Cycling-Armstrong says French findings on doping are no surprise

LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) – Lance Armstrong said he was not surprised by a French Senate inquiry’s findings that the top two in the 1998 Tour de France took the banned blood booster EPO because virtually all riders at that time cheated and told lies.

 “I am not surprised,” the disgraced Tour winner told Cyclingnews. “As I have said, it was an unfortunate era for all of us and virtually all of us broke the rules, and lied about it.”

The American, who was stripped of his seven Tour titles for doping, called for cycling to address its doping past in a “collective and co-operative manner”.

“If we don’t come together, have the conversation and draw a line in the sand and then move on, we’re all screwed,” he said.

Armstrong admitted having taken performance-enhancing drugs in January and was stripped of the Tour titles he won from 1999 to 2005 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency said it had uncovered a sophisticated doping programme.

 Armstrong did not compete in 1998 because he was battling cancer but the French Senate inquiry, published on Wednesday, named him as testing positive for EPO in 1999.

 Italian Marco Pantani, who won the Tour in 1998 and died of a drug overdose in 2004, and Jan Ullrich of Germany, who finished second in 1998, were among those named in the 918-page report compiled by a parliamentary group who called for a “truth and reconciliation” commission (TRC) to be created to lift the veil of silence on illegal practices.

 Since Armstrong confessed to doping on the Oprah Winfrey show in January he has called for a truth and reconciliation programme on several occasions.

 WADA, the world anti-doping agency, the International Cycling Union (UCI) and national federations have been wary of the suggestion, although UCI presidential candidate Brian Cookson has appeared open to the suggestion of Armstrong sharing his past.

Armstrong continued: “I have not been contacted by anyone. I suspect in many ways they (WADA) are afraid of a TRC as it would fly in the face of the now famous talking point ‘the most sophisticated doping programme in the history of the world’.”

Asked if the Senate’s findings would benefit the sport, Armstrong told Cyclingnews: “I don’t know. I really don’t.

“I’d like to think that there is some good in all this but from my perspective, sitting here today, there has been nothing but damage done to the sport.” (Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Though cleared, Redskins will go easy with RG3

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Robert Griffin III put on his knee brace and passed the perfunctory Washington Redskins conditioning test on the eve of training camp, then declared he has ”nothing left to prove” – at least physically – in his return from major knee surgery.

That’s doesn’t mean he’s all the way back.

Griffin said Wednesday he won’t participate in 11-on-11 drills in the early days of camp and likely won’t play in any preseason games. The quarterback who likes to keep the throttle wide open is going to have to exercise a bit more patience as he and coach Mike Shanahan – who have shared blame for how Griffin got hurt – try to work together to get him on the field for the regular season opener Sept. 9.

”They want to make sure we’re not doing anything too soon that we don’t have to do,” Griffin said. ”Let some of these other guys get ready for the preseason. If it comes around that I’m ready to go, then maybe in the third preseason game, but as far as my understanding goes, preseason’s really not even in the air. … I think Coach feels like I can play without any preseason, so there no need really for that. Patience is the key.”

Griffin had reconstructive surgery on two ligaments in January after injuring his right knee multiple times in a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Team doctors and coaches cleared him for practice within the last week, setting a remarkable pace for a rehab that can typically take a year or more.

”In my mind there’s nothing left to prove,” Griffin said. ”And that’s the way you have to approach the game when you’re coming off of an injury. If you pass the test, then in your mind, you feel like you’re ready to go.”

But Shanahan is determined to play it safe with his franchise quarterback, having said he wants to make sure Griffin is 100 percent before playing in a game. Shanahan will meet with reporters Thursday, but Griffin appeared to lay out the key points in the latest important conversation between player and coach.

”I think we’re on the same page,” Griffin said. ”When we sat down and talked about what I was going to do in training camp and the weeks to follow, it was a good moment for me because of all the hard work had paid off. And they’re going to allow me to get back out there and do what I do, and that’s play football and just have fun with the guys.

”We all made mistakes last season. We all understand that. We all talked about it, and it’s time to move on. … Me and Mike Shanahan‘s relationship is paramount to this team being successful.”

Shanahan was not only criticized for leaving Griffin in the Seahawks game too long, but there was also scrutiny over whether the Redskins’ offense – along with Griffin’s aggressiveness – left him too vulnerable. He led the team to its first division title in 13 years, but he missed all or parts of four games with various injuries.

