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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Date published:
November 23, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Details of Rothschild's cycling 'breakaway league' revealed

    The television helicopter gets up close to the peloton
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 23:21 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Rothschild-backed proposal would share TV revenue

    Cyclingnews has obtained information from documents relating to the formation of Rothschild's and the Gifted Group's potential cycling 'breakaway league'.

    Earlier this month this site reported that the financial group Rothschild put together a proposal for a cycling breakaway league in the early stages of 2011. New information backs this up but also sheds light on the financial figures involved, the number of teams needed to trigger investment, a new race calendar, and the clear outmanoeuvring of the UCI.

    The league, which has been branded as World Series Cycling (WSC), sets out a "formation of a new, truly global racing competition, WSC, bringing together 14 cycling teams, or franchises, in ten newly created racing events".

    WSC is a Luxembourg-registered company, and a joint venture between teams, the Gifted Group LTD and an investor, in this case Rothschild.

    The proposed league claims to "put teams at the heart of the event". Also included in the 12 page proposal is an outlined "partnership between the 14 teams, a new investor and the Gifted Group".

    Importantly, and key to any chances of a breakaway league getting off the ground is the role of ASO, owners of the Tour de France. The Rothschild documents fail to mention the sport's biggest organiser but instead lays out a new formation of races, as well as a new championships structure for riders and teams.

    Race structure

    The exact structure of the WSC racing calendar revolves around 40 days of racing in ten newly created four-day events, with six of them based outside of Europe. There would be 16 races in Europe in total.

    There is room for the existing three Grand Tours, all of which remain three weeks in length, while there are six Classics.

    However the four-day events appear to be key. Each would be structured around a...

  • UCI Athletes’ Commission holds first meeting in Aigle

    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 1:22 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Gilbert, Vos and Nys among representatives

    The inaugural meeting of the UCI Athletes' Commission draws to a close on Wednesday after a three-day workshop in Aigle, Switzerland attended by 12 of its 15 members. Philippe Gilbert, Sven Nys and Marianne Vos were among the representatives of a cross-section of disciplines present at the first gathering of an entity which has been designed to allow riders address their concerns directly to cycling's governing body.

    Former track star Florian Rousseau is president of the Athletes' Commission, and while he acknowledged that the 15-rider group has no executive power, he maintained that it can play a significant advisory role in the development of the sport.

    "It doesn't have decision-making power but it will make itself heard and can make recommendations that will be taking into account by the other commissions of the UCI," Rousseau told reporters in Aigle on Wednesday.

    The initiative is inspired by the IOC Athletes' Commission, whose chair now serves on the IOC Executive Board [currently former athlete Frankie Fredericks – ed]. UCI president Pat McQuaid envisages that a similar scenario will unfold in cycling once its own Athletes' Commission has found its feet.

    "Ultimately there will be a seat on the management commission of the UCI for a representative of the Athletes' Commission," McQuaid said. "It's in everybody's interests that the voices of the athletes are heard loud and clear and we want to set up a mechanism so that can happen."

    McQuaid stressed that the UCI would continue to enjoy a "good working relationship" with the CPA, the professional riders' association presided over by Gianni Bugno, but that it was necessary to establish a body to represent riders from all disciplines. "The CPA only cover road riders, but we need to take into account all of the other disciplines within the UCI...

  • Haussler to lead Garmin-Cervélo at Tour Down Under

    Heinrich Haussler (Garmin Cervelo) on the podium
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 2:03 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Haas to debut with WorldTour squad in Adelaide

    Allan Peiper, the new director of competition for the Garmin-Cervélo squad confirmed German-Australian Heinrich Haussler as team leader for the Santos Tour Down Under. Speaking to Cyclingnews at the team launch in Boulder, Colorado last Thursday, Peiper laid out the team's goal: a repeat victory in the first WorldTour event of the 2012 season.

    Last year, Cameron Meyer won the overall Tour Down Under for the team, but he and fellow Australian Jack Bobridge left Garmin-Cervélo for the GreenEdge squad. Peiper will send a mix of new riders and veterans with the sole goal of winning the race.

