- Article published:
- October 19, 2013, 21:55
- Cycling News
Six riders join team for next season
The BMC Racing Team presented its 2014 rider roster and management team on Friday at the new Velodrome Suisse, not far from BMC Switzerland's headquarters in Grenchen, Switzerland.
Twenty-two riders return from the 2013 squad that won 30 races, including a stage of the Vuelta a España, four stage races overall and seven team classifications. Included on the roster are four past road world champions: Alessandro Ballan, Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd, plus two reigning national road champions, Michael Schär and Hushovd, and one national time trial champion, Peter Velits. Greg Van Avermaet, the team's top rider in the individual WorldTour rankings, also returns.
Six riders are new for 2014: Darwin Atapuma, Silvan Dillier, Ben Hermans, Peter Stetina, Velits and Rick Zabel. Hermans was not present at the presentation due to prior racing commitments.
Sporting Manager Allan Peiper, who will lead the team's five sport directors as well as oversee the new Sports Science Division, said he has five objectives for the BMC Racing Team for 2014.
"This team won 21 races and the world championship last year, and we won 30 races this year in what we call an unsuccessful year," Peiper said. "So next year, it would be great and it would be successful if we could have 40 wins, win a one-day Classic, a Grand Tour, the world championship team time trial and retain our place again in the top three of the UCI teams."
Returning sport directors Fabio Baldato, Yvon Ledanois, Max Sciandri and Jackson Stewart will be joined by newcomer Valerio Piva.
BMC Racing Team President and General Manager Jim Ochowicz said he has marveled at the considerable growth of the program since the team's inception in 2006. "We've won a Tour de France title, a world championship and many other races," he said. "We have grown each year, we have developed each year, and we continue to grow and develop. I'm excited about 2014. We have lofty goals - we need those - but we have a very capable group of riders."
"All of us together, sport directors, riders and staff will meet those goals and show the peloton again what we are all about. I know a lot of the other teams are very competitive and we need competition. We enjoy it. So we're looking forward to a really strong season in 2014."
2014 BMC Racing Team
Darwin Atapuma (Col)
Alessandro Ballan (Ita)
Brent Bookwalter (USA)
Marcus Burghardt (Ger)
Steve Cummings (GBr)
Silvan Dillier (Swi)
Yannick Eijssen (Bel)
Cadel Evans (Aus)
Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
Ben Hermans (Bel)
Thor Hushovd (Nor)
Martin Kohler (Swi)
Sebastian Lander (Den)
Klaas Lodewyck (Bel)
Amaël Moinard (Fra)
Steve Morabito (Swi)
Dominik Nerz (Ger)
Daniel Oss (Ita)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Manuel Quinziato (Ita)
Michael Schär (Swi)
Peter Stetina (USA)
Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)
Tejay van Garderen (USA)
Peter Velits (Svk)
Larry Warbasse (USA)
Danilo Wyss (Swi)
Rick Zabel (Ger)
- Article published:
- October 20, 2013, 16:35
- Stephen Farrand
World champion returns home for the first time
New road race world champion Rui Costa (Movistar) was given a hero’s welcome when he returned home to Portugal for the first time since winning the rainbow jersey in Tuscany three weeks ago.
The Movistar rider was cheered and congratulated by a huge crowd at the Sá Carneiro, airport near Porto. He walked out of the arrivals area wearing his rainbow jersey and white shorts and was greeted by his family before signing hundreds of autographs and posing for photographs. The thousand-strong crowd sang Costa’s name and gave him a huge cheer, with people packing the balcony and stairs overlooking the arrivals area.
Costa won the world title in Florence on Sunday, September 26 but stayed at his base in Zurich before making his debut in the rainbow jersey at Il Lombardia. He then travelled to China for the Tour of Beijing for the final race of his season.
“What a great reception I got yesterday ... I am still amazed at the amount of people who attended my arrival,” Costa wrote on his Facebook page after announcing his homecoming a few days earlier.
“To all my family and friends, all distinguished and anonymous who insisted on coming to welcome me, THANK YOU. Thanks also to all those who could not attend but were with me in their thoughts.”
