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Third Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 20, 2012

Date published:
August 20, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Flecha to leave Sky for Vacansoleil

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 12:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard signs deal with Dutch team

    Juan Antonio Flecha is returning to a Dutch outfit following a three-year period with British team Sky. According to Algemeen Dagblad, the Spaniard has signed a one-year contract with Vacansoleil-DCM on Monday, replacing the team's current Spring Classics leader, Stijn Devolder.

    Flecha, who raced for Rabobank from 2006 to 2009, is a regular top three finisher and therefore more attractive than Devolder, who has struggled to live up to expectations since his 2008 and 2009 Tour of Flanders victories. The 35-year-old Spaniard won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2010 and finished on the podium at the race several times. He also achieved three podium placings in Paris-Roubaix and finished third in the Tour of Flanders, the Brabantse Pijl as well as the E3 Prijs.

    After a series of disppointing results, Devolder is rumoured to be returning his old employer Johan Bruyneel at RadioShack-Nissan.

  • Anton ready to take next step at Vuelta

    Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 14:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Presence of Contador will make victory difficult

    Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has returned to the Vuelta a España with a renewed focus on the general classification and says the lack of a grand tour this year has not taken anything away from his condition. If anything, the Spaniard believes he’s arrived for the Grand Tour in similar to form to 2010 - when he crashed out of the tour whilst in the leader’s jersey.

    "Comparisons are difficult but the data tells me I'm feeling better than last year, that's for sure. I have less beaten legs. I've prepared for this race very well, although results throughout the year have not gone as I expected. But that does not mean I’m not ready," he told Deia.

    He’s struggled to regain the form shown in 2010 despite winning a stage at both the 2011 Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta but things are different this time around says the 29-year-old. He missed the Giro and Tour de France so he could prepare specifically for the Tour of Spain and will now seek to concentrate his efforts day by day, rather than targeting stage wins.

    "If I get a shot [at a stage] I'm not going to knock it back, but I already have four stages and earning more is not essential for me. What we now want is to adjust and maintain concentration for 21 days, for the general [classification] fight."

    "I will ride differently because I will look to the overall, trying to be steady and keep power but it is not easy. You cannot relax for a single day. It's about being smart. Let's...

  • Judge sides with USADA in Armstrong suit

    Lance Armstrong
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 16:56 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Case dismissed in Texas district court

    Texas district court judge Sam Sparks has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Lance Armstrong's attorneys against the US Anti-Doping Agency on Monday.

    USADA CEO Travis Tygart was pleased with the outcome.

    “We are pleased that the federal court in Austin, Texas has dismissed Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit and upheld the established rules which provide Congressionally mandated due process for all athletes.

    "The rules in place have protected the rights of athletes for over a decade in every case USADA has adjudicated and we look forward to a timely, public arbitration hearing in this case, should Mr. Armstrong choose, where the evidence can be presented, witness testimony will be given under oath and subject to cross examination, and an independent panel of arbitrators will determine the outcome of the case.”

    Armstrong's suit was aimed at blocking USADA from pursuing anti-doping rule violation charges against Armstrong. In June, USADA notified Armstrong and five others of the violation, which included allegations of doping with EPO, blood transfusion and other performance enhancing drugs and methods, as well as trafficking, administration of banned drugs, and conspiracy to cover up doping during his time at the US Postal Service team.

    Armstrong's attorneys filed the suit in Texas arguing that USADA's procedures were a violation of his constitutional right to due process, and also contended that USADA did not have jurisdiction over the case. They and the UCI claimed that the case belonged in the hands of the sport's governing body because the UCI collected the blood passport samples that USADA used to back up its...

  • Valverde: "Everything from now on is a bonus"

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) moves into the lead at the Vuelta
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 18:03 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Vuelta 2009 winner back in race lead

    He may have been a late call-up to the Vuelta a España, but Alejandro Valverde has been quicker than most to make his mark on his home race, outsprinting Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) by a narrow margin to claim the stage win, the overall lead from team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo, the points lead and the white ‘combined jersey’ lead.

    Valverde’s main target for 2012 was the overall at the Tour de France, and although that did not work out after he crashed several times in the first week, he still came back to take the last stage in the Pyrenees.

    However, after Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar) started to fall sick before the Vuelta, suffering from dental problems - and after losing a little time in the final section of Saturday’s team time trial, on Monday’s stage he lost nearly a minute. But Valverde, who won the Vuelta in 2009 prior to his ban for his links to the Operacion Puerto from January 2010 to January 2012, appears to be on the up in the nick of time.

    “It’s never easy to beat Joaquim Rodriguez but today I was that little sharper than him,” Valverde said, “normally whoever comes through that last corner in first place wins, but today that wasn’t the case. Both he and I deserved to win.”

    “I hung on and hung on and finally I could get the win. I’m not surprised by the way Alberto attacked and attacked like that, he’s been the strongest in the world before his ban.”

    “I had this stage marked down with a cross, but so did lots of other riders. Either way, we’ve held the lead for three days, won two stages. It’s mission accomplished and anything we get from now on is a bonus.”

    Or is it? Can Valverde take the lead all...

