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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 24, 2013

Date published:
October 24, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Exclusive interview with Simon Gerrans

    Simon Gerrans (Orica - GreenEdge)
    Article published:
    October 23, 2013, 22:24 BST
    Jono Lovelock

    Hip fractures, shorter seasons, Spring Classics and the Yates twins

    Simon Gerrans is fully recovered from the hip fracture he incurred during the third stage of this year's Vuelta, an injury that later saw him withdraw from the race and put his World Title ambitions on the shelf for another year. With his 2014 season subsequently brought forward by a month he is now back training with renewed vigour, with an Ardennes Classic and a rainbow jersey standing as the remaining red rags to his bullish motivation. Gerrans has also been buoyed in recent weeks by the announcement that Orica GreenEdge have signed Simon and Adam Yates, Esteban Chaves and Caleb Ewan.

    After Gerrans won the third stage and took the yellow jersey at this year's Tour de France, Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) tweeted the following apt appraisal:

    "Awesome ride @simongerrans. The Sniper of Cycling. When he targets something...he never misses."

    With a laugh and a modest acknowledgement of such evaluation, Gerrans selflessly attributed his success in hitting targets to his teammates and the support network around him. He also revealed, however, that missing a target does take its toll.

    "The world’s road race was one of my big goals this season," Gerrans told Cyclingnews. "It was a course that suited me really well and I planned my whole second half of the year … well, following the first week of the Tour de France that was my big goal. So it was pretty disappointing to crash out a month beforehand. But what can I say?"

    With such disappointments behind, however, Gerrans is well into the familiar motion of planning his next attack, citing a trophy cabinet bereft of a Spring Classic as his...

  • Cookson investigators seized UCI computers right after election

    UCI Presidential Candidate Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    October 23, 2013, 23:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Security company Kroll took back-up tapes

    Minutes after the UCI Congress declared him president, workers for international security and investigations firm Kroll swept into the UCI headquarters in Aigle and seized computers and other property from the offices there.

    According to the Financial Times report and Cyclingnews' own sources, computers, back-up tapes and other IT equipment were taken as soon as the election results were relayed.

    "They had to secure the computers," Mr Cookson told FT. "They took all the back-up tapes and all the IT stuff. They were available to make sure that nothing was destroyed that shouldn't be destroyed."

    Kroll specialises in fraud, financial, bribery and other investigations with an expertise in computer forensics.

    Cookson, however, did not believe that important evidence had been shredded: "I don't like to think there was anything that serious, but we had to take the precaution," he said.

    Cookson was elected on a platform of moving the UCI from a closed to a transparent management system, and to root out corruption and conflicts of interest. He has pledged to create an independent anti-doping agency for the sport, and is in favor of an independent review panel ("truth and reconciliation") to give former dopers and their enablers a chance to come clean.

    The article gave no indication of what is being investigated, but a dossier of evidence was, prior to the election, put into the hands of the US Anti-Doping Agency which alleged that former president Pat McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen had engaged in corrupt activities such as bribing team managers and covering up...

  • Betancur to make Tour de France debut in 2014

    Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) at the Vuelta a Espana.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2013, 2:57 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Pozzovivo likely to miss out due to cobbles in week one

    After claiming the white jersey at this year's Giro d'Italia, Carlos Betancur is set to make his Tour de France debut in 2014 on a route ripe with opportunities for punchy riders, although the cobblestones on the stage to Arenberg in the opening week are likely to rule his teammate Domenico Pozzovivo out of Ag2r-La Mondiale's line-up.

    "For the moment, Carlos Betancur wants to do the Tour and I think that the route should suit him, although I still have to talk to him about it," Ag2r-La Mondiale Vincent Lavenu told Cyclingnews at the route presentation in Paris on Wednesday.

    "For Pozzvivo, I think he will concentrate on the Giro again because with the pavé, the Tour doesn't suit him as well as the Giro. I think Pozzo should do the Giro and Vuelta, and Carlos should be at the Tour, although nothing is set in stone yet."

