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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Date published:
October 15, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Di Luca facing life ban after EPO positive

    Danilo Di Luca was a late addition to the Vini Fantini team
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 14:22 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    No leniency from Italian anti-doping investigators

    Italian anti-doping investigators have requested that Danilo Di Luca is given a life ban for his positive test for EPO that emerged during this year's Giro d'Italia.

    The Italian Procura Anti-doping has judged that Di Luca violated article 2.1 of the WADA code, testing positive for EPO in an out of competition test ordered by the UCI.

    The former Vini Fantini-Selle Italia rider has already been banned for using the blood boosting drug CERA in 2009 and for his involvement in the Oil for Drugs investigation and his links with Dr. Carlo Santuccione.

    The 37 year-old Italian tested positive for EPO on April 29, just days after he joined the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team and a few days before the start of the Giro d'Italia. The Tuscan team signed Di Luca after pressure from Vini Fantini, which is based near Di Luca home in the Abruzzo region. The team also signed Mauro Santambrogio after he left the BMC team. He tested positive during the Giro d'Italia after winning a stage.

    The Italian Procura Anti-doping also called for Di Luca's results after his anti-doping test be declared invalid. He finished in the top ten four times during the Giro d'Italia before quitting the race in shame on the morning of stage 20.

    Di Luca's 2009 ban was reduced from two years to nine months after he helped investigators with information about doping. The Procura offered little leniency this time.



  • Martin satisfied with second at the Tour of Beijing

    Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 15:07 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Garmin-Sharp rider to target the Giro d'Italia in 2014

    Dan Martin is set to end the season on a high, after an aggressive performance on the mountain stage of the Tour of Beijing that has set him up for second place overall.

    Martin finished second to Beñat Intxausti on the queen stage to Mentougou Miaofeng, just failing to catch the Movistar rider before the finish. His ride moved him into second in the general classification, 10 seconds behind Intxausti.

    “We’ll try to keep the place in the GC and if we can hold onto that then it would be a nice way to end the year,” Martin told Cyclingnews at the finish of stage four.

    The 2013 season has been a bumper one for Martin, with victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and his first Tour de France stage win. He also claimed the general classification at the Volta a Catalunya in March. If he holds onto the second place at the Tour of Beijing, he will jump to sixth in the UCI WorldTour rankings, just behind Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali.

    Martin went into the penultimate day as one of the favourites for the stage victory. The peloton was all together as they hit the foot of the climb up to the finish, with the high pace set by Belkin saw plenty of riders quickly dropped, including race leader Nacer Bouhanni. Martin came agonisingly close to the victory, but seemed to fade after making his late pursuit of Intxausti.

    “It was pretty much the big chain ring the whole way and the small chain ring in places, but it was so fast,” explained Martin.

    “I tried to stay as calm as possible, but Beñat got a bit too much of a gap. I got closer and closer and I thought I had him for about two seconds. Just as I was about to reach him he kicked and I just died, I couldn’t pedal any more....

  • Intxausti set to end the season with Beijing victory

    Benat Intxausti (Movistar)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 17:08 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Movistar miss out on WorldTour team ranking victory

    Beñat Intxausti took his second victory of the season on the queen stage of the Tour of Beijing continuing Movistar's excellent season, and setting up overall victory in the last WorldTour race of the 2103 season.

    The Spaniard rider rode away from the pack on the final climb of the day, after several efforts, including one from his teammate and new world champion Costa. At one stage it looked like he might be caught by Dan Martin, but a classy second spurt of energy to the line put him beyond reach of the chasing Garmin-Sharp rider.

    “I am really happy,” Intxausti said after the stage. “It was a very close finish. I could see Daniel Martin was very close to me. I went full gas to the end so I could raise my hands with enough time. This has been a really good year, with the Giro. The Vuelta wasn’t so good but, with this, I am ending the year very well.”

    The stage victory moved Intxausti into the lead of the general classification, 10 seconds ahead of Martin, with just the final circuit stage in the centre of Beijing remaining. The final stage is a flat 117km ride through central Beijing, starting in Tiananmen Square and finishing with 12 circuits around the Olympic Bird’s Nest Stadium.

