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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Date published:
June 12, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Georges sacked by Ag2r-La Mondiale

    Sylvain Georges on the attack
    Article published:
    June 11, 2013, 15:52 BST
    Cycling News

    French rider tested positive for heptaminol at Giro d'Italia

    Ag2r-La Mondiale have sacked Sylvain Georges in the wake of his positive test for the stimulant heptaminol during last month’s Giro d’Italia. Georges is still awaiting sanction from the French Cycling Federation.

    “He’s no longer part of our team,” Ag2r manager Vincent Lavenu told AFP. “We have strict internal rules and there was a definite breach.”

    Georges tested positive for heptaminol after stage 7 of the Giro and acknowledged that the substance could be traced to his use of the non-prescription medicine Ginkor Fort, which he says he took to improve circulation in his legs. “I did not study the composition of the drug and did not consult the team doctor before taking it: stupid,” Georges said at the time.

    After analysis of Georges’ B-sample confirmed the positive, Ag2r-La Mondiale withdrew from their next WorldTour race, the Critérium du Dauphiné, as per Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) regulations. MPCC teams pledge to suspend themselves in the event of two positive tests within a twelve month period, and the Georges case followed Steve Hounard’s positive test for EPO last September.

    Ag2r-La Mondiale returned to action at the Tour de Suisse and Lavenu told AFP that the team is planning to launch a new internal testing regime in response to the Houanard and Georges positives.

    “We know very well that our team can’t make any more mistakes,” Lavenu said. “We’re going to put random internal controls in place. A team leader...

  • Confusion over RadioShack wages being paid

    The 2013 RadioShack Leopard team was presented in Spain.
    Article published:
    June 11, 2013, 18:32 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Becca responds to fresh allegations over non payments

    There are conflicting reports over whether RadioShack riders and staff have been paid for the month of May. Cyclingnews understands that the entire roster of riders and staff have not been paid by team owner Flavio Becca but he has denied the claims, saying that a small delay in payment was due to sponsor money not arriving before the end of the last month. He also told Cyclingnews that everyone on the team has now been paid and that the money should clear accounts in the coming days.

    “Normally everyone is paid at the end of the month, that means by the end of May. Now it’s 11 days into June and no one has been paid, no riders or staff,” a source within the team told Cyclingnews.

    “There’s been no explanation as to why. It’s just like what happened last year. Maybe he is waiting for payments from sponsors. We don't know. Will he be able to pay us till the end of the year?"

    Last year the UCI confirmed that three riders of RadioShack-Nissan had not been paid their salaries for several months. Those three riders turned to the world governing body of cycling to signal the failure of payment.

    Cyclingnews contacted Becca directly after today’s fresh allegations and the team owner denied that any payments were outstanding. He also reaffirmed his desire to back the team next year. The Luxembourger has financially backed the team since its inception in 2011, when then manager Brian Nygaard proclaimed that “there's a lot of bullshit in cycling”. Nygaard was removed from his duties with Johan Bruyneel replacing him the following season. Bruyneel's tenure reached a similar conclusion when his contract with the team was terminated following the USADA report into US Postal and Lance Armstrong.

    “The sponsors have dates where they have fixed payments, but everyone has been...

  • Win not too far away for Goss after Suisse photo finish

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) sprint head-to-head for victory in the finale of stage 4
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 0:26 BST
    Cycling News

    White buoyed by tight contest

    Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) may have been pipped into second place by Arnaud Demare (FDJ) in a photo finish for the fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse, but the Australian is confident a win is not too far away.

    Demare led out the sprint with 200 metres remaining in the 161km stage, with Goss and eventual third-place getter Tyler Farrar (Garmin Sharp) left to chase. With 50 metres left to race, Goss came around the Frenchman's left-hand side in a bid to pass, with just millimetres separating the pair on the line. The Australian admitted that he ran out of metres when it came down to the final sprint. Farrar was a clear third by two bike lengths to Demare and Goss.

