Bauke Mollema is the first of the Belkin riders to be linked to a new team. According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Mollema's agent has been in contact with Tinkoff-Saxo about a potential move to the team for next season.
"I was called the same day to see if I was interested in Mollema," team owner Oleg Tinkov told the newspaper. While he was interested in the rider who finished sixth in last year's Tour de France, he wasn't happy with the offer that was being put on the table. "He is definitely a good rider, but the amount being asked is too high. If a decent proposal comes, I would be interested," he continued.
"The same applies to Wilco Kelderman. He is a great talent that I would like to have, best in the squad. But most of the agents who call me think that I am a stupid Russian who will take anything on the table. But I'm not that stupid, otherwise I wouldn't have so much money."
Belkin's recent departure as a sponsor has thrown a grenade into the transfer market, with 30 riders unexpectedly becoming available. Several riders, including Mollema, had penned long-term deals with the Belkin team but could find themselves without a team.
Mollema's agent Martijn Berkhout, who also looks after Sep Vanmarcke, told Cyclingnews on Monday that he wasn't prepared to wait and see if his riders would be saved by a new sponsor.
This morning Berkhout told Cyclingnews, "Mollema is at the end of his contract and every team knows that. And every WorldTour team with ambition know his status and there’s a lot of interest in signing him if things with Belkin’s sponsorship search don’t work out. It doesn’t surprise me at all...
Three time world time trial champion Tony Martin has reiterated the possibility of an attempt on the hour record in the future. The German, who currently leads the Tour de Suisse, told inCycle that he could imagine attempting the hour record in the future but he admitted that the planning in terms of timing and location had not moved forward.
inCycle caught up with Martin and talked about his dominance in the time trial too. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider had won multiple grand tour stages but has also won three back-to-back world time trial championships.
In this exclusive interview with inCycle Martin talks about the track, his dominance against the clock, his Worlds win last year against Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins, and a possible head-to-head rivalry with Chris Froome in the Tour de France time trial.
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Tinkoff’s Rogers and Roche also return to action in three-day Pyrenean stage race
Movistar's Alejandro Valverde heads a strong field that will gather in Lectoure in south-west France on Friday for the 38th edition of the Route du Sud. The three-day event, traditionally the last stage race before the Tour de France, features two tough days in the Pyrenees, including a summit finish at Val Louron, the penultimate climb on Tour stage 17 to Pla d’Adet.
Stage one runs from Lectoure to Payolle, which sits at the foot of the Col d’Aspin. There are two third-category climbs on route, the second of them just a few kilometres out from the finish at Ste-Marie-de-Campan.
Saturday’s second stage is the toughest of the three. Starting in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, it crosses the first-category climbs of the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin. It finishes at the Val Louron ski station, where Miguel Indurain ousted Greg LeMond from his Tour de France throne in 1991.
The concluding stage starting in St-Gaudens features two third-category climbs before a likely sprint finish in Castres.
Fourteen teams will be lining up, including six WorldTour outfits – Ag2r, Europcar, FDJ.fr, Movistar, Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo. There is a strong Pro Continental presence, headed by IAM, Bretagne, Cofidis, Colombia and MTN-Qhubeka.
Movistar’s team includes five of the 13 riders on its long list of starters for the Tour de France, most notably Valverde, who has not made a competitive appearance since finishing second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège at the end of April. Joining him will be Benat Intxausti, Iván Gutiérrez, Jesús Herrada...
Belkin is on the hunt for a new sponsor, after it was announced that their title sponsor would be pulling out at the end of this season. The announcement was only made two days ago, but the team have already decided to take matters into their own hands in the hope to secure their future and their key riders.
"The Belkin Pro Cycling Team has started an immediate search for a new title sponsor. As of 2015, Belkin will withdraw from the Belkin team as sponsor. We are confident that we will find a new sponsor in time, but we want to take things into our own hands via crowd funding," a statement on the team’s website reads.
"With your support we can finance a part of the team and show potential sponsors that we have loyal supporters we can count on. This offers stability, which will make it more likely for sponsors to join our team."
