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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Date published:
June 25, 2013, 14:00
  • Rolland, Voeckler head youthful Europcar squad for Tour de France

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) continued his strong run of form today but just lacked the strength to follow Siutsou
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 02:08
    Cycling News

    Three riders on debut for French wildcard

    Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler will lead the charge for Team Europcar in the 100th edition of the Tour de France starting Saturday.

    The French team has built its squad around the pair while also putting "a strong emphasis on youth" with Canadian David Veilleux and Frenchmen Kevin Reza and Jerome Cousin all making their debut.

    "They have all reached maturity having made regular progression within the team," said directeur sportif Sebastien Joly. "We're keen to help them continue to progress by testing them with a three-week stage race of this calibre. Besides, they're not exactly novices – each one of them has already taken part in big races."

    Team Europcar, UCI Professional Continental, received one of three wildcards for the Tour de France, along with Cofidis and Sojasun.

    Voeckler, 2012's mountains classification winner, will be given free reign while Rolland the team's general classification leader took out the Alpe d'Huez stage in 2011 before winning the young rider classification. Last year Rolland finished eighth overall and this year he is targeting a top-five performance. He was cleared to return to racing last week after he had been requested to hand back his licence for eight days after he recorded abnormally low levels of cortisol in a test carried out in conjunction with the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) on the final weekend of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    Thirty-four year-old Voeckler this month won the sixth stage to Grenoble at the Critérium du Dauphiné and more recently won the Route du Sud.

    Shepherding Voeckler and Rolland will be new Japanese national champion Yukiya Arashiro, Italy's Davide Malacarne and Frenchmen Cyril Gautier and Yohann Gene.

    The full Europcar team for the Tour de France: Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler, David Veilleux, Kevin Reza, Jerome Cousin, Yukiya Arashiro, Davide Malacarne, Cyril Gautier and Yohann Gene.

    Tour de France
    Tour de France 2013
  • Jalabert reacts as L'Equipe reveals more details over 1998 positive

    Laurent Jalabert led a rider protest in the wake of the 1998 Festina affair
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 03:09
    Jean-François Quénet

    Former world number 1 admits his reputation is tarnished

    Tuesday's edition of L'Equipe gave more details on the retroactive detection of EPO in the samples of Laurent Jalabert during the 1998 Tour de France.

    "Traces of synthetic EPO have been found in his urine collected on July 22, 1998 at the end of stage 11 from Luchon to Plateau de Beille (won by Marco Pantani)," wrote journalist Damien Ressiot, who immediately linked this information to the revelations he published on August 23, 2005 about Lance Armstrong's positives for EPO during the 1999 Tour de France. Both tests were conducted for research after EPO became detectable in 2001 and can't be considered as positive doping control stricto sensu.

    Samples from the 1998 Tour de France were analyzed again in 2004. Most of them turned out to be positive for EPO. The French Senate anti-doping commission, which questioned 84 people since March 14, compared those results with the official records to come up with the names of the riders. Their final report is due to be made public on July 18.

    According to L'Equipe, Jalabert's sample reached 94.8% of basic isoform while the standards of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were 85% at the time. "His positivity is unquestionable," wrote Ressiot.

    On May 15 of this year, Jalabert testified under oath in front of the commission. He can't be found guilty of perjury as he admitted to having been treated by the doctors of the teams he rode for. "I can't firmly say that I've never taken anything illegal," he said, suggesting that he might have been unknowingly doped. He was warned by the Senators that they had in their possession the official records of the 1998 Tour de France, but the former world number 1 didn't expect such news to emerge.

    "I'm surprised," Jalabert told France Televisions. "When I was questioned by the commission, I wasn't told anything. I still haven't been informed since.” On radio station RTL, the other media organisation for which he works, Jalabert added: "Of course, it hurts. Five days before the Tour, I would have liked something else. This is really a difficult year for me [after the bad crash he had on his bike in March]. However, I'm also not very surprised. I don't know if there are other names. I don't know if all that is true and if I'll have evidence of it one day. But only my name came out and my reputation is tarnished. I don't want to argue, I don't have any proof.”

