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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 8, 2012

Date published:
October 08, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Report: Holczer to leave Katusha?

    Team manager, Hans-Michael Holczer
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 10:41 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German manager could be replaced by Ekimov

    According to a report published in L'Equipe on Monday, the manager of the Russian Katusha outfit, Hans-Michael Holzcer, could be leaving the team in the coming days. Reportedly, the squad's leading rider, Joaquim Rodriguez, has been unhappy about the alleged lack of support from the German following his Tour of Lombardy victory, as well as about his 2013 contract, which wasn't re-negotiated according to his true market value.

    "When we extended Joaquim's contract to 2013 [announced on April 22, 2012 - ed.], it was supposed to be re-negotiated according to his results, but then things became complicated," the rider's manager Ángel Edo told Bicicilismo earlier this month. "We were supposed to have a meeting with Holczer, Igor Marakov [President of the Itera Group - ed.] and sports director Valerio Piva at the Worlds, but Makarov didn't show up. Now, everyone says the other is responsible for the situation."

    Edo added that the arrival of Holczer, signed only one year ago to replace Andrei Tchmil, had been the starting point of tensions between Rodriguez and team management.

    "With Andrei Tchmil, this wouldn't have happened, he was a fair person. The contract was revised, but remained under Joaquim's level, who's had other proposals. Without Freire and Rodriguez, the team wouldn't be in the WorldTour."

    Amongst other victories, 'Purito' Rodriguez won the Flèche Wallonne and the Giro di Lombardia this season, several stages in the Giro d'Italia as well as in the Vuelta a Espana, claiming podium spots at both Grand Tours and the points classification at...

  • Schleck: My 2013 season begins here

    Andy Schleck signs a camera for one of his fans
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 12:02 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Luxembourger lines up at Tour of Beijing

    The Tour of Beijing may be akin to the last week of school for many in the peloton, but while the majority of his colleagues are winding down their seasons in China, Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) says he is determined to remain immune to the prevailing atmosphere and begin his build-up to 2013.

    Schleck’s season was ruined by a fractured pelvis he sustained in a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, an injury which forced him to sit out the Tour de France. The Luxembourger made a belated return to action at Binche-Tournai-Binche last week and continues that tentative comeback at the Tour of Beijing.

    “It’s everyone’s last race of the season and then they can go on holiday. But for me, it’s the beginning of 2013. It’s a new beginning,” Schleck told reporters in Beijing on Monday.

    So often maligned for an apparent lack of motivation for races beyond the Tour de France and Ardennes Classics, Schleck said that his main rationale for racing in China was to help ensure that he hits the ground running next spring. “I’m going to spend the whole winter somewhere in Spain where there’s good weather and I’ll train there,” he said. “I’m confident that I can get results in the first races of next season.”

    When his injury was initially diagnosed in June, Schleck was, in public at least, making optimistic noises about returning in time to ride the Vuelta a España. Shortly after resuming training, however, it became apparent that the road to recovery would be more complicated than he had first envisaged.

    “In...

  • Duarte has high hopes for 2013

    Fabio Duarte (Colombia - Coldeportes) after winning
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 13:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombia Coldeportes "even stronger" next season

    Fabio Duarte, who has just taken his first victory on European soil this season at the Italian Coppa Sabatini one-day race, is hopeful for himself and his team to continue improving next year, in view of an invitation to one of the Grand Tours. Although the Colombia Coldeportes rider admitted that the transition from racing in South America to WorldTour events in Europe hadn't been easy for some of his teammates, he was confident the squad would be "even stronger in 2013."

    Speaking to Velochrono, Duarte said that bad luck had prevented him from showing his best at some of his goals this season. "I've had many disappointments this season because of my crashes at the Worlds and the Olympics. I had prepared for the Valkenburg Worlds meticulously but things didn't turn out as they should. That's why the victory at the Coppa Sabatini is special to me, after all the negative things that happened," the former U23 world champion said.

    "The biggest thing to remember from this season is that I went through several difficult times but was able to score a beautiful victory at the end of the season. This return to success will be crucial to build up the base for my 2013 season."

