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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 13, 2012

Date published:
December 13, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • European Broadcasting Union says interest in cycling is growing

    The Amstel Gold Race is made up of 31 climbs
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 9:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Deal extended for Amstel Gold Race, Flanders and Dauphiné

    The European Broadcasting Union appears undeterred by the recent doping revelations which have dominated cycling in 2012, announcing that it has extended its deal to provide coverage of the Amstel Gold Race until 2016, according to the Associated Press.

    The move follows similar deals for the Tour of Flanders and the Critérium du Dauphiné in recent weeks.

    The EBU is working with race organisers and broadcast networks to lobby the UCI to change the way the sport is presented. It comes at the same time that groups such as World Series Cycling suggest a more structured format to the racing season.

    "We are pushing our partners in this direction," Stefan Kuerten, the EBU director of sports and business told the Associated Press. "No one is accepting smoke-screens and that [they] are doing it just for the camera for the next couple of weeks and months."

    Kuerten explained that despite cycling's issues, there is still substantial interest and potential for growth.

    "Most of us and others are believing that cycling is on the way ... to being a proper sport again without having any problems with doping."


  • UCI announces independent audit of federation

    UCI President Pat McQuaid tried to defend the UCI's record on doping
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 10:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Divides Stakeholder Consultation exercises into four categories

    The UCI has said that it has engaged an international auditing firm to review the international federation, separate from the Independent Commission looking into the USADA's report on Lance Armstrong. The UCI also announced the four topics which the Stakeholders Commission will consider.

    The international auditing firm KPMG, a Dutch firm which is one of the Big Four auditors, will “carry out a review of the governance of the UCI, as well as that of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), reporting back in time for its findings to be debated in the consultation process,” the UCI said in a press statement Thursday.

    “The consultation, looking at cycling’s future, will be entirely separate from the Independent Commission, which is tasked to review fully all the issues contained in the USADA report on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service Team.”

    In addition, the UCI announced the discussion topics for the Stakeholders, divided into four “pillars”: globalisation; anti-doping; riders; and the sports calendar. “In addition, governance issues will be considered in all four pillars.”

    “We saw this year at the Olympic Games in London that cycling is one of the world’s most popular sports, both for participants and spectators, and it has a bright future,” said UCI president Pat McQuaid.  “We want to make it an even more popular sport. This is what the consultation exercise will focus on.”

    The stakeholders were consulted as to the topics to be discussed. “We listened to their feedback and have ensured that all their priority issues were included as topics for discussion. We must all work together to recover from the damage which the Armstrong...

  • UCI announces discussion topics for Stakeholder Consultation

    The UCI
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 11:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Globalisation, anti-doping, riders and sports calendars on the agenda

    The UCI has announced the four “pillars” for its Stakeholder Consultation: globalisation, anti-doping, riders and sports calendars. It has listed specific topics to be discussed for each pillar, in an announcement sent to all stakeholders on Thursday. Further logistical details as to the consultation will be released early next month.

    The first pillar is globalisation, with the objective being that “Cycling must benefit from its universal nature. In addition to being socially responsible, cycling must also ensure it is keeping up with the global evolution of sport in society.”

    Topics will include: how cycling can engage better with women; how to identify demographic and territorial trends and opportunities in cycling (eg, growth of youth interest); taking cycling to new countries, while maintaining high standards of events; making cycling accessible to all; how to reinforce cycling’s role in the Olympic and Paralympic Games; how cycling can integrate with and enhance green tourism; development of small urban cycling structures (eg. BMX parks) to encourage healthy youth activities; and environmental priorities for event management.

    Anti-doping is the second pillar, with this objective: “cycling must create an athlete ‘eco-system’ with a favourable economic, social, training and cultural environment that will eliminate doping from the sport.”

    The topics include: the severity of doping sanctions, both for riders and their entourage; anti-doping education for riders and their entourage; developing incentives for good practice; the independence of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, its tools and methods; amnesty and whistle-blowing; how to identify risk situations; gathering of tips,...

  • Contador and UCI reach settlement on Clenbuterol doping case fine

    'El Pistolero' Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) fires again in the 2012 Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 11:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    CAS officially closes arbitration

    Alberto Contador's doping-related case before the Court of Arbitraiton for Sport has now been closed. The CAS said that Contador and the UCI had reached a private settlement on the proposed fine and has therefore “officially terminated the arbitraiton.”

    Contador was given a two-year back-dated suspension for his positive doping control for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. He returned to racing in August of this year and subsequently won the Vuelta a Espana.

    When it issued its decision in February finding Contador guilty of a doping violation, the CAS said that it would rule later on the UCI's request to impose a fine, said to be 2.4 million Euros, on the rider.

    In a statement issued today, the court said that “However, the CAS has been informed of an amicable settlement between the UCI and A.Contador regarding this issue and has officially terminated the arbitration.”

    Details of the settlement were not released.

    Earlier in the week it was reported that Contador must pay 37,500 Euros in court costs for the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency.

  • Rabobank confirmed as Blanco Pro Cycling Team in 2013

    Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema and Lars Boom model the new Blanco kit
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 12:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Plugge to take over from Knebel as team director

    It has been confirmed that Rabobank will be known as Blanco Pro Cycling Team in 2013, and the Dutch squad will have one year in which to find a title sponsor in order to remain in the sport. Rabobank announced its withdrawal from sponsorship in October but has guaranteed funding for the team through to the end of 2013.

    Giant will continue as bicycle supplier and as a sub-sponsor, and will also continue to support the women’s, continental and off-road teams.

    Blanco Pro Cycling Team’s new kit will be unveiled in Fuerteventura on Thursday evening, but ahead of that presentation, the squad has released details of a number of changes to its management structure.