    “I am very happy to take the stage and take the leader’s jersey as well,” said the Movistar rider.

    “At the start of the day the plan was (to ride) for Rui Costa and for me, so we had both options. We were both feeling good. In the last two kilometres, I tried to attack so that I could win the stage. Also, we worked hard to take the bonifications, because
    they were also important. With myself and Rui Costa, we had two chances to win the...

  • Di Gregorio wins court case over Cofidis

    Rémy Di Grégorio at the courthouse in Marseille where he was questioned about alleged doping activities.
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 19:32 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    French climber wants to come back in pro ranks

    Rémi Di Gregorio has won his case against his former employer Cofidis before the labor relation board of Marseille that has ruled in the favor of the rider who was kicked out of the 2012 Tour de France for receiving a parcel containing a kit to inject glucose. The court stated it was a breach of contract as the stage winner of Paris-Nice in 2011 (with Astana) was firstly suspended and later fired by the Cofidis team.

    Such a decision was highly expected, also by the management of Cofidis, after Di Gregorio was partially cleared by French justice on April 8 this year. Relation board often rules in favor of employees in France, unless there are strong evidences of wrongdoing. Judges considered that Cofidis hasn't demonstrated any strong offense made by Di Gregorio and has ruined his reputation.

    "He might have increased his value during the Tour de France, had Cofidis supported him instead of taking action against him without any evidence as they tried to manage the media and the public opinion," wrote the court.

    Cofidis has been sentenced to pay "significant damages" to Di Gregorio, according to the rider's lawyer Fabienne Bendayan-Chetrit, who agreed with her client to not disclose the amount. She added that negotiations were ongoing for a comeback in a French professional team.

    Di Gregorio, 28, visited the Tour de France at the start of stage 6 in Aix-en-Provence to try and meet team managers and discuss his future. As he returned to racing with amateur club Team Martigues SC-Vivelo, he won the 2.2 Tour of Bulgaria in September.

    Cyclingnews understands that Continental team La Pomme Marseille might be his next destination. This is the club of his town he rode for...

  • Demare and Bouhanni make 2013 a successful season for

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ) wins stage 2 of the Eneco Tour
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 20:50 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Young French sprinters could both ride the Tour de France in 2014

    The team has enjoyed one of its best seasons in 2013 thanks to the double-digit success of sprinters Arnaud Demare and Nacer Bouhanni, with team manager Marc Madiot confident things can only get better in 2014 as both sprinters mature and improve.

    The French squad has won a total of 33 races this season, with only Team Sky (35), Cannondale (36) and Omega Pharma-Quick Step (53) doing better.

    Bouhanni has won 11 races so far this season and could take another on the final day of the Tour of Beijing on Tuesday, while Demare ended his season with ten victories and third place in Sunday's Paris-Tours behind John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

    Demare was 22 in August, while Bouhanni turned 23 on July 25. Like Argos-Shimano does with Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel, the team management carefully alternates the objectives between Bouhanni and Demare.

    "They're not similar. Nacer is always up for a sprint, while Arnaud is more of a guy suited to setting objectives and goals," Madiot said to L'Equipe after seeing Demare in action at Paris-Tours.

    Bouhanni is more of a pure sprinter who has the speed and instinct to win. He proved that at the Tour of Beijing by coming from behind in the final hundred metres of the sprint. When a gap opened along the barriers he did not hesitate and accelerated to his second victory.

    Demare showed he is more than just a sprinter by going with the attacks in the finale of Paris-Tours.

    "I went because Paris-Tours doesn't always end in sprint. I don’t think it cost me very much. I felt stronger and still fresh in the sprint," he said.

    Madiot confirmed that Demare will test his sprinting and Classics skills much more in 2014. "Next year...

  • Jonathan Tiernan-Locke granted extension by UCI

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 23:06 BST
    Cycling News

    More time allowed to explain irregular blood values

    British newspaper, The Telegraph, are reporting that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky) has been granted an extension by the UCI in his bid to explain irregular blood values in the case brought against him.

