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

Can Van Garderen be a Tour de France contender in the years to come?

Category: Cycling

George HincapieIn his career, George Hincapie has helped three riders to win the Tour de France (Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans), which means that Hincapie has been in the team of a Tour champion nine times. Now George Hincapie says that he believes fellow American rider Tejay Van Garderen can be a contender for the sport’s biggest prize in the future and Hincapie probably has some ideas of what kind of athlete you need to be to win a Grand Tour.

“I think we haven’t seen somebody like Tejay coming through the ranks in a long time,” Hincapie told Velonation. “What he has done already – second in the Dauphiné and holding the mountain jersey in the Tour de France for a couple of days is impressive. He is always really strong in the races that he is healthy and fit in. I think he has got unlimited potential as regards how far he can go.”

The 23-year-old Van Garderen has already won a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir; one year later, in 2009, he finished second overall in the Tour de l'Avenir. In 2010, he took third overall in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and a few months later, as a 21 year old, he signed his first pro contract.

Tejay Van GarderenSince then, he has mostly helped others and tried to learn as much as possible, but that doesn't mean he hasn't performed well in the result lists. Last year, he took second overall on the Volta ao Algarve, second in the prologue of the Tour de Suisse, victory in the Tour of Utah time trial, third overall in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and fifth in the Tour of California. Not bad for a young rider.

If he continues to improve, he may be a Tour contender in a couple of years.

“Definitely so,” Hincapie said. “He can time trial, he can climb, he can sprint… he is a very well-rounded cyclist.”

Van Garderen raced for the Rabobank development squad in 2008 and 2009, before turning pro with HTC Columbia in 2010. He spent two years with the HTC squad, then moved to the BMC Racing Team when the HTC team folded.

Roelandts returns to training

Category: Cycling

Jürgen Roelandts

Jürgen Roelandts has returned to light training on the rollers. The Belgian rider fractured the cervical vertebra at the Santos Tour Down Under stage one, and yesterday at a hospital examination in Herentals, Belgium, the Lotto-Belisol rider was told that his cervical vertebra was healing well and therefore he can start training again. But he must take it easy at first.

"The fracture is healing well and Jürgen can switch from a stiff to a more supple neck collar," a Lotto spokesman said. "His shoulder still hurts, though. In two weeks, there will be another scan."

It's been two weeks after the horrible crash and he is already about to start training. I know that cyclists are tough, but honestly, if I had broken fractured the cervical vertebra I would probably still sit in my bed and cry with pain.

Roelandts hopes to be back for Tirreno-Adriatico in March.

Kittel's team says the German is no longer under investigation

Category: Cycling & Doping

Marcel KittelTwo days ago, German television named Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) in an on-going doping investigation, but he hasn't done anything wrong. The German sprinter says it has been though to deal with the fact that his name has been mentioned in this investigation.

It is true that Kittel and two of his team mates, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb, meet Dr. Andreas Franke at the Olympic training site in Erfurt, just as the broadcaster ARD said, but they haven't done anything wrong.

“The following facts are known to the team. As an 18-year-old sportsman from the region of Erfort and therefore part of this Olympic point of support, Marcel Kittel should contact the doctor concerned in case of illness. In 2007 and 2008, Marcel visited this doctor when he was ill. The doctor decided to treat him with the UV-treatment mentioned in the program of Sportschau,” the Team 1t4i project said in a press release.

“Project 1t4i cyclists John Degenkolb and Patrick Gretsch were also part of this point of support and visited this doctor in case of illness. Patrick Gretsch also received the UV-treatment from Dr. Franke. John Degenkolb has never received this treatment. Marcel Kittel, Patrick Gretsch and John Degenkolb have never had to pay any financial compensation to this point of support or the aforementioned doctor.”

The treatment was banned in 2011, which means that the three team mates have not broken the WADA code.

"It's not easy to describe what's happened to me in the last couple of days. For me there's one thing that's happened to me as a rider and then there's what happened to me as a person because I'm not just a rider, I'm also a human being," he told Cyclingnews.

"After I saw that report on German television I was really sad and really disappointed. It was like a nightmare and the hardest day in my life."

Today, the rider is set to start Etoile de Bessèges. It's a pity that his name has been mentioned, if he really hasn't done anything, because people remember things like this and the media remembers it. For the rest of his career, he will be suspected for having doped.

"I hope I can sleep well. The way the team has reacted to the story has given me a lot of confidence. But I was named in the case and because of that my name will always be connected to it. I know I did nothing wrong, my family know, my friends and my teammates know and that's the most important thing to me."