Cafe Roubaix

Despre ciclismul de azi şi cel de altădată

Archive for the month “martie, 2015”

Conclusions after Tirreno-Adriatico

Nairo Quintana was the strongest rider in the race and he took a well-deserved win, becoming the first Colombian to emerge victorious in the “Race of the Two Seas”. Despite coming at the start after a whole month without any kind of race in his legs, just the usual training he did in his home country, the Giro champion powered away on Monte Terminillo and established himself as one of the top favorites for the Tour de France, although the Utrecht Grand Depart is due in more than three months. Considering the fact that Quintana looked at his dominant best, despite the fact that he was at 75% of his potential, this should put Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador on guard for July, when Movistar’s cyclist will try to write history for his country and continue building himself an impressive palmares

The 50th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico will go down as one which was dominated by Colombian riders: besides Quintana’s emphatic triumph – who also took the white jersey that rewards the best young cyclist – the race saw Rigoberto Uran finish in third place, a result that underlined his credentials for the upcoming Giro d’Italia, where he’ll try to follow in the footsteps of his countryman and win the pink jersey. Finally, another Colombian rider who made sure of getting on the podium was Carlos Julian Quintero, who went home with the green jersey, for the best rider in the mountains classification, his biggest result up-to-date.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Alberto Contador at the start of the race, but the Spaniard failed to make an impact on the GC and missed on another goal of the season, after the Ruta del Sol. It remains some kind of an enigma if Contador was bothered by the consequences of the crash in which he was involved before Tirreno-Adriatico, but the truth is he looked like a shadow of his former self from the 2014 season. More troublesome for the Tinkoff-Saxo leader is that in both Vuelta a Andalucia and Tirreno-Adriatico he lost to riders he’ll meet later in the season, at the Tour de France. But until then, the Giro’s on Contador schedule and he has to make sure that he’ll find the legs to win it.

Adam Yates came in 9th in the overall standings and underlined again his huge potential, while mixing it up with the big boys. To see him there wasn’t impressive, because the Brit had a whole 2014 season to show what he’s capable of (which he did in more than one occasion), but to see him riding the way he did in his first stage race of the year, that was really impressive. Just 22-years-old, Adam Yates continues to improve and can take a huge amount of confidence from his ride in Tirreno-Adriatico, before the next important races of the season that are looming on the horizon, one of which will be the Tour de France.

Four of the main favorites for Milan-Sanremo showed they are hitting their top form for “La Primavera”: Fabian Cancellara laid his mark on the San Benedetto del Tronto individual time trial, Peter Sagan scored his first victory in the Tinkoff-Saxo kit, winning the bunch sprint in stage six, Greg Van Avermaet got a victory on the uphill finish to Arezzo, while Zdenek Stybar came in the top three in the same stage. As always, it’s hard to predict who will take Milan-Sanremo, but based on the results of these four in Italy, the winner has a big chance of coming from the group above.

Conclusions after Paris-Nice

Only two months have passed since the beginning of the season, and Richie Porte already added six wins to his account, four of which came on uphill finishes: Willunga Hill, Alto do Malhão, Croix de Chauboret and Col d’Eze. All these victories brought more confidence, and the Sky rider doesn’t lack any of it at the moment, which makes him even more stronger and dangerous for the GC of the next stage races in which he will go. At the same time, his dominant display in Paris-Nice is a signal to his future rivals in the Giro d’Italia, where Porte, if he keeps the form he has at the moment, will line-up as one of the huge contenders for the pink jersey, which was never won by an Australian rider.

Michal Kwiatkowski missed on taking the trophy home, but the world champion is on the right path for having a great season. Just 24-years-old, the Pole can climb, descent, time trial and sprint from a small group, which makes him one of the most complete cyclists of the peloton. In Paris-Nice, he won the prologue and put on a fierce fight in every day that mattered for the overall classification, where he eventually came second. His next stage race of the season will be the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and despite the impressive startlist that is already shaping up, Kwiatkowski will be one of the hot favorites to take the victory.

Tony Gallopin changed his preparation in the winter, with the desire to focus on the Ardennes Classics, and this has helped him shine in Paris-Nice. Still young, the Frenchman is very mature and intelligent, two factors which proved to be essential during the one-week stage race. An old school type of rider, Gallopin is building himself not only a nice palmares, but also a strong name in the peloton, earning the respect of his peers for the brave rides he puts on every time he gets the chance. Although we’re only in March, Lotto-Soudal’s cyclists already has two victories under his belt and many more are expected to come, which are sure to make him one of the peloton’s stars.

Paris-Nice was Fabio Aru’s first race of the season, but this doesn’t mean it wasn’t disappointing to see the Italian finish in the 39th position, almost 25 minutes adrift. It’s true that here are still two months until the Giro starts, but Aru has some serious work to do in order to find his form and start the Corsa Rosa as a genuine contender. The Astana cyclist wasn’t the only GC favorite who raced below par last week, other riders who failed to rise to the expectations being Romain Bardet, Wilco Kelderman and Tejay van Garderen, which were all expected to play a big role in the race’s overall classification.

When it comes to the sprints, Alexander Kristoff, Michael Matthews and André Greipel were all on target, scoring a stage win and showing they are on track for Milan-Sanremo, the first Monument of the season, in which the three are expected to play an important part. Unfortunately for Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Démare, this doesn’t apply to them, Paris-Nice leaving the two French riders nursing their ego after they missed on a victory, a situation that’s going to add some more pressure now, especially as both are their teams main weapon for racking up wins this season.

