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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 25, 2013

Date published:
January 25, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Kwiatkowski looks to hold on to San Luis lead with improved climbing abilities

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 13:57 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider with a wary eye on his rivals for the title

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) moved into the lead at the Tour de San Luis after finishing third in the stage 4 time trial and insisted that he would aim to defend the jersey. The Polish time triallist was a compete outsider for the overall win at the start of the race with the main focus falling on Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Vincenzo Nibali (Cannondale) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC). However Kwiatkowski put in his best-ever performance in the mountains on stage three, pipping van Garderen and Bart De Clercq (Lotto Belisol) to the line for third spot.

    While Kwiatkowski has always been recognised as a promising rider against the clock he has never competed against the best climbers. He told Cyclingnews that his new winter programme had concentrated on his climbing deficiencies and that he had managed to retain his time trailing power.

    "It's been about specific work and more climbing. I was really focussed on my weight. That was the most important aspect for me. I've not lost power in the time trials, which has helped. To be honest I've not lost that many kilos, maybe one or two in the last year but I have less fat," he said.

    With two punishing mountain stages to come, Kwiatkowski will be put under pressure from a number of directions. Most importantly he will need to keep van Garderen in check. The American lies 23 seconds back in second place and said he would look to exploit any weaknesses in Kwiatkowski's armour on the final 10.5 kilometre assent to Carolina on stage 5. The stage finishes with a long false flat but with pitches of around 10 per cent on the lower slopes. Kwiatkowski will...

  • UCI Independent Commission rejects UCI call to suspend inquiries

    The UCI Independent Commission logo
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 15:12 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Hearing postponed until next week to clarify amnesty question

    The UCI Independent Commission has rejected a proposal from the UCI to suspend its inquiry at a procedural hearing in London on Friday. The commission will instead reconvene on Thursday, January 31, in the hope that sufficient time will have been allowed for the UCI, WADA and USADA to agree in principal on an amnesty process for a possible truth and reconciliation commission.

    Sir Philip Otton, the head of the UCI Independent Commission, outlined that the inquiry had detected “the reluctance of witnesses to provide evidence without the protection of an amnesty,” and so the procedural hearing had been called in order to discuss the possibility of amending the terms of reference of the commission in order to add a truth and reconciliation element.

    Counsel for the UCI, Mr. Ian Mill QC, said that the existing process “has been derailed” by calls for a truth and reconciliation commission, but said the UCI has approached WADA to discuss the possibility of such a commission. However, he noted that any TRC would deal with the wider concerns of cycling, which was not the remit of the current inquiry into allegations of impropriety against the UCI, which emerged during USADA’s investigation into doping at Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service team. The UCI suggested that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be a separate process, and expressed concerns regarding the escalating cost and possible duplication of decisions that might result.

    The UCI also noted that it could not guarantee amnesty to witnesses at this point in time, as it is not currently permitted by the WADA code. Mr. Mill said that WADA accepted that it would have to change its code, but expressed doubts that any alteration could be made before...

  • Top riders to testify during Puerto trial

    Manolo Saiz speaks
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 16:02 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Madrid court will hear evidence from Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and Jörg Jaksche

    Almost seven years on from the Operación Puerto investigation, which resulted in several high-profile arrests and the exclusion of a number of cycling’s biggest names from the 2006 Tour de France, five of those at the centre of the inquiry will finally go on trial in Madrid on Monday. Several current and former riders are set to testify in person or via video link, including Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and Jörg Jaksche.

    The five facing charges of a crime against public health are former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz, Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his sister Dr Yolanda Fuentes, and former Kelme and Comunitat Valenciana directors Vicente Belda and José Ignacio Labarta. If found guilty, they could face up to two years in prison.

    Charges against another doctor, José Luis Merino Batres, were dismissed this week for health reasons. According to his lawyer, 72-year-old Batres is suffering from Alzheimer’s at “a light and/or moderate level”. In his declaration to the magistrate overseeing the case, former haematologist Batres said his role in the blood doping ring was simply to take blood from riders, which was then sent away by Fuentes for analysis. Batres also stored blood bags in his laboratory that analysis later showed contained banned substances.

    The Guardia Civil described the Madrid clinic as “the centre of operations for illegal practices”, which were designed to boost the performance of dozens of athletes including Basso and Jan Ullrich, the two favourites for the 2006 Tour crown.

    Contador, who was on the Liberty Seguros team in 2006, was set to speak via video link in defence of his former team boss Saiz on February 15....

  • Video: Bradley Wiggins on Armstrong and cycling's battle against doping

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 17:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky rider calls for UCI support

    Sir Bradley Wiggins opened up to reporters at the Team Sky camp in Mallorca regarding the UCI's current efforts to deal with the revelations of the US Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

    Wiggins predicts that in 10 years time, Team Sky will be regarded as forging the way for a clean sport.

    "I think the sport has moved forward from the Lance Armstrong era," Wiggins says. "That happened a long time ago. What we need now as riders is leadership from the powers that be, which is the UCI. They're obviously picking up the pieces from the people that were running the UCI 10-15 years ago."

    "I think we're leading the way as a sport, more so than any other sport."

    Wiggins says that actions will speak louder than words, and points to the steps his team has taken as the path forward. Team Sky's strict anti-doping policy has meant the departure of several members of the team, including Bobby Julich and Steven de Jongh.

