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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Date published:
June 19, 2013, 12:00
  • Froome ready for his shot at Tour de France success

    Chris Froome remained in the yellow jersey
    Article published:
    June 18, 2013, 18:23
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader says he is the underdog of the yellow jersey contenders

    Chris Froome is ready to target the 2013 Tour de France as sole leader of Team Sky, without the support or distraction of Bradley Wiggins, confident that he has the form and ability to take on rivals who have already won Grand Tours.

    The Kenyan-born Briton is an obvious favourite to win this year's Tour de France after finishing a close second to teammate Bradley Wiggins last year. Yet he is also the outsider, the underdog - as he describes himself - after rising from his humble beginnings in African cycling to the top of the sport in just five years.

    While Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans have years of Grand Tour wins and podium spots on their palmares, Froome is relatively new to cycling's top table. Froome turned professional in 2007 with Team Konica Minolta before joining Barloworld in 2008. However, he only broke through in 2011 when he finished second in the Vuelta a Espana.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews during a special media day in Nice, Froome is still hesitant but is also confident of his chances of victory at the Tour de France.

    "If I look back at the last five seasons of my career as a professional, it’s really daunting how far I've come," Froome told Cyclingnews.

    "Each year has been a massive learning experience and now I'm in a position to lead the team that won the Tour de France last year. That's mind boggling in a way. But at the same time I feel I'm ready for it and the team's ready for it, too. The final names have still to be announced, but we've got a strong team and that boosts my confidence even further."

    While Wiggins is considered high maintenance as a team leader because of his insecurity and character, Froome seems unruffled and unperturbed about the clamour and media frenzy that the Tour de France manages to whip up every summer. He is hoping to even find time to enjoy moments of the event.

    "I hope we can come out of the race successful and have some great war stories to talk about, too," he said.

    "It'll be a special edition of the Tour de France because it's the 100th edition. It'll go down in history in lots of way. I feel ready. I'll be giving it everything to do my best. I won’t be holding back."

    Where's Wiggo?

    Froome seems to have few scars left from his leadership battle with Wiggins. It is almost unheard of that the previous year's Tour de France winner is left at home, even if he is troubled with a knee problem. Froome has outmaneuvered Wiggins with ease in recent months and inspired loyalty and support from his teammates and the management. He now represents the future of the sport's biggest team, while Wiggins has quickly slipped to become just part of its past.

    Of course Froome follows the carefully crafted message about Wiggins. He will probably wear number one dossard in Corsica and so has the need to set the record straight on what happened on the Team Sky bus in the last 12 months.

    "It's a shame we don’t have Bradley's big engine for the team time trial and his support in the mountains, but I think we've got all the bases covered," he said diplomatically.

    "From the media point of view, there's a lot of talk about team leadership, but it’s a relief that the team is so strong."

    Froome knows he can count on and trust his training partner and now close friend Richie Porte.

    "Richie won Paris-Nice this and so showed he's got the ability. It helps my confidence knowing he can be there to help me in the finale of the big climbs. [There are] not many guys left on the big climbs, but I know that Richie will be there," Froome said.

    Identifying the key moments of the 2013 Tour

    Like all his yellow jersey rivals, Froome has carefully studied the key stages, the toughest climbs and the important time trials of this year's Tour de France.

    He admits it is impossible to identify one key point that could decide this year's race. As in every three-week Grand Tour, this year there are several moments that will be decisive on the long road to Paris.

    "Uhmm…. It's pretty difficult to pick just one decisive stage. There are going to be a few: For sure Mont Ventoux will be decisive after racing for 240km. Then the double climb of L'Alpe d'Huez will also be a special day in the mountains. It could see gaps of several minutes open up between the overall contenders," he said.

    "The time trials are of lesser importance this year but they will be factor. Some people will lose several minutes if they aren't TT specialists and any time is important in the Tour de France."

    A confident underdog

    Froome and Team Sky face a major challenge from several teams this year: BMC has both Cadel Evans and Tejay an Garderen, while Saxo-Tinkoff has Contador, Roman Kreuziger and support from Michael Rogers and Nicolas Roche.

