A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Belgian on Cavendish joining Omega Pharma Quick Step
Tom Boonen has been the superstar of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team this season, but he’ll have to share that mantle for 2013. The Belgian champion tells Cycling News HD what he thinks of his new teammate. Boonen also takes a look back at his record-breaking Ronde/Roubaix double double.
The team has signed Mark Cavendish for next season. What do you think about having him as a teammate?
“Having Mark on board is great. He is one of the best riders. I am curious to talk with him and get to know him a bit more. We have different goals, but it would be nice if I could give him a hand. As I said before, I am happy and relaxed. I am in my team, this team is part of my life. I am still hungry but I will do my best to help him become on of us, as soon as possible.”
For you this has been a pretty big year. Is this season one of the best in your career?
“You can’t compare a season with another, because each one is special. In 2005, I did the Ronde-Roubaix double, so you cannot compare this season, but for sure this year was one of my best years ever. This season was good for all of Belgian cycling. We won the World championship in the team time trial. Then Philippe Gilbert won the world championship and that was a big moment and for those reasons it was one of the best.”
Last year was difficult for you, did it spur you on?
“Last year wasn’t easy for me. I had a knee injury, which took a while to heal. At the same time it was not so bad, because I won Gent-Wevelgem and I was close in Ronde Van Vlaanderen and even Paris-Roubaix. I was always there fighting. Sometime little things make the difference and last year I wasn’t at 100%.”
It had been six years since you last won Ronde Van Vlaanderen, was this...
Evans and Van Garderen the priority for BMC
Although he credited riding the 2012 Tour de France for the late-season form that carried him to the rainbow jersey, world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) is unsure if he will return to the French Grand Tour next season.
Speaking at the presentation of the 2013 Tour route in Paris on Wednesday, the Belgian lauded what he described as a “complete” course, but said that it was too soon to say if he would be on the start line in Corsica on June 29 next.
“It will be a nice Tour de France, but it’s hard to say when there are still more than eight months to the start,” Gilbert said, according to La Dernière Heure. “I’m still not decided on my participation. BMC will have both Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen for the general classification, which is the priority for us.”
After leaving La Française des Jeux for Silence-Lotto at the end of 2008, Gilbert avoided the Tour for two years before returning in resounding fashion in 2011, winning the opening stage at Mont des Alouettes. The 2013 Tour once again begins with a road stage, albeit one that appears more suited to the sprinters than the puncheurs.
“It’s a very complete course with a lot of opportunities for the sprinters early on,” Gilbert said. “After that there’s the team time trial, you’ve got an easy time trial and a hard one, there are summit finishes, technical stages. It’s going to take a very complete rider to win this Tour.
“I think there are two key stages – the double ascent of l’Alpe d’Huez and the...
Wintels worried that doping culture has not changed
The president of the Royal Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU), Marcel J.G. Wintels, has made an appeal to UCI president Pat McQuaid ahead of the governing body's management committee meeting on Friday, calling for an "authoritative, independent, international truth and inquiry committee" to examine the sport's anti-doping efforts.
The AIGCP, or teams association earlier this week made a similar request.
In a three-page letter, Wintels says the sport is in "the deepest crisis ever", and that it has been made clear by the US Anti-Doping Agency's dossier on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team that doping was not only common and hardly detectable in that era, but that many people in the sport knew and accepted this behavior as normal.
He links Rabobank's decision to pull its sponsorship out of professional cycling directly to its lack of confidence in the UCI and pleads with the governing body to use this crisis to relieve the sport of a culture where "the lie reigns".
"The key question for us, the KNWU, is to what extent we really can legitimately say that - in the year 2012 - there now no longer exists or can be spoken of a culture that tolerates, seduces or even encourages systematic doping. We are not reassured. On the contrary, we are very worried.
"Rabobank resigning their sponsorship, and in particular the reason why they stopped, is painful and significant. We can not sufficiently answer...
Italian leaves BMC after three years
Santambrogio’s stand-out performance at BMC was his fourth-place finish at the recent Tour of Lombardy, but his spell at the team was also clouded by his implication in the Mantova doping inquiry, dating back to his time at Lampre.
Santambrogio was twice withdrawn from racing and then re-instated by BMC, in 2010 and 2011, due to his involvement in the case. He is one of 32 individuals who have been called to a preliminary hearing in December.
“I have to thank BMC for these three years together,” Santambrogio said. “In such an important WorldTour team, I was able to learn, grow and ride with great champions, but at 28 years of age, I wanted to find a team where I could find some space as a leader and play my own card as best as possible.”
Signed to support Cadel Evans in the mountains, Santambrogio rode just one Tour in service of the Australian at BMC, in 2010. Farnese Vini-Selle Italia manager Luca Scinto believes that the Como native has the ability to shine for his new team in the Ardennes classics.
“I’m certain that Mauro will make a big leap in quality with us,” Scinto said. “He’s a strong, mature athlete and he has had important international experience. Let’s not forget that in many classics, he has finished at the front or worked hard right to the last kilometres.
“I’m thinking of...
