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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 8, 2011

Date published:
December 08, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Di Luca looks to Giro d'Italia with Acqua & Sapone

    Danilo Di Luca (Katusha)
    Article published:
    December 07, 2011, 15:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    New team for 2007 Giro winner

    Danilo Di Luca will sign today with Acqua & Sapone, according to the Italian media. His main goal of the 2012 season will be the Giro d'Italia, which he won in 2007.

    He announced a month ago that he would join the Italian Professional Continental team, and has attended the team's training camp in Francavilla al Mare.

    "I've been training for three weeks. It is important to start strong and immediately achieve a result,” he told Gazzetta della Sport.  “I am not angry or have the desire for revenge, only the desire to win again as I have always done. For several years I have been missing success.” He did not have any wins this season.

    He will open his season at the Tour of the Mediterranean, Trofeo Laigueglia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, if the team is invited.

    Also dependent on a wild-card invitation would be the Giro d'Italia. “Obviously the Giro is the ultimate goal of the season for me. I have already won it. I like the route. There are stages for the sprinters and attackers, however, as always it will be decided in the third week.

    “I just need a win. I have as much enthusiasm as ever. If I can get back to my level, I have no fear of anyone. I can fight the best of the new generation, like Nibali.”

    He thanked Team Katusha, which gave him chance this year in his return upon his return from a doping ban. "I will always be grateful to [Andre] Tchmil and will maintain a good relationship. But the direction has changed and I have not been confirmed. Honestly, I think I can still give a lot,” the 35-year-old said.

  • 2011 Reader Poll: Garmin-Cervélo Cervélo S5 wins best team bike

    Garmin-Cervélo enjoyed its best Tour de France ever, including a stint in yellow for Thor Hushovd aboard the new Cervélo S5.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2011, 16:30 GMT
    James Huang

    Aero winning streak continues

    Cervélo's S5 aero road bike debut was hardly spotless. While touted as an ultra-aero machine, its numbers-driven design, P4-esque seat tube, and awkwardly proportioned front end also lit up the forums with less-than-flattering commentary. The naysayers are apparently in the minority, however, as Garmin-Cervélo's new S5 has handily won the Best Team Bike category in this year's Cyclingnews Reader Poll with a commanding margin and an unprecedented seventh straight victory for the Canadian company.

    By definition, aesthetics are subjective but ultimately the S5 is meant to be a race bike and Cervélo engineers were more concerned with decreasing wind resistance – after all, Garmin-Cervélo riders are more concerned with how their team comes across the finish line than how their bikes look rolling down the road.

    As a result, the nearly upright seat tube is offset rearward and closely follows the rear wheel, the compact seat stays are spaced further apart, the down tube is dropped nearly in contact with the front wheel, and the visually tall, teardrop-shaped head tube surrounds a straight 1 1/8in steerer instead of a more structurally advantageous tapered one.

    Designers even factored bottle placement into the aero equation and naturally, cable routing is fully internal.

    Big tube sections where they count, continued lay-up refinement, and Cervélo's BBright bottom bracket design supposedly yield a 12 percent boost in stiffness over the S3 and the top-end S5 VWD frame variant is even pretty light at a claimed 990g – in other words, a winning formula in our Reader Poll.

    Aerodynamic benefits are difficult to validate and nearly impossible to feel out on the road but readers are clearly smitten with the idea regardless with the...

  • to Three Days of West Flanders

    Team CykelCity took the top team award.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2011, 21:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    First Swedish team ever in the race

    Team will be the first Swedish team ever to start in the Three Days of West Vlaanderen. The Continental-ranked team said that it has received an invitation to the Belgian race, to be held March 2-4.

    “This is an historic start for both the team and the Swedish cycling,” said Aike Visbeek, the team's sports director.

    “More and more organizers of the big races want to see us at the starting line,” said Visbeek. “They have seen our aggressive cycling during the races in Belgium, Holland and France this year, and the fact that we have super talents like [Jonas] Ahlstrand, [Philip] Lindau and [Jesper] Dahlstrom gives us a place. This is really good for our riders to not just get better and get more experience, they may also show off in front of the big players on the continent.”

    According to team manager Johan Ottosson, “Our team should be more professional in all aspects. That we start in the big races such as this is important, especially for our international sponsors Shimano, Cervelo, Craft and Morgan Blue. This is a great success for our entire organization and will help the whole team to evolve further,.”

