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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 14, 2011

Date published:
May 14, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Riders react to leaked UCI suspicion list from 2010 Tour de France

    David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) was active with two attacks
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 10:42 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Anger and questions about the release of the information

    Rider reaction to the leaked UCI “index of suspicion” from the 2010 Tour de France ranged from anger to shrugged shoulders. 

    David Millar of Garmin-Cervelo was outspoken in his outrage against not only the contents of the list but also the fact that it was leaked.

    "This list should never have been released, never. The UCI, some of their people should be fired for this," he told the Reuters news agency.  "It's shocking ... A major investigation should go on into what exactly they are doing with this model."

    L'Equipe on Friday released the list, which ranked the riders from 0 (not suspicious) to 10 (highly suspicious). The UCI has said that it is merely meant as a guide to decide which riders were tested during the race.

    "I'm as clean as a whistle, my team [are] the cleanest guys and I have 100 percent faith in what we do. It's a bit mad,” Millar said. "To see us in the middle of the list, it's like - are you joking? It's scandalous."

    Danilo Hondo told the dpa news agency that he was “very surprised” to have received a ranking of eight. "Now the UCI must explain this list. This is about disparagement. One can only say on my behalf that my levels were consistent and inconspicuous.”

    Several expressed their anger via Twitter.

    "Please explain UCI. Begs the question, intentional, incompetence or corruption?" tweeted Robbie McEwen (3). "I'm all for catching cheats but draw the line at this sort of thing which could be based on one single wayward statistic....

  • Contingencies in place for Amgen Tour of California weather

    Riders do one and a half laps around Lake Tahoe
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 12:03 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Organizers preparing for predicted snow

    The Amgen Tour of California moved to the month of May last year in order to allow the race to visit the higher altitudes and some of the state's most scenic locations, but an unusual late snowfall predicted for the weekend could force the race into contingency plans for Sunday's opening stage in Lake Tahoe.

    The National Weather Service gives a 90 percent chance of snow, with accumulations of one inch overnight Saturday and into Sunday, and a possible 1 to 3 inch accumulations more on race day.

    Some predictions call for up to 5 inches of snow accumulation, but with low temperatures above freezing overnight, organisers were hopeful that the roads would be clear to hold the race as planned: a 191km clockwise circuit around the famous blue lake starting in South Lake Tahoe and ending in Northstar Resort.

    "Safety is paramount," said Medalist Sports owner Jim Birrell. "Our concern is going to be what's on the road. If there is ice on the road, we will have a reactionary plan, but if it's just wet it will be all systems go.

    "[Saturday] night our team is going to assemble, and we will be assessing the weather. Based on the forecast now, we don't see any accumulation beginning until 11 o'clock. We'll work with our local organising committees to identify the higher elevations where we might expect to see the majority of the accumulation, and more importantly where the ice is."

    Unlike some states where roads are sprayed with brine or sprinkled with salt to help melt snow and ice, environmental concerns prevent the use of chemicals on the roads around Lake Tahoe, leaving plows as the only option for snow and ice removal.

    Birrell said the race will be working with the departments of transportation of California and Nevada to help make decisions on how to proceed with Sunday's...

  • Riccò could make a come back with Amore e Vita

    Riccardo Riccò with Amore e Vita patron Ivano Fanini
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 12:21 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team owner Fanini wants Italian to help the fight against doping

    Riccardo Riccò could make a comeback with the small Amore e Vita if accepts an offer from team owner Ivano Fanini to join the battle against doping.

    Riccò is still awaiting the outcome of the police investigation into exactly what happened when he was rushed to hospital on February 6. It was reported that he told the emergency room doctor that he’d undergone a botched blood transfusion but he denied this after leaving hospital. He initially said he would retire from racing but has since had a change of heart, despite risking a life time ban if it is proved he again doped after serving a first ban for his positive test for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.

    Riccò visited Fanini at his used car showroom in Lucca on Friday and confirmed he would like to make a comeback.

    “Everyone knows that Ivano Fanini has always fought against doping. It’d be a pleasure for me to have another chance with him,” Riccò told Tuttobiciweb.

