- Article published:
- December 5, 2013, 20:55
- Daniel Benson
Giro d'Italia stage winner switches race programmes
Movistar’s Alex Dowsett has set himself the target of starting next year's Tour de France. The race kicks off in the rider’s home nation with three stages in the United Kingdom before a transfer to mainland France, and Dowsett, who won a stage in his maiden Grand Tour effort, believes he can claim a spot in Movistar's nine-man Tour line-up.
"I have a rough programme and it's with the aim of riding the Tour de France. It will be the typical build up with races like the Dauphine. I've just got to go out there and prove that I'm worthy enough of a place in the team’'s Tour squad. That’s my one and only goal and then there's the Commonwealth Games off the back of that as well," Dowsett told Cyclingnews from his home in Essex, England.
Movistar put Nairo Quintana in second place in this year's Tour de France, with the pint-sized Colombian claiming the KOM and white jerseys on his way to Paris. The team has yet to confirm its leader for next year's race with Quintana mulling over a Giro bid and Alejandro Valverde an option for captaining the Tour team.
"Obviously the team will be made of up one guy going for the GC result, although we don't know who that is yet, and then climbers, which we have in abundance. Then they'll need riders for the flat and helping them around the bunch. That's where my strengths can come in, so I'll be looking for one of those slots.
"From races like the Tour of Beijing and Tirreno I've shown that I can look after a GC guy pretty well and make sure he's in the right place at the right time in crucial races."
Dowsett realises that his Tour de France slot will not just come down to his efforts in helping others. During the opening months of the season he will be expected to produce results of his own, and the 25-year-old will look to replicate results like his Giro stage win in a number of early season stage races.
"There are going to be races where I can show myself. So there's Tirreno where there's a team time trial and an individual one, but I'm in a good position in the sense that every time the TT bike comes out I'm going for a result and the rest of the time I'm helping the team and doing what I can."
With a Tour de France programme for the first half of the season, Dowsett will step away from the Classics which he rode this year. They were his first serious steps in the one day Spring monuments and he admits that he faced a steep learning curve.
"I've asked to take a back step with the Classics. They were pretty disastrous for me last year, and I wasn't ready for them. I know what I need to do in order to be ready for them but next year isn't the year I want to attack them. I want to put all my focus on the Tour de France and I'd rather go to Flanders and Roubaix and be 100 per cent ready for them."
"It's a horrible experience lining up for a Classic when you know you don't have the form. I knew this year that within an hour of the first race that I could hold 400 watts for an hour but I couldn't hold 500 or 600 watts for two minutes and that's what those races are about. I just wasn't ready and I knew within the first hour of the first race. I lacked that specific training but there was nothing I could do, so it was a case of backs against the wall for every single Classics. I ended up pretty much hating them while I was there but I learnt a hell of a lot and it's something I do want to go back and attack, but the Tour is a bigger target for 2014."
With his first full season on Movistar under his belt Dowsett can reflect back to the start of the year when many looked upon his move from Sky to Spain's WorldTour team as slightly left-field. Despite not knowing Spanish and with other teams in the hunt for his signature, Dowsett took the step of signing for a team that hadn't signed a rider from the UK since Jeremy Hunt in the mid 1990s.
"When Movistar signed me it was always the long term plan to do the Tour. I wanted to do a Grand Tour in my first year and they picked the best one for me with the Giro. I'm super grateful and that obviously went well."
"Some of my closest family were questioning my move," Dowsett admitted to Cyclingnews.
"I knew that it was the right thing to do. Sky wasn't the place for me to be when it came to moving my career on as quickly as I wanted. Basically there was this sentence that I kept hearing 'that I wasn't put in races because I lacked experience.' So for me it was obvious that I had to go somewhere where I could get that experience. I don't begrudge Sky at all. They were going to every Grand Tour to win so they needed the experience to win it, not a new kid who is knocking around but probably won't finish. I just had to go to another team in order to have those opportunities straight away."
