- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 05:09
- Cycling News
No comment from Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency
Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) spent several hours in front of the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency (ALAD) on Wednesday night.
Schleck tested postiive for the diuretic Xipamide at the Tour de France in July. Schleck voluntarily withdrew from the Tour and did not race again the rest of the season. He recently attended the RadioShack-Nissan team building session and has always denied knowingly taking the drug.
Schleck first has appeared before the Disciplinary Committee of the Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency ALAD on August 29. Another hearing then took place on October 15. A month later, Dr. Anik Sax of the ALAD Board of Directors said that the organisation was waiting for a decision from the disciplinary committee.
"I explained myself again that I was not at fault," Schleck told AFP following the two hour hearing on Wednesday evening. "The investigation is continuing but it's not over."
No statement was given after the hearing by the ALAD.
- Tour de France
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 06:18
- Cycling News
Sky-dominated race tops the tally ahead of Giro and Vuelta
This year's Tour de France has been voted the Best Stage Race of 2012 in the Cyclingnews Reader Poll. It's the tenth time the French grand tour has been awarded the top spot. In second place was the Giro d'Italia, won by the Canadian Ryder Hesjedal while the dramatic win by Alberto Contador at the Vuelta a España earned the third-best race of the year.
In what was a historic moment for Great Britain and the Sky Professional team, Bradley Wiggins rolled into Paris in the Maillot Jaune and celebrated his victory by guiding his loyal Sky teammate Mark Cavendish to his fourth win on the Champs-Élysées.
Wiggins became the first Briton to win the overall classification at La Grande Boucle while his Sky team captured second spot on the podium via Chris Froome and six stage wins courtesy of Wiggins (two), Cavendish (three) and Froome (one). Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) finished in third place and appeared to be the sole rider capable of rattling the Sky team.
"I've got to get used to going into the history books now, but I'm just trying to take everything in today first. It's very surreal at the moment because this type of things [usually] happens to other people. You never imagine it happening to yourself," said Wiggins.
"It's an incredible achievement for the team. Four years ago we said we were setting out to win the Tour, but we haven't just done that, we've got second place as well and a handful of stages. Seven stages have been won by British guys this year so that's one in three - not a bad stat."
It may have appeared, at times, to be overly predicable as the Sky-lead bunch continued to unhitch general classification contenders throughout the three weeks but it was more than just a ‘Sky Show'. The race may have lacked the suspense and excitement of last year's race won by Cadel Evans however, this year's edition served up plenty of drama, disappointment and elation.
Fabian Cancellara was the rider of the first week. The RadioShack-Nissan rider won the opening Prologue, putting the disappointment of crashing out of the Spring Classics behind him with a brilliant ride through Liège's 6.4km race against the clock. However, the real standout performance and sign of things to come was Wiggins who fell just seven seconds short of overhauling the former world time trial champion Cancellara.
Cancellara and his RadioShack-Nissan teammates defending the overall lead with valor throughout the treacherous first week. Crashes and nerves lead to numerous GC contenders with time to make up or were forced out of the race but the Swiss powerhouse would concede the lead only when the first GC showdown occurred. His time in the Yellow Jersey would end on Stage Seven as Wiggins took over the mantle. It was a position he would not relinquish at any point in the race.
At that point the 2011 winner Cadel Evans was still in contention but it soon became clear the defending champion was not at the same level as his previous attempt. Evans lost significant ground in the first big test on the Stage 9 time trial and with his younger teammate Tejay Van Garderen blitzing his leader and Evans losing nearly two minutes to Wiggins, a repeat win was essentially over.
While the GC was slowly becoming Sky-heavy, Peter Sagan proved his position as one of the world's best riders, in the sprints and tough finishes. Not only did the young Slovak take three stage wins before the first rest day but he was on a mission to capture the green jersey. His escape on Stage 14 from Limoux to Foix was incredible and gave a glimpse of what he is capable of achieving in the coming years.
The dynamic Europcar duo of Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland came into the race apparently not in the form to achieve a similar level of success as the previous year but they put on a show nonetheless. They both won a stage a piece and Voeckler fought bravely to win the King of the Mountains classification.
The French were also enjoying the emerging talent of Thibaut Pinot from the FDJ-Big Mat squad. His attacking nature was rewarded with a fine solo victory on Stage 8 while his countryman Pierrick Fédrigo took the fourth stage win for his country later in the Tour.
