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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Date published:
August 28, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Anti-doping procedures compulsory at future Tours of Borneo

    Ghader Mizbani of Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team pass through the Simpang Baru Monument in Padang
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 0:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Malaysian federation responds to criticism

    In response to criticism following the lack of anti-doping procedures at the recent Tour of Borneo, the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) has insisted that controls will take place in order for future events to go ahead.

    With teams increasingly frustrated at the dominant performance of the Tabriz Petrochemical Team in particular, which claimed the overall via Ghader Mizbani and second-place with Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour with over six minutes to the next best-placed rider after five stages, it came to light that there was no testing carried out with several teams taking to social media to complain. Cyclingnews confirmed as much with race organisers who provided the following response:

    "The organiser was well aware of the importance of doping control[s] in [the] Tour of Borneo. [The] UCI did not send anti-doping inspector[s] for this race and had advised the organiser to make sure that the participating riders are not under suspicion."

    The New Straits Times reports that the unwanted focus on the race, will mean changes for the Tour of Borneo next year.

    "We don't really know why the organisers of the Tour of Borneo had not requested for doping controls to be carried out at their event, but next year, we will insist that it is compulsory before approving the event," said MNCF president Abu Samah.

    "We are worried about this rise in doping cases, so we are open to having doping controls being carried out at all our events if possible."

    Under UCI rules, the Tour of Borneo was not required to have anti-doping measures in place however according to the MNCF, testing still should have been requested...

  • Evans returns to racing in Canada after Tour de France disappointment

    Cadel Evans (BMC) would suffer and lose time on stage 8
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 1:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Alberta, Québec and Montréal on Australian's schedule

    Cadel Evans (BMC) will make his return to racing after a lacklustre Tour de France campaign at the Tour of Alberta on September 3. The former world champion and Tour de France winner will then continue to race in Canada in the build-up to this year's UCI Road World Championships.

    Evans admitted that back-to-back grand tour campaigns, having previously finished third overall in the Giro d'Italia had proved taxing. The Australian finished 39th overall at the Tour.

    "I was very fatigued after this year's Tour de France, so I took some time to rest at home with my family," he said. "Now I'm back into a serious phase of training to be ready for the final part of the season. The training has been coming along. From where I was at the end of July, I have made a lot of progress. After such a break from competition, I will need some racing kilometers in my legs to be at a competitive level."

    Evans said that with the Tour of Alberta being a new race on the calendar, he didn't see his lack of race form to be a disadvantage.

    "From what I have seen on paper, I think it will be a race for someone with a decent sprint who can make it to the harder finishes," he said. "Firstly I'd just like get some racing in my legs and hopefully test myself on one of the later, more selective stages."

    The 36-year-old said that by the time the Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal come around on September 13 and 15 respectively, his racing legs will have returned and he can perform with the best in two events that he has been wanting to do for some time.

    "Finally, this year it's possible for me to participate,” he explained. “In both Québec and Montréal I intend to be at a level that will allow me to go for a result."

    Evans has been selected in Australia's long team for the up-coming world championships, with the current...

  • Matthews in form, Sulzberger out of Vuelta

    Wesley Sulzberger leads Leigh Howard.
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 3:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Mixed fortunes for Orica GreenEdge

    Orica GreenEdge had an up-and-down day during the fourth stage of the Vuelta a España. The team finished the stage with much reason to celebrate following Michael Matthews' maiden Grand Tour podium finish. Those celebrations were quickly dampened when a post-race x-ray confirmed that Wesley Sulzberger had broken his collarbone and fractured his elbow and would be forced to withdraw from the race.

    The talking point of the stage was the Mirador de Ezaro, a short but steep 1.8 kilometre climb that featured gradients nearing 30 percent. For GreenEdge the plan was to protect Matthews and Simon Gerrans heading into that climb. Matthews came away from the stage very pleased with how his teammates looked after him.

    "The whole day was pretty stressful," explained Matthews. "There was a lot of wind, and the roads were really open. There wasn't much flat for the entire 190km. The team rode together well, and they did a great job keeping me and Gerro out of the wind. By the time we hit the bottom of the climb, I hadn't touched the wind or put in much of an effort to maintain my position. I'm really happy with how the boys looked after me."

