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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 26, 2011

Date published:
December 26, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Cervélo enters into financial agreement with Pon Holdings company

    Garmin-Cervélo enjoyed its best Tour de France ever, including a stint in yellow for Thor Hushovd aboard the new Cervélo S5.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2011, 22:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutch company has exclusive right to purchase bicycle manufacturer

    Cervélo announced on Friday that it had entered into a "financing agreement" with the Dutch company Pon Holdings BV.

    "Cervélo has entered into a financing arrangement with PON Holdings BV," said a statement on the Cervélo website. "In addition, Cervélo and PON have signed a Letter of Intent that enables both parties to agree on a sale of Cervélo in exclusivity."

    Founded in 1895, Pon is one of the largest family-owned businesses in the Netherlands. It is an international trading and service company, engaged in a wide range of activities. Pon employs more than 11,000 people at over 250 branches across 12 countries.

    The company has been involved with cycling from early in its history as it began importing Opel bicycles in 1900. Earlier this year it purchased the Dutch bicycle company Gazelle and recently bought 92 percent of the shares in Derby Cycle Werke, the German company that owns the Raleigh, Univega and Kalkhoff brands, according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

    Cervélo was co-founded in 1995 by engineers Phil White and Gérard Vroomen.

  • Forum Hot Topic: Predicted rider of the year 2012

    Alberto Contador dominating the Giro
    Article published:
    December 25, 2011, 8:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contador, followed by Sagan, Gilbert and Cancellara

    The rider of the year 2012 will be Alberto Contador, according to an informal poll in the Cyclingnews forum. Assuming, of course, that he is not suspended on doping charges. If so, then Peter Sagan, Philippe Gilbert and Fabian Cancellara all have good chances to dominate the scene in the coming year.

    Contador won by a narrow lead. As Hugo Koblet said, “Won many hearts in the 2011 edition of Tour de France with his aggressive riding, especially in the Alpe d'Huez stage where he staked everything on one throw, but in the end failed. In 2012 he won't fail. He will be back, stronger than ever, and do the Tour-Vuelta double.”

    Three riders tied for second place behind Contador. Some users found Gilbert a sure number to repeat his outstanding 2011 performance. Panda Claws pointed out, “Philippe Gilbert repeats 'nuff said. We all remember Paris-Tours 2008, '09, The Amstel Gold Race 2010, '11 and Giro di Lombardia 2009, '10. Is there really anything stopping him from repeating 2011 too?”

    Cancellara will be the “comeback kid”, according to other users. Afrank said, “I think Fabian Cancellara will have a good year, he came into the 2011 season with a new team and after winning flanders and roubaix in 2010 he had a lot of expectation going into the new season. I think he will be able to prepare better and be under less pressure at the new radioshack-nissan team. Plus he will have Johan Bruyneel to coach him. He had a rough 2011 season just missing out on the win in both flanders, roubaix, and milan san remo. I think he will be going into the 2012 season in much better form and will come out of it...

  • Geox and UnitedHealthcare talked on possible merger

    Mauro Gianetti is still with the team despite rumours that he had been forced out
    Article published:
    December 25, 2011, 11:48 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Gianetti approached Tamayo in November

    Mauro Gianetti approached the UnitedHealthcare team with a number of proposals for 2012 in a bid to salvage part of his Geox-TMC squad.

    UnitedHealthcare's Mike Tamayo confirmed to Cyclingnews that Gianetti, who failed to find a  title sponsor or register a team for 2012, approached him in November.

    “We were approached by Gianetti. There were several different options and several scenarios were discussed, but we like to keep such conversations confidential,” Tamayo told Cyclingnews.

    Gianetti's biggest play may have involved Juan Jose Cobo, who signed a contract extension with the team just before they collapsed. As the reigning Vuelta champion, Cobo would have made UnitedHealthcare’s chances of riding the Vuelta almost guaranteed. The Professional Continental team has not ridden a three-week stage race to date. It's widely understood that Cobo will sign for Movistar in 2012.

    Tamayo would not confirm whether Gianetti offered just Cobo or a number of his Geox riders in a merger deal, but he hinted at Gianetti’s main proposal.

    “There are a lot of things that are tempting in the sport, especially when you hear of so many team mergers. It creates possible opportunities. Everything has to be considered and sometimes it’s a matter of the right timing and all lining up right.”

    UnitedHealthcare's future was secured in November when their title sponsor signed on for a further 3 years.

  • Student-athletes receive scholarships from USA Cycling Development Foundation

    Three of the USA Cycling National Development Team riders get in some training.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2011, 13:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four students selected

    USA Cycling has announced that four student cyclist will benefit from the USA Cycling Development Foundation with the annual John Stenner and Joshua Kuck Memorial Scholarships.

    The winners of the John Stenner Memorial Scholarships are Brent Gillespie (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque) and Jill Behlen (University of Wyoming), and the winners of the Joshua Kuck Memorial Scholarships are Jack Tomassetti (Florida State University) and Andrea Napoli (University of Nevada, Reno).

    The Stenner Scholarships are awarded on academic results and services to the community with an emphasis on collegiate team involvement. They are funded by donations to the USA Cycling Development Foundation.

    The Joshua Kuck Memorial Scholarships are based on outstanding achievements in the areas of cycling safety, advocacy and education. The program is funded through the USA Cycling Development Foundation by directed donations from the friends and family of Joshua Kuck, a University of South Florida collegiate cyclist who was killed on his bike in 2007.


