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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Date published:
June 05, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Vini Fantini-Selle Italia hands back Tour of Lombardy invitation

    Mauro Santambrogio (Fantini Vini - Selle Italia)
    Article published:
    June 04, 2013, 11:58 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Team reacts to Santambrogio and Di Luca EPO positives

    Vini Fantini-Selle Italia has announced that it will pass up on its invitation to the Tour of Lombardy in October in the wake of Mauro Santambrogio’s positive test for EPO at the Giro d’Italia.

    It was the team’s second positive test in quick succession, after it was revealed during the Giro that Danilo Di Luca had also tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test the week before the race began.

    The Pro Continental Vini Fantini-Selle Italia outfit was present at the Giro thanks to the wildcard invitation it received from RCS Sport in January. As a token of apology to the organisers, it has opted to hand back its invitation to the Tour of Lombardy on October 6th, which is the next WorldTour race organised by RCS.

    “Out of respect to the organisers and because of the excellent relations we have had with the RCS entourage up to now, we have decided to pass up on the invitation we received to Il Lombardia,” Vini Fantini-Selle Italia general manager Angelo Citracca said.

    “We fully understand the difficult and embarrassing situation in which the heads of RCS inevitably find themselves after these recent incidents. For this reason, we have decided to step aside. Our primary interest is not to create further problems for the organisers, who we continue to thank for the great faith they have shown in us all these years.”

    Vini Fantini-Selle Italia was one of seven wildcard team invited to the Tour of Lombardy, along with Androni-Venezuela, Katusha, Colombia, IAM Cycling, NetApp-Endura and Europcar.

    In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia also said that it would be holding an assembly of all team and staff members before its next competitive outing, in which a new internal testing protocol would be discussed.

    Mauro Santambrogio tested positive for...

  • Tour of Austria's third stage endangered by rock fall

    Grossglockner 3-D map
    Article published:
    June 04, 2013, 13:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Weather could also play a role, race director says

    The Tour of Austria is at a loss as to how to carry out its third stage, as a massive rock fall has blocked the only road between Salzburg and the East Tyrol. The road is not expected to re-open until the fall and even the planned bypass will be opened too late for the stage, which is to be held on July 2.

    "Race officials are in constant contact with local officials and unfortunately the situation has deteriorated,” race director Ursula Riha said in a press release. “Right now we have a huge problem, as we don't know how we will come to East Tyrol and the finish of the third stage in Matrei.

    “We need not only a Plan B, but also a Plan C and D, because also the Großglockner could be closed due to the current weather conditions.”

    The Großglockner climb is scheduled for the second, third  and fourth stages, “but what will we do when the weather continues to be so crazy and there is snow? The Felbertauern Road was also supposed to be the alternate route for the fourth stage, if the Großglockner is not open.

    “We are working all out on a solution and hope to find one by the time the race starts!”

  • Earle signs on for 2014 with Team Sky

    Stage 5's winner Nathan Earle (Huon - Genesys)
    Article published:
    June 04, 2013, 14:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian is former teammate of Richie Porte

    Nathan Earle has signed with Team Sky for the 2014 season. The 25-year-old Australian currently rides for Continental outfit Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers team and has had numerous wins so far this year.

    “It’s a really good feeling to have signed for Team Sky," Earle told the team Sky website. "This was the next step I was looking to take and I’m lucky enough to be signing with the most well-drilled team in the pro peloton. I’m excited to get amongst that and work for the team. It’s pretty special and I can’t wait to get started next year.

    “For my first year I’m just happy to get amongst it and do as I’m told, basically. It’s a big enough step as it is moving up to the pro level. I’m going in with open ears. I want to learn as much as I can, do as I’m told, and do a good job for the team.

    Earle rode together with Sky's Richie Porte in 2008 and 2009. “Richie has always been someone I’ve looked up to since we were teammates. It’s a real inspiration to see how he has progressed at Team Sky and I hope to follow in his footsteps.”

