By Gregor Brown published
The Association of Professional Cyclists has criticised the rules that led to Yoann Offredo's one-year ban for missing three out-of-competition doping controls.
"I tried to defend myself as best I could by explaining that I was at a competition when in July 2011, a tester arrived at my home," the 25-year-old Frenchman of team FDJ-BigMat told AFP news agency.
"This sanction has damaged by career and my reputation."
Three missed controls in an 18-month period is considered the same as a failed doping test and typically results in a suspension. He missed the first two controls because he failed to update his location for testing. The third happened when his team called him at the last minute to race and forgot to update his whereabouts.
"They could have easily just tested him at the race [in July]," said the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) today in a press release.
The CPA president, Gianni Bugno has asked to meet with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regarding Offredo's case. It wants to "call into question and above all, change certain parameters."
Offredo's case "is very disturbing because it would appear that the third gap in the regulation is due to an administrative error on his team."
In December, the Danish federation acquitted Alex Rasmussen over similar missed controls. It pointed out an administrative error by the UCI. The UCI appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on December 22.
Offredo last raced in the Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy on February 18. He had hoped to return to race Milan-San Remo, where he placed seventh last year.
He may appeal his federation's ruling to CAS.
Tafi honoured 10 years after Flanders win
Andrea Tafi will be honoured with a cyclo-sportive this year, 10 years after he won the Tour of Flanders.
"The city and people of Ninove, where the race finished in the last 30 years, organised a Gran Fondo for me," the Italian told Cycling Weekly. "We are going to take in the race's key climb, the Kapelmuur. The city of Geraardsbergen gave us the possibility to close the roads all day."
The sportive on June 17 will take in the Kapelmuur, a cobbled climb often used to decide the Tour of Flanders. The pro race this year skips it, opting for three closing circuits and a finish in Oudenaarde.
Tafi won Flanders in 2002 by attacking with four kilometres to race.
Nibali on track and in Lugano
Vincenzo Nibali, 2010 Vuelta a España winner, is testing himself on the track in Montichiari, Italy, to improve his time trialling. He plans on leading Liquigas-Cannondale at the Tour de France this year and challenging for the yellow jersey on day one, a 6.1-kilometre time trial in Liège.
Team manager, Roberto Amadio told La Gazzetta dello Sport today that "he will need to deal with Tony Martin above all, then [Cadel] Evans and [Bradley] Wiggins."
Nibali won the Tour of Oman stage to Green Mountain last month. He races in Strade Bianche on Saturday and Tirreno-Adriatico "to win."
He recently moved from Tuscany to Viganello, a Swiss suburb of Lugano and on the border with Italy. It is only minutes away from Stabio, where 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans lives.
Tiernan-Locke tops the Europe Tour
Briton Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) leads the UCI's EuropeTour rankings. The rankings were published on February 25 after his wins in the Tour of the Mediterranean and the Tour du Haut Var.
1 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) 222
2 Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) 139
3 Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) 105
4 Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) 84
5 Daniele Colli (Team Type 1-Sanofi) 83
He sits fourth overall in CQ Rankings for 2012, which takes into account WorldTour riders.
1 Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) 406
2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 394
3 Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) 387
4 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) 291
5 André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) 276
ASO announces wildcard teams for Flèche and Liège.
The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced yesterday the wildcard teams for its Ardennes Classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Besides the 18 first division, ProTeams for Flèche Wallonne, teams Accent Jobs-Willems Verandas, Landbouwkrediet, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Project 1t4i, Saur-Sojasun, Team Type 1-Sanofi and Colombia-Coldeportes will compete.
Europcar replaces Colombia-Coldeportes for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic four days later, on April 22.
Kolobnev crashes into van
Alexandr Kolobnev crashed into the back of a van while training yesterday hours before he was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He smashed into the back window of a van and cut his head, but said on Twitter he is fine.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) yesterday upheld the sanction by his Russian federation: a small fine and warning. However, it ordered the cyclist to pay £585 to the UCI for its anti-doping process.
Kolobnev is without a team as his contract with Russian WorldTour team, Katusha was not renewed at the end of last year.
Kolobnev cleared of doping by CAS
Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.