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Latest Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 15, 2009

Date published:
June 15, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Third doping case would end Katusha

    Katusha: Could its debut season be its last?
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 11:38 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    McEwen says another dope case could end team

    Katusha will close down if it has a third positive doping control this year, according to its sprinter Robbie McEwen.

    "It is serious with the team," McEwen told Sporza.be. "The sponsors want a signal."

    The team has had two doping cases in the last few months. Christian Pfannberger tested  positive for blood booster EPO in an out of competition control and Antonio Colom also tested positive for the same drug last week.

    The cycling union (UCI) had targeted Colom based on his blood profile.

    McEwen is currently recovering from a broken tibia stemming from a crash near in Tour of Belgium's second stage.

    "I am now on my home trainer," he said. He hopes to be back riding on the road in a week. "If everything goes as smoothly as expected, then I can be fully training again in July. I would like to make my comeback at the criterium in Aalst [July 27]."

    McEwen will miss all three Grand Tours this year. "I wanted to ride the Vuelta, but my team is not invited." Crashes forced his non-participation in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

  • Armstrong says her last goodbye to the American peloton

    Kristen Armstrong (Cervelo) making things look easy on the way to her win.
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 12:19 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Nature Valley champ eyeing off second world title in Switzerland

    Kristin Armstrong won her fourth consecutive title at the Nature Valley Grand Prix on Sunday. The event marked her last race in America before retiring at the end of the 2009 season. Her presence in the national peloton will be sadly missed as she heads back over to Europe to rejoin her Cervélo TestTeam for her final block of racing.

    “I had a lot of nerves knowing that it was my last race in America,”Armstrong said. “Last night when I was going to bed I felt like there was a big possibility that the yellow jersey could get taken away from me. I asked myself if I was at peace with everything that I’ve done because I think that I’ve pulled off a lot of wins and to leave without being on the podium would be very difficult for me. Maybe I would have had to finagle one more race! But it all worked out.”

    The time trial specialist is scheduled to rejoin her Cervélo TestTeam at the women’s Giro d’Italia, to be held in July. However, Armstrong’s biggest goal will be to win a second world title when the individual time trial held is held at the end of September in Switzerland.

    “My number one goal this year is to win the World Championship,”Armstrong said. “I also want to win the road race but I will have a strong team over there for that race as well. But the Giro id first and you never know what is going to happen there because we have a really strong team. I will go back to Europe prepared, thanks to Nature Valley and the peloton for giving me some great training this week.”

    Armstrong was the obvious race favourite at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Despite the absence of her Cervélo teammates, she took a commanding victory ahead of formidable opponents Shelley Olds (ProMan-Hit Squad) and Alison Powers (Team Type 1). Armstrong had claimed the yellow jersey after winning the opening time trial and saw off the challengers on every stage,...

  • Astana suspends Bazayev over whereabouts

    Assan Bazayev (Astana) took the first victory for Team Astana
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 12:21 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Lance Armstrong's team stops Kazakh rider

    Team Astana suspended Kazakh Assan Bazayev for two weeks for incorrectly reporting his "whereabouts". He was unable to start the Tour de Suisse because of he suspension..

    This is an "internal sanction," Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews. "He failed to fill in his whereabouts. It is a signal to all team riders that we don't want problems."

    All riders are required to notify the anti-doping authorities of their whereabouts, or location, at all times, so that they can be located for doping controls.

    Bazayev, 28, finished fifth in the Tour of Luxembourg last week, where he wore the leader's jersey for one stage. He is also the current Kazakh national road champion.

  • Cyclingnews.com launches brand new look

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    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 12:31 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Come in and take a look

    Dear Cyclingnews readers,

    Last year we sent out a survey and asked what you wanted to see on Cyclingnews. You replied in your thousands and along with fantastic editorial ideas, two areas you wanted to see improved were the usability and design of the website. We spent close to a year working on a strategy to make those dreams a reality and now we’re proud to unveil the all-new Cyclingnews.com.

    The redevelopment has been a mammoth task as we’ve modernised and updated the site, whilst ensuring our millions of regular visitors will still find exactly what they want. Everything you know and love is still there, but we’ve added a wealth of new content to make the site truly unmissable.

    From your first look around you’ll see we’ve made some substantial and exciting changes. Firstly, we’ve done away with the previous format and introduced a new, user-friendly design, with a crystal-clear and easy-to-navigate structure. The changes make Cyclingnews more accessible, easier to navigate – giving cycling enthusiasts a richer and more dynamic experience. Our team have added so much to the site, here’s a number of fantastic reasons to take a look:New Cyclingnews.com team road news

    New and improved news service
    Our news editions are still part of the website’s furniture so that regular readers can read their news in concise digests. Now though you can choose to read breaking news stories as they happen throughout the day. We’ve also added RSS feeds for tailored, up-to-the minute stories.

    Vastly improved navigation
    We've also made it easier to find the information you need by splitting our content over cycling disciplines. Whether it's on road, mountain bike, track or cyclo-cross,...

  • McQuaid clarifies 50 'targeted' riders

    Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews that the 50 riders targeted by the UCI are not under suspicion
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 12:47 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Cycling Union clarifies biological passport cases

    International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, quoted in French newspaper L'Equipe yesterday, said that the UCI is doing increased testing on 50 riders in the run up to the Tour de France. Amid speculation about the amount of 'positive' biological passport cases the UCI will announce this week, the Irishman stressed that the first number is unrelated to the second.

