VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:13:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 USADA, USA Cycling conferring over Armstrong ban at Hincapie fondo http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/usada-usa-cycling-conferring-armstrong-ban-hincapie-fondo_350166 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/usada-usa-cycling-conferring-armstrong-ban-hincapie-fondo_350166#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 21:08:18 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350166

Lance Armstrong may not, as previously reported, participate at the Gran Fondo Hincapie this weekend in Greenville, South Carolina

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Lance Armstrong may not, as previously reported, participate at the Gran Fondo Hincapie this weekend in South Carolina, due to the event’s sanctioning through USA Cycling.

Because of his lifetime ban, Armstrong is prohibited from participating in any event sanctioned by any signatory to the World Anti-Doping [WADA] Code.

What is at question is the status of the gran fondo, and how that lifetime ban applies.

USA Cycling’s website lists the Hincapie Fondo as permitted as a “Fun Ride or Tour,” rather than a competitive event which has “agreed to submit results to the National Rankings System.”

In USADA’s announcement of Armstrong’s lifetime ban, dated August 24, 2012, the agency stated, “A lifetime period of ineligibility as described in the [WADA] Code prevents Mr. Armstrong from participating in any activity or competition organized by any signatory to the Code or any member of any signatory.”

And while that statement makes it sound as though WADA Code prohibits Armstrong’s participation from any and all USA Cycling-sanctioned events, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told VeloNews on Wednesday that it had reached out to USA Cycling Tuesday, following the publication of a VeloNews story about Armstrong’s involvement, to determine whether or not the Hincapie fondo “qualifies as an authorized event under the rules.”

“The WADA Code rules dictate that a sanctioned athlete cannot compete in an authorized event during that athlete’s period of ineligibility,” USADA’s media relations manager Annie Skinner wrote in a statement. “After this question was brought to our attention, we reached out to USA Cycling, and we are awaiting their determination as to whether or not this Gran Fondo qualifies as an authorized event under the rules.”

USA Cycling director of communications Bill Kellick told VeloNews that a section of the WADA code puts the decision upon the shoulders of the national anti-doping agency.

“The determination of whether an Athlete or other Person has violated the prohibition against participation, and whether a reduction under Article 10.5.2 is appropriate, shall be made by the Anti-Doping Organization whose results management led to the imposition of the initial period of Ineligibility,” the WADA code reads.

Because they are considered “non-competitive events,” and racing licenses are not required, gran fondos are difficult to police.

In this case, there would be no one to stop Armstrong, or anyone else, from riding. According to Kellick, if Armstrong does participate, it would then fall to USADA to determine what, if any penalty is meted out and then up to USAC to enforce any penalties.

“The event is a permitted, non-competitive ride with no officials, so there is no one there to stop [Armstrong] from participating,” Kellick said. “If he does participate, it would be up to USADA to determine what, if any, penalties would be imposed (beyond the lifetime ban) and then it would be up to USA Cycling to impose those penalties.”

Shawn Farrell, who was fired from USA Cycling last week after 11 years in the role of technical director, overseeing the federation’s rules and regulations, explained that it is essentially impossible for the federation to proactively enforce suspensions or bans from “fun ride or tour” events.

“Nobody [at USA Cycling] is specifically responsible for that,” Farrell told VeloNews. “USA Cycling has 3,000 events, and no staff can scan all start lists. Normally the licensing solves that problem. Gran fondos are challenging, as people don’t need licenses. But then the same thing can happen when a rider just fills out a one-day app and creates a separate account.”

As a non-competitive event, the Hincapie fondo is in no way required to be sanctioned through USA Cycling; the sanctioning amounts to rider insurance coverage, which USA Cycling offers to myriad cycling events.

Under USA Cycling permitting guidelines, one-day trial licenses are optional for gran fondos and fun rides/tours, but USA Cycling’s excess medical coverage is only provided with purchase of a one-day (or annual) license.

Four former members of Armstrong’s U.S Postal Service and Discovery Channel team who testified to USADA about drug use within the team will be participating — George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Michael Barry and Tom Danielson.

Former USPS riders Kevin Livingston and Dylan Casey are also participating.

Other former USPS riders who testified in the USADA case, but are not attending, include Levi Leipheimer, Frankie Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters, and Tyler Hamilton.

Hamilton received an eight-year suspension in 2009, following a positive doping test, his second violation since 2004.

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Gallery: 2015 Tour de France route announcement http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/road/gallery-2015-tour-de-france-route-announcement_350244 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/road/gallery-2015-tour-de-france-route-announcement_350244#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:44:12 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350244

Cycling's biggest names gather in Paris to see what next year's Tour de France has in store

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Gallery: HPCX, day 2 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclocross/gallery-hpcx-day-2_350203 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclocross/gallery-hpcx-day-2_350203#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:15:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350203

Cameron Dodge wraps up HPCX with his second win of the weekend on Sunday. Maximenko wins the women's race

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Quintana, Valverde feel 2015 Tour favors their strengths http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/quintana-valverde-feel-2015-tour-favors-strengths_350235 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/quintana-valverde-feel-2015-tour-favors-strengths_350235#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:48:56 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350235

After a breakout performance at the 2013 Tour de France, where he won the best young rider's jersey and the king of the mountains jersey, Nairo Quintana will return to France in 2015 with his sights set on yellow. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

All eyes are on Nairo Quintana as the Tour de France offers up a route that favors the young Colombian climber

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After a breakout performance at the 2013 Tour de France, where he won the best young rider's jersey and the king of the mountains jersey, Nairo Quintana will return to France in 2015 with his sights set on yellow. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Sometimes it seems the Tour de France designs a course with one rider in mind. That was the case in 2012, when ASO unveiled a route with 100km of individual time trials, meaning that Bradley Wiggins (Sky) only had to stay upright, and he stood a very good chance at making history as the race’s first British champion.

For 2015, it seems that the Tour organization had one rider in mind when it designed a course with just a single individual time trial, and no less than six uphill finales: Nairo Quintana.

The Movistar climber might struggle over cobblestones featured in the opening week, but if he survives that, the Colombian could be in pole position to become the first South American to win the yellow jersey.

“At first glance, it’s a Tour route that is very good for me. It favors me,” Quintana said Wednesday. “There are few time trial kilometers, a lot of climbs, and the only worry could be the pavé. It’s a day that, as we saw last year, you have to be careful, because you can lose everything.”

Quintana skipped this year’s Tour after his phenomenal debut in 2013, when he was second overall, winner of the climber’s and young rider’s jersey, and a winner of stage 20.

Instead, he went to the Giro d’Italia, which he won with panache. He looked strong in the Vuelta a España, but crashed out in the first time trial, opening the door for Alberto Contador’s eventual victory.

After recovering from shoulder surgery, Quintana has yet to confirm whether or not he will defend his Giro title, but he is already committed to returning to the Tour.

“With so many mountaintop finales, the route favors me, and even though I have yet to decide my calendar, I will prepare for it with the idea of winning,” Quintana said. “The climbs are perfect for me, and the team time trial doesn’t worry me, because we’ve shown we are pretty good at that.”

Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde also echoed the notion that the Tour is ideal for climbers like Quintana and himself.

“It’s a nice Tour for me and for Nairo. With eight uphill finales, it’s a hard Tour, the hardest of the last few years,” Valverde said. “It’s a surprise that there are so few time trials, but the other stages are a bit shorter as well. It’s more like the Vuelta. … I’ve already said what my role will be, and it’s ideal for Nairo. I am still not sure if I will race the Tour.”

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Climb-heavy Tour route has Contador and Riis licking their chops http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/climb-heavy-tour-route-contador-riis-licking-chops_350197 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/climb-heavy-tour-route-contador-riis-licking-chops_350197#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:06:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350197

With ample climbing on the menu, the 2015 Tour de France will likely suit Alberto Contador. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

Former Tour champion likes what he sees in a 2015 route that is short on time trials but long on difficult climbs

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With ample climbing on the menu, the 2015 Tour de France will likely suit Alberto Contador. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

For Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), the harder, the better. So the Spaniard likes what he sees in a surprising, climbing-heavy 2015 Tour de France route revealed Wednesday.

