Trek Factory Racing has confirmed Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck and Jens Voigt as the three final members of its Tour de France line-up. The team took the unorthodox step of naming the first six riders on the roster via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, before revealing the final three names on Wednesday.
Andy Schleck has struggled since taking second overall at the 2011 Tour but he secured his ticket to this year’s race by finishing in 29th at the Tour de Suisse last weekend. Although his selection was only confirmed this week, it was clear that he was likely to make the cut given the dearth of options at Trek.
“I’m not a super leader but on the other hand, there isn’t a big choice for the moment. We don’t have fifteen riders in top form,” Schleck had Le Quotidien ahead of the final decision from Trek Factory Racing management.
Team manager Luca Guercilena noted that Schleck will be at the Tour to ride in support of his brother Fränk and Haimar Zubeldia, rather than as a leader in his own right.
“Andy will ride in support of Fränk and Haimar in the climbs He will not have a personal focus on the GC. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re lining him up as a support rider for his brother and for Haimar,” Guercilena said on the Trek Factory Racing website. “He showed a lot of desire, and he has progressed since the Classics. Riders of his stature should have the opportunity to compete in the race that made them great.”
Fränk Schleck admitted last month that his Tour place was by no means certain and his hopes were dealt a further blow when his Tour de Suisse was cut short by a crash on stage 2. After a solid but unspectacular opening to the year – 6th at Critérium International was the highlight – Schleck returns to the Tour for the first time since his positive test...
Diego Ulissi has been suspended by his Lampre-Merida team after returning an adverse analytical finding, the team has confirmed.
An anti-doping test completed after the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia showed Ulissi to have elevated levels of salbutamol in his system. Ulissi was shown to have 1,900 ng/ml in his system, significantly higher than the 1,000 ng/ml allowed by the UCI.
“The rider, as per internal team health code, will be provisionally suspended, consequently he will not be attending the national team training camp, and he requests the opening and analysis of sample B,” the team said in a statement released today.
“The athlete himself and the medical staff of the team will continue to explore the reasons why the urine has been identified as having an abnormal and high presence of salbutamol, compared to only two inhalations performed.”
Ulissi refutes the levels reported in the test findings. If the B sample tests positive, then Ulissi could face a lengthy ban from the sport. According to the statement, Ulissi has requested to undergo a “controlled excretion study.”
Ulissi won two stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia – stages 5 and 8. He was in seventh in the general classification, 1:43 behind maglia rosa Cadel Evans, going into stage 11. However, a crash during the stage saw him lose more than four minutes and drop out of contention. He did continue but later dropped out before stage 18, with a sore throat and fever.
Along with the team’s doctor Dr. Carlo Guardascione, Ulissi had declared the use of a Ventolin inhaler – due to a bronchial spasm. The Italian was allowed two puff of the inhaler, which would equate to 100 ng/ml. He was also cleared to take...
First Chinese rider in Tour to support Kittel, Degenkolb
Team Giant-Shimano today announced its final roster for the 2014 Tour de France, with its German sprinters Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb taking center stage. The team is focused almost entirely on stage victories, with its powerful lead-out squads selected for both pure sprint stages for Kittel and "power sprints" on the more difficult finales for Degenkolb.
The team also includes Dutch riders Roy Curvers, Koen De Kort, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers and Tom Dumoulin, with Belgian Dries Devenyns and Cheng Ji from China.
The presence of Cheng on the squad marks a historic moment, as he will become the first Chinese rider to start the Tour de France. “When we started working with him as a young talented rider back in 2008, we made a long-term plan and this has seen him develop into the highest level of the sport and we see him now playing an important factor in the sprint formations," Team coach Rudi Kemna said.
“Having Cheng in the team as the first Chinese rider ever to ride the Tour de France will be huge for him and his country and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the globalisation of the sport.”
We believe the rider 100 percent, says Lampre-Merida manager
Lampre-Merida manager Brent Copeland has declared the team’s support for Diego Ulissi in the wake of his positive test for salbutamol at the Giro d’Italia. The team announced on Wednesday that Ulissi had returned an adverse analytical finding for the substance following stage 11 of the Giro in Savona, the same Ligurian town where Eddy Merckx left the race after a positive test in 1969.
“The way the doctors have explained it to me, the amount they’ve found is an amount that’s almost impossible to have in your urine so we’re definitely behind the rider and we believe the rider 100 percent,” Copeland told Cyclingnews when reached by telephone on Wednesday afternoon.
The team later clarified that Ulissi did not require a therapeutic use exemption to avail of a Ventolin inhaler - used to treat asthmatic complaints - but he did declare his use of the substance when providing samples to anti-doping control. The amount of salbutamol found in his urine – 1900 ng/ml – was almost twice the permissible limit of 1,000 ng/ml.
