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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Date published:
August 21, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Lefevere expects to see Stybar win Classics and stage races

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) accepts the cobbled trophy
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 12:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Czech rider with a “big engine”

    They weren't his first road wins, but the two stage wins and overall title at the Eneco Tour were Zdenek Stybar's breakthrough wins. The former two-time cyclo-cross world champion has finally proven himself as a force on the road as well, his Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager has said.

    "He can win classics," Patrick Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. "This is an extension of what we have seen over the last two years from Stybar.” 

    “Stybar may be one of the boys, or he may be Tom Boonen,” Lefevere said, adding that the Czech rider is still at the beginning of his road career. “He is built lighter than Museeuw and Boonen, but he climbs better.”

    Lefevere saw a future for Stybar in the smaller stage races, calling him “very professional, with an unyielding will.  Tactically he does not have much more to gain, and he is quite explosive.”

    He praised Stybar's transition to the road, saying “I knew already that Zdenek had a very big engine, but there is a difference between an hour riding in a field and the finale of a classic. Without bad luck, he would have been on the podium this year's Paris-Roubaix as a rookie.” 

    Stybar was in the leading trio near the end of the race when he was clipped by a spectator and fell back. The team manger also hoped that the rider would now turn his full concentration to the road.

    "After this Eneco Tour I think he has finally closed the cyclo-cross chapter in his head, except for some competitions for fun around New Year."

  • No positive doping tests at 2013 Tour de France

    The Tour de France peloton on another lap of the Champs-Élysées
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 13:07 BST
    Daniel Benson

    CADF says samples will be stored for retrospective analysis

    The CADF (Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation) has confirmed that no positive tests were returned during the 2013 Tour de France. At a press conference in Aigle, at the headquarters of the UCI, the foundation also announced that the number of tests had increased from last year.

    “We don't have any adverse findings from the Tour de France this year,” was how CADF Director Francesca Rossi described the situation. However, she stopped short of claiming that it was a clean edition of the race.

    In total, 622 pre- and in-competition tests were carried out for the Tour de France with collaboration between the UCI and AFLD, the French Anti-Doping Agency. That number was up on last year, which saw a total of 566 tests over the same period.

    Rossi stressed that the testing programme was more dynamic and ‘less predictable’ than in previous years. However, despite Rossi's claim that the testing strategy was a success, no positive tests were found.

    During the Tour, 198 biological passport tests were carried out. However, there were only 18 tests for human growth hormone and just two for blood transfusions.

    From the urine samples, of which there were 179, 113 were tested for EPO. The number of in-competition EPO tests were down from 2012.

    “We changed our strategy,” Rossi said. “It was put in place because we had the collaboration with the AFLD. We were both in the race for ten days together and we collaborated day-by-day. We set up the testing plan with different sources of information. We have information coming from the athlete passport management unit. We had information from the authorities, especially in France, and from WADA.

    “We met everyday and we set up the testing plan. We followed the race and adjusted the testing plan based off what was happening in the race. If the stages were flat we pointed our attention on...

  • Henao leads Sky at Vuelta a España

    Sergio Henao (Sky) is second overall at the Tour of Poland after four stages
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 14:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Uran, Boasson Hagen and Kiryienka head for Spain

    Team Sky has named Sergio Henao as its leader for the Vuelta a España, which gets underway in Galicia on Saturday. The Colombian is at the head of a strong line-up, which also includes his fellow countryman Rigoberto Uran, as well as Edvald Boasson Hagen and Dario Cataldo.

    Uran finished in second place at the Giro d’Italia in May but is set to join Omega Pharma-QuickStep next season, and perhaps with that switch in mind, Henao has been given the nod as team leader.

    After claiming victory at the Tour de France with Chris Froome, Sky manager Dave Brailsford is confident that his squad can be highly competitive in the third Grand Tour of the season.

    “It’s a testament to the strength and depth in this team that we can line up in all three Grand Tours this year with such strong squads,” said Brailsford, who explained that Henao has earned the leadership of the team at the Vuelta.

    “We’ve watched Sergio develop since he joined the team and this is a great opportunity for him to demonstrate what he is capable of on a big stage like the Vuelta.”

