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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, December 1, 2013

Date published:
December 01, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Chris Froome makes BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) flanked by Peter Sagan and Rui Costa
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 16:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour winner makes shortlist

    Tour de France champion Chris Froome has been short-listed for the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

    The 10-person shortlists have been announced, but Froome, despite winning the world's toughest bike race this year, is an outsider and unlikely to make it a hat-trick of wins for cycling in the pretigious ceremony. Mark Cavendish won in 2011 and Sir Bradley Wiggins last year.

    After last year's Olympics success, three cyclists made the shortlist: Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Sarah Storey.

    The overwhelming favourite for the 2013 BBC SPOTY title is Scotland's Andy Murray who became the first British tennis player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

    The public vote for the favourite takes place on 15 December.

  • Gallery: Best racing in Asia and Africa

    Riders in the Tour du Faso
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 17:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Images from cycling's emerging markets

    Cycling has been on the upswing, thanks to the globalisation of the sport, and two prime areas of development are in Africa and Asia. The UCI and the major European race promoters have helped to stimulate the cycling economy in these regions, bringing new races onto the WorldTour stage as well as offering up opportunities for regional racers to face off against the Europeans.

    In Africa, the Tour du Faso in Burkina Faso, the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon and the Tour of Rwanda are some of the top races, while China tends to dominate in Asia, especially since the advent of the Tour of Beijing WorldTour race. 

    This year the ASO stepped in to promote the Saitama Criterium in Japan which attracted the top Tour de France riders: Chris Froome, Peter Sagan and world champion Rui Costa. The Japan Cup also hosted a strong field, with the road race won by Saxo-Tinkoff's Michael Rogers and the criterium taken out by Steele von Hoff.

    While the race action may look the same no matter which continent hosts the event, the scenery, spectators and overall atmosphere is unique to each country as the hosts try to inject some local culture.

    We hope you enjoy this gallery of images from our photo provider AFP from these emerging events.

  • Sundstedt to coach new Qatar women's team

    GAS Team photo from 1999
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 19:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Country aims to have national team at 2016 Worlds

    The Qatar Cycling Federation this week launched its own women's cycling development team with an aim at fielding the squad at the 2016 UCI road world championships in Doha, and the organisation has hired retired road and mountain bike pro Pia Sundstedt of Finland as head coach.

    According to Doha Stadium Plus, an English language Qatari sports news organisation, the 22-rider team will be made up of riders between the ages of 13 and 17, and has already started training near the Losail International Circuit.

    “We tried to start a team in 2005, prior to the Doha Asian Games, but couldn’t find an Arabic-speaking coach. But the younger generation has proved they don’t necessarily need Arabic coaches to do well," QCF General Secretary Majed Al Naimi said.

    “We’ve hired former Finnish rider Pia Sundstedt to train them. They’ve only started and have a very long way to go. Our eventual aim is to have them ready for the ’16 Worlds.”

    Sundstedt wrote on her personal blog earlier this month confirming she has taken the position.

    "Qatar has a men’s team, they have boys, but until now there has not been any girls riding their bikes. This has now changed. As some of you might remember, the cycling federation started a project last spring. Our goal was to get a group of girls who wants (sic) to ride their bikes. We have now reached the next step of the project. We have a group of 10 girls and training can start.

    "Cycling has been my life and it is my life and now I can share my experience and knowledge to these girls by being their coach."

  • Oroz, Urtasun join new pro team in Chile

    Pablo Urtasun at the press conference
    Article published:
    November 30, 2013, 21:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    PinoRoad, a new UCI Continental team will compete in Europe

    Two riders left jobless from the dissolution of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team have found a home in a new project to bring Chilean riders to Europe: Juan Jose Oroz and Pablo Urtasun will join the PinoRoad squad, a UCI Continental team, in 2014.

    According to a press release, the team is the first from Chile to take such an international focus. The aim is to develop the young talent from this country, and toward that aim, four Spanish mentors have been brought into the team: Oroz and Urtasun, along with Mike Bizkarra from Fundación Euskadi and Salvador Guardiola from Differdange CT.

    They will usher nine Chileans into their European debut: Pablo Alarcón, Adrián Alvarado, Edison Bravo, Wolfgang ‘Lobo’ Burmann, Pedro Palma, Pablo Seisdedos, Elías Tello and the brothers Luis and Christopher Mansilla.

    Luis Mansilla led the 2012 Vuelta de Chile for eight stages and won two stages, but two months later it was reported that he had tested positive for EPO. He was cleared after a B-sample analysis came back negative. He competed in the omnium at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

    PinoRoad CEO Juan Pablo Pino has hired Jesús Buendía as Sports Director, physiologist Edgardo Opazoand chiropractor José Garrido Párraguez.

  • Acquarone: No contact from RCS in two months

    Article published:
    December 01, 2013, 11:58 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Suspended boss to call press conference next week

    Michele Acquarone is set to call a press conference next week in which he will tell his side of events that led to the Giro d’Italia organisers RCS suspending him from his role  as Chief Operating Officer in October.

    Acquarone’s suspension came after it was announced that RCS were going through an internal audit. Italian media reported that up to 13 million Euros may have disappeared from accounts between 2005 and 2013. CEO Giacomo Catano, Matteo Pastore, the head of communications and external relations at RCS Sport and Laura Bertinotti, head of accounts and administration were also suspended with the latter resigning soon after.

    Acquarone was not present at the Giro d’Italia 2014 route presentation in October and with the investigation entering a third month, he told Cyclingnews that he was unaware of how events at RCS were progressing.

