- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 10:06
- Stephen Farrand
A finish in Trieste also on the cards
The final route of the 2014 Giro d'Italia will be unveiled on Monday October 7, the day after this year's Il Lombardia race, but the Corsa Rosa could be decided with a double climb of the Zoncolan, considered one of the toughest climbs used in professional racing, using the steep road up from Priola for the first time.
The Messaggero Veneto newspaper has claimed that RCS Sport technical director Mauro Vegni will make a final decision before the end of the month but RCS Sport appears inspired by the success of the double climb of Alpe d'Huez during this year's Tour de France.
According to the report in the local Italian media, the 2014 Giro d'Italia will climb the Zoncolan from Ovaro and then descend to the valley before climbing back up the Zoncolan from the never before used Priola road. Local organisers Enzo Cainero is behind the plans for the double climb of the Zoncolan and has support of the local and regional councils who would fund the stages and help with public safety. Cainero and RCS Sport refused to comment on the reports of the Zoncolan in the 2014 Giro d'Italia.
The Giro d'Italia has finished at the top of the Zoncolan in 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2011. Gilberto Simon won in 2003, climbing from the Sutrio side and again in 2007 from the Ovaro side. Ivan Basso won was first to the top in 2010 on the way to winning his second Giro d'Italia, while Igor Anton won in 2011, again riding the Ovaro road.
The double ascent would include what has been dubbed the Zoncolan 3: the road from Priola. The Messaggero Vento claims the Priola climb is nine kilometres long and has an average gradient of 13% with some sections at 23%. It is a narrow track that zigzags up the side of the Zoncolan but is well surfaced. Team will likely use motorbikes to give their riders mechanical support instead of team cars.
A Trieste finish?
The Messaggero Vento newspaper suggests that the 2014 Giro d'Italia could be decided on the Zoncolan with a finish in nearby city Trieste, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the city returning under Italian control.
This year the Giro d'Italia turned it's back on the traditional finish in Milan and the Giro d'Italia ended in Brescia. It seems that Milan is keen to host the finish of the Giro d'Italia again to help promote the 2015 Expo in the city. However Turin is also reported to be keen to host the finish.
The 2104 Giro d'Italia will start in Belfast, in Northern Ireland, with other stages to Armagh and Dublin before transferring to Italy for he rest of the race.
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 11:34
- Cycling News
Trek want the Van Poppels, Felline and Stuyven
With the official transfer window now open, negotiations and deals have intensified, sparking rumours of riders changing teams and considering offers for 2014 and beyond.
According to today's Gazzetta dello Sport, the Astana team is looking to further strengthen its squad for 2014. The Kazkhstani team announced the signing of Franco Pellizotti and Lieuwe Westra on Thursday but team manager Alexandre Vinokourov would also like to sign Nairo Quintana.
The Colombian was the revelation of the Tour de France, finishing second overall and winning the climber's competition. He has a contract with Movistar for 2014 but the Spanish team is reportedly going to be register in Luxembourg for 2014 and so every rider's contract will have to be resigned. Vinokourov is hoping to steal Quintana away from rival manager Eusebio Unzue.
Gazzetta dello Sport also suggest that Astana is interested in signing Euskaltel riders Mikel Landa and Mike Nieve, with Ivan Basso a possible alternative as a super domestique for Vincenzo Nibali in 2014.
Basso has a contract with Cannondale for 2014 but the team is also planning to change its country of registration to save on tax and running costs. It needs extra funding to cover the cost of retaining Peter Sagan as team leader. The team is registered in Italy this year but could be registered in the USA or even in Ireland or Britain as are many Italian Professional Continental teams.
Cannondale is reportedly keen to sign Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini) and Marco Marcato (Vancansoleil-DCM) and has already invested in several young riders by signing Davide Villella the winner of the Giro della Val d’Aosta Under 23 stage race, Davide Formolo and former junior world road race champion Mathej Mohoric.
Felline, Van Poppels and Stuyven to Trek?
The Trek team has confirmed that Fabian Cancellara and Andy And Frank Schleck will ride for the new-look team in 2014 after the US bike brand bought the team's WorldTour licence from Flavio Becca.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Trek team manager Luca Guercilena is close to signing promising Italian rider Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli) and Boy and Danny Van Poppel Vacansoleil-DCM)
The Belgian Gazet Van Antwerpen newspaper has reported that Jasper Stuyven is also a target for Trek after riding for the Bontrager development team but has offers from Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Lotto Belisol.
The 22 year-old was the 2009 Junior world champion and won the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2010. He has won the Vuelta a Alentejo and a stage at the Tour de Beauce this year. He will ride the Tour of Utah next week.
