Feeling "better every day" after difficult Tour de France
Levi Leipheimer appeared undaunted Monday by the relatively small team he brought to the US to help him defend his two consecutive Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah titles. While most of the teams in the race have eight riders, including Garmin-Sharp, Radioshack-Nissan and Argos-Shimano, Leipheimer's Omega-Pharma Quickstep squad has just six.
"When the race asked who we were bringing, and we said the Velits brothers, they told us we could only bring six because they're each worth two riders," Leipheimer joked at the team presentation Monday evening in Ogden.
Joining Leipheimer in Utah will be Martin and Peter Velits, Matt Brammeier, Jeroen Hoorne and Francesco Chicchi. In a race that features a team time trial and a host of seven- and eight-rider squads that are equally motivated to bring home good results, the difference between six and eight can be huge, but Leipheimer said he worried more about the road races than the time trial.
"Actually, I think in the team time trial it will be less of a disadvantage than the other stages," he said. "It's a short team time trial, and I think six guys can go as fast as eight. But when it comes to covering the breaks, or hopefully defending the lead – I'm just throwing out scenarios there – that's where it's going to be tough. But the bottom line is we're here, we're happy to be here and we're motivated."
Leipheimer, who attended the University of Utah for several years, didn't win any stages at the race in 2011 but took the lead during the stage 4 individual time trial and then held it through to the end. This year he's coming off a difficult Tour de France, where he finished in 32nd place, more than an hour off Bradley Wiggins's...
Going into the final day of track cycling at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Great Britain is just one gold medal away from matching its tally from the 2008 in Beijing. Thanks to gold by Bradley Wiggins in the time trial, the men's and women's team pursuiters, the men's team sprint, Jason Kenny in the individual sprint and Victoria Pendleton in the keirin, the team has racked up six golds. It also got silver in the women's road race with Lizzy Armitstead and bronze medals in the men's time trial by Chris Froome and omnium by Ed Clancy to bring the team's total to nine medals so far.
Chris Hoy will aim to become his country's most decorated Olympian in history tonight when he contests the keirin.
The Germans are the next best, having netted gold in the women's team sprint thanks to the relegation of the Chinese team. Add to that silvers by Judith Arndt and Tony Martin in the time trials and a bronze in men's team sprint and Germany is second in the medal table.
The USA has two medals - the gold in the women's time trial by Kristin Armstrong and a silver by the women's team pursuiters. Sarah Hammer will look to add to that tally in tonight's omnium finals.
BMX racing on August 8-10 and mountain bike racing on August 11 and 12 are still to come.
Ag2r-La Mondiale announced the signing of Steve Chainel from FDJ-BigMat for the 2013 season. The Frenchman agreed a two-year deal with Ag2r and will bolster the team’s presence in the cobbled classics.
The 29-year-old Chainel joins Ag2r after spending two seasons with FDJ. He turned professional with Auber 93 in 2007, before switching to Bouygues Telecom ahead of the 2009 campaign.
Prior to turning professional on the road, Chainel had enjoyed considerable success in cyclo-cross, including fourth place in the 2006 world championships, and he has finished second in the French championships on three occasions since.
Given his grounding in cyclo-cross, it is perhaps no surprise that Chainel’s best performances on the road have come on the cobbles. A stage winner at the Three Days of De Panne in 2010, Chainel was a solid eighth-place finisher in Gent-Wevelgem in 2012 and has ridden consistently in the northern classics in recent seasons.
Ag2r-La Mondiale also confirmed on Tuesday that Sébastien Minard, Lloyd Mondory and Rinaldo Nocentini had each signed two-year contract extensions, while Guillaume Bonnafond had agreed a new one-year deal.
Vincent Lavenu’s team will lose Nicolas Roche to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank in 2013, but the squad has been strongly linked with Colombian talent Carlos Alberto Betancur (Acqua & Sapone) in recent weeks.
Howman calls for UCI to assist in providing evidence
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has weighed in on the latest revelation in the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) case against Lance Armstrong and his associates, after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) called for evidence in the case to be handed over.
The UCI claims that it has jurisdiction in the case, the same argument used by Armstrong in his plea to have the charges against him dropped.
WADA Director General David Howman first wrote to UCI President Pat McQuaid on August 7 and then released a statement today explaining that cycling's governing body should be providing assistance to USADA.
