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Third Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 23, 2014

Date published:
August 23, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Van Garderen hoping to distance rivals in USA Pro Challenge time trial

    Tejay van Garderen (BMC) is back in yellow
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 13:28 BST
    Pat Malach

    Start times for Vail time trial

    Following a day for the breakaway opportunists during Friday's stage 5 road race at the USA Pro Challenge, the general classification contenders will take center stage again Saturday when the race returns to Vail for the stage 6 time trial on the penultimate day.

    The mostly uphill route, which starts in downtown Vail and finishes near the top of Vail Pass, ascends more than 460 meters over 16.1km and finishes at 2,945 meters of elevation. The stage has been in three of the four editions of the race, and the largest margin of victory has been just four seconds.

    BMC's Tejay van Garderen, this year's current race leader, successfully defend the yellow jersey there last year with a win over Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky on the way to his first overall win at the race. Despite his recent success, van Garderen expects Saturday's stage to be another difficult test.

    "Last year, even though I won it, I still feel like I got my pacing wrong because I really started to die there in the last kilometer and a half," he said. "If you look at the time splits between Talansky and I – Talansky was second on the day – I was like 30 seconds up on him and I finished only four seconds up on him. So I'm still trying to figure that out, and hopefully I'll get it right this time."

    Talansky is racing at the Vuelta a Espana this year and won't be in Vail to challenge van Garderen again, but there should be plenty of contenders for both the stage win and a possible upset in the general classification.

    Tinkoff-Saxo's Rafal Majka is currently sitting second...

  • South Africa names teams for World Championships

    Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 14:33 BST
    Cycling News

    No place for suspended Impey

    Cycling South Africa has named the team that they will be sending to the World Championships in Ponferrada, at the end of September.

    Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jay Thompson fill the three spots available in the elite men's category. Both Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Thompson are both making their debuts at the Vuelta a Espana, as MTN-Qhubeka make history as the first African-registered team to ride a Grand Tour.

    A notable omission from the team is experienced rider Daryl Impey. The Orica-GreenEdge rider has been suspended from racing after he tested positive for Probenecid at the South African Championships. Impey has not received any sanctions, but three days before the Tour de France the Australian team announced that both A and B samples had tested positive. He was immediately pulled from the team and was unable to ride the Grand Tour.

    Louis Meintjes heads to Ponferrada, hoping that he can go one better in the under-23 competition. The 22-year-old made it into the break with Matej Mohoric, who now rides for Cannondale. The pair were able to stay away, but Meintjes was bettered by the Slovenian in the finale. As he now races for a WorldTour team, Mohoric will not be able to defend his title. Along with his MTN-Qhubeka teammates in the elite squad, Meintjes is about to make his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España, which begins with a team time trial on Saturday evening.

  • WADA asks for retrospective human growth hormone testing

    Patrik Sinkewitz (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 15:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Test available after year-long hiatus

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has reiterated its stance that national anti-doping bodies should resume testing for human growth hormone (hGH), and has asked that they begin retrospective tests, as it updates it’s guidelines on testing.

    "WADA has taken the opportunity to remind anti-doping organizations (ADOs) that had previously stored blood serum samples for future hGH analysis that they should now proceed with retrospective analysis using the hGH Isoform Differential Immunoassays test," a statement read on the body’s website.

    "In addition, ADOs that have conducted minimal blood testing have been asked to consider expanding their programs to reflect the risk of hGH abuse by their athletes."

    Testing for hGH was suspended in March 2013 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the decision to ban cross-country skiier, as it was unhappy with its decision limits. WADA has now revised the guidelines and changed the threshold from 1.81 to 1.84 and 1.68 to 1.91 for the men. For the women, the two limits have been set at 1.63 and 1.59. According to the website a new test to detect hGH is also in development.

    In 2011, Patrick Sinkewitz became the first rider to be banned for the use of human growth hormone, when he tested positive at the GP di Lugano in February of that year. Until Sinkewitz’s ban, the presence of a test for hGH was unknown. No riders have since tested positive for the substance, however a number of riders have admitted using it, such as the riders involved in the USADA investigation of Lance Armstrong.

  • Bakelants to join AG2R-La Mondiale in 2015

    Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma) tries to go after Alessandro De Marchi
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 16:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian set to leave Omega Pharma-QuickStep

    Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will ride for AG2R-La Mondiale next season, according to Belgian Newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. The French outfit has offered him a free role within the team, something he feels that he lacks at Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The contract is yet to be signed, but the newspaper hints that the deal is expected to be completed imminently.

    Bakelants signed a one-year contract with Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the end of last season, but has chosen not to renew with the Belgian outfit. Bakelants joined the team when he found himself without a contract when the Fernando Alonso project broke down. The Belgian rider had agreed a verbal contract with the team, which was set to come from the ashes of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, but when it hit a roadblock he was left without a team.

    Bakelants came to prominence last season when he won stage two of the Tour de France and spent a day in yellow. Earlier this season, he won the sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné before returning to the Tour de France where he finished 24th in the general classification. Bakelants has since raced the Clásica San Sebastián and will return to racing action at the GP Ouest France – Plouay on August 31.

