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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 18, 2013

Date published:
October 18, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Van Avermaet, Froome win Flandrien of the year prizes

    Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) got to take home some western ware for today's win.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2013, 21:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Consistency the key to BMC rider's victory

    BMC's Greg Van Avermaet stepped onto the podium no fewer than 15 times this season, and although he can only chalk up four individual victories, his consistency earned him the Flandrien of the year award. Tour de France winner Chris Froome was given the International Flandrien prize.

    The 28-year-old topped a nearly winless Tom Boonen for the honour, which was presented by football coach Marc Wilmots. "I don't think anyone stood out," Van Avermaet said according to Sporza. "I would like to thank my colleagues who appreciated my regularity by casting their vote."

    Other nominees included cyclo-cross world champion Sven Nys, Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey holder Jan Bakelants, former world champion Philippe Gilbert and Gianni Meersman.

    Van Avermaet had a season full of single-digit placings, beginning with being part of BMC's TTT winning squad at Tour of Qatar and taking second on a stage, to a podium finish in Gent-Wevelgem, fourth in Paris-Roubaix, two stage wins an the overall Tour de Wallonie and a stage win in the Tour of Utah.

    "It is still difficult for me to win a great Classic but that is my goal," Van Avermaet said. "I keep chasing the big win by working hard.

    Froome was similarly honoured to be named as International Flandrien. "It is an honor to win this prize," Froome said. "A Flandrien is to me someone, no matter how tough the conditions are, never gives up. Someone who has the character of a fighter."

    Other awards:
    Flandrienne of the year: Jessie Daems
    U23: Jasper Stuyven
    Junior: Nathan Van Hooijdonck
    Newcomer: Robbe Ghys

  • Horner to leave RadioShack-Leopard-Trek

    Vuelta winner: Chris Horner (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 9:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Future remains unclear

    Not long after his twitter tirade Chris Horner has again used the medium of 140 characters or less to announce that he would not be a member of the Trek team for 2014.

    "Thanks to the staff, riders, and sponsors at @RSLT for a great four years. I'll be going somewhere else for 2014," tweeted Horner.

    The carefully worded tweet left the impression that the soon to be 42-year-old has plans already in place for his tilt at the 2014 season, but the veracity of this remains unclear. Horner and his agent, Michael Rutherford, have previously expressed surprise that a Grand Tour victor would remain unsigned.

    Cyclingnews understands Horner's agent has been making contact with teams worldwide, even approaching up and coming Australian Pro-Continental team Drapac Professional Cycling, to vet interest in signing this year's Vuelta champion. Jean-René Bernaudeau of Europcar also revealed recently that he was offered Horner at €750.000 per year.

    In the current climate with a number of teams folding - including WorldTour outfits Euskaltel and Vacansoleil- Horner is just one of many professional cyclists searching for employment for 2014 and beyond. With this in mind, it's looking likely that Horner will be forced down to a price much lower than he feels he is worth.

    The new Trek team recently confirmed that Laurent...

  • Rodriguez: Worlds defeat will stay with me forever

    Joaquim Rodriguez in festive mood.
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 9:43 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Spaniard on Valverde, Katusha and 2014

    Needless to say, Joaquim Rodriguez still has Florence on his mind. Time heals all wounds, they say, but it will take far more than three weeks and another Tour of Lombardy victory for the Spaniard to forget how close he came to becoming world champion.

    Caught within sight of the line and then out-sprinted by Rui Costa, Rodriguez’s defeat was all the more harrowing because it was accompanied by the nagging suspicion that teammate Alejandro Valverde had neglected his duties to police the chase behind.

    “It will stay with me forever,” Rodriguez told Cyclingnews on Thursday, with a wry laugh. “The Worlds are the Worlds. I lost a beautiful race, and the terrible weather and the fact that it was in Italy only made it even more beautiful again…”

    Rodriguez had been there before, of course, having ceded the maglia rosa on the final day of last year’s Giro d’Italia and then contrived to let slip a Vuelta a España that seemed already won three months later. Such traumas ought to acclimatise a man to the rawness of defeat, but in reality, they serve only to heighten his despair.

    “I’ve lost other races before, but not all of those are as hard to take as losing the world championships,” Rodriguez said, recalling his tears on the Florence podium. “But if you dwell on it too much, it just gets harder and harder to get over it. So it’s better just to keep thinking ahead, thinking ahead and just keep working.”

    While he may want to move on, the internecine strife in the Spanish team will be dissected and debated for decades to come, much like Eddy Merckx and Freddy Maertens’ costly discord in Rodriguez’s home city of Barcelona forty years ago. The...

  • Orica GreenEdge sign Esteban Chaves

    Johan Esteban Chaves
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 11:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Two-year deal for former Tour de l’Avenir winner

    Orica GreenEdge has announced the signing of former Tour de l’Avenir winner Esteban Chaves on a two-year deal.

    The Colombian rider suffered serious injuries in a crash early this season at the Trofeo Laigueglia suffering a broken collarbone, fractures in his left petrous bone, right cheekbone, maxillary sinuses, and sphenoid bone. He had to endure two operations and has spent the remainder of the year recovering.

    Now back on the bike the 23-year-old is readying himself for his debut in the WorldTour ranks.

    “I would like to thank Orica GreenEdge for their faith in me. I am very happy to be a part of the team for the coming seasons. This is a great opportunity for me and a dream come true after a very difficult year,” Chaves said in a team press release.

    “I have been involved in cycling for the last ten years, which is thanks to my father, who is a big sports fan,” Chaves said. “The last three years of my career have been very important. I have been able to compete at the highest level and I have learnt some small things, but I obviously still have a lot to learn.

