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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, October 19, 2013

Date published:
October 19, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • 14 riders make up Merckx's Bissell development team

    Trek-Livestrong boss Axel Merckx still looks good on the bike
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 19:45 BST
    Pat Malach

    Team a mix from Europe and North America

    Axel Merckx's new Bissell development team will feature a mix of European and North American riders among its 14-man 2014 roster, the team owner told Cyclingnews this week. Merckx is also bringing former Bissell Pro Cycling director Omer Kem on board to help run the program.

    "I'm still working on finalizing some of the sponsorship and stuff like that," said Merckx, who is now outright owner of the development team after managing Trek-sponsored outfits since 2009. "Hopefully we'll be able to work on the clothing soon, and the guys will get their bikes very soon, so we're working with Trek on that. Things take time to make sure that we're set up the right way and we're comfortable. But it's exciting. It's challenging, but it's exciting at the same time."

    The newly formed team will compete at the UCI Continental level and will be registered in the US, meaning at least 60 percent of the riders will be American. It will also maintain its U23 framework, featuring 10 Continental riders and four "club" riders who are in their first year out of the junior ranks.

    Returning from the 2013 squad are gifted kiwi climber James Oram, US U23 road champion Tanner Putt and his countryman Ryan Eastman. Greg Daniel and Alex Darville, US riders who competed at the club level last year, will move to the Continental ranks for 2014.

    Other new Continental riders on the team next season include Clement Chevrier, a climber from France; Nicholai Brochner, a Danish sprinter; German Ruben Zepuntke from the Rabobank development team; Christopher Putt, Tanner's younger brother; and Keegan Swirbul, who famously beat Lance Armstrong during a 2012 mountain bike race in Aspen, Colorado, when he was just 17.

    The four 2014 club riders will be Tao Geoghegan Hart of Great Britain, Belgian junior cyclist of the year Nathan Van Hooydonck, eight-time...

  • Richmond 2015 Worlds coming together ahead of schedule

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Porgutal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) show off their world championship hardware
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 20:50 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Course announcement could come in January

    Organisers of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia say their plans for the race are coming together ahead of schedule, and they may be ready to announce the course as early as January.

    Lee Kallman, the Richmond 2015 director of marketing and communications, told Cyclingnews that the organisation's fundraising has passed the halfway mark to their goal of $21 million - they've currently amassed $12 million from mainly local and regional partners, and will now turn their search to national and international sponsorships.

    One thing the Richmond 2015 team learned from its visit to this year's Worlds in Florence was how much the local business could get engaged in the race. Most storefronts in Montecatini, Lucca and Florence had special bike-themed window displays for the race, and Kallman and his team hope to bring the same enthusiasm to Richmond.

    "We're looking to show that [spirit] to local businesses here, to get them to be part of the opportunity the race presents," Kallman said.

    The group has also been working closely with Medalist Sports, the technical advisors, on the course design, which should be completed by the end of the year. Normally the world championship courses are announced one year in advance, but Richmond 2015 is hoping to make the course announcement early. The timing will help the local community become better educated about the route, its impacts and the comprehensive transportation plan which will be put into place so that the race will minimize the inconvenience on the residents' lives.

    "The transportation piece is a key component," Kallman said. "It's a huge priority. We have to strike a balance, because there is a fine line between setting off alarms and scaring people about traffic, [and education].

    "From the time we announce the course, we will kick off town meetings where course will be, to educate people....

  • Evans undecided on Tour Down Under as Giro build-up

    Cadel Evans (BMC) takes the win on stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta
    Article published:
    October 18, 2013, 22:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian focusing on Italian Grand Tour for 2014

    Former world champion and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans will focus his 2014 season entirely on the Giro d'Italia, having come to grips with the BMC team's decision to focus its Tour de France roster on younger riders like Tejay van Garderen, but is still deciding whether he will start his season at the Tour Down Under.

    Evans raced the Tour Down Under last in 2010, the year he took fifth overall in the Giro d'Italia, and seemed to be leaning toward starting his season on home soil. "There's a chance. It's about being at my best for the Giro. The Tour Down Under worked for me in 2010 but I can't confirm or deny [my participation], expect us to decide within the next few days," Evans said at the team's presentation.

