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Third Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Date published:
July 07, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • CAS suspends Keisse for two years for 2008 doping

    Iljo Keisse (Quick Step) back in action at the Ster Elektrotoer.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 13:26 BST
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    Ruling overturns Belgian federation's dismissal of the charges, rider placed on inactive status

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport has confirmed that Iljo Keisse will have to serve a  two-year ban for doping. The decision came following an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency of an initial decision made by the Belgian cycling federation to dismiss the charges.

    Keisse, who now rides for Quick Step, tested positive for cathine and HCT during the Six Days of Gent in November 2008. A year after the case first emerged, the Belgian cycling federation dismissed the doping charges, saying that there was insufficient scientific evidence that he knowingly used doping products.

    QuickStep has put Keisse on inactive status. “I have no choice,” said team manager Patrick Lefevere. “Keisse can appeal against the ruling, but until his fate is clear, I have him on inactive status. I have to think of our sponsors.”

    Lefevere added, “It is strange that someone who has been cleared down the entire line in Belgium is still suspended.”

    The cathine was contained in an over-the-counter cold tablet which Keisse admitted taking, an admission which the federation took into consideration. It also accepted his explanation that the HCT came from a dietary supplement.

    Keisse was fired by Topsport Vlaanderen when the positive test was announced but subsequently signed with Quick Step for this season. He was riding the Tour of Austria when the ban was announced.

    According to Keisse's website, he will only be banned for an addition 13 months, since he already sat out 11 months of the two-year sentence. The ban runs through August 6, 2011.

  • Evans’ MTB background gives him new advantage in Grand Tours

    The front group, with Cadel Evans (BMC) and Geraint Thomas (Sky)
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 14:38 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    After the strade bianche, he gains time on the pavés

    Cadel Evans’ new challenge this year is to get a double dose of Grand Tours, using his mountainbiking background as an aid. He finished fifth overall in the Giro d’Italia after winning stage seven on the “strade bianche”, the gravelled roads of Tuscany, and on Tuesday gained time over almost all the other GC contenders thanks to the pavé sections of the Tour de France's third stage.

    The world champion is now the highest ranked of the favourites, laying in third place with thirty seconds advantage over Andy Schleck, 1.01 over Alberto Contador, 1.10 over Bradley Wiggins and 1.51 over Lance Armstrong. “This is a very good day for us”, said a jubilant BMC team owner Andy Rihs, whose passion for cycling was affected by the Floyd Landis drama in 2006 but is restored now by the exploits of the world champion.

    “Even in my most pretentious plans, I couldn’t have imagined that I could gain so much time over adversaries like Contador and Armstrong”, Evans told L’Equipe after stage three to Arenberg. “I had put a mark on that day because I knew it could be chaotic. We prepared it well with the right material. We discussed a lot about technical details, choice of tyres and gears. We didn't make any mistakes.”

    Evans had never ridden competitively on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix before. He reconnoitred the stages in April with his teammate Steve Morabito. “I knew where the traps were and also the profitable places for the best positioning”, Evans said.

    Fränk Schleck's crash makes Evans to be the top beneficiary of the hectic day, but BMC team president Jim Ochowicz played it down, although he was obviously satisfied with the outcome of the stage. “We’re out of a rider too”, he told Cyclingnews. BMC lost Mathias Frank to a severe crash during the prologue in Rotterdam. The Swiss rider was supposed to be one of Evans’...

  • Rogers philosophical about pave experience

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) had even more reason to smile after the stage, having taken the race leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 14:58 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian thrown back on stage by puncture

    Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) lost vital time to his yellow jersey rivals on stage three of the Tour de France but remained upbeat at the finish, well aware that the race was far from over.

    The Australian finished 2.25 down on stage winner Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) but lost time to Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Lance Armstrong (Radioshack), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

    However, he finished in the company of Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), meaning he now sits 28th overall, three minutes down on the yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara.

    The Australian punctured in the final 30 kilometres of the stage and although teammate Mark Renshaw was on hand to offer him a wheel, the subsequent change meant that Rogers was forced to chase back the favourites. He briefly made it across but lost contact on the last section of pave as the field split again before the finish in Arenberg.

    “That’s life. You’ve got to be pretty lucky not to puncture and it just sucked. I was there just behind the first few riders but that’s it,” he told Cyclingnews as he rolled towards the team bus.

