A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Calls denial of WorldTour licence discriminatory
The UCI's decision not to issue a WorldTour licence to Team Katusha is discriminatory, not only to the team but to the nation of Russia, the Russian Cycling Federation said. It will now do all it can and "will defend the interests of the team meaning Russian cycling in general.”
On Monday evening, the UCI announced the final WorldTour licences, and although Katusha had previously been named to meet the sporting requirements, it was not given a licence.
“To this moment no one from the team management, sponsors or the Russian Cycling Federation has been given official explications from the UCI,” the Federation said in a statement released Thursday.
Katusha is a strongly Russian team, running under a Russian licence and the majority of the riders are Russians. It is a part of the Russian Global Cycling Project, which is under the direction of the Russian Cycling Federation.
This year the team finished second on the UCI's WorldTour ranking, and had 29 victories. Its leader, Joaquim Rodriguez, won the UCI's WorldTour individual ranking, “becoming the best cyclist of the world and a vivid example for young Russian athletes who are only in the beginning of their cycling career,” the Federation statement said.
The lack of a WorldTour licence “will lead to a reduction of chances of Russia to perform and win in competitions of the highest level. Also this will lead to a decrease of popularity of cycling as a sport and consequently to decrease of cyclists quantity in Russia. This is exactly the opposite to what the Russian Cycling Federation headed by its president Igor Makarov have been fighting for two years.”
The UCI's lack of a response as to its reasoning “completely undermines the image of the UCI, the organization, whose...
Argentinean returns to his roots, will race San Luis
After six years of racing at the WorldTour level with Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team, sprinter Juan José Haedo will step back to the Continental level in 2013 with Team Jamis-Hagens Berman.
The Argentinean made his professional debut in 2003 with a previous incarnation of the team, Colavita, and stayed with the squad for three seasons. Jamis director Sebastian Alexandré is pleased to have his compatriot back in the fold of the growing team.
"I know J.J. very well and have kept in touch frequently since he moved to Europe," Alexandre said. "After we finalized our sponsors for 2013, I spoke with him about this new project and the plans to grow the team and he liked the idea. With J.J. on board, this is undoubtedly the strongest team that we have ever fielded. The team will be competitive in every race we enter and I hope to show it during all of the major UCI races in the U.S. next year."
Haedo's WorldTour campaign had mixed results: he won the Rund um Köln and a stage of the Deutschland Tour in his first year with CSC, took wins in the Clásica de Almería and Vuelta a Murcia his second season. Wins in the Circuit Franco-Belge and Tour de Wallonie came in 2009, but it was 2010 which was his next step up sprinting's rung. Haedo won sprints in the Critérium du Dauphiné and Volta a Catalunya that year in addition to his second Rund um Köln and the Mumbai Cyclothon.
In 2011, he garnered another WorldTour win in Tirreno-Adriatico before bagging his first Grand Tour stage in the Vuelta a España by beating Alessandro Petacchi and Daniele Bennati to the line in Haro on stage 16.
However, his luck in 2012 was not as good. He was winless until the GP de Denain Porte du Hainaut, and his main focus of the first half of the season, the Critérium du Dauphiné, soured when he was dropped on the climbs and abandoned after stage...
Calls LeMond's bid for UCI presidency arrogant
UCI president Pat McQuaid has defended against the Change Cycling Now (CCN) group's call to replace him with Greg LeMond, and criticized the new organization which is led by businessman Jaimie Fuller, writer David Walsh and former UCI biological passport analyst Michael Ashenden as having ulterior motives.
“It seems clear to me that their leader, Jaime Fuller (who runs the clothing company Skins) is seeking to further his own business interests," McQuaid told AFP. "Then there is a journalist who wants to promote a book coming out shortly and a haematologist who claims to have a method of detecting blood transfusions for the next Tour de France. Why are they not working with the UCI or the World Anti-Doping Agency?”
The UCI's independent commission asked for CCN's input, but McQuaid said it has received no feedback.
“They have discussed nothing with us; they only spoke of their own interests for two days in London,” McQuaid said. “They are not part of cycling, they have no mandate, no status, but they do have a conflict of interest."
The group has been vocal in its stance that the current UCI administration should step down over its mishandling of the doping problems in the sport, and alleges the governing body has covered up the cheating by Lance Armstrong for years. It was suggested that three-time Tour de France champion LeMond step in as an interim president, but McQuaid dismissed the notion as "arrogant".
“Greg was a great cyclist who I’ve known since...
WADA and commission to meet in near future
The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), John Fahey, released a statement today in which he expressed his concerns about the organisation's participation in the UCI's Independent Commission.
A three-member panel, chaired by Former British Court of Appeal judge Sir Philip Otton and assisted by House of Lords Peer and Paralympic Champion Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes QC, has been set up to investigate the USADA's reasoned decision relating to the Lance Armstrong affair and accusations that the UCI failed to do everything within its powers in the fight against doping.
"I can confirm that WADA has been contacted by lawyers representing the independent commission established by the UCI, cycling’s governing body, and has agreed to meet with them in the near future to discuss WADA’s possible involvement in the process that has been proposed by the UCI," said Fahey. "However, WADA has some significant concerns about the commission’s terms of reference and has alerted the lawyers representing the commission of its concerns.
"If WADA’s concerns cannot be resolved as a result of this meeting, WADA will consider seriously whether it can take part in the commission’s process.
"WADA will make no further public comment on the matter until after the meeting."
