World champion named Australian Cyclist of the Year
World Champion Cadel Evans collected his third career title as Australian Cyclist of the Year, becoming the second rider in the 51-year history of the awards. The honour earned Evans the 'Oppy' medal, named for Sir Hubert Opperman in the ceremony held Sunday at the Melbourne Plaza Ballroom.
Evans was also named the Scody People's Choice Cyclist of the Year and the Cycling Central Elite Male Road Cyclist of the Year.
Evans capped off an up and down season by taking his biggest career result, winning elite men’s road race at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. His season also saw him wear the leader’s jersey on stage nine of the Vuelta a España in which he finished third overall.
The other nominees for the top award were World Cup Series and World Champion Mountain Bike rider, Jared Graves and Cameron Meyer, who this year claimed the points race gold medal and two silver medals at the Track World Championships.
Jayco 2009 Australian Cyclists of the Year:
Sir Hubert Opperman Medal - 2009 Australian Cycist of the Year - Cadel Evans 2009 Scody People's Choice Cyclist of the Year - Cadel Evans Toshiba Elite Track Cyclists of the Year - Cameron Meyer & Anna Meares OAM Cycling Central Elite Road Cyclists of the Year - Cadel Evans & Ruth Corset Cycling Central Elite Mountain Bike Cyclists of the Year - Jared Graves & Caroline Buchanan Elite Male BMX Cyclists of the Year - Sam Willoughby & Caroline Buchanan Elite Male Para-cyclists of the Year - Michael Gallagher OAM & Susan Powell Malaysia Airlines Masters Cyclists of the Year - Graeme Allbon & Michelle Crawford Junior Track Cyclists of the Year - Michael Hepburn & Megan Dunn Junior Male Road Cyclists of the Year - Luke Durbridge & Kendelle Hodges Junior Male Mountain Bike Cyclists of the Year - Shaun O'Connor & Holly Baarspul Junior Male BMX...
Cotobello climb to be included in Vuelta's final week
The Spanish press is reporting that the 2010 Vuelta a España will have a second summit finish in the northern province of Asturias, as was widely rumoured last week.
According to sports daily AS, in addition to the already announced return to the renowned Lagos de Covadonga climb, the 75th anniversary edition of the Vuelta will tackle the Cotobello climb for the first time.
Located in the south-east of the region, two years ago the Cotobello was named by the Cima Rubiera, in honour of local cycling hero José Luis ‘Chechu’ Rubiera. It measures 10.1 kilometres in length and climbs at an average of 8.4 per cent. Reports suggest that the finish on the new climb will take place after the finish at Lagos de Covadonga with just days left before the Vuelta heads into the final stage in Madrid.
Speaking about what will become the seventh mountain in Asturias to host a Vuelta stage finish, José Luis Rubiera commented: “It’s a very pretty climb, the gradient climbs at a steady rate of around 8 per cent without any sections where you can ease off, which will mean that there will be a great battle if the course leading up to it is hard.
"It’s a lovely spot with beautiful views and there are sections where fans will be able to see three or four kilometres down the climb.”
The full route for the 2010 Vuelta will be unveiled in Seville on December 16.
Former winner says shorter finale will help attackers
Italy's Alessandro Petacchi rode the proposed finale of the 2010 Milano-Sanremo twice on Saturday and has reported that the revised route could play into the hands of late attackers. The final kilometre cuts straight into the centre of town, avoiding the waterfront used in the last two years and the Via Roma where Petacchi won in 2005.
"It's shorter than the traditional route. My impression is that it will be a complicated finish," Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Petacchi was in Sanremo, Italy, on Saturday for an awards ceremony and scouted the finale beforehand. In street clothes, he rode it two times.
The route travels straight passed the Garibadli roundabout instead of a taking a left and then quick right to reach the waterfront or Via Roma. After the roundabout, the finish in Piazza Colombo is another 500 metres further on the Corso Garibaldi.
The Piazza Colombo is 1.8 kilometres after the descent of the final climb, the Poggio. The proposed course will give sprinters about one kilometre less to position themselves and hold off attacks before the finish.
"It favours the attackers, because with only a small advantage you can arrive [for the win]," continued Petacchi. "But if a sprinter climbs well on the Poggio he can take advantage of his rivals. It will be important to be at the front, after the roundabout the race will be stretched into a single line."
Stijn Devolder will concentrate on the Spring Classics in 2010, and will not ride the Tour de France. His main goal will be the first two weeks in April, starting with the Ronde van Vlaanderen and ending with Paris-Roubaix, and for the first time in several years, he will not end his spring season in Roubaix.
The Quick Step rider has won the Ronde van Vlaanderen the last two years, and he would like to not only repeat it but add Paris-Roubaix to his palmares. “The fortnight in April with Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde remains the most important,” he told Het Niuewsblad. “But I will also also take on both the Brabantse Pijl and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”
Since joining Quick Step in 2008, the 30-year-old has not ridden any more Spring Classics after Paris-Roubaix, although he had done so earlier in his career.
