- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 03:15
- Greg Johnson
Australian race gains new three-year commitment
Organisers have announced the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will return in October next year after skipping the 2010 edition to make way for the UCI Road World Championships also being staged in Victoria, Australia. In January the race had pushed to move the event to February next year, allowing it to take advantage of teams in Australia for Tour Down Under, however the move faced resistance from the International Cycling Union (UCI).
The race’s 59th edition will be staged from 9-15, subject to UCI approval, and has a renewed three year commitment from the Victorian Government and the Herald Sun. Organisers have assured that the race will feature three of the world’s top teams in 2011.
UCI President Pat McQuaid praised the efforts of the Victorian Government and their commitment to world class events. “The Victorian government is a big supporter of cycling and Melbourne has hosted an impressive range of UCI events, culminating with the UCI World Road Championships this week,” he said. “As part of its strategy, the UCI is committed to developing strong events around the world.
“I trust that we will be able to assist the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, one of the pillars of the UCI Oceania Tour, in becoming an even bigger and better race,” he added.
While the course is yet to be announced it will start in Williamston and finish in Lygon Street, Carlton. Organisers expect the Tour course to visit four regional towns in 2011.
Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) described the race as an important introduction to cycling, which lead to an already successful career for the Grand Tour stage winner. “The Jayco Herald Sun Tour has been an important race in developing the careers of Australian cyclists over the years,” he said. “When I was coming through the ranks, it was always a race that I was able to target and use to test myself against an international field. Then later on I was able to be more competitive and win on two occasions.”
“Watching the Jayco Herald Sun Tour coming through my home town of Mansfield when I was a kid really inspired me to have a go at cycling and I hope that the tradition of the Tour can continue to inspire kids taking up the sport like it did for me,” Gerrans said.
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 04:33
- Les Clarke
Sporting and administration factors favour Rihs' team
With a decision regarding the eight ProTour licences available due on October 20, BMC Racing sporting director John Lelangue believes his team is well placed to receive one of the permits to race in cycling's premier series.
Attending the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia, Lelangue told Cyclingnews that while he's not in charge of the team's bid for a ProTour permit, the signs are good that they will receive one when the eight teams who will gain licences are announced next month.
"I'm not in charge of this [the ProTour licence application] - Jim Ochowicz and Gavin Chilcott are in charge of this. We have put in all the papers and it seems good... the UCI decision will come on the 20th [of October]," said Lelangue.
"We know in terms of sports development we have the level to do it [gain a ProTour licence]. Surely with the results we have had this year; we are in the top ten of the UCI's team classification and we've had a big season, not only with Cadel but also with our older guys.
"We have taken some good names for the future - riders like [Taylor] Phinney and [Tim] Roe, plus [Greg] Van Avermaet, Johan Tschopp, [Ivan] Santaromita, [Manuel] Quinziato... all those guys who have had results in the past," he continued.
"I believe from a sports aspect we are in and I know that Gavin Chilcott is working on the administration side. We just have wait but I'm pretty optimistic on this."
Lelangue added that the team's status - whether it be Pro Continental or ProTour - shouldn't affect its program in 2011, explaining that its experience over the last three years saw it continue to grow in strength, despite not having the coveted ProTour licence.
"It's no problem - we weren't ProTour the last three years and most importantly, this year, and we did almost all the races we wanted to do - big Classics, grand tours, etc."
Last month it was announced that the Cervélo TestTeam would be disbanding and the comany's sponsorhip shifted to Jonathan Vaughters' Garmin-Trnasitions squad. It's widely believed that the team's non-ProTour status was detrimental in a financial sense and forced its owners to take dramatic action.
Lelangue believes that no parallels can be drawn between the Cervélo case and that of BMC Racing, citing Andy Rihs' passion for cycling and the solid financial position he finds himself in as reasons for the squad's future security.
"The situation with Cervélo was totally different to us - Andy Rihs is totally different. He's someone who has invested in cycling for years as an owner of Phonak and BMC," said Lelangue.
"He knows what to do; in this situation we don't have to rely on any co-sponsors or suppliers. That's not my job, either... that's also for Jim Ochowicz. But I'm confident that Andy knows what to do and I'm totally confident BMC will be good with this."
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 08:31
- Jean-François Quénet
Coach Jalabert says Elite men will go on attack
France isn't a favourite for the Elite men's world championship road race on Sunday but national team manager Laurent Jalabert counts on Romain Feillu's good form to deliver a better result than last year for his first experience at the head of the blue, white and red team. France's best finisher in 2009's world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland was Sylvain Chavanel in 29th place.
Coaching France hasn't been an easy task for Jalabert. In June, he announced: "Only if I don't find enough riders motivated for the Worlds among the participants at the Vuelta, I'll give a chance to others."
In the group of seven riders he selected, only two completed the Spanish Grand Tour, Sébastien Hinault and William Bonnet, while Yoann Offredo pulled out after 10 days because of a knee injury. The FDJ prospect for the Classics, however, seems to have recovered from his crash.
Cyril Gautier and Anthony Geslin attracted Jalabert's attention at the Canadian Pro Tour races. Sylvain Chavanel didn't ride the Vuelta but he remains France's best rider for one-day races.
