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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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

Today's Racing

As for current, ongoing racing, we'll have the fourth stage of the HC-ranked Tour de Wallonie.

Next race up will be the 2.1-rated Volta a Portugal, starting Wednesday, the 29th, and continuing through August 9th.

Androni Giocattoli squad suspended

First, here's the July 27 statement from the UCI:

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that it has notified Italian rider Fabio Taborre of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of FG-4592 (*) in a sample collected during an out-of-competition test on 16 June 2015.

The rider has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.

In accordance with UCI Anti-doping Rules (UCI ADR), the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.

This constitutes the second AAF for a member of the UCI Professional Continental Team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (**) since the beginning of 2015 and within a twelve-month period. Therefore article 7.12.1 UCI ADR providing for the suspension of the Team from 15 to 45 days will be applied.

The UCI will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Commission which will render a decision in the upcoming days.

At this stage of the procedure, the UCI will not comment any further on any of these matters.

(*) FG-4592 is a prohibited substance that has the property of stimulating the endogenous production of EPO.

(**) On 30 June 2015, the UCI Professional Continental Team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec Italian rider Davide Appollonio was notified of an AAF of EPO in a sample collected during an out-of-competition test on 14 June 2015.

Androni Giocattoli team boss Gianni Savio agreed to suspend the team for a week.

He also announced that he is going to sue Taborre as well as the rider with the earlier positive, team member Davide Appollonio. Earlier in the season the team riders all agreed to pay a fine of 100,000 Euros if they were caught doping, plus pay for whatever damages they caused.

Gianni Savio and Davide Appollonio

Gianni Savio with Davide Appollonio earlier this year.

“If the counter-analysis confirm the positivity, another stupid criminal has committed a crime that seriously damages our team,” said Savio.

“We have struggled against doping with all our strengths and zero tolerance. We have held seminars for the riders with Attorney Giuseppe Napoleone and fixed a high penalty. We thought that would be a sufficient deterrent but unluckily the reality seems to be different.

“We have done everything possible and we have never put our riders under pressure, we have simply required commitment, reliability and loyalty. We are deeply disheartened but we will not stop fighting.”

Riders stick by Bernaudeau, for now

Rental car company Europcar will stop sponsoring its first division team in the World Tour at the end of 2015.

Back in October of 2014, Europcar communications director Nathalie Poujul told the AFP news agency, “We are preparing our fifth year of partnership alongside Bernaudeau’s team and we will be keen to show our support throughout the 2015 season as we did for four years now. We wanted to communicate our decision as soon as possible to the team to facilitate its search for a new partner.”

But, so far, team boss Jean-René Bernadeau has been unsuccessful in finding a replacement sponsor for the team. He has said he needs to find 5.6 million Euros to continue.

Pierre Rolland

Europcar rider Pierre Rolland earned the red number after Tour stage 19 and finished 10th overall.

The riders have, however, given Bernaudeau a little breathing room. During the post-Tour de France celebrations the riders committed to stand by their manager at least until the middle of August before signing with other teams.

Good luck, Jean-René!

Tour de Wallonie team report

This came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel made a bold effort to exchange yesterday’s second place for a stage win. Breschel launched an early move on the finishing climb in Namur but was caught going under the flamme rouge from where he latched on to a decimating group of favorites. “In cycling, if you don’t risk something, you’ll never gain everything”, says sports director Lars Michaelsen.

Following 207 cold, rainy kilometers from Bastogne to Namur, Matti Breschel took 10th place, 4 seconds off stage winner Philippe Gilbert after the team had put in an effort to prepare the terrain for the fast Dane. Team sports director Lars Michaelsen adds about the final uphill battle up the 1.9km Côte de la Citadelle:

“On the finishing climb to the Citadelle in Namur, Matti launched an attack with 1.6k to go going a bit below his maximum to provoke an uphill fight among the favorites. Nobody reacted to Matti’s attack before Gilbert countered him and finally set a pace that was just a notch to high for Matti to follow at that moment. However, Matti came in with the group of favorites trailing by 4 seconds”, explains Lars Michaelsen before adding.

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel at this year's Paris-Nice

“Our team of just five riders worked very well, riders like McCarthy and Chris Juul put in a dedicated effort and were essential in reeling the breakaway back in. Matti took a chance today – he wanted to swap his second place from yesterday with a win. In cycling, if you don’t risk something, you’ll never gain everything. It was a bold move that could have paid off big time, while he probably could have finished 2nd or 3rd had he waited”.

Tomorrow’s flatter stage could prove harder than on paper, with harsh weather conditions affecting Tour de Wallonie.

“We will be on the lookout again tomorrow. Stage four looks like a bunch sprint finish but the wind, if it’s from the right direction, could stir things up and create some ravage. Today, we saw that Brutt crashed due to the slippery Wallonian roads. Fortunately, he came back and ended up putting in a solid effort, but it shows that we must stay attentive especially in these conditions”, finishes Lars Michaelsen.

Peter Sagan crashes while doing wheelie

Peter Sagan crashed while doing a wheelie after beating Chris Froome in the first post-Tour race. The Slovak points classification winner won the race in Aalst, Belgium.

Click here if you want to watch the short video of the crash.

And here's a video of Sagan teaching how to do a wheelie:

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