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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Date published:
May 11, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Garmin want TTT win for Vande Velde

    David Millar (Garmin-Transitions)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 12:46 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Millar predicts significant time gaps in Giro's team test

    Garmin-Transitions will be fueled by extra motivation for the Giro d'Italia's stage four team time trial on Wednesday, after Christian Vande Velde crashed out of the race on Monday afternoon. David Millar said that if victorious in the team time trial, the team will dedicate the stage win to their fallen teammate.

    Due to the chaos of the Giro's finish into Middelburg on Monday, Millar didn’t learn about Vande Velde's crash and subsequent abandon until after the stage. Having fought hard to maintain his position in the front group, the Briton was justifiably proud of his performance. "It was crazy. But I'm getting quite good at this. Riding the Three Days of De Panne taught me the way to do it," he said.

    But his pride turned to anger and despair when Cyclingnews told him about Vande Velde, and he understandably let out an angry string of expletives. Millar and Vende Velde have a special relationship that goes far deeper than just being teammates. They are both key founding members of the Garmin team and live close to one another in Girona, Spain. The two have different characters, different qualities as athletes and different objectives, but they have made those differences compatible and united them to create a strong partnership. Neither would perform as well without the support and friendship of the other.

    Before flying to Italy to continue in the Giro d'Italia Millar sat with Vande Velde in a team car, consoling his friend as he fought the pain of his broken collarbone and tried to accept that he had crashed out of the Giro for a second consecutive year.

    Millar was no doubt trying to convince Vande Velde that it would not affect his chances at the Tour de France and that he could be back to ride the Dauphiné Libéré or the Tour de Suisse.

    All of the Garmin-Transitions riders leaned into the car and affectionately said goodbye, rubbing Vande Velde's head or squeezing his leg. The...

  • Dutch doping book causes stir

    Peter Janssen discusses the use of EPO in his book "Bloedvorm"
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 14:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former team doctor published study of performance-enhancing methods

    Peter Janssen, the former team doctor of Dutch squad Vacansoleil, has released a book called "Bloedvorm" [Blood Form], in which he discusses the dangers of various performance-enhancing substances and methods, including EPO.

    Janssen caused some controversy by declaring that small doses of EPO were not harmful to the health of professional cyclists. "Well-dosed, EPO is an extremely safe medicine for patients and athletes alike. If my son would want to ride a Grand Tour, I would want to join him taking a little bit of EPO with me to make him come through it in good health. At the same time, I would advise him not to take it. It is bad to get caught for the rider and even worse for cycling. That's why it's better not to do it - not because you would suddenly die from it."

    Janssen argued that the death of some Belgian and Dutch cyclists at the end of the 1980s, that had been linked to the appearance of EPO in professional cycling, actually occurred before the introduction of the blood booster in high endurance sports. "Italy was the first country were EPO was used in abundance and they had no deaths from sudden heart failure. Also, the bulk of these deaths occurred before the market introduction of rh-EPO, and it is not true that medicines first appear in the peloton before becoming available in the pharmacy."

    The Dutch doctor goes on to explain that it was in the beginning of the 1990's that EPO got used by Italian riders, patients of Michele Ferrari. In 1995, the UCI introduced the 50 per cent hematocrit limit, but Janssen stated that the risks of being above that limit were exaggerated. "There is no ideal hematocrit value in medical literature. The stories of riders having 60 per cent are true, and these riders did not drop dead. I've had an older amateur with a hematocrit of 60 in my practice, he took EPO in combination with [steroid] Deca-Durabolin. I advised him to extract some of his blood, but he didn't want to: he was racing so...

  • Boonen to resume in California

    Tom Boonen's last win in the Tour of California came in 2008.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 16:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian champ looking for stage wins in Amgen Tour

    Quick Step's star sprinter Tom Boonen will launch the second half of his season at the Amgen Tour of California with an eye on netting stage wins and gearing up for July's Tour de France.

    The Belgian champion already has one career win in California, he claimed a rainy stage in Sacramento in 2008, but last year was beaten twice by HTC-Columbia ace Mark Cavendish.

    This year, the race falls three months later and rather than provide an early-season tune-up for the Classics, it now serves as preparation for the Tour de France.

    Quick Step director Wilfried Peeters outlined the squad's ambitions for the American race. "Our goal is to try to win a stage and to be ready to take advantage of every chance the race will give us."