”The goal is longevity in the league. You also want to win,” Griffin said. ”And so, as a quarterback, I don’t like to conform and say you can’t win outside the pocket. I think you can win outside the pocket. You’ve just to be smart about it. And that’s what I’ve learned over the past six months about myself and what we need to do to win. Maybe that’s keeping me in the pocket a little bit more. Maybe that’s throwing the ball away a little bit more.”

Griffin said he’s been an ”overachiever” his whole life, so the thought of being eased back into the practice routine and skipping the preseason isn’t part of his nature.

”If they want to me to patient right now and ramp it up later, then I’m willing to do that,” he said. ”And they know that I’m going to be – I wouldn’t say compliant – but I’m going to follow those rules, follow those guidelines, do as much as I can within that, and when it’s time to go full-go, then I’ll be ready to go.”

”If you talk to a lot of the vets, they don’t like the preseason,” he added. ”That’s a well-known fact. Even I know that – and I’ve been the league only one year.”

MotoGP legend Enthusiast Follow Suzuka 8-Hours Race

SUZUKA – Event Suzuka 8-Hours Race this weekend ensured full participation of the iron horse jockey legend. One of them former MotoGP champion 1993 season, Kevin Schwantz, who will be riding the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Not himself, Schwantz Suzuki team participating in will also partner with Yukio Kagayama and World Superbike legend, Noriyuki “Nitro” Haga. Schwantz was looking forward claiming back down in the event that there has been 11 years that followed.

“I’m looking forward to race at the Suzuka 8-Hour with Yukio and on the seat Noriyuki Suzuki GSX-R1000. Suzuka has a special place in my heart because I won my first 500cc Grand Prix here, “said Schwantz.

“The last time I took an eight-hour event was in 1992 with Doug Chandler and we could not finish the race due to mechanical problems. With only two riders, it will be difficult physically. Now with three riders and still be heavy for me though not as before, “he added.

“I myself have never won at this event and now with my colleagues tough as Yukio and Nori, I think we have a chance to win it,” Schwantz closed, as quoted by Crash, Thursday (25/07/2013).

Suzuka 8-Hours Event Race time will be followed by 63 riders and expected, Suzuka will be met 80 thousand fans at the final session, Saturday (07/27/2013) future. Last year, the event was won by a trio of Jonathan Rea, Kosuke Akiyoshi and Tadayuki Okada that carries the FCC TSR Honda team.

Nicky Hayden Threatened can’t join MotoGP Next Season

Nicky Hayden Terancam Tak Ikut MotoGP Musim Depan

2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden will not be offered a contract extension by the Ducati team in MotoGP season 2014. Racer whose name is quite popular in the United States that had revealed his future uncertainty in MotoGP next season when convening MotoGP Germany last week.
Ducati is based in Bologna, Italy is not an offer for a new contract Hayden motorhome Desemosedici for the sixth season. But also do not want to lose Ducati Nicky Hayden.
As an alternative, offering Ducati rider 31-year-old racer was a different contract. That is offered to be the driver in the event the Superbike World Championship (WSBK).
There has been no official confirmation from Ducati related to this issue. “We prefer to retain Nicky with Ducati and we have some options that are still to be discussed again with him, including the option to race in the World Superbike,” said Ducati boss, Paolo Ciabatti in MCN.
But Nicky Hayden admitted, “I really prefer to stay in MotoGP racing with the right bike and the right team, but unfortunately at this time Momennya not so good,” said Nicky Hayden as reported Motorcyclenews.
Hayden also indirectly agreed that he was ready to move into Superbike racing. Now he’s still wait and see. At least until the end of this season, Ducati will continue to give full support to the two riders, Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso.
“But Hayden Ducati offered at different positions in the Ducati line-up, we are just starting to talk about this time in Germany, and we’ll see,” he said.
By not offering them by Ducati Nicky Hayden, another speculation that mention Cal Crutchlow will move to replace Hayden Ducati.

Out of Africa to Tour champion, Froome completes journey

 PARIS (Reuters) – As softly-spoken off the bike as he is brutal on his machine, Chris Froome completed a long journey out of Africato claim his maiden Tour de France on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.

 As much as kids from Kilburn, London, are not supposed to win the Tour, as 2012 champion Bradley Wiggins would say, kids from Kenya are not supposed to prevail on the French roads either.

 “I’d like my performances here to help inspire a lot of youngsters, especially young Africans. They have to believe they can get out of Africa to make it to European teams,” the 28-year-old Froome said.

This is exactly what Froome, born in Kenya of British descent and schooled in South Africa, did.

 He started riding at 17 with local cycling coach David Kinjah in the highlands of Nairobi and in 2006, took part in the Under-23 world championships representing Kenya.

