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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 26, 2011

Date published:
May 26, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Basso back on the bike after Etna accident

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is hoping for a good day on Sunday after a difficult few weeks with illness
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 11:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Facial injuries still make life hard for Liquigas leader

    Almost ten days after his accident on the slopes of Mount Etna, Ivan Basso is back training with his Liquigas-Cannondale team in preparation for the Tour de France. Still suffering from the 15 stitches he received to facial injuries after the fall, Basso is gradually increasing his hours on the bike since last Friday, and slowly coming back to the level of form he had prior to the crash.

    "Ivan's fitness is getting better every day," said sports director and trainer Paolo Slongo from the team's training camp in Sicily, due to end this Saturday. "But we don't want to force things. Gradually, he has been back on the bike for short and not very intensive rides. There is no need to create too much stress at the moment: Ivan will soon come back to his initial programme."

    Basso admitted that he is already putting a lot of pressure on himself without the squad having to push him. "I have great desire to get back into the rhythm, but I don't want to generate any complications," he said on the team's website. "It's all but easy to head out with the stitches in my face. I'm doing my utmost not to lose too much time. I hope my injuries will heal soon and that I can take up my training programme again in view of the Tour."

    Other Liquigas riders at the training camp include Maciej Bodnar, Davide Cimolai, Mauro Finetto, Kristijan Koren, Dominik Nerz, Maciej Paterski and Simone Ponzi.

  • Gilbert to Quick Step?

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) completed his hat-trick at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 12:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Numerous talks underway as Boonen also possibly changing squads

    Belgium's transfer market is busy as two of the country's most successful riders could change teams at the end of this season. Philippe Gilbert, dominator of the Ardennes Classics, is currently looking at a massive number of proposals, whilst Tom Boonen, always among the favourites on the cobbles, could also move away from his Quick Step team.

    Gilbert, who leads Omega Pharma-Lotto, has received offers from almost all World Tour teams according to his advisor Vincent Wathelet. "All of them contacted me, from Astana to Quick Step," Wathelet told Het Nieuwsblad this week. "But Philippe hasn't made a decision yet. He doesn't want to make any mistakes, as these will be important years for him.

    "The primary criterion for Philippe is his sporting future, it comes before the financial (criterion). He would prefer a Belgian project, but under the condition that he doesn't have to make a step backwards on a sports level."

    With Omega Pharma and Lotto splitting up at the end of 2011, there are thus three high-level Belgian teams interested in Gilbert, and Wathelet has been speaking to all of them. "I had a good conversation with his current boss Marc Coucke, and I also talked to (Quick Step manager) Patrick Lefevere, as well as with Marc Frederix and Bob Verbeeck from Lotto. It's no secret that Eddy Merckx [who has a seat in the team's administration council - ed.] would like to see Philippe ride his bikes one day. But there is also still a clause in his current contract with Omega Pharma," added Wathelet.

    If Gilbert does choose Quick Step as his...

  • CAS postpone Contador hearing

    Alberto Contador and Oscar Pereiro at the start
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 15:21 BST
    Cycling News

    New date yet to be confirmed

    Alberto Contador’s Clenbuterol case may not be resolved before the Tour de France, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced that it has postponed its hearing into the matter, which had been fixed for June 6, 7 and 8. It appears that Contador's legal team had sought an extension of a CAS deadline for the delivery of defence documentation.

    "Following the agreement between the Appellants and the Respondents, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has accepted to postpone the hearing in this matter in order to give to all parties concerned reasonable time to prepare for such hearing and to guarantee the participation in person of witnesses and experts," read a CAS statement on Thursday afternoon. "Accordingly, the CAS Panel has decided to cancel the hearing initially scheduled for 6-7-8 June 2011."

    Citing the Spanish Cycling Federation’s legal advisor Luis Sanz, AS reported that the CAS hearing on the matter will not now take place before mid-July and could even be delayed until September.

    While the CAS statement says that "new hearing dates will be fixed as soon as possible," reports from Spain had suggested that the revised date for the hearing is to be announced on Monday.

    The UCI and WADA have appealed the Spanish Federation’s decision not to sanction Contador for his positive test for Clenbuterol at last year’s Tour, and last week CAS had announced that it would hold its hearings from June 6-8.

    “There won’t be a hearing from the 6th to the 8th. Alberto's lawyers and CAS will talk next week to decide a new date. It’s a very complex case,” Contador’s spokesperson told...

  • Lance Armstrong bolsters legal team

    Lance Armstrong on the attack in 2003
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 16:33 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Pair of attorneys added with prior success against federal investigators

    Lance Armstrong has bolstered his legal team, adding two lawyers who have previously had success in court against US federal investigators.

    The seven-time Tour de France winner has hired Elliot Peters and John Keker. The pair had previously represented Major League Baseball players and won a key appeals court case two year ago in which federal judges ruled that agents had no right to seize baseball's anonymous drug testing results.

    The news agency, AP, reports that Keker, "criticised leaks of testimony to the media in the Armstrong case and called the investigation a waste of money."

    Jeff Novitzky is leading an FDA investigation into doping that allegedly took place at Armstrong's former team US Postal during the late 1990s and 2000s.

