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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 28, 2012

Date published:
December 28, 2012, 05:00
  • De la Fuente without team for 2013, facing possible retirement

    David de la Fuente (Caja Rural) rides in the breakaway with Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    December 27, 2012, 04:58
    Cycling News

    Caja Rural rider in familiar situation to end of 2012

    David de la Fuente finds himself in almost the identical position as this time last year – the Spaniard is once again without a team for the coming season. His current Caja Rural squad did not renew his contract after reportedly promising him a spot on the team for 2013.

    "I was saying all year, since I signed in January, I would do another year [with Caja Rural]," de la Fuente told El Pedal de Frodo. I was thinking I was going to do well this year so I chose to wait till later before signing.

    "Then we left for the Vuelta and I was told they had me one hundred percent, until we specify the quantities and all ... On the last day of the Vuelta I was told the contract would come in two days and never came," he said.

    De la Fuente’s finished second overall in the Vuelta a España’s climbing classification – won by Australia’s Simon Clarke (Orica GreenEdge) however, it’s been a while since the trusted domestique took a victory.

    The 2009 GP Miguel Indurain was de la Fuente’s most recent victory and despite being part of Alberto Contador’s winning Astana team at the 2010 Tour de France and a right-hand man to the 2011 Vuelta champion Juan José Cobo, the 31-year-old is facing possible retirement.

    "Although this time and getting used to the idea that life has its phases for a rider and perhaps because of how bad this cycling, mine is running out," said de la Fuente.

    The rider who has finished in the top-three of the climbing classification at both the Tour and the Vuelta admits there has been interest from teams but he’s not willing to ride for nothing.

    "But the truth is I'm not willing to take any price. Maybe something that has long dismissed had caught now, but I will not repent and because what's done is done.

    "I'm pretty pessimistic to do it [sign with a team so late in year] again, or at least be able to find something."

    If de la Fuente chooses to retire he says that he would continue to be involved in cycling in some way but the decision would not be without some regrets.

    "I would love to continue to enjoy it, which is something important. But, as I said before my thorn would be not winning in a big way."


    Tour de France
    Vuelta a España
  • Boy van Poppel joins Vacansoleil-DCM

    Points classification leader Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare)
    Article published:
    December 27, 2012, 10:01
    Cycling News

    Young Dutchman to debut at the Tour Down Under

    Vacansoleil-DCM has announced the signing of Boy van Poppel, confirming that the young Dutchman will make his debut for the WorldTour team at the Tour Down Under in Australia.

    Van Poppel rode in the USA with the UnitedHealthCare team in 2011 and 2012 but will now be united with his father Jean Paul, who is a directeur sportif with Vacansoleil-DCM, as well as his brother Danny, who is a neo-pro with the team. 

    24 year-old Van Poppel has a fast finish and had five top ten finishes in the Tour of Britain, going on to finish eighth overall.

    Directeur sportif Hilaire Van Der Schueren said: "Despite a limited number of race days, the relative number of top-10 places is very high. This is an indication that Boy is often in the finale of races and often has a go in the sprints. That's enough to earn him a place with Vacansoleil-DCM. He's young and is not an expensive rider and so fits perfectly with the vision of the team."

    Boy van Poppel will make his debut in the dark blue Vacansoleil-DCM colours at the Tour Down Under, which starts on Sunday January 20, with the warm-up People's Choice Classic criterium.

    Also in the Vacansoleil-DCM squad are Thomas De Gendt, Kenny Van Hummel, Willem Wauters, Tomasz Marczynski, Barry Markus and Rafael Valls.

  • Ballan ready to leave intensive care

    Alessandro Ballan will be looking to perform well in front of his home crowd at the 2012 Giro del Trantino
    Article published:
    December 27, 2012, 12:15
    Cycling News

    BMC rider celebrates his wedding anniversary in hospital and tweets from his bed

    Alessandro Ballan celebrated his wedding anniversary with his wife Daniela in the intensive care unit of Denia hospital in Spain but is expected to return to Italy in the next few days after recovering well from surgery.

    Ballan crashed at high speed on December 20 during a training camp, fracturing his left femur and three ribs. Doctors decided to remove his spleen and operated on his femur on Friday but opted not to remove a kidney that was also damaged when Ballan crashed into to a wall.

