A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Team apparently out of final two stages
The Garmin-Sharp truck was broken into at the Tour de Mediterranean overnight and virtually all of the team's bikes were stolen. Riders of the US-based team tweeted their shock, called for help and wondered how they would take on the race's Queen stage on Saturday. The loss forced the team out of the race for the final two stages.
Thomas Dekker broke the news, saying, “A good start is half the work. All bikes stolen here in France. And what now ..? Please wait ...”
Dekker later tweeted that the riders were packing their bags and would be flying home in the afternoon.
Team chiropractor Matt Rabin photographed the empty truck and said, “While everyone was sleeping, some unscrupulous local scallywags have gone & pilfered ALL THE BIKES.”
David Millar noted that it was not all the bikes, as the time trial bikes were still there. "Scumbags clearly don't like TT's."
“Please RT. Stolen bikes. 16 brand new di2 equiped cervelo R5. Still with race numbers. #couldntmakeitup no race today then #badstarttotheyr”, tweeted Dan Martin.
Cyclingnews will have more on this story as it develops.
Anti-doping expert says small amount of doping possible despite tests
Rasmus Damsgaard, who ran the Team CSC/Saxo Bank anti doping programme for many years, has said that it was possible that team riders used doping at the 2007 Tour de France, despite his testing and the team's internal anti-doping scheme. But it would have been only minimal amounts which would not have affected performance, he said.
“I never could and still cannot guarantee that CSC's anti-doping program would find riders who really wanted to cheat,” he told sporten.dk. “But I can guarantee that it was the best anti-doping program in the world at that time and if some of the riders cheated, then it had to be with such small quantities that the effect of their cheating on performance was highly questionable.”
He acknowledged that any of the riders at the time he was testing them could still have been working with Fuentes, Ferrari or any other persona organizing a doping plan. “Of course it is (possible). Just as it is today, and we also speculate that it is being done among some who have the skills and money to it.”
“We tested as accurately as we could, but there are certain limitations to everything,” Damsgaard noted. But there was an expectation that the doping would be “big time, and we did not find anything big time.”
Damsgaard had worked with the team for several years, but the relationship was intensified after the 2006 Tour de France and Operacion Puerto. Ivan Basso, who was at the time the CSC captain, was named as a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and was removed from the Tour squad the day before the race started.The team ended its association with Damsgaard in 2009 after the introduction of the biological passport.
Damsgaard told the Danish newspaper that anti-doping efforts in cycling have become more...
Italian team looking for success after poor 2012
The European season might be well underway but that hasn't stopped the Lampre Merida team from holding a February training camp in Mallorca, Spain. The Italian team, lead by Damiano Cunego, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Petacchi and Michele Scarponi this year, will be looking to perform on a number of fronts.
Both Pozzato and Scarponi are returning from suspensions relating to their working relationships with Michele Ferrari. They hope to help the team forget a poor 2012 season which held just 7 victories.
Pressure will be on Cunego and Pozzato to rediscover their individual classics form, while Petacchi will be looking to prove to everyone that he's not passed his sell-by date. As for Scarponi, the 2011 Giro winner will go head-to-head with Vincenzo Nibali and Bradley Wiggins in this year's race.
New signings not only include Pozzato, with Roberto Ferrari and Jose Serpa both joining the team. The team headed to Mallorca this week for some extra training and their team presentation, before the real season objectives begin.
Italians threatens to take legal action
Speaking via his lawyer, Mario Cipollini has denied the accusations published by the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that he was a client of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and underwent a series of blood transfusions as part of complex doping programme during the 2002 season.
Cipollini won Milano-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem and then the world title in Zolder in 2002, plus six stages at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta Espana, the best ever season of his long career.
Gazzetta dello Sport published a detailed doping calendar and hand written payment details apparently produced by Fuentes, claiming one of the documents had Cipollini's home fax number on the back of it. The Italian sports newspaper claimed that Cipollini's code name was 'Maria'.
Cyclingnews understands that Cipollini was allowed to see the evidence before publication but opted not to deny or confirm the accusations.
Cipollini reportedly returned to his home in Lucca after the front page story was published, but has yet to speak in her person. He was not at his villa in Lucca when Cyclingnews went there to find him on Saturday morning.
After several hours of silence, his lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone has now issued Cipollini's take on the revelations and is threatening to take legal action to defend Cipollini's image.
"In the name of and on behalf of Mr. Mario Cipollini and regarding the news that appeared today on the Gazzetta.it website, in the related newspaper and picked-up by several other parts of the media, this statement categorically denies the false and absurd accusations made against my client," the statement reads.
"The documents published in no way refer to him. The fax number on the incriminated table, which according to the journalistic reconstruction that apparently lead to Cipollini, isn't actually a fax number but an Italian...
Lab returns after suspension
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has reinstated the accreditation for the Madrid based laboratory, with the three-month suspension that was handed down in December, ending early.
