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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Date published:
January 22, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Video: Phil Anderson's analysis of Tour Down Under stage 1

    All smiles from Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) on the podium.
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 11:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    No holding back for the peloton

    André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won his 12th stage at the Tour Down Under while Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) and world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) both put their hand up as contenders for the general classification. And it's only day one.

    Phil Anderson and Cyclingnews' Australian Editor Jane Aubrey talk through the events of Stage 1 and look ahead to Stage 2 which looms as an early indicator of those who will be fighting it out for the overall come the weekend, in the first of our daily analysis videos from the WorldTour event.

    Click on the video below to see what they think!

    Experience the world’s most iconic cycling events riding alongside one of cycling’s true legends, Phil Anderson. Phil and his team lead a suite of cycling tours to the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, la Vuelta, and more. To find out more visit www.philandersoncyclingtours.com or email enquiries@philandersoncyclingtours.com

  • Video: Gilbert shows Tour Down Under GC intentions

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) begins his season in the sunshine of Australia.
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 12:25 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    A very different start to 2013 season for World Champion

    World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) indicated that he was up for a tilt at the general classification of the Tour Down Under on Tuesday, fighting for bonus seconds en route to the finish of stage 1 in Lobethal.

    Keeping the rainbow jersey out of trouble in the opening WorldTour event of the season is a clear goal for BMC, but just whether or not he would be a contender come this weekend has been a lingering question for most at the Australian race.

    It was on the third sprint point of the day at the 118.5km mark when the Orica GreenEdge team made a move off the front of the bunch designed to net two-time winner Simon Gerrans valuable bonus seconds. Sensing danger, Gilbert surged ahead to ensure he took the three seconds on offer for the first man across the sprint point. Gerrans was third.

    The display marks a complete 180 degree turn for Gilbert, who struggled early on in 2012 before building towards his world championship victory in Valkenburg.

    "It's a completely different situation," he admitted in Lobethal. "I take more pleasure like this. And it's easy also."

    Whether he believes he is a true challenger for the overall win later this week was not something Gilbert was willing to commit to but he suggested that more will be known following Wednesday's stage where the Corkscrew climb is poised to deliver an initial selection of contenders.

    "It's hard to say after today," the Belgian said. "We'll see tomorrow evening after the climb and this climb will decide the race."

    Click on the video below for the full Philippe Gilbert interview.

     

  • Wiggins confirms the Giro d'Italia as his major goal of 2013

    Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins seals overall victory at the 2012 Tour de France with a win in the penultimate stage time trial
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 12:57 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Briton reveals how he trains in Mallorca to escape life as a celebrity

    Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that the Giro d'Italia will be his major goal of the 2013 season, conceding that teammate Chris Froome will have priority and be team leader for the Tour de France, while he hopes to finish on the podium.

    In long interviews published in Italian and French with the Gazzetta dello Sport and L'Equipe newspapers, Wiggins also talks about his dislike for fame, why he shaved off his sideburns and how even a batman fancy dress outfit failed to stop people recognizing him in a pub in France during New Year celebrations.

    Wiggins is currently holed up in Mallorca, reportedly doing rides of up to eight hours with coaches Tim Kerrison and Rod Ellingworth. He is set to make his season debut in the Challenge Mallorca races in early February, before his first clash with Giro d'Italia rivals Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans at the Tour of Oman. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is also on Wiggins' hit list for April, after studying the key stages of the Giro d'Italia and riding the Giro del Trentino.

    "(The Giro) wasn't a sudden choice. After winning the Tour, which I'd been chasing for several years, I asked myself: 'And now what?' and started to think about the Giro," Wiggins told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "After seeing the route, which is hard but not too hard like in the past, I decided. The Giro d'Italia is my new challenge, my new inspiration, the new fire that burns inside me. I think in some ways it'll be more difficult to win it than to the Tour. That's because of the difficulty of the climbs. And there will be riders like Nibali, who will be better prepared compared to the Tour de France of 2012 and they know how to ride the Giro d'Italia to win it. "

    Wiggins has ridden the Giro d'Italia five times during his...

  • Hoste under investigation for biological passport violation

    Belgium's Leif Hoste (Katusha) had a serious crash and was forced to withdraw.
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 15:22 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    UCI suspend Houanard for two years after EPO positive

    The UCI has announced that Belgium's Leif Hoste is under investigation for violating the UCI Biological Passport programme. The UCI has requested the Belgian National Cycling Federation (RLVB) handle the investigation and give Hoste any eventual sanction.

    Hoste announced his retirement on December 1, citing back problems. However the UCI will now look closely at his Biological Passport blood values for evidence of doping. The 35-year-old Hoste rode for Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s in 2012, after spells at Katusha, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Discovery Channel, Lotto-Domo and Mapei-Quick Step during a 16-year career.

    Hoste is a three-time Belgian national time trial champion and a strong Classics contender. He finished second in the Tour of Flanders on three occasions, losing out to Steffen Wesemann in 2004, Tom Boonen in 2006 and Alessandro Ballan in 2007.

    The UCI refused to give any further details on the case until a verdict is reached.

    The UCI also confirmed the suspension of former Ag2r-La Mondiale rider Steve Houanard of France, after he failed an out of competition doping control on September 21.

    The UCI said in a press release that Houanard had accepted a two-year ban in a written document on January 18. Houanard was provisionally suspended by the AG2R-La Mondiale team on October 9 and stopped from riding the Tour of Beijing.
     

  • Velits eyeing perfect start to season at Tour Down Under

    Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 16:18 GMT
    By:
    Alex Malone

    Omega Pharma - Quick-Step relying on Slovakian for overall victory

    Peter Velits (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) is a rider that has received little attention when discussing the general classification at the Santos Tour Down Under, but it was around this time last year that he won the overall at the Tour of Oman in what was his first stage race of the year. The opening stop of the WorldTour in Australia may not have the mountains of Oman, but the inclusion of Corkscrew and Willunga may be enough for the Slovakian to make an impression.

    Velits has been able to prepare well for the six-day race and says that while he lacks race fitness, he believes he may find early season form in Adelaide. Some solid training blocks with his brother Martin means he's arrived in Adelaide with an eye on the overall victory before attempting to defend his title in Oman.

    "That's been the idea behind this, that is why I was coming to Australia - to catch the same early form as I had last year," he told Cyclingnews. "That would be really good if I had the same legs as I had [at Oman]. To bring some results would be really perfect.

    "As usual, together with my brother we started training after a period of rest in California. After California we spent some time with the team on a training camp in Mallorca. Then again we went alone in Mallorca. So most of the time we spent in warm weather, where we could train properly."

    Velits was easily amongst the front group that sprinted into Lobethal and finished on the same time as the day's winner André Greipel in 22nd-place. Tomorrow's stage from Mount Barker to Rostrevor will be the first real test for Velits before he then looks to a strong finish at Old Willunga.

    "I've had pretty good preparation but it's the first race of the year so I can't really tell...

  • Gavazzi begins his comeback at the Tour de San Luis

    Mattia Gavazzi leads the way for the Androni Giocattoli introduction
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 17:19 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Italian racing with Androni Giocattoli after cocaine positive

    Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) made his long awaited comeback from suspension on stage 1 of the Tour de San Luis, finishing 31st in the hectic sprint won by Mark Cavendish.

    The Italian tested positive for cocaine after the prologue of the Settimana Lombarda on March 31, 2010. He won stage 2 of the race two days later but was suspend for two and a half years by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal. He was originally handed a six-year ban but had it reduced after he co-operated with the investigation.

    Unfortunately this wasn't Gavazzi's first brush with cocaine. He also tested positive for the drug when racing in the amateur ranks in 2004. That time he was given a 14-month suspension and ordered into a rehabilitation programme.

    Now 29, Gavazzi has been given another chance by Androni Giocattoli manager Gianni Savio and is hoping to get his career back on track. In 2009, he was one of the hottest sprinters in the peloton, picking up 11 wins in a stellar season.

