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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Date published:
October 02, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • UCI wants Georges' ban extended to two years

    Sylvain Georges off the front
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman suspended for six months by FFC

    The UCI has appealed for Sylvain Georges’ six-month suspension for his positive test for heptaminol to be extended to two years. Georges was fired by his Ag2r-La Mondiale team and handed a six-month ban by the French Cycling Federation when he returned a positive test for the stimulant at this year’s Giro d’Italia.

    Georges blamed his positive test on his use of the non-prescription medicine Ginkor Fort, which is used to treat varicose veins. The FFC ruled on his case in July, but the UCI has since appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, asking for Georges to be handed the maximum possible suspension.

    “A six-month suspension was already hard, even though I’m conscious that the FFC took into the consideration the particular nature of the case made by my lawyer,” Georges said in a statement on Tuesday. “But the UCI appealing, that I do not understand. It’s over-zealous. Even though it’s their right to appeal, their motivation is beyond me.

    “What is the UCI looking for? I’ve already paid very dearly for my negligence, which was already recognised as such. Now the UCI is asking for a two-year ban. That’s the maximum sentence, the same as a cheat who uses EPO, amphetamines or nandrolone. I’m outraged to be placed in the same bracket as a rider who tested positive for worse substances.”

    Georges’ six-month suspension expires in mid-November, meaning that he would be eligible to return to racing from the very beginning of next season. Regardless of whether the UCI’s appeal against him is successful, he pointed out that it has damaged his...

  • Riders starting to have doubts about Saxo Bank future

    Nicki Sörensen (Saxo-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 20:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Sorensen sees pay cut in any potential new contract, Rasmussen turns to track

    Some riders in the peloton are beginning to doubt Bjarne Riis' promises of a new sponsor or co-sponsor for the 2014 season. Nicki Sorensen said that if he gets a new contract, he expects it will include a pay cut, while Alex Rasmussen has said that he will concentrate on the track in 2014, and then look to join Riis' team in 2015.

    Sorensen, 38, has been with Riis since 2001, which means he has been through other sponsor crises over the years. He is one of 12 Saxo-Tinkoff riders without a contract for 2014. The team has only 16 riders confirmed for the coming year.

    That could prove to be a major stumbling block for Riis. Article 2.15.049 of the UCI cycling regulations states that “Each UCI ProTeam must employ at least 23 riders, 2 sports directors and 8 other staff (paramedical assistants, mechanics, etc.) on a full time basis for the whole registration year.”

    “There are positive indications from Bjarne , but beyond that we do not know specifically about where we stand,” Sorensen told 

    It is not a new situation for Sorensen. He was with the team in autumn 2004, when Riis had to put up his own money to meet the UCI's deposit requirements. The riders took what calls “a significant pay cut” at that time, and Sorensen suspects it may happen again.

    “There must indeed be some correlation between income and expenditure. If there is, it is first and foremost us as riders who get hit on our salary when negotiating the contract.”

    Riis is trying to calmly reassure all parties. “We are working to get the last details in place, and hopefully we will soon announce something concrete soon,” he told

  • De Gendt losing hope for a new team

    Thomas De Gendt has his hands full
    Article published:
    October 02, 2013, 0:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Will continue to look until end of month

    Thomas De Gendt has given himself one more month to find a team for the 2014 season. If he is not successful, he will have to put an end to his career.

    The Belgian, who finished third in the Giro d'Italia 2012, rides for Vacansoleil-DCM, which is ending after this season.

    He is said to be up – again – for the final available place on Omega Pharma-QuickStep, but told Het Nieuwsblad that he has not heard from team manger Patrick Lefevere. “I read that I'm going up against Igor Anton. Before that it was Jan Bakelants. I think it will be difficult.”

    Anton rides for Euskaltel-Euskadi, which is also ending after this season. Bakelants was signed for what was believed to be the last place on the team, but reports today indicate that Janier Acevedo, who had an oral agreement with the team, will sign instead with Garmin-Sharp, opening up another spot.

    Garmin-Sharp is also an option for De Gendt, but as he pointed out “There are 120 riders looking for another team. I can do nothing but wait and hope.

    “But if I have nothing against the end of October, I know it's over.”

