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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Date published:
February 16, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI threatens Landis with legal action

    Floyd Landis in 2006 giving a press conference after testing positive in the Tour de France
    Article published:
    February 15, 2011, 19:07 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Update: Landis replies after Verbruggen and McQuaid look to defend their "honour"

    Floyd Landis faces possible legal proceedings from the UCI after comments made to the German television station ARD last November. The American made his first major European television interview since admitting to doping during his career and questioned the UCI’s “honour” according to a letter sent from the UCI’s legal team.

    In the interview with ARD, Landis had reiterated his doping allegations against former teammate Lance Armstrong and claimed that the International Cycling Union (UCI) protects certain riders.

    "As far as the UCI is concerned, nothing about a cover up or taking a bribe or some kind of race results manipulation would surprise me.” Landis told the German station. The UCI has denied all allegations of corruption.

    Several months on and in a letter dated February 7, 2011, addressed to Landis, the UCI has given the American a 15-day window to retract his comments or face legal proceedings.

    Reymond & Associes are representing both the UCI’s former and current presidents, Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid.

    Update from Landis

    Immediately after this story appeared online Landis sent the following email to Cyclingnews's editor and the UCI legal representative, Mr Ditesheim.

    Hello Mr Ditesheim'

    I haven't heard from you in a few days and thought I'd drop you a note with a few things to ponder. I'd like you to please try to reconcile this (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/carpani-says-uci-pleased-with-spanish-federations-handling-of-contador-case) with your threat of litigation in light of...

  • UCI to study Spanish Federation's decision on Contador

    blank
    Article published:
    February 15, 2011, 19:19 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Up to 30 days until UCI verdict

    The International Cycling Union gave a measured response to the news that the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) had overturned its decision to ban Alberto Contador from competition for a year following his positive test for Clenbuterol.

    The UCI stated that it had been notified of decision of the Disciplinary Commission of the Spanish Cycling Federation.

    "While acknowledging the differences between the conclusions of the recommendation that had been presented to the rider by the rapporteur of the RFEC Disciplinary Commission and those expressed in the Commission's decision announced today, the UCI reserves the right to conduct an in-depth study of the reasons behind the decision before expressing its opinion," read a statement from the UCI.

    "In accordance with the regulations the UCI now awaits the full dossier on the case from the RFEC. Once this documentation has been received, the UCI will issue its decision within 30 days."

    According to a press release from Contador earlier on Tuesday, he will be at the start of the stage race in Algarve on Wednesday if everything goes well.

  • Media reactions to Contador's clearing on doping charges

    Alberto Contador in the Saxo Bank colours
    Article published:
    February 15, 2011, 20:41 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Friebe, Moore, Cossins, nyvelocity, Fotheringham, Jones and the Inner Ring give their opinions

    The news that Alberto Contador has been cleared by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation on charges of doping and has had his proposed one-year ban scrapped has sent shock waves through the sport. Here are a selection of opinions from within cycling’s press room.

    Daniel Friebe, Procycling European Editor and Cyclingnews correspondent
    My feeling is that this case (and more generally article 296 of the UCI’s regulations) sets an extremely dangerous precedent. The UCI couldn’t show conclusively that Contador had deliberately taken clenbuterol? OK, does that mean the same now applies when a rider tests positive for EPO? Does the testing or judging authority now have to produce a blood-spattered syringe as well as the electropherogram that used to suffice?

    Or am I missing something here? Because if I’m not, the days of parched Tour de France riders declining the water-bottles handed to them by spectators on Alpine and Pyreneen climbs could be a thing of the past; whereas once a contaminated drink was those riders’ greatest fear, now it could be the perfect, fictitious alibi for a positive test.

    If Spain wanted to reverse its image as a kind of doping Eldorado, it could frankly have done without its prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero pleading Contador’s innocence. Did Contador not have a handsomely paid Italian lawyer to do that for him? Also, on that topic, if Contador really didn’t derive any benefit from the minute quantities of clenbuterol in his system, has he at least now profitted from the kind of financial doping Arsène Wenger has maligned for years in football?