Rider of the week

Richie Porte wrapped up his second Paris-Nice title in the space of three years after taking the victory in the Col d’Eze individual time trial with an impressive display over the 9,6 kilometers of the stage. The 30-year-old Aussie – winner of the ITT nationals and one stage a piece in the Tour Down Under and the Volta ao Algarve – came at the start as the five star favorite for the overall and he didn’t disappoint during the one-week French race, winning two stages and showing he is head and shoulders above all the other riders who were hoping to go home with the yellow jersey.

Rather surprising considering his results this year, many were doubting Porte’s ability of winning the race, but he silenced his critics with the first opportunity he had, Croix de Chauboret, where he rode away from his rivals with aremarkable ease and took a comfortable win. This was followed just a couple of days later by the fine ride he had in the Col d’Eze ITT, where be blew his opponents to pieces, giving them no chance to lay their claim on the first place in the GC for which he was going for, and putting half a minute between him and his closest rivals.

After his admirable performance, Porte became a two-time winner of the “Race to the Sun”, which makes him one of the most successful cyclists in the event’s history, putting the rider from Down Under on level terms with Maurice Archambaud, Fred de Bruyne, Alberto Contador, Raymond Impanis, Miguel Indurain, Raymond Poulidor, Toni Rominger and Alexander Vinokourov. More important, Richie Porte’s ride in France capped one of the best starts to the season in his career and put him on track for the next goals he has for this Spring.

Who is Dan McLay?

When he was just 19-years-old, Daniel McLay decided to pursue his cycling career in Belgium, where he went with some impressive results in his bag: a national champion title in the junior’s race, a stage win in Driedaagse van Axel and a second place in Paris-Roubaix, all in the same season, 2010. It was rather unusual to see the young cyclist go in Belgium instead of riding under the guidance of the British Cycling Academy, but Mclay found there the perfect environment to thrive in, an environment which has helped him race more aggressively and develop his skills.

Very fond of the Classics, the New Zealand-born rider got the victory in the 2011 edition of U23 Dwars door Vlaanderen, ahead of Sean De Bie and Tom Van Asbroeck. These results sparked an interest from Lotto-Belisol U23, the team managed by former pro Kurt Van de Wouwer, who took him on board in 2012. The beginning wasn’t as he wished, so McLay needed some time to find his rhythm and struggled to score strong results and earn his place in both the Lotto-Belisol U23 and the British National team, despite being a fast finisher and having a real flair for the cobbles and the one-day races.

Still, the obstacles he encountered didn’t descouraged him, and Daniel McLay continued to work hard, so that his dream of turning pro will become reality. His stand-out season came in 2014, when despite breaking his collarbone, he won a stage in both the Tour de Normandie and the Paris-Arras Tour, before going on to take the overall classification in the Ronde van de Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen and an impressive stage in the Tour de l’Avenir, where he put on a fast sprint that helped him beat the likes of Magnus Cort, Fernando Gaviria and Federico Zurlo.

At the end of the 2014 season, Bretagne-Séché came with an offer on the table and Dan McLay took it with both hands, thus choosing to continue his career outside the United Kingdom. Many were surprised by this, but the Brit proved once again that he knew what he was doing and soon repayed the trust of the team in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, where he won a stage, as well as helping Yauheni Hutarovich take three stage victories. After the African race, he got to make his debut in the World Tour, at Paris-Nice, where he placed 8th in the not so easy stage 5, a result which again underlined his potential.

After having such a fast and impressive start to the season, 22-year-old Daniel Mclay – one of the new generation’s top talents – is sure to continue making some waves this year in the pro peloton, and considering his development, don’t be surprised if you’ll see him pull off a win in the months to come.

Vincenzo Nibali, guest of the week at Cafe Roubaix

Dubai Tour 2015

In 2014, Vincenzo Nibali became the first Italian to win cycling’s greatest race in 16 years, thanks a masterful display in the three-week Tour de France. After scoring a victory in Sheffield with a late attack, he went on to put minutes into his rivals during the gruesome stage five, which took the peloton over the Paris-Roubaix cobblestones. Then, the rider of Astana got three more stage wins, all on mountain top finishes, equalling the feat of Fausto Coppi, Joop Zoetemelk and Laurent Fignon.

That triumph made him only the sixth man to win all of cycling’s Grand Tours and carve his place in history as one of the best ever riders. Now in his 30’s, Vincenzo Nibali is preparing to defend his Tour de France title this season, knowing that things will be even more difficult than last year. After beginning his season in the Dubai Tour, a race which was shortly followed by the Tour of Oman, the Italian is now ready for his first important appointment of the year: the 50th running of Tirreno-Adriatico.

Although he has a very busy agenda, Nibali said yes last week when contacted by Cafe Roubaix for an interview, which you can read in the following.

– Vincenzo, last year you won the only Grand Tour that was missing from your palmares. What do you recall from that experience?

It was an incredible adventure. To win the most important race in the world made me live one of the best moments of my life, a very emotional one.

– Which was the most important stage for you?

It wasn’t one of the four stages I won, but the cobbled one, in the fifth day of the race. Besides the gap that I created between me and my rivals, it showed me that I have all it takes to go home with the yellow jersey.

– What impact do you believe your win will have in Italy? Will it bring more sponsors and children to the sport?

The economic climate isn’t a proper one at the moment in my country, and the same goes for other countries, so it will be very difficult to convince sponsors to get involved. When it comes to young riders, I’ve started for some time many projects which aim to help them develop.

– Your 2015 season began in the Middle East. Are you satisfied with the way things went there for you?

Yes, I’m happy of these first races. The Dubai Tour and the Tour of Oman were very useful for my preparation, to regain my trust after such a long period off the bike and to get used again with the race conditions and hard pace.

– What are your thoughts before Tirreno-Adriatico?

I always start a race with the desire to give all that I have, so let’s hope it will be enough. The Monte Terminillo stage will be tough, but not decisive. There’s also stage four, which has a rolling terrain, with some interesting climbs and descents, that will give the riders plenty of opportunities to attack.

