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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 21, 2013

Date published:
December 21, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • 2013 Reader Poll: Paris-Roubaix voted best one-day race

    Fabian Cancellara leads Sep Vanmarcke to the Roubaix velodrome. The RadioShack rider would go on to win
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 18:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cancellara's duel with Vanmarcke

    Over the years, Fabian Cancellara tended not so much to win as to enjoy a two-wheeled triumphal march – see his defenestration of Tom Boonen on the Muur in 2010, or his decimation of the E3 Harelbeke field the following year – but it was his narrowest of victories at this year’s Paris-Roubaix that Cyclingnews readers have voted as the best one-day race of the 2013 season.

    Winner of E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders in resounding fashion on the two previous weekends, Cancellara was the overwhelming favourite as Paris-Roubaix approached. For all that fortune plays its part on the unmade pavé of northern France, the race favours the strongman in a way that the intricate Ronde so often does not. The race, it seemed, was Cancellara’s to lose.

    Cancellara, of course, had entered the 2011 Paris-Roubaix in a strikingly similar position, but the Swiss was outflanked by Garmin-Cervélo’s tactical manoeuvring and had to make do with second place behind a surprised Johan Vansummeren.

    It must have seemed like a case of déjà vu all over again for Cancellara with a little over 30 kilometres to go in this year’s Hell of the North, when he found himself isolated and trailing a determined eight-man leading group by some 20 seconds. Indeed, with that lesson in mind, perhaps, Cancellara threw caution to the wind, and gave solo chase.

    “I don’t know if I went on the offensive too early or not, but I just had to pick moments where I could go after them,” he would say afterwards. Once Cancellara latched onto the group, he began to whittle it down on each cobbled section, with the fearsome Carrefore de l’Arbre proving a key turning point, as both Zdenek Stybar and Stijn...

  • Breyne attempts suicide after positive doping test

    Jonathan Breyne (Crelan-Euphony) claimed his first pro win in Tour of Taihu
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 21:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian cyclist released from hospital after night of observation

    Jonathan Breyne is recovering from a suicide attempt. The 22-year-old rider received news of a positive doping test for clenbuterol earlier this week, and one day later he swallowed large amounts of pills. He was rushed to a hospital in Gent on Thursday, where his stomach was pumped empty. After spending the night in hospital, he was released on Friday according to

    Breyne, who rides for Crelan-Euphony since 2011 and signed a contract with Continental team To Win-Josan for next season, rode the Tour of Hainan and the Tour of Taihu Lake in October and November. He won the eighth stage in Taihu Lake.

    "I received the news by email," he told one hour prior to his suicide attempt. "I have done nothing to deserve this but how do I prove this happened in China?" 

    China is notorious for the use of Clenbuterol in livestock, and the World Anti Doping Agency warned athletes about it in 2011. Clenbuterol is mostly known because of the traces found in Alberto Contador's body, after which the Spaniard lost his 2010 Tour de France victory.

    "The doses found in my body were much bigger than in Contador's case, the UCI has told me," Breyne said.

    In the interview he gave to on Thursday, he said that he hadn't eaten since hearing the news. "I don't feel well at all, " he said. "I haven't eaten since. I don't understand why this happens to me. I feel really sick."

    One hour later, he took large amounts of medicine, his father told the Belgian website. He was rushed to hospital for treatment. He was conscious in the emergency room but had to spend the...

  • Kittel to ride Tour Down Under

    Marcel Kittel (Argos - Shimano) wins the Roeselare Criterium ahead of Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol)
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 22:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Argos-Shimano takes mixed team to Australia

    Argos-Shimano has announced its team for the Tour Down Under. Marcel Kittel will travel to Australia yet again to test his speed at the start of his fourth season in the pro ranks. The Dutch team that will make its race debut in the colors of the new title sponsor, which will be announced early January, takes a mixed team to Australia.

    Kittel is taking his trusted lead-out man Koen de Kort with him as well as Johannes Fröhlinger and Thierry Hupond, riders who work hard to reel in breakaways.

     "It will of course be our aim to take the sprint opportunities with Marcel in the team, but there aren't that many sprints," said sports manager Addy Engels.

    The team, therefore, also is betting on the strength of Simon Geschke, a rider with a strong uphill finish. "With Simon we have someone with us for the tougher stages. Some of the stage profiles are perfect for him and if they come down to a small group sprint he is fast," Engels said.

