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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 6, 2012

Date published:
December 06, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Boonen recovering from severe intestinal infection

    A calm and collected Tom Boonen (Belgium) on the start line.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 10:51 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Expected to join team training camp next week

    Tom Boonen is on the road to recovery after his severe intestinal infection. He is expected to start training again this week and will join Omega Pharma-QuickStep for its team team training camp in Mallorca on Monday.

    Boonen was hospitalized for three days at the end of November, and missed both the team building camp and his own charity race.

    "I think Tom's will train with the team as of Monday,” director sportif Wilfried Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad. “I hope so, because this is actually the only time in the year that the whole team is assembled. Then everyone goes off in all directions. "

    Peeters was not worried that Boonen would be thrown back in his preparations for the coming season. “Tom was fortunately a little ahead in his preparations,” he said. “An illness is always inconvenient for an athlete, but it's not a disaster.”

    Still, he said, "it is good that he will be attending the training camp, as it is time to work on Boonen's racing calendar for the coming year.  Now that schedule will be finalized. The puzzle is put together. We look at whether the Tour of San Luis or Qatar and Oman is the appropriate way for Boonen."

  • Sky still searching for directeur sportif

    Dave Brailsford back in the Velodrome with the British team.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 11:57 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Anti-doping policy more important than results, says Brailsford

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has said that he is still searching for a new directeur sportif for the 2013 season following the departures of Steven De Jongh, Bobby Julich and Sean Yates from the team’s management staff in October.

    Both De Jongh and road coach Julich left the team as part of Sky’s new, "zero tolerance" anti-doping policy after they confessed to doping during their careers, while Yates retired, citing health reasons.

    The addition of Australian triathlon coach Shaun Stephens to the coaching staff compensates in part for Julich’s departure, and it is understood that Dan Hunt is also poised to make a more permanent move to Team Sky from his existing role with British Cycling. However, Brailsford is hoping to add further to his management staff, even if he acknowledged that it might not be possible.

    “We’ve looking for another directeur sportif but if we don’t find the right person, we’ll be ok. We’ll stay with what we have,” Brailsford told L’Équipe.

    After a season that saw his squad win the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Romandie, Brailsford claimed that he would prioritise an anti-doping philosophy over results in his search for a new directeur sportif.

    “It’s hard to find somebody but we’re not going to change our policy. When you arrive at this point, you’re perhaps obliged to back off from performance for a little bit in order to maintain your stance on anti-doping. There’s what we’re going to do. I’d prefer that we stick to our philosophy and go backwards with our results, rather than try to do everything and...

  • Lotto-Belisol confident of WorldTour place

    Lars Bak leads the Lotto Belisol Team
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 13:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Decision due next week

    Lotto-Belisol general manager Bill Olivier is confident that his team will gain entry to the WorldTour for 2013 and has said that the Belgian outfit has no contingency plan in place should it fail to do so.

    Lotto-Belisol is one of four teams – along with Saxo-Tinkoff, FDJ and Argos-Shimano – vying for the final three WorldTour berths. A decision from the UCI’s licence commission is anticipated on Monday.

    “We’re confident for the licence,” Oliver told La Dernière Heure. “We’ve just come back from a seminar at the UCI and we had some very good feedback.

    “It’s other teams who should be worried. We finished 11th in the 2012 WorldTour and had many victories. And even with the departure of Gianni Meersman [to Omega Pharma-QuickStep], the UCI estimates that our sporting value has increased by 25 percent.

    “Frankly, we’re not even thinking about not getting a licence. We haven’t thought of a plan B or a plan C if we didn’t get one. We deserve it and we’ve done everything to get it.”

    Lotto-Belisol did not feature on the initial list of WorldTour applicants published by the UCI in early October, which Olivier said was due to a mistake in the paperwork. “Our small administrative error was sorted three or four days after the closing date and we’ve had the green light from the UCI on that point,” he said.

    While Olivier says that administrative error has not affected his team’s chances of remaining in the WorldTour, it did open a legal loophole that permitted Gianni Meersman to rescind his contract and switch to Omega...

