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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 1, 2012

Date published:
January 01, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • 2012 crucial for Boonen, says Lefevere

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 16:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian looking to strike in classics

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has warned that 2012 will be a make or break year for Tom Boonen. Although Boonen won Gent-Wevelgem last season, the former world champion has fallen short at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in his injury-plagued past two seasons.

    “2012 will be crucial for Boonen,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. “He’s had a two-year stretch full of physical problems, but he still has the athletic ability.”

    Lefevere admitted that Boonen has been more beatable on the cobblestones in recent years than in his past, but he is hopeful that his rider will raise his game in 2012.

    “Two years ago if you brought him to the finish, he’d get the prize. Since then he’s been beaten a few times and has been more vulnerable,” Lefevere said. “But if Boonen still wants to be a top athlete, I’m convinced that he still can.”

    Although Boonen remains under Lefevere’s stewardship for the tenth successive season, there is a new feel to the squad following its merger with Omega Pharma and the arrival of a number of riders from the defunct HTC-Highroad outfit.

    Crucially, the new signings mean that the team should not have to rely on Boonen for WorldTour points as heavily as it did in 2011, and he should be freer to pick and choose his races ahead of the classics. A case in point came in late March, when Boonen was asked to forgo the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and focus his energies on Gent-Wevelgem the following day.

    “There is also a new wind blowing through the team. He knows that it’s not just about Tom Boonen riding well,” Lefevere said. “We now have Tony Martin,

  • Cipollini warns that Cavendish must not waste talent

    Mario Cipollini polarised opinion, but his talent was never in doubt
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 17:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian critical of "radio-controlled" Andy Schleck

    Mario Cipollini believes that world champion Mark Cavendish is among the greatest sprinters of all-time but has warned that Team Sky's' new rider is still not making the most of his considerable talent.

    “He’s one of the absolute very best, even if I’m still convinced that sometimes he wastes his talent,” Cipollini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’d say that he’s among the greatest of all-time along with Van Steenbergen and Van Looy. I hope that you might also put me at that level.”

    Although Cavendish’s professional career briefly overlapped with that of Cipollini at the 2008 Tour of California, the pair never raced against one another at the peak of their powers. When asked who would have won out in a bunch sprint with Milan-San Remo on the line, Cipollini acknowledged that Cavendish had won the race at a considerably younger age, but he was bullish about his chances.

    “I only won it when I was 35 years old, he did it earlier,” Cipollini said. “But I don’t feel inferior and I wouldn’t start already beaten…”

    As well as paying tribute to the world champion, Cipollini was fulsome in his praise of the world number one, Philippe Gilbert. “If he wins as much as he did this year and with the same quality, he’s the new Eddy Merckx. I think he’ll confirm himself at a very high level. And I like Philippe because he rides in a spectacular way and excites people.”

    Cipollini was more circumspect in his appraisal of Alberto Contador, claiming that the dominance of his Giro d’Italia victory was accentuated by the errors of his rivals. In particular, he felt that Michele Scarponi had over-estimated his own...

  • Saxo Bank, Garmin and FDJ Tour Down Under rosters confirmed

    The Tour Down Under peloton on stage one
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 21:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cantwell, Haussler, Hutarovich take aim

    The first World Tour race of the 2012 season is just weeks away, and the final rosters for the event are coming together. Over the past days Saxo Bank, Garmin-Cervélo and FDJ-Big Mat have confirmed the riders who will toe the line in Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under.

    Saxo Bank will bring two Australians to the race, Luke Roberts and newcomer Jonathan Cantwell.

    "It will be great to see Cantwell make his debut with Saxo Bank at our race. With 37 victories in his career, most in Australia and the US, it will be interesting to see the impression he can make on the WorldTour stage in 2012," said race director Mike Turtur.

    Saxo Bank's team will also include two-time Tour de France stage winner Sergio Paulinho and Takashi Miyazawa, who will be the first Japanese rider in the history of the Santos Tour Down Under.

    Saxo Bank for the Tour Down Under: Sergio Paulinho, Anders Lund, Luke Roberts, Jaroslaw Marycz, Jonas Jorgensen, Jonathan Cantwell, Takashi Miyazawa

    Garmin-Cervélo has confirmed its previously announced squad for the Australian race. New director Allan Peiper will bring young riders Nathan Haas and Jack Bauer along with experienced sprinters Heinrich Haussler and Robbie Hunter plus strong men Ryder Hesjedal, Andreas Klier and Martijn Maaskant.

    Garmin-Cervélo for the Tour Down Under: Ryder Hesjedal, Jack Bauer, Robbie Hunter, Nathan Haas, Heinrich Haussler, Andreas Klier, Martijn Maaskant

    Turtur also announced a competitive line-up from FDJ-Big Mat, who will field a former Tour Down Under best young rider, Sandy Casar, along with powerful sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich, and experienced Frenchman Frederic Guesdon, a...

  • Martin voted Germany's cyclist of the year

    The elite men's time trial podium: Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara
    Article published:
    January 01, 2012, 11:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Time trial world champion puts Kittel into third

    Tony Martin has been named cyclist of the year by readers of the German cycling federation's website. The world champion beat the stunt cycling world champion David Schnabel, with sprinter Marcel Kittel claiming third place.

