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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Date published:
July 18, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Fränk Schleck speaks with police in Pau

    Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 0:29 BST
    Barry Ryan

    RadioShack-Nissan rider positive for diuretic

    As news of his withdrawal from the Tour de France following an adverse analytical finding for the diuretic Xipamide broke on Tuesday evening, Fränk Schleck was speaking with police in Pau.

    After receiving notice of his positive test, Schleck is understood to have opted to travel to the police station himself to make a statement to officers from OCLAESP (Central Office for the fight against environmental damage and for public health).

    Meanwhile, the entrance to Schleck's RadioShack-Nissan team hotel, the Villa Navarre in Pau, had been blocked by police as television crews and journalists began to assemble outside, waiting for a response from the team.

    Shortly after 10pm, RadioShack-Nissan press officer Philippe Maertens came to the gates of the hotel to field questions from the reporters gathered outside.

    "We're all a bit devastated but we can't do anything, we can only acknowledge the facts and see what happens. It's up to Fränk himself to find an explanation," Maertens said, adding that it "had not yet been decided" if Schleck would seek an analysis of his B sample.

    Schleck's positive test dates from July 14, the day of stage 13 of the Tour to Le Cap d'Agde and Maertens said that the team had no reason to suspect such an occurrence before the race began.

    "No, there were no doubts. If the team had doubts about him, they wouldn't have brought him to the Tour de France," he said.

    Schleck himself has yet to make a public pronouncement on the matter, but Maertens said that the rider was surprised by the news: "He has no...

  • Matthew Wilson to retire after Vattenfall Cyclassics

    Orica-GreenEdge rider Matt Wilson at the start.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 2:21 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian moves to sports director role with GreenEdge

    Matthew Wilson has announced that he is ready to begin a new chapter in his career and will make the move from rider to sports director following the Vattenfall Cyclassics next month. He is a veteran of five grand tours.

    "Orica-GreenEdge has offered me an amazing opportunity to pursue a career that I hope will suit me well," said Wilson. "We have been discussing this move for awhile, and I really felt now was the right time. I've started to feel that I can be of more use to my team in the car than on the bike. When you realise that, it's time to stop."

    Wilson, a former Australian national road champion, had originally planned to ride out the season but will instead begin learning the ropes for his new role at the Vuelta a España.

    "Hamburg should be a good last race. It's a one-day race I've always enjoyed, and it allows me to meet up with the team in Spain to begin to get a feel for my new role."

    Wilson, 34, has dedicated himself to supporting others throughout his career and there was no better example of his warrior-like status than at last year’s Giro d’Italia where as maglia nera, he fought to continue racing as long as he could. Wilson, riding for Garmin-Cervelo, crashed on stage 8 injuring his hand, he then developed ganglions before eventually succumbing to a stomach virus. His then DS Lionel Marie told Cyclingnews that Wilson stayed in the race "only because he's got unbelievable courage."

    This season, riding for GreenEdge, Wilson has discovered that the years of suffering on the bike have begun to take a toll.

    "My body just isn't as strong as it used to be," he explained. "I find myself getting sick and injured more often. Getting back to top condition has become...

  • Fränk Schleck requests B sample, will claim he's been poisoned

    Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) in Liege for the start of stage 1 at the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 3:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Luxembourg media releases statement

    Fränk Schleck has requested his B sample be tested after the UCI advised him of an Adverse Analytical Finding in a urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test at the Tour de France on July 14, 2012.

    The WADA accredited laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry detected the presence of the diuretic Xipamide in Schleck's urine sample which he claims is due to "poisoning." RadioShack-Nissan has withdrawn Schleck from the race.

    Luxembourg media network RTL published a link to a statement by Schleck late on Tuesday where he denied having knowingly used the substance. It is understood he earlier travelled to the police station himself to make a statement to officers from OCLAESP (Central Office for the fight against environmental damage and for public health).

    Schleck's full statement translated from French by Cyclingnews:

    "A doctor from the UCI has tonight informed me that a Prohibited Substance has been detected in my urine during a routine doping control performed on July 14, 2012.

    "I categorically deny taking any banned substance. I have no explanation for the test result and therefore insist that the B sample be tested which is my right. If this analysis confirms the initial result, I will argue that I have been the victim of poisoning."

    To read the original statement, click here.


  • Van Den Broeck calls for allies

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) out riding on the rest day near Pau
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 4:54 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Lotto leader hopes to shake up Sky supremacy

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck has called the remaining general classification contenders to form an alliance against the Tour de France's two dominant riders, yellow jersey wearer Bradley Wiggins and his teammate Chris Froome. With the last two mountain stages coming up in the Pyrenees this Wednesday and Thursday, the Lotto Belisol climber knows that his bid for the podium - or even the overall victory - needs a collective assault on Team Sky ahead of the race's final and decisive time trial this week-end - even if this cooperation is only temporary.

    "I think the three of us [meaning Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali and himself - ed.] need to work together, and not ride against each other, if we still want to fight for the yellow jersey," the Belgian stated at the team's press conference in Pau on the Tour's second rest day. "If their goal is position two and three, then it might be different, but if they still have the yellow in mind..."

    He echoed the view of Liquigas' Nibali, who has also already expressed himself in favour of working with his podium rivals to destabilize Sky's supremacy. "Sky has two riders, and we should also be at least two to attack them," he continued. "Two against two is always stronger than two against one. In La Toussuire already, when I attacked, Nibali tried to come with me to go as fast as possible. Then they have to chase us..."