    Henao joined Sky in 2012, and has been a solid performer in Grand Tours over the past two seasons. Last season, he finished 9th at the Giro and 14th in the Vuelta, while he finished 16th at this year’s Giro after working for first Bradley Wiggins and then Uran.

    The 25-year-old enjoyed a very consistent spring campaign, finishing second at Flèche Wallonne and third at the Tour of the Basque Country, as well as claiming a stage win at the Volta ao Algarve. He recently finished 5th at the Tour of Poland, his sole race between the Giro and the Vuelta.

    “The Vuelta is a huge race for me and an important and...

  • Matt Cooke takes hard road to KOM jersey at USA Pro Challenge

    Craig Lewis (Champion System) and Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) try to hold their lead on the field.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 14:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Jamis-Hagens Berman fights for career after Exergy collapse

    The climb into the mountains jersey at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado has been an up and down journey for Jamis-Hagens Berman's Matt Cooke. But not all of the obstacles on the way to his jersey-winning ride were on the bike.

    Cooke rode for Team Exergy in 2011 and 2012 and earned a career-highlight win during the Queen stage of the Tour de Beauce last year. Things were looking good for the 34-year-old rider from Boulder, but when Exergy abruptly pulled the plug on its men's team in the off-season, Cooke was one of a dozen or so riders who were left out in the cold.

    "I raced for basically six months without a professional contract," Cooke said. "And I was racing to earn myself a job. So that was really tough, but I'll tell you what, it makes it sweeter."

    After riding the first part of the season with the Champion System-Stans No Tube domestic elite amateur team, Cooke signed with Jamis in July after catching the eye of team director Sebastian Alexandre.

    "I saw him riding during the first part of the year," Alexandre said. "And he was super-strong and he didn't have a team. I knew I was missing one or two guys for these kind of races, so I had a few names and I chose him because I knew he was going to be good on the climbs."

    Cooke was hired to ride in support of team leader Janier Acevedo, but simply doing his job on the first stage in Colorado landed him in the mountains jersey at one of America's biggest races.

    "We wanted as a team to have representation in the breakaway, and it really didn't matter who it was," Cooke said. "Initially in the first few kilometers, a group of maybe 10 guys went up the road, and I sort of thought that might be it. That came back, and then myself, Ian Burnett (Jelly Belly) and...

  • Lewis rewarded for aggressive racing at USA Pro Challenge

    Craig Lewis (Champion System) leading the break.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 16:05 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Earns trip to podium in Utah and now Colorado

    When it rains it pours, and for Champion System's Craig Lewis it's a sea of orange. The 28-year-old American had never worn a classification jersey in his nine-year professional career until stage 4 in Salt Lake City at the Tour of Utah, when he won the most aggressive rider award, and 10 days later, he duplicated the feat on the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge, a 97.6km circuit race in Aspen, Colorado.

    "I like the orange," Lewis told Cyclingnews with a laugh at his team car after he waded through a torrent of supporters following the podium ceremony. "I've got a good streak going. I've got Alberta in a couple of weeks so I'll just keep it going."

    While stage 1 winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) earned three jerseys on the day - leader's, points and best young rider - the remaining two were claimed by riders in the three-man break which spent the bulk of the day off the front. Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) swept the day's four KOMs to nab the mountains jersey while Lewis - the instigator of the move which formed about eight kilometres in after the day's first break, also containing Lewis, was neutralised - earned a spot on the podium for most aggressive rider.

    "You never know how you're going to feel the first day," said Lewis. "I was a little nervous because I've got a lot of family here and a lot of support, so the pressure was kind of on. I live in Boulder, I've been there for the past three years, plus I've got family from Texas and South Carolina and friends from all over coming in to see the race.

    "I made it into the first group of eight or nine of us and the peloton pulled us back, but at the last minute I went again. That's when Cooke and the Jelly Belly guy came across to us. I figured three...

  • McQuaid hits out at Makarov role in UCI election

    UCI President Pat McQuaid takes the oath before speaking at the French Senate hearing into anti-doping
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 19:00 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Irishman says Russian is working against him

    Pat McQuaid has hit out at Igor Makarov, claiming that the Russian is working against him in the UCI Presidential election due to Katusha’s previous difficulties in obtaining a WorldTour licence for 2013. The Russian team struggled to make the WorldTour grade this year, needing a last-minute CAS ruling in their favour to confirm their participation.

