Maximin Iglinsky (c), on the podium at the 2012 Liège–Bastogne–Liège, with Enrico Gasparotto (l) and Vincenzo Nibali (r). Photo: Tim de Waele.
On Wednesday, news broke that Astana rider Maxim Iglinskiy had tested positive for EPO.
Iglinskiy, winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012, provided a sample on August 1 that revealed an adverse analytical finding for the blood-boosting substance. A week earlier, he’d ridden into Paris as a member of Vincenzo Nibali’s Tour de France-winning team. The next day, he finished 26th at Clasica San Sebastian.
Iglinskiy’s 30-year-old brother, Valentin, also an Astana rider, was suspended in September for testing positive for EPO as well. Valentin Iglinskiy’s positive sample was taken 10 days after Maxim’s, on August 11, at the Eneco Tour.
The national implications were profound: Kazakh brothers, riding for a Kazakh-funded team led by Kazakh manager Alexander Vinokourov, a man who is no stranger to doping suspensions.
While there’s never a good time for a doping positive, the news came at a particularly awkward time for the Astana team.
As a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), a voluntary group of teams committed to a stricter code of ethics than the UCI demands, Astana is required to auto-suspend itself for eight days, starting on the day of the next WorldTour event.
That would mean the team would miss Sunday’s Il Lombardia, next week’s Tour of Beijing, and, perhaps most importantly, the Tour of Almaty, held Sunday in Kazakhstan, where Nibali was due to compete. (Lombardia and Beijing are both WorldTour events; Almaty, a UCI 1.1 race won by Iglinskiy last year, is not.)
For reference, MPCC rules prompted Lampre to voluntarily keep Chris Horner out of the Vuelta a España, due to low cortisol levels, even though he’d been granted a TUE for cortisone by the UCI. Several major teams, including Sky, BMC Racing, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Tinkoff-Saxo, and Trek Factory Racing, are not part of the group. It’s rumored that when Astana joined the MPCC, in December 2012, it was because the team was scared due to the fact that Katusha did not (initially) receive a 2013 WorldTour license.
“Damaging practices in the past have created problems for professional cycling’s future, placing the reputation, image and viability of the sport at serious risk. Neither the doping practices nor the environment that served to enable them can ever be allowed to happen again,” Vinokourov wrote in a letter to MPCC president Roger Legeay. “On the basis of trust and transparency, Pro Team Astana finds the MPCC Code of Conduct to be a credible, voluntary step towards protecting and re-establishing the positive, clean image of professional cycling.”
In telling the media that he’d won the Tour as a clean rider, Nibali cited the UCI’s bio-passport, saying, “A lot of progress has been made and we can see the results now. If there had not been all these controls, targeted controls, the biological passport, maybe I would not be here.” Nibali also cited the strength of his team as the reason he’d won the Tour; Iglinskiy was an integral part of that team. There were no positive tests at this year’s Tour for banned substances.
Back in 2012, I wrote a post-race analysis of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, examining why so many pre-race favorites, former winners like Andy Schleck and Philippe Gilbert, had ridden poorly, while no one had predicted that Iglinskiy would win — just as few had predicted his Astana teammate, Italian Enrico Gasparotto, would win the Amstel Gold Race one week earlier.
Back then, Vinokourov was still racing, not yet an Olympic champion. He had left the 2007 Tour de France in disgrace, after winning two stages, but had returned from a suspension, and in 2010 he became a two-time Liège winner, though that victory was followed by accusations that he’d bought the win from Russian Alexandr Kolobnev.
“The lack of firepower from previous winners will surely raise eyebrows in a sport where inconsistent results will forever be scrutinized,” I wrote in 2012, “as will surprise results from two riders of the same team over a period of one week, particularly as Vinokourov, the figurehead of that team and a quasi-admitted drugs cheat, has been accused of buying his win just two years ago.”
(I wasn’t alone in my surprise over Iglinskiy’s 2012 Liège win; my story quoted several riders and managers who expressed wonder over his monument victory.)
Three months after Iglinskiy’s Liège win — ahead of Nibali — Vinokourov was again suspected of buying a major victory, again from a two-man breakaway, this time from Colombian Rigoberto Urán at the London Olympic road race. Urán’s unusual look back, over the wrong shoulder, was accompanied by an inexplicable swerve that relegated him to silver; to some, it seemed that, for Vinokourov (and Kazakhstan), the value of a gold medal was immeasurable.
On Wednesday, the same day as the Iglinsky news broke, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) returned to racing, at Milano-Torino. Kreuziger sat out the Tour de France, and then the Tour of Poland, after the UCI’s anti-doping commission contacted him regarding values from 2011 and 2012, when he raced with Team Astana. Frustrated by the lack of a positive test, Tinkoff pushed back, and, ultimately, the Czech Olympic committee cleared its rider after anomalies were found in his biological passport. The UCI is expected to appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
And on Wednesday, the same day as the Iglinskiy news broke, Oslo, Norway, withdrew its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, citing the high cost of hosting the Games, and a lack of public support for the expense.
Those cities remaining in the running: Beijing, China, and Almaty, Kazakhstan — the same city where Astana had planned on riding on Sunday.
The timing of the Iglinskiy positive, and the Tour of Almaty, makes for an interesting dilemma for Vinokourov.
Continue to participate, as planned, and the team’s commitment to the MPCC is immediately exposed as a facade. Withdraw, as the team is bound to do, albeit voluntarily, and it misses an opportunity to trumpet its Tour champion on home soil, at the potential site of a future Olympic Games. A no-show on Kazakhstan soil would seem an unimaginable embarrassment for the Astana team. (Asked for comment, an Astana spokesman could not immediately provide an answer for the team’s next move.)
An oil-rich country that takes great pride in its athletic achievements, Kazakhstan seemingly sees no limits in what it can achieve, and no cost too high. Even with his doping suspension and bribery allegations, Vinokourov is a national hero, appointed by the former prime minister, who is also the head of the Kazakh Cycling Federation.
