Latest News in Cycling
- French legislature could match 1998 Tour samples with names; Jalabert says he can’t be certain he wasn’t doped
PARIS (AFP) — A commission of inquiry for the senate in France will soon be able to put names on the anti-doping samples taken during the 1998 Tour de France, Senator Jean-Jacques PS Lozach said on Wednesday. Former world champion Laurent Jalabert told legislators that he could not be certain that team doctors at ONCE had not administered to him performance enhancing drugs in the 1990s.
“We are able to make comparisons between samples and PV with the names [of the riders],” said Lozach. “We still want to do a medical examination for all certainty, but we already have a very high probability” of successfully matching identities, the senator told Agence France Presse.
“We do not yet know how we will use it,” he added, stating that the decision would be taken jointly with other members of the commission.
In 2005, the anti-doping laboratory Chatenay-Malabry retested 60 samples from the 1998 Tour. Those tests searched for, among other substances, EPO, which was undetectable in tests available in 1998 and 1999. Those samples came to the laboratory without identification, as is protocol.
Since then, no identities have been matched with the samples, with the exception of one case: Lance Armstrong was discovered through the transmission of results by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) to the U.S. Anti-doping Agency, which was investigating the American rider.
“At the moment we have received those [1998 tests] and we thank the Department,” said Mr. Lozach.
Of the 60 samples retested, 44 contained traces of EPO, according an AFLD report sent to USADA.
It was during the 1998 Tour that the Festina affair erupted. After Festina captain Richard Virenque’s soigneur, Willy Voet, was arrested with doping products in his car prior to the Tour, the team’s riders and management were taken into custody. Jalabert led a rider protest that saw a number of teams, including ONCE, withdraw from the race. The late Marco Pantani won the overall ahead of Jan Ullrich and Bobby Julich. Each has subsequently been nabbed in doping inquiries or admitted to using banned substances.
Jalabert unsure of ONCE treatments
On Wednesday, Jalabert testified that he had never knowingly taken performance enhancing drugs without a Therapeutic Use Exemption.
“I’ve never looked at meeting doctors in order to improve my performance,” said Jalabert. “I’ve never spent a franc for seeing or buying forbidden substances. I’ve never wished to take part in the arms race.”
Jalabert rode for Manolo Saiz at ONCE from from 1992-2000 and for Bjarne Riis at CSC in 2001-2003. Saiz was exonerated last month on charges that he endangered riders’ health in organizing doping programs for the team, which later became Liberty Seguros and Würth, with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. Witness testimony at the Fuentes trial tied Riis to the banned doping doctor as well, but the Danish team manager, who admitted to doping his way to the 1996 Tour title, has been quiet over the issue.
Jalabert, who twice won the Tour’s green jersey and later the mountains classification, said on Wednesday that he could not deny with certainty having used PEDs.
“I can’t firmly say that I’ve never taken anything illegal,” he said. “I’ve effectively used products when it was necessary, in case of lesions or other injuries. At ONCE, in the evening after the stages, the doctor took care of us, for our recovery, but we didn’t really know what it was. A relationship with doctors based on mutual trust was established, so we didn’t ask questions. We were treated, I’ve never said otherwise. Were we doped? I believe we weren’t.”
- All five members of the 2012 Olympic team will be competing alongside more of the countryand#39;s best BMX riders vying for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys on Saturday, May 18, at the 2013 USA Cycling Elite BMX National Championships.
TREVISO, Italy (VN) — Throughout the first half of 2013, Garmin-Sharp riders were angling to earn a place at the start of the Giro d’Italia because they wanted to be part of team history. Ramunas Navardauskas earned a ticket and made the most of it when he saw the floundering team’s new approach to the race produce a stage win.
Following Ryder Hesjedal’s historic victory in last year’s corsa rosa, none of his teammates wanted to miss out on a shot at the repeat of the pink jersey. Despite riding into the Giro confident of success, things went flat for Hesjedal just as soon as the roads went up. Tuesday saw Hesjedal struggle on terrain where he usually shines, forfeiting all hope of riding for GC and forcing the team to reconsider its options.
