Ulissi wins opening stage of the Tour of Poland

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) won the first stage of the Tour of Poland on Saturday, a 184.5km stage in the Italian Dolomites that took the riders from Rovereto to Madonna di Campiglio.

Ulissi sprinted to victory at the summit finish ahead of Colombian rider Darwin Atampuma and Rafal Majka (Saxo Tinkoff), the three of them part of a 15-rider group which formed on the 11km climb to the summit.

Tour de Pologne 2013 stage 1

“I was coming back to the races after a month off from competition and I didn’t think I’d be so competitive right out of the gate,” said Ulissi. “It was hard work but I managed to keep up with the best and so in the final I tried to not give up because I knew I was one of the fastest riders in the little lead group. I’m very happy.”

Follow the link for full results from stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Poland.

Riblon wins stage 2 of the Tour of Poland

Frenchman Christophe Riblon followed up his Alpe d’Huez success at the Tour de France by winning the second stage of the Tour of Poland on Sunday.

The AG2R rider showed his prowess in the mountains again following a 206.5km ride from Marilleva Val di Sole to Passo Pordoi Val di Fassa in the Italian Dolomites.

Tour de Pologne 2013 stage 2

Thomas Rohregger was second just over a minute behind with Georg Preidler in third.

Home rider Rafal Majka leads the race by four seconds from Sergio Henao, with Riblon third at 6 seconds.

The riders will now take a rest day before continuing in Poland following the first two stages in Italy. It’s the first time the Tour of Poland has left the borders of its homeland.

The tour will resume on Tuesday with a 226km stage from Krakow to Rzeszow. It finishes next weekend with an individual timetrial from Wieliczka to Krakow.

Follow the link for full results from stage 2 of the 2013 Tour of Poland. Text via AFP.

Gallopin wins the San Sebastian classic

Frenchman Tony Gallopin claimed the biggest victory of his career to date on Saturday, winning the San Sebastian classic in Spain’s Basque country.

The Radioshack rider was followed home by Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Czech Roman Kreuziger (Saxo) in a time of just over five-and-a-half hours.

Gallopin made a strong breakaway from the leading pack with over 10km of the gruelling 232km race to go and managed to comfortably hold his lead at the front of the peloton to finish 26 seconds ahead of Valverde.

Classica San Sebastian 2013

Gallopin’s vital move came on the second climb up to Arkale as he opened up a significant advantage on the leading group, including the fancied Valverde and Nicolas Roche (Saxo), and couldn’t be caught as rain made the descent into the finish line in San Sebastian treacherous.

It was a disappointing end to the day for Valverde after he appeared to have been led into the perfect position to attack in the final climb by teammate for the day Nairo Quintana.

The Colombian, who finished second in the Tour de France earlier this month, drove the peloton in the middle part of the race to catch a four-strong group that had built up an early advantage of 11 minutes.

Classica San Sebastian 2013

The Movistar pair were joined by Roche, Kreuziger, Mikel Landa (Euskaltel) and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) as they made their second climb up Jaizkibel before Quintana dropped off into the chasing peloton.

Sensing that the tricky conditions could make for a difficult final descent though, Gallopin then attacked on the final climb up to Arkale to build up an advantage of over half a minute.

And he was not seriously threatened by the chasing pack as they rolled into the centre of the historic Basque city to seal his first ever World Tour victory.

Follow the link for full results from the 2013 San Sebastian Classic. Text via AFP.

Wiggins struggles in Tour of Poland, won’t race the Vuelta

On stage 1 of the Tour of Poland Bradley Wiggins finished more than 9 minutes behind stage winner Diego Ulissi in what was Wiggins’ first competitive outing since the Giro.

Tour de Pologne 2013 stage 2

After being dropped on one of the climbs and labouring to a 58th-place finish, Wiggins announced he would not be taking part in next month’s Tour of Spain as he works his way back to fitness.

“I won’t do the Vuelta, that’s for sure,” said the Briton. “The world championships is what I’m aiming for. It’s just small steps at the moment. I’m just focused on the present, not thinking about next year.”

Wiggins went on to drop a further 15:40 on stage 2 and now sits in 49th place with a further five stages to go in the race.

Click here to read more.

Wiggins “couldn’t watch” the Tour de France

Winner of the 2012 Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins, has admitted that he found it difficult to watch his teammate Chris Froome win this year’s edition of the race.

“I didn’t watch it – I couldn’t watch it,” Wiggins said of the Tour de France after stage 1 of the Tour of Poland.

“I would have loved to have been there and would have found it very difficult to watch. I’ve just been trying to focus on positives, really, rather than sitting depressed in front of the TV. I only watched the first stage, as I heard the bus had knocked the finish line down. I followed it from afar but it was too painful to watch.”

Wiggins was not selected for Team Sky’s Tour de France team having suffered with a knee injury. He said in June that he might never target overall success in the Tour de France again but admitted this weekend that he missed riding the Tour as defending champion.

Click here to read more.

Eric Zabel admits to doping

Former German sprinter Erik Zabel admitted to having used doping products including EPO from 1996 to 2004, in an interview published on German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung’s website on Sunday. He also admitted to blood doping and using cortisone.