    Martin opened his season by winning the time trial in the Tour of Algarve to take the overall title. He did the same only a few weeks later at Paris-Nice, for the biggest win of his career to date. The German also won the time trials at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Criterium du Dauphine, and finished second overall at the Tour de Romandie. He finished only second in the German national time trial, behind former world champion Bert Grabsch.

    He had hoped for a high GC ranking in the Tour de France, but was disappointed. He saved it, however, by winning the time trial on the penultimate stage, for his first grand tour stage win. He promptly repeated that success by winning the stage ten time trial at the Vuelta a Espana.

    Martin then ultimately proved himself to be the best time triallist in the world by winning the world championship by 1:15 over Bradley Wiggins and 1:20 ahead of four-time world champion Fabian Cancellara.

    He was not done, however, as he went on to win the opening time trial and overall title in the first Tour of Beijing and the Chrono des Nations, giving him a total of 12 wins on the 2011 season.

    Martin had ridden for HTC-Highroad for four seasons, and will be with Omega Pharma-Quick Step as of 2012.

    Second place went to David Schnabel, who not only repeated his world championship title but also set a new world record for points. Sprinter Marcel Kittel, who had 17 wins for Skil-Shimano, was third, followed by 2012 teammate and fellow sprinter John Degenkolb.

  • Cavendish in Sky jersey

    Cavendish in his new Team Sky kit
    Article published:
    January 01, 2012, 12:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champion in new team kit

    With the January 1 embargo over, riders and teams are now allowed to pose in their 2012 team kits and Mark Cavendish and Team Sky wasted no time in unveiling the world champion in his new race gear.

    Cavendish, who signed for Sky from HTC-Highroad posed in his new kit while out on a training ride and the image appeared on the Team Sky Facebook page.

    Cavendish recently won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

  • Rohregger to take his chances at RadioShack-Nissan

    Best young rider is now Leopold König of Team NetApp
    Article published:
    January 01, 2012, 13:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Austrian looking to Olympics

    Thomas Rohregger doesn't see himself as just a domestique at RadioShack-Nissan, saying instead that he is “part of the whole thing and therefore part of the success.” The Austrian knows that he will serve as a helper for his teammates, but also get his own chances.

    “It is a great feeling, to have for example two colleagues in the top ten of the Vuelta, or when Bennati wins sprint stages,” he told the Austrian newspaper Der Standard.  “Besides, my roommate Oliver Zaugg showed with his win at the Giro di Lombardia, that something is possible and that encourages me in my ambitions and to keep following my goal.”

    The Giro d'Italia will be his first major highlight of the year. “I will be at the start again and presumably our captain will be Jakob Fuglsang, who rode the Vuelta well this year and with whom I get along very well. I will play a supporting role, especially in the mountains. Of course  I will also have my own chances, when possible.”

    He doesn't expect to be named in the Tour de France squad, “while on one hand, we have a very strong team and on the other hand, the climbers won't be needed so much, as the Tour 2012's profile s not as difficult as the Giro or Vuelta.” 

    Rohregger does have his eye on the London Olympics, however, as he thinks the course may well be challenging enough for him. “If someone like Gilbert or Cancellara breaks out of the group, then there won't be a mass sprint and nations like Italy or Belgium won't be able to set the race up as they want, and so it could be very exciting.”

  • Gallery: Astana unveils new signings and 2012 kit

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)
    Article published:
    January 01, 2012, 15:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vinokourov joined by Brajkovic and Gavazzi

    Team Astana held their first training camp in the tail-end of the 2011, and the squad found time to take a set of publicity photos displaying their new team kit, bikes and roster for 2012.

    The team's kit remains very much in keeping with its past, and the Specialized bikes are also retained.

    The main changes come with the team roster, with a raft of new signings coming in. Andrey Kaschekin makes his move from Lampre permanent and is joined  by fellow Lampre castaway Francesco Gavazzi. The team have also bolstered their climbing prowess with Kevin Seeldraeyers joining from Quick Step.

    Janez Brajkovic is the biggest star to join. The former Dauphine winner joins from RadioShack and will be the team leader at the Tour de France in July.

    Click here for the gallery.

  • Katusha announces new kit, sponsors

    Spaniard Oscar Freire in the 2012 Katusha kit
    Article published:
    January 01, 2012, 17:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Skoda, Canyon join Russian squad

    The Katusha team rolled out its new kit and 2012 sponsors on the first day of the new year. Focus goes out with 2011, and in comes Canyon Bicycles, which will supply the squad with the Ultimate CF SLX and Aeroad CF models. The team's cars change to Skoda.

    Canyon will also be providing bicycles for the other teams of the Russian Global Cycling Project, including the UCI Continental Itera-Katusha squad as well as its Under23 and Under 21 teams.

    "Our Project has found a strong and reliable partner, while Canyon has found a big World Tour team with powerful roster and serious ambitions," said Hans Michael Holczer, the general manager of Katusha Team.

    The new team kits, made by Santini for 2012, have a simplified design with red and white as the predominant colours.