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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 19, 2013

Date published:
July 19, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Mantova judges sends 27 to trial for doping charges

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre Merida).
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 12:11 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Ballan, Cunego amongst 15 Lampre riders facing December hearing

    The long-running Mantova-based doping investigation centred around the Lampre team has taken a significant step forward with a preliminary hearing judge deciding that 27 people, including riders, team staff and management who worked for the Italian team, should go on trial for doping.

    The pharmacist at the centre of the case Guido Nigrelli is amongst the 27, along with team manager and former world champion Giuseppe Saronni and directeur sportif Maurizio Piovani and Fabrizio Bontempi.

    18 riders, 15 of whom rode with Lampre, face a long trial on Mantova. These include Alessandro Ballan, world champion in Varese 2008 when he rode for Lampre, Marzio Bruseghin, Damiano Cunego, Simone Ponzi and Mauro Santambrogio, who tested positive at the recent Giro d'Italia while riding for the Vini Fantini team. Denmark's Michael Rasmussen was also listed as a client of Nigrelli. He has since confessed to doping from 1998 to 2010.

    Cunego, Mori and Francesco Gavazzi, who now rides for Astana, are currently riding the Tour de France.

    Emanuele Bindi was found guilty and given a one-year suspended sentence after opting to plea bargain. Francesco Tomei was found not guilty despite the public prosecutor calling for a 26-month sentence.

    The trial will begin in Mantova on December 10. All those involved have been accused of breaking the Italian anti-doping laws. Some have been accused of working together to "procure, supply and favour the use of doping products that were justified by medical needs and were taken to alter physical performance of the Lampre riders."

    Team doctors Carlo Guardascione and Andrea Andreazzoli are not implicated in the case. It seems that riders were ordered to visit and use Nigrelli's pharmacy. The riders are accused of acquiring and receiving illegal sourced doping products.

    Many of the riders have vehemently denied any wrong doing but will now have to explain their links to Nigrelli and the role of the...

  • Forums, commenting down for maintenance

    The crash stopped most of the peloton in the final 200m
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 14:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Please join the discussion later!

    The Tour de France is in full swing, and we know our fans are just dying to chat with each other about what's been going on in the race and in other news. However, our operations staff have informed us that a critical update needs to be installed to the third party software that runs our forums and commenting sections.

    We extend our apologies for the inconvenience to all of our readers and rest assured, our technicians are hard at work applying this update as quickly as possible.

  • Riders' group repeats opposition to release of 1998 Tour EPO positives

    Fans wonder if riders are on EPO or not.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 14:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Releasing names would “violate fundamental rights”

    The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) has said that the French Senate should not release a list of the names of riders who are said to have tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France. Releasing that information could generate “a serious violation of fundamental rights of the riders,” the group said.

    There was no test for EPO in 1998, and the French anti-doping agency conducted retroactive testing on the doping samples in 2004. In August 2005 the head of that agency said that there were 40 positives from the 1998 Tour.

     The French Senate ordered the identification of those riders who tested positive. Last month it was reported that Laurent Jalabert was one of those who was positive for EPO. The full report was originally scheduled to be released yesterday, but the decision as later made to issue it after this year's Tour.

    The release of this information “would cause serious and irreparable consequences for the riders whose name is mentioned, in violation of their fundamental rights,” the CPA said in a press release issued Thursday.

    The list would not be reliable, the group claimed, as, for example, the tests were performed years ago, and laboratory conditions have changed in the interim. “Under these conditions the results are absolutely not guaranteed and it is impossible to guarantee the absence of errors including the nominative assignment.”

    It would also not be accurate, since “only a small number of riders” were tested. The named riders would be condemned, the CPA said, while other riders who were not tested and were doped “would escape”.

    ...
  • WADA says it cannot validate Froome's performance data

    Chris Froome (Sky) relieved to put two of three hard Alpine stages behind.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 18:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UK Anti-Doping also reluctant to become involved

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has told Team Sky that it cannot help in its attempts to prove that Chris Froome is competing clean at the Tour de France, saying it does not have a mandate to accept specific team or individual requests.

