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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Date published:
November 13, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • WADA: Lance Armstrong would need a miracle to compete again

    John Fahey (right) with former WADA President Dick Pound
    Article published:
    November 12, 2013, 14:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says only USADA can reopen Armstrong's case

    John Fahey, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency says Lance Armstrong needs something close to a miracle to ever compete again. The seven times Tour de France winner lost all of his victories from 1998 onwards and received a lifetime ban from USADA last year. Fahey doesn’t believe that the information Armstrong may be willing to hand over is enough to have that ban reduced.

    According to Fahey USADA is the only organization able to reduce the ban. “It has to be a damn good reason if USADA are to reopen the case," he said Tuesday.

    Armstrong said he would cooperate with an enquiry into his past. He is willing to tell everything but demands he’ll be treated equally to any other doping confessor.

    “Look, as far as I’m concerned, it’s done and dusted. Armstrong did what he did, we all know what that is. He did not co-operate, he did not defend the charges that USADA put out there last year and he was dealt with,” Fahey said at the WADA congress in South Africa.

    “The proper process and the reasoned decision that was released by USADA was, to me, irrefutable,” Fahey is reported to have said. “Now, does he wish to come good and indicate to the world what he knows, not just about himself, perhaps, maybe about others? I don’t know.”

    In February Fahey said that Armstrong’s ban could be reduced if he cooperated fully with USADA. “The only possible chance of something changing is if Lance Armstrong indicates to USADA that he will give evidence under oath. Not on some television programme, under oath and to the proper authorities and subject himself to proper cross examination, and if it's of substance, it might well be that USADA consider reducing the life term to...

  • Length of the Vuelta a España up for discussion

    Vuelta a España director Javier Guillén
    Article published:
    November 12, 2013, 15:35 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Race director outlines his vision for the future of Spain’s Grand Tour

    Vuelta a España director Javier Guillén has revealed his vision for the Spanish Grand Tour, revealing he is ready to discuss cutting the length of the race as long as there is some significant payoff, primarily a stronger field on the start-line.

    Race organisers Unipublic, which is about to become a wholly-owned affiliate of Tour de France owners ASO, has long contemplated changes to the format of the Vuelta in order to boost its popularity among riders, fans and TV viewers. Some innovations have been made over the past two decades, notably a switch from an April to August start date and the introduction of a red leader’s jersey that’s more in tune with the colours of Spain’s national teams in most other sports.

    Guillén spoke at a forum organised by Spanish sports newspaper AS, where he also confirmed that all the anti-doping tests done during this year’s race were negative. He affirmed there is still more to be done, especially in Spain, where top-level cycling is in decline but said the Vuelta can be used much more as a promotional tourism tool for Spain.

    A two-week Vuelta?

    Speaking about the possibility of these changes including the introduction of a third rest day or even a cut to the three-week duration of the Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia, so that they run for two weeks or a little more, Guillén stated: “That is a debate that is certainly going to take place.”

    Guillén continued: “I can see the third rest day happening if there is a large transfer, like there is in the [2014] Giro, which will start in Ireland. A cut from a three-week race must be done for the right reasons and would be accepted if a new calendar was brought in and other races...

  • Cobo not ready to retire

    Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar)
    Article published:
    November 12, 2013, 20:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    2011 Vuelta winner still has no team

    Two years on from his overall victory in the Vuelta a España, Juan Jose Cobo is without a team, but not quite ready to retire at the age of 32.

    According to Biciciclismo, Cobo wants to continue racing in 2014 but has yet to find a contract at the WorldTour level. While he keeps hope that something will open up, he knows that waiting on accepting any division two team contracts in hopes of finding a rare WorldTour opening could leave him without a team altogether.

    It's a similar situation that 2013 Vuelta winner Chris Horner finds himself in. In Horner's case, it is his age which causes teams pause, among other things. In Cobo's case, it's a lack of results since his Grand Tour victory two years ago.

    Cobo's career has been up and down: with Saunier Duval in 2007, he won the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Hautacam stage of the 2008 Tour de France, and then a stage of the Vuelta when the team became Fuji-Servetto in 2009, but those were rare flashes of brilliance until his dominating 2011 Vuelta a Espana victory.