    The progression of the whole team was on the same vein, added the Colombian. He already had some experience riding European races in 2011 as he was with Geox-TMC, but most of the team's riders came from Colombia es Pasión-Café de Colombia, a Continental team. "We had some difficult moments during the first weeks because of results that were below our expectations, but we found the resources again to improve...

  • Confirmed: Ekimov new manager of Katusha Team

    Viatcheslav Ekimov working for RusVelo at the Tour de Taiwan
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 14:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Triple Olympic champion replaces Holczer

    Following reports that current Katusha Team general manager Hans-Michael Holczer would be released from the Russian cycling project, the team confirmed on Monday that former rider Viatcheslav Ekimov will be taking his position as of immediate effect.

    "Viatcheslav Ekimov is appointed to the position of general manager of Russian World Tour Katusha Team," a press release stated. "Following the purpose of further dynamic development of the Russian professional cycling, the management of the Russian Global Cycling Project made changes in the management of World Tour Katusha Team. The known Russian specialist, the three times Olympic champion Viatcheslav Ekimov who is also the adviser of Igor Makarov, president of Russian Cycling Federation and the chairman of Board of Directors of MGK 'ITERA', is appointed to the post of general manager of Katusha Team as well as youth teams Itera-Katusha.

    "On the position of general manager Viatcheslav Ekimov will replace German specialist Hans-Michael Holczer."

    No reason for the change was given, but it is understood that tensions arose between the squad's leading rider, Joaquim Rodriguez, and the German team manager over the Spaniard's 2013 contract. Holczer joined Katusha at the end of last year, replacing Andrei Tchmil.

    “Right now I can only confirm that I left Katusha last Friday,” Holczer told Cyclingnews in an email.  “This decision had nothing to do with the fact that I reminded Rodriguez of his contractual obligations. No definitive decision over my future in cycling has yet been made.”

    Ekimov, 46, was instrumental in several of Lance Armstrong's Tour de...

  • Ashenden: Armstrong may have been blood-doping at 2009 Tour de France

    Dr Michael Ashenden
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 15:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Biological passport entries suggest blood re-infusion during the race, scientist claims

    An analysis of blood samples from the 2009 Tour de France, as reflected in Lance Armstrong's biological passport, indicates that Armstrong may have been blood doping during that first comeback year, Michael Ashenden has claimed.

    Ashenden, who previously worked on the UCI's biological passport programme, told California Watch, an investigative journalism group, that “an analysis of blood samples drawn in 2009, contained in an earlier court filing, suggests that Armstrong was recklessly using banned doping methods,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    The passport entries show that the cyclist “produced fewer young blood cells than would be expected, Ashenden said. That suggests his system was adapting to the presence of an extra volume of blood that had been re-infused,” the report said.

    The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has issued a lifetime ban against Armstrong, and disqualified all his results going back to August 1998.  As part of their evidence, USADA claimed that his blood value “was consistent with” blood doping.

    According to California Watch, Ashenden said that the rider's blood should have become thinner during the three-week race, a natural result of the stress and strain of the race. But that did not happen, and his blood remained consistent.

    “The absence of a natural decline in blood concentration during a three-week race is also consistent with blood doping,” Ashenden said.

    Armstrong has consistently denied using any sort of doping, and his spokesman, attorney Mark Fabiani reiterated that theme.

    The blood date is “no evidence at all,” he said, adding, “The rules are clear to...

  • Luke Keough steps up to UnitedHealthcare in 2013

    USGP U-23 leader Luke Keough (Champion Systems).
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 17:55 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Joins big brother Jake in the blue train

    Luke Keough, the 2012 USA Crits series overall winner and USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar runner-up, will join his older brother, Jake, on the UnitedHealthcare roster next year.

    Keough signed with the UCI Pro Continental team after spending two seasons with SmartStop-Mountain Khakis, a UCI Continental team, and storming through both of the major domestic criterium series this year. He also won the individual overall USA Crits title in 2011.

    "It's definitely a big step for me," said the 21-year-old rider from Sandwich, Massachusetts. "It was sort of a far cry, but it was always on the back of my mind going into the season. Then, once the season started and I was riding well, it became more of a reality. To finally get the call from them saying they wanted me on the team was definitely a bit of a shock, but I can't say I was super-surprised."

