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Second Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 26, 2012

Date published:
August 26, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Leipheimer makes bid for repeat victory at USA Pro Challenge

    New USA Pro Challenge leader Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) is flanked by Alison Tetrick Starnes and Patrick Dempsey.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 7:12 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep captain earns yellow jersey on Flagstaff

    While the top three places on the penultimate USA Pro Challenge stage, finishing on the iconic Boulder ascent of Flagstaff Mountain, were comprised of the survivors of the early, day-long breakaway, the fourth place finisher, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) wrested the leader's jersey from young rival Tejay van Garderen (BMC) on a race for the ages in Colorado.

    After opening his 2012 season at Argentina's Tour de San Luis with a time trial stage win and overall victory in January, Leipheimer's steady early season was interrupted by a fibula fracture in his left leg after being struck by a car in Spain one day prior to the April 2 start of Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.

    Leipheimer returned to competition in May at the Amgen Tour of California, where he finished sixth overall, followed by a podium finish at the Tour de Suisse in June. Leipheimer experienced a lackluster Tour de France, finishing 32nd overall, but parlayed his Grand Tour fitness into a resounding victory in the final stage of the Tour of Utah eight days prior to the USA Pro Challenge.

    The 38-year-old American arrived as the defending champion and has ridden a tactically astute race throughout the first five days, arriving in what has been considered the seven-day Colorado stage race's pivotal stage to Boulder's Flagstaff Mountain just eight seconds off the lead of van Garderen.

    Biding his time in the peloton until the crucial 5.5km ascent to Sunrise...

  • Larsson applauds Armstrong decision

    2012 Swedish time trial gold medalist Gustav Larsson is now a five-time national champion against the clock.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 10:04 BST
    Cycling News

    “Obvious” that American doped, Vacansoleil rider says

    There is no doubt in Gustav Larsson's mind.  “It is quite obvious that Armstrong has doped,” he told a Swedish newspaper. Last week Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban, after he decline to challenge doping charges brought against him by the USADA.

    “I do not think there is anyone in the cycling world to believe that he has been clean throughout their careers,” Larsson,who rides for Vacansoleil-DCM, told

    “The mid-90's were a dark period in the sport of cycling. But it is good that it is taken care of and that things are punished in the end. The message must go out and we have to work for a clean future,” he said.

    The Swedish rider, 31, is one of the few in the peloton to take this position.  Most of those involved in cycling who have spoken out have either continued to support Armstrong, such as Eddy Merckx and his son Axel.

  • Report: Armstrong hotel search cancelled in 2005

    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 10:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Police ordered to halt operation, says Montbrial

    A planned police search of Lance Armstrong’s Discovery Channel team hotel during the 2005 Tour de France was called off at the last minute, according to a report in the Journal du dimanche newspaper.

    The lawyer Thibault de Montbrial, who represented L.A. Confidentiel authors David Walsh and Pierre Ballester on its publication in 2005, said that French investigators were primed to raid the Discovery Channel hotel in Pau in search of evidence of doping when their operation was cancelled at the last minute.

    “I know that during the 2005 Tour de France on the second rest day at Pau, the US Postal team [sic] was a hair’s breadth away from a search of its hotel,” Montbrial told Journal du dimanche. “A French investigation team came from Paris to carry out a search. But I know from a very good source that at around 5 o’clock, when they were in front of the hotel, the investigators were given the red light.

    “I don’t know who gave this order but I know that the investigators were furious that they had to pull back. On that evidence, Lance Armstrong was well protected in France.”

    Armstrong retired from cycling for the first time at the conclusion of that year’s Tour de France, after wearing yellow into Paris for the seventh successive year.

    On Thursday, Armstrong announced that he would not be contesting charges of doping and conspiracy levelled against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Consequently, Armstrong has been handed a lifetime ban and is set to be stripped of all results obtained from August 1, 1998.

  • Riis thought Contador had the win

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on the attack at the end of stage 8
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 11:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank rider satisfied despite third-place finish

    Bjarne Riis was ready to celebrate Alberto Contador's stage win Saturday atop the Collada da la Gallina on stage eight of the Vuelta a España, but the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider was passed in the final meters and wound up in third place. The team and the rider remained optimistic for the rest of the race, however.

    Contador attacked in the final 500 meters and looked almost certain to win. But Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) caught and passed him with only meters to go. Sky's Chris Froome, who is still in second place overall, was unable to go with the Spaniards in the finale.

    “When he opened the gap, I thought, he will take it home. But Rodriguez and Valverde were strong. Too bad he could not take it in the end,” Riis told TV2 Sport.

    Directeur Sportif Bradley McGee was satisfied with his rider's performance. “It was a very positive day for us. I think Alberto demonstrated great power and the distance he created to Froome on the final kilometer today was extremely encouraging,” he said on the team's website.

    “Alberto was literally caught in the final meters. Of course, a stage win would have been terrific but this was a demonstration from Alberto saying, 'I'm here to win.'”

    Contador said that “Of course, I would have loved to have won but sometimes you can and sometimes you can't. That's cycling.”

    Nonetheless, he was pleased with his performance. “We distanced Froome a bit and I was feeling a little stronger just as I had hoped. I wasn't feeling super but it was a good punch. If I can continue to progress like this I'll be...

  • Savoldelli: Armstrong made enemies

    Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery)
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 12:17 BST
    Cycling News

    "What will we do with Coppi, Bartali or Merckx?”

