- Article published:
- August 15, 13:01
- Cycling News
Former inline skater and development rider get their chance in the WorldTour
Lotto Belisol and Belkin continue to strengthen their teams for 2014, with the two teams adding local riders to their rosters.
Belgium's Sander Armee will join Lotto Belisol in 2014 and Dutch youngster Nick van der Lijke will join Team Belkin. The dutch squad also confirmed that Laurens ten Dam will stay with Belkin in 2014.
Armee, 27, has been with Topsport Vlaandern the last four years. He finished eighth overall in the Ruta del Sol but last month he suffered a broken cervical vertebra, which is expected to keep him out the rest of the season.
"This transfer is very important to me, because I feel that I'm a rider who can perform better in bigger and tougher races,” he said in the team's press release. “In the spring I'm looking forward to the Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I'd love to get selected for one of the Grand Tours; the Giro or Vuelta. I think I have the capacities for those races."
Armee has an unusual sporting background, coming to cycling from inline skating. He is a 15-time Belgian champion and in 2002 was Junior European champion in marathon.
Van der Lijke joins Belkin from the Rabobank Development Team. The 21-year-old has four victories this season, a race in Roosendaal, the Beverbeek Classic in the USA and the time trial and overall title in the Kreiz Breizh Elite.
"Nick has been at under-23 level for four years and I've seen him getting better during those years. Gradually, he's won time trials and stage races, and is also strong in bunch sprints," Belkin sport director Nico Verhoeven said. "At our team, he will get the chance to develop his true specialty."
"The first year will be about learning. I'm very curious to see what it's like to race at the highest level," Van der Lijke said. "I'm a pretty good climber and quite a strong finisher. So ultimately, I hope to shine in races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold Race."
- Article published:
- August 15, 14:11
- Cycling News
South American climbers to take on Rocky Mountains
Team Colombia is sending its climbers to tackle the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Darwin Atapuma will lead the South American team in the USA Pro Challenge next week (August 19-25).
Atapuma recently brought in the team's first WorldTour victory, and his first win of the season, by winning the sixth stage of the Tour of Poland, a monstrous stage which included ten category one climbs. He will be supported by fellow climbers Fabio Duarte, Robinson Chalapud and Jarlinson Pantano. Edwin Avila will be there for the sprint stages, and Alexis Camacho and Juan Pabo Sanchez will support the team.
“We are travelling to Colorado with a strong and motivated team, looking to stretch our good momentum, said sports director Oscar Pellicioli. “Atapuma and Chalapud provided some strong performances, and Avila really impressed me at the Vuelta a Burgos, holding his own even on climbs. We will try to be on the front line through the whole week, and there’s the right terrain to do that.”
The race starts in the ski resort of Aspen and finishes six stages later with a circuit race in Denver. In between, the climbing includes the Independence Pass, the highest point of any cycling race at 12000 feet. 2012 winner Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) will be, in one of the final races of his professional career. Peter Sagan leads the Cannondale team and Tour de France winner Chris Froome makes his return to serious racing with Team Sky.
Team Colombia for the USA Pro Challenge: Darwin Atapuma, Edwin Avila, Alexis Camacho, Robinson Chalapud, Fabio Duarte, Jarlinson Pantano, and Juan Pablo Suarez
- Article published:
- August 15, 16:30
- Cycling News
Malori to Movistar, Modolo to Lampre, Puccio stays with Team Sky
Double Tour de France stage winner Rui Costa is close to deciding his future, with the Astana and Lampre-Merida reportedly the leading contenders to secure his services for 2014.
Costa showed his class by winning stages to Gap and Le Grand-Bornand at the Tour de France. In June he won the Tour de Suisse for a second consecutive season, confirming his stage race ability.
Costa said he would decide his future after the Tour de France, with his present team Movistar also keen to retain his services. However his WorldTour points and results mean he can command a salary of over one million Euro a season.
According to Biciciclismo, Astana and Lampre-Merida are now fighting to sign Costa.
