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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Date published:
August 07, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Nieve and Antón in demand after Euskaltel's future put in doubt

    Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 14:07 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Team Sky, Garmin-Sharp, Astana and Omega said to be interested in the Basque duo

    While Euskaltel-Euskadi desperately continue to search for a new sponsor to take over their commitment to the Basque team they have backed for almost two decades, interest is growing in the squad’s most high-profile riders.

    According to Spanish website Biciciclismo, Mikel Nieve and Igor Antón are almost certain to remain in the UCI WorldTour next season, with Astana, Garmin-Sharp, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Team Sky among those interested in the two climbers.

    Both riders have had decent seasons and were prominent at the Tour, particularly 29-year-old Nieve, who finished 12th overall and third behind Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana at the summit of Mont Ventoux. More recently, he was fourth in the San Sebastian Classic. Antón, 30, finished 23rd at the Tour.

    Both riders have contracts through to the end of 2014 with Euskaltel. Consequently, if a new backer does emerge for the Basque outfit, Nieve and Antón could remain in situ. However, as with their other teammates, the pair have been given the freedom by Euskaltel to sound out potential suitors.

    Nieve, who has won stages in the Giro and Vuelta and had top 10 finishes in both, is likely to be a particularly attractive proposition given his proven ability over three weeks and competitiveness on the toughest climbs. Biciciclismo are reporting that Garmin-Sharp and Team Sky are particularly interested in these assets. It would be no surprise to see the British squad bolster their roster with a rider or two of Nieve’s type given the likely challenge from Movistar climbing ace Nairo Quintana in the coming seasons.

    Antón,...

  • Boonen out of the Eneco Tour

    Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) played his hand in the early breakaway
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 15:05 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Belgian's run of injury continues to disrupt his 2013 season

    The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team has confirmed that Tom Boonen will not ride next week's Eneco Tour WorldTour race in Belgium and the Netherlands after further injury problems.

    A saddle sore stopped him riding the Tour of Denmark last week and the problem is continuing to affect Boonen's ability to train. He is having treatment but it is now unclear when he will return to racing. Boonen did not ride the Tour de France and then abandoned the Tour of Austria due to the flu. He won stage two at the Tour de Wallonie on July 21 but has not raced since then.

    "I'm really disappointed. I really like the Eneco Tour and it's too bad I can't be at the starting line, but right now it's essential that I take the proper time to heal from this cyst, which is preventing me from training consistently and which I don't want to underestimate," Boonen said in statement from the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.

    "I have to say 2013 has definitely not been my year. Now the goal is to get better and get back to the races in the month of September, even though as things are now we can't really set any definite date for a return."

    In 2012 Boonen became the first rider to complete the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix double for a second time, and he also became the only rider to win those two races plus Gent-Wevelgem and the E3 Harelbeke in the same year.

    His 2013 season has been a disaster and he has only won two races: the minor Heistse Pijl race and the Tour de Wallonie stage.

    During the winter Boonen was struck by such a severe case of food poisoning that he ended up in hospital in December. He was back in the ward again in January with a severely infected...

  • Tony Gallopin signs for Lotto Belisol

    Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard) soloed to victory at the Clasica San Sebastian after attacking on the final climb.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 15:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman pens two-year deal

    Lotto Belisol has announced the signing of Tony Gallopin for the 2014 season. The Frenchman arrives from RadioShack-Leopard and has agreed to a two-year deal with his new team.

    Gallopin enjoyed two solid seasons at RadioShack and he crowned his progress with a fine victory at the Clasica San Sebastian last week. The 25-year-old rode in support of Fabian Cancellara in the Classics during his time at RadioShack but he is hopeful of having a leadership role next spring with Lotto Belisol.

    “My choice for Lotto Belisol is inspired by many arguments. I'll be in a team with tradition, with leaders who have already proven themselves and where I will be able to take my own chance in the races that suit me well,” said Gallopin. “The entire period from Paris-Nice until Liège-Bastogne-Liège is marked in my agenda. My favourite race is the Tour of Flanders, but I see myself as an all-rounder who can perform in different types of races.”

