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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Date published:
April 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Lewis set for European return at Rund um Köln

    Craig Lewis (Champion System)
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 7:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Champion System continues European campaign

    Champion System Pro Cycling Team's first foray into the European racing scene has been nothing short of a learning experience, General Manager Ed Beamon said.

    Asia's first pro continental team is readying for a pair of Belgian one-day races – Scheldeprijs on Wednesday and GP Pino Cerami on Thursday – followed by Rund um Köln in Germany next Monday. For GP Pino Cerami, the Champion System provisional roster includes five riders from Asia: Kun Jiang and Jiao Pengda of China, Anuar Manan and Adiq Othman of Malaysia, Mart Ojavee of Estonia and Kin San Wu of Hong Kong.

    Beamon said Scheldeprijs, which is considered the unofficial "world championship for sprinters" provides an opportunity for Aaron Kemps. The Australian was a team-best 12th on the final road stage of Three Days de Panne last week and said he has been getting close to a breakthrough result.

    "The boys are taking good care of me but we’ve just been coming up a little short," Kemps said. "It takes time with a new team and getting the feel of the bunch finish. These sprints are crazy and Matthias [Friedemann] and I have to work hard to stay together. But Clinton [Avery] had a great ride in Stage 3 of De Panne so it seems he’s healthy again. With him and Matthias in the train, I think we can give it a good crack Wednesday."

    Friedemann, who is also part of the Rund um Köln roster, has been one of Champion System's most consistent riders, with recent top 25 finishes at Nokere Koerse (14th), Ronde van Drenthe (19th) and the Handzame Classic (22nd). The German said he is finally shaking off the effects of a sickness that slowed him at De Panne.

    "I feel better and I’m really motivated to help Aaron at...

  • Ups and downs for RadioShack-Nissan in Tour of Basque Country

    Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 9:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Klöden loses time, Zaugg attacks and Voigt laughs

    Defending Tour of Basque Country champion Andreas Klöden must bury his hopes of winning again this year. The RadioShack-Nissan rider lost over five minutes on the first stage not being at the top of his form following illnesses that prevented him from racing. The good news for the team however was Oliver Zaugg's escape attempt near the end of the race, and veteran Jens Voigt said he was pleased with the work he did on his suntan during the stage.

    “I am suffering, but this is logical,” Klöden said on the team's website. “I was sick after Paris-Nice. I had a fever and then later stomach problems. I had to miss Criterium International because of that. So I miss racing in my legs. Pais Vasco will be hard for me but very useful, too.”

    Zaugg, who won the Tour of Lombardy last fall, took off in the finale with Saxo Bank's Daniele Navarro. They were unsuccessful and a mass sprint followed, but the Swiss rider was nevertheless satisfied.

    “I figured it was a good moment to try something,” he said. “One of my goals this season is the Giro d’Italia, so step by step I think I am getting there. After Catalunya I worked really hard. Now I am in better shape. I can see that. But my role here is to be a helper and I’ll only try things like today when it is a good moment to go.”

    Jens Voigt, 40, had his usual good time despite punctures, crashes and getting dropped. As he so colourfully tweeted, “Urrgh- what a first day!! Started awesome with beautiful sunny weather. I covered the first attacks- all good. But...

  • Cancellara to return by end of May

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 10:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan rider to give press conference on Tuesday

    Following the successful surgery of his quadruple collarbone fracture on Sunday evening in Switzerland, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) is recovering both physically and mentally from his unlucky crash in the Tour of Flanders. Slowly getting back his morale, the Swiss powerhouse is announced to return to racing by the end of May. He will hold a press conference on Tuesday.

    "Depending on Fabian's state of health, we will try to take up training again on Tuesday, at least in the gym," the team's doctor Andreas Gösele explained to Swiss television. Dirk Demol, Cancellara's sports director, has meanwhile indicated to newspaper La Matin de Lausanne that the rider is planned to come back to competition at either the Tour of Bavaria (May 23-27) or the Tour of Luxembourg (May 30-June 3) at the soonest.

    Meanwhile, 'Spartacus' is overcoming his disappointment in crashing out of contention in the Spring Classics at a time when his form was at its peak. "Rumour has it that where I hit the ground in the feedzone of the Tour of Flanders, there is a big hole now, they must repair the tarmac," he tweeted on his personal account on Monday. "Just a joke, a late April Fools joke. Tell you I hit the ground hard though, really hard. Lucky I haven't got more injuries. Details will come in my press conference in Switzerland."
     

  • Weather service predicts rain for Paris-Roubaix

    The cobblestones of the Arenberg Forest await the peloton.
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 11:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Restored cobblestone sections still bound to be slippery

    These last few years, conditions have always been warm and dry for the riders of Paris-Roubaix, but the 2012 edition could turn out quite different. The French weather forecast has predicted rain in Northern France as of Wednesday, and the wet weather could well continue over the weekend, including Sunday's race. Temperatures have been announced to range from 3-12°C on the day.

    Of course, predictions will get more precise towards the end of the week, but teams may be up for some rain drops on their recon rides, starting Thursday. The 257.5km-course, unchanged from last year, will again include 27 cobblestone sectors on a total of 51.5km. Once again, several of these sectors have been subject to restoration. Local high school children have worked to renovate certain portions in Viesly (after 104 km), Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes (after 142 km) and Millonfosse (after 178.5 km).