Many had expected the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde to be a major factor in the race but clearly his fitness was up to challenging for the overall after a extended period away from competition. The rider who had returned from a anti-doping suspension in January this year would pick up a stage and instead focus his energy on his home tour, the Vuelta - which finished third in the Reader Poll.
The final three stages belonged to the Sky team and while Wiggins' victory was arguably lacking in the panache demanded by the local crowd, he was a most deserving winner of the 99th edition.
||Tour de France
||Vuelta a España
||Amgen Tour of California
||USA Pro Cycling Challenge
||Critérium du Dauphiné
||Tour de Romandie
- Tour de France
- Giro d'Italia
- Vuelta a España
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 10:00
- Stephen Farrand
Spaniard awaits CAS verdict before any decision on changing teams
Joaquim Rodriguez was hailed as the team leader at the Katusha presentation in Brescia, as the Russian squad tried to put on a brave face and positive spin on their 2013 season despite the UCI refusing to give them WorldTour licence for ethical reasons.
Rodriguez is one of the smartest riders in the peloton and also tried to stay optimistic about his 2013 season when speaking to Cyclingnews. Yet his anger at the UCI and the Katusha team management was evident.
"We as riders aren't directly involved, it's a problem between the team and the UCI but we've had a lot to think about this week because Katusha has been left out of the WorldTour. They've told us the reasons why now but now were waiting for a more serious explanation from the team," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews.
"We're not worried because Katusha is a good team and we all focused on having a great season (in 2013). But at the same we're all a bit lost because we don't know what's going to happen."
Rodriguez told Gazzetta dello Sport that is agent Angel Edo has had several offers from other teams. But he insisted he will stay loyal to Katusha, at least until the Court for Arbitration for Sport overturns the UCI Licence Commission's decision and rules that the team deserves a WorldTour place.
"We're all free (to change teams) until the CAS decides something. I hope things don’t get drawn out too long. I'm 33 years old and I want to ride the best races in the world. I hope that Katusha can guarantee me those races. I feel part of this team, it's my team too in lots of ways," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews.
Rodriguez won Fleche-Wallonne, Il Lombardia and went close to victory in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta España in 2012. He will begin the 2013 season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina but Katusha will no longer ride the Tour Down Under and is scrambling to secure invitations to other races and redesign its 2013 calendar.
"I feel I deserve to be a WorldTour rider and that the team deserves its place in the WorldTour. It's irritating because I'd chosen a great 2013 calendar and was thinking of going for the Tour de France," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews.
"I was also looking forward to Tirreno-Adriatico, the Classics and the Tour of Romandie. I had a great 2012 and wanted to carry on doing well in the biggest races. I'm struggling to understand why the world's number one rider has to ask organisers if he can ride heir races."
"I don’t think we deserve to have to chase after wild card invitations all year. I hope a solution is found as soon as possible, that they tell is we're in the WorldTour or not."
The Katusha team's lawyers have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and submitted a second appeal on Thursday after the UCI issued the reasoned decision of the Licence Commission, revealing that several doping cases, a lack of internal control and an anti-doping culture were the principal reasons why the team as refused a licence for 2013.
An interim verdict is expected on January 10, which could allow Katusha to be part of the WorldTour until a final verdict is reached. However it seems the UCI is ready to defend its decision with determination and so the legal battle could drag on for months.
"For sure the UCI has their reasons and the team will try and appeal but I don't think it's such a serious problem that it can't be overcome," Rodriguez said.
"If there's a problem, the UCI has to say what it is and Katusha has to sort it out. It might be hard but we're all one family and we’ll sort it out. I just want to know what races we can do because I've got to know about my future."
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 10:49
- Cycling News
ASO marks 100th edition by feting the "Giants of the Tour"
As part of celebrations to mark the 100th edition of the Tour de France, race organisers ASO are set to invite every rider who has ever finished the Tour to the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in 2013.
2,060 of the 8,339 riders to have finished the Tour are still living, and L’Équipe reports that it is hoped that at least a quarter of them will be able to make the journey to Paris next July, where they will be feted in a ceremony as the “Giants of the Tour.”
The riders will be seated in a special tribune on the Place de la Concorde during the final stage of the Tour on July 21, which takes place in the evening, with the floodlit finish on the Champs-Élysées expected at 9.45pm.
