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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 6, 2014

Date published:
March 06, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Wiggins to make Strade Bianche debut

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 19:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Porte to defend Paris-Nice title

    Team Sky today revealed its line-ups for the weekend's races, Strade Bianche and Paris-Nice, announcing that Sir Bradley Wiggins will make his debut on the white dirt roads of Italy, and that Richie Port will head up the team in defence of his Paris-Nice title.

    Wiggins will be joined in the eighth edition of the Strade Bianche by Italians Dario Cataldo and Salvatore Puccio, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Ian Stannard, Bernhard Eisel, Luke Rowe, Ian Boswell and Nathan Earle.

    Stannard, Eisel and Wiggins will get a break for Roma Maxima on Sunday, being replaced by Chris Sutton, Ben Swift and Josh Edmondson.

    Sunday also marks the start of Paris-Nice, and Australian Richie Porte will aim to defend his title with the help of Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Gabriel Rasch, David Lopez, Geraint Thomas, Xabier Zandio and Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    The Norwegian will also aim for results in the sprint stages.

  • Bos happy with start to 2014

    Theo Bos (Belkin) wins stage 7 of the Tour de Langkawi
    Article published:
    March 05, 2014, 23:10 GMT
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Sprinter looking for first grand tour stage win

    After winning his second stage victory at the Tour de Langkawi Theo Bos (Belkin) believes he is on the right track this season for his attack on the classics later this month.

    "I am happy with the form,” Bos told Cyclingnews. "Qatar was a really hard race. I finished one time third and here the form is also really good. I feel good going uphill and the heat is not a problem. So yeah, I feel good and the legs are good and hopefully the results will come."

    This is the second year that Bos has chosen to use the Malaysian race as part of his preparation for the classics. Last year he finished with two victories, but with three more stages available it is possible that he could add a few more before he goes home at the weekend. Bos believes that the Tour de Langkawi's tendency towards the sprints, allows him and his team to get they practice they need early in the year.

    "There are a lot of sprints here and it's good for us to work together, to learn about the sprinting and, for me also, to ride sprints. In the beginning of the season it's something you have to get used to. It's not something you can really train to do.

    "I hope I can do better, it's not so easy to win races but I try for sure. Like I say, the most important thing is to have good condition, good legs and good form. For example a race like yesterday (stage six) was a big chance for us, but in the final if it doesn't go 100% and you don’t sprint for the victory.

    Bos' big target for the early part of the season will be Scheldeprijs, where his best result was third in 2012, and a possible tilt at the national title. This year Bos is also on the hunt for his...

  • Rui Costa happy with start to 2014

    World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) resplendent in the rainbow jersey
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 0:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    World champion adjusting to life in the rainbow jersey

    As Rui Costa prepares for the 2014 Paris-Nice, his Lampre Merida team have published the first of two interviews on their website with the Portuguese world champion as he won't be conducting face-to-face interviews during the race.

    While Costa has so far notched tree second places he explained on the Lampre-Merida webpage that he always looking to the future and thinking about new goals

    "I always think that the best moment will happen in the future ... if we work hard and we have good health. When I think about the past, it is obvious that I achieved nice victories. But I never like to think that it is enough," Costa said. "I had good moments ... but I am sure that the future will be better."

    As a rider who generally only gets to stand atop the winnners podium later in the year, Costa's first win in 2012 was in June while last year it was in April, the Portuguese national time trial champion is building his form for the Tour de France and isn't concerned about a lack of victories so far this year.

    "I normally start the seasons in good shape but my victories and my best shape are always in the summer. Anyhow, I want to win races as soon as possible. In Algarve, for example, I was there times second and against big riders as [Michal] Kwiatkowski or [Alberto] Contador [but] my goals are more in March and April than February."

    Having left Movistar for a one-year deal at Lampre, Costa explained how he is settling in with the new team and how his Italian lessons are progressing.

    "When I had...

