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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 15, 2011

Date published:
December 15, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Rodríguez happy to share Katusha leadership with Menchov

    Joaquim Rodriguez at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 11:30 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Spaniard focusing on Giro and Vuelta, Russian on the Tour

    Katusha team leader Joaquim Rodríguez has quickly put to bed any ideas that his nose might have been put out of joint by the arrival of Denis Menchov, saying he is “looking forward to sharing leadership” with the Russian. Katusha scooped up Menchov earlier this month after the Russian’s Geox-TMC team failed to find a new backer for 2012.

    “Denis’s arrival has been an open secret and it is logical that the best Russian rider around at the moment is racing as part of this project,” said Rodríguez. “I honestly hope that his arrival will benefit both of us and I hope that we don’t have to wait too long for results to come. I am also happy to be sharing team leadership with him. We are two very different riders and we will be able to fight on two fronts at the same time without any problems.”

    Rodríguez has already revealed that his two principal targets next season are the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. Although Menchov has won both of these titles in the past, he will almost certainly focus his efforts on the Tour de France, where he has twice finished third. With Oscar Freire also on board and Hans-Michael Holczer replacing Andrei Tchmil as team manager, Katusha will have a very different look in 2012 to the outfit that generally failed to deliver last season.

    Rodríguez was one of Katusha’s few successes last year, winning two stages at both the Vuelta and Dauphiné, and taking podium finishes at Lombardy, Flèche Wallonne and Amstel. He described himself as “satisfied” with his season and indicated that he will be following much the same calendar in...

  • Tour de France 2013 to have TTT in Nice

    BMC showed early on they were a team to be reckoned with, pulling out an impressive performance in Tour de France team time trial in Les Essarts.
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 12:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team time trial to end on the seaside

    Following the start of the Tour de France 2013 on the island of Corsica, the race will head to Nice on the mainland, for a team time trial. The city has a long association with cycling, not only with the Tour but also with its “own” race, Paris-Nice.

    The Tour will open with three stages on the island, from June 29 to July 1. From there, the peloton will return to the mainland, heading to Nice on the Mediterranean coast. Stage four,a team time trial whose length has not yet been announced, will finish on the seaside, at the Promenade des Anglais.  The next stage will start from Cagnes-sur-Mer, which is in the urban Nice area.

    Nice  has hosted the race a total of 35 times. It is also noted for being the end point of The Race to the Sun, as Paris-Nice is also known. That race will be held in 2013 for the 70th time.

    Where does the Tour go from the Nice area? The Tour's press release only gave the teasing statement that “all of this will only be the beginning of the fun in the 100th edition...”

  • Klöden: Schlecks must forget brotherly love to win Tour de France

    Andreas Kloden (RadioShack) is at the Vuelta after a crash ended his Tour de France.
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 13:57 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Welcomes merger of Leopard and RadioShack

    Andreas Klöden has welcomed the arrival of Andy and Fränk Schleck to the newly-merged RadioShack-Nissan squad, but warned that the Luxembourg duo will have to put fraternal loyalties aside in order to win the Tour de France.

    The Schlecks finished second and third in the 2011 edition of the race, but Klöden believes one or other brother will have to sacrifice his own chances if they are to conquer the top step of the podium.

    “One brother needs to say next year, ‘ok, I will go on the attack and you go on the counter-attack’ but this year, they rode like brothers,” Klöden told Cyclingnews. “Each looked for the other, and this is not the right tactic. It was nice for the Schlecks to be second and third, but it’s not our goal to be third and second – we want to win.”

    The merger of Leopard Trek and RadioShack sees the Schlecks come under the stewardship of Johan Bruyneel in 2012, and as well as tweaking their preparation, he and Leopard owner Flavio Becca will demand a different approach from the Luxembourgers next year.

    “I know also Johan a little bit,” Klöden said. “This situation is not the same as this year, because we want to win this Tour and we’ll try to win. It’s not possible to be first, second and third. Maybe Andy can win, or Fränk, but it’s not good to be second third, fifth, sixth, and not first. I think this isn’t the goal for Flavio either. He wants to win....

