Scientist behind salbutamol rules speaks; New Norwegian stage race: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

The UCI and World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) may have dropped Chris Froome’s Salbutamol case, but the controversy surrounding the case is still ongoing. In a dramatic turn of events, the scientist behind WADA’s rules regarding Salbutamol spoke out against the agency and called for the rules to be changed.


Quote of the day

“I’ll admit I made a terrible blunder” — Ken Fitch, the scientist behind WADA’s current rules on Salbutamol, said in an interview with The Times.


Story of the day: Scientist behind WADA salbutamol rules defended Froome

Ken Fitch, the scientist behind the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Salbutamol rules, admitted to The Times the rules are imperfect and need to be changed. Fitch supported Chris Froome in his Salbutamol case through a written statement.

“The outcome of this is groundbreaking,” Fitch said. “It’s big not just for Chris but for asthmatic athletes and for the WADA rules. Most significantly, they have accepted that the salbutamol you take and the level in your urine do not necessarily correlate . . . They should have accepted it years ago.”

The UCI and WADA abruptly dropped its investigation into Froome earlier this week. The Briton had produced a urine sample after stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana last September containing 2,000 ng/ml of Salbutamol. A sample over 1000 ng/ml triggers an abnormal finding.

Fitch, an adjunct professor in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia, said the Salbutamol levels adopted by WADA were the result of tests conducted on swimmers. He admitted the error in the process is swimmers finish an extreme effort with a full bladder, while most cyclists are dehydrated after riding for hours. Thus, a cyclists urine is highly concentrated.

Furthermore, Fitch has been pressing WADA to change its rules for years. This is not the first time he has opposed WADA in a case. He did so in the case of Alessandro Petacchi, who produced an abnormal reading of Salbutamol in a sample at the 2007 Giro d’Italia. The sprinter ended up serving a one-year ban. Fitch still believes Petacchi to be innocent.

This public admission by Fitch and his opposition of WADA in a such a high profile case like Froome’s could get the agency to change its stance on Salbutamol. It remains to be seen how quickly the agency will respond and if the length of Froome’s case is any indication, we could be waiting a long time.

Lappartient says UCI had to follow WADA’s lead and clear Froome

David Lappartient, president of the UCI, confirmed the governing body had to follow suit once the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) cleared Chris Froome over his adverse analytical finding for Salbutamol.

There has been much debate over the statements the UCI and WADA released within hours of each other regarding the exoneration of Froome. Even though the UCI released its statement first, in a new video interview on the UCI’s Youtube page, Lappartient explained how WADA was the main driver in this decision.

“This case has been closed because the UCI received a statement from the World Anti-Doping Agency in which they clearly said that they accepted the explanation transmitted by Mr Christopher Froome … that the case does not constitute an anti-doping rule violation,” Lappartient said.

“An international federation such as the UCI has to follow the World Anti-Doping Agency. They are the experts on this and their experts finally decided that this case was not an anti-doping rule violation. So we had to follow the decision from the WADA.”

Lappartient also explained that ASO had been informed a decision on Froome’s case would be taken prior to the Tour.

UCI President David Lappartient.

Click through to read our analysis of the UCI President’s interview regarding the end to Chris Froome’s Salbutamol case.


Race Radio

2018 Giro Rosa Preview

The most prestigious race on the women’s cycling calendar, the Giro Rosa, begins on Friday with an intense team time trial. The 979 kilometre, 10-stage race will stick to the north of Italy this year and finished on July 15 in Fruili.

The mantra for the 2018 race is climbing, climbing, and more climbing. This year’s individual time trial, taking place on stage seven, will climb around 1,000 metres over 15 kilometres, up the category 1 Alpe Gera Di Campo Moro. Two days later, the penultimate stage of the race finishes on the famed Monte Zoncolan.

We’ll be covering the Giro Rosa across CyclingTips. We will have updates from each stage in the Daily News Digest and an update on what’s happened at the Giro Rosa included in the daily Tour edition podcasts. Then head back to Ella CyclingTips for our feature articles on the race.

Click through to read our full in-depth preview of the 2018 Giro Rosa where we analyze the entire route and all of the contenders.

Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) won the 2017 Giro Rosa, but will not be racing the 2018 edition. Photo: Corvos

Tour Des Fjords and Tour of Norway merge for 2019 season

The Tour of Norway and Tour Des Fjords have combined to form a new six-day stage race for 2019, Velon announced on Thursday. The new race will run from May 28 to June 2 and will take place two days after the Hammer Series event in the town of Stavanger. The name of the new race has not yet been confirmed.


Tech news

Shimano trickles e-MTB technology to more affordable system

The uptake of e-bikes and e-MTBs (electric mountain bikes) show no sign of slowing down, and with it, we’re beginning to see the expansion of price options in specific segments. Shimano have just announced a new Steps E7000 e-MTB motor series, one that borrows a handful of tech from the existing (and more expensive) E8000 series.

According to the press release, “Where Shimano’s top tier e-MTB groupset, E8000, is designed to handle aggressive riding on rugged, difficult trails with extreme ascents, the new E7000 level is developed for more recreational mountain biking with its rider-tuned support and easy-to-use features.” The E7000, with 60nm of torque, borrows the compact and narrow shape of the E8000 series, allowing its use in full suspension frames without major geometry compromises. Optional Di2 drivetrain integration and smartphone compatibility through the use of Shimano’s E-Tube Ride app provide a glimpse as to why Shimano is expected to be (and already is) such a dominant force in the e-bike space


On this day…

On July 4, 2011, Tyler Farrar won stage three of the Tour de France from Olonne-Sur-Mer to Redon and became the first American to win a stage of the Tour on America’s Independence Day. It would be the only Tour stage win of Farrar’s career, as he retired at the end of last year. Currently, only 10 Americans have won a stage of the Tour with Farrar being the last to do so.

Tyler Farrar is the last American to win a stage of the Tour de France. Photo: Corvos

Feature image: The Lacets de Montvernier (3.4km, 8.2%), which was last tackled during the 2015 Tour. The climb will feature in the 2018 race on stage 12, as the riders roll across multiple alpine passes to finish atop L’Alpe d’Huez. Photo: Kristof Ramon

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