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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Date published:
January 02, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Ewan makes the most of Bay Crits racing rhythm

    Caleb Ewan (Bikebug) wins the men's race
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 0:31 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    World junior silver medallist set for first U23 tilt at Australian Championships

    2012 was a big year for Caleb Ewan, rounding out his season on the road with the silver medal at the UCI Road World Championships in the junior men's road race. 2013 is poised to be even bigger with the 18-year-old stepping up into the under-23 category.

    The dynamic young sprinter heads into this New Year in much the same fashion as the last, but this time around, knowing eyes are following him at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. Ewan, from the New South Wales' southern highlands, took out the first of the three-race series in an impressive last-lap display on Tuesday night.

    It was an important race for a number of reasons, as he gears up for the Australian Cycling Australia Road National Championships next week. In his first race as head coach with the New South Wales Institute of Sport, long-time mentor Brad McGee is on hand in Geelong to guide his young charge.

    Ewan was feeling some pressure heading into the 2013 series off the back of last year's results where he nearly claimed the overall, but McGee told the teenager to ignore it. If anything, 2013 marks a shift in Ewan's thinking. Mick Kejda has previously guided Ewan under the NSWIS banner, playing a key role in his development but it's the WorldTour experience of McGee which is now all-important as Ewan is gradually edging towards the elite ranks.

    The step-up in age category should prove an interesting test for Ewan off the back of his wins as a junior at Liège-La Gleize and the Regio Tour in 2012. For this reason, Ewan is actually taking the time to enjoy racing at the Bay Crits this week.

    "For me, I think these races actually suit me a bit better than an under 23 race because they're a lot more organised," Ewan explained. "Under 23 races are a lot...

  • Kimmage unconvinced by Sky and Wiggins

    Paul Kimmage
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 10:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Too many similarities to Armstrong, Irish journalist says

    Paul Kimmage has spoken of his doubts regarding Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky's dominance at the Tour de France. “I don't know anyone who could say that this was a fully convincing Tour win,” he told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine. The Irish journalist said that he saw many similarities with Lance Armstrong, who has recently been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

    Kimmage was often asked this summer as to whether there was doping in the Tour.  “I don't know,” he told the  “If you apply the same standards to Tour winner Bradley Wiggins as to Lance Armstrong, concerning inquiries and logic, then there are similarities which are alarming.” Kimmage pointed in particular to the presence of Dr. Geert Leinders on Sky's medical staff in 2011 and 2012. Leinders was previously a doctor at Rabobank during a period when doping is alleged to have been tolerated on the team.

    The dominance of their respective teams has also given Kimmage food for thought. "You look at how dominant their teams were: Postal for Armstrong, Sky for Wiggins. They had a core of four, five riders, who rode strongly for those three weeks without one single weak day. You think: is that logical?

    “You look at what happened after the Tour. Sky threw out the team doctor and three others. Michael Rogers left, he was one of the strongest riders. I don't know anyone who could say that this was a fully convincing Tour win.”

    Kimmage was sued last year by the UCI for what they considered defamatory statements in articles which appeared in the Sunday Times concerning the UCI and doping. The suit was eventually dropped but Kimmage is now...

  • Rodríguez keeps options open but Argos rule out move

    2012 Il Lombardia champion Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 11:44 GMT
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    "We’ve got various offers" - rider's agent says

    Joaquim Rodríguez's agent has told Cyclingnews that the Spanish star has various offers on the table should Katusha fail to receive a WorldTour licence, but that Rodríguez is not making any decisions on a possible move until CAS's verdict comes through.

    Speculation over Rodríguez future intensified on Wednesday after La Gazzetta dello Sport ran a story claiming the Spaniard was “very close” to an agreement with the Dutch WorldTour team Argos-Shimano. However the Dutch team denied the story, telling Cyclingnews "I can tell you that we are not talking to Joaquim Rodriquez and that the rumours are not true."

    In December Katusha was refused a WorldTour licence by the UCI and the Russian team has appealed that decision to CAS. Rodríguez, who finished the season atop the UCI’s rider rankings has previously said he would leave the team if it does not receive the licence.

    "Nothing is decided, we’ve got various options on the table,” Rodríguez manager Angel Edo told Cyclingnews on Wednesday morning.

