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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 13, 2012

Date published:
December 13, 2012, 09:00
  • 2013 Tour of Flanders route presented

    Riders will have to face the Old Kwaremont on Sunday's Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 13:32
    Cycling News

    Similar route to 2012, with three climbs of the Oude Kwaremont

    The 100th anniversary of the Tour of Flanders will follow the new course concept presented in 2012. The Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg will be climbed three times each, while the Muur van Geraardsbergen will once again not be feature.

    "We go three times over the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg about. And the arrival remains in Oudenaarde. Underway there are here and there some small changes, like every year. But we continued with the new concept,” said race organizer Wouter Vandenhaute, according to

    The race, to be held on Easter Sunday, March 31, and will start at the Bruges Market. “From there we pull in a straight line to Torhout, Ledegem, Wevelgem and on to Rekkem, which is this year's 'village of the Tour,'” race director Wim Vanherreweghe told The race then heads to Avelgem and the first of 17 climbs of the day, the Tiegemberg.

    Once the Ardennes have been reached, the peloton will face 50 kilometres with the Taaienberg, Eikenberg, and Molenberg climbs, not to mention some difficult cobblestone stretches. After climbing Berendies and Valkenberg, the riders will have an easier section to catch their breath and prepare for the 37km loop which will take them over the Kwaremont for the first time, followed immediately by the second loop of 20km, with Kwaremont, Paterberg and Hotond.

    “During the last loop, the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg are still built in, and then towards Oudenaarde and then the run-in to the finish,” Vanherreweghe said.

    Amateur riders who want to recreate the 1913 race may do so – all 324km of it. Organizers are celebrating the race's centenary with a hobby race on May 25, with Eddy Merckx and Johan Museeuw.

    "We can't promise exactly the same course,” Vanherreweghe said "But we will try to do the best possible. The trip will be 324 km long, as in 1913."

  • Scarponi receives three-month ban from CONI

    Michele Scarponi (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 15:52
    Cycling News

    Italian also fined 10,000 Euros for consultations with Dr. Ferrari

    Michele Scarponi today received a three-month ban and a 10,000 Euro fine from the anti-doping tribunal of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) for the Italian's training consultations with Dr. Michele Ferrari. The 33-year-old Italian's ban has been backdated to take place from October 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.

    Scarponi had already been suspended by his Lampre-ISD squad since early November after he admitted undergoing two tests with Dr. Ferrari in September 2010, before Scarponi joined the Italian ProTeam in 2011.

    Scarponi's house had been searched in the spring of 2011 as part of the Padua-based investigation into Dr. Ferrari's activities and Scarponi opted to meet with the CONI Procura in November 2012 in the hope that a ban would take place over a time period that would have minimal effects on his 2013 season.

    Dr. Ferrari has been banned by the Italian Cycling Federation for more than a decade and since February 2002 the Federation declared that any rider who continued to consult with him would receive suspensions of up to six months.

    Future Lampre-ISD teammate Filippo Pozzato had already served a ban this season for his consultations with Dr. Ferrari, but nonetheless Scarponi believes he had done nothing wrong.

    "I honestly believe I've done nothing wrong," Scarponi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "However I accept the three-month verdict. The judgement was fair but I was hoping it would be something less or even nothing.

    "The ruling does not effect next season," continued Scarponi. "I'll finish serving the three months and will start the new year in a good way and put all this behind us."

    Scarponi has already served an 18-month ban for his involvement in Operacion Puerto.

  • Gallery: RadioShack team camp

    Giacomo Nizzolo
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 17:24
    Cycling News

    Luxembourg squad puts in the miles in Spain

    After their team bonding in a forest in Luxembourg the RadioShack - Nissan team moved to more familiar terrain, kicking off their winter training camp in Javea, Spain this week.

    The week-long event sees the riders train together for the first time with new signings Danilo Hondo and Bobby Jungels meeting up with their teammates for the first time.

    The team will be hoping to lay plans for the coming season at their camp, having undergone a difficult 2012 season that saw a merger with Leopard Trek, a management restructure after Johan Bruyneel's departure and a number of their star riders endure disappointing seasons.

    New team boss Luca Guercilena has been tasked not only with replacing Bruyneel but also revitalizing the likes of Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and Chris Horner, who all raced below par in 2012.

  • Thomson at home with MTN-Qhubeka

    Jay Thomson (Unitedhealthcare) wins the opening stage at the Volta a Portugal
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 21:07
    Laura Weislo

    South African returns after years in the US

    Jay Thomson has returned into the fold of Doug Ryder's MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team as a key rider who will help to bring the squad success in the Pro Continental ranks. He comes home after a rocky three years abroad that began with a stage win in the Tour de Langkawi with Fly V Australia in 2010. Eager to progress to the WorldTour and major races in Europe with the Pegasus project after a year with Fly V Australia in the US, his dream crumbled before it even began when the team went belly-up before the 2011 season. An anonymous year with Bissell and an up-and-down season with UnitedHealthcare followed, but this promising 26-year-old is confident that he can turn things around with his new team.

    Incredibly lean, Thomson is clearly motivated for 2013. He and his teammates have undergone physiological testing where a core-strength exercise turned into a challenge, where Thomson set a new mark for the longest front elbow plank at 5:40. The feat is just one indication of the sort of mental toughness that got him a stage win in the Volta a Portugal this year, just a week after injuring his ankle so badly he should have taken time off the bike.

    Thomson admits some trepidation in leaving a sure thing to return to a nascent project, but he chose to forge ahead and make the move in order to be a part of a growing squad and a major moment in South African cycling history.

    "I could say it was an easy decision, but it was also a really hard decision," Thomson explained from the team's presentation in Maropeng, South Africa. "Being with UnitedHealthcare, I started becoming part of the team and all that, to come across to MTN-Qhubeka was an easy decision for me. An African team going Pro Continental, you want to be part of it, especially as a South African rider. You want to be part of a team that's got ambitions to do something great."

    Telling his current team of the decision wasn't easy, but just as the US riders want to be on the big American teams, they knew Thomson couldn't say no to an opportunity to be a part of his home country's ambitions effort, and go back to the MTN organization that helped him build his pro career for three seasons. "They were disappointed in the sense that they are losing a rider that they invested a lot in, and I can't thank them enough for giving me the opportunity this last year. Obviously as things go along, we all learn where our heart wants to be, and I want to be with an African team."

    After being burned by Chris White and Pegasus, Thomson admits he was a bit gun-shy to agree to the move, but team principal Doug Ryder assured him that everything would work out. "I got nervous because I thought of Pegasus and wondered, am I going to put myself in that situation again? It was a big risk to take. I believe in Doug, always have. I said if this falls on its face, I don't know how I'm ever going to get out of that hole again, but he made me believe and trust that it's going to go big.

    "I think it will be nice, if this team goes WorldTour in a few years, to have been a part of that foundation."

    The team has recruited experienced Europeans Gerald Ciolek, Ignatus Konolvalovas, Sergio Pardilla, Andreas Stauff and Martin Reimer to help guide the team through its first year in Europe, and although Thomson sees himself as one of the mentors for the younger riders, he acknowledges he has plenty to learn from his European teammates.

    "My personal ambition is to grow as a bike rider. The last three years have been very difficult after losing Pegasus, 2011 was a bad year for me. It's been mentally difficult to fight that off," he said.

    "I think this year we had a lot of bad luck, but I grew mentally and physically. In the next couple of years I really want to help mentor the young guys and mentor myself into being something great. To be a leader on the team, I think I've gotten to that age where I can lead from the front.

    "I've also got a lot of growing to do as a bike rider, but I think I also have a lot to offer the team on and off the bike that can help the younger guys. There are a lot of young guys on this team who have a lot of potential to do something great, and I want to be a part of that."

