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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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Lance Armstrong Ordered To Pay SCA Promotions $10 Million

Lance Armstrong's troubles just got worse. He and his former team owner Tailwind Sports were ordered by an arbitration panel to pay SCA Promotions ten million dollars for what it termed "an unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy". Rather strong words. Further, the arbitrators said, "Perjury must never be profitable...Tailwind Sports Corp. and Lance Armstrong have justly earned wide public condemnation. That is an inadequate deterrent. Deception demands real, meaningful sanctions."

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong racing in the 2005 Tour de France

SCA promotions had sold Armstrong's team owner, Tailwind Sports, a policy agreeing to pay Armstrong a $10 million bonus if he won the Tour de France every year from 2001 to 2004, which he did, sort of....

Even at the time, SCA smelled a rat and refused to pay the bonus. The dispute was arbitrated with SCA eventually paying Armstrong $7 million.

Then things got even more complicated. As Armstrong's doping history was revealed, an uproar arose. In 2012 most of Armstrong's wins were struck from the record, including his seven Tour de France wins. The next year Armstrong acknowledged the obvious, that he had doped to win races.

Of course, SCA demanded its money back, which Armstrong refused to do. Hence, the dispute went back into arbitration, which puts us where we are now.

Armstrong has no intention of just writing a check to SCA. He is going to appeal the ruling. His lawyers issued this statement:

"This award is unprecedented. No court or arbitrator has ever reopened a matter which was fully and finally settled voluntarily. In this matter SCA repeatedly affirmed that it never relied upon anything Armstrong said or did in deciding to settle. The proper analysis of governing law is set forth in the opinion of arbitrator Ted Lyon, which is part of the award and which we believe will be adopted when the courts review the action of the arbitration panel. Despite the absence of any legal basis for the sanction, Armstrong offered to pay SCA the entire $10 (million) in order to resolve the matter, but SCA refused."

Stay tuned... I think this one will take a while to settle.

New Bike Frame Material?

bike-eu.com has reported that scientists at the  Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology (GIFT) at the Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea say they have made a metallurgical advance that has yielded a new alloy the has the strength of steel and the lightness of titanium. Hot dog!

The new metal is an amalgam of steel, aluminum, carbon, manganese and nickel, and is is said to be cheap to produce because its component ingredients are easily available at low cost.

steel tubes

Is super-lightweight steel tubing on the way?

Previous attempts to make lighter metals have been centered on using aluminum, which has yielded metals that were prone to failure. This solution is said to have solved the problems of aluminum alloys.

If it works, we may not only have both light, reasonably priced bikes, but also lighter cars with superior mileage.

Tinkoff-Saxo on Today's First Stage of the Tour of Oman

Today, Tinkoff-Saxo kicked off the final of three early season Middle Eastern races, as the team embarked on stage 1 of Tour of Oman. After 161km of relatively flat terrain, the race was decided in a bunch sprint, where Peter Sagan finished 7th behind race winner Andrea Guardini. All Tinkoff-Saxo riders crossed the line together with the main field.

Sean Yates, leading sport director at Tour of Oman, considered the stage as a good opportunity to find the race rhythm ahead of the tough stages to come.

“It was a fairly straight forward stage today, the break went early after just 5km of riding, then Katusha took responsibility and brought back the front group. In the sprint, we dedicated Bennati and Breschel to support Sagan, the rest of the guys stayed with Majka, since we’re here with a dual purpose”, says Sean Yates.

The 161 kilometers from Bayt Al Naman Castle to Al Wutayyah featured a couple of gradual climbs, however not enough to cause a stir in the peloton. The pack used the stage to kick off the six days of racing by letting a four-man breakaway get a three-minute gap after just 5km of the stage. True to tradition, the peloton, led by the sprinter teams, caught the breakaway going into the final part of the stage.

Tinkoff-Saxo worked to position Peter Sagan in the final sprint, however it was Astana’s sprinter ace Guardini that managed to time his effort perfectly, as he hit the line in first place. Sagan finished 7th on the stage despite a good effort from Daniele Bennati. “Benna delivered Matti and Peter in a good position, but they got sort of boxed in going through the final corner. But all in all, I think the boys rode well, stayed together and protected our team captains well in what was a fairly fast stage”.

Guardini wins stage 1

Andrea Guardini wins stage 1

Tomorrow presents the riders with a 195km stage including two late climbs and a fast descent towards the finishing line in Al Bustan, where Sagan won a similar stage in 2013.

“We’re still chasing our first win of the early season and I feel that the guys are motivated. For Sagan, tomorrow is obviously a stage, where he has good chances, as we face two late and pretty steep climbs. A race like this is generally more tiring for a rider like him than the pure sprinter, as he has the abilities to chase the win in different types of terrain. So we need to support him well before stage four to Green Mountain, where Majka will get his chance”, finishes Sean Yates.

Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo’s GC-captain, finished in the same time, as the other main contenders.

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