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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, November 30, 2013

Date published:
November 30, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Gallery: Team building with Cannondale Pro Cycling

    Peter Sagan in full orienteering mode.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2013, 16:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sagan, Basso and Moser in Val di Fassa

    Survival courses and potholing may be increasingly en vogue as team building exercises in the professional peloton, but there was a distinctly traditional feel to Cannondale Pro Cycling’s first gathering ahead of the 2014 campaign in the Val di Fassa in the Dolomites.

    Just as in generations past, the likes of Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil and even Sean Kelly took to the ski slopes during the off-season before easing their way back into the saddle, Peter Sagan, Ivan Basso and the rest of the Cannondale team’s first assembly of the new season took place in the snow of Trentino.

    Indeed, the team has followed a similar template for the past number of years. The final week of November sees the riders gather for to discuss their race programmes for the coming season, before they begin collective work out on the road in sunnier climes in mid-December.

    Cannondale spent the past three days in Moena, in the Val di Fassa, for meetings and team building activities, including skiing and orienteering. Among those present were Sagan, Basso, Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani, as well as new arrivals George Bennett, Davide Villella and under-23 world champion Matej Mohoric of Slovenia.

    Over the course of four days next week, the team’s 27 riders will individually undergo physical assessment by the team’s medical staff, before the first true training camp gets underway on December 6th. The Cannondale squad will spend thirteen days in Riotorto, Tuscany, clocking up the miles ahead of the 2014 season.

     

  • Bakelants sets sights on 2014 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

    Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard) wins stage 2 of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    November 29, 2013, 18:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian also hopes to make Omega Pharma's Tour roster

    The 2013 season was a truly memorable one for Jan Bakelants as the 27-year-old Belgian earned his first professional victory in grand fashion with a stage win at the Tour de France as well as a stint in the yellow jersey. Bakelants later won the GP de Wallonie one-day race on home soil and had a pair of top-10 general classification finishes in a pair of WorldTour stage races at the latter part of the season - 4th overall at the Eneco Tour and 7th overall at the Tour of Beijing. Bakelants also finished 18th overall in his Tour de France debut, equalling the best overall Grand Tour result of his career.

    Speaking at a press conference prior to Saturday's Boonen & Friends charity cyclo-cross race, Bakelants spoke about his preparations and plans for the 2014 season in which the Belgian moves to Omega Pharma-QuickStep after spending the 2012-2013 seasons at RadioShack.

    "My season starts very early at the Tour Down Under, so it's all a bit of a rush at this time," Bakelants told Sporza regarding his resumption of training last week. "But history has taught me that I can get in shape pretty fast. This week the sensations in training are much better than last week when I was still searching.

    "The Tour Down Under is in the middle of winter, therefore you save part of your preparation for later. To get that right I've chosen not to race in February, but will start again in the beginning of March."

    One of Bakelants' priorities for the 2014 season will be the final Monument of the spring Classic season: Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Belgian won the U23 version in 2008, also the year he showed his stage racing potential with a stage win and overall victory at the Tour...

  • Moreno to target Vuelta, Ardennes Classics next season

    Daniel Moreno (Katusha) wins La Flèche Wallonne
    Article published:
    November 29, 2013, 20:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard considers 2013 his best year as a pro

    While Dani Moreno (Katusha) begins his preparation for the 2014 season with a lengthy block of training in Argentina, his wife's home country, the 32-year-old Spaniard reflected on the 2013 season and stated his goals for next year. Highlights from the recently concluded season include a trio of high-profile victories, Fleche Wallonne and two Vuelta a Espana stage wins, plus a stint in the leader's jersey at the Spanish Grand Tour.

    "Although I got fewer wins this year than other seasons, the truth is I think it was my best," said Moreno. "The victory at Fleche Wallonne was a great thing for me and the two stages at the Vuelta a Espana were a dream. But I also remember with great satisfaction last season, with seven wins, which are both many and difficult to get."

    Moreno has made steady progress throughout his nine years in the pro peloton and he believes there's still more improvement to come.

    "Every year I go up a step and this coming year has to be a little more. For next season I'll have two main objectives: the Ardennes Classics and the Vuelta a Espana, which is my favourite race."

    Moreno has contested the Vuelta seven times thus far in his career and after placing 36th in his Vuelta debut in 2006, over the next six editions he's finished no worse than 12th overall. His best GC result in his home Grand Tour was 5th in 2012, and he's also cracked the top-10 in 2011 and 2013.

    In addition to his victory in 2013 at Fleche Wallonne, Moreno has also finished 8th at the Ardennes Classic. There's room to improve in the races that bookend the Ardennes week, Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where his best career results are 13th and 14th respectively.

    While Moreno has been a key lieutenant for Katusha...

  • Renshaw ready to link up with Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) hugs Mark Renshaw after the finish.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 9:50 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Australian talks about Belkin, Sky negotiations and the future

    After two seasons fighting to be on Mark Cavendish’s back wheel, Mark Renshaw will return to what he does best, linking up with the British rider once more to become his lead-out man in 2014.

    The Australian, often labelled at the ‘best leadout man in cycling’, has spent the last two years at Belkin (formerly Rabobank) but 2014 will see him join Cavendish at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, where the pair will be hoping to rekindle a working relationship that yielded over a dozen stage wins and the green jersey at the Tour de France.

    “I’m excited to be going back to the role of leading out, of working with Cavendish again and also improving the train on Omega Pharma Quickstep,” Renshaw told Cyclingnews from his Bathurst residence in New South Wales.

    “I spent a little bit of time debating what to do and what avenue to take. I think ultimately I‘m better at leading out than I am at sprinting for myself and deep down I understood that.”

    At the end of the 2011 season Renshaw decided to expand on the responsibilities he held HTC and attempt to forge a career as an out-and-out sprinter.

