- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 09:46
- Cycling News
Says it wouldn't help a sprinter anyway
With great power comes great responsibility and new world champion Thor Hushovd is already facing more media attention, having recently been questioned on his stance on doping.
In an interview with his national press the sprinter said he had never used drugs, in or out of the sport. However he acknowledged that the problem exists, but added that doping would have a limited effect on his racing ability.
“I think overall that it has a greater effect on the riders who must be good every day for a long period of time, and who must consistently ride very fast. It's harder for them than it is, for example, for us sprinters,” he told the Norwegian website NRK Sport.
“I have never seen drugs in the cycling scene, and never in the evenings in the urban environment, so to speak,”
He did not deny the existence of doping with the sport or the society, though. “It's about what you want to achieve. If I wanted to dope in the cycling context, I would have found it, and if I wanted to dope to have more fun on the town - if it's possible - I would have certainly found the drugs there, too, of course," he said.
- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 10:12
- Barry Ryan
Pozzato says Gilbert didn't have the legs to go clear
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) failed to make his expected impact at Sunday’s Paris-Tours and he apportioned much of the blame to Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) on crossing the finish line. Pozzato last week drew the ire of the Belgian team for his conservative tactics in the finale of the world championships road race and he was again in the firing line after the French classic.
Gilbert attempted to attack on the Côte de l’Epan on the run-in to Tours but said that he stopped once it became apparent that Pozzato was marking him tightly.
“I relented as soon as I saw that Pozzato was staying on my wheel,” Gilbert told La Derniére Heure at the finish. “It needs to be said, that’s his way of riding. All he does is try to make the favourites lose. He did that for two years in the classics with Boonen and now I’m his target.”
Pozzato was quick to pour cold water on Gilbert’s assertions and felt that the Belgian was merely looking for excuses after failing to take a third successive win at Paris-Tours in spite of his impressive recent form.
“I respect his statement, but maybe he should be a bit more honest,” Pozzato said to Gazzetta dello Sport. “I think that he didn’t have the legs, like me.”
Last week it was Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) who criticised Pozzato’s failure to seize the initiative in Geelong and indeed last season, the Italian admitted that he is often too ponderous at the business end of races. “Opportunities kept passing me by because I’d be there turning it over 100 times in my head before reacting, and the chance would be gone,” Pozzato confessed to Procycling in 2009.
For his part, Gilbert took some consolation from his Paris-Tours as it confirmed that he was recovering well from his journey back from Australia. “The effects of the time lag had some bizarre effects on me all day,” he said. “At the start I felt good, and then I went through highs and lows: less good, better, very bad 60km from the finish, then super again in the finale. But frankly, physically and mentally, I was very good.”
After failing to shake off Pozzato on the Còte de l’Eclan, Gilbert didn’t see the need to take any risks in the sprint, won by Oscar Freire (Rabobank). “In this kind of finish, I’m not capable of touching the sprinters,” he explained. “I wouldn’t take risks to finish sixth or tenth.”
The Belgian has been in fine form in recent weeks, as demonstrated by his stunning Vuelta a España performance and his daring raid on the final lap of the world championships road race. Last season, he won both the Tour of Piedmont and the Tour of Lombardy, and Gilbert is again looking to end his season on a high note in northern Italy.
“There are two beautiful races left,” Gilbert said. “I hope to win at least one of them. I know that the finale in Lombardy has also changed [like Paris-Tours]. It’s harder, so I’ll go and reconnoitre it on Friday.”
- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 10:34
- Richard Tyler
Pens one-year deal with Bruyneel's American team
Philip Deignan has confirmed a one-year contract with RadioShack for 2011, according to sources close to the Irish rider.
Deignan had been left without a team for next year following the the sudden announcement in September that the men's Cervélo TestTeam will disband at the end of this season.
A solid climber, he will likely bolster the US ProTour team's stage-race prospects. Deignan is yet to compete at the Tour de France, but has raced both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. He claimed his first professional victory with victory on stage 18 at the 2009 Vuelta a España into Avila. He also finished ninth overall at the race, the first Irishman to make the top-ten of a Grand Tour since Stephen Roche’s ninth-place finish at the 1993 Giro d'Italia.