Zabel’s admission comes a few days after he was named in a French government report that identified cyclists who had tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour de France.

Tirreno-Adriatico 6e etappe

“EPO, cortisone and then even blood doping. It’s really a lot,” said Zabel, a six-time winner of the Tour de France’s green jersey competition for best sprinter.

The 43-year-old, who retired in 2008, had previously admitted in 2007 to having taken EPO in 1996, although he said he had stopped using it after one week.

However, now he has finally come fully clean, explaining how he graduated from EPO to blood doping as detection methods improved.

“In 2003, I had a transfusion of my own blood,” he added before explaining why he had previously lied about his doping past.

“First and foremost I wanted to preserve my life, the dream life of a professional cyclist. I loved it so much, the discipline, the travel. Basically, my selfishness was the strongest (thing).”

Click here to read more.

Anti-doping systems are doomed to fail: study

A new paper from researchers at the University of Adelaide’s School of Medical Sciences suggests what many people already suspected: that current anti-doping measures are ineffective and are even “doomed to fail”.

According to the paper the probability of being able to detect a doping athlete is small and given the costs associated with testing and monitoring athletes the economic odds are weighted on the side of the doper. There are so many athletes to test, and so few testing resources.

The research has been conducted by PhD student Aaron Hermann and supervised by the paper’s co-author Professor Maciej Henneberg. They estimate that the probability of a doping athlete being caught by a single random test is as low as 0.029, or 1 in 33.

“Because anti-doping systems in sport are so unreliable, and the number of tests per year is so low, the likelihood of catching a drug cheat is extremely low,” says Professor Henneberg.

“Research suggests that the current system of anti-doping testing is inadequate to eliminate doping. It appears that anti-doping policies are in place more for perception, to show that the right thing is being done. In practice, based on these estimates, the anti-doping system is doomed to fail.”

Click here to read more at road.cc. And click here to read the original research paper.

Chavanel could leave Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Sylvain Chavanel has revealed that he might not ride for Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 2014 after having received offers from a number of teams.

Tour de France 2013 stage-18

Chavanel has been with OPQS for five seasons and has enjoyed great success in that time, winning two stages at the Tour de France in 2010 and riding as the reigning French national time trial champion.

“It’s new for me not to have ended the Tour de France without knowing what I will do next season but I’m not worried,” Chavanel told French newspaper La Nouvelle République.

“I’ve got several proposals, one of the French team AG2R La Mondiale. I’ve been with Omega Pharma-Quick Step for five years now. The management want me to stay and I’d like it but we’ve got see what specific role they want to give me. I’m going to make my decision within a fortnight.”

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

Prudhomme rejects calls for a women’s Tour de France

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has rejected calls from a leading British politician to stage a parallel women’s version of the race next year.

Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the main opposition Labour Party, wrote an open letter to Prudhomme last week urging him to look at staging a women’s event at next year’s Grand Depart, the opening stage of the tour, which is being staged in the northern English county of Yorkshire.

But Prudhomme said simply bolting on a women’s race to a Tour that is already full to capacity was not practical.

“We are open to everything. Having women’s races is very important for sure. (But) the Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road — it is impossible.”

Meanwhile, British Cycling president and UCI presidential hopeful Brian Cookson is organising a meeting between the ASO and representatives of the women’s racing community to discuss the possiblity of setting up a women’s Tour de France.

Cookson said:

“Cycling, like many sports, has been male-dominated throughout the sport’s history, and continues to be so. But the world has changed, continues to change, and we need to change with it. There are some key things that we can do right now that will make the development of women’s cycling happen more easily and more quickly.

A petition in support of female participation in the Tour de France has now attracted more than 80,000 signatures.

Click here and here to read more. Some text via AFP.

Euskaltel-Euskadi riders given green light to look for other teams

With the future of the Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi squad looking more and more uncertain, the team’s riders and staff have been given the all-clear to look for new teams for 2014.

Tour de France 2013 stage-1

In early July, it was reported that the team had 45 days to find a sponsor or risk losing WorldTour status … or disappear altogether. A shortfall in funding from Basque public institutions left telecommunications company Euskaltel to cover the deficit for 2014.

As yet there is no sign of a new sponsor coming on board and so team management has given the riders a chance to find places with other teams. There is currently no sign that the team will continue even as a Professional Continental team with a lower budget and lesser race programme.

Click here to read more at Cycling News.

”The Armstrong Lie” to be released later this year

Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney started making a documentary about Lance Armstrong’s comeback in 2009 and it’s fair to say that the story’s moved on somewhat in the last four years.

Gibney and his team were granted “unlimited and unprecedented access to Armstrong and the inner-workings of the Tour de France” and were there when Armstrong admitted to doping following a federal criminal investigation, public accusations of doping by his ex-teammates, and an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

“We set out to make a movie about a comeback,” said producers Frank Marshall and Matt Tolmach. “We ended up chronicling the collapse of one of the greatest myths and legends of our time.”

“The Armstrong Lie” is set to be released by Sony later this year.

Click here to read more at road.cc

The Secret Pro, post-Tour de France edition

And finally this morning, have you read the latest from The Secret Pro? In this edition TSP brings us the latest news and thoughts from within the pro peloton and looks back at how the Tour de France unfolded.

Click here to read the article.

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