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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 16, 2013

Date published:
December 16, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Kelderman handed free role at Giro d'Italia

    Wilco Kelderman will skip this year's Tour after finishing 17th at the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    December 14, 2013, 17:14 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Belkin youngster aiming for top ten

    Wilco Kelderman, the latest in the long line of Dutch talents to step off the Rabobank development production line, will be handed a leadership slot in next year’s Giro d’Italia for Team Belkin.

    The 22-year-old finished 17th in this year’s race despite riding in the services of Robert Gesink for the opening two weeks. That result, coupled with his consistent performances in the Tour Down Under (sixth), the Tour of Romandie (fifth) and the overall title in the Tour of Denmark have led to Belkin serving up the talented rider from Utrecht with the chance to shine in Italy once again.

    “I get a free role for the Giro and can ride for myself. I think a few other guys will ride for me too. I hope I can come close or be in the top 10,” he told Cyclingnews at his team’s training camp in Spain.

    “That would make me really happy. There will be lots of really good riders there with Quintana and maybe Rodriguez there but the field will be very strong.”

    “The parcours will be hard and like this year there will be lots of hard stages in the final week. There are some really steep climbs in that final week, they might not be that good for me. I’m more a time trialist than a real climber. My climbing is getting better as I get older and increase my power but I’m not a climber like [Vicenzo] Nibali or [Joaquim] Rodriguez, and I like to ride climbs at one pace, at a stable tempo.”

    Kelderman will alter his race programme slightly for 2014. The Tour Down Under will be replaced by a start in the Tour of Algarve, with Paris-Nice, a possible start in one of the Ardennes Classics and the routine trip to Romandie thrown in. There’s also talk of a slot in the Vuelta,...

  • Monfort and Gallopin to bolster Lotto-Belisol's roster for 2014

    Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) in action at Roeselare
    Article published:
    December 14, 2013, 22:07 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Sergeant has high hopes for next year's Classics and Grand Tours

    After a major upheaval in his squad, with a third of the roster changing, Marc Sergeant is confident that his Lotto-Belisol can improve on their 2013 season, in which they won 28 races.

    To Sergeant's credit, the team have kept the core of their most talented riders with Andre Greipel and a number of his key leadout men signing contract extensions. Greipel was responsible for nearly half the team's wins last year (13 of 28) and Sergeant has moved to address the balance by dipping into the transfer market. He turned down the chance of signing the Vuelta a Espana winner, instead going after Maxime Monfort and Tony Gallopin.

    Neither the Belgian or the Frenchman have been prolific winners - both having ridden in the services of other riders in the past, but Sergeant believes that both new signings will bolster the team.

    "We've changed a lot. We have nine new riders and 10 left, and that's a third of the team that has changed," he told Cyclingnews.

    "Our goal was to keep the strength of the team but also to reinforce the team on different levels. So if you look at the Classics, we've brought in Gallopin and for the Grand Tours, we've brought in Monfort. We've done some nice shopping."

    Gallopin has shown flashes of class in the last few seasons and picked up his first major win at San Sebastian this year, becoming the first winner of the race since Laurent Jalabert's back-to-back wins in 2001 and 2002.

    "We signed him before that win," the Lotto boss quickly added.

    "It was a good deal, but I don't think there are any regrets from him. He had some good offers even before that win and he was on the market. I took an opportunity to give more responsibility on our team, and he was on the same page. From there we had a...

  • La Route de France race under threat

    Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    December 15, 2013, 9:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Status of 2014 edition of women's stage race in question

    La Route de France feminine, a women's road stage race in France, is under threat for 2014. Despite the success of the seventh edition this season, race organiser Hervé Gérardin has not yet found a host town for the grand depart for the next edition.

    The parcours is planned to take place from the August 9th to 14th, from Bretagne to l'Alsace.

    "Many of the mayors are involved in municipal elections [and cannot commit at the moment], it is impossible to set up such an event in less than four months [after the elections will have taken place and decisions made]," said Gérardin.

    Less than a year before the eighth edition, the final route is still unconfirmed. With the lack of a host town, Gérardin is concerned and has warned that "without the assistance of sponsors and municipalities, the 2014 event cannot take place. This would be a great shame for women's cycling".

    La Route de France feminine is a UCI stage race in which professional and national teams compete. The nine days of competition include a prologue, a time trial and seven road stages totalling around 900 kilometres.