    "However, out of respect to Katusha and the contract we have with them, we’re waiting to see what happens with the CAS decision, which should come through on January 10th or 11th, before making any moves."

    "Joaquim is ranked the number one rider in the world, and interest in him is high. But Katusha could continue in the WorldTour. Once we know what’s happening for sure, then we’ll make a move.”

    Rodriguez's interest in racing the Tour de France this year - which would not be guaranteed for the Katusha rider should they fail to be re-admitted to the World Tour - is crucial to whether he leaves or not. Rodriguez had earlier said that he is determined to "fight for the...

  • Bettini proposes Sciandri as new Italian national coach

    Italian team selector Paolo Bettini is at every race
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 12:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Bettini to take on development role?

    Paolo Bettini has expressed the desire to take on a more developmental role at the Italian Cycling Federation and has recommended that Max Sciandri succeeds him as Italian national team coach.

    Sciandri is currently a directeur sportif at BMC with particular responsibility for scouting young riders. The Anglo-Italian previously worked with British Cycling, overseeing its academy riders’ progress in Tuscany.

    “I’ve proposed Maximilian Sciandri to [FCI president Renato] Di Rocco as the new commissario tecnico,” Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Max was the man who developed Cavendish. In recent years he created the English phenomenon on the road, he opened a base in Tuscany and his mission is to work with youngsters. Max has renewed his contract with BMC but that can be talked about.”

    Bettini was appointed commissario tecnico, or Italian national coach, in 2010 following the tragic death of Franco Ballerini and his the last major race of his current term was the Valkenburg world championships in October. Mindful of the relative dearth of young talent emerging in Italy, Bettini has now pitched the idea of taking on a new role overseeing the creation of a coaching and development system.

    “I’ve said it to Di Rocco: I will put myself forward for the youngsters,” Bettini said. “It would be in a different way than with the professionals, and I would really like it – talking with clubs, meeting regional recruiting committees and sponsors.

    “[I want to] build a system, build Team Italy. We need a spark, and I’m available.”

    As part of the overhaul of the system, Bettini has called for the respective national teams to pool their resources to create...

  • Alex Rasmussen able to return to racing on March 1

    Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) took second in the sprint in the GP de Denain
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 14:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dane's suspension for whereabouts violations shortened by one month

    Alex Rasmussen's suspension has been cut short by one month and the Dane can race again as of March 1. He still hopes to re-sign with his former team of Garmin-Sharp.

    Rasmussen was given an 18-month ban for three violations of the whereabouts requirement, which was originally scheduled to end on April 1.  However, the UCI has notified the Danish cycling federation that the ban will now end one month earlier.

    “I have a document saying that I can race again as of the first of March, and it is extremely important that I get started as soon as possible,” Rasmussen told “It is in March that the northern European cycling season really starts, so it is important to be ready there.”

    He already has his eyes on his first goal. The Three Days of West Flanders opens with a prologue on March 1. “I will work hard towards that,” he said. “I will certainly be missing some of the rhythm required to succeed, but in a short race like the West Flanders, I think I have very good chances. It would mean a lot to me to prove immediately that I'm back at full strength.”

    Rasmussen must, of course, first sign with a team before racing. He was fired by Garmin-Sharp when the ban was announced, but he anticipates returning to the American team. "I have regular contact with the boss Jonathan Vaughters, and although I have not been promised to come back (to the team), I feel that there is a realistic possibility.

    "Vaughters has said that he has a vacancy and that it will not be filled by someone else. On the other hand, he has not given me a clear message that it...

  • Sky appoint Dan Hunt as sports director

    Edvald Boasson Hagen leads Team Sky in the chase of Cadel Evans
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 15:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Coach moves from British track squad

    Team Sky has appointed Dan Hunt to the role of Sports Director for 2013. Hunt moves across from working as a track coach with British Cycling, although he previously spent some time as a race coach with Sky in 2010.

    Hunt’s appointment comes after a turbulent winter for the Tour de France-winning squad, in which Bobby Julich and Steven De Jongh left Sky’s coaching staff as part of its new zero-tolerance policy on doping. Sean Yates also retired from his position as sports director, citing health reasons.

