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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Date published:
January 15, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Contador confident about taking on Froome at the Tour de France

    Alberto Contador meets the locals
    Article published:
    January 14, 2014, 19:40 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Tinkoff-Saxo leader backs Riis, Rogers and Tinkov

    Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team are convinced they can take on Chris Froome at this year's Tour de France after learning from the mistakes of 2013. Contador struggled in July and finished a distant fourth overall off the Champs Elysees podium.

    Contador will be the absolute team leader at the new look Tinkoff-Saxo team, now owned by Russian business mogul Oleg Tinkov, with Bjarne Riis focusing on the technical and performance aspects of the team.

    Contador appeared as jovial and relaxed as ever at the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp in Gran Canaria, be it when leading the training ride, talking about his hopes for the season, defending Riis and Michael Rogers and dismissing suggestions he does not get on with Tinkov.

    "We've got a new jersey, a new owner but at the end of the day, nothing's really changed. On the contrary, I think there's more stability in the team. We're focused and ready to have a good season," he told Cyclingnews.

    "I know that people were talking about my body language at the press conference to announce that Tinkov had bought the team but at the moment my relationship with him is perfect. We're working in the same direction and things are good."

    "Oleg buying the team is great news and good for everyone. The financial stability of the team is very important in this difficult moment for cycling, where backers are scarce. It will help the motivation and unity in the team and so help me perform even better. We know the sponsor is backing us and believes in us."

    Turning consistency into victories

    Contador was consistent in 2013 but only won one race: a stage at the Tour de San...

  • Gallery: Riders continue build-up to Tour Down Under

    Cadel Evans returns the race for the first time in seven years
    Article published:
    January 14, 2014, 22:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    Evans, Porte and Kittel in training

    Cadel Evans will make his first appearance at the Tour Down Under since 2010, as the peloton continues to prepare for the first WorldTour race of the season.

    Evans has chosen to take part in his home race, as he prepares for an attack on the Giro d'Italia title. The 36-year-old has had a good start to the season, with second place at the national championships. Evans will be hoping that the form he has already shown will be enough to unseat his compatriots Richie Porte and Simon Gerrans, who is the new national champion, in the race for overall success.

    There were plenty of new jersey designs on show at the second day of training. After the four-year sponsorship deal with Giant was announced on Monday, the newly named Giant-Shimano were given the go-ahead to wear their new kit for the first time. Marcel Kittel could be seen wearing a sleeveless version of the jersey, to try and cope with the heat of the Australian summer.

    Frank Schleck and Jens Voigt also made their first appearances in the new Trek Factory Racing Kit. The Tour Down Under will be Schleck's first race since he was handed a one-year ban for Xipamide, while Voigt is embarking on his final season as a professional cyclist.

     The Tour Down Under begins next week.

  • UniSA team for Tour Down Under announced

    Caleb Ewan with his gold pan for winning the U23 title
    Article published:
    January 14, 2014, 22:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Caleb Ewan named as expected with strong representation by Avanti

    Cycling Australia has selected a seven man UniSA-Australia team for the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under with its riders looking in top form after racing at last weekend's Australian National Road.

    Headlining the team is Caleb Ewan, who won his second U23 national criterium crown last week as well as his first U23 road race. Ewan had a breakthrough year in 2013 with the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy team, picking up seven wins in Europe and placing fourth in the under 23 road race at the UCI World Championship in Florence.

    "I'm going there to race and I'll do the best that I can to get a result," Ewan said after his U23 road race win on Saturday. While Ewan has been labelled the next big thing, he said that until he competes against the top sprinters can such lofty terms be attributed to him.

    "It's going to be hard for me being a UniSA rider not getting as much respect as [André] Greipel or [Marcel] Kittel will get. For the moment, it's all just for experience and hopefully in a few years or even next year, I'll be with GreenEdge there and have a proper team helping me," Ewan said.