    Next to Kittel, De Kort, Hupond, Fröhlinger and Geschke, American Tom Peterson and young German Nikias Arndt will make the long journey to Australia. Both riders will compete in their first Tour Down Under.

    The race will start on January 21in Nuriootpa, in the Barossa Valley wine region, and will finish six days later in Adelaide.


  • Cantwell to lead Drapac team at the Tour Down Under

    Stuart Shaw from the Australian Capital Territory follows through Drapac Professional Cycling teammate Victorian David Pell.
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 10:31 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    All-Aussie squad ready to take on the WorldTour sprinters

    The organisers of the Santos Tour Down Under have revealed the line-up of the Drapac team that will take part in the 2014 edition of the race, with Jonathan Cantwell set to lead the team in the first WorldTour race of the season.

    Also named in the team are Thomas Palmer, Travis Meyer, William Clarke, Bernard Sulzberger, Wesley Sulzberger and Darren Lapthorne. Henk Vogels will be the directeur sportif as the team makes its debut as a Professional Continental team in 2014.

    "The wildcard invitation extended to Drapac Professional Cycling is an excellent opportunity for our home grown cyclists to line up against the world's best and cycling fans can expect some fantastic racing action," Australian Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell said in an announcement from the Santos Tour Down Under organisers.

    "Drapac Professional Cycling's roster announced today will see another seven Australians added to the world-class line up of professional cyclists competing here in January."

    "The Santos Tour Down Under attracts the best cyclists in the world and our Aussie cyclists always receive an extra big cheer from the crowds."

    Drapac's presence at the 2014 Tour Down Under will see three Australian teams in action in the race. Also on the start list is the Orica-GreenEdge WorldTour team and the UniSA-Australia development team. The rest of the field consists of the other 17 WorldTour teams.

    The Tour Down Under attracts some of the biggest names in the peloton, with sprinters Andrei Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) set to clash in Adelaide. Cadel Evans (BMC) will also return to the Tour Down Under in 2014.

    Henk Vogels said the Drapac team would not be content in just making its UCI WorldTour debut in Adelaide.

    "Everyone knows Jonathan Cantwell is...

  • Phinney and Atapuma to lead BMC at the Tour de San Luis

    Taylor Phinney at the start
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 12:03 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Stetina to make his BMC debut in Argentina

    Taylor Phinney and Darwin Atapuma will lead the BMC team at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina (January 19-26), with the race marking Phinney's first visit to South America and Atapuma's debut in BMC colours.

    Pete Stetina will also makes his debut in BMC colours at the Tour de San Luis after moving from the Garmin-Sharp team. Completing the BMC team are Dominik Nerz, Manuel Quinziato and the USA's Larry Warbasse.

    The 2014 Tour de San Luis will be held on the same dates at the Tour Down Under in Australia and has attracted some of the big names in the peloton. Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) have all been confirmed as riding in 2014.

    Phinney has spent most of the winter in the USA and did not attend the recent BMC training camp in Spain. Instead he has been training hard for his early-season debut and will target the 19.2km fifth stage time trial. He will travel to Argentina after a BMC training camp in California.

    "This will be my first time in South America" said Taylor Phinney in a press release from the team.

    "There is a nice time trial I will be targeting. I have never raced in January before so I am really excited to do that. It will be good for me to get an earlier start. I have been training quite hard, quite specifically for almost two months now, so I am looking forward to get back to racing."

    "I don't know much about the time trial yet. Bobby Julich (of the BMC Racing Team's Sports Science Division) is looking...

  • Adam Hansen aims to finish his tenth Grand Tour in 2014

    Adam Hansen on the podium
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 16:15 GMT
    José Been

    Australian thinks he has at least ten more years in him

    Adam Hansen is one of Lotto-Belisol's trusted riders for André Greipel’s winning sprint train. The only Australian in the Belgian team loves the European way of living. “Out of all the Australian pro cyclists, I am probably the least Australian. I love living in Europe and love the multicultural nature of our team.”

    Hansen followed a remarkable career path. While his Lotto-Belisol teammates mostly followed the standard road through the junior and U23 ranks, Hansen, 32, didn’t start riding his bike seriously until his early twenties. “I have teammates who are younger than me and have been racing for sixteen years now. I am doing this eleven years now.”

