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  1. Lopez will be a team leader at Astana in 2018, says Vinokourov

    Although Jakob Fuglsang has stated that he intends to target the Tour de France next season, Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov says that the young Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez will be a team leader for a Grand Tour next season, and insists that injury and illnesses have masked the 23-year-old's true potential.

    Lopez raced a truncated season after breaking his leg in a training accident a year ago, but still scored stage wins in the Tour of Austria and Vuelta a Burgos before taking out two stage wins and the best young rider classification in the Vuelta a Espana.

    "Miguel is a very talented cyclist with great potential," Vinokourov told El Tiempo. "In addition, he is still very young and he has so much of his career ahead of him. Unfortunately, so far, some health problems, injuries have not allowed him to fully show his potential. But, this season already showed what high level can reach."

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    The result confirmed to Vinokourov that Lopez has the potential to win a Grand Tour.

    "He has everything he needs to do so: talent, perseverance, fighting spirit, climbing skills and a strong time trial, he just needs time and experience," Vinokourov said. "He already did the Vuelta a España, and, speaking of the Giro and the Tour, he has to try at least to make his debut in these races.

    Astana is waiting until the route for the Giro d'Italia is unveiled on November 29 and later the course for the Vuelta a Espana before deciding on the race programme for Lopez, but assured that he will lead the team in a Grand Tour next year.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  2. Joseph Areruya continues home rider streak in Tour of Rwanda

    On Sunday afternoon, after 120 kilometres of fast and intense racing, Joseph Areruya crossed the finish line of stage 7 of the Tour of Rwanda with the yellow jersey on his shoulders and his arms high in the air in the shadows of Kigali's Stade Amahoro.

    Seven seconds after defending champion Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol) took the stage win, 21-year-old Areruya crossed the line with a celebration equal to Ndayisenga's. A week on from his fourth-place finish in a prologue that also started and finished at the Stade Amahoro, Areruya was back in the capital writing his name into the record books and claiming a fourth straight overall win for Rwanda at the UCI 2.2 race.

    "Today was an amazing and great day. I had fear for this day but no more fear because I have the yellow jersey," Areruya told Cyclingnews while draped in the Rwandan national flag under the finish arch.

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    For Areruya, the win was a triumph of his legs and head.

    Having ridden away from the peloton on stage 1 to Huye, taking a convincing win and lead in the overall standings, stage 2 was riddled with "mistakes".

    "All those mistakes that were made on that second stage, we had a really stern talk to the guys and a good meeting that night and the next day it brought the guys back together," sports director Andrew Smith told Cyclingnews of the stage into Rubavu where Areruya was pushed out of the yellow jersey by Illuminate's Simon Pellaud by a full minute.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  3. WADA president disappointed by Sutton’s TUE comments

    Sir Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has described Shane Sutton’s comments about using the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) system to give riders an edge as "worrying".

    Team Sky has long touted its successful marginal gains philosophy, accumulating small edges to try to beat their rivals and win the Tour de France. But after UK Anti-Doping decided not to level any rule violations in its investigation of the team, its former star-rider Bradley Wiggins and the delivery of a medical package from British Cycling, Sutton said he regarded TUE as a legitimate way of finding "marginal gains" while staying within anti-doping rules.

    "If you’ve got an athlete that’s 95% ready and that little 5% niggle or injury that’s troubling them, if you can get the TUE to get them to 100%, of course you would in them days," Sutton says in a BBC documentary that will air on Sunday.

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    "The business you’re in is to give you the edge on your opponent and ultimately it’s about killing them off but you definitely don’t cross the line and that’s something we’ve never done."

    Bradley Wiggins was given the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone after obtaining a TUE from the UCI, before the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia. Until the TUE applications were leaked by hackers after the Olympic Games in Rio, Wiggins and Team Sky never revealed the use of the drug. 

    Wiggins insists he used it to treat serious pollen allergies during Grand Tours and that it was a legitimate medical need. However, triamcinolone is widely known to improve performance.

    Above board?

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  4. Claudia Cretti rides for the first time after Giro Rosa crash

    Italian rider Claudia Cretti has ridden a bike for the first time since her horrific crash during the Giro Rosa in early July.
    21-year-old Cretti suffered serious head injuries and was placed in an enduced coma after hitting a roadside guardrail at 90km/h during stage 7.

    Cretti’s mother Laura Bianchi has posted regular updates on her daughter’s recovery on Facebook. On Thursday she posted a photo of Claudia in her Valcar PBM team clothing as she rode briefly with her brother Giacomo near their home near Bergamo.

    Laura Bianchi wrote on Facebook: “And now? Who is going to stop us?”

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    The photo sparked numerous message of support from friends and people who have been touched by Cretti’s accident and recovery.

    Italian television RAI also showed Cretti briefly riding a mountain bike with her brother. It was her first time in the saddle, 133 days after her crash.

    “She’d been waiting for months to ride a bike and now she’s done it. It was the first time since July that I’ve seen her smile like that,” Giacomo told RAI.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

  5. Ndayisenga goes down fighting in Tour of Rwanda title defence

    In 2016, Valens Ndayisenga stamped his authority on the Tour of Rwanda by winning the penultimate stage and cementing his second overall victory. 12-months on from his storming ride up the 'Wall of Kigali', a 500-metre pavé climb with pitches of 18 per cent, the Tirol rider could only watch on as his former team, Dimension Data for Qhubeka, blew the race to pieces to virtually seal the 2017 edition on stage 6.

    Just like stage 4 into Nyamata this year, it was Metkel Eyob and Joseph Areruya, in the green and yellow jerseys, celebrating the win. Mobbed by the crowds as he crossed the line at the Stade Régional Nyamirambo finish, 24-year-old Ndayisenga improved his position overall by one place to sixth.

    "It was a very good stage for us but also hard. The last three k's were very hard but I used all the power I had. I lose by ten seconds or 15 seconds but I do what I can do," Ndayisenga told Cyclingnews with his hopes of becoming the first rider to defend his title now extinguished.

    The Tour of Rwanda has been Ndayisenga's most successful race of his young career. A stage winner on his 2013 debut, Ndayisenga returned the next year to claim a second stage and his first overall win. The 2015 edition was less of a success, and he left the race before stage 5. Returning last year having inked his first Continental contract with Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Ndayisenga rode into yellow on stage 2 via solo victory in Karongi.

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    Ndayisenga then sealed his overall win by taking the 'Wall of Kigali' stage ahead of then-teammate Eyob. Asked to compare the differences between this year and last, there was little hesitation from Ndayisenga in his answer.

    "This Tour of Rwanda is different to last year. It was hard but this is harder than last year," he said, adding "This year he [Areruya] is looking very strong."

    With a 10-lap circuit of 12 kilometres to come Sunday in Kigali, anything but an overall win for Areruya would be a surprise result. The 21-year-old has finished no lower than 10th across the seven stages of racing and holds a 35 seconds advantage over Eyob.

    You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

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