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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 6, 2012

Date published:
September 06, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Museeuw calls for doping confessions from past riders

    Johan Museeuw digd deep on the way to victory in 2002
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 11:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Cycling “must break with the hyprocrisy” around doping

    Doping and EPO were established in the peloton in the 1980s and 1990s, says Johan Museeuw, who has called on his former colleagues to confess their doping. The Belgian has in the past acknowledged his own doping use during his successful career.

    "I am the first to admit it openly, and perhaps many people will blame me that I break the silence, but it must be: virtually everyone took doping at that time,” he told the Gazet van Antwerpen.

    "We must break with the hypocrisy. The only way to come out of that murderous spiral is to break the silence, the silence that continues to haunt us.”

    Everyone must confess to their part, he said. “If we do not then the borrowing into the past will continue. Only a collective mea culpa is the way to the future.”

    Doping was a fact of life at that period, he said. “In the 80s and 90s everyone knew what each other was doing but never said a word about doping. Using doping was something everyone did. Eventually it became a part of your lifestyle."

    But the peloton is cleaner now, he said. “Because it 'is' better, now. Never before has racing been so clean, I'm sure. But that data is completely snowed under” since many of those involved refused to tell the truth about “the things that went wrong in the past. The omerta of the past prevents cycling from now starting again with a clean slate."

    Museeuw rode professionally from 1988 to 2004. Among his many victories, he won both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders three times each.

  • Dowsett on the rise after national TT win

    Alex Dowsett (Sky) was part of the day's four-man break.
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 11:34 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Sky rider hopes for Worlds ride and strong season finish

    After an injury-hit season, Alex Dowsett (Team Sky) produced a winning ride in last weekend’s British national time trial championships to retain the title he won in 2011. With his first win in 2012 under his belt Dowsett is looking forward to the remainder of the season with the Worlds in LImburg, Netherlands, featuring highly on his list of targets.

    The Sky rider broke an elbow in March during Dreidaagse Van West-Vlaanderen and struggled to regain his form and fitness through the spring and early summer. After missing the opportunity to also ride at the Olympic Games he refocused on the time trial championships.

    “It was a pretty hard course and 55km but it’s nice to retain the title. It was longest time trial since I did a 50 miler when I was 14,” Dowsett told Cyclingnews.

    “I had my two months off so when I have a bad day it’s really bad and it’s shown me how important winter miles are. It’s just been up and down. At Eneco I was set for top twenty but then I had a ceased pedal.”

    Dowsett has been included in Great Britain’s long list for both the time trial and the road race in Limburg, although he will still have to wait for the final selections for both events, as well as the trade team time trial.

    “I’d be happy with anything in terms of selection. Then I’m doing the Canadian WorldTour races and the Duo Normandy with Luke Rowe and the Tour of Beijing. It should be a nice end to the season.”

    “The worlds, if I do the road race then I’ll certainly be there to help out someone else which I’m cool with. Then it would be great to be part of the Sky team time trial. We’ve got a...

  • Sohrabi leaving Lotto Belisol after one year

    Mehdi Sohrabi (Lotto Belisol Team)
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 13:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Iranian brought team valuable points but was not up to WorldTour level

    Lotto Belisol will part ways at the end of this season with Mehdi Sohrabi. The Iranian sprinter who dominated the Asian Tour in 2011 was unable to replicate his form at the level of competition in the WorldTour.

    Sohrabi led the Asian Tour last year, riding for Tabriz Petrochemical. His many wins brought him many UCI points, making him an attractive candidate for a higher-ranked team. Lotto Belisol was able to sign him, and later admitted that his points were a significant factor in their obtaining a WorldTour licence for 2012.

    "The WorldTour level is too high," team manger Marc Sergeant told Sohrabi's only top result this years was second place in the Asian championships road race.

    "He realizes that the WorldTour level was much too ambitious for him," Sergeant said. His future plans are still up in the air. "He has not yet decided whether he will again ride in Iran or just stop."

  • Team NetApp and Endura Racing merge for upcoming season

    Team NetApp on the podium
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 15:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Pro Continental team's title sponsors commit for two years

    Team NetApp-Endura will be a new addition to the peloton for the next two years, as Germany's Pro Continental Team NetApp squad and Great Britain's Continental Endura Racing team will combine. Team NetApp-Endura will ride as a German-based team with a Pro Continental licence and will feature 20 riders.

    The teams announced their plan on Thursday afternoon and both sponsors have signed on for two years. NetApp, based in the US, is a leading provider of storage and data management solutions. Endura is a British technical cycle clothing brand.

    Eight riders will come over from the Endura Continental-ranked team, with NetApp providing 12 riders and the license. Management and support staff will come from both teams.

    "We have undergone a sporting development that is virtually unprecedented," said Ralph Denk, Team NetApp team manager. "In three years we have managed to develop young riders into significant performers at the Giro d'Italia. With ten victories so far, the team races its best season ever. I am delighted that NetApp continues to support this."

    "Our Continental Team, Endura Racing, is now one of the top ranked teams in the European Tour and this progress is the product of continuous commitment and hard work," said Jim McFarlane, director of Endura Ltd. "Team NetApp and Endura Racing share the same ambition of progressing to the highest levels of sporting success and our commitment to Team NetApp-Endura means that we will be present at some of the biggest races on the planet."

    Endura had indicated in July that it would merge with a Pro Continental team for the coming year. "I can confirm that there are serious conversations that are well developed in that area," McFarlane told...

