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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Date published:
June 14, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Contador recons Alpine stages for controversial Tour de France defense

    Contador honing his form for the Tour
    Article published:
    June 13, 2011, 22:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank-Sungard captain previews high peaks

    As criticism rings out through the cycling world over news that Alberto Contador will ride the 2011 Tour de France in spite of his pending arbitration for a doping positive, the Spaniard is quietly preparing to defend his title.

    Contador and his Saxo Bank-Sungard teammates arrived in Risoul, in the French Alps, to preview the critical stages, including stage 18 which finishes at the Serre Chevalier ski resort on top of the Col du Galibier. It will be the 100th anniversary of the mountain's first inclusion in the Tour de France.

    The Spaniard is not being prevented from racing in the Tour de France, in spite of an unresolved battle between the rider, his Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) and the UCI and World Anti-doping Agency over his 2010 positive for Clenbuterol.

    The RFEC did not take disciplinary action against Contador for the positive test, and the two agencies appealed the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Tour de France organiser ASO pushed to have the hearing and a decision prior to the start of this year's Tour, but the proceedings were postponed until August.

    Fresh off his commanding victory in the Giro d'Italia, Contador stands not only to lose his 2010 Tour victory should the UCI or WADA appeals succeed, but also all of his results since last July.

    On his first training ride with his team-mates after the Giro, Contador returned to Italy to reconnoitre the last part of stage 17 from the Monginevro to Pinerolo. That included a passage at Sestriere where he secured his maglia rosa on the penulatimate day of the Italian event, when the long winning breakaway of Movistar’s Vassil Kiryienka made his defence easier.

    “The most difficult part of that stage is the downhill of San Martino”, Contador noted from the...

  • Virus forces Davis to abandon Tour de Suisse

    Australian Allan Davis is aiming for Milano-San Remo
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 3:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana rider frustrated following great form at Tour of Belgium

    Allan Davis was a non-starter in the Tour de Suisse on stage 3, with the Astana sprinter suffering from a virus.

    Davis had finished last on stage 2, 149km between Airolo and Crans-Montana , the Australian nearly 24 minutes behind winner Juan Mauricio Soler (Movistar).

    He told news agency AFP: "I just woke up feeling crook.

    "Yesterday (Sunday) I felt it coming on and by the time I got to the start of the stage it was clear I couldn't race."

    Davis was deflated after coming off what he describes as "Great form to my worst form ever in 1 week!" The former Australian champion's last race was at the Tour of Belgium where he recorded a string of top 10 results.

    It's been a difficult few months for Davis, who in May, claimed he was being shunned by Astana management at the Tour of Turkey over interest in Shayne Bannan's GreenEdge project which could join the WorldTour in 2012.

    Davis' participation in next month's Tour de France seems unlikely with Astana appearing to favour Kazakhstani riders for the big races. He hasn't started in the Tour de France since 2005 when he was riding for Liberty Seguros - Würth and he came fifth in the points classification.


  • McCarthy claims another win for Jayco-AIS

    Jay McCarthy (Jayco-AIS) was very happy for his first win of the season in Europe
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 5:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Queenslander prevails in sprint finish at Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt

    A well-timed sprint from Jayco-AIS rider Jay McCarthy was enough to take victory in the opening stage of the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt in Germany. It was the fifth win for the men's team in Europe so far this season.

    McCarthy, 18, overtook KED-Bianchi's Theo Reinhardt on the line to win in a time of 4:11:46 with Michael Koch (LKT Team Brandenburg) close behind in third place. The stage covered a 170 kilometre rolling course out and back from the town of Erfurt finishing with three laps of a seven kilometre circuit.

    "There were a few attacks out on the road with riders chasing intermediate and mountain points but the race regrouped before the finishing circuit," said Jayco-AIS Team Director, James Victor. "Past the finish line each time there was a solid 700 metre uphill pitch at around 13 to 15 per cent and that split up the peloton.

    "Jay and Pat (Lane) both rode into a lead group of around a dozen riders and Pat rode really well over the final kilometre to control the speed in a bid to set Jay up for the finish."

