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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 11, 2013

Date published:
October 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Saxo Bank steps up sponsorship for 2014

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).
    Article published:
    October 10, 2013, 14:28 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Riis confirms that search for co-sponsor will continue

    Saxo Bank will step up its sponsorship commitment of Bjarne Riis’ team in 2014 to make up the shortfall left by the departure of co-sponsor Tinkoff Bank at the end of this season.

    Riis announced the news in a press conference in Madrid on Thursday afternoon, which was also attended by Alberto Contador and Saxo Bank CEO Lars Seier Christensen.

    Although the search for a new co-sponsor to replace Tinkoff continues, Riis' announcement means that SaxoBank will remain active in 2014 regardless of that search’s success.

    The team are presumably also hoping that the press conference will end the rumours flying around on the internet, ranging from the team folding at the end of 2013 to a last-minute merger with the soon-to-disappear Euskaltel-Euskadi or even a joint venture with Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

    None of these, it turns out, are true, nor - at least for now - were the reports that either Ivan Basso and/or Michele Scarponi will join Team Saxo Bank, as the team will be known in 2014.

    Instead Riis and Contador were at pains to point out that in 2014 it will be business as usual for the Danish team. “We are all extremely grateful to Saxo Bank for their support. Saxo Bank has decided to step up its commitment in 2014. and with that help we are able to continue supporting the team,” Riis said.

    Contador also spent a good chunk of time clearing the deck of rumours, such as, that he might have been leaving if a new co-sponsor did not arrive.

    “I have a great relationship with Bjarne, the best I have ever had with a sports director,” said the Madrileño, who like Riis emphasised his thanks to Saxo Bank for continuing their sponsorship. “This team gives me the best guarantees I can want for...

  • Teklehaimanot moves to MTN-Qhubeka

    Mountains leader Daniel Teklehaimanot
    Article published:
    October 10, 2013, 14:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Young Eritrean Kudus joins his compatriot for two years

    The MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team today announced the signing of Eritreans Daniel Teklehaimanot and 19-year-old talent Merhawi Kudus for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The two join previously-announced signing Linus Gerdemann and all 21 riders from this year's squad who are being retained for 2014.

    Teklehaimanot, a multi-time national and African road and time trial champion comes from the Orica-GreenEdge team after a season abbreviated by visa issues, while Kuduis will make his professional debut with the South African-registered team.

    Both riders are a product of the UCI World Cycling Centre: Teklehaimanot, at 24, is a relative veteran of European racing having spent two years at the WorldTour level and completed his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España in 2012. Kudus is a fresh, young talent who found success as a trainee with Bretagne - Séché Environnement with a second place in the Vuelta a Leon.

    Team principle Doug Ryder sought out Teklehaimanot as a leader for the team alongside its Europea riders like Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek and new signing Gerdemann.

    "We've brought Daniel on board to give him a leadership position as we believe he's ability and talent deserves that," Ryder said. "We're investing heavily in all our athletes who are on the team and they're not here because of anything else except that we believe in them. The fact that we've not lost any of our riders this year and are adding two African and one European to the roster speaks about our environment and belief in the fruits African cycling will bear on the world stage."

    The pair of Eritreans will join three of their compatriots on the team, which will have 17 African and seven European riders next year. For Teklehaimanot, the mix was part of the appeal, as was the team's bid for a wildcard invitation to the Giro d'Italia for 2014.

    "I've chosen this team because it's an African team from home," Teklehaimanot said....

  • Cookson coy on Verbruggen's position

    Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen is at the Tour of Oman.
    Article published:
    October 10, 2013, 16:49 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    New UCI president says Verbruggen no longer attends UCI meetings

    Brian Cookson has been quick to change a number of the personnel at the UCI, but no news has been issued regarding Hein Verbruggen and the Dutchman’s position as Honorary President of the sport’s governing body. At a press conference on the eve of the 2013 Tour of Beijing, Cyclingnews asked Cookson whether Verbruggen - a former President of the UCI and ally of Pat McQuaid - had retained his position.

    The newly appointed UCI president said that Verbruggen was not voted in as a member of the management committee, but didn’t go as far as to deny that the 72-year-old had retained his title.

