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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 9, 2013

Date published:
December 09, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Dennis leads Garmin at Tour Down Under with Slagter set to miss the race

    Tom Slagter gives a high five
    Article published:
    December 08, 2013, 23:15 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Defending champion skips race with first child on the way

    Rohan Dennis has been handed the leadership of Garmin-Sharp for next month's Tour Down Under after it was confirmed that last year’s winner Tom Jelte Slagter would miss the race due to the birth of his first child.

    Slagter won the 2013 edition of the event while racing for Team Blanco. He confirmed this summer that he would leave the team – which later became Belkin – for Garmin at the start of 2014. He was scheduled to try and defend his title in Australia but the birth of his child coincides with the race.

    The vacancy means that Rohan Dennis, who already confirmed to Cyclingnews last month that he would be willing to lead the team, will be the sole leader for the American outfit.

    "Tom will not be going because his wife is due to give birth towards the end of January," Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    "Rohan really wants to try and win it and he's from Adelaide. I think he can win the race and this way we have one leader."

  • Simon Gerrans eyeing off big Australian Summer

    Simon Gerrans takes the maillot jaune
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 3:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fully recovered from hip injury sustained at the Vuelta

    Tour de France stage winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) is looking to dominate over the coming months down under having set himself the goal of taking home his third Jayco Herald Sun Tour victory in February.

    Gerrans, who is one of just six Australians to have worn the Tour’s yellow jersey, will return to his home race in pursuit of a trio of Sun Tour victories, following his back-to-back wins in 2005 and 2006.

    "The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is a race that I grew up watching as a kid and it was always such a big highlight of my season early in my career, so it’s always great to have the opportunity to go back and compete in the race again and with an Aussie professional team as well," Gerrans said.

    The change in the racing schedule to February has been welcomed by Gerrans with the race now taking place just a week after the Tour Down Under.

    "Moving the race has worked out really well because it has allowed me to stay in Australia in the good weather for an extra few weeks and miss a stage race over in Europe in the cold conditions," Gerrans explained.

    While still getting back to race fitness and unsure just how his legs are, Gerrans is confident that his GreenEdge teammates will help him to the win.

    "Obviously because I am in the middle of a heavy training load it’s hard to gauge exactly where I am at but everything feels like it is on track at the moment and probably even slightly in front of where I would normally be at this time of year," said Gerrans.

    "We should have a really competitive line up with the team with a mix of experience and younger guys and we should have all bases covered [and] we expect to be competitive in all of the stages, from the sprint stages to the hillier ones."


  • Millar looking forward to final year of his career

    David Millar (Garmin Sharp) believes the sport has changed since the US Postal days
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 7:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Scot targets Tour de France and Commonwealth Games

    Garmin-Sharp's David Millar  is hoping to have a successful farewell by bowing out with a gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games next summer.

    Millar will end his 18-year career in 2014, which includes a two year ban from 2004-06 for doping violations. The Scotsman will be 37 in January but sees that his enforced time off the bike has allowed him to race for longer. However he now wants to spend more time at home with his young family. 

    Setting out his ambitions for 2014, Millar explained to The Daily Mail newspaper of his an eagerness to partake in the biggest races on the calendar once final time.

    "I'd like to be good in the spring Classics, to race them well. Then I'll have a break and do the Dauphiné [a traditional Tour tune-up], then the Tour de France," Millar said.

    "The Tour will be 100 percent because it'll be my last one and that's the event that's really shaped everything for me. Then the Commonwealth Games, which are a very big objective, as well. That's what next year's really about -- June, July, August. That's the big peak. Then I want to do the Vuelta [Tour of Spain] and the world championships."

    Millar told the British newspaper that no second thoughts had entered his head yet. "Oh, hell no," Millar said on hanging up the bike. "I'm really enjoying it at the moment but I think if I was going for longer, I wouldn't be enjoying it so much."

    Millar may be in the midst of a final preseason training session yet he has found time over the past two months to work on a Lance Armstrong film based on David Walsh's Seven Deadly Sins.

