- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 10:20
- Cycling News
Phone conversations in conflict with Italian's statement
A Madrid court heard that Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was struggling to keep up with demand for his services mid-way through the 2006 Giro d'Italia, specifically for Ivan Basso, which casts doubt over Basso's previous claims that any blood bags were to be used at the subsequent Tour de France, that the Italian rider was ultimately prevented from starting.
At the Operación Puerto trial on Tuesday - in which Fuentes, his sister Dr Yolanda Fuentes, former ONCE and Liberty Seguros manager Manolo Saiz , Vicente Belda and José Ignacio Labarta are charged with crimes against public health - telephone conversations were heard detailing that the doping enterprise had run out of SAG-Mannitol, a solution which preserves red blood cells.
On Saturday May 13, 2006, haematologist José Luis Merino (who is excused from the trial as he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease) had left Madrid, and Eufemiano Fuentes, realising that he was under-resourced with seven clients riding in the Giro, made a panicked phone call.
"I need your help. It's hectic," he pleaded with Merino. "Birillo [Basso's codename] is waiting for us. What should I tell him? That there is nothing to eat? Soon they are in a region where we won't be able to deliver any rolls. It had been anticipated that he would get a sandwich. If there is no sausage, I make him do one with chorizo and cheese. We promised we would give him a couple of ice lollies [blood bags]."
Merino then told Fuentes that he would contact hospitals in Seville, Granada, Cordoba, as well as an armed forces depot in a bid to source the solution. Coming up short, Fuentes was then instructed on how to make it himself.
Fuentes was told to mix saline and glucose "in a pressure cooker" and then place the concoction in "a sterile container". Fuentes showed concern that the heat from the pressure cooker would "burst the bottle".
Merino suggested that Birillo should wait until the following Monday but Fuentes refuted it saying it was "impossible".
Last month in a video conference from Tenerife, Basso admitted he agreed to pay Fuentes approximately US$94,000 (70,000 euro) in late 2005, in return for a complex doping system ahead of the following year's Tour de France. Basso has previously admitted to attempting to dope and was handed a two-year suspension in 2007 for his links to the Puerto case.
Basso admitted to having blood removed three times in late 2005 with full intention to use them, but he stands firm behind his previous statements that he did not transfuse the blood back into his system. The full fee was never transferred because Basso reportedly did not receive the agreed program - as he was expelled prior to the start of the 2006 Tour. He instead allegedly paid Fuentes $20,000 before authorities stepped in, 10 days after the phone call took place.
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 10:57
- Cycling News
Manxman looks to add to 2013 haul
Tirreno-Adriatico will see fierce rivals Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) line up against one another for the first time this season, but Cavendish has warned that the presence of the in-form Peter Sagan (Cannondale) might alter the complexion of bunch finishes in Italy this week.
“As usual I'm focused on my own performance rather than thinking about the others," Cavendish said in the pre-race press conference in San Vincenzo on Tuesday. "However, I think a guy like Peter Sagan will be active when it comes to a race like this. I think in stages that might come to a sprint, a guy like Peter might disrupt that and go for the GC. We'll have to see what happens. It will be a fierce first couple of days."
Tirreno-Adriatico is the final test site for Milan-San Remo and contenders for La Primavera come under considerable scrutiny during the race. Cavendish has consistently downplayed his chances of Milan-San Remo success this year, citing the increased pace on Le Manie since he won in 2009, and he stressed that he taking Tirreno-Adriatico purely on its own merits.
“My job as a sprinter is to win bike races: doesn't matter if it's at a Grand Tour, a very small race, or a big week-long race like Tirreno-Adriatico,” Cavendish said. “I'm here for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step to win. I want to win. We have a strong team here to win and we are going to try to do that.”
Cavendish has already claimed six wins this season, including four stages and overall victory at the Tour of Qatar, and he will be looking to continue that sequence in central Italy in the coming days.
Before tackling any bunch finishes, however, Cavendish will first line up in Tuesday’s stage 1 team time trial. Cavendish enjoyed notable team time trial success during his time at Highroad, while Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad won the world team time trial championships last season prior to his arrival.
"We'll see how it goes. It's a difficult time trial. It really takes a strategy to do this kind of a time trial, especially if it's windy like it was today,” he said. “We have two great time trialists, Tony Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski, but also Niki Terpstra is very strong in this discipline.”
