First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Date published:
September 05, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Rodríguez: my chances of Vuelta win “are considerable”

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) looking more and more solid in red.
    Article published:
    September 04, 2012, 15:25 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Katusha leads with five days of racing to go

    With five days of racing left to go in the 2012 Vuelta a España and the worst of the mountain stages behind him, leader Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) said in a rest day press conference that he has an “very good chance” of winning the Vuelta.

    “There’s still four important days left and that’s why we’ve got to pay attention to the slightest detail,” Rodríguez said.

    “But we’ve taken an important step forward, there’s not much time difference between the two of us [Rodríguez is 28 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador) but it’s in my favour and if we go on like this, then I’ve got a very good chance of winning the Vuelta.”

    “In the last week there are always some dangerous situations, attacks when you least expect them, and the Bola del Mundo could be a surprise.”

    Asked if he was in the best condition of his career, Rodríguez said: “I’m in a very good place right now, and I have to thank my team for that. They know how to keep me calm and after the Giro they told me to focus on the Vuelta and on the Vuelta alone. I did a lot of work on my time trialling, and I suffered so much in the Tour of Burgos I told them I had no idea what kind of condition I’d have in the Vuelta, but here I am.”

    Rodríguez did not agree with Contador’s repeated comments that he needed more racing to be in top condition, pointing out that Contador had gone to the Tour of the Algarve in February and won it after eight months of not racing following the previous Tour de France.

    Nor did he think he was destroying Contador’s morale by matching him on the climb: “I don’t think so,...

  • Evans ends 2012 racing season

    Cadel Evans (BMC) chases back on after several punctures
    Article published:
    September 04, 2012, 16:10 BST
    Cycling News

    No Canadian WorldTour races for former Tour winner

    Former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has ended his 2012 season. After dropping out of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado ten days ago, the BMC rider is back at his home in Italy and waiting for further test results to assess his state of health. Evans has been suffering from a sore right knee.

    "Considering there are so few races left, and with his current level of fitness, the medical staff and management decided to make this the end of his season," BMC's Dr. Testa said.

    The 2011 Tour champion lacked the form of the previous year in July and could not defend his title, despite the favourable parcours.

    "I'm disappointed surely, but in the end, there's nothing I can do," he said. "I wanted to come back and race this year but it could possibly compromise my 2013. At this point, we can't afford to do that. So I'll completely recover and do what I can to be back to my normal level next year."

  • Contador targets Worlds, Il Lombardia after Vuelta

    Alberto Contador gives a press conference on the second rest day of the Vuelta a Espana 2012
    Article published:
    September 04, 2012, 17:14 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard will only race Tour of Beijing if WorldTour points count for team

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) may be focussing hard on the Vuelta a España, but the 29-year-old Madrileño says that he will be looking to a strong end of season, too, with the world championship time trial, road race and Il Lombardia (the Tour of Lombardy) all on his program.

    Speaking on the Vuelta's rest day, Contador said "this year I know I can do both the World's time trial and road-race in top condition."

    But whilst Il Lombardia is on his program, too, he warned that he would only do the Tour of Beijing "if my World Tour points are worth something for the team. If they aren't, then I won't go."

    Contador attacked the current regulations according to which WorldTour points from suspended riders do not count for toward a team's ranking for the following two years after a ban.

    "It doesn't seem right to me", Contador said, "and if they aren't worth something, I'm staying home, and that's clear."

    Contador also said that his ban, which ended on August 5th, had affected his race performance in the Vuelta, although he later said that he did not consider this to be an excuse.

    Using an image from motoring, he said "More racing would have blown away any dirt there was in the engine. But I lack punch. I'm not in the same form as I have had in other races.

    "If I had a little better race condition, there's no doubt I wouldn't have lost time where I did in the first week.

    "I wouldn't have been dropped on that climb in Jaca. [on stage six], for example," he said, recalling the day he lost 18 seconds. "It all adds up.

