Sunday, November 19, 2017

Top 7 Winter Cycling Mistakes


In the cold and wet winter months you want to make sure you get things right. Here are 7 winter riding mistakes you want to avoid

Thursday, November 16, 2017

No Doping Charges for Wiggins, Team Sky and British Cycling Over Mystery Package

Team Sky's Dave Brailsford  and Bradley Wiggins in the team bus at the 2013 Giro d'Italia

UKAD closes investigation, unable to confirm contents of jiffy bag

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has published its final report into allegations of a potential doping violation surrounding Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky and British Cycling, confirming that no charges will be brought against any of the parties concerned.

Despite spending over 12 months investigating a case that involved a suspect medical package being sent to Team Sky at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011 in order to treat Wiggins, UKAD could not find sufficient evidence surrounding the contents of the package.

UKAD interviewed 37 people during the investigation but a lack of medical records kept at British Cycling and Team Sky hampered the process. Both British Cycling and Team Sky took several weeks to claim that the package contained the legal decongestant Fluimucil but they too were unable to provide a paper trail.

“No anti-doping charges will be brought in relation to the package as a result of that investigation and all interested parties have been informed accordingly. This will remain the case unless new and material evidence were to come to light,” UKAD said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“UKAD’s investigation was particularly challenging in light of a lack of contemporaneous medical records. This aspect of the investigation serves as a reminder to all those responsible for medical record-keeping within sport to ensure that medical record policies are fit for purpose, and that such policies are systematically followed.”

The investigation was launched in September 2016 after it was alleged that the package contained triamcinolone – a substance that Wiggins had taken via the TUE process on the eve of three Grand Tours. Team Sky refuted this allegation but only provided the Fluimucil story several weeks after the allegation was made.

In the intervening weeks, Dave Brailsford claimed that the courier of the package was making the journey from Manchester to mainland Europe in order to meet with female cyclist Emma Pooley. Curiously, this proved to be inaccurate as Pooley was racing in Spain and several hundred miles away from the Dauphine.

Brailsford also claimed that Wiggins could not have been treated with the contents of the package because Wiggins had already left the race. This also proved to be untrue and Shane Sutton – then of Team Sky and British Cycling – confirmed in front of members of the British Parliament that he had asked for the medical package to be delivered to the Dauphine in order to treat Wiggins. Sutton also stated that the Tour de France winner was treated on the final stage of the Dauphine by Richard Freeman, who administered the package to Wiggins while on the Team Sky bus.

Freeman was asked to give evidence to both UKAD and members of Parliament. He told UKAD that his medical records were kept on his private laptop only and that the device had been stolen while on holiday in Greece in 2014. He declined to appear in front of MPs due to illness and has since stepped down from his role as medical officer at British Cycling.

“Put simply, due to the lack of contemporaneous evidence, UKAD has been unable to definitively confirm the contents of the package. The significant likelihood is that it is now impossible to do so,” UKAD added.

Team Sky: We are pleased

Minutes after UKAD published their findings, Team Sky released a statement, welcoming the news that the investigation had been closed.

“We are pleased that UK Anti-Doping have concluded their investigation and that they will not be taking any further action,” the statement said.

“We have always maintained that there was no wrongdoing and we have co-operated fully with UK Anti-Doping over the last year.

“Since our inception as a new pro cycling team in 2010 we have continually strengthened our systems and processes so they best support our strong commitment to anti-doping.”

Team Sky has, however, faced very serious and important questions over the last twelve months. Not only over the misinformation that Brailsford attempted to provide the Daily Mail over Pooley and the team bus, but the serious allegation made by the Mail that he had offered them another, more positive story.

"First came the offer of an alternative, more positive story,” the Mail’s Matt Lawton wrote last December.

“Then possibly a story about a rival team winning races with Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) — something he did not reveal in the end. And at the end of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, Brailsford asked if there was 'anything else that could be done?'"

Earlier this year, the head of UKAD, David Kenworthy, raised further questions when he said: “"So everybody can remember this from five years ago, but no-one can remember what was in the package. That strikes me as being extraordinary. It is very disappointing."

