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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Date published:
February 06, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Tour of Utah branches out with southern swing

    The 2013 Tour of Utah expands its horizons to the southwestern red rock country
    Article published:
    February 05, 2013, 19:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Race heads into Red Rock country for 2013

    The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will extend beyond the reach of the state capital Salt Lake City in 2013 with a southern swing to start the six-stage race. The route was unveiled today in Cedar City, which will host the first stage finish after the Grand Depart at the Brian Head Resort.

    These are just two of seven new host cities for the UCI 2.1-ranked event. Historically, each stage took place within easy driving distance of Salt Lake City, but to incorporate some of the most dramatic scenery the state has to offer, organisers have taken the first three stages from the far southwestern corner of the state back up into its traditional stomping grounds.

    After a team presentation on Monday, August 5, 2013 in Cedar City, the opening stage begins at Brian Head Resort, which sits at 9,800 feet above sea level, and heads back to Cedar City, taking in the red rocks of Cedar Breaks National Monument and Dixie National Forest.

    The second day will head from Panguitch to Torrey, skirting Bryce Canyon National Park. On day three, the riders will head up from Richfield north to Payson, which is just south of Salt Lake City.

    The second half of the race will be on more familiar roads: The Salt Lake City circuit is back on stage 4, the Snowbird Ski Resort hosts the queen stage finish once again, and Park City will hold the grand finale.

    "We've always had our eye on expanding the Tour to the southern part of the state, and with great fan, sponsor and community support, we've been able to do that,” said Steve Miller, President of the Tour of Utah.

    The ‘queen’ Snowbird stage gets a new start line in 2013, with the Snowbasin Resort debuting. During the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Snowbasin gained attention as the host for the men’s and women’s Downhill, Super G, Combined and Paralympic ski events.

    The public will get a chance to experience some of the same challenges as the event once again...

  • US Attorney standing by decision to drop Armstrong investigation

    Lance Armstrong waved goodbye to his 7 Tours de France
    Article published:
    February 05, 2013, 22:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Doping confession by Armstrong "hasn't changed our view"

    Despite Lance Armstrong's public confession to doping on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, the US attorney who last February dropped the federal investigation into the former Tour de France champion remains steadfast in his decision to not pursue criminal charges.

    "We made a decision on that case a little over a year ago," U.S. Attorney André Birotte said, according to Reuters. "Obviously, we've been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong in other media reports. That does not change my view at this time."

    The abrupt end to the two-year federal investigation of Armstrong on February 3, 2012 was a sudden and unexpected decision, surprising many of the investigators involved with the case. Nonetheless, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart took up the reins with his organisation's own investigation into Armstrong, culminating with the Texan being stripped of all seven Tour de France titles and being banned for life from any sport adhering to Word Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

    Speaking at a press conference in Washington, DC, unrelated to the Armstrong investigation, Birotte said that the government will continue to look at the case, but stated that Armstrong's confession to doping "hasn't changed our view".

    While Armstrong may have avoided charges of fraud sought by the federal investigation ended by Birotte, the beleaguered Texan's legal woes are still considerable as he faces a whistleblower lawsuit from former teammate Floyd Landis, a lawsuit from SCA Promotions seeking repayment of bonus money plus a lawsuit from the British Sunday Times newspaper seeking to recoup money paid to Armstrong from a libel case.

  • Cancellara delays Tour de France decision

    Tour de France prologue winner Fabian Cancellara resplendent in yellow at the start of the first road stage.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2013, 23:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider looks to classics and Florence Worlds in 2013

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) has downplayed speculation that he will definitely forgo the Tour de France, telling reporters that he will not make a decision on his participation until after he has completed his spring classics campaign.

    Reports in the Swiss media at the weekend had suggested that Cancellara had already decided to skip the Tour, but speaking at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday night, he said that his 2013 programme was decided only up as far as Paris-Roubaix in early April.

    "The main focus will be the classics," said Cancellara, who explained that he will line up in the Tour of Oman, Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders, Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix in the coming two months, while Amstel Gold Race is also a possibility.

    "And the rest of the season? We leave it for now. I know that there was a lot of talk about me not going to the Tour de France because there’s no prologue and this and that, but on the other hand, it’s the classics first, and then after that I want to see what the next step is."

    Cancellara did hint that he would be tempted to make a concerted attempt to win the world championships road race in Florence in September, on an exacting course which includes the demanding climb to Fiesole. "I’m looking forward to the world championships in Florence, even if I haven’t seen yet the parcours or heard a lot about it. But when we go down to Italy maybe I will get a chance to see it," he said.

    Cancellara also said that regaining the world time trial title he last won in 2010 would not be a priority. “The time trial at the Worlds is not in my head,” he said....

  • Class of 2013: 10 Questions with Jay McCarthy

    Jay McCarthy on the front of the peloton.
    Article published:
    February 06, 2013, 0:24 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian graduates from national development team

    Cyclingnews will be introducing some of the fresh faces in the WorldTour peloton for 2013 in a series of articles. Here, we caught up with 20-year-old Jay McCarthy at the Tour Down Under. The Australian picked up some impressive results in 2012, including six wins -  including the prologue of the Tour de l'Avenir. He has also taken stage wins at the Tour de Bretagne - Trophee des Granitiers, Toscana - Coppa delle Nazioni and the New Zealand Cycle Classic, where he also won the overall title. He also won the one-day race Trofeo Piva Banca Popolare di Vicenza.

    Cyclingnews: How did contract come about? Which races best showed your ability to ride at the WorldTour level?
    Jay McCarthy: I had a really good season with Team Jayco-AIS last year. I started off with the Tour Down Under with the Uni-SA team and got a taste for WorldTour cycling. I took what I learned and gained from that little bit of racing and took it to the under 23 races and came away with a few victories. In September I had a few options and decided that Saxo-Tinkoff really fits with where I can see myself going in cycling.

