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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 15, 2013

Date published:
April 15, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • MTN-Qhubeka send climbing talent to Giro del Trentino

    Tsgabu and Pardilla (MTN-Qhubeka) on the climb
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 6:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Pardilla to lead, Grmay and Meintjes make European debut

    The squad of Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek will make their first appearance at the Giro del Trentino today when the Italian four-day race kicks off with a testing double-stage day. Ciolek will not be competing in what is considered to be a final warm-up ahead of the Giro d'Italia but Africa's first Professional Continental team, MTN-Qhubeka, is expecting to be up there amongst the best and will send a batch of climbing talent led by Spaniard Sergio Pardilla - who finished 6th overall in 2010 - to ensure they achieve their objectives.

    "This is the third time I will ride this race," said Pardilla. "It's a race that I really like. It is a hard and attractive tour that suits my conditions. I've always done well in this race and I would like the chance to win a stage and do well overall. The rivals are very good, but we'll go with a great team and aspire to the fullest."

    The five-stage race will also see two of the team's most promising riders Tsgabu Grmay from Ethiopia and South African 21-year old Louis Meintjes make their European debut after enjoying strong starts to the 2013 season.

    Grmay has finished inside the top-ten at each of the tours he's raced this year starting with fifth at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo - won by Yohann Gène (Europcar), 9th at Tour de Langkawi and most recently won a stage and finished second-overall at Tour de Taiwan.

    Meintjes has enjoyed an equally impressive start to his neo-professional career; 10th at Amissa Bongo, victories in the South African U23 national titles on the road and in the time trial and 4th overall at

  • Valverde receives good signs before Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) muscles up the Cauberg
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 8:10 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard delighted with second in the Amstel Gold Race

    The last time he stood on a podium at the top of the Cauberg, Alejandro Valverde had claimed bronze in the World Championships, but this time he went one better to net the runner's-up spot behind Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff), out-powering Orica-GreenEDGE's Simon Gerrans. It was also one better than his previous top Amstel Gold result, third in 2008.

    Talking to Cyclingnews as he pedalled steadily away from the podium area towards the Movistar team bus and a rest, Valverde said "I knew I was going well, I thought that a top-three placing was possible, and that's what I've got."

    "The last part was complicated, but at the end of a race like this one it's more the legs that count than anything else. Basically I was waiting for Gilbert to make a move, we thought he'd do something like that and I went with him."

    Valverde tried to follow Gilbert in the World's in 2012 and could not get across to him but this time besting him on the line was a good omen for the rest of the Ardennes Classics, according to the Movistart rider. He was, he said, "delighted that my form is picking up here. It's a good sign for Liège, which is a race I've targeted more than Amstel and which suits me the best, so my motivation couldn't be higher."

    Asked if it stung a little to come so close to winning, Valverde said "I'm not disappointed at all. On the contrary, I'm happy to be second. Of course winning is better, but Roman rode a great race today and we have to congratulate him."

     

  • Gallery: Wiggins trains on Tre Cime di Lavaredo

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) checks out the penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 10:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    No victories to date "not a problem" for Briton

    Bradley Wiggins continued his build-up to the Giro d’Italia by reconnoitering stage 20 to Tre Cime di Lavaredo at the weekend. The Sky rider was in the Dolomites ahead of the Giro del Trentino, which gets underway on Tuesday, and he decided to avail of the opportunity to check out the Giro’s penultimate stage.

    It was a somewhat limited opportunity, however, given that snow still banks the roads of the Dolomites at this early point in the year. After leaving Bolzano by car, Wiggins arrived at the foot of the Passo Costalunga, stage 20’s first climb, to find the road closed.

    Wiggins was able to ride up the day’s second ascent, the Passo San Pellegrino, but the subsequent Passo Giau was also closed and he climbed back into the car with coach Tim Kerrison and Dario Cioni and sped towards the foot of the Passo Tre Croci.

    He continued his reconnaissance on the final haul up the Tre Cime di Lavaredo but he was forced to stop some six kilometres short of the summit due to the snow and he opted not to continue to the top by sled.