Incredible footage from Giant-Shimano's lead-out train
inCycle takes you into the middle of the peloton with some thrilling on-the-bike footage of sprinters locking horns on stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse.
IMG, the organizers of the Tour de Suisse and producers of the inCycle TV show has released their second installment of on-bike video action from this year’s race, and the latest episode is a must-watch.
The clip follows Giant-Shimano's lead-out for John Degenkolb, the German sprinter barking instructions at his teammates as the well-drilled team looks for the perfect line to take through a hectic, fast finale on stage 5.
Degenkolb can be seen holding his own as riders attempt to move him out of position, and there’s glimpses of Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan as some of the sprint rivals lock horns at full pace.
The stage itself was won by Sacha Modolo (Lampre) but not before he, Degenkolb and the rest of the sprinters are forced to navigate a dangerous set of final corners.
It’s fast, it’s hectic and it will leave you breathless and full of admiration.
IMG has begun to work closely with numerous teams and fitted forward and rear facing Shimano cameras on several rider's bikes in the Swiss stage race. Each device will capture material for digital and TV distribution through the IMG's weekly inCycle show, which is also shown on Cyclingnews.
After Trentin helped to keep Martin in contact on the final climb and descent, Martin returned the favor with an enormous burst of speed in the final kilometer that set up his teammate perfectly for the finish. Trentin had only to finish off the work, and so he did and won comfortably ahead of Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo).
"The finish was slightly uphill. I accelerated and was able to do a good sprint," Trentin said. "I like this kind of sprint. But of course I want to share this victory with the team and Tony who did a selfless, great job."
It's the second such victory for Trentin, who claimed his biggest career victory in last year's Tour de France on stage 14, but from a much smaller group. This time, he topped many of the sport's best sprinters, including points leader Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Ben Swift (Sky) and the previous day's winner Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida).
"Of course I am super happy about this victory," Trentin said. "It's funny that I almost lost the possibility to be there in the final, at about 35 kilometers to go. There was road work on the road and I was a little bit in the rear of the peloton. The road went from double lane to single lane when the first part of the peloton passed that area. I was stuck in the back and had to put my feet down when the pace came to a stop. So, I had to chase the group ahead after that...
"I had a really good training period at altitude prior to this race but I still need a few race days to get the intensity back up and to get back into the rhythm," Kittel said following his victory. "It's great to get going with a win again."
Kittel heads into the Tour as one of the favorite sprinters having won four stages in last year's edition. He had a strong start to the season with five wins; three at the Tour of Dubai, one at Scheldeprijs and two at the Giro d’Italia. His stage win at Ster ZLM Toer, however, was his first since he pulled out of the Giro d'Italia nearly two months ago.
Before the Ster ZLM Toer started, Giant-Shimano's coach Rudi Kemna stated that the five-day race was intended to further build Kittel's form ahead of the Tour de France, which starts on July 5 in Leeds, Yorkshire.
After coming in fifth in the opening prologue, Kittel won the first stage sprint ahead of Garmin-Sharp's Tyler Farrar and Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Gianni Meersman in the 189km stage to Sint Willebrord. He also moved into the overall race lead, taking the yellow jersey off of prologue winner Philippe Gilbert's back.
"I'm really happy with today as I didn't feel that good early on and it took about 100km for the legs to open up," said Kittel. "After...
"There is no reason to hide the fact that the Tour is a great event," Copeland told Tuttobiciweb. "It is the most important race in the world and this year Lampre-Merida line up with GC ambitions. We will try to do well and we want to get the best possible result. In particular we want to see how far our world champion Rui Costa can get as he will test himself in a three-week race against the best riders in the world.
"We must bring the best possible team and everybody knows that they have to arrive at this race in top condition and with the right mentality. We will evaluate each of them on their physical condition and what they have done in the season so far. One thing is certain: no one has a guaranteed spot."
Horner was to lead the team at the Giro d'Italia in preparation of the defence of his