Danish federation president says Riis was aware of rules when he signed Contador
Any WorldTour points Alberto Contador wins count for Spain in the nation rankings, but not for Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank in the team rankings. Team owner Bjarne Riis finds that unfair, but the Danish Cycling Federation director said that Riis knew that when he signed Contador.
Riis and the team are fighting to gain enough UCI points to secure their WorldTour licence for 2013. They have lost Contador's points due to his doping suspension, and any points he brings in for the next two years will not apply towards the team.
Contador returned to racing this month at the Eneco Tour, where he finished fourth overall and gained 60 points. These points do not count for his team, but do count as nation points for Spain.
“It's two different things. Nation rankings are official rankings, the other is an internal tool used by the UCI's sports department to evaluate each team before the World Tour licenses are issued,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told dr.dk.
Jesper Worre, director of the Danish Cycling Union, criticized the UCI for being inconsistent, but also criticised Riis as well. Riis hired Contador, “knowing that the rule applied. So no, I do not think that Bjarne has a good case. He hired a rider who was banned for doping, and there has been a broad consensus to do anything to combat doping.
“The rule established by the teams and the UCI is to try to combat doping as much as possible. Here in the Danish Cycling Union, we still...
TTT an important test ahead of world championships
Tony Martin arrives at the Vuelta a España having raced just twice, in the Olympic road race and time trial, since his Tour de France abandonment at the completion of stage 9. The reigning world time trial champion suffered a heavy fall during stage one and fractured his left-hand schaphoid. Martin continued for another eight days before finally succumbing to the injury following the stage nine time trial - where he finished a disappointing 12th place.
Martin arrived at the Olympics with the hopes of securing a medal in the time trial. He rode for his German team captain, André Griepel in the road race and once his pace setting duties were complete, he pulled out so he could focus on recovering for the time trial. While his chances of beating Bradley Wiggins seemed unlikely, he took confidence with his second place and subsequent silver medal.
"This silver medal is more important to me than three gold. After all the setbacks this year, I'm happy with second place," he said shortly after his race. "This year is really full of stories. But overall I am pleased with the happy ending. Especially as the season is not over, I take the momentum from here. At the World Cup I will defend my title."
Now Martin arrives at the start of the Vuelta with his injury almost completely healed. He is still experiencing discomfort during hard efforts out of the saddle but his ambitions for this race differ enormously from the Tour. He’s in Spain to gauge the team’s cohesion in the team time trial and to test himself in the individual TTs.
"I focus particularly on the team time trial and the long individual time trial. We [the team] will try to test the route to...
Recent Tour of Utah winner Johan Tschopp has signed with the developing Swiss IAM Cycling Project team according to Le Matin. The team is said to be applying to a Pro Continental license and has a three-year sponsorship agreement. According to IAM company founder Michel Thiétaz, the team will have a roster of "20 riders, half of them Swiss."
IAM is a Swiss funds management company who "are not interested in golf or sailing. Our passion is cycling," said Thiétaz on Blick.ch. Swiss rider Tschopp is currently the highest profile signing as he moves from the BMC Racing Team after two years with the US-registered ProTeam.
Former French national road race champion and four-time Tour de France rider Serge Beucherie will manage the team which has already signed a number of local riders - a large portion coming from the Atlas Personal-Jakroo squad. Marcel Aregger, Jonathan Fumeaux and Patrick Schelling will join for 2013 while former Atlas rider Sebastien Reichenbach is also on board.
Gabriel Rasch (FDJ-BigMat), Reto Hollenstein (Team NetApp), Marcel Wyss (Team NetApp) and Sébastien Hinault (AG2R) are the other riders who have inked deals with the team while Rémi Cusin (Team Type 1) and Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis) are out of contract at the end of 2012 and have signaled their intentions on joining according to L’Equipe.
The team will look to receive wildcard invitations to Tour de Suisse and Tour de Romandie.
UCI has the power to interpret WADA code says USAC lawyer
USA Cycling is the next governing body to step into the fold regarding Lance Armstrong’s case against USADA. Included in the "additional information" requested and provided by Armstrong’s lawyers to US District Judge Sam Sparks was a letter from USAC lawyer Stephen Hess. The letter was addressed to the William Bock, General Counsel of USADA, notifying USADA of USAC’s stance with regard to jurisdiction in the case.
The letter opens with a statement on the commitment of USAC in the fight against doping and gives support to initiatives such as the Biological Passport program - developed by the UCI before further reinforcing their goal to eliminate doping from the sport of cycling. After this brief introduction, the letter outlines their position in the Armstrong case, that is, USAC believes UCI has the appropriate jurisdiction to handle the matter.
