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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Date published:
October 01, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Martens, Garate and Bol extend with Belkin

    Belkin has committed to a two-year deal with the squad formerly known as Blanco
    Article published:
    September 30, 2013, 8:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Dutch team with 28 riders for 2014

    Belkin Pro Cycling Team has announced that it has extended the contracts of Paul Martens, Juanma Garate and Jetse Bol. That gives the Dutch team a roster of 28 riders for the 2014 season.

    Martens, 29, extended for two years. The German first joined the Rabobank team in 2008. This season he won he overall title in the Tour of Luxembourg as well as a stage at the Volta ao Algarve.

    “This year, Paul established himself as one of the best riders in his field. He was really strong in the hilly stage races,” said sport director Paul Verhoeven. “On a WorldTour level Paul, he has also shown that he is someone to be reckoned with in the one-day races.”

    The 24-year-old Jetse Bol will be with the team at least one more year.

    "In the shadow of the team’s leaders, Jetse did a great job the last two years. He clearly made progress," said Verhoeven. "Jetse is a strong domestique in the classics and in other difficult one-day races, but he also stands his ground in stage races and in the sprint train. Jetse can finish a race off himself, as well. He’s still young and developing and we expect that he will be of value for the team again next year.”

    Garate, 37, also extended for one year. The Spaniard first moved to the Rabobank team in 2009. “In the Grand Tours and major stage races, Juanma is a real captain. He hasn’t been at the front of many races this year, but behind the scenes we know exactly how important he is.”

    The Dutch team will have very few changes for the coming season. Only two riders have left – Mark Renshaw and Tom-Jelte Slagter – with two newcomers, Barry Markus and Nick van der...

  • Gilbert unable to match climbers at Worlds

    All smiles for Philippe Gilbert (BMC) as he awaits the start of stage 15 at the Vuelta
    Article published:
    September 30, 2013, 11:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian coach happy that Spanish did not win

    Philippe Gilbert  was one of the favourites heading into the UCI road world championships in Florence, but he was foiled by the pure climbers who took off on the final lap.

    “It was really difficult,” he told Sporza . “The real climbers attacked in the last lap.  Moreover, there were two Spaniards there.”

    "We tried later to chase. The organization was not perfect, but we rode fast. Yet we could not come back.”

    The Belgian finally sprinted to a painful ninth place, 34 seconds behind the new world champion, Rui Costa. “I could not stand on the pedals through the pain. I had to sprint while sitting.”

    Gilbert had actually had his eye on the Italians during the race, who rode aggressively. “Bettini and Nibali like to attack. I often sat on the wheels of the Italians, that was the best choice on this dangerous course.....”

    He praised his Belgian teammates, whom he “asked to drive tempo. That was my plan to survive. If the attacks began, I would react.”

    Yet, the crashes and bad weather took their toll. Eventually, “everyone came to tell me they were kaputt and couldn't work any more. Everybody was good but like many other countries we had bad luck with crashes.”

    Bomans happy Spaniards did not win

    Belgian national coach Carlo Bomans praised the winner, saying, “I am glad that Rui Costa won and not a Spaniard. They did not do anything along the way.”

    He said that he could not blame his riders for not doing more. “I've never seen anything like that before. It was very bad weather conditions. That must have been hell for the riders.”

  • Minguez slams Valverde over Worlds ride

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Porgutal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) show off their world championship hardware
    Article published:
    September 30, 2013, 12:20 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    "He should have chased down anything that moved, even the motorbikes"

    Spain’s national coach Javier Minguez has criticised Alejandro Valverde’s failure to chase down Rui Costa when the Portuguese rider bridged across to Joaquim Rodriguez in the closing kilometres of the World Championships, and then went on to win.

    Valverde has blamed his tactical error on not having the legs to follow Rui Costa. But for Minguez, who took over the job of Spanish trainer from Jose Luis De Santos this year, suggested that Valverde’s failure to react as the Portuguese rider jumped away was not satisfactory.

    “Purito’s performance deserved a gold,” said Minguez, “and losing the gold in this way annoys me, although I’m pleased we got silver and bronze.”