  • UCI to strengthen anti-doping programme

    Newly elected UCI President Brian Cookson speaks
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 1:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Audit by Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations recommends changes

    Following an audit performed by the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations [iNADO], which was commissioned by the UCI, after the election of new UCI President Brian Cookson in September last year, the sport's governing body has announced it will strengthen its anti-doping programme in accordance with findings and recommendations by iNADO.

    The audit assessed the current UCI Anti-Doping Programme, its on-going suitability and effectiveness and made recommendations for its improvement. Conducting the iNADO audit were Anne Cappelen, Director, Systems and Results Management, Anti-Doping Norway and Marjorit Nurmi, Quality Manager, Finnish Anti-Doping Agency, and focused on the work of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation [CADF] which operates anti-doping procedures in cycling on behalf of the UCI.

    The iNADO audit is totally separate and autonomous from the Cycling Independent Reform Commission [CIRC] which is investigating allegations of wrongdoing at the UCI and doping culture in professional cycling from 1998-2013.

    The audit also covered the work of the UCI's Legal Anti-Doping Service (LADS) which performs all its results management. The audit included a review of Test distribution planning, training and accreditation of doping control personnel, doping control procedures, results management and data security, access to information and information flow controls.

    "I would like to thank iNADO for conducting this important audit and for its recommendations to help enhance the effectiveness of the UCI Anti-Doping programme," Cookson said.

    "I was pleased that the audit found that the Biological Passport programme is outstanding and that Results Management is excellent. The UCI will now make the necessary changes to policies, structures and procedures in order to further improve the programme and ensure compliance with the 2015 WADA code."

    The CEO of iNADO, Joseph de Pencier, echoed Cookson's statement to the UCI...

  • Evans to lead BMC in Strade Bianche

    Sammy Sanchez and Cadel Evans rode their first race as teammates at Haut Var
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 3:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gilbert chooses Roma Maxima instead

    The BMC Racing Team has taken a divide and conquer approach to the weekend's races in Italy, naming Cadel Evans as the leader for the Strade Bianche on Saturday, while Philippe Gilbert will head up the squad in Roma Maxima the next day.

    While Gilbert is a past winner of the Strade Bianche (2011), he opted to leave the leadership to Evans, who prevailed on a stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia which covered some of the same dirt - or mud - roads, in favor of Roma Maxima.

    "I chose this race because in Strade Bianche, we already have a lot of leaders," Gilbert said. "I have never done it, so it will be a good experience for me. But my form is good, so I will be looking to get the best result I can."

    BMC will field new recruit Samuel Sánchez in both races, along with Manuel Quinziato, Darwin Atapuma, Dominik Nerz, and Larry Warbasse. Evans, Steve Morabito and Michel Schär will be replaced by Gilbert, Yannick Eijssen and Ben Hermans on Sunday.

    Directeur sportif Valerio Piva is counting on a trio of riders for the Strade Bianche, which has ten sectors of white gravel roads in the 197km route, with an uphill finish in Siena. "Cadel Evans, who has already won a stage of the Giro d'Italia on this course ... will be our leader," Piva said. "Certainly Samuel Sánchez seems to be in good shape and I will give him a chance ... But also Michael Schär also did a great race here last year and is very motivated."

    For Roma Maxima, Fabio Baldato will direct the line-up led by Gilbert. "Our leaders for sure will...

  • 2014 An Post–Chain Reaction team announced

    2014 An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 4:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Six new signings for Irish development outfit

    For the seventh year running Irish cycling will benefit from the sponsorship of An Post with the UCI Continental squad retaining a core of young riders such as Marcus Christie, Ryan Mullen and Conor Dunne while Jack Wilson and Sean Downey have been retained for the year ahead.

    The An Post Chain Reaction team had their best ever season on the UCI European Tour last year in thanks to Sam Bennett who is riding for the Pro-Continental NetApp-Endura team in 2014 but have replaced the Waterford man with six new faces.

