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GENT, Belgium (VN) — BMC Racing will ride Paris-Roubaix’s pavé Thursday for its Tour de France leader Tejay van Garderen. Nine of the nasty cobble sectors in Northern France will form part of the Tour’s fifth stage July 9.
“Us Tour climber guys are going to learn how to ride cobbles with a few of the Roubaix guys,” Peter Stetina told VeloNews. “I feel bad because they have to go back after Roubaix and re-ride the cobble sectors!”
BMC’s cobble warriors Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär will shepherd van Garderen, Stetina, Peter Velits, Dominik Nerz, and Amaël Moinard during the recon ride. Besides the days in the mountains, the stage from Ypres to Arenberg could be one of the Tour’s most crucial stages.
“It’s definitely possible that someone might lose their Tour de France chances because of it but that’s just the nature of the beast,” Stetina said.
“I think Tejay will be good at it because he’s one of the bigger GC riders. He has the weight and the momentum to carry him over. He’ll be able to use the inertia. We raced cyclocross together as juniors so he knows how to handle himself well on the dirt.”
Paris-Roubaix passed over 51.1 kilometers of cobbles Sunday. The 156km Tour stage will include 15.4km on cobbles.
In 2010, the Tour only raced over 13.2km but the riders felt the impact. Andy Schleck made the lead group, but his brother Frank fell and broke his collarbone. Alberto Contador lost one minute and Lance Armstrong lost two minutes.
“I’ve never rode any of those hardcore cobbles. We rode around on them [as under-23 riders] once in Izegem, but it doesn’t compare. Even that was in Flanders, totally different than the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix,” Stetina added.
“I’ve heard horror stories from past Tours when the race went over those cobbles. It sounds like all-out warfare, and then the next day’s pretty easy because everyone has PTSD — Post-traumatic stress disorder, like the war vets!”
To prepare for the “war,” Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) previewed the sectors on Monday. Astana scheduled a reconnaissance with its leader Vincenzo Nibali for Thursday.
Stetina spent the last four years in the service of Dan Martin and Ryder Hesjedal at Garmin-Sharp. BMC signed him over the offseason to help van Garderen in the Tour’s mountains.
On Wednesday, Stetina led classics captain Philippe Gilbert to victory at Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow). He said BMC called him in for the race because it worked with his travel schedule around the Roubaix reconnaissance.
“It wouldn’t be bad to race the other Ardennes classics but I have other goals,” Stetina said. “I’ve got to go to Tahoe to prepare for the Tour of California. The team is allowing me a chance to win it and that’s my big goal before switching over to helping Tejay win the Tour.”
The post Stetina, van Garderen join BMC’s cobblers for Tour recon ride appeared first on VeloNews.com.
PARIS (AFP) — Vuelta a Espana champion Chris Horner left the hospital in a jubilant mood Wednesday following a training crash with a car last week.
The American Lampre-Merida rider was taken to the hospital last Friday after being involved in a crash while riding around Lake Como in northern Italy.
The 42-year-old, who became the oldest grand tour winner in history at last year’s Vuelta at age 41, suffered a punctured lung and four broken ribs in the accident.
But he has now left the Lecco hospital and gone back to his home in Como.
“I’m happy I can come back home, it was a bad experience, but I also think I was lucky: the crash could have had worse consequences,” Horner said in a statement released by Lampre. “I still feel pains when I move. I know I must be patient, I hope I can soon pedal on the rollers.”
Horner also suffered cuts to his head and bruises to his elbow in the accident.
Before his Vuelta victory, Horner’s previous best finish in a grand tour was ninth at the 2010 Tour de France. Two years later, he finished 13th at the 2012 Tour.
His other notable results included an overall victory at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) in 2010 and the Amgen Tour of California in 2011.
He was also a reasonably successful rider in the spring classics, with top-10 finishes at all three Ardennes classics in 2010.
The post Horner leaves hospital in high spirits after training crash appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Editor’s note: The following passage is excerpted from Velo head writer Matthew Beaudin’s Lede VeloNote in the May 2014 issue of Velo magazine. To read the full story, as well as our Official Guide to the Giro d’Italia, pick up a copy at your local bookseller or bike shop, or download from the Apple iTunes store today.
They filled up their veins with the blood of relatives, just another bodily transaction before competition, just another advantage in an unfair sport and world.
American cyclists won nine total medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, with seven members taking supplemental blood, accounting for four of those medals. The last time the U.S. had won a medal in cycling at the Games was in 1912.
There is zero doubt that blood boosting contributed to the rise of the U.S. cycling program at that moment in time, though Connie Carpenter turned down the offers from coaches and won gold in the road race. One third of the team transfused the blood of other human beings into their arms.
It helped, and it wasn’t illegal then. Not yet. But was there a moral imperative saying that the act, the use of someone else’s red blood cells, or even one’s own, to transport oxygen at a higher level, was wrong? Can something feel wrong but not be wrong, per the letter of the anti-doping laws?
This a cyclical theme in sport, on the finest and most ragged of lines, the plane that divides winning and losing. Athletes have always sought advantages over one another, some overt, some tacit. The latest shadow method came to the fore during the Sochi Olympics in the form of xenon, an inert gas that, when inhaled over time, forces the body to produce more erythropoietin, more commonly known as EPO, thus increasing oxygen transport and creating a more efficient athlete. Think of it as more train cars filled with coal burning a hotter fire.
Xenon has been used as an anesthetic since the 1950s, and the Russian Olympic Committee has been pushing the gas on its endurance athletes for years, or at least three Olympics. It wasn’t illegal, and they weren’t shy about it.
Perhaps as a tangential result, the home nation swept the podium in the Olympic 50-kilometer cross-country skiing event. Vladimir Uiba, the leader of Russia’s Federal Biomedical Agency, alluded that athletes may have been using xenon gas but said it was not wrong to do so. “Xenon is not an illegal gas,” Uiba told Russian news agencies. “We have a principle not to use what is forbidden by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).”
A 2009 British study found that subjecting mice to a blend of 70 percent xenon and 30 percent oxygen doubled the mice’s EPO levels a day after; another in Shanghai indicated a raised protein level (Hif-1 alpha) that leads to increased EPO production stayed elevated for two days after treatment. Altitude tents, according to that study, saw an EPO bump that lasted only hours. All of this is not indicative of performance in humans, but on a basic level, the methodology is effective.
Injecting artificial EPO is, of course, illegal under World Anti-Doping Agency rules; but what about using a gas to elevate those levels that are naturally occurring, however minute the rise may be?
Read the full story in the May 2014 issue of Velo magazine.
Australian looking to emualte Anderson and win Ardennes Classic