Samuel Sanchez handed two-year doping ban
Samuel Sanchez, the 2008 Olympic road race champion, has been handed a backdated two-year ban for doping – although the UCI accepted his explanation that his positive test arose from a contaminated supplement.
The 41-year-old was sacked by BMC Racing in October 2017 after his B-sample was found to be positive, with the date from which his ban takes effect being 17 August of that year, the day on which he was provisionally suspended.
Sanchez, second overall at the Vuelta in 2009 and Tour de France the following year after Alberto Contador and Denis Menchov were disqualified for doping, has not raced since.
News of his ban comes as former German national champion Danilo Hondo, now retired, admitted being part of a blood doping ring being investigated in the German city of Erfurt, with his confession leading to him being sacked as coach to the Swiss national cycling federation.
Giro latest: Hatsuyama caught
Hatsuyama (NIP) is caught. The @NIPPO_Fantini rider has ridden alone for something over 144 km, having attacked alone in the first kilometre | Ripreso Hatsuyama. Il corridore della @NIPPO_Fantini ha attaccato al primo km ed è rimasto da solo per 144 km.
75 km #Giro
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 13, 2019
It was a pretty heroic effort after riding around 144km out front on his own, but the peloton never appeared troubled. 60 wind-swept kilometres to go.
British champion Connor Swift joins French team Arkea-Samsic
British road champion Connor Swift has joined the French team Arkea-Samsic with immediate effect, with his principal role there being to provide leadout duties for 11-time Tour de France stage winner, Andre Greipel.
The 23-year-old, ninth overall at the Tour de Yorkshire earlier this month and the cousin of Team Ineos rider Ben Swift, has raced for Madison-Genesis since 2017 and also had a spell as a trainee with Dimension Data last year.
He said: “I’m over the moon with the opportunity that has come around! Things like this don’t happen often and to be able to step up to Pro Continental level with Arkea and go there to be part of a team helping out Griepel will be pretty surreal.
"I am super thankful to everyone involved to make this happen and of course Madison Genesis for the past two years and allowing me to step up and leave the team mid-season.
"I’m excited to kick things off with Arkea which seems like a great team and one that also has a really good race programme too.
"The hard racing on rolling terrain in France will suit me,” he added. “I’m sure it’s going to develop me more as a rider and I’m keen to learn from the more experienced riders."
Giro d'Italia stage 3 - Japanese road champ makes Sho Hatsuyama makes solo break
Great effort by Sho Hatsuyama going solo for @NIPPO_Fantini on Stage 3 of the @giroditalia. His first 60km:
Avg Speed: 37.8km/h
Max Speed: 72.2km/h
Avg Power: 275W
In comparison Primoz Roglic in the Maglia Rosa in the bunch has averaged 160W at 36.1km/h so far. pic.twitter.com/UiJHjTreAl
— Velon CC (@VelonCC) May 13, 2019
The gutsy Hatsuyama finished 170th in the prologue and 169th in yesterday's stage, but something's come over the 30-year-old today as he leads by around 7 mins after 85km. There's a long way to go in the 220km stage yet, though.
Contents of former high-end bike retailer Ubyk's stores go up for auction in North Lincolnshire, and 'jaws dropped' at the prices...
This morning Ubyk's liquidated stock, apparently worth over a quarter of a million pounds, went up for auction in North Lincolnshire. Details of the items were given on the CJM Assets website, including some rather interesting descriptions from folk we assume aren't too used to seeing high-end bikes and gear in the auction room: "Jaws dropped at the Eddisons CJM auction room in Scunthorpe when one small box was found to contain a lightweight bike seat . . . weighing in at just two ounces . . . that came with a price tag of £407 attached.
"The auction has been ordered following the collapse of Oxford and Brighton-based Ubyk, one of the country’s poshest independent cycling retailers."
We think the 'bike seat', unusually weighed in ounces rather than grams (two ounces is about 57g), is actually from US saddle specialists Dash, as Ubyk were known to be one of the only UK stockists of the brand. Auctioneer Paul Cooper said: “I have to say the seat did cause a lot of comment. It is featherlight, quite remarkable, but who pays £450 of their own money on a bike saddle? If I was that worried about weight I would get on a diet for a few days – but I suppose the riders who want this sort of thing have already done that!”
Thanks for that assessment Paul. There were also Parlee bikes and Cippolini frames for sale, worth in excess of £10,000 at full RRP. Cooper helpfully reminds us: "They’re hand built, carbon fibre, with Zipp carbon wheels, although you don’t get pedals at that price. They’re extra".
The auction was set to close at midday today. We'll be scouring the interweb to see if anyone managed to pick up any 'bargains' this afternoon...
Peter Sagan takes first win since January
Peter Sagan has taken his first win since January - and the former world champion did it at a race where he enjoyed huge success over the years, the Amgen Tour of California.
It's the Slovakian's 18th career stage victory at the week-long race, the first two coming way back in 2010 when he was aged just 20 and rode for Liquigas-Doimo.
Argon 18 go disc with their new TT bike
The New Argon 18 E-118 Pro gets disc brakes and improved aerodynamics, and is being used by the Astana team during the Giro d'Italia time trial stages. Full story here.
Police appeal following Velo Birmingham crash death
Warwickshire Police are particularly interested to hear from anyone who may have action camera footage of incident that happened on twisting descent. Full story here.
In case you missed it: weekend catch-up
Here are some of our top stories from the weekend...