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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 9, 2013

Date published:
August 9, 2013, 13:00
  • Drapac set to ride Tour Down Under in 2014

    The Drapac Professional Cycling Team sets the pace
    Article published:
    August 8, 2013, 22:19
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian Continental team poised to re-join ProConti ranks

    Current Australian UCI Continental team Drapac is poised to earn its long-awaited berth in the Santos Tour Down Under.

    In a media release sent by South Australian Tourism Minister Leon Bignell, the race organisation has announced that an Australian Pro Continental team will earn an invite for the first event of the WorldTour next January. Earlier this year, two Australian Continental teams revealed their intentions to move up a notch for 2014, but with Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers putting their plans on hold for at least another 12 months, Drapac will be the lone outfit from the continent at Professional Continental level.

    Cyclingnews understands that a deadline set by the team for race organisers was not met late last week and it was looking more-likely that the outfit would register in the United States. Drapac owner Michael Drapac told Cyclingnews in April that the US could be a good fit for the team:

    "We've thought of registering in the US, it's where most of my business is these days, it's highly likely," the wealthy property developer and the largest benefactor to Australian cycling outside of Gerry Ryan, said. "We already tried to register in Singapore but as a Continental team you've got to register where the bulk of your riders are. I think we'll end up going ProContinental next year and we'll probably register in the US or Asia."

    With the deadline extended, and paperwork due to be sent to the UCI by August 15 stating the country of registration, the news from the Tour Down Under will ensure Drapac will register as an Australian team. However, the team will still have a concentrated race program in the US.

    Race director, Mike Turtur said that the move was simply the next step in the evolution of Australian cycling.

    "We have been committed to the development of cycling right from the start with the introduction of the Under 23 National Team in 1999, followed by the Under 23 United Water Team and then the Australian National Team (University of South Australia) after our elevation to ProTour status back in 2008.

    "With the success and evolution of the National Road Series, the time has come to add an Australian Pro Continental team to the Tour Down Under peloton."

    Oceania President Tracey Gaudry has played a considerable role in the negotiations, with many Australian teams lamenting the demise of the local UCI calendar and tense relations between Drapac and Cycling Australia.

    "Providing a connected pathway from club level to elite international competition is vital for the development of cycling," said Gaudry.

    "For the first time an Australian Continental team who achieves ProConti status will compete in the WorldTour – the highest UCI road event classification – against the world's best teams, in their own backyard. This is a great step forward for cycling in Oceania."

    It would be the second time that Drapac has raced in the ProConti ranks, given that the team became the first Australian team to do so in 2008 following the team's inception in 2004. After the team's one-year stint at an elevated status, in recent seasons Drapac has gone back to racing as a Continental outfit with programs in Australia, Asia and Europe.

    Drapac will make a formal announcement later today.
     

  • Five-straight for Bronzini at Route de France

    Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) salutes as she takes the victory on stage 5 of la Route de France
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 01:14
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wiggle Honda rider continues domination

    Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) has swept to her fifth-straight victory at la Route de France.

    Bronzini was virtual leader of the race mid-way through the stage, courtesy of a solo attack on behalf of teammate and overall hope Linda Villumsen, but still had the power to finish at the front of the sprint when the stage came to the crunch.

    Race leader Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) finished second in her third podium appearance of the race while Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) was third.

    "It's something amazing for me," said Bronzini. "Some people say that I am old now that I am 30, but maybe I'm now good at using my legs with my head. It was a little bit harder than the other days today, because I worked, and I was in the break.

    "Today we started with the tactics to help Linda, to try to take the jersey," Bronzini explained, "and in the middle of the race, with about 40km to go, we started to attack. When it was my time to attack they let me go!

    "I was alone on the attack for 10 or 15km, and the gap was around a maximum of 50 seconds, but when I was alone I rode in my own rhythm, and not full gas. Alone I could do nothing, but I hoped that the other teams like Orica-AIS would lose power trying to catch me.

    "After the first climb of the first lap, I sat up and waited for the bunch, and when they caught me Lauren Kitchen and Mayuko Hagiwara did some attacks to try to make the race harder," Bronzini continued. ". After that Linda did a very, very hard attack in the last 2km, and she had a little gap that Orica-AIS had to close.

