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SYDNEY (AFP) — Spain’s Movistar team will return to Australia’s Tour Down Under in January with an experienced squad, organizers said on Thursday.
Among their lineup is sprinter Juanjo Lobato, whose 2014 victories included the Tour de Wallonie and the Vuelta a Burgos, plus a fourth-place finish in Milano-Sanremo.
The Tour Down Under is the first UCI WorldTour event of 2015 and will run from January 17-25 in and around Adelaide.
“Movistar is celebrating its second consecutive year as the top-ranked team in the world, with 34 victories in 2014,” race director Mike Turtur said.
The team, which is Spain’s only WorldTour outfit, will be led by the veteran Pablo Lastras, 38, who is heading into his 18th season as a professional. On the other side of the spectrum, Spain’s Ruben Fernandez, 23, the winner of the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir, is a new face on the Movistar team roster in 2015.
The only non-Spanish rider set to represent Movistar in Australia is Italy’s Eros Capecchi, a Giro d’Italia stage winner.
Movistar Tour Down Under roster
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced that Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio returned an adverse analytical finding for testosterone in a sample collected in an out-of-competition anti-doping test performed on October 22, 2014.
Santambrogio, 30, was suspended by the UCI after testing positive for EPO during the 2013 Giro d’Italia, where he went on to finish ninth and win stage 14. Those results were subsequently disqualified; Santambrogio was fired by Vini Fantini (now known as Neri Sottoli or Yellow Fluo), and he was suspended by the UCI for 18 months — a term that had just ended at the beginning of November.
The Italian is not currently employed by a team, and may face a lifetime ban with this second doping violation, if a B sample confirms the result.
In accordance with UCI anti-doping rules, Santambrogio has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.
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CAMAIORE, Italy — Tirreno-Adriatico celebrates its 50th running in 2015, and organizers announced the race route on Thursday. The seven-day stage race will be held March 11-17.
In announcing the route for its silver anniversary, Tirreno-Adriatico remembered past champions of the race, including: Dino Zandegù, the first winner in 1966, Roger De Vlaeminck (six-time consecutive winner), Francesco Moser, Tony Rominger, Maurizio Fondriest, Abraham Olano, Paolo Bettini, Oscar Freire, Fabian Cancellara, Michele Scarponi, Cadel Evans, and more recently, Vincenzo Nibali (2012 and 2013), and reigning champion Alberto Contador.
“Tirreno-Adriatico is one of the races that made the history of this sport and that will keep on making it,” said RCS Sport’s head of cycling, Mauro Vegni. “This is shown by the repeated participation of the best riders in the world and continuous interest of big brands in sponsoring the event; every year more and more councils ask us about being part of the course too.”
The 2015 race is expected to draw Nibali (Astana), Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Chris Froome (Sky) out for a pre-Tour de France test, along with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), winner of the 2014 WorldTour.
2015 race route
Tirenno-Adriatico will start from Camaiore’s renowned Lido, in the Italian Versilia region, with a 22.7km team time trial.
Stage 2 will also start in Camaiore and finish in Cascina, covering 153 kilometers of mostly flat terrain.
Cascina will be the start of stage 3 and will finish in Arezzo, after 203 kilometers, on the same climb that saw Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) beat Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) last year.
Saturday’s stage 4 will be deceptively challenging, held predominantly between the Umbrian and Le Marche regions. The stage will start in Indicatore (Arezzo) and includes four king of the mountain climbs: Foce dello Scopetone, Poggio San Romualdo, Monte San Vicino, and Crispiero, which comes just before the short descent to Castelraimondo, where the race finishes after 218km.
The 194-kilometer queen stage will be held on Sunday, starting from Esanatoglia and finishing on the 5,495-foot Monte Terminillo climb, with two KOMs along the way (Passo Sallegri and Le Arette).
“This is a really compelling course, and the stage ending at the top of Monte Terminillo is perfect for Contador,” said Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo).
The penultimate stage is ideal for sprinters, a 210-kilometer dash from Rieti to Porto Sant’Elpidio.
The “Race of the Two Seas” will finish again in San Benedetto del Tronto, with a final-day, 10km individual time trial.
“For 2015, we created a course that, as in previous editions, will test every type of rider,” said Tirreno-Adriatico race director, Stefano Allocchio. “Participation will be extraordinary as usual. Contador, Nibali, Froome, Valverde, Rodriguez, just to give you some names, have all programmed to take part at the race already and I’m certain the spectacle will be guaranteed.”
