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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Date published:
February 13, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Operacion Puerto trial: Beloki, Etxebarria and Osa deny links with Fuentes

    Joseba Beloki (Liberty- Seguros)
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 19:28 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Isidro Nozal admits undergoing transfusions, but says he never doped

    Former Liberty Seguros riders Joseba Beloki, David Etxebarria and Unai Osa denied having any link whatsoever with Eufemiano Fuentes when they testified in the Puerto trial Tuesday. The three ex-pros, who were all members of the Liberty Seguros team that fell apart when news of Operación Puerto broke in May 2006, insisted they had no idea why Fuentes possessed documents that appear to show their race programmes and denied making payments to Fuentes.

    Regularly reminded by the judge presiding over the trial in Madrid that perjury could lead to a prison sentence, all three ex-pros said they had only ever worked with official team doctors. This was surprising in the case of Osa, as earlier in the trial Fuentes named him as one of the riders he had collaborated with. The Basque who finished third in the 2001 Giro d’Italia declared: “I had no type of professional relationship with Fuentes. None at all.”

    Asked about a document that seems to allude to him breaking his collarbone in 2004 when he was riding with the Illes Balears team, Osa replied: “I don’t remember in which month it was that I broke my collar-bone.” The break occurred in June that year at the Bicicleta Vasca and prevented Osa from riding in the Tour de France.

    Beloki, who finished on the Tour podium three times, said of Fuentes, “I know who he is, but we have never had any kind of relationship.” Asked about a document found in a search of an apartment owned by Fuentes that appears to show his race programme, he stated: “The first time that I saw that document was in the press. If you look on Google you can find photos that also show it.” He admitted that a phone number that appeared on one document he was shown was his home number, but said he was unable to say why it was there. Beloki also repeatedly denied that he had made any payments...

  • Tchmil raises questions about Lappartient's bid for UEC presidency

    David Lappartient, president of the French Cycling Federation, is a candidate for presidency of the European Cycling Union.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 20:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Concerned about endorsement by outgoing president, current leadership commitments

    Andre Tchmil, president of the Moldavian Cycling Federation and a candidate for the European Cycling Union's (UEC) presidency, today released a letter in which he seeks clarity and transparency regarding French Cycling Federation (FFC) president David Lappartient's own bid for president of the UEC.

    The UEC, a continental confederation that represents 48 different countries and organises the European championships, will elect a new president on March 3, 2013 with Tchmil and Lappartient the two candidates in the running.

    Lappartient had sent out a letter to the various European national federations on February 4, 2013 regarding his bid for presidency and Tchmil today questioned several aspects of the Frenchman's communication, in particular an apparent endorsement by outgoing UEC president Wojciech Walkiewicz which Tchmil contends is in violation of the UCI constitution.

    "Does Mr. Walkievicz endorse you as a candidate for UEC President on the basis of a resolution of the Management Committee of the UEC (we are unaware of the existence of such resolution), or is he doing it on his own accord?" Tchmil said in his letter. "Can this be regarded as an abuse of administrative power of UEC officials in favour of only one of the candidates? Does this comply with P. 25.2 (b) of UCI Constitution which stipulates that Presidents of Continental Confederations shall be elected in a democratic election?"

    Tchmil also calls into question the ability of Lappartient to be an effective UEC president with his current commitments as head of one of Europe's largest cycling federations, his term as Mayor and elected representative for his department in France plus the possibility that Lappartient will seek the UCI presidency in September.

    Lappartient recently made headlines for his suggestion that the Tour de France should revert to being contested...

  • Ashenden calls on bio passport experts to re-examine Armstrong’s profile

    Michael Ashenden, formerly of the UCI's Biological Passport panel, at the Change Cycling Now press conference.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 21:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former panel member never saw suspicious 2009 Tour samples

    Blood profile expert Michael Ashenden has issued a response to the UCI’s assertion that he analyzed Lance Armstrong’s blood passport values and did not flag them as suspicious.The Australian has made public the code associated with Armstrong’s profile and called upon his former fellow panel members to re-examine the data.

    The US Anti-Doping Agency has claimed in its Reasoned Decision that the values from May 2009 through the Tour de France showed evidence of a blood transfusion during the Tour. Armstrong himself denied cheating during his comeback.

