Double ascent of l'Alpe d'Huez is not too hard, says Sky rider
Chris Froome discusses the features of the 2013 Tour de France including the likelihood of a nervous first week due to the lack of decisive stages. Froome says he's looking forward to preparing for the Tour and studying the route in closer detail.
Asked whether the Tour was too difficult given the double ascent of l'Alpe d'Huez on stage 18, the Sky rider believes "if it's harder, we just go slower. That should be the simple logic behind it."
Patrice Ciprelli, the husband and trainer of Jeannie Longo, is set to stand trial for the illicit purchase of EPO after a Grenoble court rejected his appeal to have the case nullified on Wednesday.
Ciprelli was charged after officials from OCLAESP (the French central office for public health and the prevention of environmental damage) searched Ciprelli and Longo’s Grenoble residence in February of this year. After initially denying the charges, Ciprelli has since reportedly confessed to purchasing EPO but contended that it was for his own personal use.
The inquiry into Ciprelli began in September 2011 after it emerged that Longo had missed three out-of-competition anti-doping tests within an 18-month period, although the French Cycling Federation later dismissed its charges on the basis that Longo was no longer on the list of athletes subject to testing by the French anti-doping agency, AFLD.
Speaking to RTL on Wednesday, Longo decried the ongoing case against her husband, who has already been suspended from coaching by the French ministry of sports.
“They should stop picking on him. These are decisions by judges which have perhaps been influenced by subjective dossiers,” Longo said. “The federation did everything to make sure that he wasn’t at my side to make me fail at the French championships and not get to the Olympics. They knew very well that I would be put out by his absence. They sent a lawyer twice to the French championships in Grenoble to make sure that he wasn’t with me at races.”
National coach took Kjærgaard to Worlds despite knowledge of doping
Norwegian cycling has been put “in a very bad light” by Steffen Kjærgaard's doping disclosures, Thor Hushovd has said. It was also revealed that the Norwegian national coach who took Kjærgaard and Hushovd to the 2002 Worlds knew about the doping, but did not disclose his knowledge either at that time nor when Kjærgaard replaced him as coach in 2006.
Hølestøl has now admitted that he knew of Kjærgaard's doping at the Danish team, but did not say anything as “I would not tell on a mate.” He nominated Kjærgaard for the 2002 Worlds with the knowledge that he had doped in the past, but claimed not to know whether he was still using EPO at the time.
“I did not know anything about what Steffen was involved in at US Postal.,” he told procycling.no. “After our ways separated, we did not discuss it and I was not aware of what he did. There was much focus on anti-doping in the period and it could be that he had gone on the straight path. There was a lot of focus on it, both in Norway and abroad. He could have been clean between 2001 and 2003.”
When Hølestøl left the post in 2006, he was replaced by none other than Kjærgaard, but still made no disclosure of his knowledge, as he did not feel that it was his responsibility to do so. He regrets that decision now.
The bank announced recently that it will end its name sponsorship of the team at the end of this year. but will fulfil its financial obligations through 2013. The team will continue as a “white label” team without a name sponsor in the coming year.
"I have confidence in it. The riders are top notch and the staff is experienced,” Vanmarcke said in a statement released by the team.
The 24-year-old, who won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for Garmin-Sharp this year, will strengthen the Dutch team's Classics squad. "When I look at the riders, we can conclude that we have a strong block for spring,” he said. “It is perhaps a strange time right now, but I look forward with pleasure to our cooperation.”
Team leader Nico Verhoeven was looking forward to the Belgian's arrival. "It gives confidence to the riders in our team, that he is just now making the transition to our team. In September, we stated our own ambition to work with young riders in a credible and fair way.”
Vanmarcke turned pro with Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator in 2010, and finished second in Gent-Wevelgem and second overall in Circuit Franco-Belge that year. He joined Garmin-Sharp in 2011.
His biggest career success to date came in February of this year, when he joined Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in an attack with 59 km to go in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He ended up driving a trio which also contained Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha, and in...
Frenchman doesn't want "rotten apples in the tree"
Pierre Rolland knows what it's like to have win atop l'Alpe d'Huez in the Tour de France. It's a feat he achieved in 2011 against eventual polka-dot jersey winner Samuel Sanchez. That year he finished 10th overall and won the young rider classification but some suggest he could have placed higher if not for his loyal support of Europcar teammate Thomas Voeckler who led the race for 10 days. A stage win and 8th overall in the 2012 Tour was an improvement but the Frenchman is already dreaming of 2013.
"It is a beautiful route," Rolland told l'Equipe. "There are plenty of mythical things, it's full of beautiful summit finishes. It inspires me a lot. I appreciate the fact that there is less against the clock."
"I dream. It will take a lot of hard work before setting a goal. It is still too early to state. I already want to do better this year."
Rolland already has his name on bend number 16 of l'Alpe however the Europcar rider will no doubt be gunning to become only the 6th rider - not including Lance Armstrong who has been stripped of his Tour wins in 2001 and 2004 - to have his name featured more than once on the signs that are placed on each of the 21 hairpins.
"I look at the map, I see Mont Ventoux and I have beautiful images that come immediately to mind, I see the Alpe d'Huez and I imagine the world will be...
2012 Tour de France best young rider is the team's future captain
Tejay van Garderen, the best young rider at the 2012 Tour de France, has extended his contract with the BMC Racing Team. Details were not released but he said it was for “a few more years”.
"Tejay is the future captain of the BMC Racing Team and he plays a huge role in the organization," said team manager Jim Ochowicz. "He already has a leadership role in the team and will remain a great teammate for Cadel Evans at next year's Tour de France."
The 24-year-old was fifth overall at this year's Tour de France, in addition to winning the white jersey. He won a stage at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado and was second overall, as well as fourth at the Amgen Tour of California and fifth at Paris-Nice.
"But one goal I didn't reach was to win the general classification at a stage race," he said. "But I did come close a couple times. And my fifth place at the Tour de France was definitely the highlight of my year."
Extending his contract now “definitely makes me able to focus on what's important, now that I know I'm secure for a few more years," he said.
The American of Dutch descent rode for the Rabobank Continental Team from 2008-2009 before joining HTC-Columbia for two years. He joined BMC this year.
Van Garderen “was very regular for us all year – very good in time trials and climbing and someone who could also find his place in the peloton," said directeur sportif John Lelangue.
"So he has all the qualities to become a big tour winner in the future. That's important for us. We're already building a team around him."
On Thursday Team Sky released Bobby Julich from the team after he disclosed to them that he'd taken performance enhancing drugs during a period of his racing career. Below is Julich's confession that was exclusively sent to Cyclingnews.com
Dear Team Sky, family, friends, fans, and supporters of cycling,
I would like to preface this statement, by saying that while I don't expect all of you to believe some of the things that I am about to say, I don't want to insult anyone’s intelligence any longer and deny that I have never had anything to do with the shady past of professional cycling. This statement is about me and the decisions that I have made in the past.
I have recently made a full confession to Team Sky senior management about my doping history and understand that by doing so I will no longer be able to work for a dream team performing my dream job. I also understand that by doing this, I will have to face some more important consequences in the real world and with the people that matter the most to me.
I knew before I headed to our team meeting in London last week that we would all be asked about our past. I knew that this was going to be a pivotal point in my life and I decided to come clean not only to Team Sky but also to the sport and people that I love.
Lately, much has been said about purging the past before being able to rebuild and finally putting these dark days behind us. If we are going to purge, then we should do it for the right reasons. I hope we can learn from the past and look toward the present and future generations so that they will not have to confront the same issues.
I made the decision to use EPO several times from August 1996 until July of 1998. Those days were very different from today, but it was not a decision that I reached easily. I knew that it was wrong, but over those two years, the attitude surrounding the use of EPO in the peloton...
Giro runner-up to wait until Vuelta route confirmed
Joaquím Rodríguez (Team Katusha) has said that he will not be making a decision on which of the three Grand Tours he will ride in 2013 until the Vuelta a España 2013 route is confirmed.
“Once the route is published, I’ll sit down with the team and work it out,” Rodríguez said on Thursday.
Second in the 2012 Giro d’Italia, which he led up until the final time trial, and third in the Vuelta, which he led for nearly two weeks, Rodríguez has expressed interest in racing in the Tour de France – where he won the stage to Mende airfield in 2010 – to complete the ‘set’ of podium finishes in all three Grand Tours.
However, the Spanish all-rounder could not travel to Paris on Wednesday for the Tour route presentation: first his flight from Barcelona to the French capital was cancelled and whilst he and the other passengers were waiting to be re-allocated to other flights, he started to feel ill and opted to head for home. It turned out that the Tour of Lombardy winner had gone down with tonsillitis.
The Tour route itself is more favourable for ‘Purito’ than in 2012, with far less individual time trialling – his weakest suit – and several tough uphill finishes.
However, Rodríguez may well have a long wait before he finally makes a decision on what his 2013 targets will be: the Vuelta presentation was initially planned for mid-December, but a date in January 2013 now looks more probable.