– Who will be your main rivals?

Without any doubt, Chris Froome (ed. – in the meantime, Froome has withdrawn because of health problems) and Alberto Contador, but although they had a previous encounter in a hard-fought Ruta del Sol, I don’t think they’ll have an upper hand on me.

– After Tirreno-Adriatico, you’ll race the Classics. Which would you like to win?

If I have to choose just one, then it has to be Liège–Bastogne–Liège. After this, my second favorite Spring Classic is Amstel Gold Race.


2015 Tirreno-Adriatico Preview

Tirreno-Adriatico 2015

Held for the first time half a century ago, Tirreno-Adriatico was overshadowed for a couple of decades by Paris-Nice, the other important stage race scheduled at the beginning of March. Still, this did not prevent the “Race of the Two Seas” to create its own legends and stories, thanks to the triumphs of such riders like Franco Bitossi, Italo Zilioli, Roger De Vlaeminck, Giuseppe Saronni, Francesco Moser, and more recently, Fabian Cancellara, Cadel Evans, and Alberto Contador.

For a couple of years now, since the organizers have decided to change the profile of the event and make it more appealing to the climbers, Tirreno-Adriatico became one of the most important stage races of the calendar and now enjoys a more impressive startlist than the one of Paris-Nice. This season’s line-up is a real stellar one as well, which makes the race a mini Tour de France. Three of the four main contenders for the yellow jersey will be in Italy, as well as the best sprinters and Classics riders of the world, all ready to put on a great show in the next days, that will take them from Lido di Camaiore to San Benedetto del Trento.

The course

Due to bad weather in Tuscany, the team time trial in Lido di Camaiore – which hasn’t hosted a stage before – has been replaced with a 5,4 km prologue, with just a couple of corners, that should suit not only the specialists, but also the sprinters. Stage two will be almost flat and will provide an important opportunity for the sprinters, who can’t miss this chance, while one day later, the course will bring an interesting mix of small climbs (with a 5% average gradient), urban cobbles and technical finale that will favor the puncheurs or late attackers, cyclists willing to give it all on the last lap of the circuit.

A lumpy stage comes to the horizon on Saturday, when the peloton will head towards Castelraimondo, a town in which the Tirreno-Adriatico bunch will come back after four years since its previous visit. The last 23 kilometers will bring Crispiero – 3,2 km and 9,3% average gradient – which will be climbed twice. This means the GC guys will come at the front, as the terrain can give them some ideas for an attack. From the top of the last climb there are only six kilometers left until the finish, which is in a slight uphill (4% average gradient).

Stage five will be a very demanding one, covering 197 kilometers and three important climbs, with the cherry on the top coming at the end, when the bunch will tackle Monte Terminillo. The demanding ascent – 16,1 km, 7,3% average gradient – has been climbed in the past in the Girobio (2012 – Joe Dombrowski) and the Giro d’Italia (2003 – Stefano Garzelli, 2010 – Chris Anker Sørensen), but never before in the Tirreno-Adriatico. Terminillo is a steady climb, but comes early in the season, so if one of the overall contenders has the legs there, he can do some significant damage and seal the GC win.

The penultimate day of the race will be a rolling one in the first half, but things will be much calmer later, so the sprinters are expected to fight one more time for the win, this time in Porto Sant’Elpidio, near the sea’s shoreline. Then, on Tuesday, for the fifth year in a row, Tirreno-Adriatico will come to an end with the San Benedetto del Trento individual time trial, a 10-km-long exercise for the powerful specialists of the discipline, that will create small gaps. The roads are long and flat, and only the wind can trouble the riders who will go for a strong result.

The favorites

For the second year in a row, Chris Froome is out of the race because of an illness, which means Alberto Contador will start as the huge contender for the overall win. Last year, the Spaniard emerged as overall victor after back-to-back wins on stages four and five, and coming now here from the Ruta del Sol, where he was in a good shape, he should take a second consecutive victory. With a strong team alongside, which includes Ivan Basso and Roman Kreuziger, Contador hopes to forget about the Vuelta a Andalucia defeat he suffered at the hands of Froome and continue improving his preparation towards the Giro d’Italia. Although he doesn’t know Monte Terminillo, Alberto Contador shouldn’t have any problem in dispatching his opponents on the climb and get the win.

Nairo Quintana hasn’t raced since last months, after an injury sustained at the Colombian National Championships, and this casts some doubts on his form. In 2014, he didn’t stand a chance against Contador and the same scenario is very plausible also this year, a podium placing being more at hand for Movistar’s cyclist. A top three looks to be what Vincenzo Nibali can take out of this race, despite the Italian underlining his wish to finish first in his home race for the third time. With the Astana rider targeting the Tour de France again, Tirreno-Adriatico comes too early in the season, especially as he didn’t impress in the Tour of Oman, where he finished 20th.

Despite the fact Contador, Quintana and Nibali aren’t at the same level, with the Tinkoff-Saxo leader way ahead, it will be very interesting to see this first clash of the titans between three of the riders that will fight for the yellow jersey in July. Of course, the result in the Italian race isn’t relevant long-term, but a win remains a win, and also brings an important psychological advantage to the rider in cause.

Another GC protagonist should be Joaquim Rodriguez, a rider who has earned one of his nicknames – “Murito” – thanks to his fantastic wins on the double-digit climbs of Tirreno-Adriatico. Katusha’s leader will also hope to put on a fine display on the Terminillo and emerge as the strongest cyclist there, thus taking his first win in almost a year, but it won’t be an easy task. Another interesting rider for the overall will be Bauke Mollema, who embarks on his second stage race of the season, after Ruta del Sol. The 28-year-old Dutch will be supported by Julian Arredondo and is going to tackle the Italian race with optimism being aware that he has an important shot at a podium placing.

