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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Date published:
October 10, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Houanard took EPO for WorldTour points, alleges Ag2r manager

    Steve Houanard (AG2R-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 3:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Lavenu concerned about team stability

    Little-known rider Steve Houanard may have chosen to take EPO as a result of not having his AG2r La Mondiale contract renewed says team manager Vincent Lavenu. The 26-year-old was informed by team management at the Canadian WorldTour races, where he finished 22nd and 41st at GP Québec and GP Montéal respectively that he would not be continuing with the French outfit in 2013.

    It was this news delivered in Canada and subsequent desperation to get results that may have caused Houanard to take EPO ahead of his final race of the year, the Tour of Beijing. Houanard had finished the Stage 1 in 21st-place just hours before the results of his positive test were published.

    "I was with him [Houanard] in Canada and there I told him we do not keep him in the team. I had told him that the door is not 100% closed, but he knew it would be difficult to change our mind. I think this has triggered a reaction that he can no longer fool," said team manager Vincent Lavenu to L’Equipe.

    The provisionally suspended rider was yet to win a professional race since his debut as a trainee with Skil-Shimano at the end of 2008 and with one WorldTour event left in 2012 it was his last chance to prove his place in the top-tier.

    "When you know everything it takes to keep a team afloat, the number of people must be convinced to follow you...There is a French boy, went through our training center (Chambéry Cycling Training), it is a crazy thing and is...

  • Le Mével looks to the future at Cofidis

    Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 5:20 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman frustrated and disappointed after two years at Garmin-Sharp

    Christophe Le Mével will move from Garmin-Sharp to Cofidis during the off-season, and as he brings the curtain down on his time in argyle, there is a sense that he harbours some regrets about how his two-year sojourn at the squad played out.

    While his omission from the Tour de France selection for the second successive year perhaps precipitated his decision to leave the team, Le Mével admitted that he had already been concerned by his racing programme in the early part of the 2012 season.

    "I was really very happy the first year," Le Mével told Cyclingnews in Beijing on Tuesday. "This year, I was satisfied too but I couldn't do all the races I wanted to do in the early part of the year, so it was a bit difficult for me at the start of this season. But all told it's been a very good experience for me these past two years."

    Ninth at Flèche Wallonne in 2011 after a pugnacious showing in the finale, Le Mével had high hopes of making a fresh impact in the Ardennes classics this time around. Instead of racing in at the Tour of the Basque Country as preparation, however, he spent the first half of April training at home, and confessed that he was found wanting in the white heat of battle.

    "I didn't do the races to prepare the Ardennes classics," Le Mével explained. "I trained at home but that was difficult to be prepared properly for the classics. As I arrived at my objectives without having done races beforehand, it meant that I wasn't quite at the level because I didn't have the right condition. I had trained very, very well at home, but I was missing a little bit in the races themselves.

    "It was hard for me to accept that I was coming to my objectives without the level that I...

  • Search2retain take over Eclipse Pro Cycling, add strength

    Luke Fetch (Search2Retain) finished in 25th place on stage two
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 7:28 BST
    Cycling News

    RBS Morgans-ATS and Jayco-HoneyShotz discontinue in 2013

    The management of the Australian National Road Series team search2retain has agreed to take over the Eclipse Pro Cycling program in 2013 according to a joint team release. The acquisition of the program that runs the senior RBS Morgans – ATS team and under-21 development Jayco-HoneyShotz squad brings added infrastructure to the Melbourne-based team that has been steadily building since its inception in 2009.

    Search2retain most recently won the sprint classification at Tour of Tasmania with Neil Van Der Ploeg and is looking to grow the team in the years to come. Little is known about the actual agreement however, a number of Eclipse Pro Cycling sponsors and riders will most likely make the move to search2retain in 2013.

    "I commend Eclipse Pro Cycling management for the program that they put together and for the opportunity that they have provided to a large number of Australian riders over the past 2 seasons," said Search2Retain Managing Director Peter Shandon. "We are really looking forward to working with the Eclipse riders and sponsors to create outstanding program that will deliver on our Vision for our team."

    The demands of running two concurrent teams with 19 riders and various racing programs has proved too much for the management of Eclipse who cited financial reasons as their primary rationale for discontinuing next season.

    "We are very grateful to all our sponsors for their infrastructure," said Eclipse team management. "Running a roster of 19 riders as we did across two teams in 2012 is not an easy task financially and one...

  • Time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel in Tour de France 2013?

    2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) with the winner's trophy.
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 10:26 BST
    Cycling News

    French media speculates on route

    With the official unveiling of the 2013 Tour de France still weeks away speculation mounts as to the route details with a time trial to Mont Saint Michael now predicted in the second week of the race. French media claims to have details on portions of the course, which is scheduled to be officially presented on October 24 in Paris.

    The race will start June 29 on the island of Corsica, with three stages there, to be followed by a team time trial in Nice. It is then predicted that the race will enter the Pyrenees, before hitting western France.

    According to, the first rest day will be Monday, July 8, in Loire-Atlantique. On the next day, the stage will possibly start in Saint-Nazaire and run to Saint-Malo. Wednesday, July 10, will then see the race's first individual time trial, from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michael.

    The race will then leave the region in a stage from Fougeres to Tours.

    Mont-Saint-Michel is a small island, less than 1 square kilometer, off of the northwest coast of France. It is connected to the mainland, about 1 kilometer away, by a causeway which is not affected by the tidal waters.

