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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 24, 2011

Date published:
December 24, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Hoogerland to reduce racing days in 2012

    Article published:
    December 23, 2011, 13:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman takes aim at Valkenburg Worlds

    Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) is set to tailor his 2012 campaign in order to reach the world championships in Valkenburg in the best possible condition. The Dutchman admitted that he raced too much last season, particular in the immediate aftermath of the Tour de France, when he was much in demand on the criterium circuit.

    “It’s an Olympic year and the Worlds are in Valkenburg in Holland, so I’ll start racing later than normal,” Hoogerland told Gazzetta dello Sport. “In comparison to 2011, I want to race a bit less. By the end of Tour, I had done 90 days of racing. In total I did over 120 days. Too many. In 2012, I’d like to do 80 at the most.”

    Already renowned as a tenacious attacker, Hoogerland’s popularity soared at the Tour de France, when he crashed into a barbed wire fence after a car struck his breakaway companion Juan Antonio Flecha on stage 9. In spite of deep cuts to his legs, Hoogerland succeeded in defending the polka dot jersey until the Pyrenees and went on to finish the race in Paris.

    “But I don’t want to be remembered as the barbed wire guy,” he said. “I want people to remember me for what I did afterwards. I pulled the barbed wire from my flesh, got back on my bike and crashed the line, injured and bloodied. Then I hung tough and finished the Tour.”

    While Hoogerland’s show of courage at the Tour was one of the highpoints of Vacansoleil-DCM’s first season at WorldTour level, the Dutch squad suffered a serious blow to its credibility at the beginning of the year when Riccardo Riccò was...

  • Ralf Grabsch named German under 23 trainer

    Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) and Ralf Grabsch (Team Milram) before the start.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2011, 17:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former pro was with all top German teams

    Former rider Ralf Grabsch will be the German national under 23 trainer. The German federation, Bund Deutscher Radfahrer, announced the appointment on Thursday evening. He has been given a two-year contract, which starts January 1.

    Grabsch, 38, turned pro in 1996 and rode for PSV Köln, Gerolsteiner, Team Cologne, Telekom, Wiesenhof and Milram before retiring in 2008. He then served as sport director for Milram for two years. He is the older brother of former world time trial champion Bert Grabsch, who will ride for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the coming season.

    He has served as a sport director for the national team since 2009, and now will concentrate on the younger riders.  “I am of course very much looking forward to this new challenge,” he said.  “Working with the under 23 riders is especially appealing, since they are not yet finished learning about cycling and have to be helped along the way to a hopefully successful career.”

  • Davison, Cupitt and McLeod highlight 2012 Budget Forklifts squad

    Peter Herzig (Team Budget Forklifts) broke away on the first lap in a bold move to try and disrupt the plans of others.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2011, 20:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mark O’Brien comes to NRS squad after impressive season

    Australian UCI continental team Budget Forklifts has released its 2012 roster, with several returning riders including Peter Herzig, Michael Cupitt, Luke Davison and Brian McLeod, joined by a mix of solid new recruits. Top of that list is Mark O'Brien who was a standout in the Grafton to Inverell while riding for team TDU and impressed team management enough to bring him on board.

    Team manager Jeremy Betts said the team were excited for the season ahead, and was particularly impressed by the quality many of the team's younger riders had shown at the team training camp this week in Mount Beauty, Victoria.

    Brian McLeod also added that the under 23 road national championships would be the his and team's first big goal of the season, in which the team will be fielding a number of its top riders.

    "I definitely want to give that a good crack," said McLeod.

    Budget Forklifts finished third in the overall rankings for the 2011 National Road Series, and was one of the most active teams in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in October.

    Budget Forklifts for 2012: Michael Cupitt, Luke Davison, Peter Herzig, Peter Loft, Ryan MacAnally, Brian McLeod, Shaun McCarthy, Mark O’Brien, Luke Ockerby, Jason Spencer, Marc Williams, Blair Windsor, Sam Witmitz

  • Video: Garmin-Cevelo, Journey to a Dream

    Dave Zabriskie at the Garmin presentation
    Article published:
    December 23, 2011, 21:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vaughters, Farrar, Stetina and Vande Velde featued

    Journey to a Dream, created by Nigel Dick, in association with Clif Bar, takes a look at the Garmin-Cervelo team, from how some of its riders entered the sport, right up until the current 2011 season.

    Alex Howes, Peter Stetina, Tom Danielson, Tyler Farrar, Christian Vande Velde all describe how they became involved in cycling, cutting their teeth in amateur racing and sacrificing their youth to one day make it in the professional ranks.

    The riders, along with Jonathan Vaugthers, also detail the importance of a strong team ethic and Vaughters pinpoints the difficulty in managing a rider’s ambition and expectations when the team is always put above any individual.

    That mentality was demonstrated this year, with the team claiming Paris-Roubaix with Johan Van Summeren. Garmin also went onto claim four stage wins in the Tour de France, along with the team classification. 

  • Förster to lead UnitedHealthcare in Langkawi

    Robert Förster in the stage winner's chair
    Article published:
    December 24, 2011, 10:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    German sprinter to seek further stage wins for US-based team

    Robert Förster will lead UnitedHealthcare in the Tour de Langkawi again in 2012.  The German sprinter won the eighth stage of the race last year for the US-based team.

