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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 8, 2013

Date published:
November 08, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Mikel Nieve looking forward to helping Team Sky's leaders

    Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 10:50 GMT
    José Been

    Spanish climber rider ready for Grand Tour role

    After five years in the orange team kit of Euskaltel-Euskadi, Mikel Nieve will wear Team Sky's black and blue colours in 2014 and have a new role as a super domestique in the Grand Tours.

    "I have respect for the team and I'm enthusiastic. Everything will be new but they have great riders, including the winners of the last two Tours. It'll be my job to work for them,” Nieve said in an interview published Biciciclismo.

    Nieve turned professional in 2009 after riding for the Basque feeder team Orbea. The 29-year old from Navarra had his breakthrough year in 2010 when he won the stage to Alto de Cotobello in the Vuelta and finished 12th overall. In 2011 he won the stage to Gardeccia in the Giro and was tenth overall at both the Giro and the Vuelta. This year he made his debut in the Tour de France with a third place in the stage to Mont Ventoux and 12th place in the overall classification.

    “That was my best day in the Tour,” Nieve recalled. “I had a lot of allergies earlier on in the season. I prepared the season well but because of the allergies it didn’t go as well as planned. After Mont Ventoux people congratulated me. It is my goal to return to that kind of form and to be more consistent.”

    Nieve will be an important rider in Grand Tours as Richie Porte targets the Giro d'Italia and Chris Froome looks to win a second consecutive Tour de France.

    “Sky wants me to help their captains in the mountains,” Nieve said. “If the team leader is there to win the Giro or the Tour and for me to be part of that team must be something very satisfying and something very important.”

    Nieve was the first of the Euskaltel-riders to secure his future despite his contract with Euskaltel-Euskadi for 2014.

  • Caja Rural in advanced negotiations with Luis Leon Sanchez

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) en route to a silver medal in the 2013 Spanish TT championship
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 16:03 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Former Belkin rider close to deal with Spanish team for 2014

    Caja Rural-RGA sports director Jaime Gutierrez has confirmed that negotiations to sign Luis León Sánchez are "at an advanced stage" but that as yet - "unless something's happened this morning that I haven't heard about" - the Spanish rider has not inked a definitive deal with Spain's only Pro Continental squad.

    "We are talking, that's for sure," Gutierrez told Cyclingnews. "If he came to the team, he's a great rider and he'd suit our squad down to the ground, it'd be a huge step forward."

    "But as yet, it's not 100 percent confirmed."

    Sánchez, 29, was released from his contract with Belkin earlier this year despite taking two stage wins, in the Tour of Belgium and the Tour de L'Ain and finishing second overall in both events.

    Sánchez had steadfastly denied alleged links with controversial doctor Michele Ferrari but according to a Belkin spokesman in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, "His name had been mentioned in too many cases." After being sidelined by Belkin for much of the first half of 2013 before returning to racing in May, Sanchez also claimed a silver and bronze in the national championship time trial and road race, but then did not take part in the Tour de France and abandoned the Vuelta a Espana.

    A possible return to Movistar for 2014 was rumoured, but the former Clásica San Sebastian and multiple Tour de France stage winner is now close - although it is not yet certain - to becoming a lead name in Caja Rural-RGA.

  • Armstrong attorneys revive accusations against Novitzky

    Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 20:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lawyers attack federal government over supposed leaks

    With a federal whistleblower lawsuit still hanging over their client, the attorneys of Lance Armstrong have trotted out previously-used claims that FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky leaked sensitive information about a now-closed federal fraud case to the media in an attempt to sway a judge in their clients' favour.

    Armstrong is facing a potentially $100 million Qui Tam suit brought by Floyd Landis on the basis that the doping to which Armstrong has admitted amounted to fraud against the team's US Postal Service sponsor, an agency which is partially funded by the US government.

    Armstrong's attorneys previously accused Novitzky of leaking information during a federal investigation which was summarily closed by the US attorney in early 2012. The US Anti-Doping Agency took up the case from there, assembling its own dossier of evidence based on witness testimony.

    "It is clear from recently published journalistic works that both (Floyd Landis) and USADA have widely disseminated information pertaining to this case that they may possess," Peters wrote, according to USA Today. "We believe that Agent Novitzky has done so covertly for some time. We do not know what information you and your colleagues have disseminated."

