- Article published:
- November 15, 2013, 21:38
- James Huang/BikeRadar
Pick 2013's best pro team bike and win a Cervelo
Pro riders may spend all season suffering like mad but they also get to ride some of the finest bikes in the world. Which of the following is your favorite? Pick one, enter your vote along with the other categories in our 2013 Cyclingnews Reader Poll and be entered to win Dan Martin's Cervelo.
Powerhouse sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) took home the glory four times during this year's Tour de France on a new Felt F1 FRD FRD flagship, built with a special advanced carbon composite material from Swedish outfit oXeon. Dressed up in a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group and deep-section carbon wheels – plus a fetching neon green-accented paint scheme – Kittel's Felt is ready to fly.
Belkin riders were often seen this past season on the new Giant Propel Advanced SL aero road bike, complete with a sleek wind tunnel-tested shape and cleverly hidden rim brakes to help cut through the wind. Giant was slow to the aero road bike game but has benefited from the wait, even using a motorized mannequin during the development process to help produce real-world data.
Cadel Evans debuted a new BMC SLR01 Team Machine this season, which cleaved more than 100g from his previous version while also boasting improved pedaling efficiency and comfort. What hasn't changed, however, is the frame's distinct profile and uniquely kinked fork and seat stays. Even without the big logo on the down tube, this machine's low-slung look is hard to miss.
Few riders made a bigger splash this year than Cannondale Pro Cycling's Peter Sagan, who roared across Europe on the company's SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod. Just in case the frame itself didn't draw enough attention, Sagan also got an outlandish custom paint job that was impossible to overlook.
Cofidis riders got an aero boost this year on their new Look 695 Aerolight road bikes, which combine modestly shaped tubes with radically integrated brakes to help cheat the wind. Look's ultra-oversized Zed 2 crank ensures every rider's energy is efficiently channeled, though, while Look's long-running E-Post keeps them fresh for the finish, too.
Europcar planned a one-two punch at this year's Tour de France with Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler, both of which were on Colnago C59 Italias. While most companies have long transitioned to modular monocoque construction, Colnago continues to favor a more traditional tube-and-lug design. The look may be a throwback to some but it's undeniably effective – and classically gorgeous.
They're light, and then they're light. Garmin-Sharp's Cervélo Rca certainly falls into the latter category with a claimed chassis weight of 667g. Such extreme lightness gave team mechanics plenty of latitude in building up bikes for particular applications – so much so that they were even occasionally saddled with time trial gear for hillier races against the clock.
Few aero bikes have generated such a lustful fan following as Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge. Unapologetic in its aim as a full-blown race bike, the Venge is neither particularly light nor comfortable, instead going about its business with a ruthless blend of efficiency and speed.
A few Radioshack-Leopard riders such as Swiss strongman Fabian Cancellara made the unusual move of racing their Classics bike all season – a strong testament to the virtues of their Trek Domane Pro-Fit machines. These team bikes feature the radically effective comfort of Trek's clever IsoSpeed frame design but with a much more aggressive front end fit and positioning better suited to top-tier racing.
Fans of British cycling will easily remember the curiously curvaceous lines of Chris Froome's and Bradley Wiggins' Team Sky Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2 road bikes. Froome and Wiggins dominated this year's Grand Tour circuit aboard the Italian brand's flagship machines, which someone managed to be both beautiful and easily recognizable despite their stark paint jobs.
- Article published:
- November 16, 2013, 08:11
- Cycling News
Poljanski, Kolar sign with Riis
Team Saxo Bank today announced the signing of two neo-pros for its 2014 roster: Pawel Poljanski of Poland and Slovak Michael Kolar join fellow newcomer Jesper Hansen on the Danish squad.
Poljanski, 23, the 2012 U23 national champion, rode as a trainee with the team this year, while Kolar, 20, comes from the Ducla Trencin-Trek team after scoring four victories this season.
"We believe both Pawel and Michael have the potential to become great bike riders, and by adding them we now have a solid and interesting group of talents, both when it comes to one day races and stage races and skills in all terrains," team owner Bjarne Riis said.
"As a stagiaire Pawel has shown he is a versatile rider who can climb. He has done some great races for the team and on top of that he had some fantastic results in the testing we did with him. So we feel he deserved a contract for the years to come."
"Michael has not yet made a name for himself in cycling, but he certainly has the potential to do so, if he can continue his development. He is still very young, but he is extremely fast and possesses the skills to become a great sprinter."
The Danish-based team will be known as Saxo Bank in 2014 after Tinkoff Credit Systems opted to end its sponsorship. However negotiations are apparently ongoing with Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov for the sale of the team, meaning the Tinkoff could return as a sponsor.