    “I didn’t see the hardest part of the Tre Cime, which is the last part, but it was still a useful recon,” Wiggins told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I can’t tell you too much about the bits I did in the car because I was asleep…”

    The tappone to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo follows on from the short but fearsome stage to Val Martello and the mountain time trial to Polsa, and Wiggins believes that the Giro d’Italia could well be decided by then.

    “I know the Giro was decided on the last day last year, but there was a time trial and it’s not so often that the race really stays up right...

  • Rodriguez questionable for Flèche Wallonne

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 11:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Ten Dam will race in spite of stitches

    A crash in the Amstel Gold Race has put Joaquim Rodriguez's participation in the next two Ardennes Classics in question as he has a severe bruise on his left arm. However,  Blanco's Laurens Ten Dam will be able to ride the next two races despite receiving stitches to his leg.

    Rodriguez, the Katusha leader, crashed with 43 kilometers to go on Sunday, and although he got back on his bike, he abandoned shortly afterwards. Subsequent examinations showed “a strong contusion at the left femoral biceps muscle,” the team said.

    Rodriguez had hoped to repeat his 2012 victory in the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, but a decision on his participation in that race will be made later in the week. The team said that doctors will decide his recovery time and see if he is able to ride Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    Team Blanco had better news, as Ten Dam plans to continue riding. He was involved in a large crash with about 100 kilometers to go on Sunday, and despite injuries was able to eventually continue in the race, finishing 44th at only 1:13 down.

    He appeared to be dazed after the crash, but got back on his bike, and after the race was found to have no fractures.

    "I have eight stitches in my calf," he tweeted. "But I'm ready for the races in the Ardennes."

  • 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné route unveiled

    Bradley Wiggins extended his lead in the Dauphine after a smashing time trial
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 11:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Alpe d'Huez descent to feature on penultimate stage

    The route of the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné was unveiled in Lyon on Monday morning with the queen stage taking the peloton over l’Alpe d’Huez and down the tricky descent off the mountain to Le Freney d’Oisans ahead of a summit finish at Superdévoluy.

    Organisers ASO have described the Dauphiné’s penultimate day as “a unique opportunity to prepare for the 18th stage of the Tour de France,” which climbs l’Alpe d’Huez twice and also features the Freney d’Oisans descent.

    Like at the Tour, the Dauphiné peloton will ride up the famous 21 bends of l’Alpe d’Huez before continuing on to the Col de Sarenne pass ahead of the descent to Le Freney d’Oisans. Rather than swing around and go back up the Alpe, however, stage 7 of the Dauphiné will see the peloton tackle the Col du Noyer before finishing at Superdévoluy.

    The beginning of the Dauphiné is an innovative one as the race starts in Switzerland for the first time. Rather than the traditional prologue, the Dauphiné gets underway with a hilly 121km stage starting and finishing in Champéry.

    Two days that will pit the escapees against the sprinters follow before the crucial stage 4 time trial from Villars-les-Dombes to Parc des Oiseaux. The two time trials at the July’s Tour de France are 32 and 33 kilometres long, respectively, and in keeping with recent tradition, the Dauphiné follows suit – the time trial here is 32.5km in length and on a rolling course.

    The denouement of the race begins in earnest on stage 5 with a summit finish at Valmorel. A rugged day to Grenoble precedes a weekend double header in the high mountains wraps up proceedings.

    Stage 7 on...

  • Two Armstrong doping controls at 2001 Tour de Suisse suspicious but not positive, UCI says

    UCI president Pat McQuaid announces the governing body will strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 13:11 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    No “cover-up” of positive doping controls

    The UCI did not cover up positive doping controls for EPO from Lance Armstrong during the 2001 Tour de Suisse, because the American did not test positive, according to lab reports. Two of his five samples came back as “highly suspicious,” but not meet the standards to be called positive, according to a series of letters between the UCI, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the US Anti-Doping Agency.

    3wiresports.com reported that UCI President Pat McQuaid last week sent a five-page letter to WADA director David Howmann and USADA. The latter agency issued a response concerning “numerous inaccuracies and misstatements.”

