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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 17, 2011

Date published:
November 17, 2011, 11:00
  • 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
    By:
    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
    By:
    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 that the whole scheme and how I race a bike is thrown in to the blender. I don't want to do that. I would rather show what I can do as a rider than go chasing points and messing up the politics of the team."

    Yet King acknowledges that a rider's fortunes can change quickly. His fellow American Craig Lewis suffered a broken femur, and was just coming back when his HTC-Highroad team announced it would fold, making his search for a new team all the more difficult. King had his own serious crash in Philadelphia this summer, which ended his hopes of racing in the Tour de France.

    In 2010, King's Cervélo team suddenly announced it would end, and while other riders were folded into the Garmin-Cervélo line-up, he had been fortunate enough to secure a contract with his Italian squad in advance. "Cervélo said they were pleased with my performance, and I was optimistic I'd be offered a contract there, but for the sake of your own career, you have to keep searching anyhow." When Cannondale stepped up its involvement with Liquigas it was seeking some American riders, and King was offered a contract prior to Cervélo's demise. "I was glad I had other options coming into the crux of contract season. When you see Cervélo fold at the 11th hour there were a lot of guys scrambling because they didn't know if the team would cease to exist or what."

    No fixed address

    Riding for an Italian team has had its challenges - the first, and most obvious, was the language barrier, but King is happy to report his Italian has gotten better after a year of practice. Floating between his Italian base, his parents' house in New England and staying with friends, King doesn't exactly have a fixed address. However, he has found a home on the Internet: having mastered social media first as a way to keep up with friends and family, he's become a popular online personality through his blog and Twitter persona, 'IAmTedKing'.

    "It's evolved into something I really enjoy, but it's not something I planned," King said. "It's on a bigger scale [than updates for his family], but it's still an ongoing thought process in my head - what you read, that's what I'm thinking.

    "I think it's great because cycling's unique in a ton of ways, and one is the interaction the riders can have with the public and with fans - you train on public roads - it works in collaboration with the openness in the sport, and opening up transparency - saying where I am, what I'm doing, where I'm meeting."

    King said he is frequently invited to rides when he announces where he is on Twitter, and that he was able to meet up with a college friend who is now at Stanford University to ride with the collegiate team.

    "I'm a huge proponent of collegiate cycling because that's where I got my start in the sport. There were 40 or so riders, a good pace, and amazing riding down in Palo Alto. I think the public nature of social media opens those doors rather than closing doors on privacy."

    King will head next to Italy for the 2012 Liquigas-Cannondale team's first training camp, and there he will find out what his schedule will be for the year.

    "I completed two Giros, and I'd be thrilled to go back and do some more Grand Tour racing. But as an American, I can see myself racing the Tour of California while the Giro's going on. I'm perfectly happy with that. I think the Tour of California is heading in the right direction, and I love racing on home soil."

    A schedule that includes the Tour of California, as his did last year, will line him up for the US Pro national championships and hopefully a shot at being selected for the Tour de France.

    "That will be a great segue to go to the Tour. That will be my goal. I'd love to put a Tour on my palmares."

  • 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, 00:20
    By:
    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 Valverde won a stage there in 2006.

  • 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, 01:02
    By:
    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, 01:15
    By:
    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, 02:50
    By:
    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 holds himself to. That's made finding a team for next year that much harder and as the Australian explained to Cyclingnews has him now considering his future in the sport.

    "[The fall apart] of Pegasus was just massive. I mean it's one of those things where you think you've finally had your big break. I think a lot of guys thought that," said Crawford. "It's a lot easier once you get your foot in the door but I've never had that opportunity. I thought [that opportunity] was Pegasus but we know how that went. Late last year I had options, but I just don't have the same options this year.

    "I think as well it's been a bad year to have a bad year. It's not just me looking for a ride, there are a lot of good guys still looking for teams, which is a sign of how things are at the moment.

    "The situation is really difficult, you've got family obligations, you have to pay the bills and the rent, and as much as I love cycling, there comes a point where you have to confront walking away."

    GreenEdge?

    It's a bitter irony that had the new UCI points system come into effect last year, rather than this year, Crawford would have been an attractive option for many WorldTour teams. GreenEdge had even been in contact with Crawford earlier in the year, but with his key points from 2009 expiring for 2012, and the tightness of the application process, they told him he'd have to look elsewhere.

    "I had some contact through my manager, and there was certainly interest, but it really did come down to the WorldTour points, and after this year I didn't have any."

    Other teams have expressed interest in Crawford but for whatever reason things just haven't gone through. One professional continental team was very close to signing Crawford, but negotiations broke down at the last minute. In the worst case scenario Crawford is willing to get another job and ride on the NRS but that really is worst case and he's still holding out for something from one of the continental teams who have not yet filled their 2012 roster.

    "It's November, so it's getting late, but there are definitely teams who I hope will still make contact. It's terrible when you look at guys like Bernard Sulzberger, who's a great bike rider has had to go to such a small team like Raleigh but that's the state of things."

    "If nothing comes through then I'll have to try and make a bid for nationals. Hopefully I can do something there, but otherwise I'll have to consider calling it quits.

    "My wife is really supportive of what I do. But it's also myself, it's really not an option to ride next year for nothing, we want to build a family and [riding for nothing] wouldn't be in our interest."

    Tags:
    climber
    interview
  • World Ports Classic added to European calendar

    Huge crowds lined Rotterdam for the Tour's depart.
    Article published:
    November 17, 2011, 04:33
    By:
    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
    By:
    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.

    Biciciclismo.com 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 in good form earlier this season.”