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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 17, 2011

Date published:
December 17, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Romandie features 13 ranked climbs in 2012

    The Tour de Romandie peloton en route to the finish in Romont.
    Article published:
    December 16, 2011, 15:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Europcar only wildcard invitation so far

    The 2012 Tour de Romandie starts with a prologue in Lausanne and ends nearly 700 kilometres later with a time trial in Crans-Montana. In between, the peloton will take on 13 ranked climbs in western Switzerland.

    The race opens on April 24 with a 3.34 km prologue in Lausanne. Stage 1 the next day runs 184.5 km from Morges, on the shore of Lake Geneva, to La Chaux-de-Fonds. There are two Category 2 climbs and a Category 3 climb along the way, and the stage ends with a 67.7km loop course.

    Stage two features for the first time a start in Montbéliard, France, and has a tricky end with a false flat 149km later in Moutier. The stage also has three Category 2 and 3 climbs.  The third stage also throws in only Category 2 and 3 ranked mountains, as it goes 157.6 km from La Neuveville to Charmey.

    The queen stage comes on the fourth stage, 184 km from Bulle to Sion. After crossing three category 1 and one category 2 climbs, the peloton will again face a circuit course at the finish.

    The race ends with what it calls a “very difficult” time trial of 16.24 km around Crans-Montana. It features a climb halfway through which “will probably hurt the legs and be decisive” in determining the final overall winner.

    All 18 WorldTour teams will be at eh race, with a wildcard invitation going to Europcar. A 20th team may be invited later.

  • Wegmann pleased with 2012 race calendar with Garmin-Cervelo

    German rider Fabian Wegmann (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    December 16, 2011, 17:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    German to be protected rider in Ardennes Classics

    Fabian Wegmann couldn't be happier with his Spring racing schedule. The newcomer to Garmin-Cervelo will ride not only three of his favourite races, but also be a protected rider in the Ardennes Classics. The German is currently at the team training camp in Almeria, Spain.

    The German is “especially happy” that he will be at the start of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on May 1, a race he won in 2009 and 2010. “I will ride two more favourite races with the GP Miguel Indurain and the Tour de Suisse,” he said on his personal web page.

    “As in earlier years, my focus is again on the Ardennes Classics. I am happy that I will again be a protected ride for these races and I hope that I can bring in a top result in these races for my new team."

    Instead of the Giro d'Italia, which Wegmann rode this year for Leopard Trek, he will ride the Bayern Rundfahrt, opening up the possibility of a return to the Tour de France in 2012.

    Wegmann's first exposure to Garmin-Cervelo came at the team get-together in Boulder, Colorado, last month. “It was five very strenuous days, but also five very nice days with my new team. The guys are all great and the five days were simply perfectly organised.”

    This week's training camp will be followed by another next month in Calpe, before Wegmann opens his season at the Mallorca Challenge the beginning of February.

  • Savio acquitted in doping trial

    Gianni Savio
    Article published:
    December 16, 2011, 17:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Accusations of De Angeli "unreliable"

    Androni-Giocattoli general manager Gianni Savio has been acquitted of criminal wrongdoing after being accused of providing doping products to riders, his team announced Thursday.

    Judge Ermanno De Mattia of the court in Massa made the ruling on accusations by retired racer Luca De Angeli that Savio provided him with EPO. De Angeli raced for Savio's Colombia-Selle Italia team in 2003 and 2005 before he tested positive for EPO at the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali in March of 2005 and was fired.

    The team called the charges "groundless and slanderous", while Savio said the verdict came about because of investigations he has conducted with his attorney Giuseppe Napoleone, which "have been decisive in proving the absolute unreliability of the ex-rider and of his witnesses."

    The troubles of the charismatic team manager are not over, however. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has separately recommended a four-year ban for Savio on sporting grounds.

    Savio expects to be cleared any wrongdoing in the case, stating that at the time of its recommendation, the CONI did not have access to some of the evidence in the case.

    "I have been accused of a crime I didn't commit or even come close to committing, and I am certain of being able to demonstrate that with established proof," he said earlier this week.

  • Esteban Chaves: I dream of winning the Tour de France

    Chaves is still a young man, but his attitude, and his talent suggest he has a big future in cycling.
    Article published:
    December 16, 2011, 19:00 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Tour de l'Avenir winner aiming to emulate feats of Lucho Herrera

    Champions in sport are derived not only from their extraordinary physical attributes, but also their drive and determination to succeed. History is littered with cyclists who though blessed with great talent, have lacked that cutthroat winning mentality to fully reach their true potential.

    You can be a good rider, with only one of the above, but to be truly great you need to have both. And it is that which earmarks Esteban Chaves, who won this year’s Tour de l’Avenir at 20 years of age, as a future great.

    The manner in which he won the historic French race, with calculated attacks on the hard mountain days, climbing flair, and ultimately grit in slowly working his way back into contention for overall honours after finishing a dismal 50th in the opening day’s time trial in Yutz, that makes Chaves such an exciting talent.

    Though there were many talented riders in the field of this year’s race, Chaves told Cyclingnews that it was the self-confidence in his ability that allowed him to take victory on the final day’s stage around Alba.

    "People have had confidence in me for a long time, my team had confidence in me and that has driven me to have confidence in myself. When I approach a race, I go to win, I leave nothing on the road." said Chaves.

    "Perhaps that has at times meant that I have not ridden as conservatively as I should, but I know that working with someone as experienced as Claudio [Corti] [directing Colombia-Coldeportes in 2012] can only help me to mature further."

    It is with that confidence that has Chaves aiming big, to future Grand Tour success, something he strongly believes he can return Colombian cycling to after Lucho Herrera’s heroics inspired the country in the 1980s.