    “It makes me more fresh, I think,” he told Cyclingnews at the team presentation in Ghent. “I have at least ten more years in me. Starting later means that you can go on for longer. And the gap between the worst and the best in the peloton has gotten smaller over the years, too,” the Australian explained on why cycling careers tend to be longer now.

    “Moreover, older athletes also have more endurance. If you look at the competitors in triathlons, they are well over thirty in most cases.”

    Hansen himself started doing triathlons in his late teens but wanted to do few years of bike racing to improve his cycling skills because it was Hansen’s worst part of triathlon. Winning the Crocodile Trophy mountain bike race two years straight got him noticed and landed him a job with a cycling team in Austria.

    “I love Europe. You can drive 300 kilometres and be in a completely different culture. Some of my best mates are European. Lotto-Belisol has that multicultural feel to it with Germans, a Dane, and Belgians from the Flemish and Walloon side of the...

  • Cavendish ready to reassert sprint supremacy in 2014

    An ecstatic Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) after winning stage 13 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 17:50 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Manxman praises Kittel but warns he will be back to his best

    Mark Cavendish has heaped praised on Marcel Kittel and the excellent lead-out work of his Argos-Shimano team in 2013 but has warned that he and his Omega Pharma-Quick Step train will be better than ever in 2014.

    Cavendish lost the final Tour de France sprint on the Champs Elysees for the first time in his career and Kittel ended the Tour with five stage wins compared to Cavendish's two.

    Cavendish is still cycling's best sprinter, one season of success for Kittel does not compare to Cavendish's impressive palmares and 46 Grand Tour stage victories. The Manxman will also be working harder than ever and have Mark Renshaw back as his dedicated lead out man.

    "Kittel is good," Cavendish told the BBC sportingly. "He's not just had a good year, he's good."

    "But at his age [25] I was winning five, so I'm not that worried. I know the problems we had this year, so I'm not stressed. But it was the first time I felt really threatened, so I know I can't take things for granted anymore. I'm positive we'll dominate again."

    Cavendish's pride means he sometimes reacts badly to criticism. He gives 100 per cent, and so prefers to praise his rivals when they beat him fair and square.

    "You've got to give the other teams some praise," he said. "[Kittel's team] Argos worked extremely well. So don't be derogatory towards us, give them the credit. They were phenomenal. It was the best lead-out team I've seen since HTC, by quite a margin."

    "(Greipel's team) Lotto think they have it drilled - they don't, they just bash people out of the way. Argos have it drilled."

    Don’t forget the success of the Giro d'Italia

    Reflecting on the 2013 season, Cavendish...

  • UCI eases rules on time trial positions

    Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack)
    Article published:
    December 21, 2013, 19:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    80% of riders requested morphological exemptions

    The UCI informed bicycle manufacturers in a letter from UCI Technical Coordinator Matthieu Mottet on Friday that it would be relaxing rules on time trial bike fits and implementing an improved testing scheme for race officials that will be faster and more uniform from race to race.

    UCI rules 1.3.013 and 1.3.023 still state that the tip of the saddle must be 5cm behind the plane of the center of the bottom bracket spindle, and arm positions are restricted by limiting the difference in height between elbow supports and the lower aero bar to +/- 10cm. They were put into place in years past to outlaw extreme arm positions such as the Chris Boardman 'superman' and Floyd Landis 'praying mantis'.

    Riders (usually shorter or taller than average) have been allowed to request a morphological exemption to one of the two rules for years, but the revised rules allowing an exemption to either saddle position or bar drop in 2014 can be requested without riders having to be physically measured on the bike by the race officials.

    The UCI has also struck wording that required a horizontal arm position, but keeps the overall distance between the plane of the bottom bracket spindle and tip of aero bars limited to 75cm, or a maximum of 80cm with an exemption.

    "This means that, from 2014, only the bicycle will be checked and the rider will no longer be asked to attend together with his or her bicycle," the UCI letter stated. "This will mean that riders are not disturbed in their preparations just before the start of the race. These changes will afford riders more freedom while avoiding any risk of disqualification during the race due to the adoption of a non - regulatory position that is sometimes involuntary because of the effort involved."

    The UCI instituted a 1:3 ratio rule in aero bar position after Landis and Levi Leipheimer began using the praying mantis position...