"USAC is not only a National Governing Body recognized by USOC with obligations in that capacity, but it is also a National Federation recognized by UCI, whom the IOC in turn recognizes as the International Federation that governs cycling," wrote Hess.
"In UCI’s capacity as the IOC-recognized International Federation for cycling, USAC believes that UCI has power to express its interpretation of WADA’s Anti-Doping Code, its application to international cycling events and the Code’s jurisdictional provisions in matters within the scope of its authority."
The letter continues to outline that USADA’s authority is not valid when the UCI has a vastly opposed opinion on how the Armstrong case should be handled. USADA states it has authority whilst acting under UCI and through USAC however, UCI’s interpretation of the WADA code suggests...
Caja Rural will be the first team to start the opening team time trial at this year's Vuelta a España with each of the remaining 21 teams separated with four minute intervals. Reigning Vuelta winner Juan José Cobo will lead his Movistar team as the last team to leave the start ramp at 20:27. His team will be chased by Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team who will hope to make an early impression during the 16.5km test.
Rivals don't let him ride as in 2011, BMC Belgian claims
Philippe Gilbert led professional cycling with 18 wins in the 2011 season, but has yet to take one single victory in 2012. The Belgian, now with BMC Racing Team, knows why: the other teams aren't letting him ride like he did before. He hopes to remedy his lack of wins with a stage win in the Vuelta a Espana.
“Not winning is more the fault of the other teams than of myself,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “They no longer let me ride like I did last year.”
In 2011, Gilbert was with Omega Pharma-Lotto and dominated the entire season. He brought in wins from the Volta ao Algarve in mid-February and carried on right through until the GP de Wallonie in mid-September. He won the first stage of the Tour de France and thus was the first to wear the leader's yellow jersey. Perhaps the Belgian's most impressive achievement came in the second half of April, when he won the Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege within an 11-day period.
He changed teams and went into 2012 with high goals with BMC: winning the one-day Classics and helping Cadel Evans repeat his Tour de France win, hoping to take a stage for himself along the way.
None of it happened. His highest finish in the spring was third in Fleche Wallonne, and he didn't manage to finish above fourth in any Tour stages. Nor did Evans win the title. Gilbert was even unable to defend his national titles in the road race and time trial.
His lack of wins this year doesn't bother him, he said. “That doesn't give me any stress. The team has kept its confidence in me. They don't forget that I worked for Evans in the Tour. In Spain I will try to wipe away that zero, but my main concern is to be in good shape for the World Championships...
Chris Froome and Alberto Contador are widely rated as the top two favourites for the Vuelta a España, but according to Team Sky sporting director Sean Yates, who knows both riders well - he directed Froome to second overall in the Tour behind team-mate Bradley Wiggins, and also Contador when he won the 2008 Giro - when it comes to trying to beat the Spaniard, it will be as much about teamwork by Sky as it will be about Froome himself.
“Alberto’s very good on the steep climbs the Vuelta has, the ones where you need to make big, sudden accelerations,” Yates told Cyclingnews.
“But we’ve got a very strong team going there, so we’ll be able to control him unless he’s back to his absolute best where we’ll try and ride across to him when he attacks.”
“We know his strongest weapon is that sudden acceleration on the climbs, but we’ve got the kind of team that can pull that back and launch Chris up to him.”
With two strong Columbian climbers, Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao - both top ten finishers in the 2012 Giro, with Urán taking the Best Young Rider’s jersey - as well as Richie Porte and Froome himself, Yates points out that Sky have some serious firepower for the mountains.
“I can imagine a similar scenario to the Tour [de France] where we would control the likes of [podium finisher Vincenzo] Nibali, even if you can’t really compare Nibali with Contador because they’re different kinds of riders.”
The overall time differences, in any case, Yates believes will be much...
Frenchman returns home after penning two-year deal
Christophe Le Mével has signed a two-year contract with Cofidis and will race for the team in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The 31-year-old Frenchman will return to his homeland after spending the last two years with Garmin-Sharp.
Le Mével joined Garmin from FDJ-BigMat. Before that he spent six seasons with Credit Agricole before they folded in 2008. He finished tenth in the 2009 Tour de France but has failed to match those heights in the years since. His fourth place at the Clasica de San Sebastian earlier this week did prove that he retains lots of ability, however.
Le Mével is part of the Garmin squad for the Vuelta a Espana, which starts in Pamplona later today. Having missed out on the Garmin teams for the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, he will be looking to finish his grand tour career with the team with a bang.