  • Thieves strike again in Florence

    Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark) wins the junior women's world championship
    Article published:
    October 02, 2013, 5:34 BST
    Cycling News

    30 Bikes, 50 sets of wheels stolen from Danish team

    Bicycle thieves have struck the UCI Road World Championships again, this time breaking into a van belonging to the Danish Cycling Union after the conclusion of the championships. Previously thieves had left the Russian team scrambling to find replacement bikes before the elite men’s road race, this time the ladri di bicicletta stole bicycles and wheels the majority of which belonged to junior Danish cyclists who have to purchase their own equipment.

    The Danish Cycling Union issued a press release saying they had taken all precautions possible to prevent the theft of their equipment from a team van the evening after the men's road race.

    "We had taken all the precautions we could. We had backed a car close up against the back door of the van, there were cameras and a night porter at the hotel," the statement said. "But as has been the case with similar thefts in the cycling world, they will do anything to get in."

    The theft brings a sour note to what was Denmark’s most successful world championships ever with four medals, including gold in the U19 woman’s road race. The newly crowned World Junior Champion, Amalie Dideriksen, was especially disappointed not to be able to simply enjoy her victory.

    "It is very frustrating not to be able to enjoy this gold medal," said Dideriksen. "Now I am worried about how I will purchase my new equipment."

    Senior Danish cyclist, Alex Rasmussen (Garmin Sharp) took to twitter to voice his frustrations saying something needed to be done to combat the organized crime responsible:

    "There must be something done to tackle this form of organized crime. About thirty bikes and fifty pairs of wheels stolen, especially from young riders who have to pay their material themselves. Outrageous!"

  • Argos Shimano shores up 2014 women's roster

    Race leader Kirsten Wild (Team Argos-Shimano) wins her second straight stage at the Energiewacht Tour
    Article published:
    October 02, 2013, 7:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Wild and Garner extend contracts

    Team Argos Shimano has extended the contracts of Kirsten Wild and Lucy Garner as well as signing three new riders for the 2014 season. Wild extended her contract for one year whilst Garner will call Argos-Shimano home for another two. Maaike Polspoel, Floortje Mackaij and Kyara Stijns all join Argos-Shimano for the first time on two year contracts.

    Wild has 13 victories to her name this season and is looking to continue targeting classics and sprint stages next year.

    "I feel really comfortable with this team, and that is one of the reasons that I re-signed for another year," said Wild. "I also appreciate the way the team works, with guidance and a plan, and with the will to improve and to create better riders and I see that I can still improve myself.

    "For next year I will focus again on the classics and on sprints in the big stage races. We will make a dedicated race plan that will allow us to get results as a team."

    With 50 pro wins at just 30 years of age, it is little surprise that Argos coach Ruud Verhagen believes Wild "is currently the best sprinter in the peloton."

    "We are very pleased that Kirsten will be part of our team for another season," said Verhagen. "Kirsten is currently the best sprinter in the peloton, and we will support her as well as we can and build a strong lead-out team around her for the sprints. She also brings a lot of experience to our team, which our young squad values highly."

    Garner came into the season aiming to develop and get stronger but the 19-year-old former world junior champion outdid herself with a stage win and third overall at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in June.

    "My main focus was on developing as a rider last year, without expecting great results but just becoming a stronger rider through training and racing. I am looking forward to continuing this process," explained Garner.

    Polspoel was originally an inline speed skater and moved to cycling...

  • Drapac Cycling announce new signings for 2014

    The race leader, Jai Crawford (Genesys Wealth Advisers) suffers from the tough climb
    Article published:
    October 02, 2013, 7:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Cantwell to headline Australian team

    Drapac Cycling has announced part of its roster for its return to UCI Pro-Continental status in 2014. Riders joining the squad are Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts), Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff), Jai Crawford (Huon-Genesys), Ben Johnson, Jordan Kerby (Christina Watches-Onfone), Lachlan Norris (Raleigh) and Wouter Wippert (Team 3M).

    "For our first year back in the Professional Continental ranks it is important to find the correct balance between experience and youth," said Drapac manager Jonathan Breekveldt. "With Jonathan [Cantwell] we have a proven winner and somebody who can bring valuable knowledge from the World Tour."