In the absence of Chris Froome, Leopold König will lead Sky, which is sending a powerful and well balanced team in the “Race of the Two Seas”. For the Czech, this will be the first time he’ll ride Tirreno-Adriatico, an event in which he looks to find the consistency that will elevate him in the eyes of his team, after not such a great start ot the season, during which he shined in the Challenge Mallorca, but failed to make an impact on the Tour of Oman. If Leopold König will not rise to the expectations, watch out for Mikel Nieve, who continues to emerge from the shadow of more illustrious teammates, despite usually having to play a secondary role in bigger races

Which other riders can be among the protagonists in the overall classification? AG2R’s Domenico Pozzovivo should have a fair chance, as well as Rigoberto Uran, the Colombian ITT champion, who comes here after being 7th in Strade Bianche and can take some important seconds in the two time trials. Thibaut Pinot is an interesting dark horse, while Przemyslav Niemiec and Tsgabu Grmay will try to get a good result for Lampre-Merida. Also, watch out for the ever-improving British rider Adam Yates, from Orica-GreenEdge, who is poised for a top 10 finish.

There are many quality sprinters at the start, but without Marcel Kittel here – who was forced to take a break and recover after being hit by a virus– Mark Cavendish will be the hot favorite in the flat stages, despite being sick a couple of days before the start because of a stomach bug picked up after visiting South Africa last week. The Brit scored six wins this season and is determined to keep the streak going and get at least one victory in the “Race of the Two Seas”. With Mark Renshaw and Fabio Sabatini in the team, Cavendish will hope that the flat stages will pan out in his favor, while also using the Italian race to get his lead-out train shipshaped ahead of the season’s big battles: the Classics and the Grand Tours.

On paper, Cavendish’s main challengers will be Italy’s Sacha Modolo, Elia Viviani and Matteo Pelucchi (who surprised all the top sprinters last year in Cascina), Sam Bennett, the talented Irish rider of Bora-Argon 18, and Luka Mezgec, winner of a stage in last year’s Giro d’Italia. MTN-Qhubeka will be another team to watch, but it’s difficult to say if the South African will count on Edvald Boasson Hagen, Kristian Sbaragli or Gerald Ciolek in the flat stages. When it comes to the young sprinters, Nicola Ruffoni and Magnus Cort are two who are worth following.

Tirreno-Adriatico will not be only about the climbers and the sprinters, as the top Classics riders of the peloton will line-up for the 50th edition. Triumphant in the 2008 Tirreno-Adriatico, Fabian Cancellara will tune-up his form in Italy, where he’ll meet many of the riders against he’ll fight in Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix: Peter Sagan, Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar (the Strade Bianche winner), Greg Van Avermaet, Ian Stannard and Sep Vanmarcke. Cancellara will also be one of the favorites in the two time trials, where he’ll cross swords with Adriano Malori, Matthias Brändle, Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge.

Race stats

– Dino Zandegu won the first edition of the race, which was called “The Three Days of the South” (1966)

– Roger De Vlaeminck has the most overall victories, six, between 1972 and 1977

– The Belgian is also the rider who got the most stage wins, 15

– Italy leads in the nations classification, with 24 triumphs, the last one being scored by Vincenzo Nibali, in 2013

– Nibali is the only cyclist who has won Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro d’Italia in the same season

– Only one non-European rider took home Neptun’s Trident: Australia’s Cadel Evans

– 1997 saw the longest edition, 1437 kilometers; the shortest one came in 1973, just 582 kilometers

– With one exception (1966), all the editions have finished in the same town, San Benedetto del Tronto

– In 2003, Filippo Pozzato became the youngest ever winner (21 years and 193 days); the oldest winner is Stefano Garzelli, 36 years and 252 days in 2010

– Spain’s Oscar Freire is the only world champion who finished first in the overall classification (2005)

– In two occasions, the first and the second rider in the GC came home in the same time (1966: Dino Zandegu – Vito Taccone; 2010: Stefano Garzelli-Michele Scarponi)

– Biggest gap between the winner and the cyclist who came in second was recorded in 1990, when 2:31 separated Tony Rominger and Zenon Jaskula

– In 2015, Italy will be the nation with the most cyclists at the startline, 39

– Youngest rider in the race is Lampre-Merida’s Luke Pibernik (21 years); oldest one is Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matteo Tosatto (40 years)

– The line-up of the 50th edition includes three former winners: Fabian Cancellara, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali


Raportul CIRC

Cycling Independent Reform Commision

Aşa cum bine se ştie, UCI a creat Comisia Independentă pentru Reforma Ciclismului în ianuarie 2014, cu scopul de a conduce o anchetă care să investigheze dopajul din sport şi rolul avut de persoanele implicate în fenomen, de la rutieri la manageri, şi de la doctori la sponsori. Vreme de un an, membrii comisiei (Ulrich Haas, Dick Marty şi Peter Nicholson) au pus cap la cap toate informaţiile obţinute şi au întocmit acest raport, care aduce în prim-plan şi informaţii mai vechi, dar şi unele neştiute până acum.

Documentul are 228 de pagini şi poate fi găsit în link-ul de mai sus. Cei care nu au răbdare să îl citească pot consulta lista de mai jos, în care am sintetizat cele mai importante puncte prezentate în raport.

