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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 22, 2010

Date published:
May 22, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Big Bear scares off California's sprinters

    Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) gets back to his winning ways at California's capital building.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 7:48 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Queen stage claims 29 riders

    While the general classification riders persistently bumped up the pace on the Amgen Tour of California’s sixth stage, the sprinters were scared off at the rear of the race by a Big Bear: the climbs to Big Bear Lake to be precise. All of the big named sprinters are out of the race, including British rider Mark Cavendish and Belgian Tom Boonen.

    Cervelo TestTeam hoped its sprinter Theo Bos would make it over the day’s stage, but it wasn’t to be. Team sport director Jean Paul van Poppel left a teammate with Bos for as long as possible before it became evident the rider wouldn’t last.

    “Theo, I don’t think it was his day today and right from the start he was having his troubles,” said van Poppel. “We were hoping after an hour or so his legs would be better. But it didn’t go today.

    “It’s the sixth stage and I think the days have taken their toll on a track rider,” he added. “I think he did well so far but there was no recovery there anymore and I think he had to give up. Dominique Rollin did a great job and stayed with him but at some point he had to say goodbye and go back to the bunch.”

    Saxo Bank’s Argentinean speedster Juan Jose Haedo withdrew from the event during the stage, as did Australia’s Karl Menzies from UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis.

    Cavendish and HTC-Columbia teammate Mark Renshaw fought their way to the finish, only to have finished outside the time limit. Fly V Australia’s top sprinter Jonathan Cantwell suffered the same outcome after arriving at Big Bear Lake too late.

    The biggest casualty on the day were local Continental teams Kelly Benefit Strategies which lost five of its riders while the SpiderTech-Planet Energy had four fail to complete the stage.

  • Van Avermaet hopes to ride for BMC in 2011

    Greg Van Avermaet (Silence Lotto)
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 10:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian says it is time to move on after four years at Lotto

    Greg Van Avermaet has reveled he likely to ride for the BMC Racing Team next season. The 25-year-old plans to leave Omega Pharma-Lotto after four years.

    "It's still not 100 percent," he told the Belgian website sporza. "But the chances are good. My manager Paul Geyter is working on it and Omega Pharma-Lotto knows. I expect that things will be settled in the next few weeks.”

    Van Avermaet turned pro with Predictor-Lotto in 2007 and was widely tipped to be a future star of Belgian cycling. In his first year he won three races, including a stage in the Tour of Qatar. In 2008 he won four races, including a stage in the Vuelta a Espana, and the points jersey in the Vuelta. However, he has not had any wins since then and is looking to restart his career elsewhere.

    “I had the opportunity to develop. But now it is time for both parties to move on," Sporza quoted him as saying.



  • Two people named by Landis may co-operate with authorities

    Floyd Landis (Phonak) salutes in the maillot jaune
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 10:46 BST
    Cycling News

    TOC organiser Messick speaks to the NY Times about his conversation with Landis

    At least two of the people Floyd Landis accused of doping have already been contacted by anti-doping officials, the New York Times has reported. The newspaper says the two do not want their names published as they are still deciding whether to step forward. The unnamed agency has allegedly asked them to co-operate in its investigation in exchange for leniency.

    Landis himself had tried to get others to co-operate with him, said Andrew Messick, sports director of A.E.G, which runs the Amgen Tour of California: “He was trying to find other riders to come clean with him, but nobody would.” Messick suggested that Landis tell his story to the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

    In the New York Times, Messick said that he had a conversation with Landis in early April. He told me: ‘I’ve been living a lie. I can’t sleep at night. I have to ease my burden, so I’ve got to tell the truth about what I’ve done.

    “I told him two things. One, none of this is new. If you hang around cycling long enough, you hear things about riders and what they’ve done. And two, what makes you think anyone would believe you?”

    In the emails published by Team RadioShack on Friday, Landis indicated that he has attended meetings with officials from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and invited Lance Armstrong, Messick and his close friend and sponsor Dr Brent Kay to a meeting in Los Angeles on May 6. There is no indication in the emails if they attended the meeting.

    According to unnamed sources in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other media, Landis is also co-operating with an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration. It has been reported that the investigation is being led by special agent Jeff Novitzky, who worked on the the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) steroids case. However the FDA refused to confirm if that was the case.

