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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Date published:
June 23, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Kim Kirchen comes out of induced coma

    Kim Kirchen (Team Katusha)
    Article published:
    June 22, 2010, 17:24 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Katusha rider recognises wife and father

    Kim Kirchen has come out an of an induced coma and shown encouraging signs of recovery, his Katusha team revealed on Tuesday afternoon.

    Kirchen had been in an induced coma since collapsing on Friday evening in at the Tour de Suisse. His heart is said to have stopped, and he was revived by team doctor Andrei Mikhailov.

    According to the statement issued by the Katusha team, Kirchen immediately recognised his wife and his father, and he asked what had happened because he couldn’t remember anything of the moment he collapsed.

    The Russian team revealed that Kirchen is not suffering any major heart or lung damage. However he will continue to undergo tests to ascertain the cause of his problems.

    He is being treated in a hospital in Zurich and it is not yet know when he will be able to return home to Luxembourg.

  • UCI allows WADA independent observers at the 2010 Tour de France

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has been nominated for membership to the International Olympic Committee.
    Article published:
    June 22, 2010, 18:20 BST
    Cycling News

    World Anti-Doping Agency will also compile report on testing

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have reached an agreement to allow the attendance of independent observers at this year's Tour de France.

    The agreement means that independent observers will have the right to observe all phases of the anti-doping tests conducted by the UCI, from the selection of riders to be tested to the management of the results of the analyses conducted, with access to all related documentation. At the end of their mission, the observers appointed by WADA will draw up a report on the UCI's anti-doping activities at the 2010 Tour.

    The UCI first considered the presence of WADA observers during the winter in response to criticism from the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) of the controls done at the 2009 Tour de France. The UCI and AFLD have attacked each other constantly in recent months.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid welcomed the signing of the agreement with WADA as a sign of transparency.

    "Without doubt the UCI is one of the most active and most effective International Federations in terms of the fight against doping, in particular with the introduction of the biological passport. I asked WADA to send independent observers to the 2010 Tour de France so that our activities can be submitted to their impartial examination. I would like to thank WADA for having accepted this request. I look forward to hearing their conclusions with every confidence as the UCI works very strictly within the standards drawn up by WADA," McQuaid said.

    WADA President John Fahey said: "The presence of Independent Observers at major sporting events contributes to strengthen the protection provided to clean athletes and to enhance their confidence, as well as the public's confidence, in the doping control and results management processes. Independent Observers conduct their mission in a neutral and unbiased manner and subsequently publish a report with their observations. We thank UCI for...

  • Evans remains atop UCI World Ranking

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 22, 2010, 19:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Astana top team, Spain leads nation ranking

    Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) continues as leader of the UCI's Individual World Rankings after the Tour de Suisse, while Fränk Schleck’s overall win in Switzerland has moved the Team Saxo Bank rider up 51 places to 14th.

    Schleck is not the only Team Saxo Bank rider to benefit from a strong performance at the Tour de Suisse. His teammate Fabian Cancellara's victory in the opening time trial in Lugano gained the Swiss star two places in the overall rankings, moving from ninth to seventh place, with 210 points.

    Cancellara’s improvement sees Tour of Italy winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) lose a spot and drop from seventh to eighth, while fellow Italian Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli - Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) also slides down a spot from eighth to ninth.

    Cancellara and Frank Schleck are the only two riders in the top twenty to have gained places thanks to the Tour de Suisse, but Lance Armstrong's second place behind Schleck has helped the American enter the top 50 of the UCI World Rankings. The Team RadioShack rider is now 41st, with 81 points.

    Saxo Bank reaps rewards in Switzerland

    Team Saxo Bank’s impressive collective performance at the Tour de Suisse has reaped them rich rewards in the UCI World Team Rankings. While Astana's remains atop the team classification with 624 points, Saxo Bank moves from seventh to fourth overall with 552 points.