    Lance Armstrong’s former teammate Paolo Savoldelli has questioned the US Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to strip the American of his seven Tour de France titles after he opted not to contest charges of doping and conspiracy. Savoldelli raced with Armstrong at Discovery Channel in 2005, winning the Giro d’Italia and then riding in support of the Texan at the Tour de France.

    Although Savoldelli admitted that he “would not put his hand in the fire for anybody, not even Lance,” he was critical of the USADA case.

    “I think that it’s been propelled by political motives and I don’t think they’ll succeed in taking everything off him, as it goes against the principle of the statute of limitations, which is eight years,” Savoldelli told Corriere della Sera.

    It was put to Savoldelli that USADA is sending out a strong message in stripping Armstrong of his titles, demonstrating that nobody is unimpeachable.

    “Yes, it’s true but going back 14 years doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Savoldelli said. “What will we do with Coppi, Bartali or Merckx?”

    Even though the federal investigation into Armstrong and US Postal, which ended in February, was focused on uncovering specific instances of federal fraud rather than more general acts of doping, Savoldelli nonetheless attempted to draw parallels with the USADA case.

    “It seems that the federal investigation came to nothing and American justice doesn’t go in lightly on things like that. The federal investigator Novitzky was the bulldog of the Balco case. For this reason, the...

  • Rabobank happy with three in the top ten at the Vuelta

    Dutch star Robert Gesink is a past Tour of California stage winner.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 12:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Gesink, Ten Dam and Mollema flying the Dutch colours

    Rabobank has taken over the lead in the team ranking at the Vuelta a España, with three riders in the top ten of the GC.  Robert Gesink is fifth overall, with Laurens Ten Dam ninth and Bauke Mollema tenth.

    Gesink actually fell from fourth place, after dropping of in the final five km of the mountaintop finish stage on Saturday, but he was still satisfied. "I feel good,” he said on the team's website.  “I had good legs. And it's nice to know that I can do well in this field.”

    His directeur sportif, Adrie van Houwelingen, agreed. “Robert said that his would be comeback year. In other words, it would take some time.  But he is at a good level.”

    The Dutch rider suffered a broken leg in a training crash last September, and has found the return to top form more difficult than expected.

    The team's co-captain, Mollema, did not do so well on Saturday.  “Bauke did lose more time than we had hoped, but in the end it was not so dramatic,” Van Houwelingen said.  “Knowing Bauke, he will work his way up again. Plus, now might be a chance for him to go for a stage win.”

    Ten Dam is the suprise of the team, and he is amongst those amazed at his performance. “Being here in the top ten after four mountaintop finishes surprised me a bit,” he admitted. “I'm in good form. After the Tour I rode ten criteriums in eleven days. That's a lot, but I've taken care of myself.”

  • Barcelona receives first Vuelta a España visit for 13 years

    The stunning Barcelona architecture was unfortunately draped in a grey shroud of heavy rain.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 13:54 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Race back after riders’ strike blighted relationship in 1999

    Barcelona is one of Spain’s most important cities, but for 13 years the Vuelta a España has failed to visit it. Why? A riders’ strike back in 1999, protesting over dangerous race conditions, caused what had been a good relationship to cool enormously – and for over a decade Barcelona has not received the race.

    Back on stage 14 of the 1999 Vuetla, there was a start and finish in the city, with the riders due to race several laps of the Montjuic Park circuit in Barcelona. But as the heavy showers continued, making the roads a skating rink, a strike led by Manolo Saiz’s ONCE team, combined with another now-defunct team, Vitalicio Seguros, led to a mass go-slow.

    “Heavy rain overnight led the organisers to shorten the stage from 135 km to just 94 km, taking out the famed Montjuic hill, because of fears about the dangerous conditions,” says the Cyclingnews report from the 1999 race.

    “A riders’ protest, instigated by Banesto rider Leonardo Piepoli, had attempted to get the stage cancelled or not counted in the overall standings, failed in these aims but did persuade race officials to reduce the distance, and delayed the start by 36 mins.” The race leader, one Jan Ullrich, limited himself to stating the blindingly obvious - not for the first time in his career - saying that the conditions “had been the same for everybody.”

    Fabio Roscioli, famous for being one of the few riders who wore glasses rather than contact lenses, finally broke away to claim the stage. But the lack of racing during the stage meant the Vuelta’s relationship with the capital of Catalunya was seriously damaged.

    Although the Volta a Catalunya’s last stage regularly finishes in Barcelona, the last Grand Tour to visit the city was...

  • Boaro with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank another three years

    Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    August 26, 2012, 15:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian time triallist “really happy” to have future sorted out

    Manuele Boaro has extended his contract with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank for another three years, the team announced on Sunday. The time trial specialist first joined the Danish team in 2011.

    This season the 25-year-old finished second in the Circuit de la Sarthe time trial and finished second overall. He was also fourth in the Giro d'Italia first stage time trial.

    "Manuele is an exciting rider, and especially this year he has shown on a number of occasions that he is capable of doing excellent time trials. Yet I still see a great potential for improvements for him, so I'm happy that we have now worked out a deal to continue our work," said team owner Bjarne Riis on the team's website.

    Boaro returned that sentiment. "I'm really happy that I can continue my development on Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank and that I have sorted my future out for the years to come. I feel I have become a much better bike rider since joining the team and started working with Bjarne and his sport directors, and I simply like the atmosphere here thanks to great team mates and great staff,” he said.