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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Date published:
March 19, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Sergio Henao taken off Sky roster due to test anomalies

    Overnight race leader Sergio Henao (Sky) gave it his all to finish 14th on the stage, but was no match for Tony Martin who won the time trial and overall.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 8:16 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rider to be sent to Colombia for more testing

    Sergio Henao has been removed from Team Sky's racing programme due questions surrounding the rider's out-of-competition tests at altitude. According to the team Henao will undergo what they have described as an altitude research programme.

    "In our latest monthly review, our experts had questions about Sergio's out-of-competition control tests at altitude - tests introduced this winter by the anti-doping authorities. We need to understand these readings better," team manager Dave Brailsford said in a team press release.

    The announcement comes after Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Henao's agent as saying that his rider was off the racing roster, due to anomalous values. Henao will now go back to his native Colombia, to undergo further testing to understand the significance of these levels.

    This morning Team Sky confirmed to Cyclingnews that they drew the UCI's attention to the matter after Henao competed in the Tour of Oman. This was his last race with the team.

    "We contacted the relevant authorities - the UCI and CADF – pointed to these readings and asked whether they could give us any insights," Brailsford added in the team’s press statement. "We've also taken Sergio out of our race programme whilst we get a better understanding of these profiles and his physiology. We want to do the right thing and we want to be fair. It’s important not to jump to conclusions."

    The values in question come from a test done in October when Henao was back in Colombia, as part of the UCI's out-of-competition testing programme.

    Henao lives at altitude in Riogengro, Colombia. Sky says that they are looking into the physiological affects that has on the body. "We are commissioning independent scientific research to better understand the effects of prolonged periods at...

  • Diaz Zabala, Olano and Freire analyse Contador’s Tirreno win

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) with the winner's trophy in Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 12:16 GMT
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Former winners discuss Spanish champion’s win

    The three Spanish winners of Tirreno-Adriatico prior to Alberto Contador’s victory on Tuesday in the ‘Race of Two Seas’ have discussed the implications of the Tinkoff-Saxo leader’s remarkable triumph in Italy’s second biggest stage race and recalled their own wins.

    Contador’s victory has sparked much talk of a ‘renaissance’ of the Spanish champion, who scored a series of consistently strong results in 2013 - his near-miss in the Tour’s hilly third week time trial arguably being his closest to actual victory - but with only one actual win, a stage in the Tour of San Luis.

    Herminio Díaz Zabala, who claimed Spain’s first Tirreno-Adriatico win in 1991, told Spanish sports daily MARCA on Wednesday that he does not believe Contador’s win constitutes a “comeback”, because “he’s never been away.”

    “In 2013 he paid for his year out of the sport” - for a doping suspension - “and for being overly motivated in the Vuelta [2012] that allowed him to win it without being the strongest,” Díaz Zabala argued. “And, of course, after that came the [corresponding] drop in his performance levels.”

    “The most important thing is he’s in good shape,” Abraham Olano, who won the race in 2000, told MARCA, “and his wins will help him go on working like he did throughout the winter. If you don’t work well in winter, then you always pay a price later. But when a race goes well like it has done for Contador, then your self-confidence is much greater.”

    Triple World Champion and 2005 Tirreno winner Oscar Freire pointed out that “I finished first, second and third in Tirreno”, a timely reminder of how the Italian race has...

  • Valverde to skip Milan-San Remo

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins Roma Maxima 2014
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 13:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rojas to replace him as team leader

    Movistar have announced a Milan-San Remo roster that doesn't include the in-form Alejandro Valverde.

    With the parcours now favouring the sprinters, after the removal of the Pompeiana due to safety concerns, the Spaniard has decided to skip the first monument of the season.

    Replacing Valverde as the team’s leader at San Remo will be José Joaquin Rojas. The sprinter has just finished Paris-Nice, where he was climbing very well and finished fourth overall. Rojas' best performance at San Remo is 14th at the 2011 edition. The Spanish outfit have another sprinting option in former national champion Francisco Ventoso, who finished 11th last season.