    McQuaid's letter included copies of lab reports, and says that his information “finally puts pay to the completely untrue allegations” of a positive test and “any subsequent cover-up by the UCI.”

    In its Reasoned Decision, the USADA had affidavits from Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, both of whom said that Armstrong indicated that he had tested positive at the 2001 Tour de Suisse, but was able to “make the EPO test result go away.” Landis further said that Armstrong said that he and team leader Johan Bruyneel “flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement to keep the positive test hidden.”

    Armstrong made payments to the UCI for a total of $125,000, but McQuaid said they were in order to promote anti-doping efforts and not to cover up a positive test.

    Of his five doping controls during the 2001 Tour de Suisse, three included EPO tests, with the controls on June 19 and June 26, returning questionable but not positive results.

    “As you can see,every analysis result for Lance Armstrong is reported by the lab as being negative,” the UCI wrote. However, those two samples contained the remark, “

  • Sagan to take in Fleche Wallone before taking a break

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) keeps his hands free on the podium
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 13:50 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Fleche definitely Sagan’s last Classic of season

    Cannondale have indicated that Peter Sagan will ride the Fleche Wallone for the first time in his career but that he has no plans to take part in Liege-Bastogne-Liege regardless of the result.

    “He will be taking a break after that for sure,” team spokesman Paolo Barbieri told Cyclingnews. “Peter’s next race will be the Tour of California, followed by the Tour de Suisse, his country’s Nationals in the road-race, and then the Tour de France.”

    After winning the Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday Sagan finished 36th in the Amstel Gold Race because of severe cramps in the last 30 kilometres, almost certainly, he said afterwards, because of the change in weather conditions - from racing in an exceptionally cold and wet spring for most of this first part of the season to Sunday’s near summer-like heat in the mid-afternoon.

    But Cannondale were keen to play down any pressure on Sagan to round off his spectacular 2013 season - which also includes wins in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Gent-Wevelgem one-day race and runners-up spots in Flanders and Milan-San Remo - with one last victory. As Sagan has insisted pre-Amstel, the Cannondale rider has little left to prove by this point in the season.

    “The aim is for Peter to gain more experience,” team manager Alberto Volpi said, “and he’s also racing because he’s motivated to do so.”

    “Amstel is not a significant factor at all in the equation...we think he can perform well in Fleche although there are all the usual incognitos that surround a rookie ride in a race as difficult as any other Classic.”

    Sagan has now raced for 17 days since wining the GP Citta di Camaiore on February 28th, with his first race the...

  • Contador confirmed for Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) finished third overall at Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    April 15, 2013, 15:02 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard lists Rodriguez, Gilbert and Valverde as favourites

    Saxo-Tinkoff have finally confirmed that Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) will take part in the Ardennes Classics, riding both Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Contador’s best result of his two Flèche rides to date was third in 2010, the same year that he took tenth in Liège-Bastogne- Liège, his one ride so far in La Doyenne.

    With flights cancelled across Europe because of the ash cloud from an erupting volcano in Iceland, he reached the Ardennes Classics that year after a marathon 2,000 kilometre drive from Galicia in north-west Spain, where he had completed the Tour of Castille and León on the Sunday.

    This year Contador's arrival in Belgium, programmed for late Monday evening at Brussels airport, should be slightly easier. On Sunday, Contador took in a full-length training ride which went well and then rode just a couple of hours on Monday. He may go and reconnoitre the Mur de Huy climb and approach roads on Tuesday.

    So far this year Contador has taken one win, a stage in the Tour de San Luis in late January, and his latest race in the Klasika Primavera Classic in the Basque Country ended with an unsuccessful late attack and a second place finish behind Portugal’s Rui Costa (Movistar).

    “I’ve been resting up for the last week, because I needed it, and I’ve only done two long training rides looking to reinforce my overall endurance, which is what you need in the Ardennes,” Contador said on Monday.

    “The idea is to try and boost my team’s chances, even if I started to race in the second week of January and I’m beginning to feel tired.”

    Contador said he had finally decided to take part in the Ardennes...