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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 10, 2012

Date published:
February 10, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • New 2012 Flanders route more challenging

    Generation game: Fans of all ages come out for Flanders
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 10:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Organiser explains and riders react to different itinerary

    This year's Ronde van Vlaanderen, scheduled to take place on April 1, 2012, has been a topic of discussion since the organisers of Vlaanderen's Mooiste announced a substantial make-over of the classic's route in September 2011. Yesterday, the new parcours was officially presented, and the head of the organising company De Vijver, Wouter Vandenhaute, explained his decisions.

    The Tour of Flanders will this year finish in Oudenaarde instead of Meerbeke, thus omitting the race's most mythical helling, the Muur van Geraardsbergen. The new finale will include the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg, to be covered three times on a final circuit - with the Paterberg as the last ascent before the finish in Oudenaarde, 13km before the finish.

    "The Oude Kwaremont could take over the role of the Muur," Vandenhaute told Sporza. "The decision was very difficult to take, because the Muur is a tradition in the Ronde and we had to be careful changing that. The new course, including the Oude Kwaremont and the Paterberg three times, is meant to boost the sporting angle of the finale.

    "Also, we realised that there were much more spectators in the Flemish Ardennes than in the previous finale [in Meerbeke - ed.]. To go to the Muur and Meerbeke, you ride away of the hilly zone. On the long and straight roads there were seldom any spectators. The excitement on the Muur itself was of course fantastic, but it lies completely off track."

    The creation of a final circuit, with geographically close key points, is hoped to further increase spectator presence. "Not only will there be more spectacle, but also the spectators points of view will be increased. During the last 90 minutes of the race, they will be able to see the riders pass by three times," continued Vandenhaute, for whom the new route is a...

  • Gilbert checks temperature ahead of classics

    BMC's Philippe Gilbert looking relaxed
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 10:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    No Tour of Oman as BMC rider builds towards Het Nieuwblad in Europe

    While the majority of the Tour of Qatar peloton will also tackle the Tour of Oman, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has explained why he has chosen to forgo the second race on the Arabian Peninsula and return to Europe.

    “In Oman it’s five degrees more than in Qatar. You’re riding in 30° heat and I’m worried about the effects of the change in temperature when I get back to Europe. You come back too close to Het Nieuwsblad and the risk of getting ill is high,” Gilbert said, according to Tuttobiciweb.

    Belgian cycling’s ‘opening weekend’ of Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne takes place on February 25 and 26, and Gilbert believes the best way to hit the ground running in those early classics is to race and train in Europe beforehand.

    “I prefer to come back straight away, get used to the cold in Europe and then race the Tour du Haut Var on February 18 and 19 so that I’m ready for the start of the northern classics season,” Gilbert said.

    Gilbert raced in the first Tour of Oman in 2010, but missed out on the event last year when his Omega Pharma-Lotto team was overlooked for invitation to the races in the gulf region.

    In spite of his misgivings about not competing in Qatar and Oman last year, Gilbert went on to enjoy a stunning classics campaign after following a European-based race programme in February. The Belgian seems keen to enjoy the best of both worlds in 2012.

    Gilbert lies 23rd overall ahead of Friday’s final stage of the Tour of Qatar.


  • Bike Pure: Armstrong, Contador and Ullrich a "sign of the past"

    The Bike Pure wrist bands
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 11:26 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Anti-doping campaigner laments lack of support from UCI

    The co-founder of anti-doping not-for-profit organisation Bike Pure has urged cycling supporters to look beyond the negative press generated by doping investigations this week.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews, Andy Layhe said the cases of Lance Armstrong and U.S. Postal, Alberto Contador and Jan Ullrich don't necessarily have to be considered bad news.

    "A lot of these cases go back a couple of years anyway; the Ullrich one goes back even further so it's a sign of the past," Layhe offered. "Everyone needs to celebrate the sport and move on."

    Layhe also explained that a support for Bike Pure tended to increase around such times.

    "Whenever events like this week occur, it's a shame I know, but cycling fans get annoyed and vent their frustration so they join an organisation like ours to show support."