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford suggested that WADA could help remove doubts and simmering suspicion about Froome's dominant performance by appointing an expert to study Froome's power data, blood values and physiological data. Brailsford said he wrote to WADA.

    They made their position public via the AFP news agency.

    "It is not specifically in WADA's mandate to accept specific team or individual requests, however, and we undertake at-event observation programs only if invited to do so by an International Federation," AFP reported WADA as saying in a reply to questioning.

    "UCI is the organisation responsible for the sharing of relevant information with Team Sky. UKAD, as the (UK's) national anti-doping agency, would also be well placed to discuss further with Team Sky."

    Suspicions about Froome enflamed after he dominated the stage to the summit of Mont Ventoux with several searing attacks that distanced his rivals. Froome and Brailsford then faced a barrage of doping question on a tense press conference on the Monday, the second rest day of this year's Tour de France. Froome has consistently stated that he rides clean, something Brailsford has also put forward with the team implementing a zero tolerance policy towards doping.

    Team Sky subsequently showed some of Froome's power data from the last three years to the French l'Equipe newspaper with their expert Frederic Grappe describing the data as consistent and without abnormalities.

    UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) welcomed Brailsford offer but has...

  • Kwiatkowski determined to defend top-10 GC position

    Polish champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 19:40 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Successful Tour de France debut for Polish champion

    Despite slipping down to tenth overall in his debut Tour de France, Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) said he would do everything to hold onto his position with Paris just two days away.

    The Pole, who wore the white jersey earlier in the race, has looked to limit his loses in the Alps but came unstuck on the brutally tough stage to Le Grand Bornand, losing ground to his GC rivals and dropping from ninth to tenth.

    "For the whole day I had the support from my teammates and I thank them, especially Peter Velits who stayed with me until the end and he did an amazing job," he said at the finish.

    Kwiatkowski lost contact with the leaders on the final climb of the Col de la Croix Fry, as Saxo-Tinkoff looked to defend Alberto Contador's second place overall and set a furious pace on the front.

    "We just took our own pace because for me it's better not to go over my limit because after that it could have been difficult to finish the stage and I could really for it tomorrow," said Kwiatkowski. "We lost some time to the best riders but tomorrow is the last hard day."

    Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) finished in the same time as Kwiatkowski, 10:10 down on stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar), and currently sits in 11th but the danger man to Kwiatkowski's top ten hopes could be the American, Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), who hung onto Saxo-Tinkoff's coattails and put a minute and thirty seconds into Kwiatkowski by the finish. The pair are now separated by 16 seconds.

    "It's possible that I can keep tenth but I've heard that Saturday's stage is pretty hard. I don't know what the difference is between me and the riders behind me but I'll do everything to defend 10th position in GC," he told Cyclingnews.

    Whether...

  • Froome warns against complacency ahead of Semnoz

    Chris Froome (Sky) endured another eventful day in the Tour, but no serious attack
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 20:25 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Sky rider moves another step closer to Tour de France victory

    Chris Froome (Sky) inched closer to a Tour de France victory that has appeared inevitable for nigh on two weeks when he comfortably defended his yellow jersey over five mountain passes on the road to Le Grand-Bornand on Friday.

    Such has been Froome's dominance at this Tour that his one crisis to date – the dreaded fringale on Alpe d'Huez – could scarcely be turned into a drama, for even in his weakened state, he still divested the race of further suspense by adding more time to his overall lead on Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).

    Saxo-Tinkoff were again aggressive in setting the pace on stage 19 to Le Grand-Bornand but Contador never followed through with the anticipated fireworks on the final climb of the Col de la Croix-Fry, and Froome finished safely alongside Contador, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to maintain his buffer of 5:11 with just two days remaining.

