Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
Andreu looking forward to season with Mancebo in lead
The 5-hour Energy/Kenda team has officially fired up its 2013 season with a week-long training camp in Dahlonega, Georgia, about 65 miles north of Atlanta on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Appalachian Range.
The team is a combination of the former Kenda/5-hour Energy squad run by Inferno Racing and the Competitive Cyclist team run by On the Rivet Management, which absorbed Inferno Racing during the off-season and will run the newly branded 5-hour Energy/Kenda outfit. Former 12-year professional rider and television commentator Frankie Andreu will direct the 10-rider 2013 roster.
“We're hanging around at the dinner tables and sharing stories, and there's a lot of laughing, which is good,” said Andreu, who led the 2012 Kenda/5-hour Energy team to 47 victories last season, the most wins for any men’s team on the National Race Calendar. “It's a loose-knit group and I like to keep it that way and then flip that switch when they get on the bike. So it's relax and then high performance.”
The 2013 team brings together four riders from last year's Competitive Cyclist team and five riders from the 2012 Kenda/5-hour Energy squad. Coming to the team from Competitive Cyclist are Francisco Mancebo, Max Jenkins, Taylor Shelden and David Williams. Nate English, Shawn Milne, Bobby Sweeting, Jim Stemper and Greg Brandt represent the Kenda contribution to the team. The addition of 22-year-old Christian Parrett, a former US U23 national team rider who in 2010 was on Team Sprocket, Magnus Backstedt's Swedish Continental squad, rounds out the current roster.
“It's a consolidation of the two teams,” Andreu said. “So we looked at the budget that we had, which was a factor, the race schedule, which was a factor, and which types of riders were on each of the squads that we could kind of consolidate together to have a good squad for what we are trying to go after – and we're trying to go...
Decries personal element in acrimony
Not since the halcyon era of the 1980s did Irish cycling enjoy a day comparable to Thursday. Shortly after the official confirmation that Belfast would host the start of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, Martyn Irvine claimed Ireland’s first gold medal at the track world championships in 117 years by winning the scratch race in Minsk, scarcely an hour after he had taken silver in the individual pursuit.
Of course, some of Irish cycling’s most notable figures have already claimed their share of column inches in the international press in recent months, albeit for quite different reasons. Pat McQuaid’s position as UCI president has been called into question in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair and no small amount of the pressure has been applied by two of his fellow countrymen, Paul Kimmage and David Walsh.
The positions of McQuaid and Kimmage are particularly entrenched. Where McQuaid defiantly defends his record as UCI president, Kimmage forms a vocal part of a lobby demanding his removal. Where McQuaid launched libel proceedings – since suspended – against Kimmage for his journalistic output, Kimmage has lodged a criminal complaint against the UCI in a Swiss court.
Stephen Roche has known both men since the 1970s – the Roche, McQuaid and Kimmage families are steeped in Dublin cycling tradition – and the former Giro and Tour de France winner believes that there is a personal element to the acrimony between McQuaid and Kimmage.
“Unfortunately, I think it’s a bit personal and it’s unfortunate that it’s been aired in the press, the laundry’s been aired in public,” Roche told Cyclingnews in...
Says RadioShack-Leopard rider didn't work enough in off-season
The head of the Luxembourg Cycling Federation has doubts about Andy Schleck's chances of making a successful comeback frtom injury in 2013, saying “right now it doesn't look good. All the evidence indicates that Andy this winter simply didn't work and train enough.”
Jean Regenwetter told Wort.lu: “Andy let things get away from him in training the last two years. He must pull himself together, otherwise he can just write off the 2013 season right now.”
The younger Schleck brother's talent is not enough, Regenwetter said. “Andy has a good engine but such a engine wants to be used and tested to its limits. When a top athlete's muscles are not used, they go to sleep.”
Schleck has had limited racing so far this season. He began the year at the Tour Down Under but abandoned on the sixth stage. His only other race was the Tour de Med, which he abandoned on the first stage due to a breathing problem.
It is not too late for the RadioShack-Leopard captain to save his season, Regenwetter said. “There is enough time before the Tour de France for him to find his old strength. And Andy is someone who can quickly throw the switch when his season highlight nears.”
He must not wait too long, though. “Contador, Froome or Rodriguez have already shown that they are in good shape. Andy is running behind and that is never a good sign.”
Regenwetter said Fränk's doping problem has not helped, but should not be an excuse. “His brother's suspension surely didn't help Andy. But to be honest, Andy should already have trained before the decision was announced....
Former rider wants a velvet revolution at the European Cycling Union
Andrei Tchmil has told Cyclingnews that he has no plans to challenge Pat McQuaid for the role of UCI President in September, insisting his only short-term goal is to become the next president of the European Cycling Union (UEC).
The former classics winner and Katusha team manager published a detailed manifesto in January, promising to defend the interests of European cycling and help develop the sport on every level, especially in Eastern Europe.
Elections will be held on March 3 in Paris at the UEC annual general meeting. Tchmil's only rival is David Lappartient – the president of the French Cycling Federation. The ambitious Frenchman reportedly has the tacit support of the UCI but Tchmil has tried to undermine his rival's campaign by questioning his impartiality and dedication to the role.
Speaking exclusively to Cyclingnews, Tchmil insisted he no longer has a working relation with Russian Oligarch Igor Makarov, who has bankrolled the Katusha team and the Global Cycling Project designed to develop Russian cycling.