  • USAPCC: Flagstaff top choice for Boulder finish line locale

    Boulder LOC Contingent
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 14:45 GMT
    Jason Sumner

    Mountaintop finish a possibility for stage 6

    Without exact route details, it's hard to make definitive predictions on how things will shake out at the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. But the three pro riders on hand at the event's host city celebration reception at the Tavern Downtown in Denver Tuesday night all agreed that no matter what organizers concoct for stages 1-6 of the week-long Colorado stage race, the final outcome wont be decided until conclusion of stage 7's time trial on August 27.

    The question is, how many riders will remain in the overall winner conversation coming into that final day in Denver?

    That answer will almost certainly be determined by stage 6's finish line location in Boulder, and the hope among Chris Baldwin (Bissell), Lucas Euser (SpiderTech), Matt Cooke (Team Exergy) - and just about everyone else in the room - is that organizers will opt for the top of Flagstaff Mountain.

    Known locally as Super Flag, the climb is a staple among area cyclists due to its proximity and difficulty. Situated just blocks from downtown, Flagstaff is a 5.1-mile grunt that rises about 2200 feet over an average gradient of 11 percent, including a two-city-block long stretch known as "The Wall" that ramps upwards of 15 percent. Peak elevation is 7700 feet.

    According to the popular Colorado-centric cycling website, Garmin climbing ace (and Boulder resident) Tom Danielson holds the course record at 22 minutes, 10 seconds.

    "No matter what, having a stage finish in Boulder is a dream come true," said Baldwin, himself a Boulder resident. "But if I had my way, we'd definitely be heading straight up Flagstaff. It's something we know, something we spend a lot of time on. It would be an awesome way to finish the stage."

    Baldwin is not alone in his thinking. During the heyday of the Coors Classic, Flagstaff made frequent appearances in Colorado's first pro level stage race. And today, Boulder local...

  • Vos looking for gold in 2012

    Marianne Vos was all smiles at the presentation of her Rabobank team
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 17:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Giro d'Italia win was biggest accomplishment this season

    Marianne Vos had her best year ever, with an astonishing 31 wins on the road.  She also brought in two world titles, but not the one she wanted most.  The Dutchwoman finished second in the Copenhagen world road race, and she is using that as motivation for the coming year.

    Vos won the road world title in 2006, but since then has finished second in the race every single year.  “This makes me more focused and motivated,” she told

    “Next year the World Championships are in Valkenburg, the Olympics are coming.  It is so inspiring that perhaps it is good that I lost,” she said.  Despite her many victories, “you would prefer to win the world championship.”

    In addition to the Worlds, Vos also has her eye on the London Olympics. She won gold on the track in Beijing, with the points race.  “I have won.  I have Olympic gold in my pocket.  But a gold medal on the road would make things complete.”

    Of her many road wins this year, the biggest for her was the overall title in the women's Giro d'Italia.  “I did something that I did not know I could do.  I won the Giro. To do that I had to climb and time trial.

    “On mountains, I am usually held up after five kilometers.  And I don't have the natural long, hard power which is needed for time trials  That I finally won the Giro was a huge victory over myself.”

    Vos's successes were not limited to the road this year.  She claimed the World title in the scratch race at the track world championships.  She is also Dutch and World...

  • Boom only briefly back in the 'cross world circuit

    Lar Boom (Rabobank) takes the win despite starting a minute down on his rivals
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 20:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman riding in the field only “for pleasure”

    Lars Boom is back on the cyclo-cross circuit, but only for a handful of races which he is riding “for pleasure”.  After winning the Boonen & Friends charity 'cross race earlier this month, he is ready to take on the World Cup race at Namur this coming weekend.

    “I want to maintain my condition with 'cross, try to maintain everything.  I am starting this season with the later races because last year I was already good in Zolder and that was early,” he told  “That is the main reason why I am starting with Namur.”

