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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Date published:
January 21, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Visconti undergoes successful surgery on leg fracture

    Simon Clarke visits Giovanni Visconti in hospital
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 14:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian set to return home next week

    Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) has undergone successful surgery in hospital in Adelaide on the fracture in his right tibia after his high-speed crash at the People's Choice Classic criterium on Sunday.

    The former Italian national champion fractured his tibia after hitting the advertising barriers on a corner during the warm-up race for this week's Santos Tour Down Under.

    According to the Movistar team, the operation lasted roughly an hour, with an intramedular nailing rod being introduced to Visconti's tibia in order to stabilize the fracture and speed up his recovery.

    Visconti was taken to hospital in an ambulance from the scene of the crash, clearly in pain and disappointed to suffer a serous injury in the first race of the season. However after the operation he posted several photos on Twitter of the Movistar soigneur who stayed with him in hospital and of former teammate Simon Clarke, who visited him in hospital.

    Visconti will stay in the Adelaide medical center for three days before being released and flying back to Europe next week with the rest of his teammates at the end of the Tour Down Under.

    The Movistar team suggested that Visconti will need five weeks off the bike, followed by a gradual rehabilitation process that could last several months.

    Visconti won two stages at the 2013 Giro d'Italia but was already forced to spend time in hospital in November after an infection sparked by an end of season crash.




  • Crowell sidelined by cancer diagnosis

    Jackie Crowell (Unitedhealthcare)
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 16:00 GMT
    Pat Malach

    UnitedHealthcare rider undergoing chemotherapy after successful brain surgery

    Racing is on indefinite hold for UnitedHealthcare cyclist Jackie Crowell, who in October was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at home in Georgia following surgery to remove a tumor.

    Doctors at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia, operated on Crowell in early October to remove the brain tumor, which was causing temporary paralysis to the right side of her body. Symptoms first appeared while Crowell was pursuing her Olympic dreams with USA Cycling's team pursuit program in Colorado Springs.

    “We came back from a long ride, a long road ride, and I had some twitching,” Crowell, 25, recently told Cyclingnews. “Fortunately, Cari Higgins was right there with me, and she called the medics. I've known Cari for a while – she's actually my trade team teammate on UnitedHealthcare – so we're very close. I thought it was MS, actually, because of the twitching.”

    Crowell immediately returned home to Georgia for an MRI that discovered the tumor. She was driving home after learning the news when the lesion began to hemorrhage, affecting mobility on her right side until doctors removed the tumor three days later.

    “Paralyzed is probably not the right technical term, because I had a little bit of movement,” Crowell said. “But I was basically paralyzed on my right side from the neck down until they took the tumor out.”

    Doctors diagnosed the stage 4 cancer after successfully removing the tumor, changing Crowell's immediate plans from fighting for an Olympic spot to settling in for a much different battle.

    “Honestly, the most surreal part is when a day goes by and it's completely normal,” she said. “And then I have to take a step back and say, 'Whoa.' My life is no longer...

  • Cyclingnews launches free Tour Down Under tracking app

    The 2013 Tour Down Under podium: Thomas, Slagter and Moreno
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 17:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Download the app today

    Cyclingnews will provide extensive website coverage of the Santos Tour Down Under and this year our live coverage will be better than ever. We are pleased to announce the Cyclingnews TourTracker app will also be active during the Tour Down Under. The app has been developed in partnership with TourTracker.

    The app provides in-depth access and analysis of every aspect of the first UCI WorldTour race of 2014. The app includes GPS tracking, so you can be part of the race action no matter where you are. It allows you follow all the action and your favourite riders as they begin the 2014 season in Australia. The app has details of each of the six stages, the official start list and blow by blow reports in the special live coverage.

    You can download the app from Itunes or from Google Play. Both show the Vuelta a Espana app on the Tour Tracker page but clicking the download button will start the download of the Tour Tracker app. You can find the 2014 Tour Down Under in the races menu.  

