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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Date published:
January 19, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • William Clarke experiences the hard life of pro racing

    William Clarke (Leopard Trek) before stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 11:27 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Tasmanian debuts with Leopard Trek

    The world of cycling will have to get accustomed to seeing another rider by the name of Clarke the post-race communiqués. After Simon Clarke (Astana), who took part in the five-man breakaway of stage 1 in the Santos Tour Down Under, and the brothers Hilton and Jonathan, who ride for US Pro Continental outfit Unitedhealthcare, William Clarke has arrived at the highest level of cycling. The Tasmanian is making his debut with Leopard Trek in South Australia.

    He joined the Luxemburg Cycling Project after riding as a trainee with Ag2r-La Mondiale in August and September. He was noticed when he stormed to victory on six occasions last season, including four impressive solo wins in Belgium in May. He was hosted in Monaco by his friend Richie Porte, who opened a few doors for him, as did Stuart O’Grady, who was very impressed by Clarke’s strength and helped him to get his first pro contract with the newly formed Leopard Trek team.

    “I met my new teammates at the training camp we had in Switzerland in December,” Clarke told Cyclingnews at Mawson Lakes. “I’m pretty excited to be racing with this team and especially starting here in my country.” He rode anonymously at the Australian national championship in Ballarat as his Leopard Trek jersey hadn’t arrived in Australia yet.

    “I also didn’t go that well,” he acknowledged. “I was going well at the criteriums before but they were short races. At the Tour Down Under, I’m here to help the team. Danilo Viganò is probably our main guy for this race. It all depends how Stuey (O’Grady) can go after his crash.”

    The local hero who won the inaugural Tour Down Under in 1999 showed a quick return to form as he came fourteenth in the first bunch sprint finish in Angaston. O’Grady is set to be instrumental in making a top cyclist of the 25-year-old from Tasmania, who started cycling at the...

  • Danish rider positive for Clenbuterol from 2010 Vuelta Mexico

    Philip Nielsen wins the final stage.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 12:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former team only now informed of positive test

    Danish cyclist Philip Nielsen tested positive for Clenbuterol at last year's Vuelta Mexico. Nielsen, who no longer has a professional contract, only had the B sample confirmed as positive this month.

    Nielsen was riding for Team Concordia at the time, and the team claimed to have never been informed of the positive test, although apparently the rider knew of it.

    “It is with great amazement that the doping test only now has come to our attention," team director Carl William Carlsen said in a press release.

    Nielsen, who won the final stage of the race in April 2010, returned the positive urine sample after the race. The team management learned of it only last week, “via a rumour.”

    The team then contacted Nielsen, who is not with them this season, and he confirmed the positive test. The B sample was opened and also found to be positive.

    On Monday the team got in touch with the Danish Cycling Union, which acknowledged the case and passed it along to the Danish Sports Federation.

    Concordia was very surprised never to have been officially informed. "We find it strange that we must learn of this case via a rumour, and subsequently must seek factual knowledge."

    Nielsen also issued a press release, in which he said, “I can safely say that I have not taken the substance knowingly. I have been fully acquainted with the team's values and philosophy – under which the team has always said that any kind of doping is cheating and not acceptable under any circumstances.

    “I will not come with strange opinions and theories on how I should have ingested the substance, since I do not know it.”

    Alessandro Colo of Team ISD-Neri also tested positive for Clenbuterol at the Vuelta Mexico and was given a one-year suspension. Tour de France winner Alberto Contador's case for his positive test for Clenbuterol is still pending.

    This is Nielsen's second brush with...

  • Madiot calls on French riders to have some pride

    Marc Madiot is close to completing his nine man roster for the 2009 Tour de France
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 13:38 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    FDJ manager critical of UCI's ProTeam selection procedure

    FDJ manager Marc Madiot has called on French riders to show their worth on the international stage in response to comments by UCI president Pat McQuaid, who had labelled them as “soft” and their teams as “conservative” in an interview with L’Équipe at the end of last year.

    “That hurt me,” Madiot said at the FDJ presentation in Paris, according to Velochrono. “I told my riders, and I want to tell French riders as a whole: have some pride! French riders are of international level and not only at the Tour de France. They need to stop hanging their heads.”

    Madiot also expressed his disappointment that FDJ had not secured a ProTeam licence for 2011 and criticised the UCI’s selection process.

    “We want to know the rules of the game,” he told L’Équipe. “The UCI is staying quite vague on this matter. It’s annoying to start the year without knowing the terms for getting back into the World Tour.”

