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
Fenn and Kwiatkowski will not swap Omega Pharma-QuickStep for Sky
Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere has dismissed reports that he would be willing to trade Andy Fenn or Michal Kwiatkowski to Sky as part of a deal that would bring Mark Cavendish to his team in 2013.
Although just one season into a three-year contract with Sky, Cavendish admitted before the Tour of Britain that he was considering the possibility of leaving for pastures new next season. Lefevere and Omega Pharma-QuickStep have made little secret of their desire to add Cavendish to their roster, but the Belgian ruled out the possibility of either buying the him out of his contract directly or of sending a rider to Sky in part exchange.
"That's the most stupid rumour," Lefevere told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Beijing. "First it was Kwiatkowski, then it was Fenn. If I am not mistaken, in Europe it is forbidden to traffic people - and that's trafficking people. I will never, never agree to this. If you agree to this, you're starting something.
"Think about something for a minute. If I tell Kwiatkowski that he has to go to Sky and the deal with Mark doesn't go ahead, then Mark stays with Sky and I have a rider on my team who knows that I wanted to sell him to Sky. No, that's a wrong world. Very wrong. It's worse than prostitution."
While Tom Boonen has already said that he would welcome Cavendish's arrival at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Lefevere insisted that he would not speak to Cavendish until given the all-clear from Sky to do so.
"The day that Mark's agent gives me the letter...
Says the pair didn't have the same opinions
Johan Bruyneel's departure from Team RadioShack-Nissan “was probably the right decision, given the situation,” sports director Kim Andersen has said. The team announced Friday evening that it was ending its contract with the Belgian general manager.
Bruyneel was dismissed as a result of the USADA investigation. The USADA's reasoned decision, released earlier this week, described Bruyneel as a key player in the organised doping which took place at the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. Bruyneel has constantly denied such charges.
Andersen had helped set up the team as Leopard-Trek in the 2011 season and when Bruyneel moved in this year, he was downgraded from team manager to a sport director and not allowed to work at the Tour de France.
The whole situation “is not good for the sport. One can only hope that it's over now, so we can move forward,” Andersen told the Ritzau news agency.
He denied that there were “many conflicts” with Bruyneel this season. “We just didn't have the same opinions. Yes, it has been annoying for me compared to last year, but that was all.”
Andersen has worked with the Schleck brothers for many years and accompanied them to many races. However, in April, Bruyneel announced that Andersen would not be directeur sportif at this year's Tour. Things are “very different on the team this year,” Andersen said diplomatically at the time.
Former Postal rider confesses to doping
Matt White has stepped down from his role in the management of the Orica-GreenEdge team. White, who helped build the team in their debut season, was implicated in doping violations during his time at US Postal and was linked in Floyd Landis’s evidence given in USADA’s investigation into Lance Armstrong and the Postal team.
White has also stepped down from his role as national selector for the Australian men's road team. Although White's confession is public his future remains unclear. He could return to his roles with GreenEdge and the national team after Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority (ASADA) and the other relevant authorities finalise their investigations.
"I am aware my name has been mentioned during talks that USADA has had with former team mates of mine in their investigation regarding doping activities at the US Postal Service team," White said in a statement.
"I am sad to say that I was part of a team where doping formed part of the team's strategy, and I too was involved in that strategy. My involvement is something I am not proud of and I sincerely apologise to my fans, media, family and friends who trusted me and also to other athletes in my era that consciously chose not to dope."
White rode for US Postal from 2001 until 2003. He then spent two season at Cofidis before re-signing for Johan Bruyneel at the Discovery Team. In 2008 he swapped his bike for a team car, joining Garmin-Slipstream's management. However after two years of success he was shown the door in 2011 after it was revealed that he sent Garmin's Trent Lowe to to the former US postal team physician Luis del Moral at the Sports Institute of Valencia, Spain in April 2009. The...
Schleck prefers not to comment on departed manager
The morning after the night before for RadioShack-Nissan. It was already close to midnight on Friday when news of the team's decision to part company with manager Johan Bruyneel broke in China, but by the start of the final stage of the Tour of Beijing on Saturday morning, the reaction of RadioShack’s riders had already been coordinated – no comment.
Andy Schleck was widely rumoured to have had a distant rapport with Bruyneel since he took over the reins following the merger of RadioShack and Leopard Trek last winter, but in the shadow of Changping stadium on Saturday, he was carefully holding his counsel.
“I am in China for the Tour of Beijing, I’m not going to talk about Johan Bruyneel,” said Schleck.
The sheer weight of evidence against Bruyneel in USADA’s reasoned decision on the Lance Armstrong case, released on Wednesday, made his position at the team untenable, even if the Belgian claimed that he had “stepped back from his activities to concentrate on his defence.” The 1,000-page dossier features testimony from 26 individuals as well as documentary evidence that points to a systematic doping programme at Bruyneel’s former US Postal Service team.
Sitting outside the team van, Daniele Bennati told Cyclingnews that RadioShack-Nissan’s riders in Beijing had agreed not to make any immediate comment on Bruyneel’s departure.