Contador, who has already confirmed he will race the Giro d’Italia in May, said the Tour route is unlike anything he’s seen before.

“It’s a Tour I like,” Contador said Wednesday. “It’s the hardest of the past few years, and it will demand the best of me to recover well after the Giro, but I will prepare for it as best I can.”

In a route packed with challenges, including a first half that includes cobblestones, punchy climbs, a short time trial, as well as a team time trial, not to mention potentially windy stages, Contador realizes the opening half of the Tour could have a huge factor before turning into the climb-heavy second half across the Pyrénées and Alps.

“The key to this first part will be to avoid losing time, as it will be in the mountains, where this particularly mountainous and demanding Tour will be decided,” Contador said. “The Pyrénées will be very important, along with Mende — a final I know well — and one that despite being short, real differences can be made.”

Contador crashed out of this year’s Tour, but bounced back to win the Vuelta a España in September. With a course ideal for Contador’s racing style, he could be tempted to alter his Giro ambitions to arrive to the Tour in top condition.

“This year, recovery will be very important, with one eye on the final week,” he continued. “The stages in the Alps will be complicated if you have to defend, but they also open up a lot of tactical possibilities if you have to attack. In general, it’s a Tour that you have to be as fresh as possible for the final week, but you also have to be strong from the start, because it’s a very demanding first week.”

Team manager Bjarne Riis was licking his chops after seeing the route confirmation. With one of the strongest teams in the peloton, Riis hopes to position Contador for a legitimate run at the yellow jersey.

“I like the route. It will be a spectacular race,” Riis said. “It’s good for us. I like it. It’s a hard course. The first week will be very demanding, and it will be a big fight for position in the first climbs. I also like the cobbles, but I hope it doesn’t rain that day.”

Riis also said the lack of time trial kilometers, which reduces the advantage of such specialists as 2013 winner Chris Froome (Sky), will be a bonus for Contador in his quest to win another Tour.

“You have to have a strong team, and the fact that there is not a long time trial is also good for us,” Riis said. “The Pyrénées and Alps are going to be spectacular.”

Riis also supported the idea of Tour officials shaking up what the race should look like. Some have already questioned the elimination of longer time trials, but Riis said it was a good idea to offer different types of courses.

“I don’t believe the Tour always has to be the same,” he said. “Just like there won’t be cobblestones every year, the same thing can happen with time trials. … We need to have a spectacular race, and I like the changes.”

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Five key stages in the 2015 Tour de France http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/5-key-stages-in-the-2015-tour-de-france_350183 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/5-key-stages-in-the-2015-tour-de-france_350183#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:59:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350183

Alpe d'Huez and its 21 switchbacks will make for a difficult finish to stage 20 at the Tour next summer. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 2015 edition of the French grand tour has several stages where the race could be won — or lost

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Alpe d'Huez and its 21 switchbacks will make for a difficult finish to stage 20 at the Tour next summer. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

PARIS (AFP) — Following the announcement of the 2015 Tour de France route in Paris on Wednesday, AFP looks at five key stages where the race will be won or lost:

Stage 2: Utrecht to Zeeland, 166km

This is one of two stages where the weather could play a crucial and decisive role in determining the outcome not just of the stage but the whole Tour. Along with the sixth stage from Abbeville to Le Havre, in which there will be 100km of racing along the cliffs of Normandy, this stage, which takes in the Zeeland Delta in the Netherlands, is at severe risk of high winds. High winds create the possibility for splits in the peloton that can quickly grow into gaps that count minutes rather than seconds. The favorites will be on high alert.

Stage 4: Seraing to Cambrai, 221km

Tour director Christian Prudhomme likes early stages that animate the course rather than simply ending in a bunch sprint, and this is one such stage. Back in July, we saw what cobbles can do on a stage as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) laid down a dominant marker, taking more than two minutes out of all his major overall rivals after a brilliant ride on the cobbles. Reigning champion Chris Froome (Sky) crashed out and abandoned the race even before attempting the cobbles, while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) looked uncomfortable and lost more than 2:40. This will be a stage in which a few contenders will likely be hoping to stick to Nibali’s rear wheel.

Stage 10: Tarbes to La Pierre Saint-Martin, 167km

The first day in the Pyrenees will be crucial, not the least because of the final 15.3km climb that has an average gradient of 7.4 percent. It is not the hardest climb, nor the toughest stage of the race, but two factors will make it perhaps the most testing mountain stage: It comes after a rest day and it is the first mountaintop finish. Those two factors can catch out riders whose bodies have yet to adapt to the specific exertions of the high mountains, as was the case with Australian Richie Porte (Sky) this year, who had looked strong on milder climbs in the Vosges region before cracking spectacularly on the first true mountain stage.

Stage 17: Digne les Bains to Pra-Loup, 161km

This is not the toughest mountain stage by far in terms of the climbing, nor the relatively short distance, but it is the long descent of the penultimate Col d’Allos ahead of the short final ascent to Pra-Loup that makes it intriguing. This year, Contador’s hopes went up in smoke when he crashed on a fast descent and broke his leg, forcing him out of the Tour on the 10th stage. Nibali is regarded by many as one of the best descenders in the peloton, and this tough technical descent could allow him, or someone else, to get away and defend a considerable gap ahead of the final climb. With most minds focused on the climbs, those who dare to attack where it’s not expected can sometimes see themselves richly rewarded.

Stage 20: Modane to Alpe d’Huez, 110km

This stage, the penultimate one of the Tour, is tailor-made for fireworks. It is very short for a mountain stage at just 110km and includes three brutal climbs, meaning it will be a battle between the contenders right from the start. The Col du Telegraphe is 11.9km long at an average gradient of 7.1 percent, followed by the ceiling of next year’s race, the Col du Galibier — 17.7km at 6.9 percent. None of the contenders will likely have broken clear by then, although some may have fallen away, but the tough climbing already in their legs might come back to haunt the overall challengers when they then ascend Alpe d’Huez, all the way to the finish. Its 21 hairpins and 13.8km 8.1 percent average gradient will ensure the possibility of turning the Tour on its head right to the very end.

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Froome may skip mountainous 2015 Tour for Giro-Vuelta double http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/froome-may-skip-mountainous-2015-tour-for-giro-vuelta-double_350177 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/froome-may-skip-mountainous-2015-tour-for-giro-vuelta-double_350177#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:55:42 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350177

Chris Froome said the 2015 Tour de France route may not suit him and he could skip the race. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Sky rider says the Tour's focus on climbing may turn him off and force him to race the other two grand tours

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Chris Froome said the 2015 Tour de France route may not suit him and he could skip the race. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Chris Froome (Sky) said the 2015 Tour de France presented Wednesday “is about the mountains” and that he could skip the race in favor of the time trial-heavy Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.

“There’s no two ways about it, next year’s Tour is going to be about the mountains,” Froome said in a press statement.

The Briton and 2013 Tour champion is with Sky at a team building camp and did not attend the presentation in Paris, where organizer ASO presented a route with six summit finishes and only one 13.7-kilometer individual time trial.

“There’s very little emphasis on time trialling which means the race will be decided up in the high mountains,” Froome said. “With six mountaintop finishes it is going to be an aggressive and massively demanding race.”

Froome said the race suits Spain’s Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), but he also mentioned Colombia’s Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 2014 winner and Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Contador and Quintana have already put the 2015 Tour, slated for July 4-26, on their program.

“We’ll have to see who’s going to be there but I think Alberto Contador will be the man to beat,” Froome continued.

“Alberto is the guy who stands out though. He came back after his injury in an amazing way to win the Vuelta España title this year and I expect him to be just as strong next season.”

Froome raced and won the 2013 Tour. He returned in 2014 to defend his title, but he crashed three times and abandoned with fractured bones in his wrist and hand on the fifth stage, July 9, ahead of the cobbles to Arenberg.

He explained that it is not guaranteed that he will lead Sky again at the 2015 Tour. Instead, he could opt for the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España next year.

Organizer Unipublic has yet to present the 2015 Vuelta route, but RCS Sport revealed its Giro course October 6. Besides the usual mountaintop finishes in the final week, it includes a 59.2km time trial on stage 14.

