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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Date published:
May 17, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Driscoll rewarded with Most Courageous Rider Jersey in stage two

    Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home) doing the work that earned him the most courageous jersey today.
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 5:13 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Jamis-Sutter Home making the most Amgen Tour of California invite

    Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home) earned the Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey after a lengthy escape during stage two of the Amgen Tour of California. The cyclo-cross specialist recently graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Vermont, but skipped his commencement to participate in the eight-day race.

    "I’d rather have the jersey that I fortunately got - than a cap and gown," Driscoll said to Cyclingnews.

    "I was checking online and I passed all my classes this semester. I was told that if I were to do that then I would be all set to graduate. No, I do not have my diploma in hand, but I should be getting it in the mail."

    Driscoll entered into a four-rider breakaway approximately 16 km into the stage and was caught as the peloton entered onto the three short finishing circuits in Sacramento. His efforts were rewarded with the most courageous rider jersey, given each stage to a rider who displays determination, perseverance and inspiration.

    "It was my duty to try and get in the break and fortunately there were four of us on the Jamis-Sutter Home team that were supposed to do that," Driscoll said. "It was my rotation and fortunately I was in the move that stuck. The field was pretty close but once there were four of us in the break we were working really nicely together."

    "Going into the stage it was a pretty classic formulaic sprinter stage and I knew that the big Pro teams were going to almost certainly real us in for the sprint," he added. "But, it was good to race aggressively like we were told to do and get exposure for my sponsors."

    Driscoll is a nationally renowned cyclo-cross rider, but competes in the road with the US-based UCI Continental...

  • Confusion for Rabobank sprint in Sacramento

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 6:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Freire and Matthews lose their leadout

    The Rabobank team was left wondering what could have been following the dash to the finish line in Sacramento at the second stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

    Their designated sprinters Oscar Freire and Michael Mathews finished 9th and 14th respectively, not really figuring when it came to the run for the money.

    Maarten Tjallingii explained that he, "tried to get our riders into a good position but the wet track made it hard."

    Team manager, Frans Maassen meanwhile was left confused.

    "I just do not know what went wrong," he said before admitting that Freire and Matthews were too far back in the final group to make a difference.

    "We had thoroughly discussed the rider's roles previously. Coen Vermeltfoort would be the last pacesetter in the train for our two sprinters. But the team was not there to set them [Freire and Matthews] up."

    One possible reason for the team's confusion was the puncture that German Paul Martens suffered in the final kilometres.

    "Too bad it did not go well," Maassen mused. "We have two men that could go, but on Tuesday there are fresh opportunities."

    Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California is a 196.2km course from Auburn to Modesto that once again, should suit the sprinters.


  • Spanish arrest 26 in crackdown on EPO and HGH distribution ring

    Peter Janssen discusses the use of EPO in his book "Bloedvorm"
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 8:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Manager of Masters' class cycling team involved

    Spain continues its crackdown on doping, with the arrest of 26 people belonging to “the largest international organization operating in Spain dedicated to drug trafficking, growth hormone and doping substances.” Among those arrested is the manger of a master's class cycling team.

    According to the Spanish national police, the organization had products sent from suppliers in China, India and Turkey to brokers and wholesalers in the UK, German and Hungary. The raid found a lab and storeroom in Elche, Spain, where human growth hormone was manufactured for sale on the internet.

    A total of 700,000 doses of different illegal drugs and 10,000 vials of growth hormone were seized. The doping products are said to include EPO and erectile dysfunction drugs.

    The investigation was opened last July into the import and distribution of illegal products. The first arrests were of seven UK citizens, who were “leading members of the network. Six houses were searched, turning up “close to 400,000 tablets and vials, as well as several thousand vials of injectable hormones that would have reported a profit of over three and a half million Euros.”

    The next series of arrests included the general director of a popular cycling team, on which are inscribed several former world and European champions.” The only identification given was that it was a masters' class team.

    “The arrest occurred when receiving a significant number of Epoetin alfa, a substance known as EPO,” the police said.

    Following these arrests, the police took action against six individuals in Elche, searched another eight houses, followed by another five arrests. One of the homes searched had a laboratory to transform the “generic” bulk HGH from Chino to a “commercial” product to be sold online.

  • Lövkvist critical of anti-doping rules affecting Giro d'Italia

    Thomas Löfkvist (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 9:20 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team Sky rider calls for rules to be rewritten

    Thomas Lövkvist has criticised the anti-doping regulations that have allowed Alberto Contador to compete before a final verdict has been decided on his doping case by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol after winning the 2010 Tour de France but was cleared by the Spanish Cycling Federation in March. The International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have appealed that sentence to the Court of Arbitration and a verdict is expected before this year’s Tour de France.

    Contador could be suspended if the CAS overturns the decision by the Spanish Cycling Federation and any results the Spaniard achieves would be cancelled, including his results from the Giro d'Italia, where took the race lead on Sunday.

    "He has the right to be here and compete as the rules now stand. But it is so annoying that if, in three weeks, they rule that he must be suspended and his performance should be deleted. It is so wrong," Lovkvist told the Swedish news agency TT.

    "I think we should look at the rules and get them rewritten. Who knows how Sunday's stage would have turned out if Contador was not there.”

