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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 10, 2014

Date published:
January 10, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • War of attrition expected for NZ road nationals

    Hayden Roulston (RadioShack-Trek)
    Article published:
    January 09, 2014, 22:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hayden Roulston keen on fourth road title

    The BikeNZ Elite Road National Championships kicks off in Christchurch on Thursday with time trials while the 185km men’s race on Sunday, including 10 climbs up the testing Dyers Pass in the Cashmere Hills, will test a strong field with several WorldTour riders racing. On Saturday the elite women’s race comprises six ascents of the pass over 120.5km.

    The winners of the previous four men’s titles in Christchurch believe the race will be won by the man last standing rather than through any intricacies of tactics.

    "You have to have the legs to win on that course," said three-time and defending champion, Hayden Roulston. "It doesn't matter if you have a team of 10 or an army of 20, if you don’t have the legs, you aren't going to win."

    The 2012 winner, James Williamson from Alexandra believes that the Dyers Pass climb will be crucial to who takes out the 2014 championship.

    "It’s really a race of attrition. The key to doing well is the ability to manage repeat efforts up the climb," Williamson said. “Yes you have to be able to ride the distance but the climbs are where you see them dropping off."

    Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp), who won in 2010, said groups of riders can make a difference but the strongest on the day generally prevails.

    "For us Northern Hemisphere riders it is tough because we have been riding from January until October and so it’s hard to be as fit as you would like to be for this," Bauer said.

    "That's no excuse though. The three RadioShack boys riding together last year did make a difference but it is also a case of being really strong over the climbs."

    While many titles are wide open, the women’s time trial should be one-way traffic...

  • Astana-BePink team launched in Italy

    The BePink squad has partnered with the Astana team for 2014 and the women's team was part of Astana's official team presentation at the Villa Fenaroli in Brescia
    Article published:
    January 09, 2014, 23:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Women's team look to build for the future

    Days after it was announced that Astana would partner up with the BePink women’s team, the new squad was launched in Rezzato, Italy yesterday.

    The team had their presentation alongside the Astana WorldTour team at the Villa Fenaroli. Their star rider is the two-time Italian time trial champion, Noemi Cantele. In addition to the roster that was announced at the beginning of this year, three Kazakh riders have been taken on.

    Former World and Olympic time trial champion Zulfiya Zabirova was one of the driving forces behind it and she was happy to finally see it come to fruition. "For a couple of years that I have in mind to create a project like this and finally I succeeded," the former rider told Tuttobiciweb.

    "It's a young team, well organized, with a mix of athletes with great depth, and where our girls of Kazakhstan will only grow and improve."

    Like the men's Astana team, they are looking to grow young talent in Kazakhstan while performing on the world stage. They will continue to be managed by Walter Zini, who lead the team last year, but Zabirova joins the team as a directeur sportif.

    The 10-time national time trial champion has high hopes for the future. "We would like to have a structure like the men's team," said Zabirova. "The ultimate goal is the Olympic Games of Rio 2016, to which we hold a lot. I rode the Games four times and I can assure you that no other race has the same value."

  • Caleb Ewan: My mind is already set on the road race

    Caleb Ewan on the start line
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 3:00 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    U23 National Champion wastes little time celebrating crit crown, takes aim at road race

    A day removed from claiming his maiden U23 National Criterium title over a 30-lap, 33km course in downtown Ballarat, Caleb Ewan, the only NSWIS cyclist in the 65-rider field, has already put his dominating performance on Thursday behind him and is intently focused on the task at hand – taking the 2014 Australian U23 National Road Race Championship.

     "You can't really let yourself be satisfied with that," said the 19-year-old told who scored eight victories in Europe last year, before signing a pre-contract with Orica-GreenEdge in October. "My mind is already set on the road race on Saturday."

     Ewan, who finished fourth at the U23 World Road Race Championships in Florence last September, knows that capturing a second national title in as many days will be no easy task.

    "I will have to approach the road race like I did the criterium," Ewan told Cyclingnews. "I can't go in the early moves as I have to conserve my energy as it will be a hard race, and the heat will not do us any favours. With three laps to go everybody will be hurting and then you have to put the hammer down. It's a lottery."

