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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 12, 2012

Date published:
January 12, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Bissell make plans for 2012 season

    An attack from one of the Bissell riders.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 13:18 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Aiming for repeat of NRC team title

    A trimmed-down Bissell Pro Cycling Team will focus on stage racing for 2012 with a roster that director Omer Kem believes will provide
    multiple options for stepping onto GC podiums and repeating as the top team on USA Cycling's National Race Calendar.

    The UCI Continental Team, which is entering its fifth year with Bissell Homecare as the title sponsor, will once again focus on NRC
    events and the UCI stage races but with a squad that has been cut from 15 to 11 riders. Not returning for 2012 are Rob Britton, Andy
    Jacques-Maynes, Shane Kline, Paul Mach, Jay Thomson, Kyle Wamsley and David Williams. New for 2012 will be former U23 riders Chris Barton from BMC and Carter Jones from the Trek-Livestrong Development Team.

    “I really wanted to have a more focused team,” Kem said. “And I think that meant being a little bit smaller. We had 15 riders last year, and
    it's just not a big enough schedule, just racing domestically, to warrant that many riders.”

    USA Cycling's plan to pull criteriums from the NRC and create a separate series with the National Criterium Calendar also helped drive
    the personnel decisions. Kem said the team will hit some races on the NCC schedule to gain the experience necessary to defend Eric Young's USPro citerium jersey, but the main focus will always be the stages races.

    “We proved that we can race a crit,” Kem said. “We've won the US crit championship two years in a row. But I don't think crits have ever
    really been a priority. And this just kind of reaffirms that for us, that we want to be the best stage racing team in the country with the
    NRC stage races and the big UCI tours.”

    Bissell hopes to develop a stage race attack from multiple quarters led by an experienced core group of riders who can “captain” the team on the road, Kem said.

    “I've got the guys I trust to make decisions on the road...

  • Gallery: Teams arrive for Tour Down Under

    Oscar Freire in his new Katusha team kit
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 14:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    WorldTour teams hit Adelaide ahead of race

    The 14th edition of the Tour Down Under starts next week and already a number of European and US teams have touched down in Adelaide, Australia ahead of the road season opener.

    The six-stage race enters a new post-Armstrong era but still boasts some of the biggest names in the sport, and will see the GreenEdge team make their full collective debut. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) also makes his comeback after suspension but really the main aspect of the race is its position both as a WorldTour event and its standing as the first major event of the road season.

    The Tour Down Under route itself has also been modified, with a shake-up in the form of the longed-for hill-top finish on Stage 5 at Old Willunga Hill along with a new classification process to be used for the first time for SKODA King of the Mountain climbs where Menglers Hill on Stage 4 and Old Willunga Hill on Stage 5 have received Cat 1 status.

    But for now the riders and teams are become acclimatized to the weather. Their first collective day in Australia was spent out on the bike, as this gallery of images shows. The riders are all based in the same hotel, throughout the race.

  • Garmin-Cervélo becomes Garmin-Barracuda

    Team Garmin-Barracuda: the new jersey
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 16:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vaughters secures new co-sponsor

    Slipstream Sports announced that Barracuda Networks has become Garmin’s co-sponsor for the 2012 season, replacing Cervelo after one season. Its team will ride as Garmin-Barracuda.

    “We are always looking for partners who, like Garmin, share our passion and commitment to the best innovations in technology, and Barracuda Networks is a perfect fit,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Director Sportif of Team Garmin-Barracuda. “The partnership with Barracuda Networks is long-term and the company will also allow Slipstream Sports to continue to pursue other co-title sponsor opportunities."

    Barracuda Networks provides content security, network performance and data protection solutions for organizations. In late 2010 Slipstream had tied down BigMat to a multi-year deal as a co-sponsor but the French company backed out of the agreement, which is going through legal proceedings. The financial gap left the team with a hole to fill and although Vaughters would not go as far as calling Barracuda a replacement he did acknowledge their importance within the team.

    “They’ve had an interest in cycling for some time. I don’t see this as a replacement to the BigMat deal but it’s a valuable partner. I’m excited.” he told Cyclingnews.

    Barracuda Networks were also pleased to announce its arrival as a co-sponsor, and added it was attracted to Garmin due to the team’s stance for ethical sport.

    “The incredible sense of teamwork, passion and determination, and commitment to innovation, align...

  • Indurain: I would have struggled on 2012 Vuelta a Espana route

    Miguel Indurain (right) congratulates 2011 Vuelta winner Juan Jose Cobo
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 17:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Five-time Tour de France winner on novel edition of race

    Miguel Indurain has admitted that he would not have been capable of winning the 2012 Vuelta a España, such is the amount of climbing packed into the race’s three weeks. The five-time Tour de France winner was speaking at the Vuelta route presentation in Pamplona on Wednesday.

    “With so many tough mountain stages, I would have been stuffed from the start,” Indurain said, according to Reuters. “It wouldn't have been possible for me to win this race, there are too many summit finishes and there’s very little time trialling.”

    While Indurain’s time trialling ability carried him to seven Grand Tour victories in the 1990s, he recognised that the Spanish riders of today struggle against the watch. The home nation's contingent will appreciate the welter of short, sharp summit finishes that dot the race.

    “This kind of route is exactly what the fans want, and the climbing specialists will have a great chance to win the race," said Indurain.

    The race will feature seven summit finishes, beginning in the Basque Country on stage 3 to Monte Arrate. The Vuelta will visit the Pyrenees at the end of week one, but it is likely that a troika of mountain top finishes in the final part of the race will decide the winner of the red jersey.