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 11:13
Only 50 models made
This article originally appeared on Bikeradar
Legendary Italian supercar manufacturers Lamborghini are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a limited edition BMC road bike. The Impec Lamborghini 50th Anniversary Edition will be limited to 50 models and will combine a Swiss-made Impec carbon frameset with premium Italian componentry and an exclusive paint job.
This bike will be one of many celebratory creations for Lamborghini, the largest of which was announced yesterday in the form of the Lamborghini Veneno - a 6.5L V12 supercar with 750hp and a top speed of more than 220mph. The Veneno will be limited to a run of just three examples, with a price tag of £3.1m each! But don't get your wallets out just yet – they've all been sold already.
That makes the special edition BMC's €25,000 price tag sound like a bargain. It's not the first time BMC and Lamborghini have worked together; last year the collaboration produced the Impec Automobili edition. Below is the full spec list of this year's bike, and you can check out our image gallery for a closer look. For more information see the Lamborghini and BMC websites.
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 12:20
- Sadhbh O'Shea
Blanco rider talks to Cyclingnews HD
Tom-Jelte Slagter is looking to continue the form that saw him win the Tour Down Under in January when he lines up at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Slagter will hold joint leadership of his Blanco team with Bauke Mollema at the Italian race, which starts on Wednesday with a 16.9km team time trial. “Before I didn’t believe that I could do it,” Slagter told Cyclingnews HD in an exclusive interview. “But now it is nice to race against those guys [at Tirreno-Adriatico].”
“I’ve never done the race before, but they changed my programme a little. I will be doing Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo, which are both new races for me. Tirreno has an uphill finish, which is good for me and I hope for a good result.”
The 23-year-old has had his best start to a season to date after winning the general classification at the Tour Down Under. Slagter also beat world champion Philippe Gilbert and Matt Goss to win stage 3. The stage win was his first in his three years as a professional rider.
“It was an incredible feeling. Normally you look up to those guys, so, to beat him was really amazing. Me and Wilco Kelderman went to the Tour Down Under to try and get top 10 in the general classification. I didn’t expect that I could win.”
Slagter’s Blanco team has had a fine start to the season, notching up ten victories already. The tally is more than double what they’d won at this stage last year, under the Rabobank sponsorship. “I think everybody has shown that we can go without Rabobank,” he told Cyclingnews HD. “We are really thankful to them for all of the years, we can’t forget that, but we showed we can go far on our own.”
After his stint in Italy, Slagter will head to Spain for the Tour of the Basque Country before taking on the Ardennes Classics.
Issue 45 of digital magazine Cyclingnews HD is out later today, and features the full exclusive interview with Tom-Jelte Slagter. The issue also looks back on Strade Bianche and the opening stages of Paris-Nice, and previews the Queen Stages of Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, with interactive maps, profiles and start lists.
Delivered to your iPad every Wednesday, Cyclingnews HD brings you the best all-new cycling photography in the world via the best medium for viewing it, as well as reports, results and exclusive analysis of all the week’s biggest races, in-depth previews of the races and stages to watch in the week ahead, interviews, news and opinion.
With over 50 pages packed with new and original content every Wednesday, alongside all the latest reports and results, Cyclingnews HD is the best way to enjoy a roadside seat at all the season’s biggest and best races.
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 13:00
- Cycling News
German delivers crushing sprint in chaotic finale to Cérilly
A puncture during a critical moment of the race may have dashed the hopes of Marcel Kittel during the opening road stage at Paris - Nice but the Argos-Shimano sprinter made good the following day into Cérilly by taking a dominant sprint victory.
Kittel's puncture the day prior meant he missed the decisive split and found himself in a fruitless chase to the finish. The big German finished 1:53 down on the stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and vowed "to take revenge". When Bouhanni crashed out and FDJ stopped working at the front, Argos took the initiative to keep up the momentum.
"Yesterday we had bad luck," said Kittel on his team site. "I punctured at a key moment in the race and missed the first group, so we had to take revenge, and that is exactly what we did."
"We lost the race leader, Bouhanni, so his team stopped working and we took the responsibility together with Orica GreenEdge. But it was not easy to control the bunch and it was very chaotic. When we brought back the four leaders it became clear that we were heading for a bunch sprint," he added.
