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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Date published:
January 30, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Australian one-two on opening day of Ladies Tour of Qatar

    Hosking narrowly wins the sprint over Elvin in stage 1 of the Ladies Tour of Qatar
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 0:41 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Hosking beats Elvin in sprint

    Two products of the Canberra cycling scene came head-to-head in a breathless finale to stage one of the Ladies Tour of Qatar, as Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK) pipped Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) for the honours in a four-up sprint in Mesaieed.

    The victory leaves Hosking six seconds clear of Elvin overall, but both Australians had reason to be cheerful as they scanned the general classification on Tuesday evening, given that the mid-stage split has already effectively reduced the battle for the final golden jersey to fewer than 20 riders.

    The decisive echelon was formed largely due to the fierce rhythm imposed by Specialized-lululemon as the peloton hit crosswinds after taking a sharp right turn 45km into the stage, but Orica-AIS contributed significantly to the success of that move. Elvin told Cyclingnews afterwards that the team had been briefed on what to anticipate.

    "We were waiting for that corner to come up because we knew it was going to be a crosswind and a lot of us were trying to push in near the front before we hit the corner," Elvin said. "I think it was Specialized who really put the pace on once we got over the right-hand corner, and we all just tried to stay on near the front."

    When the dust settled ahead of the finale, Orica-AIS had three riders in the lead group - Elvin, Emma Johansson and Tiffany Cromwell. Without a marquee sprinter in their line-up, the Australian squad was keen to grasp any opportunity that presented itself to distance the faster finishers.

    "This is a different kind of race to what we're used to over in Europe in terms of the parcours as it's very flat and fast, so you really have to wait for the crosswind sections to do any damage," Elvin said. "On our team as we don't have a true sprinter, so it was a goal for us to try and get rid of Bronzini and a few of those other sprinters."

    Rochelle Gilmore...

  • Turtur denies longer stages at Tour Down Under will alleviate danger

    Graeme Brown (Blanco) picks himself up after a crash
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 1:45 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Rider's attitudes need to change, says race director

    Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur has rejected suggestions by World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) that longer stages are required to negate the desperate racing once again seen at the opening WorldTour event.

    With the 15th edition of the event over for another year, Turtur and his team will review the outcomes of the week before pressing on with plans for 2014 and beyond. This year's race saw the addition of the Corkscrew climb which made good on its promise to provide an early general classification selection - although in circumstances different from what everyone had envisaged - rather than waiting until the Willunga climb on the penultimate day. Turtur however refused to be drawn on whether it would return to next year's race.

    "If there was something that I needed to say about it, maybe the time before we got to Corkscrew we might look at something there," he said. "It's an interesting final. It holds a lot of interest so it might be worth consideration."

    Gilbert told Cyclingnews on Sunday that if he could change anything at the race, it was the length of the stages, which average 126.4 over the six days.

    "At this time of the year we need kilometres," he said on his third visit to the race. "Maybe it's the only thing, if I could change something it was this. Maybe an hour more of racing every day would be nicer, then you would see a different race. Maybe more calm; less risk - maybe this is the only thing to change."

    It was a suggestion that Turtur dismissed.

    "I've been around long enough to know that the peloton goes into a sort of relaxed mode for a period and then they start the race," he told Cyclingnews. "So for us, stages of around 130, 40, 50km are what we're looking for over a moderate terrain this time of year because you know you're...

  • Bronzini relishes opportunity to be a part of positive change at Wiggle-Honda

    Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) signs in
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 4:34 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Former world champion uses Qatar to prepare for Minsk Track Worlds

    There are many signs of Giorgia Bronzini's standing in the women's peloton. The rainbow bands that denote her status as a double road world champion - she also has won a title on the track - are one. Another is the fact that the Italian was the marquee signing for the largely Anglophone Wiggle-Honda squad in its inaugural season.

    A third, and rather less welcome nod to her rank manifested itself on the road to Mesaieed on stage one of the Ladies Tour of Qatar – at the midway point, Specialized-lululemon split the peloton to shreds in crosswinds and, tellingly, only relented once it was clear that Bronzini had been dropped and would not make her way back on.

