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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Date published:
February 11, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Lasse Norman Hansen shows his talent on debut

    Lasse Norman Hansen held on for the podium
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 9:31 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Danish track rider impresses with third at Dubai Tour

    While Taylor Phinney (BMC) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) dominated the headlines, Lasse Norman Hansen of Garmin-Sharp showed his huge potential and excellent form for the rapidly approaching track world championships, by finishing third in the opening time trial. He was 16 seconds behind Phinney in the 9.9km time trial but was faster than multiple world champions Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara.

    He then handled the pressure and speed during the two flat stages and the hilly stage to Hatta to share the spotlight with Phinney and Steve Cummings (BMC) on the final podium in Dubai.

    It was an impressive debut with Garmin-Sharp. Yet Hansen remained unruffled. He is used to pressure and success after winning a gold medal on the track in the multi-discipline Omnium event at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

    "It's been a good race for me. It started with a great time trial and then on the hilly stage I got over the top with the front guys and that allowed me to finish third overall. I'm really satisfied," he told Cyclingnews with Danish aplomb.

    "I'm in a really good shape. The track world championships are just around the corner and I've been in an intense training camp. I knew I was good going into the time trial but my motivation went even higher at the turning point when the team told me I was faster than Cancellara. When I got to the line to line I was hoping I could beat some of the big guys but I...

  • Gallery: Marco Pantani through the lens

    Marco Pantani at the 1997 Fleche Wallonne where he would finish in 5th place on the day to Laurent Jalabert.
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 10:14 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Photos of Il Pirata from 1994 to 2003

    Friday February 14, St Valentine's Day marks a decade since Marco Pantani -one of cycling’s most flamboyant characters, was found dead in a Rimini hotel room. His fantastic successes at a time of the sport’s greatest excesses have produced a vibrant yet tarnished legacy. This photo gallery is the second special feature in a week-long look back at the Italian rider's career.

    Pantani turned professional with the Carrera jeans team in the summer of 1992 and took his first professional victory with the team in 1994, with back to back victories in the mountains of the 1994 Giro d'Italia. He went on to finish second behind Evgeni Berzin and ahead of Miguel Indurain. 

    The Mercatone Uno team was created around Pantani in 1997 and he would remain with the Italian chain-store through the remainder of his professional cycling career which came to a conclusion following the 2003 Giro d'Italia, the Italian's final race where he finished 14th overall.

    Pantani's stint with Mercatone Uno included both the pinnacle of his career - the 1998 Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double, the last time a rider has won both Grand Tours in a single season - and its nadir at the 1999 Giro d'Italia where Pantani would be expelled from the race with two stages remaining, while in the maglia rosa, due to an elevated haematocrit.

    Pantani returned to racing the next year in 2000, winning two stages at the Tour de France including a head-to-head duel with Lance Armstrong on the slopes of Mont Ventoux, but he was never the same again.

    Italian photographer Emanuele Sirotti lived just a few kilometres from Pantani and captured some iconic images of Pantani in his early years. Tim De Waele captured many of...

  • Kaisen forced to quit professional cycling

    Oliver Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol) was awarded the most aggressive rider prize for stage 2 in Beijing
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 11:34 GMT
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Cardiac problems puts an end to Belgian's career

    Lotto-Belisol rider Olivier Kaisen has been forced to quit cycling, due to cardiac problems.

    The Belgian team confirmed that the annual cardiologic examination made last November, which is compulsory under UCI rules, showed the 30-year-old was suffering from an irregular heart beat. These results were initially no cause for concern, and Kaisen began his season at the Tour Down Under. After becoming ill during stage two of the race, the Belgian underwent further tests. These made it clear that Kaisen wouldn’t be able to continue his professional career.

    "Last Friday I got the news I feared was coming up; I have to quit cycling,” Kaisen said in a team statement released on Monday evening. “Of course I had rather have seen it differently, but keep on cycling isn't an option."

    "I had loved to race a few more years, but I have to listen to my body and respect the conclusion of the doctors, even though this is very hard. I had never thought that someone else would decide about the end of my career."

