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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Date published:
October 31, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Sohrabi left behind in Lotto Belisol's hunt for WorldTour status

    Mehdi Sohrabi (Lotto Belisol Team)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2012, 19:13 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Iranian surplus to requirements after one year at Belgian team

    Lotto Belisol must wait a little longer to discover if it has retained its WorldTour status for 2013, but the Belgian squad has already shown its confidence in its existing line-up. Last week, the team announced that of the 28 men on the 2012 roster, 27 will return next season.

    The odd man out is Mehdi Sohrabi, the Iranian rider who was in such demand this time twelve months ago. As winner of the 2011 Asia Tour, he carried enough UCI points to elicit a scramble for his services from a number of European teams vying for WorldTour berths. Mutual contacts with Ridley swayed the issue for Lotto Belisol and Sohrabi’s haul of points helped to earn them their place in cycling’s top division.

    However, after a year spent adapting to the vagaries of life in Europe on and off the bike – not to mention a season spent riding in the service of others – Sohrabi finds himself without a WorldTour point to his name and is currently deciding on which Iran-based Continental outfit he will ride for in 2013.

    “My contract was for one year, so I think next year I will be back with an Iranian team,” Sohrabi told Cyclingnews at the recent Tour of Beijing, his final race for Lotto Belisol. “I don’t know where exactly. There are four or five teams in Iran who need me, so I’ll see which team is going to go to the best races next season.”

    As part of the all-conquering Tabriz Petrochemical team, Sohrabi had enjoyed a fearsome reputation on the Asia Tour in recent years, but on his arrival in Belgium at the beginning of 2012, the 31-year-old found himself back at the bottom of the ladder.

    After debuting for Lotto at the Tour of Qatar, Sohrabi’s first European...

  • Huffman linked to Astana

    Evan Huffman (California Giant/Specialized) attacked on the last couple of laps to stay away for second place.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2012, 20:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Talented young American set for WorldTour?

    California-Giant Berry rider Evan Huffman is rumoured to be joining the Astana Pro Team. According to, the U23 time trial champion is one of the final riders to sign with the Kazakh WorldTour squad.

    A junior road race national champion in 2008, Huffman, 22, quit college to devote himself entirely to his cycling career this season. He stormed out of the gates for the 2012 season by racking up a victory in the time trial of the Merced Cycling Classic, besting a number of top domestic professionals.

    He followed that with a second place in the final stage of the Redlands Classic and sixth overall, and then a victory in the Tour of the Gila time trial over Pro Continental rider Rory Sutherland.

    A victory in the U23 national time trial championship was not enough to earn Huffman a selection to the world championships squad, but signed a two-year contract for the WorldTour.

    Although not confirmed by the team or the rider, Huffman said via Twitter on Monday, "I just signed my life away for the next 2 years. Expect an announcement with more details soon".

  • Belgian cyclist Cuylits dies after Tour du Faso

    Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Burkina, and Benin were well represented at the back of the race.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2012, 22:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cardiac arrest reportedly cause of death

    Former Landbouwkrediet-Colnago rider Gunther Cuylits has died after suffering what is believed to be a cardiac arrest hours after completing the 10-stage Tour du Faso on Sunday. The 37-year-old Cuylits had finished the famous African race in 8th-place overall when he reportedly collapsed at a restaurant shortly following the winners ceremony.

    Cuylits was rushed to a nearby medical facility by the management of the Ludo Peeters Cycling Team where he was pronounced dead according to a statement. It was Cuylit's fourth participation at the Tour, having won stages in 2003 and 2004. He was unable to win a stage at the 2012 edition however, he did achieve a third-place finish on stage 2. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

    "The Belgian rider Cuylits Gunther died in Ouagadougou following a cardiac arrest on the night of October 28-29, 2012 at 23 hours 45 after the closing ceremony of the Tour du Faso where he was present," said the release from the Ministry of Sports and Recreation.

    "It's a shame he left so, because he was a great athlete who animated the Tour du Faso. said national technical director of Burkina cycling, Sawadogo Martin to LeFaso. "It is a great loss for the Tour du Faso, Africa and Belgian cycling."

    Cyclingnews extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cuylits.


  • US doping control burden falls to race promoters

    Michael Aisner interviews race promoter Dave Chauner about this 25th edition of the longest running single day professional road race in the United States.
    Article published:
    October 31, 2012, 0:03 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Chauner calls for USA Cycling to invest in fighting doping

    Professional cycling may have made strides in recent years toward cleaning up the sort of doping culture that resulted in Lance Armstrong and his team being found to have run what the US Anti-Doping Agency called "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen", but US race promoter David Chauner has called for more work to be done at fighting doping at the grassroots level.

    Chauner, who organises the Philadelphia International and Liberty Classic one-day races, has written an open letter to the sport's governing bodies, including USA Cycling, pointing out flaws in the domestic anti-doping control system - flaws that sometimes lead to race promoters having to foot the bill for the USADA or UCI testers to come to their event.

    More controls are needed in the country's top events, he says, because "rumors are rife, but unproved, that some foreign riders have come to race here and have joined American teams because testing is sporadic and there is now enough cash in prize lists and team contracts to make a decent, albeit modest, living."

    That is not to say there isn't doping at the amateur level as well: in 2012, eight American amateur riders were sanctioned for doping, three were tested at one of the many national championship events, one at a Paralympic World Cup outside the USA, but two were caught at a Gran Fondo in New York and one out of competition.

    One group in Florida even raised its own funds in order to bring doping controllers to local events, specifically because they felt the problem was out of control. They raised $17,000 according to Chauner and secured USADA testing at several events that would...

  • Armstrong to be stripped of his keys to Adelaide

    Lance Arstrong received a pair of RM Williams as a gift for coming to South Australia.
    Article published:
    October 31, 2012, 1:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour Down Under host city councillors vote 6-1 in favour of demotion

    The Adelaide City Council voted on Tuesday night to strip Lance Armstrong of his keys to the city which hosts the Tour Down Under.

    Just last week, Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said that Armstrong would not lose the honour given his work for cancer research and also because he had raised the profile of the lone Australian event on the UCI WorldTour calendar, the Tour Down Under. Armstrong chose the Adelaide event as his comeback race in 2009, resulting in unprecedented interest for the tour.

    Last night's meeting saw councillors vote 6-1 in favour of having Armstrong's name struck from the list of 33 recipients, according to

    The website reports that rather footing the expense of travelling to the US to retrieve the key, Armstrong's name would be removed from the honour board where the recipients are listed. Others to have received the honour include Cher, who sold her key on eBay for close to $93,000 earlier this year, the Dalai Lama and comedian Barry Humpries who is perhaps best known as Dame Edna Everage.

    In 2011, Yarwood travelled to the US to hand-deliver the key to Armstrong, with Adelaide rate-payers covering the partial cost of the trip however, the American was not in residence in Texas. The key was later posted to him.

    The Tour Down Under is partially funded by the South Australian Government. Race staff have long acknowledged that Armstrong has been paid a fee, believed to be up to $3 million per year to attend the Australian WorldTour event, however the exact figure is deemed "commercially in confidence" by the South Australian Government.

    When news of Armstrong's appearance fees initially hit the headlines in 2009, then-Premier Mike Rann trumpeted that the money was actually going to the cancer survivor's charity. Armstrong however...

  • Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic receives funding boost

    Ritchie Boulevard is a perfect place for spectators on warm sunny evenings such as this
    Article published:
    October 31, 2012, 2:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Criterium series kicks off new year in Geelong

    The 2013 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic will once again kick off on January 1 with the season getting off to a cracking start in Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

    The three-day event will be held in conjunction with a new-look Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

    The iconic criterium series begins on New Years’ Day at Eastern Beach, before moving on to Portarlington on January 2 before finishing in Williamstown on the morning of January 3. That same afternoon the Jayco Herald Sun Tour begins.