    Harold Knebel of Rabobank, who took over as team director in 2008, will step down from his position on December 31, coinciding with Rabobank’s formal withdrawal from sponsorship. Richard Plugge, who is currently communication manager, will take over Knebel’s position as director.

    Rabobank will retain a representative (Rob Boumans) on the two-man board of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team management company, albeit “to ensure only the financial settlement of the contractual obligations of Rabobank.”

    The women’s team, led by Marianne Vos, will continue as Rabobank Liv / Giant Team, but will now be managed by its own independent foundation, established by Vos herself. Rabobank will initially have two members on the board (Knebel and Heleen Crielaard) “to achieve a smooth transition.” Tom Davies of Giant will be the third board member.

    Rabobank will continue to support the Continental team until at least 2016, but it will be managed by a new foundation established by the Dutch Cycling Federation. The squad will be known as Rabobank Development Team.

    The mountain bike team will also continue in 2013 under the Giant Offroad Team banner,...

  • New Spanish race series under discussion

    Volta a Catalunya leader Michael Albasini (GreenEdge) can add a new trophy to his collection.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 12:57 GMT
    Pete Cossins

    Cofidis-backed scheme envisages series featuring all Spanish races bar the Vuelta

    Spanish race organisers are currently mulling over a proposal to group all of the country’s events apart from the Vuelta a España into a new race series backed by French credit company Cofidis. The offer has come from the president of the Spanish riders’ association (ACP), José Javier ‘Pipe’ Gómez, who has said that races that join the series would have the costs of dope controls covered, saving them €2,400 a day.

    Speaking to El País, Gómez described the proposal as “our contribution to cycling and the battle against doping”. He explained that the Liga de Ciclismo Cofidis would be managed by a foundation (La Fundación Coequipier-Compañero de Equipo) established under the auspices of Spain’s Ministry of Education that is designed to promote bicycle use, road safety and respect for the environment.

    Gómez has been working on the project with former ACP president José Rodríguez, who is now a lawyer who specialises in defending athletes accused of doping. Gómez told El País that they have found a number of sponsors in addition to Cofidis and will also receive backing from Spain’s sports’ council. He also said that Vuelta director Javier Guillén “supports the project”, even though Spain’s national tour would not be part of it.

    The series could comprise as many as 17 races including the Tours of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalucía, Murcia and Castilla y León, as well as one-day events such as San Sebastián, Amorebieta, Ordizia and Getxo. There would be two classifications: for best rider and best team.

    Although the race organisers have made it clear that they want to put their events on a firmer footing, they have expressed doubts about Gómez’s proposal. According to Castilla y León organiser and recently elected...

  • Wiggins wants to go for Tour de France title again

    2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins celebrates on the Champs-Élysées with his son.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 13:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    But Sky rider says he will support whatever the team strategy

    Bradley Wiggins has decided to go for another win in the Tour de France in 2013. Earlier the Team Sky rider – and his team principal – had said that Wiggins would probably support teammate Christopher Froome in the race.

    "I'm probably going to try and win a second Tour de France, so I don't know, maybe we'll have two leaders," Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 live. "My goal is to win the Tour next year. Whether that is realised or not, I don't know really.”

    In October, Wiggins said that “more than likely” he would support Froome in the race, rather than going for the win himself. The 2013 Tour course features fewer time trial kilometers and more tough climbs, which would favour Froome.

    Team principal Dave Brailsford said last month that the Giro d'Italia “would be a very good target for Bradley and leave Froomy then to focus on the Tour de France,” but he added that the plans had not yet been “completely signed off.”

    How Wiggins' decision to go for a repeat title will affect the team, “I don't know - it's more Dave's problem, really, to worry about.

    "It's just how we service both mouths - that's more the problem to figure out."

    However, if Froome should prove to be stronger during the Tour, Wiggins said he would have no problem being a support rider. "Whatever the team strategy is, I'll support that, otherwise you don't take the start line because there will be someone else who is willing to fulfil that job," he said. "It's a case of doing what's asked of you on the day, whatever that decision is."

    During this year's Tour de France, Froome often...

  • Opinion: The dubious gift of Gifted

    Cycling News HD issue 33
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 14:55 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    In this week's issue of Cycling News HD, Daniel Friebe looks at the World Series Cycling proposal…

    It took me a while but now I've realized: they're right - the cycling calendar needs reforming. Above all it needs lengthening. If, say, we could string it out with a fourth Grand Tour in December, let's call it the Yuletide Tour, maybe we'd have a bit more cycling season and a bit less silly season. And maybe we wouldn't have to put up with some of the nonsense we've heard spouted over the last couple of weeks.

    At least Change Cycling Now's cause was good, even if some of the execution wasn't terribly. And at least there was some serious grey matter in the room when they assembled in London a fortnight ago, as well as a regrettable amount of grey area. Say what you like about Paul Kimmage, David Walsh, Greg LeMond et al; they do care - about cycling and its real values, we mean, and not this chimerical notion of "growing the sport", which is marketing men's speak for getting rich quick and sodding the consequences.

    Which of course brings us to the Gifted Group and World Series Cycling. Now let's just ignore the disastrous precedents for a moment (although, frankly, if they knew anything about what happened in cricket at the end of the 1970s, they would have chosen a different name), and ask ourselves at what juncture in the last decade did we decide that what was really holding cycling back was its calendar. That what it needed was a globe-spanning series of 10 four-day "Grand Prix" to sit alongside the Grand Tours. Anyone? Anyone at all? Nah, as I thought.

    There are other issues with the proposal. Many of them. But they all lead back to the same point: that the men behind the project are missing the point about what cycling needs and what cycling currently is.

    Yes, the cycling calendar has always evolved, but while you can lead a...