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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Date published:
July 11, 2012, 15:00
  • Armstrong refiles lawsuit against USADA in Federal Court

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 00:38
    Cycling News

    Lawyers claim USADA is infringing on the Fifth Amendment

    Lance Armstrong has filed an amended complaint with the United States District Court in an attempt to block U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's charges which allege that he doped throughout his career.

    The civil action has been dramatically reduced from the 80-pages filed on Monday, to 25 pages.

    Monday's claim was dismissed seven hours after being filed, with judge Sam Sparks ruling that it contained "allegations" which were separate to the case and therefore "the Court must presume, were included solely to increase media coverage of this case, and to incite public opinion against Defendants."

    Today's paperwork requests a restraining order against USADA and contains similar counts to the earlier version, that being:

    • That USADA does not have the right to charge and sanction Armstrong and strip him of his titles;
    • USADA does not have the right to force Armstrong to arbitrate those charges without a valid, enforceable legal agreement to do so;
    • and Armstrong contends USADA's activity also violates his constitutional rights and tortiously interferes with his contract with Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body with which he has an agreement.

    The seven-time Tour de France winner is also seeking damages from USADA.

    The case hinges on the legal argument that USADA's action is a violation of Armstrong's Fifth Amendment Due Process rights, whereby the Agency is abusing its authority.

    Armstrong and his lawyers have requested that the Court rules by 5pm Saturday, July 14 which is the deadline stipulated by the USADA case in which to accept the charges or begin arbitration.

    In 2007, Alexandre Vinokourov took on the anti-doping authorities after his positive test at the Tour de France. Vinokourov suggested that the measures were "a clear violation of human rights." He added, "You have to say three months in advance where you are planning to be, at what hour and minute. It's not possible."

    That same year, Andrey Kashechkin who also tested positive argued through his lawyer Luc Misson that it was an infringement on article 8 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which says that only public authorities can interfere in people's private lives, and that "the sports authorities are not the public authorities." Even collecting blood samples violates human rights, he said.


  • Full team line up announced for Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

    Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 02:27
    Pat Malach

    Tougher parcours and more climbing in 2012

    Race organizers announced the final nine teams Tuesday that will round out the 17-team line up competing this August at the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, and two-time Tour of Utah champion Levi Leipheimer's Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad was the final UCI ProTeam to accept an invitation. Eight other teams were named earlier this year for the six-stage, UCI 2.1 race that runs August 7-12.

    Leipheimer's Belgian squad, currently ranked fourth in the UCI World Tour, will join previous invitees Liquigas-Cannondale, RadioShack-Nissan, BMC, Garmin-Sharp and Rabobank in filling out the field of six ProTeams. Champion System, Team NetApp, Spidertech-C10 and UnitedHealthcare will join Argos-Shimano in the five-team Pro Continental field, while Bissell Pro Cycling, Bontrager-Livestrong, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies and Team Exergy will represent the six-squad Continental Team contingent along with previously announced teams Competitve Cyclist and Colombia's EPM-UNE.

    The final field represents teams registered from nine countries, including two teams from the Netherlands and one team from China, all three first-time entries. Other countries represented include Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the United States. Coming on the heels of both the Tour de France and the London Olympic road cycling events, which take place just a week before Utah starts, the race promises a field of riders featured in both events. Seven of the teams (all six UCI ProTeams and Argos-Shimano) are currently competing at the Tour de France.

    The 2012 Tour of Utah will traverse 877 km and feature 11,734 meters of climbing along the Rocky Mountains' Wasatch Range. The race begins in Ogden and will finish in Park City, and the 2012 schedule also boasts the only professional team time trial in the US this year.

    "The field this August provides a unique opportunity for Utahns and out-of-state visitors to see a level of competition only available in the U.S. a few times a year," said Tour of Utah President Steve Miller. "To watch these riders battle it out in the team time trial and on the most challenging climbs in North America is an experience not to be missed."

    Greeting the riders this year will be a significantly tougher route with more kilometers and more climbing. The race has added 33 percent more distance, much of which comes on the first day in Ogden with a 211.7-kilometer road race rather than a short prologue time trial. The Tour will also include 13 King of the Mountain climbs this year, an increase from just five in 2011. Elevation gain over the week will increase by 25 percent over the 2011 route.

    "It's billed as America's toughest stage race," Leipheimer said when this year's route was announced last month. "I believe the courses reflect that. We have some very difficult climbs, especially this coming year. There are a couple of new ones that will really shock people."

    Although final rosters haven't been announced, organizers said they anticipated that Omega Pharma-QuickStep would bring Leipheimer to defend his two consecutive wins and to compete for a prize purse that totals $127,000. Of the nine teams announced Tuesday, four will be making their Tour of Utah debuts. Champion System, Team NetApp and Team Exergy will join Omega Pharma-QuickStep as first-time Utah participants.

    Champion System, led by four-time Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu, is the first-ever Asian-based UCI Pro Continental squad. The team's roster also includes two Americans known for climbing: Chris Butler, formerly of the BMC Racing Team, and Craig Lewis, an acquisition from the now-defunct HTC-Highroad squad. Utah newcomer NetApp, of Germany, is only in its second year as a Pro Continental squad. The team made its first Grand Tour appearance earlier this year at the 2012 Giro d'Italia. Team Exergy, a second-year Continental Team, is led by veteran rider and Giro d'Italia stage winner Freddie Rodriguez. The team's roster also includes Americans Matt Cooke and Morgan Schmitt along with Columbians Andres Diaz and Carlos Alzate.

    UCI ProTeams
    BMC Racing Team (USA)
    Garmin-Sharp (USA)
    Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
    Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)
    Rabobank Cycling Team (NED)
    RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)

    UCI Professional Continental Teams
    Champion System Pro Cycling Team (CHN)
    Team Argos-Shimano (NED)
    Team NetApp (GER)
    Team SpiderTech powered by C10 (CAN)
    UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

    UCI Continental Teams
    Bissell Pro Cycling (USA),
    Bontrager Livestrong Cycling Team (USA)
    Competitive Cyclist Racing Team (USA)
    Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
    Team Exergy (USA)

  • Nibali looks for allies to take on Wiggins

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) at the rest day press conference
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 04:33
    Barry Ryan

    Liquigas-Cannondale aim to isolate Sky’s leading lights

    Winning the Tour de France requires a combination of the head and the legs, so the old adage goes, and perhaps with that in mind, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is ready to form alliances as he takes on the collective might of Bradley Wiggins’ redoubtable Sky team. Currently lying in 4th place overall at 2:23, he knows that he must be creative if he is to oust Wiggins from the yellow jersey.

    While Nibali has regularly attempted the spectacular in one-day races – his ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful attacks at the most recent editions of the Tour of Lombardy and Liège-Bastogne-Liège spring to mind – he has tended to ride a little more conservatively in three-week races, and such prudence paid rich dividends when he took a canny victory at the 2010 Vuelta a España.

    “You could try something like those attacks in the classics, but when you’re at the Tour there’s often a tough stage the following day, so it’s hard to do that,” Nibali said during Tuesday’s rest day in Mâcon. “But it’s not just me in that situation. We’ll need to find allies, and understand who wants to gain something, be it a stage win or to move up the general classification.”

    Nibali and Cadel Evans (BMC) were aggressive on the descent of the Col de la Croix on Sunday, and the pair appear to be natural allies, but the Sicilian said that there would be no preordained “armada” primed to tilt at Sky.

    “An alliance is normally decided in the moment, just with a glance or a couple of words,” he explained. “You need the clarity to know you can gain something in that moment.”

    While much has been made of Nibali’s downhill ability, he pointed out that a grand tour could not be won on descents alone. In that light, his brief rally off the front on Sunday was not so much a direct attack on the yellow jersey and his chief lieutenant Chris Froome as a first examination of the state of the battleground.

    “The line was a bit away but I wanted to see if Evans wanted to come with me,” Nibali said. “Maybe Wiggins and Froome don’t handle their bikes as well as Evans and me, but the attacks don’t necessarily have to come on descents, there are also the climbs.”

    Indeed, rather than simply trying to put pressure on Wiggins every time the road swoops downhill, Nibali reckons that the best way to draw the sting out of his double-act with Froome is to shed them of their teammates as early as possible in the mountains.

    “They have great condition as a team, so the first thing to do is to isolate Wiggins and Froome,” Nibali said. “We’ll have to try by making the stages as stretched as possible from the beginning to the end.”

    While that may seem easier said than done, both Nibali and Lotto Belisol’s Jurgen Van Den Broeck have been encouraged by how quickly Wiggins and Froome were isolated once pressure was applied on the way up the Col de la Croix. Indeed, Nibali has been consistently bullish about his chances of taking on Wiggins.

