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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 20, 2013

Date published:
December 20, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Péraud: There is no French rider complete enough to win the Tour

    Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R) wins on Mont Faron
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 16:15 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Frenchman hoping to get into the top-five at home race

    AG2R’s Jean-Christophe Péraud believes it’s unlikely we’ll see a French Tour de France winner in the next five years.

    “There are very good French riders, who are able to do great things, but it seems to me that none has all the qualities to win the Tour in the future,” Péraud told Cyclingnews. “I hope I’m wrong but I think there is no French rider complete enough to be able to win the Tour.”

    Péraud did however name his teammate Romain Bardet, alongside Thibaut Pinot and Pierre Rolland, as France’s best hopes in the Grand Tours.

    France has been without a home winner of the Tour for 28 years. The last of these came when Bernard Hinault took the last of his five titles, in 1985. Since then they have finished on the podium only five times. They came close in 1989 when Laurent Fignon lost by a agonisingly narrow eight second margin to Greg LeMond in the final day’s time trial, still the closest finish to a Grand Tour.

    In recent times, Péraud has been one of the best French performers. He finished tenth at his first Tour in 2011, after finishing sixth in the final time trial. Péraud was on course to better that this year, when he crashed out on the mountain time trial just days before the race reached Paris.

    He’d already taken a tumble during a recce of the course in the morning, but chose to try and continue. His second crash was the final nail in the coffin and he called it quits. Far from being...

  • Gallery: Astana in training in Spain

    Astana pass a local landmark while out training
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 17:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Nibali, Scarponi and Fuglsang begin 2014 preparations in Calpe

    Astana's build-up to the 2014 campaign is underway in earnest in Calpe, where the team has gathered for its first formal training camp ahead of the new season. The team arrived in Spain on December 10 and will remain until Friday.

    The Tour de France is team leader Vincenzo Nibali's primary goal for 2014, but the Giro winner explained that, as ever, his season is broken into two distinct blocks, with a rest period in between. The first block begins with the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January and runs until Liège-Bastogne-Liège, while the second is centred on the Tour.

    "I'm a rider who's always had multiple objectives through the season and broken it up into two parts, with a break in between," Nibali said earlier in the week. "I've always managed to do well by following that plan, but it's not always easy either."

    Among the new signings on show in Calpe is Michele Scarponi, still training in his Lampre-Merida kit as the final days of his 2013 contract wind down. The veteran Scarponi has been signed with a dual purpose: to support Nibali at the Tour and to lead Astana's challenge at the Giro d'Italia.

    "It's the first time we're on the same team, apart from a couple of races with Italy obviously, but Scarponi's a very good rider and he’ll be able to show his worth out on the road," Nibali said. Scarponi was victim of a crash early on the camp, but reported no serious after-effects from the fall and was able to play a full part in training throughout.

    The Astana squad broke into a series of smaller groups to undertake a series of team time trial drills on Sunday, and then had a five and a half hour training ride on Monday, before posing for the official team photographs the following day.

  • USA Cycling criterium championships return to Greenville

    Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) wins the 2013 US pro criterium championship
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 19:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    South Carolina awarded Pro Criterium National Championships

    USA Cycling announced today that it has awarded its Professional Criterium National Championships to Greenville, South Carolina for 2015 and 2016.

    Greenville hosted the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships for seven years until the race was moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    The home of George Hincapie built up a strong base of cycling infrastructure and fans during its seven-year run with the road championships, and the city officials are looking forward to hosting a national championship again.

    "Our award winning downtown is an ideal venue for the USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championships and we are honored to be the host city for this prestigious competition," Greenville Mayor Knox White said. "We look forward to welcoming the field of elite athletes and making the 2015-2016 championships the most exciting yet."

    The criterium championships will be held for the second year in High Point, North Carolina in 2014.

    Greenville will also host the UCI para-cycling world championships in 2014.

