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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 28, 2012

Date published:
January 28, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Froome is Sky's best chance to win the Tour de France, Roche says

    Chris Froome
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 11:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bid for both yellow and green is a “headache” and “nightmare”

    Chris Froome is Team Sky's best chance to win the Tour de France, according to Stephen Roche. The Irishman also said that the team's plan to go for both the yellow and green jerseys at the Tour this year could backfire, leaving them empty handed.

    Team principal Dave Brailsford has said he hoped to have a Tour winner within five years of setting up the team. “Initially I felt that that that was just a commercial pitch because a Tour de France winner doesn’t just come along like that,” Roche told telegraph.co.uk.

    "So who’s Brailsford got in his pocket capable of winning the Tour? Wiggins? Well maybe now, but not at the time. But now we look at it differently so I think Brailsford was very courageous to come out and announce that," he said.

    “For me, though, I think Froome is the one: he’s got a great attitude, great ability, he time-trials well, climbs well and recuperates very well and can last the three weeks. Ok, Bradley’s there, but he’s now targeted. People know Bradley, whereas Froome could benefit from the limelight being on Bradley and Cavendish.”

    Cavendish joined the team for the 2012 season, and is looking to once again win the green points jersey he took last year for the first time. That will give the team the task of attempting to take the overall title plus the green jersey.

    “They might, though, lose everything by...

  • Boonen with his eye on renewed Spring Classic success

    Belgium's Tom Boonen ready to roll on the road where he won a stage of the Tour of Britain.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 13:11 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Can't choose between Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders

    Don't ask Tom Boonen to choose whether he would rather win Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders. “I love them equally. It would be like choosing between Mom and Dad,” he says. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider said that he is over the spate of injuries that have thrown him back the last few years and is ready “to be strong for the Spring Classics”.

    Finally recovered from the knee problems which had plagued him in 2010, Boonen opened his 2011 campaign by winning the first stage of the Tour of Qatar. The spring looked promising as he won Gent-Wevelgem for the second time, but those proved to be his only wins all season.

    The year went further downhill as he abandoned the Tour de France with a concussion and the Vuelta a Espana with a broken scaphoid, the latter costing him his chance in the world championships.

    “As for injuries, they are overcome,” he told biciciclismo.com. “This winter, in addition to my work on the bike, I have increased training in the gym. In the last two years I have had long periods of inactivity that made me lose my best physical tone, which I have now recovered. So I think I'll be stronger.”

    That will make him ready for his beloved Spring Classics. “I cannot choose a single race. I'm going to train to be strong for the Spring Classics and be able to win any of them," he said. Even picking between Paris-Roubaix (which he won in 2005, 2008 and 2009) and the Tour of Flanders (which he won in 2005 and 2006) is impossible.

    “Those two are the most important races of the year. It would be a success to win either one of...

  • Daniel Lloyd to Team IG–Sigma Sport for 2012

    Daniel Lloyd shows off the IG - Sigma Sport jersey
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 14:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former Garmin-Cervélo rider joins British Continental team

    Daniel Lloyd will ride for Team IG–Sigma Sport in 2012. The British Continental-ranked team announced that it has signed the 31-year-old Briton, who last year rode for Garmin-Cervelo.

    Lloyd first signed with Cervelo Test Team in 2009, but his contract was not renewed after the past season. “After a few weeks I had accepted that my racing career had come to an end, but I have already been persuaded out of retirement by my good friend Ian Whittingham at Sigma Sport,” he said in the team's press release.

    “I'm very excited to join the team as it moves to the next level with the title sponsorship of IG Markets, who are one of the largest sponsors of UK cycling. I'm looking forward to working with them and the team's other partners, and also to passing on my experience to the other riders in the team.”

    The team, which added IG Markets as a sponsor this year, is targeting the Tour Series and Premier Calendar events as well as a top 10 finish in the Tour of Britain. It is very much looking forward to Lloyd's participation.

    Team director Whittingham said: “Daniel has ridden at the very highest level for the last 4 years putting in some impressive performances in races such as the Tour De France, Giro D'Italia and Tour of Flanders, in the service of some of the biggest names in the sport. The wealth of experience Daniel brings to the team will be crucial as we take the next step on our teams exciting journey.”