  • Moncoutié fears increased number of summit finishes at Vuelta

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) before the start
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 18:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Cofidis climber still focused on fifth KOM title

    As every year since 2008, David Moncoutié has raced the Vuelta a España with one goal in mind: to finish the race as the event's best climber. The leader of the French Cofidis team has four Vuelta mountains jerseys on his palmarès, and is preparing to seal off his career with a fifth title. But the route of this year's race, as well as the physical problems he's suffered since his crash at the Tour de France, could mean the 2012 blue-spotted white jersey may be his most difficult one to conquer yet.

    This year's race totals 10 summit finishes, compared to six in 2011. "It's a very mountainous parcours, especially in the stage finishes," Moncoutié told Velochrono. "It's not really an advantage in view of the mountains jersey. We'll have to see if the leaders will leave a bit of time on the breakaways, because I don't think I can rival Contador or Rodriguez on a summit finish! Clearly, this year's race is different in respect to the higher amount of summit finishes."

    What's more, the Frenchman has been suffering from lower back pain since he crashed out of the Tour de France on stage 12. Following one week of recovery after his abandon, he started training again and decided to race the Tour de l'Ain as a preparation for the Vuelta. "I felt better every day, even if I still feel pain in my lower back when I'm on the bike. It's annoying, especially in the descents. It's a little of a handicap," he admitted. But Moncoutié is still focused on his goal.

    "This year, it will be more difficult than the other years... But I want to keep this objective in my head to finish off my last...

  • Judge issues stinging criticism of USADA in Armstrong case

    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 19:30 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Leaves door open for action if USADA violates rules

    Texas district court judge Sam Sparks may have sided with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) by agreeing to dismiss the case against it by Lance Armstrong's attorneys, but in his full decision Sparks was highly critical of the agency and the lack of cooperation between the various bodies tasked with running the sport of cycling.

    Sparks today dismissed the claims of Armstrong's legal team, which challenged USADA's right to bring anti-doping rule violations against him, and to force him into arbitration without providing its full dossier of evidence against him beforehand. That evidence includes testimony of multiple witnesses who claim to have seen Armstrong doping and who received doping products from him. USADA kept the identities of them secret in order to protect them from intimidation, it said.

    Armstrong's attorneys argued that the lack of information and USADA's procedures were a violation of his right to due process, a claim the judge dismissed outright.

    Yet even though the judge refused to give the federal court system jurisdiction over the case, he left the door open for further action against USADA should it not abide by its own rules and provide Armstrong and his team with all of its evidence against him in advance of any arbitration hearing by dismissing the arguments "without prejudice".

    In the opinion, Sparks takes USADA to task, stating, "there are troubling aspects of this case, not least of which is USADA's apparent single-minded determination to force Armstrong to arbitrate the charges against him, in direct conflict with UCI's equally evident desire not to proceed against him."

    In another note, Sparks writes,...

  • Voigt renews with RadioShack-Nissan

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 20:15 BST
    Cycling News

    German continuing on for one more year

    Jens Voigt confirmed today that he has renewed with the RadioShack-Nissan team through the 2013 season. The German had toyed with retirement earlier in the year, but told Cyclingnews earlier this month that the Tour de France gave him confidence that he can still perform.

    "I'm very happy to confirm that I will stay with the team for another year. I have been a loyal rider throughout my career and I'm proud that I will be able to continue to share my experience with the boys and help them win," Voigt said in a team press release today. "I had good offers from two other teams, but I'm pleased to stay where I am. I really wanted to ride for one more year and I'm convinced this is the right decision for me. When I told the boys, they were laughing that I said 'one more year' a year ago as well, but we'll see what the future brings. I'm almost 41 now, but I feel I can still be an asset to the team, so that's why I continue."

    Voigt is currently racing at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and is looking for some results.

    "I hope we can finish this season on a nice note and I'm already looking forward to next year," says Voigt. "I'm convinced that we didn't get the most of this season, for a variety of reasons. We will learn from this season, as we always do at the end of a season and we will work even harder to be stronger."

    "This decision takes a lot of weight of my shoulders. I can concentrate on the racing now, because the USA Pro Challenge is a very important race for us. My head is clear now; the focus is on."

  • Nuyens close to joining Garmin-Sharp

    Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    August 20, 2012, 21:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Classics leader in negotiations with American team

    Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank's Nick Nuyens could be on his way to American team Garmin-Sharp, Belgian newspapers have reported. The 2011 winner of the Tour of Flanders could replace Sep Vanmarcke as one of the outfit's Spring Classics leaders for next season.

    "We are in advanced negotiations with Garmin-Sharp," Nuyens' manager Jef Van den Bosch confirmed to De Standaard, without however announcing a done deal. "But we are also in talks with other teams, including his current squad Saxo Bank. So it's not certain that Nuyens will be going to Garmin. But the negotiations are developing well. I'm expecting a breakthrough by the end of the week."

    At the team managed by Jonathan Vaughters, Nuyens would be joining another Belgian, Johan Vansummeren, who won Paris-Roubaix last season. Having joined Saxo Bank in 2011, Nuyens was victorious in the Dwars door Vlaanderen as well as the Tour of Flanders that same year. Vanmarcke, winner of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2012, has already announced that he would be leaving the American team, but his destination is still unknown.

    Nuyens has had a difficult season so far, as a hip fracture sustained at Paris-Nice took him out of racing during the spring.