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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 26, 2013

Date published:
December 26, 2013, 18:00
  • Gallery: RadioShack team camp

    New signing Fumiyuki Beppu from Orica GreenEdge
    Article published:
    December 25, 2013, 12:42
    Cycling News

    WorldTour team lays plans for 2014

    They’ll race under the title of Trek Factory Racing in 2014 but until then the riders from RadioShack continue to train and ride in their respected kit from this season.

    At their last training camp on the outskirts of Benidorm, Spain, the 2014 roster gathered for a one final time before their team presentation in January. Both Andy and Frank Schleck were in attendance, along with the team's other main star and Classics specialist, Fabian Cancellara.

    A number of riders have departed for new teams or retired with Andreas Kloden, Ben Hermans and Maxime Monfort among them. However the team have looked off set a number of departures by strengthening in certain areas. Fumiyuki Beppu rejoins after two years with GreenEdge, the Van Poppel brothers, Danny and Boy, have also joined, while Australia’s Calvin Watson has signed as a neo-pro and will make his debut at the Tour Down Under next month.

    Click here for the gallery.

  • Luis Léon Sánchez signs with Caja Rural

     Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco)
    Article published:
    December 25, 2013, 13:52
    Cycling News

    Spaniard signs one-year contract with Pro Continental team

    Luis Léon Sanchez has signed with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. The 30-year-old Spaniard and the Pro Continental team agreed upon a contract for one year. Sanchez is the 20th and last rider for the Spanish team. According to the deal was signed on Tuesday. The official presentation will be held on Monday.

    Sánchez turned pro in 2004 with Liberty Seguros. After one year with Astana he moved to Caisse d'Epargne before signing with Rabobank in 2011. After winning Tour de France stages for the Dutch team in 2011 and 2012 and the Clasíca San Sebastian in 2012, he was offered a contract for three years. Sanchez was however bought out of this contract for 2014 and 2015 because of links to several doping-related news stories in the past.

    The Murcian rider has won four Tour de France stages, the Clasíca San Sebastián on two occasions and the overall classifications of the Tour Down Under (2005) and Paris-Nice (2009) among others. 

    Next to Sánchez the team from Navarra signed Angél Madrazo from Movistar, Pello Bilboa from Euskaltel, Davide Vigáno from Lampre-Merida, Colombian Heiner Parra and the Spaniards Luís Mas, Fernando Grijalba, Antonio Molina and Ruben Martinez.

    The team netted seven victories in 2013. Winners Amets Txurruk, Francesco Lasca and Rubén Fernandez stay with the team as do David Arroyo, Javier Aramendía, Antonio Piedra, Marcos García, Omar Fraile, Ramón Domene, Fabricio Ferrari, Karol Domagalski and Ivan Velasco.


  • Hivert moves up to Belkin and hopes for strong start

    Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun), the final rider to cross the finish line on the Mont Ventoux summit, talks to the media
    Article published:
    December 25, 2013, 15:15
    Cycling News

    Frenchman finds place in WorldTour team

    Jonathan Hivert's first task at his new team is to find his place amongst Belkin’s vast talent pool. The Frenchman, who signed a one-year deal following the disbandment of Sojasun, recently met up with his new teammates at their training camp in Calpe, Spain and told Cyclingnews that he is more than happy to miss the Tour de France in 2014, a race he has started and finished three times.

    “I’m just happy to find such a great team,” he said.

    “In August it was really hard to find a good team. There weren’t many spaces left and it was becoming hard. I knew one of the trainers here at Belkin having worked with him at Skil Shimano earlier in my career and just like that, he asked me. He knew Sojasun was stopping and I was thinking about stopping and it went from there.”

    The 28-year-old may have had limited options ahead of him, Bretagne - Seche Environnement apparently showed interest but the lure of riding at WorldTour was too much to turn down.

    “I had a little solution with a smaller French team who said that if I had nothing then they would catch me but it was a little team and if I had no choice then maybe I could have gone there. But I preferred Belkin.”

