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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Date published:
April 23, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Voeckler shrugs off broken collarbone sustained at Amstel Gold

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 5:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Training resumes on weekend, racing in two weeks at Rhône Alpes Isère Tour

    A crash sustained at the beginning of last week at the Amstel Gold Race may have left Thomas Voeckler with a fractured collarbone but with the Frenchman's objectives looming ahead in July at the Tour de France he is leaving little to chance. Voeckler will return to training this weekend and has made a commitment to return to competition less than a month from the accident date at the four-day 2.2 Rhône Alpes Isère Tour.

    Voeckler was one of a number of favourites who crashed at the opening Ardennes classic with a little under 100km still to race and was forced to abandon along with Andy Schleck - who suffered superficial wounds. Voeckler however, was immediately taken to hospital after the fall before undergoing surgery the next day.

    Personal results have been slim for Voeckler so far this year despite a very-near miss at Dwars door Vlaanderen but his main goals lie at the Tour and so he will be doing everything in his power to ensure he does not arrive at this year's edition with lingering effects of injury like in 2012.

    "Thomas is expected to resume competition in the Rhône Alpes Isère Tour from 9 to 12 May. He should also resume his training this weekend," read a statement from his personal site.

    Following the four-day French race Voeckler is scheduled for the Tour of Belgium and finally the Critérium du Dauphiné as his last race before starting his home grand tour on June 29.

    Arriving at last year's race without intentions to challenge for the...

  • LeMond not optimistic about UCI's stance towards anti-doping

    Change Cycling Now has advocated that Greg LeMond become interim UCI president while the UCI Independent Commission investigates allegations of corruption.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 7:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Believes governing body must be separated from drug testing

    Three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond has reiterated his long-standing view that the UCI should not be in charge of running the sport of professional cycling and that he firmly believes the sport as a whole, including riders, teams and race organisers, want the sport to change. The UCI, on the other hand, has done little to change the mind of the sole US Tour winner.

    LeMond's most recent comments came from a discussion group held at the University of Texas, Austin, symposium on doping in cycling. The event held last night was dubbed "The Real Price of Winning at All Costs". The outspoken former professional, who sat with a brace around most of his chest after breaking his back, was part of a panel that featured his wife Kathy, Betsy Andreu - the wife of one of Armstrong's former teammates Frankie Andreu -  and USADA's general counsel Bill Bock. Armstrong was invited to attend the discussion in his home town but declined the offer.

    "I'm hopeful the riders want to change, I think the race organisers want to, but I am not optimistic where UCI stand in doping," said LeMond. "Most of the big scandals have been criminal. Festina involved the police because it was trafficking."

    "Drug testing has to be separated [from the UCI]. It's not a game," he added.

    Still a passionate supporter of the sport LeMond remained firm in his belief that cycling is capable of change and that it would be up to the riders and team to ensure it follows the right path. With so many former riders turned managers remaining in the sport, removing the old ways is arguably going to take time.

    "I want to see cycling get to where I can say I can see a real winner."

    LeMond also threw in a shot at the International Olympic Committee,...

  • Vaughters on Martin's Liège win and anti-doping stance

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) reached a new level in his professional development, winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 9:41 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Praises rider on anti-doping stance

    Garmin-Sharp’s Jonathan Vaughters has placed Dan Martin’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory in the team’s top three victories of all time and praised the Irishman’s anti-doping stance. Martin's victory has opened the debate over whether the 26-year-old can lead Garmin in a Grand Tour but for Vaughters what's unequivocal and undeniable is Martin's ethical code on anti-doping.

    Martin turned professional with Garmin in 2008, having risen through the ranks at the bastion of French development squads, VC La Pomme. Marked as a promising climber, Martin rose through the ranks and has slowly developed into a complete all-rounder capable of winning stage races and one-day events alike.

    “He started out with us. I remember being out fishing in 2006 and I got his phone number and I was out on this boat, and I’d been chasing him around. I actually tried to convince him to turn pro in 2007 but he said no and wanted to stay amateur for another year,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    “He had some pretty incredible results as a U23 rider. The one that stood out and showed he had a huge engine was in Giro della Valle d'Aosta, when he tore everyone up in the time trial. That was in 2006 and he was crushing a bunch of U23 amateur Italian riders.

    “He won Route du Sud in his first year as a pro in 2008 and the competition was pretty good. Christophe Moreau was there and Dan just dropped all those guys. He’s always been massively talented.”

    That talent was often checked by Martin’s vulnerability in terms of health. Persistent allergy problems...

  • Giro d'Italia: Betancur and Pozzovivo lead Ag2r-La Mondiale

    Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 11:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Young Colombian on form in the Ardennes Classics

    The Ag2r-La Mondiale team has had an excellent spring campaign and will be looking to continue their run of success at the Giro d’Italia.

    The French team has confirmed to the l’Equipe newspaper that Domenico Pozzovivo and Colombia’s Carlos Alberto Betancur will lead the nine-rider team. Also in the squad are Italian sprinter Davide Appollonio (who rode for Team Sky in 2011 and 2012) plus fellow Italian and former Giro d’Italia stage Manuel Belletti. Julien Berard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Hubert Dupont, Ben Gastauer and Sylvain Georges complete the line-up.

    Ag2r-La Mondiale struggled in 2012 and almost lost its place in the UCI WorldTour. Team manager Vincent Lavenu shook things up and signed 11 new riders, including Pozzovivo, Betancur and Appollonio. The French riders have also performed well, with Biel Kadri winning the Roma Maxima race in March with a solo move that held off the peloton.

    Betancur won the GiroBio in 2010 and made his Giro d’Italia debut in 2011 with Acqua & Sapone. He has improved considerably this spring with third place at Fleche-Wallonne after bravely attacking early on the climb to the finish, and fourth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He may not be an overall contender for the maglia rosa but could win hilly stages early in the Giro d’Italia.

    Pozzovivo crashed out of the Giro del Trentino, suffering minor fractures to two ribs and needing some stitches in his right elbow. Those injuries will affect his final build-up to the...

  • Report: Renshaw to rejoin Cavendish at Omega Pharma-QuickStep?

    Mark Renshaw (Blanco) in the Tour Down Under Village
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 11:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Blanco rider travels to Netherlands for surgery after Tour of Turkey crash

    While Mark Renshaw’s immediate future will be taken up with convalescence from the broken collarbone he sustained at the Tour of Turkey on Monday, a reunion with Mark Cavendish at Omega Pharma-QuickStep might be on the cards in the longer-term, according to a report in Belgium.

    Het Nieuwsblad reports that Renshaw, currently at Blanco but out of contract at the end of the season, has been targeted by Omega Pharma-QuickStep to join the squad in 2014 as Cavendish’s lead-out man. Renshaw previously performed that duty with HTC-Highroad from 2009 to 2011, but parted company with Cavendish and joined Rabobank when the team disbanded.

    “My manager has spoken with the parties involved but there’s been no decision yet,” Renshaw told Het Nieuwsblad ahead of his crash on Monday. “I’m in a comfortable position because I have several options. Either I stay as a sprinter, which I can do at Blanco, or I go and be a lead-out man somewhere else. There are several teams interested.”

    Although Cavendish has won eight races since joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the beginning of the season, he has been lacking a dedicated lead-out man of Renshaw’s calibre.

    “Cavendish is a good friend and we have a long history together,” Renshaw said. “There was always some kind of chemistry between us. I trust him and he trusts me. That’s very important in a sprint and I know he wants me very much at Omega Pharma-QuickStep.”

    Told that Patrick Lefevere had declared his love for Renshaw, the Australian laughed: “Love? I think Lefevere just wants to win....

  • Petacchi announces his immediate retirement

    Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 13:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian sprinter calls it a day after 18 years as a professional

    Alessandro Petacchi has announced his immediate retirement after 18 years as a professional cyclist. The Italian announced the news in a message posted on the website of the Lampre-Merida team.

    "I feel it’s time to dedicate time for myself and to go in search for new interests," Petacchi said in the message.

    "My career has been full of satisfactions and enriched by all the most important victories that a rider like me could ever have aimed for. At the threshold of 200 victories in my career, I feel my life reaches a particular moment, a turning point, in which I perceive the need to find a new dimension and to have more time to dedicate to my family. These considerations conclude me to the decision to pause my career."

