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Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
Dampens rumours of Specialized deal
Pinarello has dismissed Team Sky’s possible deal with Specialized for 2013 as pure speculation, insisting that they themselves are still negotiating with the British team.
Luciano Fusar Poli, Managing Director for the Italian bike firm, confirmed that the existing deal between Sky and Pinarello – signed three years ago – is set to conclude this year. However he added that, “nothing has been signed. We have a contract which ends at the end of 2012 so we’re still the sponsor and the bike supplier. Negotiations are going very well and we have a good relationship with the team and we’re hopeful. There’s no problem, so far.”
On Friday L'Equipe speculated that a deal between Sky and Specialzed may have been completed for a rumoured 6 millions Euros a year.
“I think many companies are interesting but I don’t know about this particular company. Team Sky is the best team in the peloton at the moment not only for performance but for the image and the way they’re running the team so many of the big companies could be interested,” Fusar Poli added.
“We’ve had a three-year relationship with the team and the British Cycling Federation, and they’ve been three fantastic years. We’ve developed a lot of products with them and we’ve improved our knowledge and given them good products to ride.”
Fusar Poli singled out Mark Cavendish, Sky’s main sprinter, who rode on Specialized last year.
“Even Cavendish. We had a conference call at the beginning of the year when we delivered the bikes and asked for feedback. Mark said simply it was perfect and not to change...
Luxembourger loses 14 minutes at Critérium du Dauphiné
At this stage in his career, Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) is well-versed in downplaying concerns about his condition in the weeks leading up to the Tour de France and on Friday, he duly looked to put a brave face on another disappointing day on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Schleck reached Rumilly almost 14 minutes down on stage winner Arthur Vichot (FDJ-BigMat) after he was distanced over the top of the day’s great difficulty, the Col du Grand Colombier. Unlike his nondescript showings earlier in the race, however, on this occasion there was at least some mitigation for Schleck’s display given injuries he sustained in his heavy fall in Thursday’s time trial.
While Schleck broke no bones in that crash, he did suffer a heavy blow to his ribcage and right side, and said that he felt the effects of his road rash every time he tried to climb out of the saddle.
“I didn’t have too many problems when I was riding in the mountains – I had my place in the peloton and I was able to ride along and I didn’t suffer too much,” Schleck said from the steps of his team bus afterwards. “The problem was after corners, when I had to get out of the saddle and accelerate. So I ended up doing more or less 90% of the stage sitting down.”
Asked if he had considered abandoning the Dauphiné in the wake of his accident, Schleck admitted that he had already deprived himself of too many racing days this season. Illness forced him out of Paris-Nice after just two stages and he subsequently withdrew from the Volta a Catalunya.
“I’ve abandoned too many times this year already,” he said...
Frenchman with Australian fan club takes stylish win
Arthur Vichot (FDJ-BigMat) claimed the biggest success of his young career with a canny victory on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné at Rumilly. The third-year professional infiltrated the break of the day ahead of the Col du Grand Colombier and then jumped away from his companions in the finale to come home 26 seconds clear.
Perhaps best-known to English-speaking fans for the impromptu Vichot fan club that sprang up at the 2010 Tour Down Under, the punchy 23-year-old has shown steady progress over the past three seasons. Winner of a stage of Paris-Corrèze in 2010 and Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche and the Tour du Doubs in 2011, Vichot credited FDJ-BigMat's elevation to WorldTour status for his Dauphiné triumph.
"I've moved up a level," a delighted Vichot said afterwards. "I had already had three wins before this, but they were all at domestic level. This was my first win in the WorldTour. At the start of the year, I asked to do as many big races as I could, and I think that's paid off."
Vichot was part of a 10-man break that formed shortly after the Côte de Corlier after 61km of racing, though he admitted that he was concerned he would be dropped on the redoubtable slopes of the Col du Grand Colombier, which the Dauphiné was tackling for the first time in 24 years. "I was a little bit worried by the Grand Colombier because there were some good climbers in that break."
While Vichot safely stuck with Rémi Di Gregorio (Cofidis), Daniel Navarro (Saxo Bank) et al all the way to the summit of the mighty climb, a further threat emerged on the descent, when Cadel Evans (BMC) sparked a dangerous counter-attack that slashed the break's healthy lead.
Such was the...
American confident in Andy Schleck, rehabilitating his own back injury
RadioShack-Nissan's Chris Horner is eschewing the normal Critérium du Dauphiné or Tour de Suisse preparation races for the Tour de France, choosing instead to remain home in San Diego, California to train in hopes he will be chosen for the team in July.
Horner has had to rehabilitate a minor back injury he had after his unsuccessful attempt to defend his 2011 Tour of California title, but is back on track for July. "The muscles tightened up on me, and I needed some rest," Horner told Cyclingnews. "I strained something that happened in the past and it flares up from time to time. I had to take a week to relax and I'm back on the bike so everything's fine, and it certainly isn't affecting my ability to train."
The down side of being home is that his teammates are showing themselves in the June races to the directeurs sportif who will decide the team for the Tour de France, while Horner will have to rely on their belief in his form and his abilities.
"I've been riding well all year, and I'm on the same program as last year where I went straight from the Tour of California to the Tour de France, so I'm not too worried about it. But it's something for the directors to decide."
