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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Date published:
December 17, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Gesink finalizes 2014 racing schedule

    Robert Gesink (Belkin)
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 3:25 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Dutchman plans Tour of California and Tour de France return

    This season may not have strictly gone to plan for Robert Gesink but after a morale boosting win in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, and a string of other impressive rides in the second half of the year, the Belkin leader believes that he is ready to challenge at the Tour de France next July.

    At Belkin's training camp in Alicante this week, Gesink finalized his racing schedule for the coming season. Out goes the Giro d'Italia and in come the Tour of California and another shot at the Tour de France.

    "I want to do the Tour of California and I'll try and be really good there. Then I'll stay there and train. Hopefully I'll win California but that's not an easy thing. It's not like I win 25 races a year and can just pick but I'll give it my best. I don't know how but I seem to do better on the other side of the ocean than here," he told Cyclingnews.

    "But next year is a new challenge with new hopes and new goals and again I'd like to go for GC in the Tour de France."

    California is a race in which the 27-year-old has already tasted success, with overall victory and a stage in 2012. The Tour has seen Gesink arguably reach higher achievements with sixth overall and second place in the white jersey competition in 2010. However, the race has also seen Gesink falter. Crashes and illness have marred two editions of the race for him, while in this year's race he was asked to ride in the services of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam.

    Gesink has long been on the radar as a grand tour rider of potential. As far back as 2008 he was a top ten rider in the Vuelta and he followed that up with another strong ride in Spain a year later. Yet it was the 2010 Tour de France that...

  • 2014 Tour de Romandie route released

    The 2014 Tour of Romandie route
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 5:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Final day time trial around Neuchâtel

    The details for the 68th edition of the Tour de Romandie have been announced with a time trial around Ascona to kick-off proceedings in Switzerland. The race will then conclude five days later in Neuchâtel with another test against the clock. Stage three from Le Bouveret to Aigle is the queen stage with the peloton to tackle over three and half kilometers of climbing in just over 180km.

    In 2013, Chris Froome led for the entirety of the race as Team Sky also took out the team classification. Sharing the podium with Froome this year were Simon Spilak and Rui Costa.

    The race has proven to be a barometer for the Tour de France with the last three yellow jersey winners having tasted success in the Swiss event before triumphing in Paris. A stellar field is once again expected to contest the WorldTour event as it is an important cog in preparing for the Tour.

    To begin the 2014 edition, riders will tackle a 5km prologue around Ascona. The following day will also begin in Ascona and will finish in Sion 203km later having crossed over French territory with a breakaway likely to have been in the lead.

    Stage two from Sion to Montreux is one for the sprinters while stage three offers several possibilities of a winner with the overall set to become clear. Stage four takes the riders in a loop around Fribourg for 174km before the race heads slightly north for the final day and could throw up a surprise winner on the day

    The final time trial over 18.5km around Neuchâtel is likely to decide the 2014 winner or cement the victors superiority over their rivals. Stages three and six...

  • Valverde takes solace from consistent 2013 season

    Alejandro Valverde had to settle for second
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 9:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard targets the Vuelta and possibly the Tour in 2014

    Alejandro Valverde won just a handful of minor races in the 2013 season but was consistently good and finished on the podium at Il Lombardia, the World Championships, the Amstel Gold Race, Clasíca San Sebastian and the Vuelta a España. He also finished third in the World Tour ranking this season.

    The 33-year old Movistar rider won two stages and the overall in the Ruta del Sol and the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca, both very early in the season. In the Tour de France he was hoping for a podium finish but lost almost ten minutes in the disasterous echelon stage to Saint Amand Monrond.

    "I had a good year. It was very consistent and I finished on the podium in all the races I targeted. And I had options to win them all,"  the Spaniard told, reviewing his season.

    "I feel better every year," Valverde said. "Every season I get older but I feel more mature and ride well."

    Next season Valverde will target the Vuelta. "If I don't have any problems I am going to ride the Vuelta. I like riding there and always do well," he said.

