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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, May 10, 2013

Date published:
May 10, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • 2014 Tour of Dubai confirmed for February 5-8

    The 2014 Tour of Dubai logo.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 14:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Race to be held before the Tour of Qatar

    The inaugural edition of the Dubai Tour will take place from February 5th to 8th, 2014, it was announced on Friday. The new race is organised by the Dubai Sports Council in association with RCS Sport, and at a press conference in Pescara on Friday the organising committee confirmed that it will take place the week before the ASO-organised Tour of Qatar.

    “We won’t go into competition with the Tours of Qatar and Oman,” RCS Sport managing director Michele Acquarone said. “The Tour of Qatar will take place the week after our race. We brought forward our original dates for the Dubai Tour because ASO had a problem in changing the dates of their races due to the Ladies Tour of Qatar.”

    Acquarone confirmed that the first edition of the Dubai Tour will be a four-day race but said that it was too soon to divulge details on the exact make-up of the course.

    “Our friends in Dubai have asked us to design a technical race that also showcases the best of their country,” Acquarone said. “We’re still in the process of thinking about the course but we hope to have a very technical and interesting parcour.”

    While the UCI calendar for 2014 will not be finalised until the world championships in Florence in September, the organising committee expects to be awarded HC status from the UCI, like the Tours of Qatar and Oman.

    “With that categorization, we could work with ASO and the UCI to have synergy in regard to the teams that are selected,” Acquarone said. “The plan is to have 70% of the places awarded to WorldTour teams and 30% to Pro Continental teams, and as it’s an Asia Tour race, we would certainly like to have some Asian teams.”

    Television rights for the Dubai Tour are also yet to be finalised, Acquarone explained. “Obviously, we’re talking with Dubai TV about production and what’s possible, but we’re also involving...

  • UCI to appeal Puerto decision not to release blood bags for analysis

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 15:08 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Court denied access to evidence from Puerto trial, UCI to appeal

    The UCI has announced that it will appeal against the decision taken by a Madrid court judge not to allow the evidence from the Operacion Puerto trial to be released for analysis, which could lead to the possible identification of the riders and other athletes allegedly involved.

    In a brief statement released Friday, the UCI states it will appeal “the decision not to release to the UCI and other anti-doping organisation, the more than 200 bags of blood and other evidence gathered in police raids in 2006, which were presented in the trial of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes."

    The decision by the judge, Julia Santamaria, who oversaw the case, that the bags could not be analysed because of Spain’s privacy laws when she issued her verdict on the Puerto case was greeted with widespread dismay by anti-doping organisations world-wide.

    WADA, the UCI, the Spanish Cycling Federation and Spain’s anti-doping organisation, the AEA, had all said they wanted to have access to the bags, with WADA director David Howman saying in a statement "The decision to order the destruction of the blood bags is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory for ... the whole anti-doping community.” It is not yet known whether WADA and the Spanish organizations will present a separate appeal.

    Although around 50 cyclists were originally implicated in the case, only a handful were actually punished for their involvement in Puerto. There is no indication yet of how long the appeal would take to go through the Spanish courts, with Puerto taking seven years before a verdict was reached.

  • Optum Pro Cycling eyes field sprints, breakaways at Tour of California

    Ken Hanson leads his Optum teammates and race leader Chad Haga during the final stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race. Hanson spent much of the race at the front.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 16:15 BST
    Pat Malach

    2012 California KOM winner Salas out due to injuries

    Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies will tackle the Amgen Tour of California next week without the services of 2012 King of the Mountains winner Sebastian Salas. The Canadian climber is recovering from injuries suffered in a crash during stage 1 of the Tour of the Gila on May 1.

    "I'm not even sure he can ride at this point right now, because he literally tore all the skin off his hands," Optum performance director Jonas Carney told Cyclingnews this week. "Historically, where we do well is making the breaks, trying to be opportunistic and field sprinting, so we've got a good squad for that."

    The team will return four riders from the 2012 roster and add four more. Jesse Anthony, Marsh Cooper, Chad Haga and Tom Soladay will join 2012 California veterans Alex Candelario, Ken Hanson, Tom Zirbel and Scott Zwizanski when the race rolls out from Escondido on Sunday.