– Comisia nu a găsit nicio dovadă care să vină în sprijinul acuzaţiilor conform cărora Lance Armstrong a fost depistat pozitiv în Turul Elveţiei 2001, ceea ce demontează şi acuzaţiile privind o presupusă mită oferită pentru a muşamaliza cazul

– Uniunea Ciclistă Internaţională a greşit atunci când i-a permis lui Lance Armstrong să participe în Turul Down Under 2009, deoarece acesta nu se afla de şase luni în programul anti-doping derulat de forul mondial; în schimbul permisiunii de a reveni mai repede în activitate, Armstrong i-a promis lui Pat McQuaid că va participa în Turul Irlandei, o cursă organizată de persoane din anturajul fostului preşedinte UCI

– De la apariţia paşaportului biologic, rutierii au ales să recurgă la micro-dozaj, ceea ce le permite să păstreze parametri normali şi să evite să fie prinşi

– Factorii care încurajează dopajul sunt: instabilitatea financiară din sport, antrenamentele desfăşurate pe cont propriu (în timpul cărora cicliştii se pot afla în contact cu proprii doctori) şi prezenţa în pluton a unor rutieri dintr-o eră în care dopajul era omniprezent, aspect ce încurajează omerta

– Absenţa testelor între 11 PM şi 6 AM le permite cicliştilor care recurg la micro-dozaj să apeleze la substanţe interzise, iar această absenţă a testelor între orele menţionate reprezintă o slăbiciune a sistemului

– Comisia recomandă dezvoltarea unui sistem care să încurajeze retestarea eşantioanelor mai vechi, dar şi începerea unei anchete imediat cum un ciclist ridică suspiciuni

– Membrii Comisiei Independente pentru Reforma Ciclismului au vorbit cu 174 de persoane: rutieri, foşti ciclişti, membri din staff-ul echipelor, persoane din federaţiile naţionale şi internaţionale, doctori, oameni de ştiinţă, sponsori, organizatori de curse, reprezentanţi ai organizaţiilor anti-doping şi ai agenţiilor guvernamentale, jurnalişti; unele discuţii au durat o jumătate de zi, în vreme ce altele s-au întins pe parcursul a trei zile

– Niciun rutier nu s-a prezentat din proprie iniţiativă pentru a recunoaşte că s-a dopat, doar cei care au fost sancţionaţi au vorbit, cu speranţa că pedeapsa le va fi redusă

– Dopajul oferă acum o îmbunătăţire de 3-5%, faţă de 10-15%, aşa cum stăteau lucrurile în urmă cu un deceniu

– Primele mărturii despre folosirea substanţelor care îmbunătăţesc performanţele datează din 1955

– Conform mai multor ciclişti, dopajul sangvin a apărut în anii ‘80

– Eritropoetina a început să fie folosită în pluton pe final de ani ‘80/început de ani ’90 şi aduce o creştere de 10% a VO2 max; toţi rutierii au declarat că EPO este cea mai importantă substanţă atunci când vine vorba despre o îmbunătăţire semnificativă

– În urmă cu două decenii, între 60-80% dintre cicliştii italieni foloseau eritropoetină

– Cu ajutorul unei centrifuge, rutierii puteau monitoriza nivelul globulelor roşii din organism, astfel încât acesta să nu sară de 50%; dacă trecea de pragul respectiv, putea fi coborât cu ajutorul unei soluţii saline

– În 1996, Bjarne Riis lua 4000 de doze de EPO şi două de hormoni umani de creştere la fiecare două zile din Turul Franţei; drept consecinţă, nivelul hematocritului său a atins şi 64%

– Un rutier a estimat că 90% din eritropoetina folosită de plutonul italian era furată din spitale şi farmacii

– Odată cu apariţia testelor pentru detectarea EPO, doctorii şi cicliştii au trecut de la dozaj subcutanat la dozaj intravenos, micşorând volumul, dar mărind frecvenţa

– Paşaportul biologic este considerat cea mai importantă descoperire în lupta anti-doping, de la apariţia testului pentru EPO; în primii trei ani de la introducerea acestuia, 26 de rutieri au fost depistaţi

– Apariţia CERA (EPO de a treia generaţie) le-a permis cicliştilor să facă doar o injecţie pe lună, faţă de 1-3 injecţii pe săptămână cu eritropoetină de prima sau a doua generaţie

– Un rutier e de părere că 90% din plutonul actual se dopează, dar susţine că echipele nu mai dirijează lucrurile la fel ca în trecut; un alt ciclist consideră că doar 20% din pluton se mai dopează

– Doctorul unui rutier i-a recomandat acestuia să îşi introducă în organism doar 150-200 de ml de sânge după apariţia paşaportului biologic (înainte de acesta, pungile aveau 500 de ml)

– Cicliştii din pluton recurg la terapia cu ozon: sângele este extras, tratat cu ozon şi reintrodus în corp; totuşi, această metodă nu e la fel de eficientă ca EPO

– O cură cu corticoizi (substanţe ce reduc durerea şi îmbunătăţesc rezistenţa) poate ajuta un ciclist să slăbească patru kilograme în patru săptămâni, ceea ce are rolul de a-l ajuta pe acesta să obţină o creştere semnificativă – de 7% – în raportul forţă/greutate

– 90% dintre scutirile pentru uz terapeutic sunt folosite pentru a masca dopajul

– Foarte mulţi ciclişti folosesc GW 1516 – care le trimite mai mult oxigen muşchilor, arde grăsimile şi îmbunătăţeşte masa musculară – deşi cercetările efectuate au arătat că acesta poate duce la apariţia cancerului

– Un rutier a recunoscut că în 2011 a folosit şi 30 de pastile zilnic, luate în timpul etapelor, pentru a-l ajuta să respire mai bine, să fie mult mai puternic şi să termine ziua mai proaspăt; tot acesta a recunoscut că mai mulţi colegi luau tranchilizante noaptea şi medicamente anti-depresive dimineaţă, care duceau la apariţia căzăturilor

– Foarte multe dintre substanţele interzise sunt procurate din Europa de Est şi din China

– Comisia a aflat că doctorul Eufemiano Fuentes, deşi i s-a interzis să mai practice medicina până în 2017, ajută în continuare sportivii, activând mai ales în America de Sud

– Rutierii cu mijloace financiare pot face rost de substanţele interzise cu ajutorul doctorilor, dar şi al impresarilor

– În ultimii ani, dopajul la nivel amator a devenit din ce în ce mai prezent, extrem de mulţi ciclişti tineri fiind expuşi acestui fenomen

– Foarte mulţi profesionişti sunt pregătiţi să rişte pe finalul sezonului, ca să îşi asigure un contract pentru anul viitor; ei văd această situaţie ca pe o consecinţă a sistemului de acordare a punctelor implementat de UCI

– Ciclismul poate ajuta o companie să capete notorietate; un sponsor a spus că notorietatea brandului a crescut de la 2% în 1996, la 25% în 1999 şi la 45% în zilele noastre

– Un fost rutier a mărturisit că sponsorii îşi doresc victorii, însă nu vor să afle nimic despre cum sunt acestea obţinute, în vreme ce un altul a admis că sponsorul le plătea drumurile făcute pentru a vizita doctorii

– Cel mai bine plătiţi ciclişti obţin la apogeu doar 10% din venitul unui sportiv clasat pe locul 50 la nivel mondial în clasamentul câştigurilor

– Între 1985 şi 2014, cel puţin 69 de doctori i-au ajutat pe rutieri să se dopeze

– Un manager a mărturisit că jurnaliştilor le este refuzat accesul în cadrul echipei dacă au scris despre dopaj

– Au existat curse pierdute intenţionat de către ciclişti, astfel încât aceştia să nu fie testaţi anti-doping

– Conflictul dintre Dick Pound, fostul preşedinte al Agenţiei Mondiale Anti-Doping, şi Hein Verbruggen, fostul preşedinte al UCI, a început atunci când acesta din urmă a hotărât să îl susţină pe Jacques Rogge la şefia Comitetului Internaţional Olimpic

– Foştii membri UCI l-au descris pe Pat McQuaid ca fiind “un lider slab în comparaţie cu Hein Verbruggen, incapabil să se disocieze de acesta”

– În perioada 1987-1990, EPO a dus la decesul a 20 de ciclişti, însă UCI a început să ia măsuri abia începând cu 1995

– Testele efectuate în afara competiţiilor au apărut în 2001, dar ani buni nu au reprezentat o prioritate pentru forul mondial; în cele din urmă, acestea au crescut de la 2,5% în 2001 la 47% în 2012

– Comisia a observat o discrepanţă foarte mare între suspendarea pe viaţă primită de Lance Armstrong şi sancţiunile de doar şase luni ale altor rutieri, în condiţiile în care practicile folosite de Armstrong nu au fost diferite de ale celorlaţi

– Nu există dovezi care să arate că Uniunea Ciclistă Internaţională ar fi intenţionat să ascundă testul pozitiv al lui Alberto Contador, din Turul Franţei 2010, însă a fost privit ca fiind ciudat faptul că rutierul a fost informat despre acel eşantion de o comisie care s-a deplasat în ţara sa natală, o procedură ce nu a fost întâlnită în niciun alt caz

– Lance Armstrong, Carlos Barredo, Michael Boogerd, Tyler Hamilton, Jorg Jaksche, Bobby Julich, Leonardo Piepoli, Michael Rasmussen, Riccardo Ricco, Bjarne Riis, Bob Stapleton, Andrei Tchmil, Diedrich Thurau, Jonathan Vaughters sau Alexander Vinokourov se numără printre cele 174 de persoane intervievate de Comisia Independentă pentru Reforma Ciclismului care au acceptat ca numele să le fie făcut public

Rider of the week

When it comes to Strade Bianche, one thing is certain: having been created in 2007, the event lacks in history, but makes up for in great racing. It wasn’t a different scenario this year, when the 9th edition took place on the Tuscan hills and white gravel sectors. So now, although where at the beginning of the Spring, Strade Bianche is already a strong candidate for being named best one-day race at the end of the season.

It was an action-packed day in Italy, where the savvy Zdenek Stybar looked to be invincible, followed every attack, stayed at the front all the time and showed his opponents he is the man to beat, before countering the attack of Greg Van Avermaet, heading into the spectacular Piazza il Campo and crossing the finish line first, thus scoring his biggest victory to date in a one-day race.

Zdenek Stybar was one of the hot favorites to take the victory and didn’t fail, putting last season’s injuries and disappointments behind, as he underlined once again his huge potential for the one-day races, a potential which emerged two years ago in Paris-Roubaix, where he finished 6th, this only after an incident with a spectator on the Carrefour de l’Arbre took him out of contention. This time, there weren’t any troubles for the 29-year-old Czech rider, whose strong form, tactical mind and skills perfectly suited to the race helped him survive the selection process that occured on the tough terrain of the race – which included ten dirt sectors – and then dispatch his two rivals, Greg Van Avermaet and Alejandro Valverde with a remarkable ease.

Last season, it was Stybar’s teammate Michal Kwiatkowski who crossed the line solo with his arms flailing ecstatically in Siena’s Piazza il Campo, after a similar attack on the last ramp of the race, thanks to which he left Peter Sagan in the dust. From then on, the young Pole went on to have a great year, which he finished in style, by winning the world title in Ponferrada.

It remains to be seen if the triple cyclo-cross champion – who had a faultless display last Saturday – will also record a breakthrough season and will add a world title or a Spring Monument to his palmares. For this he needs not only luck on his side, but also a change of status inside the Etixx-Quick Step squad, where the cards are still made in Tom Boonen’s favor, the team’s natural leader for the Classics.