    He hoped to repeat that performance in 2012, but blamed his lack of form on problems with a tooth. In 2013 it more health problems which reduced his calendar of competition to just 58 racing days.

  • Saxo Bank among ProTour teams headed to Le Tour de Langkawi

    The new logo for the Tour de Langkawi
    Article published:
    November 12, 2013, 23:08 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Organizers present 2014 edition of Malaysian road stage race

    Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports YB Khairy Jamaluddin unveiled the 1,506.5km course for the 19th edition of Le Tour de Langkawi to be held over 10 stages from February 27 on Langkawi island to March 8 in Kuala Terengganu.

    Unlike recent Chinese races, the organizers of LTdL insist that about half of the field hail from Asia, but the race also welcomes foreign teams. Chief Operating Officer Emir Abdul Jalal announced the unprecedented participation of three teams: Saxo Bank, Caja Rural and Team Colombia, the latter having already scheduled the Malaysian event for their leader Fabio Duarte, who was second to Vincenzo Nibali in the queen stage of the 2013 Giro d'Italia at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

    While the list of the starting teams is yet to be released, five to eight Pro Teams are expected to take part in 2014, at least matching the five which attended this year.

    Launched in Putrajaya, the home of Malaysian government, the event will mark the return to the country's capital Kuala Lumpur, with stage 3 ending on Dataran Merdeka, where the race used to finish from 1998 to 2011. In recent years, the East Coast state of Terengganu has hosted both the race's finish and the only Malaysian Continental Team.

    "It's going to be a good race for the sprinters," said Terengganu's Anuar Manan, who is the only Malaysian to have won a stage (in 2010) in Le Tour de Langkawi since its inception in 1996.

    "I foresee eight or nine possible bunch sprints. I'd love to win one of the last two stages in Kuala Terengganu because it is my hometown, but many sprinters will target stage 3 to Kuala Lumpur." What follows the sprinters' top stage will be the traditional queen stage up to Genting Highland. The queen stage typically determines the overall winner.

    Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) opened the doors of Pro Team Trek to Colombian climber Julian Arredondo, who won the race this year for Japanese continental outfit Nippo-De Rosa. For...

  • Luke Fetch joins Huon-Genesys for 2014

    Luke Fetch (Seight Test Team p/b The Biomechanics) wins stage 6 of the Tour of the Great South Coast
    Article published:
    November 13, 2013, 1:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Joe Cooper also returns to Australian team

    The reigning Subaru National Road Series (NRS) Champions for 2013 have announced one final addition alongside their soon to be finalised returning riders for 2014. Aside the five new riders already announced, Huon-Genesys have signed Luke Fetch from Seight Test Team.

    Having just missed out on a contract with Genesys in the past, Fetch is relieved that his two NRS wins at the Tour of the Great South Coast have managed to get him across the line. Having dabbled in both MTB and road racing for many years, Fetch made the decision earlier this year to focus solely on skinny tyres and it appears that the decision has paid off.

    "It's definitely satisfying to finally be a part of the Genesys squad," Fetch explained. "It's been the benchmark NRS team for years now and I've been super motivated to earn a spot on the team. I will not be wasting the opportunity that's for sure!

    "I changed a lot of things earlier in the year; the way I was training, how I approached races and focusing on the road and it's really payed off."

    As is a common theme with the Genesys team, Fetch is hoping to develop above and beyond the NRS in years to come.

    "For 2014 I really want to step it up a level," he added. "I'll be 100% committed to the team in achieving results and if the chance presents itself I'd like to aim for high GC results in tours and try to win some NRS and UCI races."

    Having watched from the side of the road as Nathan Haas sealed victory at the Herald Sun Tour racing up Arthurs Seat in 2011, Fetch has those exploits imprinted in the back of his mind and he envisages racing up his local climb next year.

    "A big goal also would be to race the

  • Cusin retires at age 27

    Rémi Cusin (Cofidis) wins stage 2 in Aarhus.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2013, 5:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman leaves the peloton without regrets

    Rémi Cusin is retiring from the pro ranks at the end of this season. The 27-year-old Frenchman is calling it quits at the end of his sixth season of elite racing.