Olympic medals, Tour victories, even an Olympic Games — they are all seemingly within reach. Given the cloud of suspicion surrounding the team, the cost for the sport of cycling, however, may be immeasurable.
Will Astana suspend itself from competition for eight days, according to MPCC rules, or will it renounce its MPCC membership and ride in Almaty? Will the team honor its commitment to clean sport, or will nationalistic interests prevail? Time will tell, and ultimately, actions will speak louder than words.
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Michal Kwiatkowski will show off his newly-won rainbow jersey for the first time at the Giro di Lombardia on Sunday. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Newly-crowned world champion Michal Kwiatkowski will line up for his first race in the rainbow jersey at the Giro di Lombardia on Sunday.
Kwiatkowski, 24, is expected to make a splash in the 248-kilometer classic. With numerous challenging climbs, the final cycling monument of 2014 is well suited for the Pole.
“I probably will realize what I’ve truly done when I wear the rainbow jersey at the start of Il Lombardia,” said Kwiatkowski. “About Il Lombardia, I’ve never been able to finish it. I got sick last year the night before the start. So with this jersey, I at least have to do better than last year [laughs]. To me it’s beautiful to show my jersey for the first time in a monument.”
The race will tackle the Madonna del Ghisallo (8.58km, 6.2 percent average, 14 percent max gradients), Colle Gallo (7.43km, 6 percent average, 10 percent max gradients), Passo di Ganda (9.2km, 7.3 percent average, 15 percent max gradients), and Berbenno (5.5km, 5.3 percent average, 10 percent max gradients). In the final 5.2km of the race there is a short uphill section of 7.9 percent average gradient, and it ramps up to a maximum of 12 percent.
“The last days were a little bit hectic,” Kwiatkowski said. “I went home after a great welcome at the Warsaw airport. My family and my girlfriend were there, along with many journalists and supporters. It was really nice to meet all those people and see how huge cycling has become in Poland.
“To be honest I still have to realize what I did. I’m still in shock, even now. When I think about that race, after the finish I was really confused because it was so incredible. It’s like when you dream during the night and then everything comes true. It’s something I am still processing. The last days of my life have been completely different than before.
“Let’s see what I can do [at Lombardia] considering all the great emotions I’ve had in the last days. Of course I will try to do my best to honor the race and the jersey.”
GCN explains how to make a breakaway move stick.
Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.
Maxim Iglinskiy is the latest Astana rider to return a positive doping sample. His brother, Valentin, tested positive for EPO in September, and now Maxim has been suspended for a test indicating EPO use. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com (File).
Astana’s Maxim Iglinskiy has tested positive for EPO use, according to a document issued by the UCI that lists provisionally suspended riders.
Iglinskiy, 33, provided a sample on August 1 that revealed an adverse analytical finding for the blood-boosting substance, according to the UCI.
Iglinskiy finished 26th at Clasica San Sebastian the day after the sample was taken. The Kazakh is perhaps best known for winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2012 ahead of Vincenzo Nibali.
Iglinskiy’s 30-year-old brother, Valentin, who also rode for Astana, was suspended in September for testing positive for EPO as well. Valentin Iglinskiy’s positive sample was taken 10 days after Maxim’s, on August 11 at the Eneco Tour.
Astana is a member of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), which means it could potentially suspend itself in advance of Sunday’s Giro di Lombardia.
According to MPCC rules, teams must suspend themselves for eight days, “in the event of several positive tests in the past 12 months,” with that period starting on the day of the next World Tour event. This would also impact the team’s participation in the Tour of Beijing.
VeloNews‘ request for comment from Astana Wednesday afternoon was not immediately returned.
The 2014 women's road race started with three-time world road champion Marianne Vos signing in on the grand stage in Ponferrada. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The women's U.S. squad smiled for the cameras and the fans before lining up for the start of their race on Saturday afternoon. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Rabo-Liv teammates Iris Slappendel and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot greeted each other at the start. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
American Shelley Olds was her squad's card to play if the race came down to a bunch sprint, and she was excited about her chances in the finale. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The peloton safely made its way around a sweeping right turn onto the bridge over the dam that separated the two climbs on the course. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The women's peloton crested the curve around the Templar Castle in town early on the first lap of the 127-kilometer circuit race. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The Dutch team, led here by Ellen van Dijk, maintained control of the race throughout most of the day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
American Tayler Wiles was the victim of a massive pileup early in the race and was left to chase for the remainder of the day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The chase back by this Lithuanian rider after a face-first crash showed how the women riders are just as fierce as the men. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
After several crashes took their toll on the women's race, American Shelley Olds stayed safely tucked in the bunch on the descent of the second climb in the circuit. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Defending champion Marianne Vos downplayed her chances for a repeat performance. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Attacks began in the last two laps, as Australian Rachel Neylan made an aggressive move just after the rain started to make things tricky. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Shelley Olds was keeping close tabs on all the sprinters as the race hit the bell lap. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Britain's Lizzie Armitstead threw down the hammer on the last climb of the day. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Eventual race winner Pauline Ferrand-Prevot tried to bridge to the Armistead group that was five seconds ahead. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
2014 world time trial champion and eventual silver medalist Lisa Brennauer was not far behind as she crested the summit of the last climb in the race. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
American Evelyn Stevens gritted her teeth through the pace of the last climb and finished 12th. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The finish came down to a bunch sprint after the late attack sat up in the closing kilometers. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, 22, confirmed her status as a rider of the future with a perfectly-timed sprint victory that took a few by surprise. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
American Shelley Olds was beyond disappointed with her sixth-place finish in Ponferrada. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
Two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini crashed early in the race and ultimately missed a podium spot, bringing her to tears after the finish. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The podium of the 2014 elite women's road race, with France's Pauline Ferrand-Prevot on the top step with a gold medal. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The French national team went big on stage in celebration of Pauline Ferrand-Prevot's victory. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com
The post Photo Essay: UCI world road championships, women’s road race appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) celebrated victory at Milano-Torino after battling Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale) on the final climb. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso won the 193.5-kilometer Milano-Torino race held Wednesday.