    "One day I want to win the Tour de France," Chaves states with a calmness that comes with confidence. "That is...

  • Genesys Wealth Advisers commit to New Zealand Cycle Classic

    Nathan Earle (middle) celebrates his third stage win in a row with his Genesys Wealth Advisers team mates.
    Article published:
    December 16, 2011, 21:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four Australian teams now confirmed

    The Genesys Wealth Advisers team will employ the same tactic which went a long way to winning the Australian National Road Series title in 2011 when they take on the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic late next month.

    In a bid to ensure the orange train will be properly prepared for the event, the Tasmanian-based team will arrive in New Zealand six days early with the race kicking off on January 25. Genesys built their highly successful season in 2011 on solid preparation and plenty of reconnaissance work.

    "Having Genesys arriving so early to check out the route and train over it is proof they are coming to New Zealand with one thing very much on their mind, to win the tour," said race director Jorge Sandoval.

    The orange train will be joined across the ditch by four other Australian teams, Team GPM, Jayco-AIS, Drapac Professional Cycling and Suzuki Trek, in addition to the first Pro Continental team to enter the classic, Team Type 1-Sanofi Aventis.

    Leading the Genesys charge is Nathan Earle, who won three of the stages in this year's classic, including the climb to the top of Admiral Hill in the Wairarapa, but had to be satisfied with fifth placing on general classification, 1:36 behind the overall victor, George Bennett, of Nelson.

    Earle will have a group of seasoned riders around him in Patrick Shaw, Anthony Giacoppo, Ben Dyball and Campbell Falkemore. Shaw, a former Australian representative at the world junior championships and a past member of the US pro team Fracor, has an impressive list of victories in his own country, and looms as a genuine contender to win the classic, alongside Earle.

    Chris Jory, who was fourth overall in this year's classic, is a standout in the UCI registered Team GPM. Despite his reputation as a sprinter he was also outstanding on the climbs last January. Teammates, Sam Rutherford, Caleb Jones, Josh Taylor and Julian Hamill, also have strong credentials.

    Victorian team Suzuki...

  • White, Stephens to direct at GreenEdge

    Matt White (left) chats with Shayne Bannan in Melbourne.
    Article published:
    December 16, 2011, 23:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Nardello, Marie, Lapage and Algeri also confirmed

    Australians Matt White and Neil Stephens have been officially confirmed as directeurs sportif for the new GreenEdge WorldTour squad. White comes from a stint at Cycling Australia's High Performance Program which he held after being sacked by Garmin-Cervélo last January.

    Stephens has been working closely with GreenEdge team boss Shayne Bannan since the Giro d'Italia this year, and both he and White were present at the team's presentation earlier this month, but their official positions were only made public this week.

    The team also named Frenchman Lionel Marie, another ex-Garmin-Cervélo directeur who helped that team to this year's Tour de France success, as well as Belgian Lorenzo Lapage and Italians Vittorio Algeri and Daniele Nardello.

    Algeri is a former directeur sportif from Milram, while recently retired Nardello comes from a position with the Spanish Geox-TMC squad.

    "Our line-up of sports directors reflect a very important part of our approach to building this team: to gather experienced and talented people in the sport whose competences compliment each other," said Bannan in a press release.

    "We want GreenEdge to be a team where we can offer our riders the best framework in order to take the next step in their career, and I think we have gathered a group of sports directors who will be a key element in this ambition. Having had everyone on the together for the first time at our camp in Australia, I can only confirm that the pieces are coming together perfectly for our debut season."

  • Tour de France 2013 finale with two climbs up Alpe d'Huez?

    On Alpe d'Huez near corner 14.
    Article published:
    December 17, 2011, 11:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian newspapers says the plan is under consideration

    The final stage of the Tour de France in 2013 may not be for the sprinters on the Champs Elysees, but the climbers showing their toughness by climbing L'Alpe d'Huez not once, but twice.

    What sounds like a nightmare for Cavendish and Co. is under consideration for the 100th running of the Tour, according to Belgian media.

    Het Nieuwsblad reports that “editors have learned from good sources” that “there is currently a project on the table for a final stage where the Great Alp would be climbed twice."

    The stage would start in Bourg d'Oisans and ride up l'Alpe de Huez as usual, with all 21 hairpin turns. However, they would not go all the way to the usual finish. “Just before the resort is a trail, where they would turn right to descend on a narrow road which is currently mainly used by locals,” the newspaper said.

    And after reaching the bottom, what else is there to do but go back up? The riders would then head back to the top of the mountain, probably not setting any speed records with their tired legs.

    So far only the first few stages of the 2013 Tour have been confirmed. The race will start with three stages on the island of Corsica before moving back to the mainland and a team time trial in Nice.

    The race has appeared in the Tour six times already this century, including a time trial in 2004. Lance Armstrong covered the 15.5km from Bourg-d'Oisans in the quickest time. The legendary climb was also featured in the 2011 Tour, with Pierre Rolland of Europcar taking the win and Andy Schleck moving into the yellow jersey.

  • Gallery: Specialized-Lululemon training and photoshoots

    And it's back onto the road with Becker helping to set the pace
    Article published:
    December 17, 2011, 12:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    New American women's team bonding in California

    The newly-formed Specialized-Lululemon women's team are currently on their training camp in southern California in preparation for their assault on the 2012 season, and our gallery of pictures shows that morale is clearly high after what has been an uncertain few months for the riders.

    Earlier in the year it seemed as if the team might fold after HTC Highroad withdrew their sponsorship, but team owner Kristy Scrymgeour's work in finding new sponsors has paid dividends through their new link up with Specialized and Lululemon, who are a Canadian sports clothing company. Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews earlier in the week that they have big plans and big ambitions for the 2012 season, which will start off in earnest at the Tour of Qatar in February.