Team RadioShack-Nissan faces a few issues ahead of this year’s Tour de France
1. Chris Horner. The American crashed in the Tour last year and later suffered a blood clot in his leg, which forced his lung to collapse. In his first race back in March, the Tirreno-Adriatico, he led the race and placed second overall.
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Horner says that the team unfairly left him off its long list for the Tour, which it released on Monday. Bruyneel said that Horner needed to race in the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour of Switzerland to be considered for the Tour team.
Horner suffered a lower back problem that saw him take a break after the Tour of California. He decided to skip Switzerland, as he did last year, to prepare for the Tour. The decision didn’t go down well with the team. Andreas Klöden, who made the list, wrote on Twitter, “If you want to ride a big Tour, you have to ride also some races with the team”.
Horner will be 41 this October and may be unable to race the Tour again. In 2010, he placed 10th.
2. Andy Schleck. Yesterday, one day after the team announced its long list, Andy Schleck said that he is unable to race this year due to a pelvis fracture. Schleck won the 2010 event after Alberto Contador’s disqualification and placed second on two other occasions, last year behind Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
3. Johan Bruyneel. The team manager is involved in a doping investigation in the USA with former star rider Lance Armstrong. On Tuesday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) sent a letter to him and others saying it will take “formal action” against Bruyneel for breaking anti-doping rules from 1996 to 2010. The USADA accuses him of helping his riders dope via blood transfusions and supplying his riders with drugs, including Erythropoietin (EPO).
He has 10 days to respond to the USADA. A board will review the findings and decide to shelf the case or file charges.
UCI on new races: Russia no, China yes
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announced on Tuesday that a new stage race in China will take place this year and the Tour of Russia has been scrapped. Its Professional Cycling Council (PCC) confirmed the dates of Tour of Beijing and new stage race, the Tour of Hangzhou in October.
Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) won the Tour of Beijing overall last year. This year, the race will run from October 9 to 13 and precede the Tour of Hangzhou from October 17 to 21.
The Tour of Hangzhou is still awaiting a WorldTour licence, but is expected to welcome all 18 first division teams that race in Beijing. On June 15, the Licence Commission will meet to examine the WorldTour applications from the Tour of the Basque Country, the Clásica San Sebastián, the Critérium du Dauphiné, the GP Québec, the GP Montréal and the Tour of Hangzhou.
The council noted that the Russian Federation decided to scrap its plans to organise the Tour of Russia next year. The city of Sotchi had talked of running a race to promote its region prior to hosting the Winter Olympics in 2014.
Reclassifation rules based on doping bans considered
The UCI’s Council “offered its support” to a new rule that would limit the extent results can be changed due to a rider’s disqualification. The International Association of Cycling Race Organisers (AIOCC) proposed limiting the classification re-shuffles from 20 to only the first three spots in the general classification.
If this new rule was in place before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) stripped Alberto Contador of his 2010 Tour de France title, then there would be no rider listed in fourth place. As it is, according to Article 2.6.037, the 20th spot is blank.
The Council forwarded the request to the UCI Management Committee.
Tour champion Ronconi dies
Aldo Ronconi, 93, died on Tuesday near his home in Faenza, Italy. He helped Italian hero Gino Bartali, and won stages in the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.
In the 1947 Tour, he won the seventh stage from Lyon to Grenoble and took the leader’s yellow jersey. He lost it after two days to René Vietto, but stayed in the mix and placed fourth overall behind Frenchman Jean Robic.