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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, January 7, 2016

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

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Rohan Dennis, Katrin Garfoot win Australian time trial champs

This update came from BMC:

07 January, 2016, Buninyong, Victoria (AUS): Rohan Dennis has kicked the 2016 season off in winning form, taking out the Individual Time Trial at the Australian Road National Championships. Dennis set a blistering pace to storm home in 51:13, 38 seconds ahead of Richie Porte, who made his debut for BMC Racing Team, with Sean Lake in third.

The green and gold jersey is a dream come true for Dennis. "It's always a dream to win the Aussie nationals. I've won the Under 23's and now I've got a senior medal. To be able to wear the green and gold in every time trial this year is a true honor. We can have a bit of a celebration tonight and say job well-done for Thursday. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best at whatever I aim to be at, so the time trial at Rio is my big goal for this year."

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis at the 2015 world time trial championships

Runner-up Porte was happy with the result in his first race for the team. "It was more of a relaxed start to the year but I'm happy to be on the podium to be honest and I'm not surprised that Rohan has taken this win. He deserves it, he's hungry and I know how much he's wanted that national jersey. We're teammates now so I'm thrilled to see him win. I've been waiting to put the colours on and I'm happy. It's a great team and I'm really looking forward to 2016. To be a month into the season and to finish second to a class time trialist like Rohan is a great way to start the season."

BMC Racing Team Sports Director, Marco Pinotti, said the result could not have been better. "It was a perfect start to the season. I'm happy for Rohan because he did better than last year so he has improved one year on and is getting stronger, and I'm happy for Richie because he hasn't raced since the Tour de France and he did as well as last year. The course was very demanding a quite a long time trial for this time of the year."

Pinotti said today's result bodes well ahead of the road race on Sunday. "The result is a confidence boost for Sunday. The road race will be more of a lottery but we have two strong guys in the field."

"Richie and I are strong, 1-2 in the time trial so I'm sure we can play a good card and hopefully take another green and gold," Dennis said.

Results:

  1. Rohan Dennis: 51min 13sec
  2. Richie Porte @ 38sec
  3. Sean Lake @ 1min 34sec

And Orica-AIS sent me this news:

2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Katrin Garfoot has claimed her first national title, taking out the Mars Cycling Australia Time Trial Championship with a blistering ride in Buninyong today. After finishing fourth, less than ten seconds off the gold medal, at the 2015 world championships, Garfoot entered the 29.3km race against the clock as one of the favourites and didn’t disappoint finishing in a time of 43minutes 16.37seconds.

Garfoot admitted to nerves heading into the race, but was pleased to be able to tick off a major career goal. “There was a lot of pressure, more than the world championship it felt like, and I gave it my all,” the 34-year-old said. “I was really suffering out there, I was dizzy over the line so it’s not that I didn’t fight. I fought.”

Katrin Garfoot

Katrin Garfoot at the 2014 world time trial championships

“It feels really good (to wear the green and gold jersey). It’s one more thing off the bucket list so it feels amazing. It feels good to know that on this day, you are the best in Australia. It might give me some confidence but it’s not an international field so we will have to keep fighting for selection for Olympics.”

After the completion of the 24-rider field, Garfoot was 46.1seconds quicker than her nearest rival in Shara Gillow (QLD). Tiffany Cromwell (SA) rounded up the podium one-minute 37.7seconds adrift.

Talking about her ride, Garfoot said she went out hard and had to dig deep in the final kilometres. “I was nervous before the start and went out really hard so I had to pull myself back,” she said. “The radio wasn’t working properly so I actually thought I was down at the turnaround point so I really had to push on the uphill sections. Even in the final four kilometres I was really pushing hard. I didn’t know my time until I crossed the line.”

The Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships conclude with the road race on Sunday.

Mars Cycling Australia Time Trial National Championships - Race Results:

1. Katrin Garfoot (QLD) 43:16.37
2. Shara Gillow (QLD) +46.1
3. Tiffany Cromwell (SA) +1:37.7

Tony Martin wants a classics win

This was from Martin's team Etixx-Quick Step:

Besides the usual races he does each season, the 30-year-old German wants to ride in 2016 two of cycling’s toughest one-day events.

