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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Date published:
January 19, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Frustration for Armstrong as questions arise

    Lance Armstrong fits his race radio
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 6:08 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Sports Illustrated allegations annoy seven-time Tour champ

    Lance Armstrong was not impressed when he was asked to respond to new allegations aired by Sports Illustrated at the beginning of stage two at the Tour Down Under this morning.

    When first asked about the report, the seven-time winner of the Tour de France quickly said, "I have nothing to say."

    When pressed on the detail in the investigative report by Selena Roberts and David Epstein, the result of work in which the pair "reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and interviewed dozens of sources in Europe, New Zealand and the U.S.," he repeated: "Like I said, I have nothing to say."

    Journalists surrounding Armstrong pursued the line of questioning asking the American if he had at least read the article which appeared online hours before the stage from Tailem Bend to Mannum on the Murray River in South Australia. To that he admitted, "I perused it... there's nothing there."

    The line of questioning moved on to what Armstrong and his RadioShack team were expecting from the day's stage before moving back to the damning report, at which point Armstrong's anger and frustration boiled to the surface.

    "Dude, are you that stupid?" Armstrong asked of the reporter concerned. "What part of I'm not commenting is not clear to you?"

    The journalist was then told by Armstrong that if he intended on continuing with his questioning then he should leave.

    A few minutes later and slightly calmer, Armstrong told the gathered media that he didn't "have anything to worry about on any level."

  • Mayhem in Mannum - Three crashes in chaotic sprint

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) needed treatment after his crash
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 8:32 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    McEwen suggests gravel to blame for 'sickening' crash

    Robbie McEwen's (RadioShack) prediction prior to the start of the Tour Down Under's second stage from Tailem Bend to Mannum proved correct.

    The Australian sprint veteran told Cyclingnews : "I think we're going to see a finish that's even more chaotic than yesterday."

    Around a dozen riders finished the stage with injuries ranging from broken bones to gravel rash over three separate incidents. Those left suffering included: Chris Sutton, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Mark Cavendish, Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Cameron and Travis Meyer, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo), Bernard Sulzberger (UniSA), Pieter Weening (Rabobank), David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Sungard) , and Simon Clarke (Astana).

    Team UniSA's Bernard Sulzberger became the first serious casualty of the race, taken to hospital with a broken right collarbone following a crash within 100 metres of the finish. He was taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital where he was operated on to have a plate inserted. It's been a rough few weeks for the 29-year-old who is one of the many riders caught up in the uncertainty over the future of Pegasus.

    The team's manager Dave Sanders said: "No one likes to lose a rider and especially Bernie, with the situation he's in, hopefully he was going to put his hand up later in the week and chase a result - it's not good at all."

    'Sickening' crash claims HTC speed men

    HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish looked to be in a bad way once he eventually made it back to the team bus after the race, with blood dripping down the side of his face and his kit ripped to shreds after his involvement in the first crash around.

    Shaking and struggling to swat away flies that seemed to have invaded the town of Tailem Bend, Cavendish sought refuge in the team bus and there he was properly treated by team doctor Helga Riepenhof. He was given two stitches in one of the cuts above his eye and the sprinter will be riding on.

    Teammate and...

  • Romain Feillu takes on top sprinters Down Under

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) talks tactics ahead of stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 9:31 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman at World Tour level with Vacansoleil’s promotion

    Romain Feillu has started the 2011 season with a seventh and a fourth place at the first two stages of the Santos Tour Down Under. By doing so, he has confirmed the predictions of race director Mike Turtur, who had named the Frenchman when he listed the top sprinters lining up in South Australia this week.

    “I feel that my condition is pretty good but on both occasions I could have delivered a better result as I got caught in the wind and couldn’t move up as much as I wanted,” Feillu told Cyclingnews.

    It’s the Frenchman’s second visit to Australia in a matter of months, as he came tenth at the world championships in Geelong in October.

    “I became a father on November 26, so I’ve felt some fatigue and I probably haven’t trained exactly the same as in previous years,” he said. “But I’ve had a good training camp in Benidorm, Spain, and I’ve come to the first race with 3500 kilometres of cycling. The Australian sprinters have a bit more rhythm than us. To beat them here might have required hard sessions behind a scooter but I enjoy racing here because the crowd is friendly with everyone. People aren’t chauvinist like in France. They like all the athletes.”