In a press conference, Costa promised to "continue to be an example” for the hundreds of young cyclists who greeted him at the airport.
"It's a year I’ll never forget. I know it will also be very tricky to match a year like this, but I will not lower my guard and I’ll continue to work hard and hope that next year will be as good as this," he said.
“I’m world champion, and I’m looking forward to my year in the rainbow jersey. My rivals will perhaps look at me differently but I’ll stay the same and hope to keep on winning.”
- Article published:
- October 20, 2013, 18:38
- Stephen Farrand
Cannondale sprinter enjoys mixing road and track racing
Italian sprinter Elia Viviani won the European points race and Madison titles on the Apeldoorn track in the Netherlands, adding further track success to his six victories on the road during the 2013 season that included the opening stage at the Tour of Britain and overall success at the Tour of Elk Grove in the USA.
The Cannondale sprinter has raced around the world this season, having recently ridden the Tour of Beijing. He likes to mix his track and road racing and will ride the Italian national track championship this week and then target the Manchester World Cup (November 1-3). He is still only 24 but has increased the quality of his sprint victories on the road as Cannondale’s protected sprinter and alternative to Peter Sagan.
“I didn’t win a lot but I was aiming more quality this year and improve my world ranking. I’m the seventh best Italian in the world now and that proves I’ve improved. I’m ready for another step upwards too,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
Viviani only won his first sprint at the Criterium du Dauphine in June after missing several chances and taking several placings, including on the opening stage at the Giro d’Italia in Naples, which would have given him the first pink jersey of the race.
“I’m not happy about that. A sprinter is like a soccer striker; I kept going close but didn’t score. Something always went wrong,” he said.
“Cavendish was in great form at the Giro but I regret not winning in Naples. I was about to win and pull on the pink jersey, I was as good as Cav that day but then I hesitated for a second and he got away.”
The 2014 season
Viviani will finally get to enjoy a holiday after the Manchester World Cup but will then soon begin to plan his 2014 season. He’s convinced his goals, ambitions and race programme do not clash with that of Peter Sagan.
“First of all let’s see what happens to the team (with the possible arrival of Tinkoff as a sponsor and team owner). Then I will meet (team manager) Roberto Amadio and put down some plans considering Peter’s goals first, because he’s our team leader,” Viviani said.
“I’d like to do the track world championships (in Cali, Colombia between Feb. 26-March 2) because I think it’s a great opportunity to win the points race world title. I think the world championships can fit in with my sprint programme. I’d also like to target the sprints at the Giro d’Italia. “
“I don’t think my goals clash with Peter's. He’s going to focus on the Tour de France and I can do the Giro d’Italia. He can win all the Spring Classics, while the only one that suits me is Ghent-Wevelgem. Milan-San Remo is no longer a goal for me because the new route will be too much for me.”
- Article published:
- October 21, 2013, 01:07
- Cycling News
Australian joins WorldTour ranks
Caleb Ewan will join the WorldTour ranks with Orica-GreenEdge having signed a contract with the Australian team lasting until the end of 2016. The deal which has been in negotiation for a number of weeks now will have Ewan on pre-contract with GreenEdge from the start of 2014 with both parties aiming for Ewan to make his WorldTour debut as a stagiaire in August of next year. Ewan will hold off joining the team officially until October of 2014 so that he is eligible to race the U23 World Championships where he hopes to better his fourth place finish from this year.
"I decided I wanted to stay in the U23 team for part of next year and ease into the transition a bit more," said Ewan. "If I went pro next year, it could be too early in terms of development. GreenEdge has given me a clear path that outlines several smaller steps rather than one big one. When I do turn pro, I'll be ready."
Less than two years ago Ewan signalled his talent at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic where he twice embarrassed the GreenEdge team that were hunting so desperately for their first win.
"We identified Caleb as an extremely talented rider as evidenced by his results," said GreeneEdge Manager Shayne Bannan. "We're excited to be part of his development and growth. His success to date indicates that he's one of the classiest riders in the next generation of cyclists."