    His current team, IAM Cycling, did not renew his contract and while he thinks that he probably could have found another team, he did not think he would find a spot with "a great team like IAM" according to

    Cusin admitted there were also other factors influencing his decision. For example, he found it hard to be on the road so much as the parent of a young child.

    "I had six great seasons, but now I want to move on... I leave without regret. My morale is OK," he said. "It was quite an experience."

    Cusin took his most memorable win during a stage in the 2011 Tour of Denmark. He was also second in the 2009 GP Samyn. This season, he was third in the Tour de Berne.

    He previously rode for Team Type 1-Sanofi (2012), Cofidis (2010-2011) and Agritubel (2008-2009).

  • Thomas de Gendt takes Vacansoleil-DCM to court

    Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM)
    Article published:
    November 13, 2013, 10:11 GMT
    José Been

    Team manager Luijkx says they are now settling

    Thomas de Gendt is suing Vacansoleil-DCM for the 2014 contract the Belgian rider signed, Gazet van Antwerpen reports. De Gendt signed a new and improved contract with team manager Daan Luijkx after his stellar performance on the Stelvio and subsequent third place in the 2012 Giro.The two year contract is reportedly worth €1,1 million a year.

    The contract for both 2013 and 2014 is between team manager Daan Luijkx and De Gendt, and not with the cycling team because Luijkx only had a sponsor agreement for 2013.

    “We are now settling things with Thomas,” Luijkx told Cyclingnews today. “First and foremost I am happy Thomas has found a team which gives us a little bit more room. We are now discussing the contract we still have. If we have news to report, we’ll let you now but for now there is nothing more to say.”

    After Vacansoleil-DCM had announced that it hadn’t found a new sponsor and wouldn’t continue in 2014, De Gendt received a resignation letter. De Gendt’s manager Paul De Geyter found the letter remarkable.

    “The deal we had is being terminated by one party only,” he told Het Nieuwsblad last month. “I expect that they need to buy us out.”

    According to the Gazet van Antwerpen, De Gendt has now seized the bank accounts and assets of the team in order for them to pay for their contractual obligations.

    The 27-year old De Gendt had trouble finding a team after the demise of Vacansoleil-DCM. In the end he signed with Omega Pharma-Quick Step for 1/5 of his former salary. Before he signed a new contract with the Dutch team in 2012, the same Omega...

  • Andy Schleck: I still dream of winning the Tour de France

    A relaxed Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard) before the start.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2013, 11:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Leader of new Trek team says his only goal is to enjoy his cycling

    Andy Schleck says he will go into the 2014 season regarding it as “a new beginning” as one of the leaders of the newly established Trek Factory Cycling team, and with his elder brother Fränk back alongside him following his two-year ban.

    The 2010 Tour de France champion describes his goal for the season as a simple one after two seasons of turmoil. “I just want to enjoy cycling,” he says in an interview with Le Quotidien in his home country of Luxembourg. Yet he admits his goal is still to win the Tour, while recognising this task is now tougher than ever given the strength of the competition.

    “I am still very motivated, as I’ve mentioned before. Naturally, everyone asks me about the Tour de France and the Classics. “Will you be up at the front? Honestly, how could I be sure now about getting back up onto the podium. I only want to enjoy my cycling. That would be a very good feeling,” says Schleck, who finished 20th at this year’s Tour.

    Now heading into his ninth pro season, Schleck admits his focus is still on the sport’s biggest event. “My dream is to win the Tour. Perhaps that isn’t possible. Who can say? The competition is perhaps stronger than it was four or five years ago. I simply want to go into the season feeling enthusiastic and motivated. And, inevitably, with Fränk at my side,” he explains. “It’s good to have him there after all that has happened. We’re happy to be starting over.”

    Speaking in more detail about Fränk’s return to the cycling fold, Schleck admits it’s been hard for his elder brother to get back to where he wants to be. “Since the 2012 Tour he’s had lots of ups and downs. Mentally,...