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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Date published:
October 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Andersen confident about Andy Schleck's comeback

    Deep in concentration, Andy Schleck considers the days ahead.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 10:34 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack directeur sees Luxembourger as Tour contender in 2013

    2012 has been a disastrous year for Andy Schleck, but his directeur sportif and long-time mentor Kim Andersen believes the Luxembourg rider will make a successful come back and win again, despite it all. Schleck returns to racing today in the Memorial Vandenbroucke/Binche-Tournai-Binche race in Belgium, four months after fracturing his pelvis at the Criterium du Dauphine. Schleck is also expected to be part of the RadioShack-Nissan line-up for next week’s Tour of Beijing.

    “I definitely still think of him as a future Tour de France winner. He has had an incredibly bad year, but that doesn't mean that he can't be a future Tour de France winner,” Andersen told

    Schleck's only success of the year was being awarded the title in the 2010 Tour de France, following Alberto Contador's suspension for doping. He had problems early in the season and revealed that he had struggled with knee problems. Then the crash in the Criterium du Dauphine in June meant he was unable to ride the Tour de France.

    The wind caught Schleck’s rear wheel on a sharp bend during the stage four time trial and he crashed. He finished the stage and continued on in the race before abandoning on the sixth stage. Medical tests later showed that he had suffered a fracture in his pelvis. His recovery and return to racing has taken much longer than expected.

    The setbacks were “new to him in a many ways, and it has not been easy,” Andersen said. “And it has not made it easier with everything that happened to Fränk.”

    Older brother

  • Tygart praises Mercier for refusing to dope

    USPS out getting a few more miles under the belt
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 12:50 BST
    Cycling News

    USADA chief calls clean rider a "victim"

    USADA chief Travis Tygart has publicly praised former US Postal Service rider Scott Mercier for refusing to take doping products during his career.

    In 2011 Mercier claimed he was offered testosterone by a team doctor but refused to take the drugs and later quit professional cycling. Tyler Hamilton substantiated Mercier's claims in his book 'The Secret Race', revealing details on how he doped during his time at the US Postal Service team and during the rest of his career.

    According to the Daily Sentinel newspaper in Grand Junction, Colorado, where Mercier now owns a restaurant and works as a financial advisor, Tygart contacted Mercier after reading an advance copy of Hamilton's book.     

    Tygart told the Daily Sentinel that Mercier is a key voice in the discussion about doping, saying: “what he represents and who he represents is really, really important.”

    “It’s easy for the media and others to say, ‘Well, who cares? They all do it. And, should we hold any of them accountable because they all did it?’ That’s not true,” Tygart said.

    “There were victims, and the clean athletes are the ones that walked away from it, unfortunately prematurely, because they were unwilling to sacrifice their health just in order to be competitive.”

    “What’s gotten lost in the shuffle, especially in the mainstream media, are the victims. We, USADA, stand in the shoes of the victim, and they rely on us to protect their rights and to validate to some extent the decision they’ve made not to use these dangerous drugs in order to cheat sport. And so their voice has sort of just been thrown under the bus, and they’re the most important voice behind what we do and why we’re here."

    “Hearing from...

  • Cantwell signs for another year with Saxo Bank

    Jonathan Cantwell at the start of his first race with Saxo Bank
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 13:37 BST
    Alex Malone

    Australian has proven himself in WorldTour

    Nearing the completion of his first year riding for a WorldTour team, Jonathan Cantwell is pleased that all his hard work has paid off. Having raced almost 80 days so far, including being part of his team's Tour de France line-up, he was given a one-year contract renewal with the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank squad for the 2013 season.

    Cantwell is not your usual ‘neo-professional’, as he kept reminding those around him including his teammates. Everything has been new in 2012, every race has brought fresh challenges but it’s something the 30-year-old Australian is excited about continuing in 2013, albeit with added confidence and experience on board.

    "To come in at 30, it’s such a learning curve. Every race I’ve done has been new to me. The positive thing coming into 2013 is that I know I can do it and the team has the confidence that I can ride at the WorldTour level," Cantwell told Cyclingnews.

