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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 26, 2012

Date published:
November 26, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Patient Palmer finally claims Tour de Okinawa victory

    Stage one winner Thomas Palmer (Drapac) on the podium.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 5:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fourth-time lucky for Drapac team in Japan

    Thomas Palmer has finally snared his first Tour de Okinawa title after four attempts. The young Australian who rides for the Drapac Professional Cycling has won the opening prologue every year since 2009 however, the traditional two-day format has seen the 22-year-old lose out on the final day. This year's edition was run as a single 210km road race with Palmer the fastest to the line after more than five and a half hours.

    Yusuke Hatanaka (Shimano Racing Team) and Yasuharu Nakajima (Aisan Racing Team) came in second and third respectively as part of a 15-man group finishing on the time as race winner Palmer. 

    Palmer has been unable to back-up his past prologue results with a strong finish in the road stage but this year he was in the perfect position thanks to his teammates hard work and physical condition to make it into the final selection of less than 20 riders that former inside the decisive moments of the day.

    "On the final climb of the day, which had claimed Palmer previously whilst wearing the yellow jersey, a selection of 18 was made with less than 10 kilometres remaining which included both Palmer and Floris Goesinnen," said a release from Drapac.

    "With one Nippo rider launching early Palmer kept his cool and began his sprint with 500 meters to go crossing the line several lengths ahead of his competitors also collecting the U23 classification to top off a great day," said the release.

    Palmer begun his season strongly and was given his chance to shine at the Tour Down Under with the Uni SA-Australian national team. He came close to securing his first top-10 at a WorldTour race when he placed 11th in the opening day from Prospect to Clare.

    The multiple-time junior track world champion was soon back in his Drapac colours for...

  • Hushovd finally back on track after virus wiped out 2012 season

    Former World champion Thor Hushovd (BMC)
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 9:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC Norwegian training regularly in Monaco

    Thor Hushovd has recovered from the virus that severly hampered his 2012 season. He is back full in training now and said, “It is lovely to ride when you know that your body works. It has not been that way for a while, but it is now.”

    The former World champion had only 28 race days this year, and did not race after mid-July. His illness was not diagnosed until September, when BMC Racing Team said that he suffered from a  viral infection causing muscle inflammation which weakened his performance on the bike.

    In October he started training again in Norway, before moving back to his home in Monaco, where the good weather encourages more work. “I am training more and more, and am on track,” he told

    “I have not explored how much my body can handle, or gone to the limit. During this period, it is important to build my body up gradually, so that I get a proper foundation,” he said.

    He now looks forward to the first team get-together. “The first real test comes 10 December. Then I will  meet the BMC collective, and it's going to be more - and harder - training than I've had in months.”

  • Sørensen looking forward to Giro d'Italia 2013

    Nicki Sorensen (Saxo Bank) wins the GP Beghelli
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 10:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Danish Saxo-Tinkoff veteran says team “didn't have much luck” this season

    Nicki Sørensen has been with Bjarne Riis's team since 2001, and has seen a lot in that time. The 2012 Saxo-Tinkoff season ran the gamut from the low of Alberto Contador's doping ban to the high of his winning the Vuelta a Espana, while Sørensen himself exulted with a season-closing win of the GP Bruno Beghelli.

    That victory was his proudest moment of the season. “It was my last race of the season and my first professional victory in Italy which kind of has become my second home outside Denmark,” he said on the team's website. “Therefore, it meant a lot to me to take the victory on home soil.”

    The 37-year-old is already looking forward to the Giro d'Italia 2013, “where besides helping Rafa (Majka) in the GC, I will try to go for a stage win. I believe that Rafa can make a good result in the overall standings if he continues his progress and takes another step up,” he said.

    “But I'm looking forward to getting my own chance too. It would be great to take a Giro victory when I have wins in both the Tour and the Vuelta.”

    Looking back at 2012, it was “a year in which we didn't have much luck. Some of the strongest riders who were expected to win races this year were out of competition for longer periods of the year due to injuries and other mishaps. But finally, we got a grip on things and finally we showed ourselves as a very strong and homogeneous team able to win the big races.”

    Sørensen praised Contador, not only for his victories but also for his effect on the team. “Alberto never gives up. It is one of his strengths and it rubs off on the rest of...

  • Two more Tours for O'Grady?

    Stuart O'Grady (Orica-GreenEdge) has a wealth of experience.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 11:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian looks ahead to 2013

    Stuart O’Grady (Orica-GreenEdge) is aiming to start his 17th consecutive Tour de France next season and he has not ruled out a record-breaking 18th participation in 2014.

    George Hincapie set the current record of 17 starts when he lined up at this year’s Tour, although he has since been stripped of his results from May 31, 2004 through July 31, 2006 after he confessed to doping throughout his time at US Postal and Discovery Channel. The American also jointly holds the record for completed Tours (16) with Joop Zoetemelk.

    O’Grady has completed all but one Tour since 1997 (a crash forced him out in week one in 2000), and the 39-year-old can equal and then exceed Hincapie’s tally in the next two seasons.

    “There's a bit of pressure that there's going to be an 18th [Tour]," O’Grady told Adelaide Now.

    O’Grady’s 2012 season ended when he sustained a broken collarbone and six broken ribs in a crash at the Vattenfall Cyclassic, just a week after finishing a fine sixth in the Olympic Games road race. Wintering in Australia, O’Grady is back in training and looking ahead to the new campaign.

    “I'm all recovered now but the healing process seems to take longer as you get older,” he said. “"I'm looking forward to starting next season here in Australia before heading back to Europe. We'll hopefully build up for the Classics and the Tour de France – it will be number 17 this year. Obviously, time flies."

    O’Grady is expected to begin his season at the Jayco Herald Sun...

