My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Late season races are Hoogerland's 2012 plan

Category: Cycling

Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland had his big breakthrough at the Tour de France this year, where he wore the mountain jersey for several stages, but it was also a Tour de France where he suffered a lot due to a crash, where he was thrown into a barbed-wire fence on stage 9. Johnny HoogerlandThe crash happened when a French television car struck Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky). Hoogerland himself received 33 stitches.

Hoogerland may not have grabbed any big victories, but he was pleased with his performances overall.

"I felt very good and very strong going into the Tour," he told Cyclingnews. "My conditioning was good and I was happy. So the crash was a very bad moment for me. Not just because of the incident itself but because I'll never know what might have happened if I hadn't crashed that day. I also performed well in the Classics, particularly the Amstel Gold Race, but there was no big win for me and that was a pain. It's something I'm definitely looking at correcting next year."

As most (or all) pro riders, Hoogerland is now preparing for the 2012 season. His training has just started, as he is planning to be ready for races towards the end of the season.

"I've only just started to train properly and at the moment only for about three hours a day," the Vacansoleil-DCM rider said. "I'll be going off to train with the team in December for ten days and then more in January. I'll start my season at the Tour of Algarve, which is later than normal for me. It's going to be a long season with the Olympics and the Worlds and it'll hard to keep going into those final months. So I need to keep plenty in reserve.

"The Classics, as usual, will be important. I'll hopefully be racing at La Flèche Wallonne, Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After that I'll have an easy May before gearing up for the Tour and the Olympics. I really hope to be part of the Olympics in London. It's one of my dreams. But it's also a dream for lots of cyclists from my country so I will have to work hard to make the team."

Will Ullrich tell all about his cycling career?

Category: Cycling & Doping

Jan UllrichWhen I started having an interest in the sport of cycling, Jan Ullrich was one of these riders who could perhaps beat Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France. Ullrich had won the Tour in 1997 with 9' 09" to Richard Virenque. It was the largest margin of victory since Laurent Fignon won the 1984 Tour de France by 10' 32".

Ullrich never won the Tour de France again, but he was one of the huge favorites in 2006. However, when his name was mentioned in the Operacion Puerto scandal, the German was expelled from the Tour.

Even though, Ullrich has retired, he is still under investigation by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and this week, Ullrich will finally learn his fate from them.

“As of today, I can't say that Jan will make a confession,” Nier told the SID news agency. “That is a possibility, but the confession wouldn't have anything to do with the court decision”.

He may for example announce his future plans.

“It won't say: I confess to doping. Jan will say what he intends to do.”

However, Cyclingnews writes that Nier's comments indicated that the German may be planning to confess to having doped during his career or maybe something else regarding the doping question.

“If and when Jan makes a confession is open and I cannot confirm it to you today,” his agent told Cyclingnews yesterday.

When the news paper asked asked if a confession would help rehabilitate Ullrich with the public, his ageant said
“Of course, that plays a role in our considerations.”

CAS has earlier indicated that it would issue its decision on the case on November 30, which means today.

Millar will not fight lifetime Olympic ban

Category: Cycling & Doping

David MillarThe British Olympic Association excludes athletes which have previously served doping bans from competing at Olympic Games. Recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency declared this stance "non-compliant" because the Games ban is viewed as an "additional sanction".

David Millar is one of three British athletes who are affected by the ban, along with sprinter Dwain Chambers and shot-putter and discus thrower Carl Myerscough, but says he won't fight the British Olympic Association ruling.

"In all honesty, I'd written off the Olympics a long time ago," Millar told the BBC.

"I just considered that the lifetime ban was in place and it wasn't something I wanted to challenge," he continued.

"There are certain fights I don't want to fight and that was one of them.

"I just don't fancy being vilified any more. It's been a tough couple of years."

Millar continued by saying that the lifetime ban leaves no room for athlete rehabilitation and that each case needs to be considered on its own merits.

"Imagine you have a 16-year-old who's been given something by their coach and goes positive and receives a lifetime ban, that doesn't seem fair," he suggested.

"But maybe, if you have a 34-year-old multi-millionaire who lives in Monte Carlo, with a team of medical staff, who goes positive, maybe they should get a lifetime ban for a first offence."

What would you have done in his position? Would you fight for your right to race or not?