    "But Joaquim's form is impressive, too, and we have to congratulate him for that."

    However, Contador...

  • Riis associates "not my cup of tea" says Weltz

    Farrar, Weltz and Klier talk ahead of the weekend's racing
    Article published:
    September 04, 2012, 19:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Current Slipstream director distances himself from CSC

    Johnny Weltz, formerly a director of the CSC team, has responded to the allegations of Tyler Hamilton that team manager Bjarne Riis provided him with recommendations for blood doping, saying that the level of detail provided makes it hard to ignore the claims.

    Riis is named in Tyler Hamilton's biography "The Secret Race" as the person who provided Hamilton with Eufemiano Fuentes contact information, and recommended a program of blood transfusions.

    Riis has denied knowing Fuentes, who was later the subject of Operación Puerto, during which police uncovered hundreds of stored blood bags, doping products and documents linked to riders such as Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi, Hamiton, Jan Ullrich and Alejandro Valverde.

    Hamilton states in the book that the doping methods helped him to win the 2003 Liège - Bastogne - Liège, his solo victory on stage 16 of the 2003 Tour de France and his second place overall in the 2002 Giro d'Italia.

    While Weltz was a director with CSC during that time, he says he was outside of Riis' inner circle but grew suspicious of the activities of his then-Girona neighbor Hamilton, who left the city for Madrid in frequent, secret trips to Fuentes' clinic to bank his blood.

    "I was wondering why he was going to Madrid, and I asked him," Weltz said to "But he said it was just something about going for allergy testing, or something like that."

    Weltz was relegated to a desk job the following year, and then left CSC in 2005. "At some point I ended up at the office, I think because there were some stuff that I shouldn't know about. That's just how it was," he said.

    "Those people...

  • Pegasus Racing bank guarantee not yet released back to team

    Pegasus Racing
    Article published:
    September 05, 2012, 0:13 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Team boss disputed creditor's claim

    Cyclingnews has learned that Cycling Australia is maintaining management of the 2011 Pegasus Racing bank guarantee which under normal circumstances should have been released on March 31 this year.

    The funds, believed to be in the order of around $30,000 were put in place as part of the team's 2011 licence, as is standard across UCI professional teams. Pegasus Racing, operating as V Australia folded at the end of the 2011 season after the airline informed team CEO Chris White that financial sponsorship would not continue and a confidential payout was then negotiated.

    It followed 18 months of turmoil whereby applications for both a ProTour and Professional Continental licence, under Pegasus Sport, were rejected by the UCI, with White settling to run a race program in Australia, the USA and Asia. The 2011 season was run on the sniff of an oily rag. The opportunity for the team to appear at races dwindled and so did the race wins. V Australia, with a significantly reduced schedule of 145 race days, tallied 25 victories – a comparatively small amount when you consider the team amassed over 250 race wins over the three years of their existence.

    According to UCI regulations, if a creditor calls upon the bank guarantee and the team raises an objection within the next month, "the national federation shall pay the sum at issue into a special account and shall subsequently distribute it in accordance with any agreement reached between the parties or according to an enforceable legal decision."

    Cycling Australia in this case has chosen to relax the deadline within a certain degree with the dispute between White and his creditor on-going.

    It is Cyclingnews' understanding that the funds will be released back to Pegasus...

  • Jayco Herald Sun Tour returns for 2013

    The crowd gets into the swing of things as the peloton hits the two kilometre mark to the top of Arthurs Seat
    Article published:
    September 05, 2012, 2:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Revised four-day race coincides with Jayco Bay Cycling Classic

    Australia’s oldest stage race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will make its return to the 2013 calender when the revamped four-day race begins on January 3. The 60th edition of the tour will start with an afternoon individual time trial held along the Victorian beachside town of Williamstown and will be followed by three road stages.

    The Tour, running from January 3-6 will not have its previous UCI 2.1 status and will be run as an Australian National Event. The composition of riders and teams is not yet known and will be clarified closer to the race date. Race organisers had to put the event on hold due to scheduling clashes with the UCI WorldTour event, the Tour of Hangzhou  which was recently postponed for 2012.

