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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 17, 2011

Date published:
October 17, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Highroad ends association with cycling after four successful years

    Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) celebrates victory in the Chrono des Nations.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 0:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Men's and women's teams leave winning legacy at Chrono des Nations

    Sunday's Chrono des Nations marked the end of an era as the HTC-Highroad men's and women's teams not only finished their seasons, but also concluded Highroad's involvement with the sport. 

    After the demise of the T-Mobile team at the end of 2007, Bob Stapleton breathed new life into the team, dubbed 'Highroad', shedding much of the former roster and instilling a philosophy that welcomed riders from a wealth of nations and creating a formula for success. In its four year history the team racked up no less than 513 wins between the women's and men's squads, and it was perhaps fitting that in its last race, it went out with a double victory.

    Amber Neben won the women's race, and new time trial world champion Tony Martin proved the strongest of the men.

    "I felt really good racing here and I was confident after worlds and winning in China," said Martin. "Now I'm really happy to finish the season on a high and I'm looking forward to some rest and building towards next season."

    Team owner Bob Stapleton was also happy to be signing off in the best possible way.

    "It's wonderful to see the team successful again right to the very end of the season," said Stapleton. "Both the men and the women won their first race of the season in January and now they have both won the last race. It's testament to the attitude of all of our staff and riders over the years and I'm very proud of their success."

    Though the men's team has very much disbanded, much of the HTC-Highroad women's team will stay together under Highroad communications manager Kristy Scrymgeour with new team Specialized - lululemon.

  • Project 1T4i presents team kit and bike for 2012

    The jersey of the new team is a simple but modern black and white design, with the trend of green branding continuing with 1t4i.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 3:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Skil-Shimano team to ride in black, green and white

    With a number of teams bidding for WorldTour status in 2012, Skil Shimano's new formation 1T4i, is one bid that seems to be ticking all the boxes. A raft of high quality signings have already been announced by the team including revelations Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb, Alexandre Geniez, Patrick Gretsch and Tom Veelers.

    The team has now announced the jersey and bike that it will be using until the spring of next season, with the colours of green black and white, marking a new direction from the old blue red and white of Skil.

    Sissy van Alebeek said she was pleased with result of the design team, and hopes for it to become a distinctive brand in cycling.

    "The outfit and the bicycle are particularly striking and distinctive. We have strived for a new and recognizable style, that had to visually reflect what Project 1T4i represents. We are especially proud of the result.

    "This modern design style and the sustainable green will form the basis of the different expressions of the team."

    Skil - Shimano are finishing their season at the 2.HC rated Tour of Hainan in China.

  • Final week the key to 2012 Giro d’Italia for Scarponi

    Michele Scarponi at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 6:00 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Contador’s absence opens door for other contenders

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) expects the 2012 Giro d’Italia to be decided by the climbers in its gruelling closing days in the Dolomites. Although coy about naming the riders he believes will be in contention for the pink jersey, the Italian admitted that his hopes have been boosted by Alberto Contador’s announcement that he would not be on the start line in Herning next May.

    “Compared to 2011, next year’s Giro maybe gives more possibilities to riders who can go well on the flat to get to the last week in a decent position on GC,” Scarponi told Cyclingnews in Milan on Sunday. “But then it’s clear that the last stages are hard, so it’s going to be people who are strong on the climbs who’ll fight it out for this Giro.”

    That arduous final week features a tappone over the Passo Giau to Cortina and then consecutive summit finishes at Alpe di Pampeago and the Stelvio in the closing days. While Scarponi expects the main contenders to try to keep their powder dry for that grandstand finale, he warned that the first ten days of racing could see some surprises.

    “If the race goes as normal, so to speak, then I think the favourites will try to save their energy for as long as possible since it’s clear the difference will be made on the stage to Pampeago and the Stelvio,” Scarponi said. “But then the beauty of it is that the race mightn’t always go as you expect. A break could go away and gain a lot of time, or someone could make an unexpected attack on a climb. You never know.”

    Scarponi broadly agreed with the consensus that the route will be more human than that of 2011, as it has a more generous...

  • Riis' 2012 planning hindered by Contador's CAS hearing

    Smile if you want to go faster: Bjarne Riis made the trip to Australia
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 8:26 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Dane satisfied with 2011 season, with Giro and Flanders wins

    Bjarne Riis’s Saxo Bank-Sungard has been one of the most subdued teams in the transfer market, and the Dane knows that their main 2012 firepower will depend on the future of Alberto Contador, whose CAS ruling will be handed down next month.

    With Contador in the dock and a verdict coming so late, Riis has admitted that his hands have been tied when hunting for potential replacements. Sergio Paulinho (Radiohack) is perhaps the one big name who has come in, and while a number of riders have been re-signed, the team have lost the likes of Riche Porte to Sky and Baden Cooke to GreenEdge.

    “It’s not been that easy and you can’t calculate with what you don’t have,” Riis told Cyclingnews as he summarised the team’s activities in the market.

    “I don’t have a lot of options there other than to keep Alberto. The problem is that the verdict comes too late so I don’t have a chance to do anything. I’m going to count on Alberto and he’s on my team. There are a lot of ifs but right now we know what we have and everything else is just speculation. I’m not in a position where I can do a lot.”

    2011 has been a relatively successful year for the team. The Danish squad secured 18 wins, including the Giro d’Italia through Contador and the Tour of Flanders courtesy of Nick Nuyens. Both riders were new signings brought in to fill the void left by the exodus to Leopard Trek.  A Tour de France victory was perhaps asking too much after Contador’s ride in Italy and a first week dominated by crashes at the Tour.

    Still, the team will go into the off season content...