  • Rodríguez, Spain and Movistar receive prizes for WorldTour victories

    UCI president Brian Cookson and WorldTour winner Joaquim Rodriguez
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 20:02 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    UCI trophies awarded in Madrid

    Today in Madrid, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Movistar and Spain have received their awards for their victories in their respective UCI WorldTour categories - individual, team and nation - from the UCI president Brian Cookson.

    Rodriguez, 34, described the award as an honour and pointed out that he has won the same category of best-ranked UCI WorldTour individual rider for two years in a row and three years in his career - in 2013 and 2012 ahead of Sky's Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins - and that "it gives me strength to go on working and racing."

    The Catalan said that the trophy - which he received in the presence of Spain's Minister for Sport, José Ignacio Wert - would likely end up in a museum that is due to be constructed in his home town of Parets del Valles, containing all his awards, team jerseys and bikes from his career.

    This year Purito has taken his first ever podium in the Tour de France, where he finished third, as well as fourth in the Vuelta along with a stage win. His first victory of the year came in the Tour of Oman on the Green Mountain summit finish and he followed that up with a stage win in Tirreno-Adriatico and - despite crashing out in Amstel - a sixth in Fleche Wallone behind Katusha team-mate Dani Moreno, as well as second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and a deeply frustrating silver in the World Championships.

    In the UCI WorldTour Rodriguez finished 20 points ahead of Froome after winning Il Lombardia for a second year running, with Froome, who would have had to finish inside the top ten in the Italian Classic, not taking part. After the Briton, the longstanding leader of the rankings, did not participate in the Tour of Beijing, either, the UCI WorldTour individual...

  • Lotto-Belisol Tour Down Under team announced

    Tosh van der Sande models the new Lotto-Belisol clothing for 2014
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 22:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Greipel returns for the seventh time

    German road champion André Greipel has confirmed his appearance at the Tour Down Under as leader of Lotto-Belisol for the first WorldTour race of the season. The sprinter has won 14 stages at the race, including three in 2013 edition of the event, and has taken overall honours twice.

    Greipel’s stage six win in Adelaide this year was his hundredth professional victory. Joining the rider known as ‘Gorilla' will be Australian Adam Hansen who won a stage at this year's Giro d'Italia and has completed the last seven grand tours.

    Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said Lotto Belisol was an impressive team that performed well at races around the world and is looking forward to their return in 2014.

    "There's no question André Greipel and his fellow riders mean business when they come to race here," Turtur said.

    "The explosive power of these cyclists is a force to be reckoned with, and we know how much fans enjoy watching the team storm home for a sprint finish."

    For Greipel it has become a tradition to start his cycling season in South Australia. "In 2014 it will be my seventh attendance in a row. I won the criterium in the run-up to the stage race three times and I took 14 wins at the actual Tour Down Under," Greipel said.

    "In 2008 and 2010 I won the GC as well, so I have good memories of it. The race has become a bit tougher each year, but I see three opportunities to sprint in this edition. The aim is a stage victory."

    The race will also be an important opportunity to hone the sprinting train for the season. Unfortunately for the team a key cog in the train, Greg Henderson, will miss the race for the first time since 2008 

  • French national champions moved to Futuroscope

    Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Gallopin applaud as Arthur Vichot celebrates his win
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 23:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Titles to be decided the week before the Tour de France

    The French Cycling Federation have announced a change in location to decide the national road and time trial champions which will take place at Futuroscope in 2014. The titles will be decided over three days of racing on Thursday 26 June and the weekend of the 28-29 June with riders to fight it out for the right to wear the famous tricolour.

    Present at the announcement were David Lappartient, president of the French Cycling Federation and the CEO of Futuroscope Dominique Hummel along with local dignitaries and representative from the department’s sporting organisations.

    The road route will begin in Poitiers and finishes in Futuroscope although the length and details of the route for the road races are yet to be finalised as is the entertainment schedule for the championships.

