Julian Dean of the Garmin-Cervélo team has been named New Zealand's Male Road Rider of the Year by BikeNZ, the New Zealand cycling federation. Linda Villumsen was named female road rider of the year.
Track honours went to Commonwealth Games medalists Jesse Sergent and Alison Shanks. Sam Webster was named best emerging talent.
Dean rode all three Grand Tours for Garmin-Transitions in 20l0, although he finished only the Tour de France. He finished second in two stages in France and third on another stage. He also finished second and third in one stage each at the Giro d'Italia. His key role in the team is as leadout man for Tyler Farrar and often sacrificed his own chance to help him win sprints.
Villumsen was formerly a Danish citizen and only recently adopted New Zealand as her new homeland, riding with a New Zealand licence in 2010 for the first time. She was the first 'Kiwi' to win a medal in the world road championships, taking a bronze in the time trial. She also won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games time trial. The 25 year-old rode for HTC-Columbia women's team in 2010 and this year is with AA Drink-Leontin.nl Cycling Team.
Shanks topped off an outstanding year with the Commonwealth gold medal in the individual pursuit. She also took gold in that event at the Cali World Cup and won bronze in the team pursuit at the world championships.
Sergent won silver in the individual pursuit at the world championships and the Commonwealth Games. He also rode the team pursuit, taking silver in the Commonwealth Games and bronze at the worlds. He will ride for Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team this year after a securing a stagiaire place in 2010.
Webster, 19, made it to the finals of the keirin at the world championships in his first year out of the junior ranks. He also qualified for the sprints and was fifth in the team sprints. At the Commonwealth Games he won a bronze in the sprint and the...
German national champion finds team after Pegasus debacle
Team Sky has announced it has signed German national road race champion Christian Knees.
The former Milram rider had agreed to ride for the Pegasus Sports team but was left struggling to find a place in the peloton after the Australian team failed to secure a Professional Continental licence.
He is the seventh new arrival at Team Sky for 2011, joining David Appollonio, Alex Dowsett, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Rogers, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio in the 30-man squad.
"Christian is a super strong all-rounder who has had some terrific results, but I still don't think we have seen the best of him yet and hopefully we can help him fulfill his massive potential at Team Sky," team principal Dave Brailsford said in a statement from the British team.
"His personality is one that will fit well into the team and we are delighted to have such an experienced rider on board. He has a lot of capabilities in a lot of areas and will increase the depth of ability we have here. It's exciting to have secured his services."
Knees is 29 years old and has been a professional for seven years after beginning his career with Team Wiesenhof in 2004. He won the 2010 German national title with a solo attack. He made his eighth Grand Tour appearance at the 2010 Tour de France and took two top-ten finishes in the opening week.
The show included cycling gymnasts, race videos and a presentation of each of the riders. Earlier on Thursday the team held a press presentation in casual clothing, where riders talked about their goals for 2011 and general manager Brian Nygaard confirmed the team will be called Team Leopard-Trek.
The two-part event raised the bar for team presentations but also raised expectations for the team during the 2011 season. Can they live up to the hype of the slick presentation?
Copyright RTL Luxembourg More videos and pictures from Leopard Trek on www.rtl.lu
Cervélo takes sixth consecutive title with aero S3
Domination like this would typically be referred to as a 'legacy' in many sports - Cervélo has now won the 2010 Cyclingnews Reader Poll 'Best Team Bike' category for an unprecedented sixth straight year, and again with the aerodynamic S3 model of Cervélo TestTeam.
Just as in years past, the S3 certainly wasn't the lightest chassis in the running with a claimed frameset weight of around 1,050g. But as company principals Gerard Vroomen and Phil White have been preaching since the early days of the aluminum Soloist roughly a decade ago, aerodynamic performance can be more important than mass reduction in most racing situations.
The latest S3 iteration - an evolution of the SLC-SL predecessor - maintains the 'light', 'stiff', and 'aero' components of the equation but also now tackles the comfort portion as well with seat stays that were drastically slimmed down last year in an effort to improve ride quality.
"I think the appeal of the S2/S3 series is that it works, plain and simple," Vroomen told us upon hearing the news. "Unlike many "aero bikes", it's not aero to the detriment of other attributes - it is one of the best road bikes in the world and aero. Obviously our 15 years of experience in engineering aero road bikes help tremendously there. That's why the team uses it in the mountains, in sprints, on the cobbles, everywhere really."
Vroomen is quick to point out, too, that while his company's aero machines have won for six straight seasons, the basic formula of the winning models intentionally hasn't changed drastically.
"I think the Cyclingnews poll also indicates that consumers are tired of the endless "new and improved" song," he continued. "There are many companies that put out a 'new'...
The Garmin-Cervélo will head to its first race of the season, the Santos Tour Down Under, with a powerful lead out train to support sprinter Tyler Farrar.
New Zealand's Julian Dean and Australians Brett Lancaster, Jack Bobridge, Matt Wilson, and Cameron and Travis Meyer, will make up the squad for the first race of the 2011 World Tour.
