Vinokourov believes

Alexander Vnokourov, the general manager of the cycling team Astana Pro has high hopes from the team this season and in a recent press conference he said that he has set some goals for the team to achieve and he is sure they will be able to achieve those by the end of the season. Astana Pro will have two new riders this season and they are Michele Scarponi from Italy and Lieuwe Westra from Netherlands.

The team members feels that the two new faces will bring lots of glory in the upcoming years and when the general manager was asked about what he was thinking about these two he said that he has given them full freedom to show what they are capable of. Since it will be their debut season they will be excited to perform and that is what is required from them. Both of the two riders were present when the official presentation was being done in Brescia, Italy and in that event the team confirmed that Scarponi and Westra would be a part of the final team this year.

In the press conference that followed just after the presentation the two riders were asked about their planning for the upcoming season. They both said that they are indebted to the team for having chosen them for the final team and they would be looking to prove themselves as the competition is very high in the team. They also said that Alexander Vnokourov was kind enough to give them the freedom and they would like to capitalize on that. It all depends on how the first season goes and they would have ample opportunity to prove themselves. The team members have stood by the side of the two new comers and they are sure that they would do well in this year and the decision of taking them would not be proved wrong.

France organizers considering Pooley’s proposal

Great news for female cyclists who have long been wanted to be a part of the illustrious Tour de France!

All thank to the very dynamic Olympic silver winner Brit cyclist Emma Pooley, the Tour France organizers are presently considering the rider’s proposal on launching a women’s version of the most prestigious cycling championship of the world- Pooley herself has confirmed the news.

As per the statements from the erstwhile time trial world champion, discussions are going on between the women race campaigners & Tour France organizers off late with the recently elected UCI President Cookson donning a significant role in organizing the meet.

“We have contacted & communicated with Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), the Tour France organizers- by ‘we’ it refers to 4 of us fighting with the petition & some who have assisted us in the mission- & Cookson was really helpful in setting the meet with ASO pretty early on. It’s just so amazing of him”, stated a naturally satisfied Pooley. “I can just say that we’re into discussions presently & ASO isn’t averse to any kind of women’s race at the Tour.”

The ASO spokesperson acknowledged that they are into the phase of echoing the notion forwarded by Poolwy. “Nothing is decided till now but we would declare about the possibilities and impossibilities on the right time”, shared the ASO spokesperson.

Pooley came up with her petition of women’s race alongside men’s Tour France championship this year in July. Initially she gathered support from 3 other campaigners- Marianne Vos, the reigning female world champion, 4 time Ironman world championship winner Chrissie Wellington & author Kathryn Bertine. The petition pulled in over as many as 80 thousand signatures within weeks.

According to sources, Pooley’s petition on women’s race at Tour France was cited as a troubled plan by ASO Chairman Jean Amaury who highlighted different organizational difficulties associated with the plan.

Trott demands a second thought

While the women riders all over are petitioning hard for all women Tour de France, Brit Olympian Laura Trott feels a need for second thought on the petitions. The online petition for all Women Tour France was initiated by veteran cyclist Kathryn Bertine and has managed to pull up more than 85 thousand signatures till now. The petition has got backing from many elite female riders like Marianne Vos & Emma Pooley.

In a recent interview Trott stressed that albeit she supports the concept of Women Tour de France, she is not content with the petition demands that suggest that women’s event would cover the similar grueling distance & duration akin to that of men’s. “I do want to have the women’s Tour France, don’t take me wrong”, cleared the bright British Olympian. “But I feel the very way the proposal is being forwarded, I do not think that we have to sacrifice the races which we have already secured”. The twenty-one year old Olympic gold winner admitted that higher profile brings in more responsibility & in spite of a young age, Trott is ready to nurture the serious issues affecting female cycling.

“What I feel is that we must be grateful for whatever we currently have. After all, female cycling was always lot smaller in comparison to what it’s now”, stated Trott. “I simply feel that if these people go on pushing the petition, people won’t be able to finish the race. It will lead to rubbish where people will be finishing in ones & twos & by that time we would have lost out on other races since we would be having such a race. I feel a second thought is needed before the petition is forwarded finally”, Trott emphasized adding that she fears the constant petition on Women Tour France might result in losing out Giro Rosa.

USA Pro Challenge 2013

USA Pro Challenge is next in line of prestigious cycling events after Tour of Denmark that ended on August 4. The upcoming cycling event has already came up with its participant list that was declared on august 7.

As per the list the event is going to have both world’s No.1 & No.2 riders in the championship- Chris Froome and Peter Sagan respectively. Froome is the 2013 Tour de France hero while Sagan is the Sprint Jersey winner from the elite championship.

Froome hails from Sky Procycling while Sagan is one of the most distinguished members of Cannondale. USA Pro Challenge is a 7-stage race which is scheduled to run from August 19 to 25. The race will be taking place around Colorado.

