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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, September 23, 2013

Date published:
September 23, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Bos cleared by Belkin to return to racing

    Theo Bos (Belkin)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 9:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Low cortisol levels caused by asthma medication

    Theo Bos has been cleared to return to racing, as Team Belkin's medical staff has rule that his low cortisol levels were caused by an asthma medication. He was prevented from starting the Vuelta a Espana after routine pre-race controls showed the low level. Bos will ride the GP Houtland on Wednesday, September 25.

    Under UCI regulations, Bos could have started the race but the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC) regulations force a rider with low cortisol levels to take an eight-day racing break.

    The team medical staff and outside specialists looked at the case, and determined that there was no abuse of synthetic cortisoids, and that Bos was “extremely responsive” to his asthma medication.

    “I’m very happy and relieved to know the exact reason for my low cortisol levels. When I heard I couldn’t race in Spain, I was really surprised,” Bos said in the team's press release. “The study’s results provide a clear story. Everything is clarified. We’re now going to look for another asthma medication.”

    Team CEO Richard Plugge was equally happy with the news. "We are pleased that renowned experts have drawn a clear conclusion and that Theo is able to start,” he said. “We missed him as a good colleague and of course, in the last straight metres.”

    Plugge added, however, that it was time for a consigns on the low-cortisol issue. “In the meantime, we have asked the MPCC to settle the international debate regarding the rule (to not start with low cortisol levels due to health issues) with international academic evidence.

    “According to the UCI’s medical commission there’s no consensus between...

  • Alonso and Euskaltel agreement falls apart?

    An Euskaltel rider signs autographs
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 10:26 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Deal with Basque team all but off the table

    Spain’s sporting media have reported on Monday that the discussion between Euskaltel and Fernando Alonso’s negotiating teams over the  purchase of the team is at a total standstill and the deal will now not take place.

    After weeks during which the lifeline thrown to the Euskaltel-Euskadi team by Formula One star Alonso seemed to be the last-minute deal that would save one of Spain’s two ProTour teams, one major hurdle - the purchase, or not, of the team’s current infrastructure and longstanding staff contracts appears to have sunk the whole agreement.

    “We’ll keep on trying until the last moment, Fernando and his team are travelling back from [Sunday’s] Grand Prix in Singapore right now, and we’ll have to wait and see,” Kiko García, who would have been the team’s future manager, told Cyclingnews on Monday morning.

    “But the whole situation has got really complicated. We’ll have to wait until they get here and then we’ll reach a decision.”

    García added that it is still possible that Alonso, who apparently has a major sponsor lined up and ready to invest in cycling, would create a ProContinental team instead.

    However, other sources say that it would be equally conceivable that, just as happened in 2009 when Alonso first became interested in sponsoring a cycling team, that the whole project is shelved.

    Either way, barring a last-minute breakthrough in the negotiations the chances are that Spanish cycling will lose a huge opportunity to create a team which might have opened up a whole new level of international sports media interest. And after months of uncertainty, following this latest development Euskaltel’s 14 riders under contract for 2014 and in some cases in 2015 may well have even more limited...

  • Contador confirms he will ride Tour and Vuelta in 2014

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) at the start of the Brussels Cycling Classic
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 11:16 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard plans later start to next season

    As he gears up for the world championships and the Tour of Lombardy, his last challenges of 2013, Alberto Contador’s planned race schedule for 2014 is already well on track.

    In an interview on Monday with Spanish sports daily AS, the Saxo-Tinkoff team leader said he will take part in the Vuelta a España - as he had strongly hinted in a Tweet last week when the race went through his home town, Pinto - but that rather than start racing in January as he did in 2013, a much later start to his season is on the cards.

    “I will begin racing much later,” Contador told AS, “so I can get started at a good level and on routes which are favourable to get in some early wins.”

    Asked if the year’s objectives are the Tour and the Vuelta, Contador replied simply, “Yes. I’ve already said I will race the Vuelta and unless something exceptional happens, I’ll be there.

