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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Date published:
March 07, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Boogerd defends Leinders

    Dr Geert Leinders
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 4:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says Rabobank cannot be compared to Festina or U.S Postal

    Confessed doper, former Rabobank rider Michael Boogerd has dismissed suggestions of a widespread doping culture within the Dutch team while also denying that Dr. Geert Leinders played a major role in enabling the practice.

    On Wednesday, Boogerd revealed that he doped over a 10-year period of his 14-year professional career using EPO, blood transfusions and cortisone.

    In an interview with De Telegraaf, Boogerd said that he believed that Leinders had been misrepresented in reports of what appears to be the widespread doping culture that existed within the Rabobank team from the late 1990s.

    "I think it's terrible how team doctor Geert Leinders is put down," said Boogerd. "He is wrongly portrayed as a key figure in a doping network."

    Leinders worked for Rabobank from its inception in 1996 until 2009. He most recently worked for Team Sky in 2011 and 2012, although the British team opted not to renew Leinders' contract in light of the revelations concerning the Rabobank team during his tenure. Leinders is reportedly the subject of a criminal investigation in Belgium following allegations made by former riders that he supplied them with doping products.

    In contrast to the statements of several of Boogerd's former teammates, he also downplayed the amount of doping that was occurring at Rabobank. Danny Nelissen named Leinders when he confessed to using EPO at the team in 1996, while Levi Leipheimer is also reported to have told USADA...

  • Degenkolb with dedicated sprint train at Tirreno-Adriatico

    John Degenkolb (Argos Shimano)
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 9:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Argos-Shimano aiming for stage victories

    The team of Argos-Shimano will hope to continue its recent run of form when the squad lines up at Tirreno - Adriatico today. Without a rider suited for the general classification, the team will be solely dedicated to the service of John Degenkolb who will hunt stages wins during the week-long Italian race.

    Degenkolb heads to the start with two stage races and a one-day race already in his legs for 2013. The 24-year-old failed to pick up a win at the Tour of Qatar, Oman or Omloop Het Nieuwsblad but the five-time Vuelta a España stage winner arrives with a good training base ahead of what he hopes will be his first win of the year.

    "In recent days I have trained at home for up to six hours on the bike so I've also brought back some self-confidence after I froze at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad almost at the end and was not able to sprint for 11th place," wrote Degenkolb on his personal site.

    "In Tirreno, I focus first on my core competency [sprinting] and I want fast cycling. The stages are such that I already stand the odd chance. My form fits the mood, the team is good and we are all motivated," he added.

    "We are aiming for a stage win with John Degenkolb. With the team built around the German sprinter, we have a great challenge this week. In addition to trying for a stage win, it will be interesting to see what Tom Dumoulin can do in the finishing time trial, as he has shown that he is in good form," said sports director Marc Reef.

    The race also marks the return of Koen de Kort who suffered a broken collarbone at Tour of Qatar.

  • Nuyens pessimistic about Classics form

    Nick Nuyens (Garmin-Sharp) trains on the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad route.
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 10:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hip fracture leaves him frustrated

    Nick Nuyens joined Garmin-Sharp to help lead them in the Spring Classics but the difficulties from the last 12 months continue to affect him and leave him feeling frustrated ahead of this year’s Classics campaign. The Belgian is still suffering from the after effects of a hip injury suffered in the 2012 Paris-Nice.

    A crash in that race left him with a fracture in his right hip, which held him out of racing for two months. He later rode the Tour de France but was never pain-free. A scan in September showed that the fracture had not healed and that he bones were still 1.5cm apart.

    He had surgery to repair that, and since then, “The whole right side is weaker,” Nuyens told Het Nieuwsblad. “They had told me that it would take one year, but I thought it would be quicker. "

    His 2013 season has begun with rocky start. After finishing twice in the Mallorca Challenge, he had to abandon during the second stage of the Ruta del Sol, but finished the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

    Last Saturday Nuyens took on the Strade Bianchi, “It has been a long time since I was so bad on my bike.” He hoped for improvement in Tirreno-Adriatico, but had to drop back from the team time trial after only seven kilometers. 

