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by Matt de Neef
June 30, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest we look at the weekend’s biggest stories in pro cycling. Here’s what you’ll find inside: National Championships wrap-up coming soon; Roman Kreuziger sidelined after biological passport problem; Thor Hushovd to retire at the end of the season; Taylor Phinney’s recovery progressing ahead of schedule; Brad Wiggins selected for Commonwealth Games track squad; Surprises in store for Orica-GreenEdge Tour de France team?; Bernard Hinault interview – I think Froome and Contador are equal; Simon Gerrans interview – Chasing a Tour stage and Maillot Jaune again; VeloHuman’s Up-and-Comer Q&A series; Team Belkin – #TotallyReady for the Tour de France.
It’s less than a week until the Tour de France starts which means there’s a bit of a lull in terms of UCI-ranked racing for us to report on. But as you can see from our race results page there’s been a huge number of national championship races contested around the world over the past week.
Sebastian Langeveld wins the Dutch road race title.
There have been some great stories to come out of those races, including Svein Tuft’s Canadian TT and road race double, Emma Johansson achieving the same feat in Sweden, Frank Schleck getting his Luxembourgian road race title back, Tony Martin winning the German ITT despite riding off course for nearly a minute, and a whole host of others.
Stay posted for a full wrap-up of the biggest national championship results and stories from around the world, coming later today.
Roman Kreuziger has been sidelined by his Tinkoff-Saxo team and will miss the Tour de France after abnormalities were revealed in his biological passport, dating back to 2011-12 when he was racing for Astana.
In a statement on the team website, Tinkoff-Saxo said: “The team has decided, in agreement with Roman, that he will not ride in any races including this year’s Tour de France until more information becomes available.”
The biological passport tracks riders’ blood and urine values over time and if any abnormalities are detected, the UCI can request an explanation from the rider. Kreuziger received a letter in June last year, saying anomalies had been detected in his passport, and he responded soon after, according to the Tinkoff-Saxo statement:
“He offered the explanation, based on two medical expert opinions independently of each other, that the fluctuations in his blood passport profile were not abnormalities and did not indicate anti-doping violations, which was submitted to the UCI by 3 October 2013.”
“Through our own medical staff and independent verification the team was satisfied that Roman’s blood profile had valid medical and scientific explanations other than the use of doping methods or substances. This was subsequently confirmed by the expert opinions Roman shared with the team.”
Kreuziger didn’t hear back from the UCI until May 30 this year, when he was told by the UCI’s Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) that his explanation had not been accepted.
Roman Kreuziger denies any wrongdoing and intends to defend himself against the charges.
Click here to read the full Tinkoff-Saxo statement at the team’s website.
Two-time green jersey winner at the Tour de France and 2010 world champion Thor Hushovd (BMC) has announced that he will end his professional career when season 2014 comes to a close.
It’s been a challenging couple of years for 36-year-old Hushovd who’s struggled with illness and struggled for results.
“I’ve been knocked back by the mononucleosis virus,” Hushovd said at a press conference Friday. “I kept pushing myself, and I had occasional flashes, but I was also down physically and mentally. Then I asked, why keep pushing on? I finally said enough is enough.”
According to Hushovd, he hasn’t been the same since falling ill in early 2012.
“I woke up with a fever in March 2012, and that’s when my nightmare began,” he continued. “I laid in bed for two and a half days.”
Hushovd is a former winner of the U23 version of Paris-Roubaix and the U23 world time trial championship. He spent more than nine years with Credit Agricole before spending two years with the Cervelo Test Team, one at Garmin-Cervelo in 2011 and now three years with BMC.
Hushovd will end his career with the Wallonia tour, the Tour of Poland, the Tour of the Arctic and then, in his final race, the world championships road race in Spain.
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
While it’s not clear exactly when Taylor Phinney (BMC) will return to competition, team officials are confident of a full recovery and optimistic that the American is progressing ahead of schedule.
Phinney suffered a compound fracture of his left leg after crashing heavily at the US national championships in late May. He underwent surgery straight away and has spent the last month undergoing daily physiotherapy. He has progressed to being able to spend an hour on a stationary trainer but still has a long way to go in his recovery.
“At this time, there is no timetable for Phinney’s return to competition,” said BMC’s Dr. Max Testa in a team report. “The team’s medical staff wants to respect the biological time of healing and make sure he is recovered 100 percent.”
But according to Dr Testa, Phinney’s progress “has been amazing”.
“He has actually recovered at a very rapid rate and is ahead of the curve at this time.”
