- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 10:24
- Susan Westemeyer
Olympic Committee says not involved in decision to acquit rider
The UCI has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to name the Danish Olympic Committee (DIF) as a defendant in connection with the Alex Rasmussen case. The DIF's doping tribunal had dismissed the charges against the cyclist.
Rasmussen was charged with three violations of the whereabouts requirements. The DIF doping tribunal dismissed the charges in November, saying that for the third violation, the UCI violated its own rules by taking too long to notify Rasmussen.
The UCI announced in December that it would appeal that decision to the CAS, with a hearing expected sometime this spring.
The DIF did not know why it had been named in the action, noting that it did not issue the decision. The action was taken by the doping tribunal, which is independent of the DIF.
However, “it's not the doping committee which is the defendant, but the DIF as an organisation,” Jesper Frigast of the DIF,told tv2sport.dk. “It seems strange that we are named as a defendant. It could well be that we had chosen to support the athlete anyway but did not want to stand as a direct party to the proceedings. Our body, in this case the doping board has issued an order, but why are we a party to the proceedings?”
UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani called the action “purely procedural.” He told Cyclingnews, “our appeal was made against Mr. Rasmussen and the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (Dansk Idraetsforbund).”
The UCI must name “the competent body which pronounced the contested decision,” he said, and “Under Danish law, it is the Olympic Committee (and not the national federation) who is competent to sanction its athletes.”
The final decision as to who will be named in the case will be up to the CAS.
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 10:57
- Cycling News
Change in date allows Swiss rider to combine races
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) will ride Gent-Wevelgem this year for the first time since it moved to its current slot on the calendar, one week before the Tour of Flanders. In the past two seasons, Cancellara has opted to ride the preceding day’s E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke and forgo Gent-Wevelgem as he fine-tuned his preparation for the Ronde.
Following the elevation of the E3 Prijs to WorldTour level for 2012, however, the race has been brought forward to the Friday before Gent-Wevelgem, making the idea of lining up in both races more palatable. The E3 Prijs takes place on March 23, with Gent-Wevelgem following two days later.
“In the past, Fabian has preferred E3,” RadioShack-Nissan directeur sportif Dirk Demol told Sporza. “But now that race has been moved to the Friday, he can ride both of them.”
Cancellara took his second consecutive victory at Harelbeke with a lengthy solo break last year, although a number of his key Flanders rivals, including Tom Boonen, had opted to skip the race in order to focus their energies on the following day’s Gent-Wevelgem.
The change to Harelbeke’s status and its new position on the calendar should thus ensure that all of the main contenders for the Tour of Flanders rub shoulders with one another the week before the big event, although the fall in the Three Days of De Panne’s stock as a final tune-up continues unabated.
“Dwars Door Vlaanderen and the Three Days of De Panne aren’t on his programme,” Demol said. “That would be too much of a good thing.”
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 11:28
- Cycling News
Court forbids such claims against former Olympic training facility doctor
The German television station WDR may not claim that Dr. Andreas Franke conducted “forbidden blood treatments,” a German court has ruled. The broadcaster faces a fine and possible imprisonment of its director if it continues to make such claims.
In January, the Sportschau reported that Franke, working at an Olympic training facility in Erfurt, had removed blood from athletes and treated it with UV light before returning the blood to the athletes.
Several cyclists have said that they underwent such treatments, including Marcel Kittel of Project 1t4i.
Public prosecutors have been investigating Franke since last spring for these treatments. The World Anti-Doping Agency forbids blood treatments, but Franke claims that the UV light treatment has only been forbidden since January of this year.
Franke claims that the treatment was for infections and “could not be represented as a doping violation.” The WADA challenges that statement.
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 12:02
- Cycling News
Knee problems continue for Frenchman
Pierre Rolland (Europcar) has confirmed that he will sit out Paris-Nice due to a nagging knee injury. The Frenchman sustained a lesion to cartilage in his patella when he banged his right knee against his stem during the Tour du Haut Var and his recovery has proved more complicated than first anticipated.
“I’m very disappointed not to be able to take part in Paris-Nice it was an important objective for my season,” Rolland told his team’s website.
A training ride on Wednesday confirmed what Rolland had already suspected, and he was forced to pull out of Paris-Nice. “I went for a ride and it hurt,” he explained succinctly.
While the extent of Rolland’s injury appears quite minor, he admitted that he was perplexed by the lack of improvement in the condition of his knee. “It seemed bizarre to me that there’s been no progress after ten days,” he said.
After attempting to coax his way back into action over the past week, Rolland will now rest completely in a bid to hasten the healing process. “Every day that I ride is a day lost in my rehabilitation,” Rolland pointed out.
After beginning his season on a high with a stage victory at Étoile de Bèsseges, Rolland must now spend a frustrating spell on the sidelines. “These things always happen when you feel good and never when you want a rest,” he said.
It remains to be seen when Rolland will return to competitive action, but after taking the white jersey and the stage to l’Alpe d’Huez last year, the Tour de France will again be the centrepiece of his season.
“It’s better that this happens now than in three months’ time,” said Europcar directeur sportif Dominique Arnould.
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 12:46
- Wil Matthews
American squad completes California training camp
The Jelly Belly presented by Kenda cycling team passes a significant milestone as it enters the 2012 season. This is the team's thirteenth year with the same title sponsor, and with a new two-year commitment, the team is set to have the longest running contiguous sponsorship in the US pro peloton. This year it ties the now-defunct Navigators Cycling Team, which ran 13 seasons from 1995 to 2007.
Yet this development team, with a service course guarded by a trio of hens and an elderly Labrador in the back yard of director Danny Van Haute's long-time San Marcos residence, routinely places riders in the breakaways of the biggest races it enters, right alongside riders from WorldTour teams. Focus, the team's bike sponsor, features an image in its catalog of a Jelly Belly rider setting tempo with the UCI World Road Champion and other marquee riders in a dramatic break from the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.
Van Haute credits a sensible sponsorship model and a consistent, if modest, team mission that keeps his development team punching above its weight at the biggest races in the US.
"My philosophy is (about) making these riders better," Van Haute says of his objective held since 2000. "That's what we are, a development team. We lose guys every two years. But losing guys to a Pro Continental or WorldTour team, that's a success for the Jelly Belly program. ... Losing a guy to another Continental team, I have a real problem with that." But it's a scenario which rarely occurs.
The team will have plenty of work ahead this season: it is running lean with eleven riders, as just four riders were brought in to replace six outgoing. Van Haute says he does not planning any additions for the rest of the season.
The new additions are Luis Davila from Mexico, power-house mountain bike racer Menso De Jong, Scott Stewart from team Type 1, and Ricardo Van der Velde, who brings solid European experience from his time with Garmin and the Belgian Donckers Koffie squad.
Depending on the race, leadership chores will fall to Van der Velde, or either of returning members Sean Mazich or sprinter Brad Huff. Davila is likely the best climber on the squad, but is a scrappy rider even in the midst of the tree trunk-legged SoCal pro 1-2 crit crowd, as he proved in a training race in Ontario recently, moving through the field at will. The 6'4" De Jong will serve well on the front setting tempo, churning 177.5mm crank arms, but is bound to be a factor on the long climbs as well.
Van Haute, a veteran of the inaugural 7-11 team and member of the 1984 Olympic team, knows exposure is as significant as a win for sponsors. "We had riders in the break in five stages at Tour of California, with [television commentator] Phil Liggett saying Jelly Belly on television all afternoon."
"We're a spectator-friendly team. We get to the stage an hour and a half before the race and hand out Jelly Belly Beans and autographs. And the fans love it."
Sometimes too much. Van Haute recalls an experience from one of the team's many trips to Asia, "I almost started a riot in China one year handing out Sport Beans, the crowd got bigger and bigger until the Chinese police came over, told me to stop, and pushed back the crowd."
Van Haute was the first US director to take his team to Asia, where tougher racing, solid prize lists and promoters willing to help with travel made for an easy choice when building the team's schedule. It helps with the mission of building a better rider and provides significant exposure for the global Jelly Belly brand. "If you get into races here in the US like the Amgen Tour of California you have to do bigger races. The RadioShacks of the world are doing 200k races every weekend and we'd be doing criteriums. I don't think you can prepare the team by doing criteriums six weeks prior to the Tour of California."
This year, the Bean Team is likely to have as many as five separate trips to Asia. "We'll be going to Tour of Taiwan, Tour of Korea, two or three races in China, one in Japan," Van Haute lists, adding "hopefully can turn that around and make a few stops in Europe too."
Speaking of racing in the US, Van Haute is clear on his priorities, describing the Tour of California as "the Super Bowl of cycling in the US," along with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and the Tour of Utah. "We need to be there," he states clearly and directly. "We're happy when invited, and we're going up against the top teams in the world. Do I expect my guys to climb with Levi and the Schlecks and Horner? No. Not at all. But I expect them to race their you-know-whats off, get in breaks, and mix it up."
"Do we have a 35 mile-per-hour leadout for our sprinter? No, but we have guys who can get him in the right place where he can stick on wheels and try to win. And I'm proud of them when they do that."
With a new two-year commitment from Jelly Belly in hand, Van Haute is comfortably optimistic about the future of the team. "If we keep doing what we're doing, I think the Jelly Belly cycling team is going to be like Euskatel and Rabobank, just here for life," testifying to the longevity of the program.
Jelly Belly presented by Kenda Cycling Team for 2012: Luis Davila, Menso De Jong, Alex Hagman, Nic Hamilton, Sergio Hernandez, Brad Huff, Sean Mazich, Emerson Oronte, Jeremy Powers, Scott Stewart, Ricardo van der Velde. Ralf Medlaff is head mechanic, assisted by Dan Horndasch. Director is Danny Van Haute.
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 13:08
- Cycling News
Leipheimer and Chavanel co-captains for Belgian team
Tony Martin will look to defend his overall title in Paris-Nice, but if he falters, his Omega Pharma-Quick Step co-leaders Levi Leipheimer and Sylvain Chavanel are ready to take on the challenge. The Belgian team announced its line-up for the “Race to the Sun” on Thursday.
"The team has a very high level line up," said Sports Director Brian Holm. "There's a lot of talent on the squad. Our goal is to fight for final victory.”
Martin won the time trial last year to move himself into the lead of the race, a position he held on to until the end. “The opening time trial and the closing time trial will be very important in the economy of the race, as will the 5th stage with an uphill arrival in Mende,” said Holm.
“In general, as always it will be a hard fought Paris-Nice, we'll have to ride paying close attention to hidden hazards on the route. As far as we're concerned we're going to race to try to protect our leaders and set them up in the best conditions to play for final victory. The group is very strong and suited to any type of terrain.”
The team's wild card will be sprinter Tom Boonen, who “will try to play his cards on the stages that favour him and will put his own experience to the service of the team when necessary."
They will all be supported by Kevin De Weert and Dries Devenyns on the climbs, and Nikolas Maes and Stijn Vandenbergh on the flats.
Paris-Nice starts on Sunday, March 4, with a 9.4km time trial from Dampierre-en-Yvelines to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, which includes a Category three climb. It ends one week later with another short time trial which finishes atop the Category one Col d'Eze.
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 14:28
- Cycling News
Farnese Vini - Selle Italia takes Russian team's spot
RusVelo will not compete at this year's Amstel Gold Race, and its place has instead been given to Farnese Vini - Selle Italia, race organisers announced on Thursday afternoon. The Russian Professional Continental team had received a wildcard invitation early last month.
Amstel Gold Race takes place Sunday, April 15 and runs 256.5km in South Limburg, Netherlands.
According to the race website, “By order of the UCI RusVelo may not participate in the only Dutch cycling classic.” No further explanation was given and the UCI has not yet responded to Cyclingnews' request for details.
The place has been given to another Professional Continental team, Farnese Vini - Selle Italia, whose captain is Filippo Pozzato.
Approximately two weeks ago the Russian Pro Continental squad had also relinquished its start at Strade Bianche, citing "logistical problems within the team", and their invite was instead given to Utensilnord Named by race organiser RCS Sport.
- Article published:
- March 1, 2012, 14:51
- Peter Hymas
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rider on the rebound from iliac artery surgery
The last time that Mike Friedman (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) pedalled a bicycle in anger was at the 2011 USA Cycling Professional Road Championship on May 30, a race in which he was dropped on the opening lap. Complications from what doctors would diagnose as a life-long kink in his iliac artery, a condition which significantly decreased blood flow to his left leg, had steadily progressed to such a degree that for the multi-time US champion and 2008 Olympian cycling had become an impossibility.
Amazingly, just prior to the US pro championships, Friedman finished the Amgen Tour of California, where he already had a strong inkling that the suffering he endured was rooted in problems with his iliac artery.
"I did ok there. I suffered badly in the mountains and I just couldn't hold wheels because of my leg, but I was able to get in a breakaway the last day there," Friedman told Cyclingnews.
"I had been talking to some other athletes [about kinked iliac arteries]. In fact on the Mt. Baldy stage I had seen Chad Hartley on the side of the road and he had also had the same surgery. I was already dropped and I yelled at him, 'Dude, I think I need to have the surgery and what are the symptoms?' And he yelled back to me, but it was in the middle of the race on a climb."
Fast forward to February 29, 2012 and an exceptionally vibrant Friedman is on the eve of his return to competitive cycling in Merced, California at the four-day Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic, March 1-4. After a positive diagnosis of his iliac artery kink following the US pro championships, corrective surgery in July, 2011 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the green light to resume cycling again in September, Friedman has rebounded from a potentially career-ending ailment with a renewed fervor and fighting spirit.
"I've been given a second chance," Friedman said. "It was a pretty big risk for me to do the surgery with the blood clotting thing that I have, and now that I've had the surgery I've trained, I'm in the clear, and I have a second chance to race my bike. I can't really put it into words, I'm just excited. And as blunt as I can get, I'm just not going to f*** up my second chance to race my bike and do it well."
After a steady progression in training, capped off by his team's recent two-week training camp in Oxnard, California, the 29-year-old Superior, Colorado resident has been eagerly awaiting his return to competition in his second season with the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Continental squad. "Tomorrow is the first race and I'm just excited to be here with the guys and to have the opportunity to race again. Tomorrow is the first real test and then we've got a few more stages.
"I'm not here to just race into shape, I'm here to race my bike and try to win stages. I'm not going to take any race for granted anymore. With the team last year and years prior I would just race my bike and if I made the move to win the race...great. Now I'm going to use everything I have to the best of my ability - racing smart, training smart, eating smart, resting smart, just doing it all so I can be ready for my chance at success.
"Any race, no matter how big or small, I want to win and I don't want to miss out. I'll probably have about another five years in my career, hopefully it will be longer, but that's pretty optimistic. I'll be 34 then and I don't want to miss any more opportunities."
Not only has Friedman entered the 2012 season with a renewed passion, but he feels that his whole team is embarking on the upcoming season similarly motivated.
"Last year, for whatever reason, we couldn't put it together all the time," said Friedman. "This year we're going into it with a totally different mindset. Last year I think it was almost that we assumed we were going to kick ass. I think we underestimated certain races and I think halfway through the season we had to really focus and buckle down and get it back together.
"This year it's a new start, a new title sponsor, a new image of the team. We have a lot of the same guys, but sometimes you need a season where you don't have success as a whole. Don't get me wrong, we had success last year. Alex Candelario had some great results at California, Jesse [Anthony] had a breakout year last year. We had a good year but as a whole there were some things that were lacking. I think a lot of the guys are looking at last year not as a failure but something where we know we could do better. We know we're better than that and we're going into this year stronger."
All of the progress Friedman has made, however, is tempered somewhat by the chance of complications with his repaired iliac artery, although all signals point to a complete recovery.
"There's always a risk of scar tissue building up and narrowing the area back down," said Friedman. "So far I haven't had any complications. They say that for up to a year and a half scar tissue can form and re-narrow the area, however Dr. [Thomas] Crepps, the guy I saw, explained to me that because my kink was in an area that wasn't functionally caused by cycling it's unlikely that will happen to me. The kink was actually fairly high up in my abdomen, it wasn't down where I'm pressuring it pedaling so it should be fine.
"I'm feeling pretty good on the bike, I'm feeling strong, so hopefully it will all come together. I'm just ready to rock 'n' roll."