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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 20, 2012

Date published:
January 20, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Gallery: Rabobank at the Tour Down Under

    Mark Renshaw relaxes in the team car before the stage
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 11:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Exclusive shots with the Dutch team from stage 4

    Cyclingnews' latest photo gallery from the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under, courtesy of Mark Gunter, focusses on Dutch team Rabobank at stage 4 of the race earlier today.

    The stage was won by Katusha's Oscar Freire, but Rabobank's young star Michael Matthews again underlined his potential with a top-five syage finish. The 21-year-old Australian, winner of the U23 road world championship in 2010, moved up to second in the general classification after his performance in stage 4 and will be hopeful of consolidating his lofty position in his home tour.

    So check out the gallery for some images of Matthews and his teammates as they tackled the 130km stage from Norwood to Tanuda.

  • Eisel named Austrian Cyclist of the Year

    Bernhard Eisel
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 12:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider takes honour for third time

    Bernhard Eisel has been named Austrian Cyclist of the Year for the second consecutive year. Eisel, now with Team Sky, beat Stefen Denifl (Vacansoleil) and Marco Haller of Katusha.

    It was Eisel's third title, as he had also won it in 2006.This year's selection was made by an expert panel sponsored by the Austrian Cycling Federation.

    The Classics and sprint specialist had no wins in 2010 with HTC-Highroad, devoting much of his time to helping star sprinter Mark Cavendish. The Austrian was the only HTC teammate to transfer to Team Sky with Cavendish for the 2012 season.

    Eisel will open his campaign at the Tour of Qatar, again at Cavendish's side. But the 30-year-old also figures to have his own chances this year, perhaps even in Qatar. “At the Classics I will also be able to ride some for myself, but will act as a leader for our irons in the fire, Juan Flecha and Boasson Hagen," he said.

    “At the races in Belgium we want to play a role too, of course. The Giro is marked in red on my calendar, perhaps I will have a chance there in an escape group.”

  • Kolobnev doping case to go before CAS in February

    Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha)
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 14:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI appeals Russian decision not to suspend rider

    Alexandr Kolobnev will have his day in court next month. The Court of Arbitraiton for Sport has scheduled the UCI's appeal of his case for a hearing on February 7.

    The Russian tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which can be used as a masking agent, at the fifth stage of the Tour de France last summer. He withdrew from the Tour and voluntarily suspended himself. He denied having used any doping, but the B-sample also came back positive.

    The Russian anti-doping agency did not suspend him, but gave him a warning and a fine. The UCI announced in early December that it had appealed that decision to the CAS.

    Kolobnev had ridden with Katusha since 2010, but team manger Hans-Michael Holczer confirmed in December that he would not return to the team this season.

    The 30-year-old made further headlines late last year when a Swiss magazine alleged that Alexandre Vinokourov bought the win in the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege from him. Vinokourov has vigorously denied the charges and indicated he would sue the magazine, while Kolobnev has not publicly commented.

  • Sinkewitz HGH doping case still pending, 11 months later

    Patrik Sinkewitz (ISD - Neri) after winning the Giro della Romagna.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 15:37 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Case being handled by German sports court

    Patrik Sinkewitz is the latest in a long list of riders whose doping cases have taken an extended period of time. The German was suspended after testing positive for human growth hormone (HGH) in February 2010, but his case is still pending before the German sports court.

    Sinkewitz, 31, returned the “adverse analytical finding” after the GP di Lugano on February 27, 2011, and the B-sample was also positive. He was subsequently suspended by both the UCI and his team, Farnese Vini.

    The German has vigorously denied the doping charges - questioning the lab results, calling the process unfair and threatening to sue the UCI.

    However, nothing official has been publicly announced since the UCI's announcement in March, or anything unofficial since Sinkewitz' last comments in June. The case is still pending, but there is simply no further information available.

    “The Sinkewitz case is still pending at the German NADO (national antidoping organisation); we have no decision from them so far,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews.

    The German federation (BDR) said that it has passed the case along. “The federation has passed the case to the appropriate sports court and it is out of our hands. Nobody at the BDR can say at the moment, how things stand,” Christine Kapp of the BDR said.

    The NADA confirmed those statements, saying it had started a procedure against Sinkewitz “for possible violations of the anti-doping...

  • Gallery: Evans and BMC training in Spain

    Cadel Evans in relaxed mood
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 16:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour de France winner tuning up for 2012 with team

    BMC Racing have jetted off to Spain's Costa Blanca for a preseason training camp in the town of Denia. Denia is in the sunshine province of Alicante and withing striking distance of Coll de Rates, one of the highest mountains in the region and the perfect place for Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and his teammates to get some climbing in.

    With bright sunshine on offer the team have been out for several hours a day ahead of their early season targets. And as you can see from our picture gallery, morale in the camp appears to be high.

