In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: French television report shows how micro-dosing can beat UCI Biological Passport; Tour Down Under’s future uncertain beyond 2016?; Orica-GreenEdge gunning for pink at the Giro d’Italia; WA cyclists to be allowed to ride on footpaths; Survival at the AIS selection camp; The Making of an Hour Record; Peter Sagan’s 11 Tour of California wins.
French television report shows how micro-dosing can beat UCI Biological Passport
A report on the France 2 TV station has shown how the UCI’s Biological Passport can be circumvented by athletes “microdosing” EPO, human growth hormone, corticosteroids and blood transfusions.
The Stade 2 program on Sunday evening documented the progress of eight amateur athletes who tried microdosing for 29 days. The participants took a VO2max test — among other tests — before the doping programme begun and one afterwards. The average improvement recorded was 6.1%.
Crucially, an analysis of the athletes’ blood profiles reportedly showed that their doping wouldn’t have been picked up by the sport’s biological passport. The report concluded by saying “a clean passport is not necessarily the passport of a clean athlete.”
The World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) has been critical of the France 2 report, saying: “WADA does not ever recommend athletes take part as ‘human guinea pigs’ in a study in which they would be subjected to taking performance-enhancing drugs.” The statement continued: “We would like to clarify that while we did make the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) software available, we certainly did not ‘bless’ or endorse the study, as has been suggested.”
The Inner Ring, meanwhile, writes that this “revelation” is old news:
“Whether in medical journals or the peloton, the ski pistes and athletics tracks, all of this has been known for many years. Still seeing this reported out loud on a mainstream channel means a bigger audience rather than specialist academics and sports science nerds. In some ways it’s a useful reminder but in others it feels like the report is trying to claim something novel.”
Tour Down Under’s future uncertain beyond 2016?
The South Australian state government has told ABC Radio that it hasn’t yet received a guarantee that the Tour Down Under will remain in the state beyond 2016.
The SA government and Cycling Australia are reportedly waiting on a review from the UCI about the event’s future beyond 2016, when SA’s contract with the event runs out.
The South Australian sports minister Leon Bignell reportedly met with UCI president Brian Cookson in Switzerland recently, to discuss the future of the race, but no guarantees about its longevity have yet been made. The outcome of the UCI’s review is reportedly due in a couple months.
Click here to read more via AAP/The Guardian.
Julian Alaphilippe re-signs with Etixx-Quick-Step
After an impressive run of form in recent weeks, including second at Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Julian Alaphilippe has re-signed with Etixx-Quick-Step for another two years.
The 22-year-old Frenchman said he was more than happy to commit to the Belgian squad until the end of 2017.
“In this team I feel I can develop in the right way, without pressure, and can learn a lot from the staff and from the riders we have on the team,” Alaphilippe said in a team statement. “I really found my place within the group. I’m an emotional guy, and I think on this team we share the same passion. We are professional, but among the riders we are good friends.”
“We are happy to close this agreement with Julian,” said Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Etixx-Quick-Step. “He’s a genuine guy, always happy, but also a rider with a lot of potential. He has a lot to learn, but he is willing to do so. Even we don’t know where his potential stops.
“So we decided to invest in him and give him time to grow up, step-by-step, surrounded by the team and our staff. Julian has paid us back with great results. But he also has a great attitude.”
Text adapted from an Etixx-Quick-Step press release.
Orica-GreenEdge gunning for pink at the Giro d’Italia
Orica-GreenEdge is hoping for a performance similar to the first week of last year’s Giro d’Italia when this year’s edition of the Italian Grand Tour gets underway this weekend.
The Australian ProTeam won the stage 1 team time trial in the 2014 Giro before wearing the maglia rosa up to and including stage 8, thanks to the efforts of Michael Matthews in particular. With a strong team for the TTT plus riders like Matthews and Simon Gerrans who are suited to the first week of racing, Orica-GreenEdge is targetting another lengthy stint in pink.
“We are aiming for multiple stage wins and the leader’s jersey,” director sportif Matt White said via a team press release. “If we could achieve similar results to last year then it would be a fair call to say we would be satisfied.
“I honestly think it’s achievable. I think if we can win the first stage team time trial we are off to a sensational start. Then when you look at the stages throughout the three weeks, we have got multiple options with our fast guys in Matthews and Gerrans; we also have a great group of opportunists to take on the medium mountain stages and even high mountains with Chaves.”
The Orica-GreenEdge line-up for the 2015 Giro d’Italia will be: Sam Bewley, Esteban Chaves, Simon Clarke, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Michael Hepburn, Brett Lancaster, Michael Matthews and Pieter Weening.
Click here to read the Orica-GreenEdge press release.
WA cyclists to be allowed to ride on footpaths
The Western Australian government is reportedly working on new laws that will allow cyclists of any age to ride on footpaths.
Under existing legislation only children under 12 can legally ride bikes on the footpath; legislation that also exists in other states of Australia.
The WA Department of Transport confirmed that it was “in the process of taking steps to change the Road Traffic Code to allow cyclists of any age to use footpaths” but couldn’t say when the law would be introduced. Despite calls for a speed limit to be introduced for cyclists using footpaths, the Department of Transport said no restrictions would likely be introduced.
Click here to read more at Perth Now.
Survival at the AIS selection camp
Plenty has been written about the AIS women’s selection camp in recent weeks, and yesterday we shared the trailer for a documentary about this year’s camp. Over at our sister site, Ella CyclingTips, columnist Verita Stewart has written a terrific account of her experience of the camp. Here’s an excerpt:
“Within minutes of arriving, camp was underway. It truly felt like the set of survivor. We had TV cameras in our face. We were allocated numbers (mine was 24) and within minutes, we were off to challenge one – a step/VO2 max test in the lab. I realised quite quickly that we would run on precision time, with only so much of a breath in between challenges.
As soon as we were off the lab bikes, we were inhaling lunch, eating quickly to ensure we made it the next challenge on time. The second challenge for the day was two hours of “crash proofing” with a professional Judo coach, which translated to two hours of constant tumbling, rolling and summersaulting in the quest to crash safely. For me these two hours was more intense than the step test a few hours earlier. I succumbed to motion sickness and had to have a mid-session trip to the bathroom. Not the best start to the week.
Following early metabolic rate testing, the eighteen of us were straight on the bikes for day two. The famous Black Mountain challenge awaited us – an individual time trial and a race to the top. As we rode the few kilometres to the base of Black Mountain, I wondered which of us would summit first.
Click here to read the full story at Ella CyclingTips.
The Making of an Hour Record
Rohan Dennis may have lost his hour record to Alex Dowsett over the weekend but that doesn’t make this behind-the-scenes look at Dennis’ record any less interesting.
BMC describes it as “the never-before-told story of the intense preparations that went into conquering one of cycling’s most difficult challenges.”
The documentary is 45 minutes long and will cost you $1.49 to download and/or stream. Click here to get access.
Peter Sagan’s 11 Tour of California wins
Peter Sagan goes to this week’s Tour of California as the most prolific stage winner in the event’s history. His 11 stage wins puts him well clear of the next most successful — Levi Leipheimer who has six wins to his name.
Sagan will be hoping that this year’s race delivers its fair share of success as it’s been a challenging year thus far for the Slovakian. To get you in the mood, here’s a compilation of Sagan’s 11 Tour of California victories; a reminder that Peter Sagan in full flight is a beautiful thing.
What You Missed
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days:
- Chloe Hosking on AIS Selection Camp and alternate pathways to Europe
- Your training questions answered with Dig Deep Coaching: part seven
- First-look review: Scott Premium road shoes