    The Danish squad is not the only one to have profited from the Tour de Suisse: Team Katusha remains in second place, but has closed the gap on Team Saxo Bank by 14 points. Liquigas-Doimo adds on another four points and is now in third place with 570 points, while BMC Racing, although still in sixth spot, now trails HTC-Columbia by the slim margin of four points after gaining 66 points in Switzerland.

    Top nations remain in same order

    Spain has made a minimal increase in its overall lead in the...

  • Phinney to complete season as RadioShack stagiaire

    Taylor Phinney celebrates on the podium after taking a second Paris-Roubaix espoirs.
    Article published:
    June 22, 2010, 23:01 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Tour of Denmark, Tour du Limousin possible events

    Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) has confirmed that he will ride as a stagiaire for Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team for the remainder of the season. Phinney, who recently competed in the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt, is yet to confirm his racing schedule but come August he could race both the Tour of Denmark and the Tour du Limousin.

    "I've more than achieved the goals I set out to achieve at the start of the year with the help of a really amazing team around me," he told Cyclingnews.

    In 2010 he has already won his second U23 Paris-Roubaix title, in addition to claiming four stages and the overall classification at the Olympia's Tour, a stage in the Tour of Gila and his second individual pursuit world championship on the track.

    "The main reason I'm doing this is to see if I like being a pro and riding with RadioShack. The option of racing with Trek-Livestrong in the US is fairly limited for the rest of the year with Cascade and Utah the only races, and with Missouri being out that doesn't leave a lot of racing before the worlds," Phinney said.

    "It's a good time for me to test my skills and test myself."

    Phinney will remain under contract with Trek-Livestrong for the time being, but with RadioShack having first refusal on a professional contract the next few months will be a chance for Phinney to test himself at a higher, more competitive level.

    "Originally I thought I would do Tour de L'Ain but we've changed it to the Tour of Denmark and the Tour du Limousin. That's not 100 percent certain but there are a bunch of one-day races that I can choose do if I don't do the Tour de l'Avenir with the national team. That's all a little bit up for grabs."

    Phinney is currently taking a break from racing and is training in Italy. He may well make Italy his European base should he turn professional next year.

  • Sanchez says Pyrenees will decide Tour

    Stage winner Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) on the podium.
    Article published:
    June 23, 2010, 10:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Euskaltel-Euskadi leader starting in solid form

    Samuel Sanchez believes that the "terrible" final week of this year's Tour de France in the Pyrenees will decide the overall result.

    Speaking to Spanish news agency Europa Press, Sanchez was clear in declaring where he thinks the title can be won and lost.

    "The Pyrenees is where the race will be decided, especially on the stage of the Tourmalet and the 50km time trial," he said. "Also at the dreaded stage of the pavé, where there will be nerves and falls and if you're not fit, you can lose time."

    Of the Tour's third stage, which could prove problematic for many riders, Sanchez joked: "We need to adopt an emergency position where we cross our fingers and pray to all the saints!"

    Sánchez will be joined at this year's Tour de France by teammates Egoi Martínez, Rubén Pérez, Gorka Verdugo, Amets Txurruka, Juanjo Oroz, Iñaki Isasi, Iban Velasco and Alan Pérez, with Aitor Hernández as the squad's reserve.

    The reigning Olympic road race champion has enjoyed a low-profile start to his season, although he sprung to attention with great form in the Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, where he won the event's toughest stage in style and secured eighth on general classification before winning the Klasika Primavera.

    These performances came on the back of top five results overall in Paris-Nice and the Critérium International and the 32-year-old is confident that if his gradual run into form continues he can reap the rewards.

    "The route this year is very hard and the last week will be for people who have good legs - if we get there we can pick up some fruit," he explained.

    And while acknowledging that countryman and reigning Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is the "number one favourite", he's aware that the likes of the Schleck brothers have enjoyed similar preparation to himself and will pose a threat.

    "Andy Scheck is riding...

