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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 28, 2012

Date published:
June 28, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Experienced Tankink signs for another two years

    Bram Tankink (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 12:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Reliable 33-year-old has “earned his role”, says team

    Bram Tankink has re-signed for another two years with his current Rabobank squad, extending his time with the Dutch team until the end of 2014. This will be Tankink’s fifth season with the team, who have shown their appreciation just days before the Tour de France begins. Tankink will start his sixth Tour on Saturday and his job will be that of road captain, calling the shots as the team attempts to place Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema into the higher echelons of the general classification standings.

    "The team has expressed a whole lot of appreciation for the role I play. I said a while ago that I wanted to stay on with Rabobank a bit longer," said Tankink.

    Team director Erik Breukink had nothing but compliments for the dependable rider.

    "When you lock in a 33 year-old racer for another two years, it says something about how appreciated he is," Breukink said.

    "Bringing in Bram has always been a boon for the team. He has grown a lot, and he has definitely earned the job of road captain. We’ve seen that he approaches his work competently and seriously. Bram is a very valuable player on the squad who contributes a lot to the team spirit and then some. Bram continues to grow into his role on the team."

  • Garmin-Sharp release picture of new kit

    Garmin-Sharp's new kit, which will debut at the 2012 Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 13:11 BST
    Cycling News

    New co-sponsor for Tour de France

    On Monday Garmin announced a new co-sponsor for the team ahead of the Tour de France, with technological giants Sharp agreeing a deal with the American team.

    As revealed on Monday, going forward the team will be officially known as Garmin-Sharp, with Barracuda Networks retaining a co-sponsorhip interest.

    Earlier today the team released the first pictures of the new kit, which will be worn at the Tour de France by the likes of Tyler Farrar, Dave Zabriskie and 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal. It was created by the team's technical clothing partner, Castelli.

    "We are thrilled to welcome Sharp to the team's family," said Castelli brand manager Steve Smith.

    "In addition to the new colors, the riders will be wearing the updated light weight hot weather shorts and jerseys that the Giro d'Italia crew tested and improved. We're counting on similar success with the clothing in the heat of France in July."

  • Pozzato charged with doping offence by CONI

    Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini - Selle Italia)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 15:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian rider almost certain to miss Olympics

    The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has officially charged Filippo Pozzato with doping offences, a statement from them confirmed today. It has recommended that the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia rider should be banned for one year when an appointed tribunal hears the case in the coming weeks. With that date not likely to come before the London 2012 Olympics which open on July 27, Pozzato is almost certain to miss the Games. The rules state that athletes who have been charged can only compete once they have been cleared of wrongdoing.

    Pozzato was questioned by CONI's anti-doping tribunal last Tuesday (June 19) over his alleged involvement with the disgraced Dr Michele Ferrari, who is banned for life from all forms of cycling following testimony against him from numerous riders concerning his modus operandi. Earlier in June Ferrari was formally charged with doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) alongside, amongst others, Lance Armstrong.

    Back in 2002 the Italian Cycling Federation announced that any rider caught consulting with Ferrari would be banned for up to six months. At the initial tribunal last week, Pozzato admitted to working closely with Ferrari between 2005 and 2009 but insisted that he only sought training advice from him.

    Now CONI has moved to request a formal ban, and Pozzato's Olympic ambitions - and possibly further goals down the line - look to be in tatters.

  • Gallery: Tour de France teams train in Liege

    Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen, newly crowned national road champion of Norway, chats with teammate and world champion Mark Cavendish on a training ride.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 15:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Riders prepare for Saturday's Tour start

    The 2012 Tour de France kicks off on Saturday in Liege, Belgium, with a 6.4km prologue time trial and with the start only days away the 22 teams competing in the French Grand Tour have arrived on site.

    The Grand Boucle rightly attracts a swarm of media attention for the participants and today several of the big names of professional cycling, including defending Tour champion Cadel Evans, pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins plus teammate and world champion Mark Cavendish, as well as sprinter and 2011 Tour stage winner Andre Greipel, took part in training rides with their respective BMC, Sky and Lotto Belisol teammates with photographers in tow.

  • Europcar's Bernaudeau surprised to hear about doping investigation

    Team Europcar's general manager Jean-René Bernaudeau at a pre-Tour de France press conference in Liege, Belgium
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 16:12 BST
    Peter Cossins

    "Our philosophy is one of transparency," said manager in defence of team's record

    Europcar team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau says he has no knowledge of any inquiry into his team's alleged use of corticosteroids and intravenous solutions of vitamins. Speaking at a pre-Tour de France press conference in Liège, Belgium, Bernaudeau also put up a staunch defence of his team's philosophy and record, and pointed out that the team had also been instrumental in the foundation of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), which has taken a very firm stance against the use of corticosteroids.