Deignan has struggled to build on that performance this year, with illness affecting him through much of 2010 and forcing him to withdraw from this year's Vuelta a España on stage 11. He told Cyclingnews last month that he had been negotiating with several squads after getting word that Cervélo TestTeam would fold.
His deal with RadioShack marks a return to the ProTour for the 27-year-old. He commenced his professional career in 2005 with French outfit AG2R Prévoyance, who joined the ProTour in 2006. He left that team at the end of 2008 for Cervélo, with whom he had signed a two-year contract. With RadioShack's sponsorship only assured until the end of 2011, Deignan was only able to secure a one-year deal with the squad.
Deignan joins Portugal's Manuel Cardoso, the US's Ben King, Pole Michal Kwiatkowski and New Zealand's Jesse Sergent as the riders so far confirmed to join RadioShack for 2011.
- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 10:49
- Cycling News
Gaining form and confidence for coming season
Tom Boonen is going into his last race of the season on Tuesday satisfied with his return to racing after major knee surgery. Knee problems kept the Quick Step rider out of racing for over three months, and he is pleased simply to be back racing.
His first race back after surgery in July was the Circuit Franco-Belge. He did not participate in any of the sprint finishes and was in 99th place overall when he abandoned on the last stage.
In Sunday's Paris-Tours he was 136th, finishing more than seven minutes behind winner Oscar Freire of Rabobank. But the former world champion was not upset with that result.
"The result is of secondary importance,” he told the Belgian website Sportwereld. “This was much better than I had expected after Franco-Belge. I can take that into the winter.” Boonen added that realizing that he can ride again after the surgery “is good for my body in looking forward to 2011.”
Boonen did well for much of the race. “'Up to ten kilometres from the finish I was still there. I was even at the head of the pack when Geoffroy Lequatre took off.” But that was it. “The battery was flat. It wasn't surprising after a very long rehabilitation. Races at this level do not lie, even if your name is Tom Boonen. There are no miracles."
"I'm very pleased with my day," he concluded. "At the end my left knee began to pull a little bit. But that seems normal."
His last race of the season will be the Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen in Belgium on Tuesday.
- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 11:07
- Cycling News
Rabobank rider returns home to hospitalised father
Robert Gesink (Rabobank), one of the favourites for Tour of Lombardy victory this coming weekend, has had to withdraw from the race. His team announced on Monday that Gesink was returning to the Netherlands as his father is in hospital after a riding accident.
On Saturday, Gesink won the GP Emilia for the second year in a row, marking him out as a serious contender to win the season's final classic on Saturday. However, his father crashed seriously in the Bart Brentjens Classic mountain bike race in the Netherlands on Sunday, and is in hospital in Maastricht. “After Gesink had been informed of the incident, he decided to return to the Netherlands directly from Italy,” a Rabobank statement said.
On Monday morning Gesink decided to remain in the Netherlands and not to return to Italy for the race next weekend.
It was not known how the crash happened. Gesink's father was found in a field by a friend, and was taken by helicopter to hospital. Rabobank directeur sportif Frans Maassen told the Dagblad de Limburger that the senior Gesink's condition was “very serious.”
- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 15:21
- Peter Hymas
Kirk O'Bee's ban gives 2007 national title to silver medalist
Shawn Milne was named 2007 professional men's criterium champion by USA Cycling as a result of Kirk O'Bee's recent lifetime ban from competition by the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA). All of O'Bee's results from October 3, 2005, to July 29, 2009, have been nullified, including his 2007 professional criterium championship.
Canada's Martin Gilbert was the first rider across the finish line at the 2007 USPRO criterium championship in Downer's Grove, Illinois, while Health Net p/b Maxxis teammates O'Bee and Milne finished second and third. As first American across the finish line, O'Bee was awarded the US national championship and Milne claimed the silver medal.