The 2014 event was the 95th edition of the race, making it the oldest one-day classic race held in Italy.
The 26-year-old Italian won on the steep final climb to the finish, the Colle di Superga, which the peloton tackled twice in the closing 19 kilometers of the race. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r La Mondiale) was second, and Caruso’s Katusha teammate, Daniel Moreno finished third.
“I am very happy. I was already many times close to victory this season, but finally I made it,” Caruso said. “Sergei Chernetckii did enormous work. He attacked with four kilometers to go. When Nocentini counterattacked, I followed him. With 2.5 km to go we caught Chernetckii but he continued to work hard in the front until 1k to go. He was super. As I knew Nocentini is very strong in the sprint, I tried to anticipate and attacked with 300 meters to go. He followed me but I had a second acceleration in my legs.”
Several notable stars returned to racing after the world championships in Spain, including Fabio Aru (Astana), who placed fourth, and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who was fifth.
Vuelta a España champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was sixth.
“This was Alberto’s first race since the Vuelta and naturally, he has to get back into the rhythm but he was actually doing tremendously well considering,” said Tinkoff-Saxo director Fabrizio Guidi. “He had to close down a few gaps on the final slope but wasn’t in the final and crucial break. But he’s where he’s supposed to be physically. It was also great to have Roman [Kreuziger] back on the team. And even though he’s been away from racing since June, he worked hard for Alberto until hitting the foot of the final climb, and he finished in the bunch. Now, we’re looking forward to Giro di Lombardia.”
Katusha will start Sunday as the big favorite for the last one-day WorldTour race of the season, Il Lombardia, won by Rodríguez the last two years.
Roman Kreuziger returned to racing at Milano-Torino. His teammate, Alberto Contador rode to sixth place in Wednesday's race, which serves as a tune-up for Giro di Lombardia. Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo
MILAN (VN) — Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) returned to racing Wednesday in Italy’s Milano-Torino with a likely anti-doping case on the horizon. The Czech Olympic committee cleared its rider despite anomalies that were found in his biological passport, a decision that the UCI is expected to appeal soon.
“I am not going to comment on an individual case while it’s ongoing,” said UCI president, Brian Cookson last week, “but all biological passport cases are important; integrity [and] authority are very important.”
Kreuziger has not raced since June 22 in the Tour de Suisse. He was slated to ride in Tinkoff’s yellow kit at the Tour de France to help Alberto Contador, but was stopped with questions regarding his biological passport. The scene repeated itself when he tried to line up in the Tour of Poland.
Instead, after hearings and appeals, he lined up to help recent Vuelta a España winner Contador in Italy’s Milano-Torino. He is also scheduled to race next week’s Tour of Beijing, a race organized by a branch of the UCI.
Tinkoff-Saxo explained in a press release Wednesday morning that Kreuziger “deserves to be racing.” The UCI’s Cookson would not comment the case, but it is likely that he would disagree with the team’s view.
The UCI called him out for peculiar biological passport readings. The passport, which the UCI introduced in 2008, tracks blood and urine values to spot abnormalities that could indicate doping.
The UCI’s anti-doping commission contacted Kreuziger several times regarding values from 2011 and 2012, when he raced with team Astana. He contacted experts and responded, but on May 30, the commission said that it did not accept his explanation and passed the case to his home country.
The Czech Olympic committee cleared him September 22 and gave him the option to return to racing, but by doing so, it struck a blow to the UCI’s biological passport. As with other cases, like Franco Pellizotti’s, the UCI is expected to appeal to sport’s high court, CAS, to uphold the integrity of its heralded anti-doping passport.
Kreuziger is free to race meanwhile. The case is similar to Contador’s, who while waiting out a legal process, raced and won the 2011 Giro d’Italia. CAS eventually ruled against Contador, stripped his results and added to the confusion for cycling and its followers.
The UCI is trying to avoid further confusion and to ensure cases are handled equally. Cookson announced last week that starting in 2015, a new independent and international anti-doping tribunal will handle doping cases instead of the rider’s country.
Despite Kreuziger and his team arguing against this specific case, cycling has welcomed the biological passport as it tries to move ahead from the EPO, blood doping, and Lance Armstrong scandals.
“A lot of progress has been made and we can see the results now,” Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) said at a press conference when he won the Tour de France this year.
“If there had not been all these controls, targeted controls, the biological passport, maybe I would not be here.”
The graphics are excellent, and Zwift will add more diverse worlds as the community expands — including some real-world rides. Photo: Zwift
Sprint for the town line. Win a polka dot jersey, or a green one. Draft your buddy through your living room, while he rides in his.
Adding competition and camaraderie to a mind-numbing and mundane endeavor, the dreaded trainer ride, is the goal of Zwift, a new multiplayer, online, indoor training game developed by veterans of the video game industry.
With just a stationary trainer and ANT+ speed and cadence sensors, users can race their buddies from across the country. Add an ANT+ enabled power meter, or a smart trainer like the Wahoo Kickr, which allows resistance to be controlled externally, and the platform’s capabilities expand into a highly realistic virtual riding experience.
Despite the Zwift staff’s gaming and software heritage, and the very video-game-like graphics, Grand Theft Bicycle this is not. There are no guns, no running down of pedestrians or zombies to blow up. There aren’t any cars, either, or flats, or crashes. Zwift Island, the first of many virtual worlds Zwift will be adding to the system, is a cyclist’s utopia, bursting with evening light and flitting fireflies, smooth roads and stiff climbs.
Zwift is focused on the interaction between players and allowing that contact to mimic a real group ride. Users can chat with each other, draft each other, sprint against each other, and try to drop each other as they cruise around Zwift Island. Later on, as the community grows, the company will add more courses, including real-world options.
The system is built around a massive, multiplayer video game platform designed to host tens of thousands of users at a single time. The initial beta test will include 1,000 users, all of whom will cruise (or race) around Zwift Island together.