    Previously a sports scientist at the Welsh National Institute of Sport, Hunt joined the British Cycling set-up in 2005 to coach the women’s programme, before beginning work with both track teams in 2009.

    “I want to learn the races and re-learn the job of a Sports Director. But maybe also bring different things to the table, because I’m not an ex-pro. I haven’t ridden these races, so I’ve got a bit of homework to do,” said Hunt, according to the Team Sky website.

    Hunt had an active role at Team Sky during its inaugural season in the peloton in 2010, although by the end of the campaign, his focus had returned to the track as the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics began in earnest.

    “In 2010, I was asked to DS on the road. I ended up doing quite a lot – around 80 days,” he said. “I didn’t start racing until Tour de Picardie in May so it was a lot of racing, mainly as second DS. I did a heavy summer road programme and then went straight back onto the track. 2010 was the start of Olympic qualification and we had to start scoring points, starting at the European Champs.”

    With a crossover of riders between Team Sky and the...

  • Petacchi denies role in Damiani's Lampre departure

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD)
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 17:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Veteran sprinter enthusiastic about working with Bartoli

    Alessandro Petacchi has denied that he was to blame for Roberto Damiani’s departure from the Lampre-Merida squad ahead of the 2013 season. The veteran sprinter also welcomed the arrival of his friend and former teammate Michele Bartoli as coach.

    Damiani joined Lampre as sport manager in time for the 2011 Giro d’Italia following the implication of a number of riders and staff in the Mantua-based doping investigation, including general manager Giuseppe Saronni. After a difficult 18 months, however, Damiani parted company with the team in November while Saronni remains in command of the team

    “A lot was written about this. I even remember that when this news came out, it almost seemed according to the Gazzetta that I was the one who pushed Damiani out of the team,” Petacchi told Radio Manà Sport. “I think it was a collective decision, from the team, riders and staff. He’s a well-prepared person, but perhaps his ideas and his way of working didn’t tally with the philosophy of the team. This change has been a big revolution and we’ll see if Saronni has done well.”

    Damiani’s close links with the Mapei Centre had seen Lampre avail of the facility during his tenure, albeit sparingly, but the team has since ended its collaboration with the centre. The team’s riders will now be coached by double Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Michele Bartoli. A close friend of Bartoli since their time at Fasso Bortolo, Petacchi is enthusiastic about the new venture.

    “I’m very happy to work with Michele Bartoli, he’s like the brother I never had,” Petacchi said. “I’ve been following his...

  • Van Den Broeck to start season at Tour de San Luis

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck hopes to have a full tank of form ahead of the Tour de France
    Article published:
    January 02, 2013, 17:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian to captain squad in Argentina

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) will make his 2013 season debut in Argentina at the UCI 2.1-rated Tour de San Luis, taking place January 21-27. The Belgian WorldTour squad is competing at the Tour de San Luis for the first time and Van Den Broeck will be supported by teammates Bart De Clercq, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Joost Van Leijen and Frederik Willems. Mario Aerts will direct the team in Argentina.

    The primary 2013 goal for Van Den Broeck, 29, is to crack the Tour de France podium, having come close with fourth place finishes in both 2010 and 2012. Van Den Broeck has made slight changes to his pre-Tour race schedule, which features a start in Argentina for the first time as well as foregoing the Ardennes Classics for a start at the Tour de Romandie (April 23-28) instead.

    Lotto-Belisol starts its season on January 14 at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon. Sports director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx is heading to Africa with the following six riders: Dirk Bellemakers, Gaëtan Bille, Gert Dockx, Maarten Neyens, Vicente Reynes and Fréderique Robert.

    The Belgian squad kicks off its WorldTour campaign in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under (January 22-27), preceded by the Down Under Classic two days earlier. Included on the Lotto-Belisol roster are two-time Tour Down Under winner André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Olivier Kaisen, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens. Herman Frison is sports director for the team's stint in Australia.

    At the end of January the European season begins with the GP La Marseillaise, followed by the Etoile de Bessèges. Lars Bak, Dirk Bellemakers, Brian Bulgaç, Francis De Greef, Maarten Neyens, Fréderique Robert,...