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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Date published:
July 18, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Froome eyes the Vuelta a Espana for second year running

    Chris Froome (Sky) is the picture of concentration en route to his second place finish.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 11:57 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Briton says Vuelta participation dependent on Tour and Olympics

    Christopher Froome has said that he is set on doing the Vuelta a Espana for a second year running but that he will have to see what his race condition is like after completing the Tour de France and the 2012 London Olympics.

    “The plan is to do it,” the Sky rider told Cyclingnews, “but I just have to finish up here [on the Tour] first and get through the Olympics unscathed and still on track and then we can see about the Vuelta. I’d like to do it.”·

    Froome finished the Vuelta in second place overall last year, one place ahead of teammate Bradley Wiggins, which still remains - for now - Sky’s best ever finish in a Grand Tour and was a breakthrough performance for Froome himself. Froome also led the Vuelta briefly after finishing second in the mid-race time trial at Salamanca behind Tony Martin, later that season crowned World time trial Champion.

    On the ascent to the ski station at Manzaneda two days later, however, Froome worked hard for Wiggins before falling back three kilometres from the summit finish, with the Londoner finishing off Froome’s good work by dropping Dane Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack), a key rival, and moving into the overall lead.

    Froome finally finished second overall behind Juan Jose Cobo, just 13 seconds back after Cobo dropped the Sky duo on the Angliru. In a dramatic duel with Cobo a few days later at Peña Cabarga, Froome finally claimed a summit finish stage win but the overall lead remained just out of reach.

    Should Froome return to the...

  • Clouds loom over RadioShack-Nissan in Pau

    There is uncertainty over what Frank Schleck has to offer in 2012
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 13:11 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Voigt voices support for Schleck

    Following Fränk Schleck’s withdrawal from the Tour de France after news of his adverse analytical finding for Xipamide, the RadioShack-Nissan team bus was the centre of attention in Pau on Wednesday before the start of stage 16.

    As reporters waited for the riders to emerge to sign on, press officer Philippe Maertens was working the television crews, reiterating what he had said the previous night at the Villa Navarre hotel on the outskirts of town.

    “For the moment there is nothing we can do. Fränk will have to defend himself. It won’t be easy, he has no explanation. We have no explanation,” Maertens said.

    When the RadioShack riders finally began to descend the steps of the bus, it befell the team’s most senior figure, Jens Voigt, to speak to reporters. The 40-year-old has been a teammate of Schleck’s since 2004, has ridden with the Luxembourger in the colours of CSC, Saxo Bank, Leopard Trek and RadioShack-Nissan in the intervening period.

    "We have to wait for the B-sample to confirm it and we have to wait for what Fränk has to say but it’s never an easy situation,” Voigt said, before recounting the atmosphere at the team hotel the previous evening when news of Schleck’s sample broke.

     “We heard about it yesterday night after dinner. We had a moment of silence to try and digest the news and the consequences of what it actually means,” said Voigt, who went on to voice his support for Schleck.

    “It’s not easy but like I said, we’ll wait for the B-sample and for what Fränkie has to say. After all...

  • Gabrovski with Adverse Analytical Finding for EPO

    Ivaïlo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor) soloed to victory on stage three's mountain finish.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 15:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour of Turkey winner positive after solo stage win

    Ivailo Gabrovksi, a Bulgarian rider who had a spectacular stage win for a Continental-ranked Turkish team at the Tour of Turkey and went on to win the race tested positive for EPO after that stage win, the UCI has announced. He has been provisionally suspended.

    “The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Athens indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in a urine sample collected from him in a test during the Tour of Turkey on 24th April 2012,” the UCI said Wednesday afternoon. “Mr. Gabrovski has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.”

    Gabrovski, 34, turned pro in 2000. Over the years he has been with multiple teams, most recently with Team Konya Torku Seker Spor. He soloed to victory on the third and queen stage of the Tour of Turkey, in a way which “astonished a few people,” as Cyclingnews reported at the time.

    That stage win moved him into the race lead, which he held on to until the end. He hoped to use the points and exposure he had gained to move to a WorldTour team.

    Second overall in the race was Alexandr Dyachenko of Astana, who would move up to first place if the charges are upheld.

    It is not his first conflict with anti-doping regulations. In 2003 he was prevented from racing the Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen when he came in over the hematocrit limit. In 2005, he was prevented from riding the world championship in Madrid after failing another blood test conducted by the UCI.

  • Dave Brailsford: driven by the pain of losing

    British Cycling supremo Dave Brailsford back in the GB colours rather than Sky for a day with his Ecclescake breakfast.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 16:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tour de France 2010 disappointment led to changes

    Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has revealed that it was the pain he felt at the team’s failed bid for Tour de France glory in 2010 that forced him to reassess his approach and turn the team’s fortunes around.

    With the British squad going into the final five days of this year’s Tour with Bradley Wiggins in yellow and Chris Froome in second, Brailsford admits that Sky’s first season was a failure, but credits that failure with driving the current unprecedented success.

    “I’ve always had a lot of confidence in what we do,” Brailsford told Cycling News HD, “but during our first year and certainly during that year’s Tour de France it was excruciating. I knew we weren’t doing things right, that we could do them better. I found that very difficult to deal with.

    “There are two things that make you change your behaviour. The suffering has to be enough or the reward has to be enough. If either of those aren’t big enough, you’re not going to change and you will keep on doing what you’ve been doing. For me in that first year the suffering was certainly enough. We’ve not stopped working since, we’ve been working our arses off and we won’t stop. For me, the key thing is that the pain of losing is bigger than the emotion of winning. That feeling enables to me to drive the whole team on.”

    Asked if he saw the race as a battle between Team Sky’s methods and those of the traditional continental cycling fraternity, Brailsford is adamant that is not the case.

