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by Shane Stokes
June 24, 2015
Photography by Jered Gruber, Cor Vos, Kristof Ramon, Shane Stokes
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Anti-Doping Denmark report finds Riis encouraged or tolerated doping, but Dane escapes punishment; Kittel inching back into form prior to Giant-Alpecin’s Tour roster announcement; Injury woes rule Schleck out of Tour de France, Trek Factory Racing announces squad; Van Garderen’s backup named for Tour de France, Dennis part of team; MTN Qhubeka finalises Tour de France lineup ; Team Sky plays down leaked Tour lineup, says it doesn’t accurately reflect final squad; First Look: Specialized Venge VIAS; “Every day I think about Rio”: exclusive video with Lizzie Armitstead; Raeymaekers forced to retire due to Crohn’s disease; Pro Cycling Team RVs At The Amgen Tour Of California 2015; Race Across America with the Veloroos team; The GCN Show Ep. 128: Bed Doping, Contador vs Quintana + The Women’s Tour
Bjarne Riis may have missed out on a ban due to the statute of limitations but the publication of the Anti-Doping Denmark report on Tuesday put a further dent in the reputation of the former Tinkoff-Saxo team owner and 1996 Tour de France champion.
According to the report, the Dane knew or even encouraged the big names on his team to use doping products. He admitted to ADD that he was aware of Tyler Hamilton’s doping liaisons with the doping doctor Euefemiano Fuentes but failed to act; according to Bo Hamburger, Michael Rasmussen, and Jörg Jaksche, Riis was aware of their own doping.
The report also indicated that Riis may have encouraged former CSC rider Carlos Sastre to blood dope in 2008; the report suggested that Sastre was not happy with this and that this was part of the reason why he left the squad for the Cervélo Test Team.
However ADD was unable to find definitive proof of this episode and so Riis escaped action. The other offences occurred outside the statute of limitations, making any punishment impossible.
Riis sold his Tinkoff-Saxo team to Oleg Tinkov prior to the 2014 season, and was fired by the Russian millionaire earlier this year.
Click here to read the full story on Velonews.
The final decision about his participation is yet to be announced but the eight-time Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel appears to be returning to form just at the right time. Affected by a virus for much of the season and thus missing out on a substantial chunk of his racing programme, the sprinter performed solidly in last week’s Ster ZLM Toer.
“In light of all the problems in the first half of the season, I am almost a little proud of the way I finished the ZLM Tour,” he stated on his website, referring to his 13th place in the prologue plus his 65th on the first sprint stage.
“The goal was mainly to put as much stress on myself as I could. And I achieved that. That I couldn’t recover so quickly after a stage due to my lack of training and race kilometers because of my illness this spring, was to be expected,” Kittel wrote. “I still don’t have the racing hardness and especially on the first day, my legs were pretty heavy.
“This race has helped me. My body is again in the race rhythm and I am motivated and in good spirits as I look to the Tour de France.”
The team’s lineup is expected to be made clear on Thursday.
Click here to read more on VeloNews.
Third, fourth and fifth in the past, a double stage winner and a former leader of the race, any possibility of Frank Schleck adding to his palmares in the Tour de France has been dashed with the announcement that he will miss this year’s event.
He and the Trek Factory Racing team announced Tuesday that the Luxembourg rider had been forced to scratch from this year’s startlist, with an ongoing injury to his right knee being blamed for the withdrawal.
A crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège caused the issue and led to him also missing out on the final time trial in the Tour de Suisse. The lingering nature of the problem prompted the team to have an MRI scan in Basel’s Crossklinik on Monday and, as a result of that, the full nature of the problem has been revealed.
According to the squad, he has a distinct inflammation of the medial collateral ligament plus an unhealed bone injury.
“This is a big disappointment for me, of course, but it had been in the air for a while now,” he said, reacting to the diagnosis. “The pain never really lessened and the only way to let it heal would have been to take complete rest.
“It was a catch-22: if I wanted to make the Tour team, I had to rest. I needed to take a break in the preparation to let the knee heal. But if I wanted to be fit for the Tour, I needed to train hard.”
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Following his runner-up slot in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné Tejay van Garderen has been given the full backing of the BMC Racing Team for the Tour de France.
Rohan Dennis took his top career result thus far when he won the 2015 Santos Tour Down Under.
Twice fifth overall in the event, the American rider will aim higher this time around and in order to further that goal, the squad has selected a lineup it believes will give him the best possible support.