    There are...

  • LeMond supports Landis in fight for clean cycling

    Greg LeMond
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 11:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Hopes that Landis' comments will help clean up systemic corruption

    Greg LeMond has said that he supports Floyd Landis and believes “most of” his statements “regarding the systemic corruption in professional cycling.” The first US rider ever to win the Tour de France said that he hopes Landis' decision to reveal what he knows will be the chance to change the sport and help eliminate doping.

    “I believe most of Floyd Landis’s statements regarding the systemic corruption in professional cycling,” LeMond wrote on his personal website. “I imagine from my own experiences that today he is paying a heavy price for his honesty and I support Floyd in his attempt to free himself from his past. I hope that others - fans, riders and sponsor’s embrace this as an opportunity to bring about positive change in the sport.”

    LeMond said that "while Landis' own doping and subsequent lying have caused many to doubt him, my position, for which I have spoken long and loud, is to advocate for deep and systemic change in the sport to eliminate the scourge of dope."

    “Too many lives have been lost, too many promising careers have been cut short and too many fans have been cheated. It isn’t about whether Rider X or Rider Y can be proven by physical evidence or otherwise to have doped. Floyd Landis is simply representative of many in the sport.”

    Lemond concluded, “Clean racing makes for a much more exciting sport, and I encourage the fans to engage in the dialogue surrounding Floyd Landis’ comments and advocate with me here and elsewhere for positive 'pure' change.”

    LeMond's show of support for Landis is surprising in light of the history between the two. During Landis' arbitration hearing before the US Anti-doping Agency, one of Landis' staff called LeMond and threatened to disclose that LeMond had been sexually abused as a child. LeMond himself disclosed both the phone call and the abuse at the hearing. He had been...

  • Scott Sunderland leaves Team Sky

    Team Sky sports director Scott Sunderland.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 14:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian directeur sportif to spend more time with his family

    Team Sky and senior directeur sportif Scott Sunderland have issued a joint statement confirming that they will immediately end their working relationship.

    Sunderland says he has decided to spend more time with his wife Sabine, and two young sons Tristan and Saën.

    Sunderland was one of the first people to join the team's management last year and played a fundamental role in selecting and signing many of the riders. He was in charge of the team during the Spring Classics in April but has recently been on holiday and was not with Team Sky at the Giro d'Italia.

    "After spending many rewarding months working on the assembling and directing of a great group of people, this decision was made after careful consideration," Sunderland said in a statement.

    "My wife Sabine and I have had many long conversations over the last few months and we agree that the wellbeing of our family and in particular the health of our youngest son Tristan asks for me to increase the time and attention I give to my loved ones. Our oldest son Saën has wholeheartedly welcomed this initiative."

    "The fact that I am taking a step away from my responsibilities as Senior Sports Director for Team Sky does not mean that I will take distance from cycling; this sport has been and will always be an integral part of my life."

    Dave Brailsford, Team Principal for Team Sky, said: “We would like to thank Scott for his contribution to Team Sky. He helped us get from the drawing board to being a real road team, working with us from the announcement of the project to our first podium finishes. We all wish Scott the very best, personally and for his future career.”

    Sunderland added: “It has been an incredible journey, helping to set up a new, highly professional team from scratch. I’m proud of the team’s achievements so far and wish them the best of luck for the rest of the season, their first Tour de France and a...

  • Los Angeles time trial set to decide the Amgen Tour of California

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) is the new leader of the Amgen Tour of California.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 16:31 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Leipheimer, Rogers and Zabriskie could all win

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) will start Saturday's time trial stage of the Amgen Tour of California with the upper hand, wearing the golden leaders jersey, but will have to hold off time trial favorites Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) and three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) if he wants to secure final victory in this year's race.

    Rogers is currently leading the overall classification by four seconds ahead of runner up Zabriskie, the US National Time Trial Champion, and nine seconds ahead of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo). Leipheimer is positioned in fourth place with a 14-second deficit to race leader Rogers.

    Rogers took over the race lead following stage five where he tied with Zabriskie. He added four additional precious seconds when he took the third place time bonus offered at the finish line during the event’s queen stage six at Big Bear Lake on Friday.