    The 2013 podium featured Linda Villumsen (New Zealand), Emma Johansson (Sweden) and Evelyn Stevens (USA).

  • Leopard keeps continental team for 2014

    The Leopard Trek Continental team at the 2013 Settimana Lombarda.
    Article published:
    December 15, 2013, 10:49 GMT
    José Been

    Luxembourg squad presents 12 riders

    The Luxembourg continental team Leopard remains in the peloton for 2014. After Flavio Becca, Leopard's owner and financier, withdrew its support for the World Tour team Radioshack-Leopard and sold the license to Trek Bicycles, it was feared the development team would also vanish. Leopard S.A. however presented a team of twelve riders for 2014 this weekend.

    "We want to stay true to the mission of a development team: offer opportunities to young cyclists to develop as athletes in a professional environment and to prepare them for a potential career in the UCI WorldTour. We will be able to offer them a balanced race programme and a good team spirit." team manager Markus Zingen said.

    Piero Baffi, son of former pro rider Adriano Baffi, stays with the team. The same goes for four of the Luxembourg riders: Alex Kirsch, Tom Thill, Pit Schlechter and Joël Zangerle. Luxembourg U23 cyclo cross champion Massimo Morabito and Kevin Feiereisen join the team of which half of the riders have the Luxembourg nationality.

    Other new signings are German road and cyclo cross junior champion Marco König, his compatriot Matthias Plarre, Dennis Coenen from Belgium, Patrick Olesen from Denmark and the 30-year old German rider Florian Salzinger who will serve as both sports director and road captain to the young team.

    Since its foundation in 2012 five riders moved up to a World Tour team. Bob Jungels, Fabio Silvestre and Eugenio Alafaci ride with Trek Factory Racing in 2014 while Sean de Bie signed a two year contract with Lotto-Belisol. Julian Kern made his professional debut with AG2r-La Mondiale this season.

    The team will ride in the UCI Europe Tour next season with...

  • Bernard Hinault becomes patron of Team Raleigh

    Bernard Hinault
    Article published:
    December 15, 2013, 13:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team hopes to return to the pinnacle of professional cycling

    Bernard Hinault will become the patron of the British Continental Team Raleigh for 2014. The five-times Tour de France winner now embraces his former rivals of Raleigh. “The TI-Raleigh team learned that it is better to have Bernard Hinault with you than against you," team manager Eric Berthou said on the arrival of Hinault.

    It was Berthou, who like Hinault comes from the French region of Brittany, who contacted Hinault. "There is an obvious connection between the racing scene in Brittany and Britain, plus we’re next to the ocean and, like the British riders, open to inclement weather," Berthou explained.

    "Cycling is a sport that is exported widely and we must look at the growth it has in emerging countries such as Britain," said Hinault. "Now races and teams are on the four corners of the globe, which was a building process that started in my time, making cycling an international affair."

    Raleigh is a name which stands for great successes in the history of cycling. Between 1974 and 1983 the infamous TI-Raleigh team amassed 52 stage wins in the Tour de France, with 10 and 11 victories in the 1978 and 1980 editions alone. In 1980 Joop Zoetemelk won the overall classification. 

    "I remember the TI-Raleigh team with Joop Zoetemelk very well," Hinault said. "In 1979 when I was in the yellow jersey of the Tour de France Joop and I found ourselves alone on a breakaway and I beat him in the sprint on the Champs Elysees. The following year Zoetemelk rode for Raleigh and he took overall victory in the Tour, still very good memories."

    "It was a very good team with great riders. Now this is a new team with young people and I am sure they will go on to much success and podium places."

    Cherie Pridham, the Raleigh Team director adds: "We're honoured and proud to have such a personality and legend in the cycling world...

  • Renshaw to lead Omega Pharma Quick-Step at Tour Down Under

    Mark Renshaw (Belkin) in the lead at the Eneco Tour
    Article published:
    December 15, 2013, 16:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Pauwels and Bakelants among other top riders heading to Australia

    Australia's Mark Renshaw will return to the Santos Tour Down Under next year with his new Omega Pharma Quick-Step teammates. The powerful sprinter was named on Sunday to the team's seven-man roster heading to South Australia for the race on January 19 to 26, 2014.

    Renshaw, whose 2013 season included a win at the Clásica de Almería, is known for his skill as a lead-out man for the world's fastest road cyclists. The Omega Pharma Quick-Step team will also include Belgian rider Jan Bakelants, who won stage 2 of the 2013 Tour de France and held the yellow jersey for stages three and four.

