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by Shane Stokes
April 15, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos, Jered Gruber
In this morning’s edition of the Daily New Digest: Tour of Turkey and Giro d’Italia for Boonen as Belgian returns to racing, Cavendish also for Turkey; Kreuziger’s CAS hearings in UCI/WADA cases to begin in June; UCI confirms disc brakes to debut in peloton this August; Armstrong to come out of retirement for second time; Elisa Longo Borghini reflects on the Ronde; Trek Factory Racing’s Behind the Stripes series, part four; Hamilton’s ‘strange’ encounter with former team-mate Armstrong; Passo Fedaia climb in the Dolomites; Near miss by train at the Under 23 Tour de Flanders 2015
He was forced to miss the Classics due to a bad crash in Paris-Nice, but his Etixx-QuickStep team has now confirmed that Tom Boonen will be able to return to action in the upcoming Presidential Tour of Turkey. Boonen suffered a dislocated shoulder on March 9 and has not raced since, but will get going again on April 16.
He will join team-mate Mark Cavendish there, one year after the Manxman took four stages plus the points classification.
“I’m very excited to start the next part of the season,” stated Boonen on Monday. “It will be nice to go to the Tour of Turkey, a race I’ve never done before and see what happens. For sure I will be suffering a little bit, but it will be useful for the Giro.
“As for the Giro, I’m happy to be at the start for the first time in my career to support the team strategy in function of Rigo [Rigoberto Uran]. This is also a really nice new experience for me. I haven’t raced a lot in Italy in my career due to conflicts with my big objectives. Now, I have that chance.
“I know I have a lot of supporters in Italy. The Giro has great tradition and it will be great to race there and fight for the Maglia Rosa together with Uran.”
According to the team’s Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag, Boonen has been working very hard to return. He said that it was important for the Belgian to refocus his sights on other objectives.
Click here to read the full story at CyclingTips
Roman Kreuziger’s previously-stated hopes that his CAS anti-doping case would be completed in time for the Giro d’Italia have officially been dashed with the confirmation that the hearings will only begin on June 10.
The Tinkoff Saxo rider stated one month ago that he was hoping the case could be heard sooner rather than later, but delays – which he claims are on the part of the UCI and WADA – have led to the later date.
Kreuziger was notified last year that biological passport data dating back to his time with the Astana team had been deemed suspicious. Although he was initially cleared by the Czech Olympic Committe, both the UCI and WADA appealed this to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Last month Kreuziger said he wanted a quick decision. “I would like to believe that no one has an interest in the hearing clashing with the compulsory tests before the Giro d’Italia, which take place on 7th May.”
His June 10 date will come nine days after the Giro ends. It is not clear when a final result will be announced, but the start of the Tour de France is on July 4.
The UCI and WADA believe his biological passport level readings likely point towards blood doping.
Kreuziger is eligible to race until CAS makes a decision, but his team may decide that riding the Giro is a step too far.
His last race was Milan-San Remo on March 22.
Confirming suggestions made recently by its president Brian Cookson that disc brakes could make their debut in the peloton this year, the UCI has announced that this will indeed go ahead and the first such usage will occur in just over three month’s time.
“During the 2015 UCI professional road season, all teams will have the opportunity to use bikes with disc brakes at two events of their choice during August and September,” the governing body stated.
“The testing will continue in 2016 at all events on the UCI professional road calendar and, if the experience is satisfactory, disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017. The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling.”
The UCI and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) have been engaged in a long process to study if such systems are viable and safe and, if so, when they should be introduced. They have engaged in consultations with various stakeholders and now a clear plan of action is starting to emerge.
Cookson recently spoke to CyclingTips on the subject and has now elaborated on that in today’s announcement.
Click here to read more on CyclingTips.
Having already retired in 2009, then returning in 2011 to take a second Olympic time trial gold medal in 2012 and then retiring again, Kristin Armstrong has announced that she intends to return to competition once again, with her first event in less than one month’s time.