    Van Den Broeck has been very satisfied with having reached the fifth overall placing prior to the Tour's last mountain stages. "I'm happy because this top five placing, at this stage in the race, was unexpected. I thought it was going to come now, in the next days, but having it today means that it can only get better - I hope!" he laughed.

    Van Den Broeck hoped to create race situations where...

  • Gallery: Tour de France rest day in Pau

    Yum, yum! Vacansoleil-DCM get set for a feast of mussels in Pau
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 5:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Mussels, ice baths, riding and rub downs

    The drama was set to unfold but quite a few teams managed to relax during the Tour's second rest day in Pau.

    For the Liquigas-Cannondale team, it was a day for massage and to fulfill media commitments. Vincenzo Nibali, currently third on general classifcation and 2:23 in arrears of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) insisted that the battle for the yellow jersey was far from over and he would use the remaining days in Pyrenees to attack.

    The team from Vacansoleil-DCM worked on a huge pot of mussels in a bid to cheer themselves up after what has so far been an underwhelming Tour, and there was also time for hijinx and relaxation in the Lotto Belisol camp.

    To check out our rest day gallery, click here.

  • Froome making personal sacrifices at the Tour de France

    Christopher Froome (Sky) leads his teammate Bradley Wiggins
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 7:06 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Sky superdomestique sticks to plan despite superior form

    If there was anyone still hoping that Bradley Wiggins' most important helper and the second-placed rider on GC, Chris Froome, would be ignoring team orders and take advantage of his excellent form to attack the yellow jersey in the world's biggest bike race, the Briton put an end to that hypothesis on the Tour de France's second rest day. During Sky's press conference, held in blistering heat outside of the team hotel in Pau, at the foot of the Pyrenees, Froome appeared decidedly obedient to the British squad's initial plan to take Wiggins to the Tour title, declining any form of rebellion.

    Speaking of his truncated attack on the last ascent of stage 11 to La Toussuire, he reiterated his complete loyalty to Wiggins and his team. "We're here to achieve something, and we're on course for that," Froome said. "It made no sense for me to jeopardize that or to carry on when it could have put Brad [Wiggins] in jeopardy.

    "Anyone in a team position has to make personal sacrifices for the sake of the team, and that's what we've been doing so far, and it seems to be working for us. So, why stop doing that?" the Kenyan-born cyclist asked.

    Despite his excellent shape, which many seem to assess as superior to Wiggins', he did not make it seem that his decision had been an easy one, but stressed that he was looking forward to building on his experience to win the Tour de France in due time.

    "In my future, I might be given the opportunity to try and lead a team myself one day," Froome said. "But again, for now, we just need to focus on what we're doing here and achieve the goals we have here. I'm 27 at the moment, so hopefully I...

  • Soler announces retirement from professional cycling

    Juan Mauricio Soler (Movistar Team) wins stage 2 at the Tour de Suisse
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 8:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Doctors advise that Colombian cannot return to physical peak

    Mauricio Soler has announced his retirement from cycling. The news comes just over 12 months after he was airlifted from the Tour de Suisse, just days after the Colombian took the stage victory on Crans-Montana, which he dedicated to his fallen Movistar teammate Xavier Tondo, who died in a freak accident at his home in Spain.

    Soler fractured his skull after colliding with a spectator in the sixth stage of the 2011 Tour de Suisse. He was placed in an induced coma, and in July was moved to a hospital in Pamplona, before returning home to Colombia in December of last year. He has endured months of physical therapy in a bid to return to normality.

    "On the recommendation of my neurologist and medical advisers it is believed that I will not be able to return to peak physical condition needed in my sport, cycling, and for that reason I will no longer compete," he told Colombian television network Señal Colombia.

    Soler's victory in Switzerland in June of last year was his first since the Vuelta a Burgos in 2007, just a few weeks after he won a stage at the Tour de France and secured overall victory in the mountains classification under the banner of the Barloworld team. He had since struggled through injury and visa problems also often disrupted his race program.

    His aim now, is to make the most of what he has.

    "Thanks to God, and to my family, starting with my wife and the Colombians, and also Señal Colombia, my life is good and I will keep working with physicians to have a good quality of life."


  • Chavanel unhappy after being accused of faking illness

    Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick Step)
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 10:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Accuses Omega Pharma-Quick Step colleagues of "hypocrisy"

    Sylvain Chavanel was forced to abandon the Tour de France on Monday having struggled with a chest infection for the better part of a week. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider has revealed however that convincing his team of the severity of his illness proved difficult.

    "I had the impression that Omega Pharma-Quick Step did not believe that I am sick," Chavanel told L'Equipe.

    "I'm disappointed because I wanted to ride all the way to Paris in preparation for the Olympics. The last few days I had the impression that some did not believe I was sick. I heard here and there the accusation that I'm only going home to better prepare for the Olympics."

    According to Chavanel, some were under the impression that his illness was only in his head, all the while he was suffering with a temperature of 38 degrees.

    "And those are the same people who had earlier been in my room to come and congratulate me on my perseverance. I do not like the hypocrisy."

    Chavanel has been on his current course of antibiotics for three days. He will continue to rest until the end of the week before making a decision on when to return to training and then, if he will be fit for the Olympics.

    "... Laurent Jalabert, our coach, understands the situation and has sent me a text message to let me know that I've taken the right decision," he said.