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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Date published:
December 19, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Van Heeswijk says riders knew of Michael Rasmussen's whereabouts

    Embattled Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    December 18, 2012, 19:07 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former teammate testifies in wrongful termination suit

    The Rabobank team management and riders knew of the whereabouts of Michael Rasmussen in 2007 as he prepared for the Tour de France, according to testimony at a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the Dutch rider.

    Rasmussen was removed from the 2007 Tour de France prior to stage 17 whilst leading the race after reports surfaced that in June, he had informed the doping authorities that he was training in Mexico, but was actually in Italy. He fought against being suspended for the whereabouts violations, served a back-dated ban through the 2009 season following a failed appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He is seeking 5.6 million euros in damages for wrongful dismissal from the Rabobank team.

    Then-team manager Theo de Rooij and directeur Erik Breukink had testified that they had no knowledge of the deception, but today Rasmussen reiterated his assertions that the team was fully aware of where he was.

    "It would have been stupid to prepare for the Tour in another time zone. It was an excuse to escape the press," said Rasmussen. He said he informed Breukink of his plans at the Tour of the Basque Country in April, 2007, and that the team doctors Geert Leinders and Jan-Paul van Mantgem were also aware of his location.

    His then-teammate Max van Heeswijk today testified that the other Rabobank riders knew that Rasmussen was not in Mexico. "At a training camp for riders who weren't doing the Tour, Gerben Löwik came with the news that Rasmussen wasn't in Mexico. We already knew that from Thomas Dekker, who was in the Tour."

    Dekker was not present at today's hearing, but is due to testify at the next one in March.

    ...
  • Rick Crawford loses coaching job as new doping allegations emerge

    Rick Crawford
    Article published:
    December 18, 2012, 20:08 GMT
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Colorado Mesa University relinquishes "second chance"

    Cycling coach Rick Crawford has been released from his position at Colorado Mesa University after the school learned new information about Crawford's previous involvement in helping athletes to dope.

    Earlier this month, Crawford admitted to helping Levi Leipheimer to use performance enhancing drugs between 1999 and 2001, and CMU officials believed that Crawford had disclosed all of his anti-doping rule violations to them and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

    Crawford was allowed to remain in his post under the supervision of CMU cycling director Scott Mercier after he agreed to perform 500 hours of community service in anti-doping education and would agree to harsher penalties should he violate another anti-doping rule.

    However, the university said that new information that "involved an instance(s) of a drug-related infraction(s) that occurred while Crawford was in Durango" led to his dismissal today.

    “It is incredibly disappointing,” said Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster. “It is just too bad but our commitment remains to support our student-athletes and to giving them the most positive college experience possible.”

    Mercier, an out-spoken anti-doping advocate who was a part of the US Postal Service team until 1997, ended his own career when it became apparent that doping would be the only way to survive in the peloton. He was appointed to his post as cycling director in the wake of the links between Crawford and doping, and is disappointed that he had to let Crawford go.

    “We believed it was important that Rick Crawford have a second chance but the information we have recently received removed that option,” Mercier said. “We remain committed to running a clean program...

  • Katusha gets UCI's decision on WorldTour

    The Katusha team bike bus
    Article published:
    December 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    No details revealed, CAS appeal confirmed

    Team Katusha has vowed to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) its exclusion from the WorldTour ranks by the UCI after receiving documentation justifying the decision from the sport's governing body.

    Ominously using the same "reasoned decision" phrase employed by USADA to describe the documentation that torpedoed the career of Lance Armstrong, the UCI too announced that it had delivered its decision to the Russian team.

    A statement from Katusha said that every objection to the license application was addressed at the UCI License Commission hearing in November.

    "All the positions mentioned in this document were considered during held on the 22nd of November 2012 UCI License Commission preliminary hearing. All the information provided by Katusha by its opinion is complete and corresponds the requirements of the UCI License Commission.