There are rewards to be gained, of course, and the founders noted that Strava was a major source of inspiration. Sprint points on course award a green jersey, while the fastest climbers can compete for polka dots. The jerseys swap shoulders in real time, allowing other riders to immediately see who is at the top of each competition.
Like Strava, different sections of the course will have leaderboards, and the fastest riders on those sectors will also be virtually awarded.
Zwift is not the only brand to offer online racing and training, but its modest $10 per month fee and compatibility with any trainer, or even rollers, lower the barrier of entry considerably relative to other systems. CompuTrainer offers similar capabilities, but with high hardware costs. Tacx, Elite, and others require specific hardware as well.
“We wanted an open, accessible platform,” said Scott Barger, one of Zwift’s co-founders and its VP of business development. “We are trainer agnostic. All you need is an ANT+ speed and cadence sensor to get started.”
Jumping into Zwift is simple, and will feel quite familiar to anyone who has played a video game in the last decade. Download the game to any computer (Zwift says anything less than three years old will work) and sign up with an e-mail address. You then set up a character, adjusting sex, hair, and even clothing, and then set up a bike, changing frame type, rim depth, and more. Inputting weight allows the system to make its calculations, then you’re ready to set off.
If you’re using a “dumb” trainer and no power meter, Zwift will provide a power curve so that power can be estimated using cadence and speed. A smart trainer improves the experience, allowing Zwift to control resistance for changing environmental conditions — wind, hills, and drafting.
Yes, riding does get easier when you ride behind another player, or when you head downhill. Zwift engineers made this sort of accuracy a priority, using both speed and acceleration to calculate power requirements.
Soon, riders will be able to interact verbally via their smartphones. There is already an app that shows current speed, power, and more, and also uses the device’s gyroscope to provide steering input to the system. Combining the two, communication and virtual steering, would allow users to ride up to groups inside the Zwift world and interact just as they would on the road.First ride
On first glance, Zwift appears to be an excellent solution to the indoor riding problem. It plays on the reasons we ride outside — camaraderie, challenge, and competition — and does so in a simple, easy to use, neatly packaged platform.
A few minutes lined up next to BikeRadar’s Ben Delaney (who I ride with at home anyway) and Road Bike Action’s Neil Shirley, watching our little avatars roll around Zwift Island in hot pursuit of one another, was enough to prove the concept. It was enjoyable. Ben beat me, and though clearly his rubber soles simply offered superior grip to my dress shoes, he was so proud he texted me the screenshot minutes later.
If that doesn’t prove that Zwift has successfully brought the friendly competition of the lunch ride inside, nothing does.
Though the system does work with a “dumb” trainer, anyone who will spend serious time living on Zwift Island will want to invest in a smart trainer. The ability to add real-world factors like drafting dramatically improves the experience.
Are there enough people staring at their walls all winter — or even all year, in places with poor riding — who are willing to swallow $10 per month and the startup costs associated with ANT+ speed/cadence sensors and an ANT+ dongle (less than $100)? That’s still the question. But if you’re one of those people, Zwift might be right up your alley. It’s the neatest, most socially intriguing platform I’ve seen yet.
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Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde are both gunning for the UCI WorldTour overall title. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
It’s not time for the beach yet, at least with the UCI WorldTour titles still up for grabs.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) are putting their vacation plans on hold, at least for a few more weeks. Both the individual title and the team title are to be decided in the final two WorldTour events on the calendar.
Contador and Valverde are both expected to race the Giro di Lombardia (October 5) and the final edition of the Tour of Beijing (October 10-14). Contador has confirmed his presence in both races, while Valverde appears on startlists.
Contador leads with 620 points and Valverde is second with 606 points, just 14 behind his compatriot. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) is a distant third, with 478 points.
“Everyone would like to end the season No. 1,” Contador said. “I am already happy to be leading the ranking right now, above all since I could not earn any points at all during the Tour. We have to remember that we have very difficult rivals, above all, Alejandro Valverde.”
Contador led throughout the spring, but Valverde bounced ahead after winning the Clásica San Sebastián in early August. Contador reclaimed the lead after winning the Vuelta, earning enough points to keep things interesting going into China.
Points will be earned for the top-10 at Lombardia, and in top-10 overall at Beijing, plus the top-5 per stage in China.
Contador skipped the road world championships on home roads, citing an unfavorable course, but some suggested he already had eyes on finishing off the season with fresh legs to chase the WorldTour title.
“After the Vuelta I spent most of my time resting because I ended the race very tired,” said Contador, who will race Wednesday at Milan-Turin. “I did a few long rides, but I won’t know how I feel until I start racing.”
The team standings are also close, with Movistar leading with 1,360 points. Tinkoff is second with 1,186 points. One can only imagine Oleg Tinkov rallying the troops to try to win the prestigious team prize.
Contador’s commitment to the Beijing tour comes in the race’s final edition. UCI president Brian Cookson confirmed last week the UCI’s commercial arm, Global Cycling Promotion, would be “wound down” following the final edition of five-day race in China’s capital.
“The vision of GCP is not one that I support, and we are going to do things differently in the future,” Cookson said. “We don’t see the UCI being a major promoter outside the world championships and the World Cups. Those are our properties, and those are the things we should concentrate on.”
Riders would often skip the Beijing tour if the title were already wrapped up. Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), who won the past two WorldTour prizes, did not race in Beijing last year after securing the title with a victory at Lombardia. Rodríguez also skipped the 2012 Beijing tour after having a wrap on the individual standings.
