Trek Factory Racing manager Luca Guercilena has explained that he has not signed Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner for the 2014 season because his team could not match the American’s wage demands, preferring to place its emphasis on younger riders.
The 41-year-old Horner was a surprise winner of the Vuelta but is not among the RadioShack-Leopard riders who will continue with the team in its new guise under the Trek banner in 2014.
“We have to prioritise the youngsters and above all, I can’t give Chris what he wants: we have other priorities,” Guercilena told Tuttobici.
Horner’s Vuelta victory was greeted with considerable scepticism, prompting the American to take the step of releasing his biological passport data on his personal website, although he had earlier refused to answer Cyclingnews questions on whether he was a redacted name in USADA’s Reasoned Decision on the Lance Armstrong case.
Guercilena acknowledged that Horner’s victory “has raised infinite doubts and suspicions” but offered a qualified explanation for his startling performance at the Vuelta.
“Starting with the premise that I would never in my life put my hand in the fire for anyone, I think that Chris’ victory can be explained as follows,” Guercilena said. “Chris rode very little this year due to injury and a subsequent knee operation. Furthermore, his direct rivals – from Nibali to Rodriguez to Valverde – were clearly more worn out than him after a very long and wearying season.
“If you look close at the data, you’ll realise that the average level [of the race] was relatively low. I didn’t see incredible things.”
While Horner remains without a team, his fellow veteran Jens Voigt will continue with Trek into 2014, and Guercilena said that the 42-year-old could join the team’s management staff as soon as he retires.
“During the course of the season, Jens Voigt could climb into the team car, whenever he decides to hang up his bike,” said Guercilena.
While Kim Andersen and Dirk Demol remain as directeurs sportifs with the team in 2014, and Adriano Baffi joins from the Leopard Trek Continental squad, Alain Gallopin has yet to decide on his future.
Guercilena confirmed that Fabian Cancellara is still considering trying to break the world hour record and suggested that he may make an attempt after next year’s spring classics. “But it’s also true that next year is the first year of a new project and we have a lot of things to sort out. The winter will help us understand more and to take better decisions,” said Guercilena.
UCI President Brian Cookson's mission to improve the governing body’s credibility is set to continue in the coming weeks with meetings planned with key stakeholders in international sport. Cookson has already restructured elements of the UCI’s Management Committee, appointing three new Vice-Presidents and awarding the role of Director General under the new regime to Martin Gibbs, who had worked on the presidential campaign.
Cyclingnews understands that Cookson met with AFLD President Bruno Genevois earlier this month and that on November 26 he will meet with IOC President Thomas Bach.
“The UCI has started a constructive dialogue and that will continue as we redouble our efforts to tackle doping in co-operation with all the key stakeholders," a UCI spokesperson told Cyclingnews.
We are working with WADA and other national anti-doping agencies to develop the UCI’s new approach and the steps needed to establish a fully independent anti-doping unit.”
Gibbs has already met with WADA in order to begin discussions on how to build the independent investigation into the UCI’s leadership under previous heads Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid, which Cookson promised as part of his manifesto.
Cookson has also already appointed Aurelie Merle as Project Manager for the investigation. Merle has previously worked with IOC/CIO and LOCOG, the agency tasked with developing the London Olympic Games in 2012. Merle is set to remain as a consultant until the commission has been started.
More changes have taken place behind the scenes with Nathalie Clerc joining as assistant to the directorate and on January 1, 2014 Nicolas Valticos, currently working at FIFA, will join the UCI as in the in-house legal counsel.
"I don't believe it all," Argos-Shimano rider says
Canadian Cyclist François Parisien doesn’t believe Ryder Hesjedal’s confession that he used banned substances ten years ago but not ever since. “I don’t believe it all,” the Argos-Shimano rider told Radio Canada. “Just like Michael Barry who said he quit using doping in 2006. I don’t believe it all.”
Parisien who won a stage in the Volta a Catalunya this season, continues. “These guys have been lying for lots of years and now they decide to confess. But they only did so after they had been exposed and with their backs against the wall.”
In 2008 the now 31-year old rider from Québec was first subsititute for the Olympic road race team in Beijing. The Canadian team eventually consisted of Michael Barry and Ryder Hesjedal. In 2012 Hesjedal was the only Canadian at the start in the London Olympic road race.
“It makes me sick,” Parisien said about his Olympic dream being taken away from him. “I feel a lot of frustration and disgust. These frauds defined a large part of my career since I was young.”
Parisien started his professional career in 2006 with TIAA-Cref, the predecessor of Slipstream and later Garmin-Sharp. The year before he became national elite champion of Canada. The Québecois rode for smaller teams and for Team Spidertech in 2011 and 2012 before being taken on by World Tour-team Argos-Shimano this season.
