Tools and tricks of the pro mechanics
A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
Highlights from four days of the men's and women's events
Anthony Giacoppo and Nicole Cooke were the deserved winners of the SmokeFree Perth Criterium series that finished on Tuesday evening, with the theme of the week the dominant performances of their respective teams, Genesys Wealth Advisers and Hays Recruiting.
Together the two squads won all but one stage of the series, with local team Budget Forklifts picking up final night solace courtesy of Luke Davison.
A mixture of night and day racing featured over the four days, with the healthy crowds estimated to be over 20,000 people entertained by fast and furious racing.
Cyclingnews presented a wrap of the four day Perth Criteriums yesterday, today we give you a photographic reel from the unique West Australian series, we hope you enjoy it.
The series is run in support of 'SmokeFree', an initative run by the West Australian government to stop smoking in public areas.
Commitment extends rights to 2015
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO)/ Unipublic, have renewed an agreement on the terms for broadcasting the Spanish Vuelta for the next four years, from 2012 to 2015 inclusive.
The Vuelta a España is a significant complement to the EBU's substantial cycling offer, and it will better enable broadcasters to develop more comprehensive cycling programmes.
TV coverage will be provided by Spanish EBU Member TVE, with which ASO/Unipublic renewed its agreements last year.
"This new contact is excellent news for the Vuelta, and for cycling in general, because EBU Members – which screen many other cycling events as well – offer consistent, comprehensive coverage throughout the season," said Yann Le Moenner, Director General of ASO.
Javier Guillen, the Director of the Vuelta, said he was "particularly satisfied with the relationship between the Vuelta and EBU Member channels as they help to bring the event to fans all over Europe."
The European Broadcasting Union is the largest association of national, public service broadcasters in the world, promoting cooperation between broadcasters and facilitating the exchange of audiovisual content.
But vows to do better this year
While moving to a foreign team is said to renew motivation for a lot of riders, it can also be the cause of some difficulty. Luis Leon Sanchez experienced this when he left his home squad of Caisse d'Epargne and signed for Dutch Rabobank last year.
Even though the Spaniard scored a stage at the Tour de France and became national time trial champion, the amount of his top level performances did not match those of previous years. While gearing up for this season's spring races, Sanchez looked back on his first year at Rabobank and admitted that that he had had a hard time adapting to his new employer at first.
"At the beginning of last year, I said that the team change did not affect me. But finally, it did have a big influence on me. Before that, I had always ridden in Spanish teams, and joining a Dutch squad brought a lot of changes with it: change of language, of customs... it affects you a lot," he told Spanish website cobblesandhills.com.
"The beginning of the year was complicated. I crashed a lot, and I wasn't used to crashing in the previous years. In 2011, I crashed at every race, and I wasn't able to reach my best level of form. Before, I always rode a lot without recovering, and last year, it was the contrary: a lot of training and only little competition."
The 28-year-old said that the Dutch language had been one of his main obstacles when trying to integrate into his new team. "I had some private lessons at me home. But I felt sidelined as my teammates spoke very fast and I didn't understand anything. Several issues accumulated. But I was lucky as there were several Spanish riders who tried to help me. I will always be thankful to them," he added. While Oscar Freire has this year joined Katusha, Sanchez is still in the company of Carlos...
Italian Classics contender back on the bike after collarbone break
Pozzato crashed 30 kilometres from the end of stage 5, and was brought straight to the hospital in Doha, where it was confirmed that he had suffered a fracture to his right clavicle. The Italian previously suffered a compound fracture of his left clavicle in a fall at the Tour of Belgium last year and was ruled out of action for two months on that occasion.
He underwent surgery last week but the team had originally signalled a desire to see him comeback at Tirreno-Adriatico in March.
Pozzato dropped down from WorldTour level ahead of the 2012 season to join Farnese Vini-Selle Italia in a bid to kick start his career under the guidance of his former Mapei teammate Scinto. With Pozzato on board, the team has earned wildcard invitations to Milan-San Remo, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, as well as May’s Giro d’Italia.
1997 Paris-Roubaix winner still focused on ending career at 'Hell of the North'
After crashing heavily and fracturing his hip at the Tour Down Under, Frédéric Guesdon from FDJ-BigMat will return to racing at the Nokere Koerse one-day race in Belgium on March 14. The 40-year-old is still determined to finish his career in style at this year's Paris-Roubaix, which he won in 1997.
"I won't return to competition at Tirreno-Adriatico. It would be too hard, too soon. I don't want to take the place of somebody in the team who is in better form than I am," Guesdon explained to Ouest-France.
"I've been able to do some home trainer and last Sunday, I went for a test ride on the road for a bit more than one hour. I didn't have great sensations."
After Nokere Koerse, the Classics specialist who also counts the 2006 Paris-Tours on his palmarès, will build up his form again by racing the Classic Loire-Atlantique, GP Cholet-Pays de Loire, GP E3, Three Days of the Panneand the Tour of Flanders.
