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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Date published:
December 06, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Sohrabi ready for Lotto-Belisol challenge

    Thumbs up from new race leader Mehdi Sohrabi (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 12:11 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Iranian pleased to line up in WorldTour

    Mehdi Sohrabi’s UCI points were crucial in securing WorldTour status for his new Lotto-Belisol squad, but the Iranian has acknowledged that there are pros and cons to the points system that saw him become one of the most valuable commodities on the transfer market this winter.

    As UCI Asia Tour winner for the past two seasons, the Iranian had built up a significant tally of points, and Ag2r-La Mondiale, Geox-TMC and Lotto were all vying for his signature in order to secure their berths in cycling’s top tier in 2012.

    “Winning an HC race in Asia gives you the same number of points as in Europe. I find that’s a bad idea as they’re very different,” Sohrabi told Velochrono. “In the space of the past two seasons, I finished on the podium 46 times and won 26 races. That gave me 793 points in the Asia Tour. Converted into UCI points, that makes 80 points [the equivalent of either four Tour de France stage victories, a seventh overall placing at the Tour or winning Flèche Wallonne - ed.].”

    Nonetheless, Sohrabi believes that the great benefit of the current system is that it gives riders who develop outside of cycling’s traditional heartlands the opportunity to earn a place on a top-flight team.

    “In spite of everything, I think that it’s a good system, because it gives the riders from smaller nations the chance to compete with the best, at the highest level,” he said. “Furthermore, it gives cycling the chance to have greater visibility on different continents and in different countries.”

    Long linked with a move to Ag2r or Geox, Sohrabi ultimately opted for Lotto-Belisol, after...

  • Vinokourov attacks "gutter press" amid hacking claims

    Alexandre Vinokourov in attendance in Paris.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 15:37 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Astana leader unhappy wtih media intrusion

    Alexandre Vinokourov launched an attack on what he views as the “gutter press” and claimed that his email account has been hacked. In a statement released on Monday morning, the Astana team said that Vinokourov had been informed during an interview with a Swiss journalist that his emails had been hacked.

    The motives of the purported hackers have not been specified and to date no information regarding the contents of Vinokourov’s emails has been published. The Astana statement warned that Vinokourov would take legal action “if new press articles about his private life should be published in the future".

    "I do not understand why some people are always looking to find some stories about me,” Vinokourov said. “I am a cyclist, and there is no place in our sport for the gutter press. I don't ever allow myself to attack anyone personally. I wish to finish my career quietly even though obviously it bothers some people that I'm still on a bike.”

    Vinokourov was initially set to bring the curtain down on his controversial career after he crashed out of the 2011 Tour de France, but he returned to action at the Chrono des Nations in October and intends to continue racing until the London 2012 Olympics.

    The Astana statement also denounced a fake Twitter account that had been established in Vinokourov’s name during summer, and cited both incidents as examples of the “pressure and personal attacks that the Kazakh leader [has] suffered in recent years.”

    Last week, it was announced that Vinokourov had been named among the ruling Nur Otan party’s list of candidates for Kazakhstan’s next general election, which takes place on January 15. 

  • GreenEdge and RadioShack-Nissan confirmed for WorldTour

    GreenEdge general manager, Shayne Bannan
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 16:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final two teams complete 2012 ProTeam list

    The UCI approved the 2012 WorldTour status of RadioShack-Nissan and GreenEdge on Monday. The approval of both teams means that the 2012 WorldTour team licensing process is complete. 18 teams will race in the UCI's WorldTour next season and will be eligible to compete in all WorldTour events.

    "On the basis of the documents submitted to the UCI Licence Commission following requests by the Commission on 16 November (to GreenEdge Cycling Team) and 18 November (to RadioShack-Nissan), the Commission today approved the registration of the RadioShack-Nissan (USA) team for the 2012 season and granted a UCI WorldTour licence to the GreenEdge Cycling Team (AUS) for the 2012-2013 period," read a statement from the UCI.