The “giants” will also be presented to the public in the Tuileries Garden on the eve of the Tour’s entry into Paris, and ASO is expected to announce full details of the project in February.
France has the most surviving Tour finishers, with 491, followed by Italy (358), Spain (301) and Belgium (256), while a further 37 nations have had at least one Tour finisher.
The oldest surviving Tour finisher is 98-year-old Pierre Cogan. The Frenchman rode his first Tour in 1935, when he was just 21.
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 11:17
- Stephen Farrand
Acquarone in talks with Katusha at team presentation
Michele Acquarone has told Cyclingnews that the WorldTour licence dispute between the Katusha team and the UCI has forced RCS Sport to delay announcing which teams will be awarded wild card invitations to the Giro d'Italia and its other races in 2013.
To help the teams plan their race calendar, RCS Sport had promised to award the wild cards on January 8. But with the status of the Katusha team up in the air, Giro race director Acquarone feels it would be unfair to reveal who gets to ride the Giro d'Italia, Strade Bianche, Giro del Lazio, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and il Lombardia.
22 teams of nine riders can start the Giro d'Italia. 18 teams have been given WorldTour status for 2013 by the UCI and so have automatic invitations to all the WorldTour races. The Androni Giocattoli Professional Continental team is guaranteed a place after topping the Italian Cup team classification for 2012 and that leaves just three other places open to all the Italian and international Professional Continental teams hoping to ride the Giro d'Italia.
Acquarone and technical director Mauro Vegni both attended the Katusha team presentation in Brescia and spent time talking to the team's management in a side room before the event. Katusha would likely be given a wild card place but that would leave just two other places available at the Giro d'Italia, with numerous teams hoping for an invitation. Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez wore the pink jersey until the final day of the 2012 Giro, finishing second overall behind Ryder Hesjedal in Milan.
"We came to the Katusha team presentation because I wanted to see Rodriguez and thank him for what he did at the Giro this year. He's an exceptional rider and we wanted to offer him our support in this confusing moment," Acquarone told Cyclingnews.
"We had decided to award the wild card to all our races on January 8. But we're not obliged to do it. If things aren't clear, then we have to delay the announcement.
"It's a pity for all the other Professional Continental teams hoping for wild card invitation because we can't give hem the answers they were hoping to hear. Unfortunately it's not up to us. It's Katusha’s problem at the moment. We waiting to see what happens but it’s obvious that this confusion is not good for us and the sport."
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 12:11
- Sadhbh O'Shea
Astana Manager talks Nibali and winning the Giro
Astana went on a signing spree this winter and their biggest scoop was Vincenzo Nibali. The team hope that he can revive their fortunes in grand tours, which took a nose-dive when Alberto Contador left the team. Team manager Giuseppe Martinelli spoke to Cycling News HD about what the team hope to achieve in 2013…
CNHD: You have signed Vincenzo Nibali for 2013. What does that mean to the team?
GM: “Signing Vincenzo Nibali means we now have a top-class leader for the season’s most important stage races.”
CNHD: Did he approach the team or you approach him?
GM: “I had long seen him as a rider well-suited to our team. The Pro Team Astana management and Alexandre Vinokurov made great personal efforts to approach Nibali and convince him to ride for us.”
CNHD: Does Astana have a strong enough team to support Nibali in the Grand Tours?
GM: “Absolutely. At the Giro d’Italia he will be backed up by Brajkovic, Kessiakoff and Tiralongo, plus his trusted domestiques Agnoli and Canotti.”
CNHD: Can Nibali win a grand tour next year?
GM: “Both the team and Vincenzo have got their eyes on the Giro. We will line up in Naples knowing we are among the favourites for overall victory, and we will do everything we can to make that happen up to the finish in Brescia.”
CNHD: Out of the two races to have their routes announced, which one suits Nibali better?
GM: “The Giro, without a doubt. Compared to Wiggins, Nibali is less adept at the individual time trial, but even there he knows how to defend himself. We can make gains in the team time trial and above all in the many climbs included in the route for 2013.”
CNHD: Will you work on his time trialling abilities over the winter?
GM: “Yes, we will be working with technical staff from Specialized and will make good use of the Montichiari Velodrome for specific training.”