"Of course, if I'm not fit enough, I won't go [to Paris-Roubaix]," he continued. "But today, I hang onto this idea. And I do everything to be there. If I can't do Roubaix, then I could also stop my career one week later in Britanny [his home region], at the Tro Bro Leon, a race that I also like."
RadioShack-Nissan force the pace on stage four
Fabian Cancellara had maintained a low profile on the early stages of the Tour of Oman, but the Swiss rider and his RadioShack-Nissan team were among the principal animators of stage 4 to Al Wadi Al Kabir.
Over the splendid climb of Bousher Alamrat, flanked on either side by natural rock terraces, the RadioShack-Nissan squad drove the pace at the head of the peloton, their first significant show of force in a race where Jakob Fuglsang is expected to be among the contenders for overall victory. After making huge inroads into the early break’s advantage there, Cancellara and his teammates were again to the fore on the testing finishing circuit.
“We wanted to try something today out of respect for the race,” Cancellara told Cyclingnews after crossing the line. “There were three of us at the front and we knew that the finishing circuit was quite tough and the route beforehand too. It was hard, but maybe not hard enough to blow everything apart.”
Their efforts, coupled with aggression from Sylvain Chavanel (Omega PharmaQ-QuickStep) and Liquigas-Cannondale en masse, were enough to cull a slew of top sprinters from the rear of the peloton, but they were unable to rid themselves of eventual winner André Greipel (Lotto Belisol).
Unable to force his way clear alone in the finale, even with help from Andy Schleck, Cancellara threw his lot in behind his young French teammate Tony Gallopin, who finished a fine third.
“If there was a chance, we might have tried something with me but the course wasn’t really selective enough,” Cancellara said. “Still, for non-sprinters, to have done third place in the end...
Dan Lloyd takes centre stage with UK team
Team IG-Sigma Sport unveiled their squad for 2012 at the IG Markets HQ in London today, with new signing Dan Lloyd taking centre stage.
Lloyd joins the British Continental outfit after three years with World Tour teams, initially with Cervelo Test Team and latterly with Garmin-Cervelo.
He joins another new signing, 29-year-old Namibian Dan Craven, who arrives fresh from a three year stint with Rapha Condor Sharp.
Elsewhere on the 12-man roster is GB track cyclist Steven Burke, absent from proceedings as he prepares for this weekend's World Cup round at the new London Olympic velodrome. The line-up is completed by Simon Richardson, Tom Murray, Steve Lampier, Tom Last, Simon Gaywood, Wouter Sybrandy, Jake Hales, Peter Hawkins and Andrew Griffith.
The team, formerly known as Sigma Sport-Specialized, brings IG Markets onboard as a title sponsor for 2012. The financial trading company entered the pro cycling world last year with links to Team Sky, The Tour of Britain, RIDE24 and the London Nocturne, and they see this two-year deal as a natural progression in their association with the sport. Specialized have taken a step back, but will still provide bikes in the shape of the Tarmac SL4. Other equipment suppliers include Campagnolo, who provide the mechanical Super Record groupset, and 3T.
Lloyd, 31, thought he was heading for retirement after his contract ended at Garmin Cervelo but told BikeRadar it didn't take much persuasion from Sigma Sport co-owner and close friend Ian Whittingham to put pen to paper. "So many former riders say you should race for as long as you might regret not going on a little longer. So I heeded their advice," he said. "And it's a team that looks like it's going places."
He's thankful for his time racing at the highest level, but with the chance to do so arriving later on in his career, stepping down to Continental level with IG-Sigma Sport isn't the huge grind some may think.
Spanish climber also has his sights set on a Classics victory
Katusha’s Joaquim Rodríguez has said that he still believes he can win a Grand Tour despite failing to make the podium at last year’s Giro and Vuelta, which both featured courses that should have suited a climber of his ability. Currently racing in the Tour of Oman, where he is hoping to be in contention for his first win of the season in Saturday’s stage to Green Mountain, the 32-year-old Spaniard insists that all he’s been missing is some good fortune.
“That little bit of luck [is what I’ve been lacking], because I’ve gone close in just about all of the Classics that suit me, and I also think that the podium of a three-week race is within my reach, that I can even win one,” he told AS. “Victory in a top Classic and a stage win in the Giro to add to those that I’ve taken in the Tour and Vuelta would round out my palmarès nicely. You’ve always got to be ambitious.”
The diminutive Spaniard selected Flèche Wallonne as the Classic he is most likely to win, but said he would prefer to taste victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “Flèche suits me better, but I would love to win Liège. However, this year there will be a lot of competition especially now that Alejandro Valverde has returned, although it’s always the strongest man who wins. I’ve got a million and one places of honour, including the Worlds, San Sebastián and Lombardy. What I need is the big win to top these off,” he said.
Rodríguez will turn 33 in May, but feels that he’s still got another four or five good years ahead of him, especially as he came so late to...