Monday, 7 January 2013

Monday Shorts: Armstrong To Confess? Tour For Contador, Stars Go Down Under, AICAR Exposed.

Another week and another Lance Armstrong story and if tedium is starting to grip the whole affair then the latest story could bring closure on the matter. Elsewhere riders plans for the coming year are being finalised as they get handed their season schedule, many of whom will see the Santos Tour Down Under listed as their first outing whilst French Television focuses their attention on the PED known as AICAR and a new test that could stop riders in their tracks...
Armstrong To Confess?
A New York Times report suggests that Lance Armstrong is finally lining up a full confession, suggesting that he "has told associates and anti-doping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career". Apparently he will use his confession as a bargaining plea against his lifetime ban from competition - hoping to make a return to running and triathlon - It would surely have to be a huge reduction to make this possible? Whether he will confess is yet to be seen though, only today he updated his Strava profile with the following: "Just updated my bio based on the facts." It then reads: "According to my rivals, peers and teammates I won the Tour de France 7 times."
Tour for Contador
There was uncertainty surrounding just exactly which Grand Tour or indeed tours Alberto Contador would focus on in 2013 with a possibility that his team might have to rely on wildcard invites but as Saxobank made the list for accepted WorldTour licences at the expense of Katusha, Alberto can now focus on his schedule and start his preparation for, yes, you guest it: the Tour de France. Contador says the French race will be his main focus for 2013 but has not ruled out riding either the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta a Espana either. Whilst personally I find the decision a disappointing one - I wanted him to ride the Giro, just to see a Wiggins/Contador head to head - it was, of course inevitable having missed the 2012 edition through suspension. Pushed to say which other Grand Tour he may ride? Well, i'd say the Vuelta a Espana - he would be defending his title whilst using the race to hold/build form for a particularly hilly World Championship road race in Italy...
Stars Go Down Under
What used to be considered little more than early season training, the Tour Down Under is turning into something far more than that, partly thanks to the WorldTour points system which means every race and every point really does count. The race also owes its rise in status partly to the route - no longer a panflat sprinter-fest, the race featured a summit finish atop the Willunga hill last year and will repeat the feat again this year. The 2013 edition also features some new climbs to make things interesting for the general classification and with quite a start studded line up this year, the opening race of the WorldTour season could be quite interesting. Names on the startlist include: Simon Gerrans, Phil Gilbert, Andy Schelck, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Jens Voigt.
New Test For AICAR
French TV reports that a test has been created to detect the use of AICAR, a performance enhancing drug that gives a rider the ability to decrease body weight while also dilating blood vessels, enhancing endurance. The drug has been virtually undetectable since it was first reported to have hit the scene around 2008/2009 as remarks at the time were made that several riders were looking ridiculously skinny. The tone of the French film was hinting that a certain Englishman could 'possibly' have used AICAR around the time he lost alot of weight at Garmin...a quick reminder here not to always take the French cycling press so seriously, especially when it comes to 'doping' accusation...

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