    Makarov is the President of the Federation of Cycling Sport in Russia and sits on the UCI’s management committee.

    “He has played a role. Unfortunately he’s taken the view, wrongly, that I had an influence in the decision over the licence commission last year. He’s taken the view that he would prefer if I wasn’t president, as a result of that,” McQuaid said Wednesday. “So he is working against me. He’s done several things and he’s certainly not working for me. I hope his influence doesn’t swing the result.”

    McQuaid is standing for a third term as the UCI President with a challenge from Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling.

    Makarov has not publicly commented on the election in recent weeks but he has prepared a dossier that apparently contains allegations of corruption involving McQuaid and the UCI. The dossier has not been made public and those who have seen its content have been vague at best with regards to the information within it.

    Mike Plant, who also sits on the UCI management committee, admitted to Cyclingnews earlier this month that the dossier had been prepared by Makarov but that Plant himself had presented it to the UCI Management Committee.

    "At this point a lot of the information is still controlled by Mr. Makarov and it's really his decision as to when and how if he wants to release that. It's really up to him," Plant told Cyclingnews.

    "He made a few responses to try and defend himself but he didn't say much. As far as I was concerned, there wasn't...

  • McQuaid's backing for re-election by Swiss federation in doubt

    UCI president Pat McQuaid at the start of the Tour of Flanders in Bruges.
    Article published:
    August 20, 2013, 20:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Current UCI President refutes claims that his nomination was withdrawn

    Pat McQuaid's nomination for re-election to the presidency of the UCI appeared to be in question on Tuesday afternoon when it was reported on Twitter that the Swiss Cycling Federation was no longer backing Pat McQuaid.

    One tweet said, "@irishpeloton: BREAKING: Swiss Federation has withdrawn its nomination of Pat McQuaid."

    However, when contacted by Cyclingnews, McQuaid said, "I've not heard that, and it's not correct. The case is on Thursday, and I'll be in Zurich on that day with all the documentation."

    "[Jamie] Fuller has arrived in Dublin today. And was seemingly on this Newstalk. As far as I'm concerned it's complete bullshit," McQuaid said. "I know there's a hearing on Thursday. I've had communication from the Swiss federation and it's going ahead. It's [a] scandalous report from someone and Newstalk has picked up on it. It's all the usual culprits and they're talking about it on Twitter."

    In two days, a tribunal will hear a case regarding the nomination of McQuaid by the Swiss Cycling Federation for his third term as the UCI President.

    Regarding that hearing, Velonation reported today that the Swiss Federation had sent the following message to the tribunal members reversing its nomination and say it wanted to forgo the hearing: "After having carefully considered the arguments of the claimants in the arbitration brought against Swiss Cycling's Decision of 13 May 2013 to nominate Mr. Pat McQuaid for UCI Presidential election, a majority of the Board's member decided, in light of the legal issues regarding the validity of said Decision and of the general interest of Swiss Cycling, to (i) revoke the Decision of 13 May 2013 and (ii) to withdraw Swiss Cycling’s nomination of Mr. Pat McQuaid for (re)election as UCI President. Swiss Cycling’s head of administration."

    The message further said that Swiss Cycling would seek a settlement with the claimants regarding the...

  • Rasmussen riding for a new Garmin Sharp contract

    Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    August 21, 2013, 1:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane puts pressure on himself for good results

    Alex Rasmussen is pretty sure that he will ride for Garmin Sharp again next year, but the absence of a contract is extra motivation for the Danish rider to do well in the Vuelta a Espana.

    Rasmussen returned to racing this spring after serving a suspension for violations of the UCI's “whereabouts” requirements. When he returned to Garmin-Sharp, he was given a contract only through the end of the season.

    “They are interested in continuing cooperation next year, and then we talk about it during the Vuelta,” he told

    Still, “It can definitely be an extra motivation, it is always motivating for me. I like to have a little pressure on me. It is only healthy to have pressure on, otherwise you have it too easy.”

    The pressure is not for the contract, he said, “but more for my own ambitions. I want to go out and deliver a good Vuelta, so I think probably that I need to get a grip on the contract. Should I do some amazing result, it would of course embellish it all, but it's my own ambitions I am going for.”