    Carney tagged Hanson and Candelario as the team's threats for the fast finishes. Hanson is a pure bunch sprinter who has already won two races this year in Europe along with a handful of UCI podiums. Candelario is best from a smaller bunch sprint if a group of 40 or 50 riders gets to the line.

    "He's done quite well there in the past," Carney said of the rider he calls Cando. "He hasn't been on the podium yet, but he's got a lot of fourths and fifths at the Tour of California."

    The team has Jesse Anthony, Scott Zwizanski and Tom Soladay to ride the breakaways in the intermediate stages, which Carney said are a top priority for the team. Anthony hunted the KOM jersey during the 2011 race, but illness kept him off the team's roster last year. He'll likely be hungry to head out on some daily adventures this year.

    "That's typically how we've been able to chase KOM jerseys, is to put guys up the road every...

  • Video: David Millar on his Giro first week

    Stage 12 winner David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) on the podium.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 17:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Crashes, children and Hesjedal's form

    David Millar’s first week at the Giro d’Italia has seen the Garmin-Sharp rider take a number of hard knocks. The former maglia rosa arrived at the race in buoyant and understandably delighted spirits after the birth of his second son days before the start in Naples but on the first stage Millar crashed.

    The second stage, a 17.4 kilometre time trial, should have been a walk in the park for the Scot but with his injures he suffered through the stage and was the first Garmin rider to be dropped.

    However in this exclusive video for Cyclingnews, Millar describes how the form of Ryder Hesjedal has lifted his and the spirits of his teammates. Millar also talks about current reading choice, having recently set up a riders’ book club.

  • Wiggins slides down the pecking order at Giro d’Italia

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on a treacherous downhill
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 18:34 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Englishman loses time in crash at Pescara

    Control was the byword for Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France last year but on the evidence of stage 7 to Pescara, it seems that the Giro d’Italia will not bend as readily to the will of the Englishman and his Sky team.

    After the heavens opened in the closing kilometres, Wiggins crashed on the rain-soaked descent of San Silvestro with 6km to race and conceded 1:24 to his principal rivals for final overall victory and dropped to 23rd overall, 1:32 off the maglia rosa of Benat Intxausti (Movistar).

    The breathless finale in Abruzzo was eons removed from the methodical calm with which Sky stage-managed affairs at the Tour last July, with no one team able to control the race and with attacks flying in all directions.

    Already sluggish in reacting to the first major move on the penultimate climb of Santa Maria de Criptis, Wiggins was unable to follow Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) when he zipped clear on a sharp descent before the final ascent, the San Silvestro. On the 14 per cent slopes of the climb itself, Wiggins was even distanced from the pink jersey group as it strained to shut down Nibali’s move.

    Worse was to follow as Wiggins tried to fight back on the descent. In conditions reminiscent of the famously slippery plunge off the Zovo into Schio at the 1998 Giro, Wiggins seemed to channel Alex Zülle’s performance from that day, sliding off his bike with 6 kilometres from the finish and then proceeding at a snail’s pace the rest of the way down, before being shepherded by teammates Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao towards Pescara.

    On crossing the finish line, Wiggins rode impassively towards his team bus and clambered up the steps eager to put a disappointing afternoon behind him. After a lengthy conference on...

  • Giro d'Italia: Evans moves up in overall

    Cadel Evans (BMC) on a late corner
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 19:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian up to sixth ahead of key time trial

    Cadel Evans started this year’s Giro d’Italia to little fan fare, but the 2011 Tour de France champion has ridden a quiet but effective first week in Italy. On stage 7 from San Savlo to Pescara on Friday, the Australian moved from 10th to sixth on GC and now sits within 16 seconds of the maglia rosa, having finished in the main group of favourites that had distanced Bradley Wiggins.

    It was performance that merits Evans’ improving form in this year’s race and testament to his experience. While Wiggins and Vincenzo Nibali crashed, Evans kept calm and most importantly upright. Stage 8, a 54.8-kilometre time trial will undoubtedly provide a sterner test of the BMC leader’s credentials.