    "I emphasised that there weren't 50 suspicious riders," he told Cyclingnews Monday morning. "The 50 refers to a selection from the long list for the Tour de France."

    The organiser "gave us the long list of some 300 riders which had been supplied to them by the teams, from which each team will select their nine for the Tour. All of these riders are subject to extra testing in the weeks leading up to the Tour de France. A group of around 50 were selected by UCI, ASO [Amaury Sport Organisation] and AFLD [French anti-doping agency] comprising the race favourites, leading riders in each team and some targeted riders; they will get extra testing on top of the others."

    Separately, the cycling union will inform several riders and their teams this week of adverse results under the biological passport system, perhaps as early as today. There had been a considerable delay in implementing the findings of the longitudinal study, but the cycling union says that it is now ready to progress and ask for sanctions.

    Cyclingnews sought clarification of the exact number of riders, but McQuaid declined to give more specific details. "UCI will be announcing this week a small number of riders on whom we will be starting disciplinary procedures as a result of their biological passport," he stated.

  • Contador considers Armstrong and Leipheimer Tour rivals

    Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 12:55 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Tour champion faces competition from within Astana team

    Spaniard Alberto Contador considers Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer amongst his top rivals for a repeat victory in the Tour de France this July.

    "I will have to deal with [Denis] Menchov, [Cadel] Evans, the Schleck brothers, [Carlos] Sastre and my teammates Armstrong and Leipheimer," he told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday.

    Contador finished the Dauphiné Libéré stage race third overall yesterday. The Giro d'Italia was Armstrong and Leipheimer's last race and they finished 12th and sixth respectively. It was Armstrong's first three-week stage race since he retired after his 2005 Tour de France win.

    "The problem does not bother me, the race will settle it. My goal is to do the best possible."

    Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, joined his former team manager Johan Bruyneel at team Astana this winter after a three-year retirement. Contador rose as a top stage racer with wins in all three Grand Tours (2007 Tour, 2008 Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España). The two champions have only raced 160 kilometres together this year, at the Castilla y León prior to Armstrong's crash.

    "The situation is the same as before, we have been together very little: the Canary Island camp and one day of racing. That's it."

    Astana will be one of the favourite teams with a total of eight Tour wins and Leipheimer's third in 2007, but Bruyneel will have to manage his stars.

    "Our team, if you consider the names, is the strongest, but it's not big names that make a great team. Saxo Bank, for example, has less famous names, but is just as strong."

    The Tour de France starts July 4 in Monaco. It travels through Spain and Italy prior to its arrival in Paris on July 26.

  • Arndt wins it all in Spain

    Judith Arndt marked her return to competition with a typically dominant performance
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 14:06 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Judith Arndt overcomes season's injuries for Iurreta-Emakumeen Bira win

    Judith Arndt of Team Columbia-Highroad capped her comeback from injuries by winning three stages and the overall victory in Spain's Iurreta-Emakumeen Bira stage race. She had missed almost the entire first four months of this season with broken bones.

    Arndt, 32, caught two escapees on a rain-soaked descent on the day's last climb and then won the sprint in yesterday's final stage.

    Cervélo TestTeam's Claudia Häusler and Columbia's Mara Abbott escaped on the last climb but were reeled in by Arndt vecore the finish. Arndt out-sprinted Häusler for the win, while Abbott finished in third. The result of the top three riders on the final stage mirrored their positions on the final general classification.

    "I'm really pleased because I never expected to do this well after all my injuries in the spring and after not racing for so long," Arndt said. "But I've come back and I'm already doing much better than I could hope to do. It's something very special and really motivating."

    "At the same time, the team has really stepped up and given me a huge amount of support in this race. I can't thank them enough."

    Arndt broke her collarbone in a training accident in March. She subsequently broke a bone in her wrist in April.

  • Sutherland takes second Nature Valley Grand Prix

    It seems Rory Sutherland and OUCH-p/b Maxxis have returned to their winning ways
    Article published:
    June 15, 2009, 14:22 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Rory Sutherland Nature Valley Grand Prix's final stage and overall

    Australian Rory Sutherland won his second consecutive Nature Valley Grand Prix, after the six-stage race ended on Sunday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He came out on top of a hard-fought battle for the overall title – proving that he and his OUCH-Maxxis team is back to winning bike races.

    "Every tour this year and day this week we've been beaten and it was just a matter waiting for the moment when we were actually going to get it right," said Sutherland, who has been some-what lacking in the podium department early season.

    "We had to go through every scenario to figure out what tactic would have the best chance of working. We have a new group of guys and getting the connection together with everyone to work always takes a lot of time, building blocks and making mistakes."

    Tactics were heavily played out between two strong all-rounders and one fast sprinter. Sutherland surpassed Bissell's Tom Zirbel by three seconds in the overall classification with his winning move on the last lap of the final technical race.

    Colavita-Sutter Home's double stage winning sprinter, Sebastian Haedo moved into third place in the overall. He maintained a podium place by staying with the leaders over the event's decisive climbs and sprinting for the large time bonuses at the finish line.

    "I have a lot of respect for Bissell, and Tom rode a great race," said Sutherland. "It was hard to wait until the last second of the race to make my move and I really wasn't sure if it would work out, but I gave it one shot at 100-percent and I never looked back."

    Team Bissell won the event's overall team classification by placing six riders in the top twelve at the prologue in St. Paul Wednesday. Bissell continued to show their strength, maintaining a strong-hold over the front of the peloton for the remaining five stages in the hope of defending Zirbel's overall lead.

    "I didn't get through that corner cleanly and got gapped off. Rory...