- Article published:
- October 22, 2012, 21:41
- Peter Cossins
González de Galdeano insists change has to come
Euskaltel-Euskadi has announced the final two riders who will complete their 29-man roster for next season. Like all of those revealed last week, neither is Basque, but both bring with them vital UCI ranking points that should ensure that the team maintains its WorldTour status next season.
Morocco's Tarik Chaoufi is the top-ranked rider on the African Tour. Competing in his national team's colours, the 26-year-old won the Moroccan road title this year as well as a stage in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon.
Also joining the Basque set-up is time trial specialist Ioannis Tamouridis. The 32-year-old Greek was due to ride with the Geox team before the plug was pulled on it last year. When that deal fell through he remained with the Greek SP Tableware team, picking up his fourth consecutive national time trial title in their colours. He also competed in the Olympics and World Championships this summer.
The pair join nine other new arrivals on the Basque team: Jon Aberasturi (Orbea), Gari Bravo (Caja Rural), Jure Kocjan (Team Type 1), Juan José Lobato (Andalucía), Ricardo Mestre (Carmim-Prio), Steffen Radochla (Team NSP-Ghost), André Schulze (Team NetApp), Alexander Serebryakov (Team Type 1) and Robert Vrecer (Vorarlberg).
Speaking at a press conference at Euskaltel's headquarters in the Basque Country, returning team manager Igor González de Galdeano said that the new arrivals were fundamental to the team's survival at the top level of the sport. "We want to be able to participate by right in the Tour de France and in the best races. That can only be achieved by being part of the WorldTour, which has its points' system," said González de Galdeano.
He stressed that the riders joining Euskaltel will have to "respect the philosophy that has brought the team so many successes". González de Galdeano added that the team will "continue to be a Basque project, with Basque sponsors, Basque leaders and its focus on races that the fans want to see it winning".
Under fire in some quarters within the Basque Country for his decision to release some of the team's stalwarts, notably Amets Txurruka, González de Galdeano countered: "It's no longer a case of deserving to be in the WorldTour - that's not enough. You have to fulfill the requirements. There's no point wasting time by criticising the situation, the team, its decisions and the bodies that oversee this sport."
- Article published:
- October 22, 2012, 23:25
- Pat Malach
Slipstream development team backer "dialing back"
Chipotle confirmed Monday that it would not be renewing its sponsorship of the Slipstream Sports development squad that has carried its name for the past two seasons.
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told Cyclingnews via email that the decision was based on the company's long-term marketing strategy and had nothing to do with the recent controversies surrounding Lance Armstrong and several of his former teammates who now ride for Garmin-Sharp, Slipstream's WorldTour team.
"Lance had nothing to do with it," Arnold said. "Quite simply, we have been dialing back our sports sponsorships across the board. It's really that simple."
Chipotle sponsored both the UCI Continental program as well as Slipstream's junior development team.
The junior team roster featured 19 riders from across the US who competed in mostly domestic races. The Under-23 Continental team, which raced as Chipotle-First Solar, boasted 15 riders in 2012, basing itself in France this season and racing a mostly European calendar.
Chipotle's involvement with Slipstream dates back to 2008 when the Mexican restaurant chain signed on a title sponsor of the fledgling ProTour team. Garmin signed on as title sponsor of the team about halfway thorough the 2008 season. In 2010 Transitions Optical took over as the presenting sponsor.
- Article published:
- October 23, 2012, 00:30
- Cycling News
French media speculates on Tour route
Tour de France organisers may have a spectacular finish planned for the 2013 race, according to French media: a nighttime stage from Versailles to Paris, with the race around the Champs Elysées under spotlights.
It would be "A show that will delight the large audience for the finale of the most prestigious race in the world," according to the website of France Televisions, sport.francetv.fr. The official route is scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, October 24 in Paris.
As previously announced the race will start with three stage on Corsica, before moving to mainland Europe for a team time trial on Nice. Stops will then be made in Montpellier and Marseille, before two Pyrenees stages. "Two stages, between Castres and Ax-3 Domaines on the one hand, and Saint Girons to Bagneres-de-Bigorre on the other hand, will clarify the race before the transfer to Nantes and the much welcomed rest day on the second Monday of the Tour."
The second week will feature an individual time trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel, before taking the peloton "back down diagonally through Tours and Lyons before a final decisive week that looks very difficult."
Provence's Mont Ventoux will reportedly be climbed on the day before the second rest day. The third week will have a mountain time trial up Embrun, followed by the Gap to Alpe d'Huez stage, with two climbs of the feared and famous switchbacks on the latter climb. That will be followed by more stages in the Alps before moving back towards Paris and a possible nighttime finale.
- Tour de France
- Article published:
- October 23, 2012, 01:40
- Alex Malone
GPM-Wilson Racing rider aiming at top step in final NRS race of the season
Chris Jory has come agonisingly close to winning one of Australia's iconic one-day races and in spite of a number of podium finishes over the years at Grafton to Inverell and Goulburn to Sydney, the final victory has eluded him. His run of results in the National Road Series' toughest one-day events is impressive but he will line-up at this year's Grafton looking to 'right' the result he took in the 2011 edition.
"Last year I kind of feel like I got robbed a bit - I came in second, so this year I'm definitely looking forward to it again. Hopefully I've got the legs to do something," Jory told Cyclingnews.
Jory will head to the final NRS race of the year with his GPM-Wilson Racing team. The team led by former professional Trent Wilson has demonstrated its ability to achieve results late into the season and the Grafton has proved to be suitable to the strengths of the Sydney-based squad - Jory placed second in 2011 and Sam Rutherford finished third in 2010.
"I think the boys will have some good form and the whole team is really looking forward to the Grafton weekend. Sam Rutherford and Caleb Jones are also going well so I think we go there we a number of chances for a result," said Jory.
Jory is motivated for the final race of the year as he looks to secure his commitments for the coming 2013 season. He's raced a "split season" for the past few years, spending the majority of the time racing in Belgium with the VL Technics - Abutriek squad before returning to complete the remaining NRS races alongside Wilson's team. After a number of years racing overseas in France, Italy and Belgium the Sydney resident is looking to lock-in something more permanent either in Australia or abroad.
"I don't any plans for next year so I'm still looking for something that will suit me - whether that's in Australia and overseas.
"The way it's been the last couple of years, I've had a bit of a split season. I've been fortunate enough that 'Willo' has allowed me to race in the beginning of the season and then made a spot available when I come back from Belgium. It's worked out perfectly so if that was to happen next year that would be great as well."
The Grafton signals the end of Jory's season which began in January with the National Championships and was promptly followed by the New Zealand Cycle Classic. His build up for next year is usually slated around his return to Belgium however, with the return of the Sun Tour in 2013 Jory says the National Championships may also be a focus.
"I'll have a couple of weeks off after Grafton and then start building up again. Depending on what I do next year I'd like to give nationals a bit of a crack. I haven't really focussed on that the past few years because it's been about being in good shape when I go over to Belgium and being strong for March. This time there's a bit more racing around the start of the year so it makes it worthwhile to be going good at the start of the year with Bay Crits, Sun Tour and nationals."
- Article published:
- October 23, 2012, 03:34
- Barry Ryan
UCI president critical of Kimmage and Hamilton's confessional books
It was an April 2010 email from Floyd Landis that gave impetus to the twin investigations by the FDA and USADA that ultimately led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. After drawing ridicule for his attempts to contest the positive test for testosterone that saw him stripped of the 2006 Tour, Landis' frank confession and unmasking of the doping culture that pervaded at US Postal saw his reputation rehabilitated in many quarters.
Following his announcement that the UCI would not contest USADA's reasoned decision on the Armstrong case in Geneva on Monday, however, president Pat McQuaid poured scorn on the apparent lionisation of Landis and his fellow former US Postal Service rider Tyler Hamilton for providing evidence to USADA about the doping system in place at the team.
"Landis started it. He was in a bottomless hole and he said the only way out of it was to bring the sport down. That's what he intended doing and what he intends doing, but he won't achieve it," McQuaid told reporters.
"Another thing that annoys me is that Landis and Hamilton are being made out to be heroes. They are as far from heroes as night and day. They are not heroes, they are scumbags. All they have done is damage the sport."
McQuaid went on to point out that Hamilton had been summoned to UCI headquarters in Aigle in 2004 to explain suspicious blood values, and had failed to make a truthful disclosure. The American subsequently tested positive for a blood transfusion.
"We called him and he said "the machines are wrong, I'm not doing anything wrong,'" McQuaid said. "He then went positive two or maybe three times and was eventually thrown out of the sport. He spent the next three or four years trying to prove that he had a twin before he was born or something like that and tried to prove the scientific community wrong. He eventually lost that, he lost his money and unfortunately he lost his marriage I think as well."
In September 2012, Hamilton published his autobiography, entitled "The Secret Race", in which he detailed his own doping and the cheating practices in place at US Postal, CSC and Phonak, but McQuaid questioned his motives for writing the book.
"Then he writes a book and again, what's he trying to do? Make money on it. The book comes out just two weeks before the USADA report comes out and he's on the trail now giving interviews and making money. What good is that guy doing the sport?"
When it was put to McQuaid that, regardless of the medium, it was surely a good thing that riders were choosing to break the omertà that has enshrouded cycling's doping culture for too long, the UCI president demurred.
"I do want people coming clean but in the way that he's done it, he's on a personal mission to make money for himself and it's not objective," said McQuaid, who then went on to allude to Paul Kimmage's autobiography "Rough Ride", a seminal account of cycling's failure to tackle its doping culture, which the Irishman wrote on his retirement from professional cycling at 1989.
"I've criticised Paul Kimmage about this in the past as well – when a guy writes a book, he writes it for commercial reasons. Maybe for an objective or for a philosophical reason too, but also for commercial reasons. And when he spends the rest of the time just promoting his book, he's there just to make money. Then I wonder where the objectivity goes."
But while McQuaid suggested that Kimmage – against whom he has instigated defamation proceedings in a Swiss court – and Hamilton had written partly or wholly for commercial gain, he insisted that David Millar's 2011 confessional autobiography, "Racing Through the Dark", was an entirely different case.
"No, because when Millar wrote the book, he wrote it and published it and then I never heard a word about it after that," McQuaid said. "He didn't do a huge amount of promoting of his book and he doesn't to this day. Millar gave an interview on Cyclingnews today and he didn't mention his book. Every time you hear Tyler Hamilton, he's mentioning his book."
In fact, David Millar's Twitter profile explicitly promotes his book, as is his prerogative as an author. On the publication of "Racing Through the Dark", Millar appeared at book festivals, gave numerous promotional interviews and also had an extract published in Procycling magazine. A wine reception was also held in the Vendée on the eve of the 2011 Tour de France to promote his book.
For his part, when Paul Kimmage returned to the Tour de France in 1990 as a journalist for the Sunday Tribune following the publication of "Rough Ride", he endured two of his closest former teammates calling him a prostitute and turning their backs on him.
- Lance Armstrong
- Article published:
- October 23, 2012, 05:47
- Alasdair Fotheringham
Race director refuses to confirm report the 2013 race will be as tough as this year
Vuelta a España director Javier Guillen has told Cyclingnews that reports of an equally tough 2013 course with ten - or more - summit finishes "cannot be confirmed at this stage. The race route has not been fully decided for 2013."
Spanish sports newspaper AS published what it claimed was likely to be the 2013 route on Monday, with mountain top finishes dotted throughout the three-week race. It also claimed that after this year's Vuelta failed to go any further south than Madrid, the Vuelta would once again have stages in Andalusia and Valencia.
Guillen would not be drawn on the report’s accuracy, saying "there are still a lot of questions in the air. Issues like how many summit finishes are not fully decided.
"We've hit on a formula in the last few years we like and we'll be sticking to that."
Since 2010 the Vuelta has opted for having at least one major high mountain stage in the first week, as well as a summit finish on the second last stage.
Guillen did confirm that the Vuelta, which starts in Galicia on August 24 and finishes in Madrid on September 18th, would have between four to six stages in the rugged north-western region, open with a team time trial between 20 and 30 kilometres long, and that there would be at least one individual time trial.
The route published by AS runs anti-clockwise around Spain, with a stage into Andorra the only trip outside of the country. After a final mountain leg through the mountains of Asturias or Cantabria, the race could feature a long transfer south for the last stage into Madrid.
Other 'highlights', according to the newspaper included a stage over the Mirador de Ezaro – where Joaquim Rodriguez won this year - and a stage round the Ponferrada World’s circuit in north-west Leon.
A return to Valdepeñas de Jaén - the ‘wall’- like finish in Andalusia where Rodriguez won in 2011 and Philippe Gilbert in 2010 - is apparently on the cards. So too is a new summit finish on the Collado de las Sabinas in Granada’s Sierra Nevada mountain range before the Vuelta heads north and east through Valencia, Catalunya and Asturias. Guillen also did not rule out a possible return to the Angliru, last tackled in 2011.