    The GreenEdge plan was thrown into disaray as the peloton began to tackle the only categorised climb of the day. Gerrans began to feel the after effects of his crash in stage 3, and Sulzberger went down landing heavily on his shoulder.

    "I was in a good position before the start of the climb," said Sulzberger. "There were barriers at the start, and a BMC rider in front of me almost hit the barrier. He tail-whipped his bike and braked heavily to avoid crashing. I dodged the barrier and was about to hit the BMC rider. Instead, I braked...

  • Goulburn to Sydney Classic cancelled

    On the early parts of the Hume Highway.
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 8:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Compromise unable to be reached

    Cycling Australia has this afternoon confirmed that the 2013 Paradice Investment Goulburn to Sydney Classic will be cancelled. The 170km one-day race was set for September 15 and is a historic fixture on the calendar, raced for the first time 111 years ago.

    As reported on Tuesday by Cyclingnews, five of Australia's top teams threatened to boycott the event if their demands for a rolling road closure were not met. After 24 hours of intense negotiations between Cycling Australia, race organisers, teams and New South Wales Police, no compromise could be reached.

    Contention over rider safety on the Hume Highway had sparked debate given the reluctance of New South Wales Police to issue a full rolling road closure on the national carriageway. An alternative had been raised with teams agreeing to race on parallel back roads, but New South Wales Police were unwilling to provide a full rolling road closure for this option.

    In a statement provided by Cycling Australia, CEO Graham Fredericks said the local police authorities have been very supportive.

    "The police have worked closely with the organisers and Cycling NSW and were confident they could ensure a safe passage up the highway for the riders. However, there are still inherent risks with a single lane rolling road closure, which are even more pronounced on one of Australia’s busiest highways."

    "In the end, despite every effort from the organisers, the race could not comply with CA's safety standards."

    Questions must now be asked regarding the fallout of the Goulburn to Sydney cancellation with financial ramifications felt by race sponsors, teams and local businesses particularly at the race start and finish. Cycling Australia was made aware of the team's demands in January at...

  • Cancellara yet to decide on Worlds targets

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard)
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 9:31 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Final decision to be made later this month

    Multiple world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara has yet to decide what exactly he will be targetting at this year's road world championships in Italy – the road race, the trade team time trial or the individual time trial. A final decision will be taken later this month.

    The Classics star last won the world time trial championship, which he has taken four times, back in 2010, in Australia. His best road race world championship result was fourth in 2011.

    But as Cancellara pointed out to Cyclingnews at the Vuelta a España – where RadioShack Leopard came within a whisker of taking the opening team time trial, then won a stage and claimed the leader's jersey via Chris Horner, followed by a runner-up finish by Cancellara himself on stage 4 – after such a spectacular series of results in the spring, he does not feel under pressure to produce another big win before the season closes. That said, he would have no objection to adding another rainbow jersey to his collection.

    "I'm here in the Vuelta and looking ahead to do what I have to do to get ready for the Worlds," the 32-year-old told Cyclingnews.

    Asked for his main target, Cancellara said, "The best explanation is that we are looking at all the races, and then we will see. The problem is if I say the time trial, the trade team time trial or the road race, then I get pushed [pressurized] in that. The best thing to say is that there are three races there, and which one I will be specifically keeping an eye on has yet to be...

  • Turgot and Gaudin sign with Ag2r-La Mondiale for three years

    Sébastien Turgot (Team Europcar) on the attack in the early five-man break
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 10:36 BST
    Cycling News

    2012 Paris Roubaix runner-up set to bolster classic's squad

    Ag2r-La Mondiale has boosted its squad for the cobbled classics by signing both Sébastien Turgot and Damien Gaudin from Europcar. The French pair have both signed three-year contracts with Ag2r.

    With five victories in seven years, Turgot is not a prolific winner but his fast finish and quiet consistency make him a good signing for the Ag2r squad. Having finished eighth in this year's Tour of Flanders and second in last year's Paris-Roubaix, Turgot's classics experience will also be a welcome addition to a team that has made little impact in the cobbled classics in recent seasons.