    Movistar team for Milan-San Remo: José Joaquín Rojas, Fran Ventoso, Andrey Amador, Dayer Quintana, Juanjo Lobato, Adriano Malori, Jasha Sütterlin and Enrique Sanz.

    Valverde will be racing this weekend at the GP Nobili on Saturday. Valverde has had a great start to the season with six victories to his name already, including winning the Vuelta a Andalucía for the third year running and an impressive victory at Roma Maxima earlier this month.

    He will be joined in Novara by a number of riders from the San Remo team.

    Movistar team for GP Nobili: Alejandro Valverde, Francisco Ventoso, Juan Jose Lobato, Sylwester Szmyd, Andrey Amador, Dayer Quintana, Enrique Sanz and Jasha Sütterlin.

     

  • 2014 Hagens Berman U23 development team

    Junior men's time trial world championship bronze medalist Zeke Mostov (USA)
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 14:56 GMT
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Domestic elite team fosters next generation of talent

    Although the title sponsors and bikes are the same, the relationship between the new Hagens Berman U23 development team and the Jamis-Hagens Berman UCI Continental team are more of an informal network of friends, former teammates and shared business connections than an official farm system for the pro team.

    "I used to ride for the Colavita-Sutter Home team back in the day and was teammates with Sebastian Alexandre, who runs the Jamis program now," said Hagens Berman U23 co-owner and manager Todd Herriott. "So it's been a synergistic relationship for sure. The U23 team is riding Jamis bicycles this year, and that's not by coincidence. Steve Berman works closely with us, and we brought him to Jamis. So it's a good little family."

    Although the new U23 squad also shares a title sponsor with the longtime Pacific Northwest domestic elite team run by Lake Washington Velo, which has helped produce current pros Svein Tuft, Tyler Farrar and Adrian Hegyvary, among others, the two teams are not part of the same program.

    This inaugural Hagens Berman U23 team is an effort by Herriott and business partner David Richter, owners of the HSP management company that runs the team. Longtime cycling sponsor Steve Berman put some of his Seattle law firm's funding behind this new team in the off-season, with the mission of supporting hand-picked U23 riders as they gain the experience needed to become the next generation of pros.

    The 2014 roster will feature nine U23 riders and two juniors. Five of the U23 riders will be in their first year out of the junior ranks. Nine of the riders are from the US, and many of them are currently part of USA Cycling's national team pool. Nineteen-year-old Owen Gillott is from Brisbane Australia, while 20-year-old Sebastian Trillini, brought to the team's attention by the Jamis director, Alexandre, is a top U23 rider from Argentina and a Pan Am Games gold medal winner on the track and on the road.

    "We thought it...

  • Boonen withdraws from Milan-San Remo

    Tom Boonen wins his third Kuurne title
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 15:23 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian's partner suffers miscarriage

    The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team announced today that Tom Boonen will not compete in Milan-San Remo on Sunday after his partner, Lore, suffered the miscarriage of their first child.

    "In such a sensitive moment Tom prefers to stay by his partner’s side," the team stated.

    "All the athletes, staff, and sponsors of the team want Lore and Tom to know that they support them at this difficult time, and they hope the couple will find the strength to get through this trying experience."

    Boonen has twice finished on the podium of Milan-San Remo, first in 2007, when he finished third to Oscar Freire and Allan Davis, and more recently when he was runner-up to Freire in 2010.

    He was still seeking his first victory in La Classicissima, especially since the difficult Pompeiana climb was removed from the parcours, but now those ambitions will have to wait another year.

  • Obama visit forces Dwars door Vlaanderen route change

    Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) celebrates winning the sprint
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 17:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    American president to visit World War 1 cemetary in Waregem

    Dwars door Vlaanderen organisers have been forced to make late changes to their route in order to accommodate a nearby visit from US President Barack Obama.

    Obama will be in Brussels to meet the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. He plans to visit the Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem, to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

    The cemetery is situated on the opposite side of the E17 motorway to the municipality of Waregem. The current race route brings the riders by it after 70km, which would be around 1:30pm local time. The Flanders Field American Cemetery is the only American World War One cemetery in Belgium and organisers had hoped to pay their own respects with the ride past.

