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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Date published:
February 04, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Valverde begins his 2014 season in Dubai

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 18:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard leads Movistar Team's Middle East racing debut

    Alejandro Valverde will get his season under way at the Dubai Tour, starting on Wednesday, February 5. The 33-year-old Spaniard will lead an eight-man Movistar team.

    After two stage wins and overall victory at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, and following last Friday's launch at Telefónica's headquarters in Madrid, the Movistar Team will return to racing at the first-ever Dubai Tour, a four-day stage race that runs through Saturday, February 8.

    Valverde and his teammates will face a 10km opening individual time trial in the Emirati city, followed by two short sprint stages and a moderate mountain stage en route to Hatta.

    The Movistar team also includes riders like Ion Izagirre, who will be making his first race appearance with the team, and Adriano Malori, who won the Tour de San Luis time trial stage.

    Movistar for the Dubai Tour: Jonathan Castroviejo, Alex Dowsett, Jesús Herrada, Ion Izagirre, Juanjo Lobato, Adriano Malori, Enrique Sanz and Alejandro Valverde

  • Bronzini carries Bay Crits form into Ladies Tour of Qatar

    Giorgia Bronzini wins the first race of the Bay Crits
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 21:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian looking for strong results in build-up to Track Worlds

    After opening her 2014 season with a trio of stage wins and overall victory in Australia's Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) hopes to capitalise on her good form at the Ladies Tour of Qatar.

    Bronzini has three stage wins at the Ladies Tour of Qatar in her palmares, as well as second place overall finishes in both 2009 and 2010, and the 30-year-old Italian hopes for another strong showing in the four-day stage race which begins on Tuesday, February 4.

    "I don't think it will be like my last race in Australia because here it is another kind of race," Bronzini said. "In the last month I've worked hard in my preparation for the track Worlds so I have had good training and hope to feel good in the race.

    "Overall, tomorrow will be the first long road race of the season, with the best riders in the peloton too, so it will be hard to try to be perfect on the first day. Normally in a stage race, I feel better from day to day, so tomorrow will be hard for me, but I will try to be at the front.

    "I will try to be present at the focus point of the stage, and I know I will have my teammates around me," Bronzini said. "For sure the best girls will be the Australians, and those that have been in the warm weather until now."

    Alongside Bronzini will be Australian Criterium Championship silver medallist Peta Mullens, who will make her international debut for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling after several strong performances in Australia's summer. Charlotte Becker, like Bronzini, has finished second overall in the Tour of Qatar, and was also a key part of the team's performance last month in Australia, while Swedish champion Emilia Fahlin will be making her debut for Wiggle Honda.


  • Simon Gerrans chasing unprecedented Australian triple crown

    Simon Gerrans seals his third Tour Down Under win
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 21:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Herald Sun Tour final objective of Australian summer

    The Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia's oldest stage race, kicks off on Wednesday in Melbourne, with sixteen teams of six contesting the five-day long race with Simon Gerrans entering the race in almost career best form. Having claimed his second national road title in Buninyong ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) and Richie Porte (Team Sky), Gerrans then won a record third Tour Down Under title.

    Prior to the big three races of the early year, Gerrans signalled his intentions of a big summer that would result in him heading to Europe as national champion and with two overall race wins to his name, all before mid-February.

    The 61st edition of the race begins with a 2.5km twilight prologue along the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River. The race leaves then Melbourne and heads off on a scenic tour of country Victoria concluding with a tough triple ascent up Arthur's Seat in the Mornington Peninsula.

    "The course that the organisers have put together this year is fantastic, it should be one of the most spectacular Jayco Herald Sun Tours yet," Orica-GreenEdge Sport Director Matt Wilson said. "With the way the course has been designed, I am expecting it to be a very open and unpredictable race."

    "There are just four stages and a prologue," said Wilson. "In a short race like this, the win will come down to a matter of seconds rather than minutes, which means that every second counts out on the road. We've been clear about our objectives: we want to win the...

  • New faces for Team Colombia at Étoile de Bessèges

    Team Colombia's Jarlinson Pantano was close to taking out the stage today, eventuall finishing in fourth-place
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 23:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Looking for a strong performance at first European stage race of the season

    Having started their season at the Argentinian stage race, Tour de San Luis, and made their 2014 European debut at the GP Costa degli Etruschi, Team Colombia's Escarabajos are ready to take part in their first French stage race of the season at the Étoile de Bessèges (February 5th-9th) which starts in Bellegarde and finishes with an individual time trial in Ales.

    For the first three days are sprinter friendly but the fourth stage is one for the punchers and climbers with the short and steep Laudin climbs of 10% average gradient that peak up to 20%. This stage and the 11 km ITT are set to decide the on the overall classification of the race.

    Team Colombia are sending a young and motivated group of riders including several new signings: Rodolfo Torres, who debuted at the GP Costa degli Etruschi, 'el niño' Edward Diaz, Jonathan Paredes and Luis Largo who will make their first appearance with the Escarabajos.

    The line-up led by Sports Directors Valerio Tebaldi and Oliverio Rincòn will also include Jeffry Romero, Carlos Julian Quintero, Jarlinson Pantano and Robinson Chalapud, all experienced riders who are looking for a strong performance in the French race.

    "We have picked a good mix of more tested athletes and new faces", Tebaldi said. "We will look to show up in the breaks in the first stages, and focus on the uphill finish to the Laudin climb. It's a very demanding slope, but I feel we got some options to go for a good result."

    Étoile de Bessèges...

  • Herald Sun Tour all set for bumper race

    A resplendent looking Simon Gerrans in Ochre on Australia Day
    Article published:
    February 04, 2014, 3:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    High quality field assemble with return of international teams

    The 61st instalment of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Victoria's oldest and most prestigious stage race is poised to deliver five days of frenetic world-class racing with 96 riders representing 16 teams tackling five stages and a combined 561.5km in the saddle.