- Article published:
- November 16, 2013, 10:20
- Stephen Farrand
Trek team and Guercilena working on the details
Fabian Cancellara could attempt to break the hour record in 2014; reviving interest in one of cycling’s most prestigious but most difficult record.
The four-time world time trial champion hinted he would attempt the hour record during the summer and according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Cancellara will sit down with team manager and personal coach Luca Guercilena next week at the first Trek team get together in Belgium to study the details of the attempt.
Ondrej Sosenka currently holds the official hour record after covering a distance of 49.700km in Moscow in 2005. Sosenka’s career ended when he tested positive for methamphetamine at the Czech time trial championships three years later.
Cancellara attempt would bring back considerable prestige to cycling’s most prestigious record.
It has lost much of its lustre since the UCI opted to ban tri-bars and re-set the record to Eddy Merckx’s 49.431km set in 1972. That decision saw Chris Boardman’s 56.375km on the since outlawed “Superman” position from Manchester in 1996 downgraded to the status of “Best Human Effort,” and the previous bests set by Francesco Moser (1984), Graeme Obree (1993 and 1994), Miguel Indurain (1994) and Tony Rominger (1994) were also expunged from the record books.
Boardman brought the curtain down on his professional career in October 2000 by bettering Merckx’s record on a traditional bike in Manchester, clocking 49.441km. Since then the best time trialists and track riders have all opted to forgo the hour record due to fear of failing and lack of sponsorship.
“First of all we’ll study the equipment with the engineers from Trek, then we’ll decide the right moment to go for it. The ideal moment would be after a peak of form: he needs three weeks of specific training to get used to the track,” Guercilena explained to Gazzetta dello Sport.
“There are two possible moments in the season: after the spring Classics or after the first of the two Grand Tours that Fabian has on his programme.
It was reported that Cancellara could go for the hour record on the new track in Grenchen, Switzerland, not from his home in Berne. However Guercilena knows that a fast track is needed for a successful record attempt.
“The track has to be the fastest there is,” he said.
“We haven‘t done any specific tests but speaking to experts, it seems there are three fast tracks: Manchester, Aguascalientes (Mexico) and Anadia (Portugal).
- Article published:
- November 16, 2013, 18:20
- Stephen Farrand
RCS Sport's cycling director keen to internationalise the Corsa Rosa
The Giro d’Italia could start in Sweden, Austria or even New York in years to come as the Italian Grand Tour continues to develop and become more international.
Mauro Vegni, the technical director of cycling at RCS Sport, has revealed he is already working on the route of the 2017 edition of the Giro d’Italia –the 100th edition of the race, with 100 cities already keen to secure stage starts and finishes.
With Michele Acquarone still suspended from his role of Managing Director of RCS Sport due to the ongoing internal investigation into misappropriation of several million Euro, Vegni has stepped up to become more of a figurehead for the Giro d’Italia.
During a cycling convention organised by Tuttobici, Gruppo Euromobil and Gazzetta dello Sport in the north-east of Italy, Vegni hinted about a possible New York start for the Giro d’Italia. Permission to include a third rest day during the 2014 Giro d'Italia could be replicated in the future for a transfer from North America to Italy. The organiser of the Tour of Dubai has told Cyclingnews that they are also in talks to host the start of the Giro d'Italia in the Middle East.
“It’s wrong (for us in Italy) to think of the Giro d’Italia as a local event, it’s an international event that is liked and admired around the world,” Vegni said, according to Tuttobici.
“Each edition of the Giro is born two years before the date of the race. I’m fascinated by the option of [starting in] New York even if it’s difficult to make it happen.”
“The interest in the Giro outside of Italy is incredible, perhaps because there’s more money available. Last week I was in Montenegro (that celebrates its independence from Serbia in 2016) and I spoke to members of the government. They want to promote their country because it’s not widely known. It’s the same for Vienna, for Sweden….”
Towns and cities bid to host the Grande Partenza of the race and stage starts and stage finishes, paying a fee of around 100,000 Euro to host a stage finish. Northern Ireland and Ireland will spend close to four million Euro on the Grand Partenza of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, with a part of that figure going to RCS Sport.
“We’re already thinking of the 2018 race and we’ve got over 100 requests for between 2015/2017. In 2017 we’ll celebrate the 100th edition of the Giro and the start will definitely be in Italy. We’ve got lots of interest,” Vegni said.
Secret plans for the 2018 Giro d’Italia
Vegni revealed he has a secret plan for the 2018 Giro d’Italia and a possible return to Venice. The Giro d’Italia started on the island of Venice Lido in 2009, while a time trial was held across a series of floating bridges so that a 12km time trial could finish in St. Mark's Square.
