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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Date published:
November 05, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • End of the road in China for Crelan-Euphony

    Crelan-Euphany saying goodbye at the Tour of Taihu Lake.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 4:36 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    A chapter of 25 years closing at Tour of Taihu Lake

    After winning his third stage in a row at the Tour of Taihu Lake, Yuriy Metlushenko of Torku Seker Spor went to the Crelan-Euphony team car to offer the orange helmet made by Ranking for the race leader to his former directeur sportif Marco Saligari. "I know your son rides a bike," said the Ukrainian.

    "It breaks my heart to see the [formerly known as] Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team disappear from the peloton," Metlushenko told Cyclingnews. "With this team, I've started my career [in 2002], I've had my first pro win… I've lived for two years at the house of Jef De Bilde, one of the sponsors. I felt really good racing under Gérard Bulens as a team manager. I've had fantastic years with them."

    One of the longest serving teams in professional cycling is folding at the end of the 2013 season. Under the names of Saxon and Tönissteiner at the beginning, the squad has existed since 1989. "We knew that our main sponsors, Crelan [a branch of Belgian bank Landbouwkrediet] and Euphony would not renew their contracts with us," explained Jonathan Bulens, son of Gérard and public relations officer for the team. "We had found a new sponsor but we couldn't obtain the financial guarantee on time. We asked the UCI for a delay but we didn't get it.

    "We weren't the oldest team in professional cycling but one of the oldest, and one of our sponsors, [water and sodas company] Tönissteiner, was the oldest. They've always been on our jerseys and they were backing cycling even before the Belgian national lottery."

    Colnago was Bulens' other faithful partner. The Italian bike manufacturer put the team in a new dimension in 2002 when they brought a generation of talented young Ukrainians, especially Yaroslav Popovych alongside Metlushenko. That's when former Tour de France stage winner Saligari jumped in as directeur sportif and always...

  • Rasmussen is frustrated, says Weening

    Tour of Poland winner Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 9:50 GMT
    José Been

    Dutchman and Niermann downplay 2007 doping allegations

    Pieter Weening has reacted to the claims of his former teammate Michael Rasmussen by stating that the Dane is probably frustrated.”He lost the court case against Rabobank which probably made him very frustrated,” the Orica-Greenedge rider told De Telegraaf.

    In a live web chat after an interview with Danish broadcaster DR, Michael Rasmussen claimed that 100% of the 2007 Rabobank Tour de France team was on doping. “Within the Rabobank team: 100% [used doping products]. Not everyone took the same products, but all riders were on some form of doping provided by the team,” he said.

    The Danish rider later backtracked on his previous statement saying that he never actually saw Juan Antonio Flecha or Oscar Freire use banned substances. Triple world champion Freire had threatened to sue Rasmussen for his allegations.

    In Curaçao, where Weening participated in the Amstel Curaçao Race, the Dutch rider reacted to Rasmussen’s allegations. “Desperate needs lead to desperate deeds,” Weening said. “Rasmussen comes up with different stories every time. He declared something else when he was under oath at the court. It’s obvious he is frustrated because he lost the case against Rabobank.”

    Rasmussen received €665,000 in damages when a court found that Rabobank wrongfully sent him home from the 2007 Tour de France while the Dane was in the yellow jersey. Both parties appealed the decision and when Rasmussen eventually lost, he had to re-pay the original sum.

    Grischa Niermann, who was also part of the 2007 Rabobank Tour de France team has also reacted to Rasmussen's statement that 100% of the team was on doping. “I don’t know where he gets that from,”...

  • New UCI rule will force riders to stick to the road

    The riders switch to the bike path
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 11:26 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Riders risk fines if they cut corners, jump to bike paths and footpaths

    The UCI has introduced a minor rule change that will prohibit riders from racing on footpaths, cycle paths and tracks during races.

    Riders often jump off the road, cut across roundabouts and use the footpath to gain a slight advantage, especially in the Classics in northern Europe. However riders will be fined and possibly risk elimination from a race if they do not respect the new rule from January 1, 2014.

    The idea of the new rule appears to be to stop riders taking short cuts to gain an unfair advantage on their rivals and reduce the risk of crashes involving road furniture and spectators. Riders will still be able to race in the gutter of roads but the rule make positioning in races more important.

    The rule change was first spotted by the blogger It is included in a series of minor changes that were approved at the UCI Management meeting in Florence during the road race championships.

    Other minor changes include increasing the limit on the percentage of UCI ProTeams that can be invited to HC category races in the America, Asia, Oceania and Africa Tours from 50% to 65%. This rule could impact the places for local teams in races such as the Amgen Tour of California, the USA Pro Challenge, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman.

    Rule 1.2.064 bis states: “It is strictly prohibited to use sidewalks/pavements, paths or cycle paths alongside the roadway that do not form part of the course. Non-respect of this requirement is sanctioned an accordance with Article, without prejudice to any other sanctions that may apply.”

    It is unclear how the rule will be applied but race officials could issue fines...

  • Cavendish: My position as most dominant sprinter is being challenged

    Mark Cavendish at the Palais des Congres for the unveiling of the 2014 Tour de France route
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 12:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Manxman admits he lacks punch of earlier days

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has acknowledged that his status as cycling’s pre-eminent sprinter has been placed under threat by the rise of riders such as Marcel Kittel, who won four stages to the Manxman’s two at this year’s Tour de France.

    At 28 years of age, Cavendish is approaching what ought to be his athletic prime but he suggested that he is now lacking the natural explosiveness of his youth. His winter preparation will feature more speed training than ever before as he prepares to prove he is still the best sprinter in the world.

    “I feel that I’m getting older,” Cavendish told The Telegraph. “I don’t have the punch. I have to work on my sprint now, which I didn’t have to do before.”

    In the revealing interview, Cavendish downplayed the idea – once floated by directeur sportif Brian Holm – that anger served as a motivational force. He did, however, admit that he will approach the 2014 season motivated by the need to prove a point and fend off the threat posed by Kittel et al to his sprint crown.

    “I’ve really learnt to control anger, it’s a waste of energy. But when I’ve got a point to prove, that will still be the case,” Cavendish said. “I’ve been relatively unchallenged until now, and now people are challenging my position as the most dominant sprinter in the world.”

    As well as adding more sprint work to his training schedule, Cavendish told The Telegraph that his regimen includes logic puzzles such as Sudoku,...

  • Cancer specialist outlines new method to detect doping

    A Tour de France fan states his case for cessation of doping in the professional peloton
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 14:40 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    IOC chief interested in how EPO changes cells for long periods

    One of Spain’s most renowned cancer specialists has revealed how investigations into what encourages certain cancers to develop in the human body could be used to detect doping by athletes. Speaking at a conference entitled "Looking for new elements for the detection of doping within sport" that has been taking place at the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee in Madrid, Dr Cristóbal Belda-Iniesta explained how "there are substances that degrade in hours and can therefore be practically undetectable, but which leave a footprint in genetic memory that can be detected five years later".

    Dr. Belda, head of thoracic oncology and neuro-oncology at HM Hospitals in Madrid and a professor at the University of San Pablo CEU, is currently overseeing a project studying new ways to detect evidence of doping. Next month, new International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach will head to Madrid for a presentation of this research, which could be introduced into anti-doping campaigns to run alongside existing drug testing procedures.

    Dr. Belda and his research team have built up significant knowledge of how a variety of products that are used as part of cancer treatments, including EPO, growth hormone and IGF-1, can change the make-up of cells. "All these substances are very well known to cells, and therefore to me," said Belda, who came to prominence in Spain as oncologist to the late golfing great Severiano Ballesteros.

    "Indeed, tumour cells feed off EPO and because of that they develop specific receptors. For that reason, we know all about EPO and we are learning how to fight that as part of the battle against cancer," El País reported Dr. Belda as saying. He added that even a tiny drop of EPO can boost the size of a tumor cell culture by "1,800 in just five days when normally, without EPO, it would double in size at most over the same period."

    Dr. Belda also outlined the dangers of some these products when it...

  • Orica-GreenEdge expresses support of Weening

    Tour of Poland winner Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 16:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    No inquiry opened by Dutch anti-doping authorities from Rasmussen allegations

    The Orica-GreenEdge squad announced today its support of team member Pieter Weening, who has been accused of doping at the 2007 Tour de France by then-Rabobank teammate Michael Rasmussen in the Dane's forthcoming autobiography.

    "Orica-GreenEdge is aware that Pieter Weening has made himself fully available to the Dutch NADO for their ongoing, comprehensive investigations into doping of Dutch cyclists," said the team in a statement. "The team has received documentation that based on information the Dutch NADO have - including in relation to Michael Rasmussen's allegations of 2007 - they have not opened any doping inquiry against Pieter Weening and do not posses any sort of evidence or testimony to do so.

    "Pieter Weening has been fully collaborative in relation to this and Orica-GreenEdge would like to express its full support in him going onwards."

    Rasmussen had stated that all members of Rabobank's 2007 Tour de France team had used doping products. "Within the Rabobank team: 100% [used doping products]. Not everyone took the same products, but all riders were on some form of doping provided by the team," Rasmussen said.

    In addition to Weening and Rasmussen, Rabobank's Tour roster in 2007 included Michael Boogerd, Bram de Groot, Thomas Dekker, Juan Antonio Flecha, Oscar Freire, Dennis Menchov and Grischa Niermann.

    Since Rasmussen made his initial blanket statement regarding his Rabobank teammates, he's retracted his allegations against Spaniards Oscar Freire and Juan Antonio Flecha, stating he never actually saw them dope. Freire had demanded a public apology and threatened legal...

  • Astana plans to cause problems for Sky in 2014

    Vincenzo Nibali looks set to compete at the Tour de France in 2014
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 17:45 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Director Martinelli looks ahead to next year's Grand Tours

    "Sky will have an extra problem in 2014," is how Astana sports director Giuseppe Martinelli sums up one important part of the team's plans for 2014 - the Tour de France - and how the Kazakh squad will tackle cycling's blue riband race.

    It's true Astana have often crossed swords with the British team in the past and they have produced some of the most memorable races of 2013 - against Chris Froome in Tirreno-Adriatico, for example. But as Martinelli tells Cyclingnews, next year when Vicenzo Nibali goes for the Tour de France, very probably as Froome's number one rival, Astana will aim to raise the bar even higher.

    "Every year we want to improve and [team manager] Alexandre Vinokourov has already made some big changes, bringing in Vincenzo last year and Michele [Scarponi] this year. And there are good new young riders signed for 2014 like [Spanish talent Mikel] Landa and experienced rouleurs like [Lieuwe] Westra. So Alexandre has built the team up this far, and I think that next year, Sky will have another problem to deal with, and that's going to be Astana.

    "We're going to have a very strong team for the Tour, and Vinokourov's aim is that the squad increase the physical and mental pressure on Sky."

    The Tour route, he believes, will play in Nibali's favour. "It's a good route for Vincenzo, a lot more mountain stages and no team time trial where Sky would have had a bit of an advantage on us there."

    "Just 50 kilometres of individual time trialling is fair enough, and even if Froome's got something of a margin there on Nibali, Vincenzo's worked very hard on the chronos, and I think next year he'll progress even more. It's in the mountains where we will make the biggest difference, though."

    "The stage [in...

  • UCI registers nine 2014 WorldTour teams

    The UCI
    Article published:
    November 05, 2013, 19:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    16 Pro Continental team get licenses so far

    The UCI today announced the registration of nine of the 2014 WorldTour teams and 16 Pro Continental squads for the coming season.

    AG2R La Mondiale, Belkin, BMC, Cannondale, FDJ, Garmin Sharp, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Katusha and Saxo Bank were all renewed after meeting the "required sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria".

    Other teams looking for renewal of their WorldTour licenses - Astana, Lampre-Merida, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge and Sky, and newcomers Europcar, have still to be called before the License Commission.

    The Trek Factory Racing team, which is seeking to transfer the license from the existing RadioShack-Leopard organisation, will need to appear before the License Commission as required under article 2.15.043 of the UCI rules.

    Lotto Belisol, Argos-Shimano and Pro Continental applicants Bretagne Séché Environnement have also been asked to appear to clear up "certain irregularities which were still present in their respective file at the time of the drawing up of the UCI assessment".

    The next announcement on licenses is due for November 25, with all first and second division licenses being decided upon by December 10.

    UCI ProTeams

    AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
    Belkin-Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
    BMC Racing Team (USA)
    Cannondale (Ita) (Fra)
    Garmin Sharp (USA)
    Omega Pharma – Quick Step Racing Team (Bel)
    Team Katusha (Rus)
    Team Saxo Bank (Den)

    UCI Professional Continental Teams

    Androni Giocattoli (Ita)
    Bardiani – CSF (Ita)
    Caja Rural – Seguros RGA (Spa)
    CCC Polsat Polkowice (Pol)
    Cofidis, Solutions Credits (Fra)
    Colombia (Col)
    Drapac Professional Cycling (Aus)
    IAM Cycling (Swi)
    MTN – Qhubeka (RSA)
    Rusvelo (Rus)
    Team Netapp – Endura (Ger)
    Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
    Topsport Vlaanderen –...