:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Disgraced cyclist says he will attempt to restore charity's reputation

    Lance Armstrong has made a tearful apology to staff of the charity he founded in 1997, Livestrong.

    An anonymous source told AP that Armstrong, who last year was stripped of all results dating back to 1998 including his seven Tour de France titles, fronted staff to say, "I'm sorry".

    The report said that both Armstrong and staff were "choked up". The 41-year-old Armstrong said that he had let staff of the charity down because of his consistent denials regarding his performance-enhancing drug use, and in doing so had put Livestrong at risk. It is also reported that Armstrong said that he would attempt to restore the charity's reputation.

    The move came before the Texan was scheduled to begin recording an interview with Oprah Winfrey where it is expected that he will confess to doping throughout his career. It will be Armstrong's first interview since the catastrophic report handed down by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which detailed the systematic doping practices used by the cyclist and his U.S. Postal Service team.

    Media have been camped outside of Armstrong's house in the lead up to the Winfrey interview, with the recording set to take place there, however it would appear as though the program will now be taped at an Austin hotel. Armstrong's legal team and other close advisers will be on hand during what is said to be a "limited" confession.

    Armstrong stepped down as chairman of Livestrong in the wake of the release of USADA's Reasoned Decision document but remained on the board of directors. He later resigned...

  • Tanner primed for new beginning at Blanco Pro Cycling

    David Tanner arrives from Saxo-Tinkoff to boost Blanco's lead-out possibilities.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2013, 3:45 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian to make debut at Tour Down Under

    David Tanner has endured his share of setbacks during his professional career and when Rabobank announced its intention to withdraw from cycling in mid October, he feared that his new departure would instead prove to be a dead-end. The Australian had agreed to join the squad after two years at Saxo Bank, but for a frantic 48 hours, it seemed as though his diligently-woven career was about to unravel just when everything had finally begun to knit together.

    It soon emerged, however, that Rabobank would continue to fund the team for another year, and Tanner's concerns were allayed still further when he saw the speed with which the organisation rebranded itself as Blanco Pro Cycling and began planning for the new year. Even so, it had been a trying time.

    "To be honest, for two days I was shitting myself," Tanner told Cyclingnews. "I'd come onto a team that had been one of the best in the world ever since I'd been watching the Tour de France, and then one day you get an email saying that a sponsor who has been in the sport for 17 years has stopped, so that was not a nice feeling. But once the story and the situation we're in became clear to us, I relaxed a little bit more. For me, the main thing is that the team races as normal for 2013."

    Indeed, Tanner had narrowly avoided an even more traumatic case of withdrawn sponsorship in late 2010, when Fly V Australia morphed into the ill-fated Pegasus outfit. Fortunately, he had already left for Saxo Bank when the squad abruptly folded at the turn of the year, and the experiences of his former teammates put his recent scare in perspective.

    "It was lucky that...

  • Report: Armstrong confesses to doping during Winfrey interview

    Lance Armstrong (US Postal) at the start of the 1999 Amstel Gold
    Article published:
    January 15, 2013, 5:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Will Armstrong testify against the UCI?

    Lance Armstrong has reportedly confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career during his interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to AP.

    Winfrey tweeted soon after the interview that the recording took "More than 2 1/2 hours . He came READY!"

    As per earlier leaks regarding the interview, the source remains anonymous.

    The 90-minute program is scheduled to air on Thursday evening, US-time on the 'Oprah's Next Chapter' program on her eponymous US cable television network.

    Armstrong was the focus of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation which labelled the US Postal team's operation as "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" on October 10, 2012. USADA stripped Armstrong of all results from August 1, 1998 when he declined to contest charges of doping in late August and handed the Texan a lifetime ban all of which was later ratified by cycling's governing body, the UCI.

    Armstrong had an entourage of around 10 for the taping, which included his legal team Tim Herman and Sean Breen. Bill Stapleton, his longtime manager and business partner was also at the Austin hotel for the interview after the location was moved from the Texan's house.

    Discussion with Tygart the catalyst?

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Armstrong's decision to confess may be due to a discussion he had with USADA boss Travis Tygart last month near Denver airport.

    Armstrong was reportedly...