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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Date published:
May 01, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Giro d'Italia 2013: Astana send climbers to support Nibali

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 8:35 BST
    Cycling News

    No sprinter but plenty of firepower for the mountains

    Astana has announced a strong line up for this year’s Giro d’Italia with a contingent of climbers set to protect Vincenzo Nibali in his bid to win the race which begins in Naples on Saturday.

    Nibali, who finished second in the 2011 edition of the race has built his season around victory in the Giro d’Italia and has already secured victories in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro del Trentino this spring.

    "We have one goal at the Giro - victory for Vincenzo in his home race. He has won the Vuelta, come third at the Tour, and now he is ready to fight for the pink jersey. That has been our goal since the beginning of the season, and it's in his head and the team is right behind him for victory," said Astana General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov in the press release naming the Astana team for the race.

    Like their expected rivals, Team Sky, Astana has opted not to bring a sprinter to the race, leaving Andrea Guardini out of their line-up.

    "The whole team will ride for Vincenzo for General Classification, so a sprinter in our ranks would be excess. We need riders for the mountains, for GC, and we are putting our faith in Vincenzo and the guys for the whole race, from Napoli to Brescia. If the team is going well, and we can get into a breakaway, or push Fabio Aru for the Best Young Rider Jersey, then we will, but those goals are secondary to pink," Vinokurov said.

    Astana for the Giro d’Italila: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Andrey Zeits (KAZ), Paolo Tiralongo (ITA) , Valerio Agnoli (ITA), Dmitri Gruzdev (ITA), Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE), Fabio Aru (ITA). Tanel Kangert (EST) and Alessandro Vanotti (ITA).



  • Froome rejects Wiggins' claim to Tour de France leadership at Team Sky

    Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 10:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Romandie winner claims leadership not in question

    Chris Froome has reiterated that he will be Team Sky's leader for the Tour de France despite claims from Bradley Wiggins that any decision on leadership will only be made a few days before the race or even during the mountain stages.

    Tension between the two riders in the team first emerged during last year's Tour de France, when Froome attacked in the Pyrenees despite being told to ride for Wiggins. Since then the two have endured a frosty relationship and have only ridden together at the Tour of Oman.

    Froome dominated the Tour de Romandie last week, while Wiggins has been preparing for the Giro d'Italia. Speaking to the media on Monday, Wiggins insisted he is targeting a Giro-Tour double.

    "The Tour de France is my focus, it's just that I'm doing the Giro before," Wiggins said.

    "It may be that we both stay in contention until that week, Chris wins the mountain stage, takes the yellow jersey in which case there is a natural hierarchy there and then I try and finish second as he did last year. That may not happen — there may be a clear-cut leader before you get there. We will see.”

    Froome bit back by issuing a personal statement.

    “I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing. At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question," it reads.

    “There has been much speculation regarding the leadership for Team Sky at the Tour de France this year. I have made it clear that winning the Tour would be my main objective for 2013."

    Froome claims that the strongest riders in the Team Sky squad will support him in his bid to win the Tour de France.

  • Fuentes found guilty in Operacion Puerto trial

    Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 13:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Judge refuses to release blood bags to identify athletes

    Eufemiano Fuentes has been given a one-year suspended prison sentence for damaging public health and banned from working as a doctor for four years at the end of the Operacion Puerto trial in Madrid.

    Ignacio Labarta was also given a four-month suspended sentence, while Yolanda Fuentes, Vicente Belda and former ONCE team manager Manolo Saiz have all been acquitted.

    Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria rejected requests from anti-doping authorities and international sports federations for permission to analyse the 211 blood bags from 35 different people to identify the athletes involved.

    The verdict marks an end to Operacion Puerto than began in May 2006, when Spanish police raided Fuente's laboratory. However Fuentes, Labarta and the public prosecutor can appeal the sentences.

    More to follow.

  • Retro Gallery: 25 years since the 1988 Giro d’Italia

    Andy Hampsten savours victory in the 1988 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 15:51 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Giro countdown: 4 days until Naples

    It is 25 years since the 1988 edition of the Giro d'Italia, widely considered one of the most dramatic and iconic editions of the race thanks to the stage over the Passo Gavia and victory by Andy Hampsten - the first and only American rider to win the Giro d'Italia.

    This year's race returns to the Gavia on stage 19 – a short but intense day in the saddle that also includes the Passo dello Stelvio and the climb up to the finish at Val Martello, all in just 139km of racing.

    Hampsten won the 1988 Giro d'Italia ahead of Erik Breukink and Urs Zimmerman. Hampsten took the maglia rosa from Italy's Franco Chioccioli, after he struggled in the cold of the Gavia and lost any chance of success.

    Hampsten extended his overall lead on Breukink in the 18km time trial to Valico del Vetriolo. He lost 20 seconds to the Dutchman in the final time trial stage but won overall by 1:43. Zimmerman was third at 2:45.

    Other pink jersey wearers in 1988 included prologue winner Jean-François Bernard, while Johan van der Velde won the points jersey.

    This gallery of images includes shots of Italian sprinters Paolo Rosola and Alessio Di Basco, Tony Rominger, Greg LeMond and Gianni Bugno, Raul Alcala and Urs Freuler.

  • Saiz, Belda satisfied with Puerto acquittal

    Manolo Saiz arrives for the Operacion Puerto trial
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 17:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Team managers not guilty of crimes against public health

    The managers of the 2006 Liberty Seguros and Communidad Valenciana teams, Manolo Saiz and Vicente Belda, were acquitted in the Operación Puerto case by judge Julia Patricia Santamaria today, and both expressed their satisfaction with the verdict.