Former world hour record holder Rohan Dennis of Australia returns to the race after withdrawing during his debut in 2013. The Santos Tour Down Under winner will be joined by the Italians Damiano Caruso, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato, Swiss duo Michael Schar and Danilo Wyss, Spain’s Samuel Sanchez and the Belgian Greg Van Avermaet.
The team recently confirmed that former world champion Philippe Gilbert would miss the event due to injury. He won two stages in the Giro d’Italia but the team stated that a MRI had shown a previously-undiagnosed leg fracture dating back to Flèche Wallonne in April.
With a week and a half to go until the start of the Tour de France, the African MTN-Qhubeka team has announced its final lineup for what will be its debut in the race.
The squad will include five African riders, with the Eritreans Merhawi Kudus and Daniel Teklehaimanot joined by South African trio Louis Meintjes, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and the national champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg.
Four others will line out alongside them, namely the past stage winners Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) and Tyler Farrar (USA), Britain’s Steve Cummings and Belgium’s Serge Pauwels.
Team manager Brian Smith said the team will not have a dedicated sprint or GC train in the race, but would instead adopt the kind of opportunistic, aggressive approach it used in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné.
“Tyler Farrar will be our captain on the road and work with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg towards the flatter stages. Steve Cummings will concentrate on the prologue initially and look at stage opportunities in rolling terrain.
“We then have a climbing group consisting of Louis Meintjes, Merhawi Kudus, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Serge Pauwels.”
A Tour de France shortlist which briefly appeared on the Team Sky website caused online discussion Tuesday, with the absence of several names being highlighted.
However the team has insisted that the 11 man shortlist was published in error and is inaccurate, with the final announcement due on Monday.
The list featured 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome, as well as Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Leopold König, Sergio Henao, Wout Poels, Danny Pate and Mikel Nieve.
Missing were riders such as Pete Kennaugh, who won a stage in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, as well as the Irish duo Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan.
Froome tweeted a photo Saturday of himself and Roche training for the race, prompting discussion online Tuesday about his absence from the shortlist.
Contacted by CyclingTips, a team spokesman said that the list was inaccurate. “Firstly, a longlist would normally have 14 riders,” he said.
by Wade Wallace
By now many of you will have already seen Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan riding Specialized’s new “Venge ViAS” at the Tour of Suisse. It’s perhaps the most radical departure from conventional bike design that we’ve seen in years and it’s sure to be polarising.
After a claimed 1000 hours of testing prototyping and refining the design in Specialized’s own wind tunnel in Morgan Hill, CA, the new Venge has been shaped with the goal of being “the fastest bike in the world.” It’s said that this bike was the impetuous behind Specialized creating their own “Win Tunnel” in Morgan Hill, CA.
With no expense spared, it boasts a completely redesigned Venge frameset (and integrated bar/stem), Roval CLX 64 wheelset, Quarq powermeter and Di2.
The claim is bold: “5 minutes”. This is what Specialized says you’ll save over 40 kilometers with the Venge ViAS package, no matter what type of rider you are.
Click here to read the full feature and see an extensive photo gallery on CyclingTips.
by Jessi Braverman
Last week, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolman) left the Aviva Women’s Tour after just one stage, following a disastrous crash beyond the finish line, which she had crossed first. A race favourite, Armitstead has been in good form all season and having to pull out of the tour like that was an utter disappointment.
But Armitstead has her eyes set on bigger goals. She’s currently recovering at home and preparing for the British National Championships at the end of the month, an important milestone on her road to the Olympic Games in Rio.
We caught up with Armitstead in this Ella exclusive video to talk about her consistent season, the win that got away, upcoming targets, the Rio Olympics and her definition of success – which just might surprise you.
Click here to see the video on Cyclingtips.
Already dealing with Type 1 diabetes, the Belgian rider Thomas Raeymaekers has been hit with an additional complication and, as a result, has had to bring an end to his pro racing career in its third year.
The Team Novo Nordisk competitor was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease earlier this year and has made the decision to retire. He will take up a new role as an athlete ambassador with the team.
“It was my lifelong dream to race professionally and I was able to fulfil that dream as a member of Team Novo Nordisk,” he said. “While my career has been cut unexpectedly short, I look forward to remaining part of the team and continuing to help inspire, educate and empower the 387 million people around the world affected by diabetes.”
The team’s CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland said that he was glad that the rider will remain part of the setu.
“As a professional team, we lose a fierce competitor who thrived in tough conditions and left every ounce he had on the road,” he stated. “But as an organization, we gain a tremendous ambassador who will play an equally important role.”
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: