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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Date published:
February 12, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Boonen not competitive despite Oman start, says team doctor

    Taylor Phinney and Tom Boonen at the start of stage one in Oman
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 6:21 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fifth-place not indication OPQS rider is fully recovered

    Starting his season after lengthy delays Tom Boonen could be happy with his fifth-place on the first stage at Tour of Oman. Despite contesting the sprint and his apparent ease back into the rhythm of racing his condition is far from optimal, according to Omega Pharma - Quick-Step doctor Yvan Van Mol.

    Boonen underwent surgery for an infected elbow in January and has been steadily building for his first race at Oman and while he finished in fifth on the opening day, more should not be expected from the current Belgian road champion.

    "The infection has been removed and the arm has fourteen stitches. So it makes sense that Tom is currently riding with pain. Local - to the elbow - and conditionally he will continue to suffer this nuisance," explained van Mol on nieuwsblad.be.

    After a troubling end to last season, where the multiple-time Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders champion was hospitalised with an intestinal infection, Boonen appears content to back in the peloton. His bout of "stomach flu" caused him to skip a team building camp in late 2012 and while he had seemingly recovered, his planned season debut at Tour de San Luis was put on hold so he could concentrate on training.

    His infected elbow has slowed his official start to the year but Boonen has been able to return to a good training load, completing more than 1,000km during a week-long training...

  • Cavendish to Volta ao Algarve with winning opportunities

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) wins stage 3 at the Tour of Qatar.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 8:21 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    OPQS send Qatar champion for stages, Martin and Chavanel for GC

    Following from his cracking Tour of Qatar campaign where he took four consecutive stage wins on the way to the overall, Mark Cavendish will now line up at the Volta ao Algarve which runs from 14-17 February. His Omega Pharma - Quick-Step squad will have more than just stage wins in mind when Sylvain Chavanel, Tony Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski hunt the general classification title.

    "The first two stages are suited for the skills of Mark Cavendish," said OPQS sports director Tom Steels. "The stages are long, about 200 kilometers. They are also not completely flat. It's a question of handling the situations and controlling the race as much as we can."

    Reigning time trial world champion Tony Martin will hope the absence of last year's overall winner Richie Porte (Sky) assists his chances for the title victory. Martin was beaten by the smallest of margins in the final time trial by Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and finished the now four-stage race in second overall, 37 seconds behind Porte.

    While Porte and his Sky teammates look for success at the Tour of Oman, Martin will look to Kwiatkowski, who finished 13th overall in 2012, and Chavanel for assistance in capturing the race victory he most recently took home in 2011. Martin won't be completely out of the Sky firing line with Jonathan Tiernan-Locke making his season debut with the WorldTour squad.

    "There is also the third stage uphill finish on 2.5km, Category 2 Aldo do Malhao. It's important for the GC, and the parcour is quite difficult. It will be important for riders such as Chavanel, Martin, and Kwiatkowski to stay near the front," said Steels.

    "We have three riders who on the last day are able to do a great performance on the time trial. The...

  • Good news for Hoogerland and Tankink

    Johnny Hoogerland
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 9:34 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hoogerland ok to return to Netherlands,Tankink with clean break

    There was good new for two Dutch riders hit by cars recently in Spain whilst training. Johnny Hoogerland can now be transferred to a hospital in the Netherlands and Bram Tankink will not need surgery on his broken collarbone.

    Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) suffered broken ribs,damaged vertebrae and a bruised liver when he was hit by a car over a week ago, and spent several days in intensive care. On Monday he tweeted that he got the “green light” to return to his homeland.

    He will not go directly home but will have to spend more time in hospital. He must only wait until his health insurance reaches an agreement with a flight back.

    Tankink (Blanco) broke his collarbone when hit by a car on Sunday. He was able to fly home that same day, and underwent further examinations there. The team announced Monday evening that he has a clean fracture. “He will start indoor training this week. If the outdoor rides go well next week, he will start in Paris-Nice!”

