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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 11, 2014

Date published:
January 11, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Danny van Poppel: Riding as brothers gives us an edge

    Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 2:45 GMT
    José Been

    Van Poppel siblings poised for debut with Trek Factory Racing

    Andy and Fränk Schleck are not the only brothers that Trek Factory Racing presented in Roubaix today, the pair of Luxembourgers are now joined by two Dutch siblings: Danny and Boy van Poppel.

    Manager Luca Guercilena named Danny van Poppel as most exciting young rider in the Trek team. "I am happy to be here," the youngest of the two Van Poppel brothers told Cyclingnews at the team launch. "But I am also very happy that the team see that Boy is a very good rider too."

    Boy is the eldest of the two sons of multiple Tour de France stage winner Jean Paul van Poppel. After four years with the Rabobank Development Team, he moved to the United States for a two-year contract with Unitedhealthcare.

    "Dirk Demol and Alain Gallopin, my sports directors at Trek, already saw me in the Tour of Britain in 2012 where I won the points' jersey. The fact they followed my progress throughout that year, and last year in the Tour de France with Vacansoleil-DCM, and that Trek also chose me as a rider and not only as Danny's brother, feels really great."

    "That was very important for me too," Danny adds. "I don't think we'll ever ride apart, in other teams I mean. I trust Boy 100 per cent when he does the lead-out. We live in the same village and we train together all the time. He knows exactly what I want and what I can do in a sprint. Riding as brothers really gives us an edge. But he also has qualities that I don't have like riding up hills fast and do a good sprint afterwards."

    Luca Guercilena emphasized that Trek is very much interested in young riders. They signed four neo-pros, and have a total of six riders classified as neo in 2014. The team wants to pair them up with the big names to learn and gain experience but also offers riders such as Danny van Poppel and Belgian Classics talent Jasper Stuyven the opportunity to ride for themselves.

    However, there is...

  • Drapac’s Darren Lapthorne to lead charge at Australian Road Nationals

    Darren Lapthorne celebrates his victory
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 4:12 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    Former national champion relishes leadership role, seeks second Aussie road race title

    It has been seven years since Drapac Pro Cycling’s Darren Lapthorne stood atop the podium in Ballarat as the Australian National Road Race Champion, and the veteran cyclist told Cyclingnews it's been far too long and he wants his title back.

    "I would definitely love to win this race again in my career," he said. "I would like to relive that moment once more. I have trained extremely hard and I think I have the right form to be there at the end. I want it."

    Having last won the race in 2007, the 30-year-old from Bendigo says his best racing is still ahead of him and come Sunday both he and his Drapac Cycling team will be ready.

    "The biggest thing I can say is that for this race you can't just be in good form – you have to be in super form – to win it," said Lapthorne who returned to full-time racing with Drapac in 2011. "I believe I have a slight advantage because I've raced the domestic series this year I’ve had a shorter break with a strong build up."

    In December, Drapac sports director Henk Vogels put Lapthorne and his teammates through an arduous eight-day training camp in the Victorian Alpine town of Bright in preparation for the road nationals and the start of the 2014 season.

    "Darren looks lean, looks hungry. The entire team looks hungry," Vogels told Cyclingnews on Friday. "We are not here to run second. We have some guys that can win this race and Darren is at the top of that list."

    The Australian cycling media has been abuzz since Drapac confirmed its second step up to ProContinental in November. Along with the addition of Vogels, a former national road race champion himself (1999), Drapac has added two mechanics from the...

  • Travis Meyer looking to get back to his best at Drapac

    Oh yeah baby! Gold medallist and Aussie Road Champion Travis Meyer from Western Australia.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 6:51 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Former Australian road champion enjoying new team

    Having spent the last two seasons with Orica-GreenEdge, Travis Meyer has found himself a new home at Drapac Pro Cycling and is looking forward to racing with the Australian outfit in 2014. The 2010 Australian National Road Race Champion will be one of the many cards Drapac can play during the men's race on Sunday around the Buninyong circuit as the team chase the green and gold jersey.

     "It's really exciting to back at Drapac, they're really moving forward as a team to Pro-Continental now which is exciting for myself and the team," Meyer told Cyclingnews.

    Yet to finalise his 2014 racing program, Meyer is set for a return at the Tour Down Under. "At this stage I'm named with for Tour Down Under which is pretty exciting to start off with our biggest race of the year," Meyer said. "From there I need to speak to the directors and map out a plan but I know they have some ideas in their head and I have some ideas so we'll talk about it and come up with a good balance of races."