    The three-day race includes a time trial and three road stages. “Most stages are determined in sprints, so to be involved in Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen is incredibly motivating for me,” said the team's sprinter, Jonas Ahlstrand. “This sort of news is exactly what you need when you sit on the bike in the winter!”

    The team is expected to consist of 11 or 12 riders next year, all Swedish.

  • Video: Changes for Schleck brothers under new regime

    Fränk Schleck and his brother Andy will also work on their time trialling positions.
    Article published:
    December 07, 2011, 21:55 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    2012 programme defined only as far as Paris-Nice

    Andy and Fränk Schleck have yet to define their 2012 racing programme beyond March, but the brothers have acknowledged that there will be changes to their approach to the Tour de France under the stewardship of Johan Bruyneel at the newly-merged RadioShack-Nissan-Trek squad.

    This time last year, the then-nascent Leopard Trek prioritised team-building at its first gathering in the snow of Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Twelve months on and under new management, the Schlecks find themselves part of a more traditional training camp in Calpe, Spain, with a greater emphasis placed on putting in the miles out on the road.

    “It’s really different to last year, but I think this is better,” Fränk Schleck told reporters in the deserted ballroom of the Diamante Beach hotel.

    “Yeah, we’re ready to at the next camp to really work hard,” agreed Andy, seated next to him, before his elder brother corrected him: “Work harder.”

    Riders from the Leopard and RadioShack elements of the squad assembled for the first time in Belgium in late October to discuss their winter plans, and while it gave Bruyneel the opportunity to speak with his new charges, Fränk Schleck explained that the brothers needed to take some time before beginning structured work.

    “Of course we had some talks, but Johan also understood that we need this period to rest, to get some air. We’re not doing specific work on the road,” he said.

    Andy Schleck was reluctant to discuss the differences between his 2012 preparation under Bruyneel and that of years gone by, noting “if you ask me in June, I could tell you more.” Specific time trialling work will surely be a priority,...

  • GreenEdge announce sponsorship deal with Subaru

    GreenEdge general manager, Shayne Bannan
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 2:12 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Is a naming rights sponsor on the cards for 2012?

    While a naming rights sponsor has so far remained elusive, new UCI ProTour team GreenEdge has secured its first non-technical deal.

    Car manufacturer Subaru has signed a two-year sponsorship which is tied into an agreement that was announced concurrently with Cycling Australia, whereby funding to televise road, mountain bike and BMX disciplines with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) will receive a significant boost. Subaru will also assist AustCycle – an Australian Federal Government initiative to train the public in cycling skills – and aid the safety message championed by the Amy Gillett Foundation.

    GreenEdge General Manager Shayne Bannan said that the deal was a significant one for his team on several levels.

    "With Subaru, we have access to the perfect vehicles for all our different purposes and demanding tasks throughout the season. From the cobbled paths of Paris-Roubaix to the alpine roads in the Tour de France, we'll be driving great cars that suit the task at hand.

    "Also, and just as importantly, we'll be part of a great initiative promoting sustainability, safety and the joy of riding bikes. It's great to see a big, international brand like Subaru support such a valuable cause and we are very happy to be a part of it too."

    Technical sponsors Scott Sports and Santini were signed in March and April respectively.

    Bannan told Cyclingnews on Tuesday following confirmation of GreenEdge securing a ProTour licence that the job of selling to potential sponsors has just become a whole lot easier.

    "We took the philosophy that we were really going to focus on the brand GreenEdge, we were going to focus on getting the license and now we've done that we're in a position to create a really good image for the team which will hopefully entice a major partner over the next year or so."

    The team's financial backer, Melbourne-based businessman

  • Simon Cope joins Team Exergy Twenty12

    Peanut Butter & Co-Team Twenty12 prepares to get stage one of the Merco Cycling Classic underway.
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 3:44 GMT
    Mark Robinson

    Former British Cycling Academy coach and women’s road manager heading for the USA

    The New Year will provide a new challenge for Simon Cope, after the former women's coach at the British Olympic Cycling Academy accepted a new role with leading US women's road outfit Team Exergy Twenty12. Cope has signed an initial one-year deal with the team, which includes 2008 Olympic Time Trial winner Kristin Armstrong on its books.

    Cope spent five-and-a-half years working with British Cycling and in recent seasons, his role had developed to the point where he was also the women's team manager at the Road World Championships. But Cope was eager to stress to Cyclingnews that he wasn't making the Stateside move voluntarily – funding cuts at British Cycling meant that he was made redundant and was forced into looking for a new challenge.