    "I'm really relieved to have this stage behind me," Froome said. "I was quite nervous about it and it was very tough to be there. There was more than 4,500 metres of climbing, it was a very hard day and the objective was to remain on the wheels and stay in control."

    Criticised for their capitulation in the face of Garmin-Sharp and Movistar's collective forcing on a similarly demanding day in the Pyrenees, Sky held firm through the early exchanges on Friday, with Geraint Thomas setting tempo for Froome on the Glandon and Madeleine.

    By the time the yellow jersey group reached the base of the Col de la Croix-Fry, however, Froome had only Richie Porte left for company, but the Sky pairing were untroubled by Saxo-Tinkoff's forcing, while Froome himself was able to...

  • Talansky moves closer to top ten finish

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) in action during the Tour's first day in the Pyrenees
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 20:55 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Bauer crashes out of Tour de France, Martin battles on

    It was a day of mixed fortunes for two of Garmin-Sharp's Tour de France debutants on stage 19 to La Grand-Bornand on Friday. While Andrew Talansky impressed by finishing in the yellow jersey group on a day that saw the race traverse five Alpine passes, his teammate Jack Bauer abandoned after crashing heavily on the descent of the Col du Glandon.

    Bauer sustained facial injuries when he landed against a wire fence during the second of two crashes on the sinuous descent of the Glandon, the first climb of the day. Previously a faller on the road to Tours in the second week, the New Zealander was on course to finish his second Grand Tour after contributing to Ryder Hesjedal's Giro d'Italia victory last year.

    "His front wheel went off the side a little bit and he flipped over the bars," Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters explained after the stage. "He probably would have been fine only that he went into a very sharp fence with some kind of wiring and I think that cut him up."

    Although Bauer's injuries were enough to force him out of the race, no fractures were reported and the 28-year-old was released from hospital on Friday afternoon. "He's ok," Vaughters said. "He's not happy, he's had a number of stitches to his face but other than it's alright."

    Further up the road, meanwhile, Andrew Talansky was in the process of producing perhaps his best showing of the Tour to date as he stayed in touch with the yellow jersey group when the attacking began on the Col de Croix-Fry ahead of the sharp drop to the finish line. The American's fine performances in the Alps have seen him move up to 12th place overall and his showing on...

  • Costa employs similar strategy to net second Tour de France stage win

    Rui Costa (Movistar) soloed to victory in stage 19, the Portuguese rider's second win at the 2013 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 21:25 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Movistar now focused on helping Quintana to final podium

    It was a case of déjà vu all over again for Rui Costa (Movistar) on stage 19 of the Tour de France as the Portuguese rider claimed his second victory in four days by once again soloing clear on the final climb and defending his gains on the drop to the finish.

    The Col de la Croix-Fry is a stiffer proposition than the Col de Manse but Rui Costa's attack was just as crisp the second time of asking, as he jumped clear of a strong chasing group eight kilometres from the summit and set off in lone pursuit of earlier escapee Pierre Rolland (Europcar).

    Rolland had been alone in front since the Col de Tamié some 50 kilometres earlier, and his chances of holding on to Rui Costa were not helped when the Movistar man made the catch on the steepest section of the Croix-Fry.

    After 300 metres of forcing, Rui Costa climbed out of the saddle and kicked his way clear. Rolland's response was to sit heavily into his saddle and lift up his sunglasses to show the eyes of a defeated man.

    "It was basically the same strategy from the other day: I had to wait for the last climb and make a move. Fortunately, my legs responded as good as they could do," said Rui Costa, who was 48 seconds clear of Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Leopard) by the time he hit the line in Le Grand-Bornand.

    Rui Costa had Movistar teammates Ruben Plaza and José Joaquin Rojas for company in the sizeable group that went clear of the peloton on the Col du Glandon, and he paid tribute to their efforts through the day.

    "I have to thank Plaza and Rojas, who helped me with everything. They left me fresh at the foot of the last climb so I only had to attack and win, and things went perfectly," he said.

    Over eight minutes further back, Rui Costa's Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde and Nairo...