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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Date published:
March 05, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Drapac returning to the Tour de Taiwan

    Finally, Bernie Sulzberger is a winner at 29
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 7:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian team out for stage wins

    The Drapac Professional Cycling team returns to the Tour de Taiwan, which begins on Sunday in Taipei City, the scene of their overall victories in 2012 and 2013 thanks to Rhys Pollock and Bernard Sulzberger.

    The Tour de Taiwan is the first of several forays into Asia for the newly promoted Australian Pro-Continental outfit for 2014 and Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels believes that the team is well placed to taste further success on the island formally known as, Formosa.

    "There are some hard finishes so we've got some good riders – I know that Robbie Hucker's going quite well and I've got faith in our two sprinters," said Vogels.

    "Generally in races like this, there will be one day where a breakaway will stick and you'll gain some time. That, paired with some of the harder finishes are going to be very important for the overall. "

    While the team contains riders capable of challenging for GC victory in the five day race, the objective of the day will stage wins.

    "The overall is also very important but we'll just play it day-by-day and be aggressive like we have all year."

    Drapac's team for Taiwan will consist of Robbie Hucker, Ben Johnson, Malcolm Rudolph, Wes Sulzberger and Wouter Wippert who claimed the first win of 2014 at the New Zealand Cycle Classic in January.

    "After New Zealand it's good to have Mal [Rudolph] back with me again – the trust that we are developing gives me extra confidence for the sprints in Taiwan," said Wippert. "We have a strong team so we will go there with a certain level of expectation."

    Despite riding to a silver medal at the Oceania Road Championships Bernie Sulzberger, having since received treatment for an infected tooth, will be unable to defend his...

  • Froome wants CIRC investigation to put Armstrong Era "to bed"

    Thumbs up. Chris Froome (Sky) en route to Paris
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 8:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour de France champion accepts negative publicity from investigation

    Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome has backed the investigation by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) into doping in professional cycling from 1998 to 2013 to close an era dominated by Lance Armstrong.

    "I hope that anyone who does have anything to contribute would get involved," Froome told The Associated Press.

    Froome's comments follow those of former UCI president Pat McQuaid who is yet to decide on whether he will participate in the CIRC’s investigation.

    The three-man CIRC is led by Swiss politician and prosecutor Dick Marty and will be bankrolled entirely by the UCI.

    "I am hoping that at the end of the day people will be able to say of it, 'Right, that was that era, we can now put that to bed and stop asking questions about it,'" Froome said.

    Armstrong and former UCI presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid who were in charge of the governing body while Armstrong was racing have been invited for confidential, closed-door interviews with the panel which is based at Lausanne, Switzerland but none of the trio have committed to meeting the panel.

    Having continually stated that he would “be the first one through the door” at a truth and reconciliation commission, Armstrong is yet to state whether he will partake in the CIRC as he attempts to overturn his life time ban for doping.

    Froome said the panel could engage "not just necessarily those three, but anyone really who is part of that era and can contribute to resolving it."

    "It's going to be more negative publicity for the sport. That's never good," said Froome who added that he...

  • Armstrong secures a delay in the SCA arbitration case

    Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 10:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dallas judge suspends request for Texan to testify under oath

    Lance Armstrong has avoided testifying under oath about his past after his lawyers secured a temporary delay of an arbitration review of his legal battle with SCA Promotions.

    SCA paid Armstrong and his Tailwind Sports management company a reported $12 million as part of an insurance agreement to cover Armstrong's bonuses for winning the Tour de France.

    SCA refused to pay a final $7.5 million bonus for Armstrong's 2005 Tour de France victory, suspecting he may have doped during his career but eventually reached a settlement in 2006. Armstrong's confession following his lifetime ban by USADA confirmed he did dope and so SCA is trying to reopen the case and recover the millions it paid out.

    The arbitration panel that approved the original settlement has agreed to reconsider the case and last week a Dallas judge rejected Armstrong's attempt to end it, setting a date of March 17 for a hearing. SCA's attorneys wanted to question Armstrong under oath on Thursday.

    Armstrong is trying to avoid any risk of perjury after denying doping during the original SCA arbitration hearing.

    The original SCA case also included testimony from Betsy and Frankie Andreu, who said that Armstrong admitted to doctors treating him for cancer in 1996 that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. They later became key witnesses against Armstrong in the USADA report.

    Armstrong's attorneys appealed to the Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals and according to a report by the Associated Press, Judge Kerry Fitzgerald stopped the case on Tuesday pending further review by the court later this month.

    Armstrong's attorneys claimed...

  • Augustyn abandons Tour de Langkawi

    John-Lee Augustyn will make his return with MTN-Qhubeka
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 11:36 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    MTN-Qhubeka pleased with his progress

    The heat of Malaysia finally got to John-Lee Augustyn (MTN-Qhubeka) and he decided to put a premature end to his Tour de Langkawi during stage 7 on Wednesday.

    The South African has been suffering a little for the last couple of days and thought he had got through the worst of it, but the 230km stage proved to be too much for him. "He was feeling ok this morning, but I think as the day got longer and the heat got hotter, he just started feeling not so good. It's really frustrating for him and for us," said his directeur sportif Kevin Campbell.

    "I think it was just a combination of the heat and the miles. Obviously we've done a lot of travelling to get here and it’s all caught up with him. It's the difference between training a lot and racing at this intensity."

    Despite struggling with the temperatures, which have rarely dropped below 30°, aside from in the morning, he has been playing the support role for his teammates Merhawi Kudus and Louis Meintjes who are both in the top ten, with Kudus in second place. With three more stages still to run, Campbell says Augustyn will be missed out on the road.

