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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 20, 2014

Date published:
January 20, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Jacques-Maynes ready to go at Tour de San Luis

    Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) during the rollout.
    Article published:
    January 19, 2014, 14:05 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Californian excited for taste of Argentinian racing

    Not even a warm California climate could properly prepare Ben Jacques-Maynes for the toasty weather he'll face next week.

    On Monday, Jamis-Hagens Berman opens up its season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, where temperatures have been hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit [37 C]. “It's been decently warm in California, unlike the rest of the country, but this is definitely taking it up to another level,” Jacques-Maynes told Cyclingnews this week from his hotel in San Luis.

    “You're in the hot sunshine and it's summertime, but you know what to expect when you come down to the Southern Hemisphere,” he said. “We came down a week early to train, acclimatise, prepare a little bit and to get the team together for the first time. I think we'll be ready to race come Monday.”

    Jacques-Maynes will join 2013 teammate J.J. Haedo and 2014 newcomers Gregory Brenes, Daniel Jaramillo, Rob Squire and Eloy Teruel as part of Jamis-Hagens Berman's six-man squad for the UCI 2.1 stage race January 20-26.

    Each of the 18 teams at the race – including 12 WorldTour outfits – will field just six riders for the seven-stage race around the central-Argentinian province. Jacques-Maynes said he likes the dynamics when smaller squads are unable to control the race like they do in other events that allow bigger teams.

    “You can't just have one team steamroll everyone,” he said. “There's no massive leadout trains or anything like that. It's a bit more of a free-for-all, which is fitting with the South American, Latino style of racing – a real frenetic and energetic type of event.”

    Teams don't have the horsepower to control the pack for 120km or more over the stages, Jacques-Maynes said, so there are fewer “throw downs” early in the race or in cases of crosswinds or other challenging conditions that can blow a race apart.

    “So you have to pick...

  • Niemiec to work with Bartoli

    Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) finished third
    Article published:
    January 19, 2014, 15:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Polish rider hoping to build on 2013 Giro d'Italia result

    Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) will be working closely with former rider Michele Bartoli, as he looks to improve on his sixth place at last year's Giro d'Italia.

    “From Bartoli's help and experience, I have already benefited in the last season,” Niemiec wrote on his blog. “I used his help over the past year, but not to the extent that I will be doing this season. Now we want even more targeted and work together. I hope it bears fruit.”

    Bartoli won two stages of the Giro d'Italia during his 12-year career. The Italian, known as the Lion of Flanders, favoured the Classics and took victories in the Giro di Lombardia, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Flanders, to name but a few, and is considered one of the most successful Classics riders. After his retirement in 2004, he became a coach, and has been helping Niemiec with his training.

    “I have a new plan starting this year, which I created during the December training camp, and there a few changes compared to last season,” wrote the Polish rider. “The annual endurance tests went off very well and can work with optimism. I have been resting only on Sundays, apart from Christmas day. And I've got no extra fat to worry about.”

    Niemiec was one of two Polish riders in the top 10 at the Giro d'Italia. Rafal Majka finished one spot below him in the classification and, along with Michal Kwiatkowski, the trio helped to make 2013 a very successful one for Polish cycling. Niemiec rode as a domestique for Michele Scarponi, who finished fourth overall, during the Giro. With Scarponi's departure, Niemiec is likely to take up the role as the leader, although this could change if Chris Horner signs a contract with the team.

    His early season has a distinct...

  • McQuaid Exclusive: Cookson won't find skeletons in my closet

    Pat McQuaid fronts a French Senate hearing into anti-doping
    Article published:
    January 19, 2014, 21:55 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Former UCI President bides his time as Commission starts

    Former UCI President Pat McQuaid has told Cyclingnews that he may be willing to cooperate with the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) but that his replacement, Brian Cookson, and the Commission panel would not find any skeletons in his closet relating to alleged doping cover-ups.

    In his first interview since losing the UCI presidential election in Florence last year, McQuaid, who is currently riding with Sean Kelly and the AN Post team in Calpe, Spain, told Cyclingnews that he could cooperate with the CIRC once its terms of reference were made public.