“The team and I will have to give it some careful consideration before we make any commitments to which of the grand tours I will compete in,” Froome said. “I see myself as quite a balanced GC rider and the Giro with its inclusion of a long time trial of 60km and tough uphill finishes will make it a well-balanced race which suits me well.

“If I did the Giro I may also be able to get myself back to top shape for the Vuelta and go there with a realistic chance of aiming for the win. In the past I’ve only targeted one grand tour each season, but it could be a good opportunity for me to focus seriously on two.”

Froome has only raced the Giro d’Italia twice before, in 2009 when he placed 34th and in 2010 when he was disqualified for holding onto a motorbike. In 2012, he raced the Tour and the Vuelta, placing second and fourth. After pulling out of the 2014 Tour, he placed finished in the Vuelta in September.

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2015 Tour route unveiled; Cobbles, Alpe d’Huez finale included http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/tour-offers-2015-alpe-dhuez-finale_350169 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/tour-offers-2015-alpe-dhuez-finale_350169#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:21:13 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350169

The 2015 Tour de France route will feature four consecutive days in the Alps. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

More cobblestones, the Mur de Huy, and lots of climbing await the peloton next summer in the Tour de France

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The 2015 Tour de France route will feature four consecutive days in the Alps. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

PARIS (AFP) — For the first time in Tour de France history, the legendary Alpe d’Huez will be climbed on the penultimate stage of the 2015 edition before the final procession in Paris.

That was one of several surprises unveiled on Wednesday as the official route for the 2015 Tour, from July 4-26, was announced in Paris by Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

After this year’s exciting fifth stage — in which defending champion Chris Froome (Sky) crashed out with a broken hand and wrist — won by Dutchman Lars Boom (Belkin), the cobbles return for a second successive year while the first part of the race pays homage to some of the greatest bike races in the world.

But perhaps the biggest shock is the lack of time trial kilometers, something that will not favor 2013 winner Froome, who had said last month he was hoping for more, or longer, time trials to give him an edge on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who pipped him to Vuelta a Espana glory in September.

“One aspect of the race which I feel are my strengths is in the time trials,” Briton Froome had said ahead of last month’s world championships in Spain.

“I’m quite eager to see the 2015 Tour route and whether in the time trials I can get an advantage on [Contador].”

The 2015 course will thus be seen as giving an advantage to Spaniard and two-time winner winner Contador, or even Giro d’Italia champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar) of Colombia. 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will also likely look favorably on the course, as he is considered weaker than both Froome and Contador against the clock.

“Finishes in Pyrénées will be very important, like the arrival in Mende, a finish that I know well and in which, despite being short, there will be differences,” said Contador. “This year, the recovery from all these efforts will be very important … the last week in the Alps … will be very complicated in case you have to defend the lead, although they give many tactical possibilities in case you have to attack. In general, this is a Tour that [will require] fresh [legs] at the end, but also [you need] to start in good shape, because it is very demanding at first.

“I like this Tour, [it] is harder than last year’s and will require me to recover well after the Giro d’Italia, but I will prepare [for] it thoroughly”.

The Italian excelled on the cobbles this year, finishing third on that stage, and will no doubt look forward to the fourth stage, the longest of the race at 221km, in which there will be seven cobbled sections totaling 13.3km — with six of those coming in the final 45km.

“The alchemy of the Tour is to use every possible terrain,” said Prudhomme of the perilous cobbles.

Nibali gained more than 2 minutes on all his main rivals this year on the cobbled section that took in parts of the prestigious Paris-Roubaix Spring Classic course, as will next year’s fourth stage.

The day before that, the third stage will also play homage to another one-day classic, La Fleche Wallonne, with a finish on the brutally steep Mur de Huy.

That, along with the stage 8 finish up the Mur de Bretagne forms an integral part of the first week of racing along almost exclusively flat terrain in which sprinters will have plenty of opportunities to have their day.

Fighting for victory

Those two tough finishing climbs, as well as the return of bonus seconds for the first three — for the first time since 2007 — are aimed at animating the early part of the race, according to Prudhomme.

“I want to see the leading contenders fighting for the victory right from the off,” said Prudhomme.

Another thing Prudhomme wants to see is riders battling for victory on a day of special significance, which is why the fifth stage from Arras to Amiens will pass through some of the most important battlefields of the Somme, continuing the World War I theme from this year’s course and aimed at resonating particularly with Australians, New Zealanders and Britons.

Once the first rest day is out of the way, following the ninth stage from Vannes to Plumelec, a short 28km team time trial, it will be all about the mountains.

Three days in the Pyrenees and four in the Alps, including five summit finishes in total, are what await the peloton.

For the sprinters, it will be largely about surviving so they can take their chances on the final stage on the Champs Elysees. But for the contenders, there are a multitude of possibilities to make a difference and turn the tide of the race in their favor.

“Four consecutive stages in the Alps, that hasn’t happened for a long time,” said Prudhomme, who hopes that the penultimate stage up Alpe d’Huez, having earlier scaled the ceiling of the 2015 race, the Col du Galibier at 2,645 meters, will allow the overall standings to still be “turned upside” down, right to the bitter end.

As Prudhomme says: “Anything can happen.”

The route

Stage 1: July 4 — Utrecht, 14km individual time trial
Stage 2: July 5 — Utrecht to Zeeland, 166km
Stage 3: July 6 — Antwerp to Huy, 154km
Stage 4: July 7 — Seraing to Cambrai, 221km
Stage 5: July 8 — Arras to Amiens, 189km
Stage 6: July 9 — Abbeville to Le Havre, 191km
Stage 7: July 10 — Livarot to Fougeres, 190km
Stage 8: July 11 — Rennes to Mur de Bretagne, 179km
Stage 9: July 12 — Vannes to Plumelec, 28km team time trial
Rest day
Stage 10: July 14 — Tarbes to La Pierre Saint-Martin, 167km
Stage 11 July 15 — Pau to Cauterets-Vallee de Saint-Savin, 188km
Stage 12: July 16 — Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille, 195km
Stage 13: July 17 — Muret to Rodez, 200km
Stage 14: July 18 — Rodez to Mende, 178km
Stage 15: July 19 — Mende to Valence, 182km
Stage 16: July 20 — Bourg de Peage to Gap, 201km
Rest Day
Stage 17: July 22 — Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup, 161km
Stage 18: July 23 — Gap to Saint-Jean de Maurienne, 185km
Stage 19: July 24 — Saint-Jean de Maurienne to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles, 138km
Stage 20: July 25 — Modane Valfrejus to Alpe d’Huez, 110km
Stage 21: July 26 — Sevres to Paris, 107km

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Roland Cattin, founder of Time Sport, dies at 65 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/roland-cattin-founder-time-sport-dies-65_350157 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/roland-cattin-founder-time-sport-dies-65_350157#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:45:47 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350157

Roland Cattin with Paolo Bettini's bike, Interbike 2004. Photo: Ted Constantino

Roland Cattin, the founder of Time Sport International, died of a heart attack on Sunday morning near his home in Paris

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Roland Cattin with Paolo Bettini's bike, Interbike 2004. Photo: Ted Constantino

Roland Cattin, the founder of Time Sport International, died on Sunday morning near his home in Paris, following a bicycle ride he had taken with his wife. The cause was a heart attack, said Gilles Lalonde, sales manager for Time Sport USA. Cattin was 65 years old.

A strikingly handsome athlete with a forceful personality, Cattin led the company as its president from its founding in 1987. He was a passionate defender of his brand and a great champion of French ingenuity, and was never shy about expressing his unhappiness with an unfavorable product review or what he saw as a marginalization of the European cycling industry as its output was eclipsed by rivals in China and Taiwan.

“I am not only saying you are wrong, I am saying you are completely misguided,” he once remonstrated to this reporter after the appearance of a story purportedly charting the growth of composite materials in the bicycle industry. The report focused heavily on its use in Asian manufacturing, but subsequent research proved him entirely correct.

