Diego Ulissi tests positive for salbutemol

by Shane Stokes

Winner of two stages during the Giro d’Italia, Diego Ulissi, now faces a fight to avoid a suspension after he tested positive for the substance salbutamol during the race.

Giro d'Italia 2014, 5a tappa: Taranto - Viggiano

Ulissi’s Lampre-Merida team has announced the news and said that an anti-doping control taken at the end of stage 11 revealed the presence of 1,900 ng/ml of salbutamol, almost double the maximum limit of 1,000 ng/ml permitted for those using an inhaler.

“The use of Ventolin is permitted and was necessary because Ulissi was suffering from bronchospasm,” stated the team. “As usual, all previous assumptions of Ventolin had been correctly declared.”

Lampre-Merida states that he has been suspended by the team and will miss a planned Italian national team training camp. He has requested analysis of his B sample.

“The athlete himself and the medical staff of the team will continue to explore the reasons why the urine has been identified as having an abnormal and high presence of salbutamol after only two inhalations being performed,” said the squad.

It noted that the rider ‘strongly rejects’ the presence of such an amount of salbutamol. It said that he had availed of a possibility in UCI and WADA regulations to undergo a controlled excretion study for the substance.

Click here to read the full story here at CyclingTips.

Andy Schleck interview – “The criticism is sometimes a big issue”

by Shane Stokes

From Maillot Jaune to domestique du luxe. Confirmed today as part of the Trek Factory Racing Team for the Tour de France, former winner Andy Schleck will head into the race as a helper rather than as a contender, putting on hold ambitions of a high general classification result.

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It’s been a difficult, bumpy road for the Luxembourg rider since he fractured his pelvis in the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné. That crash began a two year period where his best result has been 12th on a stage of last year’s Tour, and where he has at times fought to simply finish races rather than contending for victory.

In an interview conducted on Wednesday, Schleck told CyclingTips that he has been stung by criticism but that he hasn’t given up the hope that one day, perhaps by 2015, he will return again to the Tour with a team completely dedicated to him and with genuine hopes of yellow.

“The comments have been hard at times,” he confirmed, speaking about the things some cycling fans and the media have said about him. “Most people don’t understand cycling. The criticism is sometimes a big issue. What has been written about me has been hard because I am just a human being.

“I can look today back on my career and be proud of what I achieved. I had a good career and I won’t give up. I could stop tomorrow and say, ‘listen, I had my good times,’ but that is not it. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone…but I am a fighter. I like to still fight on the bike and show something.”

Click here to read the full feature interview here at CyclingTips.

Alejandro Valverde takes the backroads to the Tour de France

While most riders warm up for the Tour de France by doing the Criterium du Dauphine or Tour de Suisse, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has taken a rather different approach.

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The Spaniard’s plan is to hit the Tour de France as fresh as possible, with an eye on the Vuelta a Espana and world championships in Spain later this season.

“I believe I will arrive in good shape for the Tour,” Valverde told Spanish journalists in Madrid on Wednesday. “Above all, I will be motivated to race, and will be fresh mentally. I think we made the right decision to race Route du Sud instead of the Dauphiné or Swiss tour.”

Valverde finished second at Route du Sud behind Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Valverde will this weekend race the Spanish national championships on the same course that will be used at the world championships in September.

“I like the Ponferrada circuit, more so that it’s the same one we’ll see for the worlds,” Valverde continued. “In a national championship, you always have to give everything, even though the most important thing this weekend will be to look for sensations, and arrive at [the Tour start] on July 5 in the best condition.”

Click here to read more at VeloNews.

Fabian Cancellara wins his ninth Swiss ITT title

Despite still suffering from an allergic reaction to a bee sting he suffered at the Tour de Suisse, Fabian Cancellara decided to take part in the Swiss national ITT championships yesterday.

He duly won his ninth title and third in a row, completing the 44.6km technical, hilly course in 57:55 with an average speed of 46.3km/h, ahead of Stefan Küng (BMC Development) (0:49) and Silvain Dillier (BMC) third (+1:07).

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“I felt okay, but not really special. After my bee sting and the hard Tour de Suisse I still did not feel 100% recovered. But that is also normal – when you are allergic to bee venom, you have to take care and rest. I felt pretty tired the last few days. I tried to push like I knew I had to for a time trial. Forty-five kilometres is always a long effort and you have to fight from the beginning to the end.”

The Swiss national championship road race will be held on Sunday and Fabian Cancellara will line up with Trek Factory Racing teammate Gregory Rast in an attempt to make it two from two.

Text adapted from a Trek press release.

Michal Kwiatkowski wins Polish TT championship

Meanwhile Omega Pharma Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski has won the 40km-long Polish national ITT championship, with a time of 48:33 (49.434 km/h) ahead of Maciej Bodnar (0:27) and Mateusz Taciak (2:01).

“I’m really happy about this victory,” Kwiatkowski said. “The parcours was quite simple. It wasn’t really technical, it was just about pushing the really big gear, so I used a 58×11. The parcours was really fast, but I have to say also I was feeling good since the beginning.”

Text adapted from an Omega Pharma-QuickStep press release.

Annamiek Van Vleuten takes Dutch ITT championship

Going into yesterday’s Dutch women’s ITT national championship Ellen van Dijk (Boels Dolmans), reigning world champion, was the favourite. But on the day it was Annemiek van Vleuten who narrowly defeated van Dijk to take the title.