Riding for Vacansoleil, Romain Feillu didn't have a chance to take part in the Vuelta a España but the 26-year-old Frenchman won the GP Fourmies and collected a lot of good results recently. "Feillu is a true sprinter," Jalabert said. "He's in a great form and he's got the capacity to be up there at the end.
"We were told the course was for sprinters," added Jalabert who discovered a harder circuit than he thought. "Australia isn't just next door," he said to justify why he didn't come and see the course as his Italian colleague Paolo Bettini did in mid-July with four of his riders, Filippo Pozzato, Giovanni Visconti, Luca Paolini and Daniele Bennati.
In July, Jalabert was busy commentating at the Tour de France for France Television and radio station RTL.
"Pozzato and Philippe Gilbert will have to make the race hard to avoid [Tyler] Farrar, [Mark} Cavendish and [André] Greipel in the finale," Jalabert said. "We'll play an active role. We only have seven riders and other nations have nine but these seven riders don't like sitting in the bunch.
"Last year, we decided to wait and we were frustrated at the end. Our role will be more offensive this time around. All of our riders have their chance. One after the other, they'll go for breakaways because we don't have the serial finisher who can wait and do the big coup in the last lap. I remember that Charly Mottet gave us a lot of freedom in 1997."
1997 is the last time France won the world title with Laurent Brochard. Since then, they've only earned two bronze medals with Jean-Cyril Robin in 1999 and Anthony Geslin in 2005.
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 09:07
- Cycling News
Substance not on WADA banned list, Spanish federation awaits B sample
Oscar Sevilla may return to racing. The Spanish Cycling Federation has lifted his provisional suspension for suspicion of doping pending the results of an analysis of the B sample.
Sevilla tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta A Columbia on August 15, and the UCI announced his provisional suspension. The product, HES, a blood plasma volume expander that has been abused by athletes to keep blood values within the normal range after boosting red blood cell production through EPO or other methods.
On Thursday it was announced the Ezequiel Mosquera, who finished second in this year's Vuelta a Espana and his Xacobeo Galicia teammate David Garcia Da Pena had tested positive for HES at the Vuelta.
The Spanish Federation ruled that Sevilla should not be suspended since the product is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances. However, it said that if the B sample also showed the presence of the substance, it would have to then decide whether to give Sevilla a doping-related suspension.
The ruling goes along with the Mosquera and De Pena cases. Although they returned “adverse analytical findings”, they were not suspended.
UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani explained to Cyclingnews that HES is a forbidden substance, but incurs disciplinary proceedings only when the B sample is also positive.
"At the moment I can ride , because I am not punished. The Federation has told me that first you should investigate thoroughly, open another sample, and if the result is repeated, they will indeed consider a penalty, but for now, I can keep riding,” Sevilla told the Spanish newspaper El Tiempo. The B sample is scheduled to be analyzed on 7 October.
"I'm not safe yet. Let's say that justice is done because there is no reason to suspend me. There can be no direct doping case, as with a forbidden substance, since hydroxyethyl is not on the banned list, "said Sevilla.
"I take all the steps and face the situation. Ideally, the B sample will be negative. But if not, then the cycling federation will meet to decide on my case," he concluded.
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 09:56
- Greg Johnson
North Americans share bronze medal
North American riders Taylor Phinney (USA) and Guillaume Boivin (Canada) will share a unique piece of history, with the duo the first to tie for a medal in U23 road race world championship history. The pair contested Friday’s final sprint and while they weren’t quick enough to challenge Michael Matthews (Australia) for gold, they were exactly as quick as one another.
Imagery taken from Tissot’s photo finish camera reveals why the riders were too close to call, with two frames from the camera showing no difference between the positions of both riders’ front tyre. With the two frames – taken one after the other –showing the riders in identical positions organisers had no choice but to declare a rare dead-heat for third place and the final medal.
For Phinney it gives him another unique spot in the record books, as just the sixth rider to have won medals in both the Under 23 time trial and road race. Phinney claimed the gold medal in Tuesday’s time trial – his first road world championship as a U23 rider.
Phinney joins Roberto Sgambelluri (Italy), Luca Sironi (Italy), Evgeni Petrov (Russia), Thomas Dekker (The Netherlands) and Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukraine) as the only rider to have medalled in both disciplines for the U23 category.
Tissot's photo finish camera shows why bronze was too hard to call:
The second frame of the photo finish for third place between Taylor Phinney (USA) and Guillaume Boivin (Canada).
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 10:24
- Les Clarke
British team can renew hope after U23 men's road race
British Cycling's performance manager Dave Brailsford believes there's renewed hope for Mark Cavendish's chances in the elite men's world championship road race after the under 23 men's decider finished in a bunch sprint.
The finish for the rainbow jersey in the espoirs category was contested by a group of 46 riders, with Australia's Michael Matthews - a sprinter - taking the win ahead of John Degenkolb of Germany and US rider Taylor Phinney.
According to Brailsford, Cavendish - who earlier this week made comments effectively ruling himself out of contention for the world championship win - should have faith in his ability to remain in contention for the win, despite the climb on the Geelong course.
Many have tipped the winner of 15 Tour de France stages to struggle on the 11 circuits that include the 1,150m-long ascent, which is a feature of the 260km parcours.
"You can't rule Cav out on this course. The climb's not long enough [to be too selective]. You've got that big, big, long straight afterwards which gives them time for it to come back together," Brailsford told Cyclingnews.
"On a climb like that you can't get a big enough gap, so they're going to bring it back. My money's on a gallop - 40 to 50 [riders] - I think it'll be a sprint.
"You see it every year - everyone says it's a rock hard course, but it's not. Well, it is - don't get me wrong - but the riders are of such quality that they can manage to hold it together," he added.
The espoirs race featured the climb 10 times over the 159km parcours, with powerfully-built riders such as Matthews, Degenkolb and Phinney having enough in reserve to gallop home in Geelong's city centre. It may provide an indication of what to expect in the elite men's race; Cavendish and the entire British team hope this is the case.
The outcome of today's race also highlights the importance of the 83km run from Melbourne to Geelong, which is flat and exposed, where the possibility of crosswinds that could splinter the peloton are strong.
Despite this fact, many have written off the chances of sprinters such as Thor Hushovd and Cavendish, citing their apparent lack of climbing prowess as detrimental to the chances of either rider getting up for the win.
"At the end of the day, today's race was just 10 circuits round here, not 83km flat and then the circuits round here. The decision was made to go to Melbourne and the start from Melbourne was good for sprinters," said Brailsford.
"I think it's like every year - I said when I was asked about this: every year everyone comes to the Worlds and says 'It's a super hard course, it's not going to be this, it's too hard for that...' At the end of the day, when people ride it, they think, 'Oh, is it going to come back for a sprint?'
The man behind the juggernaut that is British Cycling believes Sunday's race will indeed come down to just that.
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 10:41
- Hedwig Kröner
New team Vacansoleil may annul contract if B sample confirms the finding
Ezequiel Mosquera, who tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) during the Vuelta a España, has maintained his innocence since the news was confirmed on Thursday. Speaking to the media in Teo, province of Coruña, the Vuelta runner-up said that he was surprised at the news that anti-doping controls had found a substance that "sounded chinese".
He maintained that he did not use performance-enhancing substances or blood doping, for which HES is known to act as a masking agent. "I signed a contract with my new team, Vacansoleil, on the first rest day of the Vuelta. I had no reason to commit this kind of folly," he said. The positive test was carried out on August 16.
Meanwhile, the Dutch squad declared itself "upset" about the adverse analytical finding of the substance, which as such is not performance-enhancing but still on the list of forbidden substances. Because of the fact that it is not a direct performance booster, a rider tested positive for it in his A sample cannot be suspended until the confirmation of the positive by the B sample, and a disciplinary proceeding by his national federation.
"It is not a doping substance," said Mosquera, who had called the UCI after the news was confirmed. "I am not suspended, they told me if I wanted to, I could ride the Giro di Lombardia."
However, if Mosquera requests the analysis of his B sample and if this confirms the initial finding, disciplinary proceedings will be opened against him. All will then depend on how the Spanish federation treats the affair and whether the presence of a masking agent can prove any intentional blood doping. In any case, it is also in the interest of his new Dutch team Vacansoleil to clarify.
"We have a zero tolerance policy with regard to doping, so all the facts have to be clear," said Vacansoleil manager Daan Luijckx. "The contract with Mosquera will take effect only on January 1, 2011, but this contract is now under question." If the B sample proves positive, too, then the contract binding the two parties will be immediately annulled, according to Dutch media.
- Article published:
- October 1, 2010, 11:29
- Barry Ryan
Historical and ProTour calendars merged
The UCI ProTour and Historical calendars will be formally merged from the beginning of the 2011 season and become known as the UCI World Tour. The UCI Management Committee made the announcement following a meeting in Melbourne on Thursday.
The Historical calendar category was formed after an impasse between the UCI and the organisers of the Grand Tours in 2008 that had seen the A.S.O. and R.C.S. withdraw their events from the then-ProTour and formulate their own selection criteria. Since 2009, Historical calendar events have formed part of the UCI’s World ranking system and Thursday’s announcement appears to mark a further rapprochement between the UCI and race organisers.
As a result of the re-branded calendar, the criteria for participation in each UCI World Tour event will now be the same. Thus, the 18 ProTeams will be automatically invited and obliged to participate in all UCI World Tour events. Individual race organisers will then be allowed to fill the remaining places with Pro Continental teams of their choice.
The original UCI ProTour launched in 2005 saw 20 teams automatically invited to each of the Grand Tours and allowed organisers to invite only two wildcard teams.
The UCI’s statement adds that while ProTeam applications will continue to be judged on sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria, “the sporting value will now be calculated each year according to a precise points system.”
The UCI’s Management Committee has also announced that riders’ agents will come under stricter scrutiny from 1st January 2012 as a result of a new certification process.
Prospective agents will have to sit an examination in order to obtain a UCI riders’ agent certificate, which is valid for four years. They must then apply for a riders’ agent licence from their national federation before being officially accredited as an agent.