    "He was really riding well in the sense that he was supporting well," the DS explained. "Even when he was really struggling he was going back and fetching bottles. In fact he knew that he was going to drop out so he went back and fetched one more lot of bottles, brought them back and then sat up. He's a really good team guy and he’s really committed to the cause. It’s unfortunate, but it was just 30km to far for him today.

    Augustyn is only in his second race since returning from a self imposed break from the sport to recover from a number of injury problems. The South African

  • Kochetkov knocked off bike by helicopter at Tour de Langkawi

    Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha).
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 11:58 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Katusha rider to return home for surgery on broken collarbone

    Russian rider Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha) has been forced to abandon the Tour de Langkawi with a broken collarbone, after he was blown off his bike by one of the race helicopters.

    Kochetkov’s teammate Marco Haller took to Twitter after the stage to announce the incident: “teammate pavel kochetkov out with a broken collarbone. the deep flying helicopter blew him off the road. alle the best man! @katushacycling”

    Kochetkov will return to his home in Brescia, Italy where he will have an operation on the break, team press officer Philippe Maertens confirmed to Cyclingnews. Due to complications with the break, the Russian will have to wait two weeks before he can have the operation.

    The accident occurred around the 50 kilometre mark when Kochetkov chased down an attack from OCBC Singapore’s Ho Junrong.

    Katusha team director Viatcheslav Ekimov witnessed the incident from his team car, saying that when the attack came, one of the race helicopters moved to the front of the peloton, although they are supposed to remain at the back. The team manager feared that there could be a major incident. While the peloton managed to escape harm, Ho got dust in his eyes, causing him to collide with Kochetkov and were sent to the ground.

    The helicopter pilot has been removed from the race and Ekimov plans on making a complaint to the organisation.

  • Sagan and Moser target Strade Bianche

    Peter Sagan wins stage 4 in Oman
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 12:25 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Cannondale duo looking to repeat their success of 2013

    Moreno Moser and Peter Sagan finished first and second at the 2013 edition of the Strade Bianche and Cannondale has confirmed that the duo will team up again this year to target a second consecutive victory.

    Sagan's past as a mountain bike rider and Moser's climbing skills make them a formidable tactical pairing for the hilly race on the rolling Tuscan dirt roads.

    Last year Moser attacked alone on the penultimate section of dirt road and then dropped the remains of an earlier breakaway to win alone in the Piazza del Campo in Siena. Sagan controlled the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Greg Van Avermaet before winning the dash to the final corner and the downhill sprint, six seconds behind his teammate.

    Sagan went on to confirm his Classic credentials with second place at Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, and victory at Ghent-Wevelgem. His stage victory and aggressive racing at this year's Tour of Oman indicated he is on similar form and so is arguably the favourite for Strade Bianche.

    The Cannondale team has named Strade Bianche as the 'first big event' of the team's season and selected a strong team to help Sagan and Moser. The Cannondale riders have been training in Tuscany this week to ensure they are ready for Strade Bianche and next week's Tirreno-Adriatico.

    “The Strade Bianche is the real test of my condition after two months of races and hard training,” Sagan said in a press release from the Cannondale team.

    “This race is exciting and it has all the characteristic of a Classic race, even without the cobbles, it's hard, unpredictable and challenging.

    "With Moreno we did a great team play last year. I think this could be the key this year to winning...

  • Russian track rider Sveshnikov returns positive test

    Kirill Sveshnikov (Russia).
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 15:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    RUSADA does not divulge name of substance

    Lokosphinx rider Kirill Sveshnikov has tested positive for a banned substance, the Russian anti-doping agency announced on Wednesday. RUSADA did not divulge what the substance was, but stated that Sveshnikov was suspended pending the analysis of the B-sample.

    The positive test took place on January 23 during the Russian national track championships in Saint Petersburg. Sveshnikov, who won a bronze medal in the points race at the world track championships in Minsk in 2013, was not part of the Russian team for last week’s Worlds in Cali, Colombia.

    “The athlete has been informed about the fact of a possible violation of anti-doping rules and of his rights. Kirill Sveshnikov is barred from training camps and competition pending a decision on a violation of anti-doping rules,” read RUSADA’s statement.

    The 22-year-old Sveshnikov rides on the road with the Lokosphinx Continental team, although his best results have come on the track. He won silver and bronze medals in the Madison and points race at the junior Worlds in Montichiari in 2010.

    Since joining the senior ranks, Sveshnikov has won two rounds of the Track World Cup, claiming the scratch race in Beijing in 2012 and the points race in Guadalajara in January of this year, days before his positive test at the Russian championships.


  • Video: Farrar returns to Giro d'Italia

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) kicked off his 2014 season in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 18:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Sharp sprinter to miss Tour of California

    While Tyler Farrar's tenure within the Garmin-Sharp organisation seemed uncertain nearing the latter portion of the 2013 season, some late success cemented a one-year contract renewal for 2014, what will be his seventh year with the team.

    In this exclusive video interview with Cyclingnews conducted earlier this year, the 29-year-old American discusses the influx of young riders to the Garmin-Sharp squad as well as his race program through the spring, culminating with a start in the Giro d'Italia.

    "I think we have a good team and a lot of young guys," said Farrar. "It's fun and brings energy to the team. It's fun doing races with those guys because they're seeing it all for the first time."

    Farrar will feature on Garmin-Sharp's roster throughout the Spring Classics with his program confirmed thus far through to the Italian Grand Tour, a race he admits he's excited to contest once again start after a one-year hiatus.

    His participation on US soil later in the year at Utah and Colorado has yet to be determined, and for now Farrar is focused on earning results on the roads of Europe as his spring campaign begins to kick into high gear.