    While Meyer excelled on the track winning multiple junior world tiles, he never contemplated a return to the boards with the road his sole focus. "The track has never entered my mind at all for the last three years. I did my days a junior but I think that's it for me," he said.

    Meyer's last win on the road was his national title and while he would welcome another win, he is more than happy to contribute to the success of his teammates across the season as well. "I think I'd just like to get back to a good level. Whether that's winning or helping my teammates win, that fine either way by me. If I could be at the pointy end of more races that would be good for me and just being a bit more competitive in my racing as well."

    During the Tour of Langkawi last year, Meyer told Cyclingnews that he had

  • Australian Road Nationals a 'must win' for Luke Durbridge and Orica-GreenEdge

    Luke Durbridge on his way to second place
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 7:31 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    Reigning Australian Road Race champion says anything less than victory is 'failure'

    Western Australia's Luke Durbridge was right on track to capture his third straight men's National Time Trial championship after establishing a 30-second lead over Queenslander, and Orica-GreenEdge teammate, Michael Hepburn at the halfway mark of the 45-kilometre course along Lake Burrumbeet in Ballarat on Wednesday. That was until Hepburn closed the gap and finished on top with an 11-second win over Durbridge with a time of 56 minutes and 29.90 seconds, and more than two minutes over South Australia's Damien Howson to give GreenEdge a clean podium sweep.

    Durbridge, 22-years-old, who entered the race fresh off a stage three victory at the Bay Cycling Classic just four days earlier, and had felt the affects of an illness during that period, was frustrated at the lack of time checks, with only one being given at the mid-way point. The 2011 U23 World Time Trial champion told Cyclingnews immediately after the race there was nothing he could do but "savour the moment of how much it hurts" and move on.

    Three days on, and Durbridge says that the time trial was a "hard lesson learned."

    "You've got to ride all the way to the line," he told Cyclingnews. "I didn't sit up, and I felt I gave it my all, but perhaps I mis-paced it and went out too hard. I was 30 seconds up when I saw [Rohan Dennis] crash and he was my minute man so that sort of played with my head a bit. All credit to Michael as rode a perfect ride. Maybe if I had more information I could have found a bit extra out of desperation. But I take it on board and try to learn from it."

    The 2013 National Road Race champion will have an opportunity to put those lessons learned to the test as he defends his crown...

  • Gracie Elvin credits Orica-AIS teammates for second straight national title

    Grace Elvin (Orica-AIS) win's her second national road race title
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 8:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Orica-AIS riders help reigning Aussie road race champion make it two in a row

    Bruised and battered after a second lap crash in the national criterium championships on Thursday night in Ballarat, Gracie Elvin successfully defended her Australian women’s national road race championship in a sprint finish against rivals Lauren Kitchen, Karin Garfoot and Tiffany Cromwell. Elvin became the first female cyclist since Kathy Watt (1992-94) to capture back-to-back national road race titles, and fully credits her Orica-AIS teammates for the win.

    "This jersey is for them," an emotional Elvin said immediately after the race. "I love them to bits and I owe it all to them as we work as a unit and that's he we won the race."

    Victoria’s Lisa Jacobs broke away on the first lap and opened a near-four minute lead before Elvin reeled her in on lap seven and dropping her on lap eight before being caught herself on Buninyong Hill. The 25-year-old would make the first of her two comebacks to rejoin the lead group, with the final effort coming on the last lap with just four kilometres to go.

    "I knew I just needed to be there for my teammates at the end," said the 2012 Oceania Road Race champion. "There were three of us left and it’s a numbers game for this race. We had a girl in every move and felt confident we could pull it off."

    With one kilometre to go, Orica-AIS’s Shara Gillow, a three-time national time trial champion, and Amanda Spratt set the pace and marked Elvin’s toughest challenger Tiffany Cromwell along the way.

    "Shara did a really good job," said Elvin. "I owe the sprint to her as well. It was all starting to sit up and I was starting to get nervous because I didn't know if could...

  • Gallery: Trek Factory Racing team presented in Roubaix

    Fans and press mixed ahead of the Trek presentation
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 8:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    All eyes on Schlecks, Cancellara as season starts

    The Trek Factory Racing team launched its inaugural season in the Velodrome de Roubaix, near to the famed finale of Paris-Roubaix in front of 1200 fans, Trek retailers and the media.

