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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Today's Racing

The 2.1-rated Volta a Portugal is on and continues through August 9th.

Next up is the single-day, 1.1-ranked Spanish race Circuito de Getxo.

The big dog looming on the calender is the Clasica San Sebastian, a World Tour ranked classic that will be run on Saturday, August 1st.

Androni Giocattoli suspended for a month.

A few days ago we reported that Androni Giocattoli boss Gianni Savio had volentarily suspended his team for a week after his squad had its second doping positive this year. It was really an attempt to fend off the mandated harsher punishment the rules call for.

And, the shoe has dropped. Here's the statement from the UCI:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the Disciplinary Commission has decided to suspend the UCI Professional Continental Team Androni Giocattolli-Sidermec for a period of 30 days from 1st to 30 August 2015 in accordance with article 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules (ADR) providing for a “Team Suspension” (*).

The UCI introduced the Team Suspension provisions on 1st January 2015 and this case is the first application of the new rule.

The ground for the team suspension is the notification of two potential anti-doping rule violations within the same Team within a 12 month period.

For the duration of its suspension, Team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec is suspended from participating in any international event.

As provided for under article 7.12.1 ADR, Team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec may file a request for a lifting of the suspension before the Disciplinary Commission.

At this stage of the procedure, the UCI will not make any further comment on the case.

(*) Following the notification of a second Adverse Analytical Finding for a member of Team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec since the beginning of 2015 and within a twelve-month period, the UCI had referred the matter to the Disciplinary Commission for a decision on the Team suspension in accordance with article 7.12.1 ADR.

The team first made this statement:

Two positive cases were found in June, all inside of our team. Despite the clear policy against doping, demonstrated with unique initiatives such as information seminars - in which we participated together with athletes and monitoring of the values ​​of the various athletes with surprise checks inside and study reports received by Wada - two stupid criminals, as already defined by our team manager Gianni Savio to whom we associate, Fabio Taborre and Davide Appollonio, have undermined the image, the credibility of our working group and created uncertainties about our future business.

Therefore, the staff of the Androni Sidermec (team managers, Doctors, trainers, mechanics, massage therapists and any other professional), as well as being deeply disappointed by what caused two members of the team, in case of confirmed positive through the counter-analysis, will seek redress against the two athletes with legal action.

Then the team issued this:

Androni-Sidermec received by the UCI notification of suspension from 1 to 30 August following the positivity of the riders Davide Appollonio and Fabio Taborre. "We will appeal to the UCI - said Team Manager Gianni Savio - because Article 7.12.1 states that the suspension may be canceled if the team shows that they have no responsibility. We not only are absolutely unrelated to the facts, but we will produce all the documents relating to the measures taken to combat doping, from seminars conducted by the lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone, the information courses, the numerous pieces of correspondence sent to all team members, until signing with the authentic from Notary Marco Marvaso of strict rules.

We will appeal to the UCI as a matter of principle, as from 1 to 30 August will not participate in any tender, because we self-suspended in compliance with Regulation MPCC. We have instructed the lawyer to take legal action against Napoleon Davide Appollonio and Fabio Taborre for damages, as provided by the rules of procedure authenticated by the Notary Marvaso."

Tour de Wallonie final news

The Belgian Tour de Wallonie ended Wednesday, the 29th, with Niki Terpstra the final overall winner.

This report came from BMC:

Thuin, Belgium - BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert finished runner-up to Danny Van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) on Wednesday's final stage of the Tour de Wallonie.

Van Poppel attacked on a cobblestone stretch of the uphill finish to the 167.3-kilometer race to win his second stage of the race. Gilbert held off Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Pieter Serry (Etixx-Quick Step) three seconds later to garner his second runner-up finish of the season.

"Jempy Drucker and Marcus Burghardt really helped me to be there at the base of the climb," Gilbert said. "I was in the top five when Van Poppel attacked and got the gap. But then everyone was looking at each other and we couldn't close it.

Winner of Stage 3 on Monday, Gilbert finished seventh overall while teammate Loïc Vliegen, who was the "most aggressive rider" on Stage 1, finished eighth. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) took the overall title after winning Stage 1 out of a breakaway.

Philippe Gilbert wins stage 3

Philippe Gilbert wins Wallonie stage 3

"In this type of race, everybody was looking at Philippe and the BMC Racing Team and Etixx-Quick Step made the good move that first day," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said. "It is too bad that Loïc, who was sitting fourth in the standings this morning, could not keep his position. On this climb he was not able to follow Philippe. It was tricky, with a lot of fighting and with cobblestones. He is a very good rider, but this was not a finish for his speciality."

