A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Cavendish and Haussler's Sanremo scramble second
2009 was another great year for road racing and you voted Cadel Evans' superb win in the World Championship road race as the biggest moment of the year. In second place was the thrilling finale between Mark Cavendish and Heinrich Haussler as they threw their bikes towards the line in Milan-Sanremo.
Closing out the top three was Lance Armstrong's gripping tactical battle with Alberto Contador on the road to La Grande-Motte at the Tour de France.
However, it was Evans' opportunistic attack at the foot of the final climb in Medrisio that captured your approval with 40 per cent of the vote. Evans came into the event on the back of a mediocre year. He had briefly shone in the spring with a sprinkling of strong performances up-to-and-including the Dauphine.
But the Australian bombed dramatically at the Tour de France and despite finishing third at the Vuelta, many saw it as another lost opportunity after a poor wheel change during a mountain stage cost him vital seconds and a chance of overall success.
Lining up in Medrisio he was an outsider who, if reports are to be believed, didn't have the full support of his teammates. Yet when the chips were down it was Evans who showed to the World what they'd been missing at the Tour. He attacked from a select bunch to silence the critics who claimed he didn't attack enough in races.
It was a perfectly timed move to. Within a group controlled by an Armada of Spanish riders the Australian countered the acceleration of Joaquin Rodriguez before dropping the Spaniard and soloing away as Fabian Cancellara was forced to chase frantically from behind.
The final few kilometres were gripping viewing and, as Evans reached the final hill-top, he had a small but defendable leader over the chasing pack. It was a classic comeback performance from a rider so many people had discounted as a genuine contender.
Cyclingnews 2009 Reader Poll results – Biggest moment of the...
New UCI 3:1 rule enforcement claims first industry casualty
Advanced Sports, Inc. (ASI) earlier this month completed its purchase of Oval Concepts, thus adding the component brand to its growing cycling portfolio that already includes Kestrel, Fuji, Breezer, and SE (ASI also licenses the Terry nameplate).
Oval Concepts is most noteworthy for its expansive range of integrated and bolt-on aero bars and unique split-blade JetStream forks, both of which have seen widespread use under a number of ProTour riders and teams such as current road world champion Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and the Fuji-Servetto squad.
However, even recent growth in the European market could not overcome the downturn in the global economy, which yielded more than a 50 per cent dip in worldwide OEM sales. The company was also particularly hard-hit by the UCI's announcement that it would begin more stringently enforcing its 3:1 aero profile ruling in mid-2009. While some companies were only modestly hurt as a result, smaller outfits such as Oval Concepts – and others – were more vulnerable as several of their aero platforms were in clear violation, instantly creating a glut of virtually unsellable product and setting the company back years in terms of product development.
"In the spring when the UCI's new mid-year enforcement of the 3:1 rule for aero bars started being threatened and then enforced we took another 25 to 30 percent hit in our biggest sales and profit category," said company founder Morgan Nicol. "Stories about 'illegal aero bars' were not productive [Oval Concepts' unique JetStream bar models were incorrectly assumed by many to be non-compliant – Ed.]. I was besieged by customers wondering why I sold them "illegal" bars one, two or three years before. I guess the guy that predicted in the February 2009 Tour of California article that the UCI enforcement of the...
Spring Classics and Tour de France will be season highlights
Victory at one of the Spring Classics will be one of Fabian Wegmann's major goals this season. The two-time German national champion is one of the few Milram riders who was not entirely unhappy with his 2009 season, but he too looks forward to bigger and better things this year.
“I think it will be a a good season for team Milram when we have achieved our 25 wins,” he said, referring to team manager Gerry van Gerwen's call for 25 victories this year. “That may be a little exaggerated, but we could take 10 or 15, if they are good quality wins. And if you win one or two Tour stages, then that is a very successful year.”
The Spring Classics are the first targets for him this season, and “It is my dream to win a Classic,” he told Cyclingnews at the team's presentation. “Amstel Gold Race is the race dearest to me, that is a race in which I think I could do well.”
But, he admitted, “Actually, it doesn't make any difference [which one I win]."
After the Spring, his next major objective is expected to once again be the Tour de France. A busy programme in the first half of the season will also include the Giro d'Italia, which he will use as preparation for the French Grand Tour. “Absolutely, I think I will ride the Tour. I have to see how I am after the Giro, but it is definitely planned.”
Looking back to 2009, he said he was “very satisfied with the start of the season,” especially his win in the Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop. However, things didn't go so well after that as he injured his back in a crash in the Dauphiné Libéré.
He continued riding through the end of the season, but his ability to compete at a high level was severely restricted by the effects of the crash. Finally, though, he seems to have recovered. “I still notice my back, but it is overall in order. It was a bad crash and actually I was...
Nolan Hoffman's positive sends shockwaves through South African cycling
Neotel has withdrawn from sponsorship of its eponymous Continental squad after one of its riders, Nolan Hoffman, returned a positive doping control last year. It brings to an end three years of involvement by the internet service company in South African professional cycling and has cast a shadow over the future of the team's other eight riders.
