Lampre-Merida leave MPCC
Lampre-Merida today announced that it has have decided to leave the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC). In a press release, the team stated the reason for leaving the movement was due to "the impossibility of confirming their membership."
The team made the decision to continue to employ Diego Ulissi and will allow him to begin racing upon the conclusion of his suspension on March 28. Ulissi tested positive for Salbutaml last May at the Giro d’Italia and received a back-dated ban from racing for nine months.
However, under the MPCC rules, teams that are a part of the movement should not hire riders that were banned for two years following their suspension. In February, Lampre-Merida stated that they fully respected the rules of the voluntary anti-doping association by allowing Ulissi to compete once his ban was finished.
The team’s statement went on to say that, "Team Lampre-Merida will respect the obligation to keep Diego Ulissi as our employee, and with this ensuring the obligation of return to competition for the athlete – respecting the rules and regulations of the UCI – through entry to the races from 28 March 2015.
"This decision has been made considering the facts coming from recent events, namely the case of Diego Ulissi, this situation in particular has put Team Lampre-Merida in a position where we are obliged to take this decision as these principles set out by the MPCC are not possible to agree upon, namely: 1) The labor law, 2) Rules and regulations of the UCI.
"In reference to the above, Team Lampre-Merida is obliged to postpone its membership with the MPCC, with a possible future consideration for the request of readmission at a time when the rules of the Movement, which in the past have always been respected by the team even though at times have been unfavorable, as long as the regulations are acceptable by the laws of the various bodies of reference."
Ulissi is expected to begin racing at the Tour of the Basque Country on April 6.
Bardiani-CSF brings balanced team to Tirreno-Adriatico
Italian team Bardiani-CSF will field a well-rounded team for the upcoming Tirreno-Adriatico from March 11-17.
The team will include Enrico Barbin, Enrico Battaglin and Sonny Colbrelli for the hilly stages, Nicola Ruffoni for the sprints, Manuel Bongiorno and Edoardo Zardini for the climbs, and Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Boem. Pirazzi joins the team after a crash at Strade Bianche on Saturday.
“For us this is a really important event in this first part of 2015,” said team director Roberto Reverberi. “Tirreno-Adriatico has became the most prestigious and followed short stage race. We selected a team with good experience and skills to shine in every stage. We believe that the talents of our young guys can be among the best world riders. Looking at individual athletes, we’re very happy that Pirazzi can be at the start. Already on Sunday he felt better, today he went out with his bike and he didn’t feel any pain. Maybe in the first stages he could struggle a bit but we hope he’ll do a good performance when mountains will arrive.”
Due to bad weather, organisers were forced to alter the first stage from a 22.7km team time trial to a 5.7km individual time trial.
Breschel misses out on top place in Paris-Nice stage 1
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel missed out on a top placing in stage 1 at Paris-Nice due to being “boxed in” during the final sprint to the finish line in Contres on Monday. Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff won the stage ahead of FDJ’s Nacer Bouhanni and Europcar’s Bryan Coquard.
“The stage was actually carried out at a rather slow pace but it meant that a lot of guys wanted to participate in the sprint, since we all had fresh legs,” Breschel said. “With a few hundred meters to go in the sprint I got stuck behind a big group of riders and I couldn’t get past them. For me it’s a shame, as I was aiming for a higher ranking on the stage today.
“Getting boxed in is not something you control in a sprint like this, as there’s a bunch of other riders also looking for these small gaps, where it’s possible to pass. So it’s just a matter of trying again tomorrow and then we’ll see what we can do in the remainder of these first flat stages before we reach the mountains.”
The climbing starts in Paris-Nice during stage 3 from Saint-Amand-Montrond - Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, stage 4 ends in a mountaintop finish on the Croix de Chaubouret and stage 7 will test the climbers in an uphill time trial on the Col d’Éze.