Paris-Nisa 2015

Paris-Nisa 2015

Aşa cum Turul Down Under anunţă startul sezonului de World Tour, iar Omloop Het Nieuwsblad deschide stagiunea clasicelor, Paris-Nisa este sinonimă cu primăvara. Cursa din Franţa, una dintre cele mai importante din calendar, se bucură de o tradiţie uriaşă, la care au contribuit din plin victoriile obţinute de legende ca Jacques Anquetil, Tom Simpson, Eddy Merckx, Raymond Poulidor, Sean Kelly, Miguel Indurain, Laurent Jalabert sau Alberto Contador.

Pentru mulţi, o victorie de etapă aici sau una la general este suficientă pentru a le asigura un sezon reuşit. Pe lângă palmares, cursa contează mult şi prin prisma punctelor UCI puse în joc, care la finalul anului se iau în calcul pentru acordarea licenţelor World Tour. Tocmai de aceea, Paris-Nisa ar trebuie să fie foarte deschisă şi spectaculoasă, aspecte la care va contribui şi faptul că de la start va lipsi un rutier care să o sufoce prin statutul de ultrafavorit.


A 73-a ediţie a cursei va debuta cu un prolog, ce revine pe traseu după doi ani. Traseul din Maurepas are doar 6,7 kilometri, nici nu este tehnic, aşa că diferenţele vor fi mici între favoriţii la clasamentul general. O zi mai târziu, tricoul alb cu buline roşii îşi va cunoaşte primul purtător, deoarece o căţărare de categoria a treia e plasată chiar la start, urmând ca finalul să îi aibă ca protagonişti pe sprinteri. Aceştia vor lupta pentru victorie la Contres, acolo unde Greg Henderson s-a impus în 2010, când i-a învins pe Grega Bole şi Jeremy Galland.

Saint-Amand-Montrond şi Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule le vor oferi oamenilor rapizi din pluton alte oportunităţi, înainte ca rutierii de general să iasă la rampă într-o etapă a patra ce se anunţă nebună. Pe traseu vor fi plasate nu mai puţin de opt ascensiuni repertoriate, ultima apărând chiar la final. Mai întâi, aceasta va fi o zi favorabilă pentru cicliştii interesaţi de clasamentul căţărătorilor, care le vor face apoi loc favoriţilor la tricoul galben. Aceştia sunt aşteptaţi să dea o bătălie pe cinste odată ce vor ajunge pe Croix de Chaubouret, o căţărare în lungime de zece kilometri, cu pantă medie 6,7%.

Etapa a cincea îi poate reveni fie unui sprinter, fie unui atacant, în vreme ce penultima rundă ar trebui să îi aparţină unei evadări, ale cărei şanse de reuşită vor fi mari, datorită traseului valonat, ca un montagne russe. În fine, etapa finală va readuce în prim-plan tradiţionalul contratimp invididual ce se va termina pe Col d’Eze. Căţărarea în lungime de 9,6 kilometri, cu pantă medie 4,7%, poate duce la diferenţe de zeci de secunde, iar asta înseamnă că ierarhia generală se va juca până în ultima clipă.


Cum toate numele cu adevărat mari din pluton au decis să meargă în Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Nisa va reprezenta o afacere mult mai deschisă. Cu toate acestea, există un rutier care iese mai mult în evidenţă decât ceilalţi. E vorba despre Richie Porte, campionul Australiei la contratimp. Aflat într-o formă foarte bună încă de la startul sezonului, Porte este avantajat şi de traseu, oarecum similar cu cel din 2013, când s-a impus la general. În plus, se va bucura de o echipă foarte solidă, ce îi va avea în componenţă, printre alţii, pe Nicholas Roche şi Geraint Thomas, câştigătorul Turului Algarve.

Un alt ciclist care a impresionat în 2015 e Tejay van Garderen, ocupantul locului secund în Turul Omanului. Sezonul acesta va fi unul foarte important pentru american, care va trebui să arate că a făcut acel salt calitativ ce îi permite să fie socotit un favorit pentru toate cursele pe etape în care participă. Tocmai de aceea, Paris-Nisa va reprezenta un test extrem de important, pe care cel mai bun tânăr din Turul Franţei 2012 nu trebuie să îl rateze.

Anul trecut, Wilco Kelderman a atras atenţia prin evoluţia sa şi prin maturitatea arătată, ce i-au adus un loc şapte în Turul Italiei. Olandezul va fi liderul lui LottoNL-Jumbo şi va fi un candidat serios pentru tricoul galben, la fel ca un alt rutier tânăr, Rafal Majka. Polonezul, câştigător a două etape şi al tricoului alb cu buline roşii în Le Tour 2014, este aşteptat să fie unul dintre cei mai puternici ciclişti pe Croix de Chaubouret, acolo unde poate lua o opţiune importantă la victoria generală.

Oarecum ciudat, Fabio Aru a decis să îşi înceapă stagiunea abia acum, iar asta ridică nişte întrebări cu privire la nivelul său. Italianul în vârstă de 24 de ani, deşi tânăr, e unul dintre cei mai buni căţărători din lume, dar lipsa unor zile de cursă (în ciuda faptului că s-a antrenat mult în această perioadă) e posibil să îl coste. În ceea ce îl mai priveşte pe rutierul Astanei, va fi interesant de văzut ce progrese a făcut la contratimp, în condiţiile în care s-a axat mult pe acesta în timpul iernii.

Câştigător al Criteriului Dauphiné în 2014, Andrew Talansky este un alt ciclist care îşi începe sezonul în Paris-Nisa, iar asta îl face un outsider, dar unul periculos, lucru ce se poate spune şi despre Michal Kwiatkowski, campionul mondial. Movistar nu vine cu un lider clar, ci cu trei rutieri puternici – Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre şi Ruben Fernandez – fără a se putea spune despre vreunul dintre aceştia că face figură de favorit. Primul se pregăteşte pentru Turul Ţării Bascilor, Izagirre nu are constanţă, în vreme ce Ruben Fernandez, chiar dacă a impresionat în Turul Down Under şi Turul Algave, va întâlni aici un pluton de un cu totul alt nivel. Pe de altă parte, Fernandez pare cel mai îndreptăţit om de la Movistar la ierarhia generală.