    "Two and a half years was a long time but I respect the rules," Gavazzi told Cyclingnews before stage 2 of San Luis.

    "When I decided to come back, I knew it wouldn't be easy. I've been out for a long time but I've worked really hard through the winter and last year I trained a lot with the team. In June, I went to Sestriere with the Venezuelan team and trained my heart out for my comeback."

    A fully fit Gavazzi would have been a genuine contender for the pan-flat opening stage to Villa Mercedes. However, once Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Lampre-Merida began their duel on the front, Gavazzi found himself outfought and even out-thought - ring...

  • Deluxe domestique King aims for Tour de France place

    He is Ted King
    Article published:
    January 22, 2013, 18:58 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    American looks ahead to new season at Cannondale

    Behind every great rider is a great set of domestiques and Ted King is a solid deluxe.

    At the Tour de San Luis, the American laid down his own ambitions for 2013 and this year he wants to ride the Tour de France. To get there, he will have to muscle his way onto the boat to Corsica through a mix of consistency, level-headedness but, most of all, devotion.

    As a domestique, King rarely makes the headlines – his skills as a writer set him apart from the pack more than his punch on the climbs or his sprint – but last year he formed part of Liquigas' core of success. According to one statistic, he was sixth in 'assists', meaning that in the entire peloton he had helped a teammate win more than all but five other riders. It's a slightly easier task to accomplish when Peter Sagan is your team leader but nevertheless, in a sport where domestiques are obliterated by the UCI points system, it's a high achievement.

    "It’s hard to make things tangible," King says when discussing the position of the rewards a domestique can receive.

    "You can’t often quantify things and it’s hard to separate. You can always be doing your job and you can get a pat on the back and maybe some prize money but you’re not on the podium, or in the limelight but that’s 95 per cent of the peloton. But if you consistently do your job you’re going to get the respect of the team and you'll have people notice you.

    "I’ll never be able to do what Sagan can do and I’ll never be able to mix it in the bunch sprints or on the toughest climbs. So you recognise your capabilities and your goals in the greater spectrum of cycling and you do what you have to do within that window."

    ...
  • Corkscrew a serious hurdle for Tour Down Under contenders

    Gerrans and Valverde will have to do it all again tomorrow. They sit equal on the GC for the Santos Tour Down Under after five stages.
    Article published:
    January 23, 2013, 6:15 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey & Alex Malone

    General classification to receive shake-up on Stage 2

    The route for this year's Tour Down Under appeared, on paper, to be more difficult to last year but after the teams completed reconnaissance of the stages, there's one that sticks out the most: Stage 2. Corkscrew road is relatively short at a little under 3km but the long drag to the proper start and hairpin corners that kick up to 17%, it's definitely going to split the field.

    In what has traditionally been a sprinters race, TDU organisers have gone one further this year by including the taxing Corkscrew climb inside the final 20km of the stage. Riders vying for the general classification will not be afforded the luxury of waiting for the final hill-top finish at Old Willunga. They will need to be ready from the moment the Corkscrew begins. Over the top it's a fast 6km descent into the finish.

    Here's what some of the riders at this year's race think about the stage and the tough climb.

    Bernhard Eisel (Sky): Corkscrew changes the race. It will be very hard for each team to control, especially with Corkscrew. Teams need to be on their guard from day two.

    Cameron Wurf (Cannondale): I see it as a pretty big race to the bottom. It's two and a half k – yeah it's really hard. Coming down that canyon so fast and by the time you turn left and by the time you get yourself sorted out, if you're not in those first few positions the guys up the front are going to be halfway up the climb before you can even think about getting past. Position will be everything.

    Greipel and Gossy look like they're the best at holding position so I wouldn't put it past a couple of the sprinters being two of the first there. At the end of the day if a sprinter can see the top of the climb they become a climber. If they can get themselves in good positions at the bottom and get halfway up it it's going to be really hard for anyone to dislodge them. I'm sure Gilbert or Visconti will try and attack and do something but...