A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Australian joins compatriot Taryn Heather on Swiss-based women’s pro squad
After nearly four months of uncertainty, Jo Hogan, one of Australia's most consistent women's pro cyclists over the past three years can rest easy now that she has found a home on the Swiss-based Bigla Cycling Team.
Hogan, who finished second to Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) at the 2013 Australian Road Nationals, joins compatriot Taryn Heather and 10 European riders who have committed to Bigla for the 2014 season.
"I chose to bring Jo to the team, because I think she fits in well with our concept," Bigla team manager, Emil Zimmermann told Cyclingnews. "She is an all-rounder and can therefore be used in classic and stage races. I look forward to a successful year with her."
In July, Hogan was abruptly released from her team of a year-and-a-half, Spanish squad Bizkaia-Durango, following its mid-season financial woes.
Hogan spoke of her sudden departure and utter disappointment in great detail with Cyclingnews in August before failing to secure a slot on the Australian World Championship team. The 31-year old then returned home to Melbourne to resume her nursing career to make ends meet.
"It was a difficult time. Bizkaia had commitments and I believe they should have followed up on them," Hogan explained to Cyclingnews.
"I was left in the lurch and without team financial support I had to go back to work. It's been challenging juggling 30 hours of nursing duties with 20 hours of training, but I was left with no other options."
In another blow, the 2010 Australian National Road Series champion was informed she no longer met the criteria for her Victorian Institute...
Italian rider to start 17th season in the pro ranks
Oliver Zaugg and Matteo Tosatto have extended their contracts with Tinkoff-Saxo. Zaugg, a former Il Lombardia winner, and Tosatto will stay with the Danish team for another two seasons. General manager Bjarne Riis is happy with the contract extensions of the two domestiques.
In 2011 when riding with Leopard-Trek, Zaugg surprisingly crowned himself Il Lombardia winner: his biggest and only individual victory to date. After a career which started in 2004 with Saunier Duval, and also included teams like Gerolsteiner, Liquigas and Radioshack, Zaugg signed with Riis in 2013. His season was marred by injuries so he is happy to get the opportunity to sign a new contract.
“Naturally, I'm happy about getting another season with one of the top teams in the world. I had my ups and downs in the 2013 season, so I hope for a 2014 season with fewer crashes, so I'll be able to support the team captains. Of course, I'm also ready to create a result of my own, when the right opportunity occurs,” he said.
For Tosatto 2014 will be his 17th season in the pro ranks. He started his career in 1997 with MG Maglificio - Technogym. He also rode for Fassa Bortolo and Quick Step before signing with Saxo Bank in 2011. Tosatto will be 41 when his contract ends but the Italian still feels very motivated.
“I'm very happy to be able to sign a new deal for two years, and I'm as motivated as if it were my very first contract. I'm continuing my role as the experienced rider on the team as well as targeting my own result during the Classics before preparing for the Grand Tours. In any case, I'd love to win a race,” he said.
In his long career Tosatto has taken the start in 28 Grand Tours...
Oldest rider in the World Tour still motivated to perform
In the likelihood that 2014 will be his final year within the peloton, Cyclingnews sat down with Trek’s Jens Voigt at his team’s training camp in Benidorm, Spain.
The 42-year-old has been a fixture in the peloton since the late 1990s and seen the sport of cycling go through a number of scandals and transformations during his time at teams such as Gan, CSC and RadioShack. Before one final year of racing, the ever-popular German discussed his plans for the year, Chris Horner, the 1998 Tour de France samples and his relationships with former bosses Bjarne Riis and Johan Bruyneel.
Cyclingnews: So is this perhaps your final team camp of all time?
Jens Voigt: Very probably, yes.