“This is not something to simply get over,” he says about the confessions of Hesjedal and Barry. “I will have to slowly digest and then learn to live with it. It has happened and it can’t be undone. You can’t go back in a cycling career. What has been stolen, has been stolen. You can’t get it back,” he concluded.
Parisien is at a crossroads in his career after he leaves Argos-Shimano for personal reasons after this year. In an interview with La Presse at the beginning of October he said he is considering retirement to focus on a career outside cycling. The other option would be to continue racing or even make the move to cyclocross or mountainbiking.
The first round of the 2013-2014 UCI Track World gets underway in Manchester on Friday and marks something of a milestone. For the first time at the World Cup, the women’s team pursuit will feature four-rider teams and take place over four kilometres.
Great Britain’s trio of Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott triumphed over the previous 3,000-metre distance at the London 2012 Olympics and they remain favourites in the discipline with the addition of an extra kilometre.
Rowsell, King and Trott are joined in Manchester by former junior world time trial champion Elinor Barker, who was herself part of the victorious team pursuit trio at the world championships in Minsk in February. The quartet set a new world record of 4:26.453 at the European Championships in Apeldoorn last month and will be expected to win out before the home crowd on Friday evening.
“I think we’ve adjusted to the four kilometres pretty well to be honest,” said Trott, according to the British Cycling website. “When it comes to turn length you get an extra lap so it is technically easier. It’s just a bit further.”
Friday evening also sees the final of the men’s team pursuit, where Great Britain’s four of Owain Doull, Ed Clancy, Steve Burke and Andy Tennant were the fastest qualifiers from the morning session, and they will face Australia’s Luke Davison, Alexander Edmondson, Mitchell Mulhern and Miles Scotson in the gold medal race.
The men’s omnium is the other major event that gets underway on Friday, with 2013 world champion Aaron Gate (New Zealand) among those lining up.
The main draw for the home fans in Manchester will be the British team, of course, and earlier this week, some of their leading lights spoke about their training regimen. Watch to the end for a competition to win a signed British jersey.
Take the Cyclingnews 2013 Reader Poll and win Dan Martin's Cervelo
Now that the 2013 season is over, it's time to look back and decide which were the best one-day and stage races of the year. Cyclingnews has nominated 10 races in each category as part of the 2013 Reader Poll for you to choose from.
Regarding one-day events, Italy's Strade Bianche is a relative newcomer on the scene, but its signature white gravel roads, Tuscan scenery and finish in Siena's famed Piazza il Campo provide quite a backdrop for racing. This year Cannondale's young guns of Moreno Moser and Peter Sagan stole the show to finish 1-2 on the day.
The first Monument of the season, Milan-San Remo, marks the longest day in the saddle of the year for the pro peloton and while of late it's typically favoured the sprinters one never knows what can happen in the finale. After severe wintry weather forced the peloton onto buses to bypass the Turchino and La Manie climbs, the race resumed and grew to a gripping finale with Gerald Ciolek taking a breakthrough win for both himself and his African Pro Continental squad MTN-Qhubeka.
The peloton raced aggressively throughout the Belgian semi-Classic Dwars door Vlaanderen with Thomas Voeckler nearly stealing the show with typical panache. A determined chase group, however, hunted the Frenchman down in the closing metres with Oscar Gatto, seemingly impervious to cold, prevailing in the sprint finale.
The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix mark the pinnacle of the cobbled spring Classics, but which to choose as a favourite? A powerhouse Fabian Cancellara won them both in a rare double, soloing away on the Paterberg to win the Tour of Flanders for a second time and then prevailing in a thrilling two-up sprint finale a week later in the Roubaix Velodrome versus Sep Vanmarcke.
To close out the spring Classic season, who can forget the Liège-Bastogne-Liège finale replete with Daniel Martin prevailing ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez and a pursuing panda?
As the pro peloton built up to the world championships in Italy, the Canadian WorldTour race Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal provided a thrilling endgame from a who's who of Grand Tour contenders as well as Classics specialists. Atoning for a loss two days prior in Quebec, Peter Sagan opted not to sprint for victory but instead time trialed away from a select group in a stunning display of power and determination.
Both the elite women's and elite men's road race world championships in Florence provided plenty of drama. Marianne Vos held her powder dry until late in the final lap when she rode away from a select group to win the second road title of her career. On a taxing finishing circuit made treacherous by rain, the men's road race was whittled down to a two-man drag race between Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez and Portugal's Rui Costa. Costa made history as the first Portuguese rider to win the elite men's road race and the post-race polemic was dominated by questions involving the actions (or inactions) of Costa's trade teammate but Rodriguez's national teammate Alejandro Valverde in the closing kilometres.