The Australian stage race will be the first test for the new combination to go up against the powerful HTC-Highroad squad backing Mark Cavendish, as well as defending Tour Down Under champion André Greipel and his new Omega Pharma-Lotto team.
"I'm excited to kick off my 2011 season at the Tour Down Under," said Tyler Farrar. "It's a great race and the world's best will be there competing – I'm proud to be a part of it. We'll be bringing a strong team to Australia and we'll be looking at all kinds of opportunities."
Another Australian, Matt White, will be the team's director for the TDU and he is looking forward to a good battle.
"We are proud and excited to bring Tyler, one of the worlds best sprinters, along with a great team, to the Tour Down Under," said White. "As usual, we will look to animate the race and we're confident that with Tyler and the rest of our squad, we'll do just that."
Team Garmin-Cervélo for Tour Down Under:
Jack Bobridge, AUS Julian Dean, NZ Tyler Farrar, USA Brett Lancaster, AUS Cameron Meyer, AUS Travis Meyer, AUS Matt Wilson, AUS.
Swiss federal court refuses to reverse Spaniard's ban
Spaniard Alejandro Valverde has lost his appeal to reverse his two-year ban imposed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The former world number one rider challenged the CAS decision in the Swiss Federal Court which today refused to overturn the verdict.
The Swiss Supreme Court turned down a similar appeal from Valverde last November as well as an earlier filing last April which it said was submitted too early, as the CAS had yet to render its final decision.
Valverde was suspended by the CAS last May following a lengthy appeal by the UCI and WADA who provided documents supporting their argument that the Spaniard was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes, the man behind a doping ring uncovered in Madrid as part of the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation by the Spanish Civil Guard.
He was allowed to keep his results prior to the ban, which was back-dated from January 1, 2010 through the end of 2011.
Valverde is the only Spanish rider to be punished as part of the case despite documents indicating that Fuentes had dozens of clients.
Italians Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi admitted to their involvement with Fuentes and have served sporting bans.
UCI President called to the stage at Luxembourg presentation
UCI president Pat McQuaid was a guest at the Team Leopard-Trek launch in Luxembourg on Thursday and used the opportunity to sing the new team's praises. However, with the Alberto Contador and Franco Pellizotti cases still not settled, the Irishman and the sport's governing body still have pressing matters to deal with away from the glitz and glam.
Put together by Brian Nygaard and Kim Andersen, with the financial backing from Flavio Becca, Team Leopard-Trek put on an almost all-day show as they unveiled their kit, riders and bikes for their debut season.
"I'm here to support the team," said McQuaid. "It's my responsibility as the President of the UCI to support this. Andy Schleck is one of the big stars of cycling but we have many big stars: Cancellara, Fränk Schleck, and many others. We don't have one outstanding star like we've had in the past. We've got several."
McQuaid was invited to the stage by Nygaard and gave the following address:
"This is a big day for Luxembourg cycling and I can tell you it's a big day for the UCI and for world cycling," McQuaid told the 4,000-strong audience. "When I first heard of this project from Brian about six months ago, I told him that we would be completely 100 percent behind him; we have been behind him since then and we've been extremely pleased to be here this evening to see the launch of this team.
"Its philosophy, everything about this team is what cycling needs today. We have a wonderful sport...and I think this team portrays everything that is good about this sport and the will continues for the next years to do so.
"It's very good for the sport, it's good promotion for the sport. They've come in with new ideas, the people behind this are people from outside the sport of cycling and that is very good. Fresh ideas are good, we can't always be the same year in, year out.
"Cycling evolves and we can see that it's evolving with Sky, RadioShack and this team and...
South African moves from Pegasus Sports to US squad
The Bissell Pro Cycling team announced today a late addition to its roster, South African Jay Thomson. The 24-year-old rider had committed to the Pegasus Sports team for 2011, but opted to move to the US Continental Bissell team after his former squad was unable to secure a ProTeam or Professional Continental licence.
"Bissell Pro Cycling is very excited to have signed Jay Thomson for the 2011 season," said team director Omer Kem. "His promising future is undeniable and his strength as a rider will unquestionably complement the team's strong and well-rounded roster this season, making him a tremendous asset as he chases the NRC overall and team titles."
Thomson is an all-around rider whose strengths lie in time trials, stage races an sprinting. The South African turned pro in 2008 and has earned podium results at a range of international and domestic races. Most notably in 2010, Thomson captured the sprinter's jersey at two NRC races: the Cascade Classic and Redlands Classic. In addition, he finished second overall at the Fitchburg Classic and took third place at the Tour of Battenkill.
"Bissell showed that it was such a professional team in 2010, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that experience in 2011," said Thomson. "I hope to add dimension to the team with my riding style. After racing in America in 2010, I'm glad to be returning to the U.S. where I'll have the opportunity to compete at the best races."
Teammate Frank Pipp added, "We are absolutely thrilled to have Jay on board. He is an animal on the bike and gives 110 percent always. Given Jay's relative newness to cycling, I have a feeling what we saw last year from him is just the tip of the iceberg".