    Boonen will use the race as a stepping stone toward July, and will follow up his appearance in California with starts in the Tour de Suisse (June 12-20, 2010), and the Halle-Ingooigem on June 23rd before going on to preview the route of the third stage of the Tour de France.

    Even though the route duplicates portions of the Paris-Roubaix parcours, Boonen will not rely only on his expertise in the race he's won three times. "It's an important stage in the Tour," said Boonen. "A reconnaissance on those roads is always important to memorise the route."

    Boonen will defend his national title on June 27 as his last race before the Tour de France.

    Quick Step for the Amgen Tour of California: Carlos Barredo, Tom Boonen, Kurt Hovelijnck, Kevin Hulsmans, Nikolas Maes, Andreas Stauff, Jurgen Van De Walle, Maarten Wynants
     

  • Giro d'Italia contenders set sights on team time trial

    HTC-Columbia won last year's Giro d'Italia TTT.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 17:02 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana confident with maglia rosa

    As the Giro d'Italia returns to home soil, the riders have their sights set on the 33km team time trial. Previously cast as outsiders, the Astana team now looks more like a top contender as they seek to hold onto the race lead of Alexander Vinokourov.

    Prior to the prologue, most of the predictions were in favour of Team Sky and Garmin-Transitions who have already proven to be specialists in that particular effort. But the British team had a few riders crashing in the first two stages, including Bradley Wiggins on two occasions two days in a row; their performance collectively will now depend on how they recover. The American squad had an even worse medical report with Christian Vande Velde out of the race with a broken collarbone. This is a big loss for the team time trial.

    Astana is without any doubt the team whose profile has increased since the start the Giro d'Italia. This is not only because Alexandre Vinokourov will wear the pink jersey from Savigliano to Cuneo. "With four riders in the top 26 in the prologue, we've showed the consistency of our team," Enrico Gasparotto told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 3 in Amsterdam. "For the team time trial, it's better to have several riders at a good average level than one or two champions like BMC with Cadel Evans and Brent Bookwalter."

    Already in stage 3, Evans felt the lack of support as none of his teammates was with him to help their leader get back on to the leading group after being blocked by a crash.

    Gasparotto knows what it feels to win a team time trial at the Giro d'Italia. He did it three years ago with Liquigas in Sardegna. "Because I've lost 33 seconds on day 2, there's no way that I'll steal the pink jersey from Vinokourov," he said, joking about the time in 2007 when he crossed the line ahead of Danilo Di Luca in Liquigas' winning effort and raised controversy by gaining the pink jersey over his team captain.

    There's no such rivalry at Astana...

  • Giro d'Italia favourites evaluated on rest day

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) is in the overall race lead after stage 3.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 18:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gazzetta dello Sport grades the contenders' performances

    After the three stages of the Giro d'Italia in the Netherlands, the overall classification is still very close but has given a first indication of how the rest of the race could evolve and how the main overall contenders will perform.

    Just like in Italian schools, the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper has published their report card on the leading Giro contenders, giving them marks out of ten. Anything above six is considered sufficient but anything below that is considered a failure.

    Lead columnist Paolo Condo' also wrote some colourful comments about each rider that describes how they have performed so far in the Giro.

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana): race leader
    Marks out of ten: 8

    "Vinokourov is like a wolf that hides in the bushes but is able to strike hard and fast at exactly the right time. At 36 he's able to understand his rivals like an old sailor and seems to be getting even stronger as the race goes on. A lot of people think he'll struggle on the steep climbs in the final week, but the Alps is the terrain of wild wolves as they store reserves for the winter. His ice-cold eyes are scary."

    Ritchie Porte (Saxo Bank): 2nd at same time
    Marks out of ten: 7.5

    "He's second only by 18/100 of a second and is the real revelation of the start of the Giro. He's a strong time trialist and has a strong team to back him up. He hopes to win the white jersey (of best young ride) this year but hopes to win the pink jersey in the future."

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo): 14th at 18 seconds
    Marks out of ten: 7

    "He hopes to limit his losses in the Netherlands but arrived in Italy with most of his rivals behind him. He's riding strongly but without taking any crazy risks. He's a virtual race leader in waiting."

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo): 4th at 5 seconds
    Marks out of ten: 7

    "He was...

