Omega Pharma-Lotto rider may not have to miss out on Tour de France
Mario Aerts will undergo cardiac surgery next Wednesday, April 27, one month sooner than originally scheduled. The Omega Pharma-Lotto rider, who hopes to cure his cardiac arrythmia with the surgery, initially planned to have the operation carried out on May 24 - but this meant that any chances of riding the Tour de France this year would be doomed.
Now, if the surgery goes well and his problems are solved, Aerts hopes to make it into the Tour squad after all. One week after the operation, he will be able to start training again. "It will still be tight to take him to the Tour, but it's not impossible," team doctor Jan Mathieu told Het Nieuwsblad.
Italian newspaper suggests the case is more about illegal payments than doping
Thursday's edition of the Gazzetta dello Sporthas revealed more information concerning the ongoing investigation into infamous sports doctor Michele Ferrari and his possible links to Lance Armstrong and allegations of doping during the years of the US Postal Service cycling team.
The new details are revealed in a special column called 'Dietro la notizia' –'Inside the news' of the cycling section of the paper. Chief cycling reporter Luca Gialanella suggests the investigation headed by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and special agent Jeff Novitzky has evolved from a doping investigation into a financial investigation. Police have now looking into the illegal transfer of millions of Euro and dollars around the world to Dr Ferrari's Swiss bank account.
Possible charges could include money laundering, tax avoidance, conspiracy and fraud.
Ferrari lives in the Italian town of Ferrara, on the plains of the river Po, between Bologna and Venice, but has been banned from working with UCI licence holders in Italy. He is known to work out of St Moritz, especially during the summer, when riders head to the Swiss resort for altitude training.
The Italian part of the investigation is lead by Padova magistrate Benedetto Roberti. The US-based investigators apparently knew little of the relationship between Dr Ferrari and Armstrong when they first met with European investigators last July at the Interpol headquarters in Lyon France. However things changed quickly as the investigation developed.
Gazzetta suggests the recent police search of Michele Scarponi on Mount Etna and the seizing of medical records and contracts of five riders at the Katusha offices near Lake Garda was only a...
Euskaltel-Euskadi hopeful Romain Sicard has been set back in his 2011 build-up by ongoing knee problems, and has now been ordered to rest for one month.
The 2009 U23 world champion has been suffering from pain in his knees since early in the season. According to his team, the Frenchman changed his cycling shoes in the beginning of 2011, which is understood as the reason for his problems.
In the hope to heal the affected knee tissue, Euskaltel-Euskadi announced on Wednesday that Sicard would rest a few days and come back to racing only in "approximately one month".
Speaking before La Flèche Wallonne, where he came 13th, he told Cyclingnews how his problems came at the hardest point in the race, but since then he’s had a great couple of days, and is back on track for Sunday’s Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
His three favourites for the race are Omega-Pharma Lotto’s Philippe Gilbert, who Hesjedal says “really wants it”, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) – although he says the level is very high across the board, so there are a number of riders who can win.
The Dutch rider hopes teammate Van Vleuten will take the jersey in China
After winning two rounds of the UCI World Cup in five days, Marianne Vos has overtaken her Nederland Bloeit teammate, Annemiek van Vleuten, to claim the World Cup leader’s jersey for the first time this year. The 23-year-old Dutch woman has won the World Cup three times, but the rigours of her 2011 season means winning it for a fourth time is not part of her plans this year.
Vos has been successfully balancing ambitions across three cycling disciplines, and has already won the 2011 World Championship titles in cyclo-cross and in the scratch race on the track. However, this has meant she has not stopped racing since December 2010, and so will miss the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in China next month.
“From the cyclo-cross season, I went to the track season, and straight to the Classics, so I have to take a break somewhere! And that’s a shame, but otherwise I won’t be in shape at the [Road] Worlds,” she told the press conference after winning the Flèche Wallonne yesterday.
Like all the riders with track and road ambitions, Vos had to miss the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the first World Cup race of the season, due to the overlap with the Track World Championships at the end of March. She rode and won the Park Hotel Rooding Hill Classic on the day after she won her scratch title, and a week later came third in the Women’s Tour of Flanders, the second World Cup in the season.
This week has been a particular highlight for her – on Saturday she won her first Ronde van Drenthe, the Dutch round of the World Cup, and yesterday she became the first rider to win the Flèche Wallonne Féminine four times.
But although she won’t be riding the next World Cup, she hopes to keep the leader’s jersey within the team.
“I hope Annemiek takes it next time in China. I won’t be there, that’s a shame, of course,” she said. ...
His 2010 season started badly, when he was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia, and he was initially refused a racing licence because of his health issues. But the enforced time away from racing has made the 33-year-old Frenchman re-connect with his love of the sport.
“I’ve had a hard time”, Vogondy said. “For three months, until I was allowed to race again, I realised how much I love this sport. I got the green light in March 2010. Every year I have to undergo tests to check if everything is fine, but now I’m more focused on my cycling than I was before. I love my job even more now.”
He was able to return to racing in April 2010, and won a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné and the French National Time Trial Champion’s jersey. Entering his fifteenth season as a professional cyclist, he’s looking forward to the challenge of a race that will be new to him.
Last year David Moncoutié finished third overall in the Tour of Turkey for Cofidis, behind Tejay Van Garderen and race winner Giovanni Visconti, and although Moncoutié will be riding Liège-Bastogne-Liège rather than Turkey this year, he’s shared his enthusiasm for the Tour with his teammate.
“David told me a lot about the Tour of Turkey”, Vogondy said. “He hesitated a lot until he decided to not come back this year. He told me that he appreciated this race, the good organisation, the nice weather, the great landscapes, the comfortable...
Coastal stage 5 route to be decided by end of April
Amgen Tour of California organiser AEG will make a decision on the final route of stage 5 by the end of this month after winter storms caused landslides along the coastal highway. Portions of the road on the planned route from Seaside to Paso Robles are still closed due to a road collapse north of the famed Bixby Bridge and a landslide 45 miles to the south.
AEG president Andrew Messick would not reveal any information about possible detours should the state's transportation agency, Caltrans, not complete work to re-open the road by the May 19 stage, but said a decision would be made on the final route soon.
"We have several alternative routes between Seaside and Paso Robles," Messick said. "Together with Caltrans we will make a decision by month's end."
The California State Highway 1 is famous for its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The road hugs steep cliffs as it undulates along the coast for nearly the entire length of the state.
However, just what makes the scenic route such a popular destination for tourists and cyclists alike also makes it susceptible to winter weather.
On March 16, heavy rains destabilized the cliffs and caused a portion of the southbound lanes 20 miles into the planned route to collapse toward the ocean.
On March 27, a landslide near Gorda blocked the highway 45 miles to the south, and work was just nearly complete to re-open the stretch when, on April 16, another, larger landslide buried the road.
Now the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that Caltrans estimates completely reopening the highway will take "at least a month" - this less than one month before the planned stage.
Already the longest stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, the 223.6km planned route leaves little room for detours that would lengthen the stage, and there are few roads along the coast which could be used to skirt the...