    "I think the commission is made up at a high level of quality people. However, we've not seen any terms of reference so I think we'll have to see what they are before I make any decisions, but I'd be willing to cooperate as long as the terms of reference were okay and that they could ensure that the commission was independent," McQuaid told Cyclingnews.

    However McQuaid was relatively coy when Cyclingnews asked him about the precise terms of reference required for him to offer his cooperation. "If they're looking for an independent result and not just a political result, then I would. By political, I mean Cookson won an election campaign [saying] that this and that were needed, and now he's set a commission but what's the result it needs to get or has the result already been predetermined?"

    McQuaid's tenure as the leader of cycling's governing body came to a crashing end at the UCI Congress last September. The Irishman ran a campaign littered with setbacks, with his own national federation taking the unprecedented decision to remove their support before a botched episode with the Swiss federation ensued. In the end, Cookson ran out as the winner, beating McQuaid 24 votes to 18. The British candidate campaigned on an election mandate that included improving women's cycling and the promise of launching a full and independent enquiry into the...

  • Dempster will aim high at Tour de France if selected

    Zak Dempster at Tirreno Adriatico earlier in the year
    Article published:
    January 19, 2014, 23:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    NetApp-Endura hopes for wildcard entry into Tour

    Zak Dempster believes that NetApp-Endura won't be just making up the numbers at the Tour de France if they are awarded a wildcard entry into the race.

    "If we were to get another Grand Tour this year, then we will be aiming really high," he told Cyclingnews from the team's training camp in Spain. "When we go to a race, we are there to race and not to get a tan. We’re not just going to a Grand Tour to ride around. I see no reason why, if we get an invite to a Grand Tour, that we couldn’t win a stage."

    Last week, the Pro Continental team announced their intention of securing a spot at the Tour, after missing out in 2013. Last year ASO chose not to give them a wildcard, but with three French teams now in the WorldTour, it opens the doors for more foreign teams to take one of those elusive spots. "I’m trying not to think too much about the reasons why we may or may not get into a race," said Dempster.

    "The things that I can affect are the results, not just mine, but the result of others. We’ve got to focus on going to races and working as a team and being up there from the word go. If we can do that, then I’m sure that will help us get a spot."

    Dempster joined NetApp from the Continental Endura racing team when the two merged at the beginning of last season. He was one of the nine riders that made up German team's squad at the Vuelta a España, where he helped Leopold König towards a ninth place finish.

    While he hopes to follow that with his debut at the Tour, the Australian has other priorities first. "It’s a dream for any rider,” he said of the Tour de France. “For me, the most important thing is to be one of the key people in the races that we’ve already been selected for."


  • Retro Gallery: Tour Down Under through time

    Article published:
    January 19, 2014, 23:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    A selection of images from the Australian race

    With the Santos Tour Down Under to kick off the 2014 WorldTour with Stage 1 on Tuesday, Cyclingnews has gone back over our archives to present a gallery of previous editions of the race. 

    Click here to see the gallery.


  • Tour Down Under start to go ahead

    Marcel Kittel wins
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 3:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stage one confirmed to start with threat of bushfires downgraded

    On Monday afternoon race director Mike Turtur announced that Stage 1 from Nuriootpa to Angaston will be raced as planned with dangerous winds and fires no longer deemed a threat to the safety of riders and spectators. "We've had confirmation today from the Country Fire Service that the race can go ahead as planned.

    "There's a fire in the region, but not directly around the race route. It's still being monitored, but at this stage we're right to go," Turtur said. "Obviously this advice might change subject to the conditions and we'll continue to be guided by the advice we receive from the Country Fire Service and South Australian Police."

    In discussion with the race Doctor, Turtur was assured that the air quality would not negatively impact on the health of riders. "Our belief is that the air in and around the race circuit is pretty-well clear, so it shouldn't be an issue."

    Turtur explained that race organisers had based their decision on expert opinion and that the race situation will be monitored constantly. "It was a decision based on information from the experts and the concern of the riders too about racing in the region," he said.