Gaerne’s new Go Stilo road shoe comes in four colors (orange, green, white, and black) and two full-carbon soles, one for three-hole cleats, and one flat, for Speedplay cleats. Its “Diagonal” foot-retention system has three separate closure zones intended to eliminate pressure points. The Boa EP-1 closures have soft knobs and can be rotated counterclockwise to release tension, click by click, until cable tension is zero. Beyond that, to open the shoe, you release the cable fully by pulling up on the knob. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
This inflatable booth demonstrated a home security system by Aura Sicurezza. When an intruder trips the system, thick smoke rapidly fills the house, making it impossible to see anything to steal, much less to see the way out. There is a bicycle in this booth, but as soon as the smoke pours in, you can be right next to it and not see it. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Mario Cipollini’s new time trial bike, the Nuke, like everything he does in Italy, drew a crowd. It has another over-the-top video starring him to promote it. It is not as over-the-top as the Cipollini Bond video, however; that one still leaves an indelible mark. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
The Cipollini Nuke has brakes hidden into molded recesses between the fork legs and between the chainstays. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
The Nuke has a flippable stem to allow the bars to be about an inch higher than in this photo. The front section of the stem pulls off at the angled cut visible a bit forward of the shaft’s center. There is a V-notch on the front of the shaft to mate with the back of the handlebar clamp section, whose inverse-V-shaped protrusion is offset so that when you flip it over, the handlebar clamp is higher. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Eighty years in the bike business is something to celebrate, especially with all of the competition in the wheel business. Ambrosio has long been the hidden secret, and its rims have appeared on umpteen bikes at Paris-Roubaix with different stickers on them. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
2014-1932 = 82 years, not 80 years, but who’s counting? “Lega” means alloy, and at a time when rims were mostly steel or wood, an aluminum rim was a big technical advance during the early 1930s (and constituted a willingness to risk investing in new technology during the Depression). Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Ambrosio’s new Tors 40 Disk carbon wheel is available in a Lefty-type version for the spate of single-bladed road forks coming down the pike. Tubular version (for standard forks and rear ends) weighs 1,520 grams/pair, and the clincher version is 1,680 grams/pair. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Gipiemme’s Kenia Disc rim is tubeless, and the spoke nipples fit into patented keyhole-shaped slots to avoid spoke holes in the rim bed and thus keep the rim airtight. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
When built up into a wheel, rubber grommets conceal the keyhole shape of the spoke holes in the Gipiemme Kenia Disc tubeless clincher rim. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Gipiemme (which is the acronym “GPM” spelled out), makes all of its products in Loria, a small town 50 kilometers north of Padova (Padua). That includes carbon tubular and aluminum/carbon clincher MTB wheels like these. Gipiemme’s carbon mountain bike rims are 40mm deep in 26-inch, 25mm deep in 27.5-inch, and 30mm deep in 29-inch sizes. To avoid dents and cracks from sharp edges hit at speed with soft tires, it makes no all-carbon MTB clincher rims. Gipiemme only makes aluminum rims with a carbon skin, like the Sierra Disc Tubeless Ready rim on the right. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Antonio Sarto is one of Italy’s best-known custom builders of carbon frames. Sarto builds a lot of frames for other brands and many custom frames used in the pro peloton disguised to look like a frame from a team’s bike sponsor. He is less than 20 kilometers northeast of Padova. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Sarto builds with tube-to-tube construction and miters tubes with abrasive rotary wheels for perfect fit and no torn fibers. Sarto also repairs carbon frames of any brand. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
It’s very hard to tell that Sarto’s custom frames, built out of separate tubes, are not monocoque frames that came out of molds. After lashing the joints together with carbon tape, pieces of carbon fabric are laid over the joints to blend in with the fabric of the tubes. As Sarto mostly builds for other brands and sells essentially no frames in Italy under its own brand, there are no brand markings on this frame. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
The Olmo Personal is a carbon road frame custom-built for size and type of riding (including for disc brakes). It uses tube-to-tube construction. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
“Designed on your body” sounds a little more arduous for the consumer than likely is the actual design and construction process of an Olmo Personal custom carbon road bike. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Olmo’s Fat Bike is not what generally comes to mind these days as a fat bike. Its Schwalbe Big Apple Balloon tires are 26x2.15-inch, a far cry from 4- or 5-inch tires used in the snow. With its Shimano Nexus internal-gear hub, full-length chain guard, lights, and fenders, it’s probably a better choice for commuting in a city than most fat bikes, though. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
The elegant Olmo Viaggio is a fully-chromed, lugged, cromoly-steel frame built for touring. The chain case completely protects pants legs from grease, and the welded-on fork tab firmly holds the generator for the headlight. This would be the way to pedal from villa to villa along narrow roads covered with falling elm leaves (“olmo” means “elm tree”). Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Liotto is another Italian builder making carbon frames in custom sizes. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
The Liotto Aquila Disc road bike can be custom-built to your size. It is built with tube-to-tube construction and can be ordered with an integrated seat mast like this one. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Bressan makes custom steel frames; this one is called the “Joystick.” Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Bressan does elegant lugwork on its Pistaiolo track bike. Photo: Lennard Zinn | VeloNews.com
Nicole Duke is heading into her second season racing for Marin Cycles. Her bike these past two years has been the Marin county-based brand's 52cm Cortina T3 CX Pro. This year, however, Duke is testing a prototype thru-axle fork. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
Duke's backup bike has her boyfriend, Ben Berden's decal on the top tube. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
Duke ordered her own frame badges from "some website," and paid for them herself. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The Cortina is designed for 160mm rotors front and rear, even though SRAM recommends 140mm rotors front and rear for cyclocross use. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The Marin Cortina has a dramatic upsweep to the rear dropout, which moves the chainstay away from the upper half of the chain. Duke was running SRAM's top-of-the-line X-Glide 1190 cassette at the U.S. Open of Cyclocross. With fair weather, there was less risk of the 1190 clogging with debris, and it saves considerable weight compared to the more traditionally designed 1170. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The front derailleur cable routing is left unfulfilled on Duke's CX1-equipped Cortina. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
At the U.S. Open of Cyclocross Duke ran a mixed set of Clement tubulars on her Zipp 303 Firecrest tubulars. On the back, Duke had an all-season MXP. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
On the front, Duke ran an aggressive Clement PDX, known as a mud tire for its wide-spaced knobs. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
SDG saddles have been growing in popularity in the cyclocross community. Duke says she rides the SDG Belair 2.0. She is also friends with SDG athlete Amanda Nauman and thinks riding SDG keeps her close to her mountain bike roots. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The nose on the SDG Belair 2.0 has a bit more padding than the rest of the saddle. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
A well worn pair of Shimano XTR pedals keep Duke's feet clipped in to her 172.5mm crank arms. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
Duke rides a 38 tooth chainring on her SRAM CX1 drivetrain. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
Marin's marketing coordinator, Tsering Alleyne said, "This is a prototype concept we’re testing in conjunction with our team athletes, which may possibly make its way onto the bike in the future." SRAM provided Duke with a RockShox Maxle and a prototye Zipp wheel with thru-axle hub. We hope the Maxle comes equipped on the thru-axle fork if it makes it to market, as it is the easiest threaded thru-axle to use. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The prototype fork sports cleanly integrated internal cable routing. That feature leads us to believe that this fork is pretty close to being ready for production. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The Cortina uses full internal-routed cables. The front brake line dissapears into the fork leg near the crown. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
As a sponsored rider for Lake, Duke gets custom bright-pink MX331 shoes. Unlike some of Lake's high-end shoes, the MX331 is not heat moldable, though they sport a soft kangaroo leather upper. Duke's matching socks are from HBstache.com. Photo: Logan VonBokel | VeloNews.com
The Challenge Chicane tubular tire is a great choice for fast, dry cyclocross races. Cornering knobs provide extra security, compared to the file tread tires of yesteryear. Photo: Brad Kaminski | VeloNews.com
I glued these Challenge Chicane tubular tires to the wrong wheelset.