    Hivert’s race programme has yet to be finalised and made public, but he’s certain that the Tour de France will not be on his to-do list. Belkin are a stronger unit than Sojasun and Hivert is well aware that he must impress early on if he’s to extend his stay with his new team.

    “It’s one year only but I’ll do my best and everything is possible. First I want to find my place in the team. There are a lot of really good riders here so I can help them. Also, if I’m really good in the start of the year at races like Pais Basque and Paris-Nice it can be possible to try for myself. That’s my first goal. If I do my best I know I can find results.”

    “I’m adaptable and I’m happy to do the work for others. I’m usually in my best shape from January to May. It’s better if I don’t do the Tour as then I can recover in July and have a strong end to the season. I’m a puncheur and sometimes you need that in a team. But I’ve done the Tour three times and I’d prefer not to do it next season. I’m not that good in the summer, my body isn’t in a good shape then and the Tour is hard enough. Maybe I’ll do the Vuelta. The Tour is not important now. It’s not my favourite race and I can do other things in other races. I’ve finished the Tour three times and that’s not nothing but maybe I’m not for that race.”

  • 2013 Report Card: Garmin-Sharp

    Dan Martin and Steele von Hoff celebrate the team's win at the Japan Cup.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2013, 16:17
    Laura Weislo

    Ghost of doping past haunts clean team

    WorldTour Ranking: 8/18
    Win Count: 17
    Top Riders: Dan Martin (6th), Andrew Talansky (31st), Ryder Hesjedal (68th), Tom Danielson (74th)
    Grade: C 

    Garmin-Sharp, the champions of clean cycling, started off the year with three riders under suspension for their part in revealing what was one of the biggest doping scandals in sports history, thanks to USADA and Lance Armstrong. That meant the season could really only go uphill from there - or did it?

    In terms of 2013 cycling performance, Garmin had the fewest number of victories in a season since it joined the WorldTour in 2009: only 17 wins. But what it lacked in quantity, it made up in quality. Rather than rely upon its veterans - four of whom would be haunted by the ghost of doping past - it was the new crop of riders who came to the fore.

    Andrew Talansky scored Garmin's first win of 2013 on stage 3 of Paris-Nice in Brioude, taking the leader's jersey, but his aspirations of an overall victory were dashed by Sky's Richie Porte.

    Daniel Martin made up for that disappointment two weeks later by soloing away to victory on the queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya to Port Ainé-Rialp, with enough margin to net him the overall victory over Joaquim Rodriguez and Michele Scarponi.

    A month later Martin would win the team's second Monument in a brilliantly-played finale of Liège - Bastogne - Liège (Johan Vansummeren won Paris-Roubaix in 2011 for the team's first Monument victory).

    More stage wins followed thanks to Ramunas Navardauskas (Tour of Romandie), Michel Kreder (4 Jours de Dunkerque), Tyler Farrar (Tour of California and Tour de l'Eurométropole), Alex Rasmussen (Bayern Rundfahrt), and Lachlan Morton (Tour of Utah), and overall stage races wins from Rohan Dennis (Tour of Alberta) and Tom Danielson (Tour of Utah).

    But it was the pair of Grand Tour stage wins with Navardauskas in the Giro d'Italia and Martin in the Tour de France that really capped off Garmin-Sharp's season.

    The next generation also helped to make up for the sins of the team's veterans through numerous podium placings by riders like Steele von Hoff, Jack Bauer, Nathan Haas and Peter Stetina, but their results were dragged down in the eye of the public by the doping revelations from the Lance Armstrong era that embroiled Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie, who would retire, Tom Danielson and, we would come to learn late in the season, Ryder Hesjedal.

    Hesjedal's past doping was outed in Michael Rasmussen's book, and his confession drew the ire of his fellow Canadians, the hopes of a nation dashed by the 2012 Giro d'Italia champion's past.

