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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Date published:
July 31, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • IOC blames social media overload for lack of broadcast information during road races

    The peloton winds their way up the Box Hill climb
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 5:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Commentators say experience was "frustrating"

    Following criticism of the television coverage of the London Olympic Games men's road race, the International Olympic Committee has asked spectators to be mindful of sending 'non-urgent' messages out on social media networks which overloaded telecommunication networks over the weekend.

    The relaying of time gaps by Olympic Broadcasting Service were kept to a bare minimum during the road races, leaving international commentators and therefore the viewers at home, in the dark. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games provided fixed time checks at Box Hill and at the start and finish line but the information from the GPS transmitters on the rider's bikes was largely disrupted otherwise due to the overloaded communications network. At several points in the race, riders in the early breakaway could be seen asking race officials in vehicles for time gaps.

    It's estimated around 1million people lined the 250km men's road race course alone.

    "Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say 'Don't, you can't do it', and we would certainly never prevent people," said IOC communications director Mark Adams. "It's just - if it's not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy."

    BBC commentator Chris Boardman calculated time gaps using his watch while Australian commentator Scott McGrory told Cyclingtips that the lack of information made it difficult to predict the way the race would play out.

    "Before the Olympic Road Race coverage started Phil [Liggett] and I had no idea that we wouldn't be getting regular updates on time gaps and distance remaining," he said. "That increased the challenge of providing valuable information to the viewing audience and was frustrating to say the least."

    Official 2012 Olympic communications...

  • Kreuziger denies helping Vinokourov to gold in Olympic Games

    Roman Kreuziger weighs his chances for a 2012 Giro d'Italia win
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 10:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Czech rider accused of riding for his Astana teammate

    Roman Kreuziger has been the target of some serious accusations in his home country following the London 2012 Olympic Games road race last weekend. The Czech rider, who is one of the leaders of the Kazakh Astana outfit, was accused of having raced in the interest of his trade team in the finale of the 250km-event on Saturday. Kreuziger was part of a breakaway of 25 riders when Alexander Vinokourov broke clear in the closing kilometres to take the gold medal.

    "What a load of bull![sic]", the 26-year-old wrote on his personal website after Czech TV Nova claimed he did not provide help in the chase because he wanted his Kazakh teammate to win, possibly after having been offered money. "After the race I said that I wouldn't be the first to chase my teammate. But I also added: because of the fact that there were other riders who had their helpers at hand. Owing to this unfortunate statement, everything backfired against me.

    "When Vino and Uran rode away from the group with about 6km to go, it never crossed my mind that they would stay ahead until the finish. I knew very well that there were some fast riders in my group who would want to bring them back to have a chance of sprinting for the medal. Moreover, I was the only Czech rider in that group compared to some other countries who had more riders there. There were three Spaniards, two Americans, two Dutch and two Belgians."

    Kreuziger continued to defend himself on the grounds of race strategy and his relative inability to sprint. "I have never been and never will be a sprinter. It would have been a mistake if I had been chasing the duo alone and then I'd have...

  • RadioShack-Nissan lose partnership with Enovos

    The RadioShack-Nissan team
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 11:02 BST
    Cycling News

    European energy company cuts sponsorship with beleaguered team

    2012 keeps getting worse for RadioShack-Nissan, after energy company Enovos announced on Tuesday that it has decided to terminate its sponsorship deal with the Luxembourg outfit. In a statement released on the company website, Enovos said that the poor image projected by the team over the course of the season, culminating with Frank Schleck's positive test at the Tour de France earlier this month had forced it to reconsider its position as a sponsor of the team.

    "Unfortunately, the 2012 season did not bring the desired results," the statement reads. "Considering only the sports section, this is part of the risk of sponsoring.

    "Too many negatives have occured since the beginning of the year. Finally, the withdrawal of Fränk Schleck from the 2012 Tour de France, following an abnormal result from doping control, led Enovos to reconsider its partnership with RadioShack-Nissan Trek. Therefore, the sponsorship agreement is terminated by Enovos with effect from 1 August 2012.

    "Enovos strongly regrets the trend of recent months. However, being socially responsible, Enovos does not wish to continue this partnership, as the values ​​representing the image of Enovos are not compatible with the developments around RadioShack-Nissan Trek."

    As well as poor performances on the road this season and injury to team leader Andy Schleck, RadioShack have been investigated by the UCI for financial irregularities, team manager Johan Bruyneel has been charged in the USADA/Lance Armstrong doping...

  • Muro di Sormano returns to Tour of Lombardy route

    The 2012 Tour of Lombardy route.
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 11:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Race starts in Bergamo to honour Felice Gimondi

    After a gap of 50 years, the fearsome Muro di Sormano returns to the route of the Tour of Lombardy in 2012. The short but devastatingly steep climb is the great novelty of this year’s race, which takes place on September 29.

    Although less than two kilometres in length, the Muro di Sormano has an average gradient of 15% but features sections in excess of 25%. When the climb featured in three editions of the race in the 1960s, many riders were famously forced to get off and walk.

    The 2012 Tour of Lombardy (or Il Lombardia) starts from Bergamo as the race pays homage to the career of Felice Gimondi in the year of his 70th birthday, and as was the case in 2011, the finish is again at Lecco, on the shores of Lake Como.

    As ever, the race proposes an undulating route interspersed with some stiff climbs. The first major obstacle is the Valcava (9.6km at 9%), which comes after 90 kilometres of racing, before the peloton tackles the rolling roads around the Colle Brianza. The Muro di Sormano features after 165km of racing, and precedes a scenic descent to the shore of Lake Como.

    The finale includes the traditional ascent of the Madonna di Ghisallo (8.5km at 6.5%) and the stiff climb to Villa Vergano (3.3km at 7.5%), which last year served as the springboard for Oliver Zaugg’s surprise win.

    The pre-race intrigue, however, will focus largely on the Muro di Sormano, which was first introduced in 1960 after organiser Vincenzo Torriani feared that the classic was no longer producing winners worthy of its great name.

    Ercole Baldini clocked a record time of 9:24 for the climb on its last appearance in 1962, when the race was won by Johannes de Roo. Baldini would later admit that his time had been somewhat skewed,...

  • Armitstead speaks out over sexism in professional cycling

    Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) has spoken out against inequality after winning silver in the 2012 Olympic road race
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 12:55 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Olympic silver medal winner calls on UCI to address inequality

    Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain) addressed issues over sexism and inequality surrounding women's sport during her post-race press conference.

    Armitstead finished second in the women's Olympic road race on Sunday, an event that started with half the numbers that had rolled out the previous day for the men's equivalent event. Members of the women's professional scene have advocated for a minimum salary in their sport, as well as greater number of women's teams and enhanced media coverage.

    "Pat McQuaid [UCI President] came and shook my hand and it was the kind of moment where you want to say lets sit down and have a conversation after this, Pat. It's something that can get overwhelming and frustrating, the sexism I experience in my career. But it's something that as an elite athlete you just get used to. At the moment there's not much I can do to change it but after my career I hope to," she said.

    "It's just obviously a big issue in women's sport, like salaries, media coverage, just general things that you have to cope with your career. But if you just focus on that then you get very disheartened. You try and focus on the positives."

    For Armistead, a share of the responsibility is on the UCI to deliver.

    "There are lots of different things that could be done but certainly I think we could get more help from the top, which is the UCI, perhaps through forcing ProTour teams to have a women's team," she added.

    "The problem is of being a female athlete is that you don't want to come across as negative or moaning and it's very difficult to change things in a positive way."

    Armitstead, who rides on the continent for AA, was also asked whether Sky, the backers behind the successful British men's...

  • Will Phinney's Olympic time trial simulation bear fruit?

    Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 13:36 BST
    Cycling News

    American hopes for medal thanks to specific training at home in Colorado

    As Wednesday's Olympic Games time trial looms near, Taylor Phinney will finally find out whether his specific training for the race against the clock in Boulder, Colorado, will see him return stateside with an Olympic medal. Having placed fourth in the Olympic road race, the American received confirmation of his great form even if he lost out on a medal this weekend. But more importantly, Phinney has been training specifically for the time trial event for these last six weeks, simulating the Olympic course at his home in Boulder, Colorado.

    On and around the Interstate 25 in Boulder County, the 22-year-old designed a 44km-course almost identical to the one that will be raced tomorrow in central London, and stuck to a strict training programme to gradually raise his power output and come up to Olympic level.

    "Of course, the road surface is different, but in a time trial, a lot is in your head and being able to suffer," Phinney told "It's just being able to push through any physical boundaries for a solid 50 minutes and sit in a very uncomfortable place for that amount of time."

    In order to prepare his Olympic bid to perfection, Phinney has sat out any racing these last weeks and solely concentrated on his time trialling skills. A set goal of wattage in mind, the BMC rider gradually increased his performances on the course. "That's something I could not have done if I'd done a race," Phinney added. "If I raced, I would've come here with a solid base of fitness but not necessarily the specific work that I felt I needed to achieve what I want...

  • Martinelli joins Team Sky for remainder of the season

    Italian youngster Davide Martinelli has joined Team Sky for the rest of the 2012 season
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 14:54 BST
    Cycling News

    Promising Italian lands stagiaire role at British outfit

    Fresh from making history at the 2012 Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins' yellow jersey victory - the first in the race's history by a British rider - Team Sky has moved quickly to bolster its ranks for the remainder of the season by announcing that promising Italian rider Davide Martinelli has joined the team as a stagiaire.

    The 19-year-old from Brescia won the 2011 Italian junior time trial championship and finished second in the U23 version this season. He will start out at the Vuelta a Burgos (August 1-5) and becomes the first stagiaire that Team Sky has employed in its three years of racing. Martinelli knows Sky riders Salvatore Puccio and Davide Appollonio from their time together in the national U23s and the son of Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli can't wait to get started in northern Spain on Wednesday.

    “I am delighted to have been picked as a stagiaire by the number one team in the world,” Martinelli said on the Team Sky website. “It is going to be an incredible experience, riding along with guys who are making history in cycling - people I used to merely watch on TV a short time ago.

    “I know both Davide and Salvatore as they rode the same U23 team as me. I will try to enjoy the experience, and learn a lot with a view to stepping up to professional ranks in the (hopefully near) future. Being a stagiaire, my main focus will be on learning and gaining experience, trying to understand the best way to approach professional racing by focusing on my teammates’ behaviour, both inside and outside races.

    “I see myself as a rouleur with time trialing as a main strength. In June I finished second in the Italian [U23] time trial...

  • Wiggins favourite for time trial, says Sánchez

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 15:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard ready for Olympic test

    Luis León Sánchez (Spain) has named Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) as the standout favourite for the men’s time trial at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which takes place on Wednesday.

    Wiggins won both long time trials at the Tour de France en route to his overall victory in the race, and although he spent much of Saturday’s road race riding on the front of the peloton in the service of Mark Cavendish, Sánchez is confident that the Briton will have recovered from his exertions ahead of the Olympic time trial.

    “Wiggins has had enough time to recover,” Sánchez told Marca. “It’s true that they did a lot of work to try and control the road race for 250km. It seemed like they had it under control but the race was tougher than they thought. But Wiggins is coming from winning the Tour and he is the clear favourite for Wednesday.”

    Sánchez himself finished a solid third in the final time trial of the Tour de France at Chartres, beaten only by Wiggins and his Sky teammate Chris Froome. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Tony Martin (Germany), who had both abandoned the Tour by that point, will be on the start line on Wednesday, but the last two world time trial champions enter the race still suffering the after-effects of recent crashes.

    “I’ll try to keep up a good tempo, do a good time trial and finish as high as possible,” Sánchez said. “There are specialists who might be well ahead of us, but we have nothing to lose and I’ll try my best.”

    Sánchez believes that the 44km London time trial course...