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MILAN (VN) — Italian Riccardo Riccò, who is serving a 12-year doping ban, attacked cycling’s credibility at the launch his book, “A Funeral in Yellow — The Confessions of The Cobra.” Riccò called cycling’s reform commission “a joke” and said it is impossible to win a grand tour clean.
“It’s cleaner now but not completely clean,” the 31-year-old told Tutto Bici.
“You can [race a grand tour clean]. I did in 2006 at the Tour de France. Winning it clean? A one-day classic, yes. A grand tour, no.”
Riccò, nicknamed “The Cobra,” rocketed to the top of cycling in 2008. He won two stages and the youth classification and placed second overall to Alberto Contador in the Giro d’Italia. His Saunier Duval team took him to the Tour de France, where he won two stages and led the mountains and youth classifications before falling from the sky after a positive test for CERA-EPO.
He returned from a doping ban in 2010 and raced for Vacansoleil, but nearly died after a botched blood transfusion at home. The Italian Olympic Committee banned him again in 2012, this time for 12 years. He will be 40 years old when his ban ends in 2024, and said he would not return to racing because it would be too controversial.
Since 2012, Riccò has kept riding and considered challenging the record times on legendary climbs, such as Mont Ventoux. He also wrote a book with author Salvatore Lombardo that was released this summer in French and Tuesday in Italian.
At the book launch in Milan, Riccò spoke about his visit to the ongoing Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC). The commission has asked riders and others in the sport to speak anonymously about the 1990s and 2000s. Its job is to uncover the sport’s dark past, to learn from its secrets, and to make recommendations for the future. Riders like Lance Armstrong, Mauro Santambrogio and Riccò have met with the commission.
“The commission? It’s a joke,” Riccò said.
“I spoke for seven hours. I gave first and last names of people that still work in cycling today: doctors, sports directors, cyclists. But I didn’t get a reduction, even if they said that I could cut my ban by more than half. The rules are interpreted and applied differently, depending on who you are.
“In terms of doping, I was just the village cobbler up against Nike. I did what everyone else was doing, in fact, maybe less so and more as a craftsman.
“Armstrong? He was a champion, but with drugs he became what he became. Jan Ullrich was more talented. He was the true talent, not the American.”
Riccò brought a snake-like venom to cycling and sparked controversy when he spoke. Despite his ban, he appeared like the same “Cobra” at his book launch.
“If I could do it again? I would not make the same errors I made,” he said. “I would not dope gain, or I’d do it in a different way.”
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- If you’re like us, cyclocross is on the brain more often than you’d like to admit. Perhaps the obsession even permeates into your daily schedule, ... The post New England’s Newest Permanent Cyclocross Course: Interview with Riverpoint’s Lafleurs appeared first on Cyclocross...
...view the full story & post your comments at our site: http://cxmagazine.com
The latest generation of road helmets walks the line between aero helmets, like the Giro Air Attack, and the ventilation-heavy helmets of years past. These helmets, like the Giro Synthe and Kask Protone, offer ventilation that comes close to the featherweight helmets of the mid-2000s but with a consideration for aerodynamics.
Many would be quick to include the Bell Star Pro in this in-betweener family. But the Star Pro is first and foremost an aero road helmet. You won’t be seeing riders in the UCI WorldTour wearing the Star Pro to mountaintop finishes in the heat of July, though you would see the UnitedHealthcare team wearing it to countless criterium podiums. And we saw Lars Boom, who switches from Belkin to Astana for 2015, ride one to victory in the cold, wet weather in this year’s Tour de France stage on cobblestones.
What separates the Star Pro from other aero helmets is a convertible vent system on the sides and rear of the helmet. A small slider opens and closes these vents. When closed, Bell claims the Star Pro is faster than all challengers, and with the vents open Bell claims the Star Pro is still quite slippery in the wind, which I’m tempted to believe based on the Star Pro’s ventilation — or lack thereof — even when the switch is open.
The only helmet with a similar open/close design is the Kask Infinity. But on that one, the whole top of the helmet slides open.
On the road
The Star Pro is by no means a lightweight, highly ventilated helmet for climbing on hot days. On hotter days in the sun, the Star Pro heats up, especially in the forehead area where it lacks traditional vents. It has brow vents instead, between the forehead pad and the EPS foam. Theses vents require a good bit of speed before air starts traveling into them and across the head. The brow padding is a bit lacking; while comfortable, it did not absorb sweat as well as I’d like.
