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Second Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 7, 2012

Date published:
January 07, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Video: David Brailsford on Team Sky's 2012 lineup

    Sky manager David Brailsford
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 11:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    Boss happy with off-season business

    In the second of our two-part exclusive interview, Team Sky boss David Brailsford talks to Cyclingnews about his line-up for 2012 and the key off-season developments.

    Brailsford revealed that Team Sky have made some less talked about but important changes to the coaching personnel as well as the team of riders, and stated that this was very much part of the team's overall strategy ahead of the forthcoming season.


  • Andy Schleck to start off at Tour of Oman

    Johan Bruyneel will attempt to work the oracle with Andy Schleck in 2012.
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 12:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan rider targets February return

    Andy Schleck, runner-up at the last three stagings of the Tour de France, has revealed that he is to start off his 2012 campaign at the Tour of Oman. The race runs from 14-19 February and Schleck feels that it is the ideal starting point for a season where his main target will once again be the Tour de France.

    "It's the perfect race, with ideal terrain and weather conditions," the 26-year-old from Luxembourg said on Friday at the launch his newly-merged team RadioShack-Nissan.

    It is thought that Schleck will then join his brother Franck at Paris-Nice before focussing on the major Classic races later in the spring, though team boss Johan Bruyneel declared that Schleck's full early season schedule hasn't been completely finalised yet.

  • Sastre and Indurain guests of honour at Vuelta presentation

    Miguel Indurain (right) congratulates 2011 Vuelta winner Juan Jose Cobo
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 14:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish legends to be present at unveiling of 2012 route next week

    Two giants of Spanish cycling, Miguel Indurain and Carlos Sastre, are to be the guests of honour at next week's 2012 Vuelta a Espana presentation in Pamplona, Spain. The eyes of the cycling world will be focussed on the city in the region of Navarre on January 11 as the route for the final grand tour of the 2012 season is announced.

    The 2012 Vuelta is scheduled for August 18 to September 9, and it remains to be seen how much the quality of the field will be affected by the proximity of the London 2012 Olympics. The men's Olympic road race takes place on July 28, with the time trial scheduled for a few days later. The Olympics also come quickly after the 2012 Tour de France, which only finishes on July 22. It would surely be asking too much for the world's best cyclists to take in all three events in quick succession, and as a consequence of this the Vuelta could well be the one to suffer most.

    However, the presence of Indurain and Sastre is sure to add plenty of gloss to the presentation party. Neither managed to win their home grand tour during their careers but  the newly-retired Sastre showed incredible consistency by finishing in the top 10 seven times, including three podium spots, while he also won the Tour de France in 2008. Indurain is widely regarded as one of the greatest cyclists of all time. His best finish in the Vuelta was second place in 1991, but he enjoyed five consecutive victories at the Tour de France between 1991 and 1995 and also has two Giro d'Italia wins on his palmares.

  • Luke Rowe can't wait for debut pro season

    Luke Rowe
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 16:09 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Sky's new recruit starts new chapter in promising career

    After signing his first professional contract with Team Sky, young British rider Luke Rowe can't wait for the new season to begin. The 21-year-old from Wales had a highly productive spell as an amateur with Rapha Condor Sharp between 2008 and 2011 and has also been part of British Cycling Olympic Development Programme. He is a double European junior champion. So when Team Sky came calling with the offer of a two-year contract racing alongside some of Great Britain's biggest cycling names, the decision to sign was an easy one. It represented the logical next step in his career.

    "I'm raring to go. I knew a few months ago I was going to ride for Team Sky and then you're just waiting for your kit," he said. "Now it's arrived and it's January and I can't wait to get started. The next thing is the racing. My first race will be Challenge Majorca [in February] over five individual days and after that the whole squad knows its schedule up to the Tour de France. I'm not racing the Tour this year, so my biggest races initially will be some of the Ardennes Classics."

    Rowe is under no illusions as to what will be expected from him in the opening months of the season, but hasn't ruled out the possibility of securing a debut season victory later in the year. First things first, though.

    "I'll have a supporting role at first, for sure," he said. "I can't expect to go to some of the biggest races in the world and get a result at this stage of my career. I got to the top as an amateur and had guys working for me but now I've turned professional the roles are reversed. I've gone from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond. It's like any job. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up to the top.

    "If I perform well in a supporting role then you never know - later...

  • Andy Schleck maintains Tour de France focus

    A tired but satisfied Andy Schleck at the finish
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 17:10 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Switching objective to Giro d'Italia would be a step back

    Andy Schleck has rejected the idea that he might switch his focus to winning the Giro d'Italia in 2012 after three consecutive second-place finishes at the Tour de France. A latter day eternal second place finisher at La Grande Boucle, the RadioShack-Nissan rider nonetheless maintained that returning to the Giro, where he first announced himself on the world stage in 2007, would mark something of a regression.

    "I've been three times second in the Tour so I think it would be a step back in my career if I say ‘'I'm not going to win the Tour, so I'll try and win the Giro,' Schleck said in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. "I want to win the Tour. I don't want to go back and start with the Giro and see if maybe I can go back and reach the level to win the Tour.

    "If I never win the Tour, then maybe I might choose the Vuelta or the Giro one year, but for now the goal stays like it was last year. I want to go for the Tour and that's priority. The Giro is a beautiful race and so is the Vuelta. But nothing else for me in the whole world of cycling is the Tour de France and it never will be."