And here's what Tinkoff-Saxo had to say:

Matti Breschel grabbed third place behind Danny Van Poppel on the concluding day of racing in Tour de Wallonie after having opened the final show with a move on the last cobblestone climb. “I focused on provoking an attack from Gilbert”, says Breschel, who now directs his attention towards the Tour of Denmark.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel took to the front on the final day of racing in Tour de Wallonie, as he launched the opening attack on the final, punchy climb up to Thuin. After fragmenting the group, Breschel eased off expecting a tactical run-in to the finish line.

“Michael brought me perfectly into the final climb before the last kilometer. In itself that is a difficult maneuver, as everybody wants to have the front. So I was in a perfect position with a kilometer to go, as we hit the ramp. Straightaway, I took the front on the climb, not to push it all the way to the line, but to see if I could open up the race and provoke a selection. I eased off after 300-400 meters but in retrospect I probably should have reacted to Van Poppel. I was mainly focused on Gilbert and I expected him to follow suit, as Van Poppel continued but he wasn’t there. Two seconds after, Van Poppel had a big gap and we could catch him”, says Matti Breschel before elaborating on his next race, the Tour of Denmark.

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel at this year's Paris-Nice

“Nonetheless, I’m fairly satisfied although the stage win would have been nice to top off Wallonie. It’s a good start after a long period without racing, where I’ve just been training also to bounce back from my injury in June. I think the legs are responding well and my shape is improving ahead of Tour of Denmark. Tour de Wallonie has been an important preparation and I’m looking forward to see what results we can create in Denmark next week”.

Stage 5 of Tour de Wallonie consisted of 167 undulating kilometers, where the riders had to tackle the Mur de Thuin four times. According to Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Lars Michaelsen, the squad delivered strong team work in the tricky finale.

“The team made a super effort today and Matti finished 3rd. According to our strategy, Matti should focus on the uphill sprint, where the last 1700 meters started with an 8 percent steep ram on cobblestones and finished off on a 5 percent false flat uphill section, which we rode four times. Matti should provoke Philippe Gilbert to make a long sprint, so he let go of Danny Van Poppel with 1200 meters to go and waited for Gilbert’s move. This came too late and Van Poppel won the stage”, notes Lars Michaelsen before adding about stage:

“The guys did exactly as planned today, also in the finale. A breakaway broke free early on the stage but with one lap to go, the peloton was within striking range. So Chris Juul-Jensen attacked and bridged the gap to the group. This created a fast finale and they were caught with 3 kilometers to go. Then Michael Mørkøv did a superb effort and went to the front to bring Matti into the final steep ramp at the front of the pack. We didn’t get the win that we had been aiming for but I’m, without doubt, satisfied with the effort made”.

While we're at it, this update also came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Roman Kreuziger will spearhead Tinkoff-Saxo into action at the World Tour Clásica San Sebastián, where the team aims for one of the top spots. Despite an intense race program, Kreuziger will seek to benefit from his Tour shape, while several fresh riders seek to provide backing on the challenging parcours.

Tinkoff-Saxo sends Roman Kreuizger, Matteo Tosatto, Manuele Boaro, Jesus Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho, Pavel Brutt, Oliver Zaugg and Chris Juul-Jensen into action in the biggest one-day race of the Basque Country.

According to team sports director Patxi Vila, the race strategy of the squad has been significantly changed since Alberto Contador, who was originally set to start the race, had to opt out due to illness.

“Obviously, the team's main objective was for Alberto Contador to win the race and his absence will significantly change the goals and strategy of the team. Alberto still has high fever and is unable to race. He also renounces the criteriums he was scheduled to attend and as a result, his 2015 racing season has come to an end”, comments Patxi Vila, who continues about the motivated squad going into action.

“We have two riders, Kreuziger and Tosatto, who come from the Giro-Tour double. A few come fresh from home and a rider like Boaro comes from the high-altitude training camp in Livigno, while Brutt and Juul-Jensen will join directly from the Tour de Wallonie, where they have delivered a strong performance on a hard parcours. As a result, we have various levels of freshness and abilities on the squad that we will seek to utilize in the best way possible to achieve a top result”.

Roman Kreuziger

Roman Kreuziger time trialing at this year's Giro d'Italia

Clásica San Sebastián challenges the riders with 219km in winding, undulating terrain, which traditionally has favored the aggressive moves in the race finale.

“The race has a altitude gain of 2,613m. It isn't an extremely hard race but still, it is a long and tough one and can be hectic at times with a nervous bunch. The race course suits Roman the most and he will be our leader for San Sebastián. He comes from a very busy season and although, ideally, we will aim for the overall win, at least we will try to be in the top spots”,

The 219km parcours consists of three distinctive phases. The first, a 100km long section that starts in San Sebastián and passes through most of the Gipuzkoa province before the race enters a circuit of approximately 40km. Here, the race will tackle the iconic first category climbs of Jaizkibel and Arkale that have featured in the Basque race since its inception in 1981.