When opened, the vents pull air across the back of the head. A decent-sized exhaust port opens up that pulls air from the brow vents. It’s with the vents open that I really noticed the front of my head getting hotter than the back. Still, this small amount of venting can make a big difference on a hot day compared to other sparsely ventilated aero road helmets. It cools far better than the Air Attack, for example. On a hot day with long climbs and slow speeds when air doesn’t flow easily through the Star Pro’s smaller vents, a lightweight helmet like the Lazer Z1 would be our choice.
The Star Pro is available with a large Zeiss shield lens. The lens is sharp enough, which is unsurprising considering Zeiss’ stellar reputation, and the shield snapped in and out of the helmet with ease. But I still prefer sunglasses and, admittedly, I only rode with the shield once.
A cyclocross sleeper?
The Star Pro is a perfect cyclocross helmet. With its easy on-the-fly opening and closing of vents, a rider can start the race with the vents closed and open them up during the race if they should start to get exceptionally hot, though I never thought about my helmet’s vents during even warmer races.
The fit, however, may not be ideal for all cyclocross racers as it’s not as stable as we like. Especially with a cap on underneath, the Star Pro tended to move around on the head a bit. The retention system, which does not lock into different positions up and down in the rear like other helmets, floats and adapts to different head shapes, and this lack of secure adjustments is to blame for the Star Pro sometimes moving around on mine and other testers’ heads. Another tester noted that he preferred the fit and feel of his Specialized Evade to the Star Pro because of this problem, and that the Star Pro tended to rattle against the top of his Poc Do Blade sunglasses.
Without a hat on under it, the Star Pro stayed put considerably better, and it was a great cyclocross helmet on all but the hottest days.
If I were buying a true aero road helmet and was concerned primarily with marginal gains, it would be the Star Pro. The ability to open and close vents, despite their small size, makes the Star Pro more versatile than other true aero road helmets. The fit is top notch, at least without a hat. In testing my large model, I much prefer the fit to that of the Specialized Evade, despite issues that arose while testing during ’cross races. At $240 for the model without the shield, the Star Pro is barely less expensive than the Evade and is $40 more expensive than the Air Attack, though it’s simply a better helmet than the Air Attack. It has all of the aerodynamic advantages, plus the option of ventilation.
Suggested retail price: $240 ($280 with Shield)
We like: On-the-fly venting adjustment; doesn’t look too terrible
We don’t like: Helmet got a bit wobbly when we rode it during cyclocross and got even worse when a hat was worn under it
The scoop: Best option for anyone looking for a true aero helmet with few vents
Read more > >
Editor’s note: VeloNews contributor Steve Maxwell and his TheOuterLine.com partner Joe Harris are publishing a multi-part series of articles about how to improve the sport of cycling’s business foundation. This is an excerpt from the fifth article.
Professional cycling has never adopted a formal set of ethical standards for its riders, teams or governing officials. There has been no clear standard for responsible and ethical behavior — no training or guidelines, no expectation that people should do the right thing, even when “no one is looking.” Cycling has instead always relied on the strength of its rules and regulations — and prescribed punishments for violating them — to guide the behavior of its participants, to maintain order, and to keep the sport from breaking down.
But after more than a century of continuous cheating, a thoroughly entrenched culture of doping, and too many scandals to count, one could argue that the UCI’s rules and regulations have devolved into nothing more than strongly worded suggestions. Individuals with the right finances, advisers, and influence in cycling have basically been able to chart their own path. Worse, there have been examples where the governance structure itself has apparently fallen into that gray area where “turning a blind-eye” and actual collusion with the doping culture start to converge.
This problem is not just in pro cycling; there is simply no precedent for formal ethics programs anywhere in professional sports. There are codes of conduct and personal/professional behavior in the NBA, NFL, many professional European football leagues, and MLB, but these generally deal with relatively marginal issues, such as being civil in mandatory post-game press conferences, not using foul language, or not engaging in direct personal violence on the playing field. And these codes of conduct have obviously not stopped cheating or anti-social behavior; consider Michael Vick or Alex Rodriguez, Ray Rice, or farther back, Eric Cantona or Diego Maradona.
Instead of thinking in terms of true ethics, sports tend to speak in terms of the loosely defined ideals of sportsmanship. Helping someone up after a hard foul in basketball? Shaking hands with the losing team at the end of a game? Across a variety of playing fields, these types of actions imply that things are fair and honorable among those playing the game. But when the underlying model tacitly encourages cheating, criminal behavior and doping, or even fosters an environment where such practices are critical for success, then public perception of the game is compromised. Even cycling’s most appealing images of sportsmanship — like Tyler Hamilton signaling the lead group to wait for Lance Armstrong in the 2003 Tour de France stage to Luz Ardiden — only camouflage the true, two-tier situation in the sport — “Yes, we are all dopers and cheaters, but the peloton will do the honorable thing and wait for the fallen yellow jersey.”
