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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
August 4, 2014

Second edition

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

2015 Giro d'Italia and the Mortirolo?

Hot diggity! Italian web site is reporting that the 2015 Giro will ascend the staggeringly difficult Mortirolo climb from Mazzo di Valtellina. The stage should finish in Aprica. We won't know for sure until October 6 when the Giro route is officially presented.

I believe the last time the Mortirolo was used was the 2010 Giro, stage 19. It also finished in Aprica. Michele Scarponi won the stage, but Ivan Basso, finishing with teammate Vincenzo Nibali, was second and took over the GC lead for good from David Arroyo.

Ivan Basso

Ivan Basso leads Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi in stage 19 of the 2010 Giro.

Tinkoff-Saxo answers UCI boss Brian Cookson

Brian Cookson gave an interview to regarding the UCI suspension of Tinkoff-Saxo rider Roman Kreuziger. Tinkoff-Saxo has answered with an open letter:

TO: UCI President, Mr. Brian Cookson

Re: Your interview of August 3rd on the Roman Kreuziger's case

Dear Mr. Cookson,

As Managing Director of Tinkoff Saxo I am writing to you in response to your statements in your interview of August 3rd to explain what you have described as an "inexplicable" decision by our team (i.e. the decision to put Roman Kreuziger in the line up for Tour of Poland).

I am not going to go through the history of the case - but just going straight to the point:

When the UCI informed the rider about its fluctuations in 2013 – which the rider received on the first day of the Tour de France - he was requested to provide an explanation but no provisional suspension was imposed; it was fine for him to continue racing, and he did.

In May 2014, again shortly before the start of the TdF, the UCI formally indicated it would initiate proceedings against the rider but, again, nothing was said about a possible provisional suspension pending the outcome of those proceedings.

The team did not suspend him but decided, with his agreement, not to send him to TdF to protect him and the team (which was trying to win that race) from media attention, speculation and to allow him to get his defence organized.

It should be noted that since becoming aware of the issue in 2013 the team had requested expert opinions, had reviewed Kreuziger's expert opinions, had reviewed the UCI anti doping rules applicable at the time and concluded that the rider should be eligible to continue racing, a decision, until now supported by the UCI.

On June 28th the team clearly stated: "Though he won’t be racing for now, until more information becomes available to the team it will not provisionally suspend Roman unless required by the UCI or the Czech Federation".

UCI did not react to the public statement from the team that its clear understanding was that the rider was not suspended.

More than a month after that statement both Roman and the team expected to be able to have him racing in Tour of Poland. After all, we have a contract with the rider and we pay him a salary to race.

What seems inexplicable to us is how UCI can decide that from a certain moment in time but also retroactively the interpretation of the rule, that riders will not be provisionally suspended for alleged blood passport violations, which has applied since 2011 when the blood passport was introduced, shall be revised. What changed on August 1st, 2014?

It is also hard to understand how the UCI's President in the same interview can state, on the one hand, that "I don't know the detailed history of the case as I wasn't the president then, and one of the things that I have done is separate myself from the detail of the anti-doping process" and, on the other hand, "There are very serious anomalies": obviously one of the two statements can not be true.

It is also difficult not to object to your statements below:

(i) "The WADA code is clear but a little bit ambivalent on that point", and (ii) "And I'm not saying that he [Kreuziger]'s guilty" but "In this instance that’s [to suspend the rider provisionally] what we've decided and we're going to look at all future cases to see if they should be pursued in the same way. It's not a definite once and for all though".

It seems to us that (a) a penalty to a rider shall be applied only based on very precise and verified circumstances (b) UCI and yourself have written that the provisional suspension is imposed because it is likely that the rider’s results will be affected by the asserted anti-doping rule violation - thus you believe he is guilty; and (c) we believe that justice shall be administered treating all cases in the same manner and not on a case by case basis.

This team is fully committed to the fight against doping in sport, to the use of the biological passport and to the application of strict anti-doping rules but does believe this should be conducted in a manner that respects the facts and proper process, guarantees proper defense right and do not jeopardize the team's ability to plan properly when hiring riders and select a team to participate in a race.

