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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 1, 2012

Date published:
December 01, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Photo Gallery: 30 years of Bettini's best images

    Roberto Visentini in the maglia rosa at the 1996 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    November 30, 2012, 17:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Exhibition looks back at the Italian photographer's career so far

    Italian photographer and long-time Cyclingnews contributor Roberto Bettini has celebrated 30 years of life covering cycling with an exhibition showing a special selection of images from his historic archive.

    Bettini has dig through his film and digital archive to find some of his best images and others that tell the story of Italian cycling from the last three decades. The images are currently on display at a special exhibition at Villa Annoni in the town of Cuggiono, close to Milan.

    The photos include Bettini's very first race photo, of a very young Giuseppe Saronni winning a race in Monza in 1974 and other images from the Giro d'Italia in the 1980s, including from the legendary Passo Gavia from the 1988 Giro d'Italia won by Andy Hampsten.

    Bettini, and more recently his son Luca, have covered almost every race on the international calendar, including the spring Classics, the Tour de France and every race on the Italian calendar.

    Bettini captured the late Franco Ballerini's goodbye to racing with a close-up shot of Ballerini's mud-covered face. Other images capture Marco Pantani in action and in more revealing moments such as post-race massage. There are shots of Mario Cipollini's first win while riding for the Del Tongo team and his last ride at the prologue of the Giro d'Italia.

    There are several historic shots of the Giro d'Italia maglia rosa worn by Francesco Moser, Evgeni Berzin, Franco Chioccioli and Denis Menchov after he crashed just in front of Bettini's motorbike during the final time trial in Rome.

    Other images highlight the beauty and pain of cycling at the Strade Bianche race in Tuscany, at the Belgian Classics and landscapes from the Giro d'Italia.

    The exhibition is open until December 9.

    Check out

  • Race organisers to give wildcard priority to MPCC members

    Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme
    Article published:
    November 30, 2012, 19:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Prudhomme re-elected head of AIOCC

    The international race organisers’ association, the AIOCC, has agreed to give priority to teams who are members of the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) when distributing wildcard invitations to events.

    The association held its annual general meeting in Paris on Friday, bringing together the organisers of 115 events, including all of the races on the WorldTour calendar.

    According to AFP, the AIOCC meeting agreed that MPCC members who apply for wildcard berths at WorldTour events should be given priority.

    Founded in 2007, the MPCC imposes stricter anti-doping measures on its members that go beyond the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, including additional testing to combat the use of corticosteroids. Its current members are AG2R La Mondiale, Argos-Shimano, Bretagne-Schuller, Cofidis, Europcar, FDJ, Garmin-Sharp, the Swiss IAM Cycling project, Lotto Belisol, NetApp and Saur Sojasun, while Astana, Bardiani-CSF, La Pomme Marseille have applied for membership in recent weeks.

    The AIOCC also expressed the desire to play an active role in the next reforms of the UCI racing calendar, which are planned to be implemented in 2015. “The organisers are the first people to be concerned by the calendar,” AIOCC secretary general Jean-François Pescheux told AFP.

    Executive committee member Renzo Oldani, organiser of the Tre Valli Varesine, said that the AIOCC would unveil its plans for the calendar next April. “At the next Liège-Bastogne-Liège, we’ll propose a series of variations to the UCI to make the season of professional races more ‘human,’” Oldani told

  • Verbeke returns to racing with Cyclelive-Zannatta

    Topsport Vlaanderen 2012's Grace Verbeke sees her handlebars and the smooth pave of Orvelte
    Article published:
    November 30, 2012, 21:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    New Belgian-based UCI Women's team attracts Ryan

    The UCI women's peloton is continuing to take shape with the Cyclelive-Zannatta team launched.

    The Belgian-based outfit will be overseen by former Belgian champion Heidi van De Vijver but the announcement on the website was bolstered by the news that Grace Verbeke will head the squad, along with Carla Ryan.

    Verbeke was hit by a truck in October 2011 while out on a training ride, sustaining a broken eye socket, a bruised pelvis and superficial wounds. The 28-year-old was set to race with the Kleo Ladies team but the 2012 season was then interrupted by illness. Along with De Vijver and Verbeke, Annelies Van Doorslaer also comes across from Kleo Ladies.

