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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 5, 2012

Date published:
July 05, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Riis re-states intent of going to CAS over Contador points

    Bjarne Riis has attracted a new sponsor to his squad.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 9:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Calls UCI position “ridiculous”

    Bjarne Riis has repeated his intention of taking the International Cycling Union (UCI) to court if it does not allow Alberto Contador to earn points for his team for two years. The Saxo Bank-Tinkoff team owner called the situation “ridiculous”.

    Contador is serving a two-year doping-related ban, and will return to riding for the team early next month. Under UCI rules, points earned by such riders will not count for a team for two years after the rider returns.

    Saxo Bank-Tinkoff is in desperate need of points to retain its WorldTour licence in the coming year. It is currently at the bottom of the standings, with only 44 points as compared to Sky Team, who lead the list with 803. He also faces the option of signing additional riders with points, which would be made be possible by the recent inclusion of Tinkoff Bank as a name co-sponsor.

    The UCI has reiterated that any points Contador earns will not count for the team, and if they continue to uphold that position, “I will go to the sports tribunal CAS. This is ridiculous," Riis told De Telegraaf.

    "The UCI would like to do things in their own interest. It would be better if they did more good things for cycling, instead of fighting with the teams over various things.”

  • Vaughters: No Slipstream Sports USADA suspensions

    Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 10:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team boss moves quickly to deny reports in Dutch press

    Garmin-Sharp team boss Jonathan Vaughters has denied that he nor anyone else involved with Slipstream Sports, the owners of the team, have been given a six-month ban by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) in the wake of this morning's reports in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    The front page of this morning's edition carried a report saying that Vaughters has been named - alongside American riders Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie - as a witness in USADA's ongoing Lance Armstrong doping investigation.

    The article claims that the four riders have all confessed to doping and have testified against seven-time Tour De France winner Armstrong. The paper says that they have all been given six-month bans from cycling by USADA, which will kick in at the end of the season, in exchange for their compliance. The paper also named Vaughters as a witness but stopped short of categorically stating that he had been suspended too.

    Vaughters, who is in France leading his team at the Tour, has used his Twitter account to issue a denial: "Regarding the Dutch media report: no 6mos (sic) suspensions have been given to any member of Slipstream Sports. Today or at any future date."

    In the Garmin team hotel in France this morning, Zabriskie stated that the matter was now with USADA and refused to confirm or deny if he has testified. 

    Later this morning Slipstream Sports released a statement, which reads:

    "Our sole focus is on Slipstream Sports. We created Slipstream because we wanted to create a team where cyclists could compete 100 percent clean. It...

  • Accent Jobs' Goris dies of heart attack at age 30

    Rob Goris (Accent.Jobs - Willems Verandas)
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 11:21 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian visiting Tour de France

    Rob Goris of Team Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda's has died of a heart attack at age 30. He was visiting the Tour de France at the time, and suffered the fatal attack in his hotel in Rouen.

    Goris began his sports career as a professional ice hockey player. He started cycling in 2009 and then changed sports, riding for the Continental ranked Team Palmans-Cras in 2010. That year he won the Belgian national title for elites without a contract. In 2011 he joined Accent Jobs.

    He had appeared Wednesday night on the television show “Vive le Velo”, along with his girlfriend, Katrien Van Looy, granddaughter of former cyclist Rik Van Looy. According to Het Laatste Nieuws, he “appeared perfectly healthy and told about his long endurance training last week."

  • Alex Rasmussen accepts team firing, sorry to miss Olympics

    Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) could only mange fourth on the prologue
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 12:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Attorney says appeal of CAS decision may allow Dane to ride in London

    Alex Rasmussen seems resigned to his fate, that he must sit out from racing until April 1, 2013. He is depressed to miss the 2012 London Olympics and says that he understands why his team Garmin-Sharp let him go.

    On Wednesday the Court of Arbitraiton for Sport (CAS) announced that he would serve a retroactive 18-month ban for three violations of the “whereabouts” requirements.

    Speaking of Garmin-Sharp, Rasmussen told sporten.dk, “It was not so much a surprise that they fired me. They didn't really have a choice. All teams would have done the same. If you can't ride, you can't ride, so why should you be on a team?”

    The Dane had in fact been at a training camp for the Olympics, where he was to ride on the track, but he had to leave that camp on hearing the news. “There is a very depressed mood. We had a really good team that was ready to go for the medals. It is over for me. I must go home and move on.”

    He called the whole procedure “very stressful and characterized by many ups and downs,” and said, “I have to look at the positives. People have, after all, been out a long time with injuries, and I still have my good form and the desire to ride races. They can't take that from me.”

    A chance for the Olympics?

    Meanwhile, his attorney Henrik Stagetorn has figured out a possible way for Rasmussen to be allowed to ride in the Olympics. An appeal of the CAS decision would delay the suspension's effective date, and if he is not suspended, he could ride in...

  • Fränk Schleck happy with opening stages at the Tour de France

    Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) in Liege for the start of stage 1 at the Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 13:37 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan rider proud of team's start, looking forward to the mountains

    His participation at this year's Tour de France might have come as something of an afterthought and he has been forced to tackle the race without his injured brother Andy at his side, but RadioShack-Nissan's Fränk Schleck has been pleased by his own performance and that of his team as the race approaches its second weekend.