    Froome warns not to forget about Movistar but does not seem worried about taking them on.

    "I can see that we'll face some big teams that will have some big riders as leaders. I think we should also include the Movistar team in the mix because they'll have Quintana and Valverde," he said.

    "I'm perhaps still the underdog in that respect, compared to them. I haven't won a Grand Tour yet. I have led the Vuelta a Espana but I'm still a bit of a novice I suppose."

    "But I'm quietly confident. I've been able to settle into the role of being a favourite and a big race contender this year in the build-up to the Tour. Hopefully that will be useful and be enough to help win the Tour de France for the first time. That's my goal. That's what I want to achieve."


     

     

  • Mancebo, Häusler lead USA Cycling National Racing Calendar

    Francisco Mancebo (5-hr Energy) gives chase
    Article published:
    June 18, 2013, 19:30
    By:
    Cycling News

    Series passes halfway point

    Spaniard Francisco Mancebo and German Claudia Häusler lead the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar at the mid-point of the series.

    Following her fourth place overall at the Nature Valley Grand Prix and her victory in the Joe Martin Stage Race, Häusler moved ahead of Redlands Classic winner Alison Powers (Now and Novartis for MS), leading 822 points to 730. Shelley Olds (TIBCO) moved up into third place thanks to her overall victory in the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

    Mancebo (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda) held onto a generous lead in the individual standings. With 674 points, he leads Chad Haga (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) by 254 points, despite skipping the Nature Valley Grand Prix. After winning at the opening event in Redlands, Mancebo finished on the podium in the Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour of the Gila, and placed seventh in the Philly Classic. Mancebo and his 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda team contested Canada's Tour de Beauce instead of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, which ran concurrently.

    Third overall in the men's individual rankings is Juan Jose Haedo (Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home), who won all three of the criterium stages at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

    Thanks to an overall victory by Mike Friedman in Minnesota, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies took over the top team classification spot from 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda. Team Optum placed three riders in the top five of the general classification last week and has opened up a 538-point lead with two men's races remaining on the calendar, the Cascade Classic and Tour of Elk Grove.

    Team TIBCO-To the Top extended its lead in the women's team standings, while Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies moved ahead of NOW and Novartis for MS in the rankings.

    Brief NRC standings after Nature Valley Grand Prix (full standings)

    Men's Individual Standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda) 674  pts
    2 Chad Haga (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 420  
    3 Juan Jose Haedo (Jamis Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) 336  
    4 Joseph Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) 328  
    4 Tom Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 328  
    Women's Individual Standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Claudia Häusler (Team TIBCO-To the Top) 822  pts
    2 Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) 730  
    3 Shelley Olds (TIBCO-To the Top) 688  
    4 Joelle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 648  
    5 Mara Abbott (Exergy TWENTY16) 490  
    Men's Team Standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 1506  pts
    2 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda 968  
    3 Jamis Hagens Berman 966  
    4 UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 628  
    5 Hincapie Sportswear Development Team 598  
    Women's Team Standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 TIBCO/ To the Top 1918  pts
    2 Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 1566  
    2 NOW and Novartis for MS 1182  
    4 Exergy TWENTY16 778  
    5 Specialized-lululemon 738  
  • Cyclingnews online production editor required – Australia

    New Cyclingnews.com homepage
    Article published:
    June 18, 2013, 22:07
    By:
    Cycling News

    Work on the world's leading cycling web site

    Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling web site, is looking for a online production editor based in Australia.

    The position requires applicants to have a keen interest and knowledge of competitive cycling, as well as editorial or writing experience with excellent English skills. The position will involve producing reports, results, photos and features from the world of cycling. Familiarity with online production techniques, experience in journalism and attention to detail are important.

    The production editor will be required to have familiarity with online production applications (a good working knowledge of HTML and Photoshop are important skills) and could also be required to attend major cycling events in each region.

    However, the primary responsibility is the production of content for publication on the web site. The ability to handle the technical processes involved and an ability to communicate are required.

    A second language is also an advantage.