Astana has Vincenzo Nibali as team leader for the 2014 Tour de France and has signed Franco Pellizotti (from Androni Giocattoli) and Lieuwe Westra (from Vacansoleil-DCM). However the Kazakhstani team needs another stage race leader and support for Nibali if he is to take on Chris Froome in next year's Tour de France.
Lampre-Merida is desperate to sign successful riders after its poor 2013 season. Michele Scarponi is believed to be leaving the Italian team and Damiano Cunego's career appears in steep decline. Lampre-Merida has ensured Diego Ulissi's services and Filippo Pozzato is under contract until 2015 but the team is likely to become more international due to Merida's growing influence.
Costa returns to racing at the Hamburg Vattenfall Cyclassics (August 25) and will then ride the Canadian WorldTour races before leading the Portugal team at the world road race championships in Tuscany at the end of September.
Lampre-Merida loses Malori but close to securing Modolo
According to reports in Italy, Lampre-Merida is active in the transfer market but like many Italian teams is losing its best riders to better organised and richer teams.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Wednesday that Adriano Malori is the latest rider in the Italian cycling brain drain. The 25-year-old is set to join Movistar after the new-look Trek team also made him an offer.
Malori wore the pink jersey at the 2012 Giro d'Italia and won the Bayern Rundfahrt stage race this year. He is Italy's bet hope in the flat and fast time trial course at the world championships.
Both Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani will stay with Cannondale in 2014 and Sacha Modolo could finally make the step up to the WorldTour and join Lampre-Merida for 2014. However, other talented young Italian riders are leaving Italian teams for bigger WorldTour squads.
Fabio Felline will ride for Trek after riding for Androni Giocattoli this year, Matteo Trentin is happy to stay with Omega Pharma-Quick Step after winning a stage at the Tour de France, while Salvatore Puccio has extended his contract with Team Sky after wearing the pink jersey for a day and riding well at the Giro d'Italia.
Ivan Santaromita secured his future by winning the Italian national title in June but opted to join Orica-GreenEdge after leaving BMC, instead of taking his 'tricolore' jersey to an Italian squad.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Matteo Rabottini – a stage winner at the 2012 Giro d'Italia and winner of mountain's competition, has several offers from teams outside of Italy, while Ignazio Moser, the son of the 70s star Francesco Moser, is doing well at the BMC development team and is likely to make the step up to the pro ranks with the US-based team rather than with an Italian team.
- Article published:
- August 15, 17:39
- Cycling News
Garmin-Sharp directeur sportif confesses to blood doping, EPO and HGH use
The United States Anti-Doping Agency has announced today that Andreas Klier has accepted a six-month suspension and loss of results for his use of prohibited substances during portions of his cycling career. His results were nullfied from July 21, 2005, stripping him of just one victory - a stage of the 2007 Vuelta a Espana.
The 37-year-old German retired in April, and is currently a directeur sportif with Garmin-Sharp after a 17-year professional career.
According to a statement from USADA, Klier "admitted using prohibited substances including erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone and cortisone, as well as the use of the prohibited method of blood transfusion, from 1999-2006."
The WADA code puts a statute of limitations on doping of eight years, and although the USADA skirted that restriction in the case of Lance Armstrong, Klier retained his 2003 Gent-Wevelgem victory and his second place in the 2005 Tour of Flanders.
Klier stated in a Sliptream press release: "Along the road to the top of the sport, many years ago, I chose the wrong path, and I have been very sorry for it ever since. To everyone both in and out of cycling including my family, the fans, the sponsors, the sport I love, my peers, – especially those who made the right choices - I am deeply sorry.
"I stopped what I was doing and started competing clean well before I ever joined Slipstream, but I am proud today to be a part of an organization that makes racing clean its only priority. In my heart and my mind I know that telling the truth about my past to the proper authorities is the right thing to do to continue to help the sport I love move forward. I accept responsibility for the mistakes I made in my past and the punishment that comes along with them.
"I have seen both worlds of the sport and I believe that today it is in the best place its ever been. The young riders racing now have never faced the same choices I did, and I will do everything I can for the rest of my life to help continue to help build the sport that I love."