    Boom, a former World champion, is now concentrating on the road for Team Rabobank, and said that he will ride six races this year, ending with the Dutch championship “for pleasure.”  While he wants to do well “it will be difficult to win a cross race, but I'll just enjoy participating.”  If he could pick one race to win, it would be the national championship, which title he has won every year since 2001 as a junior, Under 23 and elite.

    He suggested that two-time world champion Zdenek Stybar, who this season is having problems, is spreading himself too thin.  Boom said, “You can see that something's wrong. He has lost a lot of speed.  It is good that he himself says and knows that.  He has a lot of ambition, both on the road and in the field.  That is good and very normal, but you have to know when to drop something.”

  • Gallery: Highroad's tradition lives on in Specialized-Lululemon

    Hosking and Stevens made sure that the mood remained light
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 21:01 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Women's team aiming to win with 'best ever team'

    While the HTC-Highroad will officially end at the month's end, the  team's tradition of kinship, teamwork, and likely an unmatched number of  victories will continue in the form of the Specialized-Lululemon women's team.

    The 13 women on the squad are currently in Southern California for their pre-season training camp and from the dedication, laughter and lively attacks on the training rides it is clear that even the most seasoned veterans are freshly motivated and determined to be the best in the coming year.

    Cyclingnews sat down with team owner Kristy Scrymgeour, who has been involved with the team for the past five years - first as women's team manager at T-Mobile and then as marketing and communications director for the entire organisation, and who was critical in keeping it alive.

    As the 2011 season wound down, the sponsorship outlook for the Highroad squad was looking bleak, but Scrymgeour said the women wanted to keep the band together.

    "When it came to the point it was getting late, and we didn't want the women to lose other opportunities, we told them to go ahead and take their other offers," Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews. "But the girls kind of got together and said we don't want to separate, we want to stay together. They'd won a lot of races together and were a good group, and they asked me to keep trying."

    Not wanting to lose should the team fold, the riders gave Scrymgeour two weeks to pull off enough sponsorship to keep the team running. Amazingly enough, it worked.

    "We were pretty lucky. We'd been with Specialized for a year and they'd been very supportive. The women won about 60 races on their bikes and I didn't think they wanted that to end, and when we talked to Mike (Sinyard) he said yes, they wanted to keep doing it. That was...

  • McEwen: Renshaw has nothing to lose

    Mark Renshaw will shine in the sprints for Rabobank
    Article published:
    December 15, 2011, 21:52 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Veteran sprinter backing compatriot at Rabobank

    Robbie McEwen may not have left Rabobank on the best of terms in 1999, but he is backing compatriot Mark Renshaw in his first season as a number one sprinter with the Dutch team.

    Taking an almost simplified view of the task Renshaw has in front of him in 2012, McEwen who took his first Tour de France win in 1999 despite strained relations with Rabobank management, told Cyclingnews, "It will be a matter of really looking after himself instead of looking after somebody else and saving all the energy for a couple of hundred metres later."

    Renshaw will have the support of fast men in Theo Bos and fellow Australian Michael Matthews – hopefully passing some of his knowledge on along the way – at Rabobank in the absence of the team's former top sprinter, Oscar Freire.

    "I think he's got massive opportunities in front of him really," McEwen, who will race until the Tour of California with GreenEdge before taking a technical director's role with the new team, said. "It's all up to him. He's played the role of a fantastic lead out man the last couple of years for Mark Cavendish and they've both made a huge difference to each other's careers. Now it's time for Mark [Renshaw], he's decided he wants to have a go for himself and find out what he's capable of and now's the time. It's perfect timing to have a go at it.

    "If it works, he's a star, if it doesn't he has the fallback position of being one of the best lead-out men in the peloton, so I think he has nothing to lose."

    Renshaw proved that he was up to the task in 2011, given the rare opportunity to go for the win, claiming a stage victory and then the overall at the Tour of Qatar and then late in the season, besting Cavendish on stage 5 of the