He was not alone. Damian Collins MP, who chairs the Culture and Sport select committee, told reporters that, “the credibility of Team Sky and British Cycling is in tatters - they are in a terrible position.”

Having reached a dead-end, UKAD have sent their evidence to the General Medical Council. However, in its statement, UKAD made clear that the relationship between British Cycling and Team Sky and both parties lack of medical records was a serious concern.

“Our investigation was hampered by a lack of accurate medical records being available at British Cycling. This is a serious concern. As part of their conditions to receive public funding from UK Sport and other Home Country Sports Councils, all sports governing bodies must comply with the UK National Anti-Doping Policy. In this case the matter was further complicated by the cross over between personnel at British Cycling and Team Sky,” the statement read.

“We have written to British Cycling and a copy of this letter has also been sent to UK Sport and Sport England. We have also separately written to Team Sky.”

Article Source: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/no-doping-charges-for-wiggins-team-sky-and-british-cycling-over-mystery-package/

Monday, November 13, 2017

Report: Cancellara Demands Gaimon Pull Book After Motor Accusation


Fabian Cancellara is demanding that Phil Gaimon pull his new autobiography from the shelves due to allegations of motor cheating. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File)
Het Nieuwsblad reports that Fabian Cancellara’s lawyers have demanded that Phil Gaimon’s publisher stops distribution of “Draft Animals” after controversy arose over motor cheating allegations. Cancellara’s manager Armin Meier says he is also expecting a public apology from the American.

In his new autobiography, former pro racer Gaimon wrote, “When you watch the footage, [Cancellara’s] accelerations don’t look natural at all, like he’s having trouble staying on the top of the pedals. That f—ker probably did have a motor.” He was referring to the 2010 Tour of Flanders, which some fans have pointed to as proof of motor cheating in the peloton.

The allegation caught the UCI’s attention last Thursday.

“We can’t rule out opening an investigation if new elements come into our possession,” a UCI spokesman said, confirming comments also made by UCI president David Lappartient to Cyclingnews.

“We need to know exactly what is behind this. Of course, I heard all the rumors, like everybody, and I just want to know exactly. So we will investigate, that is our job,” Lappartient said.

Cancellara retired from pro racing in 2016 and has always denied accusations of motor cheating.

Gaimon declined to comment when contacted by VeloNews about this story.

Read more at http://www.velonews.com/2017/11/news/report-cancellara-demands-gaimon-pull-book-motor-accusation_451974#h0KHq8y2yIpfzkJh.99

Friday, November 10, 2017

2018 Giro d'Italia Route Presentation Confirmed for November 29

Bettini Photo

The Times reports Froome interest in Giro-Tour double

RCS Sport has confirmed that the presentation of the route of the 2018 Giro d’Italia will take place in Milan on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 29. The event will take place at RAI television studios on Via Mecenate.

The Giro route has been announced in October in recent years – usually prior to the Tour de France presentation – but this year’s presentation was delayed while RCS Sport finalised the details of the course, including the host city of the final stage, which is expected to take place in Rome.

It has already been confirmed that the 2018 Giro will begin with an individual time trial in Jerusalem on Friday, May 4 and the gruppo will tackle two further stages in Israel before resuming in Italy after a rest day.

Many details of the course have been leaked in the Italian media in recent weeks. After leaving Israel, the Giro is expected to spend three days in Sicily, including a summit finish at Mount Etna via the novel and steep Valentino approach.

Reports indicate that the Giro route will include an uphill finish at Montevergine di Mercogliano near Naples at the end of the opening week, and a tough summit finish atop Monte Zoncolan on stage 14.

Last month, Turin daily La Stampa reported that the final days of the Giro will feature three demanding legs in the Piedmont Alps, with summit finishes at Pratonevoso, the Jafferau and Cervinia on stages 18, 19 and 20. According to La Stampa, stage 19 will also feature the dirt road of the Colle delle Finestre.

