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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Date published:
February 13, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Valverde returns to defend Vuelta a Andalucía crown

    The finish line location made celebrating a little difficult for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 5:42 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hectic week for Movistar at Algarve, Haut Var-matin and Andalucía

    Tomorrow marks the start of a hectic week for the Spanish Movistar squad which will have teams racing in three different countries concurrently. Rui Costa will lead the ProTeam at the next race at Volta ao Algarve in Portugal while Giovanni Visconti heads to France for Tour du Haut Var-matin for the two-day event. Meanwhile Alejandro Valverde will return to his home country in search of a second consecutive Vuelta a Andalucía crown.

    "After its victorious European debut with Alejandro Valverde's win at the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana in the Majorca Challenge, Movistar Team kicks-off on Thursday with seven hectic days of competition that will lead the telephone squad into ten racing days and three different countries," according to a team release.

    Costa finished fifth-overall at Algarve in 2012, 0:58 behind the overall victor Richie Porte of Sky and will be supported by a all-rounder cast of Jonathan Castroviejo, Alex Dowsett ,José and Jesús Herrada, Vladimir Karpets and Enrique Sanz.

    The two-day Tour du Haut Var-matin sees Visconti back to racing after opening his season in Australia at the Tour Down Under. It wasn't the best start for Visconti who crashed heavily near the end of Stage 2 at Down Under and moved into a support role for eventual teammate and eventual second-place overall Javi Moreno - who will be skipping the French race in favour of the 546.8km Vuelta a Andalucia - Ruta Ciclista Del Sol.

    Finally, Valverde headlines Movistar best chance for overall success at Andalucía with the four-day race coming a little under two weeks since his last

  • Gallery: Pellizotti headlines Androni Giocattoli squad for 2013

    Franco Pellizotti (Androni) and his all-black Bianchi Sempre Pro
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 8:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian champion, teammates and Bianchi bikes

    Current Italian road champion Franco Pellizotti will lead the Androni Giocatolli - Venezuela squad this year as he embarks on his first full season since returning from a two-year suspension for abnormalities in his blood passport. The team has been rebuilt for 2013 with an emphasis on an assault at the Giro d'Italia.

    Team owner Gianni Savio enlisted the services of the former Giro d'Italia stage and 2009 Tour de France KOM classification winner Pellizotti immediately after the Italian was cleared to race mid last year. It will be Pellizotti's first participation at a grand tour since 2009 when he lines up for this year's Giro.

    Continuing with the squad for the third season is Emanuele Sella. The rider who tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Giro and was given an opportunity by Savio to return to the top level will likely form part of the support squad for the three week race.

    Other notable riders on the roster include Mattia Gavazzi, who took the team's first win of the New Year on Stage 7 at the Tour de San Luis. Gavazzi is clearly making a strong return to competition after more than two years out of the sport following a cocaine positive control at the Settimana Lombarda on March 31, 2010.

    The following gallery showcases the eclectic mix of riders put together by Savio for the coming season. The team is sponsored by Bianchi bicycles and will be using the Sempre Pro frameset while the majority of Vancansoleil-DCM riders are equipped with the...

  • Different role at Giro d'Italia for Uran

    Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 10:26 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian ready to help Wiggins in mountains

    Seventh overall in the Giro d’Italia in 2012, Rigoberto Uran has said that he will enter this year’s event with the sole intention of helping his Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins take the maglia rosa.

    last year Uran also claimed the white jersey of best young rider, while his fellow countryman and teammate Sergio Henao finished 9th in Milan. The two Colombians will be Wiggins’ key domestiques in the Dolomites this time around.

    “This year will be different because I will be fully available to the team,” Uran told Biciciclismo. “I won’t be thinking about the general classification but maybe I can look for a stage win if it’s possible. Things are clear this year: we’re going to work for Bradley, as he can win the Giro. The task for me and Henao will be to help him in the mountains in a very hard final week.”

    Uran also enjoyed considerable success in one-day races last year, taking silver at the London 2012 Olympics, winning Gran Piemonte and finishing third at the Tour of Lombardy. He will be hoping to continue that form at the Ardennes classics, although his first objectives will come at a pair of week-long stage races.