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 12:33
- Peter Cossins
2011 winner unlikely to feature among Movistar’s line-up
2011 Vuelta a España champion Juan José Cobo has admitted he is unlikely to make Movistar’s selection of nine riders for the Vuelta España, that starts in Vilanova de Arousa on August 24.
Speaking prior to the start of the Circuito Getxo, Cobo told Vavel Radio his bad news: “I’m not going to ride the Vuelta.”
Cobo, whose appearance in Getxo was his first race since he finished 116th at the Giro d’Italia at the end of May, explained that the Movistar team would be built around Alejandro Valverde, who is targeting a second Vuelta overall victory. He will be supported by Beñat Intxausti and a strong Movistar squad.
“Movistar is a big team, where all of the riders are very good and it’s difficult to gain selection for a Grand Tour,” admitted the 32-year-old Cantabrian. “I wanted to ride it, but I’m not the one who selects the nine riders, that’s down to the team.”
Cobo added he will now “think about an end-of-season campaign without the Vuelta”. This will include an appearance at the Eneco Tour in Belgium and the Netherlands between August 11-18.
Cobo beat Chris Froome by just 13 seconds to the 2011 Vuelta Espana and moved from the struggling Geox squad to Movistar. However, he has failed to reproduce the form that made him a Grand Tour winner. He finished 67th when riding in defence of his title as a co-leader with Valverde in 2012 and has played a domestique’s role this season.
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 14:08
- Cycling News
German brand offers support via a new project
The Canyon bicycle company has announced that is has decided to end Erik Zabel's links to the company as a brand ambassador, but offered support to the former sprinter and Milan-San Remo winner, saying he will have a role in a future promotional project currently under development.
Zabel confessed to having used EPO, cortisone and even blood doping from 1996 to 2004 after his name appeared on the “positive” list created by the French Senate investigation for EPO from the 1998 Tour de France. In 2007 he admitted he tried EPO for a week in 1996 but had stopped taking the blood boosting drug due its side effects. He admitted that was a lie.
Zabel has also been suspended as sprint coach by the Russian Katusha team that uses Canyon bikes. The German bike company announced it decision in a statement.
"We do not accept doping of any kind and were deeply disappointed to hear about Erik’s latest statement on his past. The consequence of this is that Erik will no longer be able to continue his function as Canyon’s brand ambassador, nor will he continue his role as the mentor of the Young Heroes Team," Canyon CEO Roman Arnold said in the statement.
Arnold claimed it decision was not a mere public relations stunt.
"We believe that our industry is not currently treating athletes who admit to doping fairly. We have all benefited immensely from the enthusiasm that has been generated for the sport and have always distanced ourselves from 'individual cases'. However there simply are no 'individual cases', but we are talking about real people and individuals here who cannot simply be reduced to mere doping perpetrators," he said in the statement.
"We therefore don’t simply want to follow the typical example of the professional cycling world and the general public just to make life easy for ourselves.
"Our values dictate that we do not impose across the board sanctions on people who we have built relationships with based on trust. We condemn Erik’s actions, but we do not condemn the person. That is why we now want to find a new way of working together with Erik in the future."
"We will be starting a new project in the coming weeks which we have been considering for some time and specifically involves our general attitude to cycle sport. We will be asking Erik to help us with this new project and will keep you updated on further developments soon.
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 15:30
- Stephen Farrand
Pate, Porte, Dombrowski and Boswell named in Team Sky squad
Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) will return to serious racing at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado between 19-25 of August, Team Sky has confirmed.
Froome has been busy riding a series of post-Tour criteriums since pulling on the final yellow jersey in Paris. He is now enjoying a break at his base in Monte Carlo before heading across the Atlantic to ride in Colorado.
The 28 year-old Kenyan-born Briton leads a strong Team Sky squad that makes it debut in the US race.
Also in the line-up are American riders Ian Boswell, Joe Dombrowski and Danny Pate, plus Froome's Tour de France teammates Peter Kennaugh, Richie Porte and Kanstantsin Siutsou. British neo-pro Josh Edmondson completes the squad.
Froome and Team Sky will face some tough opposition from the likes of Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale, Radioshack, BMC, Argos-Shimano and Saxo-Tinkoff in the seven-day stage race, where altitude and the climbing usually decide the overall winner.
Team Sky revealed that Boswell and Dombrowski will hone their condition by riding the Vuelta a Burgos stage race in Spain between 7-11 August. Dario Cataldo, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio, Luke Rowe and Xabier Zandio will be joining the two for the trip to Spain, as will Vasil Kiryienka, who has not ridden competitively since finishing outside he time limit on ninth stage of the Tour de France.
Wiggins confirmed for the Eneco Tour
As reported on Thursday, Bradley Wiggins will continue his preparations for the Tour of Britain and the world championships time trial by riding the Eneco Tour between 12-18 August.