  • Kittel and Argos-Shimano wait to hear decision on ProTour status

    Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano)
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 15:26 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cyclingnews HD: Saxo-Tinkoff also in battle for final spot

    The wait continues for some of the teams applying for a UCI ProTour licence.

    Marcel Kittel's Argos-Shimano team is fighting it out against Team Saxo-Tinkoff for the final position. The German sprinting ace believes Argos hold the advantage over their Danish counterparts, "When we look at the facts, I think in every criteria we are above Saxo Bank. That is what I've heard," he told Cycling News HD.

    Kittel was one of the most prolific winners of 2012 taking 13 in total, more than Saxo-Tinkoff have won as a team. Added to John Degenkolb's 12, including five Vuelta stages, the team are looking in pretty good shape. Other than Alberto Contador's Vuelta a España victory the Bjarne Riis' team have failed to win a WorldTour race all season. Contador's points will not count towards the team's total, as he is returning from a ban.

    ProTour licences aren't only awarded for points earned. Teams also have to fulfil a number of sporting criteria, including ethics. Kittel believes the Argos team come up top trumps on that one too, "I think our team represents strong ethical values. That is what makes us the team for the last spot in the WorldTour."

    "It isn't for nothing that we have the criteria for ethics. If we have it and then we don't apply it to the teams then we don't need it. We have it now and we should make the difference between those teams when it is for a WorldTour licence. I expect that it is going to happen."

    This is the second time the Dutch team have applied for a ProTour licence. They were denied it last season, after missing out on a place in the top 20 rank teams. Argos-Shimano and Saxo-Tinkoff will...

  • McCartney and McCarty sign for Bissell Pro Cycling

    All smiles for the winner Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel)
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 16:11 GMT
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Team blends youth and experience for 2013

    Bissell Pro Cycling added considerable depth to its stage racing roster this week by signing ProTour veterans Jason McCartney and Patrick McCarty, who will join three other new additions and seven returning riders to make up the 2013 UCI Continental squad.

    Returning from the 2012 team are road captains Frank Pipp, Chris Baldwin and Jeremy Vennell. They'll be joined by Bissell young guns Paddy Bevin, Andrew Dahlheim, Carter Jones and Julian Kyer, who signed with the team near the end of the 2012 season. New riders Phil Gaimon, Tommy Nankervis and Michael Torckler, along with McCartney and McCarty, will complete the 12-rider roster.

    Although longtime Bissell leader Ben Jacques-Maynes departed for Jamis-Sutter Home after the end of the 2012 season, the addition of McCartney, McCarty and Gaimon could make 2013 one of the deepest and strongest Bissell line-ups yet, at least that's the hope of team director Omer Kem, who told Cyclingnews that the team was trying to add more depth.

    “That's what we really wanted,” Kem said. “We didn't think that changing the roster was necessarily going to mean more NRC wins. We've already won more races than any other Continental team at the NRC level in 2012, but we wanted more depth at the big races: Tour of California, Tour of Utah and [USA Pro Challenge].”

    Newcomers shake up roster

    McCartney, 39, represented the US in two Olympic road races and spent seven years, from 2005 through 2011, at the ProTour level with Discovery Channel, Saxo Bank and RadioShack. His long list of results includes third overall at the 2007 Amgen Tour of California, mountain...

  • Sørensen: Winning Tour with Contador would be career highlight

    Chris Anker Sörensen (Saxo Bank) on the podium as the most combatitve rider in the Tour
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 17:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane set for Tour Down Under debut

    Although his Saxo-Tinkoff team’s participation in the race is still not certain, Chris Anker Sørensen has said that helping Alberto Contador win next year’s Tour de France would be the highlight of his career.

    Saxo-Tinkoff is currently waiting to learn if it has received a WorldTour licence for 2013 and automatic entry to the three Grand Tours but Sørensen is enthusiastic about the team’s transfer campaign and noted that there would be stiff competition for places on the Tour team.

