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Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 11, 2013

Date published:
October 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Hushovd delighted with Beijing stage victory

    Thor Hushovd (BMC) on the podium
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 12:01 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    BMC aim to defend lead through stage 2

    Thor Hushovd’s (Team BMC) victory in stage 1 of the Tour of Beijing caps off a solid latter half of the season for the Norwegian.

    Hushovd had looked out of contention in the run-in to the line but found an opening, from which he made his move. “It was a large road and really fast, with the downhill,” he said at the finish.

    “I think I just had a perfect run. I was a bit behind and I got a bit of a slipstream and in a couple of metres I was able to pass someone, then I dived in front of him.”

    The win gives Hushovd a three-second lead in the general classification, ahead of Wauter Willems (Vacansoleil-DCM), who took bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints, and Luca Mezgec (Argos-Shimano).

    While he’s hoping to keep the red jersey as long as he can, Hushovd doesn’t think he can hold it to the finish. “With a mountain top finish, it’s too difficult. I’m not going that well. You can see the climbers that are here so that’s not possible. We’ll take it day by day and tomorrow we’ll do everything to defend it. Matthias (Frank) and Dominic Nerz will be our guys I think.”

    Recovering from Illness

    Hushovd spent almost the entirety of the 2012 season out with a virus, which forced him to abandon of the Giro d’Italia. It took him months to get going again. However since winning the Norwegian National Championship in June, the former World Champion has gone on to take six more victories.

    “After last year, it wasn’t easy to come back at a stable level,” said Hushovd. “I had a few good times in the spring, but I wasn’t there all the time, it was just up and down. Now things have...

  • Acquarone denies any involvement in RCS Sport money troubles

    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 12:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Suspended Giro d'Italia race director issues statement

    Michele Acquarone has spoken for the first time since he was suspended by Giro d'Italia race organiser's RCS Sport from his role of Chief Operating Officer, insisting he is not involved in the suspected misappropriation of several million Euros.

    Acquarone did not attend the presentation of the 2014 Giro d'Italia route in Milan on Monday and has been formally suspended by RCS Sport as an internal audit is carried by the Milan-based media company. Italian media has reported that up to 13 million Euros may have disappeared from accounts between 2005 and 2013. CEO Giacomo Catano, Matteo Pastore, the head of communications and external relations at RCS Sport and Laura Bertinotti, head of accounts and administration have also been suspended.

    In a letter sent to the media Acquarone specified he is not involved in the suspected fraud.

    "I want to strongly reassure everyone of my non-involvement in the matters that have been reported in the mass media over the last few days," he writes.

    "Today the life of a company is permanently marked in time, and I am certain that all the facts will soon be completely clarified."

    New RCS Sport CEO Riccardo Taranto told Cyclingnews that Acquarone has been suspended for reasons of governance rather than as punishment. However Acquarone's profile has been removed from the RCS Sport management profile.

    Acquarone confirmed he hopes to return to active duty as soon as possible so he can work on the organisation of the 2014 Giro d'Italia.

    "I only dream about the day I can return to my team, and get back to working towards the 2014 Giro d’Italia, with even greater enthusiasm than that which has driven me over these years," he writes.

    "Thank you for your support, and see you soon."

    Michele Acquarone's full letter:

    I have...

  • Cookson in talks with WADA about independent investigation into the UCI's past

    Newly elected UCI President Brian Cookson speaks
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 13:50 BST
    José Been

    New UCI president drops legal action against Paul Kimmage

    New UCI president Brian Cookson has revealed he has contacted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to begin discussions about an independent investigation into the UCI's past and confirmed he has formally ended the legal action against Irish journalist Paul Kimmage.

    Cookson promised to restore trust in the UCI during his election campaign after the huge damage caused by a string of doping cases, especially concerning Lance Armstrong under the presidency of Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid.

    “We have started the work of establishing a high level dialogue with WADA to plan how we will proceed with the independent investigation into the UCI's past."

    “These early days of my presidency are very important to the UCI. And I believe we have made a good start,” Cookson said in China where he attended the opening stage of the Tour of Beijing. The former president of British Cycling has moved quickly to implement several promises from his UCI presidency manifesto.

    “We have embarked on the process of implementing our manifesto commitments so that we can re-establish our international federation's reputation and make it the best and most respected in the world,” said Cookson.

    “We have also made contact with other key stakeholders including USADA, the French sports ministry and several national anti-doping organizations.”

    Cookson called Paul Kimmage before traveling to the Tour of Beijing to tell him of the decision to end the legal action. He has also confirmed that the age limit for women’s elite teams will be revoked.

    “We will form a new Commission for women’s cycling to help facilitate the growth of women’s elite racing,” Cookson stated.

    Staff changes and future meetings

    Cookson also...

  • Farrar welcomes pressure after Garmin offer one-year deal

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin Sharp) takes his first-ever win at the Amgen Tour of California
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 16:10 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American hopes to regain sprint form in 2014

    With his first win on European soil in over two years and a new contract with Garmin-Sharp in the bag for next season Tyler Farrar is understandably optimistic.

    The American sprinter’s victory on stage 3 of Franco-Belge (Tour de l'Eurométropole) turned a page in what has been a difficult period in the rider’s career. It had been more than two years since his last European win - a stage in the 2011 Tour de France - with crashes and injuries an all too frequent set of fixtures in his racing calendar.

    Even during the recent Vuelta a España Farrar was unsure over his future with Garmin stalling on a contract offer and a number of WorldTour teams folding. However, Garmin delivered and although a new contract offers Farrar a chance to reignite his career, he is well aware that he must repay Garmin’s faith in him and become a consistent winner in 2014.

    “I’d come to an agreement about a week before the win. We’d worked out the contract and that was obviously a huge stress relief what with everything that’s going on in cycling. Having a good Franco-Belge was just a nice way to start wrapping up the season,” Farrar told Cyclingnews from his base in Belgium.

    “A bit of healthy pressure is a good thing. We went back and forth on it but I do want to light a bit of a fire underneath myself and feel that pressure for next year.

    “Okay, I won last week in Franco-Belge but before we start really worrying about a full lead-out I need to show that I’m consistently winning again back here in Europe. We have...

  • Dr. Ferrari caught secretly training riders

    Michele Ferrari leaves a tribunal in Bologna, Italy in 2004
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 17:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Armstrong's former doctor photographed in a US Postal Service jersey

    Dr Michele Ferrari may be banned for life after the damning verdict of the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong but the Italian sports doctor continues to train riders and comments on the major professional races and riders' performances on his website.

    Italian journalist Marco Bonarrigo and photographer Mjrka Boensch Bees were recently given a tip-off about one of Dr. Ferrari's invitation-only training days called 'Vertical Climb'. They have captured some rare video footage and photographs of Ferrari riding a bike on the Monzuno climb near Bologna in central Italy.

    Some of the images were published on the front page of the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper and further details will be published on Monday in the Italian Cycling Pro magazine that is also available as a digital magazine.

    Dr. Ferrari was wearing a vintage US Postal jersey during his ride, with rainbow bands on the sleeves indicating the jersey could have belonged to Lance Armstrong. He also wore a Livestrong Giro helmet and pink and blue Lampre shorts.

    The Monzuno climb has been Dr. Ferrari's preferred Italian testing ground for many years just like the Col de la Madone in the South of France.

    Tom Danielson revealed in his USADA affidavit that he underwent a test with Dr. Ferrari on the Monzuno climb back in 2004 while riding for Fassa Bortolo. He subsequently started doping and moved to Armstrong's Discovery Channel team for the 2005 season. He worked with Ferrari until 2006 before moving to Jonathan Vaughters's Slipstream team.

    "Dr. Ferrari had me go through several 1 kilometer climbs on the Monzuno, the opening climb in the Giro dell’Emilia, an annual cycling race near Bologna, and he took...

  • Pinotti excited to begin career as a coach

    Marco Pinotti (BMC) also got some training miles in during a breakaway in the first week
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 19:00 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Italian looking to inspire younger generation

    Marco Pinotti (BMC) hopes to show the younger generation that natural talent isn't everything when it comes to winning bike races as he begins his new role as a coach next season.

    Pinotti will be hanging up his wheels after riding the Chrono des Nations next week. The 37-year-old Italian, who has raced the past two seasons for BMC, will remain with the squad in 2014 as a part-time coach. As part of his new role he hopes to bring on the younger generation using the experiences he gained in his 15 seasons as a professional.

    "I think I was able to do a lot more than people who were more talented than me," he told Cyclingnews. "I wasn't the most talented rider of my generation, but I did good work and kept my discipline. I made the small steps that were necessary to be at a better level. All that experience, I can pass onto people."