    The veteran French team boss started off the press conference by making a brief statement. "We have a good reputation dating back to the foundation of Vendée U in 1991. Our philosophy is one of transparency," said Bernaudeau, before answering a series of questions dealing with the story that appeared in this morning's edition of L'Equipe.

    "The first I knew about all this was when someone called me at 8:55 yesterday evening when I was in the middle of dinner in a Paris restaurant. It was quite a shock and the allegations they made were difficult to believe," he said. "I wasn't able to read the story when it appeared on the internet yesterday, but when I saw the paper this morning it wasn't as bad as I had thought. In fact there is nothing in it."

    Asked if he had had any official notification about an investigation into his team, Bernaudeau replied: "Strictly nothing. That's why it is such a surprise. I now know that two of the riders on the team have been questioned, as well as our doctor and biologist."

    He concurred with the suggestion that the allegations and inquiry may be the result of jealousy of the team's success over the past 18 months. "If we hadn't done so well, we might not be here...

  • Vos' bike stolen before Giro Donne

    Dutch Champion, Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) on the Kemmelberg
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 16:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank Women Team rider looking to defend overall title

    In her attempt to defend her title in the Giro Donne, the women's Giro d'Italia, Marianne Vos of Rabobank Women Team faces a new hurdle. Her bike has been stolen.

    “On our way to @GiroDonne w/ Raboteam. Looking forward to 9days of racing in ITA. My bike was already there, but got the news it got stolen:( ,” she tweeted.

    Vos is also recovering from a collarbone fractured in the Parkhotel Valkenburg Classic on May 25.  It was a clean break which did not require surgery.

    She skipped the Dutch women's national time trial, but finished second in the road race.

    Vos will look to repeat her victory from 2011 in the Giro d'Italia Femminile. The race runs for nine stages,from June 29 to July 7.  t starts in Naples and ends in Bergamo.

  • Eisel: Sky wants the Tour win

    Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 16:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Yellow jersey and stage wins more important than green jersey, Austrian says

    Bernhard Eisel is ready to start the Tour de France for the ninth time, and is still “as excited as if it were my first time.” The Austrian is looking to help Bradley Wiggins win the Tour, and, as always, to help teammate Mark Cavendish win sprints.

    Team Sky wants the Tour win,” he said on his personal website. “We have Bradley Wiggins as co-favourite for the yellow. From the ramp in Liege to the finish in Paris, I will work with the guys for this win.”

    Eisel said this year's Tour parcours provides very good chances for Wiggins' success. “Few mountaintop finishes, and two long time trial stages, that is good for Bradley. Plus Chris Froome will provide strong support, he was second in the Vuelta last year.”

    Eisel will also help the world champion in the sprints. "Of course 'Cav' wants to defend his green jersey from last year, but yellow and stage wins count more.”

    He will set a record for participations by an Austrian. “Like Georg Totschnig, I have started eight times. He has won a stage, I haven't yet. Maybe it will work out on my ninth try. That would be something I can tell my grandchildren later.

    “Because the Tour is and remains the greatest thing that a cyclist can experience I am happy and, despite all the routine, as excited as if it were my first time.”

  • Video: Leipheimer happy with 'dark horse' status in Tour de France

    Levi Leipheimer at the Tour de France opening press conference
    Article published:
    June 28, 2012, 17:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Pressure will be on teams of Wiggins, Evans

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is in no doubt that Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans line up as pre-race Tour de France favourites but the veteran is aware that pressure can be a major factor in any Grand Tour.

    The former Tour podium finisher heads into this race with an outside chance of a podium place after having sustained a broken leg earlier in the season. A speedy recovery followed, along with a surprisingly strong Tour de Suisse showing last month, leaving Leipheimer to put three stars next to his name in the list of GC riders.

    "In Suisse I didn’t expect to be as good as I was and in fact I felt pretty good on the climbs. I’m hoping for the best, that I can be on the podium again but I’m taking it day by day and sometimes you have to take it kilometer by kilometer because it’s going to be a long three weeks and a lot will happen," he said.

    "They [Wiggins and Evans] both earned the title of the big five star favourites but of course that comes with a little price of attention and pressure. For sure they would say there was no pressure and that they’re relaxed but there is pressure. For someone like myself, who is maybe a dark horse, it’s best to wait and play off the others. Their teams will have a lot more responsibility."

    Leipheimer moved to Omega’s during the off-season after ending his second spell under the tutelage of Johan Bruyneel. Like a host of US riders from his generation he has ridden for a clutch of European teams, including Rabobank and Gerolsteiner, and although his move to Patrick Lefevere’s team appeared left of center, Leipheimer has relished his new surroundings.