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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 2, 2013

Date published:
August 02, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • 2014 Giro d'Italia could include double climb of the Zoncolan

    Gilberto Simoni knows how to conquer Zoncolan, as he did here in 2003. But seven years on is he still up to the task?
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 11:06 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    A finish in Trieste also on the cards

    The final route of the 2014 Giro d'Italia will be unveiled on Monday October 7, the day after this year's Il Lombardia race, but the Corsa Rosa could be decided with a double climb of the Zoncolan, considered one of the toughest climbs used in professional racing, using the steep road up from Priola for the first time.

    The Messaggero Veneto newspaper has claimed that RCS Sport technical director Mauro Vegni will make a final decision before the end of the month but RCS Sport appears inspired by the success of the double climb of Alpe d'Huez during this year's Tour de France.

    According to the report in the local Italian media, the 2014 Giro d'Italia will climb the Zoncolan from Ovaro and then descend to the valley before climbing back up the Zoncolan from the never before used Priola road. Local organisers Enzo Cainero is behind the plans for the double climb of the Zoncolan and has support of the local and regional councils who would fund the stages and help with public safety. Cainero and RCS Sport refused to comment on the reports of the Zoncolan in the 2014 Giro d'Italia.

    The Giro d'Italia has finished at the top of the Zoncolan in 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2011. Gilberto Simon won in 2003, climbing from the Sutrio side and again in 2007 from the Ovaro side. Ivan Basso won was first to the top in 2010 on the way to winning his second Giro d'Italia, while Igor Anton won in 2011, again riding the Ovaro road.

    The double ascent would include what has been dubbed the Zoncolan 3: the road from Priola. The Messaggero Vento claims the Priola climb is nine kilometres long and has an average gradient of 13% with some sections at 23%. It is a narrow track that zigzags up the side of the Zoncolan but is well surfaced. Team will likely use motorbikes to give their riders mechanical support instead of team cars.

    A Trieste finish?

    The...

  • Transfer rumours: Astana chasing Quintana, Cannondale to go American?

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has emerged as the revelation of the 2013 Tour de France
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 12:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Trek want the Van Poppels, Felline and Stuyven

    With the official transfer window now open, negotiations and deals have intensified, sparking rumours of riders changing teams and considering offers for 2014 and beyond.

    According to today's Gazzetta dello Sport, the Astana team is looking to further strengthen its squad for 2014. The Kazkhstani team announced the signing of Franco Pellizotti and Lieuwe Westra on Thursday but team manager Alexandre Vinokourov would also like to sign Nairo Quintana.

    The Colombian was the revelation of the Tour de France, finishing second overall and winning the climber's competition. He has a contract with Movistar for 2014 but the Spanish team is reportedly going to be register in Luxembourg for 2014 and so every rider's contract will have to be resigned. Vinokourov is hoping to steal Quintana away from rival manager Eusebio Unzue.

    Gazzetta dello Sport also suggest that Astana is interested in signing Euskaltel riders Mikel Landa and Mike Nieve, with Ivan Basso a possible alternative as a super domestique for Vincenzo Nibali in 2014.

    Basso has a contract with Cannondale for 2014 but the team is also planning to change its country of registration to save on tax and running costs. It needs extra funding to cover the cost of retaining Peter Sagan as team leader. The team is registered in Italy this year but could be registered in the USA or even in Ireland or Britain as are many Italian Professional Continental teams.

    Cannondale is reportedly keen to sign Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini) and Marco Marcato (Vancansoleil-DCM) and has already invested in several young riders by signing Davide Villella the winner of the Giro della Val d’Aosta Under 23 stage race, Davide Formolo and former junior world road race champion Mathej Mohoric.

    Felline, Van...

  • Cobo set to miss Vuelta España

    Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 13:33 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    2011 winner unlikely to feature among Movistar’s line-up

    2011 Vuelta a España champion Juan José Cobo has admitted he is unlikely to make Movistar’s selection of nine riders for the Vuelta España, that starts in Vilanova de Arousa on August 24.

    Speaking prior to the start of the Circuito Getxo, Cobo told Vavel Radio his bad news: “I’m not going to ride the Vuelta.”

    Cobo, whose appearance in Getxo was his first race since he finished 116th at the Giro d’Italia at the end of May, explained that the Movistar team would be built around Alejandro Valverde, who is targeting a second Vuelta overall victory. He will be supported by Beñat Intxausti and a strong Movistar squad.