     The 2014 Cyclingnews Tour Tracker app includes:

    · Live GPS tracking including data from the riders – groups and splits

    · Live mapping and climb profile data

    · Live commentary from the Cyclingnews team

    · In-depth stage previews, reviews and standings

    · Amazing HD photography from each stage, as it happens

    · The latest standings for all the jersey competitions

    · Customised social media commentary from the biggest names in the world of cycling

  • Salas handed two-year ban for tampering with doping control

    Sebastian Salas is all smiles before going head-to-head against some of the world's best at the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 18:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Canadian banned until August 2015

    Sebastian Salas has been handed a two-year ban by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) for "tampering with the doping control" during in-competition testing at the Gastown Grand Prix in Vancouver, which took place on July 10, 2013.

    The CCES announced on Monday that Salas’ two-year sanction will expire on August 1, 2015. Salas chose to accept the doping violation rather than seek a hearing.

    “In response to the CCES’ notification of the violation, Mr. Salas fully explored his rights under the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) and eventually chose to admit the doping control violation, waive his right to a hearing, and accept a two-year sanction ending August 1, 2015,” read the CCES statement.

    The 26-year-old Salas raced for Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies for the past two seasons, but was not re-signed to the team for 2014. The Vancouver resident’s best season came in 2012, when he was a surprise winner of the king of the mountains classification at the Tour of California, and also placed 6th overall at the Tour of the Gila and 9th at the Tour de Beauce.

    The Optum Pro Cycling team issued the following statement to Cyclingnews regarding Salas' suspension:

    "Sebastian Salas was indefinitely suspended by our team in July of 2013 and informed he would not return to our program for the 2014 season.

    "Due to our team policy, he was suspended within 24 hours of his late arrival to an in-competition control at the Gastown Grand Prix. While Mr. Salas did not test positive for any banned substances and while we were never contacted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), his being late to a test was unacceptable to our team and resulted in his termination.

    "Removing him from all 2013 rosters and excluding him from consideration for 2014 was the strongest course of action...

  • Petacchi abandons Tour de San Luis

    Alessandro Petacchi
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 20:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep sprinter hit with stomach bug

    Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi abandoned his first race of 2014 with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, the Tour de San Luis, on the race's opening stage, a 166.2km stage from San Luis to Villa Mercedes, contested in searing heat. 

    The 40-year-old was hit by an intestinal virus and was undecided for the start of today's stage. As the race got underway, the fever and abdominal pain led him to abandon.

    The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team will continue to be represented in the race by Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Stijn Vandenbergh, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Gianluca Brambilla.

  • Video: Gaimon's dream Garmin debut at Tour de San Luis

    Phil Gaimon (Garmin Sharp) wins stage 1 of the Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    January 21, 2014, 1:25 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    "If I get in the break, nobody knows who the hell I am"

    Sometimes nice guys do finish first. After spending eight years racing domestically in the United States on Continental level pro teams as well as elite level amateur teams, Phil Gaimon made the jump to the WorldTour level in 2014 via the US-based Garmin-Sharp squad.

    And in his first outing for his new team in stage one of Argentina's Tour de San Luis, the 27-year-old sporting a "CLEAN" tattoo inside his right bicep earned a stunning solo victory after his four companions in the early escape fell by the wayside. With the addition of the general classification leader's jersey as well as the mountains jersey it was truly a day to remember for Gaimon.

    Gaimon perhaps took advantage of his relative anonymity, at least to a peloton with few of his peers from the US, with the rest of the field eyeing his Garmin-Sharp teammates Janier Acevedo and Tom Danielson as the squad's GC threats.

    "The team said if I get in the break, nobody knows who the hell I am and we might get lucky," said Gaimon.