    “Wiggins and Froome were beaten by Cobo in the Vuelta last year,” he pointed out. “We’ll have to see in Paris.”

    With two weeks still to go, Nibali will be hoping to sniff out more than one opportunity to cut into Wiggins’ lead on the path to the Champs-Élysées as the mountains begin in earnest.

    “For now we’ve only done flat stages, with just one real climb of 6km, although that was very tough,” Nibali said. “The mountain stages are yet to come and they’ll be very different. We’ll have to invent something – not just me, but the others who are further back.”

    The manoeuvring could begin sooner than anticipated, even before the peloton hits the testing Col du Grand Colombier and its treacherous descent on stage 10. “The first 60 kilometres tomorrow will be difficult, it will be a right battle early on.”

  • Terpstra's Olympic campaign in doubt

    Niki Terpstra celebrates on the podium
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 05:19
    Cycling News

    Dutchman forced to abandon Tour of Poland following crash

    A crash on the opening stage of the Tour of Poland could spell the end of the Olympic Games for Holland's Niki Terpstra.

    The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider came off his bike on a slippery descent, with teammate Tom Boonen also coming to grief. Boonen was able to continue however, Terpstra was forced to abandon.

    "It was in a corner it was raining and slippery," Terpstra said in a team press release. "They crashed in front of us. I tried to brake but I went straight. I jumped on the bike again but after five minutes I had to stop. There was too much pain. I'm really sad. "

    The 28-year-old Dutch national champion was taken to hospital in Jelenia Gora where he was given stitches in his left knee, while x-rays were taken of his injured shoulder.

    Initial imaging did not reveal any fractures however he will undergo further examination today in Belgium for a second opinion.

    "... the muscles are damaged," Terpstra told De Telegraaf.

    "Hopefully that is all and can I just train. Yes, at this moment I am quite afraid I might miss the Olympics."

    The Dwars door Vlaanderen-Waregem winner was the first rider selected on the Dutch team in late April.


  • Van Den Broeck vows to attack as high mountains beckon

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 07:09
    Sam Dansie

    Lotto Belisol not giving up GC hopes

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck said the best way to break Bradley Wiggins's and Team Sky's hegemony at the Tour de France was all out attack in the mountains.

    The Lotto Belisol rider who slipped a place from eighth to ninth on the GC following the Besançon time trial on Monday added that the British squad had looked under pressure on stage 8 to Porrentruy when various riders – including himself and team-mate Jelle Vanendert – attacked on the final ascent during the tough seven-climb stage.

    "To control the race they are the strongest but when others go full gas sometimes they're also on the limit," said the lanky climber on the first rest day in Macon on Tuesday afternoon.

    "I think [our tactics] will be the same as all the other teams we're going to attack now. They [Team Sky] have a gap and we need to attack," he told reporters. "When I put in the attack it's going to be full gas.

    "We saw a couple of days ago that when Jelle [Vanendert] put up the tempo a lot of guys got in trouble. It's not so many guys who can answer and maybe if it's more open like that more guys will attack to make the race hard. That will be nice because we've only had 10kms uphill until now," said the 29-year-old, referring to the summit finish in La Planche des Belles Filles.

    Van den Broeck, who finished fourth in the 2010 Tour, and Vanendert were clearly relishing the approach of the high mountains and said the squad had identified "four maybe five" stages where there were opportunities to launch forays off the front.

    Van den Broeck also said the race missed Alberto Contador as the Alps approached. "I think we miss Contador in the mountains like this because he can really make war on those climbs. He's a man who can attack not once but ten times and that makes the race really hard. Instead of putting the tempo really high he can put it extremely high."

    Meanwhile, André Greipel who came down heavily in an early crash on stage 6 to Metz said the shoulder injury he sustained was more painful when he was lying down in bed than on his bike. The German sprinter, who took back to back stages in Rouen and Saint-Quentin, didn't foresee the injury worsening however.

    Team manager Mark Sergeant said he was happy with the performance of the team and said Van Den Broeck would be sitting higher on GC were it not for being held up in the big crash on stage 6 to Metz.