    Betancur was a particularly aggressive presence at the Giro, and the Colombian's fifth place overall finish was founded not only his ability to follow the principal contenders in the high mountains, but also on his willingness to go on the offensive on days for the puncheurs. The 2014 Tour's extended stay in the Vosges could provide Betancur with an attractive springboard at the end of the opening week.

    "There are a few big mountain stages but there are also some semi-mountain stages with finales designed for puncheurs, and that should suit him," Lavenu said. "There are two nice moyenne montagne stages in the Vosges, and we could already start to see the general classification take shape there. The Alps are avoided a bit this year, although there is still a nice stage over the Izoard to Risoul."

    In spite of race director Christian Prudhomme's desire to infuse the Tour...

  • Missing in action: Where is Matthew Lloyd?

    Australia's Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) soloed to victory in stage six.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2013, 5:26 BST
    Jono Lovelock

    Exclusive interview with former Australian Champion

    Matthew Lloyd has been down, out and missing from the forefront of world cycling, but he is not about to hang it up. Lloyd has spent the last three months undergoing an intensive regime of rehab and chiropractic care back home in Melbourne, Australia, as he goes about realigning his body and his mind. Despite being without a contract for next season the current Lampre rider told Cyclingnews that he remains confident of an "explosive" two years to come.

    Lloyd made the remarkable leap from club debutant to ProTour rider in just three years, with an array of results including a third place overall at the Baby Giro sealing him a ride at Predictor-Lotto for 2007. In 2009 he broke part of his spine at the Amstel Gold Race but recovered strongly by 2010 when he won a stage and the mountains jersey at the Giro. Later that year, however, he was hit by a car which sparked shoulder and ongoing spinal injuries that still plague him to this day.

    For those who have observed Lloyd as fans over his seven years as a WorldTour cyclist, he has won a dedicated following thanks to his left of centre perspective on things. When pressed on whether he was going to retire, he played true to his reputation:

    "It's funny you know because not many people ask the question to me ‘are you going to retire?'" he told Cyclingnews. "All I hear is people calling me up, wanting me to do interviews asking me the question that someone else is too afraid to ask. So that's good that you're asking, because I actually enjoy it. I think it ties in well with what I've told you beforehand, I'm looking for the right environment and I don't have any questions that the next two years will be very explosive."

    Lloyd's optimism for the future comes from the recent work that he has done with Melbourne based...

  • Video: Cavendish looks forward to 2014 Tour de France

    Mark Cavendish seemed happy with the number of stages for sprinters
    Article published:
    October 24, 2013, 7:05 BST
    Cycling News

    British star keen for start in the United Kingdom

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step) is looking forward to the 2014 Tour de France after attending the route launch in Paris on Wednesday.

    After noting that the Tour is always hard, regardless of the route, he said to Cyclingnews, "It's ok - I'm no longer nervous about making it to Paris. I'm excited about it. It's the same old seven or eight sprint days, and obviously, the first one is in my mom's hometown. It'd be nice to try and get the yellow jersey again."

    Cavendish called the 2013 Tour a success for his team, noting four total stage wins, two of which were by himself.

    Looking ahead to next July, he said, "It'll be a great first week. We're looking forward to it with three stages in the UK and one in Belgium that finishes with cobbles. That will be a big ambition for our team."

    While it's possible that his Belgian teammate Tom Boonen might come along to the Tour next year, Cavendish wasn't speculating on who might make up the squad.

    "I haven't had time to speak to my team yet about who we might take to the Tour de France next year. The route just got released," he said.

    "I'm sure we'll have a great team for the Tour de France. We have a lot of experience and heart on this team. We'd like to go in and make a great show and be successful next year."


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  • Nibali could ride Flanders to prepare for the Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
    Article published:
    October 24, 2013, 10:14 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Martinelli: "It's a good Tour for Vincenzo"

    Vincenzo Nibali was not at the 2014 Tour de France presentation on Wednesday, preferring a cruise for cyclists organised by Gazzetta dello Sport to a day in Paris. However he no doubt liked the testing route, knowing that the limited amount of time trials and five mountain finishes will give him a chance to challenge Chris Froome for overall victory. Nibali finished third in the 2012 Tour de France, behind Bradley Wiggins and Froome.