From the beginning, Cattin’s company motto was “Le Défi”—The Challenge, in English—and the immediate object of his challenge was the Look pedal system, which was the first clipless system to gain widespread usage. Time’s new pedal was intended to take on Look commercially, but behind the challenge lay a personal grudge.

Look had been founded as a ski binding company in 1948 by a French sporting goods manufacturer named Jean Beyl, and after numerous successes in the ski field, Beyl turned his attention to the bicycle cleat system. Look introduced Beyl’s clipless pedal system successfully with the PP65 pedal in 1984, and it rapidly became an industry standard, with Mavic adopting it in 1987 and Shimano in 1988. Beyl’s next plan was to add a number of new features to the Look system, but resistance to the changes and some internal acrimony at the company led Beyl to leave shortly thereafter. Looking elsewhere for a home for his next invention, Beyl founded Time with his son-in-law Cattin in 1987, and together they introduced the Time TBT pedal in 1988.

Revealed with great fanfare in January and subsequently supported by a lavish advertising campaign, the Time TBT pedal relied on two key concepts to battle the Look system for clipless supremacy. Most notably, the TBT pedal introduced the concept of rotational float, which allowed the cyclist’s heel to swing up to 10 degrees left and right without releasing. Time’s second concept was lateral float, which allowed the foot to slide sideways up to 9 millimeters while remaining engaged with the pedal. Together, the concepts were promoted by the company as a way to reduce the knee and tendon injuries that could be caused by locking the foot into one position.

To raise the new pedal’s public profile, Time engaged a roster of professional riders that included Greg LeMond, Pedro Delgado, and Stephen Roche. The company was quickly rewarded when Delgado won the Tour de France in 1988, with Jeannie Longo taking the women’s Tour title that same year. Delgado’s Tour victory was followed by LeMond in 1989 and 1990, and then by Miguel Indurain, who captured five successive Tours from 1991 to 1995. Over the years, Time garnered racing titles with Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Filippo Pozzato, Thomas Voeckler, Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich, and many others.

In a 2004 interview with VeloNews, Cattin discussed the benefits of sponsorship, noting that “Somebody like Boonen, for example, is a very strong guy, and you can have some information from a guy like this that you cannot get from Bettini, for example, who is a much lighter guy. So a pro team is a source of inspiration, because they are always pushing us to be better, to be lighter, but also to be stronger.”

Time followed the success of its road pedal with the ATAC mountain bike pedal. ATAC, an acronym for Auto Tension Adjustment Concept, separated the release angle from the spring tension on the cleat. The feature was intended to allow mountain bikers to set the release tension as low or as high as desired with no change to the basic engagement and release functions. As with the road pedals, Time sponsored a series of professional ambassadors in mountain biking who rang up a succession of victories, including two-time Olympic and five-time World Champion Julien Absalon, 2010 World Champion José Hermida, and 2012 Olympic Champion Julie Bresset.

The next move for the company was into the field of bicycles, starting with a carbon fork in 1993 and followed by complete frames in subsequent years. The Time composite products incorporate a wide blend of fibers, including carbon, Vectran, and Kevlar, and an expensive construction method called Resin Transfer Molding, or RTM. While most composite products employ a carbon cloth weave preimpregnated with resin (“prepreg” for short) which hardens when cured, the RTM approach lays up dry cloth in a predetermined arrangement and then injects resin into a surrounding mold, which is then pressurized and heated to create the final product.

The RTM system was expensive and slow, but, said Cattin, it was the one he favored for its consistency. “RTM technology is the only way to be very accurate in manufacturing to give the characteristics you are looking for in a frame,” he noted. “For example, to create a smooth ride, you need to use some specific fiber in a very accurate location and only RTM can allow you to be that accurate, compared to prepreg.”

Cattin was such a believer in the technology that rather than buying carbon cloth from outside companies, he equipped his factories with weaving machines. The machines spun cloth from spools of raw yarn, which he sourced from factories in Japan, Germany, and the United States.

The object of all this, said Cattin, was not a pursuit of profits, but instead the elusive goal of an ideal. “The bottom line is the feel of the ride,” he said. “We put in Vectran fiber in order to add comfort to the ride without affecting the lateral rigidity, but Vectran is not only for comfort, it also brings better road-holding, a better connection between the wheel and the road. You can corner better. If you don’t have a smooth ride, you don’t have a good connection between the bike and the road. So it’s not only comfort, it’s also efficiency.”

A celebration in the memory of Roland Cattin will be held Monday, October 27 at 2 p.m. at the Paroisse St. Thomas d’Aquin in Paris.

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Early retirement for six-time Belgian champion Liesbet De Vocht http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/early-retirement-liesbet-de-vocht_350149 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/early-retirement-liesbet-de-vocht_350149#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:01:56 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350149

Liesbet de Vocht (Lotto-Belisol) won her retirement race in Arendonk this year. She beat Marianne Vos in a sprint. Photo: Glenn Coessens

De Vocht, looks back on her career with satisfaction, despite a knee injury that ended her retirement year prematurely

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Liesbet de Vocht (Lotto-Belisol) won her retirement race in Arendonk this year. She beat Marianne Vos in a sprint. Photo: Glenn Coessens

While Liesbet De Vocht’s (Lotto-Belisol) fellow Belgians prepared for the women’s world road championships in Ponferrada, Spain, she sat on the sidelines, literally. She was unable to ride due to a debilitating knee injury sustained in September’s Boels Ladies Tour. “I knew immediately when I crashed, my chances for worlds were over,” she said. “I was crushed, to say the least. I landed directly on my knee, cutting it straight through to the bone. They stitched it up but I wasn’t allowed to bend the knee for the first few days. After 10 days, the wound was still open and still wasn’t 100 percent.”

As world championships was to have been the last race of De Vocht’s career, she officially entered early retirement. “The decision to retire didn’t come overnight. It’s taken me two years, in fact, to get here. Last year, I was all ready to stop but then I won the Belgian road championships. It was difficult pass up a whole year of riding in the peloton with that prestigious jersey. Now that I’m without the jersey I can easily say goodbye. At my age [35], I just want a house and a family, including kids. Luckily I already have a boyfriend so I am halfway there,” said De Vocht.

Although her career was unexpectedly shortened by a month, her list of career accomplishments is anything but short. This year alone, she’s landed on the podium of UCI international events four times including a fourth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and second in the Belgian time trial championships. She’s also placed seventh in both Gent-Wevelgem and Tour of Flanders.

Over the 11-year span of her career from 2004 to 2014, she’s accumulated 54 victories. These victories include four Belgian time trial championships (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and two Belgian road championships in 2010 and 2013. The two Belgian road victories are especially sweet for her as they have sentimental significance. “[Belgian championships] in Geel was in front of my home crowd, while La Roche was a very personal victory. I did all preparation myself from food, gear, climb training where I basically went to the mountains to learn how to climb. … So that victory was for me.”

Another accomplishment that ranks high for De Vocht was her debut in the 2012 Olympics. “In 2011, I quit my full-time job as a programmer to focus solely on cycling in hopes to qualify for the Olympics. Well, the gamble paid off as my dream came true. And a ninth place made it that much more special.” As there was only one automatic Olympic spot allocated to the Belgian women, De Vocht sacrificed her position on Marianne Vos’ Nederland-Bloeit team to ride for the Belgian Topsport Vlaanderen Team, where she could more easily earn valuable UCI points as team leader, as opposed to riding in support of Vos. With the additional points accumulated, Belgium was able to take two additional women, including De Vocht.

While most racers would name a certain victory as their top favorite experience on the bike, De Vocht recalls an event where she missed the finish altogether. “In the 2010 Tour de Laude, I was off the front with teammate Annemiek van Vleuten when the course marshals sent us off in the wrong direction. Even though one of us surely would have won the stage, but didn’t, it was still an amazing experience to ride off the front together like that. We also worked really well as a team, where we lost time on the climbs, but could make it back in the descents — always a fun thing to do!”

De Vocht got her first taste of the bike racing scene as a supporter for her brother, former professional Wim De Vocht, as well as ex-boyfriend Tom Boonen whom she dated from 1997-2003. She spent so much time on her bike at the races to get back and forth between start, finish, and feed zones that she began to see improvement in her own cycling. Once she and Boonen split, she became inspired to see how far she could get if she gave it a shot herself, starting off with the mountain bike before switching to the pavement.