    "It's been an amazing experience," said Millar. ‘Being on set, you see it's a real hierarchical system. It's like the military. But it was busy and long days, from 6.30 in the morning until seven at night. We had to do the cycling stuff in about two weeks, and...

  • 2013 Report Card: Team Sky

    Chris Froome and his teammate Richie Porte ride their rivals off their wheels in the Dauphine
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 8:17 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Second consecutive Tour win but Classics team disappoints

    Team Sky 2013
    WorldTour Ranking: 2nd /19
    Win Count: 35
    Top riders: Christopher Froome (2nd), Richie Porte (10th), Sergio Henao (18th), Rigoberto Uran (27th)
    Grade: A-

    It was another Jekyll and Hyde season for Team Sky with dominant performances in stage races contrasting to another disappointing run in the Classics.

    It’s of course unfair to be too critical of a team that won the Tour de France for a second consecutive year – the first squad to do so since US Postal or Telekom depending on your interpretation of the record books – but Chris Froome was a near unbeatable force in multi-day events, collecting stage race titles from the start of the season, all the way through to his Tour win in July.

    In fact Froome won every stage race he started leading up to the Tour 2013, bar Tirreno-Adriatico, with wins in Oman, Criterium International, Romandie, and the Dauphine, all before the team’s marquee outing in July.

    Aside from Froome, the team picked up a batch of impressive results with Richie Porte winning Paris-Nice and Rigoberto Uran winning a stage and slotting into second overall at the Giro d’Italia. In total, Team Sky won 35 races at an average of over one per-week between January and October, with enough points to claim a close second place behind Movistar in the UCI’s WorldTour rankings.

    While there was much for the team and their supporters to cheer about,  the 2013 season had its setbacks too. Targeting the Giro d'Italia always...

  • Astana and Franco Pellizotti part ways

    Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Venezuela) in Modena before the Giro dell'Emilia.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 10:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Italian champion left without a team for 2014

    Despite announcing that Franco Pellizotti would ride for the team in 2014, Astana has confirmed that the Italian will not be part of the team for the coming season.

    "It's with some sadness and a heavy heart that we will not be racing with Franco Pellizotti next year," Astana's general manager Alexandr Vinokurov said on the team's website. 

    Vinokurov announced in August that Pellizotti would be joining the team but Monday's team statement indicates the contract between the Italian and the Kazach team was never formally signed.  "Negotiations with Pellizotti have always been optimistic and forthright, but in the end we agreed that we could not go forward with a contract to race with Astana Pro Team in 2014," Vinokurov said.

    The news of the signing of the former Italian champion on August 1 of this year caused somwhat of a stir. Astana became a full member of the MPCC - the movement for credible cycling - this year and the MPCC regulations state that a rider can not compete two years after the last day of his suspension. Pellizotti's suspension which was based on anomalies in his biological passport ended on the 2nd of May in 2012 which means he would not be able to compete for the Kazach team until the 2nd of May of 2014.

    Sports director Giuseppe Martinelli told Cyclingnews in August that signing Pellizotti represented a "legitimate issue. "I'll take this up with team manager Alexandr Vinokurov and come up with a solution to this real issue in the next few days."

    The team decided to not let Pellizotti ride until he formally could but to keep him on the team for the remainder of the 2014 season. “We’ve decided to respect the MPCC rules and so Franco will only start racing on May 2,” Astana team manager

  • Thibaut Pinot: Horner was stronger than Froome

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 12:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman focuses on Tour-Vuelta double again

    Thibaut Pinot finished seventh in this year's Vuelta a España, three places better than his 2012 Tour de France performance and the Frenchman has claimed that Chris Horner was stronger in this year’s Vuelta than Chris Froome during last year’s Tour.

    Froome finished second in last year’s Tour while Horner went onto win the Vuelta in September, becoming the oldest grand tour winner in the process.

    "In terms of watts my the Vuelta was better than my Tour de France," he told Velochrono. Being at the front in both races, gave Pinot a chance to compare both Froome and Horner.