    Furthermore, two of the decisive sections of Paris-Roubaix have been restored professionally: the famous Trouée d'Arenberg and the Mons-en-Pévèle section, where the instability of the cobbles could have been a threat to the riders' safety. The cost of the works have been reported to be 55,000 Euros per 100 meters of cobbles. Despite these efforts, Paris-Roubaix could still be a slippery race if the weather forecast turns out right.
     

  • Riis and Saxo Bank ready to make concrete plans for 2012

    Smile if you want to go faster: Bjarne Riis made the trip to Australia
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 11:46 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Riders relieved to know team can retain WorldTour licence

    Bjarne Riis can finally start making concrete plans for the 2012 season, as he learned Monday night that Team Saxo Bank will retain its WorldTour licence for the remainder of the year. However, he still faces the problem of getting enough UCI points this season to secure a licence for 2013.

    Having the licence will make a possible future cooperation with Contador easier, he told Ekstra Bladet. “Of course it means something in relation to Alberto and the team. It means everything to us all that we have a license.” says Bjarne Riis.

    He was however not ready to address the question of how the team would achieve the necessary points without Contador, who provided two-thirds of the team's points in 2011.

    “It is not the time right now. Now we welcome this. We know what we need and how the system works. We must solve a series of tasks, and we'll cope.”

    Contador could return to the team as soon as August this year, but a new UCI rule states that riders returning from doping-related suspensions cannot score any points for their team license for another two years following their come-back.

    For now however, knowing that the licence is secure this year may help the team, which has only two wins this season, both from Jonathan Cantwell in the Tour de Taiwan. “Now we have peace. But we would like to deliver results. We know we are not at the top of the list, but we also know we have been unlucky.”

    Most importantly, Riis now knows what he has to do. “We know the tasks that face us at both the sporting and business plans. It's easier now, now we can start to do something.”

    Riders relieved and ready to work

    Michael...

  • No appeal for Contador

    Alberto Contador on his way to speak to the media after CAS gave him a two-year ban for doping.
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 13:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard will not fight suspension in front of Swiss Federal Court

    Alberto Contador has not appealed the Court of Arbitration's decision to suspend him from racing due to his positive result for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. The Spaniard had 30 days as of the CAS ruling to bring the case in front of the Swiss Federal Court, but decided not to do so. The deadline for submitting an appeal ran out on Monday, April 2.

    "According to my lawyers, it made no sense to appeal the case, as it would have ended up again at the CAS anyway. Meanwhile, I have lost all faith in sports law," Contador told El Mundo.

    The 29-year-old grand tour specialist has taken up training again for his comeback as of August 5 this year. His positive sample for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France triggered one of the longest doping case decisions in the sport, as it took 18 months for a definite ruling to decide on the rider's fate.
     

  • Démare out of Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ-BigMat) winner of the Cholet Pays de Loire
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 14:01 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rising French sprint star suffers wrist injury

    FDJ rider Arnaud Démare will have to wait another year to discover the pleasures of riding Paris-Roubaix. Scheduled to make his first experience of the 'Hell of the North' this weekend, the new French sprint star is suffering from a wrist injury sustained at a crash in the Three Days of De Panne, and therefore will not race until further notice.

    "Arnaud has hurt his wrist, but there is no fracture, just a muscle strain," the team announced on its Twitter account on Monday. He will therefore not race Wednesday's Scheldeprijs, either.

    The 2011 U23 world champion has already achieved four victories this season, notably a stage at the Tour of Qatar, the GP Samyn, a stage of the Three Days of West Flanders and the GP Cholet. The 20-year-old will however not race the Tour de France this year yet, but he is scheduled to take part in the Giro d'Italia. "We will wait and see what his wrist injury is exactly and then we'll make up a new programme for the next few weeks. But he will be in the Giro d'Italia," FDJ team manager Marc Madiot told Eurosport.
     

  • Ashenden speaks out on leaving Biological Passport panel

    Dr Michael Ashenden
    Article published:
    April 03, 2012, 17:30 BST
    By:
    Andy Shen/NYVelocity.com

    Blood expert decries UCI policies on confidentiality

    The following extract comes from an interview carried out by Andy Shen from nyvelocity.com with anti-doping expert Mike Ashenden. The full interview can be found over at nyvelocity.com.

    Andy Shen: I understand that you'll no longer be on the panel for the Biological Passport Program. Can you explain your reasons for resigning your position?

    Michael Ashenden: That's correct insofar as I will not be an expert on Lausanne's Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU). I do intend however to remain a member of WADA's Expert Panel. As well, Dan Eichner at the Salt Lake City lab has also convened their own APMU with a truly formidable panel of experts, and I've accepted their offer to participate on that panel. I'm enthusiastic about the prospects for that to grow and establish itself in the future.

    From the beginning of 2012, Lausanne have been managing cycling's Passport program, so it means I will not be interpreting rider's blood profiles any longer. The reason I have resigned comes down to an issue of freedom of speech.

    In their terms of agreement, Lausanne inserted an additional confidentiality clause that precluded an expert from making any public comment or giving any personal opinion on any aspect of their role as an expert on the panel. Not just now, but for eight years after the expert leaves the panel.

    In my opinion such a clause is ludicrous. Perhaps an employer can insist that their employee signs such a contract, but us experts are not employed by the APMU, and in fact their contract states that we must at all times exercise the greatest care to ensure that we do not become dependent to the APMU. In other words, they see independence as being of paramount importance. So it comes down to the APMU squashing the freedom of speech of a...