    “Mr Verbruggen being named honorary UCI president was conferred to him by the congress of the UCI and it wasn’t my personal gift to him,” said Cookson. “Mr Verbruggen wasn’t voted a member of the management committee and doesn’t attend any of the meetings at the UCI any longer and that’s all I can say on the matter.”

    While the UCI Congress voted in favour of Cookson the pressure is on to steer away from the “chum-ocracy” driven UCI, as described by Graeme Obree.

    Head of that so-called “chum-ocracy” were McQuaid and the UCI’s honorary president Verbruggen. Despite being succeeded by McQuaid eight years ago, the former president still presided over important matters.

  • Rui Costa gets ready for final race with Movistar

    Road race world champion Rui Costa (Movistar) is an advocate for clean cycling and wears a Bike Pure wrist band in support of the cause
    Article published:
    October 10, 2013, 18:27 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Portuguese hopes to go out with a bang in Beijing

    After five years with the Movistar team, Rui Costa is preparing to ride his last race with the Spanish outfit at the Tour of Beijing.

    The Portuguese rider will compete in China before moving to Lampre in 2014 and is bringing his rainbow jersey with him. After riding in support of Alejandro Valverde at Il Lombardia, Beijing will provide Rui Costa with his first opportunity to race for victory since becoming world champion.

    This will be the 27-year-old’s second appearance at the final WorldTour race of the year. He finished ninth in last year’s edition, but the addition of the first ever summit finish could alter his prospects.

    “I hope to do well here. Winning in Florence was a dream come true and it is an honour to come to Beijing and race in my world champion’s jersey,” said Rui Costa.

    Costa’s decision to change teams was driven by a lack of opportunities at Movistar. The presence of Valverde and Nairo Quintana in the team limited Rui Costa’s chances to lead in the grand tours.

    Rui Costa joined the team in 2009 when they were under the guise of Caisse d’Epargne. Since then has developed into a strong general classification and one-day contender, with two victories in the Tour de Suisse and the GP Cycliste Montréal.

    “In my five years at Movistar I’ve made some very good friends,” he said at the opening press conference for the Tour of Beijing. “It has been a great team to ride for and I’ve learned and grown a lot as a rider in these years. I hope that we will meet each other on the road soon.”

    Rui Costa has already set himself some lofty goals for his year in the rainbow jersey, including a high overall finish at...

  • USA Cycling trims down National Criterium Calendar for 2014

    The final GC podium with Francisco Mancebo ( first, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) second and Chris Baldwin (juwi Solar-First Solar) in third.
    Article published:
    October 10, 2013, 19:09 BST
    Cycling News

    NRC loses Elk Grove, gains Park City

    USA Cycling announced its 2014 road calendars today, rolling out a massive reduction in the racing days under its National Criterium Calendar, but keeping the National Racing Calendar largely the same.

    The NCC had an untenable 40 days of racing over 24 events in 2013, which has been reduced to 16 events and up to 24 days of racing total for the coming season.

    The NRC lost the Tour of Elk Grove, which called it quits when the Tour of Utah was awarded an extra day that conflicted with the Illinois event, but retained the other core races. It will still begin with the Redlands Classic in April, and adds the one-day Winston Salem Classic one week ahead of the Joe Martin Stage Race in April. The series then moves on to the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.

    The Philadelphia Cycling Classic is no longer part of the NRC for men, but remains on the women's calendar. Both genders will compete in the North Star Grand Prix, formerly known as the Nature Valley GP, in June and the Cascade Classic in July. The women's finale will take place with the Tour de Park City in Utah in August, while the men's last race will be the Bucks County Classic in September.

    The NCC kicks off with the Delray Beach Twilight in March, and runs through the TD Bank Mayor's Cup in September.

    2014 NRC:

    April 3-6: Redlands Bicycle Classic, Redlands, CA - M/W
    April 17: Winston-Salem Cycling Classic Winston-Salem, NC - M/W
    April 24-27: Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley, Fayetteville, AR - M/W
    April 30 - May 4: Tour of the Gila, Silver City, NM - M/W
    June 1 Parx Casino Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Philadelphia, PA - W
    June 11-15: North Star Grand Prix, Minneapolis, MN - M/W
    July 15-20: Cascade Cycling Classic, Bend, OR, M/W
    August 2: Tour de Park City, Park City, UT -...

