Chris Horner: ‘I am not Rider 15

In the wake of their four-part interview with Lance Armstrong, the folks at Cycling News have published the transcript of a chat with Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner in which the American responds to doping allegations and says he’s not ‘Rider 15’ mentioned in Levi Leipheimer’s affidavit to USADA.

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According to Horner he hasn’t doped once during his career and, furthermore, he’s never even been offered or had access to performance-enhancing drugs.

“None of the teams I ever rode on ever offered me drugs or told me I had to take drugs. It was never offered to me.

“Is there a part of me that at times thought that at times, ‘yes, I gotta do it, I gotta do it, I gotta do it.’ Where do you do it? You’re sitting there, I’m a 25-year-old kid, I don’t know how to buy milk from the grocery store. I didn’t speak French. I don’t speak French now.”

Click here to read the interview at Cycling News.

UCI declares the Vuelta free of doping positives

The UCI has announced that no positive doping tests were returned at this year’s Vuelta a Espana, according to the UCI’s Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF).

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CADF revealed that 598 blood and urine samples were taken, 200 of those before the race, and none returned an ‘adverse analytical finding’.

Vuelta winner Chris Horner, who has been subject to questioning about potential doping, was tested multiple times after winning two stages and wearing the leaders jersey for several days.

Click here to read more at VeloNation.

Cycling Australia confirms Gerry Ryan as president, Adrian Anderson as interim CEO

As reported in yesterday’s Rocacorba, Melbourne businessman and Orica-GreenEDGE owner Gerry Ryan will be the next president of Cycling Australia, taking over from the outgoing Klaus Mueller.

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“I look forward to helping CA move forward in a more commercially viable manner,” said Ryan, who has a proven history of corporate success across a diverse range of industries and is a passionate supporter of sport across various codes.

Joining Ryan is Adrian Anderson, former AFL executive, in the role of interim CEO. Commenting on his own appointment Anderson said he was looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I look forward to progressing governance reform and working towards establishing a stable financial platform from which to grow the sport,” said Anderson. “I also look forward to strengthening public faith in the integrity of Australian cycling by continuing to implement reforms from the Wood Review in a transparent manner.”

Some text via Cycling Australia press release.

Baku Cycling Project signs three Australians

You may have been wondering what was happening with Will Walker since he wasn’t listed on Drapac’s 2014 roster. We can finally announce that he’s gone to Baku along with fellow Aussies Luke Davison and Patrick Lane (who joined the team at the end of this season).

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The Baku website released their nearly full roster today:


“16 riders will wear the Baku black, pomegranate and white in 2014, with one more signing possible, McQuaid said. Five of the riders are Azeri – Elchin Asadov (26), Mahammed Alakbarov (28), Samir Jabrayilov (19), Aqshin Ismayilov (26) and Tural Isgandarov (21).

There are three German riders, Daniel Klemme (21) and brothers Michael (28) and Christoph (27) Schweizer, and three Australians, with Luke Davison (23), Pat Lane (22) and Will Walker (27). Austria sends two riders, Markus Eibegger (28) and Jan Sokol (23), as does the Ukraine, Maksym Averin (27) and Alex Surutkovich (29). The team also includes Irishman Connor McConvey (25).

The new squad reflects major changes from 2013. Nine riders have left the team, with only seven carrying over. “We are not concerned about this re-structuring of the team,” McQuaid said. “Although only three of our winning riders will be with us again, we are confident of doing as well or even better this year.”

Read the full release here.

Wes Sulzberger joins Drapac

Wes Sulzberger will join Drapac Professional Cycling in 2014. The 27-year-old links up with older brother Bernie in the now-confirmed UCI Professional Continental team, rounding out the squad which is stretched to 17 men.

Le Tour de Langkawi 2013 stage-4

Team Manager Jonathan Breekveldt said that he considers Sulzberger to be underrated.

“It may not be evident in his 2013 results he had a strong year riding in support of his teammates,” Breekveldt explained.

“When we learnt he would not be offered a professional contract for 2014 it was an easy decision to expand the roster to 17 and have him included. I know that both Wes and Bernie are excited and very motivated to be able to ride together in the same team for 2014 as brothers and should make for a strong combination.”

Wes said he was “really excited” to once again be racing on the same team as his brother. The pair raced together a few years ago at the Jayco Bay Classic in Geelong, but before that you need to go back to the Sulzberger’s days with the Tasmanian Institute of Sport team.

