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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Date published:
December 31, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Omega Pharma-QuickStep send strong team to San Luis

    Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish are the marquee names on Omega Pharma-QuickStep's roster.
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 9:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Boonen and Petacchi join Cavendish in sprinting line-up

    Omega Pharma-QuickStep's ambitions at the Tour de San Luis have been bolstered by the addition of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi to back up Mark Cavendish in the sprints.

    It will be the first time that all three fast finishers will ride together since Petacchi joined the Belgian squad last summer, as the team looks to improve its leadout train. Cavendish took part in the Argentinian race for the first time last season, where he won the opening stage and wore the leader's jersey, but missed out on the other sprint finishes.

    The addition of Boonen and Petacchi will not just strengthen the leadout team but give the team two strong alternatives to the Manxman. "We can't deny we have a good team at the starting line," said directeur sportif Davide Bramati.

    "Cav, Tom, and Peta together have garnered more than 400 victories in their careers, a truly incredible number that speaks volumes about the potential of the squad. Cav and Tom have also won in this race and they are familiar with its dynamics. In the stage for sprinters, we will be called on to take the initiative.”

    Boonen, who won the final stage of the 2012 edition, is looking to make amends for a turbulent year, as Cavendish hopes the race will help him retake his sprinting crown from Marcel Kittel. Notably missing from the squad is the Australian Mark Renshaw, who is beginning his season at the Tour Down Under. Joining the team in Argentina will be Gianluca Brambilla, Stijn Vandenbergh and Guillaume van Keirsbulck. This is the third time the Belgian team has gone to the Argentinian race.

  • Team Sky 2014 jersey revealed

    The 2014 Team Sky jersey
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 11:00 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    21st Century Fox logo given more visibility

    The 2014 Team Sky jersey has been inadvertently revealed via Twitter on the eve of the New Year, confirming that the British team will stick to its customary black and blue colours for the new season.

    New signing Nathan Earle posted a photo of the new Rapha made kit on Twitter the day before he gets to wear it for the first time after joining Team Sky from the Genesys Wealth Advisers team.

    The photo was retweeted by teammate and fellow Tasmanian Richie Porte but then both riders apparently deleted the photo. However it had already been retweeted several times and remained visible on the internet.

    The only visible changes for 2014 are the position of several sponsor logos.

    21st Century Fox, the company spun off from News Corporation and now owner of BSKYB, Sky television and the team, has more prominence on the 2014 clothing. The logo fills the side panels on the jersey, the rear of the shorts and a small area on the chest.

    In 2013 rider's names and national flag appeared on the side panels of the jersey but the names are on the right shoulder in 2014, with the blue band filling the left shoulder.

    Pinarello extended its agreement as bike sponsor until 2016 and again has its logo on the shorts and on the chest area. Car sponsor Jaguar also gets a spot on the chest area increasing the number of chest sponsors from one to three.

    The Sky logo still dominates the jersey, with huge white logo on the chest, shorts and shoulders of the jersey. The Sky logo on the shoulders of the jersey are positioned to capture maximum visibility during television coverage of races, reflecting the value of data published by Cyclingnews and Repucom...

  • Jungels forced to choose in 2014

    Bob Jungels heads into his second year on the team
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 12:10 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Trek rider to focus on stage racing and Ardennes classics

    Bob Jungels displayed his considerable talents across all terrains during his time in the junior and under-23 ranks, but the WorldTour calls for a greater degree of specialization. In his second year at the highest level, therefore, the Trek Factory Racing rider will focus his energies on shorter stage races and the Ardennes classics.

    Winner of the under-23 Paris-Roubaix in 2012, Jungels’ reputation was such that he was called up to RadioShack-Leopard’s squad for the Hell of the North during his first professional season. In 2014, however, he will eschew the cobbles in order to continue his development in the hills.

    “I think at junior and under-23 level you can win mountain stages and Paris-Roubaix, but this is a different world. You don’t do that here, it’s impossible,” Jungels told Cyclingnews. “For me, maybe now if I go more to the stage races, and the Ardennes classics, then it’s easier to come back to Flanders and Roubaix than the other way around. I always felt good in the time trials and I saw last year that I could do the mountains, so I’ll give it a try and see how it works out. After that, then yeah, why not come back to Flanders and Roubaix for sure.”