    "To come into races next year and to know where I made mistakes as a sprinter during this year means I’m heading into next season knowing how to rectify those errors and improve my results. Next year is going to be awesome."

    Cantwell has maintained his condition throughout the year and while he’s completed a solid schedule the motivation is still high. Cantwell was ready to finish the season on a high note in his upcoming events like Binche-Tournai-Binche, Paris-Tours and Japan Cup before heading back to Australia.

    "I’m super motivated at the moment which is really important for the end of the season, the form is there and the team is super strong. I’m not an expert on the cobbles just yet so Binche will be tough but I think I could go well," he said.

    "Paris-Tours will...

  • Colombia Coldeportes hope for Giro d'Italia 2013 wildcard invitation

    Esteban Chaves (Colombia Coldeportes)
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 16:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Course is a “beautiful” one for the team of climbers

    The Colombia Coldeportes teams hopes to make its grand tour debut at the 2013 Giro d'Italia, with team manager Claudio Corti describing the route as "beautiful and “with plenty of opportunities for climbers.” The Italian-based Professional Continental team is hoping for a wildcard invitation to the race next year.

    Corti, along with rider Johan Esteban Chavez and the Colombia vice-consul Carlos Molina, attended the Giro d'Italiav  presentation on Sunday. Corti has already led three riders to victory in the Giro, Ivan Gotti in 1997, Gilberto Simoni in 2003 and Damiano Cunego in 2004, all with Saeco.

    Corti suggested the seven mountain finishes in the 2013 Giro suit his team of Colombian climbers.

    “With so many uphill finishes and big mountains, there’s a lot of terrain where my riders could help to make a spectacular race with their fighting attitude," Corti said in a press release from the team. "The big mountain stages are not exceedingly long, and many of the toughest stage finishes are placed at high-altitude – including the Galibier. I believe our team could hold its own in the race. Hopefully, we can get a place from RCS Sport.”

    Colombia Coldeportes was invited to Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia by RCS Sport but failed to land a wild card for the Giro d'Italia. The four places went to three Italian teams: Farnese Vini-Selle Italia, Colnago-CSF Inox andAndroni Giocattoli, and Team NetApp. The German team, which will ride under the name of NetApp-Enduro in the 2013 season, will be hoping for another chance to ride the Giro. It will face competition for the invitation from South African based MTN-Qhubeka, which is applying...

  • TIBCO-To the Top strengthens roster for 2013

    Shelley Olds (AA Drink) wins stage 6 of the Giro Donne
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 19:10 BST
    Cycling News

    US team signs Olds, Häusler, Blaak

    As Team TIBCO-To the Top approaches its eighth year in the professional peloton, the US-based, UCI-registered women's team will expand its program for 2013, with an eye toward becoming one of the top teams in the world. The team is adding three riders to the roster who bring experience and success at the highest level of international racing.

    Those three new riders are American Shelley Olds and Dutchwoman Chantal Blaak, who both rode for the Dutch AA Drink-Leontien team this year, plus German Claudia Häusler, who comes to the team from the Orica-AIS squad. Häusler and Olds both represented their countries in the most recent world championship road race.

    "The first year we went to Europe in 2010, it was to gain experience riding at the top level of professional cycling," said Team TIBCO Founder and General Manager Linda Jackson. "The past two years we've built on that and have gone to Europe to make an impact and win races. For 2013, we want to keep building on our success, and these new signings will help us get there."

    Olds has been one of the top American riders for the past few seasons. She was a key part of the U.S. Olympic Road Race team in London this year, making the winning break of four riders with 50km to go. A flat that took her out of contention with 30km to go has already motivated her to make a strong push toward the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

    "Shelley looked like she had a good shot at a medal in London until her flat," Jackson said. "She not only showed her strength but her tactical prowess in jumping on the winning move. Her experience is a key addition."

    Despite the disappointment in London, she...

  • SmartStop-Mountain Khakis makes its mark in USA CRITS, NCC series

    USA CRITS leader Luke Keough (SmartStop-Mountain Khakis) stamps his authority on the series with a victory at the final race in Vail.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 20:08 BST
    Pat Malach

    US Continental squad adds horsepower for 2013

    The SmartStop-Mountain Khakis racing team ended its first year back in the UCI Continental ranks with a couple of exclamation points, continuing its domination of the USA CRITS series and adding a runner-up effort behind UnitedHeatlhcare in the final standings of the inaugural USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC).