    "After receiving the above-mentioned document the Russian team Katusha confirms its determination to defend its rights using all civilized ways in order to receive the World Tour license, including the already made appeal to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)."

    Katusha was the number two-ranked team of 2012, and its top rider, Giro d'Italia runner-up Joaquim Rodriguez, the winner of the individual classification for the season.

    The UCI did not reveal the order of the top 15 teams in its sporting criteria, which is just one aspect of the WorldTour application process. The teams must further pass requirements for ethical, financial and organisational aspects.

    It was expected that two of the teams in the bottom five of the sporting criteria would be left out of the 18-team World Tour - Argos-Shimano and Saxo-Tinkoff were believed to be battling for the last spot after Europcar accepted a Pro Continental license - but in a

  • 2012 Reader Poll: Specialized's S-Works wins best team bike

    This year's Best Team Bike is the Omega Pharma-QuickStep Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge.
    Article published:
    December 18, 2012, 22:19 GMT
    By:
    James Huang

    Specialized knocks Cervélo off its throne but aero is still king

    After seven straight years on top, Cervélo's dominant reign finally comes to an end with Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge winning the Best Team Bike classification for 2012.The make and model topping this year's poll may have changed but one thing is still clear, though: aero road bikes are here to stay.

    Specialized introduced the McLaren Vengein March 2011 as an all-out race machine, supposedly saving 23 watts of rider effort as compared to the company's own Tarmac SL3 at 45km/h– and HTC-Highroad sprinter Matthew Goss put that claimed advantage to good use just two days later by winning Milan-San Remo. Weight and rider comfort were secondary concerns here but thanks to composite design help from development partner – and heralded Formula 1 engineering house – McLaren, claimed frame weight is still a very reasonable 950g.

    OmegaPharma-QuickStep team bikes featured a straightforward build, featuring a SRAM Red group, Zipp cockpit components, Zipp carbon tubular wheels, and Look KéO pedals while Specialized provided the carbon fiber crank, saddles, and even tires.

    Standing on the second step of this year's podium is Sky's Pinarello Dogma 2, as used by British cycling superstar (and newly crowned BBC SPOTY) Bradley Wiggins en route to his first Tour de France win. Pinarello's curvaceous flagship isn't touted as an aero bike like the Venge and in fact, it isn't remarkably light, either. However, its wildly asymmetrical design does strike a remarkable blend of stiffness, ride quality, and handling that seems well suited to three weeks of hard labor and few will argue with its enviable good looks, too.

    We noted several curious component choices on Wiggins' machines this year (such as ceramic bearings and custom-built wheels) but Sky's team bikes in general use another by the book build, including Shimano...

  • Gallery: Jon Devich's 2012 photo highlights

    Passing along a reservoir during the Tour of Utah.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2012, 0:10 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Top picks from major road races all over the USA

    Photographer Jon Devich had the 2012 American road racing season covered with images from major, domestic races all over the country.

    Check out this Cyclingnews gallery for photos of pro men's and women's racing at events like the Cascade Cycling Classic, the Exergy Tour in Idaho, the Tour of Gila, Redlands Bicycle Classic, US National Championships, Nature Valley Grand Prix, TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, Tour of California, USA Pro Challenge, USPRO Criterium Championships and the Tour of Utah.

    Devich's images capture the essence of some of the amazing places visited by many of the top American races as well as racers' high and low moments.

  • Team GPM-Data#3 take on a fresh look for 2013

    Riders and staff from GPM-Data#3 with their Focus team bike for the coming season
    Article published:
    December 19, 2012, 2:07 GMT
    By:
    Alex Malone

    Team riders and jersey on show for coming season

    The team directed by former professional Trent Wilson was presented in the squad’s hometown of Sydney this week with 16 riders making up the roster for 2013. A mix of new and existing riders will race in the new colours of GPM-Data#3 for the coming season as the team looks to make further impact in the Australian National Road Series.