    Petacchi turned professional in 1996, riding for Scrigno until joining Fassa Bortolo in 2000. He went on to ride for Team Milram, LPR Brakes-Ballan and Lampre-Farnese Vini. His career took off in 2003 when he won six stages at the Giro d'Italia, four stages at the Tour de France and five stages at the Vuelta a España. He won a record-breaking nine stages in the 2004 Giro d'Italia, took Milan-San Remo in 2005 and the green points jersey at the 2010 Tour de France.

    Petacchi tested positive for Salbutamol at the 2007 Giro d'Italia. He claimed he suffered from asthma and had a TUE (Therapy Use Exemption) certificate but the value measured in his sample exceeded the then limit for the drug. He was cleared by the Italian Olympic Committee but was banned by the Court for Arbitration for Sport. The Swiss-based court accepted that Petacchi had not intended to cheat but suggested he had not shown sufficient caution when using his asthma inhaler. However, his results from after...

  • Froome: I'm 100 percent the leader for the Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Sky) jumped away for a Team Sky 1-2 over Richie Porte in Criterium International
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 17:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Sky man spells out hierarchy

    Ahead of winning the prologue of the Tour de Romandie, Chris Froome reiterated that he will head Sky’s Tour de France challenge, insisting that he is “100 percent the leader” of the team. He finished second overall last year behind teammate Bradley Wiggins, who will this year ride the Giro d’Italia before lining up at the Tour, ostensibly in support of Froome.

    “I’m 100 per cent the leader, that hasn’t changed since January,” Froome told Sky Sports. Asked whether that was also Wiggins’ reading of the hierarchy, Froome said: “You’re going to have to ask him, but from what I understand everyone’s bought into that plan and that’s how we’re going to go into the Tour.”

    Trainer Tim Kerrison confirmed that Sky’s current plan is to designate Froome as team leader come July and he has looked to replicate Wiggins’ approach of twelve months ago by winning a string of shorter stage races in the build-up to the Tour.

    “We’re going into the race with the rider who we believe has the best chance of delivering as the designated leader,” Kerrison said. “For the moment, we’re preparing Bradley to ride the Giro and to perform at the Giro, and Chris Froome to be the leader at the Tour de France. As we get closer to the event we’ll look at the form of all of our riders and make sure we have the strongest team to win the race.”

    Froome has already claimed victory at the Tour of Oman and Critérium International so far this season, while his Sky teammate Richie Porte won Paris-Nice. The only kink in Sky’s stage racing dominance to date came at Tirreno-Adriatico, when Froome was ousted...

  • Berhane achieves historic victory at Tour of Turkey

    Natnael Berhane (Team Europcar) celebrates his victory in stage 3 at the Tour of Turkey.
    Article published:
    April 23, 2013, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    First win by sub-Saharan African at UCI HC event

    The globalisation of cycling took a leap forward today with the victory of Eritrea's Natnael Berhane (Team Europcar) in the third stage of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. It was the first victory of a sub-Saharan African in a Hors Categorie (HC) event on the UCI calendar and one of the greatest results from a former World Cycling Centre (WCC) trainee.

    It was a double success for the 22-year-old Berhane who, in winning the third stage, also took possession of the leader's jersey. Showing good climbing form in the last five kilometres, he reached the top of the Elmali, considered Turkey's Alpe d'Huez, with a six-second lead over his breakaway companions Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) and Mustafa Sayar (Torku Sekersport).

    Founded in 2002, the World Cycling Centre has already trained more than 620 young athletes, mainly for road, track and BMX, from more than 120 countries. The trainees come mostly from countries that do not have the necessary facilities to help their athletes reach a level that could enable them to turn professional or realise their Olympic dreams.

    "It is an historic day for Eritrea, for Africa and for cycling," said WCC Director Frédéric Magné. "It demonstrates the exceptional qualities of this rider, who preferred to remain amateur for an extra season in order to continue his progression. It is also proof of the quality of the coaching and training work undertaken at the WCC."

    Berhane was a trainee at the WCC in Aigle, Switzerland, in 2011 and 2012. He followed in the footsteps of his compatriot Daniel Teklehaymanot, who trained at the WCC from 2009 to 2011 before turning professional in 2012, with Orica-GreenEdge.

    Already showing his talent in...