    What to expect in 2014:

    Next season, expect the team to further support Martin and Talansky in their ambitions in stage races. Both riders are developing nicely, and Martin's steady upward trajectory is aimed directly at Grand Tour podium level.

    The Ardennes Classics should continue to be a goal for Martin, and the team has brought in Sebastian Langeveld as a solid addition for the cobbled Classics. With a little luck he could parlay his top 10 finishes in E3 Prijs, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix into a podium place. A healthy Nick Nuyens and diesel engine Johan Vansummeren could also get results in the spring.

    Best signing:

    Tour Down Under winner Tom-Jelte Slagter and Langeveld were the team's best acquisitions for 2014, but manager Jonathan Vaughters brought in a number of promising riders, any one of whom could turn out big results: Janier Acevedo was the top climber in the US circuit this season, landing on the podium in Tour of California and Tour of Utah (and 4th in Colorado). Phil Gaimon has been consistently very good on the domestic circuit as well, although a crash early in 2013 impacted his season.

    Biggest loss:

    To be brutally honest, most of the riders who left Garmin this year have been under performing: Vande Velde retired after years as more crash test dummy than racer, and Zabriskie had the good grace to bow out of the sport after the Armstrong affair and a lacklustre season. Alex Rasmussen never regained his previous level after his whereabouts violation, Martijn Maaskant failed to live up to his promise as a Classics rider after taking 4th in the Tour of Flanders in 2009, and Sébastien Rosseler hardly finished a race all year.

    But the team will miss solid support riders like Jacob Rathe, Michel Kreder, and Peter Stetina, who goes to BMC.

    Who to watch:

    Rohan Dennis will show in 2014 that his Tour of Alberta overall victory was no crosswind-induced fluke. The Australian, in his first WorldTour season, came second to only Tony Martin and beat Chris Froome in the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial, and donned the leader's jersey the following stage. Expect more breakthrough performances next year.

    Lasse Norman Hansen, the Olympic gold medalist in the track omnium, has a wealth of talent and was a terrific addition for Garmin. On the road, he was a bronze medalist in the U23 Worlds time trial, second in the U23 Thüringen-Rundfahrt and won two one-day races in 2013.

    With Hansen, Dutch rider Dylan van Baarle and Dennis, Vaughters could be re-building his team back into the team time trial powerhouse of old.

  • Serebryakov banned for 4 years in EPO case

    Race leader Alexander Serebryakov (Team Type 1)
    Article published:
    December 25, 2013, 17:15
    Cycling News

    Russian tested positive twice

    The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) announced earlier this month that Alexander Serebryakov has been banned for four years following his positive test for EPO.

    The 26-year-old tested positive in an out-of-competition control taken on March 18. The news was released as the Russian was preparing to start Paris-Roubaix with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team.

    Serebryakov was then put under further scrutiny, as a previous sample taken February 21 was tested using a new analytical method, and this test also showed evidence of EPO use.

    Serebryakov's suspension began upon his notification of the first positive on April 5, 2013, and will run through 2017.

  • Bos hungry for more after best season yet in 2013

    Theo Bos (Belkin) wins stage 7
    Article published:
    December 26, 2013, 09:05
    Daniel Benson

    Dutch sprinter puts his Vuelta problems behind him

    Having won over a quarter of Belkin’s victories in 2013, Theo Bos has set himself the target of winning even more in 2014. The 30-year-old ended the season with 12 wins this year, with Belkin finishing the calendar year with 38 in total.

    “The team just want me to win a lot of races, as much as possible,” Bos told Cyclingnews at Belkin’s recent final training camp in Spain ahead of next season.

    Bos’s 2014 season will be carved into two halves. He will skip the Giro d’Italia and instead focus his attention on wining stages in the week-ling races that litter the opening months of the year. A Tour de France slot, he admits is a long-shot, meaning that a return to the Vuelta might be on the cards.

    “I think it’s better to just set some goals for the first half of the season. I have to make a big improvement to go to the Tour though. It’s a dream for every cyclist but I have to be realistic. I’ll not do the Giro though, it’s a hard race.”