    Bike Pure came to life following the controversy surrounding the 2007 Tour de France and the actions of Alexandre Vinokourov and Michael Rasmussen, and has grown to become the world's largest independent anti-doping and ethical sporting organisation of its kind. Co-founders Layhe, who is based in Australia, and Myles McCorry who is based in Ireland, work voluntarily while holding down full-time jobs. Bike Pure is funded by donations, sponsorship and sales via their online store, with all proceeds go back into the organisation, with the aim of continuing the promotion of honesty and integrity in sport.

    There is so much more that Bike Pure want to do but the organisation is held back due to the lack of sustainable financial resources required to undertake their goals. Support, and it's not just...

  • Key error in CAS report on Contador

    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 11:41 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Mistake casts doubt on Contador’s ‘tainted meat’ defence

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport has admitted that it made a crucial mistake within its 98-page report on the Alberto Contador clenbuterol case. Article 16 of the report states that “a blood sample taken on the morning of 20 July 2010 contained clenbuterol in a concentration of 1 picogram.”

    However, that blood test, taken during the Tour’s second rest day in the Pyrenees and the night after Contador and some of his team-mates had eaten the soon-to-be-famous steak that had been brought from Spain, actually took place on the morning of 21 July. The error has led to some speculation that the suggestion made by Contador’s legal team that the steak in question was tainted with clenbuterol did not stand up as the rider appeared to have clenbuterol in his system before eating the meat.

    Contacted by AS, a source at the CAS who preferred to remain anonymous admitted that a mistake had been made when the report was typed up. “Yes, it’s definitely a mistake. We’d always been talking about 21 July. I can’t confirm this officially at the moment because we have an internal procedure to follow, which includes correcting any errors, but there’s practically no doubt about this [being a mistake].”

    Further on in the report, article 416 effectively corrects the earlier error by referring to the blood test taking place on 21 July.

    Speaking to AS, Fran Contador, the rider’s brother and manager, confirmed that Contador’s legal team have put in a request to the CAS for a correction to be made. No one at CAS nor on Contador’s legal team had noticed the error until reference was made to it by a reporter from AS during the rider’s press conference on Tuesday evening in his home...

  • Pinotti says Tour de France not essential preparation for 2012 London Olympics

    Marco Pinotti (BMC) interviewed before the training ride.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 14:45 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    BMC rider discusses Giro and his standing in Italy

    The Olympic Games time trial is perhaps the centrepiece of Marco Pinotti’s 2012 season, and the Italian is confident that he can arrive in London on top form, regardless of whether or not he rides the Tour de France for his new team BMC.

    Pinotti told Cyclingnews that he has taken solace from his performance at the world championships time trial last year, when he lined up in Copenhagen with just six weeks of training in his legs due to a fractured hip sustained in May’s Giro d’Italia.

    “I was emotional afterwards because I didn’t think that I’d succeed in not finishing last at the Worlds with just six weeks of training,” Pinotti said, smiling. “It’s given me a lot of encouragement for this year. I wasn’t at 100 percent, and it made me realise that with the Tour or without it, I could prepare well for the Olympic time trial.”

    While received wisdom suggests that a three-week stage race is the ideal way to build form for the world championships or Olympics, Pinotti argues that it is not necessarily de rigeur for time triallists. While Pinotti will lead BMC at the Giro d’Italia, he is not currently pencilled in to line up alongside Cadel Evans in France. As far as Olympic preparation goes, he recognises that riding the Tour in July presents far more variables than preparing diligently at home.

    “If the team asks me to go, I’ll do it gladly, but in any case, with the Tour or without, I can...

  • Season-ending Tour of Hangzhou added to WorldTour calendar

    The classification leaders on the podium.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 17:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Second Chinese race to take place after Tour of Beijing in October

    The UCI has opened the door for an additional Chinese stage race to the WorldTour calendar at a meeting of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC) in Geneva on Friday, after the Tour of Hanghzou was pencilled in to take place on October 17-21 of this year.

