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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Date published:
March 04, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Taylor Phinney recovering from Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne crash

    Taylor Phinney (BMC) crashes out of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne
    Article published:
    March 03, 2014, 23:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mixed weekend of racing for BMC with podiums and hospital visits

    For BMC the traditional opening weekend of the cobbled classics in Europe started well with Greg Van Avermaet narrowly losing the sprint for Omloop het Nieuwsblad on Saturday but the next day at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne was far less successful as Klaas Lodewyck and Taylor Phinney both crashed out of the race with the latter requiring several stitches to his left knee.

    Van Avermaet was the best placed BMC rider on Sunday as he finished in 24th place and besides Silvan Dillier making it into the early break, it was a disappointing day at the office with Van Avermaet and Phinney having both placed inside the top-ten on Saturday at het Nieuwsblad.

    It was with around 90km left to race that Lodewyck and Phinney both crashed and were forced to abandon. BMC Racing Team Dr Dario Spinelli said Phinney was the more seriously injured of the two, receiving six stitches to his left knee. A chest X-ray revealed no broken bones from where a chain ring had cut across his abdomen.

    Phinney was only racing Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne following a bizarre accident to teammate Manuel Quinziato, who injured his left ankle when it was struck by a wheelchair and on the advice of the team Doctor, was replaced by the American.

    Now recovering from the crash, Phinney will still have to wait a few weeks before removing his stiches. "I am doing better than I expected. I can already move my knee better today than last night. I have a great support network here in Nice and have spent...

  • Pat McQuaid to decide on CIRC participation

    Former UCI president Pat McQuaid and current UCI president Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 2:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former UCI president not wanting to be drawn into "witch hunt"

    The former UCI president Pat McQuaid, who has kept a low profile since being deposed by Brian Cookson as the head of cycling's world governing body last September, is yet to decide on his participation in the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) as he does want to be drawn into a "witch hunt".

    Cookson has delivered in his promise for an independent body to review perceived past wrongdoings, including whether the UCI was complicit in Lance Armstrong's doping through the creation of CIRC which has received the blessing of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),and will be chaired by Switzerland's former state prosecutor Dick Marty with the aim of concluding its investigation within the next 12 months.

    The CIRC which had initially been known as a 'truth and reconciliation commission' has stated that it will look into doping practices between 1998 and 2013. Cookson stated that all funding will come from the sport's governing body, as "nobody else will pay, so if we want to have this commission then the UCI must pay."

    McQuaid has had no contact with the CIRC and will need decide whether to volunteer to give evidence quickly , although he vehemently denies wrongdoing, as the chairman Dick Marty has said the commission is ready to go "full speed."

    McQuaid, who was UCI president from 2005 to 2013, told Press Association Sport: "I haven't made my mind up yet. I need to be convinced that this commission is going to look into all of the aspects of the reasons why doping was prevalent.

    "That is who was actually responsible, not just the UCI, but also people like WADA and USADA.

    "As I see in the terms of reference, there's no inquiry into what their responsibilities may or may not have been in relation to doping and the fight against doping.

    "I don't want to see a witch hunt into me and Hein Verbruggen only, when others have been responsible (for anti-doping activities) as well and should be asked to...

  • Marcel Sieberg questions UCI rule over use of footpaths

    The winning break take to the pavement
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 3:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    German asks for clarity over new ruling

    At Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the successful break which included Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was seen riding on footpaths in favour of the cobbled roads which had provoked Lotto-Belisol's Marcel Sieberg to question the effectiveness of the implementation of a new UCI ruling which states that it is "strictly prohibited to use sidewalks/pavements, paths or cycle paths" that do not form part of the course.

    The law which was first reported on in November last year following the UCI Management meeting in Florence during the road race championships was one of several minor changes to the governing body's laws.

    In response to the break using bike and footpaths, Sieberg tweeted after the race: For what we have new rules??? Front group all on the asphalt *bike path* Peloton all on the cobbles,” and a photo of the break which contained several Omega Pharma and Belkin riders on a footpath.

    He followed up his initial tweet with: "And now we know why we lost 30sec just on this point. Come on guys....everyone or no one."

    The introduction of Rule 1.2.064 came in to effect on January 1, 2014. The full rule states: "It is strictly prohibited to use sidewalks/pavements, paths or cycle paths alongside the roadway that do not form part of the course. Non-respect of this requirement is sanctioned an accordance with Article, without prejudice to any other sanctions that may apply."

    With riders ignoring the rule at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, it is unclear whether they will be punished or how the rule will be enforced for the remainder of the cobbled classics. It is still possible for riders to race in the gutter of roads but the rule...

  • Avanti Racing Team win Oceania Tour

    Sam Davis putting in for his Avanti teammates
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 4:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    World Team Time Trial in September a possiblity

    For Avanti Racing Team, the start to 2014 has been impressive with Brenton Jones' break through win at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic followed by Taylor Gunman's time trial win at the New Zealand Championships and podiums at the Australian Championships ensured the team defend their Oceania Tour title. The victory gives Avanti the opportunity to race at the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain later this year.

    While not an official team victory, Avanti had five riders selected for the UniSA squad at the Tour Down Under and it was Jack Haig who impressed on his WorldTour debut by claiming the best young rider classification. Jones missed out on a UniSA spot but backed up his bay crits victory with a stage win at the NZ Cycle Classic to add another win to the team’s January tally.

    After his exploits in South Australia, Haig turned his attention to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour where he excelled in claiming another best young rider classicisation win along with third overall to take any real or perceived pressure off the often understated giant killers.

    "We know this year is going to be tough but there really isn't any pressure to repeat last year’s results." said team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston

    "Budget Forklifts have recruited well and with new continental team African Wildlife Safaris coming on the scene it will be a much closer competition. Then you have the Drapac factor.

