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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Date published:
January 30, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Cavendish to lead Omega Pharma-Quick Step in Qatar

    Mark Cavendish in his 2013 team kit
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 9:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stybar, Van Keirsbulck, Keisse, Terpstra and Velits to form leadout train

    The Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team has named the riders who will head to Qatar later this week for the Tour of Qatar, with Mark Cavendish set to lead the Belgian squad in the absence of Tom Boonen. The six-day race kicks on February 3 with a 145km road stage and ends on February 7.

    Boonen is still recovering from a minor operation to resolve a septic infection in his elbow. He has used his fast sprint and skills in riding in the desert winds to win 20 stage in Qatar and the overall classification four times. However the Belgian team will now focus on protecting Mark Cavendish and setting him up for the expected sprint finishes.

    Cavendish showed he is on form by winning the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

    Zdenek Stybar will replace Boonen as he continues his transition from cyclo-cross. Also in the team are Iljo Keisse, Niki Terpstra, Matteo Trentin, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Stijn Vandenbergh and Martin Velits.

    "This year Tom Boonen won't be at the start," Sports Director Wilfried Peeters confirmed. "So we will focus our attention on other riders, and of course on Mark Cavendish."

    "He knows the parcour and the conditions we will find in Qatar. We will work for him, to give him the best situation for the sprint. But we also have other riders who can do well in Qatar. We will try to win at least one stage, and put at least one rider in the high part of the GC."

    "OPQS specializes in these kinds of races in the desert, with a lot of wind. Mark can benefit from the experience of the team on this kind of parcour."

    Other sprinters and classics rider in action in Qatar include Baden Cooke (Orica-GreenEdge), Daniele Bennati (Team...

  • Video: Wiggins ready to challenge for Giro-Tour double

    Bradley Wiggins wraps up for some winter training in Spain
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 14:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky leader focused and excited about the season ahead

    Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that he is ready to attempt the extremely rare and difficult feat of winning the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same season.

    The 2012 Tour de France winner has set the Giro d'Italia as his first big goal of 2013 and has promised to ride in support of teammate Chris Froome at the Tour de France. However after talking to Team Sky's Head of Performance Support Tim Kerrison, Wiggins believes he can also be competitive in France in July, making the double a distinct possibility.

    Only seven cyclists have won the Tour and the Giro in the same year: Fausto Coppi (1949, 1952), Jacques Anquetil (1964), Eddy Merckx (1970, 1972, 1974), Bernard Hinault (1982, 1985), Stephen Roche (1987), Miguel Indurain (1992, 1993) and Marco Pantani (1998).

    Wiggins told Cyclingnews that the double is still possible in modern-day cycling.

    "It's an incredibly tough thing to do but Tim (Kerrison) assures me it can be done. I'd love the challenge of trying to do that. I love the Giro. It's a race I've always warmed too," Wiggins said.

    "I remember watching it as a kid when [Miguel] Indurain was winning it. I'd love to say I've won the Tour and the Giro. That's the challenge, that's the goal."

    "I think there's five weeks in between. There's an element of the unknown but we managed it at the Olympics."

    "It's a shame that (Giro d'Italia winner) Ryder (Hesjedal) crashed out at the Tour because they said he was in even better shape than he was at the Giro. If it's ever possible to do it in this day and age, with the way cycling is, then it's more possible than ever."

    Wiggins attacked Lance Armstrong after his confession but now seems more at ease with his own life under the media...

  • WADA expresses dismay at UCI's disbandment of Commission

    WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 15:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fahey consider's UCI actions "unilateral and arrogant"

    World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey today provided a strongly-worded reaction to Monday's news that the UCI would disband its Independent Commission and instead establish a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) later in 2013. UCI president Pat McQuaid cited the refusal of WADA and the US Anti-Doping Agency to cooperate with the investigation unless a TRC was on the table.

    "WADA is dismayed by the press release issued by UCI yesterday, both in terms of its content and its deceit," read today's statement from Fahey. "The Independent Commission established by UCI was intended to review the allegations of complicity of UCI in the Lance Armstrong doping conspiracy as raised by USADA in its thorough decision. Instead UCI has again chosen to ignore its responsibility to the sport of cycling in completing such an inquiry and has determined to apparently deflect responsibility for the doping problem in its sport to others.