    Lotto Belisol manager Marc Sergeant pointed out that Gallopin’s arrival ought to add greater strength in depth to his team’s Classics challenge. While Jurgen Roelandts was consistent in the cobbled Classics, injuries took their toll on the team by the time the Ardennes week came around.

    “For the past year and a half, the team has tried to get maximum output from the potential that was present,” Sergeant said. “We succeeded in large part, like in the Ardennes in 2012 with [Jelle] Vanendert, in last year's Tour with Greipel and Van den Broeck and with Jürgen Roelandts as leader in the Classics.

    “But when one of our leaders wasn't able to...

  • Quintana to stay at Movistar in 2014

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 17:21 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Colombian climber to be joined by his brother next season

    Nairo Quintana's agent has confirmed to Cyclingnews that the Colombian rider will stay with Movistar for 2014 despite reported interest from Astana and other teams after his impressive performance at the Tour de France.

    Giuseppe Acquadro confirmed that Quintana is happy with the Spanish team and will almost certainly be joined by his younger brother Dayer, who has been riding with an Under 23 team in Spain this year.

    The Movistar mobile communications company is widely expected to confirm it will sponsor Eusebio Unzue's team for a further three years with a possible increase in the team's budget.

    Quintana is expected to secure a significant pay increase despite being under contract, after finishing second overall at the Tour de France. His salary could touch two million Euro, close to that of current Movistar team leader Alejandro Valverde.

    To fund Quintana's new salary, Movistar is expected to let Rui Costa leave the team despite his two stage victories at the Tour de France and his second consecutive overall success at the Tour de Suisse. Costa could earn up to 1.5 million Euro a season by changing teams thanks to ability to win week-long stage races and perhaps develop into a Grand Tour contender.

    Costa said he would decide his future after the Tour de France. However there is still no official announcement about his future.

    Giro d'Italia stage winner Beñat Intxausti has confirmed via Twitter that he will stay with Movistar for 2014 and 2015 after signing a new contract. He will spearhead the Movistar team for the Vuelta a España with Valverde and Italian rider Eros Capecchi.

     

     

  • Kittel targets the sprints at the Eneco Tour

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) sprints to win stage 10
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 19:40 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Argos-Shimano looking to build on their successful Tour de France

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) will be back in action and back fighting for victory in the sprints at next week's Eneco Tour in the hope of cementing his claim as currently the fastest and most successful sprinter in the peloton.

    The 25-year-old German won four stages at the Tour de France, including the opening stage in Bastia - where he also pulled on the first yellow jersey, and the final stage on the Champs-Élysées, where he put a stop to Mark Cavendish's run of four consecutive victories in Paris.

    Kittel has been riding criteriums and enjoying a short holiday but will be back in action in Belgium and the Netherlands at the Eneco Tour between August 12-18. He will be backed by fellow sprinter John Degenkolb, Tom Dumoulin and many of the teammates that helped him win at the Tour de France.

    “We have a very strong team, with most of the guys that rode the Tour de France,” said coach Rudi Kemna in a statement from the team.

    “We have four-time Tour stage winner Kittel for the flat sprints and Degenkolb for the more difficult finishes.

    "Tom Dumoulin will be aiming to finish well overall. This stage race suits him very well with the time trial and the hillier stages. We're looking forward to trying to repeat the success of the Tour de France.”

    Kittel won the opening stage of the Eneco Tour last year in Middelburg, as well as the fourth stage Bergen op Zoom. Lars Boom won overall last year and is expected to be back this year as part of the Belkin team. Team Sky has confirmed that Bradley Wiggins will also ride and could be an overall contender due to the mid-race 13.2km time trial.

    This year's race starts with a 175.3km road stage from Koksijde to...

  • Kristoff to miss Arctic Race of Norway due to illness

    Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) at the 2013 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 20:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Pneumonia sidelines a pre-race favourite

    Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has withdrawn from the inaugural Arctic Race of Norway due to illness, his team announced today. At hospital in his home town of Stavanger, the 26-year-old Norwegian was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia in the right lung. His Katusha team has reported that he's suffering from a fever reaching 39 degrees and is on a treatment of antibiotics.

