Retired rider provided evidence on Ferrari to Padova inquiry
The Italian Olympic Committee has handed the already-retired Leonardo Bertagnolli a reduced ban of 17 months following a hearing before the national anti-doping tribunal in Rome on Thursday to discuss his biological passport case. CONI said that it had suspended half of the full sentence of two years and ten months due to Bertagnolli’s collaboration with prosecutors, although he would still have to pay the UCI a fine of €50,000 (reduced from the full €98,000) if he were to return to racing.
Bertagnolli announced his retirement in June 2012, on the very day that the UCI revealed that it was opening proceedings against him after detecting anomalies in the blood profile of his biological passport. It subsequently emerged that Bertagnolli had already confessed to doping in May 2011 when questioned by investigators from the Padova-based anti-doping inquiry, which centres around the activities of Dr. Michele Ferrari.
Bertagnolli’s statement to the Padova investigation provided detaisl on his blood doping while he was a Ferrari client, and it was used as evidence by the US Anti-Doping Agency as it built its case against Ferrari and the doping system in place at Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service team.
Bertagnolli also named a number of his former Liquigas teammates as Ferrari clients during the 2007 season in his statement to the Padova investigation, including Roman Kreuziger, Franco Pellizzotti, Enrico Gasparotto and Francesco Chicchi. The Liquigas team denied Bertagnolli's assertion that he had been given its permission to frequent Ferrari for the...
Movistar were first up on the second day of press conferences on the Tour de France’s floating HQ, the Mega Smeralda. Sitting alongside Colombian climbing ace Nairo Quintana and team director Eusebio Unzue, Movistar leader Alejandro Valverde admitted Sky’s Chris Froome is very much the rider to beat over the next three weeks, but declared himself as more confident and convinced of his chances than he’s ever been. “If all goes well I see myself as finishing on the podium, although I can’t say which step that will be,” said the 33-year-old Spaniard.
“The Tour is very long and very hard as well this year. Froome is the big favourite, he’s got a great team around him, but we’ve got a great team as well,” said Valverde. “There are lots of stages where things could change, the kind of stages that we saw last year at the Vuelta where Alberto [Contador] took the lead from Purito [Rodríguez]. It wasn’t one of the toughest stages, a medium mountain day, but the whole race turned there.”
Valverde refused to be drawn on his team’s tactics beyond the opening few days of the race, but did admit: “The one key thing we are going to have to do is to break the rhythm of Team Sky.” He added: “The key thing during the first week is to stay out of trouble because it will be very nervous, so I will ride more towards the front in order to avoid crashes.”
The Spaniard said he has plenty of respect for Froome’s achievements and ability, but has no fear of him. He explained he’s been buoyed by the strength of his team and also his impressions of the course. “The route is not unfavourable to me – it’s well balanced. I...
Trek have unveiled their second generation Trek Madone 7-Series, the bike that team RadioShack Leopard Trek riders will pilot during the 2013 Tour de France. BikeRadar have got one to hand, and you can take a closer look in the video below.
We used Trek’s Project One website to configure this Fabian Cancellara replica – custom paint, carbon Bontrager wheels, Dura-Ace and a full smattering of Bontrager lightweight carbon parts. The bike has arrived ahead of the Tour, in time for our coverage and nicely up specced to the next generation 7-Series. The same artists that created Fabian’s RadioShack-Leopard bike have crafted the Spartacus paint finish you see here. It’s all done by hand.
The frameset now drops in at a claimed weight of just 725g – that's a 25g reduction compared with the 2012 Madone 7-Series. Trek say that's down to a reworking of the composites and layup used for construction.
A lot of time and effort has been focused on the rear chainstays; Trek say the new design has improved both ride quality and stopping performance from the direct-mount integrated brake units.
"I would like to say Jakob [Fuglsang] but it’s pretty obvious that Froome is flying. If everything goes okay for him they he should win it. You know how the Tour is, it’s three weeks and anything can happen but on paper Froome is the favourite," Brajkovic told Cyclingnews.
"I think that Contador will be there but personally I think Froome is better in time trialing. If I had to bet then I’d bet on Froome."
Alberto Contador held his pre-race press conference in Porto Vecchio on Thursday morning but somewhat surprisingly there was no sign of his team manager and mentor Bjarne Riis.
The Saxo-Tinkoff team was tight-lipped about the reasons for his absence, only saying he will soon be at the Tour. The Dane is apparently holed in Tuscany on holiday, with speculation rife that he's avoided the Grand Depart in Corsica to avoid facing the media and a barrage of questions about recent revelations about doping in the nineties, Jan Ulrich's confession and Laurent Jalabert's past and the whole Lance Armstrong affair.
Riis, nicknamed Mr. 60% for his alleged sky-high blood haematocrit while racing, confessed to his own doping in 2007 and offered to give back his 1996 Tour de France winner's yellow jersey. However he has yet to confess his sins as a team manager and explain what went on when Jalabert, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso and a long series of other riders rode for his teams.
Van Garderen says his role will be to soften up rivals for the Australian
Although there has been plenty of debate outside the BMC Racing Team about who might or should lead their Tour de France challenge, the team left no doubt about their intention to put their full weight behind 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans. Sitting alongside last year’s best young rider, Tejay van Garderen, who placed fifth on GC, Evans said he had recovered well from one of the hardest editions of the Giro d’Italia in recent years and described the team around him as even stronger than the one that helped him win the yellow jersey two years ago.