The Independent Commission is currently gathering evidence and will ultimately hold a hearing in London between April 9-16, 2013. It then aims to submit its report to the UCI by June 1, 2013, or shortly after.
Riders due to get back pay
The riders and staff of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team are set to get paid their wages for the final two months of the year now that negotiations between the Fundación Ciclista Euskadi and the new management company Basque Cycling Pro Team (BCPT) and its sponsor Euskaltel S.A. have been settled.
The foundation agreed to transfer the assets including the team's buses, valued at €918,000, to the new organization in order to allow the salaries, unpaid from November, to be released to the team.
No details of the exact agreement were given in the dual announcements sent by the foundation and Euskaltel.
The Basque team was recently awarded a four-year WorldTour license by the UCI and granted entry into the sport's top tier for 2013. The team had been funded through the Basque foundation, but had to be overhauled for 2013 after the organisation suffered large budget cuts due to the Spanish financial crisis.
As part of the change, the team has decided to expand its ranks with riders from outside the region in order to garner the WorldTour license. But it was a move which came under criticism from some Basque riders who were not renewed.
Previously, Samuel Sanchez was the one of the only non-Basque rider on the team, but for 2013, manager Miguel Madariaga has recruited Slovakians Jure Kocjan and Robert Vrecer, Germans Steffen Radochla and Andre Schulz, Portugal's Ricardo Mestre, Moroccan Tarik Chaoufi, Greek rider Ioannis Tamouridis and Russian Alexandre Serebryakov.
Home race for Vuelta King of the Mountains winner
The race will mark Clarke's return to racing after recent surgery to have his appendix removed and so the 26-year-old is unsure of his form and his ability to tackle the tricky and likely decisive Arthurs Seat climb under race conditions.
"I haven't raced it before but I have ridden it enough times so I know it well," Clarke explained. "And it is definitely a hard climb. It will separate the men from the boys.
"Previous results show it will be a climbing style rider who wins the Sun Tour, but at the same time we will have to be very offensive in the first couple of stages to make sure we don't lose any time."
This year's King of the Mountains at the Vuelta a España, Clarke is also a former winner of the under 23 classification at the Sun Tour back in 2007, but hasn't raced the event since 2008.
The four-stage event is a rare opportunity for Clarke to race at home so it's one that the shrewd rider is looking forward to.
"It is my home race, it hasn't been on for a little while and now with the bit of extra following for me personally after what I did at the Vuelta, it will be good to race and have extra local support," Clarke said.
"But I am planning to be in good condition and if that results in me being able to race for myself then that's great, otherwise I will make sure I am a good support for whoever is selected to lead the national team."
The other riders for the Australian National Team at the Sun Tour are expected to be named in coming weeks.
Don't expect sponsor before Amstel Gold Race, says Plugge
Blanco Pro Cycling Team formally unveiled its new colours to the world with a presentation in Fuerteventura on Thursday evening. After 17 long years in the peloton, the familiar Dutch orange of Rabobank is no more, replaced instead by the navy, white and blue of a team in search of a new title sponsor.
Like Highroad in 2008, Blanco has sufficient funding from its departed sponsor to see it through the coming campaign but must find a new backer before the end of 2013 in order to continue in the sport.
New team director Richard Plugge – his appointment was announced only on Thursday morning – said that a number of potential sponsors had expressed interest, but he told reporters that there would not be any concrete news until the end of the spring at the earliest.
“Don’t expect a sponsor before Amstel Gold Race but there is a lot of interest in this new project,” Plugge said.
The short presentation began with a brief promotional video bearing the tagline of “New team, fresh start, blank canvas.” While new arrivals such as Sep Vanmarcke and Jack Bobridge were on hand in Fuerteventura, the biggest changes in personnel come on the management staff.
After a year as communications director, Richard Plugge makes the step up to overall team director. Plugge paid tribute to the work of his predecessor Harald Knebel, who was himself installed to oversee a reformation of the team in the wake of the Michael Rasmussen affair of 2007, but he expressed the wish that the new Blanco name would be more than a superficial makeover.
“It’s a new vibe, a different atmosphere and a new way of working,” Plugge said, explaining that the team’s moniker came about by chance. “It’s a blank canvas, a new sheet of paper. In fact, the word...
Wiggins, Meares and Zanardi earn nominations
Wiggins became Britain's first Tour winner in season which also included victories at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphiné and the individual time trial at the London Olympic Games. The 32-year old is nominated in the Sportsman of the Year category alongside athletics stars Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, Barcelona's prolific goal scorer Lionel Messi, swimmer Michael Phelps having become the most decorated Olympian in history and three-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Also nominated was Australia's Anna Meares, in the category of Comeback of the Year. The nod for Meares comes off the back of her Olympic gold medal performance in the Sprint over great rival Victoria Pendleton. Meares also earned a bronze medal in the Team Sprint with Kaarle McCulloch. Meares' feats were all the more remarkable, four years on from her horrific fall at the Los Angeles World Cup event which left her with a broken neck. Seven months later she returned to claim a silver medal in the Sprint against Pendleton at the Beijing Olympic Games.
The third nomination went to Alex Zanardi who claimed Paralympic gold in the H4 road and time trial events, along with silver the mixed team relay in London. Zanardi, a former CART champion and Formula One driver had both his legs amputated following a crash in 2001. It was the 46-year-old's first Paralympic Games.
A 46-member panel of sporting greats will cast their...