    “Joaquim raced fantastically well, but Valverde made a serious mistake. If Rui Costa goes for Purito, he has to go after him. If he had done that, he’d be in the rainbow jersey now.”

    “He should have chased down anything that moved - even the television motorbike.”

    “Okay, two medals is cause for a fiesta. But thanks to his error, we’re not World Champions.”

    Minguez praised the Spanish team for “doing everything we had said beforehand. Even if it was terrible weather and we got two medals, it’s annoying to see how stupid we look for not getting gold. It was ours and we lost it.”

    With three silvers and two bronzes, Valverde is now the most be-medalled rider of cycling history in elite men’s road-racing - Marianne Vos has that honour in the womens’ category - but none of them are gold.

    In 2004 in Verona, Valverde’s work for Oscar Freire in the closing kilometres en route to Spain’s previous gold was exceptional. But...

  • Report: Sojasun to stop at end of season

    French team Saur Sojasun starts in Liege
    Article published:
    September 30, 2013, 13:15 BST
    Cycling News

    French ProConti team found no new co-sponsor

    Team Sojasun will stop at the end of this season, after late negotiations with a possible sponsor ended and the deadline for registration with UCI approached. According to L'Equipe, the official announcement will be made later today.

    Team manager and former pro rider Stephane Heulot has already told his riders that the team will fold. He had hoped up to the last minute for good news but with the UCI deadline for teams to pay their first deposits on October 1 looming, he ran out of time.

    Heulot created the team as an amateur club, SuperSport 35, in 2002, and it gradually moved up in the ranks from Continental to Professional Continental. It reached that level under the name Besson Chaussures-Sojasun in 2009, becoming Saur-Sojasun for 2010 to 2012. Sojasun was sole sponsor this year.

    The team received wild-card invitations to the Tour de France in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It had its biggest success in 2011 when Jerome Coppel finished 13th overall in the Tour de France.

    This season the team has won five races. Maxime Daniel won a stage at the Volta a Portugal, and Jimmy Engoulvent the prologue of the Tour de Luxembourg. Jonathan Hivert was the best rider this season, taking two stages at the Vuelta a Andalucia and the overall title at the Etoile de Besseges.

  • RCS Sport investigating possible internal financial misappropriation case

    RCS Sport
    Article published:
    September 30, 2013, 18:51 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Giro d'Italia organiser could have lost several million Euros

    RCS Sport, the organiser of the Giro d'Italia, Milan-San Remo and next weekend's Il Lombardia, have confirmed they have appointed an external auditor to control its accounts after internal checks discovered possible misappropriation of several million Euros.

    The Italian company has appointed Riccardo Taranto as the new CEO and he is leading the internal investigation. Previous CEO Giacomo Catano has moved to another role within parent company RCS Media Group that owns sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, leading newspaper Corriere della Sera and several other important media brands in Italy.

    According to reports in Italian media, between 10-13 million Euros could have disappeared from affiliate companies controlled by RCS Sport.

    It seems the cycling sector of RCS Sport is not directly involved, but income generated by the Giro d'Italia could have disappeared. RCS Group works in several sports, including basketball, running, golf and tennis but cycling remains its most lucrative sector.

    The head of accounts and administration at RCS Sport has apparently resigned. Michele Acquarone remains as the Chief Operating Officer along with all the RCS Sport operational management and staff.

    RCS Sport refused to comment further than an initial statement issued by RCS Media Group. The suspected fraud was discussed at length by the board of RCS Media Group on Monday. Further developments are expected soon.

    The journalists of the Corriere della Sera called for RCS Media Group to "start every possible action to recover the amounts that have been taken, working with the Finance police and magistrates."

    RCS Media Group is in dire financial difficulty after losing millions due the financial and media crisis. Key shareholders agreed to refinance the company this summer but RCS Sport plans sell its historic office in the centre of Milan and cut costs as part of a digitally driven restructuring...

  • Riis hopeful of announcing new sponsor soon

    Article published:
    September 30, 2013, 20:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Deadline upcoming for new signings and financial guarantees

    Bjarne Riis hopes to present his new team sponsor soon. With Tinkoff Bank leaving Team Saxo-Tinkoff at the end of this season, the Dane needed to find a new sponsor in addition to Saxo Bank, and meanwhile the delay is affecting signings and contract extensions.