- Article published:
- December 5, 2013, 22:05
- Cycling News
Spaniard to join De La Fuente on Turkish team
2011 Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo has reportedly signed with the UCI Continental team Torku Konya Sekerspor. The 32-year-old Spaniard's compatriot David de la Fuente posted a photo of himself with Cobo holding up the jersey of the Turkish team with the phrase, "welcome to the friendly team".
Cobo was not renewed with the Movistar team after having a lacklustre 2012 season. Earlier this week, Cobo told El Diario Montañes that he might take a step down to the Continental level, stating, "I still have no team but we are talking with a small team to ride for next year in order to come back to a bigger team the year after."
Cobo failed to record a win during his two seasons with Movistar. He raced the Vuelta a España in 2012 but did so in support of Alejandro Valverde as he finished a lowly 67th overall. The only grand tour that Cobo rode in 2013 was the Giro d'Italia which was his worst performance in a three week race as he finished in 116th overall
- Article published:
- December 6, 2013, 00:02
- Cycling News
German race announces course for 2014
The 2014 Bayern Rundfahrt features a mountaintop finish on its second stage which may well decide the winner of the five-stage, 784 km long race. The race in southeastern German also has flat stages for the sprinters and a 25-km long time trial on the penultimate stage. Organizers are hoping to field 20 teams, with as many German riders as possible.
The race opens on May 27 with a flat 201.6km romp from Vilshofen to Freilassing, passing through the birthtown of Pope Benedict XVI. A sprint finish is expecte
Stage two will be the Queen stage, and although it is only 165 km long, it will throw 3,300 climbing meters at the peloton as they travel from Freilassing to Reit im Winkl. Underway they will face climbs at Ramsau/Hochschwarzeck and Siegsdorf/Scharam, before taking on the mountaintop finish on the Winklmoos-Alm. The closing climb is four km long with a maximum gradient of 19 percent.
Stage three, 233 km from Grassau to Neusäß, should deliver another sprint finish. If the climbing was not decisive for the GC, then stage four's 25 km long time trial in Wassertrüdingen am Hesselberg should be so. The race ends, as last year, on the roads of the Nürnberger Altstadt. The 160 km include ten laps around Nürnberg's old town.
Despite running against the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Belgium, race organizer Ewald Strohmeier is optimistic of being able to present a good field. "Of course we want to give German riders the chance to perform in front of their home public. That applies to the top riders from the large international teams as well as for the riders from the German Continental teams."
Team MTN-Qhubeka will be amongst those participating, with Strohmeier hoping that the team's two top Germans will be there. Gerald Ciolek won a stage in 2013 and wore the leader's jersey for one stage. "Maybe Linus Gerdemann, also with MTN-Qhubeka in 2014, will celebrate his return to us." Gerdemann was the last German to win the overall title in the race, having done so in 2009.
- Article published:
- December 6, 2013, 04:33
- Cycling News
Henderson and De Clercq forced off the bike
Having had surgery on his knee to treat prepatellar friction syndrome, Greg Henderson will miss the Tour Down Under for the first time since 2008. Henderson’s injury is a common affliction for cyclists who fold and stretch the knee with every pedal stroke.
The treatments and the rest he took in the past weeks didn’t have the desired result and Henderson will now miss the start of the season including his national championships. Henderson is yet to comment on when he will return to racing.
Teammate Bart De Clercq has undergone a CT-scan which showed a rib fracture. De Clercq had hurt himself during the teambuilding camp last week on Tuesday and x-rays taken on Friday showed no visible signs of injury.
When at the beginning of this week he got sharp pain, extra tests followed and the diagnosis was a rib fracture. Over the coming days, De Clercq will be off the bike, resuming training when the pain subsides.
- Article published:
- December 6, 2013, 09:34
- Peter Cossins
The first winner on the Angliru remains at the forefront of his family’s thoughts
Friday marks 10 years since Spanish climbing ace José María Jiménez died after suffering an embolism while undergoing treatment for health and psychological problems at a clinic in Madrid. He was just 32.
Four times a winner of the mountains title at the Vuelta a España and the victor when that race headed up the fearsome Angliru for the first time in 1999, Jiménez was one of the scintillating riders of the 1990s, although the excesses for which he was renowned ultimately took their toll. Universally known as ‘Chava’, he turned pro in 1993 with Banesto and spent the rest of his career with the Spanish team.
One of several mooted successors to Banesto leader and five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain, Jiménez lacked the time trialling ability and absolute focus required to take up Indurain’s mantle, but carved his own niche in the sport. He stood out on the biggest and toughest climbs, particularly in his home tour, where he won nine stages and finished a career-best third overall in 1998. Stories about his exploits both on and off the bike are legend. He was capable of partying all night, then riding the world’s best off his wheels in the mountains the next day, and once disappeared just before a stage was about to start at the Tour of Catalonia, only to return just before it did driving a new Ferrari he’d bought on a whim.
Mentored by brother-in-law Carlos Sastre’s father, Víctor Sastre, at the cycling school in El Barraco, in the mountains west of Madrid, Jiménez is remembered in the town with a statue that was the work of his younger brother, Juan Carlos, and is located close to the street that is named in tribute to him. He is buried nearby in the town’s cemetery.
Speaking to El Mundo in his studio in El Barraco where he works surrounded by images, paintings and other mementoes of his brother, Juan Carlos Jiménez revealed: “For me, José is still alive, I think he’s far away, taking part in a race and that some day he will return. I know this is a lie, but it helps me to cope with his absence. I think about him every day and at any moment.”
Their mother, Antonia, admitted to similar thoughts and feelings. “I’ve suffered a lot and I am still suffering. Every day we talk about José in the house. Now we get so much happiness from his nephew and niece, the children of [his sister] Piedad and Carlos Sastre. The boy looks like his uncle, he’s got the same mannerisms. He even rides the bike in the same way. It even seems like he’ll have the same talent."
- Article published:
- December 6, 2013, 10:27
- Stephen Farrand
Disgraced former ride reveals he’s given up riding a bike, distanced by Ochowicz and Merckx
Lance Armstrong has revealed that he has virtually abandoned cycling, opting to play golf to ‘clear his mind’ as he fights to save his name and fight a series of legal battles after he was banned for life by USADA.
The Texan was in Rome on Thursday and spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Pier Bergonzi during a round of golf. Cyclingnews understands Armstrong’s European tour will also include a visit to Paris on Friday.
In the interview, Armstrong hinted he will not try to reach a deal with the US Justice Department and Floyd Landis in their civil legal battle, with the case possibly going to trial in 2016.
Just as during his long interview with Cyclingnews, Armstrong also continued to lament that his life ban was unfair compared to other riders' bans and continued to complain that other dopers have not been punished as much as he has.
“I know I’m guilty. I know I hurt people. I’ve apologised publicly and want to do it personally to some of them. But my punishment is a thousand bigger than the ‘crime’ I committed. I can understand that they’ve chosen me as the symbol of those years, even if the top riders from then plus the managers and the doctors from back then were all in the same boat,” Armstrong told Bergonzi, who followed much of Armstrong’s early career.
“They could have given me a ban that was five, six or even ten times bigger, but not a thousand times. The truth is that in the world of sport, and especially in cycling, there’s a lot of hypocrisy. I’m the absolute evil, others are still considered legends…”
Armstrong said he’s is still in contact with George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel but revealed that others have ended any kind of contact.
“I’ve been dumped by the likes of Nike and Trek. I’ve not heard from (former Motorola and now BMC team manager) Jim Ochowicz or Eddy Merckx. I can understand that interests are at stake but I hope to rebuild certain relationships,” he said.
“I’ve virtually given up riding”
Armstrong revealed he had no desire to compete in cycling again, at any level.
“I’ve got a feeling of rejection for cycling at the moment. I run to keep fit and I’m playing a lot of golf. Then there’s my work for the fight against cancer. Cancer victims are my community of reference,” he said.