  • Schleck admits Tour de France podium spot is "almost impossible"

    A perturbed Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) after being invovled in a large crash at 25km to go in stage 6.
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 10:23
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan rider says he has lost too much ground

    Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) has all but admitted defeat in his bid for a podium finish at the 2012 Tour de France. The man from Luxembourg, who finished in third place last year behind Cadel Evans (BMC), says that the crash he suffered at stage six and the result of Monday's stage nine time trial have left him too far behind in the overall general classification to launch a realistic bid for a top three spot when the Tour reaches its climax in Paris on July 22.

    Schleck lost over two minutes on the leaders when he was involved in the mass pile-up on the outskirts of Metz towards the end of stage six, and his performance in the time trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon saw him lose a further four minutes on race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).

    "I lost two-and-a-half minutes in the fall on the Metz road," he told Le Quotidien. "Again I lost four minutes in the time trial. Achieving the podium is almost impossible."

    After previously criticising the race organisers for the dangerous roads the riders encountered in the early part of the Tour, Schleck launched another broadside against them by claiming that this year's course doesn't feature enough opportunities for the top climbers.

    "There are only two very hard stages for climbers," he said. "In the other stages, we do not know what to do. The organisers wanted to make an exciting tour with earlier attacks but what will happen is the opposite. Three years ago we saw [Schleck's brother] Andy and I regularly attack everyone else. We knew last year that would be hard to beat Cadel (Evans), but no one attacked. I fear that this will remain the same this year. "


  • McQuaid comments on USADA lifetime bans

    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 13:11
    Daniel Benson

    UCI doesn't see how they can influence non-licence holders

    The UCI has refused to comment on the news that USADA has handed uncontested doping bans to three doctors involved in the US Postal case but the body’s president Pat McQuaid said that the UCI could not act on the USADA ruling. Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral (cycling team doctor), Dr. Michele Ferrari (cycling team consulting doctor) and Jose "Pepe" Martí (cycling team trainer) have all received lifetime periods of ineligibility.

    At the start of stage 10 of the Tour in Macon, McQuaid told Cyclingnews that the sport’s universal governing body had next to nothing to do with a doping case surrounding seven time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong.

    “I’ve read what they’ve said but as they’re not licence holders so I don’t know how they can ban them or what they can be banned for,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “I don’t want to comment. The UCI has already said that we’re not involved in this investigation and our last press release we said we would not comment. So don’t ask me. If you want to talk about it ask USADA, not me.”

    Last month Dr. Michael Ashenden, a former independent member of the UCI's passport panel, told Cyclingnews that USADA’s charges against Armstrong could have serious implications for the UCI’s credibility.

    “People can say what they want, and make statements but the UCI is not involved in it so don’t ask me to comment. We’re not commenting on the Armstrong investigation and that remains the case. Let USADA carry on with this investigation,” McQuaid said.

    When asked if he had received direct communication from the USADA McQuaid refused to comment.

    The UCI has faced allegations of a cover-up test for Armstrong during his racing career. The allegations, which have been made by Floyd Landis, were strenuously denied by Armstrong and the UCI but in USADA’s notice letter to the banned doctor, Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel, the Lausanne lab and a meeting between Armstrong, Bruyneel and Dr Martial Saugy, who conducted the tests, was mentioned.

    Last month Ashenden told Cyclingnews that: “I know the UCI have strenuously denied this allegation in the past, but the story has added gravity now because USADA believe that there is sufficient evidence to warrant mentioning the issue in their notice letter. The UCI have a duty to the fans and the public in general to police their sport without fear or favor. If it were found that they had in any way been involved in a cover up then it would be fatal for their credibility.”


  • Sky investigating team doctor Leinders but sees “no risk”

    Sky manager David Brailsford
    Article published:
    July 11, 2012, 14:16
    Cycling News

    Brailsford defends hiring of controversial Belgian doctor

    Sky Procycling is investigating its team doctor Geert Leinders, acknowledging that hiring him involved a “reputational risk.” But team principal Dave Brailsford said there is absolutely “no risk of anything untoward happening in this team” since hiring the Belgian.

    Leinders was with Rabobank when Michael Rasmussen was dismissed from the team during the 2007 Tour de France for whereabouts violations and during the time that Thomas Dekker gave a positive test for EPO.

    Brailsford acknowledged that the team is investigating the doctor's past. Leinders, who is not at the Tour de France, works 80 days a year with the team.

    “I categorically, 100 per cent say there is no risk of anything untoward since he’s been with us. But there is reputational risk.” Brailsford told The Times.