    “But I want to see what the route is like, too. So many summit finishes may add to the sense of spectacle, but for those taking part it’s a bit stressful.”

    Contador already has two Vuelta victories in his palmares, in 2008 and 2012. This year he rode one Grand Tour, the Tour de France, finishing fourth in Paris and narrowly missing out on the uphill time trial at Embrun.

    With just one victory to his name this year, a stage win in the Tour of San Luis, Contador recognises that he has “hit the goalposts” as he put it, very often in 2013. “I’ve worked really hard, but the results....” he said. “I’ve hit the posts a lot of times. And what people want is to see me win. I know that, and I accept...

  • Video: Tony Martin on winning the Worlds TTT title

    Time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) would finish the stage 17 mountain time trial in 27th place, more than three minutes behind Chris Froome
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 12:04 BST
    Cycling News

    German speaks about Omega Pharma-Quickstep's narrow victory

    Just like last year, Tony Martin began world championships week with a narrow win in the team time trial event, as he led his Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad to victory over Orica-GreenEdge. The Australian squad edged out Omega Pharma-QuickStep for the win at the Tour de France team time trial in Nice, and Martin was pleased to reverse that result in Florence on Sunday.

    “Sometimes to win it this way is even nicer than to win by a big gap,” Martin said. “We were one second in front. We knew it would be really close at the end even on this long distance.”

    The centrepiece of Martin’s week, however, is the individual time trial, where he is chasing a third consecutive world title. The field for Wednesday’s race is arguably the strongest for many years, and Martin will face stiff opposition from Fabian Cancellara, Bradley Wiggins and last year’s silver medallist, Taylor Phinney.

    “I’m pretty optimistic for the race on Wednesday,” Martin said. “Today [Sunday] gives me a lot of morale. But to be honest, at this moment I don’t think about Wednesday, I just think about today.”

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  • Phinney fit and focused for Worlds tests

    Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 13:25 BST
    Laura Weislo

    American still counting himself an "underdog"

    American Taylor Phinney is still only 23, but in his third year at the WorldTour level he is a perennial contender in individual time trials, his name standing alongside more established champions like Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin, and Bradley Wiggins. Though he still counts on his youth to afford him the status of "underdog", the former U23 world champion is anything but.

    In 2012, Phinney took his first Grand Tour victory in the opening time trial of the Giro d'Italia and led the race for three days before completing the race and then turning his focus toward the Olympic Games. Two heartbreaking fourth-place finishes left him without the Olympic medal he sought, but two silver medals in the 2012 UCI road world championships were some consolation.

    This season hasn't gone quite to plan. Phinney dropped out of the Giro d'Italia, was out sick for two weeks, but came back and claimed his first ever WorldTour road stage in Tour of Poland. Then, he had a disappointing time trial result in the Eneco Tour and then a crash which damaged his knee.

    Fast forward a few weeks spent at home in the Tuscan sun, and Phinney says everything is fine, his knee included. "I really smacked it and it scared me because I've had knee problems in the past, but I've laid down a really specific plan with Bobby Julich, who just joined the team [as a coach], and Daniel Healey who's the team's sports scientist, and did a really intensive few weeks.

    "I've never worked like that and I'm excited by what I've been able to do in training."

    Phinney's preparation for the world championships was helped by the fact that he resides within riding distance from the courses in Italy, and hasn't had the focus of the...

  • Relief for Wiggins as he clinches 2013 Tour of Britain title

    Bradley Wiggins mania
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 14:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky rider heads to the Worlds

    The overriding feeling for Bradley Wiggins was that of relief after he crossed the finish line in London on Sunday to seal the 2013 Tour of Britain title.

    The 2012 Tour de France winner became the second homegrown rider to win the race after he successfully defended a lead he established when he won stage three’s individual time in Knowsley.

    The victory marked an important chapter in a relatively disappointing season for the British rider who abandoned the Giro d’Italia in May and then was ruled out of the Tour through injury.

