The head of world cycling's governing body describes Lance Armstrong's plans to ride the Tour de France route a day before the professional peloton as "disrespectful" to current riders, as International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson speaks in London on Tuesday.
Colombia’s Nairo Quintana won the Tirreno-Adriatico after Fabian Cancellera claimed the seventh stage time-trial in San Benedetto del Tronto yesterday.
Quintana, last year’s Giro d’Italia champion, had taken possession of the overall leader’s blue jersey in Sunday’s mountain-top victory in the snow.
And the Movistar rider held on to his lead after the closing stage’s 10 kilometre race-against-the-clock to finish 18 seconds clear of Dutch rival Bauke Mollema in the standings.
The success of Quintana, runner-up in the 2013 Tour de France, augurs well for the rest of the season after the second half of last year was disrupted by an injury suffered in the Tour of Spain.
For Swiss time-trial specialist Cancellera, this 50th stage win of his career set him up for his latest assault on Sunday’s Milan-San Remo. He is hoping to go one better after finishing second on three of the last four editions of the one-day classic.
Nairo Quintana: 25-years-old, 8 stage races won and a total of 31 victories. pic.twitter.com/NRdWzCpxuY
— CafeRoubaix (@CafeRoubaix) March 17, 2015
Cancellera came in 4 seconds clear of Adriano Malori, who had relegated the Swiss classics specialist into second in the opening 5.4km time trial prologue last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Sky’s Richie Porte has asserted he feels in the form of his life following his second Paris-Nice title in three years.
The 30-year Australian, who trailed leader Tony Gallopin by 36 seconds going into Sunday’s final day’s time trial, hopes this win can boost his confidence ahead of the Giro d’Italia.
“I relish this win even more than two years ago,” the Tasmanianborn cyclist said. “In between times I had a bad season (in 2014).” “I wasn’t sure I could win this Paris-Nice. I had lost time on Saturday,”
Porte explained. “There was too much tyre pressure, it was not ideal. It was like riding on ice. But I was confident.”
Cycling boss Brian Cookson has branded Lance Armstrong “completely disrespectful” for aiming to ride the Tour de France route this summer for charity.
Cookson, president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), suggested Armstrong “would be well advised not to take part” in former England footballer Geoff Thomas’ charity fundraising mission.
Thomas has convinced shamed drugs cheat Armstrong to take part in his charity stunt, riding the Tour route one day ahead of the professional peloton.
Cookson said the UCI has no authority to stop Amstrong’s bid, but urged the American, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, to think again.
“I’m sure that Geoff Thomas means well, but frankly I think that’s completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Tour, disrespectful to the current riders, and disrespectful to the UCI and the anti-doping community,” said Cookson. “I think Lance would be welladvised not to take part in that.”
Armstrong in January complained he was prevented from even walking an organised marathon to raise funds for charity. From next summer, however, the World Anti-Doping Agency code (section 10.12.1) will permit the Texan to participate in sports other than cycling and triathlon. He was banned for life from those sports in August 2012.
Cookson rejected the argument Armstrong should be handed some slack despite his life ban from cycling, even though his summer stunt ostensibly could raise big funds for charity.
Speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in central London, Cookson said of Armstrong’s charity angle: “I’ve heard that reason rolled out throughout Lance A’s career as well.
UCI President Brian Cookson calls Lance Armstrong’s plans to ride part of the Tour de France for charity as “very disrespectful.” #TdF
— ESPN Endurance (@ESPN_Endurance) March 17, 2015
“I’m not critical of people trying to raise funds, let’s be clear. But I think maybe Lance could find a better way of continuing his fundraising efforts than this.”
Meanwhile, Thomas has accepted the criticism over inviting Armstrong to join his Tour de France charity ride but insisted the shamed cyclist can help save lives.
In a statement released on Twitter he wrote: “I understand some people will find it hard to accept Armstrong’s support but my take is a simple one. If Armstrong’s involvement in Le Tour – One Day Ahead and my goal to raise £1million (Dh5.42m) for blood cancer can help save one more life then surely that can only be a good thing.”