    RadioShack have put a season of under-performance, injuries and controversies behind them and have made an excellent start to the Tour. Fabian Cancellara took the yellow jersey after winning the prologue last Saturday and has held it ever since, with Yaroslav Popovych and Jens Voigt doing an excellent collective job in protecting him over these relatively flat opening stages.

    Schleck, who finished third at last year's Tour, has also made a solid start to his own bid for the general classification. Ahead of today's fifth stage he lies in 31st position - only 38 seconds behind his teammate Cancellara. He admits that he isn't riding entirely pain free but that he is satisfied and looking forward to the race heading into the mountains, which is where his strengths lie.

    "The mountains come closer and I'm placed well in the overall ranking in the race, therefore I must be satisfied," Schleck told wort.lu. "My body hurts in some places - at the knee, shoulder and also the Achilles tendon but this is no reason to worry. Such ailments are not uncommon. On Friday my physiotherapist will arrive at the Luxembourg team hotel to treat me. I should then be better off.

    "All the efforts of Popovych and Voigt have paid off. [Yesterday] we were able to...

  • Leipheimer makes no comment on USADA case

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) speaks to the press prior to the start of stage 5.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 14:32 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Says he doesn't know anything about a reported six-month ban

    Levi Leipheimer refused to comment on a Dutch newspaper report alleging he has testified to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as part of their investigation into Lance Armstrong. He also said he had no knowledge of a six-month ban being imposed on him from this September as a result of his alleged cooperation with the USADA investigation.

    Speaking to the media before the start of Tour de France stage five in Rouen, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider came out of the team bus and stated: "I don't really have anything to say. All I can say is that I'm here at the Tour de France and I'm 100 percent focused on this race. So far I'm still in the hunt for the general classification and that's all I have to say."

    Quizzed whether he had made any kind of deal with USADA in return for a six-month suspension, as has been alleged in De Telegraaf, Leipheimer said: "Again, I can't say anything. I'm not going to comment. Beyond that I'm here in the Tour with Quick Step and that's all I can say."

    The American was then asked for his opinion on Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters' comment that the six-month suspension reportedly due to be imposed on individuals who have done a deal with USADA doesn't exist. "I don't know anything about that," he said.

    Pressed on whether he has testified against Armstrong, Leipheimer replied: "Again, I don't have anything to say about that. I don't think it would help the situation to comment on speculation, so I'm not going to say anything. I'm not saying anything or denying anything. I'm just saying...

  • Kittel quits Tour de France on stage five

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 15:24 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé

    German admits defeat after illness and knee problems

    What had promised to be an exciting Tour de France debut for young German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) turned into a horrible ride. One hour after leaving Rouen in the fifth stage of the Tour de France the German rider from Arnstadt abandoned the race. Kittel is the fourth rider to pull out of the three-week stage race in France.

    Up-and-coming sprint machine Kittel was expected to provide a serious challenge to the current sprint protagonists of the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish (Sky) and André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). Last year Kittel showed off his sprinting abilities when he captured his first win in a grand tour, the seventh stage of the Vuelta d’España. He also won four stages in Dunkirk and four stages in the Tour of Poland. He concluded that season during his holiday with the win in the Curacao Classic.

    This year Kittel has already captured seven wins, including two sprint victories in the Tour of Oman at the start of the season. Back in April he captured his first flowers at the classics, when he won the sprinters festival of the Scheldeprijs. And in the build-up to the Tour de France Kittel won two stages in the Ster ZLM Toer, beating Cavendish and Greipel.

    Surprisingly, the 24 year-old Kittel was spotted at the back of the peloton during stage 2 on Monday. It transpired that he woke up that morning with stomach pains. The Argos-Shimano team hoped that stress was to blame and hoped he might get rid of that during the first stage that was destined to finish in a bunch sprint. Kittel didn’t improve and the team instead allowed leadout man Tom Veelers to do the sprint and the stand-in finished in fourth place behind Cavendish.

    A medical check-up revealed that Kittel was...

  • USADA chief aims to protect witnesses

    It may not be the Tour de France but Armstrong still has a bodyguard at his side.
    Article published:
    July 05, 2012, 16:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Says speculation in media "leads to inaccurate information"

    In response to today's reports that named current professional racers as witnesses in the US Anti Doping Agency's case against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari and three other team doctors and staff, USADA chief Travis Tygart has decried attempts to reveal the names of the witnesses upon whose testimony his agency is making a large part of its case.

    "USADA's investigation into doping in the sport of cycling continues. No individual cases have been finalized, and any attempt to guess at whom potential witnesses might be only leads to inaccurate information being reported and subjects those named to unnecessary scrutiny, threats and intimidation," Tygart said in a statement.

    USADA has gone to lengths to keep witness identities secret for their own safety, because in a case so incendiary it is not just the defendants whose lives and reputations are at stake. Last year after Tyler Hamilton went on the television news magazine 60 Minutes with allegations against Armstrong, he was later approached by the seven-time Tour de France winner and reportedly intimidated by Armstrong. The case was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    Last weekend, reports surfaced that USADA members suspect the Armstrong camp has hired private investigators to follow them, and Armstrong said to ABC News, "USADA continues to sacrifice the values of fair play which is what, ironically, they claim to be attempting to protect," while simultaneously accusing a review board member of having...