  • Wamsley sidelined for Tour of California and Philly

    Rob Britton (Bissell)
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 18:40 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Broken collarbone puts Bissell rider's goals on hold

    Bissell's sprinter Kyle Wamsley will be forced to sit out of the upcoming Amgen Tour of California after breaking his collarbone in three places during the fourth and final stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race on Sunday. His ultimate goal of winning the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships on June 6 will also be put on hold until next year.

    Bissell recently announced Wamsley as part of its Amgen Tour of California roster, but he will now be replaced by Cody O'Reilly.

    "I definitely won't be racing next week," Wamsley said. "[Tour of California] was the primary goal for the first half of the season. It is really disappointing because I've been training specifically for that all year and I've shown in the last few weeks that my form has been improving nicely and people were taking notice of it."

    Wamlsey was hopeful that the eight-stage race would best prepare him for his ultimate goal at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships, a 250-kilometre one-day race held two weeks later.

    "It is a huge disappointment," Wamsley said. "I thought coming off of California, whether I did well or not, just finishing the race would have given me a lot of volume in the legs that would maybe get me to the finish at Philly. So long as I could be there at finish, it is a really good finish for me. I could have gotten the Bissell boys on top at that race. So it's a disappointment to be out of California and miss the preparation for Philly too."

    Wamsley crashed mid-way through the men's 90-minute criterium in the second to last corner when he was trying to bridge across the breakaway. Doctors confirmed that he broke his collarbone in three places and will require surgery to correct the fractures. He also broke two teeth and suffered from road rash.

    Wamlsey will undergo outpatient surgery this week to secure the fracture with a metal plate at the Lehigh Valley Hospital near his hometown of Topton,...

  • Win a trip to the Tour de France

    Play a cycling game at http://felt.cyclingnews.com for a chance to win a trip to the Tour de France
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 20:09 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Enter cycling game competition hosted by Cyclingnews and Felt

    Cyclingnews and Felt Bicycles have teamed up to bring you the chance to accompany our reporters to the 2010 Tour De France. Throughout the month of May, play our cycling game and enter the competition and you could be standing on the Champs-Elysees with a member of the Cyclingnews team.

    The competition is open to residents of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and includes return airfare to Paris from an international airport in UK/US/Australia included, two nights' hotel accommodation, and a pass on the Champs-Élysées for the final stage of the Tour.

    Play the game and enter the competition at felt.cyclingnews.com

  • Radioshack confirm team for Amgen Tour of California

    Lance Armstrong surrounded by his Radioshack team.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 21:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Leipheimer and Armstrong to face the best of Saxo Bank, HTC and BMC

    Radioshack team boss Johan Bruyneel confirmed his squad for the Amgen Tour of California this week, listing off the riders on his personal blog, johanbruyneel.com.

    The team is built around Levi Leipheimer, who is seeking a fourth straight title in his home race. Bruyneel confirmed he will be joined by fellow Americans Lance Armstrong, Chris Horner and Jason McCartney as well as Jani Brajkovic, Dmitriy Muravyev, Yaroslav Popovych and Jose Luis Rubiera.

    The race overlaps with the Giro d'Italia, and because of its sponsor, the team chose to focus on the Tour of California at the expense of the Italian Grand Tour.

    "For teams with an American-based sponsor (like ourselves), the interests are really high in California," Bruyneel wrote.

    "HTC Columbia brings Mark Cavendish; Saxo Bank Cancellara, Schleck and Voigt; while Rabobank – having a lot of offices on the West Coast - comes with a strong roster too. BMC is stronger than they've ever been before with George Hincapie. This will certainly be the most competitive field since the race started in 2006."

    "We have to start the Amgen Tour of California with our best team. I found it inappropriate to start with a B-team in the Giro," Bruyneel said. "There are too many strong teams at the Giro and I think that you always have to start with ambition in a Grand Tour, which lasts three weeks.  ... Our decision apparently was not very welcomed. A few weeks later, our team was not invited to Tirreno-Adriatico, which is also organized by RCS."

    Despite his team's decision to focus on the American race, Bruyneel indicated he did not think the Tour of California would surpass the importance of the Giro d'Italia in the future.

    "Many people wonder if the Amgen Tour of California can be – in the future – a competitor for the Giro d'Italia. Personally I don't think so. California currently has only eight 'big' teams. The rest of the field is...