While Rodriguez lamented his lost world championship, he finished his season on a high note with a repeat performance at the season's fifth and final Monument: Il Lombardia. Featuring arguably one of the season's most stunningly beautiful courses, the Italian race never fails to deliver a worthy champion.
Regarding 2013's stage races, each of the three Grand Tours provided copious drama, storylines and excitement. Vincenzo Nibali showed his class and character as he won the first Giro d'Italia of his career on an exceptionally hilly route that was also afflicted with more than its fair share of wintry weather. Mark Cavendish won five stages and snatched the points classification away from Nibali on the final stage while Colombian riders came to the fore with Rigoberto Uran winning a stage and finishing second overall plus Carlos Betancur placing fifth and earning the young rider classification in a tight contest against Poland's Rafal Majka.
Chris Froome dominated the mountains and the time trials of the Tour de France to become the second straight Briton to don the maillot jaune into Paris while runner-up Nairo Quintana confirmed his remarkable talent with a stage win, the mountains classification jersey plus the best young rider jersey. Marcel Kittel won four stages, including the opener on a day where the Orica-GreenEdge bus likely got more press as well as the finale in Paris where the German fastman ended Mark Cavendish's four year reign.
The Vuelta a Espana featured a riveting rivalry between Nibali and 41-year-old Chris Horner with the American becoming the oldest Grand Tour winner in history. What a showdown there was on the penultimate stage finale on the Angliru ascent.
The younger generation of stage racing talent were on display at Paris-Nice as Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) won the third stage and took over the leader's jersey but would ultimately succumb to the climbing and time trialing talent of Richie Porte who took back yellow with a win two days later and sealed victory with a second stage victory on the famed uphill Col d'Eze time trial course.
Vincenzo Nibali proved he was on form in advance of the Giro as he won Tirreno-Adriatico for the second straight year. It looked like the race was Chris Froome's to lose as Nibali lost time to his Sky rival on the first two mountain stages, but everything turned on its head on the penultimate and decisive sixth stage. During driving rain, the amazing Peter Sagan won from a three-man break (with Nibali and Rodriguez) on a day featuring a triple ascent of a 27% gradient, while Froome cracked and lost the lead. Froome took some time back on Nibali on the closing time trial, but Nibali held strong to clinch overall victory.
Daniel Martin achieved a milestone victory as he claimed the queen stage en route to overall victory at his "home" stage race at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, holding off Joaquim Rodriguez by 17 seconds. 23-year-old Nairo Quintana won the stage 3 summit finish for his first win of the season.
Quintana took the biggest win of his career two weeks later as he won one stage and the overall of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country). Quintana actually never wore the leader's jersey until the conclusion of the final stage time trial. Sergio Henao led both Quintana and Richie Porte by six seconds while Alberto Contador and Simon Spilak trailed by 10 seconds heading into the taxing race against the clock replete with pouring rain, climbs and narrow, twisting roads. Tony Martin won the stage, but Quintana's second place finish earned him the final leader's jersey by 23 seconds over Porte.
Mara Abbott punctuated her return to cycling in 2013 with a second career victory in the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, the premier stage race for the women's peloton. Abbott, the 2011 winner as well, used her climbing talent to win two stages en route to 1:33 victory over Tatiana Guderzo. While the women's peloton's marquee talent of Marianne Vos won three stages and held the leader's jersey, she couldn't match Abbott in the mountains and ultimately placed 6th at 4:08 down.
The two remaining stage races in contention for best of the year are the flagship events in the United States: the Amgen Tour of California and Colorado's USA Pro Challenge. Tejay van Garderen endured the scorching heat of the Palm Springs desert, brutal crosswinds into Avila Beach and stamped his supremacy on the Tour of California with a victory in the San Jose time trial to win the first stage race of his professional career.
Peter Sagan turned on the speed to win four of seven stages at the USA Pro Challenge, but van Garderen once again used his climbing and time trialing savvy to secure another overall victory on home soil. After finishing a close second to season revelation Janier Acevedo on stage 4 into Beaver Creek to take the leader's jersey, van Garderen scorched the uphill Vail time trial course the following day to seal the win.
So which were the best? Only you can decide. Vote today and be entered to win Dan Martin's Garmin-Sharp Cervelo.
