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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 19, 2011

Date published:
December 19, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Breschel raring to go

    Matti Breschel is determined to have a better season in 2012
    Article published:
    December 18, 2011, 15:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dane eager to make up for lost time after injury plagued 2011

    Danish rider Matti Breschel is edging closer to full fitness and is chomping at the bit to get started in 2012, having put his injury nightmares behind him. Breschel spent most of last spring out with a knee injury and then crashed badly at the Vuelta a Espana, an incident that put paid to his hopes of appearing at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships in his home country.

    The Rabobank star had been regarded as one of the most talented young riders around throughout the last few years and his frustration at the halt to his progress is obvious. But despite the prolonged periods on the sidelines, there won't be anything different about his pre-season preparations.

    "Of course, I have been out for a long time, and so one might think that I would have started serious training already," he told "But it is almost the worst thing you can do because you are so motivated you will get ahead of yourself. And then you fly around in January. It makes no sense. So it is better to do things as normal - relax and let the race come to you.

    "There are not too many things that I can take from this year apart from patience. I have been injured, ill and have been out for a long time since I started, so patience is something you learn along the way. It can be hard not to stress over it. Recovery takes the time it takes. You may as well try to sit back and be relaxed. And find out what the problem is. If rest is what it needs then so be it."

  • Forum Hot Topic: Views of Alpe d'Huez as possible Tour de France 2013 finale

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) became the first Frenchman to win on Alpe d'Huez since Bernard Hinault.
    Article published:
    December 18, 2011, 16:23 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Cyclingnews forum users cite tradition and safety concerns

    What do the fans think of the apparent proposal to finish off the 100th Tour de France in 2013 with two climbs of L'Alpe de Huez, instead of the usual procession into Paris? Cyclingnews asked the experts in its forum.

    “Why not?” asked pedaling squares.  “The Tour needs to break out of the mould it has built around itself, and replacing one legendary finish with another is a safe way to start. If time gaps were minimal before this stage and bonus seconds were available, it could be an amazing finish to three weeks of racing. Bring it on.”

    And cineteq said, “I want to see a decisive stage at the end of the race, and if it's 2xAlpe then so be it. I'm tired of seeing a stage for sprinters on the last day. That's not to say that I don't love Les Champs but put that stage somewhere along the race but not at the end.”

    TeamSkyFans had mixed feelings.  “In one way I like it, nice climax to the tour, and certainly provides an exciting finish on the mountain for the fans who can get there and the GC contenders, and climbers.

    "But the Tour's not just about them, the Tour is about the domestiques, the sprinters, the young riders, the ones who just dream of completing the Tour, and Paris is something special. Every rider who goes up the Champs Elysees is cheered on by the crowd.. The lap of honour is a chance for them to celebrate, greet their fans, say hello to family and friends along the route, take in the atmosphere of however many hundreds of thousands of fans are on the roadside, have their photos taken..

    "Where will they do that on Alpe d'huez.. how the hell can they have a lap of honour...”

    The tradition of the finish...

  • Chipotle to focus on European racing in 2012

    Danny Summerhill (Garmin-Chipotle)
    Article published:
    December 18, 2011, 19:00 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Garmin Cervelo's development team to give riders overseas experience

    The Chipotle Development Team, which has been a staple of the US domestic circuit for years, will focus on a mostly European racing schedule for the 2012 season.

    Team Director Chann McRae said Garmin-Cervelo's development squad will live and race out of a team house in Toulouse, France, hitting a full schedule of UCI 2.1 and 2.2 races to better prepare riders for the rigors of the World Tour.

    “When you put riders into the World Tour you want them to be 100 percent ready to go because there's no time to really learn once you're there,” McRae said. “All the learning needs to be done at the Continental level.”

    So instead of lining up for the US National Race Calendar Redlands Bicycle Classic in California this coming March, the Chipotle boys will toe the line at Paris-Tours.

    “Redlands is fun and historically a great race,” McRae said. “But we need our guys in Normandy in the gutter just killing it at mach speed for four hours straight with crashes left and right, learning how to position and all that stuff. That's something that you don't get at a race like Redlands exactly.”