Wiggins will have Tour de France riders David Lopez and Ian Stannard for support, plus Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman, Gabriel Rasch, Chris Sutton and current Tour de Pologne teammate Ben Swift.
Colombian riders Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao are expected to lead Team Sky at the Vuelta Espana but the full team for the Spanish Grand Tour has still to be announced.
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 17:25
- Daniel Benson
UCI Management Committee member says dossier on doping came from Marakov
The United States' representative on the UCI Management Committee, Mike Plant, has labelled Pat McQuaid's actions surrounding his bid in the 2013 UCI presidential election as deplorable and accused the Irishman of vote rigging. McQuaid defended his support by the federations from Malaysia, Thailand and Morocco as valid.
Plant also confirmed to Cyclingnews that the dossier presented to McQuaid during June's Management Committee came directly from another of McQuaid's firmest critics, Igor Makarov.
The dossier first made headlines in mid-June when several sources disclosed to Cyclingnews that Plant would present McQuaid and the UCI Management board with a body of damning evidence surrounding McQuaid's tenure as UCI President.
Since then the dossier has taken somewhat of a back seat as McQuaid and his running rival Brian Cookson travel the globe in search of vital votes ahead of September's election. However Cyclingnews can confirm that the dossier was compiled by Makarov, not Plant, and the latter was instead tasked with presenting the findings to the UCI board.
"At this point a lot of the information is still controlled by Mr. Makarov and it's really his decision as to when and how if he wants to release that. It's really up to him," Plant told Cyclingnews.
"We have a common objective in that this sport has been in peril for a while and we both care about the sport. We both believe that we need to restore credibility back in the UCI and that starts with the leadership. We're both firm believers of that."
Despite the dossier being presented nearly two months ago, it has yet to be released publicly. Cyclingnews understands that the evidence contains several witness testimonies and that legal red tape is one of the reasons it has yet to be made public. Plant would not discuss the exact body of evidence but confirmed that legal bindings are a factor.
"It's difficult to talk about because I'm not the one that generated all the information. I'm just the one who basically got to the point where I'm not sitting around and being complicit in all of this. I've got my own values and principles and once I know something is wrong and outrageous I'm just has complicit as anyone if I don't say something about it.
"I would say that and once again it's other people's responsibility based on their direct knowledge of the information that I disclosed and I want to respect that. I wasn't directly involved but they approved me to provide the management board with some of this information, and it wasn't just for shock and awe purposes. This was credible, valid, accurate information, but again I was the deliverer of the message and I pounded it home pretty hard."
When asked how McQuaid reacted to the dossier being presented Plant indicated that the Irishman bordered on denial.
"That's Pat. When he doesn't like something he just dismisses it. It doesn't mean it goes away or that it's not credible. For the life of me I can't figure out how he hasn't done the right thing and put the sport and this organisation's credibility first," Plant told Cyclingnews.
"He made a few responses to try and defend himself but he didn't say much. As far I as was concerned there wasn't anything he could say that would change my mind or the others who were in the room."
Pressed on the exact content or length of the dossier, Plant added, "I just think that there are things that would question anyone's integrity, their honour, and their values and certainly there's information that's inconsistent with what has been communicated for years involving certain aspects of the UCI's oversight of doping."
Plant then pointed to the manoeuvre pulled by McQuiad earlier this week, when he had the chutzpah to lobby the Malaysian Federation to support an amendment to the UCI rules that would strengthen his position should he face the loss of his Swiss nomination. The late change in the rules was lambasted by Cookson, with Plant going further and accusing McQuaid of vote rigging.
"It gets worse when you look at the actions from a couple of days ago. That's deplorable to me and a number of my colleagues, to then go and start manipulating a number of the rules and the statute. We all know what it is, it's a backup plan in case he doesn't win his nomination in Switzerland. It's like do you really not see, to anyone with any common sense or any ounce of dignity, what that looks like? It's called election rigging. It's called election manipulation. We should be better than that and we deserve better than that."
"This isn't about Pat or what Mike Plant wants. I've told him a couple of times ‘you and I've had long time friendship' but this isn't about friendship anymore. It's about right and wrong, ethics and integrity."
Plant also disclosed that he had recent conversations with Lance Armstrong. McQuaid famously stated that the former rider had no place in cycling after he was stripped of his seven Tour titles by USADA in 2012. Since then Armstrong has refrained – in the main – from commenting on McQuaid, although he did state that the Irishman was in 'cover your ass' mode back in January.
Plant would not comment as to whether Armstrong featured in the dossier, only confirming that, "I still have conversations with Lance. The last one was two days ago. The good thing is that Lance wants to do the right thing for the betterment of the UCI as well. You've heard him say the sport is a lot cleaner these days but moving forward, he supports the same thing I do, to quickly garner credibility back into the sport."
