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by Shane Stokes
December 3, 2014
In this morning’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily news digest: Kreuziger’s public defence raises further questions about biological passport doping case; Froome drops Giro plans: “The Tour will remain my main focus for 2015”; Boasson Hagen chasing success in Paris-Roubaix, Tour de France and worlds; Duarte inks deal to remain with Team Colombia; Graeme Brown moves from Belkin to Drapac Professional Cycling; Tour of the Mediterranean facing risk of cancellation; Welshman Doull turns down Europcar ride to compete with Wiggins’ new team; Video: Tinkoff Saxo riders train in Gran Canaria
The denial had echoes of another rider who also previously worked with Michele Ferrari: Lance Armstrong.
On Saturday Roman Kreuziger released a statement, which began with these words.
“My name is Roman Kreuziger. I am a professional cyclist. I have never tested positive for doping.”
The statement went on to proclaim his innocence of the biological passport manipulations he is accused of by the UCI, but that opening section was redflagged by many on Twitter.
They wanted to know why Kreuziger had used the ‘never tested positive’ line oft quoted by Armstrong and other doping riders, rather than a clear statement that he had never used performance enhancing drugs.
Challenged about this on Twitter, Kreuziger or his representatives later amended the website statement to read: “I have never doped and never tested positive for doping.”
The shortcoming was a shot in the foot, though.
Questions are also being asked of the blood profiles Kreuziger put online to try to show he was a clean rider. These were published in response to suspected periods of blood doping.
He was first contacted by the UCI about this matter on June 28 2013 and provided the UCI with an expert analysis of those samples in October of last year. This explanation was rejected on May 30 2014.
He had a hearing before the Czech Olympic Committee on August 20 of this year; on September 22 that committee said it had decided to clear him. The UCI was not happy and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on October 23.
No date has been announced as yet for that hearing, but the next round in the rider’s fight will happen sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, the publication of his data has led to analysis of his blood data and, according to doctor and anti-doping campaigner Mike Puchowicz, there are reasons for concern.
Click here to read the full feature on CyclingTips.
Having strongly hinted that he might shift his priority from the Tour de France to the Giro d’Italia in 2015, Chris Froome has now reversed that stance and confirmed that he will once again focuss fully on the Tour next season.
The 2013 winner crashed out of this year’s race, suffering fractures to his wrist and hand. He then returned to place second overall in the Vuelta a España, but was discouraged when the Tour de France route was unveiled and shown to include very few time trial kilometres.
The race features only one individual test, the 14 kilometre opening time trial in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It also includes a team time trial of 28 kilometres between Vannes and Plumelec.
Froome would normally have expected to have gained time on many of his rivals against the clock. That said, his 2013 victory was based mainly on his performances on the climbs. He took stage wins at
“Together with the team, we’ve had to prioritise some events over others, but the Tour will remain my main focus for 2015,” he confirmed on Tuesday.
Thoughts of targeting the Giro-Tour double will have to wait for another season. “The concept of doing all three Grand Tours in a season has got appeal but having said that, I know how hard it is to do two Grand Tours while targeting the overall win,” he explained.
“At this point in my career I feel that the Tour takes priority. There may come a time at some point down the line where other races may take preference, but for 2015, it’s the Tour.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Expected to enjoy greater freedom during the season than he did at Team Sky, Edvald Boasson Hagen has outlined some of the key goals he will pursue next year with MTN Qhubeka.
The Norwegian rider has just completed a pre-season training camp with the team in South Africa and has finalised part of his programme for 2015; he will target Paris-Roubaix as one objective, as well as the world road race championships and, providing the team gets an invite, stage wins in the Tour de France.
He has been using Pinarello bikes during his time with Team Sky and is currently transitioning across to the Cervélo machines that the MTN Qhubeka team will use next season. Boasson Hagen will choose between the various models, working out which is best for his characteristics and also the demands of the various events.
The Norwegian rider began the 2014 season with three of the Challenge Mallorca races and then the Ruta del Sol.
He will return to Mallorca to start his campaign with MTN Qhubeka, but will then ride the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman prior to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
After that he will continue his buildup to what he and the team hope will be victory in Paris-Roubaix, a race that many believe suits his characteristics.
Boasson Hagen hasn’t fired on all cylinders in recent seasons with Sky but there appears to be optimism that he can step things up a level with MTN Qhubeka.
Click here to read the full story on Procycling.no.
Although he was in negotiation with three WorldTour teams, former world under 23 champion Fabio Duarte has confirmed that he will remain part of Team Colombia for one more year.
The 28 year old rider told Ciclismo Internacional that he had inked a deal with the general manager and would remain one of the team’s top climbers in 2015.