    The revised dates for the four-day tour will make for a busy and exciting start to the 2013 season with the opening day of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour coinciding with the final stage of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, the Michelton Bay Cycling Classic Criterium.

    The 2013 edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will begin with an afternoon prologue on January 3, a 5.36km individual time trial in Williamstown which will be open to the elements of Port Phillip Bay.

    The tour will continue with the first of three road stages from Sunbury, north of the Melbourne city-centre, ending 142km later in the historic regional city of Bendigo.

    Stage 2's distance is not yet specified but race organisers say it will be of similar length from Mitchelton Winery, owned by Gerry Ryan, south to Healesville in the picturesque Yarra Valley.

    As a crescendo, organisers are promising a similar finale to that which gave the event an all-new relevance in 2011 with a challenging stage focussed on the Arthurs Seat climb. The fourth and final stage, at 86km will begin from Cape Schank...

  • Roche unwilling to accept defeat at Vuelta

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) holds 10th overall after stage 16 at the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    September 05, 2012, 3:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Ag2r leader determined to stay inside top-10

    Hanging tough in 10th spot overall at the Vuelta a España, Ag2r’s Nicolas Roche is not ready to give up his goal of improving on his 2010 Vuelta result, where he finished 7th in the general classification. His chances were looking good however, the big mountains days of stage 15 and 16 proved a bit too much for the former Irish champion.

    "I had a strong first fortnight, the shorter, steeper climbs were more to my advantage than the really long mountains of this final week, and today [stage 16] was all about trying not to undo all the good work I had done to get into the top 10 overall," said Roche to the Irish Independent.

    Roche, like many of those contending the general classification, was looking forward to the second rest day in the hope of recuperating before the final week. The worst of the mountains is behind the Ag2r leader but he hope that he has recovered before he has to suffer again when the race recommences on stage 17 from Santander to Fuente Dé.

    The 187.3km route to the top of Fuente Dé is minor in comparison to what the peloton has endured thus far however the 17.3km Cat.2 climb will no doubt stretch the gaps of the top-10 once more.

    "I'm really hoping I can recover a bit on tomorrow's rest day and will feel a bit better on Wednesday. I'm going to have to really dig in and hang on. I want a top 10 and will be really p***ed off if I have to settle for 11th at the Vuelta and 12th at the Tour," said Roche.

    Roche’s most recent victory was at the end of last year at the

  • George Bennett: "full gas" for RadioShack-Nissan in Canada

    George Bennett (RadioShack-Nissan) alone in the lead on the climb of Lee Hill Road.
    Article published:
    September 05, 2012, 6:42 BST
    Alex Malone

    Last year’s stagiaire getting opportunities to prove himself

    Following his successful stagaire role at the end of last season, New Zealand’s George Bennett is finally enjoying his first year in the WorldTour with RadioShack-Nissan. Bennett had a tough start to the year with numerous injures and bouts of illness but that hasn’t stopped the neo-professional from rapidly accumulating over 45 days of racing since his debut at Critérium du Dauphiné.

    "One thing the team has been really good with is not pushing me too hard. I haven’t had a long time where I was riding with good form so my motivation is still really high," he told Cyclingnews.

    "I had an early season injury, came back and crashed, came back again, got sick. At Tour of Romandie and California I was riding well and then I had a mid-season break. I got bronchitis at Tour of Austria so it was just one thing after another going wrong.

    "I just never had a time where I was running the engine until it ran out of oil. It was just stop and start for most of the year. It’s only in the last month or two that I have been able to string it together. I’m sure by the end of the year I’ll be absolutely empty but now that I’m up and running, it’s been good," Bennett said.

    The 22-year-old most recently completed the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge where he finished 14th and 25th respectively and is looking forward to his first one-day races of the year; Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal and Grand Prix Cycliste Québec.

    "I haven’t done...