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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 30, 2014

Date published:
January 30, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Drapac announce Herald Sun Tour squad

    After the break is caught Darren Lapthorne makes an attack
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 23:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian team keen to continue aggressive racing from Tour Down Under

    Having made their debut at the Tour Down Under last week, Drapac Professional Cycling's summer of racing continues at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour on Wednesday, 5 February.

    Upgrading to Pro Continental level for 2014, the Melbourne-based outfit featured in breakaways at the national championships and Tour Down Under over the past month with Will Clarke claiming three most aggressive awards at the South Australian race.

    Drapac return to their home Tour with a versatile team capable of continuing their characteristic style of racing and claiming stage wins with a trio of riders who will look to feature at the pointy end of Wednesday's Prologue – a 2.5km individual time trial in the heart of Melbourne – and will start as one of the favourites to take the leaders jersey into the first road stage.

    Current under-23 national time trial champion Jordan Kerby was the winner of last year's prologue and his results at the race put him on the cycling map.

    "I'm in pretty good shape coming off the nationals. I kicked back a little bit afterwards and then ramped up the training again," Kerby said.

    "The Sun Tour starts with a 2.5km prologue in Melbourne. I'm excited for that because it's what I like to do. It's nice and technical so it should be pretty exciting. I'd like to do a good stage there."

    Joining 21-year-old Kerby is 2013 Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic winner Jack Anderson and 2012 Tour Down Under stage winner Will Clarke.

    The 28-year-old also has his sights set on the race against the clock having animated the road of the Tour...

  • African Wildlife Safaris and OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling announce Herald Sun teams

    Rhys Gillett (African Wildlife Safaris) takes the stage finish at Great Lake
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 23:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    More teams announced ahead of Australian race

    With the start of the 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour less than one week away, two more teams have confirmed their participation and teams for the 2.1 race. Having successfully applied for a UCI Continental license, African Wildlife Safaris have announced a strong team six man team who are all under 26-years of age.

    Having claimed the KOM at the 2013 Australian national cycling championships, 23-year-old Rhys Gillet will be looking at the final stage to Arthur’s Seat as a possible victory. Joining Gillet is up and coming talent Nathan Elliot, Shaun O’Callaghan, Jeremy Cameron and the Spencer brothers, Jason and Trevor.

    Jason Spencer is the eldest member of the team at 25-years-old and is the 2013 Victorian road race champion. The young team are looking to learn from their experiences racing against the high pedigree field as they look to capitalise upon the opportunities afforded to Continental teams and expand their racing into Asia.

    The OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team are sending an experienced squad down under with an international flair including the 2010 Tour of California KOM jersey winner, Thomas Rabou who is in his second season with the team. Five of the teams riders who will take place in the race, are currently taking riding the New Zealand Cycle Classic in preparation for next week. Joining the team in Australia will be 23-year-old Choon Huat Goh.

    The full OCBC team for the Herald Sun Tour is Australian Cameron Bayly, New Zealander Rico Rogers, 2011 Tour of Indonesia champion Eric Sheppard and Ying Hon Ronald...

  • Gallery: Katusha 2014 team presentation

    Igor Makarov and Viatcheslav Ekimov with the team
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 2:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sixth season in the peloton for Russian outfit

    Katusha hosted its 2014 team launch in Koblenz, Germany at the headquarters of bike manufacturer Canyon who are sponsoring the team for a third season. Katusha was the third ranked WorldTour team last year despite missing the Tour Down Under after initially not being granted a WorldTour license.

    For the second consecutive year, Joaquim Rodríguez  topped the individual WorldTour rankings which was also the third time Rodríguez has done so while at the Russian team.

    The launch was also a celebration of the five-year anniversary of the team and the Russian Global Cycling Project which made its racing debut at the 2009 Tour Down Under.