Having placed ninth in the 2010 Tour and close to the main contenders, were it not for a crash, in the 2009 Giro d'Italia, Horner's climbing and time trialing abilities would make him a general classification contender for most teams, but in RadioShack-Nissan he knows his only role is that of a support rider for the Schleck brothers.
"Andy and Fränk Schleck are definitely the GC guys for the team. Where I stand in the Tour is [as support] in the mountains. I want...
Dutchman lies 5th overall ahead of final weekend
Like the footballing equivalent at Ajax Amsterdam, the Rabobank nursery has built up an enviable reputation for developing young talent and the latest starlet off the production line is Wilco Kelderman.
The 21-year-old from Amersfoort entered the professional ranks this season with an already lofty status but he garlanded that standing still further with an assured performance on the Critérium du Dauphiné's time trial stage to Bourg-en-Bresse on Thursday.
At 53.5km in length, the test was easily the longest of Kelderman's career to date, but the Dutchman showed no inhibitions on a course buffeted by stiff winds. Rather than feel his way tentatively into his effort, Kelderman roared off the start ramp and his audacity was rewarded with a fine fourth place finish, 1:26 behind Bradley Wiggins (Sky).
"That was a solid time trial today, there was no way of bluffing it or fluking it," Wiggins said admiringly of Kelderman afterwards. "It was a real test."
Kelderman earned the white jersey of best young rider for his efforts, and as he prepared to start stage 5 on Friday, he admitted to Cyclingnews that his expectations before the Bourg-en-Bresse time trial were deliberately modest.
"I really didn't expect it. It was my first time to do such a long distance in a time trial," Kelderman said. "I'd hoped for top 30, so it was really special to finish 4th.
"I started off really fast and I managed to hold the rhythm a little bit. It was dangerous sometimes with the crosswinds but it was a really good time trial for me."
While much of the buzz whipped up by Kelderman's under-23 career rested on his talents as a climber, he still boasted a string of strong time trial...
Defending Tour champion and Briton go head-to-head at Dauphiné
The Tour de France may be the big summer blockbuster of the cycling season, but the Critérium du Dauphiné has provided an enticing teaser trailer to date, as leading men Cadel Evans (BMC) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) have strived to deliver all the killer lines during the week thus far.
Against the watch, Wiggins has been clearly superior and delivered a knockdown if not quite a knockout blow in the long time trial to Bourg-en-Bresse on Thursday afternoon. On the open road, however, it is Evans who has been more inclined to throw fortune to the wind, first powering clear to victory on the run-in to Saint-Vallier on Monday and then attempting to repeat the feat on the treacherous descent of the Col du Grand Colombier on stage 5 on Friday.
In an off-the-cuff move, Evans slipped clear in a solid group that included teammates George Hincapie and Tejay van Garderen, as well as Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), and it took a whole-hearted chase from Wiggins and Sky to bring them back.
"It was Europcar who put a little bit of pressure on the descent as I think they were familiar with it," Evans said. "There were gaps in the peloton and the opportunity presented itself to us. It was a long way to the finish and a long shot but sometimes we have to take those opportunities when they come our way and see what we can do with them."
With Richie Porte in particular putting in a lengthy stint on the front of...
New deal for Amstel Gold Race winner
Astana's Enrico Gasparotto has revealed that he has signed an extension to his contract with the Kazakh ProTour team and will remain with them until at least the end of the 2014 season.
He is currently in the middle of a rest period ahead of his main late summer target, the Vuelta a Espana, which starts on August 18. He is scheduled to tune up for that race at the Tour of Austria and the Tour of Poland. He is also hoping to be a key part of the Italian team at the UCI road world championships in Holland in September.
“I am very happy to renew,” Gasparotto said on the Astana website. “I will try to repay the faith that has been placed in me by doing all I can to get some more big results – not just for me for my teammates as well.
"Riding with the same team for five years will be a new personal record for me. I have already been with Pro Team Astana for three years and I know this team inside out. At the most important stage of my career, I think this is the best environment for me to be able to express myself completely, as has been the case this year.”
Malori and Ulissi also re-up with Italian team
Michele Scarponi has extended his contract with Lampre-ISD for the 2013 season, the team has announced. Adriano Malori and Diego Ulissi have also signed to be with the team for the coming season, giving Lampre 11 riders so far.
“Ulissi, Malori and Scarponi are important element for the future of the team, valuable subjects for the sponsors, for the fans and the Italian cycling,” said team manager Giuseppe Saronni. “I think it’s vital for our team to have the chance to plan our programs in advance and to rely on top riders.”
Scarponi, 32, joined the team last year. In 2011 he won the overall title in the Giro d'Italia and the points ranking, as well as the overall titles in the Giro del Trentino and the Volta a Catalunya. This year he was was fourth in the Giro.
Malori, 24, joined Lampre in 2009. He won the Italian national time trial title in 2011 and the time trial stage a Coppi e Bartali that year. This year in the Giro d'Italia he wore the leader's maglia rosa for one stage after a second place finish on the sixth stage gave him the overall lead.
Ulissi turned pro with Lampre in 2010. The 22-year-old won two stages at this year's Coppi e Bartali, finishing third overall and taking both the young rider and points classifications.
The Lampre-ISD roster for the 2013 season also includes Winner Anacona, Mattia Cattaneo, Davide Cimolai, Massimo Graziato, Matthew Lloyd, Daniele Pietropolli, Simone Stortoni and Davide Viganò.