Monthly Archives: June 2013

Longer doping ban plan ‘worrying’

Plans to increase bans for first-time doping offenders to four years have been strongly criticised by the body that represents sportspeople in the UK.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is in the process of updating the rules that govern sport’s approach to drugs.

A key proposal is to double the standard two-year ban.

But the Professional Players’ Federation (PPF) says it is draconian when many positive tests are for inadvertent use.

The PPF, an umbrella organisation representing 15,600 professional athletes, says the change in the rules – known as the

Wada Code 

– should only apply to serious cases.

“It is deeply worrying that the new Wada Code is proposing four-year bans as a starting point for such a wide range of doping offences,” said PPF general secretary Simon Taylor.

“Four years is career-ending in professional sport and needs to be reserved only for the most serious cases and not for stupid mistakes.”

Taylor highlighted the cases of

footballer Kolo Toure

and

cricket’s Shane Warne

as examples of sportsmen whose relatively minor offences were the result of ignorance rather than a genuine intention to cheat.

Toure was given a six-month ban in 2011 while Warne was suspended for a year in 2003.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/23102724

Cavendish misses out on yellow jersey

Tour de France

  • Dates: Saturday, 29 June – Sunday, 21 July (8 and 15 July are rest days)

Coverage: Live commentary on the final hours of each stage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra or online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Mark Cavendish’s dream of claiming his first Tour de France yellow jersey disappeared because of a crash near the end of a farcical opening stage.

Germany’s Marcel Kittel won the stage, which had a confusing end after a team bus became wedged on the finish line.

With the riders less than 15km away, the finish was temporarily brought 3km forward but that decision was reversed when the bus was moved.

“The problem was the change in the finish,” said Manxman Cavendish, 28.

The Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider added: “With 5km to go, we heard the sprint was in 2km – and then one kilometre later they were like: ‘No, it’s at the original finish.’ It’s just carnage.

“I didn’t crash, I was just behind the crash. I’m lucky I didn’t come down. My team-mate Tony Martin is in a state – he’s not in a good way.”

A decision on whether Martin will continue in the race will be taken on Sunday, his team said.

“He has a concussion and a contusion on his left lung. He also has soft tissue damages on his hip, chest, left knee and shoulder, and also on his back. Furthermore, he has a very deep wound 5cm wide on his left elbow that reaches his muscles, which causes a lot of pain and a problem moving his arm,” said a spokesman.

Kittel, riding for Argos Shimano, was unaware of the controversy surrounding the finish.

When asked if he knew that a bus had been wedged under the finish line, he replied: “I didn’t.”

The stage winner also said he “had no idea” the finish had been temporarily moved.

Analysis

“You always expect incidents at the Tour de France but I don’t think anyone envisaged a bus almost bringing the Tour to a standstill.

“There will be a lot of angry riders and team managers because once the decision has been made to move the finish line, you’ve got to stick with it.

“Apart from Tony Martin, nobody appears to be seriously injured and Team Sky will be grateful to come out relatively unscathed.”

Britain’s Geraint Thomas, who

predicted in his BBC Sport column there would be “carnage”

in the opening days of the race, was also caught up in the crash and injured his pelvis – but the Team Sky rider is fit to continue after an X-ray showed no serious damage.

It was a farcical end to the opening stage of the 100th Tour, which is visiting the Mediterranean island of Corsica for the first time.

The riders were within 20km of the finish when the Orica GreenEdge bus became wedged under the overhead banner across the finish line.

Orica were later fined 2,000 Swiss Francs (£1,393) by race officials.

The team’s sporting director Matt White said: “The bus was led under the finish gantry, and we took for granted that there was enough clearance.

“Our bus driver was told to move forward and became lodged under the finish gantry. He followed all instructions in the process that followed and that allowed him to remove the bus before the finish.”

As officials and police frantically tried to move the stricken bus, a statement went out over the race radio, as the riders raced inside the final 10km, that the finish would be moved to the banner 3km from the end.

That in itself looked problematic, with a dangerous-looking kink in the road at that point, but as the riders began their sprint, the bus was moved and the finish line restored.

However, as the news was relayed to the riders, there was a crash that delayed Cavendish and stopped him from contesting the finish – and also brought down two-time winner Alberto Contador.

The Spaniard, who is expected to be Chris Froome’s main rival for the overall victory, crossed the line several minutes after Kittel with a hole in the shoulder of his jersey.

His Team Saxo-Tinkoff sports director Philippe Mauduit said: “He is all right but it is after the night that we will see how he has recuperated from the crash. There is no fracture.”