    The Tour de France is still up in the air for Valverde. His teammate Nairo Quintana  has openly been flirting with the Giro d'Italia instead of the Tour but no final decision on who will lead Movistar in July has been made.

    "During the last team meeting in Pamplona we talked about it again," Valverde said. "It's still up in the air but I am moving more towards the Tour than towards the Giro."

    The final decision will be made by Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué who has to share his two team leaders across the three Grand Tours.

    Valverde holds three bronze and two silver medals from...

  • UCI opens biological passport case against Team Sky's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 9:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider denies charges but faces possible ban

    The UCI has announced that it has opened disciplinary proceedings against Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Team Sky) due to irregularities in his biological passport, which its expert panel believes “has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation.”

    The Sunday Times reported in September that Tiernan-Locke had been asked by the UCI to provide an explanation for apparent fluctuations in his blood profiles believed to date from late 2012, when he was racing for Endura but had already agreed to join Team Sky for the 2013 season.

    "The analysis of the biological passport of Mr Jonathan Tiernan-Locke by the Experts Panel has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation (use of prohibited substances and/or methods)," a UCI statement read on Tuesday.

    "Consequently and in compliance with the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI has requested his National Federation to initiate disciplinary proceedings."

    Tiernan Locke is from the UK and so British Cycling will be responsibile for his case.

    News of Tiernan-Locke's possible passport violation was first reported by David Walsh of The Sunday Times on the morning of the world championships road in Florence in September. The UCI requested an explanation from Tiernan-Locke for his blood values so that its expert panel could decide whether or not to formally open a passport violation case against him.

    Tiernan-Locke was a late arrival in the upper echelons of the sport after suffering with Epstein-Barr virus after an impressive Under 23 career. He joined Team Sky this season, at the age of 28, after enjoying a stunning run of success during 2012 with Endura, when he won the Tour of the Mediterranean, the Tour du Haut-Var and...

  • Team Sky extends Tiernan-Locke's non-active status

    Team Sky
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 12:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    British team insists passport anomaly occurred before he joined the team

    Team Sky has confirmed that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will not compete for the team or take part in any team activities until a verdict is reached in his disciplinary process.

    The British team first withdrew Tiernan Locke from competition on September 29, the day of the road race world championships, after the Sunday Times broke the news of the UCI asking him to explain suspicious blood values.

    Tiernan Locke had been selected for the Great Britain team but withdrew three days before the race claiming he didn’t have the form to help the team.

    In statements then and now, Team Sky said it understood that any anomalies in Tiernan-Locke's biological passport were from readings taken before he joined the WorldTour team.

    Cyclingnews understands that Tiernan-Locke underwent testing and his values were screened by both Team Sky and Garmin during 2012 as they considered signing him. He also trained with Team Sky on several occasions before his victory at the Tour of Britain.

    Brian Smith, the manager at Tiernan-Locke's Endura team in 2012 told Cyclingnews in September that "Sky, Garmin and Endura all thought there were no irregularities with Jonathan."

    Tiernan Locke has not made public any medical or scientific reasons for the variations in his blood values that the UCI's anti-doping expert panel believes “has demonstrated an anti-doping rule violation.”

    Team Sky also offered no further information on the case in its brief statement and has not revealed if it has held an internal investigation.

    "Team Sky notes that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been charged with a violation of the UCI anti-doping rules," the brief...

  • Gonzalez de Galdeano: "Alonso doesn't know what he is talking about"

    Team Euskaltel wating for the start.
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 12:21 GMT
    José Been

    Euskaltel manager regrets the demise of the Basque team

    Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has criticizes Formula One pilot Fernando Alonso after his failed attempt to take over the Euskaltel cycling team.

