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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Date published:
March 13, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Earle hoping for decisive climbs at Tour de Taiwan

    Nathan Earle gets things moving up the climb.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 0:10 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Huon Salmon-Genesys rider targeting National Road Series domination

    Fit, healthy and filled with confidence after a solid start to the season, Nathan Earle is hoping to make an impact at the upcoming Tour de Taiwan which runs from 18-24 March. Riding for Australia's number-one team in the National Road Series, Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers, Earle says Taiwan is just the start of what he hopes will be a successful season racing the Asia Tour and the Australian domestic scene.

    Earle is just one rider in the five-man squad that could take out the title with last year's dual stage winner Anthony Giacoppo also included in the line-up. The race may lack a decisive hill-top finish but Earle, along with his teammates will most likely target a number of stages where a shake-up of the general classification could be made. However, stage profiles often fail to paint a clear picture of the race route especially in the unpredictable Asian race scene.

    "I went in 2010 so I'm sort of familiar with it," he told Cyclingnews. "There's nothing super decisive really but it's just going to be fast racing. I sort of know what I'm in for, there's no huge hills and we will probably only have one or two opportunities where we can put pressure on climbs. The first day is probably going to be the most important. It's usually the hardest because there's no pecking order.

    "I'm hoping we can do something on one of the climbs, split it up a bit and do a bit of damage and just go from there. For me, that's probably the only way I'm going to win it, if there's a climb big enough I can win on and get a bit of time," he added.

    "The team we are taking to Taiwan is good to go. We are back in good form and ready for the tour. We are not going with one particular guy in mind. You can look at course profiles...

  • Meyer returns to racing at Oceania Road Championships

    Cameron Meyer (Orica GreenEdge) looked in good spirits on the start line
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 3:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hosking, Ryan, Sulzberger part of impressive women’s field

    The Oceania Road Championships gets started this week as riders nationwide and across the Tasman Sea gather in Canberra to contest the final round of the Oceania Tour. Orica GreenEdge’s Cameron Meyer headlines the elite men’s category after recovering from surgery and will line-up for the time trial and road race while Ladies Tour of Qatar stage winner Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products) makes a brief stop-over from her European campaign to contest the elite women’s road race.

    Racing will commence on Thursday with the time trial before riders take a rest day on Friday ahead of the weekend’s road races. Reigning Oceania elite time trial champion Sam Horgan has made his way over from New Zealand in search of a back-to-back title while Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers’ Joe Cooper will seek to add the Oceania crown to the New Zealand national TT title he claimed earlier in the year.

    Meyer will headline the men’s road race that also includes the highly competitive under-23 field and will receive stiff competition from a number of domestic and Kiwi riders. Current Oceania road champion Paul Odlin will line up for the 153km race and will need to remain attentive against the three-pronged attack from Drapac Professional Cycling Team’s Will Walker, Darren Lapthorne and Luke Davison.

    Canberra resident Hosking had returned to Australia to contest the championships and hopes to have the opportunity to contest the finale in Saturday’s 102km road race, where she is a genuine contender if it comes down to a bunch sprint....

  • Nibali debuts at third on WorldTour standings after Tirreno victory

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) adds another trident to his collection with his second straight Tirreno-Adriatico victory.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 5:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sky remains top team, Spain extends nations lead

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has earned a second straight triumph in Tirreno-Adriatico, Italy’s second biggest stage race, that has seen the Italian move straight into third place overall on the WorldTour rankings. Ahead of Nibali are the two respective winners of Paris-Nice and the Santos Tour Down Under, Richie Porte (Sky) and Blanco Pro Cycling Team’s Tom Jelte Slagter.

    As might be expected, the differences between the three victors of the first three week-long WorldTour stage races of 2013 is minimal. Porte, with 113 points, is just two points up on Slagter, while Nibali is a further five points behind in third

    The Italian’s victory in Tirreno-Adriatico was hard-earned in the extreme. Chris Froome (Sky ProCycling) seemed to gain a solid advantage on the race’s one mountain top finish, but Nibali then turned the tables in impressive style by distancing both Froome and third placed Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) in Monday’s ultra-challenging parcours through the waterlogged climbs of Port Sant’Empidio.

    The final stage, a short individual race against the clock in San Benedetto del Tronto, was won by time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), the second stage victory for his squad in...

  • Giro d'Italia to start in Belgium in 2016?

    Michele Acquarone.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 6:21 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Acquarone opens doors for more international starts

    Michele Acquarone and RCS Sport have shown they are not afraid to innovate by deciding to hold the Grande Partenza of the 2014 Giro d'Italia in Ireland, with stages in Belfast and Dublin, before a transfer back to Italy.

    UCI rules no longer allow rest days early in stage races or allow them to be used for long transfers. The 2014 Giro d'Italia will begin with three stages in Ireland, with stage four in Italy being held the following day. The whole Giro caravan will fly between Ireland and Italy. It could be a logistical nightmare but if RCS Sport pulls it off, then future editions of the Giro d'Italia could start from anywhere in the world.

    "The start in Ireland will be a big test for the future of the Giro d'Italia. Everything has to work perfectly. If it works, we can go everywhere: Belgium, the United States and yes, even Dubai," Acquarone said.

    Antwerp is apparently a strong candidate to host the start of the 2016 edition in Belgium. The Giro d'Italia most recently started in Belgium in 2006.

    "There's no place in the world where cycling is loved like in Belgium.

    "It's loved in Italy but it's the national sport in Belgium," Acquarone said, happy to flirt with candidate cities.

    "We've had a lot of talks with different countries to talk about the Giro d'Italia in the future, including some in Belgium. The 2015 Expo in Italy will probably mean the Giro d'Italia will start in Italy then but we could start in Belgium in 2016. Why not? We're speaking to people and I hope to soon announce a Grande Partenza from Belgium it's always been a great start in the past and so I can't wait to go back."