    "It has decided to terminate its own Commission on the grounds that others refuse to participate, and not for any reason that the Commission was precluded from operating transparently and without fear."

    Fahey repeated his concerns with the Independent Commission and pointed out that the UCI failed to address WADA's recommendations.

    "WADA was not part of the decision to establish such a Commission, it was not even consulted," said Fahey. "When asked to participate, WADA was at pains to point out the inadequacies of the terms of reference and the timelines. The Commission’s lawyers agreed to point those out in order to remedy them. These were not addressed by UCI or the Commission so WADA declined to participate.

    "The matters raised by WADA were: The Armstrong case was decided and could not be re-litigated, the timelines for the evidence were not realistic, the process for hearing witnesses and receiving...

  • UCI Independent Commission “blindfolded and handcuffed”, says USADA

    USADA chief Travis Tygart (R) shakes hands with Senator Arlen Specter at a 2009 hearing in Washington, DC about screening dietary supplements for illegal steroids.
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 17:37 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    UCI failed to cooperate, says commission

    The UCI’s sudden decision to disband the independent commission it created to investigate its anti-doping efforts has come under harsh criticism from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart.

    The UCI Independent Commission (UCIIC) was founded in response to the publication of USADA’s reasoned decision on its ban of Lance Armstrong - documents which revealed systemic doping issues in the sport that went unchecked for years by its governing body.

    The UCI decided to scrap the investigation on Monday, purportedly in favour of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (TRC), but Tygart questioned the UCI’s commitment to an independent process.

    “As we previously said, the UCI blindfolded and handcuffed its Independent Commission and now hopes the world will look the other way while the UCI attempts to insert itself into the investigation into the role it played in allowing the doping culture to flourish,” Tygart said.

    Tygart objected to the concept of the UCI’s involvement in running the TRC.

    “We have always fully supported a well-structured truth and reconciliation process in order to clean up the sport and protect the rights of athletes but it is clear that the UCI cannot be allowed to script its own self-interested outcome in this effort.”

    USADA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) refused to take part in the UCIIC until the UCI agreed to include the TRC in the process, among other objections. UCI president Pat McQuaid was

  • Tchmil reveals his European Union of Cycling manifesto

    Stefano Feltrin, Andre Tchmil and Oleg Tinkov (l-r) at the Katusha team launch
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 18:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Katusha manager promises to be a "transparent and independent" President

    Andrei Tchmil has confirmed he will stand for President of the European Union of Cycling on March 3, revealing a detailed programme of electoral promises that include a new model of cooperation between the UEC, National Federations and the UCI, projects to increase the prestige of the existing European events and a new approach to sport ethics.

    The EUC is a continental confederation and represents 48 different countries and organises European championships. France's David Lappartient is the only other current candidate for the role of President of the European Cycling Union (UEC).

    In a long list of proposal and ideas, Tchmil suggests creating a season-long European Challenge Cup trophy to increase the prestige of European races that were not included in the World Tour Calendar and a new 2.2 category Europe Tour stage race in 2015. He also proposes the creation of a European biological ID for young riders, which will operate until a rider becomes part of the UCI biological passport programme. There is no explanation how the system would work or how it would be funded.

    Tchmil is expected to work closely with Russian Oligarch Igor Makarov – the head of the Russian Global Cycling project and the Katusha team. Makarov was nominated as the EUC's representative to the UCI in 2011 after his Itera company sponsored he EUC. He now sits on the influential UCI Management Committee.

    Tchmil raced a professional between 1989 and 2002, winning Paris-Roubaix in 1994 and Milano-Sanremo in 1999. He was the head of the troubled Katusha team until September 2011. He is a former minister of sport for Moldova and could go on to challenge for the role of President of the UCI, possibly as soon as this September, when elections take place during the Florence world championships.

    "Europe is very diverse, and the head of UEC must be familiar with problems and...

  • Ivan Basso: "I've regained my dignity"

    Ivan Basso (Cannondale).
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 20:10 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian talks about his life after Operacion Puerto

    Ivan Basso is scheduled to testify via video at the Operacion Puerto trial on February 11 but the Italian would prefer to put his involvement in the Spanish blood doping ring behind him and focus on his racing.

    "I've been called to testify, but for me it's a formality because it was part of my life six or seven years ago," Basso told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview in Tuscany as he trains for the 2013 season.