“We said that we wouldn’t make any comment about the matter,” he explained. “Of course, there was a bit of apprehension. I think that’s normal, but we can’t make any comment about it because they are old stories that...
USADA report “makes you feel sick”
In the year of years for British cycling, the men in black of Team Sky have tended to dominate the column inches. But while the limelight may have focused largely on the achievements of Messrs. Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish, another Briton has been quietly putting together a solid campaign of his own – Steve Cummings of BMC.
Already a stage winner at the Vuelta a España, Cummings brought the curtain down on his campaign a the Tour of Beijing, and he capitalised on his rich vein of form by out-pacing Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) to take victory in the final stage in Pinggu on Saturday.
After two seasons at Team Sky, Cummings joined BMC at the beginning of 2012, and he acknowledged that he had felt a discernible difference in tone at his new team.
“I think there’s a difference,” Cumming told Cyclingnews in Pinggu. “BMC is less like a business and more like a family. If you go through a difficult moment, they’re quite understanding and they’re very supportive. It’s not just like cutthroat like Sky maybe.”
An Olympic medallist on the track for Great Britain, the Wirral native seemed like a natural fit for Team Sky when it formed in 2010. After beginning 2011 with a fine stage victory at the Volta ao Algarve, however, Cummings contracted pneumonia in April, and when his contract expired at the end of last season, he left the British squad to move to BMC.
A fractured pelvis at this year’s Volta ao Algarve threatened to derail Cummings’ season before it had really began, but when July came around, he was part of the BMC selection for the Tour de France.
“They always stuck by me and they kept giving me a good race programme,”...
“Not fair to say it's a dirty sport”
Mark Cavendish defended pro cycling, saying, “It's not fair to say it's a dirty sport.” It is time for the public to realize that the sport has moved on and is far more than its past doping stories, the former world champion said.
"Everyone knows what cycling was like in the past, and now cycling is getting tarnished again because of the past. If you put the time, effort and money into catching the cheats then you will do it. Cycling does that and cycling brings up stuff from the past to do it,” he told Sky News.
Cycling is now moving forward, “but (some) people won't let it because there are cynics and people with closed minds and there is going to be stuff which comes up from the past.
"It's not fair to tarnish the riders who are doing it now with a brush they don't deserve to be tarnished."
The Sky rider also praised the cycling community for its anti-doping work. "If you put the time, effort and money into catching the cheats then you will do it. Cycling does that and cycling brings up stuff from the past to do it.”
This shows “they wanted things to change and they still want to things to be better in the future,” Cavendish said
USADA documents under review
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working its way through the evidence supplied to the UCI by USADA in order to make a decision over whether to strip Lance Armstrong of his bronze medal from the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
Armstrong finished third in the individual time trial behind Russia's Viatcheslav Ekimov and Germany's Jan Ullrich.
When USADA handed Armstrong a lifetime ban on August 24 this year, the American was disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 1998, despite the eight-year statute of limitations.
"The IOC is aware of the USADA report and is currently studying it with all the corresponding documentation," a spokesman said in a release to AFP.
"It would be premature at this stage to say if the IOC envisages taking any steps. If we find proof that justifies the opening of disciplinary procedures, we will of course act as a result."
Ullrich walked away from the Sydney Olympics with a gold medal from the men's road race as well as his silver medal from the time trial and following an investigation by the IOC, was allowed to keep his medals due to a lack of evidence.
Former Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton handed back the gold medal he earned in the 2004 Olympic Games time trial after his doping confession in 2011. This year, those medals were reassigned with Ekimov promoted to gold, silver to Bobby Julich (USA) and bronze to Michael Rogers (Australia).
Canadian supports Zabriskie, Vande Velde and Danielson
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) brought his 2012 season to an end with an aggressive showing on the final stage of the Tour of Beijing. The Canadian was out-sprinted for stage honours by Steve Cummings (BMC) after bridging to the early break and then attacking on the final climb to Si Zuo Lou.
Hesjedal's Garmin-Sharp teammate Dan Martin was lying third overall as the day began, and many were anticipating that the Irishman would be the man to ask the most telling questions of red jersey Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), but instead it was Hesjedal (who started the stage 1:30 back) who seized the initiative.
"Today I was 100 percent focused on the general classification, and I believed it was possible to win until we crossed the first line," Hesjedal said afterwards. "Perhaps if the race had finished in a top of a mountain I would have won, but I have no regrets about the final sprint. With the peloton chasing behind and the prospect of winning GC we had to go full gas and not hesitate."
The racing in Beijing was, of course, overshadowed by the release of USADA's reasoned decision on the Lance Armstrong case during the week. The 1,000 page dossier provides explicit details of a systematic doping programme at the US Postal Service team, and features evidence from 26 individuals.
Three of Hesjedal's current Garmin-Sharp teammates - David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson - were among those to provide evidence. After confessing to doping during their time at US Postal, the trio face six-month suspensions.
Asked by Cyclingnews for his reaction at the start in Changping on Saturday, Hesjedal - who began his own full-time road career at US Postal in 2004 - limited himself to...