    The inclusion of a series of steep climbs, narrow roads and testing descents will also suit the Sicilian, with Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli revealing that Nibali could ride the Tour of Flanders to prepare for the cobbled stage.

    "It's a good Tour for Vincenzo," Martinelli told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "There are stages with hard climbs that are largely unknown and its been years that the Tour hasn't done them all in the same edition of the race. It'll be important to know the roads but there's no point in going crazy with the reconnaissance. It's good for us that there's only 54km of time trialing because that's where we loose out to Froome a little bit."

    Martinelli admitted that he is worried about the nine sections and 15.4km of cobbles on stage five in northern France. Nibali often targets the one-day Classics but not the cobbled Spring Classics. The Tour de France cobbles could mean he could includes the Tour of Flanders in his 2014 race programme, to get a taste of racing on the cobbles.

    "The only bad thing about the Tour is the pave, even if we expected it," Martinelli said.

    "The stage will make us consider a new strategy and different choices when it comes to our preparation. Training on the cobbles doesn’t make much sense because racing is so different to training. Paris-Roubaix is too extreme for...

  • Yorkshire promises "greatest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France”

    Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, proudly presented Yorkshire as the hosts of the Grand Depart
    Article published:
    October 24, 2013, 10:43 BST
    Peter Cossins

    First details of Tour’s third stage also released at Paris presentation

    Yorkshire is aiming to deliver what Welcome2Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity says will be the “greatest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France.”

    Speaking at the 2014 Tour de France presentation in Paris, Verity claimed that “The Grand Départ will put Yorkshire on the map as a destination capable of hosting world class events in a world-class location, providing a springboard to greater things. We are excited, we are proud and we are ready to welcome the world.”

    Verity has long insisted that the Tour de France start in Yorkshire will be about much more than the two race days in the county. He and his team are now beginning to release details of how the Tour will be celebrated and leave a lasting legacy. These include way marking the two Tour stages, holding a sportive on those roads prior to the Tour, and a 100-day cultural festival.

    “We will raise the bar for all future hosts with our Cultural Festival 100 days before the race, two stunning stages and a legacy that leaves a cycling imprint on the county which lasts for generations,” Verity claimed, admitting to being extremely nervous before delivering his bullish presentation in French at the Palais des Congrés.

    The Welcome2Yorkshire chief executive said he believed there will be “a minimum of one million spectators per day and probably closer to two million, that will depend on the weather. People will realise it is a once-in-a-generation thing and they will turn out in big numbers.”

    Speaking to Press Association Sport, he said: “Today is another huge milestone and...

  • Video: Kittel feels no pressure for Tour de France green jersey

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won his fourth stage of the Tour on the Champs Elysees
    Article published:
    October 24, 2013, 11:40 BST
    Cycling News

    German sprinter weighs in on the 2014 route

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) enjoyed a breakthrough Tour de France in 2013 as the 25-year-old German sprinter won four stages, more than any rider at this year's edition, plus spent a day in the yellow jersey.

    Kittel emerged through the chaos of the opening day, featuring the Orica-GreenEdge bus getting stuck at the finish line, and with his victory on stage 1 he claimed not only the first Tour stage win of his career but also the maillot jaune.

    The German sprinter then claimed stage 10, stage 12 and closed out his first complete Tour de France in fine fashion with a victory in Paris - ending Mark Cavendish's four-year run of success on the Champs-Élysées.

    Kittel attended the presentation of the 2014 Tour de France route on Wednesday in Paris at the Palais des Congres and had a favourable impression of next year's parcours.

    "I like the first half," Kittel told Cyclingnews with a laugh. "The second half is really hard for the sprinters."

    "I guess there are maybe five or six opportunities for the sprinters during the whole Tour de France which is quite okay."

    While Kittel claimed four stage wins in this year's Tour, he finished well off the pace of Peter Sagan regarding the green jersey classification. The Slovak phenom won his second straight green jersey this year, amassing 409 points, while Kittel placed fourth in the classification with 222...