The presence of the Argos-Shimano team at the front was a familiar sight, first witnessed this year at the opening round of the WorldTour at the Tour Down Under but this time he wouldn't disappoint at the finish. The rider who experienced a difficult start to the year had already bounced back from a winless Down Under to win the first stage at Tour of Oman but this was arguably sweeter than he last.
Kittel's teammates ensured the pace was kept high until the final moments but instead of following the wheels, their leader was sitting back and waiting for right moment to strike on the slight uphill run to the line.
"We had planned to stay together and come to the front with our train really late, and that's what we did," said Kittel. "Our team did a perfect job in the finale, keeping the train together and staying up front.
"I was able to start the sprint late, with 200m to go, and I went around and was able to win. I am really proud of the team. It was a very long day, not easy, but everyone worked hard until the final meters."
With a two wins already in his pocket at the ‘Race to the Sun' Kittel is more than happy to continue using the week to build his form.
"Now the race for the GC will start. I do not expect any more opportunities, so I will stay in the bunch and survive the upcoming hard days."
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 13:30
- Stephen Farrand
Wegelius hoping for equal weather conditions
Garmin-Sharp has yet to win a race this season but directeur sportif Charly Wegelius insisted the US-registered team is not under pressure to get a result in the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial on Wednesday.
Last year the Orica-GreenEdge team stunned their rivals by winning the 16.9km team time trial, beating Radioshack by 17 seconds. Garmin-Sharp were third, also at 17 seconds, with Team Sky fourth at 23 seconds.
The Australian squad are again favourites but Wegelius hopes Garmin-Sharp can do well, using their experience and team time trial skills to gain some precious seconds on their rivals.
Garmin-Sharp has drafted in track Rohan Dennis to boost the team's chances in the team time trial and can also count on the speed and power of Thomas Dekker, Tyler Farrar, Robert Hunter, Ramunas Navardauskas and Sébastien Rosseler. Dan Martin and Dekker are the team's hopes for a good overall result.
"I don’t think we need to get dragged into any kind of panic because we haven't won a race yet. It's still early in the season, there aren't any leaves on the trees yet, so I don't think there's anything to worry about," Wegelius told Cyclingnews before attending the directeur sportif meeting in San Vincenzo with Chann McRae.
"There's no pressure on us to win. We had quite a difficult start to the season, with lots of people getting hit by small illness and then the bikes going missing too."
Rain is forecast for throughout Wednesday's stage from San Vincenzo to Donoratico. Garmin-Sharp is due to start the team time trial at 15:24 local time, number 14 of the 22 teams in the race. Orica-GreenEdge are the second team to start at 14:48, while Radioshack are ninth off at 15:09. Astana is the 22nd and last team to start at 15:48 local time in Tuscany.
"Obviously the weather makes things a little more difficult. It's technically more demanding when the roads are slippy," Wegelius pointed out.
"I just hope that the weather is the same for everybody because if there are big differences between the first and last teams, that falsify the results."
Wegelius picked his top three, hoping Garmin-Sharp will be "in the mix."
"I think Blanco and Orica-GreenEdge are going to have powerful teams for races like this. Omega Pharma-Quick Step could be good too," he said.
"I hope we will be in the mix somewhere but there's no point in thinking about what everybody else does, we've got to do our best and that's it."
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 16:12
- Cycling News
Initiative to increase doping controls by USADA
USA Cycling has officially rolled out its program to increase doping controls at its National Calendar events, grassroots races and out-of-competition. The initiative is aimed at bringing the US Anti-Doping Agency to more races across the USA.
Cyclingnews first reported on USA Cycling's intent to join grassroots anti-doping programmes such as Florida's Clean Ride fund as a way to combat doping at the amateur level last November.
USA Cycling calls the so-called RaceClean program "the most extensive anti-doping effort to be introduced by a U.S. National Governing Body within its own events".
Funded by USA Cycling and through contributions by national calendar races, teams and riders, as well as through voluntary donations by members, clubs and local associations, the programme will increase education as well as testing, with USADA acting independently to conduct controls and adjudicate doping cases. The testing will begin with road, mountain bike cross-country and cyclo-cross national calendars "with the goal of including track and BMX national calendars in the near future", according to USA Cycling.
It will also add more riders to the out-of-competition testing pool, and allow local associations to opt-in to a program for testing at the local level, with USA Cycling matching funds up to $6,000. Members will be able to donate when purchasing licenses or, with non-members alike, through the RaceClean Fund web site.