    Thomson is heading to Europe just as the sport tries to shake off the doping dramas of Lance Armstrong, his former US Postal Service teammates and, it appears, the majority of the peloton from the EPO era of a decade past. Although the team has the lofty goal of becoming the first team of Africans to race the Tour de France in 2014, Thomson is assured that the pressure to perform will not tempt the riders to take shortcuts in the way their predecessors did.

    "We're from a different frame of mind, being from Africa, we weren't born thinking the bike is the end all be all. Some guys grew up thinking that you ride your bike to make money, but ride with a higher motivation - mobilizing kids with bikes through Qhubeka, and bringing that attention to the world of African cycling. We've got the confidence we'll come in with a team that's clean.

    "You can't prove to the fans that we're a clean team, but we can show it by doing the right things - by having the nutritionists, coaching and living right. It's the new generation of all bike racers. The younger guys are all doing that now. It's different to what it used to be. The younger generation will show that, and I believe it is going to get better, it has to get better. I think with Qhubeka it's a breath of fresh air for cycling, and it's a great thing for the fans to follow. I think we'll be something special and unique."

    South Africa hasn't been immune to doping controversy this year: just after the USADA dossier was made public, Armstrong's former teammate David George tested positive for EPO. But Thomson calls this an "isolated incident". "I don't think it's a culture we breed in South Africa. I pride myself on riding clean, and I think 100 percent of the guys on this team do too. We don't just think of ourselves when we get on our bikes, we think about the people and the sponsors and everyone else who's involved."

  • BikeNZ reacts to collapse of PureBlack Racing

    The PureBlack team strings out the bunch
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 00:38
    Cycling News

    No UCI Continental teams for Kiwis in 2013

    New Zealand cycling's governing body BikeNZ says that its disappointed that PureBlack Racing won't be running a UCI Continental team in 2013.

    Cyclingnews broke the story earlier this week, with riders who had been due to take up with the team next season told to find alternative arrangements following a disagreement between the team's two biggest sponsors; PureBlack Racing and Avanti. Unlike when the team collapsed one year ago, funding is not an issue. Instead, a petty tussle over branding has ensued.

    "Obviously we are disappointed that PBR are not going to carry on in 2013, and that we have lost another valuable pathway for riders to develop on the world stage," said BikeNZ CEO Kieran Turner in a statement.

    "This is especially disappointing as our cyclists continue to deliver outstanding results across all disciplines, with more NZ junior and senior world championship medals won in the last three years than all preceding years. Likewise the popularity of cycling continues to grow, as New Zealand's third largest recreational activity."

    In September, Subway Restaurants announced that it would no longer continue to support New Zealand's other UCI Continental outfit, Subway Pro Cycling, essentially putting an end to the project.


  • Novo Nordisk's Morris ready to "bite the bullet" in neo-pro year

    Novo Nordisk takes over sponsorship of Team Type 1 in 2013.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 03:16
    Alex Malone

    Team support gives Type 1 rider confidence heading into 2013

    One of Australia's newest professionals Justin Morris, is quietly confident in making the leap from his current Team Type 1 - Sanofi Development team to the newly announced Novo Nordisk Professional Continental team in 2013. His confidence stems from not only a belief in his own ability but also the level of support his team will provide in the coming year.

    Stepping into the pro ranks is a daunting task for any rider but for those living with Type 1 diabetes, the challenge is ever greater. Morris understands that he will need to major changes to his training and preparation to compete in some of the world's biggest races but he says the support crew around himself and his teammates will ensure they have all the elements necessary to "achieve whatever you want in life".

    "One of the really good things about this team is they are so supportive, in all aspects of life," said Morris to Cyclingnews.

    "We have a plethora of team doctors to help us with our diabetes, our general health and we have a huge squad of high-level coaches for every rider. We also have some of the best DS's in the world.

    "We have the best support behind us and that makes me more confident of going into these races and being able to compete."

    Morris had recently finished the demanding Tour of Rwanda where he said the huge number of races days, split between the road and his mountain bike ambitions, meant he was fairly empty by the end but with just a couple of weeks off to attend the team's launch in Copenhagen and then a team camp in Spain, he's ready to kick-start his training for the coming year which will likely be very different to what he's done in the past.