    "I was banned by the Italian Olympic Committee and was found guilty in an Italian court, so it only brings back bad memories for me."  

    The Team Cannondale captain initially denied his links to Dr. Fuentes when Operacion Puerto exploded during the final days of his dominant victory at the 2006 Giro d'Italia. Yet he was forced to flee the start of the 2006 Tour de France in Strasbourg by a backdoor when the allegations of blood doping became much stronger.  

    While still in denial, Basso quit CSC and joined the Discovery Channel team during the winter of 2006. He rode several races but was then formally placed under investigation by the Italian Olympic Committee in April and was given a two-year ban.

    Basso made a comeback with the Liquigas team in 2009 and went on to finish fourth in the Vuelta and then won the 2010 Giro d'Italia.

    Now 35, Basso is no longer the rider he was while working with Bjarne Riis at his peak. He finished fifth in the 2012 Giro d'Italia and 25th at the Tour de France.

    He has published some of his blood data and power metre profiles online, but has always refused to speak in detail about his past as a doper or speak to help make cycling cleaner for the future. True to his hard working and reserved nature, Basso prefers to let his racing do the talking.

    "When you've lied so much, people don’t want just words. The wind blows words away, as we say in Italian. People want facts. I've got to produce facts, as I did in 2009 and...

  • Fuentes: we gave transfusions for health reasons

    Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 21:20 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Doctor at centre of Puerto case admits to treating athletes in other sports besides cycling

    Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the Operacion Puerto investigation, took to the stand as the case entered its second day in a Madrid court today (Tuesday). Fuentes, who is one of five defendants facing charges of crimes against public health, spent three-and-a-half hours testifying. Although he admitted providing riders with blood transfusions, he insisted that these were designed to ensure their good health and were not related to doping activities. He also confirmed that he worked with athletes from several other sports besides cycling.

    The day started with a closed-door session during which the judge, Julia Patricia Santamaría, provided the guidelines for questioning. She refused requests from WADA and CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee, to be allowed access to Fuentes’ computer. However, she agreed that evidence from doping whistle blower Jesús Manzano could be heard and ruled that Tyler Hamilton can appear as a witness in the case.

    When he took to the stand, Fuentes presented himself as a medical good Samaritan, who was focused on ensuring that the health of the athletes who consulted him was not compromised. “If an athlete had very viscous blood, we used to extract it to reduce the danger to them. And then we used to freeze it,” he said, the “we” referring to himself and haematologist José Luis Merino Batres, against whom charges have been dropped for health reasons. “If the athlete then came back with low haematocrit or with anaemia, we used to be put the blood back into them for health reasons,” he continued.

    Pressed on what athletes were looking for when they contacted him, Fuentes responded: “They wanted a medical assessment, to plan out training...

  • UCI responds to WADA criticism by publishing letters

    WADA President John Fajey (l) and Director General David Howman earlier this year.
    Article published:
    January 29, 2013, 23:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI "acted in spirit of partnership" with agency, says McQuaid

    The ongoing dispute between the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency over the next steps for the now-disbanded Independent Commission and the to-be-formed Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) came to a head on Tuesday. WADA president John Fahey called the UCI's actions "unilateral and arrogant", while UCI president Pat McQuaid has now responded by releasing a correspondence between Fahey and himself to demonstrate that he acted "in a spirit of partnership".

    “I am very saddened that it has come to this, but I cannot allow the latest blatant and aggressive misrepresentations contained in WADA’s most recent press release to go unchallenged," McQuaid stated in a press release. "Mr Fahey is saying one thing in public and quite the opposite in correspondence with me, as the attached communications show."

    “The UCI reached out to WADA in a spirit of partnership. This is about doing what is right for cycling. This is not the time for showmanship, or political point scoring.

    “The UCI is perplexed that WADA has now chosen to rebuff and attack the UCI’s willingness to establish a TRC, having just demanded that the UCI establish exactly such a commission."

    WADA and the USADA refused to take part in the UCIIC, questioning its independence, its scope and its lack of an amnesty program to help convince witnesses to give full disclosure.

    The UCI appeared to be amenable to the formation of a TRC, but balked at funding both its IC and the new body. In the letter below, Fahey suggests the UCI mortgage its properties in Aigle, and made it clear WADA would not pay for an investigation into cycling's doping problems.

    “The UCI is determined not to dwell on WADA’s inconsistent...