"I want to make it clear once and for all, that I've no plans to run for the position of UCI president in September because my objective is to become president of the European Cycling Union," Tchmil told Cyclingnews.
"My programme is a serious proposal about what I want to do for cycling in Europe and how I want to strengthen the role of the UEC. Europe is the birthplace of cycling and deserves more respect. 85% of professional races are held in Europe and more has to be done to protect and develop them."
Tchmil is wealthy after his long and successful career that spanned between 1989 and 2002. He was the minister for Sport in his home country...
Cyclingnews complete live coverage of Nieuwsblad and Kuurne
Snow is predicted on Sunday for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and it could have an effect on the race, with climbs possibly being taken out of route, the organisers have said.
No matter what the weather, Cyclingnews will be there to bring you every minute of the action. Our live coverage will start at 11:30 Saturday for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and at 12:15 Sunday for Kuurne-Brüssels-Kurrne.
Race organisers will make a decision on Kuurne on Saturday afternoon, said Geert Penez to Het Nieuwsblad. “If there is snow expected on Sunday, we will have an alternative route. The 'hellingen' will be taken out and we will just go over major roads. It deals with La Houppe (Vloesberg), Kanarieberg (Ronse), Kwaremont and the Côte du Trieu.”
There is also a worst case scenario. “If there is really a lot of snow then we would be forced to consider cancelling the race. We will meet Sunday at eleven for that. But that is really an extreme case.”
The race has twice been cancelled due to bad weather, in 1993 and 1986. In 2010 it was run in extreme weather conditions which saw only 26 riders finish.
Astana rider hits the track to work with the Specialized
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was back on the track in Brescia this week, as he continues to work with the Specialized S-Racing Performance Team specialists to improve his time trial position.
Nibali underwent a Body Geometry fit session and afternoon on the track in mid-January before the Tour of San Luis, developing a more aerodynamic position on the S-Works Shiv bike. He finished fourth in the 19.2km test, ahead of Tejay van Garderen and Alberto Contador but knows he can improve further, with the aim of limit his losses to main rival Bradley Wiggins at the Giro d'Italia in May.
Specialized has brought together a Performance Program team of experts to help riders from the Astana, Saxo-Tinkoff, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and women's Specialized-Lululemon teams. Simone Toccafondi, the Global Manager di S-Racing, has brought in former Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli and telemetry expert Gianni Sala, plus Moto GP telemetry specialist Matteo Flamigni, who works with Valentino Rossi and is also a keen cyclist. Former professional rider Patxi Vila now works for Specialized and is also part of the Performance team.
Nibali was still recovering from efforts at the Tour of Oman but worked with the specialists on further adjustments and improvements to his position with blood lactate data also being recorded. The Italian is likely to adopt slightly different positions for different types of time trials in the future. More testing is planned later in the spring. However in the short term, the most important goal is for him to train in the new position as much as possible so he can adapt to it and so maximize any aerodynamic improvements.
BMC rider co-leader with Hushovd and Phinney
Greg Van Avermaet does not want to be anywhere but on the top step of the podium Saturday after the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. “Everyone says that I can win. And I believe it myself. But now I want confirmation.”
He will share leadership for BMC Racing Team at the Omloop with Thor Hushovd and Taylor Phinney, with the decision as to who will go for the win to be made during the race. “How we play the cards will depend on how the race goes,” Van Avermaet told Het Nieuwsblad. “Last year the plan was that I would go in an escape group and that Thor would sprint. But Thor was in the escape and I sprinted at the end.
“There is little sense in planning it in advance. Let me put it this way: we have a very strong team. One of the strongest which will be at the start on Saturday.”
He finished fifth in the race last year, one of many “good” finishes in a season which saw no wins. Which just means that this year “A victory would be so much more valuable for me.”
As the first race of the season in his Belgian homeland, he said “I look forward to it every year.” It is also a benchmark as to how his year will go. “Your condition is maybe not 100 percent, but you can't put it off much longer. The intention is to have a little bit to grow and improve until the end of the Classics. Until Liege-Bastogne-Liege, in my case.”
Tens of millions of dollars at stake in fraud case
The government of the United States is reportedly intending to join a whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and others who ran the US Postal Service-sponsored cycling team.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the US Department of Justice is set to file papers today joining the 'qui tam' suit, reportedly initiated by Floyd Landis. The suit alleges that the team defrauded the government by engaging in doping while under sponsorship of the Postal Service, actions which were contrary to the terms of the sponsorship agreement.
Qui tam suits are kept under seal, but the details of the suit were leaked to the NY Daily News last month. Named in the suit are Armstrong, manager Johan Bruyneel, financier Thomas Weisel, Armstrong’s agent Bill Stapleton and former Tailwind Sports president Barton Knaggs.
Under the federal False Claims Act, citizens are able to file suit against those who defraud the government, and for their trouble can be awarded up to one-third of any money reclaimed by the government. Defendants can be fined up to three times the amount - which in the case of the US Postal Service sponsorship agreement was over $30 million.
The suit was filed in 2010, but was bolstered by Armstrong's recent confession to having doped during all seven of his Tour de France victories. The US Postal Service sponsored the team during his first six Tour wins - 1999-2004. The US Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of all seven titles and banned him for life after compiling...