"Race of the falling leaves" in need of a new nickname?
The Tour of Lombardy (Il Lombardia) will move to September in 2012, the UCI announced today.
The last Monument of the season, Il Lombardia, also known as the so-called "race of the falling leaves" because of its autumn date, will now be held on September 29, one week after the UCI road world championships.
The new date is also one day prior to RCS Sport's presentation of the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
"The change, which allows athletes to directly benefit from their world championship form on the WorldTour circuit, comes further to discussions held during the recent meeting of the Professional Cycling Council which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, last month," the UCI stated in its press release.
The Giro di Lombardia has traditionally been the grand finale of the season, having the honour not only of being the last Classic, but as the final race in the UCI's major series - the World Cup, ProTour and now WorldTour.
With the shift in date, it will once again be adjacent to the world championships as it had been until the Worlds moved up in date, and therefore may attract a stronger field.
However, the race loses its status as final WorldTour race, which will now go to the Tour of Beijing.
Will Dickeson is somewhat of an old hand at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour with four previous editions under his belt, but this time around, it will be an altogether different experience for the current Oceania time trial champion.
Having ridden the UCI 2.1 race with South Australian Savings & Loans squad between 2006 and 2009, Dickeson returns with the US Continental outfit Jelly Belly presented by Kenda.
"I know what to expect but it will be a bit of a new experience riding it for a foreign team I guess," he told Cyclingnews from his home in Adelaide where 28-year-old has been enjoying some down time after the US Pro Cycling Challenge. "In the past the race has been the focal point of the whole season for Savings & Loans, but this is part of our end of season racing block."
Dickeson is one of two Australians in the team for the Sun Tour with Canberran Al Loutit also set for the startline in Whittlesea on Wednesday. They're joined by sprinters two-time Tulsa Tough winner Brad Huff, and former Elite USA Criterium Champion Ken Hanson along with and Nic Hamilton. Alex Hagman was a late withdrawal due to knee tendonitis.
"We're obviously super-motivated to get results, especially me and Al being Australians," Dickeson explained. "Also, it's a chance to show Jelly Belly here in Australia. The distributer here will be coming along and doing a few things so it's also really important to show ourselves off for them. Focus, our bike supplier is just building in Australia so it's a big event for them as well with Katusha also riding. There're a few factors that will make it a pretty big week for us."
Based in Colorado when he's back in the US and with a recent focus on his climbing, Dickeson is keen to test his form...
Philippe Gilbert still leads the UCI WorldTour rankings, and with only one race left, will take the title this year. There were no changes in the top five riders or nations, as Spain still leads, but there was movement in the team rankings. Omega Pharma-Lotto is still tops, but Sky is now second, swapping places with Leopard Trek which fell to third.
Gilbert has 698 points going into the season's final WorldTour race, the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday. Second-placed Cadel Evans couldn't endanger the Belgian's lead, even if he were to ride in Italy, which he is not scheduled to do. Third through fifth places are still filled by Alberto Contador, Joaquin Rodriguez and Michele Scarponi.
Sixth is now Tony Martin, who took the overall title at the Tour of Beijing, and moved up from 13th. Rounding out the top 10, each moving down a slot, are Samuel Sanchez, Bradley Wiggins Fränk Schleck and Vincenzo Nibali.
In the national rankings, Spain continues to lead Belgium, Italy, Australia and Great Britain. Germany moved up from seventh to sixth, swapping places with the Netherlands. The United States is eighth and Luxembourg is ninth. France moved from 11th to 10th, knocking Norway out of the top 10.
Omega Pharma Lotto retained its hold on the team title. But with 1079 points, it is closely followed by Sky with 1059 points, which moved up from third to second. Third is now Leopard Trek. HTC-Highroad moved up to fourth, dropping BMC to fifth. Lampre held on to its sixth-place rank, but Garmin-Cervelo moved up from 10th to seventh. Liquigas, Saxo Bank-SunGard and Rabobank all dropped one place each to round out the top 10.
South African and Canadian add international flair
GreenEdge announced today the addition of two international riders, South African Daryl Impey and Canadian Christian Meier to its 2012 roster.
Impey is best known as the 2009 winner of the Presidential Tour of Turkey who crashed spectacularly in the final stage after a controversial run-in with Dutchman Theo Bos.
The South African time trial champion rode for RadioShack in 2010 and NetApp this year. Entering his fifth professional year, the 26-year-old has an eye on a Grand Tour start for 2012.
“GreenEdge has assembled a great squad and I’m really optimistic about our chances of getting a spot in the World Tour,” Impey said.
“I’m hoping to get a start in one of the Grand Tours for next year and aim to have a good Ardennes Classics campaign. I’ll also be aiming for my first ever win in a World Tour race along with going for the overall win in some of the smaller tours.”
Meier hopes to move back up to the sport's top tier after riding with the Unitedhealthcare team this year, following a two season stint with Garmin, and is looking forward to teaming up with fellow Canadian Svein Tuft again with an eye on the Canadian WorldTour races and the Ardennes Classics.
“I’m very excited about the prospect of returning to the World Tour and being part of such an ambitious project,” Meier said.
“It will be great to race alongside some of the most experienced riders in the peloton, as I’ll be able to learn plenty from those guys and continue to develop as a rider.
GreenEdge has so far named 27 riders of a maximum 30 allowed for the WorldTour level. Two riders must be new professionals, and the average age of the team's riders cannot exceed 28. Daniel Teklehaimanot has already been named as a neo-pro on the team.
The UCI determines which teams earn spots in the WorldTour by taking into account points accumulated by...