    Feillu owes his presence in Australia to the promotion of his team Vacansoleil into the World Tour. He joined the Dutch outfit from the defunct Pro Continental team Agritubel after the 2009 season, during which he won the GP Fourmies after helping his brother Brice to win a mountain stage at the Tour de France. However, he ended up on a different programme in 2010 as Vacansoleil couldn’t secure a wildcard invitation to the Tour.

    “I missed riding the Tour de France, although it’s not my best period of the year, usually,” Feillu said. “This year, I want to finish it for the first time and win a stage for the first time. I think stage 1 finishing on top the...

  • Frenchman Krivtsov shines in Australia

    Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was aggressive on stage two of the Santos Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 10:00 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Former Ukrainian to challenge new compatriots at French ITT championship

    For the first time in his career, 32-year-old Yuriy Krivtsov, who turned professional with Jean Delatour in 2002, has appeared on a start list as a Frenchman. “He was naturalized in May last year but only now we can put FRA on our entry forms,” said Ag2r-La Mondiale’s directeur sportif Laurent Biondi, who enjoyed following his pupil during stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under.

    Krivtsov was the first man to break away after the start in Tailem Bend. He was quickly joined by David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Mitchell Docker (Uni-SA), who contributed to a second significant escape in as many days and collected more time bonuses. The Australian therefore moved into fifth on GC, while a two-second bonus helped Krivtsov position himself in eleventh. Krivtsov followed Ag2r’s tactic of having someone take time up the road every day with the aim of making the top ten overall and scoring points for the world rankings.

    “I tried and it worked out,” Krivtsov told Cyclingnews after the finish. “We believe the accumulation of the time bonuses will decide the GC.”

    Krivtsov is known as a dedicated team player. That’s how he keeps a pro contract although he hasn’t won a race since the Ukrainian national time trial championship in 2004. He came second behind Vitali Popkov in the same competition last year, but that was his last participation in a national championship in his native country.

    “This is my thirteenth year racing in France,” said Krivtsov, who migrated to try his luck with an amateur club in Nantes in 1999. “My son was born in France six and half years ago and he goes to French school. For him I’ve chosen to become a Frenchman as well. With my wife, we’ve decided to stay in France after my cycling career.”

    Interestingly, the next French championship for individual time trial in Boulogne-sur-Mer might well be a duel between...

  • Wiggins calls for biological passport data to be made public

    Brad Wiggins awaits his turn in the Wattbike challenge
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 10:53 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Sky rider discusses Armstrong and Landis

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) believes that professional riders should publish their UCI biological passport data online in order to give the sport greater transparency.

    Wiggins finished fourth in the 2009 Tour de France and admits that the result encouraged him to post his passport data from the race in a bid to prove he raced clean.

    “I think it was the natural thing. Everyone thought I was on gear after that and I can’t blame people for that,” Wiggins told Cyclingnews from the Team Sky training camp earlier this week.

    “I would have thought the same thing about someone who had come from absolutely out of nowhere from the gruppetto and finished fourth on the Tour and JV [ed. former team boss, Jonathan Vaughters at Garmin] just said to me, ‘we did it with Christian Vande Velde last year, what do you think?’ I said, ‘let’s do it.’”

    Wiggins' values for the period February 16, 2008 to July 28, 2009 were made public on July 31, just days after the Tour, and roughly 18 months on he would like more riders to follow his example.

    “I think they should make these things public,” he said.

    “The whole blood passport should be on [the] internet, every rider in the peloton. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be. It’s got to that stage now where if there’s nothing to hide why aren’t they up there? You can pull up in any walk of life, company accounts, people’s tax and that’s public knowledge, so I don’t see why the blood passport shouldn’t be public knowledge. It will silence people or challenge certain things but I don’t see what harm it would do. It would give you credibility in the public’s eyes … but I don’t think everyone would agree to it, maybe for moral reasons or people thinking that it might be an invasion of privacy.”

    Another rider who published his passport...

  • A summary of the Sports Illustrated Lance Armstrong investigation

    Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) after stage 2
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 11:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    The Case against Lance Armstrong

    Sports Illustrated has published its full investigation into Lance Armstrong on its website under the title of the ‘The Case against Lance Armstrong’.

    The article is over 5700 words long and includes new and old accusations against Armstrong from a wide range of sources, including details of the questioning of Armstrong’s long-standing teammate Yaroslav Popovych in Italy and further revelations by Floyd Landis and Stephen Swart.