    Joining Caleb will be fellow Jayco-AIS WTA alumni Campbell Flakemore and Bradley Linfield. Completing the roster are Avanti Pro Cycling Team riders Jack Haig, Mark O'Brien, Anthony Giacoppo and Neil Van Der Ploeg. Haig was the overall winner of the 2013 National Road Series.

    Cycling Australia, National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta, says this is a fantastic opportunity for seven emerging young Australian riders to showcase their talents on the WorldTour stage.

    "We've selected a mix of riders to target general classification (GC) and stage results and expect each of them to acquit themselves well against the world class field," he said. "We'll certainly be looking for Caleb Ewan to take the strong form he showed at the National Road Championships into the TDU and beyond this...

  • Contest: Win a trip to the inaugural Dubai Tour

    Cyclingnews and RCS have partnered in a contest to send one lucky reader and a guest to the inaugural Dubai Tour
    Article published:
    January 15, 2014, 0:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Enjoy the race in style courtesy of Cyclingnews and RCS

    Cyclingnews and RCS have teamed up to bring you a fantastic chance to go and watch the Dubai Tour next month. Travel to one of the world’s most eagerly anticipated races and watch the stars of the cycling world during the four-day event taking place February 5-8, 2014.

    The contest winner and one guest will be flown to Dubai and put up at RCS’s expense for five nights (February 4-8) and be handed a VIP pass for the event, with Mark Cavendish, Fabian Cancellara, Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan all set to star in the inaugural event.

    To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize all you need to do is click through to our competition page and answer one easy question. One winner will be drawn at random from those who correctly answer the question.

    What are you waiting for?

    Entries for the Dubai Tour contest close midnight GMT, January 27, 2014.

  • Oldest surviving 1948 Olympian Charlie Bazzano passes away

    Charlie Bazzano, John Tressider, Roy Moore and Lionel Cox finalists in NSW 1 mile title 2 February 1953 at Hurstville Oval
    Article published:
    January 15, 2014, 1:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian integral to NSW cycling community

    Charlie Bazzano, who passed away last week, will be remembered as the oldest surviving member of the 1948 Olympic team that travelled to London. Bazzano finished fourth in the 1000m sprint. In his career, Bazzano competed with and along side Sid Patterson and Russell Mockridge and was associated with the sport in Australia for the majority of his life.

    The son of Jack Bazzano and born in Morano, east of Turin in Northern Italy, Bazzano arrived in Australia with his brother Leo at three-years-of-age. Jack started a firm named Velox Engineering Works and Charlie, along with Leo became tradesmen manufacturing cycling componentry including aluminium hubs, brakes, handlebars, stems, seat posts, pedals and chain sets. The VEW hubs were world renown and were part of the Malvern Star bikes for many decades.

    Charlie Bazzano medalled in a NSW title for the first time as a 19-year-old finishing third in 1942 in the half-mile sprint title before finishing second in both the sprint and mile titles the following year. By 1944, at 21-years-old, Charlie Bazzano was the king of NSW sprinting winning seven sprint crowns including the 1km time trial over the next five years and won selection to compete in the London Olympics after winning back to back National Sprint titles in 1947 and 1948, defeating Sid Patterson who went on to win the World Sprint title in 1949.

    Charlie built most of his own bikes and then raced with incredible success for the Marrickville Club before competing in the 1948 Olympic Games, racing through to the semi-finals before being eliminated by the great Reg Harris, regarded by many as the greatest sprinter of his era, but not before the English stooped to tactics in a bid to unsettle Charlie Bazzano.

    Charlie also represented Australian at the 1950 Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) as a sprint cyclist and finished fifth in the sprint title with fellow team-mates Russell Mockridge and Sid Patterson taking the...

  • Thomas Voeckler crashes while out training

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) at the start
    Article published:
    January 15, 2014, 2:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Broken collarbone rules out TDU appearance

    This story has changed from its original version following updates on Thomas Voeckler's crash

    X-rays have revealed that French cyclist Thomas Voeckler has broken his right collarbone after crashing earlier today whilst on a training ride near the Adelaide beach-side suburb of Glenelg.

    The 34-year-old arrived in Adelaide this morning with his Europcar team mates for the Tour Down Under and at midday they headed out for a short ride. During the ride Voeckler accidentally crashed into a stationary car and was taken to Sportsmed SA and as a result of the crash will fly home to France tomorrow.

    "When we went out training this morning and a pedestrian crossed the road so a car braked very quickly and I didn't have time to brake so I bumped into the car," said Voeckler. "I immediately knew that my collarbone was broken as it's the third time I have broken it.

    "After (the crash) thanks to the organisers we went immediately to the hospital and the x-ray showed it was broken so I have to go back to France and the hospital and see how much time it takes to get on the bike again."

    Voeckler fractured the same collar bone for the first time in 2009 in a stage of Paris-Nice race and again in a race crash during the Amstel Gold Race in April last year. That crash ended his 2013 Spring Classics campaign and only underwent a minor operation earlier this month to remove the metal plate that was put in after the Amstel Gold crash.

    "It's been 12 days since the other plate was removed and it was okay but I must not crash on it," said Vockler. "There was a small risk and it's the first time in my career, 14th year as a professional, first time in my career I...

  • Gallery: Boonen and Cavendish race at Gent track

    Mark Cavendish waves to the crowd
    Article published:
    January 15, 2014, 10:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Gent hosts launch

    Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, for the second year in a row, had a track-based team presentation at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome in Gent. The event on Tuesday was sold out, with 1,700 attendees able to watch a full evening of fun and interactive events surrounding the presentation of Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders and staff for the 2014 season.

    "This was a really great and unique show and I'm super happy to be here," British Champion and sprint extraordinaire Mark Cavendish said of the team presentation. "It was fun for everyone, even my daughter Delilah had a great time. I couldn't believe how many fans we had cheering for us and it was fantastic to get on the track with the guys in front of them all."

    Riders were introduced while riding around the velodrome, and they also raced against each other in various special track events.

    "I'm really happy to start my season off with this kind of event following my struggles of last year," OPQS team leader Tom Boonen said. "I'm as in shape as I have been previous years and am doing great. I had a smile on my face the entire time during this presentation for the public. I even won an event, which was a nice touch for me. This does not feel like an obligatory show for the sponsors and fans. I really enjoyed doing this in front of such an impressive crowd. Sometimes team presentations can be boring, but this has been far from it. For us, the fans, the media, the VIPS, and everyone else here it was super fun."

    "The team is looking brilliant across all aspects of cycling," Cavendish said. "The grand tours, for example the Tour de France, we're...

  • Riis happier after selling team to Tinkov

    Alberto Contador consults with Bjarne Riis at the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp in Gran Canaria.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2014, 13:42 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Dane says he has the right to stay in cycling despite doping allegations

    Bjarne Riis has told Cyclingnews that he is happier after selling his team to Oleg Tinkov for a reported €6 million and that he has every right to remain within the sport despite an ongoing doping investigation in his native Denmark.

    The Dane admitted that he suffered with depression in 2013 after accusations in his team of doping remerged and Anti-Doping Denmark began a detailed investigation into his past.

    The results of the investigation are still not known and Riis could be banned from working in cycling in the future, perhaps for life. For now, however, he is keen to enjoy working with his Tinkoff-Saxo riders as they target victory at the Tour de France with Alberto Contador.

    "I'm very happy about having sold the team to Oleg. The more time that goes by, the happier I become and the more I realise it was the right decision," Riis told Cyclingnews at the Tinkoff-Saxo training camp in Gran Canaria.

    "It wasn't an easy decision because I made this team, it's my baby. But after all that has happened, it's important what I feel. At the end of the day I need to feel good about things. From the day I took the decision with my wife to sell the team, I felt a lot better. It was a long process and we talked a lot. She could see that I needed to do it, she could she it was the best thing for me."

    Tinkov reportedly paid Riis €6 million for the team and is paying him €1 million a year to manage the sporting side. Riis said that he isn't driven by money but by personal ambition and determination.

    "It had to be the right thing for me. We're not talking about money but about principle," he said.

    "Oleg has been great....