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Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 28, 2013

Date published:
October 28, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Stybar to focus on Classics for 2014

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) en route to a 6th place finish in his Paris-Roubaix debut.
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 6:06 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross World Champs remain a possibility

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) took the plunge in 2013 to focus fully on road racing and the decision has already paid dividends for 27-year-old. Stybar has since won a stage at the Vuelta, two stages and the overall at the Eneco Tour and was looking threatening at Paris-Roubaix before an untimely crash on the Carrefour de l'Arbre put him out of contention. Now Stybar is enjoying a brief sojourn before he commences his 2014 campaign.

    "I need a short break," Stybar explained to Sport.cz. "For two weeks I will not do anything, I'll go somewhere warm on vacation with my girlfriend. Then I have to start training again. I don't like the off-season because you lose all your fitness and have to start from scratch."

    After calling his season to a close at the Tour of Beijing, Stybar travelled to the first of many Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team meetings in Paris via the United States where he spent some time in the wind tunnel.

    "It was my own initiative," he said. "Over two days, I spent about 16 hours in the wind tunnel. Outside of America, I could not get in [to a wind tunnel]. There are very few tunnels, and most are occupied by Formula 1 teams. If I had wanted to go to a tunnel in England where they test the McLaren cars, it would have been impossible. It would have been too expensive. But the trip served its purpose.

    "We tried our new clothing and discussed our season plans," Stybar said of his time in Paris. "I told the staff team which races I would like to ride and now they will make a schedule. But what is certain is that the first half of the season will focus on the...

  • Grabsch retires after 15 year-career

    Bert Grabsch
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 10:08 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Former world time trial champion failed to find a team for 2014

    Bert Grabsch has formally announced his retirement after 15 years as a professional rider. The former world time trial champion said that he would have liked to have stayed on for another year, but was unable to find a new team for the 2014 season.

    The search for a new team “was difficult,” Grabsch told Radsport-News.com after announcing his retirement via Twitter, explaining that he “always hoped that he would get a satisfactory offer, but that was not the case.” Once he realized that he would not be with a WorldTour team, he was “frustrated and disappointed,” leading ultimately to the conclusion to retire.

    The 38-year-old appeared bitter as he explained what he saw as the reasons for his lack of offers. “Some of my former colleagues didn't seem to remember how I helped them or didn't want to put in a good word for me,” he said.

    And although he says he doesn't want to say anything against Omega Pharma-QuickStep, where he has ridden the last two season, he does note that he “had too few racing days this year” to get into his rhythm.

    “I had few races, hardly any WorldTour races, no Tour de France. I was depressed very often this year. I would say it was the most difficult year of my career.”

    The highlight of Grabsch's career was winning the World time trial title in 2008, yet he seems also bitter about that.

    “This success should have happened two or three years earlier. After this win, I had hoped to find one or two private sponsors. That didn't happen."

    “At that time...

  • Astana accept Pellizotti cannot race until May 2014

    Italian champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli) finished sixth on the stage
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 11:39 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team follows MPCC rules but Italian will attend training camps

    Franco Pellizotti has signed his contract with Astana and will ride with the Kazakhstan team in 2014 but will not make his racing debut until May 2 after the team agreed to accept the rules of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible (MPCC).

    The MPCC was created to raise the bar in the fight against doping by imposing strict rules and self regulation for teams, sponsors and federations. Over 50  per cent of the UCI WorldTour teams and many other teams are now members, with Astana’s membership approved at last week’s annual meeting.

    One of the MPCC’s rules says that teams cannot hire riders until two years after they have served any doping that is longer than six months. Pellizotti was banned for two years for a UCI Biological Passport violation and made his comeback with the Androni Giocattoli team in May 2012. Pellizotti raced with Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali at Liquigas before is ban and is considered a key rider for the Tour de France as Nibali tries to take on Chris Froome (Team Sky).

    “We’ve decided to respect the MPCC rules and so Franco will only start racing on May 2,” Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli told Cyclingnews.

    “We’ve explained to him that it’s important for the team to respect the rules of the MPCC and so he’ll miss the early months of the season but ride the Giro d’Italia and then be at 100 per cent for the Tour de France. He’s a professional and knows how to prepare for big races and so it won’t be a problem. Lots of riders only start their season in late March. He’ll miss two months, not two years. It won’t be a problem.”

    Under...

  • Movistar sign sprinter Juanjo Lobato for 2014

    Juan Jose Lobato (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 13:57 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Spanish team begins preparing for 2014 with get together in Pamplona

    On the day the Movistar team began preparing for the 2014 season with a get together in Pamplona, the Spanish team has confirmed the signing of 24 year-old sprinter Juan Jose Lobato, the team’s seventh addition for 2014.

    Lobato rode for the now defunct Euskaltel-Euskadi this year, winning the Circuito de Gexto, a stage at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, and taking several top ten finishes, three of which came at the Tour de France. He also wore the climber’s polka-dot jersey on stage two of the Tour de France after taking the lead thanks to points picked up while in the early breakaway on the opening stage to Bastia.

