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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Date published:
December 04, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Report: Acquarone sacked by RCS Sport

    Race director Michele Acquarone at stage two of the 2012 Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    December 03, 2013, 12:05 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Former CEO Giamomo Catano also fired

    Giro d’Italia director Michele Acquarone has reportedly been fired by RCS Sport following an internal investigation into the possible misappropriation of around €13 million from the company’s accounts.

    Acquarone was suspended from his position as Chief Operating Officer of RCS Sport in early October, when news of the missing funds first emerged. According to the Italian news agency, Acquarone and former CEO Giacomo Catano were sacked by RCS Sport on Tuesday.  

    It is not known whether Acquarone was directly involved in the misappropriation of funds, but as Managing Director, he was responsible for the management and finances of the company. In mid-November, it was reported that magistrates in Milan had formally opened an investigation into the misappropriation of funds at RCS.

    In a statement issued on October 11, Acquarone insisted he was not involved in the alleged misappropriation.

    "I want to strongly reassure everyone of my non-involvement in the matters that have been reported in the mass media over the last few days," he said. "Today the life of a company is permanently marked in time, and I am certain that all the facts will soon be completely clarified."

    Last weekend, Acquarone told Cyclingnews that he had not had any contact from RCS since his suspension began almost two months ago, and announced that he would tell his side of the story in full at a press conference in Milan on Thursday. Acquarone declined to comment when contacted by Cyclingnews after news of his sacking emerged, saying that he would hold his counsel until his press conference later in the week.

    An employee of RCS since 1999, Acquarone took over...

  • Jelle Vanendert to sign new contract with Lotto-Belisol

    Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) was steadily building for his Ardennes campaign at Tirreno
    Article published:
    December 03, 2013, 14:02 GMT
    José Been

    Belgian accept less pay for an extra year with the team

    Jelle Vanendert has broken his current contract and is on the verge of signing a new deal with Lotto-Belisol for 2014 and 2015, Gazet van Antwerpen reports. The 28-year old climber is happy to accept a smaller pay check in return for an extra year on the team after a difficlut 2013 season. 

    "That I will earn less, doesn't bother me. For me it's far more important to know I have a team for 2015. That weighs in heavier because it's not evident nowadays," he said. 

    Vanendert's career started with what is now Topsport Vlaanderen in 2006. He then joined the highest tiers of global cycling with Francaise des Jeux in 2008 and signed with Silence-Lotto in 2009. Vanendert's only professional victory came in 2011 when he finished solo in the Tour de France stage to Plateau de Beille.

    In 2012 Vanendert finished second in the Amstel Gold Race but his 2013 season has been one without any notable results. He targeted the Ardennes Classics but couldn't repeat his podium finish of 2012. An intestinal parasite subsequently kept him out of the Tour de France team where he was supposed to be helping captain Jurgen van den Broeck in the mountains. In his only Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, he abandoned during the freezing cold 14th stage to Coll de la Gallina.

    "2013 wasn't a good year due to medical reasons," Lotto-Belisol team manager Marc Sergeant told Gazet van Antwerpen. "The public expected a lot of Jelle. He was also paid accordingly but he is not a winning type of rider. Riders like Greipel can deal with the pressure but Jelle struggled. We still have full confidence in him and know what he is capable of. He was not happy with the...

  • Roche welcomes Riis' role in Tinkoff-Saxo set-up

    Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo - Tinkoff)
    Article published:
    December 03, 2013, 17:40 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman and Majka to lead Giro challenge

    Nicolas Roche has welcomed the more active role Bjarne Riis is set to play in the sporting side of the Tinkoff-Saxo team following his sale of the team to Oleg Tinkov, which was confirmed in London on Monday.

    In spite of a pending investigation by the Danish Anti-Doping Agency, reportedly centred around Riis' time as a team manager, the Dane claimed that he will continue as general manager of the revamped Tinkoff-Saxo squad "for at least three years" and is set to play a more active role at races throughout the calendar.

    "That’s something I'm really looking forward to," Roche told Cyclingnews. "When Bjarne's around, the team is just that extra bit focused and that brings some extra excitement to the race. He comes with ideas that change the profile of the race. He takes the extra bit of risk in races, when maybe some sports directors mightn't be ready to take the risk, which is normal too."

    In particular, Roche pointed to Riis' tactical influence in helping him take 5th place overall at the 2013 Vuelta a España and Saxo-Tinkoff's dramatic echelon attack on the road to Saint-Amand-Montrond during the Tour de France. "I think Bjarne's really strong when it comes to creating team spirit and putting together a team that’s really dedicated to its leader, and that makes a huge difference," Roche said.

    Beyond Riis' more hands-on role, Roche acknowledged that the expected stability provided by the new ownership would allow the team to compete financially with the likes of Team Sky and BMC, particularly in the field of preparation.

    "It's more finances to organise training camps and things like that. I can only see it being beneficial," Roche said. "I don't think racing makes you progress – training makes you progress. And training camps are a lot more costly than...

  • Evening finale confirmed for 2014 Tour de France

    Chris Froome (Sky) in the shadows of the Arc de Triomphe
    Article published:
    December 03, 2013, 18:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Final stage will again circle the Arc de Triomphe

    The final stage of the 2014 Tour de France will again see the peloton circle the Arc de Triomphe and feature an evening finish, albeit at a slightly earlier time than this year. Stage 21 of the Tour is slated to finish on the Champs-Élysées at 8:30pm on Sunday, July 27.

    At the 2014 Tour route presentation in October, it had appeared that the finishing circuit would revert to its previous format, in which the peloton turned just short of the Arc de Triomphe. Organisers ASO have since received permission from Paris police to circle the Arc.

    "The police commissioner has given his agreement for a route identical to that of 2013," Tour de France assistant director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP. "The success of the 2013 Tour convinced us to include the same route which allows us to best promote the race as well as the monuments."

    The evening finale and longer finishing circuit were introduced for the 2013 Tour to mark the 100th edition of the race as part of festivities that also saw (almost) all living Tour finishers invited to attend a ceremony in Paris.

    AFP reports that one additional alteration to the Parisian finale in 2014 will be the point at which the bunch crosses the Seine en route to the Champs-Élyées circuit. Rather than crossing the Pont du Caroussel near the Louvre, the race will now traverse Alexandre III bridge, opposite the Grand Palais.

  • Astana unveils 2014 jersey

    The front of the 2014 Astana jersey
    Article published:
    December 03, 2013, 21:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vinokourov presents his biography in Almaty

    The Astana team has unveiled its new jersey and shorts, adding a touch of yellow and a new second sponsor to the sky blue colours for 2014.

    Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov unveiled the new clothing during a press conference in Almaty, where he announced the creation of a personal charity and presented his official biography called "My Golden Career - 1998-2012".

    "The blue and gold national colors of Kazakhstan are unique in pro cycling, and they make our riders very distinct in the peloton. We are fortunate to remain with our main sponsor, the national welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna,” Vinokourov said via the team’s website.

    "On the chest we change to the national airline Air Astana, though we retain the Expo 2017 logos on team vehicles and printed materials. For 2014 our first non-governmental sponsor Astana Motors is joined by Raimbek Group, a diverse holding company with more than 20 years of active and successful business ventures in Kazakhstan and around the world.”

    Several photos published on Twitter by the team show a pink aura around the sponsor logos but these areas are actually white. The pink is caused by poor light when the photographs were taken.     

    Vino’s golden career

    Vinokourov raced between 1998 and 2012, ending on a high by winning the gold medal in the London 2012 road race ahead of Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran.

    His palmares includes victories at the 2006 Vuelta a España, Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2005 and the Criterium du Dauphine Libere in 1999 ahead of Jonathan Vaughters. It also includes a positive test for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France for which he served a two-year ban. He was a long-term client of Dr. Michele Ferrari.

    He made a comeback in...

  • Parliamentary reception for Orica-GreenEdge

    The GreenEdge team with Gerry Ryan and Orica's Gavin Jackman
    Article published:
    December 04, 2013, 1:11 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Orica-AIS team also honoured as number one women's team in 2013

    Orica-GreenEdge and Orica-AIS have been honoured with a reception at Australian Parliament House in Canberra by Federal Sport and Health Minister Peter Dutton who congratulated both teams on their achievements during the 2013 racing season. Orica-AIS finished the season ranked number one in the world and were represented by Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt.

    At the 2013 Tour de France Orica-GreenEdge held the yellow jersey over four consecutive days, won the Team Time Trial and also recorded a stage victory by Australia's Simon Gerrans who attended the function along with Daryl Impey, Cameron Meyer, Simon Clarke and several other teammates.

    Team owner and Cycling Australia President Gerry Ryan was on hand to deliver a short speech, thanking the government for its support and recognition of the two teams' accomplishments in 2013. In his address, Gerry Ryan said "we're proud to be acknowledged in this context and the achievements of both our teams this year is a strong statement of the great progress and direction of professional cycling right now. We have a really integrated partnership with Orica with whom we share some of the values most important to the team."

    "We've had some 100 victories in 18 different tours around the world racing on over six continents in 60 countries … we couldn't be here today without Orica's funding, we couldn't have the number of riders, we couldn't have the assistance with sport science, we wouldn't have the people that keeps the team on the bikes," added Ryan

    "Three and a half years ago I wouldn't have thought I'd be standing here in Parliament but as you look around and see the number of politicians riding...

  • Lotto-Belisol unveils 2014 jersey

    Tosh van der Sande models the new Lotto-Belisol clothing for 2014
    Article published:
    December 04, 2013, 9:22 GMT
    José Been

    Belgian team goes retro for the new season

    The Lotto-Belisol team has presented its 2014 team kit, with the Belgian WorldTour team opting for a retro look and a simple red jersey.

    "Our goal was to create a retro look to refer to the 30-year old presence of Lotto in the peloton", the team states on its website. The Belgian national lottery organization, started sponsoring a cycling team in 1985, making 2014 its 30th year in the pro peloton.

    The new jersey, as modeled by rider Tosh van der Sande, is mostly red with the two title sponsors in neutral black letters on the front. The back of the jersey is red without any large sponsor logo's, making it clearly visible in the peloton.

    Ijsboerke, a sponsor that was also active in cycling sponsorship from 1973 to 1980 with riders like Didi Thurau, Theo de Rooy and Rudy Pevenage returns to cycling with the team in 2014. Soudal will have a permanent position on the team kit after a short appearance on the Tour de France jersey and bibs this year. 

    To emphasize its Belgian character, bands with the Belgian flag have been added to both the jersey as the bib shorts.

    Lotto-Belisol was one of the most active teams on the transfer market for the 2014 season. It said goodbye to ten riders and welcomed nine new riders to the team: Sander Armée (Topsport Vlaanderen), Kris Boeckmans and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM), Tony Gallopin and Maxime Monfort (Radioshack-Leopard), Vegard Breen (Joker-Merida), Stig Broeckx (Lotto-Belisol U23), Boris Vallée (Color Code-Biowanze) and Sean de Bie (Leopard-Trek).

    Bart de Clerq, Lars Bak, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Olivier Kaisen, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel, Sieberg,...

  • Jelly Belly reveals 2014 line-up

    The Jelly Belly riders take full advantage of their sponsor's products
    Article published:
    December 04, 2013, 11:03 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Rathe joins Rodriguez for team’s fifteenth season

    The Jelly Belly Cycling Team will return for a fifteenth season in the US domestic peloton next year with a core group of six returning riders and a handful of new additions.

    The UCI Continental squad recently secured a two-year deal with its long-time title sponsor that will take the team through the end of 2015, while Maxxis will step in next season as the presenting sponsor.

    “On paper I think our team is very strong,” said Jelly Belly team director Danny Van Haute. “And looking at the other Continental teams that are coming on board in the US, I think it's going to be a real exciting season for all the teams. Looking at the rosters, I don't think there is going to be one dominant team. Everybody is going to win their share of races.”

    Leading the returning riders at Jelly Belly will be four-time and current US pro road race champion Freddie Rodriguez. The 40-year-old recently announced a new two-year deal that will take him through to the end of the 2015 season and possibly the world road race championships in Richmond, Virginia.

    He'll join Cascade Cycling Classic overall winner Serghei Tvetcov, Nature Valley Grand Prix stage winner Sean Mazich, two-time Mexican road champion Luis Lemus, “super domestique” Ian Burnett and Nic Hamilton, who are all returning from the 2013 team.

    Former Garmin-Sharp rider Jacob Rathe heads a group of five new signings that includes Kirk Carlsen, who rode for Bissell in 2013, and a trio of 2013 domestic elite riders: Devan Dunn from CashCall Mortgage, Steve Fisher from Hagens Berman and Johnathan Freter from Fire Fighters Cycling.

    Rathe returns to the same team where he started his pro career in 2010 at the age of 19. He competed mostly in Europe with Garmin the past two seasons...