    The 2012 World junior road race silver medallist was pleased with his performance following the failed defence of his 2013 Bay Cycling Classic title to start the new year. Ewan managed just one win on the final stage in Williamstown, Victoria following a nasty training fall five days prior.

    "I am feeling 100 percent," said Ewan. "I was really disappointed last year with how the nationals went, especially after a really successful Bay Crits. I didn't really go as well at Bay Crits this year, but I’ve already captured a national title in 2014 so I am really happy with how things are going and I’m looking forward to seeing how...

  • Women's National Criterium Champion still spinning after unexpected win

    A major protagonist in this race - Sarah Roy (Crino Cycles / Casa & Boggeta)
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 3:52 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    Sarah Roy brims with confidence and hope following first national title

    Former triathlete-turned-cyclist, Sarah Roy, is still reeling after shocking a talent-rich women's field that included Chloe Hosking and Annette Edmonson to capture the national women's criterium title at the 2014 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat on Thursday.

    The 27-year-old from Sydney entered the criterium with no expectations of winning. A day removed from an 11th-place finish at the women's time trial, and two days ahead of the women's road race on Saturday, the 2013 NSW state crit champion was still overwhelmed with the win and the outpouring of support from friends, family, coaches and teammates.

    "I feel really lucky to have so many people that are so happy for me. The best thing to come of this for me is a bit more confidence in my own riding ability and especially going into Europe with a little more backin," Roy said.

    Roy, who has a degree in sports science, works as a personal trainer and coach, says her cycling career creates extra strain on her finances and has launched a fundraiser campaign on her social media networks to help with expenses.

    "I have been struggling financially and I have been selling some stickers that are available through my Facebook and Twitter accounts," Roy told Cyclingnews. "Last season I ran a women's cycling clinic in Sydney with the help of Park Bikes at Olympic Park. It worked really well. "

    This year, with the generosity of Avonlea Labels in Sydney, Roy designed and printed 2,000 "Share the bike love, and the road" stickers, which she sells for $10 each.

    "So far I have sold close to 50. I know it sounds funny but every little bit helps, especially when it comes to saving for my first trip overseas. I am hoping this win will provide more exposure and financial opportunities."

    In a crash-marred race which took down favourite Chloe...

  • Richie Porte pledges support for Amy Gillet Foundation

    Richie Porte (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 7:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Petition for 'a metre matters' gains crucial support

    On Saturday morning Richie Porte, the 2013 Australian Road Cyclist of the year, will call upon his cycling comrades to ‘sign up for safer cycling’ on behalf of over 4 million Australians who regularly ride their bikes.

    Porte has made the pledge having said in a press release that 'enough is enough' following a horrid 2013 that saw 48 bike riders lose their lives across Australia, including fellow Tasmanian Lewis Hendey on the eve of Christmas and has added his support to the launch of a Federal Petition to implement a metre matters as law.

    The petition will call upon the Australian Government to implement changes to the Australian Road Rules mandating a minimum overtaking distance of one metre when drivers pass bike riders on the road.

    "I'm going to put my name to this, on behalf of the families who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones in senseless bike-related tragedies, and the millions of Aussies who deserve to ride their bikes in a safer environment, whether for work, sport or play," said Porte in preparation for the weekend.

    On Sunday he will compete in the Elite Men’s Australian Road Race Championship with Nathan Earle and CJ Sutton by his side.

    "The Amy Gillett Foundation's a metre matters campaign has highlighted the need for legislation to drive safer behaviour on our roads," he said.

    Supported by Andrew Nikolic MP, Federal Member for Bass, Cycling Tasmania is sponsoring the petition that will run for three months before being presented to the House of Representatives in May.

    Symbolically, the launch will take place immediately prior to the start of the Australian Women’s Road Australian Race Championships – a pet event of Amy Gillett who was killed while cycling in 2005 when hit by an out-of-control driver.

  • Australian road champ not down for the count

    Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) winning the Championship
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 7:56 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    Gracie Elvin looks past criterium crash, wants to retain crown

    Reigning women's National Road Race Champion Gracie Elvin found herself on the deck after a seven-rider pileup on the second lap of the 30-lap, 30km National Criterium Championship on Thursday, just two days before the Canberra-native attempts to become the first Australian female since Kathy Watt won three straight (1992-94) to win back-to-back road race national titles.