    Wiggins predicts the process of cleaning up cycling will take some time.

    "This isn't something that's going to be fixed over night. I think the actions this team has taken in the past few months are the things that are going to last a long time. In 10 years time we'll probably look back and say 'Sky paved the way'."

  • McQuaid: UCI in talks with WADA over Truth and Reconciliation Commission

    UCI president Pat McQuaid answers a question during a press conference held during the UCI road world championships in Valkenburg.
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 17:59 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    UCI believes TRC could also deal with USADA allegations

    The precise future of the UCI Independent Commission has been thrown into some doubt at its procedural hearing, although the UCI’s first public commitment to some form of a truth and reconciliation process was forthcoming in London on Friday.

    Counsel for the UCI called for the suspension of the existing independent commission - which the UCI itself set up - in favour of a superseding truth and reconciliation commission during a morning of legal reasoning that at times lurched between the Kafkaesque and the Python-esque.

    The UCI Independent Commission has adjourned until Thursday of next week in the hope that will allow sufficient time for the UCI, WADA and USADA to agree in principal on an amnesty process for a possible truth and reconciliation commission. Whether that truth and reconciliation commission falls under the remit of the UCI Independent Commission or a separate body is all to be decided, but when the dust settled on Friday’s hearing, UCI president Pat McQuaid told reporters that he had already begun negotiations with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    “We have listened very carefully to views of WADA, USADA, cycling stakeholders and indeed the commission, and we have decided that a truth and reconciliation process is the best way that we can examine the culture of doping in cycling in the past, and clear the air so that cycling can move forward,” McQuaid said.  “We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with WADA on this. I have already spoken in recent days with David Howman, and I will speak with the president of WADA at the weekend.”

    The major stumbling block to any TRC is the thorny question of amnesty for those who provide evidence. There is no provision for amnesty under the existing WADA code and counsel for the UCI pointed out that alterations cannot be made to the code...

  • Video: Phil Anderson's analysis of Tour Down Under stage 4

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) on the podium after this 13th stage win
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 18:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Greipel does it again; ochre to be decided on Willunga

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) broke Robbie McEwen's long standing record of 12 stage victories on Friday, taking the Tour Down Under's fourth stage in Tanunda.

    A high-speed crash was a major talking point at day's end while World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) got some added training in, joining 20-year-old Damien Howson (UniSA - Australia) in a 118km-long breakaway.

    Phil Anderson and Cyclingnews' Australian Editor Jane Aubrey take a look over all the action from Stage 4 and look ahead to the decider on Old Willunga Hill on Saturday.

    Check out the video below to see what they think!



    Experience the world’s most iconic cycling events riding alongside one of cycling’s true legends, Phil Anderson. Phil and his team lead a suite of cycling tours to the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, la Vuelta, and more. To find out more visit www.philandersoncyclingtours.com or email enquiries@philandersoncyclingtours.com

  • Contador exclusive: I will not race the Giro d'Italia

    Alberto Contador awaits the start of stage 3 at the Tour de San Luis.
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 21:04 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Spaniard 100 per cent committed to the Tour de France

    Alberto Contador has confirmed to Cyclingnews that he will not race the Giro d'Italia in 2013. The multiple grand tour winner will instead stake his season on the Tour de France, with the option of the Vuelta a España to be considered after the Tour.

    Contador is currently riding the Tour de San Luis and early this week made clear his intentions that the Giro was a distinct possibility. However, his press officer had been quick to play down the story, stating that the Tour was the main aim and the the Giro was only one of many options.

    However, at the finish of stage 5 of the Tour de San Luis Contador spoke to Cyclingnews and put an end to the speculation:

    "The Giro for me is a very special race but for the Tour de France is more important to me this year. I was at the Giro in 2011and I have very good emotions about this race but this year I want to go 100 per cent into the Tour and then afterwards we'll see if I go to the Vuelta. There will be no Giro for me."

  • Old Willunga Hill to decide winner of Tour Down Under

    Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was the strongest rider
    Article published:
    January 25, 2013, 21:35 GMT
    By:
    Alex Malone

    Thomas' lead not secure ahead of Queen stage

    Changes to the course for this year's edition of the Santos Tour Down Under were expected to shake-up the general classification prior to the final showdown on Old Willunga Hill but with the queen stage next on the list, the GC remains tightly packed.

    The race has been far from a wait-and-see approach, but it appears the tour winner will most likely be determined at the conclusion of the penultimate stage. The rider who wears the ochre jersey on the final circuit race around Adelaide is unlikely to be pushed off the top step.

    The climb over Corkscrew Road looked to have split the field wide open but considering the events of the day, the general classification could have been even tighter.

    A number of pre-race favourites saw their GC chances crumble after day 2 however, the strength of Sky Procycling and it's race leader Geraint Thomas appears to be on the front foot. Thomas however, knows that anyone who's within the top placings could win the tour and that may just play into his advantage.

    Thomas didn't have a complicated answer for how he would handle the 151.5km stage. He would of course rely on his dependable team but also the ambitions of those who also want to put their stamp on the race's outcome.

    "As long as I'm empty by the top then that's all I can really do," said Thomas.

    "Ride flat our up Willunga and try and hold the jersey, I think it's pretty straight forward really. Just, full gas!"

    Thomas tried to gain some extra seconds ahead of the queen stage by contesting the two intermediate sprints on