    With almost 100km of time trialling on the menu at the 2012 Tour, Schleck is painfully aware that he must improve against the watch if he is to make the final leap onto the top step of the podium in Paris. Although he conceded 2:31 to Cadel Evans (BMC) in the final time trial last year, the Luxembourger has set himself the rather lofty goal of attempting to limit his losses to 20 seconds in a 40km test this time around. "I really believe myself that I can reach a level to perform also like that," he said.

    Schleck explained that he had already begun efforts to tweak his time trial position, but he was less...

  • Video: Dennis credits his teammates for his national title triumph

    Number one: Rohan Dennis from South Australia after winning the 2012 men's under 23 national road race title in Buninyong
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 19:30 GMT
    Jane Aubrey & Alex Hinds

    Former Rabobank rider hoping for return to pro level after Olympics

    Rohan Dennis (Jayco-AIS) has long been considered among Australia's best young riders, and he proved that tag true once again in Buninyong yesterday by picking up a brilliant victory in the Australian under 23 road race national championship.

    Of course, it would be remiss to see it as individual triumph. Dennis' win was the culmination of the perfect day out from his team, Jayco-AIS, which controlled the race from the outset before launching the young Australian in a three-man break that would fight it out for the win. It's a fact Dennis readily credited when he talked to Cyclingnews at the stage finish.

    "I couldn't have done anything without my teammates," said Dennis to Cyclingnews. "Pat Lane did possibly the best job I've ever seen by someone controlling the front.

    "And then Calvin when I got away with him. I really can't say how much I appreciate the work those guys did."

    Perhaps more impressive was the fact that he won, all while balancing a heavy program that sees him split time between road and track. He's chasing a spot in the Australian Olympic team pursuit at the London Games all while still chasing that elusive dream to go professional in Europe.

    "I was happy to get picked in the first place, but I want to go there and impress some teams. This will be my last year in the under 23s so it's important to do well.

    "I'd love to get a stagiaire role or something after the Olympics, assuming I get selected. I'll be keen to get back into the longer rides again after a lot of track focus. But it's going to be a big year ahead, you never want to look to far down the road."

    For now the 21-year-old was just happy to take his current success in. He joins an...

  • Video: Mcleod and Gillett talk about attacking from the gun

    Briand McLeod leads Tim Cameron (right) and Rhys Gillett during their breakaway which got out to a minute-and-a-half at one point
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 20:15 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Under 23 riders pick up KOM and sprint jerseys for their efforts

    Brian Mcleod (Budget Forklifts) and Rhys Gillett found themselves in the the day’s escape a little earlier than they had anticipated in the under 23 road race at the Australian Road National Championships yesterday. They gapped the field with four other riders on the first rise out of the town of Buninyong, facing the prospect of 122 kilometres in front of the race if they were to win.

    While the break had promise early on, by the third lap of the demanding circuit it had reduced to just three riders, Gillett, Mcleod and Suzuki-Trek rider Tim Cameron.

    Cameron was offering help when he could but clearly wasn’t up to the strain of the "hilly" parcours. That left Gillett and Mcleod to think about other things – the only other two options for them, the supplementary classifications – the King of the Mountains and the Sprints.

    "My plan before the race was definitely to get into the day’s EB, but I probably didn’t think I’d be in there that early," said Mcleod to Cyclingnews.

    "But you can’t slow up," said Gillett on the prospect of waiting for more help from other riders.

    "If you wait, more than likely you’ll get swallowed up and you won’t get another chance to get away. You just have to grin and bear it."

    The two worked seamlessly together all day at the front, accumulating points in the KOM and sprint classifications before, with the bunch closing Gillett made the call that it was "race on" and there would be no more –co-operation.

    "I didn’t even hear him," said Mcleod. "He just zipped away."

    "But then he smashed me on the climb, so it all worked out," smiled Gillett.


  • Rogers looking to upset GreenEdge assault on Australian Championships

    Michael Rogers
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 21:16 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Three-time world time trial champion renews focus

    If there's one rider, not in GreenEdge colours, who's flying under the radar for Sunday's Australian elite men's road race championship it's Sky's Michael Rogers.

    Several riders, in terrific form themselves, who spoke to Cyclingnews in the lead up to the 163.2-kilometre race pointed to Rogers as a potential danger man. Rogers, 32, will be racing competitively for the first time in 2012 at the 16-lap race and is the first to acknowledge that fact.

    "It feels like the year's gone by pretty quickly and no one's mentioned me too much and it doesn't really worry me," he told Cyclingnews. Rogers has been back in Australia since mid-November with his only racing coming via the notoriously competitive Canberra club scene.

    "I've always got a really good group in Canberra for training with Michael Matthews and Mat Hayman, the GreenEdge boys where there for a while so it's been good," Rogers said before adding that the weekly crit racing gives him "intensity for the week without even training."

    Rogers finished as runner-up at the 2009 event, following a huge upset by Drapac-Porsche rider Peter McDonald. The race had become a battle of three in the final two kilometres after Columbia-Highroad's Adam Hansen bridged the gap to the pair out front - and some say this caused some confusion between Rogers and his teammate, but regardless the favoured man didn't win and was just another example that anything can happen on the Buninyong course.

    According to Rogers though, there is one expected element. "GreenEdge will use their advantage and that's their numbers, put people in the break and then force us to chase. They're...