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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Date published:
January 28, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Degenkolb looks forward to GP Marseillaise

    Warren Barguil and John Degenkolb
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 21:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Giant-Shimano gets ready to open European season

    John Degenkolb will lead the Giant-Shimano team at the GP Marseillaise this Sunday, February 2 in the south of France when the European race calendar will get underway.

    The undulating one-day race usually ends with a reduced peloton fighting out the finish, and last year Warren Barguil sprinted to an impressive eighth place. Barguil will return this year with a year's race experience at WorldTour level under his belt and with seven teammates with several different cards to play.

    It will be the first race of the season for all of the Team Giant-Shimano riders competing, including Degenkolb, who is looking to stretch his legs and test his form after the winter break.

    The race also marks both Dries Devenyns' and Chad Haga's first race since joining the team.

    Team Giant-Shimano's coach for the race, Christian Guiberteau said, "It's the first race of the season for all the guys here so our main target is to get the cohesion back after a break, and make sure everyone is working well together. It is also important for the guys to get their heads back into race mode."

    "It's a tough race here, always up and down but without any real mountains so anything can happen. It depends on what the weather is doing too. All the guys have had a solid winter so it will be good to see them racing again."

    Giant-Shimano for GP Marseillaise: Warren Barguil, Roy Curvers, Thomas Damuseau, John Degenkolb, Dries Devenyns, Chad Haga, Tobias Ludvigsson, Albert Timmer

  • Gesink satisfied with racing at Tour Down Under

    Robert Gesink (Belkin)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 22:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Belkin starts racing season off well in Australia

    Team Belkin's Robert Gesink finished off the Tour Down Under on Sunday in sixth overall. Gesink's place in the top 10 of the GC was never in jeopardy in the final 95km stage, a criterium in Adelaide. André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) won the bunch sprint while Gesink was 22nd.

    Gesink looked back with satisfaction on the team's time in Australia after the last stage. "It's been a very good race," said the Dutchman, whose only disappointment was the collarbone fracture of David Tanner. "All my teammates worked hard and thanks to them, I was able to compete at the front."

    Ready for the rest of the season following the Tour Down Under, he said, "This was a good start of the season. Of course, we'd rather have won something as a team, but on the other hand, we were among the best in the WorldTour this week. I feel that I'm in a good shape."

    Gesink is pleased with the professional way the team approached the first race of the season. "We took the race very seriously, and we did everything we could to be good here. We reached a high level. Maybe next year we could travel to Australia a little bit earlier?"

    "We were well acclimatized, don't get me wrong, but if we could have done a good training block here, maybe we would have been slightly better. It could be an idea for the future. We always look for ways to innovate."

  • Marcel Kittel keen on 2014 Giro d'Italia

    Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano) pre-stage
    Article published:
    January 27, 2014, 23:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour-Giro double on the cards for German sprnter

    Having completed the opening race of the WorldTour at the Tour Down Under, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) has turned his sights to making his debut at the Giro d'Italia in May. Kittel, who won four stages at last year's Tour de France, made his grand tour debut in 2011 at the Vuelta a España where he won Stage 7.

    "Of course it is a dream for a sprinter to win stages in more grand tours. I would like to ride the Giro. In the next few weeks I will discuss with my team whether this race should be on my program this year," Kittel said.

    Since turning professional in 2011 Kittel has ridden only one grand tour a season and of the three that he has started, Kittel has only completed one.

    Kittel won the opening People's Classic Criterium on the eve of the Tour Down Under and failed to fire again as Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was once again king of the sprints at the Australian race.

    On the final day of racing around an Adelaide city street circuit that favoured sprinters like Kittel, the German was boxed in with his lead out man Koen de Kort forced to take up sprinting duties.

    "The plan was to set Marcel up for the finish but he got swamped towards the end and was unable to make up the ground. Koen did well to react and make the most of his good positioning to sprint to fourth place," said Giant-Shimano's Addy Engels.

  • Cycling Australia national teams announced ahead of Jayco Herald Sun Tour

    Caleb Ewan (Jayco-AIS) wins the under-23 GP Palio del Recioto
    Article published:
    January 28, 2014, 3:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Six-man teams for Jayco u23 National Team and KordaMentha Team Australia

    Having just completed his first Tour Down Under on the backing of winning the U23 Australian men’s road race and criterium championships, Caleb Ewan will headline the Jayco national team at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Ewan’s best result on his WorldTour debut was a podium pace in the People's Choice Classic behind Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) although his opportunities thereafter were limited by a crash.

    Joining Ewan on the squad is fellow UniSA member Bradley Linfield as well as junior road world championship representatives Robert Power who both stood alongside Ewan on the podium for the U23 men's road race in Ballarat. The other riders on the team area Sam Spokes (NSW), National time trial medallist Harry Carpenter and Alex Clements.

    "This squad is likely to form the nucleus of the 2014 Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy who will race in Europe this season," said team director James Victor. "We look forward to getting the group back together for the first time since the world titles in Florence last year.

    "Caleb in particular, has had a busy start to the year but we expect he and Robert Power to challenge for stage wins in bunch finishes."  

    Cycling Australia has also announced that it will also field an elite national team headlined by reigning track world champion and Olympic silver medallist, Glenn O'Shea and Victorian Patrick Shaw.

    The pair will lead the team, KordaMentha-Team Australia, containing several promising talents known for their exploits in the National Road Series. Mt Baw Baw and Tour of Bright winner Matthew Clark, Robert Jon-McCarthy, Chris Jory and Thomas Hamilton complete the squad.