    In a similar situation, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) offered Armstrong the chance to have his samples tested once again after L'Equipe leaked the results in 2005 and before he made his comeback in 2009, but he just rejected the offer.

    France Televisions and RTL have refused to comment and speculate on Jalabert's presence behind their microphones during the coming Tour de France.

  • Riccò claims there were more EPO positives at the 2008 Tour de France

    Thumbs up for Riccardo Riccò (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 04:47
    Cycling News

    Banned Italian says 48 riders were on a list

    Riccardo Riccò, currently suspended until April 2024, has made a claim via social media that many more riders tested positive for EPO at the 2008 Tour de France.

    Riccò was in conversation with the account of Italian cycling magazine Cycling Pro in response to a report made by L’Equipe that Laurent Jalabert allegedly returned a positive test for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France.

    The controversial Italian said via his twitter account:

    "Also four riders came out as positive for EPO at the 2008 Tour when in fact 48 were on the list…"

    Riccò, Stefan Schumacher, Leonardo Piepoli and Bernhard Kohl all returned positive tests for CERA at the 2008 Tour.

    Riccò's career ended when he was rushed to hospital in February 2011 after apparently transfusing his own blood, which he had kept in his fridge at home. Doctors saved his life, reportedly saying they "pulled him back from the brink of death."

    Riccò has always denied he transfused his own blood, claiming his problems were caused by taking iron supplements, but he was banned by the Italian Olympic Committee's Anti-doping Tribunal in 2012. He was given a 12-year ban because it was his second doping offence. In 2008, he tested positive for the banned blood booster CERA after winning two stages at the Tour de France. He was arrested by French police during the race and given a 20-month ban.

    He made a comeback in 2010 with the Flaminia team and then joined Vacansoleil in August of that year. He was sacked by the team in February 2011, a few days after being rushed to hospital.

  • Euskaltel-Euskadi with ambitious squad for Tour de France

    Igor Anton (Euskaltel Euskadi) during the third stage of the Tour de Suisse
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 06:40
    Cycling News

    Targetting stage win, Antón and Nieve for general classification

    Euskaltel-Euskadi will line up at this year's Tour de France with the primary aim of a stage win over the three-week race and will field two riders capable of riding high into the overall classification. Igor Antón and Mikel Nieve, who both lay claim to Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España stage wins have the potential to finish inside the top-ten and without having to play support to Samuel Sánchez, they will have the freedom to fly when the race hits the mountains.

    Antón and Nieve have been named for dual leadership with both having finished inside the top-ten at the Giro and Vuelta in the past. Antón will make his return to the Tour after three-year break while Nieve is set to make his French debut this weekend on the island of Corsica. The remaining roster has been filled with a "motivated" bunch who will seek opportunities throughout the 3,479km.

    "Our objective is for a stage win. We will arrive with a very competitive team with Anton and Nieve as our dedicated climbers - with wins in the Vuelta and Giro. The Tour is unlike any other race riders will do in their careers. It will be complicated but I hope they have a chance to shine. The rest of the group is very motivated and they know they will have their opportunity," said team manager Igor González de Galdeano before calling for a minute's silence in the wake of the death of soigneur Rufino Murguía's who was unable to overcome injuries sustained in a bus crash en route to the Spanish Road Championships.

    With the Tour de France offering the greatest exposure of any race in the season Galdeano is confident his squad will rise to the occasion. Stage wins have been few and far between for Euskaltel with Sanchez's stage win in 2011 marking the end of a long spell without 'official' success at the Grand Boucle - after Mikel Astarloza's Stage 16 win in 2009 was stripped following a positive test for EPO. With the team hoping to attract more funds for the coming seasons, the team manager is hopeful the selected riders can deliver.

    "[The Tour] is the most important race, it is a showcase to the whole world. Our riders are aware of this and I am sure they will give the maximum, our fans will feel represented in our efforts and be proud of our performance."