Armstrong issued a statement saying that she will begin with the Pan American Continental Time Trial Championships in Morelia, Mexico, on May 7.
She explained her change in mind, saying that she hopes to add to the recent progress seen in the women’s side of the sport.
“I am a fan of cycling. I am an even bigger fan of women’s cycling,” she stated. “After retiring in 2012, I have been thrilled to see the recent growth of women’s races not only in the United States but all over the world. It is fantastic that top-level races are giving an opportunity for women to showcase their abilities and talent and the current momentum in the sport is undeniable.
“This is why I have decided to come out of retirement and return to professional racing with the hope that my involvement in the competitive side of the sport will assist our development even more.”
Click here to read more on CyclingTips.
by Jessi Braverman
Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda) was the talk of the (women’s cycling) town last Sunday. The young Italian won the Tour of Flanders with panache, class and heart. Thirty hilly, cobbled kilometres from the finish, Longo Borghini attacked the peloton and soloed to the finish line. Her teammate Jolien d’Hoore won the chase group sprint for second. Their reunion following the finish and a phone call to teammate Audrey Cordon, who was unable to race to due to illness, captures the sentiment and significance of the accomplishment.
Ella CyclingTips reached out to Longo Borghini one week following her biggest win to date. In every post race interview last weekend, Longo Borghini stated she couldn’t believe what she had done. We wanted to know: one week later, has she had a chance to take it all in?
“I understand now what I have achieved,” said Longo Borghini. “I really like the way I won. I’m proud for that. This is not the finish line for me. It is only the beginning.”
Her main target of the spring is next week. The 23-year-old had her sight sets on Flèche Wallonne. The fourth World Cup on the calendar, Flèche Wallonne has always been decided on the final ascent of the leg-breaking Mur de Huy.
Click here to read the full interview on CyclingTips.
The first thing about Markel Irizar is he loves to talk. Basque. Spanish. Or English. It really doesn‘t matter, he can rattle off words faster than almost anyone. A sprinter with words. Or maybe an endurance athlete, because he chatters literally non-stop. His teammates call him Radio Vasca, Basque Radio.
I had heard so much about Markel’s life at home, most of it first-hand. When photographer Emily Maye and myself arrive at his house in Northern Spain for our second go-round in the team’s series of home-visits, I am curious to see if it will be just as I imagined.
Markel is a proud Basque. He is also a cancer survivor. His wife Alaitz and his family are everything to him. He has not had an easy life, but he exudes endless optimism and a more amiable teammate you will not find.
Click here to read the full story at Trek Factory Racing’s site.
As Lance Armstrong’s battle to retain what’s left of his depleting personal fortune continues, Tyler Hamilton has spoken about the deposition he was called to give last week.
Speaking in Auckland where he is appearing at a Sport New Zealand conference, the former US Postal Service rider recounted what happened during his testimony, taken as part of the ongoing Qui Tam whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong.
“It was strange, strange. We spoke. Small talk. He laughed at my hair, I laughed at his beard, like all mates would do,” he said.
“There were a lot of lawyers around and officials but, yeah, we shook hands a couple of times.
“It was not easy for me to answer direct questions about him, what we went through. There’s a lot at stake. I’ve read in the papers that it could be up to US$120 million [damages].
“I don’t know what he thinks but I know what I need to do. You answer questions that could affect that and that is mind-blowing but I went in there and told the truth. But it [also] sucked [as] there were some questions about his character, with him sitting right there, some of the bullying and stuff.”
Click here to read the full story at The Morning Bulletin
Watched over by the highest peak in the Dolomites, the 3,343 metre high Marmolada, the Passo Fedaia is an enchanting journey of mystery and intrigue right from the very beginning. From Caprile, in the east, you’re faced with just over 14 kilometres of climbing at an average gradient of 7.5%. Have a look at the video to get a better idea of what it’s all about.
The pro riders’ close encounter with a high speed train in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix has attracted plenty of attention, but last weekend the under 23 riders went close to emulating their older, more experienced counterparts in a similarly dangerous way.
Have a look at the video below to see the close call.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: