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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Date published:
June 19, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • De Gendt set for Olympics and Vuelta

    Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil - DCM) opens the champagne
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 10:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian's life has changed off the road since Giro podium

    Fresh from his superb showing at the 2012 Giro d'Italia, where he finished third overall and produced a stunning solo display in the race's penultimate queen stage to clinch victory, Thomas De Gendt is building towards a double assault on the Olympic Games.

    The 25-year-old Belgian, who rides for Dutch outfit Vacansoleil-DCM, is swerving a second straight outing at the Tour de France (he finished in 62nd place last year) and is instead targetting both the road race and time trial at the London 2012 Olympics. Afterwards, he hopes to make his debut in the Vuelta a Espana, which starts on August 18.

    In London De Gendt hopes to be part of a strong-looking Belgian team that is likely to feature Tom Boonen, who has been one of dominant figures on the road this season, and Philippe Gilbert, who certainly was last season. And while his all-round ability and his probable status as team leader for Vacansoleil could see him able to compete for individual honours at the Vuelta, De Gendt is under no illusions as to what his role might be in the road race at the Olympics.

    "In the [Olympic] 200km road race I will be riding for Boonen and Gilbert," De Gendt told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. "For the time trial it is difficult to estimate what is possible because it depends on who participates. If [Tony] Martin, [Fabian] Cancellara and [Taylor] Phinney start then medal opportunities will be difficult.

    "It's anticipated that I will then ride the Vuelta but I doubt that I will go for the overall classification. Better for me to pick out a few stages that I think I can win and try to keep myself fresh for the world championships that...

  • Kittel leads Argos-Shimano at Tour de France

    Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano)
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 11:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch-based squad announces its line-up

    Marcel Kittel will make his Tour de France debut at the head of a solid Argos-Shimano line-up. The Dutch-based squad announced its nine-man team on Tuesday and enters the race with the aim of taking a stage win.

    Two stage victories against the likes of Mark Cavendish and André Greipel at the Ster ZLM Toer last week brought Kittel’s tally for the season to seven, and the German is not lacking in form or confidence as he turns his thoughts to the Tour.

    "I’m going to France to challenge Cavendish,” Kittel said. "I’m looking forward to fighting against him. He is currently the best sprinter in the world.”

    As expected, the key components of Kittel’s sprint train at last season’s Vuelta a España have made the Argos-Shimano selection. Roy Curvers and Koen de Kort marshalled Kittel through the final kilometres on that occasion, while Tom Veelers was his lead-out man, a combination which yielded stage victory in Talavera de la Reina.

    New signing Patrick Gretsch will play his part in Greipel’s lead-out this time around, but on the opening day he will be hoping to get his own race off to the best possible start in the Liège prologue.

    The team also includes Johannes Fröhlinger, Albert Timmer and the French duo Matthieu Sprick and Yann Huguet, although there is no place for their promising fellow countryman Alexandre Geniez.

    “Our team has a world-class sprint train and with Marcel Kittel we have a young sprinter who in the Tour will explore his possibilities at the highest level,” said co-manager Sissy van Alebeek.

    While Kittel’s sprint is Argos-Shimano’s...

  • Scarponi set to ride Tour de France

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD) climbs
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 12:34 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    First participation since 2004 for Italian

    After falling short at the Giro d’Italia, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) is looking to make amends by performing strongly at the Tour de France. Remarkably, it will be the Italian’s first participation in the Tour since 2004.

    Earlier in the season, Scarponi had spoken of forgoing the Giro altogether in order to ride the Tour, but had been non-committal about his plans after finishing the corsa rosa in 4th place in May. Following a spell of training on the Passo dello Stelvio, however, Scarponi has thrown his hat into the ring for the Tour.

    “Already at the start of the season I spoke with the management about riding the Giro and the Tour, and even right before the Giro I still had this in mind,” Scarponi said in a video interview on his team’s website. “For me, the hard thing after the Giro is to get straight back on the bike and find the appetite to start riding again. But this year I still have a lot of desire to keep working.”

    Scarponi will be among the contenders for victory on the testing Valsugana circuit at the Italian road race championships next Saturday, but he was more circumspect about his chances of a high overall finish at the Tour given the preponderance of time trialling miles on the route.

    “There are more or less 100 kilometres of time trialling so it might be a bit stupid to say I want to go to France to ride for the GC, even if you never know,” he said. “I think the aim is to train really well and arrive at the Tour motivated. A good Tour would be to go on the attack in the mountains and maybe even win a stage.”

    Scarponi...

  • Greipel tips Sagan for Tour de France green jersey

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) stands victorious on the podium as stage winner
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 14:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Points classification not a target for German

    Fresh from stage victory at the Ster ZLM Toer, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) approaches the Tour de France in fine form, but the German believes that there is just one outstanding favourite for the points classification this July – debutant Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    Greipel took his own bow in the Tour last year and came away with a stage win at Carmaux ahead of his former teammate and great rival Mark Cavendish. He is hoping to repeat the feat this time around but said the green jersey would not be a pre-race target.

    “We want to win a stage and everything else is on top of that,” Greipel told Sporza. “After seven or ten days you can look at the points jersey, but for me I think there is just one guy who can win the points jersey and that’s Sagan.”

    Sagan has been in terrifying condition in recent weeks, clocking up five stage victories at the Tour of California and adding another four at the Tour de Suisse, bringing his tally for the season to twelve wins.

    Nonetheless, Greipel’s win on stage two of the Ster ZLM Toer brought his total for 2012 to thirteen and his confidence was boosted by beating Cavendish and the emerging Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) in the Netherlands. Greipel acknowledged that he was especially pleased with the way his Lotto Belisol lead-out train has been operating in the build-up to the Tour.