Phinney himself appears positive about the recovery process.
“I feel pretty good,” Phinney said. “It was only one hour [on the stationary bike], so it was not like this big, long bike ride. But I am getting used to that. A lot of my physical therapy is about maintaining mobility.”
He may have been left out of Team Sky’s Tour de France squad but Bradley Wiggins will be able to keep himself busy in July and August when he takes to the track at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Wiggins has been selected for England’s track team for the Games but it’s not yet clear which races Wiggins will contest.
“I’m very happy to be able to welcome Sir Bradley back to the track team for the Commonwealth Games – his addition will be a real morale boost to the rest of the track squad”, said British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton. “The decision of who will ride what event will be made nearer the time.”
Click here to read more at Cycling Weekly.
Orica-GreenEdge is set to confirm its nine-rider team for the Tour de France early this week and according to team sports director Matt White, there could be a few surprises in store.
“We’re not going to the Tour with a GC rider or with a sprinter for the flat stages. The goal is to win a stage and we’ve pinpointed a number of stages where we think that we can do that”, Matt White told Cyclingnews.
Simon Gerrans who, alongside teammate Daryl Impey, wore the leader’s maillot jaune in last year’s race, will spearhead the squad.
“He’s in good shape and he’s ready to go”, White said of Gerrans in an interview with Cyclingnews. “In the last couple of years when he’s had a target to aim for he’s been on song near on every time.”
Giro d’Italia stage winner and maglia rosa wearer Michael Matthews is expected to be selected, as are Daryl Impey and Mat Hayman (for his first Tour de France at 36), but the question is whether Orica-GreenEdge will send any of its young climbing sensations, Adam and Simon Yates, or Esteban Chaves.
“Are they ready to ride GC at this year’s Tour, no, but in a few years time, yes, they are. You can’t expect 21 or 23 year olds to pop up in the biggest race and take on so much pressure”, Matt White said. “But as we have seen, the Yates brothers have developed at an incredible rate and Esteban has also moved on more than we could have asked and I’m expecting more from him in the second part of the season as well.”
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
by Shane Stokes
Five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault has said that it is impossible to predict who will win the looming battle between defending champion Chris Froome and 2007 and 2009 winner Alberto Contador. The Frenchman anticipates a big battle between the two past victors, and says that things are too close to call at this point in time.
“The two riders have had a great season, they are well prepared for the Tour, even if there were little health concerns for Froome in the Dauphiné,” he told CyclingTips on Friday. “They are the two favourites and they are ready for the clash.
“I think Froome and Contador are equal. One is not better than the other. We can’t say at this moment who will be the best in the Tour.”
However Hinault believes it would be an error to presume that either the Briton or the Spaniard will be the final recipient of the Maillot Jaune.
“You should not only look at these riders,” he cautioned, aware that a race as long as the Tour is rarely predictable. “[Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew] Talansky has proven that he can win as well. He rode very well in the Dauphiné in attacking from far out. It’s necessary to consider him too. Those who want to win should not wait, they must attack as Talansky did.”
Click here to read the full article at CyclingTips.
The opening week of last year’s Tour de France was a very successful one for both Simon Gerrans and his Orica-GreenEdge team. In less than a week Gerrans will click shoe to pedal and start another Tour.
While he had a quiet ride in the Critérium du Dauphiné, he is confident that he has timed things right and should be in very good condition for the Tour de France. He’s got big aims there.
“I would love to go back and win a stage again this year,” Gerrans told CyclingTips this week. “I see some real nice opportunities in the first half of the race. I don’t think you have to be a cycling genius to work out which stages in the first part of the Tour de France, particularly in the first week, really suit me.”
In the full interview with CyclingTips, Gerrans discusses the Tour and how he will tackle it, naming one of the stages he believes could suit his punchy style. He also gives his tip for the general classification, discusses his season to date, talks about how winning races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège has changed him as a rider, outlines a key end of season target and gives his thoughts on the future evolution of Orica-GreenEdge.
Click here to read the full interview at CyclingTips.
VeloHuman is one of the newer pro cycling sites on the web but if you haven’t already, it’s well worth a read. Over the past few weeks the site has featured three instalments in a series of interviews with some of the up-and-coming riders in the pro peloton, including Sam Bennett from NetApp-Endura, Chad Haga from Giant-Shimano and Evan Huffman of Astana.
You can also follow VeloHuman on Twitter here for insightful commentary on all things pro cycling.
This is just a great little video from the folks at Team Belkin, showing that their staff and support crew are primed and ready for the biggest bike race of the year.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: