A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Hincapie, Kroon and Ballan back in action
The BMC Racing Team has announced its official line-up for the Tour de Suisse that begins on Saturday with 7.6km prologue in Lugano. The American registered but Swiss-based team has no designated leader but includes a versatile group of riders who are using the race as final pre-Tour de France test.
Prominent names in the Tour de Suisse line-up and very probable bets for the BMC Tour roster include Alessandro Ballan, Marcus Burghardt, Mathias Frank, Karsten Kroon, George Hincapie, Alex Moos, Steve Morabito and Mauro Santambrogio. Both Moos and Morabito have won stages at the Tour de Suisse in 2002 and 2006.
"The objective will be to go on the offensive because it's a pretty hard race," directeur sportif John Lelangue said. "It will be a good final test for the group going to the Tour de France. Most of the guys going to this race will be on the Tour roster for the month of July."
World champion Evans is not riding but the team says he is "enjoying his UCI's No. 1 ranking as he prepares for next month's Tour de France." The Australian's top placing was the fruit of a fifth place overall at the Giro d'Italia, a win at Flèche Wallone and a string of other top 10 results earlier this season. For the team, this was an unexpected bonus.
BMC team president Jim Ochowicz said that the world ranking hadn't been in the plans when the team signed Evans, but that is was a great honour. "We were definitely trying to be competitive in our approach to the world ranking," Ochowicz said. "For the team to also be ranked (fifth) is a great performance we hope will continue throughout the year."
Italian squad prepares its men for the Tour
Liquigas-Doimo is another team using next week's Tour de Suisse as vital preparation for next month's Tour de France, with 2008 champion Roman Kreuziger the protected rider, ably supported by a gun squad that includes Slovak Peter Sagan.
Liquigas-Doimo directeur sportif Alberto Volpi will be taking Kreuziger, Sagan, Valerio Agnoli, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Alessandro Vanotti and Swiss rider Oliver Zaugg to Switzerland for the start on Sunday.
"We are starting the race with an assorted squad able to compete on all terrain," said Volpi. "Kreuziger will be our first man for the overall - he arrives at the Tour de Suisse with his condition getting better day by day and may improve as we get closer to the grande boucle."
Volpi added that the team will evaluate Kreuziger's performance without expectations - as a measure of what to work on leading up to the Tour. "At his side will be Sagan, who has been a leading figure with some excellent performances so far; other riders in good shape are Oss and Agnoli. I trust in all athletes: their motivation and condition will make the difference."
Having finished ninth overall in last year's Tour de France, Kreuziger skipped the recent Giro d'Italia and knows that the Swiss race will be vital in preparing for the this year's Tour; he's also aware that he'll have to moderate his efforts. "I'll ride according to how I feel, aware that the distance from the upcoming race could affect my performance," he said.
"After the Tour de Romandie I had to rest to recover from ailments suffered during the race, then climbed the Passo San Pellegrino to address the preparation [for the Tour de Suisse] with my teammates," explained Kreuziger.
"Tests carried out with the [Liquigas-Doimo] trainer [Paolo] Slongo gave me good signs; with these nine stages [of the Tour de Suisse] I can improve the 'shine' and get myself into top condition for the Tour de France," he...
Kazakh hopes to ride the Tour after doping ban
The Lampre-Farnese Vini team has confirmed to Cyclingnews that it is considering signing Andrey Kaschechkin after the Kazakhstan rider approached the Italian team in an attempt to ride next month’s Tour de France.
According to a report in the Basque newspaper Dario Vasco, Kaschechkin has a personal sponsor that could cover his contract cost. It is not know if Kaschechkin has approached other teams perhaps looking for extra funding.
Kaschechkin has not raced since testing positive for blood doping a few days after the 2007 Tour de France. During the race his Astana teammate Alexandre Vinokourov also tested positive for blood doping and the whole team pulled out of the Tour. Kaschechkin announced his retirement from cycling but was still banned for two years by the UCI. His ban ended on August 7, 2009.