    “My condition is good, but I cannot transfer it to my legs. I can't bring the power. Below my waist  everything is blocked. That's big misery."

    His career highlight was winning the Tour of Flanders in 2011. "After that, I have not raced much. First there was the broken wrist and when that had recovered, I broke my hip. It's been more than a year of misery.”

  • Le Coq Sportif 2013 Tour de France yellow jersey

    The 2013 Tour de France yellow jersey
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 12:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour jersey presented

    The Tour de France yellow jersey has been revamped to celebrate the 100th edition of the world’s biggest cycling race. French clothing manufacturers Le Coq Sportif have released details of the maillot jaune the race leader will wear this July.

    The jersey has been given a collar in homage to the maillot jaune of the 1951 Tour, when the company first provided clothing for the race. Riders needn’t worry about haemorrhaging precious watts with the extra weight though, because it’s only a false one.

    The jersey is packed with features that celebrate the Tour’s past and the 100th edition. There’s a reflective inscription celebrating the race’s founder, Henri Desgranges, and the fact that the final stage on the Champs Élysées will be run at night.

    A faint Moor’s Head, the emblem of Corsica, is embossed into the jersey’s left-hand corner to celebrate the race’s first visit to the island. The symbol dates back to the 13th century.

    Le Coq Sportif’s first Tour sponsorship stint ended in the mid -980s but restarted in 2012. They provide jerseys for all ASO-organised stage races, including the currently underway Paris-Nice. Nike provided jerseys during the Lance Armstrong years.

  • 16 Tour of California teams for 2013 edition

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas - Cannondale) got a stuffed Grizzly for his stage 1 victory at the Amgen Tour of California
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 13:26 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Vacansoleil and Champion System debut

    The organisers of the Amgen Tour of California have announced the final 16-team roster for the 2013 edition of the race, a list that includes eight WorldTour, three Pro Continental and five domestic Continental squads.

    Not joining the race this year is the Blanco team of defending champion Robert Gesink. However, world champion Philippe Gilbert's BMC team will be headlining the event, which concludes in the team's domestic base of Santa Rosa. Gilbert is expected to take part in the race alongside perennial overall contender and teammate Tejay van Garderen.

    Peter Sagan's Cannondale team is returning again, giving the Slovakian a chance to add to his record tally of eight stage victories.

    Also returning for a fifth participation is Tom Boonen, who, with his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, is slated to once again use the race to build competitive form after his post-Classics break.

    RadioShack Leopard, Garmin-Sharp, Orica-GreenEdge, and Saxo-Tinkoff will all be returning, while Vacansoleil-DCM will compete in California for the first time.

    They are joined by returning team UnitedHealthcare and newcomers Champion System and NetApp-Endura from the Pro Continental ranks, and 5-Hour Energy/Kenda, Bissell, Bontrager, Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies and Jamis-Hagens Berman from the Continental division.

    "The Amgen Tour of California consistently attracts the world’s elite teams and riders, and has become one of the most important races on the international calendar," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. "With our eighth edition this year, we are honored to again host one of the top fields ever assembled in a spectacular showcase for cycling fans in California and around the world."

    The eighth edition of the Tour of California will commence on May 12 from Escondido, making its first trip...

  • Jamis-Hagens Berman and 5-hour Energy/Kenda earn California invites

    The 2013 5-Hour Energy/Kenda team
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 15:38 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Teams announced for 2013 edition

    Two US domestic teams that missed out on all three major North American UCI stage races last season will return to the 2013 Tour of California with improved rosters and heightened motivation.

