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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Date published:
December 18, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Premature to label Schlecks as contenders for Tour de France win, says Guercilena

    Andy and Frank Schleck celebrate after the 2011 Tour de France
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 12:15 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Horner refused contract offer from Trek Factory Racing

    Trek Factory Racing manager Luca Guercilena has said that it is premature to label Andy and Fränk Schleck as contenders for overall victory at the 2014 Tour de France but the Italian is confident that they can at least be competitive next July.

    While the original Leopard Trek team was built largely around the Tour de France ambitions of the Schleck brothers, the emphasis of the team has shifted in the intervening period following Fränk’s ban for a positive test for Xipamide and Andy's struggles with injury and form in the period since they finished second and third at the 2011 Tour de France.

    "There are three or four teams who have devoted more to the Grand Tours, while we're rebuilding. We'll be competitive but it's going to be difficult to be super-competitive because we made different choices on the transfer market to some other teams," Guercilena told Cyclingnews.

    "I think that Andy and Fränk themselves can be competitive in a head-to-head with the likes of Froome, Quintana and Contador, but it's premature to say today that we could be capable of going to the Tour to try to win it."

    Andy Schleck’s travails over the past two years have been well-documented. A fractured pelvis at the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné ruled him out of that year's Tour de France, and the Luxembourger was short on condition and morale when the 2013 campaign got underway. For 18 months or so, his results read as a litany of abandons and problems but Schleck managed to steady the ship in time for the Tour de France, where he reached Paris in 20th place overall.

    "Last winter wasn't ideal, which meant that he began the season trying to make up for lost ground,...

  • Incycle-Predator Components team registered in Puerto Rico

    Andres Diaz Corrales (Exergy) on a steep section of the climb.
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 14:42 GMT
    Pat Malach

    US-based Continental team created from California elite programs

    Incycle-Predator Components, born out of the merger of two Southern California domestic elite programs, has been registered as a UCI Continental team in the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico for 2014 rather than the US, team owner Micah Cloteaux has confirmed to Cyclingnews.

    Cloteaux, who owns a bike distribution business in South America and bought part ownership of Predator several years ago, explained that although the team is US owned, much of the its funding for 2014 comes from Puerto Rican sponsors, including Font Insurance, Hyundai San Sebastian and Cargo Risk Management.

    The team had originally planned to remain with USA Cycling's domestic elite level next season but the Puerto Rican sponsors wanted to jump to Continental level. The sponsors increased their financial commitments toward the team's budget, and the team accepted the opportunity.

    “I didn't look into this season with the intention of being pro,” Cloteaux said. “But a guy I know from Puerto Rico asked late in the season if we'd be interested. And I said, 'Yeah, if it's easy. But I don't know if we're ready or have the funding.' He asked if we'd do it if they put up the money and made it happen. I said, 'Yeah, we'll do it.'”

    The team applied for Continental status earlier this year, Cloteaux said, and although it's waiting for final UCI approval of the team kit, it has received word that its application has been approved.

    “We've gotten a letter saying we were in, and they cashed all the checks,” he said. “I'm pretty sure when they've cashed the checks it's a done deal.”

    2014 roster

    The 2014 roster includes nine US riders, two riders from Mexico, and one...

  • Sagan to ride Paris-Roubaix in 2014

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) smiling at the start line
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 15:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Basso will lead Cannondale at Giro d'Italia

    Peter Sagan will ride Paris-Roubaix in 2014 and seek a third successive green jersey at the Tour de France, while Ivan Basso will aim for overall victory at the Giro d'Italia, the Cannondale Pro Cycling team announced on Wednesday following the conclusion of its training camp in Tuscany.

    Sagan previously raced Paris-Roubaix in his first two professional seasons in 2010 and 2011, but crashes and mechanical problems meant that he made little impact on the Hell of the North. The Slovak has grown in maturity since then, however, and his results in the biggest one-day races have reflected that progress.

    Winner of Gent-Wevelgem in 2013 and second at Milan-San Remo, E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders, Sagan will ride a similar schedule in 2014, but with the additional goal of the Hell of the North.

    "It's a unique race, hard and unpredictable, and this is why it intrigues me," said Sagan, who finished second in the junior version of the race in 2008 behind Andrew Fenn. "I don't feel I can talk about goals or make any predictions. The first time I raced it as professional in 2010 I didn't arrive in Roubaix, and one year later I finished the race in the gruppetto far away from the leaders. I think it’s a race in which it’s important to have experience and luck, as well as to have a feel for it."

    Sagan will begin his season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, before tackling the Dubai Tour, Tour of Oman, GP Camaiore, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico as he builds towards the Classics. He will also return to the Tour of California in May before setting his sights on a third successive points classification win in France in July.

    Basso goes to Taiwan

    Though based in Italy, the Cannondale team has taken an...

  • Sagan: In 2014 it's about the quality of my victories, not the quantity

    Green jersey Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 16:26 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Cannondale leader talks about Paris-Roubaix, going for green and his growing confidence

    Peter Sagan is hoping to exchange the quantity of his victories for more quality next season, with Paris-Roubaix a surprise new objective for 2014 along with Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and a third Tour de France green points jersey.

    Sagan tested his ability in the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne but struggled to be competitive on the climbs after a long spring campaign. In 2014 he will race less but hopes to win more for the Cannondale Procycling team.

    "I won 22 races in 2013, but in 2014 it's about the quality, not the quantity of my victories," he told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview.

    "If I can win just three races next year: Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and the green jersey at the Tour de France, that'd be better than my 2013 result. It won’t be easy because cycling's never easy or logical but it'd be cool to win the big races.

    "It's the same at the Tour de France. For me it's not about the number of stages I win but about winning the green jersey for a third time."

    Sagan will begin racing at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. He will spend Christmas at home in Slovakia and then head to Los Angeles for the official Cannondale team presentation before traveling south to Argentina.

    After that his programme is intense but logical for a Classics contender.

    "I ride Tour de San Luis, the Dubai Tour, the Tour of Oman and then Camaiore, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and then Belgium, starting with Harelbeke. After that, it's Ghent-Wevelgem, De Panne, Flanders and Roubaix," he says rolling off his programme from memory as a cycling tongue twister. 

    Sagan rode Paris-Roubaix in 2010 and 2011 but failed to finish at his first attempt and was only 86th in the gruppetto in 2011....

  • Michael Rogers returns adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol

    Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) celebrates his first win of 2013
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 16:33 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian tests positive after winning the Japan Cup

    Michael Rogers has been provisionally suspended after returning an adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol, the UCI announced on Wednesday. The Saxo-Tinkoff rider returned the positive test following his victory at the Japan Cup on October 20.

    The UCI also announced that Belgium's Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony) has returned a positive A-sample test for Clenbuterol and is also provisionally suspended. The 22-year-old was tested at the Tour of Taihu Lake in China, on November 5.

    Rogers, who joined Saxo-Tinkoff from Team Sky last December, remains suspended until a Cycling Australia panel convenes to hear his case. If an analysis of the B sample confirms the positive test, Rogers faces a suspension of up to two years under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

    "The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Tokyo indicating an adverse analytical finding of clenbuterol in a urine sample collected from him in a test during the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race on 20 October 2013," reads the UCI statement announcing Rogers’ suspension.

    Rogers' victory at the Japan Cup was his only win of the 2013 season in what was his final race of the campaign, and came after he attacked alone at the end of a rain-soaked day in Utsunomiya. He rode the Tour of Beijing before the Japan Cup race and could have eaten contaminated meat while in China.

    Rogers, the Saxo-Tinkoff team and new team manager Stefano Feltrin were not available for comment when the news of the positive result was announced. 

    A solid performer in stage races

    The 33-year-old from New South Wales has raced for Mapei, QuickStep, T-Mobile, Highroad, Team Sky and Saxo-Tinkoff during a professional...

  • Weisel: Armstrong allegations not factual

    Thom Weisel rides alongside Lance Armstrong after his Tour de France victory
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 17:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former team owner denies knowledge of doping at US Postal Service team

    The attorney of former US Postal Service team owner Thom Weisel has responded to Lance Armstrong's testimony that Weisel knew of the doping that was going on in the team, calling the allegations "not factual".

    While Weisel himself refused to speak to Cyclingnews, his lawyer, Robert Sacks of Sullivan & Cromwell told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Mr. Weisel unequivocally denies being aware that Mr. Armstrong and other cyclists were doping. He has said that before and continues to say it now."

    "These are not factual allegations," Sacks said. "If you read Armstrong's statement, he sensed Mr. Weisel must have known about it, but no facts were offered. Not him, not Landis, not Tyler Hamilton have offered any actual facts. If the riders can't offer the facts, then they don't exist."

    Weisel has been named as a co-defendant with Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong's former manager Bill Stapleton and Bart Knaggs in a federal "whistleblower" lawsuit taken by Floyd Landis. Under the federal False Claims act, citizens can file suit on behalf of the government against individuals who have defrauded the government. Armstrong admitted to doping while under contract with the team sponsored by the US Postal Service, a contract which included stipulations against doping.

    In a separate case in November, Armstrong claimed, "Mr. Weisel was aware of doping by the USPS Team and in professional cycling in general."

    Both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis have made similar claims, and former team soigneur Emma O'Reilly previously testified that Weisel was in the room when the management came up with the backdated prescription for a topical cream to cover up evidence of cortisone use in a doping control in the 1999 Tour de France.

    According to the complaint, the false claims act can be used if an individual has actual knowledge of fraud, or "acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information", or "acts in...

  • Saxo-Tinkoff provisionally suspends Rogers, awaits B-sample analysis

    Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) celebrates his solo victory in the Japan Cup
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 18:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rogers suspects contaminated food in Clenbuterol positive

    The Saxo-Tinkoff team has provisionally suspended Michael Rogers, but will await the B-sample analysis before commenting further on the rider's Clenbuterol positive, which was disclosed by the UCI today.

    Rogers tested positive in a sample taken at the Japan Cup on October 20, 2013, after his solo victory in the road race.

    The team issued a press release stating that Rogers had made them aware of the result. "The Australian explained to the team management that he never ingested the substance knowingly nor deliberately and fears that the adverse analytical finding origins from a contaminated food source," a press release stated.

    Rogers participated in Tour of Beijing the week before the Japan Cup. China has had a history of food-related clenbuterol positives. The country in 2011 outlawed the practice of feeding the drug to pigs to make the meat leaner, but testing in the industry remains scarce. Chinese Olympians were banned from eating beef, pork or mutton during their preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

    In late November 2011 WADA issued a warning about concerns of contaminated meat and "re-emphasized the need for athletes to exercise extreme caution with regards to eating meat when traveling to competitions in China and Mexico."

    Michael Rogers now has the opportunity to request an analysis of his B-sample. According to the team's Anti Doping policy, Michael Rogers is provisionally suspended with immediate effect.

    Until further facts are available to...

  • Gallery: BMC prepares to win in 2014

    Greg van Avermaet does some testing
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 20:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team gather in Spain ahead of new season

    The BMC Racing Team gathered in Spain for a week of pre-season training ahead of the 2014 season. Both the riders and staff worked on teamwork with a focus on creating a cohesive unit capable of winning races, which is any team's obvious goal, but BMC hopes to step up from the 2013 season.

    "We have set a new standard for where we want to be next year," general manager Jim Ochowicz said. "Winning is the magic word and we are preparing for that here in December."

    Allan Peiper, the team's managing directeur agreed. "Everyone must know exactly what is expected of them," Peiper said. "This is a critical year for the BMC Racing Team. We have already said we want to win more races than we did this year when we won 30, which was a team record. So establishing clear communication and direction to achieve those goals are two big elements we are working on."

    The camp included the usual mix of team rides, group sessions of core workouts and yoga, and meetings with sponsors and partners, but new to the camp was team building activities for the entire staff, from mechanics, soigneurs, service course personnel and directeurs sportif.

    "In an organization that's as big as ours, it's not just the riders who create the winning environment. It is the staff as well," Ochowicz said. "So having them on the same page and preparing as well for the new season is an important event for us. Without that, we can't do our job in the races."