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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Date published:
November 06, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Obree calls the UCI a chum-ocracy

    Article published:
    November 05, 2012, 12:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Scotsman recalls his refusal to dope after breaking the hour record

    Graeme Obree has called for change at the UCI, suggesting that the international governing body of cycling should be reformed with far more involvement from sponsors, teams and the riders.

    Speaking to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, the former hour record holder and cycling maverick described the current structure of cycling's international governing body as a chum-ocracy.

    Several leading media including The Times, L'Equipe and Gazzetta dello Sport have drawn up a manifesto for credible cycling, which includes a "cycling summit" before the start of the 2013 season in order to define the new organization and new rules. Obree agrees.

    “Is it possible? I don’t know. But cycling can never go back to the way it was. This is the moment it has to change,” Obree said.

    “The problem we have is that it’s not a democratic organisation, it’s autocratic, it’s almost an old boy’s network. A chum-ocracy."

    “The Rabobank situation is interesting. They’ve been in the sport for 17 years, but they’re pulling out. They think professional road cycling doesn’t have the wherewithal to guarantee there won’t be any more scandals. They don’t trust the people at the top. I’m surprised professional teams aren’t going on strike, but then cycling is like an overgrown village where everybody knows everybody else and people aspire to get up the ranks and you [do that] by hanging out with the guys who are at the top. If you start trouble you’re not getting up the ranks with the UCI."

    Obree recalled his own contests with the UCI. Under the tutelage and direction of Verbuggen, the UCI disqualified Obree from the 1994 track...

  • Riis under pressure after further Hamilton revelations

    Bjarne Riis has attracted a new sponsor to his squad.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2012, 15:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Team CSC rider insists Riis knew Dr Fuentes

    Bjarne Riis is under huge pressure about his links with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and the use of blood doping at his team after further damning revelations by Tyler Hamilton.

    Riis confessed to doping during his own career but has always denied knowing Dr. Fuentes while in charge of Team CSC and Saxo Bank. Hamilton claimed Riis introduced him to Fuentes is his autobiography "The Secret Race" and reiterated those claims on Sunday night in a television interview in Denmark to launch the Danish version of the book.

    "Riis knew all about what I was doing with Fuentes. He wanted to know everything. And it was he who introduced me to Eufemiano Fuentes and gave me the contact information for him," Hamilton told DR.

    In August, Riis flatly denied Hamilton's claims to the Ritzau news agency, saying, "I can absolutely deny that this is the case. It is simply not true. I do not know Fuentes. I have never met him.”

    After showing the scare tissue covering the veins of his left forearm on television -saying they remind him that he was a liar, Hamilton insisted Riis and Fuentes had met in 2002 and claimed that the enigmatic Danish team manager –who will again work with Alberto Contador in 2013, knew all about Hamilton's doping strategy.

    "They have met," Hamilton said.

    "I remember an episode from 2002 - I think it was in April - when Fuentes, Bjarne and I were in the same hotel room in Spain. I can still remember how the hotel looked. Bjarne wanted to meet him, but afterwards Fuentes a bit angry that Bjarne had come with me. I think Fuentes wanted to keep it as private as possible."

    "Every time we saw each other for races or training camps, we talked about it [doping]. But never in front of others. We kept it to ourselves. We also tried not to talk about it on the phone, it was hard at times, when the police began to become interested."

    Hamilton accused Riis but also praised him, insisting he should...

  • UCI to investigate Vinokourov's Liege-Bastogne-Liege victory

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2012, 17:37 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Teams and riders could be punished for illegal pay-off

    The UCI has confirmed to Cyclingnews that it will open an official investigation into Alexandre Vinokourov's victory at the 2010 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege after details of payments to Alexandr Kolobnev were revealed by the Italian police investigation into Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    The allegations of Vinokourov paying off the Russian so he could secure victory in the Ardennes classic after returning from a ban for blood doping were first published by the L'illustre newspaper in Switzerland in 2011. Vinokourov and Kolobnev rubbished the accusations at the time and the UCI refused to open an investigation due to a lack of proof.

    Now clear evidence from the Padua investigation has landed at the UCI headquarters, forcing the UCI to act.

    "The UCI confirms it has received the part of the Padua police investigation dossier regarding the doubts about Alexandre Vinokourov's victory at the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege," a UCI spokesman told Cyclingnews.