    The UCI issued a list of top 15 ranked teams toward the WorldTour on October 15 and later confirmed their status.  Three more were selected on November 22.

    The UCI promised to release a complete list of 2012 UCI Professional Continental Teams on December 12.

    UCI WorldTour Teams for 2012
    AG2R La Mondiale
    Astana Pro Team
    BMC Racing Team
    Euskaltel-Euskadi
    FDJ
    Garmin-Cervélo
    GreenEdge
    Katusha Team
    Lampre - ISD
    Liquigas - Cannondale
    Lotto Belisol Team
    Movistar Team
    Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
    Rabobank
    RadioShack-Nissan
    Sky Procycling
    Team Saxo Bank
    Vacansoleil-DCM

  • 2011 Reader Poll: Paris-Roubaix again voted best one-day race

    Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) rides through the dust
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 18:25 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    10 straight wins for 'The Hell of the North'

    One of cycling's five esteemed Monuments, Paris-Roubaix rarely fails to deliver a memorable day of racing and for the 10th straight year Cyclingnews readers deemed "The Queen of the Classics" the best one-day race of the year with a resounding 10,765 votes (49.8%).

    Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervélo) enjoyed his best-ever day on the bike with a solo victory into the Roubaix Velodrome after a dry, dusty 258km of racing along northern France's legendary cobbles. The rangy Belgian super-domestique and pavé-specialist held off the finishing charge of defending champion Fabian Cancellara by 19 seconds, with Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) rounding out the podium in third in the same time as the Swiss powerhouse.

    Amazingly, it was only Vansummeren's second victory as a professional and also the first Monument for his Garmin-Cervélo squad.

    "Today simply was my dream day. Who would have dared to dream that?" Vansummeren said. "Last week Nick [Nuyens] was speechless [after winning the Tour of Flanders], and now I'm speechless, too. It's unbelievable. Normally one starts by winning a small race." Before Sunday's victory the 30-year-old captured his sole professional win in the Tour of Poland back in 2007.

    Vansummeren entered Paris-Roubaix with the intent to work for team leader and world champion Thor Hushovd, who had finished on the Classic's podium for the previous two years. In a tactical finale, it would be Vansummeren, however, who would emerge from a large lead group to race alone over the final 15km while the favourites in their wake played a game of cat-and-mouse for too long.

    Despite riding on a rear tire beset with a slow puncture during the final 5km, Vansummeren kept the bike upright through the turns and dug deep in the time trial of his life to prevail. To cap off...

  • Omega Pharma-Quick Step unveils 2012 kit

    Philip Heylen, Antwerp vice mayor for culture and tourism, and the legendary Eddy Merckx were in attendance at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team press conference.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 19:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian ProTeam's jersey revealed in Antwerp

    The Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team unveiled its jersey for 2012 today at a press conference held at the MAS museum in Antwerp, Belgium.

    "We opted for a jersey with a white color base to enhance the visibility of our sponsors' logos while retaining the team's traditional identity through black and Blizzard Blue graphics, which make the shirt unique," said manager Patrick Lefevere in a statement released by the team. "In our opinion, this jersey is the perfect synthesis of modernity and elegance, and I'm sure our fans are going to love it. Now it's up to our athletes to make it a winner."

    The Vermarc Sportswear-made jerseys, in an increasingly popular trend among professional teams, will feature each rider's name on the back.

    View the gallery from the team's press conference.

  • RadioShack-Nissan-Trek finalizes 2012 roster

    Chris Horner (RadioShack) rides near the front on the technical stage finale.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 21:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    US ProTour squad signs 30 men from 14 nations

    On the same day the UCI License Commission confirmed RadioShack-Nissan-Trek's WorldTour team status, the squad finalized its roster with 30 riders from 14 nations. The 2012 team, a combination of the 2011 teams of Leopard-Trek and RadioShack, will be led by six team directors under the management and direction of General Manager Johan Bruyneel.