    Elvin, along with crit-race favourite Chloe Hosking, laid on the tarmac for more than 30-seconds self-evaluating the damage in hopes that nothing would keep her from defending her title on Sunday.

    "I have a bit of a bruise and abrasion on my bum. Its not the most ideal location, although its hurting I don't think it will affect my health or performance," Elvin said.

    Elvin shared she was "a bit too relaxed" as she was trying to suss out the bunch and when a rider came into her right side faster than she was expecting. "I had nowhere to go and I slammed into the girl next to me and went over the bars," she said. "Just wrong place, wrong time."

    The 25-year-old rates former Orica-AIS teammate Tiffany Cromwell, Katrin Garfoot and her own teammates as the biggest threats to retaining her crown

    "I am just trying to keep a clear head and focused," Elvin told Cyclingnews. "I was bit upset when it happened. I am disappointed, but in regard to my strategy for the road race, nothing changes.

    "We are definitely after a win tomorrow," she continued. "It’s disappointing that after two races so far we have not come away with a win. Full credit to the girls that have won, but the pressure is on us."

    Holding true to her promise to "sleep in her jersey" the night before the race she made to Cyclingnews at the official team launch in...

  • Neri Sottoli unveils Yellow Fluo look

    The new Yellow Fluo kit and bike
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 9:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    New, even brighter colors for Italian team

    The former Vini Fantini squad rolled out a new look for 2014 this week, adding even more neon to its kit after the arrival of the pickle maker Neri Sottoli as title sponsor.

    Registered under the moniker Yellow Fluo, the team led by Luca Scinto adds fluorescent orange, green, red and blue to its previous bright yellow and black.

    Team manager Angelo Citracca made the color selections, saying "We wanted to do something to differentiate [ourselves] and we have built a strong combination of colors, but still very attractive, and we hope that all the fans will appreciate it."

    The jersey was presented in the new Renault showroom in Florence as part of a "made in Tuscany" project, and the team's press release says the design's strong color combinations protray "courage and enthusiasm" and will be "a distinctive symbol of the team during all the season".

    The squad's Cipollini BOND bikes also include flourescent orange for its racing models.

    There was speculation that the team would cease to exist after the doping positives from Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio plagued the squad after the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Vini Fantini moved over to sponsor the Japanese Nippo-De Rosa team, but Scinto's squad was saved, then Neri Sottoli stepped in.

    The team will make its debut at the Vuelta Tachira in Venezuela on January 10.

  • Cavendish: Great support means I'm the luckiest sprinter in cycling

    A familiar sight as Mark Cavendish gives it full gas during some sprint training at the Omega Pharma-QuickStep camp in Calpe
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 9:56 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Manxman 'super excited' to be working with Renshaw again

    Settled, relaxed and hungry are three words that should have Mark Cavendish’s rivals trembling on their top tubes as they head into a new season on the road. Now in his second year with Omega Pharma-QuickStep and with twenty wins under his belt last season, the British rider believes he is not just as fast as ever but also lucky to have what he describes as the best support a sprinter could dream of.

    A backroom staff that includes Brian Holm and Rolf Aldag, has been bolstered by the signing of his friend and former leadout man Mark Renshaw and has helped solidify an already winning formula that was first discovered and finessed at HTC.

    The similarities between HTC and Omega are easy to draw. Rolf Aldag, Brian Holm and a number of other staff have served on both teams, while the return of the prodigal leadout man Renshaw is arguably one of the signings of the winter. However the greatest similarity is perhaps the way in which Cavendish defines both teams. At Highroad Cavendish was king, and while there were undoubtedly other talented riders on the team’s books, when it came to delivery of success in the biggest races, Cavendish was the team’s crown jewel.

    At Sky the plot understandably changed, with the hunt for the maillot jaune becoming the team’s singular focus. Yet now, in his second season at Omega, Cavendish appears settled and more relaxed, maybe not about his ambitions which remain as high as ever, but regarding the perceived atmosphere within the squad. It’s not a carbon copy of High Road but there are elements the team are striving to replicate.

    “I’m in the best position here. I’m incredibly lucky that the team has put the financial commitment into signing me and secondly putting the confidence in to sign, for me,...