    "Continental teams are used to racing Pro-Conti teams at UCI level but for the NRS teams it not very fair. We've obviously managed to beat them a few times already this season so we aren't too...

  • UCI World Cycling Tour for 2014 unveiled

    The Ridge Hill Putnam Cycling Classic
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 5:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    More events added for the 2014 season

    The UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) returns in 2014 with two new events in Mexico City and Kuala Lumpur.

    While the classic European qualification venues in Italy, Belgium, Spain, France and Austria continue to increase international participation numbers every year, the other non-traditional European venues such as Greece and Denmark have been busy growing too. Whereas South Africa, Australia, Brazil and the USA continue to establish their events as great celebrations of international cycling. Maraton Franja (Ljubljana, Slovenia) will be the venue of both a qualifier event and the UCI Amateur Road World Championships.

    Also added in 2014 are the UWCT’s two early qualifier stage race events. Perth is the first one with a time trial, a traditional lap road race on and a new Granfondo style race spread over three consecutive days. A similar event will take place in Crete, which will play host to a stage race with a time trial and two road races. Leaders jerseys will be given to the leaders of the general classification and riders will also have the opportunity to skip one race day.

    One major change to the programme sees the combination of the two youngest age groups into one new 19-34 age group. The challenger class will cease to exist while all remaining age groups will continue to have the chance to compete for the official UCI rainbow jersey in August.

    For more information and a full list of events, click here.

  • Indurain scotches rumours of Team Alonso offer

    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 8:34 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Five-time Tour de France winner denies rumours he will work for new team

    Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain has denied that a story published in the Spanish press on Monday linking him to Fernando Alonso's new team is true.

    The article claimed that Indurain had received an offer from the team to join the management side of the squad currently under construction by the Formula 1 pilot and his manager.

    "I haven’t received an offer. That’s not correct," Indurain told Cyclingnews when contacted via telephone.

    Sources close to Alonso's team also told Cyclingnews that as far as they knew, although Indurain and Alonso had been friends for a long time, no offer had been made.

    There was considerable speculation on the internet about the alleged offer from Alonso's squad but Indurain said he was not aware of the rumours when Cyclingnews contacted him.

    Since he retired in 1996, Indurain has never held a managerial position in a team and although he has occasionally put in appearances as a guest of some squads at certain races. The GP Miguel Indurain, a race in Navarre, is held annually in his name and he has worked as a consultant for some newspapers in the past. However he has always preferred to quietly enjoy his life after racing.

    Although the rumour mill has been working overtime concerning Alonso's team and possible members of the line-up, so far the only confirmed signing has been Paolo Bettini as sporting manager. The squad is also said to have a sponsor from the Middle East for the next five years, but that story - together with contacts with some top names, including Peter Sagan - has yet to be given any real substance. So, too, are the rumours that the team may take over the Cannondale team to ensure it has a WorldTour licence and so automatic invitation to the 2015 Tour de France.

  • Kittel will not race Milan-San Remo

    Marcel Kittel takes victory on stage 4 of the Duabi Tour
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 9:19 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Team back Degenkolb for Italian Classic

    Team Giant-Shimano have confirmed that Marcel Kittel will not race Milan-San Remo later this month. The German sprinter, who won three stages at the inaugural Dubai Tour last month, has started the season in impressive form and with San Remo organisers forced to alter the race route, sprint rivals Mark Cavendish and André Greipel both confirmed their participations.

    John Degenkolb, who won three consectutive stages at the Tour de Méditerranéen last month will lead the team in Kittel’s absence. Degenkolb finished 5th in 2012 and 18th in last year’s weather-hit edition of the race.

    “Kittel will not ride. Degenkolb is our leader. We do not change the line-up,” a team spokesperson told Cyclingnews on Tuesday morning.

    RCS Sport, who organise several major Italian races, including Milan-San Remo and the Giro d’Italia looked set to include the five-kilometre long Pompeiana climb in this year’s route for the first time. The inclusion of the climb caused several sprinters to shy away from the race.

    However the Pompeiana was removed from the route last week due to concerns over safety and land slides. And with mid-race Le Manie climb already shelved, the race route returns to a flatter, more traditional profile, with only the Poggio and Cipressa featuring in the critical final section before San Remo.

  • Van Hummel: Langkawi victory was really important

    Kenny Van Hummel (Androni Giocattoli) before the start
    Article published:
    March 04, 2014, 10:20 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Dutch rider grateful for Savio's support

    Kenny van Hummel’s (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) victory on stage six of the Tour de Langkawi was more than just a win, it was repayment to his team boss Gianni Savio for his belief in the Dutch rider.

    When the Vacansoleil-DCM team folded at the end of last season, Van Hummel was all set to start afresh at the new Fernando Alonso team. However, it didn’t work out and he was left searching once again when Alonso decided not to proceed with his plans. With the market as terrible as it was the Dutch rider was left with the real possibility that he may have to call a premature end to his career. Savio stepped in and gave Van Hummel another chance, along with teammate Johnny Hoogerland, last November.

    An grateful Van Hummel said that the victory was, “really important. I am happy that they gave me this chance and that they gave me this spot in the team. I always want to win, but this is really special for me.”

    Van Hummel’s 23-year-old teammate Gianfranco Zilioli is eighth in the general classification. The team have been active in the breaks too, but Savio stated after the stage that they had decided to play it easy on this stage, to put all they could behind Van Hummel.

    “It was a chaotic sprint, but my team helped me a lot,” said Van Hummel at the finish. “I was in a good wheel first off, but it was really difficult to stay easy in the final because it was so chaotic. I had Omar Bartazzo and Carlos Ochoa who worked all day for me.”

    It has been an up and down race for Van Hummel. He has been knocking on the door with two top ten placings, but...