    The presentation from the heart of the Classics signified the team's focus on its number one star, Fabian Cancellara, winner of both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. To not give favor to one Monument over the other, the launch also included a fan club sportif over 78km of the toughest sections of the Flanders parcours, tackled by 250 of the team's supporters earlier in the day.

    The squad was officially launched by Trek vice president Joe Vadeboncoeur, who said, "Today is a huge day in the history of Trek and this team. We love racing and can't wait for the season to start. This is a big step for Trek and big step for cycling. We have built an international team that will work hard to make the fans part of the team."

    The American bicycle manufacturer took over the WorldTour license from the RadioShack-Leopard organisation in 2013, becoming the third equipment maker to take title sponsorship of a top-tier team, along with Cannondale and Giant.

  • Schlecks put the brotherhood back together

    Fränk and Andy Schleck at the 2014 Trek team launch
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 10:50 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frank and Andy on their hopes and ambitions for 2014

    Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) is confident that he will have few problems in readapting to life in the peloton when he returns to action at the Santos Tour Down Under next week, following a year and a half on the sidelines.

    The Luxembourg rider has not raced since he tested positive for the diuretic Xipamide during the 2012 Tour de France.

    “I cannot tell you today how I will be, but I think I will be alright in the peloton,” Schleck told reporters at the Trek Factory Racing presentation in Roubaix on Friday.

    “Maybe it’s going to feel strange the first couple of days but I’m confident I’m going to feel ok. It’s not like I’m a useless chicken in the peloton or on the bike. By that I mean it’s not like I’m useless at handling the bike.”

    Schleck flew to Adelaide on Saturday ahead of the Tour Down Under, which gets underway on January 19. It marks his first appearance in the Australian race and his earliest start to the racing season since he lined up at the Tour de San Luis six years ago during his time at CSC. However the 33-year-old said that he was keen to start his 2014 campaign as soon as possible.

    “I love riding my bike. I love cycling,” he said. “I kept training, I’m not done yet. As soon as we get out on the road, I want to show that I’m not done yet.”

    Schleck’s lay-off was lengthened by a further six months in the second half of 2013 when he was unable to agree terms with the Flavio Becca-owned RadioShack-Trek squad. He claimed, however, that his motivation did not wane thanks in part to the fact that he had been handed a one-year ban rather than the maximum two-year penalty.

    “I kept motivated because we could...

  • 2014 Vuelta a España route unveiled

    The 2014 Vuelta a Espana map
    Article published:
    January 11, 2014, 14:00 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Eight mountain finishes and short time trials make it a race for climbers

    The Vuelta a España 2014 route has been unveiled today confirming the leaked version of the parcours that appeared mid-week in two Spanish newspapers: the 2014 route eight summit finishes, a little more individual time trialing than in 2013 and a very hard final ten days in the north of Spain.

    As 1988 Tour winner and Vuelta commentator Pedro Delgado put it, "from stage ten onwards there are no truces whatsoever."

    The peloton will face one tough ascent after another, with the stage 15 summit finish at Lagos de Covadonga, the stage 16 finish to La Farrapona and the stage 20 finish to Ancares the hardest of the eight uphill finishes.

    The Vuelta starts in the city of Jerez de la Frontera in southwest Spain on August 23rd and finishes in the northwestern Galician capital Santiago de Compostela on September 14th with a flat 10km time trial.

    It will be the first finish outside Madrid since 1993, when the Vuelta also concluded with a time trial in Santiago de Compostela. But whilst in 1993 that last stage - with Alex Zulle and Tony Rominger battling for victory - was decisive (and ended with victory for Rominger) - this time round, it is the mountains that will be crucial in deciding the winner of the red jersey.

    “It’s true that there are fewer mountain top finishes than in 2013 -when we had 12, but it’s still pretty tough” reflected Vuelta race director Javier Guillen.

    “Just in the first week, the stage into Cordoba, for example, is preceded by a lot of climbs, and it will be difficult, too, for the stage into Arcos de la Frontera to end in a bunch sprint.”

    “Twelve summit finishes like in 2013 was the maximum possible a Vuelta route could envisage. We’ve pulled back a little from that extreme in 2014.”

    Route analysis

    Following a 12.6km...