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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 28, 2013

Date published:
November 28, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Tom Boonen to start season in Argentina

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma QuickStep) crashes out of the Tour of Flanders
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 9:53 GMT
    José Been

    Belgian already preparing for classics campaign after injury-filled season

    Tom Boonen wants to forget 2013 as soon as he can. After a crash that ended his ambitions for the Tour de Flanders and the remainder of the Spring Classics, and an early end to the season because of a nagging perineal cyst, the Belgian rider has set his sights on 2014. 

    "I started training eleven weeks ago," Boonen told Sporza. " I started off with working in the gym to improve stamina and did core stability exercises. Now I am back on the bike but it's important not be in shape too early." 

    Boonen's first race kilometres of the new season will be in Argentina. "The Tour de San Luis is the perfect way to start the season, also because of the climate. After that I'll fly on to Oman and Qatar so that is one an a half months of good weather. That's an advantage towards the guy who stay in Europe." 

    In 2013, Tom Boonen missed two of these races because of injuries. He had an intestinal infection which cut his training days short before going to Argentina and made him miss the team training camp. He also missed the Tour of Qatar, a race he won four times in his career, because of a wound to his elbow he picked up while training on his mountainbike. The wound became infected and resulted in the hospitalization of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider. 

    The bad luck continued at Gent-Wevelgem, where he crashed and abandoned, while at the Tour of Flanders, a crash after 20 kilometres forced him to abandon. Boonen could not start in Paris-Roubaix and only returned to racing in May. His lone victory of the year came at the Tour de Wallonie, which was also the last outing in his season of just 46 race days.

    A perineal cyst then kept him off the bike for weeks, but a similar lay-off in 2011 preceded a fine 2012 season, and Boonen signed off for this year hopeful that he...

  • 2014 Tour de Pologne to feature stage in Slovakia

    Peter Sagan won the 2011 Tour de Pologne
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 11:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Gdansk start will mark 25th anniversary of 1989 peaceful revolution

    The 2014 edition of the Tour de Pologne will feature a stage finish in Slovakia that may well entice Peter Sagan (Cannondale) to line up, while the race will start in Gdansk to mark the 25th anniversary of free elections in the country and Poland's independence from the Soviet bloc.

    The race takes place from August 3-9 and while full details of the Tour de Pologne are yet to be finalised, organiser Czeslaw Lang has sketched out the route in broad brushstrokes. After an unusual Italian start in 2013, that saw proceedings begin with two mountainous stages in Trentino before a rest day and a transfer north to Poland, the race begins on home roads next year.

    "The route still needs to be made official, we have to work out some details and get some confirmations, but for the most part we have outlined an overall design for the 2014 Tour de Pologne," Lang said. "It will all start in Poland; after a few years' absence we've decided to return to the north. The stage for the kickoff will most likely be Gdansk, a very important city for its historical, cultural and political background."

    The dockyards of Gdansk were the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, the shipbuilders' union led by Lech Walesa that went on to play a major role in the fall of Poland's Communist regime in 1989. The port city had a diverse prior history that saw it pass back and forth between Polish and German control, as well as undergo two separate spells as a free city.

    The second stage of the Tour de Pologne is set to begin in Torun, the birthplace of emerging talent Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), with a finish in or around Warsaw. Stage 3 and stage 4 ought to have a familiar feel, with finishes planned for Rzeszow, where Thor Hushovd won in 2013, and...

  • British Cycling announce new dates for 2014 national road series

    The bunch leaving the quay at Ipswich
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 12:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Premier calendar rebranded British Cycling Elite Road Series

    British Cycling have announced the new calendar for their road series 2014. The biggest changes to the series for 2014 come with the introduction of the British Cycling Elite Road Series which replaces the Premier Calendar. This series is made up of the Spring Cup and the Grand Prix Series. This season Team Raleigh's Evan Oliphant won the overall classification of the Premier Calendar. 

    The Spring Cup consists of three races in April and May: Tour of the Reservoir 2 Day, Cycle Wiltshire GP and the Lincoln GP. The Grand Prix is a series of six races in July and August: Stockton Festival of Cycling, Ryedale GP, Circuit of the Fens, Stafford Kermesse, Leicester Kermesse and the UCS Ipswich and Coastal GP. 

    For 2014 the Elite Circuit Series will remain unchanged in format, a total of six events will form the series next season. The series will take place during July and will culminate with the series finale in Wales on 30th July.

