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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Date published:
December 11, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Righi, Marzano retire from riding for Lampre

    Daniele Righi (Lampre - ISD)
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 16:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Both riders will stay with team in technical roles

    Daniele Righi and Marco Marzano will stop riding for Team Lampre, but both Italians will continue with the team. General manager Giuseppe Saronni has found positions for both within the team.

    Righi, 36, has been with Lampre since 2003. He has ridden the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France five times each. As of the coming year, he will be “an active intermediary between Sport Service (reference point for functional evaluation and counseling for training programs) and the team’s riders, supporting the sport directors and the medical staff in monitoring the activities that will be performed in Sport Service."

    Marzano, 32, has spent his whole career with Lampre, joining it as a trainee in late 2004. His greatest success came prior to joining the team, winning the Baby Giro in 2004. The team said that he will “be an assistant of the technical staff and he’ll back the sport directors in organizing the logistics of the races, in collecting the data about the cyclists’ performances, in the evaluations of the courses and in the assistance during the races.”


  • Katusha denied 2013 WorldTour licence

    The Katusha team training on the time trial course
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 17:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Argos-Shimano, Team Saxo-Tinkoff among 18 teams granted WorldTour licences

    The UCI announced the complete 18-team WorldTour line-up for the 2013 season, with Team Katusha the notable squad denied a place in the peloton's premier division.

    The Russian squad of 2012 WorldTour champion Joaquim Rodriguez was one of the 15 teams previously named by the UCI as meeting the sporting criteria for inclusion in the 2013 WorldTour, but in today's announcement the UCI stated, "The request from the team Katusha for registration in first division has been rejected. In accordance with UCI regulations, this team’s application has been forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering this team as a UCI Professional Continental Team."

    Team Katusha told Cyclingnews they were unaware why they were denied a WorldTour licence, a fact confirmed by the UCI. "In fact they don't know exactly why they don't have a licence," the UCI told Cyclingnews. "They will know the rough details but they will formally find out in the next few days."

    It had been expected that the contest for the final WorldTour licence would come down to a selection between Pro Continental team Argos-Shimano and current WorldTour squad Team Saxo-Tinkoff, but both squads were granted a position in the 2013 WorldTour.

    The UCI announced that the full list of 2013 Pro Continental teams would be unveiled at a later date.

    2013 WorldTour teams

    Current licence holders approved on Nov. 2
    Astana Pro Team
    BMC Racing Team
    Lampre – Merida
    Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team
    Sky Procycling
    Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    Movistar Team (UCI decision of Nov. 16)

    Licences issued following Nov./Dec. commission meetings
    AG2R La Mondiale (2013-2016)

  • Argos-Shimano Team celebrates its new WorldTour license

    The Argos-Shimano team in the Tour of Hainan
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 18:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Progressive program pays off for Dutch team

    Team Argos-Shimano was granted a WorldTour license on Monday by the UCI. The team will make its WorldTour debut in 2013; it is the only team to make the jump up from the Professional Continental ranks into the WorldTour for next season.

    After satisfying sporting, ethical, financial and administrative criteria, the team was given a four-year WorldTour license, thereby assuring it of participation in all competitions at the highest level during that period.

    "This WorldTour licence is a reward for the combination of a strong group of riders and innovative coaching staff, who have managed to get into the WorldTour through their own efforts," said Iwan Spekenbrink, General Manager of Team Argos-Shimano. "It's greatly satisfying to work with a team that's growing mainly through developing itself."

    Spekenbrink credited his riders and staff for their hard work and talent. He also noted that the team's progressive approach was proving successful.

    "Team Argos-Shimano represents an innovative and modern top sport project, in which we take the responsibility of coaching our talented athletes totally and in all respects; a method that has been successful in other sports and will undoubtedly be applied elsewhere in cycling."

    The team's process is based on the 1t4i principle - team spirit, inspiration, integrity, improvement, innovation, which is directed at improving both individuals and the team, the riders' physical and mental talents are linked to intensive modern coaching, a method that has been shown to be effective.

    After hearing the news, one of the team's star riders, Marcel Kittel, tweeted, "Year baby!!! The @1t4i philosophy brought us the WorldTour License!! Congrats to everyone who is part, fan &...

  • Brammeier signs with Champion System

    Matt Brammeier (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) wins the 2012 Irish road race championship in Clonmel.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 19:30 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Irish champion takes aim at 2013

    Matt Brammeier has signed with Champion System for 2013 after spending the past season at Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The Irish champion only discovered that Omega Pharma-QuickStep would not be retaining his services when he read about it in a Belgian newspaper in September, and he was left with a late scramble to find a team for the coming campaign.

    Brammeier’s search for a team was complicated by the fact that he had no WorldTour points after two seasons spent riding in the service of others at HTC and QuickStep, and he admitted that the opportunity to ride for himself was part of his reasoning for signing for Champion System.

    “I was speaking to a few bigger teams, but I basically wanted to go to a team with more chances for myself,” Brammeier told Cyclingnews. “I need to start thinking about myself and getting some points on the board if I want to get back into the WorldTour and stay there. It’s a chance to score results and for my morale and motivation, I just want to make a step up and prove to myself that I can get some good results.”

    Although Brammeier will ride at the Pro Continental level in 2013, he should have a fuller race programme than he enjoyed at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, where places in the cobbled Classics were at a premium. The Irishman is hopeful that he will have the opportunity to score points on the Asia Tour and lead the line in the Belgian semi-Classics next spring.

    “At the moment, my programme is probably going to be a lot better than it was this year at QuickStep,” he said. “I think the team is hopeful on going to Qatar and Oman...

  • "Prohibitive" anti-doping costs force cancellation of Women's Tour of New Zealand

    Stevens wraps up overall victory.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 22:43 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Race organiser wants Oceania Cycling Federation to lobby UCI

    The UCI 2.2 Women's Tour of New Zealand has been scrapped for 2013 due to what the organiser calls the "prohibitive new drug-testing regulations" while the corresponding men's event, the NZCT Cycle Classic, will still go ahead.

    The Women's Tour of New Zealand was slated for February 20-24 but according to race organiser Jorge Sandoval, the costs associated with toughened anti-doping procedures imposed by the UCI which he says is around $60,000 for both events, would result in him presenting two inferior events.

    Auckland-based Drug Free Sport New Zealand can no longer handle anti-doping procedures at UCI events in New Zealand, explained Sandoval, with samples now needing to be sent to Sydney, Australia for processing.

    The decision to allow the men's event to survive, according to Sandoval, came down the existing sponsorships arrangements.

    "The naming-rights sponsor for the NZCT Cycle Classic has been secured for the last 12 months," Sandoval told Cyclingnews.

    "The calibre of riders we get for the Women's Tour of New Zealand is 10-times better than any men's field we'll ever have... it's unfortunate."

    Other costs add up from having a UCI anti-doping inspector, import duties on testing devices and then export duties on the transport of human samples to Australia. Sandoval explained that several months of attempts to raise the added funds came to nothing, forcing the decision.

    "The only way we're going to get around this is if BikeNZ, and if they're still around the Oceania Cycling Federation, talk to the UCI," Sandoval pleaded.

    "They [the UCI] cannot treat events in this part of the world like Spain and Italy. There needs to be a compromise."

    Sandoval is hopeful that the Women's Tour of New Zealand will return in 2014.


  • Gallery: MTN-Qhubeka Team delivers bikes in South Africa

    Tsgabu Grmay, Louis Mentjes and Jani Tewelde
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 23:43 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    World Bicycle Relief program provides 170 bikes with team's support

    Christmas came early to the Somalia Park informal settlement in Vosloorus, South Africa, when the newly minted Professional Continental Team MTN-Qhubeka arrived with 170 Qhubeka bicycles, earned by residents as part of a program which trades the sturdy World Bicycle Relief-designed machines for work.

    All 21 of the riders on the squad, including Giro d'Italia stage winner Ignatas Konovalovas, Germans Martin Reimer, Gerald Ciolek and Andreas Stauff, Spaniard Sergio Pardilla and Italian Kristian Sbaragli were on hand for the delivery. The team was joined by Olympic BMX racer Sifiso Nhlapo.