    The article lifts the lid on Armstrong's relationship with Anti-doping expert Don Catlin and reports details of a letter exchange that reveals unusual testosterone-epitestosterone ratio test results found in three of Armstrong’s urine samples. The article also suggests Armstrong gained access to the experimental blood boosting drug HemAssist.

    Armstrong refused to answer questions about the accusations before the start of the second stage of the Tour Down Under, only saying: "I perused it... there's nothing there."

    Armstrong has yet to be formally involved in the FDA investigation but Selena Roberts, one of the two journalists who wrote the article has suggested in a video interview on that that could occur as soon as February.

    The key points of the SI investigation:

    The Sports Illustrated article claims that sources familiar with the FDA investigation have discovered that Armstrong had access to the blood boosting drug HemAssist during clinical trials in the USA. The drug trials were ended after several patients died but athletes apparently tried to buy HemAssist because it does not raise blood haematocrit and has a very short half life, making it almost impossible to detect.


  • Riis planning for season with Contador

    Bjarne Riis at the start this morning.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 12:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank team manager defends Schleck Vuelta expulsion

    Saxo Bank-Sungard team manager Bjarne Riis reiterated his confidence in Alberto Contador and said that he is planning his season under the assumption that Contador will be able to race as normal.

    “We’re worried and we’re trying to support Contador as much as we can,” Riis told Reuters. “There’s an ongoing procedure and we respect it. In any case, we won’t have any influence on the decision that will be taken."

    “I know that his lawyers have put together a very good defence. Clenbuterol has been found in his urine but the dose was insignificant. He didn’t win the Tour de France because of that. It’s strange that the substance appeared only once."

    Riis added that he is continuing to plan Contador’s season as if the Spaniard is going to start the new season normally with the Tour of Murcia in March. He also denied speculation that Contador might attempt to take part in all three Grand Tours and admitted that his Saxo Bank team had been weakened by the loss of so many riders and staff. Eight of his former riders have joined the new Leopard Trek team.

    “It’s something I’d like to try with Alberto but not this year because I don’t have the team to back him,” Riis said. “17 to 20 people, I don’t remember exactly, have left Saxo Bank. Our team will probably not be as strong as before but it remains a good team. Nick Nuyens is a good rider for the classics. Richie Porte has an enormous potential and he’ll become a Tour de France contender in two or three years.”

    The Dane has also had to recompose his technical staff after Kim Andersen’s departure to Leopard Trek. Riis was full of praise in the interview for his current team management. “Bradley McGee is the best directeur sportif in the world,” Riis stated. “His new assistant Philippe Mauduit who comes from Cervélo is of high...

  • Carla Swart killed in South Africa

    South African Carla Swart drives the leading quartet along the home straight in Buninyong.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 14:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Updated: HTC-Highroad rider hit by a truck during training

    HTC-Highroad rider Carla Swart died after being hit by a truck while training in South Africa. The 23-year-old Swart was riding on the road to Marquard in the central Freestate province of South Africa when a truck slammed into her.

    Barry Austin, Cycling South Africa’s team manager who saw the accident happen, said Swart turned around right in front of the oncoming truck moments after she had lost her cycling computer.

    “I could see how the driver slammed on his brakes. He even swerved to the right so as to avoid smashing into Swart, but it was to no avail. The truck hit Swart full on, flinging her into the air,” Austin said.

    Swart died before she reached the hospital.

    According to Austin, Swart was doing time trialing exercises when the accident happened.

    Swart was born in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa but moved to the USA with her family when she was 15. She represented South Africa in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, finishing eighth in the road race as the top South African finisher.

    She was a multi-discipline US collegiate champion in 2008 and finished eighth in the 2010 Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup. She also won the best young rider's award in the Tour de L'Aude stage race and finished 10th in the women's race at the road world championship in Australia.

    HTC-Highroad posted a moving message on the team's website: "Carla, in such a short time you became part of our family and touched us all with your vibrant personality and your constant smile. You infected us with your zest for life and we will forever have you in our hearts. Our wishes go out to Carla's family and loved ones."

    Deon Swart, the father of Carla, wrote the following on her facebook wall. "Carla's dad here. We all know Carla has claimed here place in Heaven. She was in an cycling accident today in South Africa while training. Thanks to everyone that was so involved in her life and career. RIP Carla. What more can I say...