    “The idea is to be going well for Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya, two WorldTour races that I know and where I want to be at the front,” Uran said. “I’m not sure if I’ll do the Tour of the Basque Country, but afterwards, I’ll do the three Ardennes classics and the Giro.”

    Uran began his 2013 campaign with three days of racing at the Trofeo Mallorca, and he now lines up at the Volta ao Algarve, which gets...

  • Cookson on Armstrong's data and the UCI's hunt for credibility

    Doug Dailey MBE collects his Hall of Fame certificate from British Cycling President, Brian Cookson OBE.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 11:53 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Head of British Cycling says WADA's backing is essential

    British Cycling president and UCI management committee member Brian Cookson has reiterated that any investigation into cycling’s past must be sanctioned and backed by WADA. Cookson, who has been previously been mooted as a potential candidate for the UCI presidency has also reacted to the news that the UCI biological passport panel never analyzed Lance Armstrong’s data after May 2009.

    “There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of restoring credibility to a number of the bodies involved in the sport,” Cookson told Cyclingnews.

    “Cycling can hold its head up in that it’s generally leading the way in the fight against doping, I believe. Other sports are going to go through this process in the next few years. The media are starting to understand that this isn’t just an issue with cycling. WADA are too.”

    The UCI has faced a barrage of criticism in recent months. The USADA’s Reasoned Decision, coupled with the UCI’s dogged resistance to investigate the past has weakened the body’s credibility, with accusations of corruption and collusion rife. The situation has worsened in recent weeks with former UCI President Hein Verbruggen confirming that riders were often tipped off if they were close to testing positive. Verbruggen currently serves as the honorary president of the UCI.

    However, the UCI’s current president, Pat McQuaid, has taken the most flak. As Verbruggen’s successor, he has overseen a number of important changes in the sport, including the globalisation of cycling and the introduction of the biological passport – a programme that cycling pioneered with the backing of WADA. That work has been overshadowed by the case...

  • Verbruggen denies Armstrong doping cover-up in letter to IOC

    UCI president Hein Verbruggen with Lance Armstrong in 2002
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 15:21 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former UCI president lashes out at WADA, USADA

    Hein Verbruggen, president of the UCI from 1991 through 2005 and an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has sent a letter to all 15 members of the IOC Executive Board in which the Dutchman denies the UCI covered up doping positives by Lance Armstrong, according to insidethegames.biz. Verbruggen also lashes out at anti-doping agencies such as WADA and USADA, wondering why there's no suspicion on their behalf regarding what Verbruggen calls a "flawed system" which failed to catch the doping activities of Armstrong and his US Postal teammates

    Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour de France victories, from 1999 through 2005, took place during Verbruggen's reign as UCI president. Following an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Armstrong was stripped of all his Tour titles and banned for life from sports adhering to WADA code. Armstrong did not contest WADA's findings and later confessed on Oprah Winfrey's talk show to doping during all seven Tour victories.

    "I have been frequently accused that during my UCI Presidency, my Federation would not have been too serious in its anti-doping policy and that - in particular the Armstrong case - the UCI and myself would have been involved in covering-up positive tests," wrote Verbruggen, as reported by insidethegames.biz.

    "Cover-ups never took place. Not only this would never have been allowed, but also since the there simply was nothing to cover-up. Armstrong, nor his teammates ever tested positive."

    Verbruggen, however, did admit that Armstrong tested positive for cortisone during the 1999 Tour de France, but brushed aside any hint of wrong-doing regarding the back-dated Therapeutic Use Exemption.

    "There was a finding for cortisone in 1999 (a time...

  • Manzano delivers shocking evidence at Puerto trial

    Ex-professional Jesús Manzano
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 17:05 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Ex-Kelme rider claims he was obliged to dope and collapsed twice as a result of treatments he underwent

    During more than three hours on the stand at the Puerto trial in Madrid on Wednesday, Jesús Manzano provided detailed and sometimes shocking testimony about blood transfusions and doping practices he underwent during his four seasons on the Kelme team. Manzano claimed that the team forced him to take banned products and threatened him with dismissal if he refused to do so, explained the damage done to his health by doping practices, and alleged that doping products were bought by Kelme’s management out of the team’s budget.