    Currently a sprinter for Saxo-Tinkoff, Cantwell was originally slated to join the top rung of the cycling world with the ill-fated Pegasus project. Now Cantwell finds himself re-united with former Fly-V director Henk Vogels and is looking forward to returning to Australia and his previous winning ways.

    "This is about me seizing the moment and taking the opportunity when it presents itself. Being 31, I've still got quite a few years of good cycling in me, probably my best is to come," he said. "Looking towards the long term with the little family that I've got now, this is a fantastic opportunity to move back to Australia and to Melbourne which is something new for me. I'm really excited for the new challenge."

    Cantwell recently finished as runner-up on GC at the World Ports Classic as well as well as taking a sixth place stage finish in the Tour de France last year. It's this experience gained in European racing that Cantwell believes gives him greater depth going forward.

    "As an athlete, I'm a lot stronger," explained Cantwell. "It's all about getting through those 200km-plus road stages,...

  • Rui Costa to target Tour de France in 2014

    The national anthem is played for newly crowned road race world champion Rui Costa (Portugal)
    Article published:
    October 02, 2013, 10:16 BST
    Cycling News

    New world champion will be GC leader at Lampre-Merida

    New world champion Rui Costa will target the general classification at the Tour de France when he joins Lampre-Merida next season, according to manager Giuseppe Saronni.

    Although Rui Costa claimed two stage victories at this year’s Tour, he also sacrificed his overall ambitions by dropping back to help his Movistar leader Alejandro Valverde when he suffered mechanical problems on stage 13.

    After claiming successive overall victories at the Tour de Suisse in the past two seasons, the 26-year-old is determined to test his capabilities over the three weeks of a Grand Tour. Rui Costa’s best Grand Tour result to date is 18th at the 2012 Tour de France, where he rode largely in support of Valverde.

    “With us, he wants to do try and do the Tour de France as a leader. Not for stages but to do a good general classification. He was a bit restricted at Movistar,” Saronni told Gazzetta dello Sport. “The idea is this: to bring Rui Costa into the record books of the Tour in the Lampre jersey. He’s a complete rider and he’ll also be a protagonist in the Ardennes classics, for instance.”

    Lampre-Merida opened negotiations with Rui Costa immediately after this year’s Tour de France, and Saronni acknowledged that his haul of UCI points made him a particularly attractive proposition at that stage.

    “Up to that point, the team hadn’t shone and we need to gain some sporting merit points to be sure to get into the WorldTour,” Saronni said. “We had indications that the boy was out of contract at the end of the season and he wanted to go to a team that would give him different competitive experiences.”

    Rui Costa opted to sign just a one-year...

  • Froome to target fewer races in 2014

    Chris Froome (Sky) speaks to the press
    Article published:
    October 02, 2013, 11:10 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Tour de France remains the big goal

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) has hinted he will target fewer races in 2014 but the Tour de France will remain his major goal of the season.

    After a disappointing performance at the world road race championships, Froome will end his European season at Il Lombardia on Sunday. He will head to Japan for the Saitama Criterium created by Tour de France organisers ASO before enjoying a holiday in Kenya.

    Froome talked about 2014 and how he will work to improve his position on the bike to Gazzetta dello Sport during a visit to bike sponsor Pinarello. On Monday he also visited shoe sponsor Sidi with his fiancée Michelle Cound. Froome won 13 races in 2013, including the Tour de France, the Tour of Oman, Critérium International, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné. He was also second in Tirreno–Adriatico and finished third in the world team time trial championships with Team Sky.

    "My 2014 season will be more or less the same as this year. But with less stress," Froome explained.

    "This year it was important to get to the Tour after having won some races and gained experience on to handle all the extra responsibilities like the podium and interviews. I don't need to do that next year."

    Froome could be a guest at the presentation of the 2014 Giro d'Italia route on Monday in Milan but seemed to rule out any chance that he will target both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2014.

    "If you go for the Tour, you can perhaps do the Giro in support of a team leader. But I don't think people would understand if a champion doesn't fight for victory," he said.

    "The Giro is tactically very difficult. In France, if you're in the form of your life, you win. That's not the case in Italy. Remember Tirreno? I was the strongest...