    It is the first time that Madiot’s team has been outside of cycling’s top tier since the ProTour began in 2005 and FDJ are now reliant on wildcard invitations to the biggest events in the sport.

    “We’re waiting on a lot of invitations, especially to the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, which are the two Grand Tours in which we want to participate,” he said at the presentation. “However, we are assured of taking part in the entire calendar of Belgian classics and semi-classics, and we’re candidates to take part in Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.”

    Ironically, while his team missed out on the ProTeam cut, FDJ’s roster has been bolstered significantly by an increased budget for 2011. Joining existing talent such as Sandy Casar and Yoann Offredo at the team are new arrivals like Pierrick Fédrigo and William Bonnet, who...

  • Basso begins his season in San Luis

    Ivan Basso and Jacopo Guarnieri in the new Liquigas-Cannondale colours
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 14:54 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Italian happy to be a domestique in first race of 2011

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) has reiterated his goal of winning this year’s Tour de France in 2011. The Italian has begun his season early by riding the Tour de San Luis in Argentina as a way of avoiding training in the cold in Europe.

    The two-time Giro d‘Italia winner admitted he will use the seven-day South American race as warm-weather training and will take on a domestique role for his teammate and overall contender Eros Capecchi.

    "I want to win the Tour de France," Basso said. "My goal for the season is the Tour de France. I am 33 years old, I won the Giro twice, I made the podium in the Tour de France, but to win it is the dream of every cyclist, to go down in history. The Tour is the Tour and not easy to win, but it is special. If I can be the Basso who won the Giro, then I have no fear and I can win the Tour.”

    Basso may also ride this year’s Giro d’ Italia in support of teammate Vincenzo Nibali but will not make a definitive decision until April.

    He last competed in the Tour de San Luis in 2009, the start of his first full season after completing a two-year suspension.

    "I am very happy to be in Argentina again because it is amazing to see the people's passion for the sport,” Basso said. “I’ve talked to people who came from thousands of miles away to see this race. And because of that I want to give back for so much affection.”

    Basso finished fifth overall two years ago but noted that an increase in climbing and an additional mountaintop finish has made the race more difficult this year.

    “Every year the race gets better and tougher,” Basso said. “There are many quality riders and I am sure the strongest will win. This is my first race of the season and I'm not in super form because I’m coming from the winter. But I do have high morale after last season."

    "My goal here is to have a good week and do the best job...

  • Darach McQuaid sees no conflict of interests in Richmond Worlds bid role

    UCI President Pat McQuaid showed up in Belgium to support
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 16:26 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Major new American stage race planned for 2012

    Darach McQuaid has insisted that there is no conflict of interests between his role in Richmond, Virginia’s bid to host the 2015 world championships and his brother Pat’s position as president of the UCI. He also revealed that a major new United States-based stage race is in the pipeline for the 2012 season.

    “As soon as I mentioned to my brother Pat that this project was a possibility, he passed me immediately to Gerrit Middag, who is the marketing and events director of the UCI and he is the only person that I have spoken to this on this project since,” McQuaid said to Cyclingnews.

    Darach McQuaid’s Shadetree Sports marketing agency was contracted by the city of Richmond to organise its bid and he explained that he has longstanding ties with the area that predate his brother’s passage through the corridors of power of the UCI. He also firmly rejected claims that his family ties to the head of the sport’s governing body would have an impact on the UCI’s decision.

    “My business partner is David Kalman and he’s based in Richmond,” Darach McQuaid said. “My history with Richmond goes back to 1995-1996 before my brother Pat was even on the board of the UCI, when I was based in Richmond publishing the official guide for the Tour DuPont.

    “I’ve been doing business in the professional cycling world and Richmond before Pat was ever a board member, let alone president of the UCI. I think that’s important to remember. Some bloggers have said ‘oh, book your tickets for Richmond now’ just because I’m part of the bid, but that’s completely ridiculous.”

    Pat McQuaid’s sons David and Andrew are also heavily involved in professional cycling. David McQuaid is race director of the Tour de Nashik and Tour de Mumbai, which take place in India on February 11 and 13, and are expected to attract a number of ProTeams....

  • Fédrigo looks for new goals with FDJ

    Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) claims the stage win in Pau.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 17:51 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Paris-Nice first goal for former French national champion

    Pierrick Fédrigo admitted he joined FDJ in search new goals and extra motivation after six years with Bouygues Telecom.

