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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Date published:
January 09, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Bardiani, Colombia and Fantini Vini secure Giro d'Italia wild card invitations

    The Giro d'Italia peloton in Pola
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 13:22 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Katusha and NetApp-Endura miss out, MTN-Qhubeka invited to Milano-Sanremo

    RCS Sport has awarded Giro d'Italia wild card invitations to Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Fantini Vini–Selle Italia and the Colombia team, with NetApp-Endura, IAM Cycling and Katusha missing out on places at the corsa rosa. Androni Giocattoli secured an automatic wild card place thanks to winning the 2012 Coppa Italia race classification that includes all the minor Italian races. 

    Some of the teams that missed out on place in the Giro d'Italia have been awarded wild card places in Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and Il Lombardia.

    RCS Sport apparently considered Katusha as a Professional Continental team and the Russian team has been invited to Tirreno-Adriatico with MTN-Qhubeka, NetApp-Endura and Vini Fantini.

    MTN-Qhubeka, Africa's first Pro Continental team, opted not to ride the Giro d'Italia in its first season at that level, but the team impressed RCS Sport and secured rides in both Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, where team leader Gerald Ciolek could have a chance in a sprint finish.

    25 teams will ride Milano-Sanremo: the 18 WorldTour teams plus Androni Giocattoli, Katusha, MTN-Qhubaka, IAM Cycling, Bardiani, Vini Fantini and Team Europcar.

    Androni Giocattoli, Katusha, Colombia, IAM Cycling, NetApp-Endura, Vini Fantini and Team Europcar have secured the wild card places for il Lombardia.

    The five-member RCS Sport wild card commission studied the dossiers of the ten teams hoping to secure invitations to the major Italian races, considering the strength of the riders but also their marketing and communication strategies and their importance to promoting the Giro d'Italia globally.

  • MTN-Qhubeka invited to Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo

    The German contingent poses on the backs of Qhubeka bikes
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 14:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    African team pleased with early vote of confidence

    MTN-Qhubeka, Africa’s first Pro Continental team, has received wildcard invitations to both Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo in March. The news, which follows the team's earlier invitation to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, comes as a vote of confidence to the squad from race organisers RCS Sport, who also announced the four Giro d’Italia wildcards on Tuesday.

    Douglas Ryder’s squad had already intimated that it would wait another year before seeking a Giro berth, but the team principal was pleased that his team has guaranteed itself participation in two WorldTour races so early in the season.

    “We'd like to thank RCS for this opportunity," Ryder said. "It was a major goal for us this year to get into those two races as they are two of the most prestigious ones on the calender. Tirreno-Adriatico will offer some tough stage racing while Milan-San Remo at almost 300km long will offer our riders a great learning opportunity in tough one-day classic conditions."

    While MTN-Qhubeka’s primary goal is the development of African talent, the squad has also signed a number of European riders with significant WorldTour experience, including the Germans Gerald Ciolek and Martin Reimer. Ciolek, who arrived from Omega Pharma-QuickStep during the off-season, has had Milan-San Remo earmarked all winter.

    “I've been building the early part of my season around these two races. To have them confirmed for our team is great,” Ciolek said. “People may have wondered why I signed for a Pro Continental team but I think everyone is starting to believe why this project is so special. I am looking forward to heading to Italy for these races."

    Although South African-registered and with a predominantly African roster, MTN-Qhubeka is not without links to Italy – the team’s African...

  • Van Den Broeck admits to visiting doctor at centre of inquiry for medical reasons

    Can Jurgen Van Den Broeck make the 2013 Tour de France podium?
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 16:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol rider to skip Classics in 2013

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) has admitted to visiting the doctor at the centre of a Belgian doping investigation but insisted that his consultations were for purely medical reasons.

    The inquiry is understood to be focused on the activities of Rotselaar-based doctor Chris Mertens. Tom Meeusen was pulled from the Belgian team for the cyclo-cross World Cup in Rome at the weekend when he was interviewed by investigators regarding his relationship with the doctor.