    Roman Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche have joined the team from Astana and Ag2r-La Mondiale, respectively, as the squad looks to buttress the support it offers Contador in the high mountains.

    "The quality of the riders we have on the team for the upcoming season is top notch,” Sørensen told the Saxo-Tinkoff website. “I'm looking forward to seeing how Kreuziger will develop. He will certainly be a big help for Alberto in the big races but I'm sure that he at some point will get a chance of his own during the season.

    “The wide range of quality riders also makes it harder to get a spot in the Tour de France line-up than was the case this year. I'm not sure of getting a spot.”

    A double Tour winner – he was stripped of the title in 2010 after testing positive for clenbuterol – Contador has appeared in just one Grande Boucle since he joined Saxo Bank, finishing 5th in 2011.

    Even though he already has a prestigious Giro d’Italia stage win at Terminillo on his palmares from 2010, Sørensen said that riding in the service of a Tour champion would be the biggest achievement of his career.

    “It is the biggest race existing and to be...

  • Hutarovich, Appollonio debut for Ag2r at Santos Tour Down Under

    Belarusian rider Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-BigMat)
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 19:10 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    15 appearances in Adelaide for French team

    Ag2r La Mondiale will keep their record of having appeared at every Tour Down Under intact when they take on the Adelaide WorldTour event in January, 2013.

    "As the race celebrates 15 years in 2013, it will be great to have Ag2rLa Mondiale here alongside us commemorating this milestone as they have been with us every step of the way," said race director Mike Turtur.

    The French outfit has claimed the most overall wins of any team, although all were prior to the stage race gaining UCI WorldTour status, with Martin Elmiger in 2007, Simon Gerrans in 2006, Mikel Astarloza in 2003 and Gilles Maignan in 2000.

    In 2013, the team will be spearheaded by Belarusian sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich in his first outing for the squad having moved across from FDJ. The 29-year-old has 23 wins to his name, including two stages at the Tour de l'Ain this year.

    "In 2012 I came close to a stage win and this year my goal is to achieve that, to get at least one stage victory," said Hutarovich with two podiums to his name in Clare and Victor Harbour. "My experience in this race is an important asset and a stage win will help me to start the 2013 season well. That is very important for self-confidence."

    Hutarovich was third in this season's points classification.

    Another of Ag2r's new recruits, Davide Appollonio, will also be making the trip to Adelaide in 2013, in his first race away from Team Sky.

    Meantime, Mickaël Cherel is Ag2r's general classification hope.

    "The main goal for us at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be to get at least one rider in the top 10 overall. I know I'm able to...

  • Danish federation approves Christina Watches licence application

    Michael Rasmussen and Daniel Foder of Christina Watches - Onfone
    Article published:
    December 06, 2012, 21:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team owner calls team “economically strongest” in Denmark

    The Danish Cycling Union (DCU) has approved Christina Watches-Onfone's application for a Continental licence for the coming season, and submitted it, along with six others, for UCI approval. Christina Watches had to submit additional financial information to the Danish federation.

    The DCU had ordered the team around Michael Rasmussen to provide full details of its accounts before it would act on their application.  On Wednesday, “We received an accounting from Christina Watches-Onfone and thus received all the papers from all the Continental teams and the information is forwarded to the UCI,” the DCU's Jesper Worre told sporten.dk.

    He was informed that the accounts were approved only minutes before the deadline. “I think it is regrettable. I do not think there has ever been any doubt that our team can and will ride their bikes,” he said.

    The team is financially better off than even Saxo-Tinkoff, Hembo said. “Even compared to Bjarne Riis, we are still the economically strongest team in Denmark.”

    He understood the DCU's concern “to ensure that a team doesn't break down in the middle of the season, and I can easily under that the have this requirement. But I do not believe that there has even been any doubt about our economy.”

    Team owner Claus Hembo had threatened to either dissolve the team or seek a licence in another country if his team was denied. “There was an opportunity to move abroad, but it was definitely only a stopgap measure because we believe that we are a Danish team. But if opportunities had been that we could either close the team or move it, we would have been forced to move abroad.”

    The DCU has...