Devolder also repeated that he would not ride the Tour de France this year. “My experiences over the past two years have been too bad,” he said. “I will just ride the Vuelta.” In 2008, the Belgian dropped out of the Tour during the 15th stage, and this year he finished the Tour as 81st.
Neo-pros Berard and Gastauer lead influx of new talent
French ProTour team AG2R La Mondiale today announced their complete 28-rider roster for the 2010 season. The squad will welcome seven newcomers, including two neo-pros.
Frenchman Julien Berard, 22, and Luxembourger Ben Gastauer, 22, have been recruited from French amateur squad and AG2R-feeder team Chambéry Cycling Training for their debut professional seasons.
Gastauer's has signed for the team after riding as a stagiaire since the start of August. In June, he won the opening stage and the overall title at the three-day Tour des Pays de Savoie.
Berard, too, has previous experience with AG2R, having ridden as a stagiaire with the squad in the latter half of 2008. He returned to the amateur level for this season, where he claimed stage victories at the Ronde de l'Isard and Tour de l'Avenir.
The two youngsters will join an influx of former-Agritubel riders to the team. Maxime Bouet, David Le Lay and Anthony Ravard were confirmed during this year's Tour de France. French road race champion, Dimitri Champion, and Belgian Kristof Goddaert (from Topsport Vlaanderen) complete the list of riders to will swap their current jerseys for AG2R colours.
AG2R hope that the new riders will improve the team's prospects of victory in 2010. Despite Rinaldo Nocentini's eight-stage possession of the leader's jersey at this year's Tour de France, AG2R had a disappointing season. The last of their five their five victories occurred close to three months before the end of the season on stage three at the Tour de l'Ain.
Schöffmann, Fankhauser and Hrinkow join Austrian team for 2010
Team Vorarlberg-Corratec is staying true to its Austrian homeland by signing three young Austrian riders. Martin Schöffmann, Clemens Fankhauser and Dominik Hrinkow will strengthen the Professional Continental team in 2010, with team manager Thomas Kofler calling them “three of the most promising young talents in our country.”
Schöffmann, 22, won the Under-23 national road championship the past two years. A specialist for one-day and short stage races, he is hoping for a start in the Österreich Rundfahrt. “Martin shows his qualities as soon as a race starts going uphill,” said Vorarlberg team manager Thomas Kofler. Schöffmann rode for the Continental Team RC Arbö-Wels-Gourmetfein in 2008 and for Team Elk Haus this year.
Fankhauser, 24, also comes over from Elk Haus, which will fold at the end of this year. He turned pro with Elk Haus in 2007, and in that year won a stage of the GP Tell. Kofler called him “a team-player. When he focuses on his strengths, he can end a race at the front."
Hrinkow is the youngest newcomer, at 21. He has ridden with RC Arbö-Wels-Gourmetfein since 2007. “In my first season with Team Vorarlberg-Corratec I mainly want to grow into the business of being a professional, support my teammates and at the same time get the best out of it for myself.”
The team presented its first seven riders for the 2010 season last week, and the signings announced today bring the team up to the minimum number of riders a Professional Continental team needs. Kofler was happy to bring on three Austrians. “Since we are apparently the only Austrian Professional Continental team, it is up to us to offer a professional environment to help young Austrian riders develop into internationally established riders.”
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Swede to aim for Tour top-ten, admits Sky in negotiation with Wiggins
Thomas Lövkvist was expecting to be Tour de France captain for Team Sky in 2010, but now he has to wait and see if Briton Bradley Wiggins signs with the new team. Lövkvist said there would be both advantages and disadvantages to him, should Wiggins leave Team Garmin-Slipstream a year early.
“For me personally it is a big difference whether he comes or not,” the 25-year-old Swede told nettavisen.no. “If he signs, he will have the major responsibility at the Tour de France. All eyes will be on him and it will be a quieter Tour for me.”
No matter who the team captain will be, Lövkvist has his eye on a top spot. “I can climb as well as the others, but you can't allow yourself one bad day over three weeks. I can be top 10. Top five is perhaps a little high, but hopefully I'll be in there and fight for victory again.”
Lövkvist did not know, however, whether Wiggins will join the new British team or not. Team Sky is holding its first team meetings starting today in Manchester, and Lövkvist indicated he would know when he sees whether Wiggins is there or not. “The only thing I know is that there are ongoing negotiations.”
Lövkvist's current Columbia-HTC and future Sky teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen is ready to ride for his fellow Scandinavian in the Tour. “Thomas is a nice person. He is strong in both the mountains and with his tempo.”
Norwegian Lars Petter Nordhaug is also joining Sky next year, and has known Lövkvist for years. “Thomas is one of the biggest profiles on the team, with a view to win stage races. He is definitely one to bet on.”
Lövkvist finished 38th in the 2008 Tour de France. He did not ride the Tour this year but finished 25th overall in the Giro d'Italia, wearing the leader's jersey for one stage.
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