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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Date published:
November 28, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Boonen forced to skip team building camp

    Tom Boonen won the 2012 Kristallen Fiets award as best rider of the year
    Article published:
    November 27, 2012, 20:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian suffering from stomach flu

    Tom Boonen has been forced to miss Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s team building camp in Slovakia this week due to a bout of stomach flu. The four-time Paris-Roubaix winner was too ill to fly with his teammates to a military base in Lest on Monday and he will not join up with them before the camp concludes on Thursday.

    “It’s impossible,” Omega Pharma-QuickStep press officer Alessandro Tegner told Het Laatste Nieuws. “We’re staying at a military base and came here by charter plane. And if Tom were to join us now, he’d be going back the next day in any case.”

    Boonen is understood to be hopeful of recovering in time to participate in the “Boonen and Friends” charity cyclo-cross near his home in Mol on Saturday. The event, which is now in its fourth year, is in aid of the “Move to Improve” foundation, a charity which helps children with motor disabilities.

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and former cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar are among the star names expected to line up at the weekend.

  • 2013 Tour of California to peak on Mt. Diablo

    Robert Gesink's 2012 Amgen Tour of California win will make him an even bigger hero both in California and at home in Holland.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2012, 21:00 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Iconic East Bay climb, coastal views to feature in South-North route

    AEG Sports, organisers of the Tour of California, has announced details of the 2013 route which for the first time will head from Southern California to the north. Escondido will host the start, and before the grand finale in Santa Rosa, the riders will face all new stages, a time trial in San Jose and will race to the top of Mt. Diablo in the East Bay on the penultimate day.

    "Taking the Amgen Tour of California from South to North is something we always knew we wanted to do, and we are thrilled with the way things have come together for 2013,” said race director Kristin Bachochin. "We think this will bring a whole new element to the competition for the elite cyclists who participate, not to mention some striking California scenery for our worldwide audience. California provides a variety of beautiful yet challenging terrain, helping us achieve our goal of creating a challenging route year after year while showcasing the very best this state has to offer."

    Although the towns of Sonora, Modesto and Turlock applied to host the race, the Tour of California will bypass the Sierra mountain range, remaining west of the I-5 corridor for the majority of the route.

    The race will open on May 12, 2013 with a circuit that starts and ends in Escondido, north of San Diego, which last hosted the race in 2009 with a stage that scaled Palomar Mountain.

    "I'm very excited to hear about the new South - North route for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California," said 2011 winner Chris Horner. "After growing up in San Diego, I love seeing the race back on the roads I've ridden for the past 25 years. Being welcomed by thousands of fans in Escondido in 2009 was a highlight of my career, and I'm sure the crowds will be even more amazing for the 2013 edition. The Amgen Tour of California is one of my favorite races of the year, and I'm already looking forward to battling it out...

  • Leipheimer hoping to return to Tour of California

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) gets welcomed to the start.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2012, 21:40 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Team situation still uncertain

    Levi Leipheimer is still hoping to compete in the 2013 Tour of California, despite uncertainty surrounding his team for the coming season. The American is currently serving a six-month ban after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs during the earlier part of his career. His suspension was reduced in exchange for his testimony regarding the doping programme on the US Postal Service team, which helped to implicate Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Dr. Luis del Moral, trainer Jose "Pepe" Martí and Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    Following his acceptance of the ban, Leipheimer was released from his Omega Pharma-Quickstep team, and is not yet able to discuss his team situation for the coming year or whether he will be able to race the Tour of California. "I'll be there to support the race in one way or another," he told Cyclingnews.

    Despite being stripped of his competitive results from June 1, 1999 to July 30, 2006 and from the 2007 Tour de France, Leipheimer remains a three-time winner of the Tour of California (2007-2009), and because of his hugely popular Levi's Gran Fondo and other charity work in his Santa Rosa community, the 38-year-old has been a celebrated figure in the area and at the race.

    However, the USADA case has polarized opinion about Leipheimer and the others whose testimony stripped the veil of secrecy off of cycling's doping past and toppled its biggest star, Armstrong. Some remain critical of the choices the riders made, to dope in order to have a successful career, while others admire them for having the courage to lay bare the truth. Whatever the opinions, Leipheimer wants to assure the fans that the Tour of California will be raced by...

  • Ashenden, Kimmage, Walsh head UCI protest group

    Paul Kimmage
    Article published:
    November 27, 2012, 23:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tygart to speak at London summit

    Pressure on the UCI continues to mount in the wake of the US Postal Doping scandal with some of the sport’s most vocal critics joining forces under the banner of 'Change Cycling Now'.

    Fronting the group is Skins Chairman, Jaimie Fuller who says that Change Cycling Now represents the feelings of "thousands of people" with a summit set for next week in London.

    "It would be easy to sit around and criticise and accuse, but we shall be discussing positive ways to effect the future with changes that can move us back towards a sport that has integrity and is also clean and credible," explained Fuller in a press release. "I am in no doubt that this group also represents the millions of cycling fans who share the views of those who will be around the table. We will also be exploring ways to ensure that these fans can join with us to send an unequivocal message to the UCI and its officers that the current approach is simply not good enough."

    Fuller will be joined by Dr. Michael Ashenden, respected journalists Paul Kimmage and David Walsh, along with Professor for sports and physical education Antoine Vayer.

    United States Anti-Doping Agency chief Travis Tygart has confirmed his appearance via teleconference from the US.

    The two-day summit, which begins on Sunday, December 2, will aim to "discuss a roadmap for global change, including the requirement for a fundamental shift in cycling's world governance and the implementation of independent anti-doping controls."