    Euskaltel-Euskadi for the 100th edition of the Tour de France: Igor Antón, Mikel Astarloza, Gorka Izaguirre, Ion Izaguirre, Juan José Lobato, Mikel Nieve, Juanjo Oroz, Rubén Pérez and Romain Sicard.


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    Tour de France
    Giro d'Italia
    Vuelta a España
    Tour de France 2013
  • Quintana not under pressure in Tour de France debut

    Thumbs up for Quintana and Valverde who spent two days checking out Stage 8 and 9 of this year's Tour de France
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 08:47
    Cycling News

    Colombian content to learn before taking leadership at Movistar

    A frequent finisher amongst the world's best riders in 2013, topped by overall victory at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco may have shot second-year professional Nairo Quintana into the spotlight but the young Colombian is not letting his stellar run of results get the better of him ahead of the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

    Quintana will line up for his debut Tour this weekend on the island of Corsica and despite the encouragement from his family and followers back home, who believe he can win, the 23-year-old and Movistar team management insist that he is there to learn from the experience of riders like team leader Alejandro Valverde.

    Expecting the results to flow at the year's biggest race is a big ask for the rider who started and finished his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España last year, where he finished a respectable 36th overall while riding in support of Valverde who claimed the second step on the podium.

    "My goal is to one day play the role of leader at the Tour de France, but I have to first mature and learn under the guidance of Eusebio [Unzué] and I'll try to do that this year. I know I need more maturity to one day compete for the Tour podium," said Quintana.

    Quintana's calm approach to his development is a sentiment that has been passed down through the ranks at the Movistar squad, with team manager Unzué unwilling to place the burden of leadership onto his rider.

    "We have to be cautious about Nairo. I think he created such big expectations due to his impressive results, but I don't think he's prepared for us to put on his shoulders such a massive responsibility like fighting for the Tour overall," said Unzué.

    There may be little pressure in terms of leadership but that doesn't mean Quintana will race throughout the three weeks without a couple of quite possibly attainable goals. One of those could be the young rider classification but like all loyal teammates, his own ambitions will not be put ahead of the team's greater objectives.

    "The goal is to help Valverde step onto the podium. This will be very difficult but I think he's able to get it and will fight for it. If I have a chance to win a stage I will try not to waste it," adding that the white jersey would, along with a stage win, be "nice goals"  but that he would pursue them "only if they pose no hindrance to the team's interests."


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    Tour de France
    Vuelta a España
    Tour de France 2013
  • Cunego leads Lampre-Merida at the Tour de France

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) after the finish
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 09:47
    Cycling News

    Niemiec and Ferrari also in the line-up

    Damiano Cunego will lead Lampre-Merida at the Tour de France, while there is also a berth in the team for Przemyslaw Niemiec, who makes his debut in the race at the age of 33 after impressing en route to 6th place overall at the Giro d’Italia last month.

    Cunego returns to the Tour after a one-year absence and will be hoping to repeat his performance of 2011, when he finished in 6th place after climbing in the leading group for much of the race. A stage win at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in March aside, Cunego has had a low-key start to the season thus far, although he showed flashes of form towards the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    While Cunego and Niemiec will lead the line in the mountains, aided by José Serpa, Adriano Malori will take aim at the race’s two individual time trials. Malori’s fine win in May’s Bayern-Rundfahrt was founded on victory in the time trial, and he finished 3rd at the Italian championships in the discipline on Sunday.

    In the absence of the retired Alessandro Petacchi, sprinter Roberto Ferrari is called into action for his second Grand Tour of the season. The Italian is without a win since joining Lampre during the off-season and he struggled to make an impact in the bunch finishes at the Giro.

    Lampre’s Tour line-up also includes Matteo Bono as well as Tour debutants Elia Favilli, Manuele Mori and Davide Cimolai.

    Lampre’s directeurs sportifs at the Tour will be Bruno Vicino and Orlando Maini. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani were originally slated to be at the helm in France but will not now be at the Tour due to their involvement in a hearing resulting from the Mantova anti-doping investigation, which is due to take place on July 19. The long-running inquiry is centred around pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and his links to the Lampre team in 2008 and 2009.