    "Heinrich Haussler will be the team's leader and he will have Robbie Hunter and Jack Bauer with him in the sprints. Ryder Hesjedal will be there help out on the Willunga stage. Also, Nathan Haas, Martijn Maaskant and of course team leader Andreas Klier."

    Hunter returns to the team after a one-year hiatus with RadioShack. The South African told Cyclingnews he was attracted back to the team after the departure of a number of riders such as Julian Dean, and is keen to be on a team that will focus on sprints.

    "RadioShack was more of a Grand Tour team - every team is different, and I can respect that, but they didn't focus very much on sprints," Hunter said. "I'm looking forward to working with Tyler Farrar - he's at the age where he's coming into his top form."

    Haas, a fast rising star of the Australian cycling world with a number of impressive 2011 victories to his name, is excited about his debut at the sport's top level.

    "I'm really happy with my schedule, which starts with the Tour Down Under," Haas said. "I won't be over-raced, but I will get to discover every sort of type of racing - with some smaller races and a few big starts....

  • UnitedHealthcare squad comes together for early training camp

    Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) at the front and trying to bring back the break.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 2:56 GMT
    Neil Browne

    New recruits head to A2 Wind Tunnel

    The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team wrapped up a week of what director Mike Tamayo called a team bonding camp in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. The purpose was to bring the riders together so they can better know each other and participate in some team strengthening exercises.

    "Most of our results come from teamwork rather than individual rides, so we wanted to bring everyone together. We're planning and prepping and before you know it you're bike racing," said Tamayo.

    Other than some easy rides to test out the equipment on the roads of Asheville, the team slipped into some protective gear and fought it out with paint guns for four hours. There were no injuries, but Dutch rider Boy Van Poppel took a paint pellet to the head and European Team Director Hendrik Redant was suffering from using muscles usually reserved for running.

    "It made the team captains step up and take a role in making a strategy," said Tamayo, justifying the reason for arming his riders with paint guns.

    However, before the paintball battle a few riders were sent to the A2 Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina for two days of aerodynamic testing. Long time UnitedHealthcare member Rory Sutherland skipped the tunnel session as the boys in blue will once again ride Boardman bikes, so no changes for the Australian. However, new recruits Ben Day, Jeff Louder, Philip Deignan and Marc de Maar all spent time in the tunnel fine tuning their positions on the time trial rigs.

    "We saw some big changes with Philip (Deignan) so we're real excited about that."

    Naturally, with UnitedHealthcare headquartered in the Golden State, the upcoming Amgen Tour of California is high on their list of goals but so...

  • Gianetti: I’ve got two sponsorship options

    Mauro Gianetti is still with the team despite rumours that he had been forced out
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 5:20 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Geox team boss says that he is near to completing a deal

    Geox-TMC manager Mauro Gianetti has revealed that he has two potential sponsors lined up to replace his team’s current main backer. Gianetti had already admitted that he has been negotiating with the Venezuelan tourist board, and has now told the C-Cycling blog that he is also working on a possible deal with what he described as "a good, serious company that we know very well".

    "We have two concrete deals right now. One of them is the one with the Venezuelan government, the other one is more a regular one with a big international company as the main sponsor," Gianetti said.

    "We have not signed anything yet, but we hope to close the deal very soon. It could be any day now. For me it doesn’t matter which deal we end up taking. The Venezuelan one is a very interesting project with the government and the other one is with a good, serious company that we know very well. We will see."

    The mooted Venezuelan deal would run under the name Venezuela – País de Sueño (Venezuela – country of dreams), the national tourist board’s promotional slogan. As well as the pro road team, it could also feature mountain bike and track teams. The final go-ahead on the project is reported to lie with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.

    Although Gianetti has already lost the services of Denis Menchov, Mauricio Ardila and Fabio Duarte for next season, he should be able to count on Vuelta winner Juan José Cobo leading any new team. With as many as 50 professionals still...

  • Ballan to lead BMC at Tour Down Under

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 6:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Roe looking forward to home town support

    BMC Racing Team is the latest to announce its roster for the opening ProTour event of 2012, the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, which kicks off January 15.