It's been a time of mixed emotions for the 28-year-old Milne, who now finds himself a national champion more than three years after the fact. "A lot of people have been really excited for me and exuberant, but I don't think it changes much in my world now," Milne told Cyclingnews. "It's weird to think about because it's not like I get to celebrate. I personally think of it as kind of an asterisk but at the same time they're sending me a jersey and I'll now be known as a US champion and that's pretty cool to think about."
While Milne will be recognized as the national champion in the record books, he's been denied the chance to feel the full benefit of the title, particularly wearing the stars-and-stripes jersey in competition.
"That's always the biggest pull of winning a national championship in cycling is you get the attention for an entire year," said Milne. "People have talked to me and said that it's so unfortunate that it's worked out this way, but back at that race I did my job perfectly."
Milne played the consummate team player role to perfection in the championship race in 2007 for his teammate O'Bee and Milne is pragmatic about contemplating an alternate scenario to the race.
"For him to not be there doesn't mean I automatically would have won," said Milne. "He was my teammate at the time so my job was to watch his wheel, and I did it perfectly and beat everyone else other than my teammate. So there's no regrets there because I did achieve my goal for the day.
"Our plan that day was to have two lead-outs. Because it was raining it was too chaotic to have a full squad on the front so we had a mini lead-out for him (O'Bee) and a mini lead-out for me. He had our best lead-out guy, Karl Menzies, and so it was just knowing that he was option number one and I was option number two.
"In the perfect world, which is actually what happened, Menzies led him out with me on his wheel. Somehow he (O'Bee) let Martin [Gilbert] in there, he shouldn't have and I don't know how he got there. It ended up being Menzies, Martin Gilbert, Kirk and then me into the final corner.
"My option would be to try to pick a different line through that corner and hope to come out with a ton more speed or just sit and watch. I didn't want to try to shoot the inside and then wash-out, take out my teammate and have a guaranteed win for the team end up with two of us sitting in the corner. So I tried to swing really wide and come out with a lot of speed and that ended up being the slower line and that's how I came in a couple of bike lengths behind."
Milne has been a professional for six years, the last three spent with the US Continental Team Type 1 squad. The team has not renewed Milne's contract for 2011, and he's currently looking for a new team for next season.
"I'm still looking and hoping a couple of things will open up," said Milne. "Who knows, maybe this [national championship] will help?"
With the road season over, Milne is currently competing on the cyclo-cross circuit. "I live really close to Tim Johnson and Jesse Anthony and they've successfully sucked me into the fall season, just doing the New England thing," said Milne. "I've had a really slow road season so I figured I'd keep going a little bit in 'cross just for the fun of it."
With Kirk O'Bee's 2007 criterium championship nullified, the new American medalists are Shawn Milne, first; Alex Candelario, second; and Tony Cruz, third.
- Article published:
- October 11, 2010, 17:35
- Cycling News
Mastermind behind Austrian blood doping scheme, including Kohl
Stefan Matschiner has been sentenced to fifteen months prison for violation of Austria's anti-doping laws. Fourteen months of the term are suspended, and his time already served covers the other month.
Matschiner was Bernhard Kohl's manager and helped Kohl and others undergo blood doping. At first the doping was carried out through a Vienna blood bank, and later through equipment which Kohl and other athletes financed. Kohl is serving a life-time ban after having tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.
Judge Martina Spreitzer-Kropiunik found him guilty of attempted blood doping and the distribution of illegal doping products.
The trial had come down to a question of whether Matschiner had participated in the doping scheme after August 2008, when Austria's anti-doping law went into effect. Kohl testified at the trial that he received a transfusion from Matschiner in September 2008, which the manager denied.
Before the verdict was announced, Matschiner said he was happy to have the trial over, and that he would never be involved in the sports business again. “I will never come back, because it is so disgusting. Rather, I am happy that it has happened and that I can finish it off. This chapter is closed for me,” he said, according to ORF.at.
- Article published:
- October 12, 2010, 02:44
- Richard Tyler
Commonwealth Games performance a sign of Australian track resurgence
Cameron Meyer believes Australia's dominant performance at the Delhi Commonwealth Games is a signal that the nation will be able to challenge Britain's position as the top Olympic Games track cycling team at the London Olympics in 2012.