    The 29-year-old Turgot has ridden for Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team since turning professional in 2006. He rode for Bouygues Telecom for four years and remained on board for a following three years after the team changed title sponsors to become Team Europcar. Now with the continued backing of a French team, Turgot can continue chasing his aspiration to become France's first Paris-Roubaix winner since Frédéric Guesdon in 1997.

    Turgot will be joined at Ag2r by his close friend, current Europcar teammate and sometime Madison partner Damien Gaudin. The powerful Gaudin enjoyed a break-out spring in 2013, winning the prologue of Paris-Nice and Cholet-Pays de Loire, and finishing an impressive 5th at Paris-Roubaix.

    The 27-year-old has been a professional since 2008, and like Turgot, Gaudin raced came through the ranks in Jean-René Bernaudeau’s set-up, racing for Vendée U as an amateur, and then for Bouygues Telecom and Europcar as a professional.

  • Pinot to drive racing car to improve descending

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 11:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman set for Magny-Cours lessons in October

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) will take lessons behind the wheel of a racing car in October in a bid to overcome the fear of speed that so hindered his descending during this year’s Tour de France.

    The Frenchman lost all hopes of a high overall finish at the Tour when he was dropped on the descent of the Porte de Pailhères on the first day in the Pyrenees and he admitted afterwards that he had developed something of a psychological block when it came to going downhill.

    Former rally and ice racing driver Max Mamers volunteered his services to FDJ manager Marc Madiot to help Pinot overcome the obstacle and he has arranged for Pinot to be tutored on the Magny-Cours circuit – former home of the French Grand Prix – in late October.

    “I’ve followed this boy’s results since he was best climber at Paris-Corrèze at twenty years of age,” Mamers told L’Équipe. “When I saw him petrified on the descent, I said to myself that I could do something for him. That very evening, I sent a text message to Marc.”

    Madiot maintains that Pinot’s problem is a fear of speed rather than any specific problem with his descending technique, and Mamers believes that driving an electric car at 190kph can help the rider assuage his doubts.

    “Above all, we need to work on his viewpoint, on getting him used to seeing obstacles that arrive quickly,” Mamers said. “At first, he will have an instructor with him and then he will drive alone. With the run-offs at the Magny-Cours, he’s not risking anything.”

    Madiot, who suffered from a similar problem to Pinot in the early part of his career, said that he had also considered sending the 23-year-old to the ski slopes...

  • Van Avermaet hopes for important role at Worlds

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) got to take home some western ware for today's win.
    Article published:
    August 28, 2013, 14:33 BST
    Cycling News

    On-form Belgian primed for big finale to season

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) is hopeful that his performances over the past few weeks will be enough to earn him a free role in the Belgian team at the world championships.

    After two stage wins and overall victory at the Tour de Wallonie in late July, Van Avermaet claimed the opening stage of the Tour of Utah and then put in a series of consistent performances in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.

    While defending champion Philippe Gilbert is set to lead the Belgian team at the Worlds in Florence, he is without a victory in the rainbow jersey, and Van Avermaet believes that he can have his own say in Tuscany.

    “I went last year to reconnoitre the the world championships course. It’s a sort of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and men like [Vincenzo] Nibali and [Joaquim] Rodriguez are the top favourites. I’ll have to be at my best but I believe in that,” Van Avermaet told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I see that I can play a free role. Belgium doesn’t need to carry the race but I think I should be able to play my part.”

    Van Avermaet was BMC’s most consistent performer in the spring classics, placing 3rd at Gent-Wevelgem, 7th at the Tour of Flanders and 4th at Paris-Roubaix, but as was the case throughout 2012, he was frustrated to fall short of landing a victory. The Tour de Wallonie was something of a liberation, however, and Van Avermaet enters the final weeks of the season brimming with confidence.

    “I’m proud of my performances [during the spring] but it bothered me that I couldn’t win. That worked out this summer, though, and now I feel free and confident. I’m more relaxed now, I’m making decisions quicker and I’m...