The 30 year-old Kazakhstani rider had hoped to ride with Vinokourov at Astana in 2009 but only rode the world championships in Mendrisio with the Kazakhistan national team, finishing 25th in the men's time trial.
Kaschechkin hopes to ride the Tour de France after race organisers ASO made no moves to stop Vinokourov competing in this year’s race alongside Alberto Contador in the Astana team. However he was not on the long-list of riders submitted by each team for pre-race anti-doping tests and so a ride in the Tour de France seems unlikely.
Diario Vasco suggested that Kaschechkin would try to ride the Vuelta Espana if he is unable to ride the Tour de France. Kaschechkin finished second in the best young rider competition in the 2005 Tour de France and finished third in the 2006 Vuelta, behind Vinokourov and Alejandro Valverde and the 2007 Dauphine Libere.
WADA may send independent observers to the Tour de France
The bitter war of words between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) continues, with AFLD president Pierre Bordry now questioning the effectiveness of the UCI Biological Passport as he hopes to get permission from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to carry out extra anti-doing tests during the Tour de France.
Bordry spoke to German television ZDF earlier this week, saying UCI ant-doping controls at the Tour de France were "predictable and ineffective", which in turn was qualified as "pure bullshit" by UCI president Pat McQuaid to Cyclingnews. Bordry responded on Thursday while he attending a scientific symposium on doping.
"I don't think the biological passport is useful," Bordry told AP. "What we need is neutral information on biological data. And we need a biological passport that is absolutely transparent to target riders. Everybody should deserve the same treatment."
Bordry has been very critical of the UCI's work in recent years, but the conflict escalated last year when the Frenchman accused UCI drug testers of favouring Lance Armstrong's former team Astana during the 2009 Tour. Both institutions shared the responsibility for anti-doping controls at the 2009 Tour de France but this year the UCI will be solely in charge of drug testing and refuse to work with the AFLD. The French agency has asked WADA to allow it to perform additional controls at the Tour de France. WADA's decision is expected next week, the WADA spokesman Fréderic Donzé told Cyclingnews.
"McQuaid asked us to keep our mouths shut because we are incompetent," Bordry said. "Let's wait and see what WADA will say. I can understand that an international federation is in charge but it has to be transparent and to give guarantees."
Italian makes rapid recovery from broken leg
Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini will be back in action at the Tour de Suisse and hoping to secure a place in the AG2R-La Mondiale Tour de France team after making a rapid recovery from a double fracture sustained in February at the GP Insubria.
Nocentini wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for eight days last year and is determined to go back to the race this year despite his terrible crash earlier this year.
The Tuscan rider fractured both his tibia and fibula and specialists fitted two plates and 35 screws to put his bones back together. He thought he might not race again but was back on the bike two months after the crash and hopes he is fit enough to be back at the Tour de France in three weeks time.
"The first thing I thought, just two or three hours after the accident, is that I wouldn't ride again," Nocentini admitted to Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.
"I'd seen my leg in pieces, with my foot turned around and I'd never felt so much pain like that. It was the first serious accident of my career and my first serious fracture. But I accepted what happened and accepted the medical verdict. I knew I wouldn't have given up, riders don't give up like that."
Nocentini spend several weeks at a special rehabilitation centre, working nine hours a day, before riding on the rollers and then on the road.
"I worked for nine hours a day, five days a week, at a special centre near Pisa. I worked in the pool, in the gym and with an electro-stimulator."
"I rode for the first time two months after the accident and it was the best moment of all. Riding the rollers is one thing but the things you feel on the road, the air and the feelings of pedaling with your own legs is special It was resurrection for me."
Nocentini knows he will struggle at the Tour de Suisse but hopes to be fit enough to earn a place in the AG2R-La Mondiale team for the Tour de France.
"I hope so. I've already done a...