• For more of this interview read this week’s issue of Cycling News HD. Issue 34 is the first of our season preview issues, with in depth looks at all 18 WorldTour teams and the top Pro Continental sides. This week’s teams are Sky, Argos-Shimano, Blanco Pro Cycling and Astana.
Marcel Kittel talks about his up and coming season, after his team secured their first WorldTour licence. Astana’s Amstel Gold winner Enrico Gasparotto discusses riding the Tour for the first time and trying to repeat his classics results from 2012.
Delivered to your iPad every Wednesday, Cycling News HD brings you the best all-new cycling photography in the world via the best medium for viewing it, as well as reports, results and exclusive analysis of all the week’s biggest races, in-depth previews of the races and stages to watch in the week ahead, interviews, news and opinion.
With over 50 pages packed with new and original content every Wednesday, alongside all the latest reports and results, Cycling News HD is the best way to enjoy a roadside seat at all the season’s biggest and best races.
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 13:27
- Stephen Farrand
Katusha battle on
The Katusha team tried to shrug off the doubts about its future in professional cycling and questions about its ethics with a glamorous and upbeat team presentation in Brescia, Italy on Thursday night.
The presentation was held in the spectacular Palazzo della Loggia in the centre of Brescia, where the 2013 Giro d'Italia will end in May.
Team leader Joaquim Rodriguez finished second in this year's Giro d'Italia behind Ryder Hesjedal but the UCI's decision to refuse Katusha a WorldTour licence for ethical reasons means the team does not know if it will ride next year's Giro d'Italia or any other WorldTour race in 2013.
The UCI's unexpected decision has rocked the team and angered team owner Igor Makarov. He had been expected to attend the presentation but opted to stay in Moscow and so avoided questions about the Katusha team's ethics and the riders linked to Dr Michele Ferrari and the Padova police investigation.
New team manager Viacheslav Ekimov was forced to front the presentation and reminded everyone that the Katusha team is just part of the Russian Global Cycling Project designed to promote cycling in Russia thanks to massive funding from Makarov and leading Russian companies such as Gazprom, Itera, Rosneft and Russian Technologies. Canyon is again bike sponsor.
Two of Russian's most popular female sports presenters introduced the riders in Russian, starting with the shy Russian neo-pros and ending with team leaders Denis Menchov and Joaquim Rodriguez. Rock music accompanied each rider as they walked on stage wearing the slightly redesigned Katusha race kit that has more red white and blue colours to represent the Russian flag.
The team's roster is largely unchanged. Oscar Freire has retired, while new names include Under 23 world time trial champion Anton Vorobyev..
The backbone of the team includes experienced Russian and European riders including Xavier Florencio, Vladimir Gusev, Mikhail Ignatyev, Alexander Kristoff, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno Luca Paolini and Angelo Vicioso.
Alexandre Kolobnev got one of the loudest cheers from the Katusha guest and smiled from the stage, seemingly totally unperturbed by the team's problems and the ongoing investigation into allegations that he sold the 2011 Liege-Bastogne-Liege to Alexandre Vinokourov.
Ekimov banged the drum with a patriotic speech."Katusha is ready to start its fifth season after four contradicting years," he said. "We've achieved 97 victories an 197 podium places so far. We hope to do as well in 2013 and represent the Global Russian Cycling Project. We want to show that Russia is a big country and that we will direct our efforts to strengthen cycling in Russia."
"Our season has already started. We've started the race to defend our interests, to defend our rights. Were here to show we're united and that when we're united nobody can beat us. Our common goal is that we obtain everything we have the right to obtain."
The presentation ended with the riders posing for a team photograph, while the patriotic Katusha song played loud in the room.
- Article published:
- December 20, 2012, 15:16
- Pat Malach
Rough week for rider involved in hit-and-run
Andy Jacques-Maynes has had the kind of week that sometimes only cycling can deliver. On Sunday, the 34-year-old from Watsonville, California, was injured in a hit-and-run collision while training near his home, breaking his shoulder blade and possibly a collarbone. Then on Wednesday the internet delivered another devastating blow.
"They did their announcement on Cyclingnews and I saw that I'm not on the roster," said Jacques-Maynes, who rode last year for Kenda/5-hour Energy and said team management had assured him he'd be back next season.