This season Ewan has won seven races, including two stages at both the Tour de l’Avenir and the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt U23. Ewan has attributed much of his success to his teammates at the GreenEdge feeder team.
"I have a great team," said Ewan. "Everyone gets along so well. We all back each other. That's been the key to my results this year. Also, I've been in Europe for the past three years at this point, so I'm getting more adjusted both to racing and living over there.
"The two stage wins at Tour de l'Avenir stand out as my best accomplishments," added Ewan. "My goal this year was to win at least one race and make the team for Tour de l'Avenir and for Worlds. I never expected things to go as well as they did."
Ewan joins three other neo-pros GreenEdge in 2014 with current teammate Damien Howson as well as Simon and Adam Yates all joining as well.
"This was the obvious place for me to go," said Ewan. "For a young Australian, it's the perfect set-up. The team has shown they care about my development, and I'm confident they can provide the sort of support and mentoring I'll need during my first few years as a professional."
"I'll start the year as a U23," Ewan added. "I'll target the top U23 races. I hope to make the Commonwealth Games team and do that at start of August. From there, I'll stagiaire with the team up until the World Championships. I hope to be selected again for Worlds. Maybe I'll do Tour de l'Avenir again, too. If everything goes as planned, my first World Tour race would be Tour of Beijing."
- Article published:
- October 21, 2013, 06:31
- Cycling News
Meyer, Clarke, Phelan all join for 2014
Drapac Professional Cycling has announced three more riders to join its ranks for 2014. Travis Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge), Will Clarke (Argos-Shimano) and Adam Phelan (Drapac/Jayco-WTA) all join the Australian team as it returns to the Pro-Continental ranks.
Meyer raced as a junior with the Drapac development program in 2007 before joining the Australian Institute of Sport Road program the year after. He initially went pro with Garmin in 2010 before joining the Orica-GreenEdge team in 2012. After two years with GreenEdge the 2010 Australian Road Champion will come full circle and return to the team where it all began.
Drapac manager Jonathan Breekveldt expects that the 24-year-old will be afforded more opportunities to seek personal success with the Australian team that he has received whilst riding at WorldTour level.
"Having Travis back on the team is very exciting as he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his four years in the WorldTour," said Breekveldt. "He has always been a selfless domestique but in 2014, will be one of our key riders and have those years of riding for others repaid.
"I think we will see a rejuvenated Travis racing in events which better suit his abilities and the added motivation of being given the opportunity and support of the team to seek personal triumph."
Will Clarke has had a roller coaster ride throughout his career. The 28-year-old from Tasmania left his Genesys Wealth Advisers team in the middle of 2010 to ride as a stagiaire with AG2R La Mondiale. He soon signed a contract with Leopard-Trek for 2011 to cement his place in the WorldTour only to drop back to Pro-Continental level with Champion System in 2012. In 2013 Clarke returned to the WorldTour with Argos-Shimano and now he has been afforded an opportunity to remain a professional with the Drapac team.
"I really liked Drapac for the fact that they are a really well-respected Australian team that has been around since 2004, they are well established in the cycling world and they are really moving forward," said Clarke.
Clarke is hoping to ride with the team at the Santos Tour Down Under (TDU) next January, a race where he took a magnificent solo stage win in 2012.
"I would like to get myself in good shape for nationals in January and then the TDU and hopefully I can do well there then," Clarke explained. "Hopefully I get the chance to ride in the TDU next year; I have had quite a bit of experience there now. The TDU is my favourite race of the season, so to get the chance to race it with Drapac being an Australian team will be really an unbelievable experience and honour."
Phelan remains at the team that he has called home since 2011 after spending the majority of this season racing with the Australian Institute of Sport's World Tour Academy in Europe. The 22-year-old has performed consistently throughout the season with top ten performances at the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt and the Royal Smilde Olympia's Tour as well as finishing second at the Gran Premio della Liberazione. Phelan has also been instrumental in helping deliver recent GreenEdge signee Caleb Ewan to countless victories.
Although excited to begin his career as a professional, Phelan remains hesitant to leave the comfort of the U23 ranks.