New, white and grey colors for July
The Cervélo TestTeam has rolled out its new jersey design for this year's Tour de France. The new kit made by Castelli, will keep the similar look to the regular black and white team jersey but will be predominantly white and grey.
"The new kit will make its debut at the team presentation for the Tour de France on Thursday, July 1st," said Joop Alberda, Cervélo TestTeam General Manager. “This is the second time we have introduced new clothing at the Tour de France, because we consider the Tour de France a very special event that deserves a special design. After the Tour de France, the TestTeam will revert to its standard uniform.”
“This team is rider-centric, and Castelli has done its part to make sure the riders have the most comfortable and technically advanced clothing for this big event” said Steve Smith, Castelli Brand Manager. “Changing to lighter colors is also a benefit in hot summer temperatures that are typical at the Tour de France.
Fans looking to buy replica team kits will be in luck. The limited edition kit will be available in early July at Cervélo and Castelli dealers.
Defending Tour de Suisse winner answers allegations
Fabian Cancellara, the defending champion at the Tour de Suisse, gave a press conference on the eve of this year's race and dismissed speculation that he used a hidden motor to help him take his recent major victories.
"I know how I achieved my wins. I have an engine, but it's in my body. This is the strongest one you can imagine. Over the last decade I've shown that I don't need any other motor," Sporza reported Cancellara as saying.
"It's frustrating that these stories keep popping up about me, but that's life."
After winning both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, each time powering away from his rivals while sat in the saddle, the Swiss star was the first name to spark suspicion when Italian journalist Davide Cassani demonstrated what he said was a motorized bike that has been used in the peloton on Italian television during th Giro d'Italia.
A video purportedly showing Cancellara making usual hand movements, perhaps to activate a motor, during his two wins, was published on Youtube.com that spread like wildfire across the internet, drawing the attention of the main-stream media to the story.
Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis reacted angrily according to Sporza: "That video on Youtube was fake, it was a fabrication. The reaction of the media has been absurd."
“It's ridiculous and really not fair,” Cancellara said of the accusations, adding that he would not take legal action, preferring instead to focus on his racing at the Tour de Suisse.
“It will be difficult to repeat last year’s victory. This year’s race is more mountainous than last year’s," he said.
Cancellara, the current time trial world champion, is expected to target the opening prologue in Lugano tomorrow evening and the final stage's test in Liestal on June 20.
Talented Italian shines at the Critérium du Dauphiné
Eros Capecchi finished second on stage five at the Critérium du Dauphiné and leads the mountains competition but is becoming tired of just being labelled one of the most promising riders in the peloton. He knows it’s time for him to deliver results as he eyes his first ever ride in the Tour de France.
“This was a very hard stage, it took a lot of energy to go for it”, Capecchi told Cyclingnews in Grenoble. “After the good performance yesterday (he finished 8th in Risoul), I wanted to try again.”
Capecchi attacked early, on the Col du Lautaret soon after the start in Serre-Chevalier and went close to victory.
“All of us in the leading group were quite far down on GC, so we were allowed to go away,” the Italian said. “But when (stage winner Daniel) Navarro overtook us in the second climb, there was nothing we could do. I’m disappointed not to win the stage but I’m happy to take the polka-dot jersey. This is the distinctive jersey that fascinated me when I was watching the Tour de France as a boy. Now I’m going to defend it for sure.”
Capecchi could celebrate his 24th birthday as the king of the mountain at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday when the race ends in Sallanches, where Bernard Hinault won the world title 30 years ago. First he has to climb L’Alpe d’Huez but has never even seen the legendary Alpine climb.
“Everything in France is new to me, it’s a nice journey of discovery,” he said, admitting he has only ridden the GP Plouay in France, back in 2007. He was in his second year with Liquigas at the time, prior to moving to Saunier Duval, which is now the Footon-Servetto team.
Former teammate Roman Kreuziger considers Capecchi as the most talented rider of his generation and many experts in the sport can’t understand why Capecchi hasn’t delivered any other results since...