The lab was suspended for three months after an athlete - which Spanish newspaper AS claimed - was wrongly reported to have "tested positive" in a mix-up of urine samples last August.
According to reports in Spain, its Anti-Doping Agency (AEA) explained in a communique that Madrid’s anti-doping lab made the mix up prior to initiating the testing procedure, and one sample which was clean was contaminated with another that contained a high level of a banned substance. The person responsible for quality control resigned in the wake of the news.
Howeve,r on Friday WADA announced that the suspension had been lifted, issuing a press release that stated the lab was able to resume testing as of February 8.
RadioShack rider leads by single second
Maxime Monfort moved into the lead at the Tour Méditerranéen with a measured performance on the final climb of Mont Faron on stage 4. The Belgian all-rounder finished in 17 postion on the stage, 54 seconds behind stage winner Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale), but after his solid ride in the stage 2 time trial, Monfort edged ahead of previous race leader, Lars Boom (Blanco) by one second.
“I felt no panic when Peraud attacked,” Monfort said.
“I had studied the GC very well with (director Jose) Azevedo last night. I knew he would never take one minute on me. We were well prepared. The only thing not foreseen was that I had a very bad day today. But I gave everything I had. It was a fight within myself the last two, three kilometres. It was a TT for me. Thanks go to my teammates who worked all day for me. Thomas Rohregger was the last guy with me until 2k from the top and then it was up to me. Just at that moment Boom was dropped.”
Monfort, who’s last overall victory in a stage race came in the 2010 Bayern Rundfahrt, will look to defend his Med lead on Sunday’s final stage.
Team director José Azevedo added: “Now we will defend this jersey tomorrow in a hard stage. It won’t be easy. We only have six riders as Robert Kišerlovski was sick and didn’t start today. If a lot of riders survive the climb of Tanneron we might be lucky that the sprinters’ teams will work. Otherwise it will be up to us alone.”
“Dozens” of athletes, including pro cyclists, said to be questioned
The Belgian doping-related investigation of Dr. Chris Mertens has expanded to include a number of professional and recreational athletes, including cyclists. The matter first came to public attention when cyclo-cross rider Tom Meeusen was stopped by the police for questioning on his way to a race.
Het Laatste Nieuws reported Saturday that the court conducting the investigation intends to question “dozens” of athletes. “Last week nineteen athletes were interviewed, including several cyclists and five pros,” it said.
Meeusen earlier had his camper searched by police and the team held him out of several races. He was questioned for three hours by federal investigators last month. The 'cross racer, who has denied any doping, is said not to be the subject of the investigation but merely a possible witness against Mertens.
Lotto Belisol's Jurgen Van Den Broeck has also said that he has visited the doctor, but only for legitimate medical purposes.
The Belgian doctor is under investigation for for the alleged practice of ozone therapy, an undetectable form of blood doping in which blood is extracted, mixed with ozone and then re-injected.
The Belgian newspaper said that “The court will actually hear any athlete who consulted the doctor since 2007. The investigators are particularly interested in the so-called ozone therapy that the doctor used.
"Strictly speaking, such therapy itself is not doping. But it is very often used in combination with other drugs that are prohibited. This is being examined.”
A court spokeswoman said only that...
Italian doctor suggests police are only solution to doping
Italian doctor Luigi Cecchini has denied being the link between Mario Cipollini and numerous others big-name riders in Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes' blood doping ring.
Speaking exclusively to Cyclingnews at the gates of his villa on the outskirts of Lucca, Cecchini claimed he has not even studied riders' blood values since 1998. Cecchini is not mentioned in Gazzetta dello Sport's report on Cipollini's link to Dr. Fuentes but he is widely known to have worked with Cipollini.
"I've read what Gazzetta dello Sport has published about Mario Cipollini but I've nothing to do with him and Dr. Fuentes. I didn’t send Cipollini to Fuentes," Cecchini told Cyclingnews.
Cecchini is now in his seventies and claimed he has stopped working in cycling, preferring to fly his private plane in his spare time. He graduated as a sport doctor in his forties, and along with Dr. Michele Ferrari was one of the leading disciples of Professor Francesco Conconi.
He was closely linked to Giancarlo Ferretti and his Ariostea and Fassa Bortolo teams, before working with Bjarne Riis and many of the biggest names in professional cycling of the last 20 years. His known former clients include Jan Ullrich, Alessandro Petacchi, Thomas Dekker, Tyler Hamilton, Ivan Basso, Michele Bartoli, Max Sciandri, Fabian Cancellara and many more.
Cecchini successfully raced in age-related races in Tuscany and often went training with many of his riders. He tested their form on the Monte Serra climb that divides Pisa and Lucca. Many have defended Cecchini even after being caught for doping. Tyler Hamilton wrote in his book that Cecchini never gave him any EPO and warned him about working with Fuentes.
"I've done tests and prepared training programmes for lots of riders over the years, but I was never involved in doping them. Ask them and any other rider, they'll defend me. I was investigated by Italian police a long time ago but I was never...