Boasson Hagen takes Dauphine 3rd stage
Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen on Tuesday saluted his team-mates for helping him secure victory in the Tour de France warm-up the Criterium du Dauphine in a sprint finish.
“The team worked well for me in the final straight, the last climb and descent,” the 26-year-old told reporters in Tarare, near Lyon.
“Geraint (Thomas) worked hard to catch those in front and they carried me along well.”
Boasson Hagen — a previous stage winner of the Dauphine in 2010 and winner of this year’s Tour of Norway — beat Australia’s Michael Matthews and Belgium’s Gianni Meersman to the line at the end of the 167km ride from Amberieu-en-Bugey.
Canadian David Veilleux of Europcar, the first-stage winner, kept the overall leader’s jersey going into Wednesday’s fourth stage, a 32.5km time-trial around the Parc des Oiseaux, near the town of Villars-les-Dombes.
Team Sky rider Boasson Hagen said the Tour de France this year would be different for him after working predominantly for former world champion sprinter Mark Cavendish and eventual winner Bradley Wiggins and runner-up Chris Froome in 2012.
“Of course, winning a stage of the Tour remains a major objective. As for the classics, I hope to do better. We trained well in Tenerife but I was ill then I had a sore knee.
“Winning a classic is more difficult. I think it’s compatible with the Tour even if I haven’t yet managed it.”
For his part Veilleux pledged to give his all in Wednesday’s time-trial but said he did not know whether he would be able to hang on to the leader’s spot.
“I haven’t prepared specifically for this type of effort. I find it difficult to assess myself. I don’t have the chance to race at this level against these type of riders,” he said.
“These two stages have allowed me to recover from my effort on Sunday, so I should have fresh legs.”
Veilleux is still not certain to be selected by his team for the Tour but said he had been delighted to see the response to his efforts from fans, particularly back home in Quebec.
Text via AFP
Sky signs Tassie Earle
Team Sky added another Tasmanian alongside Richie Porte to its ranks, announcing yesterday that it signed Nathan Earle for 2014.
“Nathan has proven he is a great climber and has been winning quite a few races in Australia and Asia in the last 12 months,” Head of Performance Support, Tim Kerrison said in a press release.
“He recently won the Tour of Toowoomba in Australia, winning the hard uphill finish on stage two and has a number of other good wins under his belt. He knows and has ridden with riders on the team and they’ve attested to his ability. He’s a rider who we think we can take from the development ranks and turn him into a quality WorldTour rider.”
Earle takes a jump from third division (Continental) Huon Salmon team to the first division (World Tour).
“To be riding alongside the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Richie Porte is a real honour. Richie has always been someone I’ve looked up to since we were team-mates. It’s a real inspiration to see how he has progressed at Team Sky and I hope to follow in his footsteps.”
Britain’s Cookson to challenge UCI’s McQuaid
British Cycling chief Brian Cookson said on Tuesday that he would challenge controversial incumbent Pat McQuaid for the presidency of the UCI.
Irishman McQuaid has been in charge of the sport’s global governing body since 2006 but has come under pressure for the way in which the UCI reacted to the fall-out from the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
Cookson, 61, said he was standing against McQuaid in a bid to restore “cycling’s credibility”, having overseen a transformation in the sport’s British fortunes from near bankruptcy to the multiple medal-winning success at last year’s London Olympics led by Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy.
Elections will take place at the UCI’s annual congress in Florence, Italy, in September.
Thanks again for all the support today. As outlined in my statement (briancookson.org) i believe we must restore cycling’s credibility
— Brian Cookson OBE (@cooksonforuci) June 4, 2013
Santambrogio in disbelief
After a stellar performance in the Giro and testing positive for EPO, Santambrogio is in disbelief how this could happen and will be requesting a B-sample to be analysed:
“I can only say that I am in disbelief about what has happened and will request the counter analysis as soon as possible,” Santambrogio told Ansa.it.
Nibali likely to stay with Astana
Vincenzo Nibali is nearing a new two-year agreement, through 2016, with Astana after winning the Giro d’Italia. Cyclingnews reports his agent and General Manager Alexander Vinokourov met to discuss a new deal.
It points out an article in Sicily’s Messina Sportiva website, which says that he could make around €4m a year, or $5.43m. Last May, he agreed to leave Liquigas and signed a contract reportedly worth €2.3m ($3.12m) annually for 2013 and 2014.
Rodriguez and Spanish domestiques extend Katusha contracts
Joaquím Rodríguez and his Spanish helpers extended their contracts through 2015, according to Cyclingnews. Rodríguez, last year’s World Number 1, Daniel Moreno, Ángel Vicioso, Alberto Losada and Xavier Florencio all re-signed ahead of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Vini Fantini pulls out of Lombardia amid doping cases
Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, following the doping positives of Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio, pulled itself out of the Giro di Lombardia. After splashing mud over RCS Sport’s Giro d’Italia, it said it felt wrong to show its face again at one of its races.
“For our big respect for the organizer and to preserve the good relationship that we had with them until now, we prefer to renounce the invitation,” Team Manager Angelo Citracca said in a press release.
He added it is to help reduce the embarrassing situation organiser RCS Sport finds itself in. “We don’t want to create any more problems for them.”
Vini Fantini is a second division team and relies on wildcard invites to WorldTour races, like the Giro and Lombardia. With the recent news, it will find invitations hard to come by.
This week, given the recent news, the team’s top brass are meeting about their future.
Acquarone sees positive side with rumours of another doping case
Giro d’Italia boss, Michele Acquarone insists his product is still viable after a round of doping cases. However, he adds that Italian cycling needs to clamp down on which riders it lets race in its teams and events.
“I’d rather talk about our rise in followers, the stage to Galibier or Tre Cime, or Nibali. Instead, we talk of yet another villain,” Acquarone told Italy’s Tutto Bici.
“We have a beautiful garden, reconditioned, with flowers and plants of all kinds that are the envy of the world. And we cannot have some masters allow their pooches to relieve themselves freely. We’ll clean up, but it still remains a big beautiful garden.”
VeloNews points out that the garden may be more fertile than Acquarone would like. It points out that La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper is rumouring another doping case stemming from the Giro, this time by a Russian rider, is around the corner.
The article continues to point out that Italian cycling has been to quick to forgive and to forget, a dangerous position it has been in this position before.
Cycling ‘halves the number of sick days’ taken by staff
Cycling to work could halve the number of sick days we take and provide a £13.7 billion annual boost to British business, according to new statistics released by charity Sustrans in the UK.
Absenteeism costs UK employers £258 per day, with the average worker taking 4.5 sick days each year compared to just 2.4 days taken by people who cycle.
Launching their Support Cycling to Work campaign, Sustrans revealed that of the cyclists surveyed on the National Cycle Network, 68 per cent had taken no sick days in the last year.
The Support Cycling to Work campaign, would require employers to provide facilities such as showers and bike parking. Only three per cent of UK workers currently cycle to work, but Sustrans claims that 40 per cent of those who don’t, would if they had better facilities at work. It suggests that the standard should include:
> adequate showers and bike parking
> access to bike purchase schemes
> support finding a safe route to work, such as maps and bike buddies