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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 9, 2011

Date published:
December 09, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Sweeting overcame rare cancer to continue pro career

    Robert Sweeting (Kenda) took today's stage in the men's race.
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 17:25 GMT
    Neil Browne

    Kenda/5-Hour Energy rider only recently revealed his secret

    2010 was a hectic year for burgeoning professional cyclist Bobby Sweeting, but after one-in-a-billion case of cancer turned the American's life upside-down, he re-launched his racing career with Kenda/5-Hour Energy, all the while keeping his condition under wraps - until now.

    Sweeting had signed a contract with the Land Rover-Orbea pro team in November 2009, but the squad folded before the 2010 season started, forcing the then 22-year-old to look for other means of employment.

    As a recent college graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering Sweeting decided to put his education to work and landed a job at Cannondale working in their rigid frames department. However, he still wanted to race so decided to step back and compete at an amateur level with Team Globalbike. By March of 2010 he had gotten married, moved to Connecticut to work a full-time job at Cannondale and started racing for a new team. This was a lot to deal with in one year and yet more was to come.

    On Sweeting's hip was a round looking red rash that the 24-year old had since he was 18. This rash neither itched or hurt and Sweeting had been to doctors who thought it could be a fungus. In four years he went through 10 different creams in an effort to get rid of it and a couple of different doctors, with none of them thinking to biopsy the red mark.

    With the move to Connecticut completed Sweeting was tired of having this rash on his hip and returned to a doctor, insisting on having it biopsied. To his surprise the results came back as Mycosis Fungoides, a very rare type of cutaneous t-cell lymphoma.

    According to his doctors contracting Mycosis Fungoides is a one in a billion chance for a white male under the age of 60. Even though he had been living with this cancer for five years...

  • 2011 Reader Poll: HTC-Highroad selected best team

    Marco Pinotti leads his HTC-Highroad teammates
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 19:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Cervélo runner-up in voting

    It was a bittersweet year for the HTC-Highroad squad, and professional cycling in general, as both the men's and women's teams continued their prolific winning ways all season long, yet disbanded after efforts to land a new title sponsor came up empty. In a fitting curtain call to the squad's seemingly ubiquitous place on podiums throughout the year, Cyclingnews' readers awarded HTC-Highroad the best team of 2011 honours with 8,434 votes (39.0%), 3,848 more than runner-up Garmin-Cervélo.

    The men's and women's team earned 513 victories over their four-year run, and opened and closed the 2011 season on a (typical) high note, with victories in their first and last races of the year.

    "It's wonderful to see the team successful again right to the very end of the season," general manager Bob Stapleton told Cyclingnews. "Both the men and the women won their first race of the season in January and now they have both won the last race (Tony Martin and Amber Neben won their respective events at the Chrono des Nations to conclude the season). It's testament to the attitude of all of our staff and riders over the years and I'm very proud of their success."

    Fifteen different riders on the men's team accounted for 56 wins in 2011, led by Mark Cavendish with 13 and Tony Martin with 12, and team members finished on the podium an additional 55 times throughout the season. Among the wins were numerous national titles, stage victories in all three Grand Tours, a Monument (Milan-San Remo), plus overall wins at stage races such as the Tour of Qatar, Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, and the Tour of Beijing.

    As 2011 was winding down, the...

  • Bianchi teams up with Gucci for new road bike range

    The all-carbon urban/off-road Bianchi by Gucci bike
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 20:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Do you have $14,000 to spare?

    This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

    Italian firms Bianchi and Gucci have joined forces to create a new range high-end bikes.

    Bianchi by Gucci has brought together the talents of the legendary bike manufacturer and world-renowned fashion house to produce two bikes; a touring bike and a single-speed city model.

    The matte black 11-speed carbon bike is for urban/off-road use and has a carbon fork and hydraulic disc brakes. It won't come cheap, though - it's listed on Gucci's US website at an eye-watering $14,000. The white single-speed city model is made from hydroformed steel and is listed at a comparatively modest but still steep $6,200. Both feature Gucci’s signature green/red/green stripe on the down tube, with a range of Gucci accessories, including helmet, gloves and water bottle, made to complete the look.

    This polycarbonate helmet will set you back $890

    This polycarbonate helmet will set you back $890

    The bikes will be available to buy at select Gucci outlets around the world, including London, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Milan. They will also be showcased in Stockholm at Bianchi’s Café&Cycles, a concept store created by Bianchi’s owner and president Salvatore Grimaldi.

  • Valls signs with Vacansoleil

    Rafael Valls comes from the Footon-Servetto team
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 20:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Geox rider gets a parachute for 2012

    The Vacansoleil-DCM team added the Spanish climber Rafael Valls to its team for 2012. Valls, 24, was part of the Geox-TMC squad this season, but needed to look elsewhere after the team's main sponsor pulled its support. 

    “We have been following Valls since 2010 and know his talent," said manager Daan Luickx. "He is a rider whose age and way of racing fit our team. I have great confidence in the fact that this rider will be a valuable addition to our team in stage and hilly races.”

    Valls made a name for himself in 2010 when he began the season with a two-day stint in the leader's jersey at the Tour de San Luis and then took second to Sylvain Chavanel on the Tour de France stage 7 to Station des Rousses.

    However, his 2011 season was not quite as strong as he suffered from a lingering case of mononucleosis in May. He hopes to turn around his fortunes next year with his new team.

    “I have chosen for Vacansoleil-DCM because they showed interested in me in 2010 and again now after a difficult season. Furthermore at this team, young riders get a chance to get immediate results. Besides that the comfort of a WorldTour program is good to plan my season. I think to have big possibilities in this team to get better and support the leaders in hard races.” 