    The applicants will need to be self-starters as the position involves regular liaison with production editors in all Cyclingnews offices. As Cyclingnews is a 24/7 daily news operation, the position will require regular weekend work. The weekend duties are handled on a rotating shift basis with other production editors, so the applicant must be flexible in their work schedule. However, the majority of work will be done during normal business hours on week-days.

    Please send your CV with a covering letter via e-mail to Jane@cyclingnews.com with "Cyclingnews online editing position" in the subject line. Deadline for applications is June 26, 2013.

  • Rabobank team used blood analysing machine to mask doping

    A defiant Michael Rasmussen wins at the Col d'Aubisque hours before Rabobank finally excluded him from the 2007 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    June 19, 2013, 01:15
    By:
    Cycling News

    Determined that Rasmussen's transfusions would not be detected

    The management of the Rabobank team purchased a blood analysis machine in 2007 in order to mask blood doping by the squad's riders, reported today by nrc.nl. Rabobank director Theo de Rooij acquired a Sysmex XE-2100, the same device used by anti-doping inspectors to measure the number of young red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin in the blood, and reported that the machine would be used for "anti-doping" and was needed to "increase internal interim blood tests."

    However, according to an investigation by nrc.nl, the 75,000 Euro apparatus was used by Rabobank team doctor Geert Leinders and rider Michael Rasmussen to determine if blood doping by Rasmussen would be detected in anti-doping tests.

    Rasmussen planned on receiving two blood bags simultaneously during the 2007 Tour de France, so during the 2007 Giro d'Italia, as an experiment, Rasmussen received two blood bags for the 12th stage and subsequent analysis by the Sysmex device showed that no abnormalities could be detected.

    "I wanted to know what effect the two bags would have on my blood values," Rasmussen told nrc.nl.

    Rasmussen completed the 2007 Giro in 48th place overall and during the 2007 Tour de France he took over the leader's yellow jersey after winning stage 8. The Dane would remain firmly in the overall lead through stage 16, which he also won, but that evening he would be forced out of the Tour and fired by his team, not for failing a doping test but for revelations regarding his whereabouts in June, 2007. Rasmussen was seen training in Italy, but had filed paperwork with the UCI stating he was in Mexico.

    Rasmussen received a two-year ban and returned to racing in 2009. This past January, the Dane confessed to doping throughout the majority of his career, from 1998 until 2010, including the 2007 Tour where he passed his anti-doping tests.

    De Rooij and Leinders did not respond to questions from nrc.nl regarding the Sysmex device.

  • Orica GreenEdge name Tour de France squad

    'Yeah that's right, winning' Simon Gerrans happy with the day's outcome
    Article published:
    June 19, 2013, 07:10
    By:
    Cycling News

    Meyer an option for high mountains, says White

    Stage wins will be the focus of Orica GreenEdge in the outfit's second Tour de France, the team going close on several occasions in 2012.

    The team will be spearheaded by veteran Stuart O'Grady who will equal American George Hincapie's record of 17 Tour de France starts with the Grande Boucle a cornerstone of his career having been on the start line each year since 1997 when he made his debut with the Gan squad.

    Sports director Matt White said it's a more diverse line-up for the squad in 2013, giving them more options "for intermediate stages and days in the medium mountains," he said. With that in mind, Simon Gerrans, a three-time stage winner in grand tours has been selected, along with Michael Albasini, 2012 King of the Mountains winner at the Vuelta a Espana and confirmed opportunist Simon Clarke.

    "The sprint stages remain a big focus, and we bring a dedicated sprint train to support Matt Goss on the flatter days," White said. Goss finished on the podium five times during last year's Tour and it is hoped that a win will finally come his way with a line-up that is more familiar with each other this season.

    "Last year, we brought together a group of riders who hadn't raced together much before the Tour de France," said White. "This year, we have six who raced the Tour together last year and five who recently worked together at the Tour de Suisse. This is a group of riders that have learned to work together seamlessly."

    Goss' sprint train will be rounded out by Daryl Impey and Brett Lancaster who last week won a stage at the Tour of Slovenie.
    Canadian Svein Tuft will be making his Tour de France debut at age 36 and White said he earns versatility to the line up.