Last year saw Tony Martin take five wins, one of which came in the Tour de France, where he finished first in stage four to Cambrai, after an audacious attack inside the final three kilometers of the day. That victory – his fifth in the Grande Boucle – allowed him to don the prized yellow jersey for the first time in his career. Unfortunately, just two days later, the German was forced to retire from the race due to a fractured collarbone he suffered in the run-in to Le Havre and had to take a break in order to recover, which delayed his preparations for the World Championships.

"2015 was a season with a lot of up and downs. My main goal was to take a stage and the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. I reached my goal, and that was brilliant. On the other hand, I didn't win as much as I expected in the spring. The condition was always good, but I missed some luck. Then, as I was approaching the last part of the season, I had my mind on the Richmond World Championships, but did not mange to win the rainbow jersey, and that was a huge disappointment", said Tony Martin of his eight season in the pro ranks.

Tony Martin

Tony Martin wins 2015 Tour de France stage 4

For next year, things are pretty much clear in terms of racing schedule and goals. The German powerhouse will be gunning for a record-equaling fourth world time trial title and another stage victory in the Tour de France. But there's more than just stage races and the World Championships for Tony Martin, who made an important addition to his program for 2016 and is now set to ride the cobbled races campaign for the first time in his career. Previously, his sole experience in a Northern semi-classic came in 2008, at Dwars door Vlaanderen, where he finished 42nd.

I wanted to try some new things, so that's why I talked with the team at the end of last season and agreed to go for the Belgian classics and semi-classics.
"I will mix the regular races I usually do with the one-day races, which means I'll line-up for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Dwars door Vlaanderen, and if everything will work well I will try to be part of the team that will go in Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix in the following months. Obviously, I can't say that I want to win there, but to test myself, to see how I do in this kind of races. It would be great to be useful to the team in those races that are really important for us, as we are a team with Belgian roots. This spring will be a test and if the signals will be good, then I'd like to continue on this road. But first I need to gain some experience, so that's why I'm downplaying any expectations", concluded Tony Martin, who is now attending Etixx – Quick-Step's second training camp of the winter, in Calpe.

Dutch classics rider Michael Boogerd gets 2-year ban

AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) -- Cycling's governing body has banned former one-day classics specialist Michael Boogerd two years for doping during his career.

The UCI gave no details of the retired Dutch rider's agreement to accept a ban running through Dec. 21, 2017. Boogerd was an official with the Dutch second-tier team Roompot Oranje last season but is now suspended from working in the sport.

Michael Boogerd

Michael Boogerd racing in the 2003 Tour of Flanders

Now 43, Boogerd admitted in a 2013 television interview that he used EPO and banned blood transfusions when he rode for the Rabobank team.

He won the Amstel Gold Race in 1999 and had several podium finishes in the premier Dutch event. Boogerd had two stage wins in the Tour de France, with a best finish of fifth in the doping-marred 1998 race won by Marco Pantani.

Here is the UCI statement on Michael Boogerd:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces today that Michael Boogerd has been sanctioned with a two years’ ineligibility for the anti-doping rule violations he committed during his cycling career.

The ban is effective until 21 December 2017.

The case has been resolved via an acceptance of consequences as provided for by the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

The UCI will not comment any further.

Matteo Rabottini "went to hell" after EPO positive

La Gazzetta dello Sport has a sad story: the history of pro cyclist Matteo Rabottini's getting caught with EPO in his system and the terrible consequences that followed.

After winning a stage as well as the mountain classification in the 2012 Giro d'Italia, Rabottini was unable to repeat his success in the following seasons. Nicknamed "Rambo", he was riding for the Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team.

Desperate to find that old magic, in 2014 he bought a vial of EPO from a retired pro for 300 Euros. On August 4, the day after he bought the blood booster he injected it into his arm.

On August 7 he was awakened in the morning for an out-of-competition test. The UCI's representative took samples of both Rabottini's blood and urine. On September 12 he was told he had tested positive for EPO. He initially denied taking the substance but the counter-analysis was also positive and Rabottini folded.

Matteo Rabottini

Rabottini racing in the 2014 Trofeo Leigueglia

He agreed to work with the UCI and his two-year suspension was shortened by three months. He will be allowed to race again on May 6.

But, since that positive, he says everyone has deserted him. His father took it badly and his mother has refused to speak to him. His partner has left him, taking their son Diego with her.

"You say that time fixes everything, but it does not. It's hell and that's it. I say to all young people, 'I know what hell is. Do not make that mistake'."

He still has to pay a 91,000 Euro fine. He mortgaged his house and says he has nothing left. But the 28-year old racer still hopes to race again.

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