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Third Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Date published:
May 15, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Euskaltel’s GC hopes sink with Sánchez

    Samuel Sanchez saw his podium chances fall apart
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 14:44 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Team boss says focus will now by on winning a stage

    Samuel Sánchez’s hopes of adding a podium finish at the Giro to those that he has previously taken at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España hit on the rocks on the Altopiano del Montasio. The Euskaltel-Euskadi leader trailed in 4-22 down on stage-winner Rigoberto Urán, which left him almost eight minutes behind maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali, in 18th place overall.

    The omens weren’t good for Euskaltel when Sánchez dropped away from the maglia rosa group on the penultimate climb of the Passo Casson di Lanza. Although he managed to regain contact with the other GC contenders on the descent that followed, he soon lost contact as Sky and Astana ramped up the pressure on the final ascent.

    Euskaltel boss Igor González de Galdeano admitted his team’s GC prospects are now all but finished, but insisted they can still have an impact during the rest of the race. “We can still have a real say in this Giro,” he affirmed at the finish in Montasio.

    “In Tuesday’s stage, our options in terms of the overall have been severely reduced. That was the gamble the team took, but when the legs don’t respond, there is nothing you can do. I am satisfied with the team’s performance. They’ve given everything today, but it just didn’t work out.”

    Asked about his team’s goals for the second half of the Giro, González de Galdeano responded: “We’re going to keep fighting. We will focus even more firmly on our goal of winning a stage and will give everything we have to achieve that. There are still two very hard weeks left and we have adopt a positive attitude. We can still have a real say. We’ve prepared for the Giro very carefully. I am still expecting a lot from this team.”

  • Ubeto Aponte provisionally suspended following a doping test

    Miguel Ubeto Aponte (Lampre-Merida)
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 16:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Adverse analytical finding for GW1516 sulfone for Venezuelan rider

    The UCI announced a provisional suspension of Venezuelan rider Miguel Ubeto Aponte on Wednesday. The suspension came in response to a report from a WADA-accredited laboratory in Köln indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of GW1516 sulfone - Metabolic Modulator in a urine sample collected from him in an out of competition test on April 16, 2013.

    His suspension remains in effect until a hearing panel convened by the Venezuelan Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

    Ubeto Aponte, 36, may request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

    Per the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI said it is "unable to provide any additional information at this time".

    Ubeto Aponte made his professional debut in 2012 for the Androni Giocattoli team and moved to Lampre-Merida this season. He crashed during the early-season Vuelta al Tachira, fracturing his upper arm.He had not made is full debut with the Italian team.

    In a open letter published by the Lampre-Merida team, he claimed the positive test for GW1516 was caused by treatment he was given in Caracas after surgery following his accident.

    "The doctors suggested me a therapy that called for consumption of medicines including substance GW1516. The documents that certify this suggestions are in my possession," the letter reads.

    "On March 2013, reading a note by Wada about the mentioned substance, I stopped immediately the therapy.
I understand now what a serious carelessness I made not informing the team medical staff, with whose member I've been always in contact.
In good faith, I made a huge mistake for which I'm the only responsible."

"I'm fully aware of my responsabilities, I'm at the disposal of the competent bodies to clarify the whole...

  • Vacansoleil confirm end to team sponsorship

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil - DCM)
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 17:06 BST
    Cycling News

    Team left looking for a new backer

    Vacansoleil has confirmed that they will end their sponsorship of their WorldTour team at the end of the season, effectively ending negotiations of a possible contract extension. The news comes a day after co-sponsor DCM announced that they would also end their association with the team at the end of 2013.

    In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the team announced, “The management of Vacansoleil-DCM was informed by its title sponsor Vacansoleil of the fact that they won’t renew the sponsorship agreement. A sponsor from the start, Vacansoleil saw the team grow since 2009, and they reached their goals with the sponsorship within five years' time.”

    In March, team manager Dan Luijkx was still hopeful of Vacansoleil signing on for another contract, telling Cyclingnews, "I had a meeting with Vacansoleil, and they're still waiting for April or May to decide. For sure, it's not decided that they will not continue and we have the freedom to talk with other main sponsors, but if we find something else, we will come back to Vacansoleil as they can still take over the deal. We're talking to several parties worldwide and if one of them wants to sign, I'll go back to Vacansoleil as they might want to take it over."