    “The biggest moments in my career have been the overall win at Tour de l’Avenir and my first win as a professional on the mountain stage of Vuelta Burgos,” continued Chaves. “I feel the win in Burgos was the most important. It filled me with emotion to take such a fine win after a difficult start to the season.”

    Chaves has not raced this season as he recovered from his injuries, however Neil Stephens admitted that the rider’s early promise coupled with medical reassurances that the rider could once again compete were enough to offer Chaves a...

  • Gallery: The Pain and the Glory

    A focused Chris Froome on the Sky bus with Ian Stannard
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 12:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Images from Team Sky's official new book

    Fresh off the back of their Tour de France success Team Sky have released a book tracking their 2013 season.

    The Pain and the Glory follows the team’s efforts from their failed bid to win the Giro d’Italia through to their dominant performance at the Tour de France in July.

    With insight from a number of protagonists, such as Dave Brailsford, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, the book is an essential read for any hardcore Team Sky fan. Just don't expect any detailed examination of the questions Froome and company faced at the Tour de France.

    Along with words from Sarah Edworthy, the book also combines the photographical talents of Scott Mitchell. The team’s official photographer for the last two seasons once again uses his behind the scenes privileges to deliver candid shots of the team throughout both an epic Giro and a triumphant march towards Paris in July. The book is available online, here, while you can view a selection of his images, right here.

  • Gilbert to make Milan-San Remo prime classics target in 2014

    All smiles for Philippe Gilbert (BMC) as he awaits the start of stage 15 at the Vuelta
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 13:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian enthusiastic about new course

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) will make the revamped Milan-San Remo the focal point of his 2014 spring campaign, as he believes the altered parcours will eliminate the pure sprinters from contention.

    Race organisers RCS Sport last month announced that the stiff climb of Pompeiana, with a maximum gradient of 14%, will now feature in the finale of Milan-San Remo, between the Cipressa and the final ascent, the Poggio.

    “I was happy to see that San Remo is better for me and I will focus on this,” Gilbert told reporters on Friday. “San Remo is a race I love and I would love to win. I’ve been on the podium a few times and I’m still convinced I can win this and now even more.”

    Even ahead of this year’s race, 2009 winner Mark Cavendish said that the insertion of the early climb of Le Manie had severely limited the sprinters’ chances of winning on the Lungomare Italo Calvino. While Le Manie has now been removed from the course, Gilbert reckons that the addition of Pompeiana makes the race even harder for the fast men and greatly improved his own prospects.

    “The riders make the race, but if we climb that climb with real climbing speed, I don’t see any sprinters – apart from Sagan of course – being able to follow,” Gilbert said. “Sagan is the exception, because he can climb, sprint and even TT, but the other sprinters, I don’t see a chance for them.”

    Indeed, so enamoured is Gilbert by the Milan-San Remo course that he is planning to hit peak condition in late March rather than during the Ardennes classics in late April. “I’ve won all of the Ardennes and I haven’t won San Remo. For me the big...

  • Gadret looks ahead to new start at Movistar

    John Gadret (Ag2r) was on the attack in the stage 19 finale
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 15:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman's contract was not renewed by Ag2r-La Mondiale

    John Gadret will make a new start at Movistar in 2014, joining the Spanish squad after eight seasons with Ag2r-La Mondiale. The 34-year-old Frenchman finished third at the Giro d’Italia in 2011, but was left without a team at the end of this season after Ag2r opted not to renew his contract.

    In late September, it was announced that Gadret had signed for Movistar, and he told L'Equipe on Friday that he has penned a two-year agreement with the team. While he looks ahead to life on his new team, however, Gadret admitted that he was disappointed by the way his time at Ag2r ended.

    “I can understand that their team managers have choices to make but it’s distressing that we didn’t talk about it between us,” Gadret told L’Équipe of Vincent Lavenu’s decision not to keep him on the team.

    After enjoying a great degree of freedom at Ag2r, Gadret now will take on the role of domestique deluxe and ride in the service of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde at Movistar.

    “I’m going to be a back as a support rider, but knowing that I’m going to ride for two leaders capable of winning grand tours is incredible,” Gadret said. “And I’ll have carte blanche on summit finishes in certain weeklong stage races.”

    Considering the bleak outlook of the transfer market at the end of a season that saw Vacansoleil-DCM, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Sojasun cease operations, Gadret is grateful simply to have a contract for 2014, considering the amount of riders currently out of work.

    “When you see that...

  • Bookwalter, Burghardt among five riders to renew contracts at BMC

    Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) wins stage 1 of the Tour of Qatar
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 16:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Eijssen, Kohler and Wyss also remain with WorldTour squad

    Prior to Friday's presentation in Grenchen, Switzerland of the 28 riders who will comprise the BMC Racing Team for 2014, the WorldTour squad announced contract renewals for five riders on the team: Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler and Danilo Wyss.

    BMC's general manager Jim Ochowicz stated that each fill important roles critical to the success of the team.

    "Having raced for us before, they know our patterns, our system, and they understand our racing style," said Ochowicz. "They fulfill an important need we have so our leaders can count on their skills to improve their results."

    Bookwalter won the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar on the way to finishing second overall there and later in the season placed second overall at the inaugural Tour of Alberta. The 29-year-old American also won silver medals in both the individual time trial and road race at US professional national championships, competed in the Tour de France and helped teammate Tejay van Garderen win the Amgen Tour of California and USA Pro Challenge.

    Burghardt, 30, was part of breakaways on three consecutive stages on the way to winning the king of the mountains classification at the Tour de...