    Earle “has shown great qualities and a strong mentality that we look for in Team Sky riders,” said Sky head of performance support Tim Kerrison. “Nathan has proven he is a great climber and has been winning quite a few races in Australia and Asia in the last 12 months.

    “The Australian system has identified him physiologically as being a real talent and we’re starting to see that with his results on the road. He recently won the Tour of Toowoomba in Australia, winning the hard uphill finish on stage two and has a number of other good wins under his belt.”

    This season Earle won two stages at the New Zealand Cycle Classic, on his way...

  • Boasson Hagen happy to play team role at Tour de France

    Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) won stage 3 at the Critérium du Dauphiné
    Article published:
    June 04, 2013, 17:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Yellow jersey for Froome the number one objective

    Edvald Boasson Hagen showed his class by winning stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday but he is under no illusions about his place in the Sky hierarchy at the Tour de France. The Norwegian champion will spend July working in the service of team leader Chris Froome and admitted that opportunities to add to the two stages he won in 2011 will be limited.

    “You know, the number one objective is winning the yellow jersey and I am going to do everything possible to do that,” Boasson Hagen said after his stage win, according to L’Équipe. “Beyond that, if I have a chance to contest some sprints, I’ll try my luck. Of course, it would be a dream to win more Tour stages.”

    In 2012, Boasson Hagen played a key role in Bradley Wiggins’ Tour victory but the defending champion will not be on hand this time around. Wiggins announced on Friday that he will not be on the start line in Corsica as a knee injury has hampered his preparation since he abandoned the Giro d’Italia last month.

    It had already been decreed that Froome would be Sky’s leader for the Tour, however, and Boasson Hagen does not envisage that Wiggins’ absence will change his own duties in July.

    “I don’t think it will have any consequence,” Boasson Hagen said. “We’re going to ride for Chris to get the yellow jersey. It’s sad that we won’t have Bradley but it’s still a strong team. The yellow jersey is the objective this week at the Dauphiné too – not for me, but for Chris. I hope that he can...

  • Mt. Hood Cycling Classic will not continue past 2013

    Riders in the 2011 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic negotiate snow-walled roads during the Three Summits stage.
    Article published:
    June 04, 2013, 18:50 BST
    Pat Malach

    Women's elite race in jeopardy for this year's edition

    After 11 years on the US calendar, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic will make its final run later this month. Race organizer Chad Sperry told Cyclingnews this week that continuing declines in sponsorship, local volunteer support and rider registrations have made it impossible for the Oregon race to continue past this year.

    "When all three of those are down, financially it just makes it impossible to continue the party," said Sperry, who owns and operates the race through his Breakaway Promotions events company.

    The news could be even more dire for the women's elite race. Sperry said almost nonexistent registration for the women's event so far could force its cancellation this year.

    "With only two weeks left to register and having only received one registration as well as no commitment from teams, it is clear that this year's women's race will not draw enough riders to be able to afford to run the event," Sperry initially announced Monday via the social media site Facebook. He later said registration would remain open through Friday in the hopes that at least 25 elite riders would sign up so the women's race could go forward this year.

    The men's and women's races are scheduled for June 21-23 in Hood River.

    The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic first hit the scene in 2003 and quickly became a popular challenge for climbers and time trialists. The Three Summits Road Race, a 145km alpine adventure that offers 3,200 meters of descending and climbing over the paved-yet-primitive roads of the Mt. Hood National Forest, is a rider favorite. The 2011 stage had riders gliding through carved out walls of snow three meters tall on some stretches of the route. The 30km Columbia Gorge Time Trial, another rider favorite, takes place on a wind-blown stretch of pristine historic highway in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

    The list of past winners at Mt. Hood includes two-time Olympic gold medalist and former world champion...

  • Q & A: UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson

    Doug Dailey MBE collects his Hall of Fame certificate from British Cycling President, Brian Cookson OBE.
    Article published:
    June 04, 2013, 22:05 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Briton discusses anti-doping, Pat McQaid, women's cycling, Verbruggen

    After announcing his candidacy for the UCI presidency Brian Cookson spoke exclusively to Cyclingnews. The 61-year-old discussed anti-doping, why he publicly backed Pat McQuaid earlier this year, women’s cycling and Hein Verbruggen.