“I’ve got a dream that I’d love to see come true but its still in an embryonic stage. It’s a very ambitious idea that could work in a special edition of the Giro. I’m trying to understand how it’d work,” Vegni said.
“We could include in three or fours years time, it includes the Italian islands (Sicily and Sardinia)… I wouldn’t mind going back to Venice too.”
- Article published:
- November 16, 2013, 19:50
- Alasdair Fotheringham
Spain’s second biggest team hoping for Giro d’Italia invitation
Spanish Professional Continental squad Caja Rural-RGA has completed its 18-rider team roster for 2014, the biciciclismo.es website reported Saturday, meaning there is no place for any of the Euskaltel-Euskadi riders currently looking for a team or for ex-Belkin rider Luís León Sánchez.
According to biciciclismo Caja Rural-RGA’s budget for 2014 did not permit any more signings, even if Sánchez's track record made him a very attractive proposition to the Spanish squad and at one point a deal seemed close.
Others riders rumoured to be possible signings include Chris Horner (RadioShack) and Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Both remain without contracts for 2014.
Instead, the team will once more have breakaway specialist Amets Txurruka, former Giro podium finisher David Arroyo and mountain climbers like 2012 Vuelta stage winner Antonio Piedra, all of whom remain with the squad, as their highest-profile names.
New signings include three riders from WorldTour team and several young rider. These are Angel Madrazo (Movistar), Davide Vigano (Lampre-Merida), Peilo Bilbao (Euskaltel-Euskadi) Heiner Parra (4-72 Colombia), Lluis Mas (Burgos-BH ) and amateur riders Fernando Grijalva and Antonio Molina.
Despite not signing a high-profile rider for 2014, Caja Rural-RGA hopes to raise the bar in other ways in 2014 by targeting a wild card invitation to the Giro d’Italia as well as riding the Vuelta a España on home roads.
Arroyo’s presence in the team could help Caja Rural gain entry to the Giro d’Italia. He finished a surprise second overall in the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
The team’s first race of the 2014 season will be the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabón, Africa in January.
- Article published:
- November 16, 2013, 22:00
- Cycling News
Credits Team Colombia for jump to sport's highest level
After spending five seasons on Colombian squads, Darwin Atapuma is poised to make his WorldTour debut in 2014 with BMC. The 25-year-old Colombian made great progress in the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Pro Continental Team Colombia outfit, highlighted by a stage victory in the Giro del Trentino last year and a stage win at the WorldTour-level Tour of Poland this year, and Atapuma is looking forward to new challenges.
"It will be a very different experience," said Atapuma. "I'll be part of one of the biggest teams in cycling, and I am looking forward to face such a challenge. On the other hand, I am really sorry to leave a context I have blended in perfectly, with friends and a number of people who have been huge for me in this couple of years. Without them, I would not have made it to the WorldTour.
"I will always be grateful to Claudio Corti for believing in me, and getting me the opportunity to compete on the world stage. Claudio and the whole technical team always made me feel important, giving their best to support us in any aspects, not only in the sport practice: getting used to a different place and lifestyle was not easy, but sports directors, masseurs, mechanics never let us down or made us feel alone."
With the Colombia team making an Italian base in 2012, Atapuma moved to Italy that January and in April notched the team's first success of the season at the Giro del Trentino's fourth stage, atop the Passo Pordoi. "It was the biggest day in my career," said Atapuma. Barely a month later in the Tour of California's queen stage to Mt. Baldy, Atapuma nearly struck again, but was edged out by Robert Gesink for the win.
In his second year in Europe Atapuma earned a top-20 GC finish in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, and took his and the team's first WorldTour win at the Tour of Poland. The Colombian managed to raise his arms in triumph at the conclusion of stage 6 in Bukovina Tatrzanska with an impressive show of determination.
"In 2013, I showed everyone – and myself in first place – that I could hold on with the strongest in the biggest races in the world. I owe that to the great work made with Sports Directors Valerio Tebaldi, Oscar Pellicioli and Oliverio Rincon, the whole Team Colombia staff and my teammates, who shared my path in a beautiful experience that will imprint my sports career forever."
Atapuma's final major accomplishment as a Team Colombia rider came in September, when he was selected to race the elite road race world championship for Colombia for the very first time. "I was proud to represent one of the strongest national teams at the present time, the expression of a movement that is arguably growing like never before. More and more athletes from Colombia are getting their chance in top cycling, and I believe Team Colombia's project is having a huge role in that, opening doors for young prospects and attracting the media attention on our movement.
