Euskaltel Euskadi, the Basque cycling team will close at the end of the ongoing season because of a lack in funding triggered by the present economic crisis, stated the team on Tuesday. This news comes as a big blow to cycling fan in Spain with Vuelta a Espana all set to start on Saturday.
In a statement, the company told that Euskaltel Euskadi will not continue next season. The introduction of a 2nd sponsor, which was essential to guarantee the sustainability of the team, has not come to pass, making it unworkable for the whole team to carry on from the start of next year, even though it would wholly complete the sporting calendar for 2013.
Telecommunications company Euskaltel, which is the team’s main sponsor, last month admitted that it was looking for another sponsor to cope up with the team’s running costs after local government withdrew their 3.5 million euros (i.e. $ 4.6 million) of public funding because of spending cuts.
For this season, Euskaltel filled that gap themselves, taking their contribution to 7 million of the team’s 9 million euro budget. Still it stated that the level of investment was unsustainable.
It said that it is a sad day for Euskaltel, the current sponsors, fans, the team as well as all that have supported this whole program. They regretted that no other entity or company have decided to bet on this team, which is well established in the elite of world cycling.
At present, cyclists contracted to the team till 2014 season, including Olympic gold medal winner Samuel Sanchez, have already been given permission to talk to other teams regarding finding a place in peloton for next season.
The entire sports fraternity especially the world of road cycle racing has been waiting for some more decisive action regarding cases of doping after the scandal of Lance Amstrong. But since then there has been no such action taken by the UCI and this has made the US Anti-Doping Agency Head Travis Tygart upset. He said in a recent interaction with the media that the agency has done their job. The officials have submitted the report seven months ago and still UCI has not taken any action against the doping cases as per Tygart.
He was recently present at a meeting with sports officials of the European Union in Brussels. Pat McQuaid, the UCI President was also present in the meeting. Tygart added that UCI should take strict action against the pending doping cases for the sake of all the sportsmen who posses Olympic values and cherish the fair play attitude. These honest and passionate players deserve more and it can only be achieved by taking decisive action against the rule violators. He also termed the decision by the Spanish judges about the Operacion Puerto case of blood doping as an obvious setback. The Spanish judges earlier have made a decision to obliterate the bags of blood in the case of blood doping.
In news from the other side of the cycling world, defending champion Ryder Hesjedal ha to quit from the Giro d’italia due to severe illness. Sir Bradley Wiggins also withdrew with a chest infection. Wiggins was at the 13th place in the race when he retired. Vincenzo Nibali maintained his complete lead in the race and Rigoberto from Sky was at the 3rd place with 2.04 behind the leader. The race covered the longest course on Friday through Busseto up till Cherasco and finally scaling through the Sestriere hilly areas on Saturday. Sunday will witness the riders going through the Col du Galibier and finally race will end after reaching Brescia on May 26.
Former German cycling champion Claudia Hausler has said that she finally feels she is regaining her top form after having two very ordinary seasons. Hausler, who is riding with the Team Tibco at the moment, went on the attack at the last stage of Redlands Bicycle Classic winning the mountains classification and in the process showcasing the climbing prowess that had catapulted her to overall wins at Tour de l’Aude and the Giro Donne in the year 2009.
A couple of years back Hausler was a feared stage raced contender and was fighting it out at the race with the likes of Mara Abbott, Emma Johansson, Emma Pooley and Marianne Vos for victories but after suffering a nasty clash at the Giro della Toscana in the year 2010 that left her unconscious and in the hospital with a brain hemorrhage for several days, she is fighting to find her way to the top.
Huasler said, “I did not expect the injury to be that bad and now that I look back I think that it is possible that I suffered a really bad season due to the crash, it is difficult fighting your way to the top again. At times I thought that my body could reach only a certain level and no further but now I feel that it is possible for me to reach my personal top level once more”.
Huasler has had a pretty rough time; around the time she suffered the injury, her team Cervelo TestTeam disbanded and she had to jump from one team to another. She first signed up with Diadora Pasta Zara, then with Orica-AIS, and now with Tibco. However, her position in the American team is a sort of homecoming as it has given her the opportunity to reunite with Manel Lacambra, her former Cervelo directeur sportif.
The leading Aussie national cross country champion, Jenni King feels that the present 2013 season is “unlucky” for her. King suffered race-ending mechanical mishap in the 1st round of All Mountain Cup at Mouth Buller. She also got bitten by a snake prior to taking part in Thredbo competition.
“I feel I was having little bad luck in the first 2 rounds”, lamented King. However, she seemed hopeful about her latest Canberra venture that is scheduled between 20th and 24th February, 2013. “I am hoping to run a clean and safe race at Canberra. If I have slight good luck, I think I could have good race this time”, said King.
When asked about her Canberra preparations for Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championship 2013, she commented, “I am feeling good & nervous yet I am very confident about my preparation. You tend to be little more nervous always when you have to defend a title, but I‘m nervous in every race”.
The success of the year 2012 was a breakthrough for Jenni King, the ace Target Trek sprinter. The Victorian took out the All Mountain Cup National Series last year. Added to it, she presented her fans with a truly convincing win at Australian National Cross Country Championships, South Australia. King stayed invincible in her 2012 series last year. She won all the 4 rounds and carried her very winning form to Aussie Championships where King claimed her national title over Jodie Wilett and Rowena Fry.
In Canberra, the 33-year-old Aussie sprinter would be battling Peta Mullens, her teammate from Target Trek and leader of All Mountain Cup series. Fry & Mullet would have their entrance in 2013 national cross country racing season with the Canberra competition. “Willet & Fry are always the strong riders for cross country championships. Canberra trail is a bit technical but I feel these girls have strong technical skills”, King stated.
Fallen and disgraced former cyclist champion Lance Armstrong’s disgrace caused him to be stripped off his Olympic medal and 7 Tour de France titles and now he is facing multiple lawsuits for using performance enhancing drugs for several years in the past. His downfall ahs affected people all over the world, aesthetically, emotionally and commercially. His cancer foundation Livestrong doesn’t look very promising now that Lance Armstrong has so many lawsuits waiting to be resolved.
He has been banned from professional cycling for life and he has got a lot of payments to cough up as well. Between all this, Livestrong is also feeling the ripples of this tragic and shameful downfall of Lance Armstrong.
The problem was initially in the merchandise section.
The Livestrong yellow bracelets had become a symbol of strength and hope for all cancer fighters and Livestrong has actually helped change several lives of people who have been victims or family members of the victims of cancer. But the demands for the bracelets were up and the financial status of Livestrong was stumbling upon itself and was unable to keep up with the rising merchandise demand.
But just before 2009 the sales went up but once more by mid 2010, the sales started to suffer again. The demand was also low. The merchandise section had its biggest blow after the sad downfall of the cycling champion in 2012.
An official said that Lance’s dedication to Livestrong was always true and honest and his own fight with cancer is a living proof of that. But some people hurt and disillusioned by the current events surrounding Lance may not want to be associated with the services and support or merchandise of Livestrong anymore.
After the several doping scandals, many critics argued that the present President of International Cycling Union must step aside to make way to a new president. The choice they made was Greg LeMond. Now LeMond himself expresses his desire to take the place.
LeMond said that Pat McQuaid, the current president of UCI couldn’t sit tight to his designation as the sport of cycling suffered a lot in his era. In fact the organization is supposed to have a link with the Armstrong case in the past. LeMond told the reporters that as a lover of cycling he would love to be a part of the organization and would take care of necessary changes. The three time Tour de France cyclist also asserted that he would like to do whatever needed to restore cycling to its former position. He thinks that the sport needs a drastic change and much more essentially, new leadership.
LeMond congratulated the USADA for showing the courage to produce such a tough report against one of the most influential characters of cycling, Lance Armstrong. He completely agrees with the decision of stripping off Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and says that it is the most suitable judgment Armstrong can get.
A meeting of Change Cycling Now was held a few days back and a decision was taken there to constitute a three men panel to scrutiny the relationship between McQuaid and Armstrong. But LeMond asks a simple question that on what basis McQuaid should hold his position as the president of UCI while he is under observation. He thinks that UCI must let McQuaid to step aside until the panel comes up with its report in June. He suggests that McQuaid should resign as the president of the UCI himself while the investigation is going on and he also wishes his own ambition to take the place of the interim UCI President.
The 2012 season went really well for the Team Sky as they topped the UCI World Tour Team 2012 ranking with a clear 500 points margin. The team has done brilliantly this season and the main reason for that were Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins. But, on the other hand his team’s biasness towards Wiggins and Froome perhaps made Mark Cavendish a little unhappy.
Team Sky went on to win the first two overall spots at the 2012 Tour de France when Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome helped the team with their wins at the race. Bradley Wiggins also created a record there by becoming the first ever British cyclist to register an overall victory at the Tour de France. Wiggins and Froome were given the maximum opportunities by the team itself. This became a hindrance for Mark Cavendish to defend his own title.
Later he accepted his dejection with the team as he thought he had been left out. He said that the reputed slogan of the Sky Company, which says “Believe in better”, was not followed during the race. He opined that they could have easily won more stages if they rode with a bit more aggression. He also claimed that he was really happy to be a part of a yellow-jersey winning team but he also told that it was not only that what they could achieve.
Mark Cavendish also asserted that it was possible for him to go on and win as many as eight stages at the 2012 Tour de France if he had been given the required support. His dream was to make history for his team but the team was too conscious about Wiggins and Froome and the yellow jersey only. That hurt Cavendish. Eventually, he managed to register three stage wins with wonderful performances in the 2nd, 18th and the 20th stage of the Tour. He got 220 points under his name at the Tour de France point’s classification and had to be contended with fourth overall spot.
Matt White, the sports director of Green EDGE Cycling has stepped down from his role in the team after admitting his guilt in taking part with Lance Armstrong in doping during his stint with the disgraced rider’s team mate in the US Postal team in the early 2000s. White, who was also looking after cycling Australia’s national men’s high performance program, has stepped down from that role as well, admitting that doping formed an integral part of the race strategy of the US Postal team in those days.
This admission comes as evidence towards the damnation of the former cycling hero who has already seen 11 of his former team mates testify against him to the US Anti Doping Agency in a doping case that has already seen him banned from professional cycling for life as well as being stripped of all records he held, including the seven Tour de France titles he won.
White issued the statement with regards to the allegations against him by Floyd Landis, a former champion in the Tour de France in 2006, during his stint with the US Postal team between 2001 and 2003. He stated that he feels sad and ashamed to have been part of a team which used doping as an integral strategy to win races and he also admitted that he was too caught up with the system as well.
He also went on to add that he is not proud of his involvement in the doping and he also extended his apologies to his fans, friends and family. White stopped racing professionally back in 2007 and has since then, moved into positions with teams such as Garmin Sharp and now Green EDGE Cycling.
And he admits that the sport needs a really good shake up if it to survive this situation.