    “I think in 2014 I need to do the same as what I did this year in terms of trying to win from the start of the season and win a big race,” he said.

    Back to the Vuelta

    A return to the Vuelta instantly brings back memories of this year’s race, when Bos was prevented from starting the race after routine pre-race controls showed a low level of cortisol in his system. Under UCI rules he could have lined up for the race but with Belkin a member of Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC), the rider was forced to remove himself from completion. Bos was eventually cleared to race and carved up six stage wins in the Tour of Hainan in China but the episode at the Vuelta has left him raw.

    “We did the test the day before the Vuelta. Then the doctor said there was a problem with the cortisol level. You don’t really know what that means but you know it doesn’t sound good,” said Bos.

    “With the MPCC rules I couldn’t start but we did some research and went to see some specialists so we could see what was happening. They said it was due to the inhaler I have for asthma. I did some tests then with and without the inhaler and with these blood samples we went to an independent expect in Maastricht to verify that the inhaler was influencing my levels. It’s good that I could prove that but it came with little satisfaction.”

    The Vuelta episode meant that Bos missed out on riding a Grand Tour in 2013 but he found some level of solace at the Tour of Hainan, in which his team won every single stage, and the overall. Bos' six stages plus his wins in Criterium International, Algarve, Langkawi and the Elektrotoer balanced out his season.

    “If you look to victories it was my best seasons. It was good, the season before was also good, but I’m not super happy after what happened with the Vuelta. I’ve got mixed feelings about this year,” he said.

    “Criterium International was a nice victory but the best for me was at Elektrotoer when, just before the Tour de France I beat the three big sprinters. It was a really tough stage, with a lot of wind. I had good legs and great form. You had Kittel, Griepel, Cavendish and then me. I went early and had a small gap and it was a really nice feeling to win.”

    And as for Hainan, there’s every chance of Bos returning to the race in 2014.

    “We took it really seriously. We travelled eight thousand kilometres to do the race so we took it seriously. But it was good fun too. Okay the competition wasn’t that high and there weren’t super, super sprinters but winning is always painful and difficult. Of course we thought about letting others win, but a win is a win. Now though the selection for the race is more competitive than the one for the Tour de France. Everyone from the team wants to go now.”

  • Sagan ready to take on Cancellara in 2014

    Green jersey Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    December 26, 2013, 12:10
    Stephen Farrand

    Cannondale rider talks about his cobbled Classics rivalry

    Peter Sagan is convinced he will continue to mature and improve in 2014 as he learns the secrets of winning the cobbled Classics and so how to defeat his biggest rival and often his biggest critic Fabian Cancellara.

    Sagan will be 24 on January 26, the last day of the Tour de San Luis, where he will begin his 2014 season. He is eight years younger than Cancellara but won Gent-Wevelgem and 21 other races in 2013, dominated the green points jersey competition for a second year at the Tour de France and finished second to Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) at Milan-San Remo and was second to Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders.

    "I think I've done better every season and 2013 was definitely a good season. There's always something you can improve, you can always do better, you can always win more, so you can never be satisfied. That's how I approach life and my racing," Sagan told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview at the recent Cannondale training camp.

    "I make mistakes in races but you can always learn from your mistakes. I'm sorry I didn’t win Milan-San Remo. I'll remember losing the sprint to Ciolek for the rest of my life but now I've got over it, I've learn from it. I think I'm gaining more and more experience all the time. I'm becoming more automatic in how I do things, I feel I'm getting better and better."

    Natural born leader

    Sagan's development is almost visible to the human eye. Physically he is stronger and leaner, while mentally he seems able to handle the pressure and notoriety of being one of the biggest names in the professional peloton. He laughs and jokes during the interview and when with his teammates but quickly turns serious when necessary. He appears to be a natural leader; he is both inspiring and demanding with his teammates. He lead his group during a training ride but was not afraid to speak his mind about his team's performance in the team time trial race created by new coach Sebastian Weber.