  • Gadret enjoying cyclo-cross campaign

    John Gadret covered head to toe in mud.
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 11:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    No World Cup races as Frenchman looks to road season

    John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) is once again spending his winter weekends on the cyclo-cross circuit but the Frenchman has explained that he has tailored his programme in order to keep something in reserve for the 2013 road campaign.

    “After discussing it with Vincent Lavenu and Julien Jurdie, I’ve decided this year to take part in cyclo-cross for pleasure above all, with the objective of getting to the road season as fresh as possible,” Gadret said, according to his team’s website. “I’m taking some enjoyment out of it and I’m getting some results, so it’s all going well.”

    Part of the French team at the world championships in Koksijde last January, this time around Gadret is focused purely on the domestic calendar and will not take part in any World Cup or Superprestige races.

    “My next race will be the last round of the National Challenge at Pontchâteau. After that, there are the national championships [on January 13 – ed.] I’m hoping for the podium or the national champion’s jersey, which would be even better.”

    Gadret’s best performance of the winter to date came at Remiremont two weeks ago, when he took victory by beating future Ag2r-La Mondiale teammate Steve Chainel and double Olympic mountain bike champion Julien Absalon. On Sunday, Gadret came home in 6th place in the Challenge National event at Dijon.

    “I did a good race but I wasn’t feeling the best. This week, I eased off a bit in training,” he told Le Bien Public afterwards.

    Vis-à-vis his...

  • De Gendt to Tour Down Under for third straight year

    Thomas De Gendt made the podium with an incredible last few days
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 12:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil captain looks to Tour de France 2013

    Thomas De Gendt knows if that if something works, it is worth repeating. Therefore the Vacansoleil-DCM rider will start in the Tour Down Under for the third year in a row.

    After consulting with team management, De Gendt has decided to go to Australia again in January. "It will be the third year in a row for me to race over there and that shows that I like it,” he said in a team press release. “Like every year, the shape is always a surprise in the first race but it should be good to kick off the season with someone from the team in front."

    Tomasz Marczynski will also ride the Tour Down Under, but the rest of the squad has not yet been announced.

    De Gendt's stated goal for 2013 is a stage win and a top ten finish at the Tour de France. This year, he was a surprising third place overall finisher at the Giro d'Italia, using a solo attack on the penultimate stage, a mountaintop finish on the Stelvio, and a strong time trial on the closing stage to catapult himself on to the podium.

    The Belgian is now in training and last week's teambuilding exercises helped him to face his future as a team leader. "I feel like training again and one of my goals is to peak more and more. The fact that the team made me peak during the teambuilding on Thursday night wasn't calculated but the cooperation with my teammates gave me confidence for 2013. After 2012 I will have a challenge to be a leader in a mental way at certain moments during the season where others have to count on me."

  • Tyler Hamilton book wins William Hill prize

    Bobby Julich will not try to get the silver after Tyler Hamilton gave back his 2004 Olympic gold
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 16:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    "The Secret Race" named sports book of the year

    Tyler Hamilton and ghost writer Daniel Coyle have won the prestigious William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award for "The Secret Race”, Hamilton’s confessional account of his career as a professional rider.

    “The Secret Race” details Hamilton’s decision to dope during his career and provides a startling insight into the systematic doping programme in place at Hamilton and Lance Armstrong’s former US Postal Service team. Hamilton’s book also heavily implicates his former CSC manager Bjarne Riis in the blood doping practices of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

    William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe paid tribute to “The Secret Race” for shedding light on the “mysterious world of cycling,” saying it “lifts the lid on that world and delivers a shocking and jaw-droppingly frank account of what it’s like to compete at the highest level.”

    “The Secret Race” is the third cycling book to win the William Hill prize, which is now in its 24th year. Paul Kimmage took the award in 1990 for “Rough Ride” while, somewhat ironically, Lance Armstrong and ghost writer Sally Jenkins were feted in 2000 for Armstrong’s memoir “It’s Not About the Bike.”

    Hamilton and Coyle receive a £24,000 cash prize as well as a free £2,000 bet with bookmakers William Hill, a specially commissioned hand-bound copy of their book and “a day at the races.”

    Published in September, “The Secret Race” recounts Hamilton’s career in the first person but the information is backed up by extensive research by Coyle, who states in the introduction that he...

  • Support for four-year doping bans by IOC

    Lance Armstrong (United States) on the podium for the time trial at the Sydney Olympics
    Article published:
    November 26, 2012, 18:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rogge backs WADA in tougher punishments

    The World Anti-Doping Agency's proposal to increase doping bans from two to four years has been given support by the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge.

    The tougher penalty has been planned for the next round of the WADA code, which is set to go into effect in 2015, ahead of the next Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    Rogge, speaking at a conference in Amsterdam, said he has not seen the final text of the code, but said the proposal is "heartening".

    According to the Associated Press, Rogge supported the increased ban "for what I would call heavy doping".

    These serious violations would include use of performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, EPO, blood doping or masking agents, or trafficking of prohibited methods or substances.

    The UCI has previously sought to increase the standard doping ban to four years, following the rash of CERA positives in the 2008 Tour de France, but the WADA code did not accommodate the increased ban length.

    The IOC has also previously attempted to increase doping punishment by barring athletes who have served bans of more than six months from the next Olympic Games. However, the "Osaka Rule" was struck down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport as an additional penalty for the same offense, something that is not in alignment with the WADA code.

    The British Olympic Committee had gone further, imposing lifetime Olympic bans on athletes who had served doping suspensions. The CAS decision overturned the BOC rule, opening the door for David Millar to compete in the London Games.

    Rogge said the new four-year bans were in line with the Osaka Rule, "because the Osaka Rule was to stop the athletes to participate...