"Next year another guy from my village, Tuquerres, will be part of Team Colombia: Pantoja, whose name is Darwin just like me. I hope he, and a lot of Colombian youngsters, will have the opportunity to make the same, outstanding experience I did, in a really unique team in today's cycling. I am not only talking about technical stuff, top organization and cycling experience, but an actual human element I can hardly see in any other outfit. And I am going to miss that a bit, I already know that," Atapuma said.
- Article published:
- November 17, 2013, 11:25
- Stephen Farrand
Former doper set to become the oldest rider in the peloton
The CCC Polsat Polkowice team has confirmed Davide Rebellin will stay with the team in 2014 after the Polish team secured a Professional Continental licence for the 2014 season.
The 42 year-old Italian, who tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Olympic road race after winning a silver medal, has signed a one-year contract. Rebellin is set to become the oldest rider in the professional peloton.
Rebellin remains unrepentant about his doping, his comeback and accusations of doping earlier in his career. He struggled to win races in 2013, taking just a stage at the Szlakiem Grodów Piastowskich race and the overall classification of the Cycling Tour of Sibiu in Romania. However he finished third in the Italian national road race championships and took a string of other placings in Italian and Spanish races, meaning he finished third in the rider rankings of the UCI Europe Tour.
“I am very pleased that Davide Rebellin will one of riders for yet another season,” directeur sportif Peter Wadecki said on the team’s website.
I must admit that I was very keen that Davide stayed with us. Last season showed how much he was needed in the team. Despite his age, he is still a classy rider. His great cycling experience, knowledge and commitment in preparing for races proved to be very helpful for all the team.”
In a recent interview with Cycling Pro magazine, Rebellin spoke of desire to try and win one of the Ardennes classics next season. He was the first rider to complete the hat-trick of Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2004, but his teams have not been invited to the races since his return from suspension two years ago.
In spite of his positive test for CERA, Rebellin has never confessed to doping and told Cycling Pro that he views himself as “an example for many parents and their children.”
Earlier this month, further details of Rebellin’s tax investigation in Italy hit the headlines. Il Giornale di Vicenza reports that the prosecution witnesses will be heard in April, while the defence will present its case on July 10, 2014. Rebellin was charged with tax evasion in June 2011, shortly after his return to cycling from his two-year suspension.
The prosecution maintains that Rebellin, while officially resident in Monaco during that period, spent the majority of his time in Galliera Veneta, in the province of Padova in Italy, where he lived in a house registered in the names of his parents-in-law.
As was reported by Il Sole 24 Ore in 2011, police from Italy’s Guardia di Finanza tracked Rebellin’s movements as part of an investigation called “Operation Zero Taxes,” which began in December 2008. They found that only 2% of Rebellin’s flights landed in Nice, the airport for Monaco, and only 7% of his car journeys took him across the French border. He was also alleged to have a gym membership in Cittadella and was regularly seen training on the roads near Marostica.
A search of Rebellin’s house uncovered a USB stick containing a PDF copy of a book entitled “How to Pay Zero Taxes – Fiscal Paradises.”
Rebellin has denied the charges.
- Article published:
- November 17, 2013, 16:10
- Stephen Farrand
Belgian Pro Continental team hoping to ride a Grand Tour
Kevin Seeldraeyers has signed a one-year contract with the Wanty-Gobert Group, with the Belgian Professional Continental squad hoping he will play a leadership role in the team and help secure a wild card invitation to a Grand Tour in 2014. The UCI confirmed the team has been given a Professional Continental licence in early November.
Seeldraeyers rode for Astana in 2013 and 2012 after four years at Omega Pharma. He won two stages at the Tour of Austria but was not selected for any of the three Grand Tours and subsequently struggled to find a place in a WorldTour team. In 2009 he was the best young rider at the Giro d’Italia.
"We will build a core around Kevin Seeldraeyers," said team manager Jean–François Bourlart.
"Laurens De Vreese can be useful in this sense. He is a perfect reinforcement for the finale of the Ardennes Classics. With Kevin Seeldraeyers we’ll have more of a Belgian feel to the team. Nico Sijmens, Björn Leukemans, Veuchelen Frederick and Jan Ghyselinck have already signed up for next season. We have 19 riders under contract so far.”
The Wanty-Gobert Group team has risen from the ashes of the Accent Jobs-Wanty team, with Vacansoleil-DCM sports director Hilaire Vanderschueren bringing sponsors to the team and Groupe Gobert joining as new co-sponsor.
The team will hold its first get together next week as they work on plans for the 2014 season.