    Evans’ teammate, Ivan Santaromita, who finished 25th, stayed with Evans all the way to the finish line. "It was a crazy final with slippery roads and it was full gas," he said. "On the descent, I tried to stay close to Cadel, but it was difficult. Fortunately, we didn't have any crashes."

    However at one point Evans was forced to chase the peloton, having had problems with his shoes he dropped back to the team car inside the final 40 kilometres before being paced back.

    "It was a real test of our team and our equipment and the guys were really good," he said. "Daniel Oss was good at the start, monitoring the dangerous breakaways, and Danilo Wyss, Steve Morabito and Steve Cummings were always there to keep me out of trouble. Then Santaromita was there in the final in case something went wrong."

    Despite Evans’ start to the race he has refused to put pressure on himself. The media circus has centred on Nibali and Wiggins, with defending champion Ryder Hesjedal thrown in for good measure. It’s meant Evans has ridden a different race to the one that secured him a Tour win but on the...

  • Giro d'Italia: Nibali picks himself up to land early blows in Pescara

    Vicenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 20:50 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sicilian attacks, crashes and gains in stage 7 rain-soaked finale

    On a day that saw the Giro d'Italia pass through Rocky Marciano's ancestral home of Ripa Teatina, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) delivered an important early blow in the fight for final overall victory after twice picking himself off the canvas in the run-in to Pescara.

    When the bell sounded at the end of stage 7, Nibali's scorecard placed him with a distinct advantage over Bradley Wiggins (Sky), who was also a faller on the rain-soaked final descent of San Silvestro. Although Wiggins will doubtless come out swinging in Saturday's time trial to Saltara, Nibali finds himself with an unexpected buffer of 1:27 over the Englishman.

    "I didn't expect it myself in a stage like that," Nibali admitted after crossing the line in a sizeable group that came in just over a minute down on stage winner Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) but almost a minute and a half ahead of Wiggins.

    Nibali may not have expected to finish the day with those gains but that is not to say that he did not go in search of them. After sending teammate Tanel Kangert up the road in the finale, Nibali himself looked to force the initiative by attacking on a downhill section with eight kilometres to go.

    The Sicilian's exploratory jabs immediately put Wiggins and his Sky team on the back foot, but his progress was halted by not one, but two crashes before he reached the finish in Pescara.

    "The first time I didn't do anything to myself, but the second time I hurt myself a bit more even if the speed was very low," Nibali said. "I was beside [Danilo] Di Luca and my back wheel went out from under me. The tarmac was very slippery but there are no complications, just a blow to my hip."

    Nibali took a calculated risk in going...

  • Intxausti celebrates unexpected first Grand Tour lead in Giro d'Italia

    Benat Intxausti is the new race leader
    Article published:
    May 10, 2013, 22:00 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Basque stage racer recognises better specialists than him in Saturday's time trial

    "There have been a lot of battles to get this," Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) said as he sat facing the Giro d'Italia press in his brand new pink leader's jersey after Friday's stage 7, "and it's going to be difficult to keep the jersey with [Bradley] Wiggins (Sky), [Ryder] Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and [Vincenzo] Nibali (Astana) tomorrow."

    "But I made the most of the opportunities. I knew it would be a hard day, and I finally could get through."

    Now in his seventh year as a pro, the 27-year-old from Barakaldo has just two wins to his name, the overall of the Tour of Asturias in 2012 and a stage of the same race in 2010. But after many near misses, including last year when he lost 30 minutes in the Alps after a solid start to the Giro, this time all the cards have fallen his way.

    Movistar started the Giro with a superb team time trial, finishing second behind Team Sky, then he followed that up in person by staying on the right sides of the splits in the rainy stages in southern Italy and staying upright again on Friday's tricky, rain-soaked, descents.

    "Last year, I was doing a good Giro, but I got sick and lost a lot of time," he said, "I realised I could do well in this race, and we focused on getting me in good shape for it again."

    "I had to take some risks on the descents, but I was lucky in the crashes and I got through without any problems."

    "Holding the lead is a big responsibility, but the team has trusted me and my first dedication goes to them for helping me take it." His second dedication went to two very special people in his life who have died: professional Xavi Tondo, who was killed in a freak accident in Sierra Nevada in 2011, and his...