- Article published:
- February 1, 2010, 16:39
- Bruce Hildenbrand
USPRO crit champ excited about racing in Europe
When you are the reigning US Professional Criterium Champion, deciding to race in Europe means that your days flying the Stars-and-Stripes jersey might be severely limited. But, when you have just turned 25 and are built for the Classics, you have to take the opportunities when they come your way.
Last fall while the BMC Racing Team was making big news with the signings of George Hincapie, Cadel Evans and Allesandro Ballan, John Murphy decided to leave Team OUCH and join several guys who have been around the block a few times.
Murphy cut his teeth racing for four years with the US domestic Health Net and Team OUCH squads, winning the overall at the 2008 Tour of Taiwan and the US Professional Criterium Championship in 2009. He came onto the squad as a good all arounder, but quickly developed into a very fast finisher. "On the road I have learned to wait until the finish and I have a pretty good kick for the finish. If you are fast at the finish you know it because you win races," said Murphy.
And while it is a double-edged sword, we might just see Murphy as Captain America. "I have a pretty open schedule after [Paris] Roubaix. I should have some time to do some crits in the US and wave the Stars-and-Stripes around a bit. But, it is not unfortunate that I am racing the big races in Europe and not wearing the jersey. To be able to race Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders or at least have the possibility to race them, is way better than any crit I could ever do," said Murphy.
What is it going to take for Murphy to raise his game to the ProTour level? "Just more focus. More attention to training, my diet. All the 'one percents' are going to start adding up. Do you have it at the end of 220-250km of racing? That's what I am working on now. Just making sure I have everything ready to go."
Murphy raced the U23 version of Paris-Roubaix and recorded two top-20 finishes, but knows the experience will be different as a pro. "It is a whole new world. It is a whole new challenge. That is what is driving me and motivating me right now. I am going to these races that are the biggest in the world and I have to be ready for it. The biggest thing for me is to get there and to prove to everyone out there and to myself that I am a capable rider."
Living in Athens, Georgia, Murphy often makes the one hour drive north to train with teammate George Hincapie. "Once you get to know one of the captains of the team and you are comfortable with them it is awesome because you know that no matter what happens you have a guy on the team who's got your back and vice-versa. Having him that close is a pretty awesome situation," said Murphy.
"What makes him such a great teammate and a great friend is that he has been through it. Whatever you are feeling or going through chances are he's done it. He's lived it probably 10 times, 15 times more than you have. To have a guy like that who you can pick his brain, ask him questions and just be around him is a good feeling."
Branching out into the business world, Murphy has introduced JPMurph Cycling Blend coffee which he describes as an "intense blend of high altitude, gourmet Arabica beans with rich flavors of caramelized sugars and chocolaty undertones."
There is a steep learning curve to being successful in the Classics. It is clear that John Murphy has the skill set and the motivation to give it a go. With seasoned teammates like Hincapie and Ballan, he will be in good company which bodes well for the future of BMC Racing Team's talented young gun.
- Article published:
- February 1, 2010, 19:48
- Daniel Benson
Belgian motivated by move to Garmin-Transitions
After five years with Lotto, Johan Van Summeren is looking forward to competing at the Classics in his new Garmin-Transitions team kit. The 28-year-old made the switch last September and recently completed his first team training camp with the argyle-clad squad in Calpe, Spain.
Van Summeren was originally in negotiations with Garmin in April last year but did not sign a contract until September. However, his original contact with the team and his motivation to switch teams came much earlier in 2009.
"I had my first contact with Jonathan Vaughters after the Classics. However, I was sitting on a plane with Martijn Maaskant after Milano-Sanremo and I asked him for the phone number of Lionel Marie but I never called him. I was interested in the team then, though, so I was delighted when Jonathan called me himself. I liked the offer and from the first moment knew it was the right choice," Van Summeren told Cyclingnews at the team's recent camp.
The Belgian's season will revolve around the Classics with the possibility that he'll ride the Tour taken much later in the year. But it's the Classics where Van Summeren will be looking to shine after his fifth place in Paris-Roubaix last year. It's a far cry from the 2004 season when he left Quick Step and raced for Relax-Bodysol in Spain.
"I'm not alone in the role of leader for the Classics. Me and Martijn will go into those races together and the race situation will decide who will do something. I will have the opportunity to do things here. It was one of the reasons."
The culture shock in moving from one of Belgium's oldest teams to Garmin hasn't phased Van Summeren as he looks to settle in as quickly as possible. "The biggest difference is that Garmin is more scientific when it comes to training. It's not that we didn't train at Lotto but here we're training two times a day and we're doing a lot of testing. It's very professional," he said.
In fact, Van Summeren believes that every rider should change teams at least once in their career as it's motivated the Belgian.
"I spent five years with Lotto. It's totally different. I knew the Garmin guys from races but you don't really know them personally when you're competing against them and constantly on the road. You have to get to know them when you join the team, though. It's a nice experience and one that I recommend that everyone does in their career. It's good for motivation and you learn new things. You want to prove to your bosses that you're worth the money they paid for you."
- Article published:
- February 1, 2010, 21:25
- Cycling News
Team announces both men's and women's squads
Orbea-For Goodness Shakes! officially unveiled their 2010 men's and women's squads at Redbridge Cycling Centre in the United Kingdom on Monday. Individual pursuiter Rebecca Romero is a new addition to the team.
Orbea-For Goodness Shakes! will be supporting both a men's and a women's squad in 2010, a commitment that sets them apart from other domestic teams. With Olympic Champions, World Champions, experienced riders and young up and coming athletes, the team is looking to the future and aiming for the top.
The men's squad brings together a talented mix of youth and experience, captained by the former British rider Andy Lyons. With the experience of Lyons, Dean Shannon and Ben Thompson to guide them, expectations are high for the talented youngsters Dan Kogan, Marcel Six, Steven Griffiths, Lewis Atkins and Kristian Downs to come through and shine in the mixture of domestic and continental racing the team will undertake in 2010.
With Olympic Gold Medallist Rebecca Romero heading the women's squad alongside multiple national and world masters champion Janet Birkmyre, Cassie Gledhill, Caroline Wojcik-Gammell and Emilie Fisher, there is a wealth of talent and experience designed to deliver results on the road, in time trials and on the track.
Men's team manager Steve Charles can't wait to get the season started. "I couldn't be working with a better bunch of riders. The guys have really clicked and already there's a real team spirit, both on and off the bikes," said Charles. "We've got a training camp in Mallorca in late February to fine tune the form before we kick off the season in France at Paris-Evreux. Then it's back to the UK for some early season local classics before the Premier Calendar starts. This is a big season for us but we've been training hard this winter, the fitness is good and we'll be looking to get off to a flying start come March."
Renny Stirling, head of Orbea UK, is positive about the launch of both of the squads, "To be able to launch both a men's and women's Squad for 2010 is fantastic and a natural progression for Orbea-For Goodness Shakes! The men's road calendar is becoming more and more exciting with the introduction of The Tour Series and the fierce competition between all of the teams involved in the domestic scene.
"Women's racing has faced some difficult times of late and Orbea wanted to show that we are backing women's racing and are proud to be supporting some of the finest Women athletes in the country."
Romero is also part of Orbea's "I'm Gold" exclusive - a unique squad of Olympic Champions alongside Samuel Sanchez (2008 Road Race Gold Medallist) and Julien Absalon (2008 MTB Gold Medallist). She will focus first on the World Time Trial Championships in Melbourne in September and ultimately the Olympic title in London 2012.
"Rebecca is a remarkable athlete and has long since proven how adaptable she is, and Orbea will be doing all we can to support her in her quest for Gold Medals in the Worlds and Olympics during the next years," added Stirling.
For Goodness Shakes! stepped up their sponsorship from 2008 when it sponsored Olympic Gold Medallist Bradley Wiggins in 2008.
- Article published:
- February 2, 2010, 05:14
- Cycling News
Win a unique Ridley Athena worth £4500
As style statements go, surely little can compare to riding a cutting-edge racing bike finished with striking graphics you’ve designed yourself.
Thanks to Ridley, riders will be able to do just this in 2010. Ridley has built a reputation as a leader in innovative bike design by responding to the needs of passionate cyclists who demand leading-edge technology and signature style.
This year it proudly launches its custom design website www.ridley-bikes.com/customizer.
Here cyclists can create their own custom design for any carbon Ridley frame. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of colours to create almost any colour combination that you want. To celebrate the launch of its Customizer, Ridley is challenging you to design the ultimate paint scheme for a Ridley Noah racing bike worth £4500. The best design will then be painted onto a Noah specced with Campagnolo’s 11-speed Athena groupset and presented to the winning designer!