    In other words, is the only real difference between Contador and someone like the American Tom Zirbel, banned for two years after accidentally ingesting the hormone DHEA, the money they were able to invest in their defence? Going forward, those are perhaps the...

  • Mancebo targets Gila, Utah and Quiznos

    Francisco Mancebo leads Ivan Basso and Ivan Borunda.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2011, 1:42 GMT
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Spaniard leads RealCyclist.com team at major stage races

    Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) will lead a 13-man squad in top ranked US stage races including the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Tour of the Gila in April along with the UCI 2.1 Tour of Utah and the UCI 2.1 Quiznos Pro Challenge, both in August. The Spaniard recently joined his new team at an opening training camp that concluded on Sunday in Dahlonega, Georgia.

    "I feel very comfortable with my new RealCyclist.com teammates," Mancebo told Cyclingnews. "Even though I don't speak English, they have all been helpful and treated me great. It has been very helpful that there are three Latinos on the team, it has made everything easier."

    The RealCyclist.com team includes Mancebo along with Thomas Rabou, who won the King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey at the Amgen Tour of California last year, Cesar Grajales, Cole House, Frank Travieso, Evan Hyde, Tommy Nankervis, Yosvany Falcon, Mike Midlarsky, Josh Berry, Matt Crane, Ian Burnett and Oscar Clark.

    "This training camp has been very useful, besides getting to know my teammates, the training has been very good, high quality and intense, I believe we will arrive at our initial races in San Dimas and Redlands with good fitness," Mancebo said.

    RealCyclist.com is a UCI Continental outfit and will begin racing at the San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Mancebo will focus on winning overall titles at the Tour of the Gila held from April 27 to May 1 in Silver City, New Mexico. He will then turn his attention to the UCI 2.1 Tour of Utah from August 9-14 around Salt Lake City and the UCI 2.1 Quiznos pro Challenge from August 22-28 in Colorado, should the team receive an invitation.

    Mancebo is a former Grand Tour contender having placed on the podium on three occasions at the Vuelta a Espana and inside the...

  • Video: A look at the pro bikes at the Tour of Qatar

    This uniquely decorated Specialized frame means Vino is in Oman.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2011, 1:53 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    HTC-Highroad mechanic talks wheels and conditions

    The Tour of Qatar may not have the challenging parcours of Paris-Roubaix or the steep peaks of the Plan de Corones at the Giro d'Italia but it still throws up a number of obstacles for teams and mechanics.

    Heavy winds and poorly surfaced roads are the biggest challenges, as explained in this exclusive video interview with HTC-Highroad mechanic Gary Blem.

    Also, take a look at some of the new rides on display this season, including bikes from the teams of Quickstep, Katusha and ISD amongst others.

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  • Boasson Hagen targets overall success in Tour of Oman

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    February 16, 2011, 3:19 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Tougher 2011 route suits talented Norwegian

    Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen began his 2011 season at Tour of Oman on Tuesday and hopes his sprinting, climbing and time trialing abilities make him a favourite for victory.

    He immediately showed his form is good by finishing fourth behind Rabobank rider Theo Bos in the hectic sprint at the end of stage one to Al Seeb.

    At last year's race, Boasson Hagen won a sprint stage and the final time trial but finished second to Fabian Cancellara after losing more than a minute on stage four.

    This year's route includes four possible stages for the sprinters but also includes a steep uphill finish to Jabal al Akhdhar (known as Green Mountain) on Friday and then a rolling 18.5km climb on Saturday. The Team Sky rider admits he might struggle against pure climbers such as Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) on the climb but is hopeful of securing overall victory in the time trial.

    "This is the first race of the season and so it'll be interesting to see how my form is. But I'll have the team behind me and I'll try to do my best," he told Cyclingnews in Oman.

    "It's a hard race, the mountain finish and the tough time trial will be decisive and so make it an finely balanced race. It's going to be a real fight and it'll be interesting to see where people are at this time of the year."

    Boasson Hagen lives in Norway and so in the last few months he has mixed off-bike training with blocks of intense road work at the Team Sky training base in Mallorca.

    "I hope my form is pretty good. I've done all the training I wanted to do. It's hard to say before the races and so this will be my first big test," he said.

    "During the winter I did some cross country skiing, weight lifting, rollers and also a lot of training...

  • Contador: "There are times when I cried"

    Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference
    Article published:
    February 16, 2011, 4:11 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Six months of frustrations revealed in Spanish television interview

    Alberto Contador has revealed his frustration he felt throughout the investigation into his positive test for Clenbuterol during an interview aired late Tuesday evening in Spain, following his clearance by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation.

    "The truth is today is a good day," Contador said in the interview on Veo7 television. "It's been an incredible number of weeks and months that I wouldn't wish on absolutely anybody — you'd have to have lived these past months to know how it feels.

    "The truth is the damage done to your image is irreparable, with all the stupidities that are said about you."

    Contador explained that he ultimately found the sequence of events upsetting.

    "The fault is with the institutions that haven't served their purpose and who haven't been able to review a case like this," the 28-year-old Spaniard said. "It's been six months of sleepless nights, pulling your hair out — there are times when I cried."

    The 28-year-old tested positive to Clenbuterol on July 21, 2010 – the second rest day of the Tour de France he went on to win for the third time from Luxembourg's Andy Schleck.

    On January 26, Contador was suspended for one year for the positive test but the Spaniard chose to risk a two-year ban by appealing the decision of which he was today cleared.

    "When you have done nothing and my conscience is completely clear all that matters is that you recognise that you have done nothing, so to accept a year as was proposed was not something that I could accept because there was such a great injustice that I had to fight," he said.

    The International Cycling Union or World...

  • RealCyclist.com prepares for 2011 in Georgia

    Cesar Grajales, left, and Francisco Mancebo at the Realcyclist.com team presentation.
    Article published:
    February 16, 2011, 5:57 GMT
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Mancebo and co presented in Dahlonega

    UCI Continental outfit RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team was presented at the upscale Monteluce Winery & Estates in Dahlonega, Georgia this weekend. Directeur sportif Gord Fraser led the team through a season-opening, ten-day training camp that included rides up the area's notorious Brasstown Bald, a decisive finishing ascent at the former Tour de Georgia.

    "The guys have done lots of riding this week," Fraser told Cyclingnews. "It's pretty physical riding here and the terrain has given them plenty of intensity. The riding itself is plenty tough. Luckily, it's been cold but dry weather so the guys have been able to ride four-to-six hours everyday. We did a couple of the old Tour de Georgia climbs up Hogpen and Brasstown Bald one of the days."

    Riders were gracious guests at the Hiker Hostel that serves the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail, a 2181-mile scenic mountain hiking trail that extends along the east-coast of the US. During the team presentation, Monteluce Winery provided heavy hor d'oeurves while team sponsors, athletes and Georgia-based cycling fans mingled.

    RealCyclist.com's roster is led by Francisco Mancebo, who boasts two overall podium finishes at the Vuelta a Espana and finished in the top-10 of the Tour de France four times. The team also includes Cesar Grajales, Cole House, Thomas Rabou, Frank Travieso, Evan Hyde, Tommy Nankervis, Yosvany Falcon, Mike Midlarsky, Josh Berry, Matt Crane, Ian Burnett and Oscar Clark.

    "We have a wide range of riders from proven talent leaders like Mancebo and Cesar," Fraser said. "They will be the captains on the road and we will count on them for some results. Mancebo has a lot of experience and has assumed a leadership role on the team.

    "So far he has been a very positive influence on the team. We also have a lot of young talent as well. It is an interesting mix.

    "Everyone got to know each other very well at the Hiker Hostel during the last nine...