    "They caught her with 1km to go, and I was in the wheel of Johansson. Someone from the Australian team started to sprint with 300 metres to go, then I came out from the wheel of Johansson and I won."

    Unable to take back that precious second from Johansson, Villumsen remains in second place with two stages to go.

    "I'm really proud of the team, because we really tried to do something hard to help Linda, and we were able to do a good job and still win the stage," said Bronzini.
     

  • United Arab Emirates set to launch UCI Continental team

    Yousef Mirza Banihammad (UAE)
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 03:29
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky Dive Dubai hoping to race inaugural Dubai Tour in 2014

    As cycling continues to grow in the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates will register a UCI Continental team for 2014 according to reports.

    Sky Dive Dubai is set to launch next season with 18 riders – six of which will be plucked from local omnisport club Al Ahli, while six others will be chosen from the Arab country, says a report on DirectVelo. The remainder of the roster will come from an international selection.

    Former national road champion, Yousif Mirza, finalist in the points race at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships, and Mohammed Al Murawwi are said to have been approached for the squad.

    The United Arab Emirates Cycling Federation has been in existence since 1974.

    The majority of the team's calendar will focus on Asia with Europe to feature to a lesser extent.

    The inaugural edition of the Dubai Tour will take place from February 5 – 8, 2014, with Sky Dive Dubai hopeful of a start. The new race is organised by the Dubai Sports Council in association with RCS Sport. Looking further ahead, the federation is hopeful of being able to compete at the UCI Road World Champions with a start sometime in the next three years

  • Henao given carte blanche for the Vuelta

    Sergio Henao (Sky) finished third at the 2012 Tour of Poland and is the highest placed rider to return for the 2013 edition
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 05:02
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colombian eyeing top-five finish and stage win

    Long-time friends Sergio Luis Henao and Rigoberto Uran will again form a dangerous combination for Team Sky at the Vuelta a España with the former feeling confident following his fifth overall placing at the Tour of Poland. In May, the pair did just that as team leader Brad Wiggins' fortunes crumbled at the Giro d'Italia, catapulting Uran to the podium.

    Henao admitted in an interview with Biciciclismo that the opening grand tour of the year, the Giro, where he finished 16th on GC, left him feeling quite fatigued and so it was only at Poland that the Colombian made his return to racing. With the Vuelta in mind, Henao is keen to approach the race as fresh as possible, choosing not to take on the Vuelta a Burgos, where he was second overall last season behind Katusha’s Daniel Moreno.

    "While in Poland we decided to forego Burgos because I want to get motivated and fresh for the Vuelta," he explained. "I will train in Pamplona and then we will shift to Andorra. The idea is, incidentally, get familiar with some finishes like Angliru which I do not know."

    Earlier in the season, Henao won stages at Volta ao Algarve, Pais Vasco – where he was also third overall – and then finished runner-up to Moreno again at Flèche Wallonne.

    Ideally, Henao will be looking to improve on his 14th placing at last year’s Vuelta, where stage 17 represented his highest-placed finish with third behind Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) atop the Fuente De.

    "To fight for the podium is a dream, and always looked at with respect because it is a big result on your palmares and it’s quite hard to do," Henao said. "I would be satisfied with a stage win and a place in the top five. But mostly I want to perform at a high level and be in contention with the real leaders, and be entertaining. Valverde, Rodriguez, Nibali, Samuel Sanchez ... They are the favorites and would be very happy if I can be with them. Colombia has demonstrated its level, Rigo was second in the Giro and at the Tour Quintana, why not also be on the podium in the Vuelta?"

    Following the Vuelta, Henao said he is also looking forward to the UCI Road World Championships which, with its hilly parcours, is set to favour the Colombian team which will field a squad of nine riders.

    "For us it is very important to compete on the same terms as Spain or Italy," he explained. "It is historic. The worlds course is very suitable for Colombia, and the type of rider we are. We have a strong and united team and believe that it is a good opportunity. If we work together, we can fight for the championship."
     