    The Australian has struggled over the past two seasons with a virus, which has hampered his ability to be consistent throughout the season. He called his 2013 season "a disappointment" even though he finished third overall at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of Oman, and won a stage at the new Tour of Alberta.

    "The Giro was good, but the Tour was bad. I had one victory overall, was low in the classification and points ranking [of the Giro]. It's disappointing, but it motivates me to work hard. When you're used to winning more, you expect more."

    Evans all but confirmed that this year's Tour de France is now his last one, saying that it would be extremely unlikely he would race it again now that his team has decided to have him focus on the Giro instead.

    "Initially it was disappointing to not be doing the Tour. Realistically this year is going to be my last Tour de France and I didn't want to leave it in such a bad state. I would have liked to have gone back and given it...

  • Belgian pro footballer starts Continental team

    Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil-DCM) in action during stage 10 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    October 19, 2013, 4:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Provides refuge for Ruijgh, Hulsmans

    Belgian footballer Timmy Simons has joined forces with current Omega Pharma-QuickStep director Wilfried Peeters to create a new cycling team that will focus on both cyclo-cross and road cycling. Simons is a fifty percent shareholder in Belgian real estate company Vastgoedservice - which translates to Real Estate Service - and according to Het Laatste Nieuws, he and fellow shareholder Geert Vanhoof have decided to invest in a cycling project of their own.

    "With the crisis in cycling there are many free riders. So we thought it was a great opportunity to start a new road and cyclo-cross team," Simmons told VTM. "We have a budget for 15 riders."

    Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil-DCM), Kevin Peeters (Crelan-Euphony) and Kevin Hulsmans (Vini Fantini) are all set to form the backbone of the team's road squad with the experienced Hulsmans already announced as the road captain. Rob Peeters and Joeri Adams (Telenet-Fidea), Jens Adams (BKCP-Powerplus) and Yannick Peeters are also linked to the new team.

    Wilfried Peeters will also be involved with the team part-time, taking on a role as director during the cyclo-cross season.

    "That [working as a QuickStep director] remains my main job all year long. This new team I will work with mainly in the winter, during the cyclo-cross season," Peeters told Sporza. "At first they just wanted to focus on cyclo-cross, but due to the crisis in road cycling we were also able to establish a Continental team.

    "Timmy Simons is a shareholder of Vastgoedservice, but will not sit in the follow car, no. We can talk with other team leaders."

  • Report: 2015 Tour de France to start in Utrecht

    Chris Froome (Sky) celebrates his first Tour de France victory
    Article published:
    October 19, 2013, 10:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch city working to secure the 10 million Euro budget

    The 2015 Tour de France looks set to start in the Dutch city of Utrecht with local officials already working hard to secure the 10 million Euro budget needed to host the Grand Depart. It seems Utrecht has out bid other possible Grand Depart candidates, including Venice in Italy.

    Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad claims that multiple sources have confirmed that negotiations with Tour de France organiser ASO are close to signing the official agreement with a possible confirmation in November during a visit by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.

    The route of the 2014 Tour de France route will be unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. The race starts in Yorkshire before traveling south to London and then on to France. The mayor of Utrecht Aleid Wolfsen is expected to be in Paris for the presentation.

    Utrecht has been keen to host the start of the Tour de France for ten years. It was a prime candidate in 2005 but lost out to rival Dutch city Rotterdam. Utrecht would probably host the opening two stages of the Tour de France before the race heads to French soil via Belgium. This year's centenary edition of the Tour de France started in Corsica.

    The Yorkshire Grand Depart is reported to have a budget of 14 million Euro, with an estimated 4.5 million Euro going to ASO. Utrecht believes 10 million will be enough in 2015.

    Algemeen Dagblad reports that the Utrecht city council has promised five million Euro with a further 1.5 million Euro secured via business deals. The remaining 3.5 million will have to be found via sponsorship and local businesses.

  • No deal yet between Cannondale and Tinkoff

    Peter Sagan had good reason to point to the Cannondale logo after his team's work throughout the stage.
    Article published:
    October 19, 2013, 12:19 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Negotiations still on going to bring in Russian title sponsor

    While most teams are now planning and preparing for 2014, there is still no agreement between Tinkoff and Cannondale for their plans to join forces as title sponsors and team owners for the 2014 season.