  • Boonen could miss Tour if knee pain continues

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) digs in on the Muur, but can do nothing to answer Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders
    Article published:
    June 23, 2010, 10:46 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Quick Step rider will use national championshp as final test

    Tom Boonen has admitted for the first time that he may not be able to ride the Tour de France this year due to a knee problem.

    “I'm not now thinking of forfeiting the Tour de France, but if the pain comes back at the Belgian championship, we should seriously consider it,” he told the Belgian news agency Belga.

    The Quick Step rider injured his left knee in a crash in the Amgen Tour of California and again in the Tour de Suisse. He abandoned the latter race on the penultimate day.

    It was announced yesterday that Boonen would miss the Halle-Ingooigem race today, and that he would rest his knee before attempting to defend his Belgian road title on Sunday.

    “I want to ride the finale of the Belgian championship Sunday to know where I stand,” he said.

    "After the crash in the Tour of Switzerland I still feel a nagging pain in the left knee. It is quite annoying because no one knows where that discomfort comes from. There doesn't seem to be much I can do for it except some stretching. The worst is that I'm constantly think of it.”

    This year's problem continues Boonen's difficult relationship with the Tour de France. In 2009. He was allowed to ride only by a last-minute sport court decision, after race organisers excluded him due to his out-of-competition positive tests for cocaine. He subsequently abandoned the race after stage 14 due to intestinal problems.

    Boonen was barred from riding the Tour in 2008 due to another cocaine positive. He rode the race in 2007 and won the green jersey. In 2005 and 2006 he had to abandon the race due to illness or injuries.

  • Weening angry at Tour non-selection

    Pieter Weening
    Article published:
    June 23, 2010, 11:31 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Rabobank rider says team deceived him

    Pieter Weening thinks that he should be riding the Tour de France and cannot understand Rabobank's decision to take the other reserve rider, Bram Tankink, instead.

    Tankink will take the place of Laurens ten Dam, who was seriously injured in the Tour de Suisse.

    “I am angry,”  Weening told the Leeuwarden Courant newspaper. “They told me I may be frustrated. Frustrated? I could smash a two-metre thick wall.”

    Weening said that directeur sportif Erik Dekker had last week led him to believe that he would ride the Tour. “They deceived me. I can't stand it. I assumed that I would go to the Tour.”

    "The choice was very difficult and we were aware of that when we presented Weening and Tankink as reserves,” said technical director Erik Breukink. “Bram is just a little more versatile than Peter, just slightly more usable in all areas. But they were very close."

  • AIGCP calls for single team selection system for 2011

    The peloton climbing one of the few average-size mountains during stage two.
    Article published:
    June 23, 2010, 12:53 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Teams Association against separate Historical and ProTour systems

    The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) has called for a single system of how teams for major races are  selected in  2011 and asked for a more important voice on how professional cycling is run.

    The International Cycling Union is currently thrashing out details of a new system, as it tries to reel back control from major race organisers on how teams are invited to the sports biggest races.

    Under current plans, a first system will determine the participation rights in historical calendar races such as the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana. This system is based on the 2010 UCI World Rankings and gives the first 17 teams in the ranking the right to participate. A second system, announced this week by the UCI, determines participation rights for ProTour events such as the Tour of Flanders, Tour Down Under, and Eneco Tour.

    The AIGCP defends the interests of the leading professional teams and is headed by Garmin-Transitions team manager Jonathan Vaughters. The association wants a single, easier to understand system.

    “The AIGCP is concerned that there will not be a singular system to determine race participation in 2011. As it stands now, two systems, operating independently of one another, will determine participation in the World's largest cycling events,” it said in a statement.

    “The AIGCP believes that a better solution is to create one cohesive system, which will ultimately make cycling easier to follow and appreciate for sponsors, fans and athletes.”

    “The AIGCP believes that having two systems independent of one another will not help the sport in its progression forward. The shared goal of the UCI, the teams, the ASO and all race organizers is to continue to progress the sport of professional cycling. The AIGCP believes this will not happen unless all of these parties are able to work together to create one system.”