    However Fanini has made it clear that Riccò can only race with the small Continental team if he begins to work with Italian police in the fight against doping.

    “It's true that we talked about a possible return to racing with Amore & Vita,” Fanini confirmed to Cyclingnews.

    “Riccardo currently isn’t banned and could race tomorrow. But it’s a more complex situation than it seems. I’d like to help him but he’s got to agree to work hard in the fight against doping.”

    “Riccò could have won the Giro and the Tour like Pantani did, but he ruined his career and made everyone turn against him. He’s accused of undergoing a blood transfusion but...

  • USADA out of Tour of California testing

    The Amgen Tour of California peloton takes in stunning scenery along the coast.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 15:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UCI to conduct all anti-doping controls

    All anti-doping testing at the Amgen Tour of California will be done by the International Cycling Union (UCI), with none to be done by the US Anti-Doping Agency.   An agreement between the two agencies to split the duties fell through at the last minute.

    The Tour, which starts on Sunday in South Lake Tahoe, had announced in February that the USADA would, for the first time, conduct both the pre-competition and in-competition testing.

    "As previously announced, it was USADA's intention to conduct a comprehensive and independent pre-competition and in-competition testing program," read a USADA statement. "The pre-competition testing program performed by USADA has been implemented. USADA had hoped to conduct the in-competition testing program at the 2011 Tour of California but was unable to finalize the agreement previously reached with the UCI. As has historically been the case, the International Cycling Union [UCI] will conduct their own testing program during the competition."

    The February announcement promised “the most comprehensive anti-doping program in the history of the race”.

    According to Espn.com
    , the UCI decided that USADA would be allowed to collect samples, but not conduct targeted testing or get the test results.  The USADA refused to go along with these conditions, and the agreement fell apart.

    "Following recent discussions between the UCI and USADA concerning anti-doping arrangements for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, the UCI wishes to announce that no agreement was reached by the parties,"

  • Video: Millar "shocked and incredibly disappointed" at leaked index

    David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) was active with two attacks
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 16:21 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Scot calls for apologies from UCI and L'Équipe

    David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) described himself as "shocked and incredibly disappointed" at the leaking of the UCI's "index of suspicion" of the 198 riders who competed in the 2010 Tour de France. The list, which detailed the level of priority for riders to be target tested at the Tour, was published in L'Équipe on Friday.

    Speaking in a video interview with Cyclingnews in Sapri ahead of stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia, Millar articulated his dismay at the manner in which the sensitive information had entered the public domain, and he was critical of both the UCI and L'Équipe's handling of the matter.

    "We put a lot of belief into the biological passport," Millar said. "I think it's a tool that we cannot lose within the sport. It's helping us massively. But then to see the UCI letting us down massively and to see L'Equipe being so irresponsible in their journalism."

    Millar was given an index of four in the list and wondered if he was continuing to pay a price for his confession to EPO use seven years ago. However, it is understood that the index was based wholly on the blood values from the riders' biological passports.

    "As far as I know, my data before the Tour was the same as it is before most of my objectives, when I've had a tapering period beforehand and my blood levels get a little bit higher," Millar said. "That's just what athletes do. They rest before their objectives and their levels go up slightly. That should be seen in the passport profile, so it's very strange."

    Millar reiterated the support of...

  • Rodriguez hopes Mount Etna reconnaissance will pay off

    Flèche Wallone: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) grinds up the Mur de Huy.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 17:05 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spanish climber ready to strike at Giro d'Italia

    After finishing sixth at the Montevergine di Mercogliano, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is full of confidence for the next uphill finish of the Giro d'Italia atop the Etna volcano on Sunday. Rodriguez has meticulously prepared for the race with training camps in Sicily, and he knows the local roads nearly as well as Sicilians Vincenzo Nibali, Giovanni Visconti, Giampaolo Caruso and Paolo Tiralongo.

    "I've been to the Etna twice this year," said Rodriguez, to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 8 in Sapri on Saturday.