    The third week of the race is said to include Mont Ventoux and two climbs of L'Alpe d'Huez, possibly on the final stage.

  • Pardilla joins MTN-Qhubeka

    Sergio Pardilla Bellon
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 12:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Spanish track rider Teruel to Movistar

    Sergio Pardilla has signed with the MTN-Qhubeka team for 2013 and 2014. The South African team, which has applied for Professional Continental status, announced the signing of the Spanish climber on Wednesday. Pardilla is leaving Movistar Team, which in turn announced the signing of Spanish Olympic track cyclist Eloy Teruel.

    Pardilla, 28, is known as a climber and breakaway specialist. He won the mountain jersey at this years Vuelta a Burgos, was second overall at the Tour de l'Ain, and 18th overall at the Giro d'Italia. He has 11 wins in his career, having turned pro in 2006. He joined Movistar in 2011.

    He said that MTN-Qhubeka's charitable projects were an important factor in his signing. “Team MTN-Qhubeka is not a normal team. I mean results are important as they are in any other team but Team MTN-Qhubeka also has other goals which are supporting African riders to make cycling a more popular sport on the continent and taking part in charity projects to reduce poverty in Africa through Qhubeka.”

    “It is fantastic to have a stage race rider and super climber like Sergio join our team. We have been looking for a rider that will be able to lead Team MTN-Qhubeka in stage races next year and into the Grand Tours in the very near future,” said team principal Douglas Ryder.

    Teruel, 29, finished ninth in the Omnium and sixth in the team pursuit  at the 2012 London Olympics. He rode for Spanish Continental and Professional Continental teams from 2006 to 2009, and has ridden as an Elite-2 since them. He was twice national time trial champion for Elite men without pro contracts in 2010 and 2102, only beaten in the championship time trial by Luis León Sánchez...

  • Eeckhout extends for another year with AN Post-Sean Kelly

    Niko Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly)
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 13:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian turns 42 in December

    Veteran sprinter Nico Eeckhout has decided to keep on racing for another year. The Belgian, who will turn 42 in December, has extended his contract with AN Post-Sean Kelly for one more year.

    "During the Championship of Flanders in Koolskamp mid-September I fell and sustained a back injury,” he told the Belga news agency Tuesday at the start of Nationale Sluitingprijs Putte-Kapellen. "Immediately I had to cross out such interesting races for me as Omloop van het Houtland and Franco-Belge.

    “I can still ride Putte-Kapellen, but without much ambition since I was forced to take such a long break. After I take some rest, then I will prepare for the new season.”

    Eeckhout turned pro in 1992.  Over the past 20 years, he has ridden for Collstrop, Varta, Lotto-Mobistar-Isoglass, Palmans, Lotto-Adeco, Chocolade Jacques-T Interim and, since 2009, An-Post-Sean Kelly.

    He was Belgian national champion in 2006 and won Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2005 and 2006, amongst others.

  • Martin takes control at Tour of Beijing

    Tony Martin time trials to victory
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 16:10 BST
    Barry Ryan

    German takes advantage of late-season form

    Twelve months ago Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) all but sealed overall victory on the opening day of the Tour of Beijing, building up an unassailable lead in the stage one time trial.

    With no such test included in this year’s rather hillier race route, and with a number of teams desperate for UCI WorldTour points, it was easy to assume that Martin had simply returned to China to fulfil an obligation as defending champion before winding down his season.

    So much for conventional wisdom. On a rugged stage through the fringes of the Xi Mountains, Martin proved to be one of the day’s principal aggressors, carefully tracking the moves on the stirring climb to Mapoaquan, riding generously to help ensure the break fended off the peloton, and ultimately powering clear of his companions on the rapid descent towards the finish at Mentougou.

    "If there is no time trial, you have to do your own one,” Martin said of his winning effort after the finish. “I had a very, very small chance today but I took it and I am very happy and proud of this.”

    The German’s opening had come about almost by chance. After the leaders had traded blows on the final climb to Dong Gang Hong Tunnel, a brief stalemate ensued as the descent began. Martin drifted towards the front of the group and when he looked around two corners later, he realised that he had opened a gap.

    “Suddenly there was a gap behind me to the other guys. I knew there were only 20km to the finish so I decided to try and take my chance,” said Martin, who realised that the remnants of the break would struggle to agree whose responsibility it was to chase. “As for me, I could just go full gas as I’m in really good shape and that’s why I could win today.”

    No sprint finish

    Before the start,

  • USADA's reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong follows the money trail

    Lance Armstrong's seven Tour wins are the most by any rider
    Article published:
    October 10, 2012, 16:27 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Evidence more than just rider testimony

    The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will release to the public its "reasoned decision" document today, detailing the evidence it has amassed against Lance Armstrong and his US Postal Service team associates who engaged in what USADA calls "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen".

    Armstrong's attorneys yesterday sent a letter to the agency railing against USADA's action, stating that its evidence was manufactured based on the testimony of "serial perjurers" Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

    But in a press release issued this morning, USADA states that its 1000 page dossier not only includes testimony from 26 individuals, including 15 riders "with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants' doping activities", but also "direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong".

    After being accused by Armstrong's attorneys of wasting taxpayer dollars on a "witch hunt", USADA fired back stating its evidence "confirm[s] the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding."

    Armstrong was charged with anti-doping rule violations by USADA in June along with his then-US Postal Service team general manager Johan Bruyneel, his trainers Dr. Michele Ferrari and Pepe Marti, and team doctors Pedro Celaya and Luis del...