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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Date published:
June 17, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Katrin Garfoot joins Orica-AIS

    Katrin Garfoot (Pensar SPM Racing) warms down after finishing second in the opening stage of the women's Battle on the Border
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 1:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian to make racing debut at Giro del Trentino

    Having started the season racing with the Australian National Team, German-born Australian Katrin Garfoot’s performances in Europe has landed her a contract with Orica-AIS for the remainder of 2014.

    "We're really excited to bring Garfoot onto the team," said Sport Director Gene Bates. "She's relatively green to European racing, but what we've seen her do is good so far. She's new to the game, so she'll need some time to settle in, but we expect it to be a great fit."

    "This has all happened very quickly," said Garfoot, who will make her debut with the team on Sunday at the Giro del Trentino. "Because it happened so quickly, it's a bit hard to take it all in. I was thinking in my head that further down the road, I might be able to get into a professional team, but I didn't have the confidence to think it could be this year. I'm really excited for the opportunity."

    In 2013, just her second full season of road racing, Garfoot won the Oceania Road Championships and was the overall winner of the Women’s National Road Series (NRS). Those results saw Garfoot gain a place at the Cycling Australia selection camp at where she secured a place at on the Australian National Team for a European block of racing in spring this year.

    Her results in Europe have also seen her selected for the Australian Commonwealth Games team.

    "My husband got me into the sport," Garfoot said. "He was always mountain biking with a friend, and I felt excluded, so he organised a mountain bike for me so that I could ride, too. The road bike came next. We did some training crits from there, and he said he thought I had some potential. He got me a better road bike, and I started racing three years ago. My second road race was the 2012 National Road Championships."

    After an unforgettable first World Cup race in 2014,...

  • Cavendish and Kwiatkowski to lead Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the Tour de France

    Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) peeks from behind a fan.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 3:00 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Boonen held back as a reserve rider

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step announced its long-list for the upcoming Tour de France. Development manager, Rolf Aldag, noted that the team will race around sprinter Mark Cavendish for stage wins and its young talent Michal Kwiatkowski for the overall classification.

    "Everybody knows our main objectives will be the stage wins with Cavendish and a new experience in the Tour with Kwiatkowski, to make another improvement, a new step in his career," Aldag said. "We will build our team around those two guys to be a competitive and strong team in order to try and reach our goals."

    Cavendish showed good form in the early season after he secured stage wins at the Volta ao Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of Turkey and Tour of California, where he expressed his ambition to win the Tour’s green jersey in July.

    Kwiatkowski was on track to lead his team at the Tour, however, he is currently undergoing testing to try and determine why he has had substandard performances recently. He pulled out of the Critérium du Dauphiné before the start of the penultimate stage after having lost more than 10 minutes in the overall classification.

    He has shown promise as an overall contender after he finished 11th overall and third in the white jersey competition in the Tour last year. This year, he won the Strade Bianche, the Tour of Romandie prologue and...

  • Kittel returns to racing at Ster ZLM Toer

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the rain-soaked first stage.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 4:00 BST
    Cycling News

    German will use race for final Tour de France preperation

    Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) has recovered from the fever which forced him to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia and enters the Ster ZLM Toer off the back of a period of high-altitude training. The 25-year-old repeats his Tour de France preparation from last year with his appearance at the race and will again look to win a stage as he did in 2013.

    Kittel hasn't race since he won back-to-back stages at the Giro and will be hoping for a confidence boost ahead of the Tour's first stage on July 5. Joining Kittel at the UCI 2.1 race will be his usual leadout train while Tobias Ludvigsson will look for a high overall placing in his return to racing after crashing out of the Giro.

    "We have two objectives for this race, the first being to go for the sprints with Marcel and to test his form ahead of the Tour, and then to go for the GC with Tobias,"  Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna said ahead of the race.

    "Tobias is coming back from injury so we are unsure of how his body will react but we will try here to go for a good result with him.

    "There are three clear sprint opportunities for the team here and it will be a good chance to get the sprint formation back up to speed around Marcel."