    AEG announced today that Jamis-Hagens Berman and 5-hour Energy/Kenda will join fellow US Continental teams Bissell Pro Cycling, Bontrager Development and Optum Pro Cycling on the start line in Escondido on May 12. Champion System, NetApp and UnitedHealthcare will represent the Pro Continental ranks, with ProTour squads BMC, Cannondale, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Orica GreenEdge, RadioShack, Garmin-Sharp, Saxo-Tinkoff and Vacansoleil filling out the start list.

    "It's something we've been working for all winter," said Frankie Andreu, director of the 5-hour Energy/Kenda team that missed out on the race last year. "In putting together the team for 2013, we had this main focus of building a stage-race team of time trialists and climbers so we could do well at getting into these big races. So 5-hour Energy is extremely excited, and we're pleased to go."

    Jamis-Hagens Berman director Sebastián Alexandre was equally pleased about the opportunity to show off his new roster at the California race. Last season organizers of California, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado passed on inviting Alexandre's team, but adding talented all-arounder Ben Jacques-Maynes, Colombian climbing specialist Janier Acevedo and former ProTour sprinter Juan Jose Haedo to the roster obviously pushed the team over the top this year.

    "You do a lot of hard work to put a team together, and then when you get an invitation you see that the hard work has paid off," Alexandre said.

  • Hamburger to Christina Watches as Sport Director

    Bo Hamburger admits to using EPO
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 16:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dane confessed to doping in 2007 autobiography

    Former pro rider Bo Hamburger will be sport director for the Danish Continental team Christina Watches-Onfone, the team has announced. He will be expected to help bring the team up to the Professional Continental level.

    “Bo brings to the team an incredible amount of knowledge and tactical understanding of racing,” team owner Claus Hembo told Ekstra Bladet. “His many years on the road have secured him a deep insight into the environment around a cycling team, and we would like to take advantage of that insight.”

    Hamburger replaces Søren Rasmussen, who was hired the end of November but has since resigned. Former mechanic Henrik Nørskov has been named the team's second sport director.

    Hamburger rode professionally from 1991 to 2006. In 2001 he tested positive for EPO but was cleared on a technicality. In 2007 he admitted in his autobiography that he had used doping throughout his career.

    “I have no problem with Bo's past. Everyone deserves a second chance, and we give him, one,” Hembo said.

    The team was originally built around Michael Rasmussen, who is now serving a two-year ban for doping. Earlier this year he too confessed to having used doping throughout most of his career.

  • Cavendish criticizes teammates after losing Tirreno sprint

    Mark Cavendish fans were on hand
    Article published:
    March 07, 2013, 17:11 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step struggle in the rain-soaked finale

    Mark Cavendish vented his disappointment immediately after losing the sprint at Tirreno-Adriatico and did not hold back in the post-race press conference, revealing he would be having 'words' with his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates when he returned to the hotel.

    Cavendish expects the very best of himself and as a consequence of his teammates, too. He finished fifth behind Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) in the chaotic-rain-soaked sprint in Indicatore and kept the race leader's blue jersey but it was of little consolation after his teammates failed to look after him in the final kilometres of the stage.

    "Before the last corner (at 1000 metres to go) we were about 30 places back. I'm not going to say what went wrong but I know the guys are better than this. We've got our best team here and we should be unbeatable," Cavendish said.

    "We planned for the sprint, we wanted a sprint and we controlled the race from the beginning but it got quite chaotic in final laps because of the rain. We stayed together as a team but we weren't in a good position for the last kilometre."

    "I'm quite disappointed today with my leadout. I know they're so much better than that. I had to do a lot work in last kilometre. I was 30 riders back and had to come round. I was coming and coming and still thought I as in with a chance with 500 metres to go. I was moving up but then the peloton moved to the right and I had to slam on my brakes with 200 to go. That was the end of the chance of winning. I feel we could have got more out of today. We've got to have words tonight."

    He added: "I'll talk about my feelings… We'll see what happens."

    Cavendish refuted the idea that he perhaps now takes fewer risks in sprints that he once did.

    "I don't take less risk than I used too. It's just...