    “Until you cross the line you just don’t know. It’s all right to think it’s a bit of a ceremony round London, but it certainly isn’t,” Wiggins said the final stage, according to The Times.

    “You cross the line, you’re pumped up. It’s relief that you’ve finished and fulfilled it for your team and your team-mates.

    "The feeling at the moment is more just relief than anything else, to be honest. It’s a funny one, you want to win it and when you’ve crossed the line you feel relief more for your team-mates that you’ve fulfilled the job.”

    The Tour of Britain celebrated its tenth anniversary this year with a demanding route that kicked off in Scotland and ventured into Wales before the final stage in London. On the back of Great Britain’s success in the last two Tours and the London Olympics, the British cycling scene has arguably never been in such rude health.

    “Every day this whole race, even in the rain in Scotland and Carlisle and Kendal, people were coming out in tens of thousands, it felt like. The reception the race has had, the team have had and myself throughout the race has been...

  • Euskaltel confirms agreement with Alonso to save team has failed

    Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) has a drink.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 15:08 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Basque company refuse to reveal details of negotiations

    Basque telecommunications company Euskaltel has issued a statement confirming that negotiations with Fernando Alonso’s representatives have failed. The Formula 1 driver had been in talks with the company to become the new owner of one of the oldest teams in the international peloton.

    “We can’t hide our disappointment about the final outcome of the negotiations,” Euskaltel said in a press release. “It’s bad news for Euskaltel and for the team following the agreement reached in principle at the end of August.”

    According to the press release, the initial agreement signed between the two parties included a ‘route map’ – a list of points to be discussed – “which has not been completed.”

    Euskaltel has “made an all-out effort to reach an agreement, with no type of economic pre-condition of any kind,” the release claims.

    The statement concludes by saying that the team will now fold, as had been initially expected, at the end of the 2013 season, and that it regretted what it called “the appearance of inaccurate information [about the negotiations] which do not contribute to finding a solution or moving forward, rather the complete opposite.” However, it refused to reveal why the negotiations had failed to work out, saying that the confidentiality of the talks “has to be respected by us.”

    Alonso’s would-be manager of the team, Kiko García, had told Cyclingnews on Monday morning that he was waiting for the Formula 1 star to return from the Singapore Grand Priz this afternoon before a final decision on whether to press on with negotiations, at a standstill for several weeks, was taken. However, Euskaltel have already decided to break off...

  • Gilbert proud after final race in rainbow jersey

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) won for the first time this season at the conclusion of stage 12 in the Vuelta
    Article published:
    September 23, 2013, 16:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian looking for Worlds repeat in Florence

    After finishing 5th in his final outing in the rainbow jersey at the Grand Prix d’Isbergues on Sunday, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) has declared himself ready for the defence of his world title in Florence next weekend.

    Unlike last year, Gilbert missed the team time trial at the world championships, preferring instead to put the finishing touches to his preparations at Isbergues and Friday’s Grand Prix Impanis-Van Petegem, where he finished 20th.

    “I opted for some racing before the Worlds,” Gilbert told La Dernière Heure. “You train every day in any case, but nothing can ever replace racing. I was glad to do the Grand Prix d’Isbergues because it was raced at high speed and I was able to do a lot of intervals.”

    Gilbert worked for his teammate Thor Hushovd in the finale of Sunday’s race, but in spite of his lead-out, the Norwegian could only manage 4th behind winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ).

    “In the end, the sprinters had the last word,” Gilbert said. “But as far as I’m concerned, I had an excellent day of training and I confirmed that I feel very good ahead of the world championships in Florence in next Sunday.”

    Gilbert has claimed just one victory this season and while he has dismissed “the curse rainbow jersey,” he acknowledged last week that the burden of wearing it had been weightier than anticipated. After his final race in the famous jersey, Gilbert said that he was proud of his innings.

    “I spoke about it with Thor [Hushovd] and he admitted to me that he was very emotional during his final races with the jersey,” Gilbert said. “As for me, above...