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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Date published:
May 24, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Ekimov denies Hamilton's claims of Armstrong doping

    Astana DS Viatcheslav Ekimov assists Levi Leipheimer
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 8:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Russian would accept 2004 Olympic gold medal

    Viatcheslav Ekimov has called Taylor Hamilton a liar and said the American rider was just out for money in his newest allegations that Lance Armstrong used doping products. Ekimov, now a directeur sportif for Team RadioShack, said that he would accept the gold medal from the 2004 Olympics which Hamilton has returned.

    This week Hamilton appeared on American television to accuse Armstrong of having used doping products and methods while winning the Tour de France seven times. Hamilton has also confessed to using the products and methods himself. Armstrong has denied all allegations.

    Ekimov denied that Armstrong had ever done what Hamilton said. “Maybe it’s his sick sense of humour,” he told the Associated Press. “Because I’ve been on the same team as him.”

    He further said that Hamilton probably had financial motives for his disclosures. “Behind his story is something. First of all it’s untrue. And behind his story is some money or some stimulation.”

    “Because why did this guy just crack now? Why didn’t he do it in 2005? … I call these guys liars. First they lie about the innocence, now they lie about something else.

    “I think it’s just money. It seems to me like somebody really wants to kill Lance and put him down. There’s all this interest to find people who will say something.”

    Ekimov, 45, further noted that he had little contact with Hamilton when they were both with the US Postal team.

    “He was there...

  • Langeveld announces he will leave Rabobank at season's end

    Yeah! Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) celebrates
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 11:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch rider said to have an offer from Sky

    Sebastian Langeveld has said that he will leave Rabobank at the end of this year. He brought in the Dutch team's only Spring Classics success this year, winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

    According to De Telegraaf, the 26-year-old already has “a good offer” from Team Sky, thanks to Dutch sports director Steven de Jongh.

    Langeveld refused to confirm that, telling Cyclingnews, "As the UCI rules state that at this stage of the season contracts may be not signed and published before 2012, I cannot say which team I will go to. But I can tell you  that I have chosen a great team where I expect to make the next step in my career."

    He is said to have indicated last year that he wanted to leave for a non-Dutch team, to aid his development, but was under contract to Rabobank through this year.

    Langeveld won the Omloop this year by a few centimetres ahead of Juan Antonio Flecha of Team Sky. He also finished fifth in the Tour of Flanders.

    The Omloop was his biggest win in his five years with Rabobank. He was best young rider at the 2010 Tour du Limousin and won the GP Jef Scherens in 2009

  • Muto's B sample also positive for EPO

    Pasquale Muto (Miche)
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 12:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian faces two-year ban

    Pasquale Muto's B-sample has also tested positive for EPO, the Italian Olympic Committee has announced. The Miche-Guerciotti rider had tested positive during the Giro dell'Appennino in April.

    Muto, whose 31st birthday is today, now faces a two-year suspension. He had finished fifth in the race at which he tested positive.

    The Italian had been with Miche since 2004. He won a stage of the Tour of Bulgaria in 2007 and a stage at the Tour of Slovakia in 2009. The team released him after his positive test was announced.

    Teammates this year at Miche included Stefan Schumacher and Davide Rebellin, both of whom are returning from two-year suspensions for having used EPO-CERA.

  • Verbruggen says Armstrong “never, never, never” doped

    Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen is at the Tour of Oman.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 12:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Former UCI head denies cover up of any doing controls

    Lance Armstrong “never, never, never” used any doping product or method, according to former UCI president Hein Verbruggen. And there was never any cover-up of a positive doping test for the seven-time Tour de France winner, he said.

    Interviewed on, in response to Tyler Hamilton's claims that he saw Armstrong doping and implicating the UCI in a cover-up, Verbruggen reacted angrily.

    "That's impossible, because there is nothing. I repeat again: Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never. And I say this not because I am a friend of his, because that is not true. I say it because I'm sure. Even if we would like, it would not be possible to bury a positive test. Test results are not only to the UCI, but also to the WADA.

    "So once and for all: under my chairmanship have such practices never occurred at the UCI."

    He added, “Hamilton says about the same as Landis, without naming names of people to blame. Well, Landis has a trial on his hands. He must prove his words in court.”

    In an interview with Sporza, he was more specific. “There was never a cover up of an Armstrong doping control. Not at the Tour de France and not at the Tour de Suisse. And I do not know of any suspicious tests whatsoever."

    He further denied Hamilton's claim of a meeting of the UCI, WADA and Armstrong...

  • Nibali chases second place in the Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) looks across at an impassive Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) on the slopes of the Zoncolan.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 14:43 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian hopes to move past Scarponi before Milan

    Vincenzo Nibali has said he will continue to look for chinks in Alberto Contador's armour but has said that he would be satisfied with second place overall in the Giro d'Italia.

    The Liquigas-Cannondale rider finished third overall in the 2010 Giro d'Italia behind his teammate Ivan Basso and Spain's David Arroyo. He wants to do improve on that result and be the "best of the rest" behind Contador.

    "Alberto has been clearly the strongest and he's got an important overall lead now. But we're going to make him sweat for his Giro win all the way to Milan," Nibali said on the second rest day.

    "If I can finish second behind the best guy in the race, I'd be satisfied. It means that only Contador will have beaten me."