    Several of the team’s rider have excelled on the track with Glen O'Shea having just won the team pursuit world title with Australia in Cali, Colombia at the Track World Championships. O’Shea is one of two Australian on the team with Robert-Jon McCarthy the other. McCarthy already has one win to his name which came at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in the town of another fast bolter, the horse Black Caviar, in the Victorian town of Nagambie.

    The Irish National U23 Time Trial Champion, Ryan Mullen is another rider who also spends time in the velodrome and he narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the individual pursuit at his debut track world championships.

    New Zealand's Aaron Gate, who claimed a bronze medal in the Men's Team Pursuit in Cali, is the 2013 omnium world champion and for his second season at the team will be joined by countryman Shane Archbold.

    Having impressed in his debut season last year, 20-year-old Jack Wilson will be hoping to replicate his form from last year.

    "I was really happy with...

  • Moolman shows early spring form at Le Samyn des Dames

    South African champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Emma Johansson and Sofie De Vuyst on the Le Samyn podium
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 5:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Aggressive race by South African champion

    For Hitec Products, the 2014 Le Samyn des Dames proved to a successful day racing as Ashleigh Moolman placed second and Elisa Longo Borghini came in eight but there was no stopping Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) from opening her 2014 win account, overpowering Moolman and Sofie De Vuyst (

    The South African national, and African continental champion was quick to praise the efforts of her teammates despite the "hectic" final five kilometres of the 116km race which was made up of one 27km loop and four tough 21km circuits featuring two short climbs.

    "My team did an awesome job from the start. We raced aggressively and were represented in every major break away," Moolman said.

    "I tried to keep my cool and go with the flow. As we took the last corner with about 800m to go I suddenly found myself on the front. At this point I felt I had two options. I either sit up and take the risk of someone jumping me, or I sprint early. I took the sprint long and unfortunately I was passed by Emma Johansson just before the line.

    "Any one of us could have podiumed today, it just turned out that I was at the right place at the right time entering the uphill sprint. It was really great to finish with five Hitec riders in the front group and two in the top ten."

    Team Director Marc Bracke was happy with how the team rode and they prepare for the upcoming 17th edition of the nine race-UCI Women's Road World Cup with the Ronde van Drenthe on 15 March.

    "The plan was to be aggressive when we entered the finishing circuits...

  • Report: Sagan to ride for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015

    Peter Sagan wins stage 4 in Oman
    Article published:
    March 06, 2014, 9:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cannondale to follow Slovak to Tinkov's team?

    Peter Sagan has reached an agreement to ride for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015, according to a report in Thursday’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport. The Slovak’s contract with Cannondale expires at the end of this season, and Gazzetta reports that the deal will see Tinkoff-Saxo ride on Cannondale bikes from next season.

    Sagan had been linked with a possible move to the new team that Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso will establish in 2015, but was also in talks with Astana, where he would have been reunited with former Liquigas teammate Vincenzo Nibali and former trainer Paolo Slongo.

    Gazzetta reports, however, that Astana were unwilling “to put an offer of €4 million on the plate,” while Alonso’s squad is yet to announce a title sponsor for next season.

    Tinkoff-Saxo’s budget, meanwhile, has been significantly bolstered by Oleg Tinkov’s purchase of the team this winter, while Sagan’s agent, Giovanni Lombardi, is close to manager Bjarne Riis, having raced under the Dane at CSC.

    According to Gazzetta, Cannondale will cease to sponsor its WorldTour team in 2015, and will instead bring its reported €6.5 million budget with it to Tinkoff, where it will be technical supplier and – perhaps – second sponsor to replace the departing Saxo Bank.

    Tinkoff-Saxo are currently equipped by Specialized. Alberto Contador, who has a contract with Tinkoff in 2015, is also tied to a personal contract with Specialized, but Gazzetta claims that “an agreement to rescind the deal could be found.”

    In October of last year, Oleg Tinkov had been in discussions to purchase the Cannondale team, but ultimately pulled out of talks and reached an agreement to buy Riis’ WorldTour licence.