"Leaving under-23 level, it is almost as though you are losing a big safety net; no longer can you be categorised differently to the best riders in the world, you are the baby once again and the big wide world of professional cycling can seem pretty daunting," said Phelan. "But being able to move out of the under-23's and to a new Pro-Conti level with the familiar, positive and exciting environment that is Drapac, will make that transition far more comfortable and it is perfect for my development as rider."
With consistent time trialling and climbing performances, Phelan has the potential to develop into a strong GC prospect for Drapac in the next period of his career, and this is something that Phelan himself would like the opportunity to explore.
"I'd love to show what I can do in a tour and as a GC rider," Phelan explained. "I'm also exited to go back to some of the races in Asia. I had my first race overseas in Asia and after racing a couple seasons in Europe will be good to go back and try and get some results there."
- Article published:
- October 21, 2013, 10:35
- Cycling News
German's skinsuit checked by commissaires
Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) brought the curtain down on his season in familiar fashion in Les Herbiers on Sunday as he claimed his third consecutive victory in the Chrono des Nations time trial.
The old Grand Prix des Nations was widely considered to be the unofficial world time trial championship, and it fitting, therefore, that Martin has followed each of his three rainbow jerseys with victory in the Chrono des Nations.
The German was a dominant winner of the world time trial title in Florence last month, but he was pushed harder than he might have anticipated by runner-up Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling) on Sunday. Martin eventually won out by 14 seconds to take his 12th victory of the season.
“I’m very glad to have won today at the end of the season in what is my best discipline – but it was very hard work,” Martin said on his personal website afterwards. “Fortunately, I was the last man to start and that meant I had the intermediate time checks of all the other riders.”
A check of another type took place before Martin rolled down the start ramp, as a commissaire felt the arms of his skinsuit for padding. The control followed speculation that Martin had made use of illegal farings under his skinsuit during his victorious ride at last month’s Worlds.
“After the absurd allegations about an arm spoiler at the Worlds, they had orders to control me,” Martin said. “I don’t mind because I have nothing to hide. But it was funny, that’s never happened to me.”
Martin’s teammate Sylvain Chavanel rounded out the Chrono des Nations podium in what was his final race in the colours of Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Chavanel makes the switch to IAM Cycling for 2014, where he will lead the Swiss team’s classics challenge.
For Marco Pinotti, the Chrono des Nations was the final race of his professional career, and the Italian time trial champion signed off with a fourth-place finish.
- Article published:
- October 21, 2013, 11:37
- José Been
BMC aims for 40 victories next season
The 2013 season wasn’t very successful for former world champion Philippe Gilbert. With only one victory, stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, BMC’s sports manager Allan Peiper makes changes to the Belgian rider’s schedule for next year.
“Philippe has to skip races like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. And you can’t combine the Tour of Flanders with the Ardennes classics,” Peiper told Het Nieuwsblad. “Gilbert is an old school cyclist. He has never even had a trainer before but the cycling world is changing. You can’t do well in the entire spring campaign from Omloop to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”
Gilbert started his 2013 season at the Tour Down Under and finished in Il Lombardia. His main objectives were the Ardennes classics and the world championships in Florence, but he fell short on each occasion.
“I discussed the past season with Philippe. He understands that we have to change things. We decided on a completely different programme for next year. No Tour Down Under but the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. He will do Tirreno-Adriatico instead of Paris-Nice to prepare for the first objective of the year: the revamped Milan-San Remo.”
“I have been on the podium of Milan-San Remo twice before [2008 and 2011],” Gilbert said at the BMC Racing Team presentation last week. “If we do that new climb [Pompeiana] fast enough, I don’t see any sprinter surviving it, apart from Sagan. I know I can win that race but the preparation this winter will be crucial.”
After Milan-San Remo, Gilbert will skip the Tour of Flanders. “We’ll do a specific training session in that period and then the Tour of Basque Country and Flèche Brabançonne so we can peak towards the Ardennes classics,” Peiper said.