    "The decision to leave British Cycling was taken out of my hands as I was made redundant," he said. "'Lack of funding' was what it said on my redundancy correspondence. I was made redundant as the Academy coach as there's really been no proper academy for 12 months or so now. Most of the riders have moved to pro teams and their spaces haven't been filled. For an effective road academy you really need six to eight riders and we were very limited on numbers.

    "My role had also evolved into becoming the women's road manager and I was involved at the last three world championships. But this didn't come into consideration when they made their decision."

    Cope will now turn his focus and considerable experience to the US women's road racing scene, and in particularly Team Exergy Twenty12. The team has become one of the most powerful and successful in the US and Cope, who spent several years riding in the US as a professional rider in the 1980s and 1990s, is excited by the challenge of making them even stronger.

    "I'm going over for the first time in mid-January and I'm very excited," he told Cyclingnews. "I won't be relocating full-time to the US but will be spending a lot...

  • Nuyens looking to repeat sensational spring of 2011

    Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-SunGard) is the happiest man in the world
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 6:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian says Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne unlikey

    Having made it back-to-back race wins at the Dwars door Vlaanderen and then the Tour of Flanders just over a week later in 2011, Saxo Bank's Nick Nuyens believes that the winning formula was struck will look to do the same this coming season.

    Speaking to Sporza at the Saxo Bank team camp in Israel, Nuyens said that although this plan will again likely mean missing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne – two races he won in 2005 and 2006 respectively – his overall focus must remain the De Ronde.

    "If I win the Tour of Flanders again then the decision was easy," he said before conceding he will be one of the favourites for the race.

    "Just as I'll be different throughout the year and I will be different at the start of the Tour of Flanders," he says.

    "I've never focussed entirely on the Tour of Flanders, but it's the race where I'm at my best.

    "I will focus this year on the Tour [of Flanders], but all races in this period interest me. If I can get a win, then that's fantastic. There are plenty of opportunities."

    De Ronde has finished in Meerbeke since 1973, but the finale will be altered in 2012. The race will no longer tackle the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg and will instead finish in Oudenaarde.

    Nuyens recently told Cyclingnews that the changes to the parcours means that in some respects the race will be an unknown quantity.

    "It will be a new experience for everybody, the spectators and the riders," he said. "Three times...

  • 2011 Reader Poll: Cavendish claims inaugural Twitter category

    Mark Cavendish at the start with his new rainbow jersey
    Article published:
    December 08, 2011, 8:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champ tops Cancellara, Millar

    He's the reigning world champion, winner of the Tour de France green jersey and 20 career stages in the race, but Mark Cavendish isn't just a stage winning machine, he's also quite a personality - and nowhere was that more apparent in 2011 than on the social media site Twitter.

    All of our nominees helped to show that social media can give the fans unprecedented access to the thoughts of professional riders - the day-to-day drudgery, travel woes, early anti-doping controls, and the racing highs and lows. It is for this reason that Cyclingnews created the best of Twitter category.

    Mark Cavendish's 140-character quips earned him a virtual victory margin as large as what he normally enjoys on the road - he earned 33.8% of the votes. That was nearly 2500 more than Fabian Cancellara's charmingly poor English (known as "fabianese") and David Millar's rapier-like wit. American Taylor Phinney claimed the fourth spot.

    Cavendish's Twitter comments give his fans an inside glimpse into what it's like to room with Bernhard Eisel, his life with model Peta Todd and his sometimes hectic life outside of racing, including photos of his new puppy, but it was quips like "Just saw todays last kilometre. Gilbert humbled everyone with the equivalence of pulling down his pants to reveal a 13incher. #YIKES" which earned him the top spot in our poll.

    Cancellara's second place was largely due to his mysterious code-like transmissions from the team hotels. "Our rooms they have 2 beds.There is a distance betwinn. but this night o'grady stolen my planket.Because he had cold.i taket back ;-)"

    A published author, David Millar's tweets are nearly as entertaining as his autobiography, with delightful 140-character peeks into the team bus such as this one from Beijing: "QOTD - Matty Wilson 'Anybody get their vaccinations?' Everybody 'No.' MW 'Ah well. I figure how bad can typhoid be anyway?' Everybody nods."

    Best riders on...