Team Sky’s Froome, who came off his bike in the neutral zone before the race started in Porto-Vecchio, escaped the carnage at the end.

“It’s been quite a warning,” he said. “There were some pretty brutal crashes at the end and it was a reminder that this Tour is about much more than having the form and being here, it’s about staying out of trouble too.

“I felt guys were crashing all around me but I managed to pick my way through. I didn’t see much, just the sound of breaking bikes and shoes going onto the road.

“I was just concerned they wouldn’t give everyone the bunch time so I chased to get back up.”

Because of the confusion surrounding the finish line, all riders were awarded the same time for the stage.

Cannondale’s Slovakian rider Peter Sagan, a rival to Cavendish for the green points jersey, also went down in the crash, while Lotto Belisol’s Andre Greipel, another who had been hoping to contest the sprint finish, had his progress halted by a mechanical problem.

All that paved the way for Kittel, a fine sprinter in his own right, to pip Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) at the finish line, while Danny van Poppel of the Vacansoleil team came in third just ahead of Britain’s Garmin Sharp rider David Millar.

Kittel will wear the race leader’s yellow jersey on Sunday’s second stage, which runs for 156km across Corsica from Bastia to Ajaccio.

The 25-year-old also picked up the green points jersey and white jersey as best young rider in the race.

“It feels like I have gold on my shoulders,” said the German.

Stage one result:

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano – 4 hours, 56 minutes, 52 seconds.

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team – same time

3. Danny Van Poppel, (Ned) Vacansoleil

4. David Millar (GB) Garmin – Sharp

5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

Selected others:

14. Nicolas Roche (Ire) Saxo-Tinkoff

23. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing

41. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky

58. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma-Quickstep

62. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Team Sky

163. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff

165. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky

183. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23110998

McQuaid – Tour winnable drug

UCI President Pat McQuaid says the Tour de France can now be won without drugs.

McQuaid was responding to comments made by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong

that appeared in Le Monde on Friday. 

Armstrong,

who doped his way to seven Tour wins

between 1999-2005, told the French paper the race was impossible to win without taking drugs in that era.

“The culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean,” said the head of cycling’s governing body.

“Cycling today has the most sophisticated anti-doping infrastructure in sport.

Analysis



Did Lance Armstrong “invent doping”? No. Have any of his rivals stepped forward to claim his titles? No. Was it possible to win those Tours without cheating? Probably not. But it is hard to feel sorry for a man who contributed so much to that depressing state of affairs – not to mention the bullying and lying.

Let’s not forget that this is the man who stood on a podium in Paris and said he felt sorry for those who could not believe in miracles.

“We will never turn back – and my work to ensure that we have a clean sport is unrelenting.”

The comments come on the eve of the 2013 Tour,

which begins on Saturday in Porto-Vecchio and runs until 21 July.

“Cycling today has the most sophisticated anti-doping infrastructure in sport,” added McQuaid.

“Measures such as the introduction of the blood passport, the whereabouts system and the ‘no-needle’ policy are the backbone of our relentless fight against doping.”

Armstrong was

stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by cycling’s governing body in October

and banned for life.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency called it “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”, and the American

publicly admitted to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey

in January.

Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs Erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone as well as having blood transfusions.

“Armstrong’s views and opinions are shaped by his own behaviour and time in the peloton – cycling has now moved on,” said McQuaid.

German Jan Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997,

has recently confessed to doping,

while 1996 Danish winner Bjarne Riis

waited 11 years before admitting using EPO

during his career.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23096423

McQuaid – Tour winnable drug

UCI President Pat McQuaid says the Tour de France can now be won without drugs.

McQuaid was responding to comments made by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong

that appeared in Le Monde on Friday. 

Armstrong,

who doped his way to seven Tour wins

between 1999-2005, told the French paper the race was impossible to win without taking drugs in that era.

“The culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean,” said the head of cycling’s governing body.

“Cycling today has the most sophisticated anti-doping infrastructure in sport.

Analysis



Did Lance Armstrong “invent doping”? No. Have any of his rivals stepped forward to claim his titles? No. Was it possible to win those Tours without cheating? Probably not. But it is hard to feel sorry for a man who contributed so much to that depressing state of affairs – not to mention the bullying and lying.

Let’s not forget that this is the man who stood on a podium in Paris and said he felt sorry for those who could not believe in miracles.

“We will never turn back – and my work to ensure that we have a clean sport is unrelenting.”

The comments come on the eve of the 2013 Tour,

which begins on Saturday in Porto-Vecchio and runs until 21 July.

“Cycling today has the most sophisticated anti-doping infrastructure in sport,” added McQuaid.

“Measures such as the introduction of the blood passport, the whereabouts system and the ‘no-needle’ policy are the backbone of our relentless fight against doping.”

Armstrong was

stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by cycling’s governing body in October

and banned for life.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency called it “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”, and the American

publicly admitted to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey

in January.

Armstrong took performance-enhancing drugs Erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone as well as having blood transfusions.

“Armstrong’s views and opinions are shaped by his own behaviour and time in the peloton – cycling has now moved on,” said McQuaid.

German Jan Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997,

has recently confessed to doping,

while 1996 Danish winner Bjarne Riis

waited 11 years before admitting using EPO

during his career.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23096423

Froome heads British Tour challenge

Tour de France

  • Dates: Saturday, 29 June – Sunday, 21 July (8 and 15 July are are rest days)

Coverage: Live commentary on the final hours of each stage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra or online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

The 100th Tour de France starts on Saturday, with Chris Froome favourite to become the second British winner.

Sir Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 title but is unfit to race and his team-mate

Froome will lead the Team Sky squad.

Isle of Man rider Mark Cavendish is

aiming to win stage one

and wear the race leader’s yellow jersey, before chasing a second green points jersey.

A

mix of 21 flat and mountainous stages

will take the 198 riders from Corsica to Paris for Sunday, 21 July’s finish.

2013 Tour in numbers

Distance:

3,404km (2,115 miles)

Stage towns:

36

French departments visited:

37

French municipalities ridden through:

537

Riders:

198

Teams:

22, with 9 riders in each

It is unlikely that all 198 riders will complete the three-week race, which covers approximately 2,000 miles and – for the first time since the 100th anniversary race in 2003 – will be entirely held within the French borders.

Spain’s Alberto Contador, 30, who has won the race three times, but

had his third victory taken away for a doping offence,

is likely to be Froome’s main challenger for the overall race win, with 36-year-old Cadel Evans,

the first Australian winner in 2011,

also expected to figure.

Froome, 28, has also identified Spanish duo Alejandro Valverde, 33, and 34-year-old Joaquim Rodriguez as

potential race winners.

The last Frenchman to win the race was Bernard Hinault, who won his record-equalling fifth Tour in 1985.

Britain’s national road race champion Cavendish is among the favourites to win Saturday’s sprinter-friendly opening stage on Corsica and should he succeed he would get to wear the yellow jersey for the first time.

Cavendish,

who became Britain’s first winner of the green points jersey in 2011,

is also aiming to become only the second man to win that classification in the same year as winning the Giro d’Italia’s equivalent. Points are awarded to the top-15 finishers on each stage and at intermediate sprints and the jersey is usually won by a sprinter.

The 28-year-old, who has won 23 Tour de France stages, the most of any active rider and fourth on the all-time list, will face competition from Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who won the green jersey in 2012, and German duo Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.

The race visits the Mediterranean island of Corsica for the first time for three stages and,

in his BBC Sport column, Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas has predicted carnage

with 22 squads of nine riders battling for space on the narrow, twisty roads.

Welshman Thomas, who won Olympic track gold at London 2012, will be one of Froome’s main support riders – known as a domestique – throughout the Tour and will attempt to keep the Olympic time trial bronze medallist safe from any crashes.

The Tour leaves Corsica for the mainland and a 25km team time trial around Nice, before three stages take the race down to the Pyrenees for two days in the mountains that will bring the riders with ambitions of winning the Tour to the fore.

A rest day allows the race to move to north-west France for a series of flatter stages and an individual time trial that will end at Mont Saint-Michel, before the route dives south, through central France towards the Alps. That is where two of the race’s most famous and feared mountain climbs await.

To mark the 100th edition of the race, Tour organisers have plotted a route that will see the riders negotiate Alpe d’Huez twice, on the same day, while Bastille Day (14 July) will see the riders tackle the longest stage, which at around 150 miles, finishes atop Mont Ventoux.

The mountain in Provence achieved notoriety when Britain’s 1965 road race world champion Tom Simpson died on its slopes while racing in the 1967 Tour.

The overall winner is usually known before the now-traditional processional final-stage ride into Paris, although the finish on the Champs Elysees will be fiercely contested by the sprinters.

Cavendish has won the previous four and is chasing a record fifth successive final-stage victory.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23096539

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