  • Hoste claims Katusha doesn't want him next season

    Leif Hoste (Katusha)
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 9:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian recovered from injuries, has a contract through 2012

    Leif Hoste has reportedly been told he will not be riding for Katusha in 2012.  According to the rider, New Katusha team manager Hans-Michael Holczer has called him to say that he does not need to attend the team meetings for next season.

    The 34-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Russian team starting this year.  However, a severe crash in the Three Days of De Panne put a very early end to his season.  After abandoning that race, he came back to ride the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but has not raced since.

    In the De Panne crash, he suffered a severe concussion, amongst other injuries.  In June he reported that he was still unable to train, saying that when he rode for more than two hours, he suffered a “splitting headache”.

    The problem was finally diagnosed in August as a tear in his brain membranes.  Since then he has been able to train and has started getting ready for the coming season.

    Hoste said that he would not accept Holczer's decision to remove him from the team, telling Het Nieuwsblad, “I have a contract through 2012.

    “If my contract is not respected, then I will stand up for it.  A rider has duties but also rights.”

  • "Three long years" at Lotto for Gilbert

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 10:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Third-time 'Flandrian of the year' admits difficulties as he moves to BMC

    Taking into account his 18 victories this season, it was no surprise that Philippe Gilbert was once again honoured as the 'Flandrian of the year' on Sunday, for the third consecutive year. The poll conducted by Het Nieuwsblad clearly showed Gilbert in front of Nick Nuyens and Jelle Vandenert. While the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider admitted that his season has been "fantastic", he also evoked some difficulties he had had within the team.

    "It's a great reward not only for me, but also for the whole team that worked for me. You're never alone in a race," Gilbert told Sporza. "But these three years have not been easy, even though my performances were really good. I worked very well with Marc Sergeant, some other managers and my teammates, but with some other directors and the service course things were not that easy. For me, these three years were very long."

    Moving to BMC in 2012, the Belgian nevertheless looked back on a season that saw him achieve incredible success such as an unequalled quadruplé in spring when he took the Flèche Brabaçonne, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "It's been a fantastic year for me, and it won't be easy to equal it again in the future," he admitted.

    "The most beautiful victory would have been Liège-Bastogne-Liège because it was my all-time dream to win it. Also, the first stage of the Tour was fantastic as I had announced my victory prior to it. It was also my first win with the Belgian champion's jersey, so it was very beautiful."

    During the last few weeks of the 2011 season Gilbert's form however declined, and he was unable to...

  • Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Spain claim WorldTour titles

    Winner Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on the podium.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 11:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Giro di Lombardia affects final top ten rankings

    Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Spain have won the WorldTour titles for 2011. All three were ranked number one in their categories of rider, team and nation in the final rankings released by the International Cycling Union.

    Gilbert won the title with his victories in the WorldTour races Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and GP de Québec. Those were only some of his wins this year, as he led the peloton with 18 victories.  Gilbert rode this season for Omega Pharma-Lotto, but will join BMC Racing Team in 2012.

    He won the ranking with 718 points, ahead of Tour de France winner Cadel Evans with 574 points. They were followed by Alberto Contador, Joaquin Rodriguez, Michele Scarponi, Tony Martin, Samuel Sanchez, Bradley Wiggins, Daniel Martin and Fränk Schleck.

    Daniel Martin was the only change in the top ten. The Irishman jumped from 19th place to 9th on the basis of his second place finish in the Giro di Lombardia. Gilbert's successes also carried his team Omega Pharma-Lotto to the top of the team rankings. The Belgian team won by only 40 points over Team Sky. Leopard Trek, HTC-Highroad and BMC Racing Team rounded out the top five.

    Garmin-Cervelo moved up to sixth, trading places with Lampre-ISD, which moved down to seventh. Liquigas-Cannondale, Saxo Bank-Sungard and Rabobank complete the top ten.

    Spain easily won the nations' ranking, totalling 1427 points. Second was Belgium with 1184 points. Third through ninth place went to Italy, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, USA and Luxembourg. The only change in the top ten was Switzerland,...

  • Plzen Cross World Cup: Albert appalled, Vanthourenhout injured

    Niels Albert (BKCP - Powerplus) digs in at Plzen.
    Article published:
    October 17, 2011, 12:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Disrupted start due to TV camera man left riders without a chance

    The first cyclo-cross World Cup race of the season had a bad start as a TV cameraman was still standing on the course as the riders took off in Plzen, Czech Republic, on Sunday. The cameraman was still filming the riders in the front row, which ended on the left with top favourite Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ), but UCI officials nevertheless gave the start signal. Riders on the left were blocked while the other riders sped away.

    "This is a disgrace for a top level competition," commented Albert, who had to chase hard to come back to the front of the race, eventually finishing eighth. "The cameraman annulled my chances for victory. When something like this happens, then the race has to be stopped."

    But UCI officials and race jury did not cancel the start, even though false starts in cyclo-cross races have happened before. According to UCI coordinator Peter Van den Abeele, Albert was right to be furious at the jury chairman Miriam Van Es, who was in charge. "The jury chairman controls the start and the buttons that set the light to green," Van den Abeele told Het Nieuwsblad.

    "When she pushed them, she was standing with her back to the peloton and didn't see the cameraman. She should have cancelled the race later. I've done it before in Hooglede. Niels is right to be furious, the jury chairman made a big mistake."

    Several riders have announced that they would file suit, but the UCI coordinator said not much could be done. "The race results are now fixed," added Van den Abeele.

    On top of this, Albert was held up by a crash soon after the start, where Sven Vanthourenhout (Landbouwkrediet) was left injured. As he crashed, Vanthourenhout hit a pole with his right elbow and had to abandon the race after only...