    British Cycling also introduces a new tier of teams just below the UCI continental ranking: British Cycling Elite National Team. It will reward teams who meet a set of professional standards with a set number of benefits and guarantees inclusion into the Elite Road Series events. Along with UCI teams, the new Elite National Teams will be included in both individual and team overall rankings across the British Cycling Elite Road Series.

    The existing club team structure will still exist in its current format and National Series events will continue to be open to club teams and individual riders, although inclusion within the overall rankings for those series respectively will only be open to teams who have affiliated to the series for the full season.

    The British Cycling Women’s Road Series has ten races in 2014 again. The Cheshire Classic on the 27th of April is the first one. The series is concluded by the Stafford GP and Kermesse on the 1st and 2nd of August.

  • Ballan to appear before CONI hearing on January 16

    Alessandro Ballan going back to the team cars.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 13:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian faces two-year ban for alleged blood transfusion

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) has been called to appear before the Italian Olympic Committee’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal on January 16, where he will respond to charges stemming from the Mantova-based police investigation into alleged doping at his former Lampre team.

    CONI’s anti-doping prosecutor has recommended a two-year suspension for the former world champion, citing article 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency code, which forbids the "Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method."

    Ballan is alleged to have undergone performance enhancing blood transfusions during the 2009 season, but he claimed to Gazzetta dello Sport last week that he had not done so and had instead received ozone treatment to aid his recovery from Cytomegalovirus.

    However, one method of ozone therapy involves the withdrawal of blood, its treatment with ozone and re-infusion of blood. The WADA code forbids any form of blood transfusion. "I did an infinite number of controls and my biological passport speaks clearly. Do you think it’s right that I’ve been massacred because of this?" Balln told Gazzetta.

    Pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and doctor Fiorenzo Egeo Bonazzi have also been called to CONI hearings in Rome on January 16. They stand accused of trafficking or attempted trafficking and administration or attempted administration of prohibited substance or methods. The CONI prosecutor has recommended life bans for Nigrelli and Bonazzi.


    The police investigation was based...

  • Contador to follow "cyclical" build-up to Tour de France

    Alberto Contador poses for a photograph in front of Corcovado mountain in Brazil
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 14:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff DS Mauduit outlines changes from 2013 approach

    Alberto Contador will aim to have some peaks in form in the early part of next season, rather than replicating the more gradual approach he had to the Tour de France this year, according to Saxo-Tinkoff directeur sportif Phillipe Mauduit.

    Contador finished in 4th place at the 2013 Tour and has already signalled that he will start next season significantly later than he did this past campaign, when his first race was at the Tour de San Luis in January. He then looked to build his condition steadily towards July.

    In 2014, Mauduit said, Contador will instead aim to reach form early and win selected stage races, but he is likely to stay away from racing in late April and early May ahead of his final build-up to the Tour.

    "The option chosen in 2013 didn't fit with Alberto's physiology or with his psychology," Mauduit told L’Équipe. "In years gone by, he had set himself some very early targets, like Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Basque Country. We're going to go back towards this more classic approach." [Contador won Paris-Nice in 2007 and 2010, and the Tour of the Basque Country in 2008 and 2009 – ed.]

    "Some riders, like Alberto, need something more cyclical, where they have a big period of work, a peak of form, a rest period, then a new phase of work, a second peak of form… It's closely linked to the rider's motivation. If you don’t understand that, there’s every chance that you'll fail."

    While Contador seems set to begin his season at the Volta ao Algarve in February, and will ride both the Tour and the Vuelta a España, the...

  • CCC Polsat announces 18-rider roster

    Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat) before the Giro dell'Emilia.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 16:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Maciej Paterski is last rider to sign for Procontinental team

    Maciej Paterski became the 18th and final rider to join CCC Polsat. The Polish rider, who was part of Liquigas and Cannondale for the past four seasons, signed a two-year contract with the Polish Pro Continental team. After a year away from the highest tiers of road racing, the former Movistar and Quick Step rider Branislau Samoilau also returns to professional cycling with the team, and Davide Rebellin has signed on for another year.

    "Maciej Paterski has learned from his years at World Tour level," team manager Piotr Wadecki said. "CCC Polsat will ride many races abroad and Paterski's experience will be a valuable asset to the team. I think he will do well in the classical road races."

