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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Date published:
June 15, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Criterium du Dauphiné revelation Pinot carefully managing his career

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) leads the best young rider classification.
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 14:30 BST
    Pierre Carrey

    Young French climber to skip the Tour de France

    After his outstanding performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné last week, notably his breakaway and his second place on the final stage, Thibaut Pinot, aged 21, is going to miss his first participation to the Tour de France. “It will be hard to stay home and watch my friends on TV”, the FDJ rider confided to Cyclingnews the day after the race, obviously exhausted. “My heart says I should race the Tour, but reason has to win the day.”

    Although Pinot is still on the short list of FDJ riders for the Tour, Cyclingnews understands Marc Madiot is not very keen on enrolling his young rider this year. The team manager previously planned putting him to the Vuelta, in order to give him a first Grand Tour experience, but the French squad hasn’t been invited.

    Pinot’s coach, Jacques Decrion, explained that riding the Tour this year would be “risky”, not only from a physical but also emotional point of view. “Thibaut is on the go for one month, with a sequence Presidential Tour of Turkey (3rd overall), Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour  (2nd) and Bayern-Rundfahrt (7th), so he needs recovery,” Decrion said. “And his [54 kilometers long] breakaway on Dauphiné’s last stage was nervously very exhausting.”

    According to this schedule, Pinot might have a eight or ten-day break break after the national championships and then a training camp in the mountains to prepare for his next goals: the Tour de l’Ain, the GP of Quebec and the GP of Montreal.

    As well as carefully managing his race program, the FDJ climber is worried to avoid media pressure. That’s why he declined every interview’s requests before the...

  • Riis searching for 2012 team sponsor

    Bjarne Riis has his say at a meeting of team bosses
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 18:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Questions of Contador's future making search more difficult

    Bjarne Riis is currently searching for a new sponsor for his Saxo Bank SunGard ProTeam, but the presence of Alberto Contador on the squad and the possibility of a doping suspension for the Spaniard are contributing to the difficulty of landing a backer for the coming season.

    Saxo Bank has sponsored Riis' team since 2008. It announced last year that it would end its sponsorship at the end of 2010, but renewed for a year when Contador signed with the team. Riis must now seek a new title sponsor, no easy task in light of Contador's problems.

    At the age of 28, Contador has already won six Grand Tours, including last month's Giro d'Italia. However, he faces a possible doping suspension from a positive Clenbuterol control at last year's Tour de France. The Spanish federation dismissed the charges, but the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which will not hear the case until August.

    "It does not make it easier to negotiate when a potential sponsor does not know the 'total package' he buys because the Contador case is pending," Riis told

    "We have been in dialogue with partners, for whom it is imperative to know how it ends with Alberto Contador. Others don't see it as the big problem. But whatever, it's something you can negotiate."

    Riis had hoped to have the Contador matter cleared up in the summer, but the court dates have been delayed. Still, he hoped that "we can already publish something during the Tour de France."

  • WADA to consider changing clenbuterol rules

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) rides the Alps
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Unclear as to affect on Contador case

    Lab experts from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will meet next week in Montreal and will consider making changes to its rules regarding clenbuterol, as reported by the AP. Under current WADA rules there's no threshold level for a positive test, therefore any amount found in an athlete constitutes a violation. In next week's meeting, however, a threshold level may be created which would only trigger a positive test if exceeded.

    "That could be one of their recommendations," WADA science director Olivier Rabin told AP. "You may say there is a value above which we know it's doping. There may be a value under which we would say you need further investigation, so it could be classified as an atypical finding. Or it could be classified as a typical finding which means it's a result that deserves further consideration in a certain context, including previous results from the athlete or future results from the athlete."

    Spain's Alberto Contador tested positive for a small amount of the banned stimulant clenbuterol during his victory at the 2010 Tour de France, but was able to convince the Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) that the drug came from contaminated food and he faced no disciplinary action. The International Cycling Union (UCI) and WADA separately appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and if they are successful in reversing the verdict of the RFEC, Contador will face a sporting ban and the loss of his 2010 Tour title. CAS is scheduled to hear Contador's case in

  • Will Walker to join GreenEDGE in development role

    Will Walker has joined GreenEDGE cycling in a development role, with the view of becoming a sporting director in 2012.
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 5:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Australian champion adds youth to management

    GreenEDGE Cycling have today announced that former Australian champion, Will Walker, has joined the team in a development role to work with the team’s younger riders. Walker was regarded as one of the rising stars of Australian cycling but his career was cut short, at the tender age of 23, due to a congenital heart disease.

    Walker’s role with the team is set to begin immediately and he will be working closely with team manager, Shane Bannan and the team’s sporting director, Neil Stephens on pulling the 2012 roster together. Bannan, sees the hurdles Walker has faced, combined with his four-years in the professional peloton, as a great asset for the team.

    "Despite being only 25 Will brings a lot to the team and in many respects his age is a great advantage," said Bannan. "Will has a solid base of experience at all levels of the sport with plenty of highs and lows, which are critical to this sort of role. He’ll be helping young riders make the step up from junior and amateur racing to the professional ranks.”

    "The added bonus is that the younger riders we aim to recruit will be able to relate to him and vice versa. There’ll be no generation gap to contend with, which is a rare position for us to be in,” continued Bannan. "For our supporters having Will on board will give them a chance to get the inside view of the team as we’ll have him doing regular behind the scenes videos for our website among other things using social media."