Team Budget Forklifts chase another NRS win
Saturday's 52nd Grafton to Inverell draws an important line in the sand for Team Budget Forklifts. Luke Davison, while not racing the one day classic leads the Australian National Road Series but for his teammate Mark O'Brien it's a chance to cap off an already impressive season, his last at home for a while before returning to Europe to race.
"We're just approaching the race like we have every other race this year which is basically just to get the win for Budget and the NRS is sort of an afterthought," O'Brien told Cyclingnews. "The Grafton to Inverell is a huge race on its own so if you win that race and nothing else for the year it's still been a successful year, really. "
O'Brien took out the tours of Mersey Valley, Toowoomba and North Western but due to their place in the tiered values of the season, he can finish no better than second overall in the individual NRS standings. Recent outings have proved tough-going, with O'Brien suffering a bout of tendonitis in his hip that proved hard to source. The issue was eventually resolved thanks to an orthotic that was overdue for replacement and mid-way through the Tour of Tasmania, the 25-year-old was back to normal.
In the last week, Budget Forklifts raced at the Japan Cup off the back of the Melbourne to Warrnambool and Shipwreck Coast weekend, and O'Brien admits that the schedule could mean that the team will fire or fail.
"The travelling does wear you out...
Peterson, Clarke, Qinghai stage winner Mezgec also new recruits
Led in its quest for the WorldTour by multiple Vuelta a España stage winner John Degenkolb and Scheldeprijs champion Marcel Kittel, the team completed its roster not with a huge points winner but with an group of promising new riders and solid teammates.
South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN) and Slovenian Luka Mezgec (Sava) bring in talent and continental UCI points: van Rensburg had two stage wins at the Volta a Portugal and win in the 1.1-ranked Ronde van Zeeland in addition to four stage wins and the overal Tour du Marco title. Mezgec claimed five stage wins at the 2.HC-ranked Tour of Qinghai Lake.
Also new to the team is Frenchman Warren Barguil, winner of the Tour de l'Avenir and Jonas Ahlstrand, both of whom rode as trainees with the team this season..
The team also picked up Canadian Francois Parisien from the Spidertech team, Tom Peterson from Garmin-Sharp, Georg Preidler from Team Type 1, Will Clarke of Champion System and neo-pro Nikias Arndt.
The women's team is led by Charlotte Becker and Kirsten Wild with junior world champion Lucy Garner. There is one opening yet to be filled.
The complete men’s team: Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE), Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert de Backer (BEL), Warren Barguil (FRA), Will Clarke (AUS), Roy Curvers (NED), Thomas Damuseau (FRA), John Degenkolb (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Patrick Gretsch (GER), Yann...
Former HTC manager becomes sports and development manager
Next year won’t be the first that Rolf Aldag has worked inside the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team. As technical advisor throughout 2012, Aldag was, among other things, a key figure in parts of Tom Boonen’s build-up to the Classics this spring. It’s a sign of how well that relationship worked that both sides have come back for more.
From an outsider’s point of view, one of the most interesting angles Aldag mentions when discussing his job are the ‘mind games’ that form part of the never-ending technological battles between the different top cycling teams. For example, the cobbled Classics are one of the most important for Omega Pharma and are often seen as the most demanding for bike technology but Aldag says “it’s not just about the equipment, but the psychology behind it, too.”
“If you looked at what we tried to do with Boonen last winter, it’s one thing to put a bike in front of him and say ‘this is your Roubaix bike’. What we have done is include him in the research program. So we had one day with Specialized and SRAM where we tested on the cobbles, on real data with SRMs, going up and down it for about five hours.”
“So Tom was going up and down, changing the wheels, changing the pressure, re-fixing the bike, so you could see what was needed for him to go at 45 kilometres an hour. And he understands that, he understands what it needs.”
Omega Pharma–QuickStep also hired the velodrome in Valencia, Spain for more work with Boonen in what Aldag calls “a really easy comparison. First he used the same wheel he used in Paris-Roubaix, aluminium rims and 32 spokes and we had him riding at 50kph there on the indoor track, measuring the wattage we need. Then you put him on the best possible new setup and...
One lucky reader will win a Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 frameset
It's here again...the 2012 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online.
Every year, we give you the chance to pick the riders, teams, races, moments and equipment that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, so the survey should take you less than five minutes to complete.
As an incentive, we're giving away a grand prize to one lucky reader - a Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 OSBB frameset, courtesy of the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team. The frameset will be provided in the contest winner's size and as an added bonus it will be autographed by the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team.
Valued at USD3,500, the SL4 FACT IS 11r carbon frame features Specialized's highest stiffness-to-weight ratio ever, with tapered head tube, carbon OSBB, and internal cable routing. Included is a full monocoque FACT carbon fork with a tapered carbon steerer, Ceramic Speed bottom bracket with ceramic bearings, 1-1/8" to 1-3/8" headset with sealed, stainless steel bearings and an S-Works FACT carbon seatpost.
Complete information about the frameset is available on the Specialized website.
Entries for the 2012 Cyclingnews reader poll will close at midnight, November 23, 2012. Enter here today!