Kindest regards
Stefano Feltrin


BMC roster for Tour of Utah

The Tour of Utah starts today. BMC sent me their roster for the race, right down to the bus driver. Here is their press release:

Past Tour de France and world road champion Cadel Evans headlines the BMC Racing Team's roster for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

Bookwalter A Former Stage Winner
Winner of the world title in 2009 and the Tour de France in 2011, Evans and four others on the BMC Racing Team's roster are first-time participants in the seven-day race that begins Monday. Brent Bookwalter, who has competed in six of the race's 10 editions, is a former stage winner and has twice helped BMC Racing teammates win the race overall: Jeff Louder in 2008 and Johann Tschopp in 2012.

Brent Bookwalter (USA), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Ben Hermans (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sport Director:
Jackson Stewart (USA)

Scott Major (USA)
Max Testa (ITA)

Bus Driver: Andrzej Bek (POL). Mechanics: Aaron Fairley (USA), Ian Sherburne (USA). Press Officer: Sean Weide (USA). Soigneurs: Patrice Hemroulle (BEL), Anthony Lafourte (BEL), Trudi Rebsamen (USA).

Cannondale for Tour of Utah

Here's Cannondale's press release for the Tour of Utah:

On Monday, August 4th through Sunday, August 10th, Cannondale Pro Cycling will kick off its U.S. summer schedule at the Tour of Utah. The Green Machine will be one of the race's leading teams for the second year in a row.

All eyes will be on experienced rider and Cannondale Pro Cycling team captain Ivan Basso during this race. "I'm really excited to come back racing in the U.S. after two years," said the Italian rider. "It's my first time at Tour of Utah, but I've heard positive comments on the race. American races are always very challenging, and the route of the race is pretty demanding. I hope to get a great result for our American fans."

Cannondale Pro Cycling will line up a team of strong climbers including George Bennett, young gun Matej Mohoric, and Cristiano Salerno to support Basso. In addition, Alan Marangoni, Cameron Wurf and Juraj Sagan will be the team's three long distance riders to set the pace and to manage the peloton.

On July 27th, the seven riders, team director Alberto Volpi, and other team staff arrived in Utah to acclimate to the altitude and ensure that jetlag would not have an impact on their performance. "We would like to attend the Tour of Utah at our best," said Volpi. "It was really important for us to have few days to get acclimated - riders were able to train well and to take confidence with the weather."    

Lotto-Belisol rider crashed while training

Got this short note from Lotto-Belisol: Frederik Willems crashed on a training ride this morning. The Lotto Belisol rider hit his left collarbone. Willems also has a fractured shoulder blade, rib fractures and a concussion. He was taken to the hospital of Eeklo. One of the next days he will undergo surgery.

Ag2r-La Mondiale happy after Tour of Poland stage 1

Needless to say, Ag2r was well-pleased with Yauheni Hutarovich's sprint victory in the Tour of Poland's first stage. The race was held under horrible conditions. Here's their press release:

After an outstanding Tour de France, the team AG2R LA MONDIALE continues its momentum with the stage win in a sprint of Yauheni Hutarovich on the Tour of Poland. This is the 3rd victory this season for the Belarusian rider who put the leader’s jersey of the World Tour race.

Yauheni Hutarovich said after he crossed the finish line: “The temperature at the start was very high with more than 35°C. Then, the wind has really picked up and it started raining very hard. The conditions were tough with a very slippery and dangerous final circuit. I fell once on the second crossing in the finish line, about fifteen kilometers from the finish, but I have been able to quickly recover. In the last kilometers, I tried to remain my position at the front of the pack and I was able to well develop power. Then, I did what I know how to do, I started to sprint 250 meters from the finish line and I managed to hold on to the very end! Our good collective spirit was still present, my teammates helped me throughout the race in particular to collect bottles. I’m very happy with this victory and tomorrow we will try to keep the yellow jersey.”

Yauheni Hutarovich

Yauheni Hutarovich wins Tour of Poland Stage 1. Photo ©Sirotti

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