    CCC Polsat won 10 races this season with four victories for the 42-year-old Davide Rebellin. The former Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Amste Gold Race winner is one of 16 riders who is staying with the team. 

    "I must admit that I was very keen that Davide stayed with us. Last season showed how much he was needed in the team. Despite his age, he is still a classy rider. His great cycling experience, knowledge and commitment in preparing for races proved to be very helpful for all the team," Wadecki said about Rebellin, who will be the oldest rider in the pro peloton in 2014.

    "With Paterski, Samoilau and the contract extension of Davide Rebellin, we can match ourselves with the best teams in both the Classics as the stage races," Wadecki said.

    Apart from the Tour of Poland, the Pro Continental team didn't get any wild cards for other World Tour races. It did get invited for several one-day and stage races of the .HC category, but Rebellin's wish to compete in the Ardennes Classics once more, was not granted.

    CCC Polsat's complete roster for 2014 consists of Josef Černý, Paweł Charucki, Piotr Gawroński, Adrian Honkisz, Tomasz Kiendyś, Adrian Kurek, Jarosław Marycz, Bartłomiej...

  • Australian summer of racing kicks off with NSW Grand Prix criterium series

    Mark Speakman MP, Member for Cronulla Honourable Gabrielle Upton, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Chris Sutton, Rochelle Gilmore , Lachlan Morton and Phill Bates AM
    Article published:
    November 27, 2013, 22:45 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Wiggle-Honda sending a strong field for women’s event

    The two race NSW Grand Prix Criterium series begins at Cronulla this Saturday and concludes the following day in Wollongong. In its fourth year, the weekend race series has once again secured some of Australia's established road stars alongside future talents such as Caleb Ewan.

    Team Sky's Chris 'CJ' Sutton has delayed his trip to Majorca for a training camp to challenge for another win. "It's really one of my favourite races. I'm shire boy through and through," said Sutton.

    "I am going for a third title. It's not going to be easy as I'm a little bit unprepared. I started the season a bit later this year just changing things up a bit such as doing some more gym work." 

    The men's race will be stacked with talent and Sutton knows that he faces an uphill task to take home a third title.

    "I think it's going to be a pretty strong field all-round. You have the likes of Mark Renshaw and Leigh Howard as well as Tom Palmer who has been training a lot and has a good bunch kick on him. Caleb Ewan, I've done a few training rides within him and he's got a fast finish," Sutton told Cyclingnews.

    While favouring the mountains over criteriums, Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) will be racing on the Saturday as he continues to build his form for the 2014 season and is looking forward to the hit out.

    "A lot of the aussie guys are always good here. A guy like Caleb Ewan will always be good but it's also pretty open and the course lends itself to aggressive racing," Morton told Cyclingnews

    The women's field contains some hungry riders eager to impress in front of home crowds. Having announced the creation of...

  • Change in Australian national road race course

    Carlee Taylor (ORICA-AIS), Kimberley Wells (Specialized Securitor), Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) and Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) at the national launch
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 5:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    18 laps of 10.2km circuit for elite men

    The 2014 Australian National Road Championships will once again take place in and around Ballarat in regional Victoria from January 8-12, 2014. The road race has been shortened with the removal of the 25km loop which was introduced last year. The time trial has been moved from Lake Wendouree to the town of Burrumbeet, 23km from Ballarat city centre while the criterium course remains unchanged.

    All races in 2014 will be shortened with the elite men to cover 183km in 18 laps of the circuit. The combined women's elite and under 23 race is a 103km affair over ten laps while the men's under 23 race is three laps longer and 132.6km in length.

    The major change for the course from this year has been the removal of a 25km loop before entering the circuit. Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) won both the road race and time trial in 2013 and in doing so became the first male in the professional era to win both races in the same year

    Durbridge is keen to defend his title and will be a favourite even with the change in the course as he will have a strong Orica-GreenEdge team providing support.

    "It means a great deal for Australian cyclists, we really covet the green and gold [national] jersey," said Durbridge who also completed his first Grand Tour in 2013 – the Giro d'Italia, and won silver in the team time trial at the UCI World Championships.

    "I'm quite patriotic and I really enjoyed the experience of riding the Giro and Paris-Roubaix in the jersey."

    For the first time the men's race will feature two full-strength professional teams in Durbridge's UCI Pro Tour Team ORICA-GreenEdge, and Drapac Professional Cycling, which will be contesting its first event as a Pro-Conti team.

    It will be seven years...