Chris Froome will be appearing in 2013 USA Pro Challenge from the very first day of the race in Aspen, and the betting makes him the firm favourite. The famous Colorado race is going to be his 1st appearance since his triumph in the Tour de France this year. He would be joined by R Porte, the man who helped speed him across the French mountainous tracks.

In regards to the other racers participating in USA Pro Challenge, the race officials mentioned about 5 latest national champions apart from Froome & Sagan. These include Fred Rodriguez from USA, Luis E Lemus (MEX), H Roulsten (NZL), M Olsson (SWE) & M Schär (SUI). Added to these national champions, the Colordo race would be hosting 6 ace Olympic medalists & multiple cyclists who have been able to bag stage wins at the recent Tour de France.

USA Pro Challenge will include the eminent BMC Racing Team which is spearheaded by T V Garderen. However, Taylor Phinney, the pro American rider who triumphed at the Colorado race last years will not be participating in the USA Challenge this time.

Classic race gets cheers from birthday boy George Atkins

George Atkins might not have picked up the much anticipated win he was earlier looking for on his birthday, but star gave Leicester Castle Classic high marks. It was not like a bad day for George Atkins as his hundred per cent ME team-mate Simon Yates won the very first city race that attracted huge crowds around the four kilo meter circuit.

George told that he wanted to win the race, but when Sam and Simon got in the break, that limited his scopes. The national elite circuit series winner stated that he was happy that someone from the team got the win on the day. It was a very good event and was really nice to have a lot of backing and support on the circuit. The weather too was also fine and that was another plus point. Therefore, it was not a bad way to spend his birthday.

The twenty lap race offered high speed racing and George Atkins, who finished the race on 26th spot, added that the tight nature of the race course had added to the atmosphere of the event. The cobbled section, where people were sitting on the grass watching, had a really good feel to it. Atkins rated it as a top class event; one of the top class events in the United Kingdom.

The rider of the Great Britain Academy is in a heavy training mode but he has 2 races later this week. On Sunday, he will hit the Rotherham road. On Monday, he will hit the local roads for Metaltek Grand Prix at Harby Hill, which is now attracting a quality field of riders.

Latest Update from Giro

The Giro d’italaia was full of surprises as it gave Giovanni Visconti his first win at any grand tour stage. He held up the pack that chased him till Les Granges du Galibier to ensure he can come out with flying colors at the 16th stage of the race. The enthusiastic 30 year old racer was ahead of Carlos Betancur by 42 seconds when he finished the race. Niemec from Poland came fourth while another Polish rider Rafal Majka came fifth. Visconti was the Italian National Champion for three times and this win at the 15th stage of Giro means really a lot to him. It is a great confidence booster ahead of the second season. The organizers decision to reduce the distance of the stage by approximately 4 km also played instrumental in his victory.

Earlier Mauro Santambrogio of Italy left Vincenzo Nibali behind to win the 14th stage as the overall leader Nibali had to settle with the second position. In that stage Giro organizers had removed the Sestriere climb citing safety reasons. The riders had to combat snow, rain, fog and fluctuating weather conditions. But Visconti’s victory in the grueling tour is really a showcase of skill and experience. He not only reached the snowy peak as a winner but also wonderfully fought with the difficult conditions of one of the most difficult stages of Giro. His win was also regarded as a tribute to the late famous Italian cyclist Marco Pantani with whom he shares his birthday.

The spectators surely had a visual treat when they watched the peloton ascent the Galibier and cover the path full of snow that have been ploughed recently for the 15th stage. The final climb was definitely very thrilling for the riders as well as for the spectators. The fluctuations in the weather on both Saturday and Sunday made the situation a bit chaotic initially but later everything was settled.

Betting on the Tour de France

The Tour de France begins in the island port of Porto-Vecchio in Corsica on June 29 and finishes in Paris on July 21 over which time competitors will complete 21 stages, some of them being particularly demanding.

There are many Tour de France betting options, and the really heavy betting really gets going once the event gets underway. Many people bet on the individual stages, and if you can find a bookmaker who offers Tour de France accumulators, a lot of money can be made if you are good at picking winners.

Naturally you can also bet well in advance of the event, and then most of the betting is on outright winners. Last year the race was won by Bradley Wiggins though it seems that things have been going downhill for him recently. He had to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia due to health reasons, but even before that he was filing to show the flair that he demonstrated last year.

And place your bet now. The current favourite is Chris Froome with odds of 7/5 and Alberto Contador is second favourite at 11/4. You can get odds on Bradley Wiggins of 16/1, so he could be a value bet.

There is more than one way of skinning a cat, or so the rather gruesome saying goes. And an alternative way of winning big on the Tour de France is the game Pedal Power.

