Monday, December 29, 2014

Basso focused on being Contador's super domestique in Giro-Tour double

By: Daniel Benson
Italian puts off talk of retirement as he joins Tinkoff-Saxo

Ivan Basso has put aside any talk of retirement and told Cyclingnews that he can be Alberto Contador’s super domestique in the Spaniard’s quest to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.

Basso, 37, moved to Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo squad at the end of the season and has enjoyed two training camps with the team in recent months. After seven years within the Cannondale-Liquigas set up, the move also sees him return to Bjarne Riis, for whom he rode for between 2004 and 2006.

“There was no real talk of retirement because I had another few possibilities and I wasn’t ready to really stop,” Basso tells Cyclingnews.

“I let my heart lead me and it has led me here. I have been friends with Oleg [Tinkov] and he wanted me in his team with Bjarne for a long time. I had a couple more options at WorldTour, working for other leaders like Alberto, but I wanted to come here.”

A two-year deal was signed and ratified after the transfer window opened in August and Basso has tried to put behind him what has been a difficult period in his career in terms of results. The 2010 Giro d’Italia winner struggled for form and fitness, slumping to 15th in this year’s edition of the race. And after a poor 2013, in which he failed to finish a Grand Tour, it looked as though the Italian might call time on his career.

“This year I tried my best, I had the best preparation but something went wrong. This year wasn’t to my standard but it’s not just about age, it’s not just about the results, it’s also about what you feel inside. If inside you feel like you can’t support the pressure on you and you’re not in the same place as you were in the past, then you have to change your goal.”

“I don’t have to change too much though. For me, it’s been physiological and you find yourself in that situation slowly over time,” he says, referring to his age and drop in performance.

With Contador gunning for the Giro and Tour double, Basso has taken the role of elder statesman on the team and along with Michael Rogers will form the core of Spaniard’s support. It’s a new role for the veteran Italian but one he believes that he can perform.

“But I don’t have to change my mentality too much. If I want to help Alberto I need to be in the front of the races when there are not many people there. That’s not changed and to help him I need to be a super, super domestique on the race and off the race but I need to be super team leader for all the young riders as well. That’s important, to make sure they do want Tinkov wants because he wants us to be the best team in the world. To be the best in the world you need to be the best with all the small details.

“If you’re strong and you’re in the front of course you still have some good situations but that’s almost secondary because I’m here for another focus and that’s to help the team win.”

Basso was a rival when Contador attempted the Giro and Tour double in 2011. The Italian skipped the Giro and rode the Tour that year, finishing in eighth with Contador in fifth. Basso believes that Contador is the one rider who can attempt the two races back-to-back but admitted that it would be harder if his main rivals attempted just the Tour.

“As a spectator, my opinion is that if all the top GC decide to ride the Giro and the Tour and they all target the win then Alberto is the favourite for both races. If Alberto rides the first and the second and someone only rides the Tour, then that’s more difficult, but that’s just my opinion. I’ve never really rode close to Alberto. Sometimes in France and then now in training camps. He’s a Hors Categorie champion, he does his job and he takes care of all the small details as if he was a neo-pro and that’s the biggest difference. If you’re a big talent and you do everything right then it all makes a big difference.”

Article Source: Cycling News 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Vincenzo Nibali Voted Best Rider in Cyclingnews Reader Poll 2014

Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 Returns to Loveland and Fort Collins in 2015

Host cities decided by event's fans

Organizers of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge announced on Monday that the event’s fans have voted for stage 6 to start in Loveland and finish in Fort Collins on August 22. Thousands of fans submitted their opinions and provided more than 20 start and finish city options but nearly half the responses encouraged a return to Northern Colorado.

“Loveland and Fort Collins have been such great host cities in the past and we’re looking forward to visiting them again,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “Last year, we gave fans the chance to weigh in on the final stage of the race and we got a huge response with people voicing their support for the two different options. This year, the fans once again showed their passion for the sport through an overwhelming number of responses regarding where Stage 6 should take place.”

The USA Pro Challenge will host seven stages that take place from August 17 to 23. Organizers announced the host cities for six of the stages at the beginning of December but allowed fans to provide suggestions on the host cities for stage 6 through Facebook and the race website.