    “We are working to get the last details in place, and hopefully we will soon announce something concrete soon,” he told Negotiations are “reasonably well along , but there are still some things that need to fall into place.”

    The lack of final details and not knowing who will provide how much money means that Riis is lagging behind on signing riders for 2014.  “You would like to see it a little differently sometimes , but that 's the way it is. It's not me who sits on this idea.”

    Veteran Chris Anker Sorensen, who finished 32nd in the world championships road race, has been with Riis his entire pro career. He has a contract for the coming season, but like his teammates, faces the risk of the team folding if a co-sponsor is not found.

    He does not believe that will happen, though. “Saxo Bank is still here , and so far I have heard there will also be a team in the next season. The question is how big is the budget.”

    Riis has three more weeks to line thing up. The transfer window closes on October 20 and the team must put up a guarantee of financial coverage for the coming season.

    The team has announced only one new signing, Michael Valgren Andersen, and confirmed only one rider leaving, Anders Lund, who is retiring. Only 15 current riders are confirmed for 2014, with the fates of 13 others hanging in the balance.

  • No regrets for Italy despite missing out on world championship medal

    Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) leads the favourites
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 1:50 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Bettini: "I'd rather finish fourth than loose the race like Spain did"

    Italy has now failed to win a medal in the last five editions of the Elite men's road race world championships but the rider and national coach left Florence with a sense of pride rather than failure after the Azzurri did everything they could to control the race and set up Vincenzo Nibali.

    The 28 year-old Sicilian finished fourth, beaten by Alejandro Valverde (Spain) in the sprint after he lost contact with Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) and then was being unable to go with Rui Costa (Portugal) when he jumped across to the Spaniard and beat him in the sprint. Nibali crashed at speed with two laps to go but got back up to the peloton with a show of strength and some help from the team car. However his injuries affected his race.

    Other crashes took out road captain Luca Paolini, while protected sprinter Filippo Pozzato lost contact on the final climb up to Fiesole at the same time as Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Peter Sagan (Slovakia).

    Italian national coach Paolo Bettini was disappointed to miss out on a medal but was proud of how his riders had dominated and controlled must of the race.

    "I'd rather finish fourth than loose the race like Spain did. Vincenzo fought all the way to the end and raced with intelligence. I'm proud that we're back as the best nation in the race," Bettini said.

    "I've got no regrets and can only praise all the riders. They fought like lions. We took on the race, as we'd planned. Almost everyone crashed at some point except Pozzato, who had a puncture and changed bikes. We were unlucky that Paolini crashed with Nibali and Scarponi because the finale would have been different if he'd been up there with Vincenzo."

    "If Vincenzo hadn't crashed, I'm sure he'd have been up there: either to...

  • Report: Acevedo to Garmin

    Race leader, Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 7:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Another spot open on Omega Pharma Quick-Step

    Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) has reportedly broken a verbal agreement with Omega Pharma-Quick-Step and will ride for Garmin-Sharp instead in 2014.

    After signing Jan Bakelants as his 30th and final rider, Patrick Lefevere now has another spot to fill with Thomas De Gendt becoming the next logical choice. Much was publicised over which rider would complete the Quick-Step roster with the choice between Bakelants and De Gendt going down to the wire.

    Originally thought of as a strong climbing lieutenant for Rigoberto Uran, Acevedo may provide Garmin with a stage or GC option should reports of his signing with Jonathan Vaughters' team be true.

    At current, information is few and far between, but Lefevere made public the peculiar statement that Acevedo had made some "unfortunate statements about the team lately," he told Wieler Flits. “Though I still think that he could win six UCI races a year with us.”

    When Jamis team director Seba Alexandre spoke with Cyclingnews in August, he said that Acevedo was still weighing up a number of options.

    Having won stages at the USA Pro Challenge and the Tour of California, as well as finishing in the top-10 of every Tour he has started this year, Acevedo will be a welcome rider regardless of which team he ends up at.