This is a multiple payline five reel slot which is inspired by the event. All of the game’s symbols are based on cycling and they include cycling paraphernalia as well as competitors. The hottest feature of the game is the free spin bonus where it is possible to win a top jackpot of 400,000 coins. It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does there are plenty of big smiles.

Longo back in the anti doping test pool

Though the 54 year old Jeannie Longo missed out on competing at the London Olympics, her spirit remains indomitable. Longo will still have to provide details about her whereabouts to the FFC (French Cycling Federation) and ALFD, the anti doping agency of France.

In the lead up to the London Olympics, Longo was unsuccessful in meeting the standards of a key qualification race and had to concede younger field during the trial. She finished in the 5th place at the trial and in the 12th place in the road race.

Longo, who have won 59 national titles till date, was devastated to be so far away from the mark and had gone on record saying that her Olympic dream was over. She, however, made it quite clear that she was not giving up though she was struggling to keep up with 20somthing riders like Marion Rousse and Pauline Ferrand Prevot at the time of the trial. She had said, “I think that retirement is wrong and therefore I have will re- launched myself in the spring. As long as there is life, there is hope”.

Meanwhile, the anti doping authorities of France, who are extremley keen to avoid all the technical aspects that lead to the dropping of Longo’s earlier whereabouts case, have made it very clear that the cycling start will need to provide to movement details to them.

A statement of the ALFD on the matter said that Longo was obliged to provide information related to her location. The ALFD came to this decision after a report of her failing to provide details regarding her whereabouts on previous occasions. The earlier case had to be dropped after it was found that the rider had not been notified about her inclusion in the out-of-competition test pool.
Longo’s next scheduled race is not known yet

Hamilton Claimed Supply from Eufemiano Fuentes

Tyler Hamilton, the disgraced American cyclist has reported that it was Eufemiano Fuentes who supplied banned substances to him including EPO. Tyler made the claim while testifying at the trial of the infamous Spanish sports doctor, at Madrid.

Hamilton even revealed that it was Bjarne Riis, the present manager of Saxo-Tinkoff, who introduced the sprinter to Fuentes. Speaking through a video conference from Spanish Embassy, Washington, Tyler Hamilton gave a detailed description of the doping affairs the cyclist was involved in as Fuentes’ client.

“Yeah, he gave me the calendar with schedule on races and also a schedule on the timing and type of performance-enhancing drugs. If I could remember right, Fuentes gave me the EPO”, Hamilton testified before the Madrid court.

Added to the previous statement, the former American rider detailed, “He offered EPO, insulin, growth hormone and testosteronep; I feel that is it. My greatest fear was that something such as this (trial) might happen”. As per the cyclist’s confessions on his doping charges, the rider paid nearly 25,000- 30,000 euros (S$41,300), for services in the year 2002 & 2003. Moreover, he also agreed on paying up to 50,000 Euros for the 2004 services.

Tyler also reported, that when he was Fuentes’ client, some transfusions were taken up by others, like Alberto Leon, the ex Spanish rider who had zero medical training. He even claimed of some adverse reactions experienced from Fuentes’ treatments.

“I took to blood transfusion in 2004 July (during Tour de France) which gave me bad fever & I was sick. Around 30-40 minutes post the transfusion I found my urine black. I tried the insulin once; however, I didn’t quite like the feel. I had a strange sensation after using it and was sweating with elevated heart rate”, Hamilton added in while testifying at Fuentes’ trial in Madrid.

Ashenden alleges Armstrong took Drugs for Comeback

Lance Armstrong’s recent demise due to drug abuse has shocked and saddened the world. The person who was the hero and idol for many had been allegedly taking drugs for years and had hoodwinked the entire association of professional cycling.

The US Anti Doping Agency finally managed to bring him down and all his Tour de France titles and Olympics medal was stripped off him and he has been banned from professional cycling for life. He is also facing multiple lawsuits.

Now the question which has been raised is whether he had taken the drugs during his comeback from 2009 to 2011 or not. Lance said in a public confession that when he made his comeback he had not been under the influence of any performance enhancement drugs. Lance Armstrong confessed to his drug abuse in detail at a recent Oprah Winfrey show.

Now, Ashenden, the anti doping specialist body is convinced that he was taking drugs during that time period as well according to the reports which they collected.

Ashenden used to provide biological passports and reports to UCI but gave its resignation last year. This recent allegation against Armstrong has raised a clash between UCI and the media with Ashenden. UCI president said that they have reviewed the case and have found Armstrong not guilty for doping during his comeback in 2009 to 2011 and Ashenden is deliberately trying to sway the media through groundless allegations. But Ashenden is reportedly adamant their charges.

UCI president also said that Ashenden has failed to properly review the data of 2009 and are missing out on big points. They also pointed out several loopholes in their charges and the reports they have submitted also seem to be having some discrepancies.