    The current French men's national champion is FDJ's Arthur Vichot who soloed to victory over Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team) and Tony Gallopin (Radioshack-Leopard).

    The theme park, located in the Vienne department, first opened in 1987 and was last visited by the Tour de France in 2000. The Tour has visited the audio-visual and cinematic attraction on several occasions and the move of the national titles to Futuroscope renews the parks affiliation with major sporting events.

    Seven titles will be awarded in total with time trials kicking off the event on Thursday morning. The elite women will tackle a 23.9 km race from St Georges les Baillargeaux to Futuroscope. The elite men take on the same course which will be lengthened to 49.2km for them.

    The Saturday morning schedule hosts the amateur and espoirs in the morning while the elite women will race in the afternoon with the hope of showcasing the discipline to spectators. The men’s race is the only event to be held on Sunday. All...

  • Allan Davis still looking for a team

    Allan Davis (Orica-GreenEdge).
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 4:18 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Racing in Australia with hope of an offer

    For many cyclists the uncertainty surrounding contracts is unlike ever before with teams folding left-right-and-centre at WorldTour and Pro-Continental level. Australian Allan Davis is one of many still holding out hope for a ride in 2014 following Orica-GreenEdge's decision not to renew his contract. When the Vuelta de España champion Chris Horner is still waiting for the same phone call with the offer of a ride next year, times must be tough.

    Allan Davis has over thirty wins to his name and podium places at the world championships and Milan-San Remo. In his two years with GreenEdge, Davis had only a solitary win which came at the Bay Classic Series in Port Phillip Bay in 2012. While he wasn't winning races, he provided invaluable experience to the younger riders on the team and mentoring is something he is looking to explore in a post-riding career. Although Davis is still is keen to "continue racing for the next five years, or six!"

    Davis has been riding and training in his adopted home of Spain with the goal of impressing in Australia over the coming months. This has included some novel approaches to getting back into top shape. "I've started running and did a half marathon after the season ended, I also got back in the gym. I've been back on the bike now for a month, doing a bit of track racing which has been good fun," Davis told Cyclingnews.

    While Davis flirted with the plan of doing some six-day racing, the scheduling would have meant missing the opportunity to race on home roads. Economic pressure has extended to the velodrome and a resulted in a reduction in races. "Even six days racing has sort of disappeared. There's nothing at the moment. There is a bit on in January in the New Year but I'll be Australia until February," he said.

    "I'm keeping my options open for next year, but...

  • Drapac Professional Cycling announce more sponsors for 2014

    Thomas Palmer (Drapac Professional Cycling) with Malcolm Rudolph on the wheel
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 5:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Speedplay, le coq sportif Oceania and WD-40 Bike for Pro-Continental team

    Having announced that they will be on SRAM equipped Swift bikes in 2014, Drapac Professional Cycling have gained further support as they prepare for racing at the Pro-Continental level in 2014. Bont Cycling, le coq sportif Oceania, Next, Speedplay, Training Peaks and WD-40 Bike will be supplying their products to Drapac in 2014. The team retains the support of Kask helmets, Champion System clothing, Shotz Sports Nutrition, Arundel, and Salice eyewear for next year.

    Charles Hurtebize, Brand Manager of le coq sportif Australia said that the arrangement with Drapac was a natural fit. "le coq sportif Oceania is excited to be sponsoring the Drapac Professional Cycling team in 2014 to provide team uniform," he said.

    "le coq sportif has a long heritage as a sports specialist, so we are proud to be involved with an organisation like Drapac."

    With the announcement of Bont as a shoe sponsor, the team will be on new bikes, pedals and shoes for 2014. Training Peaks also comes on board to supply the team with a greater capability for analysis and planning of training.

    The team are holding a training camp in the lead up to the Cycling Australia Road National Championships which are held in Ballarat January 8-12 as they prepare for their biggest season to date. Drapac will then make its debut at the Tour Down Under later in the month when the official team launch will occur on January 20.