    Lane, having done his job for McCarthy, dropped back to finish 11th, seven seconds behind his winning team mate. The main bunch rode home 21 seconds down.

    The result puts McCarthy into the yellow jersey of overall leader. He also tops the points and best young rider classifications.

    It's the first victory in Europe for the 2010 Australian junior road race champion who stepped into the U23 ranks this year but struggled early in the season with a niggling knee injury.

    It's been a good European season so far for Jayco-AIS, with victories going to Richard Lang where he became the first Australian to win the San Martino - Trofeoa Priva, Pat Lane who won the third stage of the...

  • Terpstra using Ster ZLM Toer to hone form for Tour de France

    Dutch road champion Niki Terpstra (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 6:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch national champion looking to impress on home roads

    Niki Terpstra (QuickStep) will line-up at this week's Ster ZLM Toer, looking to fine tune his form before the Tour de France. The current Dutch national champion last raced at the Tour of Belgium where he finished sixth overall, but after a high-altitude training camp in the French Alps will be aiming to further improve on that result in Holland.

    "I think Niki's counting on putting in a standout performance," said QuickStep sports director Rik Van Slycke from the team’s hotel in Alblasserdam. "For him this race is a fundamental step on the road that will take him to the Tour de France."

    Van Slycke feels that the race is well-suited to Terpstra’s skills, although the Dutchman will face stiff competition from a number of high profile and in-form riders including Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) and Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank).

    "The route, is a tailor fit for Niki's skills," said Van Slycke confidently, "but we'll just have to wait and see how the race transpires - our team has plenty of options."

    Terpstra will be supported by a strong QuickStep line-up that includes French star Jérôme Pineau and fellow countryman Addy Engels who are both bringing good form from their rides at the Giro d’Italia.

    "Yes they [Pineau and Engels] will be there; and they may try to make some moves. [Kevin] Van Impe, [Nikolas] Maes and [Guillaume] Van Keirsbulck will also...

  • Schleck enjoys super-domestique role in Tour de Suisse

    Andy Schleck sets tempo for Leopard Trek teammate Jakob Fuglsang in the lead break on the climb of the Grosse Scheidegg.
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 7:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger happy to work for Tour de France teammates

    Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) played the role of super domestique on the Tour de Suisse’s third stage, with the Luxembourger helping both Jakob Fuglsang (3rd) and brother Frank navigate the short but mountainous parcours. Schleck found himself in a group of 30 riders that got away early in the race along with teammates Jens Voigt and Fuglsang.

    After Voigt had shelled himself it was Schleck, rather than Fuglsang, who set tempo on the front of the race to set up a possible win for his lesser known teammate. With Fuglsang on his wheel, Schleck upped the pace and whittled the front group down to only six riders.

    "I had really good sensations in my legs on the climbs," said Schleck. "I know that my teammates are committed to giving 100 per cent to me in the Tour, and it’s nice to be in the race and do the job for the others. It gives me confidence to know I can set the tempo I want and give back to my teammates."

    When Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) launched an attack main group in the final 15 kilometres Schleck then dropped back to help his brother who had been struggling.

    "Andy pulled for nearly the entire climb," said Fuglsang. "When he pulled off, 13 kilometres from the finish; my job became to mark the best riders on the general classification."

    "My job was done for Jakob, and it made sense for me to drop back to help Fränk," added Schleck.

    Cunego ended up passing Fuglsang, as did eventual stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), but the Dane did manage to get something from the stage, beating out Laurens Ten Dam...

  • Gilbert narrows list of possible teams for next season to five

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 9:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Turns down Astana for lack of a three-year offer

    Philippe Gilbert has narrowed the list of possible teams for next year to five. He will not announce his final selection until August 1, but his agent said that he remains adamant on a three-year contract with good pay and good sporting chances.

    “We are in the final straight,” his agent Vincent Wathelet told The final five teams still with a chance to sign him are Quick Step, BMC, Sky, Lotto and Omega Pharma.