She’d gotten so far in her career, in fact, that when it came time to retire, her hometown of Arendonk held an official retirement race in July where 85 women, including Marianne Vos and this year’s Belgian road champion Jolien D’Hoore, lined up alongside her to give her a proper sendoff. After she crossed the line — with an average speed of 41.32kph, hands raised in the air, the festivities began. She kicked it off by thanking all her supporters, fans, and friends she’s made over the years, adding, “I will definitely look back to this time in my life with a lot of joy and a smile across my face.”

And now looking back specifically to that special day, she muses, “For sure I appreciate my early retirement party in Arendonk even more.”

De Vocht may be retiring from professional cycling, but she promises to firmly remain in the cycling community. “Next year, the plan is to work for Lotto-Soudal womens’ under-23 riders, coaching them as well as handling some of the administrative work. I’ll also be coaching the novices and juniors on the Balen BC cycling club from the area. As long as I don’t have to go back to a nine-to-five job, I’ll be happy.”

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Maghalie Rochette looks to Canadian cyclocross nationals http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/maghalie-rochette-looks-canadian-cyclocross-nationals_350107 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/maghalie-rochette-looks-canadian-cyclocross-nationals_350107#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:12:45 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350107

Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) raced to second place at Full Moon Vista cyclocross in Ellison Park, in Rochester, New York. Photo: Dave McElwaine

The 21-year-old Canadian is having her best 'cross season yet and is shooting for victory at nationals this weekend

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Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) raced to second place at Full Moon Vista cyclocross in Ellison Park, in Rochester, New York. Photo: Dave McElwaine

Canadian cyclocross rider Maghalie Rochette captured attention across the American racing scene with a third place finish at Rapha Super Cross Gloucester and second at Rochester’s Ellison Park Full Moon Vista race. This weekend, she heads to Winnipeg to vie for a maple leaf jersey in Canadian cyclocross nationals.

Now in her third and most consistently successful year of UCI ‘cross competition, the 21-year-old Luna Pro Team rider also won The Night Weasels Cometh, a big non-UCI event in New England.

After completing her second elite mountain bike season in September and feeling more content with the experience than her overall results, Rochette opted for a relaxed approach to the 2014 cyclocross season.

“I just wanted to have some fun, to go all-out in ‘cross races and try to have some good results,” she said. “But I didn’t really have results in mind. I was just going out there to have a blast … but [results] arrived so I am super happy.”

Now she hopes that her relaxed success will carry over the border to Canada this coming weekend when she tackles the Canadian cyclocross championships in Winnipeg and looks for a better outcome in her third run at the elite women’s contest.

In 2012 she finished 13th. Last year, she came into the race two weeks after a bad crash and placed ninth. Her goal for Winnipeg is to pass the finish line happy with her performance.

“I’m not thinking about a position so much because it’s hard to decide if a race is good based only on that — you can’t control what the other racers are doing,” Rochette said. “So even if I have the best day of my life, and six other girls also have the best day of their lives and they beat me, I can’t be disappointed with that.”

Canadian cyclocross nationals will be held in downtown Winnipeg on Saturday, October 25. Check back on VeloNews for event coverage.

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Armstrong, former USPS riders to reunite this weekend at Gran Fondo Hincapie http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/armstrong-former-usps-riders-reunite-weekend-gran-fondo-hincapie_349986 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/armstrong-former-usps-riders-reunite-weekend-gran-fondo-hincapie_349986#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:00:45 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=349986

Four members of the controversial 1999 U.S. Postal Service team will ride together at Gran Fondo Hincapie. Photo: TDW Sport.

Armstrong, Hincapie, Vande Velde, and Livingston will reunite at the October 25 Gran Fondo Hincapie

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Four members of the controversial 1999 U.S. Postal Service team will ride together at Gran Fondo Hincapie. Photo: TDW Sport.

This weekend, at a gran fondo in Greenville, South Carolina, several members of the former U.S. Postal Service team will ride together again.

Four members of the USPS team that won the 1999 Tour de France — Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, and Kevin Livingston — will reunite at the October 25 Gran Fondo Hincapie.

Former Postal/Discovery Channel team members Michael Barry and Tom Danielson will also be attending. Though initially listed as a participant, former USPS rider David Zabriskie has said he will not be able to make the trip.

Mixed with this group are several notable names from the younger generation of American racers, including Tejay van Garderen, Brent Bookwalter, and Larry Warbasse, all of BMC Racing, Hincapie’s last team as a professional.

American WorldTour riders Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) are also participating.

Two years and two weeks after USADA’s Reasoned Decision rocked the foundation of American cycling, it’s a notable list of riders, past and present, who are attending — particularly four who testified about Armstrong’s drug use, and their own, in the USADA report.

Since the USADA report was released, those involved have gone in disparate directions. Hincapie retired, and now runs an apparel company, which sponsors a successful development team. Vande Velde served a six-month off-season suspension, raced in 2013, and then retired; he’s now a race announcer for NBC Sports. Danielson served a six-month off-season suspension, and continues to race, and win, for Garmin-Sharp. Livingston, who was a member of the USPS team but did not testify in the USADA report, serves in the role of competition director for Georgia-based race organizer Medalist Sports; he also runs the Pedal Hard Training Center in Austin, Texas, in the basement of the Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop owned by Armstrong. Barry and Zabriskie have maintained relatively low profiles, with Zabriskie competing this year in Race Across America and the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race.

Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his Tour victories; within a week of the USADA report’s release, he lost millions in sponsorship revenue, as well as his seat at the Livestrong Foundation, which he founded.

The event, however, is more about Hincapie than Armstrong. The gran fondo bears Hincapie’s name, and this list of riders attending, which spans generations, speaks to the friendships he has cultivated over the years.

American riders from the USPS team who testified in the USADA case, but are not attending, include Levi Leipheimer, Frankie Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters, and Tyler Hamilton.

In today’s post-confessional environment, there are critics who will argue that a team of young riders should not be sponsored by an apparel company owned by George Hincapie, or that he should not be organizing a gran fondo.

Whether or not that is a valid argument is ultimately a matter of opinion; Hincapie “served” his six-month USADA suspension in retirement, and is in no way prohibited from being involved in professional cycling, as a sponsor or team director, as Armstrong is, due to his lifetime ban. (Hincapie’s gran fondo is unsanctioned, and therefore Armstrong is free to participate.)

And while some might assume that riders from the younger generation would choose to disassociate themselves from riders who admitted to drug use, in this instance, that is not the case.

VeloNews reached out to several of those pros, past and present, who are participating, for comment.

Most, including Armstrong and Hincapie, addressed their involvement with event, either via email, phone, or in person, while a few — Vande Velde and Livingston — did not.

Some addressed the inherent awkwardness of the reunion, others did not.

Their replies follow below.

George Hincapie (via email): The Fondo is not supposed to have an intended or implied message; at least that’s not what we are shooting for. It’s just a celebration of cycling with friends and fans that also supports what we feel are important causes. Last year we hosted 20 or so veterans from Operation Shift Gears, and financial proceeds purchased more than 6,000 meals for our Meals on Wheels chapter. We hope for even more this year. The Fondo also helps promote what a great region this is for cycling, and brings people here to ride. It even gets people who may have never thought about getting on a bike to challenge themselves and try it out. I have a few personal friends that are now totally into cycling as a result of the event, and it has changed their life. To me that’s what it’s all about. I know I’ve made mistakes along with some of the other riders in attendance, but I believe in, and hope for, second chances for everyone. I’m very fortunate to count many former and current professionals as friends, and will leave it to my peers to decide how they regard me, and the event.

Lance Armstrong (via email): I’m going because George is a good friend and he asked me to come. He’s been awfully supportive of Anna and mine’s work with Wapiyapi [a small private fundraising dinner and ride], so I wanted to return the favor. Regarding the others, I’m ambivalent.

Michael Barry (via email): l am not sure there is much to say. Like in any walk of life, I’ve remained friends with a few of the guys, notably Christian and George. Our lives have all moved on in different ways. Some guys I was close with, others I never speak with.

