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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 27, 2012

Date published:
January 27, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI releases Continental team rankings for 2012

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    Article published:
    January 26, 2012, 17:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Brazilian team to debut in USA?

    The UCI today released its "fictitious" rankings which determine the teams that will be automatically invited to the Continental Tour events.

    Similar to the WorldTour rankings that determine automatic consideration for the top teams toward the next season's first division, the rankings for the Continental Tours are calculated by the points obtained by the riders on 2012 teams in the previous season.

    The teams are then ranked on this sporting value and used to determine the top three squads, each of which will be automatically invited to the class 1 and 2 non-European races.

    For instance, in the Americas Tour, the Brazilian Funvic-Pindamonhangaba squad, together with the Continental Movistar team and EPM-UNE from Colombia must be invited to the top US races, including the Tour of Elk Grove, Tour of the Battenkill, Tour of Utah and SRAM Tour of the Gila.

    The rules were changed in July, 2011 to exclude the 2.HC and 1.HC events such as the Amgen Tour of California, USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Philadelphia International Championships.

    Only organisers of UCI class 2 Europe Tour races (2.2 or 1.2 events such as Tour de Normandie) will be obliged to invite the top squads from the Europe Tour fictitious rankings.

    Only Continental teams registered for each UCI Continental Tour are considered for automatic invitations, thus Rapha-Condor Sharp which was second in the Oceania Tour does not warrant inclusion in Australian and New Zealand events. However, its second in the Europe Tour does warrant its inclusion in all x.2 events in Europe. Similarly, Professional Continental teams were not considered in the fictitious...

  • Gallery: Europcar presents 2012 team

    Team Europcar is presented for 2012
    Article published:
    January 26, 2012, 18:04 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Pro road squad introduced for coming season

    Europcar introduced their 2012 squad and new kit to the world earlier today, with general manager Jean-René Bernadeau stating that he hopes this year can match the highs that the team enjoyed under their former guise in 2011.

    The Professional Continental team made numerous headlines - not least at the Tour De France, where the team's talisman Thomas Voeckler finished in fourth place after leading the race for several days. On top of this, Voeckler's teammate Pierre Rolland claimed the white jersey. It was these performances that helped to save the team, with Europcar stepping in as the new sponsors at the end of last season just as it seemed that disbandment could be on the cards.

    Check out our gallery of the 2012 Europcar squad.

     

     

  • Thomas Dekker: "In the end, I hope I can earn trust"

    Thomas Dekker
    Article published:
    January 26, 2012, 18:45 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Dutch rider keen to repay faith shown in him by Garmin-Barracuda

    Thomas Dekker strides across the lobby of the Gran Hotel Sol y Mar like a new man. It’s almost an unrecognisable contrast to when Cyclingnews visited him at his home in Belgium on the eve of the Tour de France in 2010.

    Back then, in a frank and honest interview, he laid bare his past, admitting to doping and how it had affected his life.

    At the time he was without a team, overweight and serving a two-year ban. Talk of a comeback to the highest echelons of the sport seemed almost unfeasible. However, 18 months on, Dekker has achieved all he set out to do.

    Now signed with Garmin-Barracuda, he’s looking towards a new chapter in his career.

    “For the next ten years it will always be about the guy who doped but I hope in the end I can earn trust again,” Dekker says. “It’s been a really long road. I still have that house that you interviewed me at, it’s even got some furniture now.”

    That road involved several hurdles and while Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters has always been a fan of the Dutchman, he made the rider sweat and suffer before finally offering him a contract. Dekker even travelled to the team presentation in Boulder before Christmas uncertain over whether he had a deal. With only an hour to go before the squad was presented the two men finally shook hands and in one sense gave closure to negotiations that actually began as far back as 2008.

    “All the months and testing, blood controls, working with my managers, there was a lot of stress for me but also for my family. It wasn’t easy going, and they’d ask me if there was news and if I had a...

  • Amstel Gold Race route change favours aggressors

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) drives for home
    Article published:
    January 26, 2012, 20:44 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Less distance between penultimate climb and finish

    The organisers of the 47th Amstel Gold Race announced today a change to the finale of the April 15th event, one designed to heighten the drama leading into the final ascent of the Cauberg.

    Race director Leo van Vleit has decided to cut out over two kilometers between the top of the Keutenberg, the second to last climb, removing the descent of the Sibbergrubbe and the loop through the center of Valkenburg.

    By reducing the previous 12.3km section to 9.6km, there will be less chance for riders to chase back to the front if they are left behind on the Keutenberg.

    Last year, Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) attacked on the Keutenberg but Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jelle Vanendert was able to reel him in before the base of the Cauberg, where Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) counter-attacked, only to be left behind by the irrepressible Philippe Gilbert on the summit.

    Van Vliet hopes the new finish will give those late attackers a better chance at staying clear to the line.

    "I am convinced that this redrawn final section will encourage exciting riding because attackers are much more likely to succeed," said Van Vliet. "In the past, escapes on or after the Keutenberg were created mostly on the flat section before the Sibbergrubbe but were caught in the run up to the Cauberg. Now, anyone who escapes before the descent of the Daalhemmerberg has the opportunity to recover before the final climb of the Cauberg begins.

    "Also, the shorter distance between the Keutenberg and the Cauberg may tempt the daredevils to make a grab for victory."

    While the finale has been re-worked, the rest of the course is nearly identical to that of previous years. The race will start as usual at the market square in Maastricht and finish on the Cauberg in Valkenburg for a total of 255.1km with 31 climbs.