NK tijdrijden in Zaltbommel 2014 women

The Rabo-Liv rider won the 23.7km race by 0.26 seconds over van Dijk, with Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in third, five seconds behind. It is the first time Van Vleuten has won the national ITT championship, but she won the road race back in 2012.

“Secretly I had hopes here,” van Vleuten said to De Telegraaf. “This winter I had surgery on a kinked iliac artery, and have just returned from some good altitude training. This week I was hitting power numbers on the road that I’d never achieved before.

“I said to my trainer that had the form to be champion, and I am extremely pleased that it worked out. I had a feeling that I was good, but now I have that feeling reinforced with a Dutch title. The difference was very small, so I’m particularly pleased that the luck was on my side, because I had to seize this unique opportunity. ”

Click here to read more at the Rabo Liv website.

Mark Cavendish to miss British national championships due to illness

Omega Pharma Quick-Step has announced that Mark Cavendish will not start the British National Road Championship on Sunday due to a bout of bronchitis that began during the last stages of the Tour de Suisse.

Tour de France 2013 stage-6

“I’m sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title,” Cavendish said. “I would have liked to honour the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly. I think it’s wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100% recovery, and continue to train [for] the Tour de France.”

“I talked with the race organisers and they understood my situation perfectly. I wish them well, and also wish good luck to all riders at the race on Sunday trying to fight for this jersey I’ve been so proud to wear.”

Text adapted from an Omega Pharma-QuickStep press release.

Giant-Shimano announces Tour de France team, Cheng Ji to become first Chinese Tour de France rider

Team Giant-Shimano will be spearheaded at this year’s Tour de France by four-time stage winner at last year’s race, Marcel Kittel, and John Degenkolb, with the team focusing entirely on stage wins.

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The team also features Dutch riders Roy Curvers, Koen De Kort, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers and Tom Dumoulin, with Belgian Dries Devenyns and Cheng Ji from China.

Cheng’s presence on the team is a historic moment as he will become the first Chinese rider to start the Tour de France.

“When we started working with him as a young talented rider back in 2008, we made a long-term plan and this has seen him develop into the highest level of the sport and we see him now playing an important factor in the sprint formations,” Team coach Rudi Kemna said.

“Having Cheng in the team as the first Chinese rider ever to ride the Tour de France will be huge for him and his country and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the globalisation of the sport.”

Click here to see an up-to-date startlist for this year’s Tour de France.

BMC announces Tour de France team

Meanwhile BMC has also announced its line-up for Le Tour with a squad built around supporting Tejay van Garderen.

Tour de France 2013 stage-18

Of the eight riders supporting van Garderen three were in the team that assisted Cadel Evans to overall victory in 2011: Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard and Michael Schär. They will be joined by Tour de France veterans Daniel Oss, Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Velits plus first-timers Darwin Atapuma and Peter Stetina.

“We go to the Tour de France with an experienced team that has helped guide a past winner,” BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “So we feel confident we have the right mix of people on the starting line. We go there not as favourites, but as contenders, and we expect to animate the race from time to time, as we have done in the past.”

Text adapted from a BMC press release. Click here to read more about the team.

Trek Factory Racing announces Tour de France line-up

As mentioned above, Trek Factory Racing has announced its Tour de France line-up as well, with the team searching for a top-10 overall and a stage win. The team will feature: Fabian Cancellara, Fränk Schleck, Andy Schleck, Haimar Zubeldia, Jens Voigt, Matthew Busche, Markel Irizar, Gregory Rast, and Danny van Poppel.

“This edition of the Tour de France is characterized as one for the mountain goats, even the parcours of the TT has lots of climbing. Fränk and Haimar are two riders with experience in GC; they have shown what they are worth and they have our trust,” general manager Luca Guercilena said via a Trek press release.

“Climbers who are in good shape can hold a GC. We will support them with the best possible. With Andy and Matthew to help out in the mountain stages and strong rouleurs like Jens, Markel and Rasty, they are well surrounded.”

Text adapted from a Trek Factory Racing press release.

Ban removed on “See Cyclist, think Horse” ad

Remember that cycling safety ad from Scotland that was banned because it showed a woman riding without a helmet?

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has now overturned its ban on the Cycling Scotland ad, saying in a statement:

“Because it was not a UK legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets and because the ad depicted a range of real life situations in which motorists may encounter cyclists on the road for the purposes of educating them about the risks to cyclists posed by poor driving behaviours we concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety.”

The ad was initially found to breach the Broadcast Code of Advertising back in January, after the ASA received five complaints, including about the fact the woman featured isn’t riding close enough to the kerb.

Click here to read more at CyclingWeekly.

More bikes means fewer collisions

A few weeks ago we published a story about some research showing that as the number of cyclists in Australia increases, so too the safety of those cyclists appears to increase.

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Now, a study by University of Colorador Denver researchers shows the same theory holds true in Boulder, Colorado — bicyclist safety increases when there are more bikes on the road.

Boulder has one of the highest rates of cycling in the US with about 12% of the population, making it one of the few cities in the US to achieve the benefits of “safety in numbers”, as seen in Europe.

Click here to read more at Science Daily.

The Rocacorba Recap

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


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We’d love to tell you more about today’s feature image but all we know is that it’s another stunner from Jered Gruber and it was shot somewhere in Europe.