    "The cemetery is now right on the track of our competition," race director Guy Delesie told Het Nieuwsblad. "We wanted to include this area in order to give to the American victims of the First World War a tribute, but that now threatens to break down on us."

    Aside from riding past the cemetery, the route completes two separate loops around the area to incorporate the 11 climbs, before finishing in Waregem. At present, the visit has not been confirmed and Obama my not make the trip to Waregem, but the organisers have planned for both eventualities. With the large amount of traffic that will be caused by both parties, this will be no mean feat.

    "We have already mapped out an alternative course. If the US president is effective, we can draw a circle around the graveyard and around the race caravan," says Delesie. "It will probably be no easy task to accomplish. In Waregem and the finish area, the many team buses, vehicles of the teams, press cars and VIP cars will anyway be hampered by the ring around Waregem. I guess I will have to attend many meetings. We will definitely have to anticipate the timing of Barack Obama."

    Dwars door Vlaanderen will take place next...

  • Contador debuts at third in latest WorldTour standings

    Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) with the winner's trophy in Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 19:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    AG2R La Mondiale best team, Australia top nation after Tirreno-Adriatico

    Upon the conclusion of Tirreno-Adriatico, the third round of the UCI WorldTour, Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) continues to lead the overall standings with 114 points, all earned during his victory at Paris-Nice. The 24-year-old Colombian is tied on points with Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) at 114, but the AG2R La Mondiale rider gets the nod as WorldTour leader due to the tie breaker of having won two stages at Paris-Nice versus the Australian's one stage win at the Tour Down Under.

    Tirreno-Adriatico winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) debuts in the WorldTour rankings in third place with 112 points. Fourth and fifth place are held by Cadel Evans (BMC) and world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), each having accumulated 88 points in WorldTour events thus far this season. Evans' points were all earned at the Tour Down Under, where he finished second overall plus won a stage and placed third in another. Costa's points were all from Paris-Nice where he finished second overall and placed second on two consecutive stages.

    2013 WorldTour winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has yet to contest a WorldTour race thus far in 2014, but he'll line up against a very deep field this coming Monday to contest the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya stage race in Spain, the fifth WorldTour event of the season following the one-day Classic Milan-San Remo held the previous day.

    The WorldTour nations...

  • USA Cycling reveals tougher pro national championship course in Chattanooga

    The profile of the 2014 USA Cycling Pro Road Race Championship
    Article published:
    March 19, 2014, 20:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    20 percent climb added to road race

    USA Cycling announced a tougher proposed course route for the 2014 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road National Championship race in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The elite men and women will face a new short, steep climb on the road race circuit when they compete for the stars-and-stripes jersey on May 26.

    The Lookout Mountain climb will continue to be featured as it was in 2013, but the downtown Chattanooga loop will include a one-block-long climb that kicks up to 20 percent. The climb will be on both the 5.4-mile short finishing circuit as well as the longer, 16.5 mile loops that make up the bulk of the race.

    Both races will roll out on a 5.1-mile circuit, the women circling town three times while the men complete four laps. The racers then head out onto the long lap, which begins with a flat section on Broad Street before climbing up Ochs Highway, ascending 1100 feet (300m) over 2.75 miles (4.4km), passing through Lookout Mountain to Scenic Highway before returning back to Chattanooga.

    Once in Chattanooga, riders will head north across the Tennessee River at the Market Street Bridge before hitting the "wall" on Kent Street. They will then return via the Veterans Bridge to complete the lap.

    Last year, the women's race proved to be one of the most dramatic championships finales in recent memory, with world-class climber Mara Abbott holding a solid lead on the way to the finish before succumbing to a puncture. She was passed by a group containing eventual winner Jade Wilcoxson.

    Wilcoxson was excited at the changes to the course. "I thought last year's course was perfect, for obvious reasons," Wilcoxson said, "but the addition of a short, steep climb to the downtown circuit will make the race even more exciting for both racers and spectators. There's nothing like suffering up a steep climb while...