    "It's always disappointing not to win, especially when the guys did such a good job for me," said Goss. "I've had a run of second places these last two years, and obviously a win is the goal."

    The 26-year-old has finished as runner-up on four occasions this season, with 11 podium finishes to his name in 2012 in what was a frustrating if not consistent year. With illness playing havoc with his Giro d'Italia campaign, eventually forcing an early exit, Goss told Cyclingnews in the lead-up to the Tour de Suisse that he was keen to get a win under his belt before the Tour de France, with his last victory coming at Tirreno-Adriatico in March. The result on Tuesday, should give him a knowing boost that he's on the right track.

    "It would have been nice to knock out the win early this week, but I'm happy with my sprint and with how the team worked together," he continued. "I'll take confidence from today and hope to pull out the win later in the week."

    Wednesday's fifth stage looms as another opportunity for the...

  • 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda not selected for USA Pro Challenge

    Francisco Mancebo (Kenda-5 Hour Energy) moves to the front at the base of the climb.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 2:04 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Unfortunate for our riders and sponsors, says Andreu

    After getting shut out of the US's "big three" stage races in 2012 - Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Challenge - the UCI Continental squad 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda emerged in 2013 with a re-vamped line-up, the product of a merger between the Kenda program and fellow domestic Continental team Competitive Cyclist. With two-time National Racing Calendar (NRC) winner and former Grand Tour rider Francisco Mancebo now leading the team this season, 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda management hoped that their new roster would provide the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the United States.

    "In putting together the team for 2013, we had this main focus of building a stage-race team of time trialists and climbers so we could do well at getting into these big races," said 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda director Frankie Andreu.

    Their efforts paid off in March as the Continental team earned an invitation to the Tour of California (May 12-19).

    The team arrived in California buoyed by a strong showing at the US's first UCI stage race of the season, New Mexico's 2.2-rated Tour of the Gila, where Mancebo won the final stage and jumped to third overall, just one week prior to the Tour of California's opening stage. The team picked up where it left off on the first day in California as James Stemper was on the attack for nearly the entire stage, earning the Most Courageous Rider jersey for his efforts. Mancebo finished second on the stage after going on the offensive in the closing kilometres with Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM), who would out-kick Mancebo for victory. Stemper would again join the break of the day during stage 4, while Nate English joined the main escape on stage 7 with its finish atop Mt. Diablo. Overall, Mancebo would crack the top-10 with a seventh place general classification...

  • Greipel in form and ready to take on Cavendish

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 4:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Lotto Belisol and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step battle at Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk

    The world's best sprint trains will go head-to-head this week when Lotto Belisol and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step hone their Tour de France form at the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk.

    The opening stage is an 8km individual time trial however at least three opportunities await the fast men of the bunch and Lotto Belisol believe their man, André Greipel is hitting good form just at the right time with the Tour de France just over a fortnight away.

    "We go to the Ster ZLM Toer with our complete sprint train," explained sport director Bart Leysen. "The goal is to win a stage with André Greipel. That will be good for the confidence in the run-up to the Tour. The automatisms can be tested here. It's important to execute all steps in a race. Cavendish and Kittel will be there as well, so if Greipel wins that will be good for his morale."

    Cavendish returns with the train of Michal Golas, Jerome Pineau, Matteo Trentin and Gert Steegmans that proved so effective over the Giro d'Italia, the Manxman going home with the points jersey and five stage wins.

    Apart from the well-drilled trains of Lotto Belisol and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, the start list also features Marcel Kittel (Argos – Shimano) who along with Greipel has 10 wins for the season, just two behind Cavendish. Blanco should also be in the hunt with Theo Bos while Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo – Tinkoff) can also threaten.

    "There is only one real tough stage; that is on Saturday," continued Leyson. "Jürgen Roelandts might take his chance there. But at the moment Greipel is that good, that he can play a role as well. Friday there are several hills...