    Walker will also be doing the sports director course run by the sport’s governing body the UCI with the view of eventually taking on a role as a sporting director with GreenEDGE Cycling. After a year of working out what next, following the abrupt halt to his career, the young Australian sees the move to GreenEDGE as the perfect opportunity to re-immerse himself in the sport.

    "Cycling has always been my passion and this gives me the chance to...

  • Van Avermaet concerned about BMC's interest in Gilbert

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step) lead a chase group in pursuit of the break.
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 8:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian feels chances in classics would be compromised

    Belgian all-rounder Greg Van Avermaet is unsure about BMC's reported interest in compatriot Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) according to Van Avermaet feels that the addition of Gilbert would compromise his own position in the team and the freedoms he currently enjoys.

    "I left Omega Pharma-Lotto because I wanted more of a chance to do my own thing," Van Avermaet said. "With Gilbert in the team I was very much constrained in what I could do for myself - I had to work for him."

    The Belgian was adamant that it wasn't a personal problem with Gilbert, but simply a sporting concern.

    "I think he is a great rider," Van Avermaet continued, "But his arrival at BMC would not be an ideal situation for me. In my opinion if Gilbert signs with BMC I will again no longer have my own chances in the bigger classics like Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège." Van Avermaet finished seventh in this year's Liège and ninth in La Classicissima. In both races he finished behind Gilbert.

    BMC have reassured Van Avermaet that there will be no problem if Gilbert ultimately does sign for the American team, however Van Avermaet remains dubious.

    "I've been told by the team that chances will always be given," Van Avermaet said. "That's fine, but I question that commitment when Gilbert really wants to win. We will just have to see."

  • McGee to direct Contador at Spanish Nationals

    Bradley McGee shows that it's impossible to ride a bike on the Italian side
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 9:15 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniards first appearance at road race since 2003

    Alberto Contador and his teammates from Saxo Bank-SunGard continue to reconnoitre the Alpine stages of the Tour de France although they couldn’t climb the colle dell’Agnello due to an avalanche. The recent winner of the Giro d’Italia met with some Italian sportif riders who had walked on the snow to reach the top but he didn’t want to take the same risk.

    "It’s not worth it, not this close to the Tour," Bradley McGee, Contador's DS, told Cyclingnews.

    The Spaniard, together with Jesus Hernandez, Dani Navarro, Chris Anker Sørensen, Brian Vandborg and Richie Porte are all doing pre-tour preparation in the French Alps. The six rode from the top of the colle dell’Agnello, the highest peak of the Tour de France at 2,744 metres and rode the descent on the French side. They then took on the Izoard and the Galibier, both of which are featuring in stage 17 of the coming Grande Boucle.

    The altitude training being conducted by Saxo-Bank provides a break from racing for Contador who has just come from winning the Giro d’Italia. That break however won’t last long with the Spaniard looking to perform well in next week's Spanish national road championships.

    The winner of all three grand tours is taking his participation at the nationals very seriously, enlisting the help of Saxo Bank-SunGard directeur sportif Bradley McGee for the race at Castellón. "We believe that Alberto has a good chance to win the time trial as he did two years," McGee said. "The course is hard enough for him. Our staff will provide total support."

    Contador will be supported in Castellón by his team-mates Hernandez, Navarro and Benjamin Noval...

  • FBI set to scrutinise Armstrong-Hamilton altercation

    Armstrong leads Hamilton in the 2003 Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 10:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Verbal exchange could constitute witness tampering

    The New York Times has reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked for video surveillance footage from the Cache Cache restaurant in Aspen, Colorado, with a view of determining the precise details of a altercation between Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton.

    The reported exchange took place at the weekend when the two former teammates dined with separate parties at the same restaurant. ESPN reported that Lance Armstrong threatened to make Tyler Hamilton’s life a “living hell” in the law courts. Hamilton’s lawyers, who alleged the ‘aggressive contact’ at the impromptu meeting, reported the incident to federal authorities who will decide if it constitutes ‘witness tampering’.

    On Tuesday the New York Times spoke to the restaurant owner, Jodi Larner, who confirmed that the she had talked to an FBI agent and that she would be subpoenaed for the surveillance recordings.

    Larner told the Times that she doubted that it would help the FBI because the confrontation occurred in the bar area. “I wish I had the incident on tape, so the whole world could see what happened between Tyler and Lance, and shut up about it already,” she said. “It was a non-event.”

    However others disagree. Hamilton legal representative Chris Manderson told ESPN: “Lance Armstrong is a possible defendant in an investigation that's been widely reported, and Tyler is a probable witness. When there's any contact, especially aggressive contact, we as lawyers have a duty to inform the authorities. What they will do with it, I don't know."

    Hamilton reportedly testified last year, admitting that he had...

  • Competition: Win VIP trip for two to Tour de France

    The competition closes at midnight on 24 June
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 11:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Win, win, win

    How do a new phone and a VIP trip for two to the final weekend of the Tour de France in Paris grab you? BikeRadar have teamed up with Phones4U to offer just that, with an HTC ChaCha smartphone and an all-expenses-paid holiday up for grabs.

    The prize includes VIP tickets to the HTC enclosure on the Champs Elysees, a meet-and-greet with the HTC-Highroad team, two nights' accommodation and spending money. Two runners-up will also receive the phone. Head over to the competition page to submit your vote.

    Note: Entries close at midnight (GMT +1) on Friday, June 24 and the competition is open to UK residents aged 18 or over only. Please enter your mobile number correctly – we'll need to call you if you're a winner!