    Such is the price one pays for boasting the kind of finishing kick that denied Marianne Vos gold at two successive world championships. Perhaps it was little wonder, then, that before the season began, Bronzini admitted that she was actually looking forward to life without the rainbow jersey on her back for a change.

    Before the start of Tuesday's opening stage outside the striking Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Bronzini told Cyclingnews that she was also glad to don another new jersey this year, the black and orange of the high-profile Wiggle-Honda team, put together by Rochelle Gilmore and numbering Bradley Wiggins' "Wiggo Foundation" among its backers.

    After a career spent racing for a litany of Italian teams and sponsors, Bronzini has already detected discernible cultural differences at her new set-up. "Well, let's say that on this new team I've seen that there's a lot more precision; things are done on time, actions are prioritised over words, which is maybe a bit different to how we might be on an Italian team," Bronzini smiled.

    Among the stated aims of the Wiggle-Honda squad is to raise...

  • Lloyd not under pressure at Lampre-Merida

    Matthew Lloyd (Lampre Merida)
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 6:44 GMT
    By:
    Alex Malone

    Former Giro KOM winner "confident the level hasn't been lost"

    Matt Lloyd was quietly confident that he could perform well on a number of stages coming into this year's Tour Down Under but a crash on Stage 2 on the descent after Corkscrew Road would see his general classification ambitions dashed. It was a minor setback for the rider who has endured two difficult seasons. Racing at the season opener is all about returning to the races that suit him the most: the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.

    Lloyd crashed at high-speed with a number of other pre-race favourites in the final 20km of the stage from Mount Barker to Rostrevor and had to readjust his role to support his Lampre-Merida teammate Daniele Pietropolli – who would eventually finish 8th overall.

    Lloyd had first showed his cards on the early slopes of the Corkscrew climb but he suffered the same fate as world champion Philippe Gilbert along with a host of others. Heading back to Melbourne to escape the European cold and continue his training for the season ahead, Lloyd was confident he could return to the same form that saw him win the KOM classification at the 2010 Giro d'Italia.

    "I'm pretty confident that the level hasn't been lost at the top end only the initial races throughout the year that are going to bring it up to 100%," Lloyd told Cyclingnews. "You can obviously try and have a million scenarios that can be beneficial or look at it pessimistically."

    Lloyd's most recent result of note was his podium place at last year's Australian National Championships – won by Simon Gerrans – with his last 'win' going back to his mountains jersey from the 2010 Giro. Placing undue pressure to return to that level is not conducive to achieving a positive...

  • Team Sky names teams for early-season races

    Bradley Wiggins wraps up for some winter training in Spain
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 11:31 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wiggins to debut in Mallorca, Tour Down Under squad to Qatar

    Team Sky has named its teams for February races, confirming that Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will make his season debut at the Mallorca Challenge race series that starts on Sunday before going onto ride the Tour of Oman alongside Chris Froome, Joe Dombrowski, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees and Richie Porte.

    Team Sky's Classics Project squad began their season at the Tour Down Under and will stop off in the Middle East to ride the Tour of Qatar before making their European debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 23), Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (February 24) and Le Samyn (February 27).

    Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Chris Sutton and Geraint Thomas will be joined by Gabriel Rasch in Qatar, while Salvatore Puccio joins the team for Het Nieuwsblad, and then Rowe and 2011 winner Sutton swap places with Puccio and Rasch in the Kuurne line-up.

    The Mallorca Challenge (February 3-6) consists of four separate UCI-ranked 1.1 races, with teams able to rotate and pick their line-up from a squad of 10 riders. Ian Boswell, Josh Edmondson, David Lopez and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will all make their Team Sky debuts alongside Wiggins, Sergio Henao, David López, Danny Pate, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Ben Swift, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio.

    Wiggins and Froome will face Grand Tour rivals Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour of Oman and will have strong support from Dario Cataldo, Joe Dombrowski, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees and Richie Porte.

    Porte won the Volta ao Algarve in 2012 but will not be back to defend his title. Instead the Team Sky line-up will include Boswell, Edmondson, Henao, Lopez,...

  • Katusha CAS hearing set for February 8

    Viatcheslav Ekimov, Joaquim Rodriguez and Denis Menchov hope to find the winning formula.
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 12:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rodriguez has offers in place but promises to await the CAS verdict

    The troubled Katusha team has confirmed that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear its appeal against the UCI's decision to refuse the Russian squad a WorldTour licence on February 8.

