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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 17, 2011

Date published:
November 17, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Gent-Wevelgem takes on the Casselberg twice in 2012

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) wins the 2011 edition of Gent-Wevelgem.
    Article published:
    November 16, 2011, 17:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spring Classic to introduce a women's race

    Gent-Wevelgem in 2012 will be longer, include two climbs of the Casselberg and for the first time feature a women's race. The race will be run on Sunday, March 25, 2012.

    The race distance will increase from 205 to 235 kilometers, and will include two climbs of the Casselberg, reported De Standaard.  The “vicious” climb is located near the border town of Cassel and is known from the Four Days of Dunkirk.

    “That is all in hope of getting some movement in the peloton,” said race directors Hans De Clercq and Frank Hoste.

    Another new feature will be a race for women on the same day. In 2012, it will only be ranked as a national race, but it is intended to become an international race.

    On Saturday, March 24, there will be several races for recreational riders There will be special races  for women, under the rubrik Think Pink, which promotes awareness of breast cancer.

    Tom Boonen won the 2011 edition of the race, for the second time since 2004.

  • Ted King: The loyal domestique

    He is Ted King
    Article published:
    November 16, 2011, 21:00 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    UCI points scheme won't change support role

    American Ted King has made a comfortable career for himself in professional cycling as a loyal and effective support rider. But the Liquigas-Cannondale man does not see the role of the domestique being changed by the UCI's system of choosing WorldTour teams based on the points accumulated by the riders.

    Often finishing off the back or well out of the points, domestiques can have a difficult time demonstrating their value to a team come contract time, especially when a team's place in the WorldTour can be decided by a matter of four points.

    While King lacks a single WorldTour point, he had a chance to shine at the US national championships, where he took third, and he has helped teammates like Peter Sagan rack up enough to ensure Liquigas-Cannondale's place in the WorldTour, and because of that he doesn't see the new points scheme devolving the sport into an every-man-for-himself endeavour.

    "It's an interesting year with teams folding and merging, and there are a lot of dynamics in terms of the teams that still exist, but I don't foresee people changing the way they race," King told Cyclingnews during a visit to San Francisco. "If you're a second-tier rider trying to make it, that's going to affect things differently - [the points] are going to affect your salary, but I don't see the politics of racing changing."

    Of course, King is in the midst of a two-year contract so he admits that he hasn't focused on the possibility of points impacting his ability to secure a job. "It's not something I'm stewing on. I'm a domestique, I'm a support rider. I'm not out there searching for points. Once I do...

  • 2014 Worlds: 17 per cent "wall" at finish of the time trial

    Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) has two wins in the rainbow jersey already.
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 0:20 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Climbers and puncheurs a chance for Spain hosted championships

    The time trial of the 2014 road World Championships, in Ponferrada, Spain, will finish with a 9.5km climb. The unconventional course, at 39km long, has been unveiled by the online magazine Revista Desde la Cuneta and is a far cry from this year's parcours in Copenhagen. While some riders in this year's event were pushing 58 tooth chainrings, the same won't be the case in three years time.

    The final climb to San Cristobal de Valdueza is an average gradient of 5.9 per cent and ramps up to 17 per cent close to the finish, offering the climbers and puncheurs a better chance to capture the title.

    Though the climb starts out softly, it ramps up violently at the three kilometre mark. To support any potential bike change, the organisers may install team boxes at the foot of the ascent.

    A former professional and designer of the Spanish Worlds' courses, Emilio Villanueva, explains he wants to create a show "like in a Formula 1 event", with a massive crowd on the final climb. Such a concept has appeared very popular at the Giro d'Italia in recent years.

    Villanueva added by explaining that he wants to break the routine of rouleurs like Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and all-rounder Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), 2011 time trial World Champion, from dominating the time trial event.

    "Usually it's possible to say who will be on the podium three or four years before. Here I think it's totally unpredictable."

    The course will likely be given a test run ahead of the world championship event, with Spanish national championship organisers considering the use of the course in 2013 or 2014.

    The San Cristobal de Valdueza is part of the Alto de El Morrenero, and has been used in the Vuelta a Espana twice before. In 1997, Robert Heras captured the stage atop the climb and more recently Alejandro...

  • Buy your favourite cycling magazines from Apple's Newsstand

    You can buy all your favourite cycling magazines digitally through Apple's Newsstand
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 1:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    New application launched as part of new iOS 5 operating system

    Cyclingnews' sister magazines – Cycling Plus, Procycling, What Mountain Bike, Mountain Biking UK and Triathlon Plus – are now available in digital form via Apple's new Newsstand.

    The application has been launched as part of the company's new iOS 5 mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

    It works in a similar way to iTunes and iBooks, automatically storing content bought from Apple's App Store – in this case magazines and newspapers – in a single 'library'. If you're a subscriber, your Newsstand folder is automatically updated every time a new issue comes out.

    Click here to buy a digital copy of Cycling Plus

    Click here to buy a digital copy of Procycling

    Click here to buy a digital copy of What Mountain Bike

    Click here to buy a digital copy of Mountain Biking UK

    Click here to buy a digital copy of Triathlon Plus


  • Goss and O'Donnell to headline 10th anniversary of Launceston International

    Matt Goss was not happy with silver
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 1:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Women and men to race separately for first time

    The Launceston International criterium is fast approaching, with a world class field of including Matthew Goss in the men and Bridie O'Donnell in the women lining up for the premier Tasmanian event.

    The Classic is celebrating its 10th year and has gone back to where the race was held in its inaugural year with the start/finish line located at the International Hotel in Launceston with a 1km circuit around the Launceston streets.