    Manzano’s evidence looked particularly damning for four of the defendants on trial for crimes against public health. The ex-Kelme rider said he had never had any link or relationship at all with former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz, but he made numerous allegations relating to Saiz’s fellow defendants, Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, Dr Yolanda Fuentes, Vicente Belda and José Ignacio Labarta.

    Manzano dropped an early bombshell when he produced his UCI health card from 2003. This, he said, showed that he had a working relationship with Eufemiano Fuentes, who had previously testified he had no relationship with Manzano. The card bore Fuentes’s signature, indicating he was the rider’s doctor. Although the doctor’s lawyer attempted to have the card struck out as evidence, the judge overruled this protest and Fuentes confirmed the signature was indeed his.

    Manzano went on to say that he had been given EPO by Fuentes in 2000, 2001 and 2003. “There were two types of treatment – taking it intravenously or subcutaneously,” he explained. “During races, Eufemiano, Yolanda, [Kelme doctor] Walter Virú or [Kelme doctor] Alfredo Córdova would give us EPO. When we were at home we would do it ourselves.”

    Manzano said that Belda oversaw the planning and coordinated these treatments. “The team used to plan out how...

  • Gallery: Garmin-Sharp recons Omloop Het Nieuwsblad route

    Johan Vansummeren leads his Garmin-Sharp teammates on the cobbled Taaienberg climb.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 17:43 GMT
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Europe's cobbled Classics soon to commence

    While members of the European peloton frequent sunny, balmy locales throughout the winter to build fitness for the 2013 season, there's still no substitute for putting in punishing training miles on the cobbled roads which comprise the upcoming Classics and semi-Classics in Belgium.

    The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the traditional start to the Europe's cobbled campaign and key members of Garmin-Sharp's Classics squad have been putting in the miles on the 199km route to dial in their bikes and familiarise themselves with key sectors of the parcours.

    Nick Nuyens, a new member of Garmin-Sharp for 2013, joined teammates Johan Vansummeren, Tyler Farrar, Martijn Maaskant, Sebastien Rosseler and Thomas Dekker as they rode key climbs, such as the Taaienberg and Molenberg, plus pave sectors, including Haaghoek, in preparation for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 23.

    Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling), too, was also out training on the route and joined his former Garmin teammates in reconning sectors of pave.

  • Bans should be proportionate, says Offredo

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ)
    Article published:
    February 13, 2013, 19:50 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Back in peloton, FDJ rider takes aim at Classics

    Yoann Offredo made his return to competitive action at the Tour of Qatar last week after serving a one-year suspension for violating the whereabouts system, but the FDJ rider admitted that he was still frustrated by what he feels was the severity of his sanction in relation to others handed out since.

    Offredo’s year-long ban was double the sanction handed to Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie, Michael Barry and George Hincapie, who belatedly confessed to partaking in a systematic blood doping programme during their years at the US Postal Service team (later Discovery Channel).

    “I committed a fault and I had to be sanctioned, but it should be proportionate: I got a year for an administrative error but other riders only got a few months for actually doping,” Offredo told Cyclingnews. “Personally, I find that pretty bizarre, but that’s the way things are. Maybe giving six months to guys who contribute information can help to fight doping, but for me it was a bit shocking to see that. Still, there’s no point in complaining about it at this stage.”

    While Offredo is careful to insist that he was banned for an administrative oversight rather than doping, he is more than aware that the wider public will not share that distinction and that his name has been irrevocably tarnished.

    “When my mother was going to work on the metro in Paris, she saw a headline in a newspaper that said ‘Offredo escapes three controls’, as if I had fled from three controls after races,” Offredo said, shaking his head. “In fact, I submitted my whereabouts information late on two occasions and the third time, the team changed my race programme at the last minute and they didn’t modify my whereabouts.

    ...