  • Video: Bruyneel on selecting squad for 2012 Tour de France

    Johan Bruyneel will attempt to work the oracle with Andy Schleck in 2012.
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 22:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan-Trek manager outlines general process

    At the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek training camp in Calpe, Spain, team manager Johan Bruyneel discussed the team's general strategy regarding the selection of the Tour de France roster.

    Picking nine riders from a 30-deep ProTour squad line-up is always a challenge for the sport's premier event, particularly from one as deep in talent as Bruyneel's team which features three Tour de France podium finishers in Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck and Andreas Klöden plus numerous stalwarts such as Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, Chris Horner and Yaroslav Popovych.

    Bruyneel has ample experience in selecting a Tour roster to contend for the yellow jersey, and in the video he describes the process from early season to the races immediately preceding the Tour which will ultimately determine the starting nine.

  • 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge route revealed

    Andy Schleck makes his way through the crowds at the last KOM before dropping into Breckenridge at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 0:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Official presentation to stream live on Cyclingnews December 13

    The host cities for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be officially presented at a press conference in Denver, Colorado on December 13, but information regarding the race's host cities has been announced today, revealing four new towns and a new grand finale.

    In 2011, the event drew the top three from the Tour de France and hundreds of thousands of cycling fans to the Rocky Mountains, where Levi Leipheimer took home the overall race victory from Christian Vande Velde and Tejay Van Garderen in Denver.

    For 2012, the race organisers have chosen to bring the time trial drama home to Denver itself, rather than end the race with circuits around the Mile High City - keeping the suspense up until the very last stage.

    Rather than begin with a prologue, the 2012 edition of the race will head from former 7-Eleven racer Bob Roll's home town of Durango over the Lizard Head Pass to Telluride.

    Stage 2 is set to revisit Crested Butte before the race repeats last year's Gunnison-Aspen stage. The fourth stage will head from Aspen through Leadville and on up to Beaver Creek village, while the fifth stage will crest the Hoosier Pass on a route from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs.

    After being left out of host city status last year, the popular cycling hub of Boulder will host the finish of stage six before the time trial completes the race on the seventh stage.

    “The host cities selected for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will enable us to showcase the beauty and hospitality of Colorado to a worldwide audience,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “These cities are valued partners who will work with us, hand in hand, as we continue to raise the bar for professional cycling here in America.”


  • 2011 Reader Poll: Hoogerland's Tour ordeal voted year's biggest moment

    New mountains leader Johnny Hoogerland is overcome with emotion.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 6:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gilbert's Ardennes triple finale in Liège a very close second

    In the closest voting of any category in the 2011 Cyclingnews Reader Poll, Johnny Hoogerland persevering to finish the Tour de France after being launched onto a barbed-wire fence by a French television car prevailed as the year's biggest moment, garnering 5,292 votes. Trailing by a slender 18 votes, Philippe Gilbert sealing the Ardennes triple with his Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory over the Schleck brothers finished as runner-up with 5,274 votes.

    On a stage already beset with devastating crashes, the incident which claimed Johnny Hoogerland and breakaway companion Juan Antonio Flecha 36km from the finish of the Tour's ninth stage was stunning in its violence and recklessness. The Dutchman and Spaniard, part of a five-man break also containing Thomas Voeckler, Luis Leon Sanchez and Sandy Casar, were struck down by a car which passed the break on a narrow road, sending Flecha heavily to the pavement and launching Hoogerland onto an adjacent barbed-wire fence. Amazingly, they both re-grouped and finished the stage in Saint-Flour, with Hoogerland requiring extensive bandaging to cover the lacerations on his legs and arms as well as a new pair of bib shorts to replace the one literally ripped from his body

    "We can be happy that we're alive. It's horrible," said Hoogerland after the stage. "I did what felt like a few somersaults. I don't know where the car came from. Before I knew it, Flecha was on the ground and there was nothing I could do. I landed on the fence and I looked at my legs and thought, ‘Is this what cycling is about?' I have the polka-dot jersey but I'm going to spend the rest day in a lot of pain."

    While Hoogerland surrendered the climber's polka-dot jersey three days...

  • Andy Schleck voted Luxembourg male athlete of the year

    24 hours after his stage win Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) was in yellow
    Article published:
    December 09, 2011, 10:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Brother Fränk is second again

    Andy Schleck has been named male athlete of the year in Luxembourg for the third year in a row. His brother Fränk finished behind him again in second place. It was the ninth consecutive year that a cyclist has won the award.

    Andy Schleck has now won in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Fränk Schleck took the honours in 2006, while Kim Kirchen was best male athlete in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

    The Tour de France second and third place finishers could not attend the ceremony, but were ”virtually” there via a video conference.

    The 26-year-old younger Schleck brother this year finished second in the Tour de France, 1:34 behind winner Cadel Evans. He won the 18th stage and wore the leader's yellow jersey for one stage.

    Schleck also won the Tour de Suisse mountains classification, was third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and eighth overall in the Tour of California.

    Fränk Schleck was the national road champion, and won the overall title in the Critérium International, also winning the first stage. He was second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and third overall in the Tour de France.

    Andy Schleck won with 391 votes ahead of Fränk with 280. Tennis player Gilles Muller was third with 201.

    Tennis player Mandy Minella was named female athlete of the year, ahead of Judoka Marie Muller. Cyclist Christine Majerus of Team GSD Gestion was third. Majerus won the road, time trial and cyclo-cross national titles, as well as the Coupe de France and the Kasseien Omloop Exloo.