Australian journeyman hopes to wind back the clock for success at five day race
When it comes to the Australian racing scene, 33-year-old Peter Herzig has done it all. Described by many as one of the strongest guys never to have made it into the elite levels of the sport in Europe and the US, the former mountain biker has struggled to find his groove on the criterium heavy National Road Series, almost exclusively dominated by sprinters.
Herzig's fortunes may be about to change however, with the challenging parcours awaiting the chono and climbing specialist in this week's Jayco Herald Sun Tour likely to make the Budget Forklifts rider a real dark horse for success.
"Having looked at the course book, I was under the impression that the first few stages would really suit the sprinters, but having now ridden the course, it’s actually really undulating," Herzig said to Cyclingnews.
"In that sense I think this year's race really suits me," Herzig said. "With guys like Brian Mcleod, Michael Cupitt and Chris Jongewaard we’re all really good on the climbs, and in a race like this that’ll help us a lot - more than say the Scody Cup or the NRS.
"I think I’ve got a good chance for the overall, or at least having a crack on that final road stage on Arthurs Seat assuming things go well."
Herzig is no stranger to the Sun Tour. He narrowly missed out on a stage win in the 2007 race, after being edged in a two-man sprint against Cameron Jennings. That year, while riding for the now defunct FRF team, Herzig missed the crucial first day break, costing him 12 minutes and any shot at the overall.
In 2011, and with four years more experience under his belt, Herzig hopes to avoid repeating that scenario and give himself the best possible chance to capitalise on "some of the best form of my life".
"Sun Tour’s in the past there’s been a tendency for a critical break to go, and more or less decide...
5 May: Herning – Herning ITT (8.7 km) 6 May: Herning – Herning (206 km) 7 May: Horsens – Horsens (190 Km) 8 May: Rest day, transfer to Italy 9 May: Verona – Verona TTT (32.2 km) 10 May: Modena – Fano (199 km) 11 May: Urbino – Porto Sant’Elpidio (207 Km) 12 May: Recanati – Rocca di Cambio (202 km) 13 May: Sulmona – Lago Laceno (229 km) 14 May: San Giorgio nel Sannio – Frosinone (171 km) 15 May: Civitavecchia – Assisi (187 km) 16 May: Assisi – Montecatini Terme (243 Km) 17 May: Seravezza – Sestri Levante (157 km) 18 May: Savona – Cervere (121 km) 19 May: Cherasco – Cervinia (205 km) 20 May: Busto Arsizio – Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli (172 km) 21 May: Rest day 22 May: Limone sul Garda – Falzes/Pfalzen (174 km) 23 May: Falzes/Pfalzen – Cortina d’Ampezzo (187 km) 24 May: San Vito di Cadore – Vedelago (139 km) 25 May: Treviso – Alpe di Pampeago (197km) 26 May: Caldes/Val di Sole – Passo dello Stelvio (218 km) 27...
Financial backer Gerry Ryan confirms lack of Australian support
GreenEdge passed another important milestone on the first of this month with the project lodging the file with the original bank guarantee for 25 per cent of the team's staffing fund requirements and the provisional list of riders and staff members, plus 15,000 Swiss francs to the UCI. However, it appears as though if successful in securing a ProTour licence, the team will be riding its first year under the GreenEdge banner alone.
With GreenEdge principle backer Gerry Ryan also a key figure in sponsoring this week's Jayco Herald Sun Tour in the state of Victoria, Australia, as he has for well over a decade, Shayne Bannan was joined by Ryan at the Inner Spin pre-event luncheon to discuss the race and the project's progress.
It was pointed out that GreenEdge had to wait 504 hours until being informed by the UCI whether they would be ProTour in 2012 and also that Ryan had his 'backside hanging out' if additional financial support was not secured. The financier has reportedly backed the project to the tune of $60million, however Ryan denied the figure without putting an exact number on it.
"We haven't had a great deal of support from Australia but we are very close to a couple of Chinese companies," Ryan confirmed. "What we're trying to do, it's about a partnership, not a sponsorship. And what we want to try and do is get the sponsor, the partner to fit into the culture that we've developed.
"I'm not concerned but my son Andrew whose role is sponsorship, has the greatest incentive to go out there and make it happen because it's his inheritance that I'm spending."
Ryan is one of Australia's wealthiest men and is reported to be worth $180million.
While Australia has weathered the recent financial crisis comparatively well, thanks mostly to investments in the mining industry, there are still very few multinational companies that can realistically spend...
Team NetApp has announced two more signings to strengthen their Spring Classics squad. Young Belgian Jerome Baugnies and German veteran Markus Eichler will join the German Professional Continental team in 2012.
Baugnies, 24, has ridden for the Professional Continental Team Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator the past two years. He has also show great promise as an amateur, finishing fifth in the under 23 World road race in 2009.
His second-place finish at Eschborn-Frankfurt this year shows that as a professional rider he can also ride at the front of the field at important races. We're convinced that Jerome will show enormous development next year,” said NetApp team manager Ralph Denk.
Eichler brings four years of ProTour experience to the young team. He rode for Unibet in 2007 before joining Milram. The 29-year-old rode for the German Continental-ranked Team NSP this year, winning the prologue of the Fleche du Sud.
In addition to riding both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana with Milram, he concentrated on the Classics, and will lead NetApp in the Belgian races next spring.
"Markus is a real classics expert. He’s raced at all the important one-day races and has been competing in the ProTour for four years. That experience is important for us – our young riders should benefit from it,” Denk said.
“In addition, Markus has been living and training near our Belgian team base for several years now, which means he’ll fit perfectly in with our schedule and the way we do things.”