    Keough, who cut his racing teeth in BMX and then cyclo-cross before moving to the road, claimed six major wins in 2012, including the prestigious Athens Twilight, one of the crown jewels of the US criterium scene and the UCA Crits series. He also claimed wins at the Tour of Somerville, the Madeira Centennial Criterium and the Witches Cup.

    In September, Keough won the TD Bank Mayor's Cup in Boston after Karl Menzies posted a victory salute a bit too early. It was an ironic
    twist after Keough lost this year's U23 national criterium championship the same way, throwing his arms up a bit too early, only to see Ty Magner (BMC-Hincapie) slip past for the win. Keough followed the Boston triumph with another win the very next weekend at the Tour...

  • Sanchez returns to Beijing in search of WorldTour points

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at the start of stage 4.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 19:15 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Euskaltel-Euskadi send strong line-up to second edition of race

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) returns to the site of his winning ride at the 2008 Olympic road race when he lines up for the hillier second edition of the Tour of Beijing, which gets underway on Tuesday.

    That gold medal performance of four years came in the shadow of the Great Wall and Sanchez will tackle the very same roads on stage 3 of the Tour of Beijing to the Badaling Pass. The 3rd category climb is the race's sole summit finish and is likely to prove decisive in the race for overall honours.

    "The race is very different from last year as there's no time trial and we have a hilly stage on part of the Olympic course and that might prove important," Sanchez said in the pre-race press conference in Beijing. "Although this time we only go up the climb once, and not eight times, so the question is whether it will be hard enough to make a difference. I know that there are teams who will be trying to keep it together, but that stage is one that we've marked out as a team."

    Although lying 13th in the latest WorldTour standings, the Basque outfit's anxiety over its continued status in cycling's elite division in 2013 is perhaps underscored by the strength in depth of its delegation in Beijing, where Sanchez is by Igor Anton, Mikel Nieve and Gorka Verdugo.

    "The race is more mountainous this year, which is good for me," Sanchez said. "We don't have a sprinter on the team so we have to make the mountain stage as hard as possible and we're ready to do that. We'll have a go as we've got a team full of climbers."

    After a solid opening to 2012, Sanchez's campaign began to fray when he crashed heavily on the opening road stage of the...

  • USA Cycling reveals 2013 racing calendars

    UnitedHealthcare won the men's National Criterium Calendar team title.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2012, 22:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    11 NRC events plus 27 NCC races

    USA Cycling on Monday announced its 2013 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) and 2013 USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC).

    The NRC, the season-long domestic road cycling series, will be comprised of 11 events in total. Seven offer NRC points for both men and women (Redlands Bicycle Classic, Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley, SRAM Tour of the Gila, American Cycling Open, Nature Valley Grand Prix, Keystone Open and Cascade Cycling Classic), two offer points just for men (Tour of the Battenkill and Thompson Buck County Classic) and two offer points just for women (Exergy Tour and Tour of Elk Grove) which provides nine events for both men and women to accumulate NRC points throughout the year.

    The NRC begins in California with the Redlands Bicycle Classic, April 4-7, and concludes in Pennsylvania at the Thompson Bucks County Classic on September 14.

    The 2012 NRC men's series was won by Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team) while Carmen Small (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) claimed the women's title. The top men's team was Competitive Cyclist Racing Team while the women's team prize was won by Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.

    The NCC, showcase the country’s top criterium-only events, made its debut in 2012 and for the upcoming year the series has expanded to 27 races. Competition kicks off on March 9 at Tucson, Arizona's Old Pueblo Grand Prix and wraps up at the TD Bank Mayor's Cup in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 21. All 27 events will provide NCC points for men, while the women's NCC calendar will be made up of 19 races in the series.

    The inaugural NCC men's title was claimed by Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) with Erica Allar (RideClean/PatentIt.com) earning the women's title. Clarke's UnitedHealthcare squad also won the team title while Team TIBCO-To the Top prevailed in the women's team standings.

    2013 National Racing Calendar...