    Beyond providing the international experience for riders, setting up a centrally located house in France is also a more efficient use of team resources, McRae said.

    “We targeted the house in a location so that we were around a lot of UCI 2.1 and 2.2 races that were within driving distance,” he said. “In the US, if you're on the NRC circuit, you're flying to 80 percent of the races. And in the US you don't get start money. You're having to find meals for the riders, you're having to book the hotels, sometimes you get home stays, which are awesome. But in Europe they just give you X amount of start money, hotels,...

  • New sponsor for Honda Cycles Kuota Women's team

    Britain's Nicole Cooke will race for the new Faren-Honda team in 2012
    Article published:
    December 18, 2011, 20:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian chemical company Faren confirm link-up

    Faren Chemical Industries Spa, based in Solaro (Milan), a Company specializing in the field of chemical transformation has agreed to sponsor the Honda Cycles Kuota Women's team. The new team will include 13 riders, among whom is Welsh Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, Australian Rochelle Gilmore and Italian Fabiana Luperini.

    The president of Faren, Antonio Mosetter, said in a press release announcing the news, "We believe in the project and immediately from the start, we liked the proposal to be the main sponsor of the general manger Walter Ricci Petitoni's team.

    "A long friendship and a common passion for cycling was the main factor, which has led Ricci and I towards the only objective of bringing forward the values of the sport and in particular of women's cycling. We look forward to starting this experience with a strong and prestigious team and we are certain that the team Faren-Honda will have great results."

  • Schleck brothers inspire local cinema

    Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) will spend an additional week training in Spain.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2011, 0:40 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    "The Road Uphill" documentary follows Luxembourg riders 2011 Tour journey

    Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador are not yet film heroes – but Frank and Andy Schleck now are. A documentary about the two brothers, "The Road Uphill", has recently been released in Luxembourg cinemas with the first projection, last Saturday night in Luxembourg City.

    The 90-minute film is called by its production studio an "intimate cinematic portrait of two brothers and a team who are under pressure to live up to the expectations of their country".

    Alongside the Schleck's atypical brotherhood in the peloton, the launch of a nearly national team in Luxembourg this year, in Leopard Trek, has helped to justify the film making.

    The producer, Paul Thiltges, admits he was under the Schleck's spell even before he made the film. "I have six kids, and all of them adore the Schlecks, as he told 352luxmag website.

    "Personally, I am from an older generation and was a follower of 'Father Schleck' (Johny) but I love what they do for Luxembourg and what they do for cycling."

    The Road Uphill focuses on the Tour de France, following the two brothers day by day. According to the trailer, Andy doesn't hide his ambitions before the race.

    "I know that if I ride the Tour de France this year and come second, then I have lost the Tour". Of course, it’s precisely what happened, as Evans triumphed by 1:34 to Andy Schleck.

    This defeat, however, gives the film a more interesting aspect than a victory. The maker, Jean-Louis Schuller, not a cycling expert, told L'Essential newspaper:

    "Humanly and as a friend, I would have loved he [Andy] won. But if I would have had to write a story, the main character would have not won. Dramatically it's better...

  • Mix of youth and experience for Euskaltel-Euskadi at Tour Down Under

    Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi) responds to a late-race attack.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2011, 4:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Results key for Basque squad in 2012

    Euskaltel-Euskadi will be heading to the Tour Down Under with three of their new recruits in tow - Ricardo García, Victor Cabedo and Adrián Sáez de Arregui all joining previously from the Orbea Continental team – bound for the opening UCI WorldTour event in January.

    The coming season looms as a very important one for the Basque squad, with sponsor Euskaltel due to end its arrangement with the team at the end of 2012 so results are a higher priority than ever.

    "We know Romain Sicard, Gorka Izagirre, Pablo Urtasun and Ruben Perez have abandoned the bad weather in Northern Spain to optimise their training by moving to the Costa Blanca to train," explained Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur. "This is with the objective of starting the 2012 season in good form, so it will be interesting to see what impact this has."