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  • Rasmussen loses appeal against Rabobank dismissal

    A defiant Michael Rasmussen wins at the Col d'Aubisque hours before Rabobank finally excluded him from the 2007 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 11:06
    Cycling News

    Dutch court finds in favour of team

    Michael Rasmussen has lost his appeal against Rabobank for wrongful dismissal during the 2007 Tour de France. The Dane was removed from the race and fired from the team while wearing the yellow jersey after it emerged that he had lied about his whereabouts to drug testers in the build-up to the Tour.

    Rasmussen took legal action against Rabobank while serving a two-year suspension for his whereabouts violations. In 2008, a court in Utrecht found that there had not been sufficient grounds for dismissal and Rasmussen was awarded €665,000 in damages.

    Both parties subsequently appealed the Utrecht finding, with Ramussen seeking to obtain as much as €5.6 million in compensation from Rabobank for lost earnings. The Dane claimed that the team had been aware of his false whereabouts before the Tour and long before it took action against him during the final week.

    However, the appeal court in Arnhem found in favour of Rabobank on Tuesday morning and has ordered Rasmussen to repay a sizeable part of the €665,000 that were paid out to him in the first instance.

    “It is disappointing to say the least,” Rasmussen’s lawyer Andrú Brantjes told De Telegraaf. “I have been talking all morning with Michael, he is completely broken. We did not expect this. It is incredible and incomprehensible.”

    In January of this year, Rasmussen confessed to doping from 1998 to 2010, a twelve-year spell which included his time at Rabobank and CSC. The Dane said he used EPO, growth hormone, testosterone, insulin, DHEA, IGF-1, cortisone and underwent blood transfusions.

    However, according to De Telegraaf, Rasmussen’s confession is not believed to have had an effect on the verdict in his case against Rabobank. “The court emphasises that this case concerns the validity of Rabobank’s dismissal of Rasmussen on July 26, 2007,” read the written judgement. Rasmussen must decide within the next three months if he is to appeal the matter further and bring the case to the supreme court.

    Rabobank withdrew as title sponsor of the team in October 2012, citing cycling’s ongoing doping problems. The Dutch bank continued to finance the squad this year, until it secured a new sponsor, Belkin, ahead of the Tour de France.



  • Jalabert steps down from Tour de France punditry role

    Laurent Jalabert led a rider protest in the wake of the 1998 Festina affair
    Article published:
    June 25, 2013, 12:18
    Cycling News

    Frenchman revealed to have tested positive at 1998 Tour

    Laurent Jalabert has stepped down from his role as a television and radio pundit at the Tour de France in the wake of L’Équipe’s allegation that he tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour.

    According to an article in printed in L’Équipe on Tuesday, retrospective analysis of Jalabert’s urine sample from stage 11 to Plateau de Beille showed that it was consistent with EPO use. The analysis was carried out anonymously by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in 2004 but it is understood that Jalabert’s name was recently matched to the sample by a French Senate Commission, which is holding an inquiry into the fight against doping.

    “In order to be able to prepare a calm defence when the time comes, I have decided of my own volition to stop my work as a consultant with different media,” Jalabert told AFP on Tuesday.

    “I am the subject of revelations that were brought to my attention by way of the press and without any legal element. I don’t want these events to spoil the celebrations for the 100th Tour de France or damage the image of my partners.”

    Jalabert was due to cover the Tour as a pundit for France Télévisions, a role he has held since 2011, and with RTL Radio, to whom he has contributed since 2003. Jalabert, who retired from racing in 2002, had also served as coach to the French national team in recent years, but he was not retained in the role this season.

    Last month, Jalabert was questioned by the French Senate commission on his experiences of doping in cycling at a hearing in Paris and said that he had never intentionally doped during his spell as world number one in the late 1990s. The commission is due to publish its report during the Tour de France, on July 18.