    “We are very happy to see him return to racing in the UK.  The signing of such a strong rider shows the continued development and ambition of Team IG-Sigma Sport. The team is in a strong position to contend throughout the season in the UK’s biggest races,” said Olly Stevens, head of sponsorship for IG Markets.

  • Tour Méditerranéen back on UCI calendar

    The Tour Méditerranéen became a two-man duel between David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R La Mondiale).
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 18:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Early season race emerges from financial battles

    The UCI confirmed it has added the Tour Méditerranéen to the European Tour for the 2012 season. The race was said to be in jeopardy back in December, when the French Cycling Federation (FFC) announced on its website that it had not granted a license to the event.

    Earlier this month, however, the organisers met with the FFC and French Cycling League presidents and were able to come to an accord which allowed the race to move ahead.

    It announced a line-up of 18 teams for the 2012 race: WorldTour squads Vacansoleil-DCM, Saxo Bank, GreenEdge, FDJ - BigMat, Movistar, Garmin-Cervélo, Astana and AG2R-La Mondiale will be joined on the line by Accent.Jobs-Willems Veranda's, Acqua & Sapone, Team Type 1-Sanofi, Europcar, Cofidis, Bretagne Schuller, Spidertech and Saur Sojasun, as well as Continental teams VC La Pomme Marseille and Endura Racing. The remainder of the field will be announced at the presentation on January 30.

     

  • Merger in the future for Cofidis?

    Team manager Eric Boyer has to convince Cofidis to continue their sponsorship
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    French team looking to regain the World Tour

    The coming year may bring another merger of cycling's top teams, as Cofidis general manager Eric Boyer seeks to improve the situation of his team by combining with a larger outfit. In an interview with La Voix Du Nord, Boyer said a merger would be a practical solution to the team's relatively small budget and inability to attract top riders to regain its place in the WorldTour.

    "This year we have seen mergers between some great teams: RadioShack and Leopard-Trek, Quick Step and Omega Pharma. I also have had this discussion for two years," Boyer said. "We began by giving it lip service. Last year, it was more serious. I hope we can go through with our idea at the end of the year."

    The team's fortunes declined after the exit of Sylvain Chavanel at the end of 2008. Following his stage wins in Paris-Nice and the Tour de France, and a stint in the leader's jersey at the Vuelta a Espana, Chavanel was lured away by the QuickStep team.

    "In 2010 we wanted to bring Sylvain Chavanel back, and we were prepared to increase our budget to strengthen the team and apply for a [WorldTour] license," Boyer said. "However, we didn't find anyone to replace him and gain the necessary UCI points. We remain on the same budget in 2011."

    That budget, estimated to be between 8.5 and 9 million Euros is far below that of the biggest WorldTour teams, and by Boyer's account is 3.5 million Euros less than what the team operated on when it was last in the WorldTour in 2009.

    Three years in the Professional Continental ranks later, Boyer is growing weary of having to fight for wildcard spots in the Tour de France - a situation in which three other French teams find themselves: Team...

  • Video: Ben Day's Tour de San Luis time trial

    Ben Day (UnitedHealthcare) back at the team base camp after his time trial.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 23:00 GMT
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Australian's hot seat performance

    Stage four of the Tour de San Luis was a 19.5km time trial in the city of San Luis and Cyclingnews was able to document the performance of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling's Ben Day, a stalwart against the clock.

    Logistically the time trial was a dream for the Tour de San Luis's peloton as the start house was within sight of all the team hotels and started and finished on their hotels' very street, the Av Illia. The late afternoon start time made it that much more appealing.

    It's the little things that perhaps make the biggest difference in the day-to-day performance of a professional cyclist in a stage race, particularly one on a different continent to one's home base, away from such things as a fully-equipped service course, team buses and other comforts taken for granted.

    UnitedHealthcare scored a welcome patch of shade right on the course, positioned metres away from the first/last turn on the 19.5km out-and-back parcours, where they established their base camp. There was ample room inside the cordoned off area, their team mechanic Jorge was busily attentive to the Neil Pryde time trial machines given their first competitive outing of the season, and there was a sense of ease and calm knowing that their afternoon had all been planned down to the second, critically important in prepping for a time trial start time with no margin of error.