    The co-defendants Eufemiano Fuentes and José Ignacio Labarta, the assistant directeur sportif under Belda, were found guilty. Fuentes was given a one-year suspended jail sentence, while Labarta was given a four-month suspended sentence for their part in facilitating blood doping by a number of cyclists.

    "This is finished, and I can only hope that no one reminds me of anything from Operación Puerto ever again," Saiz told AS. com.

    "I am very grateful to my family, lawyer, and a friend from cycling, Carlos Sastre, because he was the only one who had the courage when he won the Tour de France, to remember good things about Manolo Saiz. It was a difficult time and made it to the international press."

    Belda described the years since the 2006 case came to light as "seven years of torture", and was pleased to finally be acquitted. "It has been said of us that we were a criminal plot," Belda said. "Inside I was calm, satisfied, and confident in justice. These stories have been pretty clear. Now that is over, I ask you to please forget Operación Puerto."

    Saiz has an additional reason to celebrate today: the money that was seized on the day of his arrest on May 23, 2006 has finally been returned to him: 42,224.10 euros, 38,500 Swiss francs and 310 Australian dollars.

  • Giro shorts: The Pope, Mantova, Katusha and Pellizotti

    Pope Francis, in the picture with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has blessed the Maglia Rosa of Giro d'Italia 2013, which will start next Saturday, May 4th, from Naples and ends on May 26 in Brescia.
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 18:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Four days until the race starts in Naples

    Pope Francis blesses Maglia Rosa

    The Giro d'Italia got off to an auspicious start on Tuesday, when Catholic Pope Francis, blessed the Maglia Rosa of the 2013 edition of the race. Italy's Grand Tour will kick off on Saturday, May 4 in Naples and ends on Sunday, May 26 in Brescia.

    Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, were present at a ceremony blessing the pink leader's jersey.

    Four days until Naples

    The countdown to the start of the Giro d'Italia picks up speed on Wednesday when the riders arrive in Naples ready for Saturday's first stage.

    The teams will all stay in and around the city, mixing final training rides and team time trial workouts, media appearances, pre-race blood tests (on Thursday morning) and the official team presentation on Friday afternoon.

    The racing begins on Saturday morning with the 130km circuit stage around the city's seafront.

    Mantova investigation delayed until after the Giro d'Italia

    Doping investigations have often cast a shadow on the Giro d'Italia but a further delay in the Mantova case means that the preliminary hearings will now be held later in the summer, saving riders and staff from the Lampre team from any short term embarrassment.

    The judge handling the preliminary hearings has also ruled that Alessandro's Ballan's case – based on a phone tap, should be dealt with my judges in Brescia and not Mantova.

    Katusha put their hopes in Trofimov

    The Katusha team went close to overall victory at the 2012 Giro d'Italia with Joaquim Rodriguez but has more modest ambitions this year.

    Rodriguez has decided to target the Tour de France, with Yuriy Trofimov named as team leader for the Giro...

  • Omega Pharma-QuickStep builds Giro d'Italia team around Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step) triumphs at the end of stage 2.
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 19:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian squad in search of sprint stage victories

    Belgium's Omega Pharma-QuickStep team heads to this year's Giro d'Italia with a roster built around sprinter Mark Cavendish. The 27-year-old Manxman will start the fifth Giro of his career on Saturday, May 4, and his first for Omega Pharma, focused on adding to the 10 stage wins already in his palmares for the Italian Grand Tour.

    "We start with a very good team built around Mark Cavendish," said Sport Director Davide Bramati. "The presence of a pure sprinter such as Mark will change our approach to the race if we compare it with our last participations. In any stage where we have a possibility, we have to try to do our best to go for the win.

    "I think an immediate important moment will be the first stage in Napoli. Everyone wants to fight for the first Pink Jersey. The competition is fierce, but we can count on a good group. We believe in our team and we will be there to try to fight and win."

    The 2012 Giro d'Italia was bittersweet for Cavendish. After winning the second stage, Cavendish crashed heavily in the field sprint finale to stage three, along with many others including the then maglia rosa holder Taylor Phinney. He criticized Roberto Ferrari, who clipped Cavendish's front wheel, for causing the incident. Ferrari was relegated for his actions, and Cavendish bounced back to win two more stages, but would lose the points classification to overall runner-up Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) by the slimmest of margins - one point.

    Cavendish has notched six sprint victories thus far this season, plus...

  • Spanish anti-doping to appeal for Puerto evidence

    Some forms of blood doping can only be detected through the passports.
    Article published:
    April 30, 2013, 23:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Judge orders blood bags destroyed

    With the conclusion of the criminal trial which found Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Ignacio Labarta guilty of crimes against public health in relation to blood doping activities uncovered in Operación Puerto, the judge Julia Patricia Santamaria has ordered that the blood evidence collected be destroyed. However, the head of the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency has said she will appeal the destruction order to the provincial court of Madrid.

    "For the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency it is very important to know the whole truth and, with this sentence, we only know a part of the truth," said director Ana Muñoz, according to the Associated Press. "We know the truth that says that Dr. Fuentes is not a good doctor because he did some practices that are very bad for the health of athletes. But, on the other hand, it is necessary to know the names of the athletes."

    Muñoz's agency, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI would like to have access to the blood bags in order to positively identify the other athletes who engaged in doping practices, in which Fuentes collected blood, stored and then reinfused it to help riders gain an edge during competition.

    WADA general director David Howman said, "WADA is currently fully reviewing the decision and any possible appeal or other action with its Spanish legal advisors, and the Spanish National Anti-Doping Organization (AEA).

    "The decision to order the destruction of all the blood bags is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory for WADA, and the whole anti-doping community."

    The Spanish courts have been blocking the release of this evidence since the case first went to court in 2006. The original judge refused to allow any evidence to be used for sporting punishment, since doping was not against the law at the time these activities were taking place.

    There are...