    Team owner Igor Makarov was on hand to extend his congratulations to the team. "Today we do not just celebrate the fifth anniversary of our main Russian cycling team and open the season of 2014 for Katusha, but we also celebrate a jubilee of the Russian Global Cycling Project. In the past five years, the Katusha Team, as well as the entire Project, have come a long way and gone through many trials. Fortunately, they have received a hundred times more success and victories in return. First of all, I want to thank our athletes, the Katusha riders, for the success they have achieved and their victories," he said.

    "I thank the sports directors and the entire technical personnel of the team for the immaculate job done along the way to our victories. I can tell you with all confidence that good luck smiled on us for all of these five years.

    "The Katusha Team has gained a great number of devoted fans, while the support for us on the part of the press made us confident that we had chosen the right track. Certainly, we cannot imagine our Team without our reliable...

  • Australian and international teams announce Herald Sun Tour squads

    Best young rider Jack Haig (UniSA)
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 5:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Strong field building ahead of next week's start

    With the opening twilight prologue under a week away, several more teams have announced their squads for the UCI 2.1 Jayco Herald Sun Tour which visits Melbourne, Bendigo, Ballarat, Nagambie and Arthur’s Seat. Having moved to early February in order to attract an international field, the race has certainly succeeded with the WorldTour teams Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge all competing.

    The change in date allows riders to compete at the Tour Down Under, NZ Cycle Classic and the Sun Tour for an extended racing period in Australia and New Zealand.

    While the WorldTour teams, minus Cannondale who has announced their team, are waiting to name their riders for the race, several Australian and international teams have named their riders for the event.

    The UCI Continental Team Synergy Baku Cycling Project will make their debut appearance at the Sun Tour with two Australians in 2012 National Road Series champion Luke Davisonwho also won Stage 2 at last year's race, and Patrick Lane. Also on the two team are two German sprinters, Christopher Schweizer and Daniel Klemme, and two time trial specialists, Elchin Asadov and Tural Isgandarov.

    Adding further...

  • Horner signs with Lampre-Merida

    Thumbs up: Chris Horner in red on the final day
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 9:11 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Veteran American inks a one-year-deal

    The Lampre-Merida team has confirmed the signing of Chris Horner, with the veteran American set to lead the Italian team at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

    The Lampre-Merida team confirmed Horner's arrival via Twitter, with Thursday's edition of the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper also publishing the news.

    Horner, who turned 42 in October, is expected to make his debut in Lampre-Merida's stand out blue and fuchsia colours at the Trofeo Mallorca next week and will probably also attend the Merida bike presentation on the Spanish island.

    Horner won the 2013 Vuelta a Espana but struggled to find a team for this season after refusing an offer from the Trek Factory Racing Team. He denied he is the redacted name labeled as rider 15 in USADA’s Reasoned Decision following the investigation into Lance Armstrong and doping at the US Postal Service team.

    He switched agents in January and former rider Baden Cooke quickly made contact with Lampre-Merida. Team manager Brent Copeland worked hard to convince the team's sponsor to fund Horner's contract and a one-year deal was agreed.

    More later..

  • Volta a Catalunya releases race route for 2014

    Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) kept the race leader's jersey in Catalunya on stage 6
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 10:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Two mid-race summit finishes likely to decide overall

    The Volta a Catalunya, Spain’s oldest stage race, has released its route for the 2014 edition , with a very similar format to 2013: no individual or team time trial, but with two tough mid-race summit finishes in the Pyrenees likely to decide the overall outcome.

    Just as last year, when it was won by Ireland’s Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), the seven-stage Volta kicks off with a rolling trek on the hills around the coastal resort of Calella and finishes with multiple laps of a hilly circuit inside the Montjuic Park in Barcelona.

    The mountain climbing appears to be slightly easier than last year, with stage three’s first summit finish at La Molina (Alp) ski resort coming after a long, steady 12 kilometre climb.

    Stage four to Valter 2000-Setcases - tackled on stage three last year - could be a very different story: preceded as it is by five climbs and culminating with the difficult 12 kilometre ascent to the Pyrenean ski resort. Last year the Valter 2000-Setcases ascent saw some spectacular attacks by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who won the stage, whilst the climb was also witness to some of Sir Bradley Wiggins strongest mountain riding of the entire season. (The Sky rider finally finished fifth overall).