Meyer himself claimed three of the 12 gold medals awarded to Australians on the track in Delhi and told Cyclingnews that the team's performance as a whole showed that they are on course for a strong showing in two years' time.
"Obviously in Beijing the British team were the strong nation and they've really stamped their authority as the number one track cycling team. But over the last two years' world championships the Australian team has really come back into form," he said. "We've got a lot of young riders who've really shown maturity with the results that they're achieving.
"I think when we get to London in two years' time it's going to be a closer contest between the Australian and British teams," he added. "I think we've shown we'll be one of the favourites and hopefully we can really take it up to the Brits."
Meyer took gold in both the men's points and scratch races, and joined Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn and Dale Parker to win the men's 4000m team pursuit. The latter was achieved with a time of 3:55.421, a new Commonwealth record and the fastest time in history by an Australian quartet. He then completed a busy programme by joining the Australian men's team for the road race on Sunday, an event won by teammate Allan Davis.
"I got more than what I expected out of the competition. My main aim going in was the points race and I achieved that, then to top it off with the fastest time by an Aussie team in the team pursuit was unbelievable, and the scratch race on top of that was an added bonus. I couldn't ask for much more," he said.
Meyer said the decision by a number of Great Britain's top track riders to forgo the Commonwealth games hadn't disrupted Australia's expectations at the event. British Olympic gold medallists Sir Chris Hoy (Scotland) and Victoria Pendleton (England) announced in July that they would instead attend the European championships in November, while Team Sky rider and British pursuit star Geraint Thomas (Wales) withdrew citing fears over Dengue fever.
"It was a little bit disappointing and to be honest there was a little bit of anxiety at the start of the championships, thinking 'oh, they're pulling out, should we pull out as well?' But the Aussie team stayed really focused and we had a goal of coming here and performing at our best," he said. "At the end of the day, we just had to stay focused on our performance. We did that and it showed in the results. We're very pleased that we came here and with what we've done."
Maturity the key for London 2012
At 22, Meyer matches the average age of the Australian track team at the Commonwealth Games, yet he represents one of the more experienced members of the track squad. He finished fourth in the points race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and this year defended his 2009 points race world championship in Denmark, as well as pairing with Leigh Howard to add the Madison world title to his palmares.
"I think it's really important to get that feel here at a smaller games for what the Olympics are," said Meyer of the role that the Delhi games play in the lead-up to London. "We're quite a young Australian team and a lot of the riders hadn't been to a Games before. For them to get the feel for what a Games is about; the media exposure and racing in front of a lot of people back home in Australia will help them get some idea of what the Olympics will be like. To get the success they did here, I think that will really help them to settle in in London in two years' time."
With the points race and Madison both stripped from the Olympic track programme for 2012, Meyer said the team pursuit will be treated as the marquee endurance event. He was also part of the Australian squad that broke a three-year drought for the nation in the team pursuit at this year's world championships, relegating Great Britain to second place.
"Obviously the programme here [at the Commonwealth Games] was a little bit different to what it will be in London. Especially for me, as my events the points race and the Madison have been taken out, which is a bit sad. But with the results we've had with the team pursuit at the world championships and now here, the guys' focus is really about London. It's not that far away and we've got to keep everything rolling in the right direction and really stay motivated."
Garmin help Meyer stay on track
Meyer confirmed that he will continue to juggle his track objectives with those of his professional road team, Garmin-Slipstream. He will fit into the Garmin-Cervélo for next season and said the team has remained supportive throughout his first two years with the squad, which also home to his brother Travis and team pursuit teammate Bobridge.
"I have a contract with Garmin-Cervélo next year, but it ends at the end of 2011, so in terms of 2012 I don't know exactly where I will be. But Cycling Australia's high performance program and Garmin have a good relationship, and we work out the best way to please both parties in terms of the track and the road," he said.
"Garmin have been really good to me and allowed me to follow my track ambitions while I'm still young in my career. Heading towards London I'm sure they're still happy for me to continue with whatever I need to to be prepared enough for the track in London; everything's working well so far."