Dave Zabriskie (by phone): George is a friendly guy, he’s nice to everyone, people like him. That’s why so many people are going. If I could be there, I would be. I don’t think the younger guys see George as someone to be scared of, or scared of associating with, I think they see him as someone they can learn from.

These [former USPS teammates] spent a lot of years together. You can’t just wipe that away. There’s a lot of baggage in the past, but I think some friendships can transcend that. Some people out there, maybe they can’t move on past what happened, but for some of these guys, they are able to move forward. It’s interesting that Lance, if anyone, can put it all in the past and move on.

Tejay Van Garderen (by phone): I can see the curiosity of people, wondering why we would choose to associate ourselves. It was frustrating for me to learn about all the stuff that happened in the past, and I think I was right there, with a lot of people, being angry about the news that had come out. But after a while, after I had had some time to digest … Thor Hushovd said to me once, in regards to Lance, ‘If I had a family member, or friend, who committed a crime and went to prison, I wouldn’t support what they did — but I would still go visit them in prison.’ And I agree with that.

With a lot of these guys … nothing they can do will make up for what they did, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them bad people. I also look at the good that they have done. Levi has raised money with his gran fondo, which he gives back to his community. Christian has been helping out with setting up an American seat on the CPA, the pro riders union. He’s not getting a dime from that, and he’s not racing, he’s retired, he just wants to see the sport improve.

As for George, I roomed with him at the 2012 Tour de France. I shared a lot of special moments with George, and you can’t just turn your back on all of that, because of something that happened 10 years ago.

I think the healthy, and positive thing, for the younger generation of riders to do is to accept, and forgive, and maybe not forget, but to move forward. These people are human beings, and we’re moving on. I think the worst thing for people to do is to hold a pep rally at the USA Pro Challenge to go and flip off Tom Danielson.

Lance lives down the block from me, in Aspen. We’ve gone on some rides together, he’s even motorpaced me behind his Vespa. I don’t feel like there’s any hidden agenda there. He still loves the sport, and wants to see it get better. I don’t think he is the evil guy he’s been depicted to be, in all these books and movies, but I suppose that is ultimately going to be left up for people to decide for themselves.

Lance took the brunt [of the USADA investigation], much harder than anyone else, and in my opinion, he might deserve a bit of a break. To say whether he deserves equal punishment to everyone else, that’s not up to me to decide.

Alex Howes (in person): I don’t know. I feel like I’m playing kind of the ignorance card when I say I don’t really think about it. But I really don’t. Like those guys, guys like Vande Velde and Hincapie and Zabriskie and that Lance guy. With as involved in the sport as they were for so many years, unless the world was flat and they could just fall off the edge, they’re really not going to be going anywhere too fast. And for us younger guys, this newer generation, it’s been kind of a balancing act. Learning how to be friends with them, help them kind of reintegrate into clean cycling. And also kind of create our own identity I suppose, as a generation. And it’s not easy, and I feel like we’re doing a relatively good job. I’m pretty proud of where we are from a results standpoint. From an ethical standpoint … Where we stay in our little bubble, how we relate to the rest of population, I don’t know. It’s complicated. It’s absolutely not black and white.

Larry Warbasse (via email): It’s a pretty cool event. I went there the first year they had it (two years ago) and it was a great time. The ride is a great way to show off the town of Greenville and its surrounding areas (a place I spent two of my winters training and think of very fondly) and it also supports a great local charity, Meals on Wheels, which is awesome. It is a pretty impressive list of riders attending the Fondo, I think it speaks volumes to how respected of a guy George is.

In regards to the relationships we (the younger generation of American riders) have with George and some of the other riders attending, I can only speak for myself.

During the two winters I spent in Greenville, I trained with George nearly every day. I got to know him very well as a person and consider him a close friend. I also rode with his development team in 2012, the year before I turned pro. Many tend to look for the worst in people. I, however, tend to look at the best. Many people have a hard time realizing that good people can make bad decisions. George is a great person. He made some bad decisions in his past. But he also has done worlds for the sport to try to right his wrongs, by giving back to the sport and helping young riders. His development team is a great example of that. I did not know him at the time when he made those decisions, I met him after he decided to race clean. People look to crucify George and others for the past, but I think our energy can be better utilized by working towards the future.

Brent Bookwalter (via email): At the end of the day, my support of George’s ride is about being there for him as a friend, just as he was for me during the time when we were teammates, and after. It is equally about supporting the ride itself, which makes a significant charitable contribution and is a staple event in the Southeast part of the country where I reside for much of the year. George has been gracious enough to support our ride, the Bookwalter Binge, and our charitable fundraising goals as well. It is nice that we can exchange support with each other in these areas after being supportive teammates in years past.

Matthew Busche (via email): I recently moved [to Brevard, N.C.] and have quickly come to realize how great the riding is around here in terms of quality and beauty. I did a small, local group ride in September (Tour d’Apple) and met some great people and rode some amazing roads that I didn’t know existed in basically my own backyard. I am doing George’s fondo this coming weekend, and the Bookwalter Binge the following weekend, as a way to promote cycling as a whole, promote cycling in this area, and as a friend to George and Brent. I’m excited to see some of the roads in the area I haven’t been on and I look forward to good weather, fall colors, and great company.

Tom Danielson (via email): This is my second year doing George’s fondo and I’m really looking forward to it. Greenville is a beautiful part of the country to ride in, and George’s fondo does a great job showcasing it, and does a lot for charity as part of it. It’s a great event, it gets people from all over the place involved in and excited about cycling, and that’s what it’s all about.

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UPDATE: Derny driver injured in Amsterdam in critical condition http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/racing-halted-six-days-amsterdam-serious-injury-derny-driver_350139 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/racing-halted-six-days-amsterdam-serious-injury-derny-driver_350139#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:53:45 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350139 The Six Days of Amsterdam track event was postponed Tuesday after a derny driver suffered a serious accident and was rushed to a nearby

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The Six Days of Amsterdam track event was postponed Tuesday after derny driver Cees Stam, 68, suffered a serious accident and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

On Wednesday, organizers provided this update on his condition: “Stam has displayed some positive signs overnight, but his condition overall remains critical. The organization remains in close contact with the family.”

The Twitter account for SixDayRacing.com, the official live stream for the Amsterdam Six Day, reported that Tuesday’s racing had been cancelled after a major crash.

In a statement on the event website, organizers said, “A number of other pacemakers and riders were involved in the accident [and suffered] minor injuries.”

Stam is an experienced derny driver and formerly a professional cyclist and four-time world champion on the track in motorpaced events.

Eurosport race commentator Carlton Kirby tweeted from the event, “Sadly tonight’s racing from Amsterdam has been abandoned due to the serious injury to one of the [derny] drivers.”

Among those participating at the event is Paris-Roubaix champion Niki Terpstra, (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), the winner of the Amsterdam Six-Day event in 2011. Terpstra’s teammate is Yoeri Havik.

Also participating are Lotto-Belisol riders Pim Ligthart and Jasper Buyst. Buyst won last year’s Six Days of Ghent and was the revelation of the six-day season.

Americans Guy East and Dan Holloway are racing in Amsterdam as well.

Check back for more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Julich part of behind-the-wheel changes at Tinkoff-Saxo http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/julich-part-behind-wheel-changes-tinkoff-saxo_350022 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/julich-part-behind-wheel-changes-tinkoff-saxo_350022#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:11:35 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350022

After retiring from racing, Bobby Julich worked with Saxo Bank as a technical director. In 2015, he'll return to the squad, now Tinkoff-Saxo, as a sport director. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

Bobby Julich and Sean Yates are expected to bolster Tinkoff-Saxo's DS lineup. Longtime directors Mauduit and Guidi are out in shakeup

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After retiring from racing, Bobby Julich worked with Saxo Bank as a technical director. In 2015, he'll return to the squad, now Tinkoff-Saxo, as a sport director. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

American ex-pro Bobby Julich and Sean Yates look to be heading to Tinkoff-Saxo in a major, behind-the-scenes shakeup at the team for next season.