USADA thanked Klier for making a confession and called on others riders to do the same, saying the USADA investigation into cycling is ongoing.
“We are thankful for the assistance in this case provided by our international partners at the German National Anti-Doping Agency and appreciate Mr. Klier’s willingness to provide full and truthful testimony about the culture of drug use in cycling,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said.
“We know that there are still many others in the sport, like Mr. Klier, who have important information to share about how the dangerous use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods took over the sport and was allowed to flourish. Our investigation into the sport of cycling is ongoing, and we will continue to fight for the rights of all athletes who want to have the full truth revealed so that the sport can finally move forward toward a truly clean future.”
Klier's ban began on August 12 and he also been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to July 21, 2005, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
Slipstream stood behind Klier in his confession, stating, "We support Andreas for telling the truth about his past, a past that pre-dates Slipstream Sports by years, and accepting the consequences that come along with it.
"Nothing can erase what happened in cycling’s history, but we can learn from it. We can look at the crop of young athletes coming up not just on our team but on other teams and have confidence that the future of the sport is here. Cycling has never been cleaner and we will work, every day, to help it continue to progress. "
Garmin-Sharp confirmed Klier will continue in his directeur sportif role after his suspension is up in February.
- Article published:
- August 15, 18:40
- Cycling News
BMC rider takes on Wiggins in Friday's 13.2km TT
Taylor Phinney managed to avoid a high-speed pile-up near the end of stage 4 of the Eneco Tour and so will be at his best for his clash with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) in Friday's 13.2km time trial stage.
The BMC rider won his first road race as a professional at the Tour of Poland with a powerful later attack on stage 4, but he was well beaten by Wiggins in the final 37km time trial.
"Poland's (time trial) was a lot longer and at the end of a very long week. I like it when it's a bit shorter. I know I wasn't at my best in Poland, and I think I will be better here," Phinney predicted after stage four of the Eneco Tour ended in a sprint.
"This (time trial) is much shorter, it's only 13km, that's completely different to 38km."
Phinney will also clash with Wiggins at the world time trial championships in Tuscany in late September. He finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic time trial won by Wiggins last summer and second in the world championships time trial in Valkenburg last year.
The Tuscany time trial course is flat, fast and on largely straight roads between Montecatini Terme and Florence. Phinney knows the course well because it passes close to his Tuscan home in Quarrata. He hopes the Eneco Tour time trial will boost his confidence for he longer, harder effort in just over a months time.
"Florence is quite long 57km and there's a big difference between long and short TTs," he said.
"It's always good for the confidence if you can get solid results in a TT and perform well. I know I wasn't at my best but I hope to be better here."
Phinney praised Wiggins, despite the Briton losing time on virtually every stage of the Eneco Tour, suggesting he is targeting just the time trial and using the other stages for training.
"I think what he did in the TT in Poland was top notch Brad, him at his best," he said of the 2012 Tour de France winner.
"He's been let off the leash a bit at not having to be a GC guy all the time. Here is one of the most stressful races on the calendar because of the small roads and road furniture. There's a lot 'stuff' we try to dodge on the roads. He's been pretty laid back here, not fighting up the front too much to stay out of trouble. I think he's here pretty much for the TT and maybe Saturday's stage. He could do well there, but he's here mainly for preparation."
Phinney goes into the 13.2km time trial in ninth place overall, just 17 seconds behind race leader and 2012 overall winner Lars Boom (Belkin).
- Article published:
- August 15, 19:52
- Pat Malach
Merckx expects decision on future by month's end
After five years of preparing young riders for the WorldTour, the US-based Bontrager development team is searching for a new sponsor to take over the title role from the Trek Bicycles subsidiary.
Team director Axel Merckx told Cyclingnews Thursday that he has commitments for about half of the team's $1 million budget for next year, but he's still searching for a title sponsor after the Wisconsin-based bike company decided to move more resources into its sponsorship of the 2014 WorldTour Trek Leopard team.