  • Drapac confident of earning Tour Down Under wildcard

    Will Walker (Drapac) wins the opening stage at the FKG Tour of Toowoomba
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 08:05
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian team applying for Professional Continental status

    Following Friday's confirmation by Tour Down Under organisers that a wildcard will be offered for an Australian-registered UCI Professional Continental team in 2014, Drapac say they are confident of being able to meet the eligibility criteria.

    Tour Down Under officials will allow Drapac – who are set to apply for an upgrade to their current UCI Continental status in coming weeks – to start at the WorldTour event so long as they meet the following conditions: The team secures a UCI Pro Continental License for 2014; that the team is acknowledged by the UCI as an Australian team; and the team is registered as a Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) team, whereby MPCC teams impose stricter anti-doping measures beyond the World Anti-Doping Agency Code.

    Drapac's team manager Jonathan Breekveldt said that he believes that the team will earn it's long-awaited start at the Tour Down Under.

    "We are already in the application process for a UCI Professional Continental licence for 2014, which is a process that takes several months and begun some time ago," he said. "We have so far met all of the deadlines successfully in the application and in our most recent submission requested Australia registration. As we are currently members of the MPCC we have already satisfied two of the criteria today. So the wildcard will be contingent on the licence and I am sure we will receive this."

    Breekveldt continued by trumpeting the benefits such a move by race organisers would have on the domestic Australian race scene.

    "The opportunity to compete in the 2014 Tour Down Under is very exciting and will offer great reward and activation opportunities to all involved with DPC [Drapac Professional Cycling] like we have never seen for an Australian team," he explained. "Not only will this outcome benefit the team competing but also the wider domestic cycling community as a pathway has now been created linking the National Road Series to the Tour Down Under."

    "This decision is one, which will leave a constructive legacy on Australian Cycling where we will all benefit for many years."

    Drapac's domestic season continues next week at round seven of the National Road Series, the Tour of the Great South Coast, next week. Given the team's lofty goals for the season ahead, Drapac have extra reason to be motivated for the race.

    "We have selected possibly the strongest team we have ever fielded in Australia if not the strongest team ever seen at a NRS race," Breekveldt said.

    Drapac's Tour of the Great South Coast team: Darren Lapthorne, William Walker, Bernard Sulzberger, Luke Davison, Floris Goesinnen, Robbie Hucker, Gordon McCauley, Thomas Palmer.
     

  • Supporting McQuaid could financially damage Swiss Cycling

    UCI President Pat McQuaid takes the oath before speaking at the French Senate hearing into anti-doping
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 08:46
    By:
    Cycling News

    Board members said to be calling for withdrawal of nomination

    Members of the Board of Directors of Swiss Cycling are trying to convince president Richard Chassot to withdraw the national federation's nomination of Pat McQuaid as UCI president. According to reports in the Swiss media, the cost of the court case challenging the nomination could financially ruin the federation.

    McQuaid must be nominated by a federation, and his national Irish federation did so in April. However, later that month, protests about the decision by members cause the federation to call an Extraordinary General Meeting. At that meeting, held in June, the vote went against McQuaid and the Irish endorsement was withdrawn.

    On May 16, it was announced that Swiss Cycling had endorsed McQuiad's candidacy. The Irishman noted that he has lived in Switzerland since 2005. However, according to the NZZ.ch website, he had only become a member of the federation in May 2013, shortly before the nomination, perhaps in anticipation of the Irish withdrawal, the Swiss newspaper suggests, and that he joined simply to gain the nomination.

    Three members of the Swiss Cycling Board of Directors called for an extraordinary meeting after the decision, but federation president Richard Chassot and the rest of the directors did not allow the meeting to be held, in violation of their own rules, NZZ.ch said.

    Three Swiss Cycling members, including former national trainer Kurt Bürgi and former pro rider Patrick Calcagni, have challenged the nomination in court. The newspaper says that one of the current national trainers planned to join the lawsuit, but withdrew this week. The unnamed trainer is on the Swiss Cycling payroll and “became aware of the consequences that his action might have on his employment”.