“Golf is helping me a lot. I take my golf clubs everywhere I go. I run to keep fit but to clear my head of bad thoughts, there’s nothing better than golf.”
“The bike? No more cycling. I’ve virtually given up riding in the last year. I only ride with friends.”
USADA has claimed there is a one in million chance that Armstrong blood values were natural in 2009 and 2010 at the Tour de France but he again insisted he did not dope during the comeback that ultimately led to his downfall.
“I’ve already told too many lies and I can’t allow myself to tell more. But I repeat, in 2009 I stayed well away from doping. I think the urine and blood samples from that year are still available. If someone goes and controls them, they wouldn’t find traces of doping in mine,” he said.
- Article published:
- December 6, 2013, 12:31
- Sam Dansie
Clothing brand intends to support British road racing in other ways
While 2014 will be its last year, Rapha, which set up the team with London bike brand Condor in 2006, says it has increased investment to help build the squad up in the coming season and help the team find new backers for 2015 and beyond. Despite an apparent boom in cycling in Britain, the news of Rapha’s withdrawal comes after two UK teams folded after failing to find sponsors - Team UK Youth and IG-Sigma Sport.
Rapha’s CEO, Simon Mottram said that despite giving 16 months notice to find new sponsors, Rapha was still planning to support UK road racing.
"After eight years the cycling market and our business have changed and we have decided that having a UCI registered Continental Racing team is not the best way for Rapha to contribute to the UK racing scene,” he said.
"We are exploring other ways in which Rapha can usefully invest in UK Racing.”
Co-sponsors Condor and JLT are said to be committed to continuing the team in 2015 and beyond.
The team has been one of the most successful squads on the UK scene, winning 12 International UCI Race victories and numerous successes on the domestic calendar. Big wins include Kristian House's national Championship win in 2009, Chris Newton's Premier Calendar series success in 2010 and Mike Cuming's victory at the Tour of Korea in 2012. Ed Clancy, Olympic gold medallist has been on the squad since 2011.
Ahead of the 2012 season the team announced it was switching its focus away from a results-driven team to help develop talented young riders. The 2014 team has an 14-rider roster. Their season will begin in Australia in January at the Bay Crits in Melbourne, before the team returns to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour later in the month.
- Article published:
- December 6, 2013, 14:10
- Pete Cossins
Spanish team aim to develop 18-year-old in their amateur set-up
After recently announced the signing of Miguel Indurain Jr, the son of Spain’s five-time Tour de France winner, the Caja Rural-RGA team has outlined their development plans for the 18-year-old rider.
“It’s a real pleasure having him in our ranks, but we know that we have to go very slowly,” said Caja Rural DS Jaime Garzón.
The winner of the Navarran junior road and time trial titles back in the summer, the son of the Tour de France great will step up into Caja Rural’s under-23 team in 2014.
Speaking to the Spanish Marca newspaper , Garzón explains how Spain’s second most prominent team likes to bring as many riders as possible through their under-23 squad.
“The team acts as a feeder for the professional set-up, but we like to have riders there for at least two or three years to get to know everything about them and be in a position to decide who has the ability to step up,” Garzón said. “We will have to see how he fares as is the case with the rest of the youngsters who have to keep progressing. We have to help form them both from a sporting perspective and a human one.”
Garzón recognises that there is likely to be a lot of interest in 18-year-old Indurain, but insists it’s far too early to say what his potential is.
“He is very young and has to keep developing and we will see how he gets on,” Garzón explained. “His name alone is an incentive to have him in the team. But he’s also from our local region and we think that from a sporting perspective he’s got a long road ahead of him.”
Indurain’s father has understandably played down his son’s move into the under-23 ranks. The Tour winner insists his son’s main focus will be on his law and economics studies. He believes his son’s 2014 season will be nothing more than one of acclimatisation in the under-23 ranks.
However, speaking to El Diario de Navarra, Indurain Sr said: “Genetics are pushing him towards being a rouleur. He’s got big legs.”