According to the team, Ulissi declared two daily puffs of Ventolin, each equivalent to 100 ng of salbutamol. Athletes possessing a TUE for more regular use of Ventolin inhalers are permitted a salbutamol threshold of up to 1600 ng/ml, which is still short of the amount in Ulissi's sample.
“He had declared that he took two puffs or whatever it was so there was no problem with his declaration,” Copeland said. “The way I understand it is that it’s an amount that’s really difficult to reach. The rider has asked for the B sample to be tested and we’ll see what happens, but obviously our reaction is...
Still feeling the effects of an allergic reaction to a bee sting that knocked him out of the Tour de Suisse last weekend, the Trek Factory Racing rider nonetheless managed to churn out a 46.3kph average speed to win over Stefan Küng (BMC Development Team) by 49 seconds. Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing) was third at 1:07.
"I felt okay, but not really special. After my bee sting and the hard Tour de Suisse, I still did not feel 100% recovered. But that is also normal – when you are allergic to bee venom, you have to take care and rest. I felt pretty tired the last few days.
"I tried to push like I knew I had to for a time trial. 45 kilometers is always a long effort and you have to fight from the beginning to the end.
"It was a hard parcours, quite technical and on small roads. But the organization provided 100% safety on this course and that for me was very important. It's not always easy to have this in Switzerland."
Cancellara will line up for the road race on Sunday to attempt to win the third title of his career. He won in 2011 and before that in 2009, but he has never been able to win both events in the same year.
"It's fantastic to win the [time trial] jersey again, but honestly I would love more to win the road championships. But in the end, every jersey is a jersey, a win is a win, and it's important for me, for the team, for the sponsors, for everyone, and that is also nice. On Sunday Greggy [Rast] and I will do our best, but we will have to fight against IAM and BMC who have more riders. It will not be easy."
Should he be victorious on Sunday, Cancellara will wear the Swiss national champion's jersey...
Annemiek van Vleuten narrowly defeated the reigning world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk to win the individual time trial title at the national championships in Zaltbommel, the Netherlands today.
The Rabo-Liv rider won the 23.67km race by a mere 0.26 seconds over van Dijk, with Marianne Vos in third, at five seconds.
It was the first national time trial title for Van Vleuten, 31, who last wore the tricolor jersey in 2012 as road champion.
"Secretly I had hopes here," van Vleuten said to De Telegraaf. "This winter I had surgery on a kinked iliac artery, and have just returned from some good altitude training. This week I was hitting power numbers on the road that I'd never achieved before.
"I said to my trainer that had the form to be champion, and I am extremely pleased that it worked out. I had a feeling that I was good, but now I have that feeling reinforced with a Dutch title. The difference was very small, so I'm particularly pleased that the luck was on my side, because I had to seize this unique opportunity. "
After winning the national time trial title twice in a row and finally becoming world champion last September, Van Dijk was disappointed to miss out on the win..
"Maybe it has taken time to after realizing my goal to win the rainbow jersey in Florence to get my focus all the way back," she said. "There is still time until the next world championship time trial in September, but there is work to be done, that is clear."
Darwin Atapuma, Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard, Daniel Oss, Michael Schär, Peter Stetina, Greg Van Avermaet, and Peter Velits will support the American, but general manager Jim Ochowicz admits they will not go into the race as contenders, not favourites.
"We go to the Tour de France with an experienced team that has helped guide a past winner," Ochowicz said, having enjoyed the victory of Cadel Evans in 2011. "So we feel confident we have the right mix of people on the starting line. We go there not as favorites, but as contenders, and we expect to animate the race from time to time, as we have done in the past."
Van Garderen began the season well, with a second place finish in the Tour of Oman and a stage win in the Volta a Catalunya, but has struggled to follow up those results after a crash in the Tour de Romandie prologue left him with a fractured hip. He came around toward the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné, finishing the stage to Courchevel in sixth, and ended the race 13th overall.
Allan Peiper, the team's sporting manager, said stage wins were a goal in addition to the general classification. "We put together a well-balanced team of climbers and helpers to support Tejay on all terrain and, at the same time, we want to be able to try for stage wins on specific days," Peiper said.
Van Garderen said prior to the Dauphiné that he did not think his injuries and illnesses would affect his Tour de France, and is relying on his off-season training to provide him the foundation he needs to build a good...
Cavendish acquired bronchitis during the Tour de Suisse and will skip the race in Monmouthshire in order to be well for the Tour de France. He will continue training in Italy before traveling back to the United Kingdom for the start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.
"I'm sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title," Cavendish said. "I would have liked to honor the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly. I think it's wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100 percent recovery, and continue to train in function of the Tour de France.
"I talked with the race organizers and they understood my situation perfectly. I wish them well, and also wish good luck to all riders at the race on Sunday trying to fight for this jersey I've been so proud to wear."