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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Date published:
November 20, 2012, 21:00
  • Frei’s comeback after EPO positive derailed by broken hip in China

    Thomas Frei and Christine Hembo of Christine Watches-Onfone
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 05:40
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider unlikely to re-sign with Christina Watches-Onfone

    Thomas Frei relished his time with the Christina Watches-Onfone team this year after returning from a positive test for EPO in 2010. However, a broken hip sustained at the recent Tour of China ended his season prematurely and now it appears contract negotiations have broken down with the team part owned by Michael Rasmussen.

    The Swiss rider finished second at the Swiss time trial championships in June, finishing 1:54 behind RadioShack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara. Frei had previously said he would have continued to dope if he wasn’t caught citing the potential financial rewards for cheating. Now it seems the 27-year-old has learned his lesson while his future in the sport remains uncertain.

    "The performance [at the Swiss TT Championships] gives me confidence that I worked hard during my suspension," Frei said to Radsport-news.

    His crash during stage 4 at Tour of China I in August meant he could not finish the race and returned home to undergo surgery.

    "Unfortunately, I watched a podium finish at a 2.1 tour slip through the cracks. I stood at the start with excellent shape but after the trip - until I had surgery - it was not easy. When I look back, I find that everything before very unreal, what I had been through," he said.

    With Frei focused on rehabilitation, he added that finding a suitable contract for next season wasn’t a huge concern. He may remain at his current Christina Watches team but it appears the former BMC and Astana rider will find a new home in 2013.

    "I was offered a new contract in July and the offer was maintained even after my hip fracture. But I have noticed in the negotiations that we have different ideas," explained Frei.

    "I am searching but feel no pressure. The main thing was just that the healing is going well and I'm getting stronger. I think and hope that I will have more clarity in the next two to three weeks."


  • Jaksche returns to competition with AminoSport

    Jorg Jaksche (Würth) won't go away.
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 10:00
    Cycling News

    Current economics student never stopped training

    Jörg Jaksche will make his return to the competitive ranks for next season having announced he will ride for the German amateur AminoSport team.

    Jaksche is currently engaged in an economics degree at university having been unable to find another team following his involvement in Operacion Puerto and subsequently receiving a reduced one-year ban after admitting to doping during his career.

    "Cycling has always been fun for me, and I've trained over the years, I still have a regular basis," said Jaksche, according to

    Jaksche had recently spoken to Cyclingnews and discussed what he called the "hypocrisy" of the sport. The rider who last rode for Tinkoff Credit Systems could not find a new employer after offering the UCI a confession to his involvement with the controversial Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

    The 36-year-old won the 2004 edition of Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Mediterranean while riding for CSC before spending two years at Liberty Seguros-Würth Team and Astana-Würth Team. His entire Astana squad were sent home from the Tour de France before the start of the race in 2006 and while he found a team for 2007 with Tinkoff he was suspended halfway through the season. Jaksche never raced professionally again.


  • Euskaltel-Euskadi has lost its soul, says Cazaux

    Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel)
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 11:03
    Cycling News

    Frenchman returns to amateur ranks in 2013

    Pierre Cazaux will return to the amateur ranks in 2013 after Euskaltel-Euskadi opted not to renew the Frenchman’s contract due to his lack of WorldTour points. The Basque squad dispensed with its policy of signing only riders from or developed in the region in order to ensure its place in cycling's top flight next year.

    Although Amets Txurruka and Ivan Velasco were among the riders released by Euskaltel-Euskadi at the end of the season, Cazaux was confident that he would be retained at the squad. In a situation sadly familiar to a number of other riders this winter, however, he eventually learned of his fate in the press.

    “I often tried to call [Euskaltel-Euskadi directeur sportif] Alvaro Gonalez de Galdeano but he never replied to a single call,” Cazaux told “Everything had gone so well with the team that I didn’t have reason to worry. But finally, in mid-October, I discovered that I hadn’t been kept on. I found out the news in the press! I never had an explanation.”

    After two seasons riding in the service of others at Euskaltel, Cazaux ended 2012 with no WorldTour points, which ultimately cost him his place on the team. “The leaders and management of the team were always happy with my work, and that’s why it’s enraging,” Cazaux said. “Without doubt, I didn’t score enough UCI points but only the leaders score them, not their teammates who work for them for 150km. The system needs to be revised.”

    In a bid to retain its WorldTour status for 2013, Euskaltel-Euskadi unveiled ten new signings but Cazaux is unconvinced by the quality of the riders who were brought in to replace him, and questioned the validity of the current points system.

    “Nieve finished 10th in the Vuelta last year, 10th in the Giro and 5th in the Tour de Suisse this year and he doesn’t have any more points than a guy who goes and wins small races in Asia,” Cazaux said. “If I found myself squeezed out by lads who were really at the level, I wouldn’t say anything, but the situation here is scandalous.”

    Since its foundation in 1994, Euskaltel had signed only Basque riders such as Cazaux, or riders who raced as amateurs in the Basque Country, but that policy has gone by the wayside this winter, with riders from Slovenia, Germany, Portugal, Morocco and Russia joining the squad.

    “Honestly, as a Basque, it hurts to see that. All the riders on the team share that sentiment, just like the supporters. Euskaltel-Euskadi has lost its soul, that’s for sure,” Cazaux said. “We would have been given wildcard invitations to a lot of WorldTour races in any case, so it would have been better to drop down to Pro Continental and keep our identity.”

    In 2013, Cazaux will return to the amateur ranks in the colours of GSC Blagnac, a move that the 28-year-old would never have envisaged when he turned professional in 2008.

    “I had always promised myself that I would never go back to the amateurs, no matter what happened. Eventually, Damien Branaa, who is a real friend and who has just left the pro scene as well, convinced me to do a year with him. I’m still young so why not try a season?”

    Paradoxically, however, Cazaux is aware that a stint in the amateur ranks will do little to raise his value in a market where UCI points are the commodity of choice, but he said that he had little desire to chase points on other continental circuits in a bid to return to the WorldTour. “You’d need to be ready to drop everything, go to an Asian or African team and score a lot of points to came back go back to the pros in Europe the following year,” he said. “But I’m not 20 years old anymore. Now I have a house and a family, and I can’t allow myself that kind of adventure.”







  • 2013 Tour Méditerranéen route details released

    Jon Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) bookended his Tour Méditerranéen with wins on the opening and final stages, plus  took overall honours.
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 13:11
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Fifth day of racing returns, includes 24 kilometre individual time trial

    The Tour Méditerranéen’s organisers have released details of the 2013 route. The early-season French stage race is set to return to its traditional five-day format and includes both an ascent of the Mont Faron (cancelled in 2012 because of poor weather) and an individual, medium-length, time trial.

    Whilst the time trial on stage two is mostly flat, the mountainous difficulties start on stage three, with a double ascent of the Baux de Provence, a narrow, steep climb. The hardest single climb of the race, though, will once more be Mont Faron, just outside Toulon, a sharp climb 5.5 kilometres in length, which rises from sea level to 500 metres in that distance. Mont Faron will feature on the penultimate stage, rather than the last day of the Tour of the Med. as is normally the case.

    Riders will have to keep something in reserve for stage five, however, the longest day of racing and which includes ascents of the Tuillieres and the Tanneron – the latter is often used in Paris-Nice and has a notoriously difficult descent – before reaching the finish in the town of Grasse, just inland on the Mediterranean coast and best-known in France as the capital of the country’s perfume industry.

    Set to celebrate its 40th edition, last year’s race, just four days long and considerably altered because of the poor weather conditions, was won by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing). Already the winner of the first stage, the climber’s successful attacks on the final day sealed his overall victory, a success that started off the British rider’s most spectacular season to date.


    2013 Tour Méditerranéen

    February 6th: stage one: Limoux – Gruissan, 141km
    February 7th: stage two: Cap d’Agde – Sete, 24 km (individual time trial)
    February 8th: stage three: Marseille L’Estaque - Saint-Remy de Provence, 158.5km
    February 9th: stage four: Rousset - Toulon (Mont Faron), 151 km
    February 10th: stage five: Bandol – Grasse, 167km



  • CONI requests three-month bans for Scarponi and Visconti

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD).
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 15:25
    Cycling News

    Italian riders consulted with banned Dr. Michele Ferrari

    The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has requested three-month suspensions for both Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) for training under the guidance of Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    Scarponi and Visconti had their homes searched by police in the spring of 2011 as part of the Padua-based investigation into Ferrari’s activities, and both men were summoned to CONI hearings this year to explain their relationships with the controversial doctor.

    In a statement on Tuesday, CONI said that it was requesting three-month bans for both Scarponi and Visconti under article 3.2 of its anti-doping rules, which concerns professional consultation with suspended persons.

    Michele Ferrari was banned by the Italian Cycling Federation over a decade ago on the back of rider testimony relating to his activities and 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 him.

    Ferrari is currently the focus of the Padua-based doping and money-laundering investigation and has also been charged with administering doping products to Lance Armstrong and some of his US Postal teammates by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

    CONI noted that it would continue to monitor closely the findings emanating from the Padua investigation. Thus, while the body currently recommends three-month bans for Scarponi and Visconti, it reserves the right to revisit the case “if, at the conclusion of the Padua penal investigation, elements of responsibility concerning possible violations of anti-doping rules emerge that are different to those of the current proceedings.”

    CONI hearing

    Scarponi himself decided to meet with the CONI Procura in early November rather than await the end of the Padua investigation in a bid to ensure that he would serve any ban over the winter rather than during next season. "It's very probable that the Procura will recommend that I face disciplinary action because I accepted the charges and have asked that my position is clarified as soon as possible in the interests of my team," Scarponi said after the hearing in Rome.

    Scarponi claims that he only met with Ferrari for two tests at the end of the 2010 season and ceased the collaboration immediately afterwards on signing for Lampre. The Italian already has already served an 18-month suspension after he confessed to blood doping under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes but he insisted that he was not aware that it was forbidden to work with Ferrari.

    Earlier in 2012, Filippo Pozzato was handed a three-month ban and fined €10,000 after he confessed to being trained by Ferrari between 2005 and 2009. Like Scarponi, Pozzato – who will ride for Lampre in 2013 – claimed that he was not aware that it was forbidden to be trained by Ferrari.

  • Dolmans Boels women's team to continue through 2016

    A jacket for British rider Lucy Martin after the race.
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 18:33
    Cycling News

    Armitstead joining team to be known as Boels Dolmans in 2013

    Boels Rentals has extended its sponsorship of the women's team Dolmans Boels through the 2016 Olympics, and will take over as top name sponsor. The British-licenced team, to be known as Boels Dolmans in the coming years, features top British riders Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Trott and Lucy Martin.

    The team was founded as the Dolmans Landscaping team in 2010, and Boels moved in this year as co-sponsor. "Renewing the sponsor contract gives the team stability and the possibility to perform even better," says Steven Rooks, the team's Sports Director. "This provides us with a good basis to work up to the 2016 Olympics. It is fantastic that these companies dare to make a commitment until 2016, because it gives the team a lot of positive energy".

    Armitstead and Martin will move to the team from AA Drink – Cycling Team, which is folding the end of this year. Trott joined the team this year.

    Armitstead, 23, started her career on the track, winning five medals at the World Championships in 2009 and 2010. She turned her full attention to road racing this season, winning the women's Gent-Wevelgem and the Omloop van het Hageland. She also won the silver medal in the road race at the 2012 London Olympics, taking the host country's first medal in the games.

    Trott and Martin, both 22, have also ridden both road and track.

    “We are very pleased with the charisma of the women's cycling team and realise that stability, security and trust form the basis for good performance,” said Yvo Hoppers, manager of marketing and communications for Boels. “The sport suits us well and the goals are clear: we want to be able to hold our own among the world’s top cyclists and become a top three team."

    Rooks thanked the sponsors. "We are very pleased that there are still solid companies who support cycling. The support of Boels and Dolmans Landscaping enables us to utilise the ambitions and talents of our women's cycling team to the utmost and work on further professionalization. They will be hearing from us!"

  • Saxo-Tinkoff brings back the bird

    The new logo for Team Saxo-Tinkoff
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 19:30
    Cycling News

    Minor name change for Riis's team removes "bank"

    With two banks as co-title sponsors, the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team will remove both iterations, becoming simply Team Saxo-Tinkoff.

    "With immediate effect, Riis Cycling and its two co-title sponsors, Saxo Bank and Tinkoff Bank, have agreed to change the name of the cycling team to Team Saxo-Tinkoff," the team announced today.

    Tinkoff Bank signed on with the team of Alberto Contador ahead of this year's Tour de France, when the team adopted a new colour scheme that incorporated Tinkoff's yellow into the black, blue and white of Saxo Bank.

    The 2012 jerseys included both the Saxo Bank logo, the Tinkoff Bank shield and left out the prominent Riis eagle that had previously featured on the front of the jersey.

    On the team's website, the new Saxo-Tinkoff logo brings back the bird on a gold background below a bold diagonal blue strip bearing the team's name.

    Team Saxo-Tinkoff is wrapping up its off-season gathering on Gran Canaria, where new riders Timmy Duggan, Rory Sutherland, Roman Kreuziger, Matti Breschel and Daniele Bennati were incorporated into the mix with Contador and his Spanish lieutenants.

  • Smith and Sans Vega to NetApp-Endura management

    The 2013 NetApp-Endura team jersey
    Article published:
    November 20, 2012, 20:30
    Cycling News

    Duo move from British team to new merged team in 2013

    Team NetApp-Endura has strengthened its management with two new additions from Endura Racing for the coming year. Alex Sans Vega will be a directeur sportif, while Brian Smith will be the assistant general manager.

    German-based NetApp and the British Continental-ranked team Endura have merged for the coming year. They will ride under the combined name NetApp-Endura under a Professional Continental licence.

    Sans Vega and Smit join General Manager Ralph Denk, Head Sport Director Jens Heppner and Sport Director Enrico Poitschke.

    “Alex will bring a great deal to our team because, as a sport director for the Endura Racing Team, he already knows a large part of our new squad. In addition, we can count on the experience he has gained from 20 Grand Tours,” said Denk in a team press release.

    “Brian Smith will support the team with organizational planning and, in particular, with scouting activities for talented and up-and-coming riders. It’s important for our development that we also become professional with regard to scouting,” Denk said.

    “Brian not only has a wealth of experience and a very good network at his disposal. With Endura Racing, he’s also demonstrated a nose for talent.”