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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 16, 2013

Date published:
August 16, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Armee signs with Lotto Belisol, van der Lijke to Belkin

    Mountains classification winner Sander Armee (Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator)
    Article published:
    August 15, 2013, 13:01 BST
    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...

  • Atapuma leads Colombia in USA Pro Challenge

    Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) happy with his stage win in Poland
    Article published:
    August 15, 2013, 14:11 BST
    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...

  • Transfer rumours: Costa to choose between Astana and Lampre-Merida

    Rui Costa (Movistar)
    Article published:
    August 15, 2013, 16:30 BST
    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...

  • USADA suspends Andreas Klier for six months

    Andreas Klier (Garmin-Sharp) at the 2013 Challenge Mallorca
    Article published:
    August 15, 2013, 17:39 BST
    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...

  • Phinney avoids the crashes to target the Eneco Tour time trial

    Taylor Phinney (BMC)
    Article published:
    August 15, 2013, 18:40 BST
    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...

  • Bontrager development team needs title sponsor to continue

    Sport director Axel Merckx gets ready to go. Helmet? Check. Glasses? Check. Trek-Livestrong riders? Check.
    Article published:
    August 15, 2013, 19:52 BST
    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...

  • Orica GreenEdge hunting for stage wins at Vuelta a España

    Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) led up the first part of the final climb.
    Article published:
    August 16, 2013, 0:50 BST
    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...

  • Argos-Shimano goes for youth and experience in Vuelta team

    Warren Barguil (Team Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2013, 5:21 BST
    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...