    Entering the endgame of the 166km opening stage from San Luis to Villa Mercedes, however, amidst blistering heat in the mid 90s Fahrenheit, Gaimon led the then four-strong escape through a roundabout and made a mental error as to which road to exit from. As a result, two of his breakaway companions - Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare) and Leandro Messineo (San Luis Somos Todos) - crashed, leaving just Gaimon and the fourth member, Emiliano J. Contreras (Argentina) to vie for victory.

    Gaimon would ultimately drop the Argentinean national team member to win solo by 12 seconds.

    But in a tribute to his sportsmanship, the first words out of Gaimon's
    mouth after coasting to a halt in Villa Mercedes were to express regret that he caused a crash which ruined the hopes of De Maar, the rider who made the initial contact with Gaimon and hit the tarmac,with Messineo then crashing into the fallen UnitedHealthcare rider.

    "That was...

  • Sprinters denied in Tour de San Luis opening stage

    Tom Boonen winds up his sprint with Mark Cavendish tucked in on his wheel
    Article published:
    January 21, 2014, 5:45 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep's bluff catalyst for break to succeed

    It's been said that having Mark Cavendish on your squad is both a blessing and a curse - he's a consistent winner year in, year out to the point that no other teams really want to assist in chasing down breaks only to come up short to the Manx Missile.

    What was expected to be a second straight victory at the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis for Cavendish instead resulted in the early five-man break going the distance. Sacha Modolo would ultimately lead in the peloton 4:35 down on solo stage winner and initial Tour de San Luis leader Phil Gaimon (Garmin-Sharp).

    Racing at the Tour de San Luis is a more chaotic endeavor than usual, particularly for the WorldTour teams, as the squads compete in Argentina with just six riders, making it that much more difficult for a single team to assert themselves for extended stints at the front. Throw in blast furnace heat and the early loss of a key rider and a normal day of a lengthy tempo session is suddenly no longer feasible.

    That's exactly what happened to Omega Pharma-QuickStep in Stage 1 at the Tour de San Luis. The Belgian WorldTour squad assumed its position at the head of the peloton to set tempo once the early break escaped, but having lost Alessandro Petacchi not long after the start, facing extreme heat, plus no takers on assistance, they simply called off the chase. As a result, the break's lead mushroomed.

    "The break was gone after only 2kms, so it was actually a perfect day for a field sprint," Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tom Boonen told Cyclingnews. "We started controlling after 10km to keep the distance acceptable and then we were riding by ourselves until 70kms into the race. There was not anyone coming or eager to help.

    "We just said 'stop' and it took ages for somebody to start riding again. We started helping again but it was...

  • Fränk Schleck happy with return to racing at the Tour Down Under

    Frank Schleck (Team Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    January 21, 2014, 8:36 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Trek rider finishes 18th in first race since his ban

    In his first race since the 2012 Tour de France, Fränk Schleck finished safely in 18th place, in the same time as overall favourites Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) on Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under. Schleck was with a large group when he crossed the line which made it over Menglers Hill after Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) and Team Sky had ramped up the pressure on the peloton to force a selection.

    Schleck said that he hadn’t expected the level of racing but enjoyed it nevertheless. He served a one-year ban for doping after testing positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France but opted not to race in the final part of the 2013 season. He joined the Trek Factory Racing team with his brother Andy.  

    "It's good to pin a race number on your back again, and when you do that, you want to win. It was harder than I thought today, but it was nice to race," he said.

    On the climb up Menglers Hill, Schleck had made his way to the front but was impeded by a tangle ahead.

    "Everyone is fresh, just waiting for that last climb. I am very happy I made it back to the front group. At the base of the climb, I got caught up behind a crash. Then I jumped back on my bike, and I had to put my chain back on. I hit the panic button at that point, but I was able to get back to the group."

    Schleck is racing in Adelaide with the intention of building for the Tour de France, which he will ride with Andy. The two brothers, who finished on the podium of the Tour in 2011, will have the same race schedule starting with Paris-Nice in March having been reunited at the Trek Factory Racing team.