"Judging by how I was feeling in the warm-up, I wasn't too confident in the time trial today," said Matthews. "In the end, I got there and did my best. Despite the feeling I had in the warm-up, it was enough to win. It's nice to come off altitude and take a win straight away. It's a good confidence boost going into the next few stages and the next big goals of the year."
Matthews is also targeting victory on stage 2, a lumpy 160.7km from Ribnica to Kočevje and is also looking to hold onto the race leader's jersey. Something he's accustomed to after spending six days in the Giro's maglia rosa.
"It's a really good course for us," said GreenEdge's sports director Matt Wilson of stage 2. "There's quite a hard climb with 30 kilometres to go, which suits Michael really well. We're definitely be going out there trying to get the stage win with him again."
"I've done lots of climbing training at altitude recently," Matthews said. "Hopefully that does me a favour tomorrow, and I can go for another really good result like today. We'll enjoy the win tonight and get back to business tomorrow. We have a great team here to support me in this role."
Simon Yates also had a successful return to racing after
The Avanti Racing Team is not resting on its laurels during the Subaru National Road Series mid-season break and has posted a string of impressive results during a recent Asian tour that included the UCI 2.1 Tour of Korea and UCI 2.2 Tour De Singkarak.
A week after team rider Jack Haig finished third overall in Korea, Avanti's Brenton Jones took two stages in Indonesia at Singkarak amongst solid international competition, which included three squads from Iran.
Team manager Steve Price says while up to four stage victories presented themselves, the competition was so stacked against them that he was happy to escape with the two wins.
"We were realistic coming over here," said Price. "To race one Iranian team is hard, to race three is nearly impossible. That said, the guys stuck to their guns and managed to pick up a couple of stages. We actually buggered up a couple as well so we could have had four, but you can't get it right all the time.
"I'm really proud of the boys and their conduct."
Jones agreed with Price's assessment.
"We had to work for those wins," Jones told Cyclingnews. "The team was strong and we nailed the lead out in the two stages I won. To come away with two wins is rewarding for both the team and me personally, and allows us to keep ticking along with our goals in 2014."
With Haig now headed to Italy to join the WorldTour Academy team in the hope of landing a contract with a WorldTour outfit, Jones and his Avanti teammates returned home this week for a break before another round of Asian racing in Malaysia and China, and then resuming the NRS that starts off again with the Tour of the Murray River at the end of July.
US federal judge denies attempt to dismiss $100 million fraud lawsuit
Lance Armstrong's latest attempt to stop a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis in 2010, and joined by the US Justice Department in 2013, has been ended by a a US federal judge.
US district judge Robert Wilkins said the American government is free to proceed with the case that alleges Armstrong defrauded the government by accepting sponsorship money from the US Postal Service while using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
Along with four of his colleagues, Armstrong was called to testify under oath this month for the lawsuit. Armstrong's lawyers had requested that the federal courts delay such testimony until they receive the discovery evidence that they have requested.
The government is aiming to recover nearly $100 million under the False Claims Act.
"The court denies without prejudice the defendants' motion to dismiss the government's action as time-barred," Wilkins wrote in his opinion.
The Justice Department claimed the reputation of the US Postal Service was tainted by Armstrong's confession that he used performance enhancing drugs on the way to winning the Tour de France for seven consecutive years.
US Postal contributed around $40 million as title sponsor of Armstrong's team between 1998 and 2004. According to the US government's complaint it is believed that $18 million went to Armstrong.
Armstrong had moved to dismiss the lawsuit in November 2013. Armstrong's lawyer Elliot Peters argued that the Postal Service should have known back in 2000 as it was aware that French authorities had begun an investigation into...
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) is in the form of his life according to his coach, and former rider, Jacques Decrion. Bouhanni has been training hard over the past weeks, as he hopes to make FDJ's Tour de France team this July.
“With the results that he got at the Giro, he is as strong as ever,” Decrion told L’Équipe. “Mentally he is very strong also. I think that it is not just four victories (three stages and the points competition) that he has emerged with. He took a fifth when he made it through the mountain stage in the snow with the Stelvio and Gavia.”
Bouhanni won’t have to wait much longer to see if he has made it into FDJ.fr’s Tour de France team. Team boss Marc Madiot is set to make his selection after the Tour de Suisse and Route de Sud finish this weekend.
FDJ is currently trying to juggle the general classification ambitions of Thibaut Pinot, and the sprinter Arnaud Démare. Bouhanni hadn’t factored into the team’s thoughts for this July, but his performance at the Giro d’Italia threw a spanner into the works. Now Madiot must decide if he should try to squeeze the in-form sprinter into his nine-man squad or leave him behind.
The 23-year-old has been training in the Vosges, near his home in Épinal, but has had a tense few weeks as Madiot considers his options. Decrion says that Bouhanni must not dwell on the decision whichever way it goes.