    Armstrong's lawyers are attempting to have the Qui Tam suit dismissed, but barring that, they hope to limit the number of times he will be forced to be deposed under oath. He is facing four separate cases based upon his doping admission, and wants to consolidate the testimony into one appearance.

    The team also want the information which the government has assembled against him up front to better prepare for the deposition.

    "The other attorneys are likely well-prepared and essentially planning to...

  • Team SmartStop unveils re-vamped roster for 2014

    SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis came to the front to try to get time back on the break.
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 21:41 GMT
    Pat Malach

    US Conti team switches focus from crits to stage races

    With an eye toward securing invitations to North America's biggest races, an almost entirely revamped Team SmartStop will change its focus from criteriums to stage racing next season, team co-owner Jamie Bennett recently told Cyclingnews.

    New signings for the UCI Continental team next season include Canadian national road race champion Zach Bell, who won stages at the Tour of Korea and Tour of Taiwan in 2013 while riding for Champion System, and former Bissell rider Mike Torckler, who won the mountains classification at the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

    "We're trying to make the commitment and fill some bigger shoes," Bennett said. "We've been doing this for nine years now. It's been a long journey and a lot of fun, and we've always tried to set our targets at something we could achieve. We've been getting a lot of traction and support from our existing sponsors, whether it be industry sponsors or financial sponsors, and everybody is excited to see where we can go with it."

    Freshly retired rider Michael Creed will direct a roster that will return just two riders who started the 2013 season with SmartStop. Longtime road captain and de facto director/manager Adam Myerson will return for 2014 with the freedom to focus on racing, Creed said. Sprinter Shane Kline, the only rider to crack UnitedHealthcare's dominance in the USA Crits series last year, will also return.

    Four riders who joined the team late in the season and competed at the inaugural Tour of Alberta with SmartStop will be back on the 2014 squad. Former Elbowz riders Eric Marcotte and Travis McCabe, the reigning elite criterium national...

  • Confusion in Monterey over Tour of California stage

    The map of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California
    Article published:
    November 07, 2013, 22:49 GMT
    Pat Malach

    AEG working with visitors bureau, city government uninformed

    The Amgen Tour of California's Tuesday announcement revealing the 2014 edition's host cities apparently caught one of the municipalities included by surprise, according to a report published Tuesday.

    The Monterey County Herald newspaper reported in its November 5 edition that the city government in Monterey, which is slated to host the stage 4 start on May 14, had not been contacted by race organizers and had no idea the coastal town would be included.

    "We have not been contacted at all by anyone from [the tour] about this. ... This is the first that the city has heard of it," city spokeswoman Anne McGrath told Herald staff reporter Tommy Wright.

    But Michael Roth, vice president of communications for race owner AEG, communicated to Cyclingnews via email on Thursday that race organizers had been working with the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau throughout the process and had the agency's approval to proceed with Tuesday's announcement.

    Roth told Cyclingnews by phone that it is not unusual for the race organizers to work with local organizing committees and tourism bureaus – rather than city governments – when selecting host cities.

    "We will continue to speak with representatives of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau until they direct us otherwise," Roth added via his email statement.

    Monterey previously hosted a stage of the Tour of California in 2006 when the race took place in February. The 2014 stage that is scheduled to start in Monterey next May will finish 100 miles to the south in the coastal town of Cambria.

    John David Van Kirk, communications coordinator for the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the Herald he previously communicated to race...

  • Record number of viewers for 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup coverage

    The world's best riders at World Cup #3 in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
    Article published:
    November 08, 2013, 0:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Nearly two million people watch online

    More people than ever watched the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup online in 2013. The free coverage, hosted by Red Bull Media House, the UCI's official media partner, drew 1.93 million visitors worldwide, with 1.26 million of them streaming the video coverage live.

    The UCI released numbers this week on its website. Numbers were up 34.28 percent from the 1.44 million views in 2012, which was the first year of Red Bull's coverage. In previous years, the UCI had partnered with Freecaster for live World Cup coverage.

    The Val di Sole, Italy World Cup was the most popular, with 361,370 total viewers.