  • Astana name Tour de France squad

    A focused Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 6:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Fuglsang heads team to be finalised following Tour de Suisse

    Astana has confirmed that Jakob Fuglsang will lead the squad at the Tour de France, announcing their long list for the French Grand Tour which starts on June 29 in Corsica.

    A 13-man squad has been announced with a final selection due next week following the conclusion of the Tour de Suisse.

    "For certain Fuglsang will be our captain when we line up to start in Corsica on June 29, but there are still some open slots and it's important to watch how the riders go in Switzerland before we choose the very best for France," said Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov.

    Three riders also pre-selected, Janez Brajkovic, Enrico Gasparotto and Andrey Kashechkin are currently riding in Switzerland. Ninth overall at the Tour de France in 2012, Brajkovic indicated earlier in the year that he would skip the Grand Boucle this year in favour of targeting the Giro and Vuelta a Espana but given he missed the Italian Grand Tour, it's likely that he'll be at the start line in Corsica.

    Fuglsang has based his entire season around the Tour de France, and last week finished a career-best fourth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Dane narrowly missing a stage win finishing runner-up to Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) on the stage to Superdévoluy.

    Astana directeur sportif Dmitriy Sedoun said Fuglsang's results showed he was on track to his goal of finishing in the Tour's top-10.

    "We will stay here in the region for the next few days to do a time trial reconnaissance for the Tour de France stage, and then fly to Tenerife to resume high-altitude training before July,"...

  • Gallery: Cycling photography exhibition

    Chris Froome discards his water bottle on the climb of the Col d'Aubisque in the heart of the Pyrenees, ahead of Mark Cavendish and Levi Leipheimer
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 10:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Pete Goding showcases Tour de France images in Edinburgh

    As part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, Cyclingnews contributor and co-author of Mountain High, Pete Goding, will be exhibiting some of his best cycling photography later this week.

    Tracking the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky, Goding’s work centres around the Tour de France, as well as track cycling and the mountain passes that have featured in Mountain High.

    The exhibition runs from Sunday 16 June from 12 noon til 4pm and then Monday 17 June to Friday 21 June from 11am to 4pm every day. Entry is free, while Cyclingnews has gathered some of the finest images that will be on display ahead of the event. Guest will also have an 'exclusive' sneak preview of the photography from 'Mountain Higher', Pete and Daniel Friebe's new book released in September by Quercus books.

    All the proceeds from the auction of a Revolution Belter bike (donated by the Edinburgh Bicycle Coop) and sales of framed prints including signatures by Sir Chris Hoy and David Millar will go to the Trinity Hospice in Memory of Author Lisa Lynch. Click here for the exhibition location.

  • Froome to target Tour de France "for next six or seven years"

    Overall race leader Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 10:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider confident after Dauphiné win

    Chris Froome has said that he wants to target the Tour de France “for the next six or seven years” as he continues his preparations to tackle the race as Sky’s outright leader for the first time this year.

    Froome was a deluxe domestique for Bradley Wiggins last year and finished in second place behind his leader, who became the first British winner of the Tour. Speaking to The Times, the 28-year-old Froome said that he was not driven by the prospect of fame.

    “I don’t feel like I am looking for fame or looking to be recognised for something,” Froome told The Times. “I’ve got my goals, and personally where I want my career to go is to target the Tour, not just this year but for the next six or seven years. I am driven by that goal, not from a fame point of view.”

    Wiggins will not ride the Tour this year due to a knee injury sustained during his unsuccessful bid to win the Giro d’Italia, putting an end to any speculation over the leadership of the Sky team at the Tour. Although manager Dave Brailsford reiterated Froome’s place atop the hierarchy throughout the season, Wiggins’ status as defending champion meant that the issue was bound to linger.

    “It is a shame because with Bradley, there comes a certain feel of, ‘We’ve got the defending champion, we have more respect in the peloton,’” Froome said diplomatically, before adding: “But it is also nice not to have that continuing pressure from the media.”

    Froome enters the Tour as the favourite for overall victory after a campaign that has yielded four stage race victories to date, including last week’s Critérium du...