In the August heat, as I looked ahead to cyclocross season, I assumed that I wouldn’t like these file tread tires enough to have them on my nicest, carbon fiber-est wheels. I was wrong.
Other file treads I’ve ridden in years past have been squirrelly. In Colorado, files are scary, especially when you’re racing on dusty, loose, even gravel-strewn tracks in the early season (or sometimes all season).
However, the Chicanes offer meaty side knobs that allow them to punch above their weight when you lean into corners.
The side knobs are actually taken directly from Challenge’s Limus mud tire. They are tall, large, and firm. And Challenge isn’t the only tire manufacturer to take this approach to building a fast tire that can hold its own in the corners. Dugast recently introduced the Pipisquallo, which pairs Pipistrello file tread with Rhino side-knobs.
Between the course tape, the Chicane delivers all the speed that you’d expect from a file tread. But when you hit the corners, the difference is immediately apparent. The tires will release a little as you initiate the turn, then the large, supportive side-knobs kick in and offer great cornering traction, so long as you commit.
In fact, at times, the Chicane seemed to corner better than full-knob tires, perhaps due to the absence of intermediate knobs, which sometimes feel squirmy on hardpack.
Like most other file treads, the Chicane was terrific on grass courses and even better on off-cambers, due to the added treads on the side. Challenge’s supple 300tpi casing on the Pro Team model I tested also contributed to the tire’s grip at low pressure, which meant that they were also confident in sand pits.
And yet, there is no such thing as a perfect all-around cyclocross tire. The Chicane has its limits. On loose steep pitches, the file tread was still … well, a file tread. When powering up climbs on loose dirt, the minimal center tread eventually lets go. Similarly, braking power is greatly reduced in those conditions.
I also came to grief on a grassy course after some sprinklers turned on for the last few laps, making the surface wet and greasy. Races can be won with smart gambles. That day, I probably would have picked a different pair of tires, if I had another chance.
If you’re looking ahead to a fast, relatively flat ‘cross race, without a cloud on the horizon, the Chicane is a great tire to have in the quiver. However, it’s probably not the only tire you should have for the weekend fun.
Weight: 335g per tire (claimed)
Pros: Great speed, reliable cornering grip, supple casing, far more versatile than the average file tread.
Cons: Outgunned on steep, loose hills, not a safe bet when there’s a chance of rain.
The post Reviewed: Challenge Chicane is not your average file tread appeared first on VeloNews.com.
For much of 2014, Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has hinted that he's cooking up a new professional cycling team. However, he has yet to release any specifics. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Yahoo Finance Canada reported that Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has partnered with an investment group with an eye toward investing in cycling companies.
NOVO Group Holdings, a company founded last year to develop, acquire, and manage assets in sport, announced a partnership with Alonso on Tuesday.
Rumors have swirled for months about a possible WorldTour team organized by Alonso, but as of yet, no concrete plans have emerged.
“We want to create a competitive, sustainable team franchise that is loved and admired for its innovation, transparency, and commitment to social responsibility,” said NOVO managing partner Nathan Pillai. “We are busy putting in place the foundations required to achieve the long-term success we desire and will make an announcement on our progress in due course.”
However, the press statement did not include any specifics as to what sort of progress was expected in the coming days or months.
Alonso indicated that at the outset, he may be focused more on finding product manufacturers to join the venture.
“I’m thrilled to be part of this new venture,” said Alonso. “I get to indulge my passion for cycling and obsession with technology and design with likeminded people.”
Pillai also indicated NOVO’s interest in products, saying, “We see opportunities in high-performance products, wearable technologies, and content that serve these segments.”
The post Alonso teams up with investment group, plans to invest in cycling companies appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Caroline Mani won the second day of the Rapha Super Cross weekend in Gloucester. It was her first UCI win in three years, and she did it with a cast on her broken left wrist. Photo by David McElwaine
After struggling to find her groove over the past few years, former French national cyclocross champion Caroline Mani (Raliegh-Clement) is firing on all cylinders as the 2014-2015 season warms up.
Finishing in the top 10 at every race she’s done this fall, Mani looks to be back on her old form despite suffering a wrist injury in late September.
“I’d been struggling a lot over the past few years, I hadn’t been feeling like my old self on the bike,” Mani said. “Getting adjusted to living and racing in America took a bit longer than I had expected.”
Now that Mani is comfortably settled into her new home and racing a complete North American calendar, she feels that she is ready to get back to where she left off a few years ago.
“I did a lot of base riding this year, but also did a big block of road racing during the summer,” said Mani. “I don’t think I did more training this year than I have done in the past — just different and more structured work, and it’s been working quite well for me.”
With a strong start to the season, Mani’s changes to her off-season training are showing clear progress in the opening weeks of ‘cross season. With a seventh place finish at CrossVegas and podiums at both the Boulder and Madison races, Mani had her best result of 2014, winning Rapha Super Cross in Gloucester, Massachusetts this past weekend.
“Gloucester is a race that I’ve always loved, but really struggled to do well at.” Mani said following her victory. “I hadn’t won a UCI race since 2011, so getting the win there was amazing. I’ve missed winning, I really want to win more!”
Mani’s commanding victory on the second day of Gloucester was more impressive because she did so wearing a cast over her broken left wrist.
“Saturday’s race was really painful for me. My wrist was hurting a lot and I was unable to get a good hold on the bike because of the cast. So it took some time to get used to it, but once I did, I knew I had the legs to fight in the race,” said Mani. “Finishing fourth on Saturday was a great accomplishment, but the pressure was off of me on Sunday. I had better control of my bike, I was able to ride with a bit more confidence, and I had the legs.”
Mani’s wrist injury isn’t anything seriously detrimental to the rest of her season. This is the fourth time she’s broken her wrist, however, this break wasn’t caused by a crash, rather just a poorly healed bone her hand. Mani hopes to be out of a cast in three weeks and back to racing with both hands, not that the cast has slowed her down that much.
Mani will remain on the East coast for the next few weeks, racing at the Providence Cyclocross Festival to start October, where she’ll work to defend her lead in the New England Cyclocross Series. She’ll follow that up with the Ellison Park Cyclocross Festival in Rochester, New York in mid-October.
Looking further down the road, Mani is unsure whether she’ll be racing much in Europe this season saying, “If I’m able to continue winning, then I’ll have a talk with my team managers to consider racing in Europe, but for now I’m focused on the American calendar. Of course, I’ll race the French national championship and the world championships in the winter.”
Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski, 24, and Germany's John Degenkolb, 25, are two of the many promising young stars rising through the ranks. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
MILAN (VN) — Pole Michal Kwiatkowski led in a wave of young riders at the world championship road race Sunday. Behind the 24-year-old, three others from the class of 1990 finished in the top 15.
“I want to stay the same guy,” Kwiatkowski said after his win. “I hope this rainbow jersey does not change my life.”
The rainbow win completed a successful year for team Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s rider. He won the Volta ao Algarve overall, the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana at the Challenge Mallorca, Strade Bianche, the Tour de Romandie prologue time trial, and a stage in the Tour of Britain. He also placed second overall in Britain, second overall in the País Vasco, and top five in the three Ardennes classics.
“[He] really grew up on our team,” team general manager Patrick Lefevere said in a press release. “We always believed in him. The first time I met him was 2008, and immediately he impressed me with his character and his talent. It was strong, but also intelligent racing [at the worlds].”
“Kwiatkowski took the risk on the descent and jumped to the riders,” Australia’s director, Brad McGee told VeloNews. “It was make or break and he had the muscles to back it up.
“He hasn’t come from nowhere, he’s had many big give victories this year. There’s plenty of room at the top of cycling for these young riders.”
McGee’s team took the silver medal with Simon Gerrans, but also saw 24-year-old Michael Matthews place 14th in his best ever performance at the elite worlds after winning the under-23 title in 2010. Like Kwiatkowski, Matthews shined this season with Orica-GreenEdge, winning a stage in the Giro d’Italia, where he wore the leader’s jersey, and accomplishing the same feat at the Vuelta a España.
“It’s my first elite worlds where I’ve been in the finish,” Matthews said. “It’s a really good experience for me to be there in the final of this caliber of race.”
Australia’s aim was to protect Gerrans, who went with Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde on the last climb. Matthews waited behind, ready in case the race ended in a sprint.
“I didn’t find the rain too bad,” Matthews added. “The climbs didn’t really faze me, the Vuelta a España and Tour of Poland prepared me well. It was just the acceleration from the pure climbers on the final kicker [that] sort of hurt a little bit.”
It hurt, but Matthews should gain from the experience as he heads into 2015. He placed 14th in the bunch sprint won by Norway’s Alexander Kristoff for eighth place. France’s Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) and Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) — the other two riders born in 1990 — were in the top 15, placed 10th and 13th, respectively.
“Colbrelli has never raced the elite worlds,” Italy’s head coach, Davide Cassani said. “The worlds are going to serve these riders [well].”
The class of 1990 also includes talented riders like Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing), who could not start due to a broken leg suffered in May at the U.S. national championships.
Other cyclists from the class of 1990, or even 1991 and 1992, shined in the worlds, including France’s Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano), Dane Michael Valgren Andersen (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Italian Fabio Aru (Astana). The only disappointment was the rider often touted as cycling’s next superstar, Slovak Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Sagan won the green jersey for the third time this year at the Tour de France and signed a multi-million dollar contract with Tinkoff-Saxo, but appeared to suffer in the second half of the season. He stayed in the main group with Matthews, but given his star status, followers expected more.
“Peter just didn’t have the legs to go with the best riders at the worlds,” said Cannondale sports director and Sagan’s helper at the worlds, Stefano Zanatta. “He’s an exceptional rider, so you hope for the best, but based on the races beforehand, we sort of knew he wasn’t in shape.”
The post In the class of 1990, cycling’s future looks bright appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Australia's Sara Carrigan won the 2004 Olympic road race. She is being sued in Australia after a crash occurred on a training ride that her company organized. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
The Courier Mail reports that Olympic champion Sara Carrigan is being sued $750,000 over a cycling accident that happened on a “bunch” ride at her Mermaid Waters-based cycling school in Australia.
Bernie Elsey Jr., the son of property developer Bernie Elsey, has lodged a claim for personal injury damages against Sara Carrigan Cycling and another cyclist Stephen John Milligan, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.