“He has no other choice but to wait for the decision,” says Decrion. “He respects the management and he will have to accept it if it is not favourable.”
Bouhanni returns to action for the first time since the Giro d’Italia at the Route du Sud, which...
Brailsford on building the best possible Tour team
It seems almost certain that Bradley Wiggins will miss out on a Tour de France slot within Team Sky next month. Bar a major catastrophe the team look set to back defending champion Chris Froome to the hilt, with eight riders selected to help the team win their third straight title.
Wiggins has already appeared on the BBC – a rival to Sky – to announce that he would be an unlikely member of the team, although the squad’s management and Froome himself have stated the selection process is far from over.
Wiggins’s abandonment and lack of form at the Tour de Suisse may or may not have been the nail in the coffin, but in this exclusive interview with inCycle Dave Brailsford talks about the selection process at Sky and the tough calls he has to make.
Brailsford has, of course, picked a number of winning teams in the past, whether on the track or the road. He pinpoints the need to remove sentimentality and emotion from the crucial decisions that come into play, declaring that logic will play a far more significant role.
Of course, Wiggins’ fractious relationship with Froome has been well documented and it seems that trust on the road will have been factored into Sky’s algorithms of rider data and science when it comes to picking the team.
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Spekenbrink told Cyclingnews that it had nothing to do with Barguil’s talent or current form. It’s all about forward planning. “He can go to the Tour. He is a good rider who can go to the Tour. That is not the question. We want to work on making him as good as he can be in two or three years and we don’t want to make any missteps,” he explains.
“We are not thinking how the team can benefit best from him in the short term. Of course, it is very tempting and it would be very opportunistic to step away from that path and say ‘it’s the Tour lets do that.’ But for him, we should not focus on being opportunistic. We need to stick to that path and make him as good as he can be.”
Instead of the Tour de France, Barguil will return to the scene of his successes, the Vuelta a España. Barguil took two impressive stage victories at the Spanish Grand Tour in 2013. However, the goal is different this season. His target isn’t tangible, like the stage wins that the team are searching for at the Tour de France. For Barguil, it is all about consistency - so don’t expect to see him getting into day-long breaks this year.
Creating a world-beater
Barguil signed for the team last season - after winning the Tour...
Sergio Henao (Team Sky) has been taken to hospital after reportedly being involved in an accident ahead of the Tour de Suisse time trial. The Colombian had gone to recon the time trial course, on open roads, in the morning.
Cyclingnews spoke to Team Sky, who confirmed that Henao had been involved in a training accident, but that they were still trying to establish how the accident had happened. They later confirmed that the Colombian had a fractured patella.
“Sergio was riding really well and it’s such a shame to see him leave the race in this way," directeur sportif Dan Frost said. "He was our card for the GC and I’m confident he could have pulled off a really good result."
Henao returned to racing at the Tour de Suisse, after being pulled from Team Sky’s racing schedule to undergo altitude tests in Colombia. The 26-year-old was one of the team’s main contenders for the race and was sitting in 15th after three stages, but couldn't make the start after the incident. It was later reported that Henao had broken his knee in the crash.
Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov posted a photograph of Henao's mangled bike, which had apparently been left on the side of the road, saying, "Found this on the intersection of TT Tour of Swiss, I hope Henao is ok . Dangerous sport"
Peter Kennaugh is Team Sky's best placed rider in the general classification. The Manxman finished 1:55 down in the time trial and now sits in 18th in the general classification - 2:24 behind race leader Tony Martin.
Tinkoff-Saxo boss says he would handle things differently
Tinkoff-Saxo directeur sportif Bjarne Riis believes that Sky have made an error in judgement not taking, 2012 champion, Bradley Wiggins to the Tour de France.
“Sky can of course do whatever they want, but I strongly feel that it is a huge mistake if they do not have Wiggins,” Riis told Danish television channel TV2.
Wiggins had said earlier this season that he would be willing to ride for his teammate Chris Froome as he aims to defend his Tour title. However, he told the BBC earlier this month that he would not form part of the nine-man team.
The relationship between Wiggins and his former super-domestique has been a well covered topic. The duo has not raced together for Team Sky since the Tour of Oman at the beginning of 2013. In fact, Froome and Wiggins have hardly seen each other since Wiggins won his Tour title, aside from at winter training camps. Riis believes that the team could have handled the situation between its two leaders better.
“First of all, I would like to say that Sky is not my team, fortunately,” said Riis. “There's no doubt that I would have taken a different approach. It's a bit sad to see that it would take the turn and let it go that far. It would certainly not be acceptable on my team."
Heading into the Tour de France in two weeks time, Riis is confident about his own team’s chances. Alberto Contador will lead the team, as he aims to derail Team Sky’s dominance at the race. Contador recently finished second at the Critérium du Dauphiné, while Froome struggled in the latter stages.
Riis says that he’s not seen Contador as strong, since he joined the team in 2011. “I have not seen Contador better with us....