- Pat McQuaid
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 19:52
- Peter Hymas
Dane sets new stage victory tally, equals days in yellow mark
There's no place like home and for Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) indeed there's no place like racing on home roads at the Tour of Denmark. Prior to contesting this year's edition of his national Tour, the 28-year-old Dane hadn't won since August of 2012 in stage 3 at the Vuelta a Burgos, but his fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the better as he's won back-to-back in yesterday's stage 2 and today's stage 3, the event's queen stage.
Yesterday's victory was the sixth stage win of Breschel's career at the Tour of Denmark, and moved him out of a three-way tie with Jesper Skibby and Nicola Minali as the previous stage win record holders at five apiece. For good measure, Breschel pushed his career Tour of Denmark stage tally to seven today.
As an additional bonus, following today's victory in the 200km stage from Sønderborg to Vejle, Breschel jumped from fourth to first on general classification and donned the leader's yellow jersey with three stages remaining.
"Everything went smooth for Matti," said Breschel's directeur sportif Lars Michaelsen of his victory in the queen stage. "He really has great power right now and seems impossible to drop, and as he has shown at a number of occasions, he's explosive in a finale like this."
The queen stage was hilly throughout plus featured a steep climb of 21 percent on the 5.6km finishing circuit, completed three times.
"This stage has been his goal for a long time and when he won yesterday's stage, it was a bonus for him," said Michaelsen. "It set free a lot of pressure and new energy that he could use today."
As Breschel's no stranger to winning stages at the Tour of Denmark, he's also now worn the leader's jersey each of the six times he's contested the race in his career - five straight years from 2007 through 2011 followed by the current 2013 edition (Breschel rode the Vuelta a Espana in 2012, which overlapped with the Tour of Denmark). When he starts stage four on Saturday morning he'll equal Rolf Sørensen's record of 11 days in the Tour of Denmark's yellow jersey.
To date, however, Breschel's best career finish has been third, earned in his Tour of Denmark debut in 2007. He's also placed fifth overall on three other occasions.
Can this be the year Breschel wins overall? There are three stages remaining over the final two days, with Saturday featuring a 105km road stage in the morning followed by a 12.1km individual time trial in the afternoon. The likely spoiler appears to be Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) who holds second overall, just six seconds in arrears of Breschel. Bak is a powerhouse against the clock and has won the Danish time trial championship three times plus has been part of squads which have won Grand Tour team time trial stages on three different occasions.
"He leads with six seconds to Bak and I'm not sure that's enough to maintain the lead after the time trial so we'll see what we can do on tomorrow morning's stage," said Michaelsen.
- Article published:
- August 2, 2013, 21:00
- Cycling News
Saxo-Tinkoff signs Valgren for three years, BMC adds three trainees
Three WorldTour teams will give opportunities to young riders: it was announced today by Omega Pharma-QuickStep that French promise Julian Alaphilippe signed on from the squad's development program to a two-year contract, Saxo-Tinkoff announced it signed Denmark's Michael Valgren to a three-year deal, and BMC is calling up three riders from its development teams, Silvan Dillier, Jakub Novak and Julien Taramarcaz, as trainees for the remainder of the season.
Valgren, 21, currently racing with Team Cult Energy, won the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege two years in a row in addition to a stage and the overall in Fleche du Sud.
"I'm delighted to have agreed to a deal with Michael. He is without a doubt one of the biggest prospects in Danish cycling in many years, and I look very much forward to start working with him," said Saxo-Tinkoff team owner Bjarne Riis. "He has great potential and everything it takes to become successful, but there is also room for improvements, which says a lot about his talent," Riis added, but also emphasizes that the focus will be on steady progression and not results.
Alaphilippe, 21, comes from the Omega Pharma-QuickStep satellite team Continental Team Etixx-iHNed, and is the French under-23 cyclo-cross champion in addition to having three road victories.
"Julian's arrival to our team is the result of the work and the structure that is behind the OPQS team and of our investment in young athletes," Team Manager Patrick Lefevere said. "Alaphilippe is without a doubt just the first in a series of athletes who, in the future, will wear our jersey after having worn the Etixx-iHNed jersey."
Another cyclo-cross racer will hit the WorldTour: Swiss rider Julien Taramarcaz from the BMC mountain bike team, was called up as a trainee to BMC's WorldTour squad, together with Swiss U23 road champion Silvan Dillier and Czech U23 time trial champion Jakub Novak.
"All three have shown the talent we are looking for when we evaluate young riders," said manager Jim Ochowicz. "They will be able to gain valuable experience that builds on what they have already learned in the BMC programs."