    Last year's Tour de Langkawi was the team's debut race in the Professional Continental rankings.  “We had a strong showing with a stage win and several podiums,” said team manager Mike Tamayo.

    “Team UnitedHealthcare is honored and very motivated about the 2012 Le Tour de Langkawi”, he said. “We are aware of the growth of the race and of cycling in Malaysia, but we plan on bigger success at the 2012 edition of the race.”

    Förster will be supported by Australians Karl Menzies, Hilton Clarke and Jonathan Clarke, all of whom have experience of the Malaysian race.

    “One of the highlights of the past edition of Le Tour de Langkawi was when Forster won stage 8 in Jasin,” said race chief operating officer Emir Abdul Jalal. “A sprinter with prestigious wins under his belt, he showed the young guns Andrea Guardini and Marcel Kittel that he was still one of the fastest cyclists in the world, so we’re delighted to welcome him and his team back. I’m sure that after their first experience in Malaysia, they’ll be even stronger this time around.”

    The 10-stage race runs from February 24 to March 4.  It is ranked 2.HC and is expected to feature 22 teams.

    UnitedHealthcare team for the Tour de Langkawi:  Robert Förster, Hilton Clarke, Jonathan Clarke, Adrian Hegyvari, Jake Keough and Karl Menzies.

  • 21 teams apply for 16 spots in Clasica de Almeria

    The Clasica de Almeria peloton in action.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2011, 11:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    11 WorldTour teams and 10 Professional Continental teams compete to be on start line

    The Clasica de Almeria has the luxury of picking which teams it wants at the start of its race February 26 in southern Spain. 21 teams have so far appled for the 16 starting slots.

    Eleven WorldTour teams have sent in applications: Movistar, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Team Sky, Rabobank, Astana, Katusha, Garmin-Cervelo, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, AG2R, Vcansoliel and Lotto-Belisol.

    In addition, ten Professional Continental teams have asked to participate: Andalucía, Caja Rural, Project 1t4i, Accent Jobs Veranda's Willems, Netapp, Saur-Sojasun, Bretagne-Schuller, UnitedHealthcare, Rusvelo and Colombia-Coldeportes.

    Only 16 of these teams wll be selected for the race, which runs 200 kilometers and contains four ranked climbs. 

    The 2011 edition of the race was won by Matteo Pelucci of  Geox-TMC.

  • Flecha looking ahead to 2012 Classics

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    December 24, 2011, 12:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard bullish about Team Sky's early season targets

    Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha is predicting big things for Team Sky next year, starting off with the Classics in the spring. Speaking at Team Sky's training camp in Mallorca, Flecha said that the team is stronger than ever now and well capable of building on the success they achieved last season.

    “For me there is always a focus on the Spring Classics," the 34-year-old told Team Sky's website.

    “For the first part of the season they are my main goals. Later will come the Tour de France and I hope to make the team for the Tour. There are also some big races after the Tour but these are the long-term goals. Right now I need to be thinking about my first goal and that is most definitely the Classics.”

    Team Sky has been busy in the offseason, strengthening their squad with a series of signings and also securing the long term future of some of their riders by rewarding them with new contracts. This blend of both refreshment and consolidation has put Team Sky in a very good position going into the new season and Flecha is confident that they can match up to the very best in the world beginning in the spring.

    “The team is getting better and better in the Classics," he said. "There are some new guys coming in like Bernhard Eisel, but if you look at young guys like [Ian] Stannard and G [Geraint Thomas] they are getting better and better too. Helping these guys is a big part of my role. You always try to teach the young riders; whether it is things that I know, little secrets or bits of advice. I think for them it’s also nice to have guys with experience in the team so they can go to races and have someone there who has done it before and it can give them...

  • Geraint Thomas thrilled by Cavendish's award

    Geraint Thomas (pictured) will hook up with Mark Cavendish at Team Sky in 2012
    Article published:
    December 24, 2011, 16:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky colleague says BBC Sports Personality of the Year honour was well deserved

    The sport of cycling received a massive boost in the UK on Thursday after Mark Cavendish was named 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year - the most prestigious award of its type in Great Britain. In a poll decided by the general public, Cavendish scored a landslide victory with almost 50 per cent of the vote, proving that cycling is pushing itself more and more into the consciousness of the general public in the UK. Cavendish's Team Sky colleague Geraint Thomas, himself a winner of an award last week, has revealed he was thrilled by the news.

    "There should have only been one winner," Thomas told "He [Cavendish] has had a massive year by winning the Tour de France green jersey and by becoming world champion, and he also has a big personality. I am delighted for him."

    Before Cavendish flew back to Britain for the ceremony last week, Thomas had spent the best part of ten days with him at the Team Sky training camp in Mallorca, Spain. It was one of the first opportunities for Cavendish to bed in with his new teammates, having signed for Team Sky for the 2012 season.

    “I think it’s great, from the guys I’ve spoken to, everyone’s really happy to have him here,” Thomas said. “I’m sure he’s going to be up there winning stages in the big races, and that’s only going to go through the team and give everyone a boost. Once he starts winning races it will spread throughout the team and I think we’ll thrive on that. It will push everyone forward.”