Hoffman has been provisionally suspended by Cycling South Africa (CSA) after he returned a positive result for an as-yet-unnamed substance in a doping control carried out on October 18, 2009. The 24-year-old sprinter is expected to face a CSA hearing in the next fortnight.
"Because we have extremely high ethical standards as an organisation, which is evident in the way in which we deal with both internal and external stakeholders, we do not condone doping whatsoever," said Ajay Pandey, CEO and MD of Neotel in a statement. "We have therefore assessed the risk and taken the decision to withdraw from the sport."
Regarded as one of the best talents to emerge since joining a South African development programme in 2004, Hoffman had gathered a widespread following in his local community. A winner of the opening stage at the 2009 Tour of Korea, he said pressure to return from a knee injury had resulted in him turning to drugs.
"I have disgraced the people and sponsors that supported me my whole career. I really hope this doesn’t cause any damage to them and the sport. I have disappointed everyone and I will face everything that is coming to me, I am truly sorry," Hoffman wrote in a letter to the CSA.
Eugene Ruiters, founder of Team Neotel expressed his disappointment with his rider's decision. "Although we empathise with his motivation, it is disappointing to have a role model such as himself resort to such action. Nolan has been the biggest success of our development plan. He has been in our system since 2004 and has developed into one of South Africa's top cyclists. There are no...
"Weaker link" talks about future after Australian title win
Travis Meyer spoke candidly about his relationship with brother Cameron after the former’s road race victory made them the first siblings to hold both the elite men’s road race and time trial titles in Australian cycling history. The West Australian riders will share a home in Girona, Spain this year, but it’s time in the French Alps Meyer hopes to share with his older brother in the coming years.
"The dream is that one day it would be nice to be something like the Schleck brothers or something like that, but there’s a lot of work to do and we’re not counting our chickens before they hatch," said Meyer. "It’s what I dream about all the time, but I realise how hard that step is. It’s not something you can just take for granted and just think you’re going to get there.
"There’s still a lot of hard work to do, but one day hopefully we’ll be climbing up there in the top of the Tour de France’s general classification," he added.
The 20-year-old Australian champion was jovial about the possible bragging rights that come with his win in Buninyong. Cameron Meyer claimed his first elite title on Wednesday in the time trial, with their father Ken on hand to see both victories.
"I heard only the best win the national road race title," joked Meyer. "I think out on training rides, I get to wear the national kit and he can only wear it at the time trial. So I get to wear the kit every day whereas he only gets to wear his on selected days, so I think that’s enough of a reminder.
"When he found out I won I imagine he would have been quite shocked, just as I was, because we never tipped me to win the race," he added. "I was meant to be the weaker link, I guess, out of our team, so that’s why I was meant to be a helper."
Joking aside, Meyer said neither he nor Cameron felt any jealousy towards one another’s successes. He believes their differences on...
Spaniard bitter about treatment since Operación Puerto
Former-ONCE and Liberty Seguros-Wurth team director Manolo Saiz, speaking to the press for the first time in the four years since his arrest the start of the Operación Puerto doping scandal, said he wants to return to professional cycling.
“It's my world and I must return, it's only natural,” he said in an extensive interview with the Spanish newspaper Diario Vasco.
Saiz was arrested during the Operación Puerto sting operation, having been caught on video visiting with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid. When he was taken into custody, he was in posession of a large amount of money - 60,000 euros - cash he claims was a normal sum for a director heading to a Grand Tour.
"I came out with the same amount of money I went in with, nothing else" Saiz said, explaining that the cash was to give to the team's staff for expenses. "I came out of that coffee shop with nothing unusual, the police reports by the Civil Guard made that very clear."
Three and a half years after his career came to a halt because of the arrest, Saiz said what he finds most difficult to digest is the fact that members of his team still enjoy lucrative careers.
“Through 2009 I could not watch a bike race,” he said. “I couldn't. There were two reasons. The first is that it hurts me to see the lies that live in this sport. The second is that I see the riders who rode in my teams and that it is very, very hard to digest.”
Saiz had been one of the most recognisable cycling team managers of the 1990s and early 2000s, having led riders Laurent Jalabert, Alex Zülle and Abraham Olano to particular success at the Vuelta a España. Since his arrest on suspicion of involvement in doping, he has been out of cycling entirely, a period upon which he reflects bitterly.
“I felt alone. I can say I helped many people [during my management...
Spaniard abandons camp with his new Katusha squad
Spaniard Joaquim Rodríguez was injured on Sunday in a fall during his Katusha team training camp in Calpe, Spain and had to head back home to Barcelona to rest for ten days.
The team's new recruit was on a descent when he was unable to avoid some broken glass on the road. He punctured his front tire, crashed, and suffered two large cuts to his thigh and buttocks and lost a lot of blood.
"I was taken to a hospital where they gave me 15 stitches and said I should go at least 10 days without cycling," he told Marca.com.
Rodríguez, third place in the world championships last fall in Mendrisio, Switzerland, came across to the Katusha team this season from Caisse d'Epargne.