“With the acquisition of the ProTour license they have to invest a lot of money into that team,” Merckx said. “Also, the biggest problem that we have is in order for me to keep the team at the same level that it is right now, I want to make sure that we're able to do Tour of California, Utah, Colorado, Alberta and all those big races. If Trek is the title sponsor of my team, both of us can't compete in with the same races.”
Merckx's UCI Continental team ran into that problem in 2012, when it was restricted from competing in races with the RadioShack WorldTour team that shared the same management company, and for which Merckx's team served as the official feeder program. Re-branded as the Bontrager Pro Cycling Team – and with its own independent management – the squad continued its success in the States and internationally.
Merckx said this week that for the program to continue he needs to land a 2014 title sponsor by the end of the month, when he wants to let his riders know whether they have a team for next year or if they need to start looking for a new place to ride.
“I don't want to hold onto the riders and say, 'Oh, yeah, I'll find something. I'll find something,' and then it's October and all of the spots are taken, then they struggle to find a team,” Merckx said. “My goal stays the same, I want to do what's best for them, and in order to do that I need to let them know something by the end of August.”
The development team came into existence in 2009 as Trek-Livestrong and featured a 12-rider international lineup that included Taylor Phinney, Jesse Sergent, Ben King, Sam Brewley, Julian Kyer and Bjorn Selander. Since then the U23 program has sent a steady stream of riders to division-one squads in Europe.
Among the program alumni are King, Sergent and George Bennett, currently riding for Radioshack Leopard; Phinney and Tom Roe of BMC; Ian Boswell and Joe Dombrowski of Team Sky; Alex Dowsett of Movistar; Brewley of Orica-GreenEdge; and Bissell's Carter Jones, winner of California's mountains jersey this year.
The 2013 team features 13 riders, including nine from the US and one rider each from Canada, Belgium, Latvia and New Zealand. The team started the early season with a successful run at the Volta ae Alentejo in Portugal, where Belgian strongman Jasper Stuyven took the overall win. Craddock followed that with a stage win at la Triptyque while riding for the US national team.
At the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Nate Brown and Stuyven hit the podium in second and third. Gavin Mannion climbed with the best for ninth overall and the Best Young Rider jersey at the Tour of the Gila in April, while Craddock did the same at the Tour of California, finishing eighth and wearing white home. At the Tour de Beauce in June, Stuyven took a stage win while Brown claimed the overall. The team also has national champions in Andz Flaksis, the latvian time trial and road champion; Antoine Duchesne, the Canadian time trial champion. Tanner Putt won the US U23 road race, while Brown claimed the time trial.
But the results are secondary to the mission of developing riders for the next step of their career, and the tradition of sending riders to the big leagues is continuing this season. Stuyven, 21, has already signed with Trek Leopard for 2014, and 21-year-old Craddock, a climbing specialist from Texas, has been linked to Argos-Shimano, the Dutch WorldTour team of four-time Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel.
“There have been a lot of positive outcomes for the boys over the last five years,” Merckx said of the development program. “So I would be really sad to see it go. That's why I'll do everything I can to keep it going and then see at the end of [USA Pro Challenge in] Colorado if we have anything more concrete moving forward.”
- Article published:
- August 16, 00:50
- Cycling News
Matthews to make grand tour debut
Orica GreenEdge will head to the final grand tour of the year looking once again to stage victories and according to sports director Neil Stephens the team is hoping to match the feats of Simon Clarke in 2012, who won a stage en route to taking the king of the mountain classification.
Several members of the team including Clarke and Simon Gerrans, will be using the Vuelta a España as their final preparation for the UCI Road World Championships late next month.
"The World Championships circuit is a very difficult one, and we tend to think the preparation for Worlds will come out of the Vuelta," explained Stephens. "The riders have spoken to the national team selectors, and they've put their hand up to race with us in Spain to help them get ready for Worlds."