    Completing the team is breakaway specialist, Cheng Ji and road captain at the race, Roy Curvers.

    The race begins on June 18 with a short and flat 7km individual time trial with the following day the first opportunity for...

  • inCycle video: Behind the scenes with Bianchi

    The Belkin team issue Bianchi Infinito CV is black and celeste
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 6:30 BST
    Cycling News

    The latest developments in carbon innovation

    Italian bike manufacturer Bianchi begun in 1885 and has been at the forefront of technical innovation ever since Edoardo Bianchi started the business from his workshop at 7 Via Nirone, Milan. In the 19th century the company was the first to change to equal-sized wheels with pneumatic rubber tires and in the 21st century it has worked to developed carbon fibre bicycles that cancel out vibration, a key factor when racing in the Cobbled Classics.

    The Infinito CV is the flagship bike for Bianchi and was used by the WorldTour team Belkin during the Cobbled Classics, taking Sep Vanmarcke to third at Ronde van Vlaanderen and fourth at Paris-Roubaix.

    "Bianchi's mission in the development of the Infinito CV was primarily based on two factors; one, research into minimising stress on the athletes; and secondly, creating better control of the bike," Bianchi's product manager Angelo Lecchi explained.

    The Infinito CV uses a system known as Countervail, a viscoelastic material developed between Bianchi and Materials Science Corporation (MSC) that is embedded structurally in critical areas of the frame and fork.

    The bike has also been specifically designed to be ridden over tough terrain for a long time. And with a longer frame geometry, it's a bike often seen at the front of the peloton.

    Watch the video below to go behind the scenes with Bianchi and don't forget to subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube channel.

  • Belkin to end team sponsorship after 2014 season

    The 2014 Belkin riders pose for a group photo
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 8:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch team to start looking for new sponsor immediately

    Belkin Pro Cycling has announced that its title sponsor, the American consumer electronics company Belkin, has decided not to renew its sponsorship of the team beyond 2014.  

    Having entered into sponsorship with the team prior to the 2013 Tour de France with the aim of increasing brand awareness and subsequently sales, a change in company strategy to a global focus on Belkin International brands — Belkin, WeMo and Linksys — means the Dutch team will begin to immediately look for a new title sponsor.

    "It is unfortunate that this new collaboration is not going to be extended," Richard Plugge, managing director of the Belkin Pro Cycling team announced the changes on the team website. "With the motto #ridethefuture we have generated a lot of goodwill the past year, in an environment that is still critically observed. Our innovative method and forward-looking TEAM philosophy has brought the sport back where it belongs, with fans and stakeholders. Our performance, battle mode, transparency and accessibility have not gone unnoticed by the public and industry.

    "We will now start an intensive search for a new sponsor to be able to continue the journey that we started. We have full confidence in the future and expect to appear with a new sponsor on the shirt at the start of the 2015 season," Plugge said.

    "We are a Dutch procycling team with an international image and World Tour status, therefore we expect to find a new title sponsor. We were already in conversation with additional sponsors and still have sponsorship opportunities open for the upcoming Tour de France."

    Belkin also issued a statement, saying that their marketing strategy would be focussed more on innovation, but said they will help the team in their search for a new sponsor.

    "Belkin would like to thank and pay tribute to the cycling community for the warm...

  • Belkin riders look to secure futures after sponsor pulls out

    The 2014 Belkin team
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 10:24 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Uncertain times for team and riders

    The news that Belkin will exit professional cycling at the end of the season has already sparked uncertainty within the sport with the jobs of an entire roster of riders and staff under threat for next year.

    The official news broke Tuesday morning with riders and staff notified via text message that the team’s lead sponsor had exercised a clause within their contract to pull the plug.

    Belkin entered the sport in 2013, and were officially unveiled as Team Blanco’s replacement in June of last year. The initial contract was set to run for two and a half years, but a change of strategy from within the American firm leaves team boss Richard Plugge with his second sponsorship search in 18 months after Rabobank exited the sport at the end of 2012.