    Former Australian champion Carla Ryan is another big name signing for the team, the last of the riders to find a new home following the collapse of the AA Drink - squad following the decision of the title sponsor to cease funding. Ryan said via her Twitter account that she was "Looking forward to turning things around in 2013."

    The announcement also alluded to an "American rider making a comeback after a year's absence from the peloton" though is yet to be named.

    A host of Belgian riders have also been listed: Latoya Brulee (Topsport Vlaanderen-Ridley), Lieselot Decroix (Dolmans Boels), Annelies Dom and youngster Daisy Depoorter. Dutchwoman Marissa Otten (Specialized DPT) and Monique van de Ree (SKIL-Argos) complete the team.


  • Hoste retires from professional cycling

    Leif Hoste (Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's)
    Article published:
    December 01, 2012, 10:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian finished second in Tour of Flanders three times

    Leif Hoste has announced his retirement from cycling at the age of 35. Three times a second-place finisher at the Tour of Flanders, Hoste’s final season as a professional at Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s was blighted by back problems and he has taken the decision to hang up his wheels.

    “Because of the problem with my back, I can’t get back to the level that I want,” Hoste told Het Nieuwsblad. “If I were 23 years old, I’d give it another try, but I’m 35. This may not be the farewell I dreamed of but I don’t want to sit on the sidelines another season.”

    After recovering from the head injuries that he sustained in a serious crash at the Three Days of De Panne in 2011, Hoste swapped Katusha for Accent-Willems at the beginning of this season. Following a promising start to the campaign, Hoste began to suffer back pain and he was diagnosed with a degenerative intervertebral disc. Though he wasn’t to realise it at the time, his final race as a professional would be the Ster ZLM Toer in June.

    “I felt good a couple of times in the spring, but my problems started at the Tour of Turkey,” he said. “[At ZLM Toer], I began to feel that something was seriously wrong. It was a condition that had come on slowly but the muscles around it had been able to compensate for a while.”

    After visiting a number of specialists during the summer, Hoste began to realise that he would have to call time on his career, although he did receive interest from Liquigas-Cannondale, who were looking for a classics mentor for Peter Sagan.

    “They saw me as the ideal man to ride with Peter Sagan in the spring classics,” Hoste...

  • Casar: Doping falsified everything

    Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat)
    Article published:
    December 01, 2012, 11:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman reflects on a career during the Armstrong era

    Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) believes that doping has falsified cycling through the last decade to such an extent that it has been difficult for clean riders to gauge their true value.

    After finishing second at Paris-Nice as a 23-year-old in 2002, Casar was hailed as the next great French prospect for the general classification at the Tour de France. While Casar has enjoyed success in July, including a trio of stage wins, however, his highest overall finish at the Tour was 11th in 2009.

    Asked by Ouest France if he would have been a champion had there been no doping in the peloton, Casar said that there was no way of knowing.

    “We can’t know what might have happened in other circumstances. When a whole team is doped, it can control or block a race, it can pull back breakaways,” Casar said. “Maybe I sometimes even benefited from their work without knowing it. In effect, everything was falsified. One of the terrible things about doping is that we don’t know who really was good and who wasn’t.”

    Casar turned professional in 2000, and took his fledging steps in the peloton at the very height of the Lance Armstrong era. Such was the culture of the time, Casar maintains that it was all but impossible for a neo-professional to compete at the highest level.

    “Things are much better now, because when riders turn professional, they can win races,” Casar said. “Me, I didn’t have that. At the beginning of my career, I simply thought that I wasn’t up to it. During my first Flèche Wallonne, I took a real kicking. That evening, my directeur sportif sent me home, telling me that it would have...

  • Rolland chooses Langkawi over Paris-Nice

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) in the group of favorites
    Article published:
    December 01, 2012, 12:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman enjoys "quieter" winter

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) is set to ride the Tour de Langkawi rather than Paris-Nice next season as part of his preparation for the 2013 Tour de France. Rolland last competed in Langkawi in 2011, finishing 11th overall, and he believes the Malaysian race offers a unique challenge so early in the season.