    Wilson had just put the team through a demanding four-day training camp in and around the outskirts of Sydney with many of the new riders - not accustomed to the duly named "death camp" - slightly shocked by the distance and terrain. The team covered in excess of 800km over the four days and while all the riders were tested with drills, efforts and specific instructions, Wilson believes this style of pre-season work is vital for the team to gel together.

    "They certainly had to push through that barrier. You might have a tough day and then you have a teammate alongside helping you and giving you a push. The idea is to encourage the team to go from just a bunch of guys to being really good teammates," said team director Wilson.

    "It was designed to see who would crack and how people would handle that if it became too much. That’s really all part of the bonding," he said.

    The gruelling training camp also served as part of the team's preparation ahead of a busy start to the year that will begin on 1 January at the Mitchelton Bay Cycle Classic. The 'Bay Crits' will be promptly followed by the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and the Australian National Championships in Ballarat.

    While the full roster for GPM-Data#3 had been previously announced, the...

  • Blanco Pro Cycling pick Australian line-up for Tour Down Under

    Graeme Brown has been part of the set-up since 2006.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2012, 3:12 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team debut for Bobridge and Tanner, Renshaw and Brown return

    The Blanco Pro Cycling team, formerly known as Rabobank, will send an Australian-packed team to the opening WorldTour race of the 2013 season, the Santos Tour Down Under. New signings Jack Bobridge and David Tanner will make their debut with the team that is still looking for a headline sponsor while sprinters Mark Renshaw and Graeme Brown are also included in the seven-man squad.

    The remaining spots in the Blanco line-up will be filled by Wilco Kelderman, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Maarten Tjallingii.

    "The 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be a special race for the Blanco Cycling Team, it is going to be a fresh, new start. The first page of a beautiful story will be written," said team manager Erik Dekker.

    Bobridge was a surprise move from Orica-GreenEdge at the end of this season however, with his renewed focus on the road the young rider believes the Dutch outfit can provide him with an ideal place for development. The 2011 Australian road and former under-23 world time trial champion has committed to spending the next two seasons with Blanco.

    "Bobridge is a great young rider who made his WorldTour debut at the Santos Tour Down Under back in 2009 and is always popular with the crowds," said Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur.

    "He's had a good season with a silver medal in the team pursuit at the London Olympics and also won silver in the team and individual pursuits at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships," he...

  • Ryan and Jayco back Cycling Australia through to Rio

    A jubilant Anna Meares (Australia)
    Article published:
    December 19, 2012, 4:07 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Timely announcement with government funding under threat

    Cycling Australia's high performance program will continue to receive the support of its greatest patron, Gerry Ryan through his company Jayco, with Wednesday's announcement of a "multi-million dollar" funding deal in the lead up to the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic Games.

    Extraordinarily Cyclingnews can reveal the deal was only set to cover the next two years however, just prior to the press conference Ryan decided to commit fully for the Olympic cycle there and then.

    The announcement comes hot on the heels of those by New Zealand and Great Britain in the last 24 hours.

    Cycling Australia's high performance director, Kevin Tabotta was frank saying that the funding would "put us back in the game" in the aftermath of the London Olympic Games where six medals were won and the nation finished second behind Great Britain on the track medal tally.

    "It's not just about Rio," explained Ryan. "It's about all the races and world championships between now and then. I'm just pleased to be able to have the means to assist the program and believe in what Kevin and his staff are doing and give the riders the opportunity to achieve the best."

    The funding will cover the re-jigged Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy, previously announced on Cyclingnews, the former Jayco-AIS Continental program along with Track, BMX and Para-cycling.

    "What it means for Cycling Australia cannot be understated," said Tabotta. Ryan backed the program coming out of the Beijing campaign and it certainly wasn't a given that his investment would continue heading into Rio. His first foray into investing into Cycling Australia was two decades ago backing Kathy Watt.

    "Clearly when you've got more resources you can put...