    "I hope I can be a good leader," he said.

    "I think a leader has to be a good person, treat other people the right way and have charisma, so I try and lead by example be honest and sincere."

    Taking on Cancellara

    Cannondale has several different team leaders, including Ivan Basso, Moreno Moser and sprinter Elia Viviani but Sagan is now by far the biggest name in the team. Sagan knows he be team leader in all the spring Classics, including Paris-Roubaix in 2014. It will be up to him to take on and beat Fabian Cancellara if he wants to prove he is now the best Classics rider in the peloton.

    Cancellara is often irritated by Sagan's impertinence and arrival as the heir to his cobbled Classics crown.

    The Swiss star recently suggested Sagan could suffer under the pressure of expectation on his young shoulders in 2014. When Sagan hears Cancellara's attempt at pre-season mind games, he laughs and responds blow for blow, just as he would in a race scenario.

    "He's the one who'll be under pressure to win in 2014… Sagan told Cyclingnews with a mischievous laugh.

    "I've still a lot of my career ahead of me to win. I don’t know how long he can keep going for?"

    "I can't understand why there needs to be a war of words in the press but he likes to talk a lot. But the wheel always turns in cycling as we say… He talked a lot about the world championships in Florence but what happened?"

    "I'm joking a bit, of course. Fabian's a great champion. He and Tom Boonen are the riders I grew up watching on television and now I'm racing against them."

    "I don’t know if he said that because he's trying to provoke me or if he simply doesn't like me but I admire him. He always does well in the races he targets. So if I lose to him at the Tour of Flanders like I did last year, I just have to accept defeat. He was stronger than me and won. We'll see what happens in 2014."

  • 2013 Reader Poll: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic group voted best new product

    Shimano has won the 2013 Cyclingnews Reader Poll's Best New Product category with the redesigned Dura-Ace 9070 electronic group
    Article published:
    December 26, 2013, 17:45
    James Huang

    Second straight win for a Shimano electronic groupset

    Shimano won last year's 'best new product' category with its shift-by-wire Ultegra Di2 electronic group and once again has taken the top spot – this time with the redesigned Dura-Ace 9070 electronic group.

    Shift performance remains as robotically precise and consistent as ever but the new package is now more customizable and offers more features than ever before. Missing on the previous version but included here is a new multi-shift function where users can not only get multiple shifts by holding down a button but they can also specify the maximum number of gears the derailleur will move and how quickly.

    Dura-Ace 9070 users can even specify individual button functions and the multitude of additional wiring ports mean you can place an army of additional shift buttons virtually anywhere. And to top it all off, the new group is a bit lighter than before, too, despite the additional functionality – all the makings of a winner.

    Garmin's new pedal-based Vector power meter was outlandishly late to market – by nearly four years. Even so, its multi-sided sensor array, compact size, low weight, and easy-to-transfer design have clearly captured the interest of Cyclingnews power meter users. While not quite entirely hiccup-free, our long-term testing has nonetheless shown it to be a reliable – and convenient – option in an increasingly crowded market.

    While the rollout has been rocky to say the least, SRAM nevertheless still secured third place with its groundbreaking Red 22 HRD group – the first component package to offer integrated, fully hydraulic disc brakes for road and 'cross applications. Recall issues aside, the significance of this move can't be ignored. Lots of folks have been waiting for this day to come, and for some it couldn't have come soon enough.

    2013 Best new product voting:
    1 Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic group 28%  
    2 Garmin Vector power meter 25%  
    3 SRAM Red 22 HRD group 14%  
    4 Stages power meter 10%  
    5 SRAM/Magura hydraulic road rim brakes 7%  
    6 Schwalbe tubeless road tire 7%  
    7 Electronic suspension from RockShox/Fox/Magura 4%  
    8 Recon Jet heads-up display glasses 3%  
    9 Pioneer power meter 1%  
    10 Smith Forefront helmet 1%