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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 16, 2014

Date published:
June 16, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Frank Schleck abandons Tour de Suisse

    Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 13:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Trek rider suffering with concussion after crash

    Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) has abandoned the Tour de Suisse, after being diagnosed with severe concussion.

    The Luxembourg rider was advised by doctors not to continue the race after a heavy fall. Stage two was shrouded in a heavy fog, making it difficult for riders to negotiate their way down the climbs. Schleck crashed on the descent of the Grimselpass, the final climb on stage two. He was one of several riders to go down in the tumble, including his brother Andy and teammate Gregory Rast.

    “On the Grimsel there was a lot of fog and I said to Andy and Fränk they should go in the front for the descent… Andy was hit from behind because everyone had a hard time to control their bikes, and you could not see more then 10 meters,” Rast told the team’s website.

    “I came from the back and I could not stop in time and rode full gas into a Europcar guy – sorry for that but I could do nothing. The problem was that you could not see anything and the wet roads made it more dangerous; it was one of the worst descents that I ever did. It was so scary.”

    Schleck managed to finish the stage more than 16 minutes back on the winner Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge). He was immediately taken to hospital where it was confirmed that he had not broken any bones, but that he was suffering with concussion. He is the second Trek rider to abandon the Tour de Suisse, after an illness forced Stijn Devolder to call it quits on day one.

    Schleck was using the Swiss race as a warm up to the Tour de France, where he will shoulder the general classification hopes for the team.

  • Kwiatkowski to undergo tests ahead of Tour de France

    Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in yellow
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 15:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team hoping to understand poor Dauphiné performance

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep are to send Michal Kwiatkowski for tests this week, in an attempt to get to the bottom of his poor performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    Kwiatkowski was a non-starter for the Dauphiné’s Queen stage from Ville-La-Grand to Finaut-Émosson, along with a handful of other riders. The Polish rider was already more than 10 minutes down in the general classification.

    “We are not too worried for the time being, but we want to rule out that he has a virus,” team manager Patrick Lefevere told Sporza. “We just want to make sure that there is nothing lurking in his blood before we travel to Leeds for the Tour start.”

    Kwiatkowski is set to be Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s main general classification contender at the Tour de France in July. He finished 11th overall and third in the white jersey competition in last year’s race, less than a minute behind fellow young rider Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp). Kwiatkowski wore the jersey for 10 days, but fell ill during the final week. He remains one of the favourites for the competition this season.

    The 24-year-old had a fantastic start to the year, winning the Strade Bianche and taking a podium at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He took a surprise victory in the Tour de Romandie prologue but his early season efforts took their toll and he abandoned after three stages. Despite this, Lefevere isn’t panicking just yet.

    “There is little to worry about,”...

  • WADA wants longer bans for Bruyneel and associates

    Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 16:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Agency appeals to CAS for unspecified increase

    The World Anti-Doping Agency has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), requesting longer bans for three men involved in doping at Lance Armstrong's former US Postal Service Team: team manager Johan Bruyneel, doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose 'Pepe" Marti.

    In April, the 2012 case brought by the US Anti-Doping Agency was finally concluded when Bruyneel was handed a 10-year ban from sport by the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport. Celaya and Marti were each given 8-year bans.

    WADA issued a statement today only saying, "In appealing the AAA’s decision to CAS, WADA requests that consideration be given to longer sanctions for all three individuals involved in order to best protect athletes, and ensure a clean sport of cycling.

    "UCI and USADA are supportive of the appeal to seek longer sanctions, and will provide support to WADA during this process."

    The agency stated that none of the involved organisations would be making further comments until the CAS makes a decision on the appeal.

  • Giant-Shimano name long-list for Tour de France

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano)
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 16:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kittel and Degenkolb confirmed, Barguil misses out

    Marcel Kittel will lead the Giant-Shimano team at the Tour de France this July. The Dutch team announced their long-list, stating that Kittel and his fellow German John Degenkolb were certain of a Tour start.

    Kittel won four stages of last year’s race. He claimed yellow on the opening stage to Bastia and ended Mark Cavendish’s (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) run of victories on the Champs Élysées. He was in dominating form at the Giro d'Italia, winning the opening two sprint stages. He abandoned ahead of stage four, suffering from a cold. He hasn't raced since then, but will ride the Ster ZLM Toer, which begins on Wednesday. The German is taking things as they come, in terms of victories.

    “The goal for both the team and I is the same, to win a stage and go from there,” said Kittel. “Winning a stage is already a big goal and just because of the success we had last year doesn’t mean it will come easily.

    “Coming into this race with two sprinters gives us options in the fast sprints as well as the power sprints. I am very excited to get the Tour started now.”

    Degenkolb is currently riding the Tour de Suisse. The 25-year-old has had one of his strongest seasons yet, with second place at Paris-Roubaix and pushing Cavendish hard at the Tour of California. He will give the team an option on the tougher sprint stages, as well as helping out in the lead-out train for Kittel.

    The main focus of the team will be the sprints, with Koen de Kort, Tom Dumoulin, Tom Veelers and Nikias Arndt, who recently took a stage win at the Critérium du Dauphiné, all making it onto the long list. One...

  • Rob Britton on the road back to the top

    Rob Britton (Smartstop) getting in the mood for his TT.
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 19:07 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Canadian impressed with second overall at Tour de Beauce

    Rob Britton's runner-up result at the Tour de Beauce last week marks the culmination of a long road back to the level where he feels he belongs.

    The 29-year-old Team SmartStop rider from Canada signed his first UCI Continental contract with Bissell Pro Cycling in 2010 after riding for the Trek-Red Truck amateur elite team in 2009. He rode for Bissell the following season as well, but he wasn't offered a contract for the 2012 season. Britton competed on the amateur level again with H&R block that year before signing for 2013 with Raleigh, a British Continental team.