    "The UCI has always treated this kind of problem extremely seriously but when the matter first arose following a report in the L'illustre newspaper, there was insufficient evidence to open an investigation. Today, after receiving the information contained in the dossier from Padua, the UCI has decided to open an official investigation. Vinokourov and Kolobnev have been informed and asked to say when they can travel to Aigle so that they respond to the accusations."

    On Saturday the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper published details of the Padua investigation into Vinokourov's victory, including the email exchange between the two riders about payments and bank details. Both riders are also alleged to be clients of Dr. Ferrari, with details of Vinokourov's payments to the...

  • Tour of Poland to start in Italy in 2013

    2012 Tour of Poland champion Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale), flanked by runner-up Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and third-placed Sergio Henao (Sky)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2012, 18:47 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Eastern Europe's premier race to feature two stages in Trentino

    The Tour of Poland 2013 will start with two stages in Italy next July, the first time it has kicked off so far from the country's borders since eastern Europe's premier event started back in 1928.

    Starts such a long way from the host nation for a cycling tour are fairly normal for three-week events, but given the logistical implications are virtually an unprecedented move for a week-long stage race.

    The eight day event will start with two stages in the Trentino region - where a local company, Trentino Marketing is one of the race sponsors of the Tour of Poland - before returning to the southern city of Krakow inside Poland. where the third stage begins.

    "To celebrate this important milestone the organisers have decided to start off from Italy, a country that we consider a close friend," a press release said on Monday. Apart from the close sponsor links with the Trentino regions, historically Italians have always shone in the Polish event: this year's race was won by an Italian, Moreno Moser and curiously enough it's first ever non-Polish winner was also an Italian - Francesco Locatelli back in 1949.

    After a year in which Poland began much earlier than usual, running from July 10th - 16th because of the Olympic Games, in 2013 it will begin on July 27th and finish on August 3rd. More details will be released in a press conference on Wednesday in Krakow.

  • Greipel ready to back up "best ever" season

    Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) wins stage 13 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    November 05, 2012, 23:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sprinter begins 2013 preparation

    When André Greipel began his 2012 season with a bang in Australia, taking out the Down Under Classic in Adelaide in emphatic form, his explanation to reporters was: "We didn't sleep in the winter." Now, heading into 2013, Greipel has begun his training for the new season.

    The Lotto Belisol sprinter calls 2012 his "best ever" season in an interview published by

    After his win in the Down Under Classic, Greipel, with new sprint train in tow won three stages at the Tour Down Under before winning a further two next up in Oman. A stage at the Presidential Tour of Turkey was ticked off, before a dominant showing at the Ronde van België - strategically important for the team. Wins in Luxembourg, Berlin and Ster ZLM Toer followed before Greipel claimed three stages at the Tour de France in his debut at the grand boucle.

    The 30-year-old wasn't at the Tour presentation last month in Paris but he has taken note of the seven suspected sprint stages on offer in 2013.

    "There is speculation about a bunch sprint in the first stage, so the winner could win the yellow jersey, but considering the difficulty of the Criterium International, which also takes place in Corsica, it is not clear that they will finish with a sprint," said Greipel. "But if so, of course we will be present."

    Greipel's winning run continued all the way through September, a feat that he is quite proud of.

    "I'm very satisfied because my victories are well distributed throughout the year," he explained. "As a team, we were present at all times and we take our responsibility for each race. Now we need to set new goals. Since last week I've started to build towards 2013."

    Greipel's training schedule begins with cyclo-cross and mountain bike before concentrating on teamwork with his lead out...

  • Independence critical for clean sport, says Tygart

    USADA chief Travis Tygart (R) shakes hands with Senator Arlen Specter at a 2009 hearing in Washington, DC about screening dietary supplements for illegal steroids.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2012, 0:07 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Agencies, doping controls and UCI investigation must be impartial

    Although the lifetime ban and disqualification of the results of Lance Armstrong is now secure, USADA CEO Travis Tygart's work is not nearly done. The arbitration cases for Johan Bruyneel and Jose "Pepe" Martí are still pending, so there may be more details to emerge from the seedy tale of cycling's doping culture. After unearthing the disturbing truths, Tygart sees independent organisations such as his as the only way forward for the sport.