    The new race would take place immediately after the Tour of Beijing, which is already fixed for October 10-14. It would thus become the final event on the WorldTour calendar, as the Tour of Lombardy has already been shifted from its traditional October date to September 29.

    The Tour of Hanghzhou will be confirmed on the calendar once the Licence Commission approves its application for a UCI WorldTour licence. While that process should prove a formality, it remains to be seen how the 18 WorldTour teams and their riders will respond to the addition of another five days of racing in China at the tail end of the season.

    “It is a natural step for cycling which is currently enjoying a period of huge growth worldwide,” UCI president Pat McQuaid said in a statement issued by the governing body late on Friday afternoon. “This will generate great visibility for teams and riders and can be expected to give a big boost to cycling. The injection of funding directly benefits the sport with financial returns from the new races re-invested into cycling and also profiting teams and other stakeholders down the line.

    “It is no secret that success breeds success and the current boom in cycling is good news for cyclists and cycling lovers across the board. We are very pleased with today’s decision which comes as part of UCI’s ongoing sustainable development of the sport.”

    The UCI did not name the race organiser in the press release, but its own organising entity GCP (Global Cycling Promotion) is already responsible for the Tour of Beijing.

    The addition of the Tour of Hanghzou brings to 28 the number of events on the WorldTour calendar,...

  • Cavendish hurt in Qatar crash

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) came a cropper in the finale.
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 18:29 GMT
    Mark Robinson

    Team Sky rider still set for next week's Tour of Oman

    Team Sky's Mark Cavendish was hurt Friday in a crash at the conclusion of a dramatic final stage at the 2012 Tour of Qatar. The 2011 road world champion came to grief in the closing stages following a coming together with Roger Kluge and Tyler Farrar and came off worst, crashing to the tarmac and suffering gashes to his legs and his left shoulder. Cavendish dusted himself down and completed the final few metres to the finish on a spare bike.

    The 26-year-old Briton, winner of two stages of the race earlier in the week after getting over an illness, is expected to recover in time for next week's Tour of Oman according to Team Sky press officer Nick Howes.

    "Mark hasn't broken anything but he's pretty bruised," Howes told Cyclingnews. "It was a nasty incident, but we are pretty sure at this stage that it won't have any bearing on his participation in Oman."

    Friday's final stage was won by the young French rider Armaud Demare, while Belgium's Tom Boonen secured the overall GC for the fourth time in his career.

  • Van Rijen stands up for animals

    This was perhaps the best performance by Linda van Rijen (Skil-Koga Cycling Team) in her career so far
    Article published:
    February 10, 2012, 20:30 GMT
    Christine Vardaros

    'Cross and road racer passionate about cause

    While other professional cyclists use their time off the bike to rest, catch up with friends and family or even make a bit of cash on the side, 23-year-old Skil-1t4i rider Linda van Rijen volunteers her time to raise awareness of animal abuse. She has been seen on the streets of Amsterdam dressed as everything from a bunny rabbit to a seal to make her point known.

    "Many people - especially the kids - love the outfits, and it more easily grabs people's attention," said Van Rijen. She also sets up stands throughout The Netherlands to hand out informational brochures. While her message may be received positively my most, periodically she runs into passerbys who feel threatened and lash out with harsh words. She handles those situations just as she does when on the bike - brushes them off and keeps her eye on the goal.

    Van Rijen's venture into animal rights began a few years ago after watching a few documentaries about animal abuse that broke her heart. "From that moment, I knew I had to do something to help," said Van Rijen. Her unwavering dedication led her to recently complete 560 hours of volunteer work for two animal organizations, Union for Animals and Four Paws. "I used those hours towards my diploma in marketing and communications, but I will continue to be involved in animal rights."

    At the moment, she is sidelined from volunteering due to her hectic racing schedule combined with her continuing studies. As she is both a cyclo-cross and road racer, down time is a luxury not afforded to her, especially considering her seasons often overlap. While right in the middle of her cyclo-cross season she attended her team's training camp for the upcoming road season, causing her to...