    “Not at all,” he said. “It’s about working within a sport we love. We made our philosophy work...

  • Peloton in shock following Schleck positive

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    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 17:32 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Vaughters calls for fundamental changes in pro cycling

    Fränk Schleck's possible doping case, following the finding of Xipamide in his urine sample dated from July 14, was the main subject of conversation and concern at the start of the Tour's 16th stage from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon on Wednesday. While the riders prepared for the difficult mountain stage through the Pyrenees that lay ahead, many also commented on the Tour's newest doping scandal and its implications for pro cycling.

    The dominant feeling, of course, was shock and surprise, even though the peloton has grown accustomed to this kind of news in recent years. AG2R manager Vincent Lavenu feared the mediatic backlash of such a prominent name as Schleck on the Tour de France and the whle of the peloton.

    "Schleck is one of the top riders, so this is not good news for cycling," the Frenchman said. "We will see what the sanction will be, because it could be anything from a mere warning to a two-year suspension. It is up to the Luxembourg federation and their commission to judge the case and this will have to be respected."

    But Lavenu was also angry to some extent. "It affects us, too, because in the media reports it's about the riders of the Tour de France, so it's also about us by amalgamation. It's discouraging because the majority of the riders makes more anti-doping efforts than all of the other sportsmen worldwide counted together, and they are still being accused. So by extension, we are also being punished."

    Schleck's former team manager Bjarne Riis also commented on the news, voicing his surprise but remaining cautious with any deductions. "It's another hit for cycling, no doubt about that," he said. "I know Fränk well and this news has really surprised me. I don't...

  • Voeckler "very proud" of climbing feat

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) got the polka dot jersey for his efforts
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 18:30 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Second 2012 Tour de France victory brings Frenchman polka dot jersey

    In his own particular riding style, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) may not be the most enjoyable rider to watch especially in the mountains, but on stage 16 of this year's Tour de France he has again proven that his will to suffer is sufficient enough to achieve great climbing performances.

    The Frenchman won the Pyrenean stage in Bagnères-de-Luchon after having spent the whole day in front, first in a breakaway of 38 riders, then solo in the finale. Moreover, he took the maximum mountain points at each of the four categorised climbs of the day, finally snatching the polka dot jersey off Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) by just four points.

    Of four Tour de France stage victories so far in his career, this was Voeckler's second stage win in 2012, as well as his second win in Bagnères-de-Luchon. Back in 2010, he had already won in the Pyrenean town at the end of a similar, but less demanding stage. It was no surprise that given all of these performances, as well as his grip on the yellow jersey on previous Tours, the 33-year-old was heroically celebrated by the crowd in the finish.

    "For me, there were four races today, each of the four cols to climb," Voeckler admitted after the race. "I told myself that each summit was a finish line, I didn't think about the overall distance of the stage. The objective was to take the maximum mountain points at each summit, and the polka dot jersey in the end. I've been racing these mountains since I was 19 years old, so I knew each of these 197 km by heart.

    "In Bellegarde (stage 10), I realized my victory, but today, I can't seem to get it into my head. But I've also...

  • Leleivyte positive for EPO

    Leader of the 2010 Ladies Tour of Qatar after Stage 1, Rasa Leleivyte (Safi Pasta)
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 19:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Olympic Games in jeopardy for Lithuanian woman

    The UCI announced today the provisional suspension for Rasa Leleivyte (Vaiano-Tepso) after the Lithuanian rider returned a positive A-sample for EPO in an out-of-competition control taken on June 12.

    "The provisional suspension of Ms Leleivyte remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Lithuanian Cycling Federation determines whether she has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules," the UCI statement read.

    Leleivyte, who turns 24 this week, was set to take part in the 2012 Olympic Games in London as part of Lithuania's road cycling team. She can now either accept a ban, thereby sacrificing her place in the Games and her results from June 12 onward, which include a 13th place overall at the Giro Donne, or request a B-sample analysis.

    In 2011, Leleivyte was the Lithuanian national champion and placed ninth in the world championship road race. She was eighth the year before in the Geelong worlds and won a stage and took third overall at the 2010 Ladies Tour of Qatar.

  • Tour hopes end for Evans in the Pyrenees

    Cadel Evans (BMC) arrives at the finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
    Article published:
    July 18, 2012, 19:49 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Australian was ill before the start

    After faltering in the Alps, Cadel Evans' Tour de France defense was definitively halted in the Pyrenees on Wednesday, as he lost almost five minutes to the yellow jersey of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on stage 16 to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

    Evans' 2011 Tour victory was built on three weeks of consistency and one mammoth display on one of the giants of the race, the Col du Galibier. In 2012, the BMC leader's challenge, already fading, was finally ended on a day that saw the peloton tackle four canonical mountain passes in succession, the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde.

    Although it was not apparent on the early climbs, Evans was already struggling even before the stage began, suffering from a stomach upset. "When you have only two hours before the race there's not a lot you can do," he said afterwards.

    On the Col d'Aspin, however, it soon became clear that Evans would no longer pose any sort of a threat to Wiggins and Froome's duopoly at the head of the overall standings. As Ivan Basso set a steady but hardly devastating pace for his Liquigas-Cannondale stablemate Vincenzo Nibali, Evans' force deserted him.

    Climbing out of the saddle, the Australian tried to exhort himself to hold the tempo, but his leaden-legged pedalling betrayed a deeper malaise. The yellow jersey group gradually edged away from him, and he trailed by 30 seconds at the summit.

    As he swooped back down towards the valley before the Peyresourde, Evans managed to latch back on to the yellow jersey group, thanks in part to the pacing of his teammate Amaël Moinard, but it proved to be a temporary reprieve. Basso repeated the dose on the Peyresourde, and this time Evans was unable even to clutch...