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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Date published:
July 01, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Sinkewitz claims systematic doping at Quick Step

    Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step)
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 12:03 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Doctors supplied cortisone, growth hormones and EPO

    Patrik Sinkewitz confessed to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in November 2007 about systematic doping on his former team Quick Step, according to Radsport-News. Sinkewitz described how Quick Step doctors would inject him with cortisone prior to important races and that the doctors also supplied him with growth hormones and EPO.

    "They took regular blood samples to measure my hematocrit and fit the EPO doses to the respective values," said Sinkewitz.

    Sinkewitz also spoke of a secret training camp in Andalusia in May 2004 where Quick Step's medical team had established a doping program. "Depending on their objectives, I knew that I had to take substances," said Sinkewitz.

    Sinkewitz was a member of Quick Step from 2003 to 2005.

    David Howman, WADA's director general, told the television program Frontal-21 that Sinkewitz's statement was forwarded to the Union Cycliste International (UCI) last week and that he had no explanation for the delay. Howman called Sinkewitz's statements "very detailed and helpful."

    It is unclear what effect this will have on Quick Step's participation in the Tour de France starting Saturday in Monaco. "I can say nothing, because I know nothing of it. If there is something to explain there, we will issue a press release," said UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani.

    Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone before the 2007 Tour de France, and since he cooperated with authorities, received only a one-year ban, which ended July 17, 2008. The German resumed racing this year with the Czech PSK Whirlpool-Author team.

  • Kirchen aiming higher for Tour

    Kirchen claimed yellow in the 2008 Tour
    Article published:
    June 30, 2009, 20:51 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Columbia rider hopes to improve on previous performances

    Luxembourger Kim Kirchen could well be one of the dark horse contenders for this year's Tour de France. Having finished seventh in the past two Tours, Kirchen hopes to overcome his early season setbacks and ride on to the podium in July.

    Kirchen rode himself into the yellow jersey during the first half of last year's event, but the Columbia leader must accept that the 2008 course was better suited for his yellow jersey aspirations because of the lack of a prologue and the uphill sprint finish on day one.

    But, while he admits it will be hard for him to win the day one race against the clock, he says that his Columbia HTC squad are 'really strong' in the team time trial and that he thinks it is possible to get time back there. He'd grab the chance of another maillot jaune.

    As regards his ambitions for the race, he wants to improve on his previous showings. "If I look at last year, I lost too much time in the uphill," he said. "I lost six minutes on the Alpe d'Huez, I felt bad that time, and I lost four minutes in another uphill finish.

    "I also had bad luck as well with a broken wheel. I didn't want to risk the seventh spot on a downhill, so I lost time there as well."

    That was the stage which finished on Prato Nevoso in Italy, and cost him one place in the final overall standings. "I climbed at the same speed as the other guys, but ended up losing a minute [actually 1'31 to eventual winner Carlos Sastre - ed.]; in other words, the time I lost by changing the rear wheel," he said. "Counting the time I lost in these ways gives me a lot of motivation. I would have been in the first five otherwise.

    "I think this year will be a little bit better in the uphill for me. I trained a little bit more there and I feel more confident on the climbs. So I think I can be really close to the podium. I can't say that I can win the Tour de France, but the first...

  • Cervélo launch Sastre R3-SL, S3 limited edition frames

    Cervélo will release just 50 R3-SL Tdf LTD carbon road frames.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 9:40 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Tour champion honoured with frame range

    Cervélo has produced two limited edition frames to celebrate Carlos Sastre’s 2008 Tour de France victory. The R3-SL Tdf LTD carbon road frame and S3 TdF LTD aero model will be available in mid-July in exclusive black and yellow pinstripe paintjobs.

    Only 50 of the R3-SL frames, the bike that Sastre rode in most of last year’s Tour stages, will be produced worldwide, and will come with a signed Carlos Sastre yellow jersey as well as a certificate of authenticity. If you can get hold of one, it’ll set you back £3099.99 – just £100 more than the standard R3-SL model.

    The S3 TdF LTD frame was created to celebrate the Cervélo TestTeam’s inaugural Tour de France. Frame numbers are limited to just 200 worldwide, but the £3499.99 price does not include the signed jersey.

    The S3 TdF LTD aero model will be available in mid-July in exclusive black and yellow pinstripe paintjob.

    Both frames come complete with 3T Funda Team forks, FSA integrated headset and seatpost. The R3-SL has a 3T Doric Offset LTD (not shown in photo), and the S3 comes with Cervélo’s own carbon aero SL seatpost.

    Rotor's goes for yellow 3D cranks

    Spanish bike component manufacturers Rotor have announced that they will supply the Cervélo TestTeam with a special edition of their new 3D Cranks. The cranks bear the same yellow detailing as the limited edition frames, again to commemorate Sastre´s victory in 2008 and the race leader’s yellow jersey.

    According to Rotor, the 2009 Tour de France will be the first
    year a prominent team will have competed on Q-Rings, “demonstrating that the oval technology is proven in real world racing”.