Last night at the team hotel, Garmin riders and staff tried to put the bad spell behind them and change the chip. Forget the GC; attack and try to win stages — those were the new marching orders.
“That’s racing. The riders are human. We cannot program what we’d like to happen,” explained Garmin director Bingen Fernández. “We have to change the way we think about this Giro. We have a strong team. We can still take something out of this Giro.”
Less than 24 hours after Garmin’s Giro seemed to fade to black, the team’s fortunes turned around dramatically.
Ramunas Navardauskas, a 25-year-old Lithuanian, was just the man for the job.
Wednesday’s transition stage out of the Dolomites had breakaway written all over it. A strong time trialist and budding GC rider, he was a winner of a stage at the Tour de Romandie earlier this month.
With the team giving him the green light to attack on Wednesday, Navardauskas was ready to take his chance.
Once a big group formed on the stage’s first climb, Navardauskas revealed he has some tactical chops to go with his engine. He played it patient when Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) went alone too early. When he and Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) gave chase, it soon became very obvious that Navardauskas was on a good day.
Gretsch couldn’t hold pace when they came up to him, and neither could Oss when Navardauskas started to turn the screws in the final 10 kilometers.
Oss gave the ultimate compliment afterward, saying he was happy with second because Navardauskas “was the strongest.”
The win is the biggest of Navardauskas’ young but promising career.
At 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds, he has a huge natural engine and still has a long way to progress. He can already ride well in short stage races (he was second in the 2012 Tour of Denmark), has already confirmed himself as a capable time trialist, and also has promise in the classics.
Last year, Navardauskas got the call-up to start the Giro barely a week before the race started. He was quickly rewarded after helping Garmin drill home the team time trial win in stage 4, becoming the first Lithuanian to wear the pink jersey.
On Wednesday, his victory was a salve for the team’s woes.
“Ryder had a bad day yesterday. That’s racing, but we will keep fighting,” he said after the win. “Today we started a new type of race. The whole team is racing differently. We will try to keep winning more stages.”
Hesjedal was grateful for his younger teammate’s victory. Speaking to reporters at the finish line, he said the win would help bolster the team’s spirits going into the second half of the Giro.
Hesjedal was relieved to make it through the relatively routine stage. With the breakaway up the road, the rest of the peloton could get through the stage sticking to script.
Speaking to VeloNews before the start of the stage, Hesjedal was still at a loss to explain why he was struggling to follow the big moves.
He vowed to stay in the race, in large part to honor the Giro, which he won last year to become the first Canadian to win a grand tour.
“I want to honor the race. We’ll see what that situation is. I will support my team, the race, the fans. The support’s been incredible. I just have to keep going to see what happens,” he said.
The team will have more chances. Peter Stetina, who worked hard last year to help Hesjedal win pink, said the team would be ready to leave its mark in the mountains.
“This team is loaded with climbers,” Stetina said. “Ryder has some problems and we will continue to support him. We have strong riders on this team. We will still be looking for opportunities.”
With the Giro barely at its halfway mark, Garmin will have plenty of chances; it just won’t be riding for pink.
- 31.8mm -17 degrees
- Brand new still in box Quarq Riken BB30 Powermeter. Traditional 53/39 chainring and BB30 spindle diameter. 172.5 length.
So, let's focus on the Riken. For Quarq's 'next wave of powermeters,' we see a complete redesign over the Cinqo, with an emphasis placed on three key issues -- weight, accuracy, and ease of use. And starting with weight, the Riken features SRAM's carbon crankarms found on the last iteration of SRAM RED. You'll also find SRAM's RED Powerglide chainrings from one model back. But, as the name implies, the cranks feature a hollow construction. However, what isn't inferred is that the hollow cross-section design extends all the way to the new spider, creating SRAM's stiffest and lightest crank ever. In fact, the complete system tips the scales around 823 grams in a GXP format, leading us to believe that this BB30 iteration weighs even less. For some perspective, the newest RED crankset weighs around 585 grams, and the last Quarq RED Exogram powermeter weighed 830 grams. So, the Riken is sitting in a rather respectable position.