It was hardly an auspicious beginning – crashing into a policeman on the first bend of the time trial event.

Froome joined the Barloworld team in 2008 and rode his first Tour de France, finishing 84th and with little hope of one day winning the world’s greatest cycling race.

 “The first time that I thought that ‘ok, realistically I could become a GC (general classification) rider to contend in grand Tours was during the 2011 Vuelta,” said Froome, who joined the well-oiledTeam Sky in 2010.

“Up until then I was finding it difficult to keep my performances high for three weeks. The Vuelta 2011 gave me the confidence that I do belong to the group of riders who belong in front of the general classification.”

Froome, first described by Sky principal Dave Brailsford as “a rough diamond, in need of shaping and polishing”, worked for team leader Wiggins at the Vuelta in 2011 and still managed to finish ahead of him.

“When I very first joined Team Sky they asked me what my aspirations were,” said Froome.

“I set goals. Short, long-term goals. Being able to target the Tour was one of the long-term goals.

“I work pretty well within Team Sky’s system. I’m independent but I also enjoy structure, routine, that’s what team Sky is about. They offer a structure for the riders. They have everything planned.”

 Froome, the first man since Eddy Merckx in 1970 to win at top of the iconic Mont Ventoux with the yellow jersey on his shoulders, was made to wait as he matured as a rider in the shadow of Wiggins, who last year became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Behind him was Froome, who expressed frustration in the mountains, where he seemed able to beat his leader. But team orders are team orders, and Froome reluctantly obeyed.

With no Wiggins this year, the Briton absent as he recovers from illness and injury, Froome quickly set about making his mark.

SUMMIT VICTORY

On the first summit finish at Ax-3-Domaines in the Pyrenees, Froome soloed to victory in awe-inspiring fashion and never surrendered the yellow jersey, despite suffering in the queen stage to l’Alpe d’Huez.

“The worst moment was on l’Alpe d’Huez when I could feel I was completely flat on energy and it’s a horrible feeling,” he said.

“When you have no more fuel left in your body and you see the sign 5 kilometers to go and you know it’s uphill, it’s something tough to get through mentally but thankfully I had (team mate) Richie Porte with me.”

Froome is eager for more glory.

“Personally I think the Tour de France has to be the pinnacle of our cycling calendar, it’s the most sought-after victory,” he said.

“Having said that the decision would be very much based on the parcours, on how suited it is to me, to my other team mates. But I’d love to come back targeting the tour every year.”

A fantastic climber and an excellent time trialist, Froome will most likely be pleased with the route of the 2014 Tour, which will start from Leeds.

“It has been a fast progression for me. I’ve learnt so much but I still have improvements to make in my climbing, my time trialing, my descending,” he said.

“But I can’t tell you what the future holds. I have been a pro for five years only.”

Daniel Ricciardo plays down spin in Silverstone testing

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo minimised the importance of an off-track moment on what was effectively an audition for a seat with Red Bull in 2014.

The Australian, who races for Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso, lost the car at Silverstone’s Luffield corner on his seventh lap of a test on Thursday.

“I had a small off, but otherwise it was a trouble-free day. The off was my mistake; I lost the rear,” he said.

The 24-year-old added: “I drove to my ability and did what I could.”

Ricciardo set the third-fastest time of the day in his afternoon’s running in the Red Bull. He also set the quickest lap, behind the wheel of his regular Toro Rosso in the morning, when he was 0.215 seconds quicker than he was in the Red Bull.

The second-fastest driver was another Red Bull junior, Spaniard Carlos Sainz, also in the Toro Rosso.

Sainz, who races in the GP3 feeder series, took over the car from Ricciardo in the afternoon and was 0.044secs slower.

Ricciardo said: “It was a good opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience two different beasts.

“In terms of the inevitable speculation, I think this test is something for Red Bull to look at, but there’s still the rest of the season with Toro Rosso to do, so I’ll switch my focus back to that and won’t get too caught up in any rumours.”

Portuguese Antonio Felix Da Costa,  who races in the Formula Renault 3.5 series and is a possibility for a seat at Toro Rosso next season, drove the Red Bull in the morning and was 0.771secs slower

than Ricciardo managed later on.

The headline lap times are not necessarily an accurate comparison of relative pace because it is impossible to know the specifications in which the teams run the cars, with fuel loads, tyre choice and a number of other factors all having a significant effect on performance.

The ‘young-driver’ test has that name because rules state only drivers who have competed in no more than two grands prix may take part.

However, it is a misnomer this year because race drivers have been allowed to feature, under strictly controlled conditions, so they can try out a new type of tyre introduced by supplier Pirelli.

The Italian company has changed the design of the tyre in an attempt to prevent the multiple blow-outs that were experienced at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last month.

So far at the test there have been no problems with the tyres, which are being used by all drivers.

Among the hopefuls to get an outing in a Formula 1 car were Britons James Calado, who races in GP2, and Oliver Turvey, a McLaren test driver.

Calado set the sixth-fastest time of the day in his Force India.

He said: “It has been fantastic to get an opportunity to drive this week. It’s another world compared to what I am used to with so much to learn.”

Turvey was just ahead of him in fifth place in the McLaren, in which Dane Kevin Magnussen set the fastest time of the first day of the test on Wednesday.

Rossi Break Alex Barros Record in Assen

Valentino Rossi apparently reached a new record after winning the MotoGP Netherlands, on June 29, 2013. The Doctor became the oldest active riders capable of winning the Grand Prix series of primary classes.

After more than two years of famine victory in MotoGP, Rossi ultimately successful victory in MotoGP 2013. Success in Circuit Assen is a 80th victory of the Italian racer in the primary classroom Grand Prix (500cc and MotoGP).

However, the official website launch MotoGP, Rossi has also created a new record in the Grand Prix event. The Yamaha rider became the oldest active rider capable of winning the Grand Prix series of primary classes. Rossi beat the record of former Brazilian driver, Alex Barros.

Rossi’s first win in the primary classroom occurred in British 500cc race, at the Donington Park Circuit, United Kingdom, July 9, 2000. 34-year-old rider wins at Assen occurred 12 years and 355 days later.

The previous record was held by Barros, with 11 years and 204 days. Barros won the first victory in the 500cc class Circuit Jarama (Spain), 26 September 1993, and last in MotoGP Portugal, 17 April 2005. Third place went to Phil Read with 11 years and 16 days.

Rossi chance to break the record in all classes belong to Loris Capirossi. If starting from the first 125cc win in the series, August 18, 1996 (Czech Republic), Rossi was 16 years and 345 days. While the record belongs Capirossi was 17 years and 49 days.

MotoGP 2013 will continue this weekend at Sachsenring, Germany. Rossi is currently still ranked five of the standings with a score of 85 points.

Strong promonition of Stoner Back to MotoGP

TOKYO – Signs of Casey Stoner will return to MotoGP stronger. It can be seen from the decision Stoner did four trials in Motegi, Japan. For Stoner, it was his first opportunity riding a special bike MotoGP since 2012.

The last time the Australian MotoGP struggling with a particular motor is in trials in Valencia in 2012 ago. Previously, after retirement from MotoGP in the 2011 season, Stoner decided struggled in the V8 Supercar Racing.

“It’s almost seven months since I tried in Valencia. I am very happy and comfortable with the decision to quit MotoGP. Sometimes I really miss the RCV race, “said Stoner as reported by Crash page on Tuesday (23/7).

Stoner decision to try at Motegi beruji joy greeted the Honda team. Honda HRC Excutive Vice President, Shuhei Nakamoto said, it always opens the door lebart-wide if Stoner back to Honda.

“We warmly welcome the return of Stoner to Honda. He knows a lot about the machine. I am sure, he will be able to help our engineers to develop the RC213V bike, “said Nakamoto.

Stoner holds two world titles in the iron horse races. Namely, in the 2007 season and 2009. He also still holds the record as the only Ducati rider who managed to become world champion. However, Stoner decided retirement from MotoGP when he was very young, 25 years old.

O’Grady asked to quit Olympic role after EPO admission

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian Olympic Committee(AOC) has called on cyclist Stuart O’Grady to step down from its Athletes’ Commission after he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs at the 1998 Tour de France.

 O’Grady, who announced his retirement this week, told a newspaper on Wednesday that he had used the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) before the notorious 1998 Tour, where he became only the second Australian to wear the yellow jersey.

 AOC secretary-general Craig Phillips contacted O’Grady by e-mail asking for his immediate resignation from the 10-member advisory body, the AOC said on Thursday.

 “Members of our London Olympic team, who elected Stuart to theAthletes’ Commission, are entitled to be angry knowing they had supported an athlete who had cheated,” AOC president John Coates said in a statement.

“Athletes’ Commission members are chosen for their qualities of integrity and leadership and by his admission Stuart does not deserve to be a member of that group.”

 A report by a French Senate inquiry released on Wednesday found the top three finishers at the 1998 tour – Italian Marco Pantani, Germany’s Jan Ullrich and American Bobby Julich – were among 18 riders who had tested positive for EPO.

The 1998 race was overshadowed by the scandal involving the Festina team, who were kicked off the race after a medical team member was arrested at the French border and customs officers seized banned substances.

O’Grady was listed by the French Senate report among 12 riders whose tests were said to be “suspicious” but he confirmed using EPO to the Adelaide Advertiser, insisting he had acted alone in sourcing it.

O’Grady announced his retirement after helping his GreenEdge team to a team time trial victory in this year’s Tour, saying he wanted to go out on a high despite being expected to race on until 2014.

The Australian team said it supported O’Grady “as a person and an advocate for a clean sport”.

“Like the majority of the riders in his generation, he was also exposed to the issues and wrongdoings of the sport and made some wrong choices in that environment,” the team said in a statement on its website (www.greenedgecycling.com).

“We would like to underline that in all of our interactions with Stuart, he has always been extremely clear about the right path for the sport and we believe that certain mistakes in the past shouldn’t be allowed to tarnish his entire career and his integrity as a person.”

Cycling Australia also declined to condemn O’Grady, blaming the era and the European “environment”.

“The late 1990’s was clearly a dark period in cycling’s international history,” the governing body said in a statement.

“(Australian) Athletes transitioning from the strict anti-doping regimes enforced under the domestic … programs were faced with a very different environment when they landed in Europe.”

Coates, though, said the “everybody else was doing it” line was no defense for using banned substances.

 “This was a shameful period for the sport of cycling which has been well documented, that is no excuse for the decision taken by Stuart O’Grady,” he added.

Fast learner Quintana makes immediate Tour impact

PARIS (Reuters) – Watch and learn – that was the directive Nairo Quintana received when he was included in his Movistar team’sTour de France roster.

The diminutive, swarthy-faced Colombian climber did more than just that on his Tour debut, surpassing expectations with a brilliant three-week display to secure second place overall.

Quintana, 23, reached the Champs Elysees in Paris having won a stage and claimed both white and polka-dot jerseys for the best young rider and the best climber.

On Saturday, he won the 20th stage at the top of Semnoz after a final 11-km ascent – nothing intimidating for a rider who would descend 16 kilometers every day to go to school on a 20-kilo mountain bike.

“And I had to come back every evening,” he says with a smile.

 He caught the eye of Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue when, aged 20, he won the Tour de l’Avenir – the most prestigious young riders’ race.

Unzue was looking for Colombian riders for his Spain-based team.

“Finding a Colombian rider who climbs well is easy,” said Unzue, referring to the ‘Beetles’, the Colombian climbers of the 1980s.

“But finding one who climbs well and who is also a good time-trialist is more rare.”

Quintana, however, is not just a physically talented rider. He is also a clever one.

“The other thing that struck me is his character,” said Unzue.

“He’s got a lot of self-confidence and he analyses a race very well. When you listen to him debrief his day, you understand right away that he is not just a fast rider.”

Quintana showed during the Tour that he is a fast learner.

 Starting the race with the task of helping team leader Alejandro Valverde secure a podium finish, the Colombian found himself thrust into the role of leader after the Spaniard lost considerable time on a flat stage following a mechanical problem.

“Everybody in the team believed in me. Everyone helped me, especially psychologically, to achieve this. At 23, I was not prepared for that,” he said on Saturday, sobbing between sentences.

“When they asked me if I was up for it (after Valverde’s hopes were dashed), I said ‘yes, sure, I’m ready to be team leader but I hope you will forgive me if my legs don’t respond at some point’.”

 His legs responded well as Quintana finished second behind Tour champion Chris Froome of Britain in the stage finishing up the iconic Mont Ventoux, although he briefly lost consciousness after crossing the line.

That day, he probably attacked too early. On Saturday, he showed that he had learned his lesson, waiting for Froome to attack on the slopes of the Semnoz before countering him in the final kilometer to take the stage.

The win capped years of hard work, Quintana said, still shaking his head in disbelief.

“I worked very hard and I had the support of my parents, my team. A year ago, when I turned professional, it was difficult to imagine that I would be here today,” he said.

“As a kid I didn’t dream this could happen to me. I was taking things on a daily basis.”

Quintana has emulated compatriot Luis Herrera, who won the King of the Mountains title in 1985 and 1987, but he is setting his sights higher than the polka dot jersey.

“These performances give me a lot of confidence for the following years. In 2015 I could be gunning for yellow. I will continue to work every day to achieve that,” he said.