    Star sprinter Luke Keough capped his second consecutive USA CRITS individual overall title Sunday with a win at the Tour of Vail criterium, the final event of the season, while SmartStop-Mountain Khakis sealed the overall team win for the fifth consecutive year. Just one week earlier, Keough finished off his second-place overall effort in the National Criterium Calendar series with a win at the TD Mayor's Cup Criterium in Boston, the final race of that series.

    Keough stole the win from UnitedHealthcare's Karl Menzies – who celebrated an assumed win a little too early. Keough's teammate Shane Kline was third, and Menzies' teammate Hilton Clarke, who had sewn up the overall series title before the Boston race, was fourth. SmartStop-Mountain Khakis finished second overall in the first-ever NCC behind Clarke's UnitedHealthcare squad, which is a UCI Pro Continental team.

    It was a pretty good showing for a team that had to drop to the amateur level last year.

    "To be second to UHC, both with a young guy like Luke Keough, and then to be second in the team competition with basically me and a bunch of young guys, is hugely satisfying when you look at the teams we beat," said SmartStop-Mountain Khakis' senior rider, 40-year-old Adam Myerson. "We beat them on Luke's talent for sure. But we also made the commitment to go into every race, to sending split squads of six riders to conflicting races on the same weekend on opposite coasts. A lot of other teams...

  • Roelandts ends season with broken collarbone

    Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol Team) took the points classification
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 21:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian injured in Binche-Tournai-Binche crash

    Fresh off his overall victory and stage win in the Eurometropole Tour (Circuit Franco-Belge), Jürgen Roelandts could have been a favourite to win today's Binche-Tournai-Binche. Instead, he crashed out of the race, ending his season the same way he started it in the Tour Down Under - "in the hospital" - he reported via Twitter.

    His Lotto-Belisol team confirmed that the former Belgian champion suffered a double break in his right collarbone in a crash in the finale of the race, and is due to have surgery to repair the fractures tonight.

    Roelandts lost four months of racing following his Tour Down Under crash in January. In the opening stage, he went down in the run-in to the final sprint at 70kph, fracturing his sixth cervical vertebra.

    The injury meant he could not race again until May, but he wasted no time getting back to full strength. He won a stage in the Tour of Luxembourg in June, and finished third overall in the Ster ZLM Tour before heading to the Tour de France in support of triple stage winner Andre Greipel.

    Roelandts then went on to finish seventh in the Olympic Games road race, and won the opening stage of l'Eurometropole Tour, keeping the race lead until the end.

  • Schleck confident to start in Tour of Beijing

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) returned to racing at Binche-Tournai-Binche after several months away from competition to recover from injury.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2012, 23:02 BST
    Cycling News

    "Don't call it a come back"

    Andy Schleck made his return to racing today after nearly four months away from competition following a broken hip sustained in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The RadioShack-Nissan rider did not finish the Binche-Tournai-Binche, but said the race left him confident he will be able to start at the Tour of Beijing next week.

    According to the RadioShack team website, Schleck has been training in his home country leading up to his return today, but isn't ready to call his return "a come back".

    "My pelvis still hurts sometimes but I can ride. To be clear: that inconvenience is not the reason why I stopped today, and please don't call this my come back. My real come back will be next year when I will be in good shape at the start of 'my' races. I am motivated!"

    Schleck survived in the fast-moving, single-file peloton for 130km before abandoning at the start of the finishing circuits in today's race, saying "it was enough for me".

    "It was hard, but I am very happy to be back in the peloton," said Schleck. "It was not the ideal race for me to come back in the peloton – flat, fast, rain, wind, almost a Flanders Classic – but I don't regret it. It was a nice feeling to see the people waiting and cheering for me," said Andy, referring to the big crowds gathered by the team bus and along the roadside."

    Schleck is due to start in the final WorldTour race of the season, the Tour of Beijing, which begins October 10.

    "I feel confident to start next week in China. The weather over there will be better anyway and the roads as well. I really look forward to it."