    "The team is made up of mostly young guys who are stepping up but...

  • Taylor Gunman ready to fire at New Zealand Cycle Classic

    The Avanti team made it through the nationals campaign unscathed
    Article published:
    January 28, 2014, 4:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Avanti Racing set for title defence

    New Avanti Racing rider and recently crowned New Zealand time trial champion, Taylor Gunman, is locked and loaded for the New Zealand Cycle Classic starting on Wednesday. Not only are the team looking to defend the title they won a year earlier with Nathan Earle (Team Sky), they are aiming to make it three years in-a-row that they have won the races' opening time trial.

    In 2012 it was Campbell Flakemore who took the honours over the 7.1km course and in 2013 it was Joe Cooper who recorded the fastest time. Although Gunman's teammates, Sam Davis, Brenton Jones, Aaron Donnelly and Ben Dyball, are all strong against the clock, it is the man with the New Zealand title to his name that is looking to perform on the shortened 6.1km course.

    Despite joining Avanti officially from the start of 2014, Gunman raced last year's Tour of Southland as a guest rider with the team. Obviously Gunman was keen to impress in his first race and the 22-year-old did not disappoint when he took a hill-top victory in the 187km fourth stage that finished with an 8.4km climb to Coronet Peak.

    Avanti directeur Andrew Christie-Johnston told Cyclingnews that Gunman was unsure of his climbing abilities before the race, but all parties were pleasantly surprised with the end result.

    "I told my coach before Southland my climbing legs were good, but I never thought they were that good. I honestly thought I could run top five," said Gunman.

    Gunman was initially unsure of his standing...

  • Drapac's Ben Johnson hit by car while training

    The Drapac Professional Cycling Team sets the pace
    Article published:
    January 28, 2014, 5:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian set to miss New Zealand Cycle Classic

    Ben Johnson (Drapac) will not take his place on the New Zealand Cycle Classic start line tomorrow after he was hit by a vehicle towing a caravan while training on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday morning and has not recovered from his injuries.

    Johnson will be replaced by Dutchman Wouter Wippert who will be making his debut for the team. Johnson sustained a deep gash to his left elbow which required six stitches along with multiple abrasions and haematomas but is hopeful of getting back on the bike later this week.

    "I am really disappointed not to be in New Zealand," said Johnson. "I was coming off some great form following the Bright training camp and [Australian] Nationals and I was looking forward to racing. I had a good opportunity to get a result there and Drapac has sent a very strong team over. I'm devastated."

    Johnson is pursuing the matter through legal channels while Tracey Gaudry, Chief Executive of the Amy Gillett Foundation who is the team's community partner, said sharing the road safely is a two way street, stating "let's lower the temperature – we are friends, family, workmates, strangers sharing our great environment. Everyone has the right to ride, walk or drive in safety.

    "Placing safety in our consciousness immediately changes the way we interact with others and use shared spaces. It's important to remember we're sharing the road with people, a moment of distraction or frustration can have potentially fatal consequences," said Gaudry.

    "Queensland will soon implement trial legislation requiring drivers to leave at least a metre when overtaking bike riders. Clarity about the space bike riders need for improved safety while maintaining an efficient road system for everyone is long overdue." 



  • Gallery: California training for Cannondale

    Peter Sagan shares a joke with his teammates
    Article published:
    January 28, 2014, 9:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    American adventure to begin 2014

    The 2014 road season is well underway but just a few days before making his debut at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, Peter Sagan and his Cannondale teammates held their final training camp in California. It was a last-chance effort for the WorldTour team to test TT bikes, with Sagan taking time to perfect his position on the velodrome.

    The testing took place on a track near Los Angeles in California, having been scheduled by the team’s coach Sebastian Weber. The testing was to find new positions on the time trial bikes to find more effective, efficient and faster positions when racing against the clock.

    Click here to see the gallery of Cannondale training and Sagan on the track.


  • Weight a hindrance for Betancur at Tour de San Luis

    Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    January 28, 2014, 10:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Colombian takes aim at Ardennes and Tour de France

    Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was some way over his ideal racing weight at the recent Tour de San Luis but the Colombian is confident that he will be in top form by the time the Ardennes classics come around in late April.

    “I normally suffer in excessive heat, and I did even more so here because I’m carrying a few too many kilos. It’s been a bit difficult for me but the important thing was to clock up the kilometres,” Betancur told Biciciclismo.

    “The last few days, I felt better. I’m going home with some race sharpness now, and training will be easier. I found it tough, especially on the climbs, but my condition will improve gradually.”

    Betancur finished the Tour de San Luis in a lowly 111th position, over 45 minutes down on his fellow countryman Nairo Quintana. According to Biciciclismo, he is currently six kilograms in excess of his racing weight of 56kg, and Betancur acknowledged that he had deliberately relaxed during his off-season at home in Ciudad Bolivar.

    “When I’m off the bike, I like to enjoy life, and in Colombia we eat very well and I picked up a bit of weight. But when I get to Europe, I’m very attentive and I focus 100 percent on the bike to do things well,” Betancur said.

    “I will start to train with my coach, Michele Bartoli, and do some very demanding training so I’m ready for the classics and also for Romandie.”

    Weight loss will be an important part of that training regimen, although the 24-year-old Betancur explained that it is something that happens almost organically once he returns to his European base in Italy.

    “I go out training quite...