    Leopard S.A. President Flavio Becca is confident that the team will be competitive in 2012, prolonging the string of good results in 2011. "In our inaugural season, we had many podium places in the Classics and Tour de France. Oliver Zaugg completed the season with a spectacular Tour of Lombardy victory and we secured third place in the UCI World Tour ranking. But like any owner, whether it is in business or sports, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the team. Johan Bruyneel is a leader who has a proven record of unparalleled success. He maximizes talent, employs winning strategies and motivates riders and staff to achieve greatness. I am confident that Johan is the best person for our team."

    Bruyneel has had a busy few months assembling the 2012 roster. "I've never been one to shy away from challenges so when I was presented with this opportunity, I immediately saw the potential of the idea. We collectively decided it was a win-win partnership for all parties. After that, we became focused on putting together 30 riders, which was a tougher task than I've ever experienced in the past.

    "Combining Team RadioShack riders that we made an agreement with for 2012, with existing Leopard Trek riders resulted in 42 riders, 12 over the maximum limit for WorldTour teams. We worked hard to ensure that every rider's contract was honored and that each one had a place...

  • 2011 Reader Poll: Tour de France voted year's best stage race

    A victorious Cadel Evans (BMC)
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 21:46 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    La Grand Boucle claims award for ninth time

    The 2011 edition of the Tour de France was a race for the ages, with Cadel Evans (BMC) ultimately prevailing as the Grand Tour's first Australian winner, and Cyclingnews readers duly took notice and voted the French Grand Tour the year's best stage race for the ninth time in 10 years, capturing a resounding 64.9% of the tallies.

    And while Evans' triumph was a fitting capstone to the 2011 Tour, La Grand Boucle was replete with excitement, drama and intrigue from start to finish.

    Philippe Gilbert, the most dominant cyclist of the season, kicked off affairs in stage one with a stage win atop Mont des Alouettes and his first career yellow jersey.

    The following day's stage, a 23km team time trial, was a day Garmin-Cervélo had been eagerly awaiting as the US-based ProTeam notched its first Tour de France stage win and put team member Thor Hushovd into the maillot jaune. And when it rains, it pours, as Garmin-Cervélo's Tyler Farrar won his first Tour de France stage the next day in the field sprint finale to stage 3 in Redon, joining teammate David Zabriskie as the only Americans to win stages in all three Grand Tours.

    Hushovd would remain resplendent in yellow through stage 9, but his run of incredible form would continue as the reigning world champion went on the attack to claim victories in stages 13 and 16 in Garmin-Cervélo's dream Tour.

    Stage...

  • Bannan relieved GreenEdge has got the ProTour green light

    GreenEdge general manager, Shayne Bannan
    Article published:
    December 06, 2011, 0:13 GMT
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    90 per cent of Tour Down Under roster complete

    Following this morning's announcement from the UCI that GreenEdge has secured a ProTour license for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the team's general manager Shayne Bannan says it's time for the real work to begin.

    The Australian-based outfit has created history, becoming the first team from the nation to reach the very top level of the sport. While management staff has spent much of 2011 preparing for next season, with a firm picture in their mind of their objective, the confirmation from the UCI creates a new reality.

    The process perhaps didn't go as smoothly as management would have liked, with The UCI issuing a list of top 15 ranked teams toward the WorldTour on October 15 and later confirmed their status. Three more were selected on November 21 with GreenEdge and RadioShack-Nissan-Trek the last two teams to receive confirmation. The two new entities were forced to provide extra paperwork to the sport's Licensing Commission on November 21.

    "Throughout the whole process we were fairly confident but you never know until you get that final fax but it was a real relief to actually get it and everybody's got a real spring in their step now," Bannan told Cyclingnews from Canberra where GreenEdge is currently holding its training camp. "We're looking forward to getting on with the next part of the job which is creating the team culture and being successful in competition.

    "Everybody is ecstatic. They know that are program is set, they know that they're in the best competition in the world so everybody's really looking forward to it. I tried to keep them updated as to how it [the application process] was progressing, in particular for the [ProTour] license, just to keep everybody's mind at ease and we were always as truthful as possible."

    ...