    At the same time as the International Cycling Union was turning its back on whistle-blowers such as Jörg Jaksche, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, USADA was taking notes, taking them seriously and investigating the allegations. Why the UCI failed to do so sooner was due to what Tygart calls the inherent conflict of interest or "fox guarding the henhouse" that is key to cycling's problems.

    In fact, if one precedent is established by the Armstrong case, Tyargt hopes it is that clean athletes have greater faith in the anti-doping establishment, and trust that "they're not going to turn a blind eye, regardless of how powerful or influential those who broke the rules may be," Tygart told Cyclingnews.

    Compare that with the actions of the UCI, of which Tygart would only say, "they speak louder than words".

    "Back in August, they were arguing and telling everybody we were on a witch hunt. They had no idea what the evidence was, but they sued Floyd ... they've called the whistle-blowers scum bags. Those certainly aren't the actions you would take if you truly wanted to move your sport in the right direction on this topic."

    Splitting anti-doping from UCI not necessary

    There have been those who have called for cycling to create its own independent anti-doping agency in...

  • The Oceania Confederation website: a grass-roots protest against the UCI

    Shane Miller
    Article published:
    November 06, 2012, 3:08 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Without the vote, a club cyclist has his say

    The recent acquisition of the official website of the Oceania Confederation, as listed by the UCI, is one man's personal picket line.

    Last Friday, Cycling Australia and Bike NZ announced that they were withdrawing their support of the confederation's incumbent President, Mike Turtur. For Victorian club-level cyclist Shane Miller, who has a background in IT security, the announcement resulted in the question: 'what do these guys do?' Miller has been involved in cycling for a while and competes in masters events with some success, but apart from the Oceania Championships, he was curious as to what the Confederation had control of.

    Some digging around on the internet, including the UCI website resulted in Miller finding the domain, which had actually expired as of January 12, 2010. Millar took the opportunity to register it.

    "Forty-nine dollars for two years," he told Cyclingnews of the cost associated with the registration. "It's some cheap laughs."

    Miller was not just satisfied in taking ownership of the domain. He also set up a re-direct to the Paul Kimmage Defense Fund, but more on that shortly.

    Much has been made of the fact that the website had lapsed. Cyclingnews set about finding out how the situation had been allowed to occur in the first place. Turtur told Cyclingnews that he was not aware of the details and we were directed to the Confederation's Secretary General, Graham Sycamore.

    "We've never had one, to be frank," the New Zealander told Cyclingnews. "There was one there but we don't know who did it. It was a load of rubbish, it had countries on it that were not even members

    "We looked a few years ago at doing one but the costs outweighed...

  • Blain finds new home at Raleigh in 2013

    Alexandre Blain (Endura Racing) on the attack.
    Article published:
    November 06, 2012, 5:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman missed contract renewal after NetApp-Endura merger

    Former Endura rider Alexandre Blain will ride for the Continental registered Raleigh-GAC squad for the coming 2013 season. Blain missed out on having his contract extended with his Endura team when it announced a merger with the Professional Continental NetApp outfit.

    Blain moves to Raleigh after three seasons with Endura where he scored a number of professional victories. His most recent was at the 2.2 Rutland-Meltan Classic in April this year while his 2011 Tour de Normandie stage victory and overall classification win is his biggest to date.

    The 31-year-old brings an added level of experience to a youthful Raleigh team that will hope to receive invites to some of the bigger races later in the year. Blain is charged with securing results in the opening season events while also guiding the younger riders to achieve results.

    "Signing for Team Raleigh brings new goals for me for the 2013 season," said Blain.

    The development project that Cherie [Pridham, Raleigh team manager] proposed looks really interesting and I'm looking forward to helping the team achieve its goals."

    Blain turned professional with Cofidis in 2008 and spent two seasons with the French team before moving to Endura. He will join a number of riders including Elite Series Circuit Champion Graham Briggs and the talented Russell Hampton who have re-signed with the UK team. Blain will look to guide second-year recruits like 19-year-old Matt Holmes who will again ride for the team in 2013.

    "My experience will help the younger riders on the squad develop their potential as bike riders and ensure we all work together to secure race victories.

    "My early season goals are to ride well in UCI 2.1 stage races where the...