“I have come to terms with Claudio Corti morning and travel to Italy tomorrow to finalize details and sign the contract,” he said.
“We were finalizing details until today, but we have not yet spoken of the calendar. That we will set out in Europe.
“Claudio believes and trust in the qualities and conditions that I have and I want to help him make full use of those. I trust him.”
The rider finished fourth in this year’s Giro del Trentino and was second on two stages of the Giro d’Italia. He will once again target the race in 2015 and will aim for a stage win plus a high overall finish.
The team is part of the current renaissance of cycling from Colombia and Duarte is regarded as one of the most talented of that wave.
Click here to read the full story on Ciclismo Internacional.
Following a long nine year period with the Rabobank/Belkin Pro Cycling teams, Graeme Brown has concluded a deal which will see him being primarily based in Australia during the 2015 season.
Grame Brown warms up
“After 13 years of racing in Europe I’m really excited to start a new chapter of my life with a new team,” he said. “Coming back and racing in Australia for an Australian team is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and this opportunity has come up at the perfect time.”
“As far as my role in the team goes I am really motivated to get really good a sprint train on track, and to help share the experience that I’ve picked up with these young riders.”
Brown has mainly worked as a leadout rider in recent years, helping sprinters on the team such as Theo Bos, but he has a very fast turn of speed himself and has used that to clock up nine stage wins in the Tour de Langkawi, three in the Santos Tour Down Under plus stages in the Vuelta a Murcia, Deutschland Tour, the Tour of California, the Tour de Pologne and the Tour of Austria.
He has also registered single day success in Nokere-Koerse and took Olympic Gold medals in 2004 in the team pursuit and the madison.
His background is something that team manager Jonathan Breekveldt knows will represent a substantial addition to the team’s firepower and future chances.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
It’s been in financial difficulties before but this time there is a real danger that the Tour of the Mediterranean might not take place in 2015. The race has missed out on a place in the international calendar due to financial difficulty and unless some last-minute cash is found, it looks very likely that the race might face at least a one year hiatus.
The race was scheduled to take place from February 12 to 15. “As of today, the event will not take place,” said the president of the French national cycling league, Marc Madiot.
One of the issues facing the race is the non-payment of prize money. Organiser André Martres recently told Var Matin that he was trying to sort this out. “I am in discussions with the UCI. I proposed a protocol to pay the costs before December 31,” he said.
He said that the situation is a difficult one but that he still remained confident; Madiot appears less so.
Although the race has lost some lustre in recent years, not least because of competing events such as the Tours of Oman and Qatar, it has a long history and a glittering list of winners.
First held in 1974, past champions include Eddy Merckx, Gerrie Knetemann, Phil Anderson, Jean-François Bernard, Tony Rominger, Charly Mottet, Gianni Bugno, Frank Vandenbroucke, Davide Rebellin, Laurent Jalabert, Michele Bartoli, Jens Voigt, Paolo Bettini and David Moncoutié.
Britain’s Steve Cummings won earlier this year, succeeding the 2013 winner Thomas Löfkvist.
Click here to read more at Midilibre.fr.
Having just completed a season with the Continental An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team, Owain Doull was expected to step up a level next season and turn pro with the Europcar team.
However the Welsh rider has made the unexpected decision not to follow through with that and will instead race with another Continental-level setup, namely the new squad that Bradley Wiggins is helping to set up.
“I’m not going to ride for Europcar next year,” he said, according to Wales Online. “It was meant to happen but I decided to go somewhere else. I think for me, in terms of my development and my future for the next few years, it’s a better decision.”
“Obviously I do want to turn pro,” he added. “But I think maybe a team like Europcar is not really the best place to go if you’re not sure you’re ready. So yeah I made the decision to hold back and wait another year.”
The decision may prove to be a fortunate one; it emerged this week that Europcar’s ability to remain in the WorldTour is under question due to a shortage of funding. If the team does have to drop down to Pro Continental level, that would reduce the number of riders that it could have on the team plus the budget to pay them.
Details are yet to emerge of Wiggins’ team, but it will have a big track basis. Doull is part of Great Britain’s track endurance team and so the goals would appear to sync.
“It’s quite merged with British Cycling,” he said, “and I think ultimately the aim of Team Wiggo is to get everyone who is doing team pursuiting in the best possible shape for Rio.”
Click here to read the full story on Wales Online.
Photos were released Monday of the Tinkoff Saxo riders in their new and distinctive pre-season training kit, clocking up important kilometres prior to the start of their 2015 campaign. Now the team has followed that up with a video of the riders working hard on Gran Canaria, training together in that team strip and building towards what it hopes will be the best season yet.
The riders will stay on the island until mid-December and are clocking up rides which take in some of the difficult roads on the island.
Watch the video below to see more from the camp.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips: