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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, January 5, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem. - J. Paul Getty

Latest completed racing:

Greg LeMond: ‘Chris Froome broke the rules so he should be punished’

Cycling Weekly posted this report:

Greg LeMond has called for Chris Froome to punished for his adverse analytical finding.

Chris Froome should be “punished accordingly” whatever his “ridiculous” excuse for delivering an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a España, according to three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.

Launching a stinging attack on Froome and Team Sky – who deny exceeding the permitted dosage – LeMond said that Froome alone was responsible for what goes into his body, and described Sky and Dave Brailsford as “secretive” and “not as scientific and knowledgable as they claim to be”.

Froome, who is complying with a UCI investigation into the case, could argue that the high concentration of salbutamol in his urine after the tough summit finish to Los Machucos on stage 17 of the Vuelta was due to taking multiple puffs on his inhaler to avoid coughing during TV interviews.

Greg LeMond

Greg LeMond, the only American to win the Tour de France, remains an outspoken proponent of clean riding.

According to World Anti-Doping Agency rules, riders are allowed a maximum of 800 micrograms of salbutamol over 12 hours, with Froome and Team Sky looking to prove that the high concentration of salbutamol in Froome’s urine was not due to exceeding this maximum dosage.

However this explanation was dismissed by LeMond, who said that Froome’s case had to be seen in the context of the wider controversies which have hit Team Sky over the last 18 months.

“That is the most ridiculous excuse I have ever heard,” LeMond said in an interview with The Times. “If this is what he claims, then it’s simple, he broke the rules and should be punished accordingly.

“You have to look at Froome’s AAF in context of everything around Team Sky. The comments from Shane Sutton, the lost records, the Jiffy bag.”

You can read the entire story here.

EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale ready to roll at TDU

The team sent me this:

And just like that, bike racing is back.

EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale will send an opportunistic squad to the season’s first races, focusing on a strong general classification showing and embracing opportunities identified as Santos Tour Down Under unfolds.

“We looked at Down Under and wanted to send the best possible team to this particular race. I’ve always thought you need Australians or neo-pros, which is who we have going,” sport director Tom Southam said.

Simon Clarke, Will Clarke, Brendan Canty, Mitch Docker, Tom Scully, Daniel Moreno, and Logan Owen make up the #ArgyleArmada seven for the sport’s first WorldTour race of the season. The group will also race the People’s Choice Classic on Jan. 14.  

“Being Australian, the TDU is a very special race for me and I look forward to being there every year. Unfortunately after a broken shoulder at the Vuelta ‘16, I missed the last edition, so I am very eager to get back there this year,” noted Simon Clarke. “It’s a great way to kick off the season as it is an extremely well-organized race and always has great weather. Plus, I’m excited and proud to pull on the new kit.”

The Santos Tour Down Under serves as the doorbell for the race season, offering teams a chance to fly new colors and, in some cases, welcome new riders to the team. Owen and Moreno will make their debuts in argyle, and the team will race under a new title banner and owner, that of EF Education First.

Six of the team’s seven riders for the Australian races hail from the southern hemisphere, and four of those are from Australia.

Tom Scully

Tom Scully (shown in his 2017 kit at the 2017 Route du Sud) will be racing this January at the Tour Down Under.

“This year, we said, ‘OK, we’re just going to go with as many Australians as we can,’ which is good. They’re always in shape this time of year, which means they’ll be motivated. With those guys, we have a really nice team, quite well balanced,” Southam said.

Canty and Moreno will look toward the overall while the team adopts an opportunistic approach elsewhere.

“I think I have a pretty clear idea of how things are going to go, but every now and again the race is surprising,” Southam said. “I think it’s a good route. It’s different from the last few years in terms of the two hard days back-to-back, which is nice. I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting it going.”

The Santos Tour Down under runs Jan. 16-21 and begins in Adelaide. The races mark the return to high-level racing for the sport’s top teams and come at the pinnacle of Australian summer, making a challenge for those from colder climates to arrive with enough fitness to earn a result.

“This race favors youth and enthusiasm, it favors someone who’s had an active offseason — which are Australians, basically. It suits the home riders massively,” Southam said.

The race offers a sharp challenge for those aiming for results but also a nice intro to the season with its script, weather, and length of stages.

“The course is designed around that. The stages aren’t too long; they almost all have set pieces where you know if it’s going to be hard or not, and when it’s not, the guys tend to take it pretty steady,” Southam said.  “I’d be pleased to see us with two guys in the top 10 or better. That would be great. It’s going to be difficult to get that. I’d also like us to walk away as a team with our heads held high with a result, whatever that may be, and feeling motivated and confident going into a new year with a fresh perspective.”

EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale for the 2018 TDU:

Tom Southam (GBR)

Simon Clarke (AUS)
Will Clarke (AUS)
Brendan Canty (AUS)
Mitch Docker (AUS)
Daniel Moreno (ESP)
Logan Owen (USA)
Tom Scully (NZL)

Callum Scotson makes it three for three in under-23 time trial at Australian Championships

Mitchelton-BikeExchange sent me this news:

21-year-old Callum Scotson has claimed his third consecutive under-23 time trial title at the Australian Championships in Buninyong today, putting in a measured performance to finish seven seconds ahead of teammate Sam Jenner.

Callum Scotsun

The Australian U-23 ITT podium, from left: Samuel Jenner (2nd), Callum Scotsun (1st) & Jason Lea (3rd)

Scotson, who is expected to sign with Mitchelton-BikeExchange at the conclusion of the Australian season to remain eligible for national team positions, went into today’s national time trial as the clear favourite and despite a track focus in training, delivered to perfection.

The South Australian was third fastest at the turnaround point but managed his effort to finish strongly for the title. His class makes him the only rider to complete the feat at the under-23 level.

After a top five finish in 2017, Jenner took a step up in today’s 2018 championship, challenging teammate Scotson to finish in second position and make the contest a lot tighter than many were expecting.

Jenner reached the turnaround point as the 11th fastest rider but finished incredibly strongly, particularly in the final kilometres, to steal the silver medal from those who misjudged their efforts and faded.

The experience of sport director James Victor had Mitchelton-SCOTT’s four starters set with a pacing plan for the tough 29.5km time trial course and it proved beneficial.

The lack of wind forced a full 40minute effort with the usual tail wind in the first half of the course nowhere to be seen. Passing the half-way and turnaround point in third and 11th respectively, it was the backend efforts of Scotson and Jenner that proved the difference.

Callum Scotson – Gold Medal:
“It feels great. A lot of people had told me that no one has done three in a row but I tried to focus on the process, the same as I always do for the time trial, and not think about it too much.

“It’s a big relief when you have that pressure to come across the line and win, especially when it was close – I could hear coming up to the line it was really close.

“It’s not an easy course to ride. It helps to hold a bit back for the way home, but if you use that strategy you have to have the good legs to lift up the speed when you need.  It’s quite a difficult one to pace but I like it, it’s a hard course and it pays off when you have done the work. You can really make big gains on other riders if you have a strong back end.”

James Victor – Sport Director
“Everyone was expecting Callum to win but it was probably a bit closer than everyone expected, including the boys, given how well he has won it in the last couple of years. But Callum is a champion, he was the favourite to beat and he has shown he can be consistent and he has some good confidence and motivation going into the track worlds and Europe.”

“Sam Jenner probably produced the ride of the day, he was charging home in the final kilometres. Rob expected a bit more, he was strong but just wasn’t fast. He was consistent the whole way out and back, but it just wasn’t his race day today.”

“The wind didn’t come up as expected and it actually turned the course even harder again. Normally we have a tailwind until the turnaround but today there was a crosswind and cross-head into the turn which meant the boys had to work hard for at least three quarters of the circuit. It made for a pretty tough day but as always on this course, irrespective of the wind, the boys who have done the work show themselves in the final five kilometres and can bring the last bit home.”

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