It is widely anticipated that the final stage of the Giro will take place in Rome, with the peloton due to travel by plane from Turin to the Italian capital following stage 20. The Giro last finished in Rome for its centenary in 2009.

As on that occasion, it seems likely that the Roman stage of the Giro would be an individual time trial, a development that might yet encourage defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky) to line out at the corsa rosa.

Speaking to Cyclingnews in Jerusalem in September, race director Mauro Vegni called on Froome to “make history” by riding the Giro in 2018. Froome won the Tour and the Vuelta a España in 2017, and could become the first rider since Bernard Hinault in 1983 to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.

Froome has already stated that bidding for a record-equaling fifth Tour de France title will be his primary objective in 2018, but a report in the Times on Tuesday suggested that the Sky rider is giving serious consideration to attempting the Giro-Tour double next season, when there will be a six-week gap between the two races rather than the usual five.

Froome has not raced the Giro since his maiden season at Sky in 2010, when he was disqualified from the race for holding onto a police motorbike on the ascent of the Mortirolo.

Article Source: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/2018-giro-ditalia-route-presentation-confirmed-for-november-29/

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tour of Hainan: Fight Breaks Out Between Chinese Rider, Swiss Team


SHANGHAI (AFP) — A Chinese rider with the local Keyi Look team faces severe punishment after attacking members of the Swiss national team at the Tour of Hainan last week.

Race organizers on the southern Chinese island said Wang Xin and his team would never be allowed back following the violent incident that saw police step in and Keyi Look expelled from the event.

Video footage posted online showed a rider, purported to be Wang, beating one staff member of the Swiss team to the ground and kicking him in the head, before attacking a second one.

The rider then retrieved a tire pump from a support car, with the likely intent to use it as a weapon. Police and bystanders rushed in to intervene and took the pump from him as dozens of people looked on in shock.

The Chinese Cycling Association (CCA) is weighing further punishment following the incident at the end of Friday’s stage 7, a 166.5-kilometer ride between Sanya and Wuzhishan.

The incident was sparked when the Swiss team car “had physical contact” with Wang during the stage, causing him to crash, the CCA said.

The CCA said it had “a zero-tolerance attitude towards uncivilized behavior and violence” and alleged that in addition to Wang, Keyi Look team staff were also involved.

“CCA will make a further decision after more investigations on this incident,” it said in a statement.

Danilo Hondo, the Swiss team manager and allegedly one of Wang’s targets, denied the team’s car had struck the Chinese rider.

“We never bumped into him, you can see that from the race video,” he told Eurosport. “He simply hit the back wheel of another rider and went down. He was obviously embarrassed and took out his frustration on us.

“We tried to approach him after the race, in fact we waited 45 minutes after the finish for him to cross to apologize for any misunderstandings and to show him and his team that we respect them and meant no harm.

“But both he and his team approached us with anger and everything escalated from there.”

Keyi Look and Wang apologized in statements on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, but blamed the Swiss for knocking him over with their car.

The Tour of Hainan vowed never to allow them back.

“Wang’s behavior is not acceptable and doesn’t reflect Chinese cycling. Hainan people are known for being very friendly,” race organizers said in a statement.

“The image and the reputation of the Tour of Hainan cannot be tarnished by such improper behavior. Fighting will never be permitted in this event.”

Read more at http://www.velonews.com/2017/11/news/tour-of-hainan-fight-breaks-out-between-chinese-rider-swiss-team_451576#sCk80zgu5hvt6eBr.99

Saturday, November 4, 2017

4 Toughest Cyclists Ever


The following cyclists didn't just walk the walk, they talked the talk, or maybe it's the other way around. But anyway, these cyclists were tough, make no mistake. Here's who, and here's why.

Now we could not include the Cannibal in our list of toughest cyclists, could we? Although, undoubtedly Merckx is one of the finest riders of all time, that doesn't necessarily mean he's one of the toughest. But when you factor in 525 career wins, including five Giros, five Tours, two Vueltas, and three World road titles, it may actually suggest otherwise.