    It was Lobato’s first season in the WorldTour after riding for Andalucía for two years. The Andalucian rider is considered Spain’s most promising sprinter.

    The Movistar riders have gathered in Pamplona in northern Spain to discuss race programmes, undergo testing and be measured for new equipment. The team will reportedly use Canyon bikes in 2014 after ending their long-term relationship with Pinarello.

    Other new signings include Italian time trialist Adriano Malori, French climber John Gadret, Jasha Sütterlin of Germany, brothers Ion and Gorka Izagirre Insausti, Dayer Quintana - the brother of Colombian climber Nairo Quintana - and Tour of Portugal winner Alejandro Marque Porto. World champion Rui Costa will leave Movistar for Lampre-Merida at the end of the season. 

  • Lefevere: Tour de France sprints remain Cavendish’s big goal for 2014 but he could miss the Giro d’Italia

    General manager Patrick Lefevere at the Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team press conference
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 15:08 GMT
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager plots out 2014 goals and races for key riders

    Mark Cavendish will continue to centre his season around the Tour de France in 2014 but he will probably have a gentler start to his season compared to this year and may not ride the Giro d’Italia, Omega Pharma-Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has told Cyclingnews.

    Cavendish hit the ground running in 2013, winning the Tour of Qatar - his second stage race win of his career - and multiple stage wins before going on to dominate the sprints at the Giro d’Italia and take his first ever points jersey victory there, completing his set of Grand Tour points classifications after also winning the special classification at the Vuelta a España in 2010 and at the Tour de France in 2011.

    “Of course Mark had seen the Tour route and knew about the start in England and we’re really delighted with it. I’m sure that his season will be totally focused on the Tour de France,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    “We have yet to make a definitive schedule on his races, but we had dinner in Paris before the Tour presentation and already we’ve decided that he will have a quieter start to the season then building up 100% for the Tour de France.”

    Asked if that ruled out another high-speed start to his year, Lefevere said: “He’s a sprinter; he’s never going to want to stop winning. But you can do a strong start to the year and then go on to the Tour at 100 percent. Actually I think he may rest from half-way through April to half-way through May and then build up to the Tour and not do the Giro.”

    However, no definitive decision has been taken on whether Cavendish will or will not race Italy’s...

  • Gilbert enjoys a day with his fans in Belgium

    Philippe Gilbert surrounded by some of is home fans
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 17:20 GMT
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Belgian unveils Philippe Gilbert square in his home town

    Philippe Gilbert ended his 2013 season by riding with 700 fans on home roads in the Belgian Ardennes on Sunday, and then unveiled the plaque that named a square in his honour in his home town of Sougne-Remouchamps.

    700 fans turned out for the 52 mile ride, with fellow professional riders Maxim Monfort, Boris Valley (Lotto-Belisol), Loic Vliegen and Jerome Gilbert –Philippe’s younger brother, leading young and old in the hills and valleys of eastern Wallonne.

    “It was a great success. I thought fewer people would attend this year because I didn’t win as much, but it seems the real fans are always there to support you. That warms my heart.” Gilbert told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure.

    “It’s important for me to spend a couple days with my fans. It’s not always easy when you’ve got to stay focused and rest after races. But at my cyclo sportive event after the Ardennes and with this ride, it’s nice to spend time with them especially on the bike, our shared passion.”

    Gilbert confirmed that he will miss the Tour of Flanders in 2014 and focus fully on the Ardennes Classics which cover his home roads in Wallonne. Allan Peiper, the new chief directeur sportif at BMC has said Gilbert will start his season at the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman before targeting Milan-San Remo, which includes the extra Pompeiana climb in the finale and so suits Gilbert much more. He will miss all the cobbled classics and instead ride Tour of Basque Country and Flèche Brabançonne.

    In 2011, Gilbert won Flèche Brabançonne, the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He started his 2013 season in the rainbow jersey at the Tour Down Under but...

  • Seeldraeyers still seeking contract for 2014

    Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) in yellow
    Article published:
    October 28, 2013, 19:13 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian feeling hopeless in search of new team

    The shrinking job market in professional cycling has tightened around the career of Belgian Kevin Seeldraeyers, who has not been able to secure a contract for the 2014 season.

    "At the moment I have no specific contacts," Seeldraeyers said on Sporza Radio. "I've contacted all of the team leaders I've ever had, but I get the same answer everywhere. Either it's wait and see, or they say immediately that it will not work."

    Currently with Astana, Seeldraeyers won two stages of the 2013 Tour of Austria and led the race overall for six stages before coming third overall and winning the overall points and mountains classifications.

    Seeldraeyers said part of the problem may be that Astana only put him in three races since his results at the Tour of Austria in July, and that teams may have forgotten about him.

    "I am feeling hopeless. I can not do anything, the only thing I can do is wait and wait again. This makes training difficult. I'm constantly thinking about it."

    "Most teams are already full, but I hope there is a team that still needs someone. I do not know why it is that some riders can find at the last minute a team and I do not. I don't get it."

    The 27-year-old continues to train in hopes he will find a contract soon. "My manager is working on it. If something comes along I want to be prepared."

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    Article published:
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    By:
    Cycling News

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