    The race's honour roll features some of Australian and world cycling's greatest names, including 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and three former winners will be the start line tomorrow night, two-time winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), 2011 Champion Nathan Haas (Garmin Sharp) and defending champion Calvin Watson (Trek Factory Racing).

    Spearheaded by reigning national road race and Tour Down Under champion Simon Gerrans with Orica-GreenEdge, two other  team's from the WorldTour, Cannondale Pro Cycling and Garmin Sharp, will also take their place on the start line in Melbourne.

    As a two-time Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion, Gerrans will be chasing history this week seeking to become the first man to win the triple crown of national road race championship, Tour Down Under, and Jayco Herald Sun Tour titles in the one year, while also vying to become only the fourth man in the race's history to win the overall title on three or more occasions.

    "Growing up in country Victoria, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour is probably the first race I ever saw. I remember skipping classes at school to go and stand on the roadside to watch the race go by," said Gerrans.

    "It's no secret that the Sun Tour is an important race for GreenEdge and we will be racing...

  • Tony Martin and Mark Cavendish targeting stage wins in Dubai Tour

    British champion Mark Cavendish in full flight at his team's training camp in Calpe
    Article published:
    February 04, 2014, 3:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mark Renshaw to bolster Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprint train at race

    Omega Pharma - Quick-Step will be hoping to dial in their sprint train as early as possible with Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw on hand to lead out British national champion Mark Cavendish. The team will also be hoping that World time trial champion Tony Martin, who will contest his first race against the clock of 2014 on Stage 1, can add another win to his palmares as help the Belgian outfit dominate the first edition of the Dubai Tour, from Feb 5-8.

    "We are quite excited to go there for the first time," Sport Director Brian Holm said. "A few of our riders like Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin have already been there and they kind of know the city and the country and are very motivated to go there. For Mark, he will have his first chance to rely on both Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw in his leadout train.

    "Cav and Renshaw have a lot of history and, combined with a veteran like Peta, we're hoping to have a fair chance for success in a race with so many sprint opportunities."

    Holme said that while the team would focus on getting Cavendish across the line first as often as possible, Martin will be given the opportunity to go for the time trial win. "As for Tony, he had a special experience last year when he actually competed against a horse in an exhibition, which was a really nice introduction of cycling to Dubai. Now he can come back and also show Dubai how strong he is against other riders," Holme said.

    "This will be his first chance to time trial since wrapping up an incredible 2013, which included his third straight...

  • Avanti Racing Team officially launched ahead of Herald Sun Tour

    The full 19-rider squad
    Article published:
    February 04, 2014, 5:49 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian Continental team looking to continue producing WorldTour riders

    The Avanti Racing Team for the 2014 season has officially launched in Melbourne, Australia, on the eve of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. With all nineteen riders present at Federation Square each rider was introduced by Matt Keenan while Phil Liggett was a notable onlooker.

    With the team's mission statement of sending riders to the WorldTour, co-manager Andrew Christie-Johnston was reluctant to say who would be ‘the next Riche Porte,' but remained hopeful that some of the future stars of Australia and New Zealand cycling were embedded in his roster.

    "We've got quite a few guys here that can take that next step," said Christie-Johnston. "Who is going to be next? I'm not going to put my name on who that's going to be."

    Christie-Johnston did, however, hint that there has been interest in some of his current crop. "Campbell Flakemore did well at the world champs last year with a fourth in the U23 time trial, I think there's quite a bit of interest in Campbell at the moment. Also with our sprinters, there is always a lot of interest in Australian sprinters, so anyone of those guys can step up.

    "But for me it's not so much about anyone of them individually, as the year develops we will see the standouts, and if they can take that next step then certainly I'll be pushing hard to get them to the WorldTour."

    Avanti alumni and current Garmin-Sharp riders Nathan Haas and Steele Von Hoff were also present and did not hold back their praise for the team that helped start them off.

    "It's the team of all teams," said von Hoff. "The...

  • Dubai Tour: Cancellara insists he is not the favourite

    Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    February 04, 2014, 8:40 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Trek leader reveals that illness and a crash has affected his training

    Fabian Cancellara has played down suggestions that he is one of the favourites for overall success at the Dubai Tour, insisting he is riding without any pressure on his broad shoulders as he makes his debut with the Trek Factory Racing team.

    Wednesday's opening 9.9km time trial in Dubai is flat and fast but riders will use normal road bikes rather than time trial bikes. That could give Cancellara an edge over main rivals Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Taylor Phinney (BMC) and Adriano Malori (Movistar).

    However Cancellara revealed that he had been ill during Christmas and than his training was affected when he was hit by a car in early January. He made it clear he is not the favourite to win the time trial or take the overall winner's blue jersey.

    "No. I'll be honest, It's a 10km time trial on normal (road) bikes. I have no ambitions at all, I'm just here for racing, getting into participating in the first race of the year with Trek Factory Racing, a new team. This is more what counts now," Cancellara told Cyclingnews at the pre-race press conference.

    There was no lack of respect for the race, just honesty and perhaps a hint brinksmanship, to avoid any pre-race pressure.

    "This is definitely a race. It's the first race (of the season), it's Dubai, it's a prestigious race, it's not Rond de Kerktorem (the circuit of the church tower). It's a big thing. But for me it’s the first race. A few guys have raced at the Tour Down Under and San Luis. I'll see how it goes."

    "I've got Qatar and Oman, I've got a lot of kilometres and a lot of days when I'll race. That's why I'll go in with low pressure. That's normal and it’s good like that."

    Three weeks behind in training

    Cancellara revealed he is slightly behind with his training after...