Loveland and Fort Collins have been used as the start and finish cities for stage 6 during the 2013 edition of the race, which included a climb up Devil's Gulch and through Estes Park. The organization said, however, that the route through Larimer County will be new and unique in 2015.
Specific stage details will be announced in the spring.
2015 USA Pro Challenge stages

Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 17 – Steamboat Springs Circuit Race
Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin
Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Copper Mountain Resort to Aspen
Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 20 – Aspen to Breckenridge
Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 21 – Breckenridge Individual Time Trial
Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 22 – Loveland to Fort Collins
Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 – Golden to Denver

Article Source: Cycling News 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Alberto Contador Voted Best Male Rider in Cyclingnews Reader Poll 2014

Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Garmin-Sharp Cervélo R5 Voted Best Team Bike in Cyclingnews Reader Poll

Cyclingnews is the world's leading cycling website, bringing you the most up-to-date news, race results and live race coverage. You'll also find the latest tech reviews, exclusive interviews, a lively forum and a whole lot more.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

North Americans React to Luca Benedetti's Lifetime Ban

By: Pat Malach

Teammate suspected Italian before positive test in June

When news broke this fall that Amore & Vita-Selle SMP rider Luca Benedetti had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, some of his competitors were surprised, but at least one teammate had harbored suspicions about Benedetti since the Italian's first week on the team.

The UCI recently issued a lifetime ban to Benedetti, who tested positive for a form of EPO called Darbepoetin on June 6 at this year's Grand Prix Saguenay in Canada. He was provisionally suspended in September and then banned for life last week.

The doping sanction is the second for Benedetti, who was suspended in 2010 for his part in the Padua investigation during the GiroBio. At that time, Benedetti's entire Lucchini-Unidelta team was removed from the race after Italy’s Anti-Narcotics Group found contraband medical products in the manager's home and in the team's training base. Benedetti's suspension was later reduced to one year.

The 26-year-old Italian returned to racing with the Bottoli amateur team in 2013, taking 11 wins that year, according to Amore & Vita 2014 director Phil Cortes. Benedetti, who was riding his first season at the Continental level this year, waited to move Amore & Vita until after his wife gave birth to a baby girl in March. He had only been racing with the team a few days before the positive test at Saguenay.

"It's unfortunate that some young riders are still following in the unethical footsteps of the former generation," Cortes told Cyclingnews. "He was only with the team for six days before testing positive. He debuted with the team at Philly."

Benedetti's time with Amore & Vita started out well. He was fourth at the Philly Cycling Classic on June 1 and won the mountains classification at Saguenay the next week. Benedetti sprinted to the stage 1 win at the Tour de Beauce the following week ahead of Optum Pro Cycling's Eric Young.

Michael Woods, a Canadian who rode with Amore & Vita at the start of this season before signing with 5-hour Energy after the Tour de Beauce, was runner-up to Benedetti in the KOM competition at Saguenay. Woods, who will ride for Optum next year, wrote on his personal blog that he had suspected Benedetti of doping since an Amore & Vita teammate told him the Italian had asked the other rider to purchase banned insulin for him.

“...[I]n the arbitration of my mind, my verdict towards Luca’s credibility as a rider had long passed. When Luca asked one of my teammates back in June if he could buy him insulin at Walmart – Luca was in no way being pursued by Novo Nordisk [an all Type 1 Diabetic Cycling Team] – a banned substance for non-diabetics by WADA, I was pretty confident that he was not playing by the rules,” Woods wrote.

“I left Amore & Vita, in part, because of riders like Benedetti,” Woods continued. “I am trying to move up in this sport. I am trying to do it clean, and to be linked with suspect characters is something I have no interest in doing. This sport has a terrible history when it comes to doping [so do all other pro sports], however, this positive test, in my mind, is a mark that this sport is turning the page. It is getting harder for the cheaters to cheat.”

Young, a two-time US criterium champion, told Cyclingnews this week that he was surprised but not shocked that Benedetti tested positive, and he's glad the Italian rider received a lifetime ban.

"It's not the biggest loss of my career or anything," Young said of the sprint he lost to Benedetti at Beauce. "So that's not too big a deal. I had a pretty successful year, so that's all good. But I do think it's a shame that somebody at the Continental level, where we're not even racing the best people in the world or racing for that much money, it's a shame that somebody like that feels the need to artificially enhance his cycling. It seems stupid to me. I guess it pisses me off a little bit, but whatever. That's his decision."

Woods wrote on his blog that Benedetti's decision to dope did rob the riders he beat of a chance to bask in the glory of the win, spend time on the podium or get increased coverage in cycling media. It may have even cost riders jobs on other teams. Despite the lifetime ban, those things can never be replaced.

Young took little stock in the notion that he might have another win added to his 2014 palmares.

"If only that really counted," he said. "It doesn't seem like in cycling that that really matters. There should be a better way of handing those things down."

Article Source: Cycling News 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jamis Hudson (2015)

Jamis Hudson

We Make Riding Easy

Video Produced by Jamis Bicycles

Music by Gio Galanti "Together Forever"

Starring: Rick & Susan Stockton, John & Linda Ewig, Ben & Lily Seeger