  • Don't underestimate the chance of a surprise winner, says Peiper

    Allan Peiper congratulates George Hincapie (BMC) on his showing in Sunday's Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 18:30 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Heavy focus on favourites has many riders travelling under the radar

    Garmin-Barracuda director Allan Peiper says that with the 45 riders separated by a matter of seconds, the opportunity for a less-heralded rider to come out of the wood work on the queen stage up Willunga Hill should not be dismissed.

    "Everyone thinks it’s going to be the favourites and Gerrans is obviously ‘the favourite’ being national champion, but there are a lot of riders who haven't been talked about," Peiper said to Cyclingnews in Tanunda at the end of stage 4.

    "Tiago Machado and Romain Sicard come to mind particularly – not much has been said about them but they’re both going really well."

    Machado first showed himself on stage two when he picked up third place on the climb at Lenswood, the first available place after the day's break of two riders. The RadioShack-Nissan rider has shown himself to be one of the best talents to come out of Portugal since Jose Azevedo, already holding a handful of national championships, and recently developing a taste for shorter stage races.

    RadioShack-Nissan's presence on the front today was very much to make the race harder for the 26-year-old, but it's Willunga where he can really excel.

    Sicard meanwhile is a former under 23 world champion, and has previously beaten the likes of Alberto Contador on a hill-top finish in the Criterium du Dauphine.

    They are just two of a handful of riders, including Linus Gerdemann, Ryder Hesjedal, Sandy Casar, Sergio Paulinho and Wilco Keldermann who have so far avoided the spotlight.

    "I’ve not gone ‘full bore’ yet," echoed Michael Rogers in...

  • 16 teams selected for Qatar

    The bunch on the wide roads at ASO's Tour of Qatar - the beginning of the professional elite season.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 19:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    11th edition of race coming up in early February

    The Tour of Qatar has selected 16 teams of eight riders to compete in its 11th edition from February 5-10, 2012. These dates will signal a return to business for many leading lights of cycling's elite.

    Four flat stages are on the programme, which should suit all-rounders and sprinters. There is also a team time trial on the Lusail car racing circuit, where the best teams will display their collective power.

    Teams for the 2012 Tour of Qatar
    BMC Racing Team
    Bridgestone Anchor Pro Cycling Team
    Champion System
    Farnese Neri Cycling Team
    Greenedge Cycling Team
    Katusha Team
    Lotto-Belisol Team
    Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team
    Project 1t4i
    RTS Racing team
    Sky Pro Cycling

    2012 Tour of Qatar Route

    February 5: Stage 1 - Barzan Towers - Doha Golf Club, 142.5km
    February 6: Stage 2 - Monday 6th February: Lusail Circuit (TTT), 11.3km
    February 7: Stage 3 - Tuesday 7th February: Dukhan - Al Gharafa Stadium, 146.5km
    February 8: Stage 4 - Wednesday 8th February: Al Thakhira - Madinat Al Shamal, 144km
    February 9: Stage 5 - Thursday 9th February: Camel Race Track - Al Khor Corniche, 160km
    February 10: Stage 6 - Friday 10th February: Sealine Beach Resort - Doha Corniche, 120km

  • Greipel eliminated as final test looms for GreenEdge on Willunga

    Cameron Meyer talks to the audience.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 20:55 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Meyer explains team's advantage in having two riders competing for overall

    GreenEdge used up some valuable energy today in its pursuit of victory at the Santos Tour Down Under, but according to team director Matt White, it was well worth it.

    Yesterday Cyclingnews reported that the team was worried about Andre Greipel, however that scenario has been thrown out the window today, with the German conceding big time and the ochre leader's jersey - making good on his comments yesterday that he had "no chance" for the overall.

    "We wanted to get rid of Greipel, and we succeeded," said White bluntly in response to a question about why the team was so active at the front of the peloton today.

    His sprint wins on stages 1 and 3 saw him with a handy 20 seconds in accumulated bonifications, and with stage 6 also expected to end in a bunch dash, it didn’t seem unlikely that he could pick up another 10 there. But he struggled with the pace on the Menglers Hill climb, eventually waving the white flag to finish seven minutes and 45 seconds down on the main field.

    Two aces to play on Willunga

    For GreenEdge though, the real battle is tomorrow which will see the team with two options in Cameron Meyer and Simon Gerrans as genuine chances for the stage win, and in turn the overall. Meyer told Cyclingnews that though Gerrans had earned himself top status after his performance at nationals, he would be another card when the race becomes more selective late in the race tomorrow.

    "If Simon has a problem for whatever reason, punctures or isn't feeling good, I'm there. Maybe I can go up the road, and that'll allow Simon to sit on. There are plenty of different scenarios. It's great to have a two-pronged attack, but if I need to...