    Throughout the season, downhill was the most popular, with 1.05 million views. However, all disciplines showed growth: +104.7% for the eliminator, +41.72% for cross country and +22.9 percent for downhill. Those numbers came with two extra eliminator rounds, one fewer cross country round and one fewer downhill round in 2013 relative to 2012.

    Fort William, Scotland, which was voted the best downhill World Cup of the year, was the most popularly viewed downhill with 235,357 views. Albstadt, Germany topped the cross country views with 144,927 and the eliminator views with 49,940 views.

    All videos are available free of charge on Redbull at or from the UCI at

  • Pat Shaw to close out career at Satalyst-Giant

    Tour winner Patrick Shaw (Virgin Blue/RBS Morgan) from Victoria contemplates his change in career direction and his continued assault on the 2010 Scody Cup National Road Series.
    Article published:
    November 08, 2013, 4:44 GMT
    Jono Lovelock

    "We're going to do some big things"

    Road captain and architect behind much of the success that Huon-Genesys have had in Australia and abroad, Pat Shaw, will spend his final year of racing with rival Subaru National Road Series (NRS) team Satalyst Giant Racing. Shaw made the call to retire mid-way through the season and let Huon-Genesys management know that he was hanging it up. Thus Huon-Genesys started their 2014 recruitment with the chunk of the budget that would have paid Shaw's wage now open to chase new riders.

    As the season drew to a close, Shaw -or more importantly- Shaw's wife had a change of heart; deciding that just that one more year was on the cards.

    "My wife was the reason that I am riding on for another year, she said I should ride for just one last year," Shaw told Cyclingnews.

    Shaw took the advice to heart and got the ball rolling on securing a ride for 2014.

    "I spoke to Andrew [Christie-Johnston] and Steve [Price] first obviously, riding for Genesys next year would obviously be ideal but it was just never looking like it was possible," he said.

    For Shaw, his money had been spent, and his spot in the Huon-Genesys roster was no longer available, but an offer from Satalyst Giant Racing saved the day.

    "I have known Pat for some time now and have watched him be a key man in his team and I am now pleased that we will have the opportunity to work with him to develop Satalyst Giant Racing," said Satalyst director Wayne Evans.

    Shaw is grateful, but remains bittersweet about moving on to a new team.

    "Wayne's given me an opportunity and I am grateful for that," he said. "It's hard to put it in words because I am disappointed that I won't be with the group that more or less I've helped build. But I am looking forward to the challenges we will come up against next year."

    Shaw has decided that given next season will be his last...

  • Tour de France 2015 to start in Utrecht

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme unveils the 2014 Tour de France route
    Article published:
    November 08, 2013, 8:35 GMT
    José Been

    Dutch city has been trying to secure Grand Départ for over ten years

    The Tour de France will start in the Dutch city of Utrecht in 2015, race organiser ASO has confirmed. It will be the sixth time the sport's biggest race starts in the Netherlands.

    “Utrecht has tried to get the Grand Départ for a long time now. They have been working hard to secure it. They deserve it. We are delighted with this Grand Départ,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said on Dutch radio.

    Rumours that Utrecht had secured the Grand Départ for 2015 began a few weeks ago but the city council denied it at the time. But in a secret council meeting they confirmed the €5 million of public funds for the start and guaranteed the other €5 million of corporate funds needed to organize the event.

    The Tour de France will return to the Netherlands just five years after the start in Rotterdam. Utrecht was also in the running for the 2010 start but kept campaigning to secure the Grand Depart.

    “Utrecht is a town that lives with the bike. It’s a student’s town, a young town that understands the importance of this event. We are delighted with the Grand Départ under the Dom church tower,” Prudhomme said.

    “We have been trying to get the Grand Départ for twelve years,” Jeroen Wielaert of the organizing committee told Dutch radio NOS. “Christian Prudhomme was impressed by our perseverance.”

    The Tour de France first started outside of France in Amsterdam in 1954. Utrecht will be the sixth time the Tour starts in the Netherlands. After Amsterdam the country hosted the Grand Départ in Scheveningen (1973), Leiden (1978), Den Bosch (1996) and Rotterdam (2010). That makes the Netherlands the record holder for foreign Tour de France Grand Départs.

    The Giro d’Italia started in Amsterdam in 2010 and...