    "After Tirreno-Adriatico, I had two weeks of training there just as planned, but my first session on my way back to Europe from the Tour of Oman was interrupted after three days because there was too much snow and I couldn't train. It was an altitude camp as much as a chance to reconnoiter the roads of this crucial stage. I was staying in a hotel at 2,000m, but it kept snowing above 1,800m, so as soon as the airport reopened, I went back home to Catalunya."

    Rodriguez's early season did not go according to plan as he had a cyst on one of his femurs, but he said everything has been going according to plan with his Giro d'Italia preparation.

    "I'm feeling physically good. I'm exactly where I wanted to be after one week of racing and before the mountains," said the rider nicknamed "Purito".

    "There will be more selection on the Etna than yesterday on the Montevergine. We won't be 30 riders together for the stage win. Maybe eight or 10 of us will stay together, but I also don't expect any selection among the favourites."

    "The Etna is a very long climb," said Rodriguez. "This will hurt. It's an important stage. I'm here for the overall...

  • Gatto celebrates holding off Contador on Tropea finish

    Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini) on the podium
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 18:06 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Italian sprinter’s career back on track with first Giro win

    After launching his searing attack on the last rise before Tropea on stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia, Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) expected to find the collective force of the sprinters' teams chasing him. Instead, as he looked over his shoulder to survey the situation, the Italian was shocked to see none other than Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) in lone pursuit.

    Speaking at the winner's press conference, Gatto could afford to joke about his first thoughts on seeing the race favourite home into view behind.

    "My initial reaction? If he comes close, I'll bring him down," Gatto laughed, before describing the pair's gripping pursuit match through the streets of the Calabrian town.

    "I turned around four times. The first time, I didn't see anybody. The second time, I saw a Saxo jersey, but I said to myself 'that can't be him.' Then I looked again and I saw it was him alright."

    In spite of the lofty credentials of the sole pursuer, Gatto realised there was little to do except grit his teeth and press on, even if the Arrivo banner seemed to take an eternity to arrive.

    "At that point, I just said to myself, 'Vai Oscar, and don't think about who's behind,'" Gatto explained. "Then, the last time I looked around I saw that I was going to win. Of course having Contador chasing behind added a little to the win."

    Although Gatto had earmarked the stage as one where he could make an impression, the 26-year-old said that his move in the final two kilometres was largely instinctive, so much so that he couldn't recall what gear he was pushing when he ripped clear of the peloton on the sinuous approach up to Tropea.

    "I don't know to be honest, I just went purely on instinct," he said. "It was something that just happened on the...

  • Phinney targets Solvang time trial in Amgen Tour of California

    US time trial champion Taylor Phinney (BMC) fell just short of the prologue win, finishing second.
    Article published:
    May 14, 2011, 19:16 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    BMC racer to test form prior to USA Cycling Pro Championships

    US National Time Trial Champion Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is targeting the Amgen Tour of California's stage six 24km individual time trial held on Friday, May 20 in Solvang. The stage will be his last opportunity to test his legs against other American riders before attempting to defend his title at the up coming USA Cycling Pro Championships later this month.

    "Hopefully I will be able to make it through the first five stages unscathed and relatively ready to take it on and have a good tester out there," Phinney said. "Hopefully, I can get a good result because that is my biggest goal here, it's ultimately the time trial. I will be giving it everything that is for sure."

    Phinney pre-rode the time trial course prior to his arrival to South Lake Tahoe last week. The stage was a part of the Amgen Tour of California for three editions and won by three-time overall winner Levi Leipheimer of RadioShack on all three occasions.

    The parcours is set around the quaint Danish town of Solvang. It is relatively short at 24km, but it is challenging with an uphill on the outward stretch over Ballard Canyon followed by a predominantly false flat descent back into the Solvang finish line.

    "The course does suit me," Phinney said. "It has a false flat and a little kicker and then a false flat downhill on the way back into Solvang. It is a relatively good course for me, a power course."

    Phinney announced that he would sign his first professional contract with BMC Racing following his national time trial championship victory last year. This year, he will return to defend that title on May 28 in Greenville, South Carolina.

    His early season was marred by injury...