    “I got a wheel off Renshaw but the change took a minute and once you lose contact it’s hard to come back. I got back to Alberto and Lance.”

    “It’s just a lottery. It’s like going to the casino and throwing a bunch of money on a number. You’ve got no control over things.”

    Rogers came into the Tour with his best form in years, winning the Amgen Tour of California and the Ruta del Sol.

    Team director Allan Peiper was relieved that the stage was over and drew on the positive aspects of the result. “It’s very early days,” he told Cyclingnews. We’ve just had the first real test of the Tour, but being a little bit behind means Michael won’t be the first person to watch in...

  • Haussler renounces German citizenship

    Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam) was happy to win
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 15:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Cervélo rider will compete for Australia

    The Cervélo TestTeam confirmed today that Heinrich Haussler has begun the procedures to change his country affiliation to Australia. Haussler had dual citizenship and has been competing under a German license since he came to the country as a teenager.

    Haussler lived in Australia until the age of 14 and then moved to Germany, his father's home country, to pursue his career in cycling. The 26-year-old has been a professional since 2004, but has never contested the World Championships for Germany. In 2008, he said that he would not race for the country at Worlds since that would mean he would have to wait three years to change citizenship. With the titles being decided in Melbourne at the end of this season, Haussler will now hope to get the nod for Worlds with Australia.

    "It was not an easy decision to give up my German citizenship, but I came to a point in my life where I decided to follow my feelings. I had the lucky situation that I was the owner of two passports, but I feel more Australian and therefore I made the final decision to ride in the future for the country where I grew up," said Haussler.

    "It was definitely a hard choice. Germany is still really important to me and I have many friends here. I would also like to take the opportunity to say thank you to all the people who have supported me along the way so far, especially the German national cycling federation."

    “We were aware of his decision. In the end we couldn't influence it,” said Udo Sprenger, vice president of the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer. “It is naturally bad that he is leaving. He started his cycling career in Germany and enjoyed all the advantages that we as a cycling federation could offer him.”

    Despite his change in affiliation, Haussler plans to remain a resident of Germany and that country will issue his International racing license with Australia as his citizenship.

  • On the start line in Cambrai

    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 16:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Sun shines on the peloton for first stage in France

    Riders enjoyed pleasant summer temperatures and sunny skies for their departure from Cambrai to Reims, heading out for the Tour de France's fourth stage. There were plenty of riders sporting bandages after the cobbled roads of stage 3 and the massive pile-up on the day before, so it was clear from the start that this would be a day for the sprinters.

    However, the sprinters were well-represented amongst the injured: Tyler Farrar is riding with a fractured arm. "I hope to be able to sprint again by the second week of racing. I think I'll need a few more days to let the swelling go down and everything, before being competitive again," he said yesterday.

    Robbie McEwen is also sporting a bandage on his arm, Mark Cavendish has hit the ground a few times but is the odds-on favourite for the flat run-in.

    But Thor Hushovd, Cervelo's powerful sprinter, has the green jersey and the matching kit to go with it, and will look to take his second stage win of the Tour when the race negotiates the many roundabouts into the finish in Reims.

    Enjoy this gallery from the start line in Cambrai.

  • Petacchi makes it two for Lampre

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) celebrates on the podium
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 18:36 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Italian team to build a train for veteran sprinter

    Veteran Alessandro Petacchi won the second bunch sprint of the 2010 Tour de France and responded to critics suggesting that he only won in Brussels because Mark Cavendish and some other sprinters crashed. It's a bit of a paradox that Lampre already claimed two out of four stages and there might be more to come.

    "In Brussels, some of you guys almost said that I won because everybody else crashed," Petacchi told reporters. "Today there was no crash and yet, I won. But I'm not here for polemics. I've also heard in Brussels that I didn't do too badly for an oldie! I'm 36 and I don't need to win a Tour de France stage to know that I'm still able to do well."

    Petacchi was smart to follow the moves of Cavendish who remained the race favourite despite struggling in the first stages of the Tour. Unlike the Italian's impressive run in 2003 when he won four stages in the Tour's first week, Petacchi didn't have the likes of his former Fassa Bortolo train, but instead relied on his vast experience to guide him to the win.