    Last summer, Armstrong had already hired defence attorney Bryan D. Daly and Mark Fabiani to help with any possible legal proceedings.

  • Video: Pinotti disappointed not to win on home roads

    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 17:30 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian now hopes to win the final time trial in Milan

    Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) was racing on home roads during stage 18 to San Pellegrino Terme and was would have loved to win the stage. He knew that the peloton would split on the climb to Bergamo Alta and made sure he went with the decisive attack on the Passo di Ganda 30km from the finish.

    Pinotti is one of the most admired riders in the peloton but he struggled to find consolation with second place behind Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) or with the other excellent results he has obtained in this year's Giro d'Italia.

    Pinotti went deep to try and win the stage but as he explained to Cyclingnews in this video, he hopes to recover for Sunday's final 26km time trial in Milan.



  • Contador tries to avoid questions about CAS hearing

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) could ride the Tour de France this year
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 18:21 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard says he is optimistic about the eventual verdict

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) tried his best to dodge questions about the announcement that his hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport had been delayed, almost certainly allowing him to ride this year's Tour de France.

    Contador had expected to appear at the hearing in Switzerland between June 6-8 but all the parties in the case have apparently agreed they need more time to study the details of the case. Contador tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol during last year's Tour de France but has always claimed that the minute traces of the drug came from contaminated meat.

    The CAS is set to decide on a new date after talks with everyone involved next week. Contador was cleared of doping by the Spanish Cycling Federation and so is allowed to race until the final verdict of the CAS. With a rapid verdict no longer needed in time for the Tour de France, the case could now be put back until the end of the summer.

    At the race leader's obligatory press conference after stage 18 to San Pellegrino Terme, Contador was happy to talk about the Giro d'Italia but was faced with a series of questions about the CAS hearing and the Tour de France.

    "At the moment I'm concentrated on the Giro," he said astutely. “It’s a very important race and I've got to stay concentrated on this race. The important thing is to arrive in Milan in pink."

    Asked again about the CAS hearing, Contador insisted he was optimistic because he said the truth was on his side.

    "I don’t know much about it because my lawyers are a looking after it all. But I'm optimistic because when the truth in on your side, you’re can stay serene, so I'm...

  • Capecchi: a breakthrough win at the Giro d'Italia

    Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) celebrates on the podium.
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 19:40 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Elegant Liquigas rider becomes Giro d’Italia stage winner

    Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) was highly emotional after crossing the line and collapsing from tiredness and shock, having won stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia.

    “I haven’t had a lucky Giro”, he said. “I wasn’t going as well as I wanted. To win this stage brings me incredible joy.”

    He was moved to tears as he mentioned his grandfather, Espartero, who died five years ago and his cousin, Rudy, who passed away at the age of 18 last winter. “I dedicate this victory to all the people who care for me,” he said.

    Capecchi was the Italian champion as a junior in 2004. His early years as a cyclist were extremely successful and it was surprising that his career stagnated at Liquigas. At the end of his first contract, he asked not to be kept on.

    “I wanted more space for myself,” he said. But despite a strong start to his career at Saunier Duval, he went into limbo due to various injuries and low morale at the same time as Mauro Gianetti was struggling to keep the team stable after the scandal of Riccardo Ricco at the Tour de France.

    “There’s a tendency in cycling to talk badly about the riders who are doing badly but those who have problems are mostly forgotten”, Capecchi noted after the race. “I prefer not to talk about my problems from the past.”

    Capecchi told Cyclingnews one year ago, when he wore the polka dot jersey of the Dauphiné after finishing second in stage 5: “I don’t want to be known only for being the most elegant rider in the professional bunch.”

    The perfection of his ankles gives him the most fluid pedalling style of current pro riders. His positioning on the...

  • Prudhomme surprised by delay in Contador hearing

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) could ride the Tour de France this year
    Article published:
    May 26, 2011, 20:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France could start without decision on 2010 winner

    The Tour de France organiser Christian Prudhomme expressed surprise at today's announcement that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has delayed its hearing of Alberto Contador's doping case.

    The CAS said it would hear arguments in June on the appeal by the UCI (International Cycling Union) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of the Spanish federation's decision to acquit Contador of doping, but said today that a request from Contador's legal team has stalled the hearing process until mid-July, and possibly as late as September.

    The postponement could mean the 2011 Tour de France will have to kick off without a firm decision on who was the winner of the previous year's event: Contador or second-placed Andy Schleck.

    "We want to believe that a decision will be made before start [of the Tour de France]," Prudhomme told AFP. "We are surprised because the CAS had repeatedly declared that the decision would be made before the start," Prudhomme said. "The schedule was set with a hearing between June 6 and 8. We can only repeat what we said since the fall: we expect a response before the Tour."

    Until the court has made a final decision on the case, Contador remains free to continue to compete. He is currently leading the Giro d'Italia by almost five minutes over his nearest competitor.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol in a sample taken on the second rest day of the 2010 Tour de France, but was able to convince the Spanish federation that the substance was accidentally ingested. A successful CAS appeal by the anti-doping agency and governing body could see Contador suspended and stripped of his 2010 Tour title.