    Since the Spanish Cycling Federation issued its ruling clearing Contador, he has won the Vuelta a Murcia and the Volta a Catalunya, and is the favourite for overall victory in the Giro d’Italia.

    Lövkvist is aiming for a top ten finish at the Giro, but is currently 21st, 3:27 minutes behind Contador. On Sunday's Mt. Etna stage, won by Contador, he finished 32nd at 2:41.

  • Christina Watches team hopes for Pro Conti ranking and Giro wildcard in 2012

    Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches)
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 10:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Rasmussen's team wants to be at the Giro start in Denmark

    Team Christina Watches-Onfone is planning to compete as a Professional Continental team in 2012 in the hope of obtaining a wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia. The manager of the team built around Michael Rasmussen said it is “realistic” to think his team will be at the start of the Giro next year in Herning, Denmark.

    "We believe that it is realistic that we can get a place in next year's Giro d'Italia,” team manager Allan Bo Andersen told “We will know more about it all within the next three months (after the UCI has received the licence applications). So we also have time to strengthen our team to reach a higher level. But right now we assume that a Giro start next year is likely.”

    Bo Andersen continued: “We allow ourselves to dream big, and therefore we continue to have faith that we can manage to make the team ready for the Giro next year. But if you ask me personally, I'd say it would have been better for us if the Giro start in Denmark had come a year later.”

    The team's sponsors support the idea of targeting a place in the Giro d'Italia, but even more backing is needed. "We obviously hope that they all - or even more of them - will step up a level," Andersen said.  "Can we reach a five-fold increase of the budget that we have now? I'm sure we can achieve what is required. But a 3-4 times increase may also be enough. We'll see. Things take time but we are optimistic.”


  • Contador focused on overall victory at the Giro d'Italia

    Alberto Contador in pink after the first major test in the mountains
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 12:41 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard remains critical of the Crostis descent

    Alberto Contador has taken control of the Giro d’Italia with his lone victory on Mount Etna but has hinted he may let the maglia rosa go as he stays focused on pulling on the final winner’s jersey in Milan on May 29.

    Contador now leads Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad) by 59 seconds, with his key rivals for overall victory even further behind. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is fourth at 1:21, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) is fifth at 1:28, and Roman Kreuziger (Astana) is seventh at 1:41, while Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) is a distant 20th at 3:18.

    Contador refuted comments from his rivals that he has taken control of the Giro, refusing to fall into the trap of having to defend the pink jersey.

    “I don't think I’ve become the boss of the race. I gained some time on them and it was very important, but whatever they call me, their eyes are on me and the whole world is watching what I do. I don't think that's going to change the behaviour of my rivals,” he said.

    “Our objective was not to get the jersey. The goal was to gain time on our rivals. It was a climb that was not particularly suited for me but the result was amazing and I am very happy. To have taken the pink jersey is not significant now though. The Giro has only just begun. The first nine days have been intensive. We have seen how well the rivals are doing and now we have some incredible stages in the Dolomites plus the two time trials to come.”

    Contador is likely to remain in pink after today’s stage to Teramo because the sprinters teams will control any breakaway attempts. However Wednesday’s 11th stage to Castelfidardo is up and down all day and Contador...

  • Video: Tour of California stage 2 highlights

    Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) savors his victory.
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 13:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Swift swoops to take stage and lead

    Team Sky's Ben Swift lived up to his surname by blasting to victory in the sprint on a shortened stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California, topping Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale and HTC-Highroad's Matthew Goss.

    Swift's team was in firm control of the race on the final of three, 3.2km finishing circuits in Sacramento, and Swift nailed the sprint. "The team was absolutely unreal - it was fantastic. 100% thank you to the team," said Swift after the win, noting that he, rather than Paris-Nice stage winner Greg Henderson was the protected man for the sprint.

    "Hendy hasn't raced since Scheldeprijs, and I've come off two wins in a month, so it was awesome."

  • Tour of Austria holds three hard mountain stages

    Grossglockner 3-D map
    Article published:
    May 17, 2011, 15:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Organizer presents mixed terrain for 63rd running

    The 2011 Tour of Austria will cover 11,710 meters of climbing, in what the race organizers call a “very good mix” of stages. The race runs July 3-10, from Dornbirn to Vienna, and hopes for another Austrian winner.

    "We have three very difficult mountain stages, an individual time trial, two absolutely flat stages for the sprinters and two stage with rolling terrain for escape groups or sprinters,” race director Ursula Riha said.

    The race is already assured of having three top Austrian riders. Thomas Rohregger, the last Austrian to win the race, is now with Leopard Trek, as is Stefan Denifl, who finished seventh last year as best Austrian. Also there will be Matthias Brändle (Geox-TMC)

    Eighteen teams will take part, with 14 of them being ProTour and Professional Continental. In fact, Riha said, she had to turn some teams down. “The race has a very good reputation and many wanted to be here. But for security reasons we will let 'only' 18 teams start.”

    The first stage from Dornbirn to Götzis is a sprinters' stage, but the second one features a mountaintop finish at the Kitzbüheler Horn (1,670 meters). The third stage is another one for the climbers, with the category one-ranked climbs Felbertauren and Pustertaler Hochalpenstrasse.

    The fourth and longest stage features the Großglockner, also in this year's Giro d'Italia, to finish off the major climbing. From there, the fifth stage is more rolling, with a nearly flat sixth stage leading into the...