In May last year, Elsey was on one of the cycling school’s “Go for Gold Cycling Bunch” rides when he alleges another cyclist crashed into him.
After the accident, Elsey was treated in hospital for a complex left fractured femur and had a steel rod and screws permanently placed in his leg.
The post In the News: Olympic cycling champion Sara Carrigan being sued over bunch ride accident appeared first on VeloNews.com.
David Millar closed out his professional cycling career at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships. Here is a look at the custom shoes that his shoe sponsor Fizik produced for him throughout the season. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Cobbled graphics defined Millar's shoes for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne brought out a pair of custom Fiziks showing an understated camouflage design and the initials of the race and the rider. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Paying homage to the "race of the two seas," Millar's shoes were puncutated by aquamarine accents at Tirreno-Adriatico. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Millar waited at the starting line of Milano-Sanremo with a colorful pair of shoes. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Kicking off "Flemish Cycling Week," Millar sported a new pair of Fiziks at Dwars door Vlaanderen. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Millar's shoes from Dwars door Vlaanderen made another appearance at E3 Harelbeke. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
With a race description on one foot and the Flemish flag on the other, Millar flashed yellow shoes at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Millar's shoes featured the colors of the Belgian flag at Scheldeprijs. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
David Millar's Paris-Roubaix shoes displayed the names of previous winners of the "Hell of the North." Photo: Eric Feferberg | AFP
Distinguished by the blue band found on the race leader's yellow jersey, Fizik made Millar custom shoes for the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
The leader's red jersey was the inspiration for Millar's Fiziks at the Vuelta a Espana. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Fizik made Millar a custom pair of shoes for the worlds road race in Ponferrada, Spain. The velcro strap on the right shoe was custom stitched with "David." Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
The left shoe read "Millar." Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
The Lance Armstrong legal team filed new papers in court on Sept. 25, offering a glimpse of potential defenses the Texan may use in a False Claims Act suit. Photo: Mark Gunter | AFP
You should have known, and you got way more than you paid for.
Those, essentially, are two of the defenses it appears the Lance Armstrong camp will unveil if needed in its contest with the U.S. Department of Justice and Floyd Landis.
The False Claims Act dispute between Armstrong and the DOJ is ongoing, and new court papers provide a deeper look into the defense Armstrong and his attorneys may provide: that the government should have known cheating was occurring on the U.S. Postal teams, and that the government benefitted hugely from its years-long sponsorship, more so than it paid for.
The Armstrong camp and the DOJ — which is now, by proxy, former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis, since the government joined his whistleblower suit — are casting stones back and forth as each party undergoes discovery and plans its attacks and defenses. While there is nothing groundbreaking in the latest paperwork from the Armstrong team — a 38-page brief on why some of the Texan’s defenses should stand — it does show a clear window into what may transpire in court if the suit isn’t settled beforehand.
False Claims Act suits allow whistleblowers to sue those they say defrauded the government, and the government has the right to intervene, which it did in February 2013. Landis, who initially filed the suit, could collect up to 25 percent of the money recovered. The USPS paid more than $30 million for the team from 2001 to 2004 and has sought three times its investment, though Velo understands the number discussed as a possible settlement is much lower.
“I think that Armstrong’s response to the motion is telling … he basically is saying the government knew what was going on, or should have known what is going on, that the government benefitted from the sponsorship,” Mark Stichel, a Baltimore-based attorney who has litigated civil cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S., told Velo.
Both sides are sparring on discovery issues, Stichel said, and the government is trying to narrow Armstrong’s affirmative defenses so it can avoid certain types of discovery. In plain speak, the government wanted to strike some of Armstrong’s defenses, which is somewhat odd.
“Here, we’re really seeing kind of balls to the wall litigation,” Stichel said. “People are litigating anything they can.”
One of those ways is to quarrel over what defenses will be allowable. The DOJ sought to strike some of Armstrong’s, to which his legal team took umbrage. The Armstrong team spelled out its economic view of the sponsorship as well.
“The government claims that it was financially harmed by the sponsorship of the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) team. But the USPS-commissioned studies conservatively valued the global exposure the USPS received from 2001 to 2004 at $138-147 million — more than three times the amount the government paid to sponsor the USPS team,” the filing reads. Lawyers for Armstrong go on to contend that the USPS’ sponsorship of the team was one of the most effective public-relations ventures for the Postal Service. It’s also noted that, according to the government’s own papers, it made at least $26 million in “direct” revenue from the sponsorship.
The defense also contends the government knew of the doping on the team, and “in one instance” dismissed allegations without any investigations. At another point, the government wrote to Tailwind Sports, Armstrong’s management firm, stating it was harmed by negative publicity. The filing states that in order to “remedy the situation,” the government requested Tailwind pay $50,000 for public relations service, which is a payment “no one contends has not been paid,” the file reads.
Further illustrating its point that the government should have known there was PED use on the team, the papers point to newspaper stories as evidence. There’s a mention of a 1999 New York Times piece that ran after Armstrong tested positive for corticosteroid use, a note about the French investigation in 2000, mention of a USA Today story regarding Dr. Michele Ferrari, and mention of a 2001 piece that ran in London’s Sunday Times by David Walsh — whose employer Armstrong later sued, though the paper got its money back years later after Armstrong admitted to doping.
Thus far, the filings between the two sides have been postured and aggressive. “There’s just a lot of money at stake,” Stichel said. “Also, you can’t discount the personalities of the litigants. I’d expect this in a case of this magnitude.”
The should-have-known defense, while it may come across as odd, isn’t entirely uncommon.
“Here, Armstrong is saying, look, you should have known for years,” Stichel said. “That’s a general legal principal. You can’t, or you shouldn’t, sit on your rights. Now that being said, the False Claims Act, which is the basis for the government case, has all kinds of doctrines that are different from normal cases, and those doctrines tend to favor the government.”
The September 25 document also alleges the government failed to appropriately capitalize on its sponsorships by not using tickets or invitations allotted, thus missing out on potential revenue.
The government could file its response as soon as sometime later this week.