    While Plugge’s main aim will be to secure a sponsor he must also ensure that he has riders on his books in order to court potential suitors. The transfer market is already in full swing with riders and agents busily securing deals for the coming season. Officially contracts cannot be announced under the UCI’s August 1 deadline but the majority of major riders will have agreements in place by the end of the Tour de France.

    Martijn Berkhout a Dutch agent with three riders at Belkin, and a host of other riders on WorldTour teams, told Cyclingnews that Belkin’s announcement came as a shock, especially as two of his riders had signed contracts with the team for 2015.

    “All I can do is try and guarantee the future of my riders,” he told Cyclingnews.

    “I’m not going to wait until September to find out if there’s a sponsor. I really like Richard Plugge and I’m really supportive of what they do, and all the plans they’ve made in what has been, and is, a great team but my job is to secure the futures of my riders. They have to keep me informed and at the same time I have to see how things proceed. Of...

  • Report: Santambrogio confesses to UCI CIRC doping Commission

    Mauro Santambrogio (Fantini Vini - Selle Italia)
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 11:04 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian's 18-month ban to end on November 2

    Mauro Santambrogio is expected to serve an 18-month ban following his positive test for EPO at the 2013 Giro d'Italia, after becoming the first Italian rider to confess to the UCI's Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Santambrogio was caught after his Vini Fantini-Selle Italia teammate Danilo Di Luca tested positive for EPO during the final week of the Giro d'Italia. Santambrogio's test was initially declared negative but further testing indicated he had taken a micro-dose of EPO. He was never formally sanctioned for doping in Italy, but Gazzetta dello Sport claims his confession to the CIRC mitigated a possible 4-year ban down to just 18 months.

    It is not clear exactly what information Santambrogio gave to the CIRC. Gazzetta dello Sport suggests he explained how and where he bought EPO and who sold it to him. Santambrogio raced with LPR (2004-2006), Lampre (2006-2009) and BMC (2010-2012) before joining Vini Fantini and becoming team leader for the Giro d'Italia.

    Last October, Santambrogio caused panic amongst his friends and followers on Twitter by writing "Addio Mondo" – "Goodbye World". However huge support seemed to have convinced him to rebuild his life. Gazzetta dello Sport reports that he has returned to work part-time as a baker and that he is now looking for a team that can help him return as a professional rider when his ban ends on November 2.

    UCI President Brian Cookson announced the creation of the CIRC in January, saying the commission will "investigate the problems cycling has faced in recent years, especially the allegations that the UCI has been involved in wrongdoing in the past –allegations which have done so much to hurt...

  • Vanmarcke surprised by Belkin's decision to end team sponsorship

    Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) on the podium
    Article published:
    June 17, 2014, 13:50 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Belgian Classics rider hopes to stay with the team in 2015

    When Sep Vanmarcke woke up this morning his only thoughts were about today's fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse. However, that all changed for the Belkin rider and his teammates when they found out that their title sponsor would be pulling out at the end of the year.

    "We were really surprised. We heard it this morning. Everybody in the team got a text from Richard. I think everybody is surprised," Vanmarcke told Cyclingnews.

    "Everything was looking good for the future. The sponsor Belkin was really happy. They had good talks and they were close to a contract in California, but things went differently."

    Vanmarcke is currently riding in support of his teammate Bauke Mollema, who currently lies in fourth overall at the Tour de Suisse. The 25-year-old Belgian says that the news will have little effect on how he races.

    "Maybe I will have a little less focus today but, for the next races, I will focus on the races and that is still my job," he explained.

    Belkin's decision to use an option in its contract and end its sponsorship this year marks the second time that Vanmarcke's future has been thrown into uncertainty with the Dutch-based team. He signed for them at the end of 2012, days before title sponsor Rabobank pulled the plug. Rabobank gave the team a lifeline by continuing to fund them for a further year and the team began 2013 as Blanco. Belkin inked a two and a half year deal prior to last year's Tour de France, shoring up the team's immediate future. However, this latest news leaves him in the dark about his future once again.

    "I don't know where it is leading now. I'm also really confused, like the others, I don't know if it will be worthless at the end of the year or maybe the team can go on," said...