    “It’s ten days long and the weather is good,” Rolland told “I did it two years ago and it went very well.”

    The Tour de Langkawi takes place from February 21 to March 2.

    Rolland’s decision to forgo Paris-Nice was also informed by his experiences in 2012, when a knee injury forced him to miss the Race to the Sun. “I realised that it was more of a positive than a negative [to miss Paris-Nice] so that’s why I’ve made this choice,” he said.

    Although Rolland won another Tour stage in 2012 and was the highest-placed Frenchman on general classification, finishing 8th, he has had a significantly quieter winter than he did last year in the wake of his victory atop Alpe d’Huez. The emergence of the precocious Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) has helped to temper the media demands placed on Rolland, and the 26-year-old has no complaints.

    “Last year, I didn’t have a week without a journalist at my house or something to do. This is a calm winter. I can spend time with my family and above all, I can train well,” Rolland said, adding that he thinks he is having “a slightly quieter winter” than Pinot.

    Rolland will begin his 2013 season at Étoile des Bessèges, before tackling the Tour Mediterranéen and Tour de...

  • MTN-Qhubeka has its eye on the Tour de France

    Mtn Qhubeka out on course
    Article published:
    December 01, 2012, 13:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hopes to be first African team to participate

    Team MTN-Qhubeka has a firm goal for the future: to be the first African team in the Tour de France. The South African team has taken the first step, having received its Professional Continental licence this week.  Sport Director Jens Zemke says that while the Tour is a long-term goal, “we want to achieve it.”

    The team will hold first training camp starting this week in South Africa, with the team presentation scheduled for Monday.

    In a video interview on, Zemke said that “It will take a few years but the goal is to the first African team to take part in the Tour de France. That's a long-term goal,but we want to reach it.”

    The team's stated date for that participation is 2014, Zemke said that he found that "a bit unrealistic. I think we would really have to strengthen our personnel and our young riders would have to perform above all expectations.”

    Shorter term, the goal is “to do well in the Classics,” one of the reasons they signed German Gerald Ciolek.  For 2013, “we wanted to start with Qatar and Oman, but it looks like that won't work out, so I am looking for alternatives like Ruta del Sol or Algarve. Then the Classics, like (Omloop Het) Nieuwsblad and maybe Tour of Flanders.”

    The team itself has been around for a long time, but 2012 “as the first year the team came to Europe and raced a full schedule,” Zemke said. Much to his surprise, the team was able to establish itself on the European scene quickly. “After only two weeks we had our first win, and that was for me a sensation, I must say.”

    That win, like most of the team's wins this year, went to Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg, who is leaving the...

  • Boom unconcerned by Van Vliet's departure

    Lars Boom (Netherlands)
    Article published:
    December 01, 2012, 16:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Reactions to change of Dutch national coach

    Lars Boom has said that he is unconcerned by the news that the Dutch Cycling Federation will not renew Leon Van Vliet’s contract as manager of the national team.

    Boom was the Netherlands’ best finisher in the men’s road race at the world championships in Valkenburg in September, but the Rabobank rider was less than enthusiastic about Van Vliet’s four-year tenure.

    “His departure doesn’t bother me,” Boom told Algemeen Dagblad. Boom was reportedly upset by Van Vliet’s criticism of the Rabobank riders in his line-up the day after the Valkenburg Worlds.

    “Until the last Worlds, we had a great relationship, but then he said things about the Rabobank team that I couldn’t let pass,” said Boom, who does not have any specific preference for Van Vliet’s successor.

    “Well, it can’t get much worse,” Boom said. “You could say that it can only get better.”

    Boom’s Rabobank (which will be known as White Label in 2013 in the absence of a title sponsor) teammate Bauke Mollema praised Van Vliet’s skills at creating a team dynamic but admitted that planning ahead had not been a particular strength.

    “His approach could do some very good things, Leo was a real creator of atmosphere,” Mollema said. “But a lot of things happened at the last minute, without consultation or planning. A clear programme was missing.”

    On the other hand, Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s Niki Terpstra was sorry to learn that the Dutch federation had dispensed with Van Vliet, who is also the organiser of Amstel Gold Race.

    “I think it’s a real shame that Leo isn’t...