    The four-day Norwegian stage race, unique in that the entire parcours is above the Arctic Circle, runs from August 8 to August 11 and Kristoff was considered a favourite for stage wins if not overall victory on a course favourable to the Norwegian fast man.

    "It is such a pity for Alexander and our team, because after the Tour de France he was in a great shape and could get some nice results in next races, including Arctic Race of Norway," said Katusha directeur sportif Valerio Piva. "He was very motivated."

    The Arctic Race of Norway was scheduled to be Kristoff's first competition following his Tour de France debut. The Norwegian completed the French Grand Tour and placed in the top six on six different stages, with his best result a second place result behind Marcel Kittel on the opening stage.

    Kristoff has had a strong season marked with earlier success on home roads at the Tour of Norway, May 15-19, where he won three stages and had a stint in the leader's jersey. The Norwegian has also won a stage at the Three Days of De Panne and the Tour de Suisse and had a solid spring Classics campaign with 8th at Milan-Sanremo, 4th at the Tour of Flanders, 5th at Scheldeprijs and 9th at Paris-Roubaix.

    Katusha expects a quick recovery...

  • USADA charged with testing at Tour of Utah

    The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2013, 1:28 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    UCI deferred task to national agency

    The United States Anti-Doping Agency will handle all of the drug testing at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah for 2013, just days after Travis Tygart, the agency's CEO, publicly criticized the UCI for not allowing his agency to test riders at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado later this month.

    But USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner told Cyclingnews that the US agency's presence in Utah is not related to the recent Colorado news. The UCI divides races into three categories, Skinner said, and becaus Utah is classified as a Category C event, the national agency conducts the testing rather than the sport's international governing body.

    "The Tour of Utah has been classified by UCI this year as a C-level race, which in years past was not the situation," Skinner said. "That then leaves it up to the national organization from the country where the race is being hosted to conduct the testing if they want to do so, and if the event organizers and national governing for the sport in that country do so. Whereas in the Tour of California, for instance, the UCI will not allow us to do the testing at the race, because they want to do it at that level."

    Part of Tygart's criticism of the UCI testing protocols was based on his suspicion that it would not be testing for some of the most prevalent PEDs in cycling. In an interview with VeloNation last week, Tygart said he was confident the UCI would not be testing for synthetic testosterone, human growth hormone or EPO at the Colorado race. But with USADA conducting the testing in Utah, Skinner said, the anti-doping controls will "definitely" include tests for those PEDs.

    Chris Aronhalt, managing partner for Medalist Sports, the race's technical director, said USADA's presence at the race in place of the UCI was a bit of a surprise, but it wouldn't mean much...

  • McGee hoping to return Australia to worlds podium

    Australia's Bradley McGee is ready for his last Olympics
    Article published:
    August 07, 2013, 2:25 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    New sports director on selections, O'Grady and changing views

    Australia is set to ride the 2013 UCI World Championships with a full squad of nine riders for the elite men's road race. The event in Florence will be the first for the team with Brad McGee at the helm as sports director, following the dismissal of Matt White, with the three-time grand tour stage winner and Olympic gold medallist encouraged by the options available for the squad.

    With allocations for the World Championships set to be formally announced next week, Cyclingnews understands that Cycling Australia will release a long list in late August with Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge), Richie Porte (Sky), Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) along with 2009 World Champion and former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC) spearheading the team.

    According to McGee, there should be no surprises when it comes to selection for the demanding Florence circuit, but that doesn't mean he'll have an easy task when it comes to drilling down to the final nine.

    "It's probably a selector's dream this year with the right riders presenting themselves in the right way," he told Cyclingnews. "Of course it's going to be difficult because we do have more than a full compliment of could-be riders and I think it's just a great showing of the support that the pros give to the national team."

    The top 10 countries in the WorldTour rankings will be able to field nine riders, so long as they have at least that many in the individual rankings. After the Tour of Poland, Australia joins four other nations to have qualified the maximum amount of riders, with Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands. The deadline is August 15 for riders to post a result that can improve their current standings.

    The...