    Hoogerland and Tankink are only the two latest victims in a months-long series of incidents involving riders being hit by cars whilst training.

  • Riis stays reticent on Operacion Puerto

    Bjarne Riis has attracted a new sponsor to his squad.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 11:07 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Dane hints he may speak in a Truth and Reconciliation proces

    Bjarne Riis arrived at the Tour of Oman on Tuesday to follow the Team Saxo-Tinkoff squad and team leader Alberto Contador as they go for overall victory in the six-day stage race.

    Riis' history as a rider and then as a team manager are tightly intertwined with the last twenty years of professional cycling and also with what is happening at the Operacion Puerto trial and any possible Truth and Reconciliation Process managed by the UCI.

    He won the 1996 Tour de France but then surrendered his victory after confessing to doping. His teams have been some of the most  successfully and carefully managed set-ups in the history of the sport and he is again back in tandem with Contador and ready to target another Tour de France.

    Yet an ever-growing number of Riis' high-profile riders have become caught up in doping scandals in recent years and many were or may have been client of Dr. Fuentes.

    Tyler Hamilton has claimed that Riis underwent a blood transfusion during the 1996 Tour de France. He and Ivan Basso were especially close  between 2004 and 2006, when the Italian rode for CSC. The latest evidence to emerge from Operacion Puerto and published by Gazzetta dello Sport suggests that Basso underwent blood transfusions and used other banned substances thanks to Fuentes, while working with Riis. Hamilton, Contador, Fränk Schleck, Jörg Jaksche, Michele Bartoli, Dave  Zabriskie, and Christian Vande Velde have all either faced doping suspensions or admitted to doping while riding under Riis’s care.

    Riis has claimed that he does not know Fuentes and has never met him. Yet the links between cycling's most diabolic doctor and the stone-faced Dane are becoming more and more...

  • Fahey: Armstrong’s lifetime ban could be reduced if he cooperates with USADA

    WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 12:29 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Says cycling is going through a crisis in confidence and calls Armstrong a bully

    WADA president John Fahey has indicated that Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban from sport may be reduced if he cooperates fully with USADA. The US Anti-Doping Agency banned Armstrong for life last year after they uncovered that the US Postal team and its leadership ran what they believed was the most sophisticated doping programme sport had ever seen.

    After deciding not to fight USADA’s charges or to co-operate, Armstrong lost all seven of his Tour de France titles as well receiving the lifetime ban. Since admitting to taking performance enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong has discussed the possibility of appearing in front of a Truth and Reconciliation commission.

    Speaking in London at WADA’s media symposium, Fahey admitted that the chance of Armstrong cooperation was slim but that USADA were the primary body for Armstrong to talk to. In an interview with Cyclingnews last month, Armstrong stated that WADA were the only body he would potentially cooperate with.

    “As to the Armstrong case it’s done and dusted. It’s over. He’s got life,” Fahey said.

    “This was an individual who masterminded one of the most systematic and widespread doping frauds in the history of sport. It’s not an excuse to say other riders were doping and therefore I also had to cheat. It’s not an excuse that the rigorous demands for the sport make it necessary to take performance enhancing drugs."

    "The reality is that Mr Armstrong cheated for more than a decade, bullied others into cheating, bullied others who would dare to expose his cheating and to this day he continues to manipulate the facts to his own benefit."

    “The only possible chance of something...

  • New roads, new climbs for Tour of California

    2013 Amgen Tour of California - Stage 8 map
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 16:13 GMT
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Race to traverse Golden Gate Bridge on final stage

    The details of the 2013 Tour of California were announced today, and with the new south-to-north direction comes new roads and new climbs for the race’s eighth edition.

    The race will begin and end with some of the most well-travelled bicycle routes in all of California: from the East Peak ascent of Mt. Palomar in the opening stage in Escondido to the scenic trip up Highway 1 from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, riders in these cycling hotbeds will be familiar with each and every turn.