    There has been tension between Nibali and Contador during the recent mountain stages, with Nibali attacking several times during the marathon stage to Gardeccia. Contador initially praised the young Italian but dismissed his attack as he did not consider it dangerous. The two also exchanged words on the Zoncolan stage, but Nibali played down the idea that there had been a war of words.

    "It's all over and done with now. Perhaps (Miguel) Indurain raced a little differently, he left things to other riders, but times have changed. However, I've got a lot of respect for Contador. I've always admired him," he said.

    Nibali is currently third overall, He is 51 seconds behind Italian rival Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). He is confident of pulling back that time in the final week of the Giro.

    "There are still six stages left to race and the final time trial in Milan is an advantage for me. I've also got to watch my back because there are some riders doing...

  • Contador remembers Xavier Tondo after Giro TT victory

    Stage 16 winner Alberto Contador honours compatriot Xavier Tondo, who was killed in a freak accident the day before.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 19:08 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Spaniard questioned about the latest Armstrong allegations

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) extended his overall lead in the Giro d'Italia to almost five minutes but on the podium in Nevegal, his first thought was for Xavier Tondo, who died in Spain on Monday.

    Contador climbed on the podium as the stage winner and was close to tears as he symbolically pointed to the sky. He pointed again after pulling on the pink jersey and had little desire to celebrate his first-ever stage victory while wearing the maglia rosa.

    "His death has affected me deeply," he said. "Xavi was a good friend and in the last few race we always worked together for the victory. He was very good guy, always happy and he was an incredible person. This victory is for him."

    Contador carefully paced his effort during the 12.7km mountain time trial. He did not take risks on the early downhill section but then gradually upped the pace on the steep middle section of the climb. He set a final time of 28:55 and was the only rider to go under 29 minutes.

    "I took it steady in the opening kilometres and then got into my rhythm," Contador said. "Then I went as fast as I could. I knew I was three seconds faster than Nibali and so I was in control but it was a hard climb.

    "This is my first win in pink and like winning in yellow at the Tour de France or at the Vuelta, it's something I'll never forget. It's always nice to lead a race, be it a small race or a big one. I've had a lot of text messages and congratulations and that's nice. But this is a hard race and I'm suffering. But I'm also enjoying it, too."

    Contador refuted the idea that Nibali and Scarponi are now racing for second place and is expecting more attacks in the final mountain stages.

    "The time...

  • Nibali and Scarponi fight for second place in the Giro d'Italia

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) conceded time to both Contador and Nibali on the day, but remains in second overall.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 19:40 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Close battle between the Italians in the final stages of the race

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) were again the best of the rest behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) in the Nevegal stage 16 mountain time trial, as they continue to fight for second place on the final Giro d'Italia podium.

    They probably know that Contador could be disqualified from the Giro results if he is suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in June, but are more likely fighting for the bragging rights as the best rider, and best Italian, behind Contador at the Giro.

    Nibali finished second in the mountain time trial, 34 seconds slower than Contador but four seconds faster than Scarponi. That cut his gap on Scarponi slightly and he is now 47 seconds behind his Italian rival.

    "I did my best but Contador's got an extra gear. I honestly thought I'd done enough to win it but all I can say to him chapeau," Nibali said.

    "I rode well and felt good. I used the right gear and the right equipment. But when someone is that good, there's not much you can do. I tried to gain a few seconds on the first part, on the descent, and then I paced myself well and kept trying to accelerate again and again. I don't think I could have done any better."

    "Alberto is unbeatable for the moment, but I just hope that with some hard work there's a chance that I can close the gap on him in the future."

    Scarponi looks to Sestriere mountain stage

    Scarponi knows he has to defend his lead on Nibali and perhaps even extend it before the final time trial in Milan, where Nibali...

  • Kruijswijk confirms Grand Tour abilities at Giro d'Italia

    Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) rode to an excellent 14th place in the time trial.
    Article published:
    May 24, 2011, 21:11 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Clement bounces back after lengthy injury

    For quite some time Rabobank's Stef Clement held the best time in today's uphill time trial at the Giro d'Italia and the Rabobank team welcomed one more strong performance within its ranks courtesy of Steven Kruijswijk, whose 14th place finish puts him 1:40 away from the top-ten overall.

    "I looked at doing a time as a reference for Kruijswijk," Clement said.

    "We asked Stef to do so also for himself," Rabobank team manager Luc Eisenga told Cyclingnews. "He came out of a long injury and the doctors didn't agree on what the injury exactly was. He was lined up at the Giro at the last minute to replace Tom Leezer who had a knee injury.

    "Here, Stef has found the joy of racing again. We're happy that he rode well in this uphill time trial, it's mentally a good thing for him."

    Clement was a bronze medallist at the time trial world championships in 2007 and also won the Chrono des Nations in 2008. He rejoined Rabobank in 2009 after spending three years with French outfit Bouygues Telecom because he wanted to be part of the ProTeam team loaded with young Dutch talent, specifically Robert Gesink, Lars Boom and Bauke Mollema.

    Kruijswijk is next on the list of gifted Dutch riders produced by the Rabobank Continental team, the feeder squad for the ProTeam. "We're extremely happy with how Steven is going at this Giro," Eisenga said. "Last year he finished 18th overall after replacing Oscar Freire two days before the start. He's now confirming what we got to know from him last year."

    "I gave everything I had today in this pretty hard uphill time trial," Kruijswijk said at the end of stage 16 where the 23-year-old scored the 14th best time and bettered Clement by nine seconds. "But I hope to do better in the...