    "In the past few years, I've made my own arrangements in most of the sprints," the Italian said. "I've done more than 200 sprints in my career and I can understand in a wink of an eye what's going on. That's how I chose Cavendish's wheel at the beginning. What my teammates have managed to do, they did at 100 percent. [Mirco] Lorenzetto and [Danilo] Hondo tried to anticipate. They have great experience. But yes, we need more people to lead me out. [Team manager Giuseppe] Saronni and the [team owners] Galbusera are working on it."

    Lampre is moving on the market to offer Petacchi more lead-out men. It's kind of a miracle that the Italian team is currently the most successful after five stages. In January, they almost got suspended by the UCI supposedly for administrative reasons. The financial troubles were resolved when co-sponsor Diadora was taken over by Geox, a shoe maker that is considering setting up a new team, probably...

  • Tour stage victory eludes Cavendish

    Erik Zabel speaks with Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia) after stage one.
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 19:05 BST
    Daniel Benson

    HTC-Columbia rallies around its sprinter

    After five stages of the Tour de France Mark Cavendish's search for a win continues after the HTC-Columbia rider fired another blank in Reims. The Briton finished in 12th place as Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) took his second stage of the race.

    "That wasn't the plan, that's for sure," said Cavendish's lead-out man Mark Renshaw.

    Cavendish's dream of claiming the green jersey now looks all but over with Thor Hushovd [80] ten points clear of Petacchi [70] while the Manxman has accumulated just 15 points thus far.

    At the finish Cavendish refused to talk to the press, walking straight onto the team bus, his only communication coming when his helmet was sent flying out from the bus door.

    HTC-Columbia has had a mixed Tour to date. Renshaw and Tony Martin have both secured second places, while Adam Hansen crashed out with a broken collarbone and Michael Rogers lost valuable time in yesterday's cobbled stage.

    "We're missing a couple of guys there in the finish," said Renshaw. "It's not like last year when we had Rogers, who is riding for GC, and Adam Hansen has already crashed. We're missing a bit of horsepower but I'm sure we'll get one."

    One rider that Renshaw didn't mention was George Hincapie. The American was a valued part of the HTC-Columbia train last year and although he was in the mix today, it was for his new BMC Racing Team.

    "They're all classy riders at the Tour. We have to rely on other teams now, though," Renshaw said. "We've got to work together with other teams like Lampre and we'll try again tomorrow."

    Asked if Cavendish had the form to turn his Tour around Renshaw said, "I think so. I only lost to Petacchi by a bit on stage 1 and Mark is a lot faster than I am. So I've no doubt that he's faster than Petacchi."

    Renshaw also rooms with Cavendish at races and was quick to downplay any tension within the team. "Of course there's pressure. To win six stages last year and be...

  • Hushovd fears Petacchi for green jersey

    Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) holds on to the green jersey in Reims
    Article published:
    July 07, 2010, 19:28 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Italian "best sprinter at this point"

    Points classification leader Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) was impressed by the performance of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) at the finish of the fourth stage in Reims on Wednesday, as the Italian celebrated his second Tour de France stage victory having already won in Brussels on Sunday.

    "Petacchi is really strong," Hushovd told Cyclingnews. "He is absolutely the best sprinter in this race at the moment."

    The Norwegian himself finished ninth in the bunch sprint at Reims, and admitted the last two stages had been tiresome. "I was a bit too far back in the last curve behind Lancaster and Hunter," the Norwegian said. "Petacchi and others passed me on the left and I couldn't really get my sprint going. I lacked a bit of power.

    "I just felt tired today. I think the first few days got to me. It's too bad, but I have to accept it."

    Still, Hushovd added 17 points to his tally in the points classification and now has a total of 80 points on his account. Double stage winner Petacchi, however, now sits second behind the Cervélo TestTeam leader with 70 points and could well come around him not only in the fast finishes, but also on the classification.

    Asked if he feared the Italian in his quest to take the green jersey to Paris, Hushovd said, "Yes, I think he is a big rival now for the jersey. But it's early in the race. Anything can still happen. I have to take it day-by-day."

    Hushovd also commented on Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), who finished a surprising 12th after winning six stages at the Tour in 2009. "He's not like he was last year before the Tour. But I think he'll come back stronger, later in the race."