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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Date published:
January 31, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Gallery: BMC train in Denia

    A relaxed Philippe Gilbert (BMC) on the final day of training camp.
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 11:30 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Final day of camp for Evans, Gilbert and Hushovd

    Twelve months ago, the BMC team's press day in Denia was a rather muted affair. One Tour de France victory and a plethora of high-profile signings later, however, and the media presence had tripled by the time the squad opened its doors to reporters at its training camp in Spain last week.

    As was the case in 2011, Cadel Evans was the centre of attention, but it is testimony to Andy Rihs’ munificence in the transfer market that the Tour de France champion had to share headline billing with new arrivals Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd.

    The last day of BMC’s camp kicked off with a low-key presentation of the 2012 roster, including those who had returned from action at the Tour Down Under earlier in the week, ahead of the team’s final training ride of their stay on the Costa Blanca.

    An hour later, the riders emerged blinking from the hotel lobby and into the low January sunlight. Resplendent in the colours of Belgian champion, the smiling Gilbert was surrounded by cameras as he prepared for the ride, while Thor Hushovd gave his thoughts to Norwegian television.

    Alessandro Ballan, who helplessly told Cyclingnews that he is in the dark as to the current status of the Mantova doping investigation, was also on hand after beginning his season in Australia. A new addition to the growing Italian contingent at BMC is Marco Pinotti, and the Bergamo native is confident that he is fully recovered from the injuries he sustained in a crash at last year’s Giro d’Italia.

    All the while, Cadel Evans quietly set about preparing himself for the morning’s ride outside the team’s equipment truck. The previous evening, the Australian had cut a relaxed and engaging figure during a series of round table...

  • Team Chipotle becomes Chipotle–First Solar

    Danny Summerhill (Garmin Chipotle) descending a small drop-off
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 13:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Slipstream Sports announces co-title sponsor for development team

    Slipstream Sports, the company holding behind the Garmin-Barracuda team has announced a new co-sponsor for their development team. Formerly known as Team Chipotle, the squad will be titled as Team Chipotle-First Solar. The team will make their season debut at the Valley of the Sun race in Phoenix, Arizona in February and plan on running an international race program.

    Last week Slipstream Sports announced that their Garmin-Cervelo women’s team were ending but that they would partner with AA Drink/

    Arizona-based First Solar is the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film solar modules and designs and builds complete photovoltaic (PV) power plants for customers in many countries

    “Our sponsorship of the Chipotle-First Solar team is part of our broader commitment to a cleaner, healthier environment. Cycling is a sport with global appeal that promotes hard work, competition and excellence, values we share,” said Ted Meyer, First Solar’s Vice President of Global Corporate Communications.

    Former professional Chann McRae manages the development team and this year saw a number of his riders move up to the professional ranks with Garmin.

    “The Chipotle-First Solar boys are set for an exciting year. We’re proud to have a roster featuring some of the finest U23 talent in the world. Our sprinters are eager to get it on in the closing kilometers, and the climbers are excited for high mountain selections. We kicked off the season with a training camp in Wimberley, Texas, and we’ll race all the way through the World Championships in Limburg, Netherlands on September 23rd. We hope to give our fans many reasons to cheer in 2012.”

    Team Chipotle-First Solar...

  • Gallopin: Bruyneel better tactician than Riis

    Chris Horner and Alain Gallopin discuss the route.
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 15:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack DS details views on season to come

    Alain Gallopin, former directeur sportif with CSC and now with RadioShack-Nissan, has outlined team rosters for the 2012 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France and given his personal opinion regarding two rival squads for this year's Tour, Saxo Bank and his own RadioShack. The Danish team managed by Bjarne Riis, for whom he worked from 2004 to 2007, has multiple Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador in its ranks, but with both Andy and Fränk Schleck on Johan Bruyneel's squad, Gallopin said that the Belgian had the better tactical instincts.