  • Tour of California "stronger than ever"

    The Tour of California jersey holders at the start in Ontario
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 1:08 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Women's time trial to return in San Jose

    The organisers of the Tour of California announced the host cities for the 2013 race, rolling out eight stages heading north from Escondido and finishing in Santa Rosa.

    The announcement was delayed by several weeks compared with previous years, and this combined with reluctance by some host city applicants to put out the reported $100,000 required by organiser AEG to host a stage, and news that AEG itself was up for sale, led to doubts about the race's future.

    However, race director Kristin Bachochin, Senior Vice President of AEG Sports, played down any worries about AEG and the stability of the event.

    "We're just as strong if not stronger," Bachochin told Cyclingnews. "It's business as usual for all of us at AEG. Nothing has changed in terms of the overall support and commitment to continuing to grow this race."

    Solvang's Local Organizing Committee confirmed today that it had bid to host the time trial in 2012 and 2013, but said "we were not able to meet the Tour’s increased hosting criteria and financial requirements specific to the Time Trial stage".

    The Livermore city council, which will host the penultimate stage's start prior to the mountain top finish at Mt. Diablo State Park, had originally declined to set aside the funds necessary to subsidize the stage. But according to the San Jose Mercury News, donations from private sponsors and community groups combined with a new commitment of $35,000 from the city was enough to keep it in the race.

    "We have a fantastic relationship with [Livermore], and there was never a day they didn't want to be part of the Amgen Tour of California," Bachochin said. "Every city is different, but they understand the overall value for the race coming to their cities."

    It is a time when an alarming...

  • Henk Vogels Cycling Foundation celebrates 10-year anniversary

    Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge) winner of the prologue in Grenoble at the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 2:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Durbridge, Bobridge, Dennis and Hoskins to attend fundraiser event

    Numerous high-profile cyclists from Western Australia can thank Henk Vogels Snr and the foundation he co-founded for assisting them to reach their potential. The Henk Vogels Cycling Foundation provides financial support to WA cyclists so they can attend national and world championships.

    A fundraiser dinner is being held on 30 November in Perth at the University of Western Australia to ensure the foundation can continue to support upcoming talent in the year to come. Former beneficiaries of the foundation Luke Durbidge, Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Melissa Hoskins and Josie Tomic will attend as special guests of the night. Durbridge and Hoskins are the official ambassadors for the foundation.

    Guests will have the chance to bid on a range of auction items including a framed jersey signed by the members of the London Olympic track team and other cycling memorabilia.

    Without assistance from the Henk Vogels Foundation current Orica-GreenEdge riders Cam and Travis Meyer, Durbridge, Bobridge and recent Garmin-Sharp signing Dennis would not have been able to compete at a number of world championships and other important events.

    Orica-AIS rider Melissa Hoskins, Australian track cyclist Josephine Tomic and many other current professionals may have missed out if the foundation had not been around.

    "It started off with Ryan Bayley who couldn't go to the national titles because there was no funding. He finished up winning two gold medals," said Vogels to Cyclingnews. "That started us off to make sure the young kids get looked after so they can go to national titles and world...

  • Hondo calls for amnesty within pro cycling

    Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD).
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 3:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    German supports four-year doping bans

    Danilo Hondo believes there should be amnesty within professional cycling to clear the slate of doping in its past and start anew. The 38-year-old German additionally voiced his support for four-year doping bans for riders caught using drugs such as EPO, growth hormones, testosterone, cortisone or masking agents.

    "Since we all believe to know how it was in cycling, we should check off the past once and for all," Hondo told dpa. Going forward, Hondo called for "clear, transparent and strict rules for a uniform anti-doping system, which will be monitored and managed by the International Olympic Committee."

    While the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently proposed an increased ban from two to four years regarding serious anti-doping violations, the proposals were part of the latest draft of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. Hondo, however, wishes the four-year bans would come sooner. "There would be a December 31, 2012 deadline," said Hondo.

    In light of USADA's investigation into Lance Armstrong, Hondo called into question why WADA has not initiated a case against Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes plus doping offenders outside of cycling.

    After spending three years at the WorldTour level with Italian team Lampre, Hondo will be on a new team for next season with dpa confirming the rumours that the veteran German will join the Luxembourg-based RadioShack-Nissan squad in 2013.

  • Clarke extends contract with Orica-GreenEdge

    Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) wins in the 2012 Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 4:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Breakthrough season for 26-year-old Australian

    Vuelta a España mountain classification winner Simon Clarke has signed a two-year extension on his current contract with Orica-GreenEdge. The new deal will see the 26-year-old ride with the Australian team through until the end of 2015.

    Clarke has come off the best season of his career, becoming only the second Australian to win a mountains classification in a Grand Tour, something he was able to achieve off the back of his stage 4 victory. The competition went down to the wire with Clarke holding a two-point margin over his rivals for the polka dot jersey heading into la Vuelta's penultimate stage, 170.7km from La Faisanera to Bola del Mundo where points would be up for grabs in the classification for the final time. Clarke made it into the 20-man breakaway and went on the attack, earning himself the prize for the stage's most combative rider.

    Other performances of note for Clarke included his second overall at the Glava Tour of Norway, following two second places, a runner-up placing at the Rogaland GP and fifth overall at Tour du Haut-Var.

    "Being Aussie in an Aussie team is a dream come true," said Clarke. "I think I made a big step up this year, and in part, that's because of the support I've received from this team. To have the chance to stay here for at least another three years is perfect for me."

    Clarke joined Astana for the 2011 season after his plans to join Cervelo Test Team fell through with its collapse. Racing in Belgium for only the second time in his career, Clarke's debut at the Tour of...