According to reports in the French daily L’Equipe, the pair will join Tinkoff-Saxo’s sport director staff for the 2015 season. At the same time, Philippe Mauduit and Fabrizio Guidi, two long-time sport directors who’ve been with the team since 2011, are out.

Team officials could not be reached to confirm the news, but it marks a shift in management at one of the sport’s highest-profile teams. And it’s another signal that team owner Oleg Tinkov and team CEO Stefano Feltrin are firmly in charge. The Russian tycoon has steadily been raising his profile since buying out Bjarne Riis last year. Riis remains as team manager, and calls the shots during the races, but these moves reveal that Tinkov is not content to remain an idle, hands-off owner.

Speaking to French newspaper La Nouvelle Republique, Mauduit said he saw the writing on the wall earlier this season that he was not bonding with the outspoken Russian owner.

“Tinkov bought the team in 2013, and I saw very quickly we didn’t share the same ways of working, or the same values, and it was true that our collaboration was difficult,” Mauduit said. “But he is the boss, and he has the money, and he does what he wants with the team, the strategy, and his communication. He’s the one who decides, and I respect that.”

Mauduit worked with French teams before joining Cérvelo in 2009-2010, and then Riis’ Saxo Bank-SunGard outfit in 2011. Guidi finished out his pro racing career with Riis before becoming a sport director, also in 2011.

Julich and Yates, meanwhile, will return to Riis’s side. Yates worked as a sport director at the former CSC team in 2003-04, while Julich finished out his racing career with Riis from 2004 to 2008, when he enjoyed a revival, winning such races as Paris-Nice, Critérium International, and the Eneco Tour, all in 2005. The American then took on a role with the team as rider development manager, which lasted until late 2010.

Yates and Julich both joined Team Sky in 2010, with Yates working as lead director, and Julich as a coach. Both left the team in 2012, however, as part of the team’s controversial zero-tolerance policy, with Yates citing personal problems and Julich admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs early in his pro career.

Yates, 54, has not worked with a top pro team since then, while Julich, 42, worked as a coach for BMC Racing this season.

In their arrival to Tinkoff-Saxo, they will link up with Steven de Jongh, who also left Sky in 2012 after also admitting former doping practices. Since his arrival to Tinkoff-Saxo in 2013, de Jongh eclipsed Mauduit as the team’s lead director, and helped steer Alberto Contador to victory during the 2014 Vuelta a España.

Tinkoff-Saxo has also closed out its roster for 2015, with a total of 30 riders for next season. Six new faces join the team, including Peter and Juraj Sagan, Macej Bodnar, and Ivan Basso (all from Cannondale), as well as Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Robert Kiserlovski (Trek).

The core of the team remains intact, with five departures. Niki Sorensen and Karsten Kroon are both retiring, with Nicolas Roche to Sky, Rory Sutherland to Movistar, and Marko Kump to Slovenian team Adria Mobil.

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Vuelta a Espana to hold one-day women’s race http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/vuelta-espana-hold-one-day-womens-race_350125 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/vuelta-espana-hold-one-day-womens-race_350125#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:19:29 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350125

La Course brought the women's peloton to the Champs-Elysées in 2014, and now a similar race is planned for the Vuelta. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Vuelta says a race akin to La Course is in the works for the 2015 grand tour, and it will seek top-category UCI designation

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La Course brought the women's peloton to the Champs-Elysées in 2014, and now a similar race is planned for the Vuelta. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Spanish newspaper Marca reported Tuesday that Vuelta a España organizers have confirmed plans for a one-day women’s race in conjunction with the final stage of Spain’s grand tour.

The 2015 Vuelta will finish in Madrid on September 13. It is anticipated that the women’s race will take on a similar format to that seen at La Course by the Tour de France, which was held for the first time this year, and will return in 2015, again racing the Champs-Élysées circuit.

Vuelta organizer Unipublic is said to be in talks with the UCI to seek a top-category classification for the event on the international elite women’s calendar.

Details still remain unconfirmed, but as of now, organizers plan to hold the race on Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana boulevard. As of yet, the event does not have an official name, but it is expected to resemble La Course in many ways.

This race will be a welcome addition to the women’s calendar, which sees precious few elite races in Spain, with the exception of the Bira stage race.

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Gallery: HPCX, day 1 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclocross/gallery-hpcx-day-1_350084 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/cyclocross/gallery-hpcx-day-1_350084#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:54:36 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350084

East Coast UCI racing continued over the weekend in New Jersey at Highland Park

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Alpe d’Huez finale looks to highlight 2015 Tour route http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/alpe-dhuez-finale-looks-highlight-2015-tour-route_350112 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/alpe-dhuez-finale-looks-highlight-2015-tour-route_350112#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:15:37 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350112

The 2015 Tour de France is rumored to offer a penultimate-stage finish atop l'Alpe d'Huez. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

With anticipation building ahead of Wednesday's Tour de France route announcement, will 2015 be a climber's delight?

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The 2015 Tour de France is rumored to offer a penultimate-stage finish atop l'Alpe d'Huez. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).

The lights will dim, the music score will ramp up, and the invited cyclists will nod their heads in universal agreement as if to say, “Yep, the Tour de France looks hard again.”

On Wednesday morning, inside the packed auditorium at the Palais de Congrés in Paris, the cycling world will see the official route for the 2015 Tour. Just how hard it will be remains to be seen. [Tune in live at 5:30 a.m. EDT on October 22 -Ed.]

The Tour is always hard, no matter what race organizers throw at the peloton. Speeds, pressure, crashes, and weather add up to make the Tour unlike any race of the season.

The big question will be centered on how many time trial kilometers will be included in the route. The 2012 course, with more than 100km of time trialing, played perfectly into the hands of Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins. After a more balanced 2013 edition, the 2014 Tour featured only one individual time trial, tipping the scale toward the climbers. There are reports that a team time trial could also be included in this year’s route.

Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), no slouch against the clock, will hope for a repeat of this year’s climber-friendly course, though a return of the cobblestones, which Nibali deftly handled this year to pave the way to his first yellow jersey, is not back on the menu for 2015.

From what’s been revealed via leaks, guesswork, speculation, and even Twitter messages from enthusiastic local politicians, the 2015 Tour looks to be one that gradually becomes harder the more it winds up. Check velowire.com for an extensive recap of various tips and hints.

What’s confirmed is that the Tour will begin in Utrecht, Netherlands, on July 4, and conclude on the Champs-Élysées on July 26 in Paris. In fact, the opening three days are already established, with the return of an individual time trial to open the Tour, followed by two road stages across the Netherlands and Belgium to start the 102nd edition of the French tour.

An opening-day time trial returns for the first time since 2012, when Fabian Cancellara won in Liège, and wore the yellow jersey for seven days. If the distance is more than 10km, and it’s expected to be nearly 14km in length, it will be considered a time trial and the first stage, rather than a prologue. Semantics aside, any first-day race against the clock in a grand tour can create significant time differences right from the gun.

It’s unlikely the Tour will reintroduce finish line and mid-stage time bonuses, however, meaning that whoever wins the yellow jersey in Utrecht could carry it for several days. Tour director Christian Prudhomme has hinted in interviews that shakeups could be in store for the points system used to determine the green jersey, but time bonuses are not looked upon in favor within the hallways of ASO offices.

After what will be the sixth Tour Grand Départ inside the Netherlands, two more road stages are confirmed, with stage 2 from Utrecht to Neeltje Jans along Holland’s windy coast, and stage 3 starting in Antwerp, Belgium.

Once back in France, there seems to be general agreement among Tour watchers that the route will wind counter-clockwise around France. Hence its French name, la grande boucle, or the big circle. the Tour will loop around France, and is expected to trace across northern France, with stops in Normandy and Brittany, before transferring south to tackle the Pyrénées. The first rest day typically comes near Pau or Lourdes.

There are usually two to four Pyrénéan stages, with at least one major summit finale. A return to Plateau de Beille could be in the cards.