    CN: What started you racing bikes?
    JMC: I started when I was about 14-15. I used to do cross-country running. When I was in high school there was a coach, Dave Trevorrow who ran a triathlon program and I got into that. From there I enjoyed the cycling part the most.

    CN: Did you compete in any other sports before taking up cycling full time?
    JMC: My mum had me in pretty much every sport when I was younger. I wanted to be in every sport too. Cricket, football, soccer, touch football...

    CN: Who was your sporting hero growing up?
    JMC: I don't think I really had one. I just really enjoyed sport and I respect most athletes at that high...

  • Long stint on the sidelines for Kroon after Qatar crash

    Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    February 06, 2013, 2:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman set to miss spring classics

    A crash early on in the third stage of the Tour of Qatar resulted in hospitalisation for Karsten Kroon (Saxo-Tinkoff) with the Dutchman sustaining a deep cut to his right thigh which will result in three months off the bike. The Tour of Qatar was his first race of his 16th season.

    Kroon, along with teammates Jonas Aaen Jørgensen and Matti Breschel, were caught up in the crash after just 18km of racing that brought down around 20 riders. While Jørgensen and Breschel escaped with bruising, 37-year-old Kroon was not so lucky.

    "Someone in the front of the peloton went down and from then on, things went fast," he said. "A bunch of riders crashed in front of me and I couldn't get around the pile-up. Somehow I must have landed right down on a chain ring and it cut up my thigh. I'm extremely disappointed."

    Kroon required stitches to a six centimetre gash to his vastus medialis which was described by his team as "very deep".

    "I had a good feeling and I was looking forward to the spring classics, which are my favorite races of the year and now I'm going to miss the entire spring," continued the 2009 runner-up of Amstel Gold. "Hopefully, I can get back in form for the summer races."


  • Report: Armstrong subject of criminal investigation

    A downcast Lance Armstrong
    Article published:
    February 06, 2013, 4:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole, says anonymous source

    Contrary to what U.S. Attorney André Birotte said at a press conference on Tuesday, a federal government source has told ABC News that Lance Armstrong is in fact the focus of a criminal investigation.

    According to the anonymous source, "Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation," they told ABC News.

    Earlier, Birotte who last February dropped the federal investigation into the former Tour de France champion, told the media in Washington, DC, that he stood by the decision despite Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey.

    "We made a decision on that case a little over a year ago," Birotte said, according to Reuters. "Obviously, we've been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong in other media reports. That does not change my view at this time."

    His comments appear to have been premature with the source adding that: "Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole," with the investigation being run out of an office separate to that of Birotte.


  • Tactical nous bags Valverde new season win at Trofeo Deià

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was in full race mode at Trofeo Deia
    Article published:
    February 06, 2013, 5:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Costa reinforces Movistar attack at Challenge Mallorca

    Achieving the first victory in 2013 seemed like a long time coming for Movistar but Alejandro Valverde put an end to the team's recurring podium placings by taking out the Trofeo Deià from a select four-man group yesterday. Again, it was the Spanish squad who had the numbers toward the finish at the Challenge Mallorca but it was Valverde’s decision to open his sprint to the left, with the finish line located on a left turn that ultimately gave him the win over Sergio Henao (Sky).

    Movistar have demonstrated its strength throughout the squad during the four-race series and Deià was no different. Coming down into the final kilometers after the ascent of the Col de Puig Major, Valverde had last year’s Tour de Suisse overall victor Rui Costa for company. Costa worked for his captain and may have fallen short of the podium with fourth-place but the victory should bode well for Valverde when he likely lines-up for Volta ao Algarve next week.

    "I knew I was good, but didn’t know by how much. This year I'm a little calmer in my start to the season," said Valverde on his team site following his first win of the year.

    "It is true that I finished nicely in 2012 and came here with enthusiasm and strength. Once you're ahead you are always trying to win. When you are calm, when training the sensations are good from the start and the team is good, things go how you desire," he explained.

    "I want to thank my colleagues, the people who always support me and Movistar, for all the support they always give us. We started well, the group has been cut and seeing the damage we continued forcing the pace. At all...

  • Omega Pharma - Quick-Step confirmed for Tour de Langkawi

    Andy Fenn and Bert Grabsch (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) get the season going at the Santos Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    February 06, 2013, 8:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fenn hunting stages, Brambilla for overall classification

    The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team will make its first appearance at the 2.HC category Tour de Langkawi this year when the race kicks off on 21 February with a 162,7km stage along the east coast of Malaysia. Four riders from the six-man team have most recently finished the Tour Down Under and are using the 10-day Malaysian race to break-up the return to Europe.

    The revived event will see five ProTeams on the start line this year, increasing the number of race days for riders who lack competition in the early part of the year.

    The six-man Belgian team will be led by Serge Pauwels, who finished 20th-overall at the opening WorldTour race in Australia while Andy Fenn will also look to showcase his sprint in many of the fast-finishing stages.

    "Our management realized a lack of racing days for some riders at this time of the season last year", said Serge Pauwels to "Those ten days competing in Malaysia will be perfect for us.

    "Two and half weeks mean a long time away from home but we want to perform well in Malaysia", added Pauwels. "Avoiding long trips and jet lags is the best way to produce result."

    Second-year professional Fenn will be hunting his first season victory and his third professional win after claiming the Trofeo Palma and Trofeo Migjorn in his neo year in 2012. He came close to a win this year but fell just off the podium in fourth-place on Stage 4 at Down Under.

    "I'm attracted by the flat stages of Le Tour de Langkawi", Fenn explained. "I'll try and win at least one stage. I'm in good shape again. I'm usually doing well at the...