CN: So is the year going to be case of saying ‘this will be the final time I do this race, the final time I do that race’
JV: I’ve just talked to your French colleague about something similar. I still say it’s all probable because I don’t want to get myself too comfortable. If I say it’s my last year then I can say I don’t need to train anymore because I’m not looking for a contract. I don’t want that because I have too many expectations of myself and I don’t want to let myself down. That’s why I keep saying it’s probably my last season, to keep myself under a little bit of pressure. First of all I’m still a cyclist so I’m going to do my job but I will try and go with a more relaxed attitude. I will try and enjoy my first race at the Tour Down Under. Maybe next year I come back with another function in the team or as a tourist, who knows. It’s one last time to soak up the emotions from the...
New Continental team counting on Diaz, Hernandez
The Incycle-Predator team may be new to the UCI ranks in 2014, but the Southern California team, which was formed from a merger of two elite teams, Predator Carbon Repair and MRI-Monster Media, is hoping to challenge the top American team, UnitedHealthcare, in the domestic races.
Team owner Micah Cloteaux is counting on experienced riders like Andres Diaz, Sergio Hernandez and directeur sportif and rider Emile Abraham to mould the team into a cohesive unit, capable of being competitive in the USA Crits Series and other UCI races in South America, Central America, Asia and the Caribbean.
"I really focused on putting together a team that could at least compete with UHC, because they're just so good," Cloteaux said. "Our problem last year was that we'd have a couple of guys flying, but we didn't have the depth to go side by side with them and bring our guys to the front."
While the team will mainly focus on the US criterium scene, it will have opportunities in stage race classifications with the addition of Diaz, who was second overall in the Nature Valley Grand Prix last year.
"I'd like to see Andres move one step up at Nature Valley," Cloteaux said. "I'd like to see him do that, and I think we have a good chance at races like Joe Martin."
Sergio Hernandez, 28, is another rider the team can count on, especially for stage wins.
"He was on another level last year, and I think this year he's going to be even better," Cloteaux said. "He's definitely a breakaway guy. In a bunch sprint he's maybe top 15, but he's an engine. He's like a 90-pound engine."
In addition to the experienced riders, the team will focus on developing young talent. Seven out of the 16-rider team are under 23: Jacob Arnold, Orlando Garibay, Diego Sandoval, Christian Leandro Tamayo Saavedra, Tyler Schwartz and Jonah Tannos.
The team is especially excited about Saavedra, a 21-year-old Colombian who is one of South America's fastest men...
Three-member group to be announced soon
UCI president Brian Cookson stated today that the independent commission that will examine cycling's doping era will not be called "truth and reconciliation", and will be set to begin work early in 2014.
Speaking with VTM Nieuws, Cookson said, "We are very close to announcing the details of the commission. We're not going to call it 'truth and reconciliation' as it's not quite appropriate."
The commission will examine what went on in cycling and at the UCI during the EPO-fuelled era of the 1990s-2000s, and dig into allegations that the UCI was negligent at stemming the use of doping at best, or complicit at worst.
The three-member group is close to agreeing upon the terms and will start work "very early in the new year", according to Cookson. "It will be under terms and conditions that have the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency and others, and it will be inviting those who have something to say to come forward. We'll ask them to tell the truth, all of the truth, and from that we hope to learn lessons, make recommendations to put into place new processes and new procedures to stop cycling from going down those routes ... ever again."
Cookson indicated that he would invite his predecessor Pat McQuaid and any others who were a part of cycling during that time to come forward and speak the truth and help the sport move forward.
"During my predecessor's era a lot of good things were done, such as the biological passport. The problem still remains that the ... damage the allegations made from the Lance Armstrong era that the UCI was in collusion and involved in cover-ups were not properly addressed, and these have to be addressed in this commission. When we know the truth of that then we can move forward. We need absolutely to learn those lessons, and we need all of the people...
New test developed in Germany for 'fitness in a pill'
Researchers in Cologne, Germany have developed a test for the 'fitness in a pill' drug called AICAR, Deutschlandfunk.de reported today.
The substance was linked to cycling in 2012 when a Colombian doctor, Alberto Beltrán Niño, who worked with teams including the former Xacobeo-Galicia squad, was arrested in Madrid with AICAR and another experimental drug TB-500 in his possession.
AICAR is used to decrease body fat and was intended to reverse diseases such as type 2 diabetes, but a side-effect of the drug was increase endurance, at least in laboratory animals.
The UCI has already sent samples from the Tour de France and other races to Cologne to be tested for the substance, a UCI spokesman confirmed to Cyclingnews.
Mario Thevis, a professor from the Cologne Center for Preventive Doping Research, developed the analysis, which uses carbon isotope ratios to distinguish synthetic AICAR from substances found naturally in the body, much like the WADA-approved test for synthetic testosterone.
"In nature there are two versions of the carbon. There is carbon 12 with a mass of 12, and carbon with a mass of 13, and the ratio reflects exactly that of the carbon we ingest in food," Thevis explained. "If you produce a synthetic product, this ratio, the signature of the carbon, is different and that can be distinguished with the help of modern analytical methods."
Because there is already an existing test approved by WADA for testosterone, it stands to reason that the AICAR version of the test would be easily implemented in WADA-approved laboratories.
Will be challenged by Roulston’s attempt to win a fourth crown
Trek Factory Racing’s Hayden Roulston will be hoping to celebrate his 33rd birthday by joining elite company in next month's Calder Stewart national road cycling championships and win a fourth road title. Victory would see the current champion join Nick Carter and Jack Swart on four wins behind only Gordon McCauley who has five victories.
Garmin-Sharp’s Jack Bauer is hoping to take home his second national title having won the race in 2010 and is looking to start his season with a win. Bauer will face a competitive field as he will be joined on the start line by fellow WorldTour riders, new Cannondale signing George Bennett, and Roulston’s teammate Jesse Sergent.
With the national titles decided early in the year, for Bauer the season is more or less a year-round proposition. "I started racing in January and did not finish until late October so it's a huge year," Bauer said.
"I'd like to have a longer break but we have to be ready and in-form to race in the Tour Down Under the week after nationals. From there, it’s the (Jayco Herald) Sun Tour in Australia and on it goes into the Classics back in Europe."
While Bauer admits he isn’t in top shape having enjoyed a break, he is keen to put in a good showing. Bauer triumphed in the year the course was moved to Christchurch and has made the city his training base as he prepares for the 2014 season.
"It's crept up on me a little but I have four weeks until the race so I expect to...
Sardinian looks ahead to second year at Astana
Vincenzo Nibali's snowbound victory at Tre Cime di Lavaredo will endure as the defining image of the 2013 Giro d'Italia, but the performance of his Astana teammate Fabio Aru that day could yet prove to be a significant footnote.
After laying the groundwork for Nibali at the base of the climb, Aru still summoned up the energy to finish 5th on the stage, almost catching the Rigoberto Uran-led chase group on the final approach to the summit. At the end of a Giro debut that had been blighted by a mid-race illness, the 23-year-old emerged from the blizzard with his lofty credentials enhanced still further.
"I was ill halfway through the Giro with vomiting and dysentery, [Paolo] Tiralongo had the same problem. For three days I was feeling pretty bad but then I managed to recover and I finished the Giro strongly," Aru told Cyclingnews. "For me it was important to finish the Giro on a high note, mainly to help Vincenzo in the final stages, but it was nice to be up there myself on that stage too."
Already touted as a future grand tour contender thanks to victory at the prestigious Giro della Valle d'Aosta as an amateur – traditionally a useful barometer of pedigree – Aru's status was such that he was selected for Astana's Giro team as a neo-professional. With Nibali focused on the Tour de France in 2014, Aru is set to return to the race with a slightly freer role next May.
"[Michele] Scarponi will be the captain, and my job will be to stay close to him, but the team has put a lot of trust in me and I'll have some space
myself so I'm tranquillo," Aru said. "The important thing now is to learn and...