    Among those keen to get the season underway in the right fashion will be former under 23 road world champion and Tour de l'Avenir winner Sicard with troublesome leg weakness keeping him away from racing for most of the season. Sicard made his debut for Euskaltel-Euskadi at the 2011 Tour Down Under.

    The team's best overall finisher in 2011 at the Adelaide event, Izagirre (12th), will be keen to improve in his second showing and Turtur tips the 24-year-old as "one to watch."

    The Euskaltel-Euskadi team for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under: Romain Sicard, Gorka Izagirre, Victor Cabedo, Pablo Urtasun, Ruben Perez, Adrián Sáez de Arregui and Ricardo Garcia.


  • Farina leads NOW and Novartis for MS women's team in 2012

    Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis) getting through one of the turns.
    Article published:
    December 19, 2011, 5:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Director Stockton excited by prospect of team development next season

    The NOW and Novartis for MS women's team announced its 2012 roster today, led by 2011 National Road Champion and 2012 Olympic long team member Robin Farina. Looking to improve on a strong 2011 debut, the team that launched in June of this year is set to tackle a full season of racing in 2012 with a 9 rider roster.

    The team will once again be directed by Kurt Stockton, the 1990 US professional road champion.

    "My goal is to continue the upward trajectory that we started in 2011." said Stockton. "With a group of solid riders who first and foremost are here to race their bikes. I was very fortunate to put together such a tight knit core group in 2011 and will build on that further in 2012".

    Joining World Championship and PanAm games team member Robin Farina and returning from 2011 will be Anne Samplonius winner of stages at Tulsa Tough, the Cascade Classic and the Tour of Elk Grove, two-time junior national champion and world championship team member Addy Albershardt, Tulsa Tough overall winner Christina Gokey-Smith and Devon Gorry.

    New riders for 2012 include Alison Powers the 2009 overall NRC winner who sat out most of 2011 injured, former Irish national road and time trial champion Olivia Dillon, double elite national 2011 track champion [Omnium and points race] Beth Newell and development rider Ashley James who is a collegiate national champion.

    The uniqueness of the NOW and Novartis for MS team, like Team Type 1 – Sanofi who promote awareness of diabetes, is that not only do the riders race their bikes at the highest level but they are also paired on tandem bikes with people living with Multiple Sclerosis at select high-profile charitable Bike MS events around the country.

    The goal is to show the world that MS does not define those living with the disease.

    "We are lucky to have Novartis, who share our passion in the battle against the disease, as our title sponsor again in 2012" said Keoghan.

  • Pliuschin team leader at Leopard Trek Continental

    Alexandr Pliushin (Katusha)
    Article published:
    December 19, 2011, 9:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Moldovan champion "wanted to work with Bruyneel"

    Alexandr Pliuschin will return to the Continental ranks next year after having spent four seasons at the top level of road cycling. The triple Moldovan national champ has signed with the reserve team of RadioShack-Nissan, Continental squad Leopard Trek, for the 2012 season, where he will be the team leader.

    "It's a step back, but it's to make a big step forward very soon," 24-year-old Pliuschin told Velochrono. If he can show good results on Continental level during the first part of 2012, he was told he may step up into the World Tour team sometime during the year.

    Pliuschin spent the last two seasons with Katusha after having made his debut as a pro with AG2R La Mondiale in 2008. "But I wanted to work with Johan Bruyneel," he explained. "I was going to join his team but with the merger, I had to be content with the Continental team. The deal is that I prove my worth during the season and that I'll join the World Tour team in August. We'll see, but one thing is certain: I want to put my name on the palmarès of many races this season."

    Pliuschin will be Leopard Trek's top man, and it's a logical choice. "He's got the most experience, so he'll be the designated leader," explained the Luxembourg team's manager Adriano Baffi, who also counts 2010 Junior World Time Trial Champion Bob Jungels, Julian Kern and Giorgio Brambilla in his squad. At the team's first training camp in Calpe, Spain, at the beginning of December, the new outfit was able to meet for the first time.

    "The atmosphere was excellent," commented Pliuschin. "We're a good gang of youngsters, with a good team spirit. Adriano Baffi already acts like a father with each one of us. I felt very good at his side right away. You can tell that he knows his stuff in cycling. Things can only work out...