    “All I can tell you is that no one from RCS has contacted me or talked to me for two months,” he told Cyclingnews on Sunday morning.

    “I’m going crazy and it’s nonsense but on Wednesday or Thursday of this week I will talk to the media and tell them everything that I know. I will say everything that I can.”

    Riccardo Taranto was appointed as the new CEO of RCS Sport on October 4, following Acquarone’s suspension and at the time said that Acquarone’s suspension was a "preventative decision. It's not a disciplinary suspension but a preventative one. His suspension is about governance not about punishment,” he said at the time.

    Asked if he would return to RCS if the investigation cleared him, Acquarone said that he would but he hinted that the longevity of the case may be a...

  • Lövkvist looks for consistency in 2014

    Thomas Lövkvist (IAM) contributed heavily to the team classification win
    Article published:
    December 01, 2013, 15:15 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Welcomes team signings in hunt for Giro and Tour invites

    After a frustrating season of injuries and illness Thomas Lövkvist is looking forward to a more consistent season on the road in 2014. The 29-year-old moved to the Swiss-registed IAM Cycling team at the start of 2013 and began the season in flying form, winning the Tour de Mediterranean in one of his first outings for the team.

    However, illness soon stuck and a month later Lövkvist was hit by a car, luckily only sustaining a fractured index finger. It meant several weeks off the bike and he was unable to regain his early season form.

    “There were some ups and downs. I couldn’t have started better after my win with in the Tour of Med, but that I had problems and bad luck with a collision with a car and then a fracture of an index finger. I got ill a couple of times so I didn’t get the maximum out of myself in the second half of the year,” he told Cyclingnews from his home in Sweden.

    “I got a cold after Med, I crashed in Paris-Nice, I crashed in Sarthe and then I broke my finger. It took a while to get started again and I couldn’t get into form for the Tour de Suisse. Then we had a whole summer with no races and I really lost momentum there.”

    Although IAM Cycling will remain within the Pro Continental ranks for 2014, the squad has talked up their chances of invites to both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, both races they missed out this season. They’ve signed a number of riders to bolster their chances. Sylvain Chavanel will help lead the line in the Classics, while his popularity in France will do the team no harm at all in their search for a Tour slot.

    Mathias Frank, Roger Kluge, Jérôme Pineau and Vicente Reynes have all joined the team too.

    “I hope that I can stay healthy and in one...

  • Thomas de Gendt settles contract dispute

    Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) arrives in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    December 01, 2013, 16:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Luijkx confirms deal with former rider

    Daan Luijkx has settled the contractual dispute with Thomas de Gendt: the Vacansoleil-DCM team manager told Cyclingnews that he and de Gendt had signed an agreement to end the matter.

    De Gendt finished third in the Giro d’Italia in 2012 and the team subsequently extended his contract and improved his wage for several seasons. At the time Luijkx had a loose agreement with Vacansoleil to extend their team commitments beyond 2013. However, the company confirmed this year that they no longer wanted to sponsor a WorldTour team and Luijkx was unable to find a replacement.

    De Gendt eventually signed for Omega Pharma-QuickStep on a deal reportedly at 80 per cent less than his Vacansoleil-DCM salary. The rider then threatened to take Luijkx to court over the contract he’d signed with his manager after the 2012 Giro. The two year contract was reportedly worth €1,1 million a year.

    However, Luijkx confirmed to Cyclingnews that the matter had been settled. He would not go into specifics.

    “We talked with each other and eventually with the lawyers and we came to an agreement. That’s the only thing that we want to say at this time. We had a good meeting and now everything is finished,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “In 2012 he had a contract for that year and 2013. He was third in the Giro in 2012 and we then renewed his contract for 2013. We made it longer, going up to 2015 because I had an agreement of intention with Vacansoleil, but they had the right to end the agreement and finally in 2013 they told me they would not extend the team with the contract. So I had one rider on contract but without a team so we had to make a deal with him...

  • Contador intends to stay with Riis through 2015

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff).
    Article published:
    December 01, 2013, 17:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard will honour contract with Saxo-Tinkoff

    Alberto Contador has firmly denied that there is any substance to the rumors that he would seek an early exit from his contract with Bjarne Riis' Saxo-Tinkoff team. The Spaniard told Marca he is committed with the squad through 2015.

    "I have no plan to not continue with Riis," Contador said from Gran Canaria, where he has been training with his teammates. "I have signed for this coming year and next. Ignore anything that is said or written otherwise."

    Although Contador was unable to add to his tally of Grand Tour victories this year - he finished off the podium in the Tour de France - and had just one win, a stage of the Tour de San Luis - he remains satisfied with the squad overall.

    "I have the utmost confidence in each and every one of the members of Saxo Bank," Contador said. "In addition, our bonds are strong and that camaraderie is what makes our performance. The atmosphere is unbeatable. As for the quality of the riders, I have at my side [Roman] Kreuziger, one of the best in the world; [Michael] Rogers, [Nicolas] Roche, [Daniele] Bennati for the flats, and Tosatto for experience ... I would not change for any other team, seriously."

    Contador has been linked in the media with the proposed professional team of F1 driver Fernando Alonso, which is slated to begin in 2015, but while interested, Contador is not planning to be with that team for its debut.

    "Fernando Alonso's project is interesting and in some ways it motivates me, too. You need to form new teams and you never know what will happen, but I have the contract and I'm not planning on anything else. It will be great if the project goes forward. And then, after a while, we shall see."

    A press conference is scheduled for Monday, when it is expected that Bjarne...