    News of the case against Tiernan-Locke broke on September 29 after a story by David Walsh in the Sunday Times went to press, but it is believed that Tiernan-Locke's withdrawal from the British team to race the road race at the World Championships in Florence is much closer to the actual date that the Briton learned of the case against him.

    With his withdrawal coming on September 26, that makes Tuesday October 20 the last day in the standard 20-day deadline for Tiernan-Locke to provide his explanation, it is possible however, that the true deadline has already passed. Tiernan-Locke's manager, Andrew McQuaid, had previously stated that he was "extremely confident [that] once we present our answers the matter will be closed," and with the extension reportedly granted, Tiernan-Locke now has more time to put his case together.

    Team Sky quickly sought to distance themselves from the saga once the confidential process was made public, insinuating that during the late 2012 period for which Tiernan-Locke is being questioned, he was answerable to his former Endura team only.

    Given Team Sky's strict zero tolerance stance on doping, the apparent abrogation of responsibility in the Tiernan-Locke case is not unexpected. It has been drawn into question, nonetheless, after Tiernan-Locke's former manager at Endura, Brian Smith,

  • Argos-Shimano extends contracts of five young riders

    The Argos-Shimano team
    Article published:
    October 15, 2013, 1:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Ludvigsson, Preidler, Sinkeldam, Mezgec and Damuseau remain on-board

    Team Argos-Shimano announced on Monday the re-signing of five riders for the 2014 season. Tobias Ludvigsson, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam, Luka Mezgec and Thomas Damuseau all extended their contracts with the Dutch team. General manager Iwan Spekenbrink and director Rudi Kemna expressed their delight and commented that the contract extensions highlighted the team's commitment to helping develop young riders.

    "We are very happy with the extension of the contracts of these talented riders," said Spekenbrink. "As these riders represent what our organization is all about: developing young riders into world-class specialists. It is crucial to enter into a long-term commitment in order to see them progress further and contribute to the team's success"

    Ludvigsson had his best results early in the season when won the best young rider’s jersey at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and finished second overall. He soon followed this with a third-place finish on the general classification and another best young rider’s jersey at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire.

    "Tobias has made some big steps in his development as a GC rider and showed this with strong results in races like the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen this year" said Kemna.

    Sinkeldam had a particularly strong 4 Jours de Dunkerque/Tour du Nord-Pas-de-Calais where he finished on the podium during the first three stages. His consistency was rewarded with third on the overall classification and second in both the best young rider and points classification.

    Kemna, however, was most impressed at the 24-year-old's 2013 Paris-Roubaix campaign where he finished 25th, just over three minutes down on Fabian Cancellara. Sinkeldam made his first attempt at Roubaix in 2012 in his first year with Argos Shimano, the year previous he won the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs race...

  • David Millar to retire at end of 2014

    Stage 12 winner David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) on the podium.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2013, 1:57 BST
    Cycling News

    17-year career to come to a close

    David Millar (Garmin Sharp) has announced his retirement from professional cycling in an interview with Dutch Cycling magazine Wieler Revue. Having relaunched his career in 2007 with Saunier Duval on the return from a doping suspension, Millar moved to Garmin-Chipotle the following season and is now set to close out his career -as well as his seventh season with Jonathan Vaughter's squad- at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

    Having previously hinted that the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year could be the possible finale to his 17-year-career. Millar explained that the decision was not a sudden realisation that his time had come, but more simply a progression of small signs slowly leading to his recent announcement.

    "It has been quite organic really. You always think it is going to be a definitive moment, but it hasn't. It has kind of crept up and I am suddenly realising it is time," explained Millar. "I think my body is actually getting stronger. It is just I don't want it or need it as much as I once did.

    "Now I love it [professional cycling], and I want to be able to do it but I don't need it as much as I did when I was younger. It is very much a conscious decision now whereas it wasn't before."

    When pressed on the highlight of his career, Millar stated his whole career was a highlight and emphasised his focus on his life as a whole.

    "My whole career is a highlight. I would like to think years from now I will remember this as being one part of my life rather than one moment of a life."

    Having begun his professional career with Cofidis in 1997, Millar's career highlights include five stage wins at the Vuelta a Espagna and four stage wins at the Tour de France, the most recent coming last...