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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Saturday, January 24, 2015

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Rohan Dennis Holds on to Tour Down Under Lead

Rohan Dennis gave the other contenders at the Tour Down Under a surprise. He can climb with the best of them has held on to his GC lead on a day most thought he would lose it.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis finishes stage 5

His team BMC issued this release regarding the day's events:

"Rohan Dennis of the BMC Racing Team gutted out a runner-up finish on Old Willunga Hill Saturday to keep the overall lead of the Santos Tour Down Under by two seconds over stage winner Richie Porte (Team Sky).

"With only Sunday's 20-lap, 90-kilometer circuit race through the streets of Adelaide to go, Dennis is on the verge of scoring his first overall victory in a WorldTour race while teammate Cadel Evans sits in third after finishing fourth on the day.

"I am so, so happy," Dennis said after donning the race leader's ochre jersey in front of a sun-baked crowd. "I really could not have done it without the team. I know it is cliché, but they really were amazing. Every single time there was a stressful situation, they were there to surround and protect me and make my job as easy as possible."

"After teammates Silvan Dillier, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss helped with the pacemaking to bring back the last rider from the day's breakaway, Peter Stetina and Evans went to work. The three BMC Racing Team riders combined efforts with three Astana Pro Team riders and two from FDJ to push the pace. The result was a nearly 10-second advantage that forced a furious pursuit before the group of eight was caught with 4.5 km left in the 151.5-km race.

"We were up there with Peter, Rohan and myself and it was great," Evans said. "We didn't miss anything all day. But of course that left us a little bit more fatigued in the finish, which may have cost me in the last few hundred meters. But if I am behind, they are going to ride like crazy in front. So we had to be there being first and second on the general classification. Sometimes defending can be a little bit harder."

"Porte, who won this same stage a year ago, made the first of several attacks with 1.2 km left. And like last year, Evans was first to follow. But the past Tour de France winner and world road champion could not keep pace, leaving Dennis to take up the chase.

"I actually felt pretty comfortable when he (Porte) first went," Dennis said. "But then he kept kicking and kicking – and then he kicked again. I think it was at about 350 or 400 meters to go that I had had enough. I actually thought if I kept going, I would have dropped dead. But Richie sort of went – in hindsight – probably a little bit too late, because really he had better legs than me. I will have to thank him for that."

"Porte crossed the finish nine seconds ahead of Dennis. Ruben Fernandez (Movistar Team) finished third – seven seconds later – with Evans arriving in the same time. In the overall standings, Evans is 20 seconds off the lead, with fourth-placed Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) a further two seconds back.

"Evans, runner-up at this race a year ago and set to retire after competing in his own race on Feb. 1, said he was glad he could help Dennis hold onto the lead gained Thursday after a solo victory on Stage 3.

"Obviously he was riding a little bit better than me and the results proved that," Evans said. "I would rather walk away with a high place on the classification. I wanted to come here and enjoy my time and do the best that I can. I really got everything out of myself this week. I don't think we made any mistakes. We certainly are in a better position that we hoped to be."

BMC also sent this release regarding Samuel Sanchez:

"Samuel Sánchez has signed with the BMC Racing Team for the 2015 season, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Friday.

Samuel Sanchez

Samuel Sanchez rides stage 16 of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana

"The 2008 Olympic road champion was one of the BMC Racing Team's leading contributors last year. He finished sixth in the Vuelta a España and fifth at Il Lombardia while regularly playing the role of super domestique. At Amstel Gold Race, his attack on the climb of the Cauberg set up teammate Philippe Gilbert's victory. At the Giro d'Italia, the Spaniard rode in service of teammate Cadel Evans, who led the race for four days before finishing eighth. Sánchez later helped Gilbert win the overall at the Tour of Beijing.

"We are pleased to extend our relationship with Samuel for the 2015 season," Ochowicz said. "He was a great contributor to our success in 2014 and we expect to see the same again this year. His program will focus on the grand tours and WorldTour races where his strong experience and multitude of skills will be a big benefit to the team."

"Sánchez said returning to the BMC Racing Team is the perfect fit for him in the twilight of his career.

"For me, the BMC Racing Team is my team," he said. "I know the riders. I know the team. And I don't like to change much. I prefer one team. As for my fitness, I may not be ready to race tomorrow, but I did a good job at home to stay active. I was riding my mountain bike and doing cyclocross. My level is not good, but it is not bad, either."

"BMC Racing Team Sporting Manager Allan Peiper said Sánchez's return is more good news in a month that has already included a silver medal by Rohan Dennis at the Australian national time trial championships and Dennis's stage win and race leadership this week at the Santos Tour Down Under.

"Everyone is very happy to have Sammy back," Peiper said. "From a sporting perspective, he gives us that much more depth. We saw last year what a game-changer he can be. This year we expect him to contribute in pretty much the same way, but maybe with a little more focus on the support and development of the big influx of young talent we have brought into the team."

"Specific terms of Sánchez's contract were not disclosed, in keeping with BMC Racing Team policy."

Roman Kreuziger Says Lie Detector Test Is Evidence of his Innocence

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Roman Kreuziger says he took a lie detector test to show he is innocent of doping. Kreuziger is accused of doping in 2011 and 2012 while he was on the Astana team. The Czech Olympic committe has decided Kreuziger is innocent, but the UCI remains concerned about "serious anomolies" in his blood values and has requested a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The hearing has not yet been set up.

Roman Kreuziger

Roman Kreuziger climbs in 2014

On his own web site, Kreuziger has posted this:

"I have never tested positive for doping. Despite this for a year and a half now I have been living in uncertainly as to whether I will be able to continue to devote myself to my life’s passion and continue with my career.

"Since June 2013 I have been investigated by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for an alleged violation of anti-doping regulations on the basis of supposed anomalies in my biological passport.

"However, I have never exceeded the basal values and did not even approach these values. The Arbitration Committee of the Czech Olympic Committee cleared me of any wrongdoing in October of this year. The UCI have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne and I am still threatened with a four year ban and a high fine.

"I condemn doping and cheating in sport. I consider the biological passport to be an excellent tool. However, clear rules for its use must be set out otherwise it is useless and can be used to eliminate anyone. Rules cannot be changed during a game. And that is what is happening now. What purpose do the basal values serve if mere suppositions are used to determine guilt?

"The proceedings have dragged on unbearably. I was forced to wait without reason many long months for a statement from the UCI. This year I was unable to compete in the Tour de France or other subsequent races. My career will soon be over, and dragging out this case could destroy it.

"I don’t ask for sympathy or leniency. I have always respected the principles of fair play, and as a competitor at two Olympic Games I respect the principles of the Olympic Charter. Today I find myself part of an absurd theatre, but tomorrow it could happen to any other athlete. I want a just process, I want clear rules and I want fair treatment."

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