    Qhubeka founder Anthony Fitzhenry partnered with World Bicycle Relief to bring the program to South Africa, and since 2004 it has delivered almost 40,000 bikes, with an aim at an overall total of 1 million.

    The 20kg steel bikes include racks that can hold up to 100kg, so they're not only a means of transportation to get to school, shops or work, they can help empower people to start small businesses. One 11-year-old girl, Katleho, has earned six Qhubeka bikes by planting tree seedlings, which she rents out for 20 Rand for two hours, earning extra cash for her household. The trees are then delivered to the Wildlands Conservation Trust, which helps to reforest areas with native species.

    Others earn bicycles by collecting recyclables in the communities which have no basic city services such as garbage collection.

    The bikes save children many hours per week getting to school and back, a trip which by foot can take an hour or more but with two wheels takes only 15 minutes. This leaves more time for study and play. Other bikes are used to deliver goods such as bread or produce to sell, or bring in materials for housing.

    Team MTN-Qhubeka will be supporting the program throughout its 2013 season, donating proceeds from sales of its team kit and a portion of its prize money, as will sponsors MTN and Samsung.

  • Exclusive: PureBlack Racing's future in doubt, again

    James Williamson (New Zealand National Team) welcomes the customary 'Langkawi shower' after the stage finish in Melaka.
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 0:21 GMT
    Alex Malone

    Riders told to find another team, says team director

    It was almost a year to the day that New Zealand's most ambitious cycling project PureBlack Racing collapsed, leaving riders struggling to find a spot on another team so late in the year. In February 2012 BikeNZ came to the rescue, allowing the team to continue throughout this year - albeit on reduced budget, roster and race schedule. However, this time around it's not for lack of funding that the team appears to be collapsing once again.

    Riders ‘signed' for 2013 have been informed by the team's director sportif John Harris to seek alternative arrangements for the coming season. While the riders compiled for next year had not signed their contracts, all of the arrangements including a significant increase in budget had been reportedly finalised.

    "The money is there," Harris told Cyclingnews. "I feel terrible because I've tried really hard. We've wasted a year of ground work. Because that's what it takes to get teams rockin' 'n rollin'.

    "I've fully informed the riders of where and why, all the ins and outs and told them ‘you were not signed because there really wasn't a deal.'"

    A disagreement regarding team ownership and control between the team's two biggest sponsors; PureBlack Racing and Avanti has apparently meant the team cannot move forward with plans for next year. It's a bizarre situation that Harris believes the team will not recover from. He says both parties are willing to go ahead but not with the other's involvement.

    "One will have a team and the other is waiting for the other to pull out. If one relented half a percent on the branding issues we would have them both.

    "I told them [PureBlack and Avanti] ‘If you cancel this team, people will not come to you'. You can slow...

  • Landis' whistle-blower suit against Armstrong rumbles on

    Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis on the US Postal team
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 0:50 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Details revealed as judge orders some documents to be made public

    Floyd Landis' whistle-blower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong whereby the former alleges that the U.S. Postal Service, an independent agency within the federal government, was defrauded has once again gained momentum after it was first launched in September 2010.

    While some details of the actual case remain under seal, information regarding U.S. Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General subpoena of Armstrong on June 10, 2011 has been moved into the public domain as has a United States District Court decision to deny Armstrong' s Motion to Seal court records over the case on December 6, 2012.

    The initial subpoena required Armstrong to provide documents relating to his interest in Tailwind Sports LLC, his payments to "certain persons" as well as "documents reflecting Mr. Armstrong's use of substances or methods that are banned from use by professional cyclists."

    The U.S. Postal Service sponsored the Tailwind Sports-owned U.S. Postal Service Team between 1996 and 2004 at a cost of approximately $40 million. The sponsorship agreement stipulated that use of banned substances or methods were prohibited and that if such a violation occurred, "immediate action" had to be taken.

    Counsel for Armstrong, John W. Keker responded to the subpoena on June 16, 2011 and invoked the former-seven-time Tour de France winner's right to the Fifth Amendment - that he did not have to testify against himself in court. On July 7, Keker followed that with another response arguing that the Food and Drug Administration investigation led by Jeff Novitzsky "had been plagued by rampant leaking".

    The following week, Keker was informed by the government that Armstrong's obligation to answer the...