    After learning in the court of Fabian Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix last year – “For me it was just impressive how relaxed they were, they managed the pressure so well,” he said of the classics squad – Jungels’ 2014 racing programme will see him race regularly alongside Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck and Laurent Didier as part of a Luxembourgish unit under the supervision of Kim Andersen.

    “We train pretty much every day together and that’s good. If you do the same races, you come home at the same, you...

  • Sagan reveals contract offer from Alonso

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) smiling at the start line
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 13:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sprinter wins Slovakian of the year

    Peter Sagan [Cannondale] has revealed that he's had an offer from Fernando Alonso to ride for his team in 2015.

    In an interview with Slovak newspaper Pravda, Sagan, who turns 24 at the end of January, says that a number of teams are looking for his signature when his current contract expires at the end of 2014. “Not only from him [Alonso],” Sagan told Pravda. “I have several offers, even from Dukla Trencin [a Slovakian continental team.]

    “I am still contracted for a year. Everything is open and we'll discuss it. I'm not saying that I will go, maybe I'll stay. I'll see how it develops.” The Slovak is contracted to Cannondale until the end of the season, where he's spent his whole professional career.

    The interview took place at an award ceremony where Sagan was named Slovak sportsman and cyclist [golden pedal] of the year. Sagan won more than any other rider in 2013, with 22 wins to Mark Cavendish's 19, and he also claimed his second consecutive green jersey at the Tour de France. Sagan says he is willing to sacrifice his position at the top of the winner's rankings to secure better quality victories next season.

    “For me, it's not important to win 23 or 25 times, I would rather have quality wins,” Sagan said. “I would like to win in one of the most prestigious races, Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. If I could win one of them it would be enough, but maybe I can win two or three of them.”

    Despite his impressive palmarès, Sagan is yet to win one of the...

  • Garmin-Sharp confirms its 2014 line-up

    Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp)
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 14:30 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Vaughters: "This is our youngest roster ever"

    Garmin-Sharp has confirmed the names of its 29-rider roster for the 2014 season, with the US-registered team adding a further wave of talented young riders to its roster.

    Garmin-Sharp has signed 21-year-old US Under 23 time trial champion Nathan Brown, Lasse Hansen, the Olympic gold medalist in the Omnium on the track, Dylan Van Baarle, the Dutch U23 national road and time trial champion; former Under 23 US national road race and criterium champion Ben King and Tom-Jelte Slagter, winner of the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under.

    Also wearing the team's argyle kit for 2014 are Classics specialist Sebastian Langeveld, American Phil Gaimon and Colombia's Janier Acavedo, who impressed in the USA in 2013 by winning a stage at the Amgen Tour of California and finishing on the final podium.

    Following the retirement of Christian Vande Velde and Dave Zabriskie, Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky will have a more defined leadership role along with Ryder Hesjedal. Talansky finished tenth in the Tour de France, while Martin won a mountain stage and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

    Hesjedal had a difficult 2013 after winning the Giro d'Italia in 2012. He quit the Giro because of a virus and then rode the Tour de France with a cracked rib. He was then forced to confess to doping during his early career as a mountain bike after accusation by Michael Rasmussen.

    Tyler Farrar and Steele Von Hoff will focus on sprint finishes while Australians Rohan Dennis and Lachlan Morton will be expected to build on their impressive 2013 seasons.

    The young riders can...

  • Exclusive: Basso looks to the future and targets the Giro d'Italia

    Ivan Basso (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 16:30 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    "My teammates aren't interested in the Armstrong era"

    Ivan Basso turned 36 in November but is about to start yet another season as a Grand Tour contender and is expected to lead the Cannondale team at the Giro d'Italia and other stage races.

    Basso had a difficult 2013 season. He was force to miss the Giro d'Italia due to a golf-ball sized saddle sore and then quit the Vuelta a Espana on stage 14 after suffering in the cold and rain. Yet he recovered to end his season at the Japan Cup and is still motivate and hungry to do well in 2014.

    Basso is a survivor. He has come through the Lance Armstrong era of cycling, where he was one of Texan's biggest rivals and Bjarne Riis' favourite rider at the CSC team.

    After lengthy denials and even a spell with Armstrong at the Discovery Channel team, he was suspended for doping after evidence linked him to Operacion Puerto and served a two-year ban. He came back to win the 2010 Giro d'Italia, finished seventh in the 2011 Tour de France and fifth in the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

    He has worked carefully to cast off the shame about his doping, insisting he has learnt his lesson and changed his ways. He seems to appreciate he has been given a second and that keeps him motivated for the future. Yet Basso always tries to side step questions about doping and his past. He's perhaps ashamed but also astute.

    Speaking to Cyclingnews before the holidays, just a few days after Armstrong made his Tour of Europe apologizing to Christophe Bassons and other people he bullied during his career, Basso insists that he and his current teammates are not interested in what happened in the past.

    "I haven't heard from Lance. I haven't heard from him since things happened…" Basso admitted to Cyclingnews, referring to...

  • 2013 Reader Poll: Chris Froome voted Rider of the Year

    Winner of the 100th Tour de France, Sky's Chris Froome
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 17:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sky rider takes top prize ahead of Sagan and Vos

    Chris Froome (Sky) has been voted as Rider of the Year by Cyclingnews readers at the end of a season that has crowned one of the most rapid transformations of fortunes in recent cycling history.

    Just two and a half years ago, Froome was, by his own admission, unsure if he would even have a contract for the following season, but the Briton’s star has risen remarkably since he finished a surprising second at the 2011 Vuelta a España. Last year, he rode shotgun for Bradley Wiggins, an uneasy alliance that yielded Tour de France honours for Team Sky but left Froome a frustrated second in Paris.

    Compensation was to arrive in spades in 2013, however. Installed as Sky’s Tour leader from the very outset of the season, Froome’s early-season followed a strikingly similar rhythm to that of Wiggins’ 2012 campaign, as he clocked up victories at the Tour of Oman, Critérium International, Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné.

    Indeed, victory in Oman was Froome’s first ever triumph in a stage race of that magnitude, yet by the time July rolled around, he was the overwhelming favourite for Tour de France victory.

    When Froome’s Sky teammates shredded the field to pieces on the road to Ax-3 Domaines on the first mountain stage, it seemed as though his race would be a mere procession, but a Tour de France is never won easily. The following day, the Sky guard was marked absent in the face of fierce attacking from the gun, but Froome, in his first day in yellow,...

  • Talansky targets Tour de France in 2014

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) in action during the Tour's first day in the Pyrenees
    Article published:
    December 31, 2013, 19:05 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Tirreno likely as American's first test of season

    Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) heads into the 2014 season with a race programme similar to this past season, providing a steady build-up of stage racing throughout the first half of the season with a return to the Tour de France as the year's primary goal. 2013 was Talansky's third season at the WorldTour level, with a stage win, stint in the leader's jersey and second place overall finish at Paris-Nice an early highlight then culminating with a fine 10th place general classification result in his debut Tour de France.

    The 25-year-old American recently spoke with Cyclingnews regarding his 2013 season and plans for 2014 from his off-season home base in California's Napa Valley, in the midst of weather described as "unseasonably perfect" for his training regimen.

    "Overall I'm really satisfied with how it went," Talansky said of his 2013 season. "The high for me at the start of the year was Paris-Nice - winning a stage and getting second overall. That was a huge high. The year before I was second at [Tour de] Romandie but that was because of the time trial. But at Paris-Nice I got beat by a better rider and that better rider, Richie Porte, happened to be one of the top three riders in the world. That's ok with me for right now.

    "That showed that I can go to one-week stage races and compete for the overall - to go for stage wins and really be up there with the best guys. That was a huge step for me mentally and physically.

    "Obviously the other high for me would be the Tour de France. The Tour itself had so many highs and lows within it - every Grand Tour does. It's such a long period of time to be racing. I cracked in the...