    Stage 1 will head east from Escondido to Ramona, turning up Old Julian Rd. before meeting up with highway 78 and 79 en route to Mesa Grande Rd. The undulating ascent will then drop riders down to Lake Henshaw where they will begin the climb up Mt. Palomar’s more gentle East Peak Rd. A fast, technical descent will bring riders down to Cole Grade Rd. and one last KOM sprint before the return to Escondido via Valley Center.

    Stage 2 will be one of the longer stages in Tour of California history. Clocking in at 199.7km, the route from Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs has a small surprise: after heading through the San Jacinto Mountains, the riders will drop down into the Palm Desert and head straight to the brand new climb up Tramway Road for the finish. It is a challenging climb unlikely to yield a Peter Sagan sprint victory.

    Stage 3 from Palmdale to Santa Clarita will also take in new roads. The organisers could have gone back to the Angeles Mountains which were used in the approach to Big Bear and Mt. Baldy in previous years, but instead chose to take a western route that zigzags back and forth across the Sierra Pelona Mountains northeast of the finishing town. The long, gradual downhill into the finish could provide the race’s first bunch sprint.

    After the first three potentially hot stages, the fourth heads west to...

  • Nibali ready for a showdown with Contador in Oman

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished in 15th place on the penultimate stage in San Luis.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 17:48 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Astana leader tries late attack on stage two

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) showed that he is a contender for victory at the Tour of Oman with an aggressive ride and fourth place on Tuesday's stage 2 but tipped Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) as the favourite to win overall.

    Nibali finished fourth on the stage, five seconds down on Peter Sagan (Team Cannondale) in Al Bustan, but made an audacious late attack after chasing down Contador on the high-speed descent to the line.

    Contador attacked over the top of the last climb but eventually finished six seconds down on Nibali. Those seconds could make a vital difference on the steep slopes of Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) on Thursday's expected mountain finish.

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) is also still an overall contender, lying just two seconds behind Nibali, as are Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Like Contador, are six seconds down on the Astana team leader.

    "All the overall contenders marked and followed each other carefully," Nibali said after stage 2.

    "We were all watching each other on the climb; me, Froome, Contador and Evans. To be honest Contador seemed to be the strongest. Going over the top he was impressive. He accelerated hard over the top of the climb, showing he that little bit extra than everyone else."

    Nibali clashed with Contador at the Tour de San Luis but the Spaniard was on better form, winning the mountain stage to on Mirador del Sol and finishing fourth overall. Nibali was 10th but the Argentinean race seems to have boosted his form.

    The Sicilian won the stage to Green Mountain last year but missed to on overall victory to Peter Velits....

  • UCI to invite fans to stakeholder exercise

    UCI President Pat McQuaid at the UCI headquarters in Aigle
    Article published:
    February 12, 2013, 18:35 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Online survey to be part of “bright future”

    The UCI today revealed some of the details of its “A Bright Future for Cycling” exercise, which is designed to gather input from all of cycling’s stakeholders, including fans, using a “specifically designed online consultation survey”.

    The survey is set to take place from February 21 to March 15.

    The poll will gather input from riders, teams, race organisers, sponsors, sport institutions, media and fans from around the world, according to a UCI press release, on four main themes: globalisation, anti-doping, the cycling calendar and riders. “A fifth subject – that of the governance of cycling – will be a ‘red thread’ running through each of the four major themes,” the UCI stated.

    The stakeholder exercise was prompted by two forces: first, the push by some teams to form a ‘breakaway league’ separate from the UCI, and a more recent reform proposal from Omega Pharma-Quick Step team owner Zdenek Bakala and second: the harsh criticism of the UCI’s governance which stemmed from the USADA investigation of Lance Armstrong and doping in the peloton.

    The deeply damaging scandal has put cycling in the brightest spotlight of the mainstream media, leading some to suspect the sport could be dropped from the Olympic Games programme.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid is seeking to reverse the negative image of cycling through this...