    “We took everything that they threw at us and we still have the jersey,” said Rogers proudly. “Everyone is going to start the time trial with tired legs. Everyone had to spend a damn load of energy, some more than others, but everyone will start the time trial with sore legs, let me tell you.”

    “You can’t base the time trial off the mountain stage, it is really like comparing apples to oranges,” he added. “But they [Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer] are both in good shape and have a lot of experience in time trials. But we are hopeful to tomorrow. We are quietly confident.”

    There is no discounting Rogers, who has not placed outside the top four in a time trial all season and he is in the running the win the Amgen Tour of California.

    “I haven’t seen the time trial course but I’m in good shape,” Rogers said. “That event is always about the best rider who wins it. I am confident in my time trial. I have been doing well in time trials all season and...

  • Porte's pink jersey dream ends in Asolo

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) may have surrendered the pink jersey today, but the Australian still leads the young rider classification.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 18:31 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Tasmanian to focus on defending white jersey

    Rookie Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) has had the pink jersey for three days at the Giro d'Italia but his dream has ended today in Asolo as David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), second place at the start of the day, took over the race lead. The 25-year-old Tasmanian is now only 39 seconds down on general classification but he knows he won't get back in the maglia rosa. However, Porte remains the leader in the best young rider classification.

    Climbing over the Monte Grappa, Porte quickly realised he wouldn't be able to accompany the favourites of the Giro d'Italia when the Liquigas-Doimo team started to make the race difficult. Porte did his best to minimize the deficit, though, with the help of several Saxo Bank teammates. "The team was incredible today," Porte said at the finish line. "I can't believe they sacrificed their own race for me."

    Porte wasn't disappointed about losing the pink jersey. "I've lost it but I'm content," he said. "Three days in pink are much more than what I could have imagined. I'm a happy man.

    "I guess I'm back to my initial goal, which is the white jersey," Porte said. "Robert Kiserlovski [Liquigas-Doimo] is probably my number one rival. He was chasing behind his own teammates, it means he wants to be the best young rider. It's a funny game."

    Kiserlovski is 1:56 behind Porte on GC but it will also be interesting to follow the progress of Dutch climbing sensation Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) in the coming mountains where steep hills will make huge differences, starting with the Zoncolan on tomorrow's stage 15.


  • Nibali earns first Grand Tour stage win in Asolo

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) wins stage 14 and moves back into the top-ten overall.
    Article published:
    May 22, 2010, 19:38 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Liquigas-Doimo's young star still in contention for overall victory

    Vincenzo Nibali wore the pink jersey for the first time in his career earlier this Giro d'Italia, and now the 26-year-old Italian added another career milestone by soloing to victory today in stage 14, his first individual Grand Tour stage win. This is the third consecutive individual stage win by an Italian rider, making up for the home nation's twelve-stage drought to open the Giro d'Italia.

    While Italian media now focuses on a possible rivalry inside the Liquigas-Doimo team, Nibali made clear that Ivan Basso was informed of his plan to attack after crossing the summit of the Monte Grappa. 'The shark of the strait', as the Sicilian from Messina is nicknamed, rode the final 40 kilometres by himself and finished 23 seconds ahead of teammate Basso, Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) at the finish line.

    Nibali was familiar with the town of Asolo because this is where he became the Italian national champion in the junior ranks back in 2002. "This place brings me luck," Nibali said.

    Nibali admitted a tactical mistake was made during stage 11 when they let a breakaway go and allow Spanish climbers like Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam) and current pink jersey wearer David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) a 12:42 advantage. "We hope to not repeat the same kind of mistake before the end of the Giro," Nibali said. "It's not only us, from Liquigas-Doimo, who made the mistake. Race leader [Alexandre] Vinokourov didn't handle the responsibilities of the race but we've put a final point on this fact and we've moved forward to new goals.

    "Ivan and I have done a very nice race today," Nibali said. "Scarponi has done very well in responding straight away to our accelerations. Evans has suffered uphill but he's someone who knows how to handle the pain and I'm sure he'll be up there until the end of the Giro."

    The Italian duo of Liquigas-Doimo have recovered two minutes from the Spanish trio of Sastre, Xavier...