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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 13, 2012

Date published:
July 13, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • US Congressman questions role of USADA in Armstrong case

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    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 3:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wisconsin representative Jim Sensenbrenner looking out for tax payers

    United States Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner yesterday released the details of a letter sent to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) regarding the distribution of $9 million worth of funding allocated to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). 

    In his letter, Sensenbrenner puts forth a number of queries to the ONDCP that relate to the way the tax-funded money is used by USADA and how the ONDCP oversees their spending. More specifically, the letter focuses on the current case against Lance Armstrong and suggests the ONDCP has little "oversight" of whether these funds are being spent appropriately.

    Sensenbrenner acknowledges, in his letter, that the US Congress has no jurisdiction to handle sport doping matters but is extremely interested in the actual case of Lance Armstrong and questions the authority to impose possible sanctions, bans and striping of titles on the former seven-time Tour winner.

    "We do have a great interest in how taxpayer money is spent. As USADA’s main funding source, ONDCP should take interest in the agency’s conduct," he wrote.

    The timeline of events, which begin in 1998, before USADA was founded, appears to be of concern to Sensenbrenner who again questions the authority of USADA to handle the matter.

    "Congress designated USADA as the United States’ National Anti-Doping Organization in 2000, but the agency is seeking to sanction Armstrong for conduct beginning in 1998. Furthermore, during Armstrong’s cycling career, the International Cycling Union (UCI) had exclusive authority to sanction Armstrong for violation of its anti-doping rules," he said.

    He continues by giving a recount of the numerous doping tests which Armstrong "has never failed" before discussing the possibility of bias in the case and it being based on a conspiracy rather than actual evidence. This...

  • Lampre-ISD lose two on the way to La Toussuire-Les-Sybelles

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) hasn't been up to snuff in Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 4:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Petacchi and Krivtsov fail to make the time cut

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) hadn’t been enjoying his greatest Tour de France to date. With a second-place on stage four the closest he could come to victory. He was however, managing himself through the tougher stages and arrived ahead of the final groupetto on stage 10 to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine. Stage 11 from Albertville to La Toussuire-Les-Sybellese was not so straightforward.

    The green jersey classification winner from 2010 did not however, go so well in the second mountain stage. The Italian crashed heavily on the decent of the Col de la Croix de Fer and with over 50km and two climbs still to go, he was seen laboring toward the finish line.

    Petacchi managed to get to the top of the final mountain but was outside the time limit and along with his teammate Yuriy Krivtsov, both would see their Tour de France campaign finish. Post-ride medical checks revealed that Petacchi likely incurred a number of broken ribs.

    "AleJet [Petacchi] has had to deal with a fall in the descent of the Col de la Croix de Fer, an accident that forced him to a long chase, also made difficult by the bruising to the spine reported in the fall," wrote his team site, while "the cramps have slowed Yuriy Krivtsov."

    The Lampre-ISD team doctor doctor released a later statement regarding their sprinting veteran.

    "There could be broken ribs. Tomorrow [Friday], Petacchi will be back in Italy and he will go further investigated to assess the nature of his injuries."
     

     

  • Tour shorts: Twitter shots, Vuelta bound

    Calling Spain to the startline: Take a pic with your phone of the Spanish pursuit team and send it to a friend.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 6:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    No spare car for breakaways, Riding the bus

    Froome doing his duty, not according to some

    Twitter is becoming the latest ‘status updater’ for many a professional cyclist. Immediately following a stage, riders are back in the team bus and on their phones, telling friends, family and fans how the day went. But it’s not just the riders who like to say thanks.

    Catherine Wiggins, wife to Bradley (Sky) failed to include his teammate Chris Froome’s name amongst those who helped her husband throughout the stage and in response, Froome’s partner jumped in.

    "Typical! RT @Cathwiggins1981: See Mick Rogers and Richie Porte for examples of genuine, selfless effort and true professionalism," Michelle Cound said on Twitter. Followed by "If you want loyalty, get a Froome dog...a quality I value...although being taken advantage of by others!" she said.

    Wiggins found himself having sending a Tweet to demonstrate the unity in the team - which has been under attack since Froome’s apparently superior strength in the mountains.

    "Great day today for Team Sky, boys rode incredible today and Chris Froome super strong, big day behind us," Wiggin said.

    The Tour is over, next stop: Vuelta a España

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) hasn’t enjoyed much of this year’s Tour de France. He’s been involved in numerous accidents, sustaining injuries from high speed falls and has been trailing in well behind where he should be for days now. It’s time he called it quits.

    "When I really go deep and breathe heavily, it stings tremendously. The ribs and the muscles around it have taken a big blow. During the Tour de France you don’t get the time to recover from this. It is really annoying. It feels as if I am riding around on a...

  • Video: Roche on GC prospects after Stage 11

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) is still battling for a high overall finish.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 6:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    AG2R La Mondiale leader ready for final two weeks of the Tour

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) has had an up and down Tour de France this year. After one of his best time trial performances in a grand tour during stage nine, he's been looking to finish the race with a high position in the general classification. The mountain-top finish of stage 11 didn't pan out as he would have liked by the former Irish champion is not giving up on his general classification bid,

    "There's still two weeks to go" said the Ag2r La Mondiale leader and with a number of top overall placing in past grand tours, he knows the race is not over until it reaches Paris on 22 July.

  • Video: Tour De France Stage 11 highlights

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) wins stage 11
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 7:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Europcar capture their second stage victory with Rolland

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) continued his team's impressive turnaround after some difficulties leading up to the start of the Tour de France by winning the 11th stage - the second for his team after the previous day’s victory escape by Thomas Voeckler. It was the second mountain stage win at the Tour de France for the winner of the young rider classification in 2011.

    Rolland began the day amongst the early breakaway of 28 riders and slowly but surely his companions fell behind over the day’s four classified climbs. Rolland was the last member to survive in front of the Sky-lead chasing group who was brought in by previous stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat).

    It was a day that would truly test Wiggins’ Sky team and they lived up to the task, heading into the final ascent with three teammates for support. There were a number of changes to the general classification, with Cadel Evans (BMC) slipping off the group after his daring attack on the Col du Glandon. He paid for his efforts but Wiggins consolidated his lead.

  • Report: USADA has 38 Armstrong blood samples from 2008 to 2012

    Lance Armstrong finished in the bunch
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 9:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hematocrit fluctuations said to be basis for case

    Blood is at the heart of the USADA's case against Lance Armstrong, specifically 38 blood samples taken from 2008 to 2012, in the custody of the USADA, and which are said to show suspicious fluctuations, an American newspaper reported. The American anti-doping agency hopes to use those tests along with witnesses to establish that Armstrong used banned drugs or methods.

    The samples were taken between October 16, 2008, and April 30, 2012, so they include his three “comeback” years of 2009 to 2011 with Astana and RadioShack. The samples were “subjected to a battery of scientific tests in accredited laboratories.,” and have since then been “carefully stored”, according to the New York Daily News.  Fifteen of the tests date from 2010 to 2012.

    According to the newspaper, the blood samples show major fluctuations in his hematocrit ratio.  For example, it said, his hematocrit on May 31 2009, was 38.2% but 45.7% only a few weeks later, on June 16.

    It is expected that Armsrong will challenge this evidence “by summoning medical experts who may say that a person's hematocrit score could conceivably jump 7.5 percentage points in 16 days because of external influences like changes in altitude and heavy perspiration.”  For example, he was in Aspen, Colorado, USA, at nearly 8000 feet above sea level between the two above-mentioned tests.

    USADA is expected to provide its own experts who will rebut that argument and claim that the numbers reflect the use of illegal products or methods.

  • Froome the favourite over Wiggins, Riis says

    Bjarne Riis has attracted a new sponsor to his squad.
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 11:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Says Sky may be on the verge of changing captains mid-race

    What happens when a team's lieutenant is stronger than his captain? Bjarne Riis, owner of Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, must only look back to the Tours de France 1996 and 1997 to know the answer to that question, and he may be seeing it in action again in this year's Tour de France.

    Riis won the Tour in 1996, but his domination of the race was threatened by a Tour rookie, his own 22-year-old Team Deutsche Telekom teammate, Jan Ullrich. Ullrich won the final time trial and finished second behind his captain in the GC, only 1:41 down.

    Things changed the next year, as Riis faltered and Ullrich moved into the captain's role, ultimately winning the race.

    Riis now sees the balance of power changing on Team Sky, and in his opinion, the team has put its money on the wrong horse. Christopher Froome, now second, is stronger than his captain and race leader Bradley Wiggins, he said.

    “It will be interesting in the final week, because as before, I would say that Froome is top favourite,” Riis told sporten.dk. “They made a mistake during the Vuelta last year..”

    And it is not yet too late for Sky to alter things, he told ekstrabladet.dk. “I think they are about to make the role change – perhaps.”

    Wiggins was also leader in the Vuelta last year, with Froome as his superdomestique, but things changed during the race, when Wiggins weakened in the mountains. In the end, Froome was second overall, only 13 seconds behind winner Juan Jose Cobo, with Wiggins third at 1:39.

  • Ferrari denies all charges and all knowledge of USADA case

    Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004
    Article published:
    July 13, 2012, 14:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    “Never witnessed any doping at US Postal,” Italian doctor claims

    Dr Michele Ferrari has called the USADA charges against him “false and ridiculous”. He said he learned of his lifetime ban through the media, and claimed not to have ever been notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency about the case. The Italian also denied any knowledge of coping at the US Postal Team.

    “As of today, I personally have NOT received any official communication concerning a USADA case against me,” he wrote on his personal website. USADA confirmed to Cyclingnews that its filing had been delivered to all respondents either personally or to their counsel and that not replying is equivalent to accepting a life ban.

    “I am now learning from the media that the USADA has issued a "lifetime ban" against the undersigned, Del Moral and Martí; moreover, it appears the parties have also accepted this punishment!”

    Ferrari, along with the other two, was given a lifetime ban by USADA when they did not respond to the charges against them. They were named, along with Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and doctor Pedro Celaya, by USADA in a doping case. The latter three have indicated they would contest the charges.

    “I have NEVER witnessed any kind of doping practices taking place within the USPS team: I never went to races and at the team training camps I have attended, I was simply performing functional testing and making training programs,” he said.

    He also dismissed the “false and ridiculous accusations that I learned from the press and the media'”  of a mixture of olive oil and testosterone, and that the knowledge that the intravenous use of EPO gave the drug a much shorter half-life. “Surely there was no need for Dr. Ferrari to advise on what everyone...