- Vuelta a España
- Article published:
- October 23, 2012, 06:22
- Alex Malone
Tour Down Under director: It’s a pretty serious kick in the guts
Tour Down Under's race director Mike Turtur had previously stated there were "no regrets" regarding the reported multi-million dollar appearance fee paid to Lance Armstrong in 2009, 2010 and 2011 however, the past weeks and yesterday's decision by the UCI to hand Armstrong a lifetime ban has perhaps shifted his opinion of the former Tour de France winner.
"It's a pretty serious kick in the guts," Turtur told Cyclingnews. "It's maybe the biggest one I've had during my time in cycling. It's not only Armstrong, it's a host of others too that were part of it."
"There would be many race directors throughout the world who would be feeling a level of disappointment and being duped about his participation in the Tour de France - a whole host of races.
Turtur adds that the Tour Down Under benefited from having Armstrong at the opening WorldTour round of the season and that despite any criticism he has always acted in the best interest of the race. However, in light of the information delivered in the past weeks, things could have been very different.
"At that time when he came to the race here it was a situation that presented itself where many people thought would benefit. It turned out that way but with the benefit of hindsight obviously if the same events were to happen at that time this would not have happened. These events and the information wasn't available. You have to be fair in your analysis of that situation and at that time when all this happened there wasn't the same information available to make a judgement."
Asked if race attendance would be impacted due to the decision by the UCI to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of his Tour de France wins, Turtur replied "No, I don't. I think people will see that we acted in the best interest of the race all the time and that is; professionally, respecting the rules and regulations that govern the sport and trying to manage and deliver a race of the highest quality. That's been our objective from year one.
"The race has grown over the fifteen year period that we'll celebrate in 2013, to a degree that we are part of the WorldTour. We started as a 2.2 event and we worked hard and made sure every aspect was at the level acceptable by the UCI and teams. I'm sure the race is stronger, big enough now to be successful into the future. I think people will enjoy the race as they have done previously in 2013 with the great spectacle that it is."
As far as Turtur is concerned all of the race sponsors are still very much committed to backing the race next year and he was busy attempting to draw some of the sport's biggest stars to the race in January.
"Not that I'm aware of. I haven't been advised of any," he told Cyclingnews regarding the possibility of sponsors pulling out in the wake of the Armstrong decision.
"We are working on possibilities with teams and certain individuals coming to Australia, to really make the race very exciting. Hopefully within the coming weeks we can make some more announcements about that. I've got great confidence the race will be stronger and better - the sport will survive and will be bigger and better. We have an opportunity as the president [of the UCI] said yesterday ‘to really make a mark now and move forward'. And that's what we'll do," Turtur said.
Hamilton and Landis
Turtur spoke to Cyclingnews in late May following the CBS "60 Minutes" report featuring Tyler Hamilton and was firm in his stance regarding what were allegations against Armstrong at the time. "I don't believe anything that Hamilton or Landis says. They can't be believed," said the race director. However, following the release of USADA's report into systematic doping at US Postal and Discovery Turtur had "no comment on Armstrong".
Turtur reiterated those sentiments when asked, following the UCI's decision, whether his opinion on the riders who rode alongside Armstrong had changed.
"I think they proved to be perjurers themselves. In regard to guys like Zabriske, Hincapie and so on, their credibility outstrips anything Landis and Hamilton said. Landis and Hamilton both lied to grand juries and also the UCI when questioned on matters of the past. As far as the others are concerned I acknowledge they have a level of knowledge that needed to be known by the authorities and they were able to provide it. I applaud them for that, it has helped bring this thing to a head, and we can deal with it and move on."
- Lance Armstrong
- Article published:
- October 23, 2012, 09:29
- Cycling News
Euskaltel rider says there was no “direct evidence”
Samuel Sanchez is against the decision to sanction Lance Armstrong for doping, because the American “never tested positive.” There was no direct evidence, only “verbal accusations”, the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider said.
On Monday the UCI said that it would accept the USADA's decision to ban Armstrong and disqualify his results dating back to 1998.
"I don't find it right,” he told La Sexta. “I think there should be a fair trial. You cannot punish a person only by verbal accusations. I think Lance has not tested positive throughout his career, was never sanctioned and now we see it all in cycling. One is accused of doping and they take away your career,.”
In a radio interview, Sanchez called the process a “show trial”, according to the Efe news agency. “A battle is created in the media and creates journalistic bombs that put public opinion against the athlete and punish you. This should not be the case.”