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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Date published:
August 28, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Bassons: Armstrong's illusion of control is paramount

    Christophe Bassons signs autographs during the 1999 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 9:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Retired adversary not surprised by American's lack of fight

    Christophe Bassons was once ostracized for his comments regarding the performance of Lance Armstrong says he now feels "sorry" for the man that has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

    "And the worst part is that he is always so sure of himself, and is still not embarrassed to have cheated," said Bassons in an interview with Le Monde.

    While riding the Tour de France in 1999, Bassons, riding for La Française des Jeux wrote about his experiences in a daily column for Le Parisien. In one such column, he announced he had been "shocked" by Armstrong's stage-win at Sestriere. The Frenchman was then confronted by Armstrong where he was told to either stop his line of commentary or leave the sport. Bassons retired from cycling two years later, aged 27.

    Bassons said he was not surprised that Armstrong, explaining that he was tired of defending himself, chose not to fight USADA's allegations of doping and conspiracy

    "The illusion of control is paramount," Bassons told Le Monde of Armstrong's statement. "Armstrong, through his financial resources and his political support can afford to behave like that. He lives only to put himself above mortals. I am more sorry for him than anything else. This need to feel superior, to crush the competition, certainly has its source in his past."

    Many current members of the professional peloton and management have declined to comment on the latest developments in the long-running Armstrong saga, and as far as Bassons is concerned much of the silence is due to fear.

    "Armstrong has always seen himself as the...

  • Contador is nervous, says Valverde

    Alejandro Valverde in the mountains jersey
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 11:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Vuelta resumes in Galicia

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) was always going to be the focus of some scrutiny during the opening salvoes of the Vuelta a España, and a third of the way into the race, his overall rival Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has described the Contador’s performance to date as “nervous.”

    Contador returned to competitive action in early August after six months on the sidelines as part of his back-dated suspension for a positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. Valverde, who himself return from a two-year ban for suspected blood doping in January, said that Contador is still getting himself back up to speed.

    “After a long time without competing, you need a bit of time to get your rhythm back,” Valverde told EFE. “He is still very competitive, physically he is going well, he’s third overall, but he seems a little nervous and he is attacking where you don’t need to attack. But he has his approach to the race and it is certainly making it tough for us.”

    Contador currently lies 3rd overall, a minute down on overall leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and seven seconds ahead of Valverde. Contador looked set to claim his first victory since his return to competition when he launched a searing attack on the Collada de la Gallina on Saturday, but Valverde and Rodriguez swept past him in the finishing straight.

    In Barcelona on Sunday, Contador attacked before the final ascent of Montjuic, but was unable to follow when Rodriguez went away on the climb itself. Speaking during...

  • Stybar to debut at road Worlds in Valkenburg

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) put in a massive effort to take a solo win in Cassel
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 12:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Czech Republic names five of six riders

    Four-time world cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar will now have his chance to tackle the world road championships. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider has been named to the Czech team for the world championships next month in Valkenburg, Netherlands.

    The Czech Republic may send six riders to the road race, and five have been selected:  Stybar, Roman Kreuziger (Astana), Jan Barta (NetApp), Leopold König (NetApp), and Milan Kadlec (ASC Dukla Praha). The remaining rider will be selected later.

    Stybar was passed over for the Olympic Games, as Kreuziger and Barta represented the country.

    Stybar, 26, turned his focus from cyclo-cross to the road in 2011. He had his first two wins in that discipline this season, winning stages at the 4 Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of Poland. He is currently riding his first grand tour, the Vuelta a España.

  • Nibali: The Shark is still hungry

    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 13:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Sicilian looks to Worlds and Lombardy

    In spite of a hectic season to date that has included podium finishes at the Tour de France, Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, as well as overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is determined to finish out his campaign with a series of strong performances.

    The "Shark of the Strait" kicked off his preparations for the final phase of his season by participating in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, as he takes aim at the world championships and Tour of Lombardy in September.

    “For cyclists, the season of rest - if we want to call it that – is winter. Autumn starts with the Worlds and the Tour of Lombardy, and I certainly wouldn’t mind finishing my season off in style,” Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “I’ve always liked to be competitive all year around and I’ve often been so. I’ve had 71 days of racing but I don’t feel tired. Yes, the Shark is still hungry.”

    Nibali’s final race before the Worlds will be the Giro di Padania (September 3-7), and he confirmed that he will line up for Liquigas-Cannondale in the team time trial world championships in Valkenburg on September 16. Nibali leaves the team for Astana in 2013.

    “The team has involved me in the project for the team time trial that opens the Worlds, a nice challenge,” he said. “I think it will be a very spectacular race. And then after that, I’ll be wearing the blue jersey [of Italy in the road race – ed.]”

    Nibali was a frequent attacker during his week in Colorado, although he admitted that racing at such altitude had posed its own problems. “It was a new experience for me and I had to...

  • Gadret out of Vuelta with stomach problems

    John Gadret (AG2R) has been nipping at the heels of a Grand Tour break-out
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 14:44 BST
    Cycling News

    AG2R rider only fifth to abandon Spanish grand tour

    John Gadret of AG2R La Mondiale did not start the tenth stage of the Vuelta a España on Tuesday. The French rider is suffering from gastro-intestinal problems.

    Team doctor Eric Bouvat said on the team website that he was diagnosed with digestive problems requiring further assessment as soon as possible.”

    Gadret, 33, had struggled through the first nine stages, and was in 53rd position when he abandoned. He finished eleventh overall in the Giro d'Italia and had come to the Vuelta as the French team's captain. Gadret was third overall in the 2011 Giro.

    He became only he fifth rider to abandon the race, leaving 193 riders still in the field.

  • UCI postpones Tour of Hangzhou

    ProTour director Alain Rumpf with UCI head Pat McQuaid.
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 17:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Second Chinese WorldTour race not ready for 2012

    The UCI today announced that the Tour of Hangzhou, which was on the WorldTour calendar in its very first year and set to take place from October 17-21, has been postponed, adding that it would "seek to be part of the UCI WorldTour calendar in 2013".

    The addition of the Tour of Hangzhou to the calendar was facilitated by the UCI's sports promotion branch, Global Cycling Productions, together with the Chinese Cycling Association, Chinese Sports Ministry and the city of Hangzhou.

    The decision to scrap the 2012 edition, "was made by the UCI together with all the implicated parties ... after an in-depth analysis of the situation two months out from the event," the UCI's press release read.

    "Despite the efforts of all those involved in this initiative – and the UCI wishes to thank them for their commitment – not all the general conditions necessary to guarantee that the race would fulfil the UCI WorldTour quality criteria had been met."

    GCP director Alain Rumpf said that despite putting a lot of work into the race this year, they needed more time to "fine-tune certain internal matters in China".

    "In choosing to delay the first edition, we can ensure that the event will meet the expectations of all our partners, as was the case last year with the Tour of Beijing," Rumpf said.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid reiterated the Tour's importance in the globalisation of the sport, calling the race, "a very important element in the UCI's strategy for the development of cycling, and the decision to postpone the organisation of this event will have no negative consequences on the project."

    The second Tour of Beijing is due to take place from October 9-13.

  • Contador tips Valverde as contender for time trial

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on the attack at the end of stage 8
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 18:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spanish contenders confident that course suits them

    Nobody could describe any of the top three Spanish contenders for the Vuelta a España as a pessimist, with Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff) all saying after Tuesday’s flat stage through Galicia that the 39.5 kilometre time trial on Wednesday is good for them. Interestingly, all three - as well as Britain’s Chris Froome (Sky) - say the 39.5 kilometre stage, which has a third category climb and which they all went to reconnoitre on yesterday’s rest day - is a tough, technical one, too.

    "I like it," an upbeat Contador said after the stage. “It suits my characteristics. But that doesn’t mean I will win it, I think it suits all of us."

    Contador said that the stage to Sanxenxo had been “fairly calm, and good to stretch my legs for the time trial." Predictions for tomorrow? He responded with a laugh that he "would be away in a break, all by myself for 40 kilometres." Presumably getting caught by Chris Froome (Sky) who starts behind him in the time trial, does not form part of tomorrow’s plan...

    Intriguingly, Contador tipped Valverde, not known for his time trialling skills, as one of the favourites for tomorrow.

    "Alejandro won’t lose a lot of time," agreed Valverde’s Movistar teammate and 2011 Vuelta winner Juan José Cobo. "The whole of the time trial is about that climb in the middle."

    "It’s very demanding," added Valverde, "I definitely prefer time trials like that to anything a flatter. But I’m not going to say how much time I think I could lose, the less the better."

    "If I could have designed a time trial, it would be like that," said race leader

  • Exergy's woes compounded by $37.9m lawsuit

    Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) takes home the overall win of the 2012 Exergy Women's Tour.
    Article published:
    August 28, 2012, 18:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Energy company's unpaid cycling bills still pending

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge race promoters Medalist Sports are still awaiting payment on invoices from major sponsor Exergy Development Group, but a lawsuit against the company announced today could be a setback for a settlement which was promised by Exergy CEO James Carkulis.

    The Associated Press today reported that Exergy is being sued for $37.9 million by AES Corp. for failing to fulfil its contract obligations to purchase 32 wind turbines.

    Cyclingnews broke the story earlier this month of Exergy's missed payments to the cycling events it promised to support, the list of races includes the the eponymous Idaho Exergy Women's Tour and Medalist Sports events such as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

    The company's problems meeting its financial obligations extends well beyond the cycling world, the AP report states the company was forced to renegotiate its contract with AES for the turbine purchases after missing payments, but failed to follow through on the terms of that agreement as well.

    Carkulis still maintains that the company will go through with the purchase of the wind turbines, just as he promised to pay the cycling invoices by mid-September.

    Medalist managing partner Chris Aronhalt met with Carkulis at the USA Pro Challenge, and stated that he was "optimistic and encouraged by the update we received from Exergy", he told AP.

    Carkulis said the company had already paid out $1 million to the Exergy Tour, but according to AP it still owes $26,000 to Boise for the police support that was provided, and the city is intending to take the unpaid invoices to a collections agency if it is not...