  • Gallery: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step survival camp

    Tom Boonen handing out high-fives
    Article published:
    December 25, 2011, 15:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    "Everyone’s a winner" say Steels

    The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step cycling team got their first taste of team environment with a two-day survival camp in Belgium, earlier this month.

    The Belgian squad, as well as the team staff, headed to Zilvermeer Park in Mol where they were set a number of team bonding exercises that included competitions.

    “Actually, everyone’s a winner,” declared Tom Steels. “The entire team showed a great sense of unity, adaptability and spirit of sacrifice. We spent two days together in situations which seemed completely different from those which we normally encounter during races, but they were situations in which trust and the power of the pack were fundamental elements.”

    Things got under way on Monday evening with a series of tests of strength and coordination based on the concept of reciprocal help. The program continued on Tuesday with a series of technical courses and physical trials in which the group was always more important than each individual.

    "We’re coming away from this experience much richer,” said team leader Tom Boonen. “We’re definitely approaching the season with a fantastic sense of team spirit.”


  • Verheyen ending career after 18 years

    Geert Verheyen (Landbouwkrediet) on the attack.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2011, 17:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Landbouwkrediet did not renew 38-year-old's contract

    Geert Verheyen is putting an end to his 18-year professional career, another rider who was unable to get a new contract for the coming year.  Verheyen had ridden for many Belgian teams during his long career.

    His wins over the years include the Luk Cup (2001), stages in the Route du Sud (1999) and the Circuit Franco-Belge (2002), and the Belgian national road title in 2004.

    Verheyen, 38, turned pro in 1994 with Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx.  He also rode for Lotto, Rabobank, Marlux-Wincor-Nixdorf, Chocolade Jacques, Landbouwkrediet, Quick Step, and Mitsubishi-Jatarzi before returning to Landbouwkrediet, where he has ridden since 2009.

    According to his website, he was only informed in October that his contract with Landbouwkrediet would not be renewed, although team management had earlier told him otherwise.  He contacted other teams but was unable to find anything.

    “These are difficult moments for Geert. Mentally he was not ready to quit. He closed this chapter rather differently. Who knows, perhaps we will see him sometimes reappear in a different job in the cycling peloton,” wrote his webmaster.

    Verheyen was cleared of doping charges in 2005 after testing positive at the Ster Elektrotour for an allergy product.  The team doctor had failed to tell the UCI of its use.  A two-year ban had been sought, but the Belgian federation instead dismissed the charges.

  • Caja Rural seeks Vuelta a España invite next year

    The Caja Rural team is presented to the crowd.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2011, 18:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    2012 Vuelta starts in Spanish Pro Continental squad's home base

    The second year Pro Continental team Caja Rural has its sites on an invite to the 2012 Vuelta a España, which would be the first Grand Tour start for the Spanish team. As an added incentive for a wild card bid, next season's Spanish Grand Tour starts in Pamplona, the home base for the Caja Rural squad.

    "Our relationship [with Unipublic, the Vuelta's organiser] is smooth and at the presentation of the Vuelta on January 11 we'll see if they say something more," Caja Rural manager Mikel Azparren told "So far the talks have been positive and we will fight for it (an invite) on the road."

    The Caja Rural team hopes to impress the Vuelta organisers with good results at both the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in March and the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco in April and the squad is currently laying the foundation for a successful campaign.

    "We've done a good block in Fuerteventura where we worked on getting the riders used to the new bikes, and we'll return in January.

    "Our line should be that of humility and work with our feet on the ground. We're facing the season with high hopes and dreams of winning, and let's not forget the luck factor," said Azparren.

    While Azparren is optimistic about receiving a Vuelta invite, he has to be patient and wait for official word. He hopes that his sponsors will be rewarded for their commitment to the team. "It would be more painful not to ride the Vuelta above all with the confidence the sponsors have placed in us."

  • Europcar hopes for Vuelta invitation

    Jean-Rene Bernaudeau can't imagine the Tour de France without his team
    Article published:
    December 26, 2011, 9:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    French team focuses on Classics, Tour de France and Vuelta

    Professional Continental team Europcar has been struggling for early season race invitations, but is hoping to make up for it come the Classics season at the latest. Team Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau was disappointed not to have been allotted race entry for the Tour of Langkawi, Tour of Qatar and Oman, but is counting on getting wildcards to the Classics in Belgium, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.

    "We are still waiting for the answers to the invitations we have applied for," Bernaudeau told French Eurosport. "It would be hard to obtain invititations even if we were on ProTour level. We received a refusal for the Tour of Oman... It was a disappointment as we needed to do this race."

    Europcar is still in limbo even over the very first race the team will line up for in 2012. "At the moment, it should be at the Grand Prix La Marseillaise," he said, hoping to receive more certainty during the first weeks of the new season.

    Asked about his overall goals next year, Bernaudeau explained that he had not sought an invitation to the Giro d'Italia but hoped to be welcome at as many Northern Classics as possible. "The Flandrian and Ardennes Classics could be a goal. Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland and Christophe Kern - who already won the 2002 U23 Liège-Bastonne-Liège - like them a lot," he said.

    Come the summer, the Grand Tours will be the French team's main focus. "We will try to do a really good Vuelta. Thomas Voeckler gives this race a lot of importance, and also to Tirreno-Adriatico." The Tour de France will of course remain at the heart of Europcar's 2012 season.

    "What matters to me," concluded Bernaudeau, "is the riders'...