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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 28, 2013

Date published:
December 28, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Pinot wants to make peace with the Tour de France

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 9:23 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    FDJ rider hoping to get over his fear of speed

    Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) has said that he wants to make peace with the Tour de France, after being reduced to tears by the sports biggest race in 2013.

    “I want to play a free role at the Tour. I know I am tense on the bike, this is my weak point," he told the French newspaper Dauphiné.

    Pinot's fear of speed, which stems from a serious crash he had as a junior, came to a head in the Pyrenees and he even went as far as questioning his desire to stay in the race. The French rider went into the this year's Tour with high hopes, after he finished 10th the year before. His ambitions fell by the wayside when he struggled to stay with the rest of the peloton on the opening mountain stages.

    The 23-year-old crossed the line in tears at the end of stage nine after losing more than 20 minutes on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre. Each stage compounded his anguish and by the time he left on Stage 16, he was over an hour down on the race leader Chris Froome. Since then FDJ general manager Marc Madiot has been trying to help his rider overcome his fears. One method was to put him into an car rally driving course on ice.

    "This course helps me because you must be self-assured. Released,” he told Dauphiné. “Hopefully there will be a release even though I do not expect to be with the best. I just want to get off the bike and not have the apprehension on each mountain summit. The car allows me to learn and move forward and that's good."

    Pinot will ride both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España in 2014, as he did this year.

  • Andy Schleck: "It’s a new start and we’re back together again

    Andy Schleck (RadioShack Leopard)
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 11:33 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Trek rider back with his brother and ambitious for 2014

    Andy Schleck has once again talked of his dream of winning the Tour de France and an Ardennes Classics but has admitted that Team Sky has become the benchmark for success in major races.

    Speaking at the Trek Factory Team camp before the holidays, the Luxembourg rider also talked about his excitement at being part of a new team. With his brother also set to return to racing, he is hoping for another title bid for the maillot jaune.

    Since both finishing on the podium in the 2011 Tour de France, the Schleck brothers have been dogged by injury and poor form. Older brother Frank was handed a year-long suspension after traces of Xipamide were found in his system during the 2012 Tour de France, while Andy has taken much longer than expected to return to his previous high levels after fracturing his hip in 2012. At this year’s Tour de France he struggled to 20th place overall.

    However with an injury-free pre-season behind him and his brother back in race team colours from January 1, Andy is keen on making a point in 2014.

    “I have one goal and I believe I’m right on track. I have a good bike and once I have good feeling in the races I can work on the results. Right now I’m working and I’m feeling good. Frank returns now and of course that’s good for me also as it’s a new start with a new team. I want to show that I’m still there but I don’t put a mark, set a target,” he said at the team’s recent training camp in Spain.

    The Schlecks became the first brothers to stand on the same Tour podium in 2011 when they finished behind Australia's Cadel Evans. Andy officially became the post-dated winner of the Tour in 2010 after...

  • Gallery: Astana mechanics build 2014 team bikes

    Jakob Fuglsang shows off his 2014 road frame
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 12:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Training camp gallery from Spain

    Training camps in December serve a multitude of purposes but hard miles on the bike generally isn’t the most important one. After a long season on the road winter training camps tend to be about looking back and assessing the year, just as much plotting paths for success in the future.

    One section of the team that work almost on the rivet are the mechanics. This period in time is a rare opportunity for them to strip down the 2013 bikes and start the arduous task of assembling new machines for the coming season.

    For Astana, at least, it meant that some form of continuity could be extended with Specialized remaining as the provider of their bikes for another season. Still, there was plenty to be done, with new bikes for every rider and brand new set ups for new signings such as Michele Scarponi from Lampre.

    Click here for the gallery.

  • Kelderman aims for white jersey at Giro d'Italia

    Wilco Kelderman will skip this year's Tour after finishing 17th at the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 13:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman to begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve

    Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) will continue his swift progression as a general classification rider, as he targets the Giro d'Italia's white jersey in 2014.

    Kelderman made his debut at the Giro this year, where held the jersey for two stages, before relinquishing it to Saxo-Tinkoff's Rafal Majka. The Dutchman finished third in the classification, behind Carlos Betancur and Majka, and 17th overall.

    With Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema both heading to the Tour de France, Kelderman is the likely leader of the team when the Giro starts in Ireland. The 22-year-old will begin his 2014 season three weeks later than this year at the Volta ao Algarve, after he decided to skip the Tour Down Under.

    "I have more time to work,” Kelderman told Bicicilismo. “Last year I only trained little before I began racing in Europe. My goals are to make good placings in the stage races but my primary objective is the Giro.” After taking on the Volta ao Algarve, he will head to Paris-Nice, Volta Catalunya, before looking to the Giro d'Italia.

    Since joining Rabobank senior squad last year, Kelderman has been snapping at the heels of his more illustrious teammates. The Belkin rider made a name for himself at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2012 when he finished fourth behind the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin in the individual time trial. Kelderman went on to finish eighth in the overall classification and claimed the young rider's jersey.

    He took his first professional general classification victory at the Denmark Rundt this year, where his first stage win in the individual time trial and...

  • 2013 Reader poll: Sky voted best team

    A thumbs up from a happy Chris Froome (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 16:59 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Tour de France winner beats Movistar

    Team Sky has topped the Cyclingnews poll for best team of 2013 for a second consecutive year after securing a second consecutive Tour de France victory.