    “At the moment I'm a lot at home with my wife and son Jussi. I get lots of support from the team, friends and family, but still feel a bit lost. There are worse things in life, but cycling has been part of my life for more than 20 years. I have no idea yet how my future looks like, I only got the news a few days ago and want to let it all sink in."

    Team Manager Marc Sergeant wished his former rider well and said that the team would try to help him in the transition out of professional cycling.

    “In the name of myself, all staff members and all riders I deeply want to thank Oli for all generous efforts. We will do our best to assist him as good as possible during the next weeks and months and if possible to build the bridge to the next part of his life," Sergeant...

  • Sánchez to begin season at Tour du Haut-Var

    Spain's Samuel Sanchez in relaxed mood at the 2012 Tour de France
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 12:18 GMT
    By:
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    New BMC signing to target the Ardennes and the Giro d'Italia

    Samuel Sánchez is expected to race in his new BMC colours before the end of the month, with a likely debut in France at the two-day Tour du Haut-Var,

    Sánchez joined the American team at the beginning of this month, after the sacking of Alessandro Ballan. The rider has kept quiet on his exact calendar, until the team makes it official. However according to various reports, the Spaniard will begin his season on February 22nd in the Tour du Haut-Var.

    He is not on the provisional start list on the race’s website but that was released before news of his signing was announced. Sánchez is likely to remain in France and ride the subsequent Classic Sud Ardèche and La Drôme Classic. A report on the Spanish sports website Vavel.com claims Sanchez will take on the Italian one-day races Strade Bianchi and Roma Maxima for the first time. He will then ride the Volta a Catalunya followed by the Vuelta al País Vasco.

    His first big goals of the year will be the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d’Italia. Sánchez will provide strong support for Philippe Gilbert, who is looking to find the form that took him to victory at all three Ardennes races, in 2011. He will support Cadel Evans at the Giro d'Italia. Sánchez rode the Corsa Rosa last season, where he finished 12th overall.

    It is thought that Sánchez may also compete in his home Grand Tour, la Vuelta a España. Sánchez has taken five top 10 finishes at the race his best result was second in 2009, behind his compatriot Alejandro Valverde.
     

  • Independent Reform Commission offers olive branch to Lance Armstrong

    Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 12:48 GMT
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    CIRC may offer reduced suspensions "on ad hoc basis"

    The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) has announced its terms of reference, specifying that the time period which will be examined will be the years 1998-2013, which includes all the years Lance Armstrong raced after his comeback from cancer.

    The CIRC also announced it has the authority to propose reduced sanctions and stated that it will offer bigger reductions for testimony which provides "valuable information" of rule violations or "other significant anti-doping relevant circumstances".

    Reduced sanctions were not to be available to those who are currently serving bans, but the CIRC opened the door for Armstrong by stating, "on a case by case basis, the CIRC can recommend an ad hoc reduction in sanction for a License Holder who is currently serving a period of ineligibility".

    The CIRC also stated that, "investigation into UCI past wrongdoings will also be a core part of the CIRC mandate". Armstrong indicated in November that former UCI president Hein Verbruggen helped cover up evidence of his doping. Verbruggen denied this was true.

    The commission called for testimony in what it says will be a "strictly confidential" investigation, and offered reduced sanctions to any license holders (riders, officials, agents, organisers, team staff) who admit to anti-doping rule violations. Riders will not be asked to return prize money gained during the period of their anti-doping rule violations.

    "The investigation’s primary...

  • 2016 Qatar world championships set for October date

    The Tour of Qatar is always broken up into echelons
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 15:25 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    High temperatures and rain could prolong the season

    The 2016 road racing season is likely to be stretched into late October after Eddy Merckx has revealed that the UCI World road race world championships will probably be held between October- 9-16 -three weeks later than the usual dates in late September.

    Merckx organises the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, with technical support from Tour de France ASO. He is involved the organisation of the 2016 world championships in Qatar and the risk of high temperatures and rain have apparently forced the change of date.

