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Third Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Date published:
October 24, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Contador says there is no new proof against Armstrong

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 16:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard decries lack of respect for Armstrong

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) has expressed his sympathy for Lance Armstrong, who has been banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for systematic doping offences.

    Speaking at the presentation of the 2013 Tour de France route in Paris on Wednesday, Contador decried Armstrong’s treatment, claiming that there was “no new proof” against the American.

    “In my opinion, at certain times, there has been a total lack of respect for Lance,” Contador said, according to the EFE news agency. “From my point of view, he was been humiliated and lynched. He has been destroyed. If cycling is popular in the United States, it’s thanks to him. If they know the Tour, it’s thanks to him.”

    Armstrong’s life ban came about thanks to the work of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who complied a 1,000-page dossier complete with witness testimony and documentary evidence that provided a damning account of the systematic doping system in place at the US Postal team (later Discovery Channel) managed by Johan Bruyneel.

    Contador won his first Tour de France as a Discovery Channel rider in 2007 and repeated the feat two years later as a teammate of Armstrong at Astana. On each occasion, he was managed by Johan Bruyneel.

    A number of former US Postal/Discovery Channel riders, including David Zabriskie, Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson, George Hincapie and Michael Barry, were among the individuals to testify about the doping culture in place at the team.

    “People talk about Lance but there is no new proof against him, nothing,” Contador said. “They’ve relied on testimony that dates...

  • Wiggins compares Armstrong to Father Christmas

    Bradley Wiggins at the presentation of the 2013 Tour de France route.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 17:33 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Tour winner confirms he will focus on the Giro d'Italia

    Bradley Wiggins stole the show at the Tour de France presentation with his blue overcoat and by revealing that he will target victory at the 2013 Giro d'Italia and be satisfied with supporting a teammate at the Tour de France.

    The unconventional Tour winner also spoke about Lance Armstrong, saying he was as believable as Father Christmas.

    Wiggins was the last rider to take his seat in the packed Palais de Congress in central Paris, just a kilometre from the Champs Elysees where he won the Tour de France in July. He kept his coat buttoned up but was not afraid to speak his mind.

    "I'm probably going to concentrate on the Giro d'Italia next year," he told Eurosport and the media squeezed into the interview area behind the main stage.

    "For me, along with Paris-Roubaix, it's the only race on the calendar that's up there with the Tour de France for its history. It's just beautiful and I'd love to win that pink jersey along with the yellow jersey."

    "I'll be at the start (of the Tour de France), that's for sure. If Chris is the leader then we go for it. My priority is the Giro d'Italia. It's become apparent that it's very difficult to compete in two Grand Tours and so it's very likely I'll be there in a helping capacity.

    "It was always about winning one Tour de France. I've done it and I'm very proud the way I did it. I'd love to win the Giro too. I'm a great historian of the sport and love it. I think cycling is a team sport and I wouldn't have won without that great team behind me. If I can play a part and help some one else win it, then that's what I look forward to."

  • Evans will lead BMC at 2013 Tour, says Ochowicz

    Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and defending Tour champion Cadel Evans (BMC) cross the finish line in Pau.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 18:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    BMC manager comments on USADA case

    The 2013 Tour de France may be nine months away but at the route presentation in Paris on Wednesday Jim Ochowicz attempted to put BMC's leadership issues to bed by claiming that Cadel Evans was the team's undisputed leader. The Australian won the race in 2011 but a year later suffered with illness and a lack of form. He eventually finished 7th overall but was outshone by his teammate, Tejay van Garderen, who finished two places higher and won the white jersey.

    After the 2013 route was unveiled attention turned to the leadership at BMC: Would the aspiring van Garderen be given the opportunity to lead, would BMC back their veteran, or would they talk about two leaders and ‘letting the road decide'?

    "We're going with Cadel as the team captain and then van Garderen as back up. Not joint leaders," Ochowicz emphatically told Cyclingnews.

    "Tejay is still mentoring under Cadel and we don't want to put the pressure on him yet. That's good pressure for Cadel because he knows that he has a strong teammate. Cadel is very motivated and this is a great course for him."