  • Rodríguez disappointed to miss Tirreno-Adriatico podium

    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha) wins stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 9:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Volta a Catalunya next for Katusha rider

    Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) finished just two seconds off the podium at Tirreno-Adriatico in fifth overall with 2012’s number one rider openly disappointed.

    Denying the Spaniard a place on the podium were Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) just one second ahead, and third place-getter Alberto Contador a further second better than Rodríguez.

    "I'm disappointed that I missed the podium by just two seconds," said Rodríguez. "I believe I deserved to be there given the final stages.

    "Anyway, I got a good stage win and my performance level was very high in the latter part of the competition. The only pity was the initial phase of the team time trial, where we could have improved by at least 10 seconds," he continued.

    Rodríguez took a solo victory on Stage 5, with an eight second advantage over a group led by Bauke Mollema (Blanco) despite what he believed to be a "bad legs" brought on by the inclement weather. The following day with third place on the stage, Rodríguez sat third overall, 37 seconds back on GC leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Again, it was his time trialling ability that would let Rodríguez down, despite some improvements against the clock in the last 12 months, finishing 42 seconds off the pace of winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step).

    "Now, I'll rest a couple of days, then I will take part in the Volta a Catalunya, where I think I can fight for the overall victory," he said.


  • McQuaid: Armstrong affair will not affect cycling

    UCI President Pat McQuaid tried to defend the UCI's record on doping
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 9:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    The "fool proof" biological passport will control the doping menace

    The Lance Armstrong affair is over, it didn't have any affect on cycling, and besides it took place over a decade ago, UCI president Pat McQuaid has said.

    “We have moved on from that controversy. It was not at all a blow to cycling and I don’t see it has left any negative impact on the sport,” McQuaid said, according to the Daily Pioneer newspaper in  India, where he is visiting in connection with the Asian Cycling Federation Congress.

    “Sport moves on without caring anything about an individual who was caught taking dope. And I don’t think that issue would be a deterrent for young cyclists to come into cycling. They should view today’s icons. Nowadays also, we have many brilliant athletes - Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins - who can be their role models.”

    Things have improved since the Armstrong era, he claimed. “Look, first of all, doping is not confined to cycling only. See, Armstrong issue is a thing of 10 to 15 years back. The products that were used 15 years ago were undetectable. It was a difficult times for all of us.

    “Now, we have upgraded our process and we are advancing day by day in that point. UCI is the only sporting federation in the world which has a fool-proof bio-passport programme. So, our doping controlling programme is currently equipped to control the menace.”


  • Nuyens reportedly suffering with virus ahead of Tour of Flanders

    Nick Nuyens is a new signee for Garmin-Sharp this season and adds considerable depth to their Classics roster.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 11:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cobbled classic victory unlikely for former winner

    After struggling through the opening days of Tirreno-Adriatico before finally pulling the pin on Stage 3, Nick Nuyens’ season appears to be in further trouble after reports he may also be suffering with a virus. Nuyens has struggled to return to form after fracturing his hip at last year’s Paris-Nice with the latest report another set-back for one of Garmin Sharp’s newest recruits.

    Nuyens most recently voiced his concerns about the upcoming classics season after experiencing an up and down start to the year. Failing to complete the Italian stage race after just three days now appears to be another blow for the winner of the 2011 Tour of Flanders.

    “My condition is good, but I cannot transfer it to my legs. I can't bring the power. Below my waist everything is blocked. That's big misery," he said.

    "I am now getting everything checked thoroughly," Nuyens told "I just have to wait to find out what's wrong."

    Nuyens signed for the Garmin Sharp squad through until 2015 with the intention of bolstering the cobbled classics squad after the likes of Sep Vanmarcke left for Blanco at the end of last season. The Belgian however, has done little to suggest he will play a major role in his ‘home’ races such as Tour of Flanders this season and is currently awaiting further information on his current condition.

    "My team Garmin thinks I have a virus, because I also have a rash on my body," he said. "But I myself think the problem still lies in my hip. Maybe I...

  • Brailsford hits back at accusations and criticism of Team Sky

    Article published:
    March 13, 2013, 12:45 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Innuendo and insinuations are unfair, team principal says

    Dave Brailsford has hit back about criticism of Team Sky's dominant race tactics and innuendo about why the team is so strong in stage races, using the success of the Great Britain team as guarantee of his integrity.

    The British team manager accepted that it is right to ask Mathew Hayman about his time at the Rabobank team alongside Michael Rasmussen and that questions about why the team hired Dr. Geert Leinders despite his history with Rabobank are valid. But he reacted angrily to growing accusations, insinuations and innuendo, especially on the internet and social media, about his integrity and the success of Team Sky.

    "The Leinders question is legitimate and when we do things there are legitimate questions that should be asked. We want them to be asked and we're more than happy to answer them. But I don’t like innuendo. That's unfair," he told Cyclingnews and two other journalists while at Tirreno-Adriatico, following Chris Froome and Team Sky.

    "There are plenty of journalists who like to think that were at it. But when you read some of the things that are written on the internet, the accusations and the innuendo, they're incorrect."

    "If you acted on the basis of that, it'd be totally unjust. So I'm not going to do the same to someone else. You've got to work with evidence and facts. That's the way the world works. I'd be out of a job for sure if I didn’t."

    Brailsford accepts that he made a mistake by hiring Dr. Leinders, but refutes the idea that the Belgian doctor's presence in the team was somehow proof that doping goes on at Team Sky. Brailsford claimed that long success with the Great Britain team at the Olympics is a guarantee of his integrity.

    "Of course it was a mistake. Absolutely. But hiring one doctor, who worked for 40...