“The third and final part of the race is most probably the decisive one. It contains the climb of Bordako Tontorra just 7km from the finish, and although it isn't a long one, only approximately 3 kilometers, it has an average gradient of 9 percent with segments of 22 percent. The race was decided here last year and this could likely be repeated this year as well. We enter this race with a motivated squad, we realize that the competition is tough and that the outcome is not easy to control in a terrain like this but we seek to create a good result for the team”, finishes Patxi Vila.

BMC's rosters for upcoming races

The BMC Racing Team has revealed its rosters for a pair of WorldTour races this weekend - Clasica San Sebastian and the Tour de Pologne - as well as the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday.

For Clasica San Sebastian, Philippe Gilbert (2011 winner) and Greg Van Avermaet (third in 2011) are past podium placers. Darwin Atapuma is a past stage winner at the Tour de Pologne in 2013. Gilbert (fourth) and Loïc Vliegen (seventh) finished in the top 10 last year at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

Clasica San Sebastian (Aug. 1)

Riders: Damiano Caruso (ITA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sport Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA)

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic (Aug. 2)

Riders: Tom Bohli (SUI), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Floris Gerts (NED), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sport Director: Max Sciandri (ITA).

Tour de Pologne (Aug. 2-8)

Riders: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK).

Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA).

Here's the who and where for Lotto-Soudal's next races

In the beginning of August, Lotto-Soudal will ride several races. Saturday 1, August, the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián is scheduled. It’s a one day race that is part of the World Tour and it’s organized in the Basque country. The day after, the London-Surrey Classic will be ridden. That’s also a one day race but this one is part of the Europe Tour. This race takes place in and around London.

From Sunday 2 August till Saturday 8 August, the 72nd Tour de Pologne is on the menu. That’s a Polish stage race that is part of the World Tour. On Tuesday 4 August, the 25th edition of the Post Danmark Rundt is going to start, a stage race in Denmark. This race is part of the Europe Tour. Also this race will end on Saturday 8 August. These are the selections of Lotto Soudal for the coming races.

Team selection Clásica San Sebastián: Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Pim Ligthart, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Tosh Van der Sande en Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Frederik Willems.

Former winner of this race, Tony Gallopin, won't participate this year due to a knee injury. This injury occurred during stage 16 in the Tour de France.

Tiesj Benoot

Tiesj Benoot will be on the start line of the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián

Team selection London-Surrey Classic: Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Thomas De Gendt, Jürgen Roelandts, Dries Van Gestel en Kenneth Van Rooy.

Sports director: Marc Wauters.

André Greipel isn’t fully recovered from his knee injury, which occurred during stage 14 in the Tour de France. Trainees Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy are debuting.

Team selection Tour de Pologne: Sander Armée, Kris Boeckmans, Vegard Breen, Jasper De Buyst, Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort, Boris Vallée en Jurgen Van den Broeck.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts en Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Team selection Post Danmark Rundt: Lars Bak, Kenny Dehaes, Seans De Bie, Frederik Frison, Pim Ligthart, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert en Tosh Van der Sande.

Sports directors: Bart Leysen en Marc Wauters.

Trainee Frederik Frison is debuting.

Sky signs two young riders

Team Sky has today announced that it is signing two young British riders as stagiaires, giving them the opportunity to gain experience with the 2015 Tour de France winning team.

Alex Peters, 21, and Tao Geoghegan Hart, 20 – both from London – will start their apprenticeships with Team Sky from 1st August, with Alex making his debut appearance at the RideLondon Classic on 2nd August. Alex will then sign a two year contract with the team at the start of the 2016 season.

Alex joins from SEG Racing Academy as a stagiaire but will also sign to the team on 1st January 2016 on a two-year contract. Recent highlights from Alex’s career include a stage win of the Tour de Bretagne, 2nd at the Tour de Normandie and 2nd in the An Post Ras tour.

Hackney-born Tao joins from Axeon Cycling Team where he has been riding for two years. He has notched impressive performances with Axeon including placing 15th at the 2014 Tour of Britain, 10th at Tour de l’Avenir, and 3rd at the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Announcing the new arrivals, Head of Performance Operations, Rod Ellingworth said: "Britain is producing some of the best cyclists in the world and I am proud of the role that Team Sky can play in inspiring and supporting home-grown talent. We’ve been watching Alex and Tao progress over the last few years and they’re both showing real promise. It’s a big step in their developing careers and we’re happy that they are taking that step with us."

On signing for Team Sky, Alex Peters said: "Since I’ve signed for the SEG Racing Academy in October last year, things have gone faster than I could ever have expected. Together with the SEG Racing team and the staff, I was able to make the necessary steps in my development to get ready for the World Tour level. It’s been a great learning process and the best education I could have wished for. When I found out that Sir Dave Brailsford and the Team Sky staff were following my career, it made me extremely proud and motivated. I want to succeed as GC rider in the future and I feel Sky is the best platform for me to listen, learn and develop. Signing for Team Sky is a dream come true and I can’t wait to start."

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