The route is then expected to move across southern France toward a climatic final battleground in the Alps, with possible summits to include Pra-Loup, Galibier, and La Toussuire. It’s been widely reported that l’Alpe d’Huez will be featured as a race-making centerpiece set on the penultimate stage. The Tour will be in an absolute frenzy if it does indeed feature the last significant battle up the 21 switchbacks of cycling’s most famous climb.

That will mean what is expected to be the Tour’s lone, longer individual time trial will likely come between the Pyrénées and the Alps. Perhaps it could come before the Pyrénées, but either way, the closing stages across the Alps will favor aggressive racing on the steeps.

There’s another interesting possibility — perhaps no longer time trials at all. With a team time trial and the opening day time trial in Utrecht, perhaps ASO will offer up a surprise, and not include any other TTs. That would create a tightly packed GC scenario favoring the pure climbers. Can anyone say, Nairo Quintana?

No matter what the Tour organization comes up with, the Tour is always hard. It’s not always the best or most exciting race of the season, simply because one rider tends to outshine everyone else, but it’s always the hardest, and inevitably, the strongest rider usually wins.

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Video: Road rage between two bikers in London commute http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/video-road-rage-two-bikers-london-commute_350105 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/video-road-rage-two-bikers-london-commute_350105#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:46:03 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350105

Road rage causes a crash after one cyclist attacks another in London commute.

A dangerous crash occurs when one rider unexpectedly kicks the wheel of a second cyclist, sending him sprawling into a nearby bus

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Road rage causes a crash after one cyclist attacks another in London commute.

Although Raphael Carrondo uploaded this POV video to YouTube two months ago, and it is now making the rounds after the The Independent reported on the altercation that took place in London.

“I couldn’t believe what had happened — I feel so lucky to be alive,” Carrondo told ITV News. “This guy just came out of nowhere and leathered my front wheel. I went flying over the handlebars and my head almost went under the bus — it was terrifying.”

Read the full article on The Independent >>

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Pulmonary embolism, a silent killer: What cyclists should know http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/road/pulmonary-embolism-silent-killer-cyclists-know_350026 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/news/road/pulmonary-embolism-silent-killer-cyclists-know_350026#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:28:05 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350026

In 2006, Mike Friedman suffered a pulmonary embolism. He made a full recovery and returned to professional racing thanks to prompt medical treatment. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (File).

Mike Friedman, Chris Horner, and Frank Vandenbroucke all suffered pulmonary embolisms. Vandenbroucke's condition tragically claimed his life

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In 2006, Mike Friedman suffered a pulmonary embolism. He made a full recovery and returned to professional racing thanks to prompt medical treatment. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (File).

Editor’s note: This article is a general overview of pulmonary emboli and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your physician if you think you are suffering from this or any other medical condition. 

On November 17, 2006, Mike Friedman (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), 24, felt an excruciating pain rip through his torso. “I’ve never been so short of breath,” he said. “It was like a dull knife ripping apart my chest.” In the middle of watching the movie “Cars,” he turned to his date and said, “We need to get to a hospital. I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Forty minutes later, Friedman was under evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, not for a heart attack, but for a pulmonary embolism, a potentially lethal blood clot in his lung.

Pulmonary emboli (PE) are silent killers. Often with little prior warning, nearly 300,000 people are killed every year by blood clots which lodge in their lungs (Kahanov and Daly, 2009). There is no greater cause of sudden death in the healthy population than a pulmonary embolism (Goldhaber, 2004).

First, a clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) forms, often in the calf. The DVT travels from the veins to the right side of the heart which pumps the clot to the lungs. Untreated, this blocks blood flow to the lungs and can ultimately cause cardiac arrest. In total, over 900,000 people are stricken with pulmonary emboli every year. Many of those hit are otherwise healthy athletic people. (Andersen et al, 1991).

PEs are not unheard of in the peloton. Rwandan cycling pro Adrien Nyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka), the focal point of Tim Lewis’s book, “Land of Second Chances,” lost his 2013 season because of his PE. Vuelta a España champion Chris Horner suffered one in 2011. Top professional Frank Vandenbroucke wasn’t so lucky. His embolism was fatal.

It was the coalescence of four crucial factors that caused Friedman to totter down the UPMC emergency department hall that night.

In late October of 2006, the rider affectionately known as “Meatball” had surgery to remove a recurrent saddle sore. What he didn’t know at the time was that he carries a genetic mutation called Factor V Leiden — one of the approximately 16 known genetic variants that can cause clotting disorders. The surgery, coupled with Friedman’s genome, kicked his clotting mechanism into high gear.

On November 6, he drove 1,600 miles non-stop from his home at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to his family in Pittsburgh. Fueled by little more than truck stop coffee, dehydration became Friedman’s buddy during the drive. Worse, periods of immobility, such as lengthy drives and airplane rides, often trigger DVT formation. Friedman’s calf cramped badly during the drive. Once the clot took root in his leg, the cramping was constant, an early warning sign that a DVT had formed in his leg.

When Friedman arrived in Pittsburgh, he began to train again. Unable to sit comfortably, he went out for runs. He also did 75-mile rides — without a saddle, but with a DVT in his calf.

Surgery, genetic predisposition, a lengthy drive, plus dehydration — fortunately for Friedman on his date night, he avoided the urge to tough it out, and got to the ER.

What are the warning signs that should alert you to seek immediate evaluation?

1) Shortness of breath — typically appears suddenly and always gets worse with exertion.
2) Chest pain — Not only “heart attack pain,” but pain when you draw deep breaths, cough, or bend at the waist. It does not go away.
3) Cough — especially bloody sputum.
4) Leg pain and/or swelling — usually in the calf. This is a tough one for cyclists. Our calves always ache. One-sided swelling is a tipoff. Friedman’s was only in his right calf below the knee.
5) Clammy and/or discolored skin — Friedman’s leg took on a reddish hue.
6) Irregular heartbeat.
7) Anxiety, lightheadedness, and/or dizziness.

If you’ve got two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to get evaluated immediately. Untreated, 30 percent of acute PEs result in death (Horlander K.T., et al). Once at the hospital, several tests are commonly used to diagnose a DVT/PE episode.

Typically, a chest x-ray is taken to rule out other disorders which mimic a PE. An ultrasound exam of your legs can confirm the presence of a DVT. Standard blood work often includes a D-dimer test, which can tell if your body’s clotting mechanism has been engaged.

A CT pulmonary angiogram is considered the gold standard for PE diagnosis. A small amount of contrast medium which contains iodine is injected into a vein in the hand or arm. The exam is quick — images are taken shortly after injection and take just moments to gather. Any emboli are seen as dark against the white background of the dye within your pulmonary circulation.

Now that your doctors have diagnosed you with a PE, you are likely to be treated with a variety of anticoagulant therapies. How long you’ll remain on anti-coagulant therapy, and when you can get back on your bike are critical questions for any cyclist.

Straightaway, you’ll need patience as the damage caused by the blood clots in your lungs and legs takes time to heal. Swelling of the legs is often worse after a DVT, so your physician may order you to wear compression stockings to keep it at bay. You might find that the mere act of walking up stairs leaves you breathless for several weeks post-PE. Base miles will be the order of the day for awhile.

PEs are complex medical management issues for physicians. It may take several weeks of tweaks until your personal physiology and the medications begin to act in harmony. While the outlook for a fit athlete’s return to active riding is far brighter than for the population at large, you might find yourself on anticoagulants for some time.

Most likely, you’ll be back on the bike, but perhaps not as strongly as Friedman. In May of 2007, six months after suffering a PE, Friedman raced the Four Days of Dunkerque. In December of 2007, Friedman won the pre-Olympics scratch race on the Beijing velodrome which cemented his spot on the US Olympic long team. And in April of 2008, he raced the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, as he rode in support of fourth-place finisher and Garmin teammate Martijn Maaskant. Nice comeback.

Special thanks to Dr. Chris Roseberry, MD, FACS — the finest cyclocrossing surgeon in Exeter, NH.

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Gallery: Power unit roundup from Interbike http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/gallery/gallery-power-unit-roundup-from-interbike_350055 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/10/gallery/gallery-power-unit-roundup-from-interbike_350055#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:26:30 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=350055

Lennard Zinn checks out a few power units on display at the annual trade show

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