    CAS turned down Katusha's request from a provisional verdict so it could start the Tour Down Under but the decisive verdict, that could decide the future of the team and if leader Joaquim Rodriguez decides to leave, is likely to come a few days after the hearing.

    The UCI Licence Commission turned down Katusha's WorldTour application for ethical reasons, claiming the team had been hit by three recent positive doping cases and had done little to promote an anti-doping culture.

    Katusha argued that the team's management had done as much, if not more, than other major teams in the fight against doping, offering to pay the UCI to carry out extra anti-doping controls on the team. They are determined to fight for a place in the WorldTour even after the UCI announced that another team will be forced out of the WorldTour if Katusha wins its appeal.

    Katusha has been given a Professional Continental licence but Rodriguez has threatened to quit the team if it does not secure WorldTour status and an automatic invitation to the Tour de France and other major races.

    Rodriguez plans for the future

    Rodriguez's current contract with Katusha becomes null and void if the team fails to obtain a WorldTour licence. He has been linked to Lampre-Merida, Movistar and BMC Racing Team but suggested his likely destination is elsewhere. In an interview with Spanish website Biciciclismo website, Rodriguez indicated that his preferred destination will surprise many...

  • Lance Armstrong exclusive interview

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 14:33 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    American describes Pat McQuaid as 'pathetic'

    Lance Armstrong has spoken for the first time since confessing that he doped to win the Tour de France, answering a series of questions put to him by Cyclingnews.

    Armstrong reiterated that he feels a scapegoat for the doping issues that have dogged cycling but has called for WADA to set up a truth and reconciliation programme and states that the UCI should have no part in the process.

    In this exclusive Q&A Armstrong tells Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson that “My generation was no different than any other. The 'help' has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a 'stunt, and very tough mother f**kers have competed for a century and all looked for advantages.”
     

    Cyclingnews: What was your family's reaction to your confession?

    Lance Armstrong: They were well aware of what I was doing and going to say. They loved the interview. I was in Hawaii when it aired but my older kids and Kristin watched both nights live. We spoke immediately after both shows. What was said then I'll keep to myself.

    CN: Did you protect Dr. Ferrari during your confession?

    Armstrong: I wasn't 'protecting' anyone. I was there to speak about myself, my experiences, and my mistakes. No one else. I know that goes against what we have grown used to in the last few years in cycling but I'm only interested in owning up to my mistakes. I'm a big boy and I'm not in the blame game.

    CN: Why do you believe that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is the best way forward for cycling?

    Armstrong: It's not the best way, it's the only way. As much as I'm the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one...

  • Fränk Schleck given one-year doping ban

    An unhappy Frank Schleck during the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    January 30, 2013, 17:29 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    RadioShack leader suspended until July

    Fränk Schleck has been handed a one-year suspension by the  The Luxembourg Anti-Doping Agency for testing positive for Xipamide during the Tour de France in 2012 according to the RTL. The ban has been retrospectively applied by the Disciplinary Board, meaning that the RadioShack rider is free to ride after July 14, 2013. He will therefore miss this year's Tour de France.

    The Disciplinary Board could have issued a maximum two-year penalty, but went with one year after noting the extremely low amount of the banned substance.

    "Of course I am disappointed by the verdict that has just been announced. I think that the decision to suspend me during one year is too severe considering the fact that the Council acknowledged that I unintentionally consumed a contaminated product. Unfortunately the provisions of the UCI are such that an involuntary contamination is sufficient in order to pronounce a punishment," Schleck said in a statement.

    “However I am relieved that the judges acknowledged that the present is not a case of doping and that I had no intention to enhance my performance. This is very important for me, my family, for my team and all those who support me”.

    “We will now analyse the decision in detail and decide on potential further steps. However I bear a positive aspect of the decision in mind: the judges acknowledged that I am not a cheater.”

    “I wish to thank all my friends and fans who kept their faith in me during this tough period.”

    On July 14, 2012, the UCI advised Schleck of an Adverse Analytical Finding in a urine sample collected from him at an in-competition test.

    The WADA accredited laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry detected the presence of the diuretic Xipamide in Schleck's urine sample.

    ...