    His 2012 results were mixed, with a volley of early season top ten placings until his first win of the year at the Tour of Turkey. It proved to be a highlight rather than a trend, with Renshaw having to wait until the following season before he could stand on the top step of the podium again.

    There were plenty of mitigation circumstances, the main one being that his skills as a leadout man often meant that despite his thirst for leadership he...

  • Riis and Tinkov call Monday press conference to announce team plans

    Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank manager Bjarne Riis ahead of stage 1 of the Eneco Tour.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 11:19 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Russian to take over Danish team?

    Bjarne Riis and Oleg Tinkov have scheduled a press conferences for Monday in London to announce their future plans. Rumours are swirling, but details are sparse, but it is believed that Tinkov may take over Team Saxo-Tinkoff.

    In addition, the press conference is to be held at the Google headquarters in London, leading to speculation that the internet giant would become the team's new sponsor. Cyclingnews has heard that this is not so. The press conference is to be live-streamed on the internet, with Alberto Contador and Nicolas Roche in attendance.

    Tinkov has been a co-sponsor for the Saxo Bank team July 2012, but the Russian announced this summer that he would leave the team. That left Riis scrambling for a new co-sponsor and with difficulties for signing riders for the 2014 season.

    Riis' biggest problem, however, may be the expected report from Anti-Doping Denmark, which is expected to be issued early next year. The agency has interviewed many players in the scene and Riis is expected to be slammed in the final report.

    Tinkov has expressed his desire to have another WorldTour team, but one of which he has full control. Earlier this month there were media stories that the Russian had bought out the Danish team, stories which were denied by all parties involved.

  • Peiper: BMC came out fighting after the Tour de France

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) sets the pace in the peloton
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 13:08 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Standing by Ballan as CONI close in

    Allan Peiper believes that BMC were pushed into a corner during this year’s Tour de France after mounting criticism over the team’s performance in the race but that the team fought back during the second half of the season.

    BMC went into the Tour de France with 2011 winner Cadel Evans, Tejay van Garderen and then-world champion Philippe Gilbert on their roster. However both GC riders crumbled and but for van Garderen’s second place on Alpe d’Huez, were virtually anonymous from the overall battle. Gilbert faired little better, seemingly at odds with the team’s tactics during the opening week.

    “We were pushed right into a corner at the Tour de France with the press and the public not talking so positively about us and not having any good results. Sometimes that’s what you need though, you need your backs against the wall,” Peiper told Cyclingnews.

    “We had that in the Tour and I think the boys came out fighting after that. They came out fighting and we won three stages in Poland, and three in Austria. The boys put on the boxing gloves and came out fighting."

    On the morning after the Tour concluded in Paris the team confirmed that John Lelange had left his role within the management set-up.

    “The public saw in the last three months of this year that we did race differently,” Peiper said.

    “We did have guys winning races and we were in every breakaway in the Vuelta. There wasn’t a break that went away that we weren’t in. We don’t race like that every time but we want to be an offensive team, especially in the Classics because if you have strength in numbers that’s where you can go on the offensive.”

    Towards the Classics

    The Classics will be another major objective for the US-registered team in 2014. Peiper has...

  • Report: Tinkov buys team from Riis for 6 million Euro

    Oleg Tinkov was overjoyed with the team's victory
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 13:42 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane to stay on four years as team manager

    Oleg Tinkov is said to be buying Team Saxo-Tinkoff for six million Euros, with Bjarne Riis staying on to run the team for a salary of one million Euros annually, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Tinkov and Riis have called a press conference Monday in London to announce the team's future.

    According to the Italian newspaper, Tinkov will invest from 11 to 13 million Euros per-season into the team. He will own the team but Riis will remain as team manager.

    "I will continue with you as the team manager for four more years, and this will let me have fewer worries and focus more on the sport side, so as to be even closer to you,” the Gazzetta quotes Riis as having told the team.

    Tinkoff Bank has been a team co-sponsor for the last year and a half, but Tinkov announced this summer that he would end his co-operation with the team. Earlier this month, however, the first rumours arose that Tinkov would buy the team from Riis, who is facing an uncertain future with the expected report from Anti-Doping Denmark.

    The announcement of the joint press conference was only one sign of the upcoming change. Team Saxo-Tinkoff is said to have signed Russian riders Ivan Rovny and Nikolai Trussov, both of whom earlier rode for the Tinkoff Credit Systems team.

    In addition, Tinkov is attending the team training camp on Gran Canaria, and the new team jerseys and bikes are said to be predominantly yellow, instead of the traditional Saxo Bank blue.

  • Stefan van Dijk handed eight-year doping ban

    Stefan Van Dijck in yellow on stage 3.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 15:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Second violation for former rider

    Stefan van Dijk has been handed an eight-year suspension and 10,000 Euro fine for ozone therapy.

    Van Dijk, 37, announced this retirement earlier this year, citing a lack of employment opportunities, but the former Accent Jobs – Wanty rider has now been confirmed to have taken ozone therapy during the 2011 season, in which he rode for Verandas Willems. In all, Van Dijk benefited from the illegal doping therapy ten times, and according to Belgian media the former rider had blood extracted and then infused on certain occasions.

    “I did not undergo therapy to cycle faster," he told Sporza.be. "It was to heal faster. I had it at that time because of mononucleosis. That bothered me fiercely during training."

    In 2005, Van Dijk, then riding for MrBookmaker.com, was handed a year-long suspension from Flemish Anti-Doping Commission after missing an out-of-competition drug test at his home on June 8. According to the doping control inspector Hans Cooman, Van Dijk drove away when he saw the Flemish anti-doping bus parked outside his house in Oud-Turnhout. Refusing to take a doping test is treated the same way as testing positive.