    The UCI confirmed that Armstrong's profile was selected randomly to be reviewed in 2009, but was not flagged as abnormal by the Athlete Blood Passport software, and was therefore not submitted to the expert panel again.

    "It is the Athlete Passport Management Unit (AMPU), which is independent from the UCI, and not the UCI who are responsible for submitting random profiles and profiles with apparently abnormal values to the panel of experts," said UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani.

    Ashenden quit the passport panel in 2012, but served as part of the group which reviewed the profiles of anonymous riders during the time of Armstrong’s comeback. He stated earlier that he had not reviewed Armstrong’s data, but the UCI countered, stating that he had indeed reviewed a profile belonging to the American.

    In reviewing his records, Ashenden was able to narrow down the profile to one which matched values published by USADA in its Reasoned Decision. He states that the profile he reviewed stopped in May, 2009.

    However, USADA states in its Reasoned Decision that evidence of doping in Armstrong's blood values came after May, 2009, during Tour de France in July of that year. In re-examining the values for USADA, Professor Christopher J. Gore, Head of...

  • Traksel flies the flag for Champion System in Oman

    Bobbie Traksel (Champion System) and Kohei Uchima (Japan) on the attack.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 23:10 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Dutchman on the attack for a second consecutive stage

    Bobbie Traksel gave Champion System some early glory in the Tour of Oman, going on the attack to take the polka-dot most aggressive rider jersey on stage one and then successfully defending the crown on stage two by making the break of the day yet again.

    The Dutchman jumped away with Kohei Uchima of the Japanese national team on stage one, and was joined by Tomohiro Kinoshita (Japan) on stage two. Both times they spent more than 100km out front battling the warm wind blowing inland from the Sea of Oman.

    Traksel picked up points on the climb and in the sprints on stage one and won the first sprint on stage two, to give him a total of 12 points and a place on the prize presentation podium. He and Kimoshita tried to stay away until the climbs but were hindered by the headwind and were caught by the peloton as the racing exploded on the first climb.

    Traksel lost almost 12 minutes when he was caught on the climb, slipping to last in the general classification. But importantly he pulled on the polka-dot jersey for another day.

    With riders of the caliber of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) also wearing classification jerseys in Oman, Traksel is in excellent company.

    "It's important for the team to make a big impression in a race like this and with such a strong field of riders. It's great for us to be in this race and so we're going to try and take advantage of that and do something every day," he told Cyclingnews.

    "It's going to be difficult to keep it with the field here [but] I'll try. Now we have a good goal to...

  • Exclusive: Q&A with WADA president John Fahey

    WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 0:30 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Armstrong, Verbruggen, McQuaid and the new code

    In this exclusive interview the World Anti-Doping Agency's president John Fahey speaks with Cyclingnews about the objectives of his final year as president, the fundamental changes that need to be made for WADA to better combat the fight against doping and if cycling has seen a cultural shift following the Lance Armstrong case.

    Fahey is also asked to discuss the role of UCI in cleaning up the sport, if Pat McQuaid is the right person to be president of the sport's governing body and the possible existence of doping cultures in other sports.

    Cyclingnews: You have a year left as the President of WADA. What are the major objectives you'd like to achieve before you step aside?

    John Fahey: The key is to ensure that when we finish the WADA code review and have approval for the changes to our code that we've got the best set-up weapons possible and available. There's no doubt going forward that there is strong support for four-year terms for serious drugs, and not two years. We need investigation powers that we don't have at the moment and I sincerely hope that's carried through as well.

    There are a number of other areas that we need changes in order to operate more effectively in the fight against doping. It's the code review and the outcome of that review that's first and foremost in my mind.

    I also think there's got to be recognition and awareness that doping is as large as it ever was. There are still cheats and they've not gone away. This is a big problem still and to an extent there's been a wake-up call recently and I hope that translates into action going forward. Why are many sports not using the biological passport? All team sports can use it. I hope that this wake-up call we're seeing right now with the cases involving Armstrong, Fuentes, Australian sport, Rasmussen, might lead to an adoption of a number of those programs where there's been reluctance in the past.

  • Cycling listed as core sport for 2020 Olympic Games

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 2:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    "Cycling has moved with the times", says UCI president McQuaid

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has included cycling in its recommended list of 25 "core sports" for the 2020 Olympic Games. Earlier reports the Lance Armstrong case and subsequent aftershock may see cycling removed from the Games appears to have been refuted by the IOC Executive Board’s decision to include cycling - ahead of the upcoming review session in early September this year.

    The decision by the IOC Board strengthens earlier comments made by UCI president Pat McQuaid that "exclusion from the Olympic Programme is highly unlikely".

    The 25 sports included in the recommendation are: athletics, rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, swimming, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball.

    The sport of cycling has been a feature of the Summer Games since its introduction in 1896 and has continued to develop over the years with BMX being added most recently to the 2008 Beijing Games. There had been suggestions, notably by former WADA president Richard 'Dick' Pound that cycling needed to be taken out of the Games in order for it to 'clean up'. Pound's comments came in the wake of USADA's damning findings against Armstrong and his former US Postal team during the the Texan's Tour de France winning streak from 1999 through to 2005.

    UCI president McQuaid has been heavily criticised in the months following the release of USADA's findings on Armstrong and his US Postal teammates for not doing enough in the anti-doping fight and yet stated "cycling has moved with the times" with the news cycling had been included in the core sports list.


  • Froome shows his form at the Tour of Oman

    Chris Froome (Sky) is expecte to be a contender for overall victory in Oman.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 3:35 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky ready to work for overall victory

    After Bradley Wiggins confirmed that Chris Froome would be Team Sky's leader for the Tour of Oman, the Kenyan-born Briton showed he was on form and ready to race by finishing sixth on stage two to Al Bustan, just seven seconds behind irrepressible stage winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

    Froome was able to go with the attacks on the last climb when Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) lit the touch paper and even managed to gain four seconds on the Spaniard at the finish, seconds that could prove vital in the overall battle for victory.

    With Bradley Wiggins losing any chance of overall success after being caught behind a late crash on stage one, Team Sky worked with dedication and purpose to look after Froome. Most of the stage was a quiet affair but when it was time to set up for the finale, Peter Kennaugh, Ritchie Porte and Wiggins drove hard at the front of the peloton until the foot of the very last climb.

    When a small group formed after Contador's attack over the crown of the climb, Froome was there. He even managed to anticipate Contador in the final kilometre to gain those four precious seconds.

    "The speed we were going up there on the last climb was quite something, it's surprising to see all the GC guys up there," Froome said before quickly riding to the team hotel back over the very same climb he had just raced.

    "It was hard enough to split the bunch and Sagan timed it perfectly. Cancellara went on the bottom of the descent and then Sagan got across just as it started to kick...

  • Successful surgery for Argos-Shimano's de Kort after Qatar crash

    On the deck: Koen de Kort crashed on the descent of the Boignesberg in E3
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 4:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman back on the bike within days of operation

    All is not lost for Koen de Kort who appears to be back on track for the spring classics after breaking his collarbone in a crash at the Tour of Qatar. He promptly returned to the Netherlands after the incident for further medical examinations with his team releasing the good news following his surgery. De Kort has already returned to training, albeit at a reduced capacity on the indoor trainer.

    The Dutchman's injuries were the result of a high-speed fall near the completion of Stage 4 after de Kort and his Argos-Shimano teammates had been pulling hard on the front to set up Marcel Kittel for the stage win. After doing his job, de Kort drifted toward the rear of the peloton where the final nervous kilometres ended in a touch of wheels. De Kort fell at approximately 65km/h and while he was able to finish the stage, he did not start the next day.

    "The surgery went well. I flew home Thursday night from Qatar and had the operation Friday morning," said de Kort. "I had to stay a night in the hospital and went home on Saturday to start the recovery process. I had quite a lot of pain the day after the operation, but since Sunday I've been doing well. I've started doing some indoor training already, so that is a good sign."

    "I know it will be tight to be ready on time," he said, "but we will see how it develops. In the ideal scenario, I will be able to do a stage race before the classics."

    While de Kort and his team were unable to launch Kittel to a stage win at the Tour of Qatar, he took solace in the sprinter's first victory of the season at the Tour of Oman - which also served as first in 2013 for the newly-graduated ProTeam. Argos-Shimano received...