Tuesday 13 March 2012

Cyclopunk's News Digest 13-14.03.12

Today's stories: Vincenzo wins Tirreno-Adriatico, Fuentes lawyers insist doping doctor broke no laws, Sky rider Froome in accident, British cycling events receive £90K boost

Vincenzo's victory
Vincenzo Nibali wins
Tirreno-Adriatico 2012
(image credit: Richard Masoner CC BY-SA 2.0)
Liquigas' Vincenzo Nibali whipped overall victory at the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico from under Chris Horner's nose today when he recorded a time of 10'56" in the final time trial stage - the 27-year-old Italian finished ninth for the stage, 20" down on winner Fabian Cancellara. Horner's time of 11'16" placed him 34th for the stage and was insufficient to retain his earlier lead, giving Nibali a 14" advantage in the overall General Classification.

Team Sky's Ian Stannard was 7th for the stage, 18" behind Cancellara. Roman Kreuziger took third place overall. (Incomplete results available here.)

Fuentes lawyers claim no law broken
The notorious Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes - whose laboratory fridge was found to contain more than a hundred bags of preserved blood belonging to numerous athletes, thus sparking the Operación Puerto scandal - is due to stand trial later this year charged with endangering public health. Charges of providing blood-doping to athletes cannot be brought as the procedure was not illegal under Spanish law at the time the incidents are alleged to have taken place. Instead, prosecution is sought on the grounds that in carrying out transfusions in locations such as hotel rooms the doctor would not have been able to ensure clinical hygiene and, as a result, knowingly endangered their health - which has now been refuted by his lawyers who claim that the rooms would in fact have been ideal for the purpose and therefore no law was broken and that it would be impossible to prove otherwise, according to statements provided to the court and published by El País.

"It is uncertain that the autologous blood in hotel rooms were made without sufficient guarantees [that hygienic and sanitary requirements were met], since these rooms are perfectly suited to carry out under proper conditions," the lawyers say. "[Those stipulated by the law are] easily met in a hotel room recently prepared for the visit of a new guest, especially when made by people amply equipped and trained - Jose Luis Merino Batres as a hematologist and Mr. Fuentes, who assisted him in these tasks, is also a practicing physician."

Chris Froome in Italian accident
Team Sky's Chris Froome was involved in a training accident on Sunday morning at Latte di Ventimiglia when he collided with a 72-year-old male pedestrian. Police are said to be investigating the incident and it is not yet clear whether the Kenyan-born British cyclist, pulled from Paris-Nice days before the event took place due to a chest infection, was travelling too fast for the road or if the injured man failed to hear him coming and stepped into the road. The pedestrian is understood to have suffered head and facial injuries,  and he is due to be transferred by helicopter to another hospital for tests. The cyclist, aged 26, suffered only minor bruising and used his mobile phone to summon an ambulance.

Bike Week and Summer of Cycling get £90k boost
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert - a keen cyclist and supporter of cycling initiatives himself - used his Twitter account to reveal Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport Norman Baker has ear-marked £90,000 for National Bike Week, "the UK’s biggest mass participation cycling event." The money will also be used to support the Summer of Cycling, a series of events between March and September that will see "cycling events organisers, charities, NGOs, industry manufacturers, retailers, Government bodies and even a cross-party group of MPs are clubbing together to promote a massive summer of cycling."
Julian Huppert ‏ @julianhuppert
National Bike Week will get £70k, & @summerofcycling will get £20k. This will be very helpful to make sure both projects really deliver #fb
Other News
An Post-Sean Kelly, the Belgian-based and Irish-sponsored team set up by legendary seven-time Paris-Nice winner Sean Kelly, is considering moving up one rank from UCI Continental to Pro Continental status. Wielerland.nl says that team manager Kurt Bogaerts revealed the plan to Direct Velo and will consider the option over the coming two years. 

Chris Horner ‏ @hornerakg End of a great week at Tirreno! Thanks to all the staff and teammates on @rsnt for giving me an amazing comeback week/start to the season!
Chris Horner ‏ @hornerakg And congrats to @f_cancellara for taking an impressive win today and @Benna80 taking 2nd - they worked all week and still crushed it today!

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