    Speaking to reporters in an impromptu press briefing at the Lotto Belisol training camp in Bénicassim on Monday, Van Den Broeck said that he, too, had consulted the doctor.

    “To make things clear, I have to say that I also consulted this doctor a few times for the good and simple reason that I was ill with a sinus problem and I had to take care of it, and my team doctor Jan Mathieu was unavailable because he was abroad at the time,” Van Den Broeck said, according to La Dernière Heure.

    Asked why he had not simply visited his family doctor for treatment, Van Den Broeck said that he needed to see a doctor who had a sound knowledge of what products are on WADA’s prohibited list.

    “I preferred to go to him because it’s not far from where I live, but also because he’s a sports doctor. Given the very long list of things that a rider can’t take, out of security I prefer to consult a good doctor who knows what you can or can’t take, a person in whom I can have confidence,” Van Den Broeck said.

    Reports in the Belgian media have suggested that the doctor is under investigation for the alleged practice of ozone therapy, an...

  • Team Colombia celebrate Giro d'Italia wild card invitation

    Fabio Duarte shows off the new 2013 Team Colombia jersey
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 19:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Los Escarabajos look forward to the mountain stages

    Team Colombia has described obtaining a wild card invitation for the Giro d'Italia as a crucial step in the team's development, promising to light up the race during the mountain stages.

    The team is funded by the Colombian government and was created by former Saeco and Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti in 2012.

    “This invitation is a crucial step in our project’s path, so I can’t be anything but happy that our Team has managed to win a Giro d’Italia spot in just its second season in the pro ranks," Corti said in a press release from the team.

    "In our first year, I think we showed everyone in cycling the real value of our riders and organization, and we feel ready to improve further: we have a huge bunch of people all over the World who can’t wait to see us in action at the Giro, and we certainly will not disappoint them.”

    “We have got the riders and the attitude to perform in a demanding Giro d’Italia, and we will be looking to bring what everybody expects from us: we have a group of exciting grimpeurs and an 'Inspired by Climbing' attitude, and we definitely will not back down when the road points up.”

    Team leaders at Colombia include Fabio Duarte, Leonardo Duque, Darwin Atapuma and Carlos Quintero. Atapuma won a stage of last year's Giro del Trentino, while Duarte won the GP Citta di Camaiore and Coppa Sabatini races in Italy and two stages of the Vuelta Colombia.

    The team likes to call itself the Escarabajos - the Beatles - because of is black jersey, and hopes to follow in the steps of the legendary Cafe de Colombia team from the eighties that included pure climbers Lucho Herrara and Fabio Parra.

  • Kelderman looking forward to Giro d'Italia challenge

    Wilco Kelderman (Blanco).
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 21:07 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Dutchman embarks on second year at WorldTour level

    It is indicative of Wilco Kelderman’s standing at Blanco Pro Cycling that he was one of just three riders asked to model to the team’s new kit for the press at the squad’s low-key presentation in Fuerteventura shortly before Christmas. Still only 21 years of age, Kelderman has copious reserves of that most beguiling of commodities, potential, and as such he was perhaps a natural fit to stand alongside Robert Gesink and Mark Renshaw to sell the prospects of a team that is searching for a sponsor to ensure its future beyond the end of 2013.

    In his debut season at WorldTour level in 2012, however, Kelderman also demonstrated his ample capabilities in the here and now, taking top 10 places and the best young rider’s jersey at both the Tour of California and the Critérium du Dauphiné during a fine purple patch in early summer. The Dutch youngster will now aim to continue that progress in 2013 and he is pencilled in for a Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia.

    “I’m partly going there for experience but also to be part of a good team,” Kelderman told Cyclingnews, explaining that while he will ride primarily in support of Gesink and Steven Kruijiswijk in Italy, he is also harbouring some ambitions of his own.