    As for BMC's Tour roster, Ochowicz stated that he hopes to bring a stronger contingent for the Pyrenees and Alps. During this year's Tour BMC was outgunned in the mountains, with only van Garderen and the ailing Evans able to match the tempo set by Sky's train.

    "The race looks hard. You come off Corsica and you're directly in the Pyrenees with two hard stages, then a transfer up north and even though it's flatter you've got a time trial almost right away," Ochowicz said.

    "The Alps look like each day is harder than...

  • Clerc calls on ASO to assume greater responsibility

    Patrice Clerc
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    "I fear the revolution might never happen," says former ASO president

    Patrice Clerc, the former president of ASO, has called on the Tour de France organisers to assume greater responsibility in the management of cycling in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair. In an interview with Le Monde, Clerc said that cycling's system must change if it is to avoid a repeat of the past decade.

    During Clerc’s tenure as president of ASO, the organisation was frequently at odds with the UCI, a conflict which culminated in 2008, when it withdrew its races – including the Tour de France – from the ProTour.

    One of the consequences of the stand-off was that doping controls at that year’s Tour were organised by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) and their targeted testing resulted in a spate of positives for EPO-CERA during the race.

    Clerc was removed from his post in October 2008 and replaced by Jean-Etienne Amaury, completing a rapprochement between the Amaury Group and the UCI. The Tour de France was restored to the ProTour calendar, while the AFLD was no longer in charge of testing at the race. Earlier that autumn, Lance Armstrong had announced that he was coming out of retirement to ride the 2009 Tour.

    “During the 2008 Tour de France, while we were carrying out a policy of controls with [AFLD president] Pierre Bordry that was bearing fruit, the Amaury Group decided to make peace with the UCI. That was an enormous turnaround,” Clerc told Le Monde. Bordry also stepped down from his post at the AFLD two years later.

    “The enterprise chose to change its stance on doping by deciding not to enter...

  • Vaughters praises 2013 Tour de France route

    Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 19:57 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Course seems suited to Hesjedal and Wiggins

    At the presentation of the centenary Tour de France route in Paris on Wednesday, Garmin-Sharp's Jonathan Vaughters praised the parcours, calling it "beautiful" but added that the team's first major objective in 2013 would be their defence if the Giro d'Italia title. He added that the team had a number of options for the Tour but that they would be discussed and planned over the coming weeks.

    In past years, without a genuine contender for yellow, Garmin have split their Tour ambitions between a number of aims. In 2010, they won four stages wins and aside from 2012, have placed a rider in the top 10 in every year since 2008.

    However with Ryder Hesjedal emerging as a force in Grand Tours following his Giro win in May, the team have a rider who they believe can compete with Alberto Contador and Bradley Wiggins.

    "It's a good route, it's beautiful. It's very suited to Contador with the hilly time trial and the mountain top finishes are tough. It's not as time trial heavy as 2012 but it's suited to a strong climber who can time trial well and who has a strong team. This year was suited to a strong time trialists who could defend," Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    "It's good for Ryder, too. There's one time trial which is hillier, and he's better at that than a pan-flat one. The team time trial will be good for him, the time trial out Mont-Saint-Michel is the weak point but the fact that the race is so backend loaded into the final week, that also suits him well because he's always good in the third week."

    Hesjedal crashed out of this year's Tour on the stage to Metz but at the start of the Tour the Canadian admitted that he was aiming to win. Abandoning the...

  • Andy Schleck pleased with 2013 Tour de France route

    Andy Schleck signs shirts for the fans
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 20:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Time to move on after Armstrong's era

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack Nissan) was in Paris for the 2013 Tour de France route unveiling but found himself out in the cold when race organisers ASO cherry picked a number of riders onto the stage. Schleck, the official winner of the 2010 race, was passed over while the rider who was stripped of the 2010 title for doping, Alberto Contador, was allowed up.

    Schleck, attending the event without his brother Fränk - who is waiting for a case into a positive test to be resolved - appeared unaffected by the snub and praised the overall route of the 2013 Tour.