    "It's been a big year. So during Rwanda I was pretty smashed, it's been good to have some time off. Just to allow the body to recoup and rebuild," said Morris.

    "The reality for me is I'm going to have to step it up a bit. I'm usually pretty laissez-faire with my training regimes, I just love to ride my bike. I haven't really used heart rate and power but this season the team is putting a big emphasis on using power to train.

    "So, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and use these technologies that our available to us and be a bit more smart about how I train for these races."

    The Australian will be back in Sydney within the next week and will spend most of the summer at home before leaving to return to the United States. Morris says half the team will stay in the US with the other in Europe however, regardless of where the team race, the message and purpose are clear.

    "Wherever we race, we are going to be reaching out to that community; Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, China. We'll be reaching out to the diabetes community in those areas and really pushing the message that with the proper management there's hope to achieve whatever you want in life, even with the challenges of being diabetic," said Morris.

    "Phil [Southerland] said: 'although getting results is important, when we line-up at these races, we've already won. We have beaten this huge challenge in our lives to compete against some of the best riders in the world who don't have the challenges we have'".

  • Wiggle joins DTPC Honda Pro Cycling as lead sponsor

    Owner, manager, rider Rochelle Gilmore in the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling kit
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 03:23
    Cycling News

    Three-year deal for Gilmore's new team

    Online cycling retailer Wiggle has been revealed as DTPC Honda Pro Cycling's lead sponsor for the next three years. The team will be known as Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling.

    The team, owned and managed by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rochelle Gilmore, was launched last month.

    Gilmore explained that the deal with Wiggle was a major coup for the team.

    "Women have traditionally ridden for contracts as little as one-tenth of what the men earn," she said. "If you want to get the best out of an athlete you need to provide them with what they need - and all too often funding shortfalls mean women cyclists are not provided what they need.

    "Our team philosophy is all about the athletes. The deal with enables us to provide better salaries and the supportive environment our athletes deserve and need so they can reach their full potential."

    The 12-woman line up is made up of Gillmore, former double world champion Giorgia Bronzini, British Olympic champions Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Danielle King, junior World individual time trial champion Elinor Barker, fellow Briton Amy Roberts, Australia's Lauren Kitchen, three-time Japanese road race champion Mayuko Hagiwara, Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier from Germany, Emily Collins from New Zealand and Beatrice Bartelloni.

    As previously announced Bradley Wiggins will also support the team via his Foundation. Technical sponsors include Colnago, Campagnolo, Vanmobil, Lazer, High5, Tacx, Fizik and Look.

    "Wiggle is all about providing the best," Humphrey Cobbold, Wiggle Chief Executive said. "It's a privilege to support Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling. We look forward to playing a pivotal role in supporting this tremendous group of athletes and hope that our partnership will motivate future female cycling champions the world over."


  • Boonen back to normal at Omega Pharma-QuickStep training camp

    Belgian champion Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was a pre-race favorite at the Grand Prix de Wallonie.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 08:29
    Cycling News

    Peeters wants to wait a week for an evaluation

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is back training, having spent three days in hospital while suffering from a severe intestinal infection. However, team doctors remain cautious regarding how long it will take for a full recovery.

    Boonen joined his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates in Mallorca for what is being described as a crucial part of his preparation for the coming season.

    "Tom spent four hours training with his teammates on Tuesday," directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad. "This morning [Wednesday] he cycled with [Zdenek] Bakala and two hours in the afternoon there was the fitness program. Everything was completed normally, but I think it's too early for an evaluation. Only after a week training can we safely draw conclusions."

    Team Doctor Yvan Vanmol explained that Boonen had lost close to two kilograms during his ordeal.

    "It took a little longer than we thought, but the problems are solved. He is now training, eating and drinking normally again," he said.

    Boonen’s racing season is scheduled to begin at the Tour de San Luis in January.