    Weather data shows an average temperatures for the city of Doha remains close to 40 degrees Celsius, but fall to around a more bearable 35 degrees C in mid-October. September is also has the highest rainfall of the year, while October is traditionally dry.

    Initially reports suggested that Qatar will try to create a course with some climbing, but Merckx told Gazzetta dello Sport that the wind on exposed roads outside the city should be enough to spark a selective and interesting race.

    "The geographical aspect of the country is interesting even if it's flat, it won’t be a boring race," Merckx said.

    "We won't make any artificial difficulties, the wind will be an important difficulty and I'm sure it'll be an hard race. The racing will start and finish on the Doha Corniche and the time trial will be 42km long, the team time trial will be 54km long. The road race could consist of several laps of the 42km circuit and then smaller laps."

    "Regarding dates, they could be moved forward compared to recent years. One option on the table and actually the most probable date, is between October 9-16."

    With two and a half years...

  • Offredo targeting Sanremo and Flanders

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ) makes his return to the classics after a year on the sidelines.
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 16:05 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    FDJ rider intends to make an impact in the Classics

    Last year’s Tour of Qatar marked Yoann Offredo’s return to competition after a year-long ban imposed for three violations of the whereabouts rules.

    After a 2013 season that FDJ rider has described as one where he needed to prove that he could still compete at the very top level, the 27-year-old Frenchman is back in the Arab emirate with his sights set on the  Spring Classics, where he aims to be contender, and the Tour de France, where he hopes to make his debut.

    So far, the Qatari race hasn’t favoured Offredo and his FDJ team. Hit by a series of punctures and crashes on stage 2, they lost two riders as Mathieu Ladagnous returned to France with a dislocated collarbone and David Boucher quit after a fall left him coughing up blood. Offredo went down, too, but hospital tests revealed no broken bones, allowing him to continue towards his planned rendezvous with the Classics.

    “Last season I had to get back to the level I was at, to prove that I was capable of achieving that. But 2014 will be different – it’s a bit like a year of renewal for me,” Offredo told Velochrono.fr. “This season I want to pick up where I left off in 2011 and continue to progress.”

    A very prominent seventh in Milan-Sanremo in 2011, Offredo appeared to have the talent, confidence and brazenness to threaten the best one-day performers until sidelined by suspension. Last year’s 19th place at Sanremo and 16th place in the Tour of Flanders indicated he may yet do so, especially as he believes he’s almost 10% stronger now.

    “I’ve picked up an awful lot of power in a year. I’ve gained almost 10% in terms of maximal aerobic power, which is good for morale. It also means that I’m back to the level I was at in 2011 and...

  • Phinney finds new maturity with Dubai Tour victory

    Taylor Phinney with his winner's trophy
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 17:15 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    American looks ahead to the Classics and the Tour de France

    Taylor Phinney boyishly suggested he may play hula hoop with his Dubai Tour winner's trophy but a dominant overall victory in the first edition of the race confirmed the 23-year-old American has improved and matured as he begins his fourth season with BMC.

    A successful year is not measured by an early season victory but the way Phinney handled the pressure of race, team leadership and his time in the spotlight, showed he is rapidly living up to his potential and family pedigree.

    In 2013 he won a stage at the Tour of Poland with a 10km solo attack but considered the season a disappointment after failing to land a medal in the world time trial championships and after failing to leave his mark in the Classics.

    He admitted he was always 'behind the eight ball and chasing form' following three weeks off the bike due to an infection in June, but he's back to his best after an excellent winter training in the USA and a trouble-free early season.

    "I consider this my first pro stage race victory. This is a big step for me," Phinney said, with his victory at the 2010 Olympia Tour while at Trek-Livestrong relegated to his Under 23 palmares.

    "To step into a leader's jersey and play that role and feel confident in that role is very satisfying. In the past I've started the season after struggling with injuries. This time I've come off a trouble-free winter and feel great."

    A new maturity

    BMC directeur sportif Max Sciandri has noticed a significant difference in Phinney's physical ability and maturity this season.

    "He's still a young guy and so one year makes a big difference," the...