    “Movistar is a big team, where all of the riders are very good and it’s difficult to gain selection for a Grand Tour,” admitted the 32-year-old Cantabrian. “I wanted to ride it, but I’m not the one who selects the nine riders, that’s down to the team.”

    Cobo added he will now “think about an end-of-season campaign without the Vuelta”. This will include an appearance at the Eneco Tour in Belgium and the Netherlands between August 11-18.

    Cobo beat Chris Froome by just 13 seconds to the 2011 Vuelta Espana and moved from the struggling Geox squad to Movistar. However, he has failed to reproduce the form that made him a Grand Tour winner. He finished 67th when riding in defence of his title as a co-leader with Valverde in 2012 and has played a domestique’s role this season.


     

  • Canyon drops Erik Zabel as brand ambassador after doping confession

    Erik Zabel won an incredible six consecutive green jerseys at the Tour de France
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 15:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German brand offers support via a new project

    The Canyon bicycle company has announced that is has decided to end Erik Zabel's links to the company as a brand ambassador, but offered support to the former sprinter and Milan-San Remo winner, saying he will have a role in a future promotional project currently under development.

    Zabel confessed to having used EPO, cortisone and even blood doping from 1996 to 2004 after his name appeared on the “positive” list created by the French Senate investigation for EPO from the 1998 Tour de France. In 2007 he admitted he tried EPO for a week in 1996 but had stopped taking the blood boosting drug due its side effects. He admitted that was a lie.

    Zabel has also been suspended as sprint coach by the Russian Katusha team that uses Canyon bikes. The German bike company announced it decision in a statement.

    "We do not accept doping of any kind and were deeply disappointed to hear about Erik’s latest statement on his past. The consequence of this is that Erik will no longer be able to continue his function as Canyon’s brand ambassador, nor will he continue his role as the mentor of the Young Heroes Team," Canyon CEO Roman Arnold said in the statement.

    Arnold claimed it decision was not a mere public relations stunt.

    "We believe that our industry is not currently treating athletes who admit to doping fairly. We have all benefited immensely from the enthusiasm that has been generated for the sport and have always distanced ourselves from 'individual cases'. However there simply are no 'individual cases', but we are talking about real people and individuals here who cannot simply be reduced to mere doping perpetrators," he said in the statement.

    "We therefore don’t simply want to follow the typical...

  • Froome confirmed for the USA Pro Challenge

    There is time to enjoy the moment for Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 16:30 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Pate, Porte, Dombrowski and Boswell named in Team Sky squad

    Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) will return to serious racing at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado between 19-25 of August, Team Sky has confirmed.

    Froome has been busy riding a series of post-Tour criteriums since pulling on the final yellow jersey in Paris. He is now enjoying a break at his base in Monte Carlo before heading across the Atlantic to ride in Colorado.

    The 28 year-old Kenyan-born Briton leads a strong Team Sky squad that makes it debut in the US race.

    Also in the line-up are American riders Ian Boswell, Joe Dombrowski and Danny Pate, plus Froome's Tour de France teammates Peter Kennaugh, Richie Porte and Kanstantsin Siutsou. British neo-pro Josh Edmondson completes the squad.

    Froome and Team Sky will face some tough opposition from the likes of Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale, Radioshack, BMC, Argos-Shimano and Saxo-Tinkoff in the seven-day stage race, where altitude and the climbing usually decide the overall winner.

    Team Sky revealed that Boswell and Dombrowski will hone their condition by riding the Vuelta a Burgos stage race in Spain between 7-11 August. Dario Cataldo, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio, Luke Rowe and Xabier Zandio will be joining the two for the trip to Spain, as will Vasil Kiryienka, who has not ridden competitively since finishing outside he time limit on ninth stage of the Tour de France.

    Wiggins confirmed for the Eneco Tour

    As reported on Thursday, Bradley Wiggins will continue his preparations for the Tour of Britain and the world championships time trial by riding the Eneco Tour between 12-18 August.

    Wiggins will have Tour de France riders David Lopez and Ian Stannard for support, plus Bernhard...

  • Plant condemns McQuaid for attempted vote-rigging in UCI presidential race

    Mike Plant
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 18:25 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    UCI Management Committee member says dossier on doping came from Marakov

    The United States' representative on the UCI Management Committee, Mike Plant, has labelled Pat McQuaid's actions surrounding his bid in the 2013 UCI presidential election as deplorable and accused the Irishman of vote rigging. McQuaid defended his support by the federations from Malaysia, Thailand and Morocco as valid.

    Plant also confirmed to Cyclingnews that the dossier presented to McQuaid during June's Management Committee came directly from another of McQuaid's firmest critics, Igor Makarov.

    The dossier first made headlines in mid-June when several sources disclosed to Cyclingnews that Plant would present McQuaid and the UCI Management board with a body of damning evidence surrounding McQuaid's tenure as UCI President.

    Since then the dossier has taken somewhat of a back seat as McQuaid and his running rival Brian Cookson travel the globe in search of vital votes ahead of September's election. However Cyclingnews can confirm that the dossier was compiled by Makarov, not Plant, and the latter was instead tasked with presenting the findings to the UCI board.

    "At this point a lot of the information is still controlled by Mr. Makarov and it's really his decision as to when and how if he wants to release that. It's really up to him," Plant told Cyclingnews.

    "We have a common objective in that this sport has been in peril for a while and we both care about the sport. We both believe that we need to restore credibility back in the UCI and that starts with the leadership. We're both firm...

  • Breschel re-writing record book at Tour of Denmark

    Matti Breschel (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) won the stage in a bunch sprint ahead of teammate Marko Kump and Moreno Hofland (Team Belkin)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 20:52 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Dane sets new stage victory tally, equals days in yellow mark

    There's no place like home and for Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) indeed there's no place like racing on home roads at the Tour of Denmark. Prior to contesting this year's edition of his national Tour, the 28-year-old Dane hadn't won since August of 2012 in stage 3 at the Vuelta a Burgos, but his fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the better as he's won back-to-back in yesterday's stage 2 and today's stage 3, the event's queen stage.

    Yesterday's victory was the sixth stage win of Breschel's career at the Tour of Denmark, and moved him out of a three-way tie with Jesper Skibby and Nicola Minali as the previous stage win record holders at five apiece. For good measure, Breschel pushed his career Tour of Denmark stage tally to seven today.

    As an additional bonus, following today's victory in the 200km stage from Sønderborg to Vejle, Breschel jumped from fourth to first on general classification and donned the leader's yellow jersey with three stages remaining.

    "Everything went smooth for Matti," said Breschel's directeur sportif Lars Michaelsen of his victory in the queen stage. "He really has great power right now and seems impossible to drop, and as he has shown at a number of occasions, he's explosive in a finale like this."

    The queen stage was hilly throughout plus featured a steep climb of 21 percent on the 5.6km finishing circuit, completed three times.

    "This stage has been his goal for a long time and when he won yesterday's stage, it was a bonus for him," said Michaelsen. "It set free a lot of pressure and new energy that he could use today."

    As...

  • Alaphilippe signed to Omega Pharma-QuickStep

    Julien Taramarcaz (BMC)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff signs Valgren for three years, BMC adds three trainees

    Three WorldTour teams will give opportunities to young riders: it was announced today by Omega Pharma-QuickStep that French promise Julian Alaphilippe signed on from the squad's development program to a two-year contract, Saxo-Tinkoff announced it signed Denmark's Michael Valgren to a three-year deal, and BMC is calling up three riders from its development teams, Silvan Dillier, Jakub Novak and Julien Taramarcaz, as trainees for the remainder of the season.

    Valgren, 21, currently racing with Team Cult Energy, won the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege two years in a row in addition to a stage and the overall in Fleche du Sud.

    "I'm delighted to have agreed to a deal with Michael. He is without a doubt one of the biggest prospects in Danish cycling in many years, and I look very much forward to start working with him," said Saxo-Tinkoff team owner Bjarne Riis. "He has great potential and everything it takes to become successful, but there is also room for improvements, which says a lot about his talent," Riis added, but also emphasizes that the focus will be on steady progression and not results.

    Alaphilippe, 21, comes from the Omega Pharma-QuickStep satellite team Continental Team Etixx-iHNed, and is the French under-23 cyclo-cross champion in addition to having three road victories.

    "Julian's arrival to our team is the result of the work and the structure that is behind the OPQS team and of our investment in young athletes," Team Manager Patrick Lefevere said. "Alaphilippe is without a doubt just the first in a series of athletes who, in the future, will wear our jersey after having worn the Etixx-iHNed jersey."

    Another cyclo-cross racer will hit the WorldTour: Swiss rider Julien Taramarcaz from the BMC...