    Santos Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said that Bakelants and Renshaw, who have both joined Omega Pharma Quick-Step for the 2014 season, would be eager to make their mark.

    "Omega Pharma Quick-Step delivers consistently strong performances at UCI WorldTour races and they've named a solid, experienced group of riders to kick off the season," said Turtur. "Serge Pauwels, who won the mountains classification at the 2007 Santos Tour Down Under, will return and is likely to be in the mix on climbs such as Corkscrew and Menglers hills."

    Furthermore, the line-up will include young French rider Julian Alaphilippe and 23-year-old British sprinter Andrew Fenn, whose accolades as a junior included twice being named European champion.

    "The team we'll see here in South Australia has a good mix of strengths and we look forward to seeing how this translates across the varied race routes we've presented," said Turtur.

    Omega Pharma Quick-Step will fly from Amsterdam to Adelaide under the direction of Sports Director Rik Van Slycke.

    "The routes won't be much different that what we saw in the last edition of the race," said Van Slycke.

    "We'll have a few days in...

  • 2013 Report Card: Lotto Belisol

    Andre Greipel (Lotto - Belisol)
    Article published:
    December 15, 2013, 21:55 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Greipel once again anchors the Belgian squad

    Lotto Belisol 2013
    WorldTour Ranking: 18th/19
    Win Count: 28
    Top riders: André Greipel (37th), Jurgen Roelandts (51st), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (92nd)
    Grade: B-

    Why mess with a good thing was the mindset heading into 2013 for Lotto Belisol. The Belgian squad's roster remained nearly identical to the previous year's which saw powerhouse German sprinter Andre Greipel win more races than any other in the professional peloton while Jurgen Van Den Broeck placed fourth overall in the Tour de France and had a solid showing in stage races in his build-up to the Grand Boucle.

    Greipel again was the rider singly responsible for the most of Lotto Belisol's victories in 2013 (13 out of 28) and once again kicked off the squad's WorldTour campaign in fine fashion with three stage victories in Australia at the Tour Down Under. Except for March, Greipel proceeded to win races each month through to September (his final win was the one-day Brussels Cycling Classic in early September). Greipel again delivered a Tour de France stage victory for the squad (stage 6, the day after Van Den Broeck's season ended with a devastating crash), and won stages at Tour Méditerranéen (2), Tour of Turkey (2), Tour of Belgium (2), and the Eneco Tour (1) as well. In addition to his Brussels Cycling Classic victory, his other one-day win was the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports in early June.

    Van Den Broeck seemed poised for another run at the general classification of the Tour de France (a race in which he'd already placed fourth on two occasions) as he notched solid results in stages races earlier in the season: fifth overall at Tour de San Luis, second overall at Ruta Del...

  • Cancellara: Sagan will have to cope with burden of pressure

    2013 Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard)
    Article published:
    December 16, 2013, 10:04 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Swiss talks classics at Trek Factory Racing camp

    A hotel in Benidorm in December will always be out of season no matter how it is dressed. The coastal town is all but shut down as the year draws to a close, and the Christmas decorations that deck the bar of the Albir Playa Hotel are at odds with the watery afternoon sunshine flooding through the windows.

    Yet as Fabian Cancellara casts his mind dreamily to what he likes to describe as cycling's Christmas Week – the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix – the setting seems strangely apt. Far from the madding crowds of Belgium, Cancellara and his Trek Factory Racing teammates are beginning their preparations in earnest for the spring.

    The tweaks to the to the Ronde course have aroused plenty of interest over the winter, but it is Cancellara's battle with ghosts of Christmas Weeks Past and Future that will quicken pulses come the first week in April. His old foe Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) makes a welcome return after an injury-plagued 2013, while his burgeoning rivalry with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) dominated last spring's headlines.

    "I still expect a great Tom. I have great respect for him, I've known him a long time and you can't have him missing from those races – it's like food without salt," Cancellara told Cyclingnews of Boonen, effusive in his praise of the other half of the Old Firm that has dictated terms and conditions over the cobbles for the best part of a decade.

    In Sagan, Cancellara found a readymade replacement for the unfortunate Boonen this year, and they duly divided the cobbled classics between them – Flanders, Roubaix and E3 Harelbeke for the Swiss, Gent-Wevelgem for the young pretender. Their clash had the added dynamic, of course, of pitting the upstart Sagan against the patrician Cancellara,...