    Today Luijkx added that he was still in discussions with potential sponsors but he warned that cycling as a whole needed to take stock. He isn't the only team manager scrambling to save his team, with Blanco looking for a title sponsor for 2014 after Rabobank ended their 17-year association with the sport at the end of 2012.

    "In the coming years, cycling has to adjust to become more attractive to multinationals," said Luijkx. "The business model needs to become healthier and the divided teams need to become a combined strength. Many teams understand this. Furthermore we need space for innovation in a sport which grows so fast for amateurs."

    "We are talking to several parties who see the value...

  • Gilbert leaves Tour of California early

    Gilbert (BMC) gave it his all at the base of the final climb for the team's leader Tejay van Garderen
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 17:45 BST
    Cycling News

    New baby coming sooner than expected

    World champion Philippe Gilbert will not be able to take part in the remainder of the 2013 Tour of California as he has to head home to welcome his family's newest addition, a bit sooner than expected.

    "My wife is going to have our baby sooner than the delivery date," Gilbert said in a press release. "So it's an exciting reason and very important for me to be there."

    Gilbert was still looking for his first victory in the rainbow jersey, but had no luck during his first foray in the United States. He struggled in the heat on the first stage, yo-yoing off the back of the main bunch after the final climb before giving in and losing nine minutes. On the second stage he was involved in a crash with Saxo-Tinkoff's Jonathan Cantwell, but was relatively unscathed and ready to help his younger teammate Tejay van Garderen fight for the overall victory.

    Van Garderen is currently second overall, 12 seconds off the race leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman).

    "It's a little bit sad to leave because I think Tejay is going to win this race," Gilbert said, adding that he enjoyed his time in California.

    "I always have problems with the jet lag and differences of temperature but it was a nice race," he said. "The roads were nice – different than Europe of course, with very big roads – and the organization was fine."

  • Illness forces Wiggins on the defensive at the Giro d'Italia

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) kept in touch until the final few moments
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 18:20 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader hit by a worsening cold and chest infection

    When asked by some roadside tifosi how he was feeling as he put on a cape ready for the descent to the team bus after Giro d'Italia stage to Vajont, Bradley Wiggins made the sign of the cross, indicting he was dead.

    It was perhaps an exaggeration by the Tour de France winner. He finished in the main peloton at the end of the 182km stage and remains fourth overall, 2:05 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). However he revealed that his cold and chest infection are getting worse, not better.

    "I'm not feeling very good at the moment. I've had a pretty rough 24 hours," he said, wrapping a towel around his neck and closing his cape tightly.

    "I just want to try and fight through it and hope that in a few days time I'll be alright. Most of the team has been sick. It seems to last three or fours days and then you get better."

    Wiggins is fortunate that the next two stages are flat and should end in sprints. Rain is expected for Thursday's stage from Longarone to Treviso but it is just 134km long.

    "I've got a chest infection and a box-standard head cold. Fortunately in these days, these kind of stages, there's just a bit of fighting and you can get through them and hide a little bit. That's the plan for the next few days," he said.

    Asked by BeIN television if the Giro d'Italia is harder than the Tour de France, he replied: "The Tour of Picardie is a bloody hard race if you get sick. There's only so much you can do."

  • Navardauskas provides consolation prize for Garmin-Sharp

    Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) and Daniel Oss (BMC) at the head of the race
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 18:59 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Lithuanian wins after Hesjedal’s Giro challenge collapses

    Twenty-four hours after his leader Ryder Hesjedal’s dreams of defending his pink jersey were dashed, Ramunas Navardauskas helped to put a different slant on Garmin-Sharp’s Giro d’Italia by soloing to victory on stage 11.

    Hesjedal finished over twenty minutes down at Altopiano del Montasio on Monday and his travails saw Garmin-Sharp forced to radically rethink their approach overnight. Rather than performing his usual duties of guarding his Canadian leader in the peloton, Navardauskas was given the freedom to chase the stage victory.

    “Ryder had a bad day yesterday, but that can happen to anybody,” Navardauskas said. “Today we had different tactics and it was our plan to try and get in the break. The race isn’t over for us, and we want to win more stages.”