Când vine vorba despre sprinturi, cel mai puternic în debutul de sezon a fost Alexander Kristoff, norvegianul care a adunat deja patru victorii în 2015. André Greipel se recuperează după câteva probleme de sănătate, dar ar trebui să fie acolo, la fel ca John Degenkolb, compatriotul său. Paris-Nisa va reprezenta un test important pentru Nacer Bouhanni, aşteptat să bifeze primul succes în tricoul lui Cofidis, dar şi pentru Arnaud Démare, liderul lui FDJ la sprinturi în actualul sezon. Alţi protagonişti ar mai trebui să fie Moreno Hofland, Bryan Coquard şi Giacomo Nizzolo, dar supriza s-ar putea să apară de la tânărul italian Niccolo Bonifazio, recent învingător în Gran Premio di Lugano.

Date statistice

– Sean Kelly a obţinut cele mai multe victorii la general, şapte, între 1982 şi 1988

– Franţa conduce în clasamentul naţiunilor, cu 21 de succese

– Eddy Merckx a petrecut cele mai multe zile, 57, în tricoul de lider

– Tot belgianul ocupă primul loc într-un clasament al etapelor câştigate, cu 21 de victorii

– Recordul pentru cele mai multe succese bifate la o singură ediţie îi aparţine lui Freddy Maertens (6 etape) şi a fost stabilit în 1976

– Zece rutieri au condus cursa de la început până la final; ultimul care a reuşit asta a fost Jörg Jaksche, în 2004

– În 20 de ocazii, câştigătorul nu s-a impus în nicio etapă; cel mai recent, asta s-a întâmplat în 2008, cu Davide Rebellin

– În 1959 a avut loc cea mai lungă ediţie, 2033 de kilometri; cea mai scurtă a fost consemnată în 1973, 850 de kilometri

– Cea mai ridicată viteză medie a fost înregistrată în 2010, atunci când a câştigat Alberto Contador: 43,118 km/h

– În 2008 a fost consemnată cea mai mică diferenţă între primul (Davide Rebellin) şi al doilea clasat (Rinaldo Nocentini): trei secunde

– La polul opus, cel mai mare ecart l-a avut Maurice Archambaud, la ediţia din 1939, când l-a învins pe Frans Bonduel, pentru nouă minute şi 33 de secunde

– René Vietto e cel mai tânăr câştigător din istorie, doar 21 de ani în 1935; cel mai vârstnic este Raymond Poulidor, 36 de ani în 1973

– Aşa cum era de aşteptat, Franţa este naţiunea dominantă şi la această ediţie, cu 37 de ciclişti

– În 2015, cel mai tânăr rutier prezent în cursă va fi Nicolo Bonifazio (21 de ani), în vreme ce Greg Henderson va fi cel mai vârstnic (38 de ani)

– La start se vor afla patru foşti câştigători: Tony Martin, Richie Porte, Luis Leon Sanchez şi Bradley Wiggins


Davide Formolo: “I’ll do the Giro this season”

One of the youngest riders in the World Tour peloton, 22-year-old Davide Formolo has some very precise goals in his mind when it comes to his career. Touted by many as the next big thing to come from Italy, a country which rediscovered its passion and love for cycling, Formolo dreams of winning a Grand Tour in the future, but at the same time is aware of the fact that he has a long road ahead of him and has to work hard in order to get at the top and fulfill has career goals.

In 2014, Formolo has had a very impressive season, with top ten placings in strong stage races (4th in the Tour of Turkey and 7th in the prestigious Tour de Suisse), as well in many important one-day races, like the Gran Premio di Lugano or the Giro dell’Emilia. At the end of the year, when Cannondale and Garmin merged, it was no surprise that Davide Formolo was among the first riders to get a contract with the US-based team.

This year, the Italian cyclist opened his account with a podium in the Trofeo Andratx-Mirador d’Es Colomer, which was followed by a 7th place on the Alto do Malhão, in the Volta ao Algarve, a race which he finished 14th. Now, although he is busy preparing for his next goals, which include both Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro d’Italia – where he’ll test himself against the big guns – Formolo made some time to talk for Cafe Roubaix about his season.

– Davide, how was 2014?

It was a very important year for me. Taking into account the fact that it was my first pro season, my primary goal was to learn as much as possible. The way things went exceeded my expectations. I scored some very strong results, but the thing that made me the most happy was that I was consistent all year long.

– How did you prepare for this season?

During the winter training camps, I’ve worked a lot on the time trial bike. Also, I feel that now I’m much stronger in the long stage races.

– Next week you’ll be in Tirreno-Adriatico. What are your goals?

I had a strong start to the season, but now I’m ill and I hope to recover as soon as possible. I don’t know how things will go there. I’d like to get a nice result and I hope I will be fit enought to fight for it. Tirreno-Adriatico is a beautiful race, but very hard, and the riders who will be at the start are all strong.

– What do you think of Monte Terminillo?

I’ve climbed on the Monte Terminillo once, during my U23 spell. It happened in the Girobio, but on another side. I remember from back then that it’s a very hard ascent.

– What other races will you do after Tirreno-Adriatico?

I’ll go in the Criterium International and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

– Do you know if you’ll race a Grand Tour this year?

Yes, I’m going to be at the startline of the Giro d’Italia in May. It will be my first three-week race, and my main goal will be to test myself in the hard mountain stages, so that I can find out what my limits are.

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