    An agreement between the American bike brand and the Russian businessman seemed imminent before Il Lombardia but two weeks on, both parties seem to have doubts about the deal, while insisting that talks were still ongoing.

    Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on Saturday that a deal was now unlikely due to disagreement on who would have control of the team. The Italian newspaper also raised questions about how Tinkoff would provide its backing. However money does not seem an issue for the company after recent news that it is to be listed on the London Stock market for several hundred million pounds. 

    Roberto Amadio is the current team manager and Cannondale now owns 90% of the Brixia Sport management company that holds the riders’ contracts and the UCI WorldTour licence after buying 55% from former owners Paolo Zani and Paolo Papetti, who owned the team when Liquigas was the title sponsor. It seems that Tinkoff would take over the 55% of the company and so wants to have significant control of the team and its long-term strategy rather than the role of a simple sponsor on the team’s jersey. Tinkoff had its own team between 2006 and 2009 before selling the squad to Igor Makarov who turned it into the Katusha team. Tinkoff backed Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team this year but the two fell out after often vociferous owner Oleg Tinkov criticised Alberto Contador's performance at the 2013 Tour de France. 

    It has been reported Tinkoff would invest close to six million Euros and become lead sponsor of what would become Tinkoff-Cannondale in 2014. The...

  • Steele Von Hoff strikes in the Japan Cup Criterium

    The Japan Cup Criterium podium: Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma - Quick Step), the winner Steele Von Hoff (Garmin - Sharp) and Bernhard
    Article published:
    October 19, 2013, 17:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian beat Eisel and Trentin in the sprint

    Steele Von Hoff took his first win of the season for Garmin Sharp, securing victory in the Criterium race in Ustonomiya, 24 hours before the Japan Cup road race.

    Von Hoff beat Austria’s Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in the sprint, opening enough of a gap to win with his arms in the air. It was the young Australian’s first win of the season. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) finished ninth, slightly off the pace.

    Von Hoff tweeted about his victory, writing: “Finally got my first win in @Ride_Argyle colours! Thanks for everyone's help today and throughout the year! Great way to end the season :)”

    The race covered 20 laps of a 1.5km city centre circuit, with Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp), Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) also in action.

    They are expected to challenge during Sunday’s Japan Cup road race. Last year Basso beat Martin in a close sprint to give his Liquigas team a final victory before the Italian sponsor left the sport and team was sponsored by Cannondale.

    Check out our special photo gallery from the race here.

  • Wheelmen book excerpt: What to do about Lance Armstrong

    The cover of the Wheelmen book
    Article published:
    October 19, 2013, 19:52 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Chapter 13 details Floyd Landis' predicament

    Several books have already been written about Lance Armstrong, but the latest –"Wheelmen" by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell, reveals new details of the Texan’s secret past and eventual downfall thanks to a detailed interview with Floyd Landis and numerous other people who were close to him.

    The book uncovers the early years of Armstrong’s career and his Lothario life style, gives details of his spat with Greg Lemond, his use of performance enhancing drugs, the culture of cheating and is ability to bully anyone who dared go against him.

    Cyclingnews has obtained an excerpt from Wheelmen which will be published in two parts. This first part tells the story of Floyd Landis’ decision to confess to doping and how Armstrong and those who supported the Texan tried to stop him. It reveals the secret influence Armstrong held over Landis and how he and others used it.

    The second part will be published on Monday.

    Wheelmen can be purchased in bookshops and online by multiple retailers, including Amazon.

    Chapter 13: Betrayal

    At the start of 2007, six months after Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title, the clock began ticking on the two- year ban from bike racing that had been handed down to him by the US Anti- Doping Agency. USADA, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a quasi- governmental entity that had been created in October 1999, when most Olympic governing bodies began separating out their drug testing to avoid conflicts of interest. USADA, a member organization of the Swiss- based WADA, the World Anti- Doping Agency, was tasked with handling drug testing and enforcement for all US Olympic athletes.

    Since its inception, USADA had found only 209 possible violations in...