    "I believe it's a hard parcours. The first days in Corsica I know a bit and while they maybe look flat, they're not. Maybe the first day is for sprinters but the second day is hard. After that it's the Pyrenees, which maybe aren't not too hard but I see the Alps, I see the Ventoux, as key stages. I can't complain about the parcours and it's a nice route for climbers."

    Schleck has endured a difficult season. He was unable to factor in the Ardennes Classics, while a running feud with former team manager, Johan Bruyneel, appeared to escalate when the two clashed in the press over the role of Kim Andersen in the team.

    The 2010 Tour winner then suffered a fractured pelvis in a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, effectively ending his season. Problems with his comeback meant he was unable to race until the Tour of Beijing, which he quit on the final day. Off the bike, his brother Frank was forced to leave the Tour after testing positive Xipamide. His case has yet to conclude.

    "I hope that justice will win and I believe in justice," Schleck said when asked about...

  • Del Moral denies involvement in Armstrong doping case

    USPS out getting a few more miles under the belt
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Ex-US Postal doctor "never witnessed organised doping"

    Despite being named as providing banned doping substances and methods by no fewer than nine of his former riders, Dr. Luis Garcia Del Moral denies having been a part of doping on the US Postal Service team of Lance Armstrong.

    In a statement to EFE, Del Moral, who recently was banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency after failing to request arbitration to fight the charges brought against him, said that his role as a doctor for the team, "was to preserve the health of the riders and technical staff and control the physical performance of cyclists."

    Del Moral was brought into the US Postal Service team by Johan Bruyneel in 1999, the two having formerly been part of the ONCE team.

    Del Moral confirmed that he was contacted by USADA on June 13, 2012 to answer to the accusations of several former teammates of Armstrong, which in the end included statements by Frankie Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, David Zabriskie, Michael Barry and Levi Leipheimer, all of whom stated that Del Moral provided them with doping products or methods.

    Del Moral said he was offered immunity in exchange for testimony against Armstrong by USADA.

    "During those years there were no doping positives within the team, nor injury or illness resulting from my medical action, then or later."

    "During the years that I was US Postal team doctor, I never witnessed any organized team doping, much less promote or facilitate it," he said.

    Del Moral claims that he requested more time to respond to the USADA charges, arguing that the agency had no jurisdiction over him as he is not a US citizen, and had no connection to the team after 2003.

    After refusing to testify against Armstrong, Del Moral received notice that the agency had banned him for life.

    He said that...

  • UnitedHealthcare mourns soigneur Haelsen

    Bill Haelsen, UHC's soigneur, died suddenly on October 23, 2012
    Article published:
    October 24, 2012, 22:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Memorial service in Asheville, NC Sunday

    The UnitedHealthcare team is mourning the sudden loss of its valued soigneur and trainer Bill Haelsen, 45, who died in his sleep at his Asheville, North Carolina home on Monday.

    Haelsen worked with the team for the past two years, providing massages and core strength and stretching workouts for riders.

    "He was passionate about making our riders physically and mentally stronger, especially with the core training programs he developed," said manager Mike Tamayo. "At the races, Bill was always the last one standing when work had to be done and incredibly passionate about his riders and their performances."

    "I remember many times when one of our riders would win a race and Bill would be more excited than the athlete himself. He took just as much pride as the riders in their results. He will be greatly missed on the racing scene, in the cycling community and in the City of Asheville. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family right now."

    Haelsen's friend Lesli Andrews emphasised his importance in his hometown. "He touched so many in the cycling community and worked with me with all of the special clinics and seminars we did at the gym.

    "Bill also did a lot of work in the Asheville community. I had no idea how deeply he touched people until this happened. Bill had a gift. He could help anybody with any issue and he gave so much of himself to so many others. He was constantly helping other people and was selfless. From our Asheville Youth Cycling junior team to our elderly community, Bill was just amazing in the way he worked with and treated everyone," Andrews said.

    There will be a memorial service for Haelsen in Asheville, North Carolina on Sunday, October 28.