    The British-registered team achieved 7252 votes, almost more than double that of second placed Movistar, who scored 3640 votes and Garmin-Sharp, who was third with 3602 votes. Mark Cavendish's Omega Pharma-Quick Step team was a close fourth with 3434 votes.

    The Orica-AIS team was the best women's team, securing 1034 votes and beating Specialized-Lululemon who scored 721 votes. Both did better than Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team, who garnered only 616 votes despite Nibali winning the Giro d'Italia and dueling with Chris Horner at the Vuelta a Espana.

    Tour de France

    Team Sky no doubt won the best team award thanks to its domination at the Tour de France. Chris Froome may not have the style and pedigree of Bradley Wiggins but proved he has the determination and ability to climb onto the top step of the podium in Paris.

    The skinny Kenyan-born Briton combined his time trial speed with sudden, low gear, high cadence accelerations in the mountains to take control of the yellow jersey. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was perhaps his most dangerous rival, especially in the final week, but lost precious time in the time trials and so finished 4:20 behind, a comfortable winning margin for Froome, with Joaquim Rodriguez third at 5:04.

    Froome also won every stage race he started leading up to the Tour 2013, bar Tirreno-Adriatico, with wins in Oman, Criterium International, Romandie, and the Dauphine. He rightly enjoyed the summer before his embarrassing flop, along with his Great Britain teammates, at the world road race championships in Florence.

    The Classics...

  • Gallery 2013: Through the lens of Roberto Bettini

    Chris Horner drops Vincenzo Nibali on the Alto de l'Angliru
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 23:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian Photographer shares his memories of the season

    We continue our series of photographic retrospectives with some of the best pictures of the season from Italian photographer Roberto Bettini.

    Bettini has been following cycling for more than three decades and has captured some of the most memorable moments. This season, the Italian has followed around the peloton from the Tour Down Under in January and the Tour of Beijing in October, and everything in between.

    Some of the highlights include Vincenzo Nibali's conquering of the Giro d'Italia and Chris Froome's victory at the Tour de France.

    Click here for the full gallery of images.

  • Report card: Lampre-Merida

    The 2013 Lampre Merida team
    Article published:
    December 28, 2013, 9:59 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Can Costa's arrival save the troubled team?

    WorldTour Ranking: 14/19
    Win Count: 16
    Top riders: Michele Scarponi (16th), Przemyslaw Niemiec (42nd), Filippo Pozzato (47th), Diego Ulissi (87th) and Max Richeze (104th).

    Grade: D

    Lampre-Merida was hoping to put a terrible 2012 season behind them but the Italian team again under performed in 2013, winning just 16 minor races. True, they also landed 26 second places and 23 third places but that only underlined their poor results in the races that mattered.

    Despite their garish pink and blue jerseys, the Lampre-Merida riders were rarely seen in the Classics and the Tour de France, while Michele Scarponi was only fourth in the Giro d'Italia dominated by his Italian rival and now Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali.

    Lampre-Merida won just two WorldTour races in 2013, the best being when Filippo Pozzato sprinted to victory at the GP Ouest France in Plouay, France. But that failed to make up for the Italian playboy's disappointing year.

    Pozzato won the Trofeo Laigueglia in February and seemed on track for a good cobbled-Classics campaign but then he faded at the first signs of spring. He later claimed an undiagnosed virus wrecked his chances but he went onto ride the Giro d'Italia, where he also went missing on several stages. He eventually came good late in the summer to secure a place in the Italian world championship team but was dropped on the final climb as teammate Nibali went on the attack.

    Damiano Cunego did not even secure a place in the Italian Squadra for the Tuscan world championships and continued his unexplainable downwards spiral in the Ardennes Classics and Tour de France. He accepted to take up the role of domestique deluxe by the end of the season.


  • Cadel Evans set for Australian nationals

    2009 Worlds: Australia's Cadel Evans basks in the moment of winning the world championship
    Article published:
    December 28, 2013, 10:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC rider to race ahead of Tour Down Under

    Cadel Evans will make his 2014 debut at the Australian national road championships in Ballarat on January 12, 2014.

    The 2011 Tour de France champion is heading into what might be his final season in the WorldTour but the BMC rider has added the national road race to his racing calendar, which already includes the Tour Down Under and the Giro d’Italia.

    “The nationals road race presents the first genuine racing opportunity of the year.” said Evans in a press release issued by the race organisers.

    “Provided my training form continues as planned and following a final consultation with my team, I’m looking forward to lining up on Sunday morning for a solid hit out against a quality field.”

    Evans has not taken part in the nationals since 2005 and has usually built his season on a solid start in the European race circuit. He will line up for nationals as BMC’s single entry to the race with the field dominated by riders from Orica GreenEdge and Drapac.

    “It’s always going to be a challenge taking on the larger teams such as ORICA-GreenEDGE and Drapac without my BMC team mates in support. But I would expect the race to give me a good early season form guide leading into a solid block of racing over the coming months.”

    Team Sky’s Richie Porte and Chris Sutton, ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Simon Gerrans, Luke Durbridge, Matthew Goss and Matthew Hayman as well as Garmin Sharp riders Rohan Dennis, Steele von Hoff and Lachlan Morton, have all entered the race.