    After visiting Lagos de Covadonga and Cuitu Negro on consecutive days, the grand finale will come on the penultimate stage with a finish atop the fearsome Bola del Mundo.

    Notably, the longest stage of the Vuelta is just 194km in length, but while distances are down, Indurain noted that  “they’ve maintained the level of difficulty of the stages.”

    Hailing from Villava, on the outskirts of Pamplona, Indurain grew up riding on the roads featured on the opening two days of the...

  • Cancellara's 2012 preparation will be the same

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-NIssan)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 18:41 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Swiss rider looking to regain his time trial crown

    After a string of near misses in 2011, Fabian Cancellara could be forgiven for tearing up the playbook and starting again as the new season dawns, but the RadioShack-Nissan man is adamant that his preparation will not change ahead of the coming Classics campaign.

    “I’m doing the same things that I’ve always done because up to now that’s what has always brought me into great condition,” Cancellara told Cyclingnews. “Last year, the only thing missing was a bit of luck, but it’s just that luck is what counts.”

    The overwhelming favourite on the eve of the cobbled Classics last year after a resounding win at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, Cancellara fell short of victory in the monuments, and ended his spring campaign with podium finishes at Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

    In theory, the newly-merged RadioShack-Nissan squad should provide Cancellara with more robust support in the Classics than Leopard Trek did last year, but the Swiss admitted that he will miss his long-time ally, Stuart O’Grady, who left for pastures new at GreenEdge.

    “I’ll miss certainly O’Grady but I’ll have to live with that,” he said. “It’s going to be strange racing against him and he’s said the same thing to me. But in the end, I know what I have to do – I still have to work and give my all.”

    The winds of change that swept through 2011 also saw Cancellara’s iron grip on the world of time trialling loosened by Tony Martin. The first murmurs of unrest came when the German beat Cancellara in the time trial at the Tour de France, and the revolution was televised when Martin captured the world title in Copenhagen.

    In 2012, however, the empire is determined to...

  • Video: Wiggins comments on his brotherly relationship with Cavendish

    Mark Cavendish clinches the 2011 World Championship
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 20:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sky riders aim for Tour and Olympics

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) may have different race schedules leading into the Tour de France but the two riders are united by their drive for success at both the Tour and the London Olympic Games.

    Much has been made in media of the will they or won't they get on relationship but a relaxed Wiggins told the press that he sees Cavendish like a little brother. The two have had their disputes in the past, and fell out in the aftermath of the Beijing Games in 2008, but Wiggins stated that his "little brother" had slotted into the Team Sky camp and that he would bring a lot to the British team.

    There’s no doubt that the pair will come under pressure during the season, their every move scrutinised in the build-up to London but Wiggins appeared calm, believing that the mentality of the British team and that of Sky has helped.

  • Video: Meyer says it's scary how good Durbridge could become

    The men's elite podium (l-r): Cameron Meyer (2nd), Luke Durbridge (1st) and Michael Rogers (3rd).
    Article published:
    January 12, 2012, 0:48 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Defending champion "did all he could" but not quite enough

    It may have been a cruelly small margin that Cameron Meyer (GreenEdge) finished behind new national champion Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) in the elite men's trial on Tuesday, but the 24-year-old is the first to admit that Durbridge just "did it better on the day".

    "The whole point of time trialling is leaving everything out on the road," said Meyer. "You can't regret when you go back and think about what you could have done. Luke pushed seven seconds faster than me today so he deserves the win."

    Meyer completed the 38.2 kilometre course nearly a minute faster than he did in 2011 when he successfully defended his crown - but this year Durbridge was just too good. Meyer added that it was going to be a tough ask to unseat Durbridge, two years his younger, in the future.

    "I'm sure it will be hard to take back the title. Luke's a fantastic time triallist and you can see that whenever he goes out to race. Being so young it's scary to think where he'll be in the next few years."

    Watch the full video interview below.

  • New Kiwi road champion Williamson determined to take jersey back to Europe

    James Williamson (Pure Black Racing) wins the Elite Men’s race.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2012, 1:49 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    PureBlack Racing may continue on reduced budget in Australasia

    James Williamson hadn't planned to go full tilt at the New Zealand Road Championships but the collapse of his team, PureBlack Racing, changed all that.

    PureBlack folded in the first week of December citing a lack of financial support following a tough 12 months in New Zealand due to the Christchurch earthquake and the cash drain from the Rugby World Cup leaving a full squad of 16 riders in the lurch at the worst possible time.

    Williamson, 22, was planning to take his off-season and pre-season relatively easy before ramping things up prior to the European season getting underway.

    "I've always aimed pretty high at nationals and so this year I'd planned to not do that and have a summer where I was taking it pretty easy and do a slow build up because I was going to have a really full-on year starting February so I didn't want to be racing too much in New Zealand," he told Cyclingnews.

    His team's misfortune changed all that. Williamson took a few days to get his head around the news and then switched his focus to his national titles, held over the weekend.

    "I realised that I had an opportunity there to get something out of that race and I've done pretty well in it before so I knew if I could get myself into a position to do well again, having the elite title on the line was pretty massive motivation," he explained. "As a first year senior it was a big opportunity. I knew it was going to be pretty hard and it's always hard at that time of year because you don't know how everyone's going – you haven't seen everyone for so long.

    "I was confident but to pull it off was definitely, I was pretty stoked for that."

    Williamson, who won the national under 23 title in 2009, earned...