    ...
  • UCI looking for investors for GCP

    Pat McQuaid was on hand in Wevelgem.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 0:37 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Amaury Sport Organisation reject offer

    Amaury Sport Organisation has rejected an offer from the UCI to invest in the Global Cycling Promotion (GCP), the arm of the governing body charged with promoting cycling in a global sense and race organiser.

    Bloomberg reports that UCI President Pat McQuaid said the organisation was looking for alternate investors in the wake of ASO's non-interest.

    "We have spoken to people of means" McQuaid said, declining to directly identify the parties.

    Meantime ASO, which assisted the GCP in organising the parcours for the Tour of Beijing which was held for the first time late last year, "said for the moment they'd like to stay in the role of service provider," McQuaid added.

    The move comes off the back of the mooted plans for a 'breakaway league', backed by Rothschild and the Gifted Group. World Series Cycling (WSC) plans to generate close to 39 million Euro by 2017, from an initial 17 million in 2013. The cash flow is centred around television and media contracts and incomes generated from centralising media and sponsorship deals.

    Under the WSC proposal there would be a 64 per cent share hold or stake held by the 14 teams, giving each team, or franchise, 4.6 per cent. The franchises would invest 3.5 million Euro, or 250,000 Euro each, with 550,000 coming from Gifted and a major stake of 20 million Euro from Rothschild.

    Each year participating teams would receive a guaranteed 1.5 million Euro as well as a dividend of the annual stream of revenue from media and television rights.

    Finally, the proposal theoretically envisages profits amassing 85 Euro million within five years, with the total project worth 330 million by that point.

    The UCI's proposal would have profits from the new races re-invested into the sport and distributed among teams, McQuaid said.
     

  • Evans pleased with climbing support at BMC

    Evans is hoping a strong preseason can set him up for another big year
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 1:52 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Australian looks to continue to Tour of Lombardy in 2012

    Cadel Evans has insisted that he is pleased with the climbing talent added to his BMC team ahead of the 2012 season. The Australian dismissed the notion that in stock-piling its arsenal of classics talent in the off-season, BMC had neglected to bolster his support for the Tour de France.

    Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert may have been the squad's most high-profile signings, but Evans believes that while both men can play an important role at the Tour, it is Tejay van Garderen and Steve Cummings that have arrived at BMC expressly to flank him in the mountains.

    "For me the climbing aspect of our team is great," Evans told reporters at the BMC training camp in Denia, Spain on Thursday. "I feel Tejay [van Garderen] is a bit of an under-rated rider at the moment. I saw him first hand when he was away on the stage to Superbesse last year and you could see what he's capable of, but every day he was riding on the front for Cavendish.

    "With us, he's going to have the opportunity to ride on terrain that suits him, and he's going to have opportunities in his own races to ride for himself too, of course."

    Evans acknowledged that BMC had added significant firepower to its classics squad ahead of the new campaign, but pointed out that the same riders could also be crucial to his ambitions come July.

    "For the Tour de France, you also need rouleurs and strong guys," he said. "Okay, in 2012 we don't have a team time trial but you do need guys who are suited to that kind of racing because not all...

  • Herrera thinks time is right for the resurgence of the pure climber

    Sergio Henao (Gubernacion de Antioquia) leading up the KOM.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 6:00 GMT
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    Colombian legend reflects on similarities between the 80s and today

    Former Vuelta a España winner Luis 'Lucho' Herrera says that South American cycling is on the brink of launching a new generation of pure climbers into the sport, and added that the inflxux of professional riders from Latin America is symbolic of a sort of coming of age for the continent.

    Herrera was received as a hero in Colombia when he returned from his feats overseas in the mid to late 1980s, that saw him take out the king of the mountains classification in all three Grand Tours as well as multiple stage wins in the Tour de France.

    At the time his small, featherweight build turned the European establishment on its head, with riders like Hinault and Fignon heavier set than Herrera and much more the norm. Though he never won a Tour, he did inspire a wave of cyclists after him to emulate his style, and some 20 years later the first products are finally coming to the fore.

    "I think there was a shift away from pure climbers after the 70s," said Herrera. "There was a culture when I was racing of these bigger guys fighting it out.

    "Even today there are very few what I would call pure climbers. I think cyclists have been told to develop to be more all-rounders for a long time, but with races like the Giro d'Italia in 2011 there are still opportunities for these guys to succeed. I think organisers want more of these riders to excite their races, and I think South America can produce them."

    Herrera is particularly excited by the likes of Sergio Luis Henao, Esteban Chavez, Nairo Quintana and Fabio Duarte who he sees as very much in his own mould, all with the attacking flair and ability to accelerate on a climb that made Herrera himself such a star in his time.

    "Quintana Rojas and Chavez [who won the Tour de l'Avenir in 2010 and 2011], I think...

  • Video: David Millar exclusive interview

    David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 10:19 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    British rider chats to Cyclingnews about plans for 2012

    Cyclingnews caught up with British rider David Millar earlier in the week at the Garmin-Barracuda training camp in Spain. Millar reveals that he is in much better shape physically and mentally than this time last year, when numerous factors led to early season disruption, and lists his main early season targets.

    With the CAS ruling on his Olympic ban still pending, Millar states that his main target for 2012 will be a good showing at the Tour de France. He is set to take most of April and all of May off to prepare, and says that this year's route may well suit him and his team more than in recent years.