    Coming after the first mountaintop finish of the Giro, with tired legs aplenty in the gruppo, and with the second category Sella Campigotto en route to weed out the fast men, Wednesday’s stage had the ideal conditions for the germination of a breakaway, even if it took over 50 kilometres for the move to take shape and blossom.

    “Today was the ideal course for me,” said Navardauskas, who took his first professional victory at the Tour de Romandie in the build-up to the Giro. “It was too hard for the sprinters but the climbs weren’t too hard for me.

    “Everyone saw that a break would probably go away today, and that's why it took so long for the group to go clear. On top of that, the start of the stage was downhill, but once we finally started to go uphill, we were able to force a break. The highest guy in the GC was something like 10 minutes down, so nobody chased, and I think that was good for the GC guys to...

  • Nibali unruffled after another day in pink at the Giro d'Italia

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remains in the maglia rosa for another day
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 20:55 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian stays 'tranquillo' after the stage to Vajont

    Vincenzo Nibali's favourite word during his daily post-stage press conference at the Giro d'Italia is 'tranquillo'.

    Stage 11 was 'tranquillo', he is 'tranquillo' about the strength of his teams and 'tranquillo' about possible bad weather during the weekend's mountain stages. Even if his legs are pedaling fast, nothing seems to ruffle the feathers of the current maglia rosa.

    Nibali's apparent tranquility seems to be his best strength in this year's Giro d'Italia. While many of his rivals are fighting illness, internal rivals or lack of form, he seems to be in total control.

    "The stage was pretty tranquil, a break got away and so we controlled it from behind," he explained, also shrugging off the idea that the pressure of leading the Giro may be getting to him.

    "It's not the first time I've been in this position, I won the Vuelta," he said. "I had to fight right to the end to win the Vuelta and I'm ready to do that here too. I'm more aware of my ability as a rider now. I've matured. I know what I can do and how to manage the difficult moments better.

    "I'm taking things days by day because there's still a long way to go and there are some serious rivals here. Uran is riding well and Scarponi tested himself with an acceleration in the climb."

    Watching Wiggins

    Nibali revealed he has also been watching Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) closely.

    "I don’t know if he's ill but you can get sick in a Grand Tour and have time to recover. I was suffering with allergies in the south, early in the race, but I've got better. Wiggins has been hiding in the peloton but I noticed he was up there today."

    Nibali's biggest rival is currently Cadel Evans (BMC), who is second overall, just 41 seconds...

  • Jalabert can’t firmly say he never doped

    Laurent Jalabert leads Lance Armstrong on stage 4 of the 1996 race. The ONCE rider would win the stage and the overall
    Article published:
    May 15, 2013, 22:00 BST
    Jeff Quénet

    Testifies in front of French Senate anti-doping commission

    After the fall of Lance Armstrong in October last year, Laurent Jalabert attracted a lot of criticism when he stated that the seven-time winner of the Tour de France stripped of his titles was “a great champion.”

    In January confession time came for the Texan but the Frenchman who was the world’s number 1 from 1995-1999, including at the time of the infamous Festina affair during the 1998 Tour de France, is still not ready to tell all, as Senators realized during the audition they gave him in Paris.

    Jalabert was summoned by the anti-doping commission of the French Senate. He told the parliament members that he always “fully trusted” the staff of the three teams he rode for: Toshiba (1989-1991), ONCE (1992-2000) and CSC-Tiscali (2001-2002). He admitted having received injections of corticoids but insisted that they were justified by TUE (therapeutic use exemption) prescribed by doctors. Once confronted with historical data, the members of parliament might find something strange in this statement, as TUE were introduced in the WADA code in 2005, three years after the end of Jalabert’s career.

    “I’ve never looked at meeting doctors in order to increase my performances," the Frenchman explained. “I’ve never spent a franc [the local currency before the euro in 2002] for seeing or buying forbidden substances. I’ve never wished to take part in the arms race.”

    Jalabert didn’t deny or hide doping practices. “Doping has always existed in cycling," he said. “People really became aware of it at the time of the Festina affair.”

    About his personal experience, he added: “I can’t firmly say that...