    "We're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Alessandro's condition is getting better and better, so much so that he is expected to be taken out of intensive care and moved to a normal hospital ward," BMC team doctor Max Testa told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "I spoke to Ballan and his morale seems good. I told him that the team is organising his flight to Italy with a special company so that he avoids any risks. The best thing is if he waits a few more days. He told me that the hospital in Denia has treated him really well and agree with his plans of when to return to Italy."

    Ballan's wife Daniela traveled to Spain as soon as she was informed of the accident. The two spent Christmas together and celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary together in hospital.

    According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ballan's BMC teammates Steve Morabito and Ivan Santaromita will visit him in hospital after traveling to Denia for warm-weather training. The BMC training camp will begin in the Spanish town on January 12.

    Ballan has already tweeted from hospital, describing his cardiac monitor as his Christmas tree and posting a photo of himself with a thumbs up. Ballan's Twitter name account is @aleballan79.


  • Wiggins includes Tirreno-Adriatico in Giro build-up race programme

    Bradley Wiggins was all smiles for sign on at the Tour of Britain
    Article published:
    December 27, 2012, 15:10
    Cycling News

    Team Sky leader's possible race calendar revealed

    Bradley Wiggins is expected to ride Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time in his career as part of his early-season race calendar and preparation for the Giro d'Italia in May.

    According to the Spanish Biciciclismo website, which has been reported by L'Equipe and Gazzetta dello Sport, Wiggins will make his 2013 season debut at the Volta ao Algarve in February. He will then forgo defending his victory at Paris-Nice to ride Tirreno-Adriatico (March 6-12) and head to Spain for the Volta a Catalunya (March 18-24).

    Depending on his form Wiggins will ride the Giro del Trentino (April 16-19) or the Tour de Romandie (April 23-28) before traveling to Italy for the start of the Giro d'Italia on May 4.

    With the Tour de France starting on June 29, Wiggins would have 34 days to rest up and recover after the Giro d'Italia ends in Brescia on May 26.

    Wiggins is again expected to mix stage races with sessions at altitude on El Teide on the island of Tenerife.

    The 2012 Tour de France winner has hinted he will target the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France double in 2013 in the hope of becoming the first rider to win the sport's two toughest stage races in the same season since Marco Pantani in 1998.

    Only seven riders have done the Giro-Tour double: Fausto Coppi: 1949, 1952; Jacques Anquetil: 1964; Eddy Merckx: 1970, 1972, 1974; Bernard Hinault: 1982, 1985; Stephen Roche: 1987; Miguel Indurain: 1992, 1993; and Marco Pantani: 1998.

  • Sagan names Milano-Sanremo as his first goal of 2013

    Incredible Hulk: Peter Sagan set the Tour alight with three stage wins and the green jersey win
    Article published:
    December 27, 2012, 18:35
    Cycling News

    Slovakian heads to Los Angeles for January training

    Peter Sagan has confirmed that Milan-Sanremo will be the first goal of his 2013 season but the talented Slovakian will miss Paris-Roubaix and the world road race championships in Florence.

    Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport from his home in Zilina before heading to Los Angeles for some warm weather training and the Team Cannondale official presentation on January 13, the prodigious Slovakian is confident of another double-digit season.

    Since turning professional in 2010, Sagan has won 36 races and dominated the green points jersey competition at the 2012 Tour de France, winning three stages along the way.

    He is often compared to Eddy Merckx and seems to have the same hunger, ability and self-confidence.

    "I like it (being compared to Merckx)," he told Gazzetta. "It's difficult to say who is my biggest rival. I'm suited to lots of different kinds of finishes and so I'm always up against different rivals. But I can beat them all."

    Sagan will travel to Argentina for the Tour de San Luis after the Team Cannondale presentation, celebrating his 23rd birthday during the race, on January 26.

    "It's a real race, it'll be a big battle with Boonen," he predicted. "After that I'll ride the Tour of Oman, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Amstel Gold Race."

    "Milan-Sanremo is my first goal because it's the first Classic, while Flanders and Roubaix are the races I dream about winning. I'd love to win the world title one year too but the course in Florence is too tough for me this time."

    Surprisingly, despite being a former Junior world mountain bike world champion, Sagan is unlikely to ride Paris-Roubaix in 2013 according to Gazzetta dello Sport, due to his position on the bike.

    He sits high and forward, meaning his centre of gravity makes his bounce and often loses control of his bike on the pave. He is expected to gradually change his position on the bike, but not before the spring.