"As clarified in the WADA letter, Article 15.3 states that the Anti-Doping Organization (ADO) 'which discovered the violation' must have results management authority, and not the ADO which discovered the first shred of evidence which then led to the discovery of violations," the Agency said in a statement.
WADA also explained that there is "no provision" within its rules "that allows the UCI to interfere with the USADA case" or demand to see the USADA-compiled evidence.
"The letter also confirmed that WADA regularly reviews USADA's processes and has consistently found them to be compliant with the Code, and that the UCI has in the past been satisfied with USADA's results management and its due process, citing the cases of Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis," the statement continued.
"Furthermore, Mr. Howman points out that nowhere in the Code is an ADO required to 'turn over its witnesses and evidence in advance of the arbitration process', as the UCI claimed in its letters."
Horrific crash has made young Aussie hungry for success
Brenton Jones, a 20-year-old Victorian and Warragul resident was disappointed this year’s Tour of Gippsland wouldn’t be visiting his home town as it has in past editions. However, the 2009 Junior Australian Cross Country representative turned full time road racer understands that just being able to race again is impressive enough.
"It was a very traumatic experience for my family. To come back from that and come out of it, I said ‘you know what, my goal is still to be a professional cyclist’. Since then my dedication has really lifted and I’ve been focusing twice as hard as before that accident," Jones told Cyclingnews.
Jones’ promising form at Gippsland may have failed to net him that elusive first National Road Series win but he was content with his week racing for Team Torq - Bicycle Superstore; second-place on stage four, third on stage five and finishing outside the top-ten on just two occasions. Jones achieved similar placings at this year’s Tour of Toowoomba and Santos North Western Tour which he says is product of his attention to detail.
"I’ve come to understand that the results I’m getting are a result of focusing 100 per cent on cycling. The hard work is not just on the bike but off the bike as well, I really need to do that.
Matthias Krizek will ride for Liquigas-Cannondale for the next two seasons. Starting next season, the Austrian, who has just become a stagiaire for the Italian team, will be the first Viennese rider to ride full time for a WorldTour team.
Krizek, 23, rode for the Continental-ranked Tyrol Team for three years before returning to Elite 2 status this season with the Italian Team Marchiol. “In 2011 I left my hometown of Vienna to realize the dream of every cyclist: to become a professional cyclist. That dream has now been fulfilled,” he said said in a press release.
His manager, Robert Marcuzzo, said: “This season Matthias proved his great talent. At the Girobio, the most important U23 stage race in Italy, he won the first stage and wore the pink jersey of the overall leader. A dream for every cyclist.”
Krizek will make his debut for the team as a stagiaire at the GP Camaiore on August 11.
Lotto-Belisol rider enthusiastic about Olympic experience
Andre Greipel is back on his bike after a month which he said was “very difficult for the head as well as the legs.” After a personally successful Tour de France, he was disappointed not to have won a medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Lotto-Belisol rider won three stages at the Tour, accomplishing that earlier in the race than his arch-rival Mark Cavendish (Team Sky). “The Tour de France went for me and my team almost exactly as planned. But only almost, since Jürgen van den Broeck wasn't on the podium at the end in Paris, which was a very real possibility," he said on his personal website.
He didn't have much time after the Tour to think about it though, as he then headed to London and the Olympics, with the goal of a medal. “The results were not what we wished,” he admitted. “But it is is just very difficult to control a race over such a long distance with such a small team.”
Even if it didn't work out for a medal, the German thoroughly enjoyed his Olympic experience. “It was my first Olympic Games and I am still thrilled by it. I totally enjoyed every minute in the Olympic Village and at the various events. At our race, too, the atmosphere couldn't be topped. I have never before seen such a large public along a race course, just unbelievable!”
In the aftermath, Greipel returned to his home in Switzerland and took it easy for a while. He didn't start serious training again until Tuesday. His next races will be the Vattenfall Cyclassics on August 19, and the Tour of Denmark.
The committee will investigate the charges and recommend what, if any, action should be taken against the RadioShack-Nissan rider.
“Since the testing and the finding of the alleged violation have been made by the UCI as a competent body, the ALAD upon presentation of the test results can only make the final statement of of an alleged violation of a doping rule,” the ALAD's statement said.