    "Tactically, Bruyneel is more clever that Riis," the Frenchman told Velochrono. "He's the best manager I have worked with so far. I have been working with him for four years, and we've never had the slightest disagreement."

    Gallopin however admitted that Riis was "extraordinary" in regard to training. "Also, with Bjarne we didn't have the same sort of relationship. I massaged him when he was a neo pro: I had more authority. With Johan, we communicate more, we call each other every day."

    The 54-year-old also gave insight into RadioShack's team line-ups for the Giro and the Tour, as well as announcing that both Schleck brothers will be riding the Dauphiné instead of the Tour de Suisse this year.

    "Johan would like that Andy does the Dauphiné instead of his usual Tour de Suisse," Gallopin revealed. "He nearly always did this with Armstrong, except for in 2001. When you get second [in the Tour de France], you have to try and change something. Last year, those who did the Dauphiné had an advantage, as the time trial was identical. At the Tour, the difference between those who knew the Grenoble time...

  • Project 1t4i stands by Kittel, Gretsch and Degenkolb

    Marcel Kittel (Project 1T4i)
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 18:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Three riders visited Dr Franke but are not under investigation

    Project 1t4i has leapt to the defence of its star sprinter Marcel Kittel. Last night the 23-year-old was linked to a doping investigation by the German television show Sportschau, and team manager Iwan Spekenbrink confirmed to Cyclingnews that the rider had visited Andreas Franke, the doctor at the centre of the investigation.

    Today the team also stated that two other riders, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb, also had contact with this doctor in the past but that they have not been contacted by the German Public Prosecutor, WADA or NADA investigating Dr. Franke.

    “The following facts are known to the team. As an 18-year-old sportsman from the region of Erfort and therefore part of this Olympic point of support, Marcel Kittel should contact the doctor concerned in case of illness. In 2007 and 2008, Marcel visited this doctor when he was ill. The doctor decided to treat him with the UV-treatment mentioned in the program of Sportschau,” the team said in a press release.

    “Project 1t4i cyclists John Degenkolb and Patrick Gretsch were also part of this point of support and visited this doctor in case of illness. Patrick Gretsch also received the UV-treatment from Dr. Franke. John Degenkolb has never received this treatment. Marcel Kittel, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb have never had to pay any financial compensation to this point of support or the aforementioned doctor.”

    The team also made clear that Kittel and Gretsch had only received treatment from the squad’s own medical staff since joining the team and that their visits and treatments from Dr. Franke did not break any anti-doping laws.

    “In January 2011,...

  • Hushovd: BMC is stronger than Garmin

    Thor Hushovd (BMC) in Denia.
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 19:24 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Norwegian prepares for classics campaign

    Take two for Thor Hushovd. For Garmin-Cervélo, read BMC. For the second time in as many seasons, the Norwegian is a new arrival at an all-star classics squad, as he continues his quest to land victory in one of sport’s monuments.

    In spite of Johan Van Summeren’s victory at Paris-Roubaix in 2011, however, that Garmin-Cervélo squad never quite seemed to add up to the sum of its considerable parts, and Hushovd will doubtless be hoping for a smoother transition when he lines up as part of Andy Rihs’ glittering array of galacticos at BMC.

    “With the riders I think it’s a stronger team and it’s a bigger team with more people and staff, really professional and well-organised,” Hushovd told reporters in Denia, Spain. “They have a plan about every person – not only the leaders on the team, but every rider, every staff member. Whether it’s the mechanic or the bus driver, everybody knows what to do, everybody is relaxed and I think that’s an important thing.”

    Hushovd insisted that he gave due consideration to remaining with Garmin into 2012, in spite of rumours emanating as early as last spring that he was looking to leave the team. He also downplayed the furore over his exclusion from Garmin’s Vuelta a España squad, which came shortly after his transfer to BMC had been announced.

