NewsWire: Wiggins: Tour needs a credible winner; Pellizotti returns to racing
In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.
Wiggins: Tour is in need of a credible winner — Het Nieuwsblad
Following victories in both the Tour de Romandie and Paris-Nice, Bradley Wiggins is looking increasingly like a five-star favorite for this year’s Tour de France. The Brit’s time trial abilities suit this year’s course well, and he has shown the best form of any of the contenders so far this year.
“I would like to enter in Tour history, but in a positive way,” he said. “There are not many Tour winners that you can believe. Last year was so far the first time in a long time. Evans is a great ambassador for the sport. He works hard, does not boast and is very determined. I prefer that sort of rider to someone who has had a positive test hang over their head for two years.”
Wiggins’ own trajectory has been remarkable — he molded himself from a track specialist incapable of a top finish in the Tour to a slimmed down fourth-place finisher in 2009 and third overall in the 2011 Vuelta.
“Probably some people find me suspicious,” Wiggins said, adding, “I don’t have to prove anything, I was never a shit rider before.”
Pellizotti signs with Androni-Giocattoli — Tuttobici
Just days away from the end of his two-year ban for irregular blood values, Franco Pellizotti has signed with small Italian squad Androni-Giocattoli for the remainder of 2012 and 2013. He will return to racing at the Circuit Loraine on May 16.
Pellizotti was riding for Liquigas-Doimo on May 3, 2010 when his name was released by Gazetta dello Sport as one of a number of riders under investigation by the UCI for irregular blood values. The results stemmed from the end of the 2009 Tour de France, and Pellizotti was quickly pulled from the team’s Giro d’Italia squad, which he was slated to lead that year. The CAS upheld his ban in March 2011, giving him a two-year retroactive suspension, beginning May 2010. The Italian also lost his results since May 17, 2009 — a mountains classification win in the Tour and a stage win and third place in the Giro.
“We truly believe in Franco Pellizotti and we believe that he will repeat the path traveled by Michele Scarponi,” said Androni team manager Gianni Savio.
“I received some offers and I chose the team where I will find the ideal environment to come back,” Pellizotti said. “I look forward to returning to racing.”
First pro road victory for Iljo Keisse — La Dernière Heure
Belgian track specialist Iljo Keisse took his first pro road victory in stage 7 of the Tour of Turkey in dramatic fashion, riding away from six breakaway companions only to crash alone in the final corner. Keisse quickly remounted, put his chain back on, and sprinted to the line just ahead of Marcel Kittel, who won the field sprint.
Keisse was banned from the sport in 2008 at the Six Days of Ghent after he tested positive for cathine, but was cleared of any wrongdoing in 2009, when investigators found that the drug had not come from intentional doping but from a tainted supplement. The CAS upheld the appeal in July 2010, and Keisse returned to racing with Omega Pharma-Quick Step for 2012. The track star has won numerous six-day events on the velodrome, but the Tour of Turkey marks his first pro road win.
Stybar begins road season in Dunkirk — Cycling Weekly
Czech cyclocross star Zdenek Stybar will begin his road season at Four Days of Dunkirk on May 4th. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider took time off following his cyclocross season, but will now ride the road through to the fall.
Joining Stybar in the race will be Bram Meier, Andy Fenn, Iljo Keisse, Jerome Pineau, Gert Steegmans, Niki Terpstra and neo-pro Guillaume Van Keirsbulck.