    "I think Chris Horner in 2013 was better than Chris Froome in the 2012 Tour de France. I could follow Froome on multiple occasions while I could only follow Horner once, on stage 16, of the Vuelta. I think the Vuelta top four [Horner, Nibali, Valverde, Rodríguez were stronger than the top three of the 2012 Tour [Wiggins, Froome, Nibali]." had a very successful season with 33 wins. It prompted the French national lottery to extend its sponsorship of the team through 2016. Despite the record amount of wins, Pinot didn't manage a single victory in 2013.

    "I did miss winning this year. The past two years I won races and this year none. I ride my bike to win but on WorldTour level you have to be prepared that you do not win. Plus the fact I am a climber. Look at Alberto Contador who only won a stage in Tour de San Luis this year. I was the closest to winning in Tour de Suisse but finished fourth. I could have done better there."

    After his tenth place in the overall of the 2012 Tour de France expectations on the young Frenchman were high. In this year's Tour he could not live up to the expectations. His 2013 campaign was...

  • Timmy Duggan on the ride that sparked his retirement

    Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) arrives on the podium.
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 14:41 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Former US champion moved by messages of support

    After nine years as a professional, 2012 US pro road champion and Olympian Timmy Duggan's final decision to call it quits last week hinged on a three-hour "soul ride" in the mountains near his home in Colorado.

    Duggan had been waiting for a verbal agreement with his former Cannondale team to materialize, and the time away from the sport had opened his eyes to an array of new possibilities. As November turned to December, the 31-year-old from Nederland, Colorado, set out on his road bike with a mission to decide his fate once and for all.

    "Training camp was coming up, and I was so sick of sitting on the fence and trying to decide what I was going to do, what was going to happen," Duggan told Cyclingnews. "So I told myself at the end of the ride I was going to have a decision, and when I walked through the door at the end I had my decision."

    Although the mind-clearing ride represented Duggan's self-imposed ultimatum, the internal debate about when to stop racing his bike professionally had been raging for years.

    "To be honest, every year since my traumatic brain injury in 2008 – so that was what, six years ago? – every year since then, I've told myself, 'I think that was the last year. I think I'm done after this,'" Duggan explained.

    "But at the end of the day, at the end of the season, I'd still been able to improve enough, I'd been able to achieve enough, I'd still be having fun. Situationally, I'd be happy with the team, the environment, the money, whatever, and I'd do another year. And then the next year, I'd say, 'Ah, I think I'm done after this.'"

    A successful career

    There have been many successes during Duggan's ride through professional...

  • Costa to debut with Lampre-Merida at the Dubai Tour

    The national anthem is played for newly crowned road race world champion Rui Costa (Portugal)
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 17:02 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    World champion talks about learning how to suffer

    World champion Rui Costa has revealed that he will begin his 2014 season at the new Dubai Tour (February 5-8) before riding the Challenge Majorca series and Paris-Nice.

    The Portuguese rider won the rainbow jersey with a powerful late attack in Florence that allowed him to catch Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez and then beat him in a sprint. He competed in the rainbow jersey at Il Lombardia in October but the Dubai Tour will mark his debut in Lampre-Merida colours.

    However Costa insisted he is not worried about any possible curse of the rainbow jersey as he prepared for the 2014 season and got to know his new teammates at Lampre-Merida’s winter get together in Darfo Boario Terme, in the hills behind Bergamo.

    "The rainbow jersey's an honour for me, it's not going to be a weight on my shoulders. I'm 27 and think my best years are still to come," Costa told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "So far the things have been great at Lampre. Everyone knows what they’re doing and are passionate about it. I think it’s the ideal team to help me."

    "I don’t think I became world champion by chance"

    Costa took advantage of the rivalry and lack of team work between Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde to win the world title. However he is convinced he fully deserved to take the world title and so wear the rainbow jersey for a year.

    "I only thought about being world champion when I crossed the line. There's been a lot of polemics about the race but it seems pointless to me. Nibali was unlucky to crash, Uran too. Regarding the tactics of Rodriguez and Valverde, I think that the fatigue after a long, hard race was decisive. I don't think I became world champion by chance," he explained.

    Costa will target the...