    That experience includes six Italian National Time Trial Championships and four stage wins at the Giro d'Italia. He also won the general classification at the Tour of Ireland in 2008 and a number of stages at other stage races.

    Pinotti believes the move is a perfect one for him as he already has coaching experience. The BMC rider has been coaching New Zealand's Linda Villumsen since they were both part of the HTC-High Road team between 2007-2010.

    Villumsen has since become one of the most consistent female time trialists. She has finished on the podium at the world championships for the last four years, something Pinotti missed out on in his own career. "One of my big regrets is crashing at the world championships last year," said Pinotti.

    Pinotti looked set for third place in the time trial in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, when he crashed out on a wet corner and broke his collarbone. "That was my one chance at getting a medal. In 10 years' time, nobody...

  • USAC National Criterium Calendar continues to evolve in third year

    United Healthcare sweeps the podium at the 2013 Tour of Somerville (L-R): Karl Menzies, Hilton Clarke and Carlos Alzate
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 20:10 BST
    Pat Malach

    Effort made to ensure quality, make it easier for teams to manage in 2014

    USA Cycling's National Criterium Calendar (NCC) continues to evolve going into its third year on the domestic schedule. USAC trimmed the NCC from 24 events to just 16 next season as part of an effort to ensure the quality of the series and make it easier for teams to manage, according to Micah Rice, USAC vice president of national events.

    "I think a lot of the race directors and teams really looked at that huge calendar in 2013 and just said, 'Hey, it's too big. No one can really follow it. No team can really afford to send a team everywhere,'" Rice said. "And so we kind of heard that loud and clear. People were asking for a smaller calendar, and so we definitely raised the bar a little bit."

    The series ballooned to 40 racing days in 2013, more than originally intended, Rice said. But a couple of changes for next year – combined with several races that decided not to be included on the calendar – have whittled the series down. Increased calendar fees and raising minimums for prize money caused several races not to re-apply, Rice said, while some applicants did not meet basic requirements for inclusion.

    "Some of the teams said there are some loopholes on the omniums and they're not paying out very much," Rice said. "So we kind of closed that loophole, and we also raised the price of the calendar fee a little bit."

    Gone from the NCC next season are many of the USA Crits series races, including the "Speed Weeks" in Georgia and South Carolina. The Old Pueblo Grand Prix, the Tour de Grove and the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium will also not be on the NCC line-up next year.

    "A number of the USA Crits dropped off the schedule, we definitely saw that," Rice said. "Some of them are still on there, but [USA Crits promoter] Gene Dixon removed a number of his events. That's fine. We think there is plenty of space in the...

  • Team Europcar secures Harmonie Mutuelle as co-sponsor

    The whole Team Europcar roster
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 21:15 BST
    José Been

    French health insurance company commits for two years

    Team Europcar announced that it's secured Harmonie Mutuelle as a co-sponsor in a two-year agreement. The French health insurance company has committed to Jean-René Bernaudeau's Pro Continental team for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

    "Harmonie Mutuelle is close to the general public. By sponsoring Europcar we advertise the importance of sports for health," the company stated in a press release today.

    Europcar took over the sponsorship from Bouygues Telecom in 2010 but the team failed to secure a second title sponsor over the past three seasons. Team manager Bernaudeau announced during this year's Tour de France that the car rental company would support the team for an additional two seasons.

    In its bid to move up to the WorldTour for next season the French team needed to increase its budget. By bringing Harmonie Mutuelle on board, the team can start extending contracts and hiring new riders.

    Europcar's leaders Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland announced during the Tour de France that they would continue with Europcar while Tony Hurel, Christophe Kern, Jérôme Cousin and Bryan Cocquard have also extended their contracts with the team. Romain Guillemois and Bryan Nauleau signed on as neo-pros for next year.

    Jimmy Engoulvent, a member of the soon to be defunct Sojasun team, announced today that he had signed a two-year agreement with Europcar. The 33-year-old Frenchman returns to his roots as he turned professional with the organisation in 2000, then known as Bonjour. After spending several seasons at Cofidis and Credit Agricole, Engoulvent moved to the Sojasun team in 2009 and had remained there through this season.

    2011 junior world champion Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier, who was a trainee with Europcar in the latter portion of this season, had also been...