  • The day after the attack: How Contador won in Fuente Dé

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) turned the Vuelta upside down with a surprise attack which earned him both a stage win and the leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 15:45 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Vuelta riders and directors analyse Contador's victory

    Today it's impossible to find a Spanish newspaper which isn't full of praise for the stage - and possibly race - winning attack on Thursday by Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) to Fuente Dé. The comparisons to Hinault, Pedro Delgado and even Eddy Merckx are too numerous to count. But how did it actually happen?

    Contador's move across to a group of 19 escapees on the ascent of the second category Collado de La Hoz, 51 kilometres from the finish line, and dropping both race leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was - with the benefit of hindsight - one of the most decisive moments of the stage, if not the entire Vuelta a España.

    From then on, Contador and his teammates Bruno Pires, Jesus Hernandez and finally Sergio Paulinho, with considerable help from Astana's Paolo Tiralongo, a friend of the Madrileño's, drove the breakaway towards Fuente Dé and the gap opened slowly but steadily on Purito and Valverde.

    "We heard on the radio, '20 seconds when they came off the [Collado] climb'," Saxo Bank sports director Bradley McGee told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 18, "and we all knew everything was depending on this next time split, 'cause we would know if Rodriguez had been able to pull it back. And it went up to 25 seconds and we all went ‘Ooh!'.

    "Once we hit the valley floor, it was man against man, Paulinho and Contador versus [Katusha's Alberto] Losada and Rodriguez. And it went out a bit more, bit more and then it just...

  • Bennati dedicates Vuelta stage win to Wouter Weylandt

    Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) takes stage 18 of the Vuelta
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 17:43 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    The Panther swipes to take first season win

    A drawn-out last drive netted 31-year-old Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) with his first victory of the 2012 season and sixth Vuelta stage of his career on Thursday - a win he dedicated to the late Wouter Weylandt and to a Spanish soigneur on the team who has recently been taken ill.

    In 2011, Bennati was teammates with Weylandt, and the Belgian was the last winner of a Vuelta stage to Valladolid back in 2008. Weylandt died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash at the 2011 Giro d’Italia.

    “This win goes to him and to a masseur on our team who is ill,” Bennati said afterwards.

    “I think Wouter helped me at the stage finish, he gave me strength.”

    Bennati certainly had to pull out all the stops to take his first Grand Tour victory since he won a stage of the Vuelta last year into Vitoria. He has had a series of illnesses during the season that have hampered his form, and the sprint against Ben Swift was so fast and furious that it split the peloton in the closing metres of the stage - all the favourites finishing in a group 10 seconds back - and his victory margin was so small Spanish television commentators initially judged it too close to call.

    “It was a very long, difficult sprint,” Bennati - who has led the race in 2007, 2008 and 2011 - said, “and comes at the end of a long, difficult Vuelta.”

    “I’m very tired but I’m not the only one. Degenkolb" - fifth in the sprint -"has dominated the last four sprints, but I’m a rider with a lot of endurance, which is why I could win so late on in the Vuelta last year."

    "They call me the...

  • Contador proud to be in Vuelta lead

    Race leader Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank)
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 19:15 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard spends first day in red

    The Vuelta a Espana's longest stage of 2012 was over in four and a quarter hours, but as the peloton pounded its way south for 204.5 kilometres during stage 18, new leader Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) said he spent a fair part of the time "thinking about yesterday's race" - when he took over la roja from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

    "I'm pleased and proud to be wearing this jersey," the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff rider said, "and I thought a lot about how I got it.

    "Frankly our tactics yesterday on the stage were perfect, it couldn't have worked out better. I'm very satisfied.

    "I talked it over a bit with [former leader] Joaquim [Rodriguez] and it's nice to think that even if we hammer each other on the stages, there's enough sportsmanship in cycling to be able to discuss it afterwards in a friendly way - unlike other sports."

    As for the stage itself, Contador said it was "fast, I'm sure we averaged 48 kilometres today" - the day's average speed was a little lower, 47.691kmh, but only a little.

    "Everybody was looking out for me, and keeping me up there because it was windy and you had to be in a good position" - and Katusha did attempt to split the pack at one point, with 15 kilometres to go.

    "It was a complicated finish, a puncture or something could have caused a lot of problems, but I got through fine. One day less to worry about."

    Looking ahead, Contador said he was thinking less about Friday's stage, which is basically flat but has a technical, slightly uphill finish in La Lastrilla and "more about Saturday and La Bola del Mundo" - likely to be packed out with Contador fans, given he lives just an hour's...

  • Prosecutors seek three-year doping ban for Bertagnolli

    Leonardo Bertagnolli (Lampre-ISD) in the time trial.
    Article published:
    September 06, 2012, 20:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Lampre rider charged under biological passport programme

    The Italian anti-doping procura has asked that Leonardo Bertagnolli be given a three-year ban for violations of anti-doping regulations. The former Lampre-ISD rider was charged based on the blood profile of his biological passport.

    Bertagnolli, 34, was cited by the UCI in late June, which asked that proceedings be opened. The announcement was made on June 27. He had been scheduled to appear before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) that same day to discuss allegations that he was a client of the controversial Dr. Michele Ferrari. On the day before it was announced that this hearing had been cancelled at his request.

    Only shortly before the UCI made its announcement, Lampre-ISD said that Bertagnolli was announcing his retirement. The team later that same day issued a statement distancing itself from the rider, but noting that the alleged violations occurred before he joined their team.

    Bertagnolli turned pro in 2002 with Saeco.  He also rode with Cofidis, Liquigas, Amica Chips-Knauf, and Diquigiovanni-Androni before joining Lampre in 2011.

    He won stages at both the Vuelta a Espana (2005) and the Giro d'Italia (2009), and in 2007 won the Clasica de San Sebastian.

    The procura requested that CONI's national anti-doping tribunal give Bertagnolli the three-year ban and order him to pay all costs of the proceedings.