According to Stephens, Gerrans, who won the 10th stage of the Vuelta in 2009, is well-placed following the Tour de France where he won a stage and wore the yellow jersey for two days. Gerrans rode the Clasica San Sebastian in late July and is now doing a training block at altitude in preparation for the Vuelta.
In-form all-rounder Michael Matthews will make his grand tour debut, having had to pull out of the Giro d'Italia earlier this season due to illness. Matthews form netted him two stage wins at the Tour of Utah and the former under 23 world champion spearheads the sprint line-up for the team which also includes Leigh Howard. Baden Cooke and Mitch Docker will be on lead-out duty.
"Michael has been a very exciting young rider to work with this year," said Stephens. "He's shone throughout this season, and the wins in Utah should give him a big confidence boost. The way he was able to handle some of the hillier terrain opens up additional possibilities for him at the Vuelta."
"Michael and Leigh approach the sprints differently, so it's great that we're bringing riders that can cover all sorts of sprint scenarios," added Stephens. "We have a team to support them both."
Supporting Matthews as he did in Utah will be Sam Bewley who is also making his grand tour debut. It is hoped that at least a two-week effort from the New Zealander will result in solid form for the GreenEdge squad that will take on the Team Time Trial at the worlds.
The team is rounded out by Christian Meier, racing his second grand tour of the season after the Giro, and Wes Sulzberger, both of whom will provide an essential support role for Gerrans and Clarke.
Orica GreenEdge for the 2013 Vuelta a España: Sam Bewley, Baden Cooke, Simon Clarke, Mitch Docker, Simon Gerrans, Leigh Howard, Michael Matthews, Christian Meier, Wes Sulzberger.
- Article published:
- August 16, 05:21
- Stephen Farrand
No Kittel or Degenkolb in the final line-up
The Argos-Shimano team has named its nine rider for the Vuelta a España, opting for a mix of young and experienced riders instead of its big-name sprinters Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.
Degenkolb won five stage last year and Kittel took one stage in 2011. Both German sprinters rode the Tour de France this year, with kittle winning four stages, while Degenkolb also won a stage at the Giro d'Italia. They will ride a different programme in the final part of the season, with Ramon Sinkeldam and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and recent Arctic tour of Norway stage winner Nikias Arndt targeting the Vuelta sprints.
The USA's Tom Peterson is also part of the squad. He joined Argos-Shimano from Garmin-Sharp for the 2013 season.
2012 Tour de l'Avenir winner Warren Barguil of France and Austria's Georg Preidler will be the team's climbers and hopes for the general classification. Both will be riding the first Grand Tour of their careers.
“After the sporting successes of winning stages in both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France we are of course aiming for further success at the Vuelta. But the development of our young talents is also very important to us,” team manager Iwan Spekenbrink said in the team's announcement of the Vuelta squad.
“Right from the birth of this team we adapted a strategy to develop riders with intensive support from our coaching team so they can grow into riders that can compete at the highest level possible. Our young talents have developed very well this year and have shown their potential, so they deserve their Vuelta a España selection. Their selection is for both the present and the future: they will contribute to the team’s performance, and the Vuelta will support their development.”
Team coach Christian Guiberteau gave details of the riders in the team.
“We head to Spain with a diverse young line-up with different riders who can be successful in both the flat and the hilly or mountainous stages,” he said.
“For the flat stages we have fast guys like Ramon Sinkeldam, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nikias Arndt. This year’s Vuelta parcours is very tough with several uphill finishes and we are prepared for these with talented riders Warren Barguil and Georg Preidler who can handle themselves in these kind of stages. By using an offensive strategy they can show the progress we have made with them this season."
"The more experienced riders in the team like Johannes Fröhlinger, Tom Peterson, Tom Stamsnijder and Thierry Hupond are eager to look for chances to get into the breaks or to support the team as best as possible."
Argos-Shimano for the Vuelta a España: Nikias Arndt, Warren Barguil, Johannes Fröhlinger, Thierry Hupond, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Tom Peterson, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam and Tom Stamsnijder.
Reserves: Will Clarke, Koen de Kort and François Parisien.