Historically, an unspoken system of “shadow” rules evolved in pro cycling — a double standard that has led to an ethical breakdown, and in turn has encouraged individuals to exploit the limits of the rules to their own advantage. For example, blood transfusions led to EPO, which led to the implementation of the 50 percent hematocrit limit. But this temporary “rule” essentially gave every athlete a free pass to use EPO without consequence so long as they took precautions to stay below that threshold when tested. This effectively opened the door for some athletes with low hematocrits to utilize EPO and considerably boost their performance. When an EPO test was eventually developed, new methods were developed to navigate around the constraints — methods which now also include blood substitutes and as-yet undetectable Xenon gas inhalation treatments.
This ethical breakdown became so deep that cycling’s prevailing culture began to retaliate against those who fell out of line with this unspoken interpretation of the rules. Said another way, the sport has pushed people out not for breaking the rules, but for not breaking the rules in the accepted way! The previous UCI administration even took legal action against individuals, in what many believed to be a thinly-veiled attempt to silence criticism about the problem.
The ethics impasse helped cycling’s cheaters to develop several, by now well-known and sometimes overlapping categories of behaviors and excuses to explain their actions:
1. ‘Everyone else does it’
This is perhaps the most common or widespread excuse. This rider sees everyone else engaging in an illegal activity, and succeeding — and furthermore sees that few people are ever punished. So why not take the seemingly negligible risk and “join the club” too? An unbroken string of generally unrepentant riders has joined in this chorus over the last 30 years — including many of the most famous names in the sport.
2. ‘I had to do it just to survive’
This rider feels like he has to dope just to keep his place in the peloton, essentially bolstering his “skill set” in order to remain employed in the industry. This person is the most trapped in the corruption — capable but probably unable to keep their job without doping. However, this person doesn’t see any irony in the fact that they may be cheating others out of contracts by participating in the doping to begin with.
3. ‘They made me do it’
This is the rider who didn’t want to and who might not have otherwise broken the rules but, given the choice between a clear conscience and remaining employed, yielded to subtle, or more direct coercion. The rider risks a more or less equivalent economic penalty whether run out of the sport by his or her own team for “not getting on the program” or by the regulatory authorities due to a positive test.
4. ‘I just did it this one time’
This may occasionally be true, but this rider may not believe he is doing anything wrong unless someone catches him in the act — “I’m not really breaking the rules until that one time you catch me.” Worse, and sometimes after a lifetime of success, retired riders such as Erik Zabel and Stuart O’Grady have been caught and trapped in a web of previous lies, drawing their entire careers into doubt. A disingenuous variation on this theme was Ivan Basso’s claim that he was only thinking about doping, but not actually doing it.
5. ‘Yes, I did it, and I’m bringing down everybody else with me’
Here, think of someone like Hamilton or Floyd Landis, who succeeded to varying degrees in cycling’s screwed up ethical model before being caught, and then chewed up and spit out by the pervasive culture of omerta. These riders had a strong enough ethical grounding to eventually decide to retaliate against the structure which had forced their earlier unethical decisions. This “scorched earth” approach utilized by whistleblowers is perhaps the truest expression of the ethical confrontation cycling has created for itself. Here, the entrenched and supposed leaders of pro cycling find themselves at war — defending what they would like to think is right, against those who actually are right. Whistleblowers in the sporting arena, or in the financial and business world, are often ostracized because they have already participated in the system and profited from the corruption up to a point. But then, left with little other choice, they acknowledge the errors of their ways and decide to take the ethical path of tearing down the corrupt system altogether.
A key problem highlighted by these examples is that cycling has never developed a trusted independent body or reference point for the reporting of unethical behavior. In fact, many riders who were exposed in USADA’s Reasoned Decision document and in other subsequent “tell all” books have said that there was essentially no place to turn, that the only place to report unethical behavior was, in fact, to the very person enabling or encouraging that behavior — the team manager, coach, or doctor setting the expectation to dope.
And unfortunately, many people who were central in allowing this corruption to develop, who grew, improved and systematized doping practices in the sport, and who may have benefited the most from it, still have very little incentive to step forward and testify. Nor do those who committed the perhaps lesser sin of looking the other way. But with all of these tired excuses and their implications now firmly in the public eye — and with the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) due to report its finding early in 2015 — the sport needs to turn its focus to the causes of the problem rather than the symptoms.
The post Changing the Business Model: Setting ethical standards in cycling appeared first on VeloNews.com.