    "I've got to continue to develop and mature. I've got to become stronger in every type of race. It's easy to say I've got to improve on the climbs but I've also got to good in sprints too," he explained.

    "I've been doing more or less the same things for three years. I've always improved and so I don't want to change too much for now."

  • Giacoppo looks to boost WordTour ambition at Mitchelton Summer of Cycling

    Anthony Giacoppo (Genesys) wins Stage 7 of the  Tour of the Great South Coast ahead of  Samuel Witmitz (Team Budget Forklifts)
    Article published:
    December 27, 2012, 22:25
    Cycling News

    Huon Salmon - Genesys Wealth Advisers chase back-to-back wins at Sun Tour

    Huon Salmon - Genesys Wealth Advisers will be ably led by Anthony Giacoppo over the Mitchelton Summer of Cycling - the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

    Giacoppo, who this season took out the Portarlington stage at the 'Bay Crits' on the way to the biggest results of his career - Tour of the Great South Coast, Tour of Kumano Prologue and finishing fifth overall at the Tour of Taiwan - will be once again looking to upset some of his big name rivals at the season opener.

    There is a lot riding on the 'Sun Tour' for the Huon Salmon - Genesys Wealth Advisers outfit the defending champions with Nathan Haas riding to a memorable victory in 2011 before being picked up by Garmin-Sharp.

    "I'm feeling pretty good, I have had some time off and feeling stronger and looking to be better in 2013," said Giacoppo, 2012 Australian Criterium Champion.

    "I would say I'm more suited to first couple of stages, Arthurs Seat will be an interesting finish."

    Joining Giacoppo at the Bay Crits will be former teammate, on loan from Garmin-Sharp Steele Von Hoff, Brenton Jones, Tom Robinson and Jack Beckinsale. For the Sun Tour the team has been built for the terrain with 2010 National Road Series champion Patrick Shaw, Tour of Utah stage winner Jai Crawford, Nathan Earle, Joseph Cooper and Melbourne to Warrnambool runner-up Aaron Donnelly.

    With a new look in 2013, Giacoppo still considers the race as an important part in Australian cycling.

    "That why we all do it, there are some really strong National Road Series teams, and some talented national teams, it will be a good race.

    "I did the 'Sun Tour' last year and going up Arthurs Seat was great, a late arvo finish with the streets packed will be an awesome sight."

    The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic runs from January 1-3 while the Jayco Herald Sun Tour begins January 3 until the 6th.


  • Orica GreenEdge gunning for clean sweep of Cycling Australia Road National Championships

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) celebrates winning
    Article published:
    December 28, 2012, 03:07
    Cycling News

    Durbridge, Gerrans back to defend 2012 titles

    Orica GreenEdge will once again send a stacked line-up to the 2013 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships, January 9-13 in Ballarat.

    The team will be defending their men's road race title, won by Simon Gerrans, and also their individual time trial, won by Luke Durbridge. In 2013, a national criterium championship is also on the agenda.

    The time trials will open the program in 2013 with a new-look, fully-closed course. Competitors will take in a lap of Lake Wendouree before heading along Sturt Street through the Arch of Victory and along Ballarat's historic Avenue of Honour.

    In 2012, Durbridge claimed overall victories in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and Circuit de la Sarthe, and the individual time trial prologue at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    Durbridge was also part of the Orica GreenEdge team, along with Cameron Meyer, which won bronze in the men's team time trial UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands.

    "Certainly, defending my time trial title is definitely one of my big goals for the nationals and it would be fantastic," said Durbridge. "But, I will also be looking to support the team in the road race and maybe even take my own opportunities."

    Former teammate Jack Bobridge came to grief on the old course, suffering a large amount of grazing and bruising after a truck passed the South Australian within the first kilometre of racing. Disturbed air from the vehicle forced Bobridge off his rig and onto the tarmac and he was lucky to escape serious injury. Durbridge is happy to see safety take priority in 2013.

    "It's crucial for full road closures in the time trial and I am really glad that Cycling Australia have [sic] come to party with that decision," said the former under 23 world champion in the discipline. "It gives riders a lot of peace of mind when you are humming along with your head down at 60kph that you are safe."

    The team failed to make the podium in the criterium in 2012 with Baden Cooke their best-placed rider in sixth, giving them extra reason to attack the second event on the program this time around. Michael Matthews who will be making his debut with the team should be a strong contender, as will Leigh Howard.

    "As a team, will be going to try to win, to try to claim the title," said Howard.