To enter, simply visit www.ridley-bikes.com contest to check out the rules and download the design templates, then just start designing.
Once you’re happy with your design, email it – along with a signed proof of originality form which you’ll also find on the website – to email@example.com.
Every design submitted will appear online at ridley-bikes.com/contest until the closing date. Once the competition has ended Ridley and Cycling Plus will select the five best.
These will be showcased online at www.ridley-bikes.com/contest so that visitors to the website can vote for their favourite.
The online votes will be combined with the votes of Ridley staff and designers to pick a final winner who will then receive their unique Ridley Noah Athena.
To enter the competition, visit: www.ridley-bikes.com/contest
The promoter of the Design Your Own Ridley competition is Ridley Bikes and any queries relating to the competition should be directed to Ridley Bikes. For terms and conditions visit http://data.ridley-bikes.com/contest/conditions-en.html. Future Publishing Ltd is not responsible for and accepts no liability in regard to this competition.
- Article published:
- February 2, 2010, 09:13
- Cycling News
Suspended Italian prefers to be riding than making coffee
Day three of the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria-Challenge was a homecoming of sorts for Giuseppe Muraglia, who won the 171.4km stage from Crotone - Catanzaro after prevailing in a 15-man break.
The 30-year-old from Andria, in Italy's south, won the stage in Catanzaro, Regio di Calabria, about 400km from his home region. It was his first victory since returning to the sport in October last year.
Muraglia served a two-year suspension for testing positive to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and explained that he was just happy to be racing again after a testing time on the sidelines.
"I made mistakes for which I take all the responsibility," said Muraglia. "At the beginning of last year I found that only CDC-Cavaliere was ready to believe in me. I was a bartender in Pescara and I admit that serving coffee in a room for twelve hours a day is less pleasant than riding."
Muraglia won the second stage of the 2005 Giro del Trentino and spent two seasons at Swiss-registered squad LPR before moving to Acqua e Sapone - Caffè Mokambo in 2007, during which time he won the Clasica de Almeria and subsequently returned a positive urine sample which led to his suspension.
He says that this win has helped put a very trying period behind him and he's now focused on clearing his name in the best way possible - by proving he doesn't use performance-enhancing substances.
"A lot of champions in cycling have been given a chance: it's [through] my own little programme but I do not want to leave any question marks. I have already made three doping tests since last summer and I'm motivated to prove my credibility," he explained.
- Article published:
- February 2, 2010, 09:15
- Shane Stokes
Out of court agreement stops March trial
The prospect of a potentially explosive trial between Trek and Greg LeMond has evaporated following a joint announcement by both parties that a settlement has been reached.
Today's news brings to an end a long-running dispute between the two former partners, and follows intensive mediation in recent days. A trial had been scheduled to take place in Minnesota in March, but that will not now happen, following the out of court settlement.
"Cycling legend Greg LeMond and Trek Bicycle Corporation announced an agreement to close out all remaining issues for the business venture they began in 1995, and to provide funding for a charity near Greg's heart," read the release.
Trek President John Burke praised the three-time Tour de France champion, and said that the company would make a donation to a foundation for those who have experienced child abuse.
"Greg has a hard-won place in the Pantheon of bicycle racing, and we are proud of what we were able to accomplish together," he said. "Trek respects Greg's efforts and commitment to the charitable foundation, 1in6.org, and Trek is pleased to lend its support to that very worthwhile endeavour."
LeMond and Trek commenced their partnership in 1995 but relations became rocky when the triple Tour de France winner made comments about Armstrong, starting in 2001. He had publicly questioned the Texan's ties to the controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, who has been accused of doping athletes.
LeMond alleges in the legal summons and complaint sent to Trek in March 2008 that Armstrong used his connections with Trek to get the company to put pressure on him to be silent.
He had claimed that the company effectively dropped its support for his brand, leading to a decrease in sales. Trek's contention was that LeMond's statements were damaging to both cycling and to his own image, and that this was the reason why his brand did not do as well as expected.
It had been expected that long-running allegations against Armstrong would resurface again at the trial, and there was a chance that the multiple Tour winner could have been subpoenaed. However, he would almost certainly not have had to have attended due to limits to the court's geographical jurisdiction.
LeMond said that he was satisfied with the agreement, details of which were not made public. "I am pleased to resolve the issues between Trek and myself and am happy to be able to move forward with the things important in my life," he stated. "I appreciate Trek's support for the work of 1in6.org. I take deep satisfaction in this resolution and believe it will have a positive impact on those that can benefit most from the purpose of 1in6.org."
Cyclingnews will have more on this story later.
- Article published:
- February 2, 2010, 10:40
- Richard Tyler
Vacansoleil target Tour start with strong early season display
Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland will start Etoile de Bessèges this week, fresh from a second place finish at the French season opener, GP de la Marseillaise on Sunday. With the 2010 Tour de France to begin in Rotterdam, Hoogerland is hopeful that a strong early season showing will improve his Dutch team's chances of securing an invitation to the French Grand Tour.
The 26-year-old Dutchman finished second to Jonathan Hivert (Saur-Sojasun) in a tight sprint finish at Sunday's Marseillaise after the two joined a late-race escape group that finished 11 seconds clear of the peloton. Though disappointed with his narrow defeat, Hoogerland told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that there were positive conclusions to be drawn from the result.
"I did a lot of work in the off-season so I expected to be in good shape. I was disappointed I lost the sprint," Hoogerland said. "It's always hard to judge how the form will be during the first few races of the season, but I'm pleased to see that my condition is good."
Hoogerland's second place finish on Sunday was also backed up by top-ten results for Vacansoleil debutants Brice and Romain Feillu. While no guarantee of a wild card invitation to Tour de France, the strong performance by the Dutch team on French soil will do them no harm when Tour organisers decide on the teams that will line up in Rotterdam on July 3.
"The team is going really well. All the [early season] races are important," said Hoogerland. "It's critical we catch they eye of ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation), so we need to be ready to go well in every race."
The next chance for Vacansoleil to catch the eye of ASO will be Etoile de Bessèges, which gets underway on Wednesday in the coastal southern-French town of Aigues Mortes.
Hoogerland said that while the traditionally sprinter-friendly race was unlikely to present him an opportunity like Marseillaise, his team will be well represented by a glut of strong fast-men. He named Vuelta a España stage winner Borut Bozic and off-season recruit Alberto Ongarato as strong candidates to secure Vacansoleil's first win of the year.
"Bessèges is a funny race," he said. "Marseillaise is a hard one day race, but Bessèges is five days and they're generally suited to sprinters, so it tends to be fairly easy going [as the bunch stays together for the sprints]. We've got four good sprinters, so I'm confident we can perform strongly."
Vacansoleil for Etoile de Bessèges: Borut Bozic (Slo), Gorik Gardeyn (Bel), Johnny Hoogerland (Ned), Bjorn Leukemans (Bel), Marco Marcato (Ita), Alberto Ongarato (Ita), Joost Van Leyen (Ned) and Frédéric Veuchelen (Bel).
- Article published:
- February 2, 2010, 11:08
- Peter Cossins
Reports troubled teams will unite as Mexican-registered Continental squad
The future of the Rock Racing and Murcia teams looks more positive, with reports from Spain suggesting the two outfits are close to a merger for the 2010 season.
There has been talk of ongoing negotiations between the two squads in recent weeks and Spanish website esciclismo.com has now reported that the pair are on the verge of confirming their application for an International Cycling Union (UCI) Continental licence under the Rock Racing-Murcia banner. The site added that the team is likely to be registered in Mexico.
There had been doubts about the survival of both teams. Last month, Rock Racing failed on appeal to overturn a rejection of its application for Pro Continental status. Meanwhile, what was the Contentpolis-AMPO-Murcia team folded at the end of 2009, although Murcia’s regional authority has since been insisting that its line-up of mainly local riders will return to competition this season.
According to reports from Spain, registration in Mexico will necessitate the hiring of a substantial number of Mexican riders alongside Rock Racing’s big names, including Paco Mancebo, Oscar Sevilla, Víctor Hugo Peña and new arrival Floyd Landis. It has yet to be confirmed whether some or indeed any of Murcia’s elite and under-23 riders will join the set-up.
At the moment, indications are that the Spanish end of the newly merged outfit would play a logistical and support role when the team is racing in Europe.
Esciclismo.com’s sources indicate that the team is intending to apply for Pro Continental status in 2011.