Anyway it was the manner of the way he set about winning that sets him apart. Hence the nickname, the Cannibal. Merckx wanted to win every time he got on his bike. Driven by an insatiable appetite for success. And he once said, "The day when I start a race without "intending to win it, I won't be able to look at myself "in the mirror." His style was simple, attack. And generally, when he did, the results were catastrophic for his rivals.

As well as immense strength, the grocer's son exemplified a fiery, single minded determination, which was illustrated at its best in the 1974 Giro d'Italia, where in a one particularly hard stage he attacked from the gun in atrocious, awful weather conditions, while still suffering from a bout of pneumonia to topple one of his fiercest rivals Jose Fuentes. And that ride laid the foundation for the win in the overall of the Giro that year, and also it meant that he went on to win the holy grail of cycling, the triple, the Giro, the Tour, and the World championships.

Known as the badger, or, Bernard Hinault was as equally renowned for his tempestuous nature as his physical prowess on the bike. During a career that netted him a quite incredible five Tour de Frances, three Giro d'Italias, two Vuelta a Espanias, and a World road title.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How Helen Wyman Would Fix cyclocross’s Seven Big Problems


Cyclocross is far from perfect.

Perhaps no athlete is more familiar with the sport’s problems than Helen Wyman. The 36-year-old has raced in the women’s professional field for the last 14 years, winning nine British national championships and two European titles. She also sits on the UCI’s cyclocross commission and helps the governing body address the various issues that spring up each season.

We presented Wyman with the following hypothetical situation: she has the power to solve cyclocross’s toughest problems with one wave of a magic wand. Here are the problems she chose to address, along with her pragmatic solution for each one.

PROBLEM #1:

The UCI World Cup has a major disparity in prize money between men and women. Per UCI rules, promoters must pay out a minimum €39,500 for the men’s field and €10,400 for the women’s field per World Cup round.

WYMAN: To me, this is a tough one to fix, because where do you find €30,000 per round? The races in Belgium ethically should do it because they have profits from each round. Races in Iowa, the Czech Republic, and Germany are different. For me, the solution would be to get an outside investor to support the races. You look at the DVV Trophy series for men and women. They were able to televise the women’s series when they went to an individual sponsor and got it specifically for the women’s series. They’ve used the women to bring in a new sponsor, and that is what the UCI should do. Why would a Belgian company not want another full hour of cyclocross viewing? The viewing figures are very close to the men’s. The average percent watching TV across the 30 races was like 54 percent of the market share. Why would you not want that? I’ve always said that cyclocross is saturated. But a lot of cycling disciplines are saturated on the men’s side. But the women can be their own product if you give them an opportunity.

PROBLEM #2:

The UCI’s current sponsorship structure does not allow companies to sponsor specific races or series, such as the women’s cyclocross World Cup.

WYMAN: There are good people working at the UCI on cyclocross. They have gone out of their way to get sponsors. Unfortunately, their hands are tied by the rules of the UCI. When [the UCI] signs a new big sponsor, it [applies] across all disciplines. So you sign Shimano for the road, but they are across all of the sports, even cyclocross. When you operate a World Cup, then they have a ton of banners out on the course because the UCI owns 40 percent or so of the advertising space. How does a World Cup organizer get extra cash for the women when they only own 60 percent or so of the advertising space? They also can’t have conflicting sponsors. They can’t go to SRAM and ask them to support the women’s race. Personally, I think this is fixable. You create a new structure and separate the other disciplines from the sponsorship sales. I just don’t think the people that make those ultimate decisions are prepared to do that. When we make a decision on the [UCI] cyclocross commission, it has to go through the UCI management committee, and they have to agree on it for us to do what we want to do.

PROBLEM #3:

There aren’t as many paying jobs for female racers as there are for men.