Riken's innovation didn't stop at the crankarms. For a rigid crankarm attachment, the Riken uses a newly designed, CNC-machined aluminum spider. Now, all of the data-collecting electronics, and the system's battery, is housed in the spider. Quarq is calling this OmniCal, but you can call it liberating. OmniCal enables the powermeter system to collect data independent of the chainrings. So, you can swap out rings for without affecting the accuracy of the system. And speaking of accuracy, the Riken powermeter system operates on the powerful ANT+ wireless system with an expressed accuracy of +/- 1.5% -- an accuracy improvement over the Cinqo Saturn's +/- 2%.
Choosing the Riken also provides you with several advantages over other systems. Our favorite has to be its ease of use. Along these lines, Quarq has remedied a common frustration to powermeters, setup. Now, the Riken's ANT+ ID is clearly visible and there's an LED indicator in order to make the setup a simplified affair. Another game-changing perk is the ability to change the system battery yourself. Unlike SRM Powermeter systems that require you to mail in your crankset for battery swap-outs, the Riken features a tool-less user replaceable CR2032 cell battery. And don't worry, with a predicted 300 hours of ride time per battery, you won't have to be changing it too often. This means more time in the saddle and no need for backup cranksets.
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VAJONT, Italy (VN) — Locked in a battle for the overall podium at the Giro d’Italia, Robert Gesink welcomed the news on Wednesday that American company Belkin could take over sponsorship of his Blanco team. After finishing the Giro’s 11th leg today, he explained that he hoped his performance was helping the Dutch team’s future.
“I’ve heard stories today, I don’t know if those are right. An American sponsor? That’d be nice, but I haven’t heard from the team what’s going to happen,” Gesink said. “I hope my presence here is helping the team. I’ll do anything, but I don’t know what the rumors mean. I hope they are true.”
The consumer electronics manufacturer may help close a bad chapter for Blanco.
When the Lance Armstrong scandal hit full speed over the winter, and reached into the team’s past, Rabobank pulled the plug and ended its 17-year run. The Dutch bank, the longest-tenured title sponsor at the sport’s top level, gave enough money for the team to continue this year, racing simply as Blanco, and continued supporting its women’s team, captained by Olympic champion Marianne Vos.
Belkin launched in California in 1983 and grew beyond U.S. borders. Today, the brand markets routers, mobile phone accessories, fiber optics cables, and other technology devices. Its European headquarters is near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. When contacted on Wednesday, a representative in the company’s London office told VeloNews, “We are interested, but there’s no agreement. However, it’d be a good investment to show the world what we do.”
The team told VeloNews that it would not comment on ongoing negotiations and that there would not be any announcement this week.
The possible good news comes at a time when Dutch cycling is on its knees. Several investigations and confessions have hurt teams’ sponsorship search.
Earlier today, Vacansoleil confirmed its plans to leave at year-end, after five years in the sport, saying it had achieved the marketing objectives it set when it entered cycling. The team is also losing secondary sponsor, DCM. With Blanco and Vacansoleil each searcing for major backing, only one of three Dutch ProTeams, Argos-Shimano, is certain to continue into 2014.
Gesink races on for Blanco at the Giro
Gesink continues racing for a Giro podium place despite sponsorship woes at home. After several years spent aiming for the Vuelta a España or the Tour de France, he decided to try the Italian grand tour in 2013.
“In Holland, they’ve always told me to go for a podium in the Tour, and I said that I first just wanted to try to get on the podium in the Giro or the Vuelta because I think the Tour is a bit harder than those two,” he said. “I’m here to try to get on the podium, of course, like you always try when you start a grand tour. We’ll see in the end if that’s possible.”
Gesink suffered on Tuesday and lost 57 seconds to race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). He now sits fifth overall, 2:12 down on GC. From Vajont this afternoon, he could see the surrounding Dolomites Mountains where the race will be finalized in just over a week’s time.
“Is a win within reach for this Giro?” he said. “I have to make up two minutes, but you never know because no one expected Ryder Hesjedal last year.”
Gesink’s attitude is just what Blanco needs as it tries to secure its future.