Fri, Jun 27, 2014 - Page 17 News List

Van Garderen set to spearhead BMC

TEAM BUILDING:The US rider is joined by three who helped the team to a Tour victory in 2011, with Van Garderen’s highest finish being fifth in 2012

AFP, PARIS

BMC rider Tejay Van Garderen poses before the start of the Paris-Nice race in Mantes-la-Jolie, north of Paris, on March 9.

Photo: AFP

US rider Tejay Van Garderen is to spearhead BMC Racing in the Tour de France, which is set to begin next week.

Former winner Cadel Evans and Belgian Philippe Gilbert have not been included, but three riders who helped the Australian win in 2011 — Marcus Burghardt, Amael Moinard and Michael Schar — are to be joined by Tour veterans Daniel Oss, Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Velits. Darwin Atapuma and Peter Stetina are first-time participants in the three-week, 21-stage race that is to begin on Saturday next week with three stages in Great Britain and cover 3,664km before concluding in Paris on July 27.

“We put together a well-balanced team of climbers and helpers to support Tejay on all terrain and, at the same time, we want to be able to try for stage wins on specific days,” team sporting manager Allan Peiper said.

Van Garderen, 25, is to make his fourth Tour de France start, with his best finish a fifth place in 2012.

He was forced to withdraw from this year’s Paris-Nice race because of illness and suffered a small hip fracture in a crash during the prologue of the Tour de Romandie.

“I don’t think the setbacks are going to have any effect on how the Tour de France is going to be raced,” Van Garderen said. “The bottom line is you can come back from just about anything if you have put in the work in the winter.”

“I have trained hard and have a solid base and solid foundation of training. It’s just a matter of not having any bad luck,” he said.

ULISSI FAILS TEST

AFP, PARIS

Italian rider Diego Ulissi, who won two stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia, failed a drugs test during the race, his team, Lampre-Merida, confirmed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old returned a positive test for salbutamol, a drug used to treat asthma, during the 11th stage on May 21 at Savone.

Lampre said that Ulissi had revealed to testers at the time that he had two puffs of ventolin containing salbutamol as well as paracetamol, following a fall during the stage.

The Tuscan rider has been suspended by his team pending the analysis of his B sample.

“Ulissi strongly rejects the presence of such a large amount of salbutamol,” the team said in a statement.

Riders are permitted to use the drug for medical purposes below a certain threshold, but Ulissi’s sample contained almost twice the permitted concentration.

“The results of the test from the UCI report the presence in the urine of the athlete of an abnormal amount of salbutamol (1900 ng/ml), higher than the limit allowed by the regulations, which sees the limit at 1000 ng/ml,” the statement said. “The athlete himself and the medical staff of the team will continue to explore the reasons why the urine has been identified as having an abnormal and high presence of salbutamol, compared to only two inhalations performed.”

Ulissi won the fifth stage at Viggiano and the eighth at Montecopiolo, but quit the race after the 17th stage.

FIRST CHINESE RIDER

AP, PARIS

Cheng Ji is to become the first Chinese rider to race in the Tour de France when he lines up for Team Giant-Shimano at the start in Leeds, England, on Saturday next week.

On Wednesday, Cheng was included in the team’s nine-rider lineup for the 101st edition of the Tour. He is to be part of Giant-Shimano’s sprint formations attempting to deliver Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb to stage victories.

Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna said riding the Tour “will be huge for him and his country, and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the globalization of the sport.”

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