    "He'll be crucial for our team time trial ambitions. He's a strong guy with a huge amount of power to chase breakaways or look after the sprint train. We can use him in a lot of ways. I'm really looking forward to taking him to his first Tour de France."

    Along with Tuft and Clarke, the other debutant in the squad is Cameron Meyer. The West Australian recently achieved his goal of finishing in the top 10 of the Tour de Suisse in a solid build up of form which included sixth overall at the Tour of Turkey, fifth overall at the Tour of California.

    "We haven't previously had anyone for the high mountain stages," White explained. "With the form he showed us last week in Switzerland, we realise that Cam gives us an option. He can climb with a very select group of riders, and that opens us up to opportunities on stages that we've been forced to overlook in the past."

    The Orica GreenEdge team for the Tour de France: Michael Albasini, Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Matt Goss, Daryl Impey, Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Stuart O'Grady and Svein Tuft.


     

     

  • Cannondale Tour de France team devoted to Sagan

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won stage 3 at the Tour de Suisse from a four-rider break.
    Article published:
    June 19, 2013, 08:55
    By:
    Cycling News

    Grand Tour debut for Moreno Moser

    Cannondale has built its Tour de France team around Peter Sagan, who is aiming for a second successive green jersey, while 22-year-old Moreno Moser is set to make his Grand Tour debut.

    Sagan claimed three stage wins and the points classification at last year’s Tour, when the team was devoted largely to the podium challenge of Vincenzo Nibali. Following Nibali’s departure to Astana, and with Ivan Basso still recovering from the perineal cyst that ruled him out of the Giro d’Italia, Cannondale has selected a team designed to fully support Sagan. The 100th edition of the Tour gets underway in Corsica on June 29 with a testing road race stage to Bastia that could see Sagan take the first yellow jersey of the race.

    Sagan will be supported by Ted King, Alessandro De Marchi, Alan Marangoni, Fabio Sabatini, Kristijan Koren, Maciej Bodnar and Brian Vandborg, as well as Moser. De Marchi recently scored his first professional win with an impressive stage victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    King is making his first appearance in the Tour de France and is one of four Grande Boucle debutants in the team alongside Moser, De Marchi and Marangoni.

    “This team is the ideal one to target our goals at the Tour,” directeur sportif Stefano Zanatta said. “A talented rider such as Sagan deserves to be supported in the best way. He has prepared this event with great commitment and accuracy. His wish to win the green jersey is our wish. Being competitive in the stages suited to us is another of our aims.”

    In Basso’s absence, the team had similar ambitions at the Giro d’Italia but was unable to land a stage victory. However the firepower of Sagan and Moser presents Cannondale with a range of options at the Tour.

    An impressive winner of Strade Bianche in March, Moser lines up among the favourites for Saturday’s Italian national championships on home roads in Trentino, but Zanatta was reluctant to fix any specific targets for the youngster in his Tour debut.

    “Moser has the right characteristics to leave his mark. We’re really confident in his quality and we just ask him to do his best,” he said. “His growth will be our third target at this Tour de France.”

    Cannondale team for the Tour de France: Peter Sagan (Svk), Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Kristijan Koren (Slo), Alessandro De Marchi (Ita), Alan Marangoni (Ita), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), Moreno Moser (Ita), Ted King (USA) and Brian Vandborg (Den).

     

     

     

  • Pierre Rolland cleared to return to racing

    Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar)
    Article published:
    June 19, 2013, 09:55
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman recorded low levels of cortisol at Dauphiné

    Pierre Rolland has been cleared to return to racing by the French Cycling Federation. The Team Europcar rider had been requested to hand back his licence for eight days after he recorded abnormally low levels of cortisol in a test carried out in conjunction with the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) on the final weekend of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    The additional MPCC cortisol tests are designed specifically to combat the abuse of corticoids in the professional peloton, which are legal with a Therapeutic Use Exemption but are sometimes taken to artificially boost recovery and performance. As a health measure, MPCC teams agree not to field riders who are using cortisone to treat injuries, resting them until they are fit to return to racing without requiring a TUE for the substance.