    "As to who will be going for the win, this will be open to any of us that want to have a crack.

    "Obviously our main goal is for the Sunday in the road race which will be an extremely hard day and hard race to win but all the same, I think as a team we can do it again this year," he added.

    Adding to the Orica GreenEdge line-up of Durbridge, Matthews, Cooke, Gerrans and Howard for the road race will be Simon Clarke, Cameron Meyer, Stuart O'Grady, Matt Goss, Travis Meyer, Mitch Docker, Michael Hepburn and Wes Sulzberger. The event will close out the program on Sunday January 13 with the often-criticised course undergoing changes. In 2013, riders will now contest three loops of a flatter 27.7 kilometre circuit before tackling the famous Buninyong 10.2km circuit a further eleven times for a 195.6km event. In theory, it should make the race more open and accessible for sprinters.

    Goss finished as runner-up in 2010 and is hopeful of a strong showing next month.

    "It's going to be a fresh outlook and I think the way people approach it will be different so we are going to see a completely different race," he said.

    "It leaves it really open and the first time you do anything, no one really knows how it's going to play out.

    "I am excited and can hopefully give it a really good crack," Goss added.



  • Pinotti details his life as a pro cyclist in new book

    Marco Pinotti (BMC) on the podium in Milan
    Article published:
    December 28, 2012, 04:54
    Cycling News

    Excerpt from Kindle edition of "The Cycling Professor"

    Marco Pinotti's recently published book detailing the highs and lows of his 14-year professional career is now available in a digital, English version via Amazon Kindle, titled "The Cycling Professor".

    The 36-year-old Italian, a multi-time national time trial champion and Grand Tour stage winner, is a staunch advocate for clean cycling and detailed his person anti-doping philosophy in this excerpt from his autobiography:

    The revolution within
    "A few years ago, together with my coach Omar Beltran, I began to embark on a path of fitness and training, deviating from traditional methods. Omar had a vision, which he has managed to put in writing and a taste of his way of working and thinking is to be found in his book "Il doping ecologico" (Eco doping). In essence, we both believe that to implement a change in culture and values, alongside the necessary deterrent and punitive tools, there has to be an alternative incentive, a better definition of the term “victory”, where it becomes more of a personal statement rather than beating an opponent. The result is still rewarding.

    Omar states that nobody is a winner in war. We can fight doping all the way, with the most sophisticated tools and checks on all relevant subjects. The problem would certainly be reduced, until new ways are found to bypass the clutches of controls or until these clutches will relax again, for instance, due to lack of funds. Like in the past, new drugs have emerged and remained “unknown” to the controls, the same thing is possible, indeed likely, to happen again in the future.

    Doping should be seen as wrong, not for fear of controls, but simply because it is not right to do it. It pursues an end with the wrong means and it leaves you empty-handed. Or does anyone really believe that winning while cheating makes us truly happy? And then are we really sure that it's worth it? Beyond the possible effects on physical health, perhaps more importantly, shall we talk about the wounds of the soul? Or what message we pass on to future generations? It's like hiding toxic waste in your own garden hoping, by burying it, to have solved the problem.

    Working with Beltran in recent years I have learned that sometimes to take the road less travelled is a good choice, if you respect your personal values. There are some principles and natural laws that transcend personal values, different cultures and religions: there really is a sense of fairness, honesty, respect that has no time and is superior to all opinions and diatribes. Happiness is not a result but a process. We have no overall control over a result. And happiness does not depend on who we are or what we have.

    What I’ve learned is that we always have a choice and that there are always alternatives. From this availability of choices comes the revolution within us. No need to wait for solutions to the problems from above if we do not change our behaviour and our beliefs from within. Above all, I’ve realised that all the things I have learned must be put into practice. To know and not to do is not to know.

    For my part I can say that in my small way I have done, am doing and I will do, everything I can to improve the relationship with this sport and the people who follow it. In my profession, I’ve felt much more involved and motivated by the practice of the sport than its competitive results. Of course I'm interested in the results and I would always go fast and try to win, but I find other aspects of my work much more stimulating and challenging: the type of preparation, the physical sensations (fatigue after a race or a hard workout are so beneficial on a psychological level, it’s hard to describe), the opportunities this job gives me to visit many different places in the world, or simply the pleasure of being outdoors. I think, and hope, that there are many riders who think like me."

    The Kindle edition of "The Cycling Professor" is available here