"The development of this innovative and collaborative RaceClean program is intended to send a strong statement about anti-doping, further establish the trust in our sport, and ensure a level playing field at all levels of racing," said USA Cycling President and CEO Steve Johnson. "This important program represents a considerable financial contribution by USA Cycling, and it is gratifying to see that race directors, teams, riders and our Local Associations fully support this initiative. Members and non-members alike can actively participate and show their commitment to clean competition by making a donation to the USA Cycling RaceClean fund."
The RaceClean concept came out of discussions at a USA Cycling stakeholders meeting which included team managers, local association representatives and race directors.
Optum Pro Cycling director Jonas Carney supported the initiative which will bring more testing to the top Continental events.
"Our team sees this effort by USA Cycling as a big step forward in the fight against doping here in the US," Carney said. "It is everyone's responsibility to fight for a clean sport ... Our team welcomes the increased testing and we hope that this will help to ensure a fair and level playing field for competitive cyclists in America."
For more information, please visit the RaceClean webpage.
- Article published:
- March 6, 2013, 17:09
- Stephen Farrand
Manxman happy to win at Tirreno-Adriatico with Omega Pharma-QuickStep
Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates watched the BMC Racing team fail to beat their time on stage one of Tirreno-Adriatico and then celebrated with lots of high-fives, hugs and big smiles. On the podium the riders shared the glory and showered each other with prosecco.
The Belgian team for Tirreno-Adriatico includes some powerful riders but it was their nerve in the rain and wind, their strength, excellent technique and their team spirit that made the difference. Omega Pharma-QuickStep set a time of 19:24 for the 16.9km course, beating Movistar by 11 seconds and BMC Racing Team by 16 seconds. Cavendish brought the team home and so pulled on the race leader's blue jersey.
"It was planned I'd cross the line first but in hindsight it would have been better to let Tony cross the line first because he did about half of it on his own. "I hope he gets the jersey later this week," Cavendish revealed in the post-race press conference.
"The nice thing about the team time trial is that the whole team gets to stand on the podium. In a sprint the team works just the same as today but only one guy stands on the podium. Here we all get to celebrate. Tomorrow I'll wear the jersey on behalf of all the eight guys at Omega Pharma-Quick Step."
Having fun again
Cavendish's words were mixed with plenty of smiles and he conceded that he is enjoying his racing much more this year after moving from Team Sky.
"I don’t know if it's things from the past or if because this team is so nice but I've found a new motivation again," he said.
"I don't know if was the pressures of the world champion's jersey, or the pressure of Team Sky or pressure of all my years as a professional. Whatever happened, I've found a new love again and it's refreshing. It's great to be part of a team where there are friends who I grew up with in the past.
"I'm having so much fun. This is the most I've raced at this time of year. I've got a daughter and a fiancé at home but I'm enjoying being away. It's difficult but when you're with a group of people like this, I couldn't ask for more."
Cavendish has been part of several successful team time trial squads and knows the secret of success.
"It's a bit of a misconception that the five who cross the line first are the strongest. It doesn’t work like that. Maybe I was just one of the laziest guys," he explained.
"For instance at the top of the climb (after 11.8km), it was difficult. Tony (Martin) went away and it could have been easy for Gert Steegmans to go with him. Instead he took the rest of the team back up to Tony and that was Gert finished. That was one of the best rides today but he wasn't in the first five. It's not about the five that finished. It depends on where you are and the circumstances of the race."
"Technically it's about the corners. Apart from that it's about trusting each other, knowing the lines on corners, especially at the beginning of the time trial, it can cost you so much energy if you don't do right. The most technical part of this time trial is right at the beginning, the first two kilometres. It's important to save energy and get it right."
A sprint finish on stage two
Cavendish will wear the race leader's blue jersey during stage two from San Vincenzo to Indicatore, near Arezzo. The stage is 232km long and includes some early climbs but he is hoping for a sprint finish.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep will have the responsibility of controlling the race early. Cavendish hopes other teams will help to ensure the day ends in a sprint.
"I expect pretty straight forward sprint tomorrow. I hope with Greipel and the others here, it's not going to be left to us to ride all day," he said.
"I can't imagine so. We'll be riding to keep the jersey. It's about our respect and responsibility to ride for it. The usually suspects will sit back and wait to come up at the end, that's what happens these days. But I hope there will be at least a couple of teams who want to sprint."