    Gilbert's contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto expires the end of this season, and the sponsors are also splitting up. Each has said it will found another team for the coming year.

    “The primary condition is that he be in a good sporting environment, and that he can sign for three years. For example, Astana and his friend Vinokourov could only offer two years for job security. This is not enough. I informed Alexandre on Sunday of the reason.”

    Another breaking point may be the salary Gilbert is seeking, said to be three million Euro per year.

    Gilbert has said that he would like to stay with a Belgian team, but at this point it is hard to tell what will happen with Omega Pharma, Lotto and Quick Step. Omega Pharma currently holds the ProTeam licence, and it remains to be seen which riders will stay with that team and which will leave. The same goes for Quick Step, as Tom Boonen has indicated he may leave for a new team.

    “We have some time,” Wathelet said....

  • Armstrong accused of intimidating potential witness Tyler Hamilton in Aspen restaurant

    Armstrong leads Hamilton in the 2003 Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 10:30 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Fallout from CBS programme '60 Minutes'

    Lance Armstrong threatened to make Tyler Hamilton’s life a “living hell” in the law courts when the two met unexpectedly in a restaurant last weekend, ESPN's Bonnie Ford has reported. And Hamilton’s lawyers who alleged the ‘aggressive contact’ at the impromptu meeting, reported the incident to federal authorities who will decide if it constitutes ‘witness tampering’.

    If the authorities agree, and Armstrong is eventually hauled before court to face charges he was at the centre of a systematic doping operation on the US Postal Service squad between 1999 and 2004, it could mean that prosecutors can include evidence in the case against the Texan right up to the present day. Armstrong has always denied doping.

    According to ESPN which reported the story, Hamilton’s lawyer, Chris Manderson, said because Hamilton had testified to a federal grand jury investigating fraud and cheating on US Postal, Hamilton could be a crucial witness. Any contact between defendant and witness – especially if it was aggressive – had to be reported to the authorities he said.

    Manderson said: “Lance Armstrong is a possible defendant in an investigation that's been widely reported, and Tyler is a probable witness. When there's any contact, especially aggressive contact, we as lawyers have a duty to inform the authorities. ... What they will do with it, I don't know."

    The unexpected meeting happened three weeks after Hamilton appeared on the CBS programme '60 Minutes' on May 22, in which he went public with allegations he saw Armstrong inject EPO and try to cover up a failed dope test at the Tour de Suisse in 2001.

    According to...

  • Robert Millar believes Wiggins can hit top five at Tour de France

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) successfully defended his yellow jersey
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 12:44 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Former rider criticises UCI for delays in Contador case

    Robert Millar has told Cyclingnews that he believes Bradley Wiggins can finish in the top five at the Tour de France and possibly on the final podium in Paris if he recovers well during the race and rides to his strengths.

    Wiggins became only the third British rider to win the Critérium du Dauphiné after Brian Robinson (1961) and Millar (1990), showing he is in fine form before the Tour.

    Millar has avoided the spotlight since retiring from the sport but still watches races and believes victory at the Dauphine will be a huge boost to Wiggins’ moral going into the Tour de France.

    “The Tour de France podium is certainly within Bradley's reach but that's the case of a number of riders and they to are all claiming that they are on the upward slope with their form. But I think that the Dauphine result will give Bradley the confidence that maybe Evans and Gesink won't have going into the Tour,” Millar told Cyclingnews.

    “If he can produce the same kind of climbing that we've seen at the Dauphine: controlled and not going into the red until near the end of the stages, then he'll ride in the top ten easily, top five if he is very good and from there to the podium is only a case of how well you recover and use your strength.”

    “Looking at where Bradley says he is in his preparation for the Tour I'd think he and the team will be happy with how things are looking. He looked strong and he didn't look to be in the red until the very critical moments of the race.”

    “The Dauphine is the Dauphine and the Tour is the Tour. It's not the same level of pressure but it is an indication of how your climbing and time trialing is going compared to the other guys and it's a massive confidence boost to a...