    When the challenge was filed, Swiss Cycling was required to post a 50,000 Swiss Franc deposit, which it claimed it could not pay. This forced the plaintiffs to pay the Swiss Cycling share as well as their own, or the case could not be filed. As the plaintiffs could not also not afford it, Jamie Fuller of the cycling clothing firm Skins paid the required 100,000 Swiss Francs. He has lead a campaign to oust McQuiad and actively supported the Change Cycling Now campaign.

    If the court rules against Swiss Cycling, the federation would have to pay back the entire sum and all other legal costs, risking financial ruin. Therefore, the newspaper says, more members of the board of directors are trying to persuade Chassot to withdraw McQuaid's nomination and thereby nullify the court case and the risk of financial ruin.

    The case is scheduled to be heard on August 22. The UCI election is scheduled for the end of September.

  • Voigt to continue racing in 2014

    Jens Voigt (RadioShack) couldn't leave the Tour de France without getting one red dossard, and attacked solo
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 11:02
    By:
    Cycling News

    German veteran wants a year to slowly say goodbye

    Jens Voigt doesn't see his upcoming 42d birthday as any reason to stop racing. The German veteran intends to continue racing in 2014, he announced on twitter.

    Voigt, currently riding the Tour of Utah for RadioShack-Leopard, made the announcement in a series of tweets concerning a new bike he expects to receive for the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado later this month.

    “Did i ever mention that there is high possibility that i might race in @USAProChallenge on a brand new different paint scheme bike??!” he started out.

    “Of course i cannot say too much or spoil the surprise of the new design, but it will be very personal, almost like a good bye present..”

    Those last few words set off a firestorm of concern that he was going to retire.

    “No No- no retirement yet!! I will happily ride that new bike a whole new saison next year- Down Under, Europe, Asia and again Amerika....” and, as he pointed out, “It will take me all of next year to slowly say good bye and get my mind around the fact that i will retire end of next year... But not yet!!”

    Voigt turned pro in 1997 with ZVVZ-Gian-AIS, and has ridden for Credit Agricole, CSC/Saxo Bank, and Leopard-Trek/RadioShack over the years. He has taken part in the Tour de France 16 times, every year since 1998, and has won two stages, in 2001 and 2006.

    He still secures stage wins every now and then, winning a stage at this years Amgen Tour of California.

  • Froome studies the Florence world championship course

    There is time to enjoy the moment for Chris Froome (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 9, 2013, 11:46
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Briton hoping to emulate Greg LeMond with Tour de France-world championship double

    Chris Froome traveled to Tuscany this week to secretly study the hilly course of the world road race championships in Florence. The Tour de France winner confirmed that the world title is a goal for the end of season and he will ride the USA Procycling Challenge in Colorado (August 19-25) to prepare for the end of season.

    Froome's fiancé Michelle Cound tweeted a photograph of Froome relaxing in Tuscany on Tuesday and then posted a photo of Froome on a key part of the circuit on Friday morning. Gazzetta dello Sport revealed that Froome rode two laps of the circuit on Wednesday morning with former professional rider Roberto Poggiali acting as a guide aboard a scooter. Poggiali was the Under 23 directeur sportif of Froome's teammate Salvatore Puccio.

    Froome carefully studied the 4.3km up to Fiesole above Florence, the technical descent back to the centre of the Renaissance city and the key short climb in Via Salviati that could be a perfect point to launch a late attack. The Elite men's road race will cover a total distance of 272km, with a 106km section from Lucca to Florence and then ten laps of the 16.5km Fiesole circuit.

    "During the first lap he stayed mostly behind my scooter but on the second lap he carefully tried his gears and pushed it a bit more. He studied every detail and said that it was a hard but great course," Poggiali told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "He pointed out that the final part of the Fiesole climb was important, perhaps more than the Via Salviati climb. He thinks the riders to beat will be the Italians and the Colombians (Sky teammates Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao and Movistar's Nairo Quintana); he also said even a rider like Cancellara could be a threat."

    Froome has yet to be officially named in the Great Britain team for the world championships but it seems he will only ride the road race, leaving Bradley Wiggins to target the time trial.

    "He told me he won’t ride the individual time trial but he could ride the team time trial event on September 22," Poggiali revealed.