WYMAN: My solution is that if you want to be a UCI pro team then you have to have a woman. For the first time ever, we now have UCI ’cross teams. We made sure that in order to be registered with the UCI you have to have a woman, and that rider counts in your UCI team ranking. This means that teams need a woman, we hold a better value, and if you want to be high in the ranking you need a good woman. So this problem is fixed! It will take time for this to filter down to mid-pack riders, for sure, but when it does I believe more women will be on a salary. Right now Beobank-Corendon, Telenet-Fidea, Marlux-Napolean Games, Crelan-Charles, and ERA-Circus — all the big Belgium teams — have women on their rosters, among other teams. So Sanne Cant, Maud Kaptheijns, Laura Verdonschot, Alicia Franck, Jolien Verschueren, Annemarie Worst, and Ellen Noble are all on UCI ’cross teams now.

PROBLEM #4:

The UCI World Cup goes back to the same venues year after year.

WYMAN: It’s always Koksijde or Zolder or Hoogerheide. I could honestly race Koksijde tomorrow and nail the lines from lap one. I do appreciate that the money and the big teams are in Belgium, but I think we need to rotate the World Cup venues. Every two years we can come back to a location. From a rider point of view, it brings new energy and more interest back to the racing. The same old venues become mundane after 12 years. Everyone went to the [World Cup] at Milton Keynes [in Great Britain] in 2015 and loved it. It had huge reviews.

PROBLEM #5:

Outside of Belgium, countries have a difficult time developing cyclocross talent.

WYMAN: So the British juniors this year won worlds and finished second and third, so I’m not saying that there isn’t talent outside of Belgium. There is incredible talent. But when I go to America and I see the juniors racing there, I think it’s really sad that the juniors aren’t racing together in their own field but are instead racing against adults in the amateur fields. I understand that America is massive and it is hard for the best juniors to race against each other every week, due to the cost of travel. So instead you need to develop the cyclocross scene in your area so that you can have 20 or more juniors race in one race, or maybe even 100 of them on a race weekend.

In most countries, you can only race in a junior category. In England, you have a local race and the best women’s juniors would always race each other. That would be one separate category. In America, you have the juniors spread across three or four different races, which is crazy to me. Category 3? Category 4? How is that going to increase the competitiveness and make them better? How does that create a race that you can be really proud of? Because you didn’t beat the other juniors but instead raced Category 3 racers. You need to separate these juniors and have them race each other.

I’ve raced in the junior men’s category in Belgium and my best position was 13th. Daphny van den Brand, when she was European Champion, her best result was ninth in a junior race. That’s how fast they are. I just don’t think that racing a bunch of Cat. 3 racers is going to make [the juniors] fast enough.

PROBLEM #6:

Attracting junior participation to cyclocross is extremely challenging.

WYMAN: In the United States and Britain and Australia, cyclocross is very much propped up by the veteran guys. These are the guys in the lower categories that compete outside of the elite race. They are the ones who pay the money to make the events run because of entry fees. That’s not sustainable in my eyes.

You need juniors to come through even if they leave the U23 ranks; they will come back someday to race as veterans or masters.

You need to entice them in the beginning to love the sport. I see many people trying to develop the juniors, from Adam Myerson [in Massachusetts] to Jim Brown in Seattle. I think it’s something that needs to go into schools and colleges, honestly. Cycling and cyclocross needs to be promoted in the education system. If it’s a school sport, maybe you get more people in then. If I had my magic wand — and I have no idea how I’d do this — I’d make cycling part of the physical education program in countries around the world. Cyclocross would be the winter version — or it could be track — and people could have a crack at both. I know that this is hugely difficult and expensive. It would be very difficult.

PROBLEM #7:

Cyclocross is still a niche sport within cycling, and it needs to find a bigger audience.

WYMAN: I know this would probably be a love/hate thing, but I would put cyclocross into the Olympics. I think it would be fascinating as a part of the Winter Olympics. It would be completely different. Yes, it might seem more gimmicky. I would still put it in because that’s how you get the sport out there for more people to see. If it’s on the TV every four years for everyone to see, then that’s how the sport becomes as popular as road racing.

Read more at http://www.velonews.com/2017/11/from-the-mag/helen-wyman-fix-cyclocrosss-seven-big-problems_450644#syEUTE1X0JKdLpkA.99