But the team, owned by Inferno Racing, merged after the 2012 season with the Competitive Cyclist squad owned by On The Rivet Management, which has taken over both programs. The newly branded 5-hour Energy/Kenda team announced its official 10-rider 2013 roster Wednesday, much to the surprise of one of Inferno's previous team leaders.
"I guess that means they've finalized their roster and they're not going to offer me a contract," Jacques-Maynes said Wednesday night. "Since August I had been promised a spot. They told me not to look anyplace else because they would take care of me."
Reached by telephone Wednesday evening, On The Rivet Management co-owner Jason Kriel declined to comment and instead referred questions to current partner Chad Thompson, Inferno Racing's former owner. Thompson could not be reached by telephone, but Kriel later sent an email to Cyclingnews after speaking with Thompson and offered the following statement on behalf of On The Rivet: "It is unfortunate that we were not able to hire everybody, but beyond that we can not respond to rider contract negotiations."
Former Kenda riders Shawn Milne, Bobby Sweeting, Jim Stemper, Nate English and Greg Brandt will join four riders from the 2012 Competitive Cyclist team and one newcomer to create the 2013 roster. The merged teams provided a deep pool of talent, with the two squads employing more than 30 riders on their combined 2012 rosters, but the 2013 line-up has been whittled down to just 10.
"Ultimately it is never easy when you have to combine two rosters to create one," Kriel told Cyclingnews in an email exchange Tuesday evening before the roster was officially announced. "The toughest part is not being able to keep everyone. We believe the right formula to sustain our team goals is 10 riders."
Unfortunately, that formula has also created a bitter pill that Jacques-Maynes must now swallow, especially difficult as he'll be laid up in a sling for the next six-to-eight weeks.
"It's a bad coincidence. It's been a bad week, for sure," Jacques-Maynes said. "I don't think in the normal business world this kind of thing is put up with. If you promise somebody something, you follow through on it. And if you're going to drop somebody, you let them know before they find out in the press."
Jacques-Maynes said team management had told him the 2013 budget took a big hit after the Lance Armstrong/USADA doping revelations were made public, but the new team wanted to build a squad around him and would "scrape" together the necessary money.
"They had a lot of sponsors back way off," Jacques-Maynes said he was told, "and all of the sudden they had a reduced budget and they had to try and make ends meet."
Jacques-Maynes Started his pro career with the Sierra Nevada Cycling Team in 2002. He moved to Webcor Builders in 2005 before dropping to amateur status with Cal Giant-Specialized for the next three seasons. He returned to the Continental level with Bissell Pro Cycing in 2009 and rode with the California-based team until moving to Kenda/5-hour Energy last year.
Jacques-Maynes got off to a quick start to the 2012 season, winning the overall at the San Dimas Stage Race and helping teammate Phil Gaimon win the overall at the NRC-opening Redlands Bicycle Classic. He won the overall at the Sea Otter Stage Race with a stage win and three more podium finishes. He capped off his season with 12 more top-10 finishes, including fourth at the Cascade Cycling Classic criterium, the Tour of Elk Grove time trial and the San Rafael Twilight Criterium.
Now he faces 2013 without a pro contract in a very late, and very tough market. When USA Cycling announced the list of UCI registered teams Wednesday, the number of men's Continental teams had slid from 12 last season to just eight for next year. Team Exergy, Chipotle-First Solar Development Team and Wonderful Pistachios are all gone; Competitive Cyclist disappeared in the merger. More than 60 US professional cyclists could find themselves without contracts for 2013.
"I think the USPRO national championships is going to have like 50 guys in it," Jacques-Maynes said. "And the crit national championships might have not even 20 guys in it. So professional cycling in the US is really taking a giant hit."
As that notion slowly sunk in, Jacques-Maynes' understandable frustration started to rise.
"I'm pretty bitter right now that guys who were doping screwed over clean riders in the beginning by taking their jobs, and now it comes out that they've been cheating the whole time, and clean riders again are getting screwed because all of these sponsors are vacating the cycling scene," Jacques-Maynes said. "What makes me most bitter is that the guys who were cheating the whole time still have their jobs."
The poor timing of the hit-and-run collision and subsequent bad news mean, like it or not, Jacques-Maynes will have a long winter recuperation to plan his next move. "I'm in a sling for at least six weeks," he said. "Probably more like eight, and then the rehab. So it will be a while."