"After the Giro I had a bit of trouble waking up in the mornings for quite a while, but that’s normal," said the 36-year-old Australian. "But day by day you get better and the focus is more on recovery than on training. The important thing is recovery and this time around, as opposed to 2010, the last two weeks coming into the Tour I’ve felt a lot fresher."
Evans said he is unconcerned by the fact that other riders are being touted as the favourites, commenting: "It’s two years since I won it and everyone seems to have forgotten about me. Most people’s attention is focused on other riders, which is fine by me. It leaves me free to do my job."
The BMC leader said he had full confidence in his team. "We had a good team in 2011, good enough to win the Tour, but I think we’re coming here with a better team, a slightly more focused team, a team that knows how to win the Tour, a team that comes with the confidence of having won the Tour, and that certainly helps."
One key addition is van Garderen, who immediately nixed any idea that...
Cannondale rider unveils a custom Hulk design bike
Peter Sagan unveiled a new look Cannondale bike for the Tour de France decorated with green 'Hulk' eyes. He refused to reveal details of any planned victory salutes but he confirmed that he targeting a second green point jersey and has the full backing of the Cannondale team.
Sagan turned 23 in January and has developed and matured quickly in 12 months. He has a goatee beard and is leaner this year, but is as determined, relaxed and confident as ever.
"It's my second Tour de France and I'm happy to be back. There's perhaps more pressure but I'm also more relaxed about it all," he said in his pre-race press conference on Friday afternoon, switching from Italian to English with the same ease he often beats his rivals in sprints.
"After taking the green jersey in my first Tour, we've got an even bigger objective this year: the same things but with more expectations for the green jersey. Last year I hoped to win it and gain experience. This year we know it's possible and we've built a team to defend it."
Sagan is targeting Saturday's first stage finish in Bastia in the hope of taking the first yellow jersey, but he knows he can also take yellow on stage two or three because he can handle the climbs better than any pure sprinter. However, the yellow jersey is just a goal for the early part of the Tour. The big goal is to again reach Paris in green and climb on the podium in the Champs Elysees, all while having fun on his bike.
"The first stage is the first step in this Tour de France but the race last 21 days, not one," he pointed out.
"It could go well tomorrow or maybe not good and it could turn out to be a bad...
When Jonathan Vaughters presented the Garmin-Sharp riders at the team's Tour de France press conference in Porto Vecchio, he divulged a 'factoid' about Andrew Talansky, revealing that his talented young American rider is the only one who was able to match the climbing rate of Chris Froome one day at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Talansky is also a major contender for the best young rider's white jersey and part of the Garmin-Sharp pack of 'wild dogs' who intend to attack this year's Tour de France en masse, making it unpredictable and uncomfortable for the big overall favourites such as Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).
He is riding the Tour de France for the first time in his career. Yet he has already gained vital experience this year with a spell in yellow at Paris-Nice and some strong rides at Critérium di Dauphiné and is wiser beyond his years, speaking with authority and confidence despite only turning 24 last November.
"It'd be wonderful to end up in the white jersey but it's just one component of what we will consider a successful Tour de France," Talansky told Cyclingnews.
"It's my first Tour de France and you need to go to a race and learn a race before you can go back and win it or go on the podium. I've seen that with Paris-Nice and other races. I'm looking forward to learning more about the Tour and the way it's raced but I know I enjoy racing on French roads. It should be familiar."
Nerves does not seem to be a problem, despite the grandeur and pressure of the Tour de France.
"The Tour de France is only as big as you make it. Everyone can make it as big or as small as you want in your head. It depends on how much it affects you but I generally don’t let...
Although journalists asking Tejay van Garderen for a reaction to Lance Armstrong's comment in this morning's Le Monde misrepresented the Texan's comments, van Garderen insisted that any suggestion that a rider must be doped to win the Tour de France is wrong, "because it's been done," he said.
Like the many of the new generation of cycling stars, van Garderen admitted Armstrong had been one of his cycling heroes when he was a kid, saying, "I had his poster on my wall. I was a Lance fan."
Yet it is now up to these young riders to prove to fans and journalists alike that cycling is different from what it was in Armstrong's era.
"I think the sport has turned a corner," van Garderen said. "I finished fifth in the Tour and I did that clean. I believe Cadel [Evans] won the Tour clean, I believe [Bradley] Wiggins won the Tour clean. If Lance chooses not to believe that, I would say that's a pity for him because I think cycling has turned a corner since his era."
Pressed on what he thinks Armstrong's role should be and whether the now-former Tour de France champion should keep his counsel, van Garderen responded: "If he's saying things like he doesn't think it's possible to win the Tour clean then he should be quiet, because it is possible. But if he wants to come out and say, ‘I'm sorry for what I did and I'm glad things are better now,' which is the actual truth, then I think he's a voice that people should listen to. Whether people should listen to him really depends on what he's going to say."
The young American confessed he was "disappointed" when he heard Armstrong admit to doping to win all of his seven Tour titles, but added: "In my mind, he still won those Tours. Yes, there's an asterisk next to that era, but if you look at...