    Rolland and Team Europcar stoked controversy by starting the final stage of the Dauphiné in spite of his low level of cortisol – which could be indicative of corticoid use or of fatigue – although the Frenchman pulled out early in the stage, citing an Achilles tendon injury.

    Following additional testing by the French Cycling Federation, Rolland was cleared to return to action on Tuesday. Team Europcar team doctor Hubert Long told RMC radio that Rolland had “received a confirmation email from the federation. Everything is ok, he is going to get his licence back.”

    Rolland will thus be able to take his place as leader of Team Europcar’s Tour de France team alongside Thomas Voeckler and he is also expected to line up at the French championships in Brittany on Sunday. Rolland has won stages in each of the past two Tours and finished eighth overall last year. His teammate Anthony Charteau also fell foul of an MPCC cortisol test at the Four Days of Dunkirk last year.

    Team Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau looked to downplay the significance of the matter.

    “There is no Pierre Rolland Affair,” Bernaudeau told RMC. “He had a low level and after a bit of rest, he's much better.”

     

     


     

  • Andy Schleck leads RadioShack-Leopard Tour de France team

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) is starting to look like his old self again
    Article published:
    June 19, 2013, 10:36
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Podium place "unrealistic" says Guercilena

    Andy Schleck has been named as leader of the RadioShack-Leopard team for the 100th edition of the Tour de France but team manager Luca Guercilena has downplayed expectations admitting that a podium finish for the Luxembourger is "unrealistic."

    Schleck has endured a difficult period since a fractured pelvis at the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné ruled him out of last year’s Tour. Although he was able to return to action at the end of last season, he struggled for form and motivation through the early months of the new campaign. In recent weeks Schleck has shown signs of improvement by completing the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse, and he is reported to have trained well in between the two races, enough to ensure his protected status in the team.

    “We are happy to see that Andy is back,” Guercilena said. “Nobody in the team ever had doubts about the talent of Andy. Little by little he has come back to the level where we expect him. The Tour de Suisse encouraged and convinced us to give him the role he deserves and to give him the opportunity to have dedicated riders surrounding and supporting him.”

    Given Schleck’s difficult start to the season and his fragile morale – in particular, the 27-year-old is said to have felt the absence of his brother Fränk, who is serving a one-year ban for a positive test for the diuretic Xipamide, Guercilena was keen to emphasis that he will line up in Corsica on June 29 unburdened by expectation.

    “Of course we don’t put pressure on our champion. After the last twelve months it would be unrealistic to expect a podium place,” Guercilena said. “On the other hand, the lack of stress and pressure can be a positive stimulus to a brilliant performance.”

    Schleck has finished on the podium in three of his four Tour appearances to date. He came second in 2009 and 2011, and was awarded victory in 2010 following Alberto Contador’s positive test for clenbuterol.

    The RadioShack-Leopard Tour team will also feature Haimar Zubeldia, Andreas Klöden and Maxime Monfort, who have all finished in the top ten at Grand Tours in recent years.

    “You can consider Haimar as our second weapon,” Guercilena said of the Basque, who finished sixth last year. “He is always consistent and delivers his best.”

    41-year-old Jens Voigt gets the nod to start his 16th consecutive Tour de France, while Schleck’s fellow countryman Laurent Didier makes his Grande Boucle debut. Tony Gallopin, Markel Irizar and Jan Bakelants also feature in the team.

    Fabian Cancellara had previously announced his decision to skip this year’s Tour, while US veteran Chris Horner is out of action due to a long-running knee problem.

    “Every professional rider wants to ride the Tour and we had more than nine riders in good shape, ready to tackle this 100th Tour de France,” Guercilena said. “It was, for instance, a hard decision not to select champions like Gregory Rast and Stijn Devolder, but we made the choice in good conscience, taking into account the goals we want to reach in this Tour.”

    RadioShack-Leopard team for the Tour de France: Jan Bakelants (Bel), Laurent Didier (Lux), Tony Gallopin (Fra), Markel Irizar (Spa), Andreas Klöden (Ger), Maxime Monfort (Bel), Andy Schleck (Lux), Jens Voigt (Ger) and Haimar Zubeldia (Spa).