    Cyclingnews: What was the tipping point, because earlier in the year when we spoke you said that you backed President Pat McQuaid?

    Brian Cookson: When you’re a member of a board or a management committee you are bound by rules of collective responsibility. You express your view as coherently and as forcefully as you can in those meeting and then you decide and agree on what’s going to be the public announcement. I did that at the time. I thought that at the time it was essential to give Pat McQuaid and the UCI some time to resolve some of the issues and clarify things going forward. Things have not improved in the way that I would have hoped. We’re still suffering the same old problems and now we’re in the situation where the deadline is fast approaching for nominations of the presidency and I thought the right thing to do was to say that I am prepared to put my head above the parapet and be a candidate and that’s why I’ve changed my mind.

    CN: Who is backing your bid, other than obviously British Cycling, in terms of international favour - who do you have to support you?

    Cookson: You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been talking to a number of people around the world and Europe and other continents to make sure that there is a groundswell of support for me. I’m confident that I can rely on that support. I don’t want to name names as of yet because all those people have to go through the protocols and their own democratic elections to decide who they are going to...

  • Fever forces Sørensen out of Critérium du Dauphiné

    Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    June 05, 2013, 3:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff climber in race against time for Tour de France

    Alberto Contador made it safely to the finish of the third stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné despite the loss of one his mountain-men Chris Anker Sørensen. The Dane failed to start the 167km stage after a bout of stomach flu turned into a fever through the night.

    The Dauphiné is a critical marker ahead of the Tour de France and Saxo-Tinkoff team management will now be forced to put a question mark over Sørensen's name in selecting the nine-man squad. Sørensen admitted that his Tour status was more important that completing the Dauphiné and along with advice from team staff, decided not to start Stage 3.

    "Of course I am disappointed about having to leave the race, but if I put the limit too far now, it goes definitely beyond my chances of being ready for the tour. If I had struggled with stomach flu alone, I could probably have continued but I have a fever and it is too risky to continue," said Sørensen on his team site.

    The 28-year-old had attended an important reconnaissance trip in the French Alps along with Contador, Roman Kreuziger and Nicholas Roche prior to the start of the Dauphiné and was eager to prove his worth to the team and his leader Contador during the eight-stage race.

    A final Dolomites training camp had been arranged on completion of the Dauphiné but that schedule may have to be reshuffled considering he would enter the three-week race without the important pre-Tour race in his legs.

    "Now I must go home and rest. Only time will tell which races I can ride [before the Tour]," he added.

  • Dauphiné set for new race leader after ITT

    Tony Martin has been undefeated in time trials this season.
    Article published:
    June 05, 2013, 6:08 BST
    Cycling News

    World Champion Martin out of contention but stage favourite

    David Veilleux's time in the yellow jersey is set to come to an end on Wednesday following the Stage 4 individual time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné with the Europcar rider's 1:56 overall lead set to come under fire from more-fancied general classification contenders.

    Lawrence Warbasse (BMC) will be the first rider out of the start house at 10:50am local time, with riders leaving at one-minute intervals until 17th-placed Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) heads off two minutes following Rein Taaramae (Cofidis).

    Veilleux has led the race since claiming Sunday's opening stage in a solo victory however reigning World Champion in the discipline Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) heads into today's stage as overwhelming favourite. At over 10 minutes down, Martin won't be challenging for the yellow jersey should he win the 32.5km pan-flat race against the clock, but he should notch up his sixth victory for the season in the chrono. With the German suffering intestinal issues over the last few days, the result of the stage should be an indicator of his true condition.

    Instead, Sky's big guns are set to come to the fore with Chris Froome (11th), Richie Porte (9th) and Geraint Thomas (7th) all sitting just 1:57 off the lead of Veilleux. The form of Froome and Porte so far this year in the individual time trial has seen the pair take wins at the Tour of...