    “I hope to ride the Giro for the white jersey but it’s hard to say now when I don’t know who else is riding there. The most important thing is to ride for bigger riders on my team but if it’s possible, I’ll go for the white jersey too. I saw the route of the Giro and I think it’s good for me with the time trials.”

    A product of the famed Rabobank Continental stable (whose formal links with the WorldTour set-up have dissolved in the wake of the bank’s recent withdrawal from sponsorship at professional level), Kelderman is one of a number of young Dutch climbers at Blanco, although unlike many of his peers, he is also...

  • Report: Armstrong's alleged donation to USADA

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 21:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Armstrong attorney denies $250k offer, Tygart confirms

    Although the US Anti-Doping Agency's final "reasoned decision" on its lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong has had months to gather dust, a new segment from 60 Minute Sports to be aired on Wednesday is reportedly going to bring to light new allegations of possible graft by the now-former seven time Tour de France champion.

    The report by Scott Pelley, the same journalist who first brought Tyler Hamilton's allegations of doping by Armstrong to light on the television network CBS, is said to have confirmation from USADA CEO Travis Tygart on an offer by Armstrong to donate a large sum of money, up to $250,000.

    "I was stunned," Tygart says in the interview, according to USA Today. "It was clear - it was a clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer."

    While USADA was keen to point out in its 1,000+ page reasoned decision that Armstrong gave some $100,000 to the UCI, and Tygart heavily criticized the sport's governing body for accepting the money, nowhere in the document does it state that Armstrong also attempted to provide a similarly large donation to USADA in 2004, as the 60 Minutes Sports segment alleges.

    Tygart did not return Cyclingnews' request for comment today, but Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman replied to a request for confirmation, stating there is "no truth to that story".

    "[The] first Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion."

  • Australian Institute of Sport women’s road program abolished due to funding cuts

    Gracie Elvin on her way to victory
    Article published:
    January 08, 2013, 23:25 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Development program scrapped in favour of national team approach

    Sports funding in the season directly following an Olympic Games is always precarious, but the effect this is set to have on the Australian Institute of Sport cycling program for women is raising eyebrows - and it's not in a good way.

    Cyclingnews previously reported in October 2012 that the funding constraints has forced a shift in the men's UCI Continental Jayco-AIS team, which will now exist as a national 'WorldTour Academy' squad which doesn't come with the cost of UCI registration. Now Cyclingnews can reveal that the highly-successful AIS women's program, which has produced the likes of Sara Carrigan, Anna Wilson, Oenone Wood and more recently, Amanda Spratt, is being dissolved in its current form.

    The AIS program for women has been in existence since 1992 and has been largely responsible for the development of talent.

    "It's more than a funding decision, but it is tied up to it," explained head coach Martin Barras. "We're already halfway there because the program has been merged with the national team program for the last 10 or 12 years but where we used to run an AIS team as the elite international development team, we now run a national team with more flexible selection."

    In terms of what funding will be available, Barras said that an announcement was some months away and all decisions, from rider support to rider development, were currently being made with a short-term view.

    "It makes it difficult for this year," he told Cyclingnews. "Our projects are very well established, it's just a matter of can we run them, or not? This is my fifth Olympic cycle now and it's the same thing every time."

    Barras explained that the move was designed to eradicate what he called the "sense of entitlement" that came with...

  • Armstrong set for tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey

    Lance Armstrong waved goodbye to his 7 Tours de France
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 0:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Air date January 17

    Lance Armstrong will give his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles later this month when he appears on the 'Oprah's Next Chapter' program on her eponymous US cable television network.

    The interview, which will go to air on January 17 will also be available simultaneously through the network's website.

    Armstrong was the focus of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation which labelled the US Postal team's operation as "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" on October 10, 2012. USADA stripped Armstrong of all results from August 1, 1998 when he declined to contest charges of doping in late August and handed the Texan a lifetime ban all of which was later ratified by cycling's governing body, the UCI.

    The 41-year-old will give the interview from his home in Texas.

    A media release on said that "Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career."