    "I don't understand how someone who is willing to invest 17 to 20 million and wants to create a big project, has no idea how it works. He was ill-advised and remains very badly advised. I am looking forward to see if his new project sees the light next year," Gonzalez de Galdeano told

    Fernando Alonso announced in September that he planned to take over the Euskaltel cycling team and its World Tour license for 2014. however after extensive talks the plan collapsed and the Spanish formula 1 pilot now aims to launch a World Tour team in 2015

    'We were clear with Alonso. We presented our case clearly and have no fault in this. Alonso enters a world he knows nothing about. Cycling is not Formula 1. It is just as complicated as Formula 1, or even more so. He thought he could take money and do whatever he would like." 

    Gonzalez de Galdeano started his career with the Basque team before riding for ONCE. He joined the staff of Euskaltel after he retired as a rider in 2006 and took up the role of manager in 2009. In 2011 he left the team citing personal reasons but came back on-board for the new-look Euskaltel project in 2013.

    The project included a new financing structure with Euskaltel taking over the WorldTour license. Separating from the Fundación Euskadi meant that the Basque team could hire foreign riders for the first time in its existence. The new start turned out to become Euskaltel's final year and...

  • Gallery: Cannondale spices up its winter training in Tuscany

    Team three gets ready to roll
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 17:59 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Sagan, Basso, Moser work hard with new coach Sebastian Weber

    The Cannondale team is about to wrap up its pre-season training camp in Tuscany after 11 days of intense work that included quality training on the bike under a warm winter sun but also early morning gym, core and roller work.

    Peter Sagan, Ivan Basso, Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani will again be the team leaders, chasing success in the Classics, the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and the sprints.

    The 20 riders retained from 2013, including Ted King, Canada's Guillaume Boivin and Australia's Cameron Wurf, were joined by new recruits Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini), promising Kiwi George Bennett (Radioshack), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), plus neo-pros Matej Mohoric, Davide Villella, Alberto Bettiol and Davide Formolo.

    Cannondale now owns the team entirely after buying a major stake from long-time owner Paolo Zani, but the team remains registered in Italy for 2014, with riders and staff switching from English to Italian and back again throughout the day. The team colours remain the same bright green and white, with vertical stripes on the chest.

    Weber combines science with competitive training

    Cannondale recently announced Sebastian Weber as the team's new head coach but he and assistant coaches Mattia Michelusi and Samuel Marangoni have been working with the riders since the end of October, when it previous coach Paolo Slongo left to work with Vincenzo Nibali at Astana.

    Weber's discipline, eye for detail and scientific approach were easy to see when Cyclingnews visited the team on Monday. The riders were clearly motivated and enjoying the added dimension of competition and rivalry Weber has combined with the use of power data during daily training.

    Everyone was already working hard at 7:30 in the morning, either waking up their...

  • Former US Postal riders testifying at Bruyneel arbitration

    Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 18:45 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    London hearings get underway behind closed doors

    Despite a concerted effort from USADA and others involved to keep the arbitration hearing of Johan Bruyneel, Pedro Celaya and Jose “Pepe” Marti under wraps, Cyclingnews understands that the London-based case began on Monday and has seen a number of key witnesses give evidence. All three men are facing lifetime bans as a result of USADA's Reasoned Decision. The London event is set to be fought over jurisdiction rights, since none of the individuals are from the USA.

    Although the hearing is taking place behind closed doors, Cyclingnews understands that a number of former US Postal riders have been lined up to testify with some already haven given evidence on Monday. In the weeks leading up the hearing Tyler Hamilton confirmed to Cyclingnews that he was contacted by USADA. However, Cyclingnews understands that the story promoted a stern reminder from USADA's legal counsel to remind all potential witnesses that talking to the press was strictly forbidden. Since then Hamilton has not been reachable by Cyclingnews. Floyd Landis, who was expected to give evidence, refused to comment or discuss the case.

    On June 13, 2012, USADA charged Bruyneel, Armstrong's team director for all seven of the Texan's Tour de France victories from 1999 to 2005, Lance Armstrong, doctors Luis Garcia del Moral, Celaya, Marti and trainer Michele Ferrari with a host of violations including possession of prohibited substances and/or methods (including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment, testosterone, hGH, corticosteroids and masking agents); trafficking of the aforementioned prohibited...