    “Sometimes you’re not happy with decisions, but there are thirty riders on the team and it worked out well in the end, so there is no bad taste,” he said. “I wanted to get into shape for the Worlds in Copenhagen and I thought the Vuelta would be perfect preparation but now...

  • Video: Vande Velde gives everyone the benefit of the doubt

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 20:45 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Cycling is cleaner, says team leader

    Along with hoping for a strong performance in the Tour de France this summer, Christrian Vande Velde (Garmin Barracuda) is targeting the Olympics. The London Games come days after the Tour finishes in Paris and Vande Velde, a participant in Beijing four year ago, realises that London will be his final Olympic opportunity.

    In this exclusive video for Cyclingnews, Vande Velde discusses his ambitions for the Games.

    Now 35, Vande Velde is part of a generation that has seen professional cycling go through a number of significantly difficult moments. Having turned professional in the same year as the Festina scandal [1998], he has seen the sport endure more than it’s fair share of troubles.

    However he now believes that the sport has become cleaner and that his 4th place at the Tour de France in 2008 is proof. Vande Velde also talks about doubts he had as a rider when competing for US Postal at the start of his career.

  • Video: King calls Viviani's Tour de San Luis stage win

    Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) lifts his arms to celebrate a stage win
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 22:31 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    American relates ups and downs of racing in Argentina

    Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) broke the Omega Pharma-Quick Step/Saxo Bank monopoly on stage wins at the Tour de San Luis on Saturday, blazing to victory in the bunch gallop at the conclusion to stage six. One of Viviani's five teammates at the event is American Ted King, one of a handful of North Americans racing in South America's biggest stage race. King was ecstatic post-race at his Italian teammate's win, the ProTour squad's first of 2012.

    Earlier that day, prior to the start of the 201km race in blast furnace heat, Cyclingnews spoke to King moments after had arrived on location in Lujan where he was still visibly weary from what had been a rather dismal conclusion to the previous day's racing - after getting off of the mountain top finish on Mirador del Sol there remained a 200km bus transfer back to the hotel.

    King perked up, however, and discussed his horror transfer, his Eddy Merckx-esque time trial (done on his road bike), his impressions of racing in Argentina, as well as tipping teammate Viviani for the win. It would still be a bittersweet afternoon on Saturday at the finish in Quines for Liquigas-Cannondale, however, for even though Viviani prevailed on the stage, new recruit Cayetano Sarmiento crashed heavily and broke his collarbone.


  • Exclusive: Kittel describes the hardest day of his life

    Marcel Kittel (Project 1T4i)
    Article published:
    January 30, 2012, 23:47 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Sprinter tells Cyclingnews "it was like a nightmare"

    Just over 24 hours after German television named Marcel Kittel (Team 1t4i) in an on-going doping investigation, the sprinter has reacted, calling it the 'hardest day' in his young life.

    On Sunday the German broadcaster ARD aired a show that shed light Dr. Franke, who worked at an Olympic training site in Erfurt. The show named Kittel as a patient of the doctor and two current teammates later admitted that they attended the clinic.

    However, Kittel and his teammates had not broken the WADA code, which only banned the treatment in 2011. Additionally, Kittel and his teammates are not under investigation.

    Until now Kittel has remained tight-lipped while his team have been active in dealing with the media. On Monday afternoon they issued a press release in which they confirmed Kittel's use of the treatment, however they stressed that none of their riders were involved in the investigation but that they would follow cooperate with authorities.

    Kittel meanwhile travelled to France on Monday and despite the turbulent few days, is scheduled to race on Wednesday.

    "It's not easy to describe what's happened to me in the last couple of days. For me there's one thing that's happened to me as a rider and then there's what happened to me as a person because I'm not just a rider, I'm also a human being," he told Cyclingnews.

    He watched the report on Sunday night and described the emotions he felt when he name appeared in front of the nation, and linked to possible doping.

    "After I saw that report on German television I was really sad and really disappointed....