Strade Bianche (won by Moreno Moser)
Milan-San Remo (won by Gerald Ciolek)
Dwars door Vlaanderen (won by Oscar Gatto)
Tour of Flanders (won by Fabian Cancellara)
Paris-Roubaix (won by Fabian Cancellara)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (won by Daniel Martin)
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (won by Peter Sagan)
Road Race World Championship-Elite women (won by Marianne Vos)
Road Race World Championship-Elite men (won by Rui Costa)
Il Lombardia (won by Joaquim Rodriguez)
Paris-Nice (won by Richie Porte)
Tirreno-Adriatico (won by Vincenzo Nibali)
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (won by Daniel Martin)
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco (won by Nairo Quintana)
Giro d'Italia (won by Vincenzo Nibali)
Amgen Tour of California (won by Tejay van Garderen)
Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (won by Mara Abbott)
Tour de France (won by Chris Froome)
USA Pro Challenge (won by Tejay van Garderen)
Vuelta a España (won by Chris Horner)
Portuguese rider to target Paris-Nice, the Ardennes and the Tour de France
New world champion Rui Costa is expected to make Paris-Nice, the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France his major goals for the first part of the 2014 season, followed by a determined defence of his world title in Ponferrada, Spain in September.
After five years in Spanish squad Caisse d’Epargne and Movistar, often in the shadow of team leader Alejandro Valverde, Costa’s move to Lampre-Merida will ensure he becomes a team leader, especially after the team lost Michele Scarponi. After riding the Saitama criterium in Japan, Costa spent several days in Italy with his future teammates and new team manager Brent Copeland, working on the details of his race programme.
Costa is expected to race in Lampre-Merida rainbow jersey for the first time at the Challenge Mallorca series in early February. He will then race on home soil in the Tour of the Algarve before targeting Paris-Nice: his first big objective of 2013. The Ardennes Classics, where he placed ninth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013, are his next target. He then prepare for the Tour de France, which he will race for the first time as team leader, after taking two stages this year.
The Tour de Suisse, which Rui Costa has won twice, the Tour of Romandie and the Vuelta al País Vasco could all be part of his programme as he builds-up to the Ardennes and Tour de France. The Vuelta a España is not on Costa’s program, though, instead he will have a similar approach path to 2013 towards the World Championships, with a series of one-day races and training at altitude.
His biggest change will surely be the Tour de France, where Costa will be the first reigning world champion since Cadel Evans in 2010 to go for the overall classification, while wearing the rainbow jersey.
It was for that reason; he explained in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS on Saturday, that he opted to move to Lampre-Merida in 2014.
“I will miss Movistar, but I needed a change to have a team that was fully at my service,” Costa told AS. “Everybody has ambitions and mine is to do the Tour as a leader and as well as possible.”
Already voted the Best Sportsman of the Year in Portugal in 2012, there is a high chance that Rui Costa will once again take the same title in 2013, after his successful season. However, the 27-year-old tells AS that the increase in media attention, partly brought about by such awards, is not really his thing.
“I don’t like doing interviews very much and I haven’t got used to all the attention being world champion brings. However, I know that it’s all part of having the rainbow jersey,” Costa said.
Belgian Pro Continental team keen to sign Sanchez as team leader
The Belgian Wanty-Groupe Gobert team has confirmed the names of 16 riders signed for its 2014 roster, hinting that is interested in signing Samuel Sanchez in the hope of securing a wild card invitation to one of the three Grand Tours on the WorldTour calendar.
With the demise of so many teams in the peloton, Professional Continental teams have a better chance than ever to secure one of four wild card invitations up for grabs in the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Wanty-Groupe Gobert is also aiming to finish the 2014 ranked amongst the best eight teams in the Professional Continental rankings.
“It’s a logical part of our progression,” general manager Jean-François Bourlart said in a press release from the team, discussing the team’s hopes for a wild card place in a Grand Tour.
“The UCI is working on new rules in view of the 2015 season and our sponsors’ objective is clearly to finish in the top eight teams of division two.”
“The contacts we’re having with riders who are still available (such as Samuel Sanchez) point in that direction.”
Senior directeur sportif Hilaire Van Der Schueren is working hard to fill the remaining four slots in the team. Sanchez is still without a contract after the demise of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team and budget cuts at other WorldTour teams. He has shown interest in joining Wanty-Groupe Gobert but only not at any price.
Riders currently signed to Wanty-Groupe Gobert for 2014 include: Jempy Drucker, Grégory Habeaux, James Vanlandschoot, Thomas Degand, Jérôme Gilbert, Tim De Troyer, Roy Jans, Kevin Van Melsen, Björn Leukemans, Mirko Selvaggi, Frederik Veuchelen, Wesley Kreder, Frederique Robert, Jerome Baugnies, Laurens De Vreese and Michel Kreder.
The team will hold its first get together in mid-November.