    “I’m quite happy and also the team is in good shape,” he said. “We don’t need to hide, we’re always on the front for...

  • Geniez to leave Argos-Shimano after missing out on Tour place

    Alexandre Geniez (Argos-Shimano) launches a solo attack
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 16:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman at odds with squad's sprint focus

    Alexandre Geniez has announced that he will leave Argos-Shimano at the end of the season after failing to make the nine-man selection for the Tour de France. With the team increasingly focused on the sprinting talent of Marcel Kittel, the French climber feels that he will have to sample pastures new in order to fulfil his considerable potential.

    “Given that the team is evolving exclusively towards the sprint, I realise that I won’t have the means to blossom at Argos-Shimano in the years to come,” Geniez told AFP. “For that reason, I won’t be part of the team in 2013.”

    Geniez acknowledged that it was inevitable that the Tour squad would be built around Kittel after his fine opening half of the season and he said that he respected his team’s decision. “Marcel Kittel is in great form and so the strategy is to put everything 100% behind the sprint with a team exclusively dedicated to that objective,” Geniez said.

    Such a strategy – at the Tour and elsewhere – leaves little room for a climber such as Geniez, however. Winner of the prestigious Ronde de l’Isard in his final year as an amateur in 2009, Geniez has yet to hit such heights with regularity in his three years as a professional in the Argos-Shimano squad, although he impressed in taking a mountain stage win at the Tour of Austria last July. Geniez also finished 4th in the 2011 Critérium International and second in the Route du Sud as a neo-professional in 2010.

    “When I’ve needed to ride to lead out the sprints, I’ve always done my work without a second thought, even...

  • Pozzato questioned by CONI in Rome

    Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia)
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 17:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    "We'll see what they tell me"

    Filippo Pozzato was questioned for over two hours by the Italian Olympic Committee’s (CONI) anti-doping tribunal in Rome on Tuesday following the publication of allegations that he was a client of Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    On emerging from the meeting, the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia rider described himself as calm and said that he would wait and see what action, if any, is taken by CONI.

    “We spoke, they asked me a lot of things. I’m not the one who will judge so we’ll see what they tell me,” Pozzato told the ANSA news agency on leaving the meeting.

    Pozzato was called before CONI after Saturday’s edition of La Repubblica published extracts from a telephone conversation intercepted by investigators from Padova in the summer of 2009, in which he allegedly speaks of working with Ferrari.

    Ferrari was banned for life by the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) on the back of rider testimony relating to his activities. In February 2002, the body announced that it would hand down suspensions of up to six months to riders who were found to have consulted with Ferrari.

    Last week, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) formally charged Ferrari with doping, along with Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and three other trainers at the US Postal team. It is understood that some of their case has been built thanks to evidence from...

  • Defending Tour de France champion Evans to head BMC team

    Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 20:43 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    BMC Racing picks Tour de France roster

    Defending champion Cadel Evans headlines the BMC Racing Team's roster for the Tour de France, as announced Tuesday by BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz and Directeur Sportif John Lelangue.

    Ochowicz said it was not an easy task selecting the eight riders who will help Evans during the three-week race that begins Saturday, June 30 in Liège, Belgium.

    "We have a number of qualified athletes, all of whom who could have been a great addition to this team," Ochowicz said. "We're looking forward to a challenging race, but one that we're prepared to take on. What we got out of last year's Tour was that we did a lot of things right and not too many things wrong. We'd like to repeat that this time around."

    Marcus Burghardt, George Hincapie, Amaël Moinard, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär are returning from last year's Tour team. Joining them will be three riders new to BMC this year: Steve Cummings, Philippe Gilbert and Tejay van Garderen.

    Lelangue said the eight riders joining Evans will solely devote their efforts toward helping him become the Tour's first back-to-back winner since 2005. Seven of the eight raced together at the Critérium du Dauphiné - where Evans finished third - and none of them competed in the Giro d'Italia.

    "We have one objective: to defend Cadel's title and bring him to the podium in Paris," Lelangue said. "Everyone will know clearly what their job is during the three weeks of racing. Our roster has a really good balance, especially considering the parcours."

    Evans said he is buoyed by confidence gained from his first Tour victory last year in seven appearances. "I know now that I can win it and my lead-up this year is nearly identical to what we did last year," he...

  • Menchov to lead Katusha at Tour de France

    Denis Menchov (Katusha Team)
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 21:49 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Freire heads up sprint challenge for Russian outfit

    Katusha is the latest team to release details of its nine-man squad for the 2012 Tour de France. The Russian team will be led by Denis Menchov, who is its main contender for the general classification, while fellow veteran Oscar Freire will head up the challenge for sprint honours.

    Katusha drew a blank at last year's Tour and will be hopeful that its twin challenge will bring more success this time round. Freire is a former winner of the green jersey, having won it in the colours of Rabobank in 2008, while Menchov's Grand Tour pedigree is an impressive one - the Russian is a two-time former winner of the Vuelta a Espana (2005 and 2007) and a former winner of the Giro d'Italia (2009). He also won the young riders classification at the 2003 Tour.

    "It's a huge responsibility that gives me high motivations," Menchov said.

    "It will be my first big stage race with the team of my country, so I'll give my best in order to win. Moreover, the Tour de France is the only grand tours that I haven't won: it's not a secret that this year it was my main goal, it would be the crowning achievement of my career, so that's why I look forward to start."

    Menchov implied that he had some input into the finalisation of the squad and also referred to Freire's consistent from in the first half of the season. The 36-year-old Spaniard has won stages at both the Tour Down Under and the Vuelta a Andalucia in 2012, while he also posted top five finishes at E3 Harelbeke, Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race.

    "The team is great: we selected the riders very carefully, I talked a lot with the sporting directors, so I think that's the best possible...