    "They were a bit concerned that it might be taken the wrong way, but we've assured them that this is the best thing we can go - bring activity into the region, economic benefit.

    "It's hopefully going to be a good day and we can in our way help out what's happened in the area. "We will monitor the thing as we go [as the fire is] a fair way from the actual circuit."

    Reiterating that the decision had been made in consultation with experts, Turtur added that communities of the Barossa and Eden Valley would be bolstered by the appearance of the race.

    "It's good for the area from an economic point of view, but also there's a feel-good factor. It's a community event, it embraces the...

  • Gallery: Tour de San Luis team presentation

    Movistar presented to the crowd with Nairo Quintana receiving large cheers
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 3:51 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Rousing ceremony kicks off South America's biggest race

    The 24 teams comprising the Tour de San Luis peloton were introduced Sunday evening at the Terrazas del Portezuelo, a collection of eco-friendly buildings home to the San Luis provincial government situated high on a hilltop overlooking the city of San Luis, Argentina.

    Following a video retrospective of the last year's Tour de San Luis and a speech from the Governor of San Luis, Claudio Javier Poggi, a pair of emcees took to the microphones to introduce each team amidst a raucous cavalcade of lights, thumping club music and applause from the thousands in attendance.

    The 48-minute long series of introductions was kicked off by the national team of Uruguay and concluded with an explosion of confetti, streamers and fireworks for the local Continental team of San Luis Somos Todos, featuring the race's defending champion Daniel Diaz.

    As each team stepped off stage they remained in view as a VIP bleacher section adjacent to the stage was gradually filled by each squad participating in the eight edition of the Tour de San Luis.

    While an untold number of cameras were wielded by those in the audience, plenty of riders on stage snapped photos of their own as they soaked up the applause.

    Former Colombian football star Carlos "El Pibe" Valderrama, possessing perhaps the most famous head of hair ever to set foot on a football pitch, joined the Colombia team on stage while another Colombian, Movistar's Nairo Quintana, stopped the show in his own right as he was the only rider to be interviewed during the presentation.

    While the music was turned off for Quintana's interview, once Movistar left the stage Pitbull's "Don't Stop the Party" commenced playing at bone-rattling decibels for the introduction of the evening's final team - the home San Luis Somos Todos squad.

    The seven-day Tour de San Luis commences Monday with an opening, 164km stage from San Luis...

  • Chris Sutton out of Tour Down Under

    A chuffed CJ Sutton (Team Sky) on the podium
    Article published:
    January 20, 2014, 4:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fractured wrist from People’s Choice Classic ends campaign

    Chris 'CJ' Sutton (Team Sky) has been forced to miss the Tour Down Under after sustaining a right wrist fracture from the People’s Choice Classic despite placing fourth in the criterium race. Sutton was caught up in the crash which brought down Giovanni Visconti on lap 7 of the race with x-rays confirming a small fracture.

    "It’s a massive blow not to be continuing on with the lads because they did an incredible job for me last night. My groin and my knee were pretty sore in the race but it was only afterwards, on the way back to the hotel, that my wrist started hurting and I couldn’t grip the handlebars," said Sutton his team’s website.

    "I’m trying to stay upbeat and looking forward to the Tour of Qatar now. That should be my first race back and I’ll have a week or so on the turbo before getting myself back on the road.

    "In the meantime, I’ll be staying within the team during the Tour Down Under an cheering the lads on."

    Sky will fly Tasmanian Nathan Earle to Adelaide on Monday night to make his WorldTour debut having signed for the team last year. Earle rode in support of Richie Porte as the Australian national road race in Buninyong and will bolster Porte’s chances at claiming the overall.

    Sutton voiced his support of his replacement. "We couldn’t have wished for anyone better to come in. He showed at the Nationals he’s riding really well and good on him for coming into the group at such short notice," Sutton said.

    Sports Director Kurt-Asle Arvesen was full of praise for Sutton’s efforts in the race and said the team will miss the sprinter throughout the race. "It’s a real shame to lose CJ because he was a in great condition heading...