    With Tour de France champion Cadel Evans already opting out of his national event, it will be 2008 World Champion Alessandro Ballan who will take headline act honours for the team with his appearance for the second year running. Meantime, Adelaide-local Tim Roe will line-up for BMC for the second time at the Australian stage race, having risen to prominence as King of the Mountain classification leader for two days in 2010 riding for the UniSA team.

    "The race is always honoured to have a past world champion ride among the peloton," said Race Director, Mike Turtur. "Ballan is one of the true gentlemen within our sport, always conducting himself as the consummate professional at all times.

    "It is great to welcome Tim back to the race for the second consecutive year with the BMC Racing Team giving him the opportunity to perform well in front of a home crowd."

    Roe said he was excited to be in the BMC Racing Team's seven man line up.

    "It's not only my home race, but I train on many of the same roads in the race and it's always fun to ride in front of big crowds," Roe said. "They really get behind the race and make it a special welcome home."

    Making his debut at the race, will be Belgian Greg Van Avermaet who will be looking to continue his hot run of form from the end of season 2011, having won Paris - Tours, finished as runner-up in the Italian classic, Giro del Piemonte. Mid-season, Van Avermaet claimed the first stage race victory of his career at the Tour de Wallonie.

    "Australia is becoming a big cycling country," Van Avermaet said. "I'm looking forward to starting my season there. Hopefully, I can start...

  • Gilmore joins chorus advocating women's cycling reform

    Series leader, Rochelle Gilmore (Honda) extended her lead with another win
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 10:13 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Australian encouraged by progress, but says more needs to be done

    Rochelle Gilmore ( has joined the growing chorus of voices demanding better conditions for the women’s peloton, telling Cyclingnews at the launch for this weekend’s NSW Grand Prix Series that though progress is being made in terms of the professionalism of the riders – the financial side has yet to catch up.

    "It’s disappointing to see so many teams at the top level of the women’s discipline existing and paying their riders nothing," said Gilmore. "That's the situation at the moment. Plenty of women will still ride, even on nothing, I know I would and have, because we love the sport, but it’s unfortunate that in this day and age that that's the way things are. To see the UCI still not regulating a minimum wage when there is one for the men is really disappointing."

    The Australian Commonwealth Games champion has been involved in the sport as a rider and a manager, as well as on occasion working in the media. It's with that experience that Gilmore is able to offer an insight that perhaps others cannot.

    Citing the NSW Grand Prix Series as a good example of the right kind of approach, Gilmore said that more promoters need to be taking the opportunity to offer women’s events where men’s events are already taking place. Gent-Wevelgem announced earlier this month that they would be doing just that, but it’s only the start.

    "What Phill Bates does here, albeit at a smaller scale is great. The courses, the spectators, the media are all already there. It’s a no brainer to have a women’s event.

    "But even events like Fleche Wallone that already have a complementing women’s event probably don’t go far enough. I was watching the men’s event on television this year and they couldn’t cut from the men’s coverage for even 30 seconds to just show the finish of the women’s race.

    "The commentator just said...

  • Cadel Evans to open season in Mallorca Challenge

    Realisation of a dream: Evans stand on the top step of the Tour de France podium in Paris.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 11:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour de France champion will meet Schlecks in February

    Cadel Evans will start his 2012 season on Mallorca. The XXI Iberostar Mallorca Cycling Challenge has confirmed that the reigning Tour de France champion will participate in the race series February 5 to 9.

    BMC Racing Team will send a large squad to the Spanish island. Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Steve Cummings, Yannick Eijssen, Matthias Frank, Amaël Moinard, Steve Morabito, Marco Pinotti, Manuel Quinziato, Mauro Santambrogio, Johann Tschopp, Ivan Sataromita and Tejay Van Garderen will also take part.

    Evans is not the only big name to sign up for the race. It was announced last week that Evans' Tour rivals Andy and Fränk Schleck will also be there. The brothers, who will ride for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek in 2012, finished second and third in this year's Tour.

    WorldTour teams at the race will include BMC, RadioShack, Katusha, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol, and Team Sky. So far two Professional Continental teams have confirmed, Cofidis and NetApp.

    The Mallorca Challenge is a series of five one-day races. Each race is ranked separately, and there is only an unofficial overall winner.