    Instead of the usual Christmas timeslot, the race has moved to work together with event promoter USM who are also hosting the Launceston Pro Ex events in the week leading up to the International. For the first time in the event's history, organisers have made a separate women’s race which starts at 6pm. This move has drawn praise from some of Australian’s best women cyclists, including Bridie O’Donnell.

    "It’s fantastic. With the races in NSW and the Bay series, it’s wonderful to have a standalone event for cycling," O’Donnell said.

    "It helps people understand and recognise some of the leading criterium riders in the country. It also means that the general audience can get exposure to the way women race which is different from the men. I’m really thrilled the organisers have put this event on."

    Defending champion Matthew Goss is aiming to capture his 4th victory in the race and is the hot favourite. A number of Australia’s other top professionals such as Richie Porte, David Tanner, Cameron Wurf, Ben Grenda and Wes Sulzberger will also be riding.

    There will be a distinctive NRS feel to the race as well with local team Genesys Wealth Advisers led by sprinter Steele Von Hoff and 2011 NRS champion Nathan Haas in attendance. Drapac Professional Cycling, Budget Forklifts, V Australia, and Search2Retain will also all be fielding teams.

  • Crawford facing prospect of premature retirement

    Too old to ride: Tasmanian Jai Crawford (Giant Asia) is unable to ride in the tour; Crawford isn't registered with the UCI and failed in his attempt to officials to allow him to race
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 2:50 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    "Bad year to have a bad year" for Australian climber

    Cycling can be a cruel master as Jai Crawford will no doubt testify. Contractless for 2012, Crawford is facing the prospect of a premature retirement - something that would have seemed hard to contemplate just 12 months ago.

    Back then, Crawford was fielding offers from several teams on the back of an impressive debut year in the US, capped by a stage win and fourth overall at the Tour of Utah. That came after a break-out 2009 in which the 27-year-old finished runner-up at the three of the major Asian Tour races, the Tour of Langkawi, the Tour of Malaysia and the Tour de Korea.

    But the decision to link up with the ill-fated Pegasus project in late 2010 proved to be the start of things unravelling for Crawford. What seemed a dream move quickly turned awry when the team collapsed in early January, leaving Crawford and many others in limbo. Team rosters were more or less full, and unlike a number of higher profile professionals like Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter who were awarded eleventh hour contracts, Crawford was left teamless.

    Regardless however he ploughed on. Off the back of a strong ride at the Australian national championships, Asian based Giant Kenda came out of the woodwork and offered him a lifeline in February to ride in his pet race, the Tour de Langkawi. Perhaps thematically however a paper work error meant he was unable to be registered with the team in time for the start and was forced to sit-out the race.

    While that issue was eventually overcome and Crawford did manage to complete a fullish season with Giant, his 2011 has been so derailed by interruptions, that he has stuggled to string together the same consistency of years past. He has posted top ten overall results in the Tour de Kumano, and the Tour of Tasmania, but neither race are representative of the high standard Crawford...

  • World Ports Classic added to European calendar

    Huge crowds lined Rotterdam for the Tour's depart.
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 4:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Iconic cycling cities Rotterdam and Antwerp to host inaugural race

    A new two-day stage race, the World Ports Classic, will take place August 31-September 1, 2012. The event was launched overnight by the ASO, with early details about the race released. Feted to start in Rotterdam and finish in Antwerp, the race will be categorised 2.1, with 18 teams expected to attend.

    Speaking at the launch Christian Prudhomme, said the race had been a long time coming.

    "It's exciting to have a new race in Belgium," said Prudhomme. "This is a new experiment, a new race crossing between two iconic cycling countries."

    Though the exact nature of the stages is yet to be released, Prudhomme specified that each day would be no longer than 180 kilometres in accordance with UCI regulations, and that the course would have some similarity to the Tour de France stage that passed through the area in 2010.

    "Whilst cycling is successfully exported to all continents, old Europe is also showing it can be pro-active," said a following statement from the ASO. "It is not by chance that the initiative stems from the two countries where bicycles have a greater right of way than anywhere else in the world. It is also natural that an elite race should link the Netherlands to Belgium, each country having given so much to the history of cycling."

  • Menchov about to sign with Katusha for 2012?

    After a slow start, Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) has found his legs on this Giro.
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 10:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Russian and Rodriguez would divide up grand tours

    Denis Menchov is said to be on the brink of signing with Katusha for the coming year.  The Russian would share the team leadership with Joaquim Rodriguez, with the pair dividing up the grand tours between them. cites the Moscow News as saying Menchov's signing is “imminent.”  Menchov said, “Personally I'm ready to sign.  We have discussed the fundamental aspects of the contract.  Now everything depends on the decision of the management team.

    “Katusha is very interested and I've said many times that I was interested. For me and my career, it is the right decision.”

    Menchov rode this year for Geox, which is still searching for a sponsor for the coming year.  He finished only eighth in the Giro d'Italia and fifth in the Vuelta a Espana. He has won both races in the past, the Giro in 2009 and the Vuelta in 2005 and 2007.

    Rodriguez has already said that he would like to target both the Giro and the Vuelta, which would leave the Tour de France for the Russian.  Next year's Tour is more suited to Menchov than to Rodriguez, anyway, as it contains nearly 100 km in time trial.

    He had hoped to take Geox teammates Mauricio Ardila and Dmitriy Kozontchuk with him, but admitted that now looks unlikely.  “Autum is coming to an end and the available space is tight everywhere and Katusha is no exception. I can only say that we will talk about it.”

    Menchov is already thinking about the coming year,saying that after vacation he has started on “a general physical preparation. In late November, I have plans to start more seriously and take the bike. I'll try to get...