    "It was tough," Britton said of his season back in the amateur ranks. "But I was up for a challenge, and today is a perfect example of that. I mean it was hard, for sure, but I had some pretty big supporters, like Canada's best rider, Svein Tuft. He really helped me with this and that. Some people were really in my corner, like H&R [Block] got me where I needed to be. And like Mike [Creed] and SmartStop. So I'm here now and I'm riding well at the level I should be."

    Britton started his first season with SmartStop by finishing second overall at the Vuelta Independence Nacional in the Dominican Republic. He backed up that result with a third-place overall finish at the Tour of the Gila, where he crossed the line second during the difficult Gila Monster stage on the final day.

    In Beauce, Britton was fourth on the Queen Stage that finished at the top of Mont Megantic on the second day, but he finished a disappointing 12th during the 20km time trial the next day. He finished with the main group and most of the general classification contenders during the stage 4 circuit race in Quebec, and he went into the final day in fourth place overall, 1:43 behind eventual winner Toms Skujins of Hincapie Sportswear.

    "I was really...

  • WADA support Chris Froome TUE decision

    Chris Froome (Tea Sky) wins the points classification
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 20:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    No rules broken in fast tracking

    The World Anti-Doping Agency say that they are happy that the UCI have followed the rules when they issued Team Sky's Chris Froome a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for prednisolone at the Tour de Romandie.

    Froome fell ill during the race and the Sky team doctor Allen Farrell put in the TUE application to allow Froome to take 40mg of the oral corticosteroid, per day. French newspaper La Journal du Dimanche reported that the UCI medical adviser Dr Michele Zorzoli had fast-tracked the TUE application at the Tour de Romandie.

    “WADA is satisfied that the UCI’s decision to grant a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) to Chris Froome was conducted according to the rules of the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE), and therefore will not be reviewing this case any further,” WADA said in a statement emailed to Cyclingnews.

    “WADA monitors the applications for, and approvals of, Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) and has the ability to review TUE decisions in line with the ISTUE.”

    The WADA code allows for 'exceptional circumstances’, when a rider is already competing in a major event. The UCI insist that Zorzoli, as UCI doctor and Scientific advisor, has been given permission by the UCI TUEC (Committee) to give out TUEs for exceptional circumstances.

  • Schleck has to earn Tour de France place in Switzerland

    Luca Guercilena manager of the Trek Factory Racing team
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 21:21 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Stage wins not GC will be target for 2010 Tour champion if he lines up for Trek

    Trek Factory Racing team manager Luca Guercilena says that Andy Schleck will not target the general classification at the upcoming Tour de France, but will focus on winning stages - provided he earns a place on the team during the Tour de Suisse.

    Speaking to Velochrono, Guercilena said he had been expecting the 2010 Tour champion’s form to pick up during his home tour in Luxembourg at the start of this month. However, Schleck finished almost 15 minutes down on winner Matti Breschel in 50th place overall, suggesting his long-awaited return to the top rank of Tour contenders is not imminent.

    "At the moment, he doesn’t have enough form to do a Grand Tour," said Guercilena. "This isn’t the situation we were hoping for at the start of the season but we have to deal with it. He still has the Tour of Switzerland where he can show he is competitive. That’s a real test."

    Going into the third stage in Switzerland’s national tour, Schleck was lying in 44th place, 55 seconds down on race leader Tony Martin. His biggest tests with a view to gaining selection for Trek’s Tour team will come during the race’s final weekend. Saturday brings a summit finish at Verbier, where Schleck was the only rider to finish within a minute of Alberto Contador when the Tour de France finished there in 2009. Sunday offers another summit finale at Saas-Fee.

    "If Andy does a good Tour of Switzerland and comes to the Tour de France, it will be more with the aim of targeting stages than contending for the overall," said Guercilena. "Guys like Froome and Contador are a long way ahead of him."

    Schleck ended last year’s Tour in 20th place, but he and his team were expecting a big step up this season, especially as elder...

  • Hincapie Development Team builds momentum with Beauce victory

    Top team Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team
    Article published:
    June 16, 2014, 22:48 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Two stage wins and overall win for Toms Skujins

    The Hincapie Sportswear Development Team added to its list of 2014 successes last week when Toms Skujins won the overall at the UCI 2.2 Tour de Beauce in Canada. Skujins took the yellow jersey after winning stage 2 and then defended his lead through the finale on Sunday, when the 23-year-old Latvian took a second stage win along with the points jersey and the competition for best young rider.

    The result in Québec is a continuation of the success the team started at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, where Joey Rosskopf won the overall with a daring attack on the final day. In just its third year as a Continental team, Hincapie has blossomed into one of the top domestic teams in the US, animating every race it enters and landing on the podium more often than it did in either of the previous two seasons.

    Team director Thomas Craven said this year's breakout season is the result of putting together a solid group of riders that enjoy each others' company on and off the bike.

    "This group has been together for two years, really, the core bunch of guys," Craven said. "I added some really key riders - Toms being one of them. He adds another element to the team as well as being just like the rest of us. So it's the familiarity, and we all get along. I think we're the only team that hangs out as much as we do. So it's just fun. I cook for these guys everyday. We hang out at night and watch movies. There's no language barrier. There's no hierarchy. It's just all of us guys hanging out on the road."

    The team entered the Continental ranks in 2012 as the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team. Hincapie Sportswear assumed title sponsorship for the past two years after BMC started its own development squad based in Europe. The 2014 Hincapie roster includes nine riders from the US, two from New Zealand and, of course, Skujins, the lone Latvian. It's also got a well-known...