“I’m looking to establish myself more as a key rider and I think that the opportunities that I’ll have with Drapac will help me to approach that goal,” Sulzberger said.

Sulzberger has spent the past two seasons with Orica GreenEdge, having initially turned pro with FDJ in 2009. Two years earlier, the Tasmanian had proven himself to be rider of great promise, backing up his Australian Under-23 road title with a silver medal behind Peter Velits at the World Championships in Stuttgart.

The Drapac Professional Cycling roster for 2014 is: Jack Anderson, Jonathan Cantwell, Will Clarke, Jai Crawford, Floris Goesinnen, Robbie Hucker, Ben Johnson, Jordan Kerby, Darren Lapthorne, Travis Meyer, Lachlan Norris, Tom Palmer, Adam Phelan, Malcolm Rudolph, Bernard Sulzberger, Wes Sulzberger, and Wouter Wippert.

Text adapted from a Drapac Professional Cycling press release.

Armstrong pleads for fair treatment … again

Disgraced cycling champion Lance Armstrong has said he will co-operate in a bid to discover the extent of doping in the sport so long as he’s treated the same as his fellow drug cheats.

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“If everyone gets the ‘death penalty’, then I’ll take the ‘death penalty’,” said Armstrong in an interview with the BBC World Service.

“If everyone gets a free pass, I’m happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I’ll take my six months,” added the 42-year-old.

After years of denials, cancer-survivor Armstrong — who has been stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles won between 1999-to-2005 — finally admitted in January he’d used performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with US television personality Oprah Winfrey.

He said the fall-out had been “tough” both emotionally and in terms of the damage to his estimated US$125 million fortune from those seeking legal redress as a result of the lies he told about his drug-taking.

“It’s been tough,” he told the BBC. “It’s been real tough. I’ve paid a high price in terms of my standing within the sport, my reputation, certainly financially because the lawsuits have continued to pile up.

“I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth while others have truly capitalised on this story.”

Asked if he regretted the Winfrey interview, Armstrong replied: “I was going to have to answer the questions anyway.

“There were plenty of lawsuits in place that would have put me in the cross-hairs.”

Brian Cookson, the new president of the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, has promised to set up an independent commission to find out the full extent of doping within the sport.

But Armstrong said raking up the past wouldn’t do cycling that much good.

“Do I think that this process has been good for cycling?” he asked. “No. I don’t think our sport has been served well by going back 15 years.

“I don’t think that any sport, or any political scenario, is well served going back 15 years. And if you go back 15 years, you might as well go back 30.”

Meanwhile Armstrong refused to say whether, as some have suggested, it was time for all sports to come to terms with performance-enhancing drugs by permitting thresholds rather than complete bans.

“That’s way above my pay-grade to try to decide that,” he said. “I’ll let those people who pretend to be, or who are the experts, try to decide that.”

Text via AFP.

Four hours on the rivet: the Taiwan KOM Challenge

Last night CyclingTips’ Andy van Bergen filed this great report about his ride at the 2013 Taiwan KOM Challenge.

By all accounts the road up Wuling Mountain is a truly brutal climb — 3,500m of climbing in a little over 80km — and riding it under race conditions is another level of hardcore. Add this one to the bucket list folks.

The effect of rain on cyclist numbers

This study from researchers at the Queensland University of Technology is actually about how rain affects daily bus “ridership” but there are some interesting stats in there about how weather affects the number of cyclists out on the road as well.

One study apparently found that 1mm of rain is enough to reduce the daily number of cyclists by 4% in Melbourne, and by 4-5% in Portland, Oregon. A study from New Zealand meanwhile showed that 1mm of rain was enough to drop hourly cyclist numbers by more than 10%.

How much rain does it take you to be put off from riding to work?

’Deathgrip’ — descending with no brakes

This video belongs firmly in the ‘don’t try this at home’ category but we do recommend you watch it. It is an ad for the Sony Action Cam but it’s tastefully done and you barely notice it’s an ad at all.

Bike Snob NYC’s response to ‘Is it OK to kill cyclists?’

In yesterday’s edition of the Rocacorba we shared with you a New York Times article with the provocative and slightly misleading title ‘Is it OK to kill cyclists?’. The always-entertaining Bike Snob NYC has penned a reply on his blog and it’s worth a read.

Click here to read the article.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:


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