    As I arrived, Australia's Ben Day was nearing the end of his turbo trainer warm-up, and upon stepping off team manager Mike Tamayo informed him that he had 13 minutes until his start time as well as telling Day the easiest way to ride to the start house.

    The foreign teams at Argentina's Tour de San Luis primarily utilize race-issued rental cars for team vehicles (no uber busses and fully...

  • Valverde's success will not benefit Movistar

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) returned from suspension to win.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 23:05 GMT
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    UCI not counting points toward 2013 WorldTour

    Alejandro Valverde may have completed the sporting ban which was the consequence of a protracted Operacion Puerto case, but the Spaniard's punishment is not yet concluded: the UCI confirmed to Cyclingnews that none of his points will count toward his team's sporting criteria - the ranking which is used by the UCI in determining which teams will be in the following year's WorldTour. Indeed, none of his points will count for the next two seasons.

    Valverde is currently sitting in second in the WorldTour rankings after coming in as the runner-up to GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans at the Tour Down Under, and while his results will add to the team's tally for the WorldTour rankings, it will not help his Movistar team when it comes time for the UCI to figure out who stays and who goes in the 2013 WorldTour. The UCI ranks the teams by rider points accumulated, team points and other criteria such as ethical and financial merits, with only the top 15 teams earning automatic consideration for the next WorldTour season.

    The UCI took the decision to disqualify riders who are returning from bans from scoring points toward the team rankings for two years following their return from a anti-doping rule violation. The rule was ratified by the Pro Cycling Council in Copenhagen last autumn.

    Earlier in 2011, the idea was presented to the PCC by former Credit Agricole manager Roger Legeay, and was accepted for consideration by the UCI's management committee. Teams association (AIGCP) president Jonathan Vaughters confirmed that he voted in favour of the rule on behalf of the teams in the Copenhagen meeting. "It was supported by the...

  • Garmin women rescued with AA Drink-Leontien.nl partnership

    British road Champion, Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo) repeated her 2008 solo victory in the first World Cup of the season at Trofeo Binda
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 23:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Women's team to race on Cervelo bikes in 2012

    The remnants of the Garmin-Cervelo women’s team has been rescued by a partnership between Slipstream Sports and AA Drink/Leontien.nl for 2012. Emma Pooley, Lizzie Armistead, Lucy Martin, Sharon Laws, Carla Ryan and Jessie Daams, who signed two year deals with Slipstream in 2011, will move across to the AA Drink/Leontin.nl cycling team. The riders for the entire team will compete on Cervelo race bikes, meaning that their original contracts will be honoured.

    "We are excited to work with Slipstream Sports and to add group of outstanding riders. Looking ahead to the big events in 2012, I am convinced that we will be competitive on all fronts, from the Olympic Games to the World Championships to the Tour of Italy,'' said team manager Michael Zijlaard.

    Jonathan Vaughters and Slipstream had brought in the Cervelo women’s team as part of an agreement that included Cervelo bikes and a number of the men from the Cervelo TestTeam. However the 2011 season proved to the first and only year that the women’s team existed as part of organisation.

    Riders were told towards the end of the year that they could sign for other teams while Vaughters privately attempted to find homes for the remaining riders.

    “We are pleased to partner with AA Drink / Leontien.nl,” said Jonathan Vaughters.

    “Michael Zilaard has built a strong organization and we are excited to work with him to combine our strengths. The 2012 team looks strong and we believe it will be a great year ahead.”

    2012 AA Drink/Leontien.nl Cycling Team Roster:
    Elizabeth Armitstead (UK)
    Chantal Blaak (NL)

    Lucinda Brand (NL)

    Jessie Daams (BEL)

    Sharon Laws (UK)

    Lucy Martin (UK)

    Shelley Olds (USA)

    Madelene Olsson (SWE)

    Emma Pooley (UK)

    Carla Ryan (AUS)

    Isabelle Söderberg (SWE)

    Marijn de Vries...