    Three-time Herald Sun Tour winner John Trevorrow will be the race director for both events, and said it would be the perfect start to the year for some of Australia’s best cyclists.

    "These two iconic events have always offered the main opportunity for Australian teams and riders to take on international athletes and have been the starting point for many illustrious careers," he said.

    "Running from 1st through 6th of January, the ‘Mitchelton’ summer of cycling will take centre stage in the cycling world. All the best riders and teams in Australia will be joined by international teams in what is a great celebration of the beginning of a new year of cycling."

    The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic has just received a $15,000 funding boost from the Victorian Government’s Significant Sporting Events Program which aims to maintain and develop events in the state.

    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty said that the event was provided economic stimulus in a struggling region while also boosting local sports participation. He said it was important to keep "keep Victoria in the national and international spotlight."

    Line-ups are expected to be announced over the coming weeks.

    Allan Davis was crowned winner of the elite men’s event in...

  • Riccò to front CAS in December following 12-year ban

    Thumbs up for Riccardo Riccò (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    October 31, 2012, 3:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Disgraced Italian appealing CONI ruling

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will hear Riccardo Riccò's appeal next month after he was handed a 12-year suspension in April this year.

    Riccò was issued the ban on April 19 by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping tribunal following a year of investigation into a 2011 incident which landed the Italian in the intensive care unit of a hospital with kidney failure, where he reportedly admitted to self-administering a blood transfusion.

    Because Riccò tested positive for EPO during the 2008 Tour de France and was later banned for 20 months, the CONI's decision that his 2011 offense was an anti-doping violation equated to a second offense, and the CONI issued the 12-year ban, effectively ending the 29-year-old's career.

    On December 11, Riccò will challenge the CONI ruling.

    Should he be unsuccessful, the Italian would not be returning until close to his 40th birthday. Compatriot Mario Cipollini told Riccò earlier this year he should move on with his life.

    "I said: 'Riccardo, first of all think about your son'," Cipollini later told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "'Forget competitive cycling, the team and the desire to race again. To prove what? For a sense of revenge against everyone? Sit down to look for a job for the future of your child. You're still young, you cannot spend your whole life chasing a ghost or whatever it was. Take my bike, yes, but not to train or to think of racing.

    "'You have to do one thing: totally forget all about your career as a cyclist. You have to remove this burden and clean up your image. To talk about yourself and find out why you ended up in this situation. You cannot keep...

  • Voigt says he can still race at age 41 because cycling is cleaner

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) on the attack in Colorado
    Article published:
    October 31, 2012, 6:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    German veteran reflects on three major doping scandals

    Jens Voigt has written a lengthy blog detailing his own career against the backdrop of the various doping scandals that have come to light - from Festina to the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong and his associates.

    Voigt, who now rides for RadioShack-Nissan at age 41, explained that he too has been shocked by the depth of the most-recent scandal which claimed the team's general manager Johan Bruyneel.

    The German admits that while some people might label him as being "naive", he feels it's important to acknowledge that he has never seen anyone physically dope.

    "It's true that I sometimes suspected some riders of doping," he writes on "However - and this is important - I never saw anything firsthand. So I couldn't call anybody out, and I wasn't about to focus my energy on something that was not clear. Like I said, it only poisons the soul."

    Voigt said that witnessing the fallout from the Festina scandal in 1998 when he was riding with the Crédit Agricole team left him "shattered." He also explained that team management made it clear that doping was not an option.

    While riding for CSC in 2006, Voigt was left shocked by Operación Puerto.

    "Again it left me thinking, "Really? So many people involved? And almost so perfectly organized. And such little guilt?" I mean, 200 names and about 50 cyclists. So many! I found it hard to believe the dimensions that this affair had."

    Voigt also offers that his samples may be tested and re-tested over time because has has "nothing to hide."

    He also explained that the focus on doping within the sport has taken a toll on his...