    Fedrigo won a stage at the Tour de France and the Criterium International race in 2010 and is widely considered one of the most talented French riders in the peloton. He is also nicknamed "le nez de Marmande" for his protruding nose.

    “I was stuck in a routine, and I wanted to try something else. I needed to move forward," Fedrigo told L’Equipe after the team’s official presentation in Paris on Tuesday. The team failed to secure ProTour status for 2011 but team manager Marc Madiot is confident the team will ride most of the races on the WorldTour calendar.

    “FDJ has great potential, and I want more moments like the ones I had at Bouygues Telecom. We’ll try to show that we can win some good races. We want to get a place back among the best, in the first division. It is important to us and for the sponsor.”

    Fedrigo named Paris-Nice as his first goal of the 2011 season but hopes he and can FDJ can be successful throughout the season.

    “The first major objective is Paris-Nice. Before that, the important thing is to create a cohesive team that wants to win. The Tour de France remains one of the big goals of the season but we also have make our presence felt in other races such as the classics and the Coupe de France series. We’ve got to be consistent throughout the season.”

    “There will be some pressure on me, but hopefully I can help the young riders and show them how to win races. In the peloton, people know me and know that I’m not difficult to live with. I noticed we all got on well during the training camps both on and off the bike.”

  • Shane Sutton critical of Vaughters’ GreenEdge threat

    Shane Sutton receives his MBE from Her Majesty the Queen.
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 19:30 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Sky performance manager welcomes arrival of Australian team

    Shane Sutton has criticised Jonathan Vaughters’ threats of legal action against Shane Bannan, the head of new Australian team GreenEdge, branding his comments as “unprofessional”.

    The Garmin-Cervélo manager told Cyclingnews that he would consider legal action if approaches are made to any of his riders or staff before August 1. Vaughters’ riders Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge, along with directeur sportif Matt White, have been linked to the new team, which hopes to secure a ProTeam licence for 2012 and ride the Tour de France.

    However, Sky performance manager Sutton wasn't pleased that Vaughters aired his concerns publicly on the day of the team's presentation.

    "To pick up the papers in Perth yesterday morning and see an article from the American basically slagging GreenEdge on unfounded evidence that his riders have been approached ... and making threats to take certain people to court, I think it's pretty unprofessional in this sport,” Sutton told AAP.

    “It's quite sad, given the enormity of what the announcement was going to be at three o'clock,” he said. "It's not what the sport needed. The announcement is what the sport needed.”

    There are striking similarities between the genesis of the GreenEdge project and that of Sutton’s Sky team. The new Australian squad appears to have some of its roots in the country’s track programme, just as Team Sky grew out of Great Britain’s success on the track. However, Sutton was keen to welcome the new outfit to the sport.

    "Good luck to them - from Sky's point of view, all we can do is wish them all the best,” he said.

    Sutton spoke highly of GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan, who resigned from his dual roles as Cycling Australia's National...

  • Armstrong subject of new doping allegations

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    January 18, 2011, 22:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fabiani calls Sports Illustrated story "old tired lies"

    A report in Sports Illustrated brings to light new doping allegations against Lance Armstrong. The full story will appear in print editions on Wednesday, but an excerpt published online provides a few never before published details.

    The investigative piece by Selena Roberts and David Epstein is the result of work in which the pair "reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and interviewed dozens of sources in Europe, New Zealand and the U.S.," according to the report.

    Armstrong has been the subject of a federal investigation led by the FDA's Jeff Novitzky, and a grand jury in Los Angeles has been hearing testimony from Armstrong's former US Postal teammates and others since last summer.

    The investigation broadened to include Armstrong after Floyd Landis made allegations that there was organized doping within the US Postal team during the height of Armstrong's seven Tours de France winning streak. Armstrong has repeatedly denied doping.

    Among the "revelations" to be published in tomorrow's article are charges that Armstrong gained access to an emergency blood substitute called HemAssist from maker Baxter Healthcare Corp. while it was still in clinical trials, and a statement from Armstrong's former teammate Stephen Swart who claims the American instigated the use of EPO on the team in the 1990s.

    Armstrong's spokesman Mark Fabiani would only respond by telling Cyclingnews, "The story is filled with old news, recycling the same old tired lies from the same old tired liars".

    A source familiar with the materials that Armstrong's camp provided to Sports Illustrated told Cyclingnews that several points were refuted to SI before publication of the story.

    Clinical trials for HemAssist were halted in April 1998 and Baxter Laboratories stopped developing HemAssist...