  • Spanish legends analyse Astana ahead of Tour

    Five time-Tour winner Miguel Indurain was at the start of the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 10:21 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Bruyneel won't play favourites, say Indurain and Bahamontes

    Five-time Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain believes that Astana won't go in to this month's Tour with a 'preferred' rider and the race itself lacks a clear favourite.

    "I do not believe Astana favours Armstrong or Contador,” Indurain told Reuters. “Armstrong may have disturbed the peace of Alberto [Contador] a little but not enough to call Johan Bruyneel's plan for the race into question."

    Indurain cited the fact that other big-name riders were mainstays of the team when he said that there wouldn't be major conflict within the squad. "The team also has several other fronts [to contest the overall classification], whether that be [Andreas] Kloden or [Levi] Leipheimer... Bruyneel knows how to handle these situations," said Indurain.

    While popular opinion has indicated many people believe that Astana will suffer due to its multitude of star riders, Indurain believes that it will enhance the team's chances. "All the riders are men who can be trusted, which can help solve a lot of different situations; they can be expected to help and they're people who will give more than just their all riding on the front," he added.

    Indurain also believes that Bruyneel is right in not publically airing any allegiance or plan for the team's Tour strategy. "At the Tour you have to work with clear ideas and change your tactics when there are problems, but you talk about it and do it, but don't make it public," he said.

    Astana may have the cards to play in its illustrious deck but Indurain is convinced that there is no clear favourite for the Tour. The 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 champions will be riding this year's edition and even their support riders are contenders. "There is no clear favourite," he said. "This Tour is difficult because the early stages are hard, so are the Pyrenees... and if you can pay for it if you are not strong near the end," he explained.

    At a ceremony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of...

  • Le Lay signs for AG2R - La Mondiale

    Frenchman David Le Lay (Agritubel) signs autographs for young fans.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 10:34 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Impressive Frenchman secures two seasons with ProTour team

    Agritubel rider David Le Lay has signed with French ProTour outfit AG2R - La Mondiale for two seasons, a boost ahead of his ride in this year's Tour de France starting on Saturday in Monaco.

    Having arrived at Agritubel from domestic squad Bretagne - Armor-Lux during the middle of last season, his performances in this year's editions of Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he took 12th and 21st respectively, caught the eye of AG2R - La Mondiale management.

    Le Lay has quickly developed into one of French cycling's most notable current riders, although his career has followed a slightly varying trajectory to the likes of countrymen Thomas Voeckler or Pierrick Fredrigo. His place on a ProTour roster is the next step in a rise to prominence and should lead to more success over the next two years.

  • Tour contenders worth betting on

    These guys are definitely working: Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 10:59 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Gesink a chance of stage win according to bookies

    Online betting agency has installed Rabobank's Robert Gesink as a likely Tour de France stage winner and a possible top 10 finisher overall, according to Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

    The 20th stage, from Montélimar to the peak of the famed Mont Ventoux, is billed as suiting the lanky Dutch climber. Team-mate and countryman Stef Clement will be helping Gesink throughout the race, which should enhance his chances of taking a stage win.

    Bookmakers say that the probability that a Dutchman winning overall is small, with a 50-1 return on a bet that this will happen. Needless to say it's a brave punter that puts money on this eventuality.

    Alberto Contador is the bookmakers' overall favourite, followed by team-mate and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong and Saxo Bank rider Andy Schleck. Mark Cavendish is the favorite to take the green jersey while the odds point towards a French winner of the mountain classification.

  • Cervélo: It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white

    Cervelo's men and women teams will both swap black for white from this week.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2009, 11:04 BST
    Daniel Simms

    New white kit for Tour, Giro squads

    Cervélo’s predominately black team kit will be replaced with a revised white number starting from this week’s Tour de France and Giro Donne. Changes to the men and women teams’ kits won’t only be cosmetic, with the jersey featuring a revised pattern and fabrics that the team claim will improve aerodynamics.

    Cervélo TestTeam manager Thomas Campana said the International Cycling Union (UCI) was quick to approve the team’s kit changes. "We made the design change because racing during the hot summer temperatures that are normal in Europe is hard on the riders," he said. "And the lighter colour will provide some relief from the heat. All modifications to team kit design must be approved by the UCI and we appreciate their prompt attention in this matter.

    Castelli Products Steve Smith believes there will be a real performance saving in the change of jersey. "In addition to the new colour, the team is also debuting an updated Aero Race Jersey pattern that features new construction and fabrics around the arm and shoulder making it even more aerodynamic,” said Smith. “With over three years of development and wind tunnel testing, this jersey saves 10 watts compared to standard race jerseys.

    "Racing in hot weather is physically demanding, that's a given, and despite the fact that Castelli makes some of the lightest and coolest fabrics in existence, wearing a lighter colour will make a big difference, both psychologically and physically, to a rider's well being," he added. "UCI agreed that the rider's health is paramount, and so we instituted the change."

    Cervélo isn’t the only ProTour squad to seek UCI approval for a kit change this year. Astana requested it fade some of its sponsor’s logos prior to last month’s Giro d’Italia, as a result of several backers having not paid outstanding monies at the time.

    Cervélo’s Tour squad will be led...