  • Women's Tour of Britain receives 2.1 status

    The Women's podium Laura Trott - Silver, Lizzie Armitstead - Gold and Dani King ­ bronze
    Article published:
    October 10, 2013, 20:54 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI event to match men's race

    SweetSpot, the organisers of the Tour of Britain, have confirmed that the Women’s Tour has been awarded a 2.1 status by the sports’ governing body, the UCI. The inaugural women’s race will take place over five days in May 2014, with a world class field expected to match the event’s status. The men’s race will go ahead in its usual spot later in September.

    "We are absolutely delighted that the UCI have awarded us 2.1 status for this exciting new event," said SweetSpot Director Guy Elliott.

    "Our first stage, including the Grand Depart, will be based entirely in Northamptonshire, which is a fantastic county for racing and will the first time that Northamptonshire has hosted a major Tour. The stage will be a challenging test for all riders on a beautiful and challenging route of opening day of the race, with plans to pass through many of the county's towns and villages.

    "We are particularly pleased about Northamptonshire's plans to use the event to promote women's sport in its widest context to young people."

    The full route for the five day event will be announced later this year.


  • Sébastien Chavanel signs for

    Sprinter Sébastien Chavanel has a Kappa leisure top.
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 8:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman to act as Bouhanni's lead-out man

    Sébastien Chavanel has signed for for the 2014 season, where he will serve as lead-out man to former French champion Nacer Bouhanni. Chavanel returns to the team after spending the past three years with Team Europcar.

    “It’s gratifying when you do your job and another rider pays attention to it. Nacer has wanted me with him all year, I’m not going to disappointment him,” Chavanel told La Nouvelle Republique.

    Chavanel has signed a one-year deal with and rejoins a team that had deemed him surplus to requirements at the end of the 2010 season. The 33-year-old spent four seasons with Marc Madiot’s squad, winning the French Cup in his first year in 2007.

    “I’m showing once again that I can bounce back. When FDJ didn’t keep me in 2010, I understood the strategy of the team and I wasn’t angry with anyone,” said Chavanel. “And now again, I’m leaving Europcar on good terms.”

    Chavanel only victory during his time with Europcar – his second spell with Jean-René Bernaudeau’s squad – came on a stage of the Circuit de Lorraine in 2011 and he struggled for form during the past year, but he is keen on the idea of performing a very specific task at an team that also boasts a burgeoning sprint talent in Arnaud Démare.

    “I’m still worth a place in the peloton and I’m going to show that,” Chavanel said.

  • Porte: I'd love to do the Giro for myself

    Water for a hangover? Richie Porte and Chris Froome before the start of the Aalst Criterium
    Article published:
    October 11, 2013, 10:11 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Sky rider thinks course will suit him

    Opportunities to lead at team Sky can be difficult to come by but Richie Porte hopes that the team will nominate him for such a role at next year’s Giro d’Italia.

    “I’ve had a look at the route, I like it and it’s not a bad race for me,” he told Cyclingnews ahead of stage 1 of the Tour of Beijing. “I’m still not really sure what my programme is yet though. Not until the Tour route comes out. Obviously I’d love to do the Giro for myself before going to the Tour and helping Chris [Froome] there.”

    This year’s Giro route is another tough one, with eight summit finishes, including the tortuous Monte Zoncolan. There are two individual time trials at next year’s event plus a team trial, which was won by Sky this season. The last time trial is a challenging 26 kilometre mountain test where Porte believes he could make an impact.

    “Why not? I won on Col d’Éze this year,” explained Porte, pointing to his win at Paris-Nice. “I know it’s not a full on mountain time trial, but it’s a hard time trial. I think also the stages in the final week are going to be crucial.”

    Porte has often played a vital role in Froome’s success this season. The Australian’s performances convinced Sky to appoint him leader at this year’s Paris-Nice, where he won the final stage and the overall victory. Porte also took victories at the Criterium International and the Vuelta al País Vasco.

    He has yet to be given the chance to lead the team at a grand tour. With the Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who finished third at the Giro, leaving the team to head to Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014, Porte could find himself with a few more...