In 2011, Gilbert won Flèche Brabançonne, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In what was his most successful year to date, Gilbert also won the first stage of the Tour de France and the Clasica San Sebastian, among a host of other victories.
“We won’t do the Tour de France with Philippe next season. The world championships in Ponferrada are a main objective, followed by another big race,” Peiper concluded.
BMC won 30 races this year but team owner Andy Rihs was not content. “We did win 30 races but the majority of them were very late into the season. Cycling is just like football. If you are not performing straight away, you keep lagging behind.”
For next season, sports manager Allan Peiper aims for a more intensive coaching regime from within the team. Less racing and more specific training is the plan. The Australian wants a coaching structure where every rider gets follow-up from the team’s coaches, not from their individual coaches. It’s a system that very much resembles that of Team Sky.
Peiper started with BMC last November as performance director but was promoted to sports manager after John Lelangue left the team after the Tour de France, and the Australian says that he has five goals for 2014.
“Next season will be successful if we manage to win 40 races, including a classic, one Grand Tour and the world time trial championship. We also aim to be in the top three of the UCI team ranking again,” Peiper said.
BMC Racing Team has retained 22 of its current roster and adds six new riders for 2014: Ben Hermans from Radioshack-Leopard, Peter Stetina from Garmin-Sharp, Darwin Atapuma from Colombia, Peter Velits from Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Rick Zabel form the Rabobank Development Team and Silvain Dillier from BMC’s own development team.
- Article published:
- October 21, 2013, 13:43
- Cycling News
15 Euskaltel-Euskadi riders still searching for new teams
Samuel Sanchez are Igor Anton among the 15 riders from Euskaltel-Euskadi’s roster still looking for contracts for the 2014 season following the disbandment of the Basque squad.
To date, just six Euskaltel riders have secured employment for next season. Romain Sicard will ride for Europcar, Mikel Nieve has signed for Sky, Mikel Landa is going to Astana, Ion and Gorka Izaguirre will ride for Movistar, while Ricardo Mestre steps down to Continental level with Portuguese squad Efapel.
“To this day, no team has offered me a contract to continue,” Samuel Sanchez told Deia. “I’m keeping my hopes up. I had a two-year contract [before Euskaltel disbanded] and if I signed it, it was because I had the motivation and strength to keep going, physically and mentally. But now I’m without work for the year to come.”
The 35-year-old Sanchez was one of Euskaltel’s longest-serving riders, and claimed third place in the 2010 Tour de France, the king of the mountains title in the 2011 Tour and the 2008 Olympic title while riding for the team.
“I’ve lived this with anguish and sadness because a family has been broken up and nothing can be done to save it,” said Sanchez. “It’s painful for someone like me, who spent 14 years on the team.”
Euskadi began life in 1994 as a team solely for Basque riders or for riders who, like Sanchez, spent three or more years as an amateur in the Basque Country. That policy was finally altered ahead of the 2013 season, as Euskaltel-Euskadi battled to retain WorldTour status, but Sanchez dismissed any connection between the move and the subsequent demise of the team.
“The team took a different course, a more global one, because of the requirements of the UCI WorldTour,” Sanchez said. “Nobody thought it was the beginning of the end. The disappearance of the team has nothing to do with that.”
Igor Anton was heavily linked with a move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep when it was first reported that Euskaltel-Euskadi would disband at the end of the season, but the Basque was ready to stay put when it briefly appeared that Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso was going to step in and save the team.
Anton’s agent reportedly met with Omega Pharma manager Patrick Lefevere two weeks ago in Malaga, but for now, he remains without a team for the 2014 season.
“I haven’t found anything and it’s a difficult situation. I’m trying to get through it calmly. Whatever will be, will be,” said Anton.
With so many riders left unemployed following the disbandment of teams such as Euskaltel, Vacansoleil-DCM, Sojasun and Champion System, Anton believes that it could be late in the day before he pens a deal for 2014.
“I would like to sign for a WorldTour team and for that reason, the situation is more difficult,” Anton said. “There aren’t a lot of places and I don’t know if I’ll get the deal I want. Hopefully I will have some good news soon.”