    The 2014 Volta will also feature a special intermediate sprint in honour of 1950s and 60s Catalan great Miguel Poblet, who died last year. Half a century on, Poblet remains the record holder for stage wins in the Volta - 33 - and was twice the outright winner.
    Whilst the race participation has yet to be finalised, local star Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who finished second last year and won the race outright in 2010, has confirmed he will be taking part.

    Monday March 24: Stage one: Calella - Calella: 165 kilometres

    Tuesday March 25: Stage two: Mataró - Girona 171.2 kilometres

    Wednesday March 26: Stage three: Banyoles - La Molina (Alp) 162.9 kilometres


  • Report: Details of the Lampre Mantova investigation emerge

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) has had a disappointing 2013 campaign.
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 12:55 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Corriere della Sera lifts the lid on the slow moving doping trial

    While Thursday's Gazzetta dello Sport broke the news that Lampre-Merida has signed Chris Horner for the 2014 season, the Corriere della Sera newspaper, also owned by the RCS Media Group, has published apparent details of the Mantova doping investigation, where 25 former riders and staff linked to the team are on trial.

    Alessandro Ballan and the Mantova pharmacist Guido Nigrelli have already been banned by the Italian Olympic Committee. Ballan claimed he underwent ozone treatment to help him recover from the Cytomegalovirus but the WADA code prohibits any treatment that includes blood manipulation. Ballan reportedly plans to appeal against his two-year ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but has been sacked by the BMC team. Nigrelli has been banned for life.

    The judge handling the Mantova trial recently ordered a specialist engineer to analyse 26 DVDs containing phone taps, video and other data collected by police during the investigation. They are considered a vital part of the trial but the public prosecutor and the defending lawyers disagree on exactly what was said because many of the conversations are in Veneto dialect.

    Medicines seized during four police searches of the team between March and May 2009, will also be analysed and identified. The trial will finally begin in earnest on October 31, with 250 possible witnesses.

    Saronni steps aside

    Corriere della Sera describes Nigrelli as the 'right-hand man of Lampre team manager Giuseppe Saronni.

    Saronni won the rainbow jersey in Goodwood in 1982 with a legendary late attack and was an Italian idol during the cycling boom of the seventies and eighties. He has now officially stepped aside as team manager at Lampre-Merida, with Brent...

  • Simon and Cofidis looking for wins

    Julien Simon (Cofidis)
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 16:45 GMT
    Pete Cossins

    French puncheur among the favourites for Sunday's GP Marseillaise

    The French season kicks off this coming Sunday at the GP Marseillaise, where new Cofidis recruit Julien Simon is likely to be among the favourites. The 28-year-old puncheur joined Cofidis after five seasons with Sojasun, the last of them very disappointing as Simon went through it winless and latterly focused on finding himself a new contract after his sponsor decided to pull the plug.

    Although there was some interest from WorldTour teams in Simon, who won five races in 2012 when he emerged as one of the best French riders in the bunch, the Breton opted to follow four of his Sojasun teammates to Cofidis. They weren't exactly flush with success last year either, mustering just 10 victories, but none at all at WorldTour level. Consequently, a winning start for Simon on Sunday would be very good news for his new employers as well.

    Simon says his preparation for the new season has gone well and he can't wait to put his form to the test. "If I look at the figures, I'm doing very well with my weight and everything looks good in terms of power output as well, which is a good sign. I want to celebrate a victory as quick as I can. My first peak in form is going to come very soon, from mid-February on, so I can't wait to get going," he told

    He certainly comes into the new season better prepared than last year, when doubts about Sojasun's survival provided an unwanted complication. Only once he had signed an agreement with Cofidis at the end of last August did Simon feel that he could focus entirely on racing once again.

    "It needs everything to fall into place for me to have a really good year. But if I do get on an upward spiral and in so doing I can boost the team's drive for victories then so much the better," said Simon, who admits Cofidis' bosses have signed him to win races. "The good...