  • Video: Peloton wishes Jens Voigt farewell at USA Pro Challenge

    Jens Voigt (Trek) was given a special hat from the Breckenridge organisers
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 17:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Popular German will be missed by riders and fans alike

    Every professional cyclist is passionate about the sport, but few can portray that enthusiasm to the general public like Jens Voigt. As the German takes part in his final race at the USA Pro Challenge, Cyclingnews gathered some tributes to Voigt from his former teammates, directors and breakaway companions.

    Voigt built a cult of personality through both his exploits on the bike, by pouring all of his energy into often doomed solo attacks and, despite the knowledge that it was entirely likely that the breakaway would come to naught, Voigt went all in until the final dying moment.

    His style was much like that of Jacky Durand, or even Thomas Voeckler, but Voigt was able to do something more than just attack on the road: his verbose, humerous interviews in English helped him connect with fans across the pond in America, creating a loyal fan-base here that even surpasses his support at home.

    "Jens has built his career on racing with heart, with passion, and putting everything on the road every day," said Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare), who has spent numerous occasions in breakaways with Voigt during the German's frequent appearances in the US races like Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge.

    "Jens has so much energy, I can't wait to see what he pours that into," said former teammate Ben King. "I'd love to have him stay in the sport, just to have him around."

    "The thing I'll miss most about Jens Voigt is how he shows all of us how he doesn't take one day of his life for granted," Tom Danielson said. "In a sport with so much sacrifice and...

  • Quintana: the pressure is on my rivals

    Nairo Quintana is focused on winning a second grand tour in 2014
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 18:42 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Colombian shuns media spotlight at Vuelta a Espana

    With a victory in his first Grand Tour earlier this year in the Giro d’Italia, at the Vuelta España, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is widely tipped to become the first rider to take two three-week stage races in a single year since Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) back in 2008. But as the Colombian stood answering questions to the press late in Jerez de la Frontera on Friday evening, he showed no sign of any interest in being labelled as the favourite.

    His absence from the Tour de France, Quintana confirmed, perhaps meant that rivals like Contador or Chris Froome (Team Sky) who had crashed out there had stronger race form. But it also meant that “they’ve got a lot of goals here after their Tours didn’t go so well as they would have liked. They may want to make me and Movistar responsible for controlling the race - in fact it’s up to them to do that.”

    Quintana, on the other hand, has ticked the box of a Grand Tour victory this year at the Giro in style, and has also taken a recent win at the Vuelta a Burgos. This perhaps explains why the Colombian seems unfazed at the idea that this year’s Vuelta a España - Vincenzo Nibali’s absence notwithstanding - could be a trial run for the line-up Tour de France in 2015. Or that he will be sharing the leader’s role with Alejandro Valverde in Movistar.

    “We’ve got a great team here, but we’re not under any kind of pressure. We’re top squad in the WorldTour, Alejandro’s first in the individual ranking, I’m now fourth. Our rivals, though, are stronger than us, they’ve done part of the Tour and races immediately before that. So for sure they’re strong.”

    However, he did not reject the idea that he would be going for two Grand Tours in a...

  • Voeckler has surgery on broken collarbone

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 19:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman has plates once again

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) has undergone a successful surgery to mend his broken collarbone. Voeckler had the surgery in Nantes and left hospital yesterday evening.

    “The operation went well. It took place this morning. His collarbone was broken in several places and they had to put in a plate,” Europcar directeur sportif Andy Flickinger told RTBF on Friday evening.

    Voeckler was hit by a car as he made his way to the start of the opening stage of the Tour du Limousin. He was immediately taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken collarbone. It is the second time this season that the Frenchman has broken his collarbone and the third time in two years. He had only recently got the plates off his collarbone from an injury he sustained in early 2013, when he hit a stationary car ahead of the Tour Down Under.

    Voeckler hopes to return to racing before the end of the season, but has admitted that he’s likely to end the year without a victory on his palmarès.

  • Froome hoped for better in Vuelta a España team time trial

    Chris Froome is all smiles
    Article published:
    August 23, 2014, 21:54 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sky man concedes 27 seconds to Quintana in Jerez opener

    Chris Froome’s first reaction on crossing the line was one of satisfaction, but as the last squads completed the Vuelta a España’s team time trial opener in Jerez de la Frontera, his take on the evening took on a different complexion.

    Those initial impressions may well have been coloured by relief. Froome’s Team Sky finished with the bare five riders together but they stopped the clock at the end of the 12.6km test in 14:40.

    Sky’s time would only prove enough for 11th place on the stage, some 27 seconds down on the winners Movistar, who place Jonathan Castroviejo in the red jersey and Nairo Quintana in pole position among the general classification contenders.

    “I’ve got to admit we were all hoping for a little better there but it’s a really long race,” Froome told a small group of reporters after completing his warm down on the home trainer outside the Sky team bus. “I think, as we’ve seen in most Grand Tours, 30 seconds after 21 days isn’t that much but obviously it isn’t good starting on the back foot.”

    In recent years the Vuelta has notoriously been a game of inches, as Froome knows only all too well – in 2011, he missed out on overall victory by a mere 13 seconds behind Juan José Cobo. It should also be noted, however, that Sky and Cobo’s Geox squads finished 20th and 21st in the opening team time trial in Benidorm, 42 and 43 seconds down, respectively.

    No matter, handing a 27-second head start to Quintana, as well as conceding ground to Alberto Contador (8 seconds) and Rigoberto Uran (16 seconds) was not how Froome and Sky wanted their...