Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
Italian targets Gent-Wevelgem and Giro d'Italia
After spending over two years switching between disciplines as he worked towards competing on the road and track at the London Olympics, Elia Viviani (Cannondale) can finally devote his attentions fully to matters on the road in 2013.
The Italian suffered the heartbreak of slipping out of the medal positions in the final event of the omnium last August but he had little time to dwell on that disappointment. Shortly afterwards, Viviani was lining up for grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España and he continued his season to the Tour of Beijing in October, eager to sink solid foundations ahead a more relaxed off-season than he had enjoyed for some time.
"I took a full month off after that and it was a calmer winter than I've had in recent years," said Viviani, who had chased Olympic qualification at track World Cups during the previous two winters.
"My winter training has changed a lot too, seeing as I'm just preparing for the big road races, and not riding the track world championships. I'd like to pick up a result here in Qatar, but the most important thing for me is to be ready for Paris-Nice and then find my best condition for the Classics. I want to win something big this year."
Viviani's rapid finish yielded seven victories on the road last season, but as penchant for track racing suggests, the 23-year-old has no desire to be pigeon-holed as purely a sprinter. In 2013, therefore, Viviani makes his first concerted tilt at the Classics (he previously rode the Tour of Flanders in 2011 and Milan-San Remo last year), although he stressed that it would primarily be an exploratory mission.
"I'd see myself as a realist. As an Italian, Milano-Sanremo is special for me, but you really need to come close a couple of...
Olympic and defending world champions on route to Rio Games
Team GB has announced a stacked squad for the upcoming UCI Track World Championships with Olympic gold medal winners and reigning world champions filling the 16-rider team. The start of new Olympic cycle sees revised rosters for the defending men's and women's team pursuit while Laura Trott and Dani King return to the boards in an attempt to retain their rainbow bands.
With Sir Chris Hoy sitting out the championships to focus on next year's Commonwealth Games and Victoria Pendleton announcing her retirement following her London success the team has given a number of fresh faces the opportunity to step into the World's squad.
There is still plenty of depth in the selection with Olympic gold medal winners in the team sprint Jason Kenny and Phil Hindes making the trip to Belarus while Ed Clancy switches back to the endurance squad after filling the sprint role at last year's Glasgow World Cup.
Clancy's position will be filled by Matt Crampton while Kian Emadi continues his bid for a spot in Sprint Group for the 2016 Games. GB representatives from Glasgow Jonathan Dibben (omnium) and Simon Yates (scratch race) have been selected again while the men's team pursuit trio of Owain Doull, Samuel Harrison and Andrew Tennant will seek to make amends after crashing during qualifying at the second round of the World Cup in Glasgow.
The women's squad sees last year's omnium champion Trott return to competition with the familiar Dani King and Elinor Barker set to join her for the team pursuit. As Team GB performance director Sir Dave Brailsford explained, the start of the New Year and Olympic cycle means there will be plenty to learn from the championships but as always, the major objectives lie on developing the best athletes for the next Olympic Games.
"The first year of an Olympic cycle is always an interesting one as it gives the opportunity for our young riders to compete alongside the world's best and experience the competitive...
Injury puts doubt over classics campaign
The high-speed crashes at Tour of Qatar have taken another victim with Koen de Kort falling in the final of Stage 4, suffering a broken collarbone. The Argos-Shimano rider will return to the Netherlands for further treatment and surgery in the coming days with his spring classics ambitions seemingly doubtful. The opening Belgian semi-classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad comes in just over two weeks time where de Kort would have likely begun his spring campaign.
De Kort was able to finish the finish the stage as the last rider to cross the line more than five minutes behind the day's winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and while he believed to have only take superficial damage, medical examination revealed the full extent of the injury.
"Koen broke his right collarbone," said Argos-Shimano physician Edwin Achterberg on the team site. "He underwent an X-ray at the hospital, and now we’ll try to get him back to the Netherlands for an operation as soon as possible."
"I knew the final kilometers of today’s stage were pretty tricky. We were in the front to prepare the sprint for John Degenkolb. A few riders, including me, went down 900 meters from the finish, and I immediately felt that there was something wrong with my right shoulder," said Koen de Kort. "Unfortunately, this is part of cycling. I will now fully focus on my recovery in order to get back in the saddle as soon as possible."
Degenkolb could only manage 15th on the stage and was clearly out of contention for the win while the fallen de Kort remained relatively upbeat on his season's set-back.
"Thanks for the tweets...
Recovery continues after elbow surgery
Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) was ruled out of his traditional start to the season, the Tour of Qatar after he underwent surgery for an infected elbow last month. However the Belgian is satisfied with his recovery with a planned return to the peloton in Oman next week.
Boonen tweeted on Wednesday: "1000km one week #1000"
The 32-year-old has spent the past week training in Mallorca with teammates in the lead up to the Tour of Oman which begins on February 11.
"I am quite happy about the training I've been doing," Boonen said on the team website. "I put together something like 1000 kilometers of training in six days, with a day of rest in between. We only had to skip two hours of training due to the rain. For the rest, we always trained with good weather, and that was important."
A small cut on Boonen’s left elbow turned septic forcing the surgery, with the four-time Paris-Roubaix winner indicating that he did not yet have a full range of movement.
"The arm still hurts a bit, because I can't stretch it completely following the surgery," he admitted. "But OK, it just means I can't completely stretch my arm, or completely grab the handlebar in the bottom part. I can't stay in a certain position for a long time, but that's because it's only been two and a half weeks since my surgery. I need more time to recover."
It was the second setback for Boonen who missed a block of pre-season training due to an intestinal infection, which resulted...
Family and friends gather to remember Pais-Roubaix winner
Franco Ballerini's family, friends and former teammates will gather in his home town of Casalguidi today, to remember the former Pais-Roubaix winner and Italian national coach. Ballerini was killed exactly three years ago, while taking part in a car rally near his home.
Ballerini twice won Paris-Roubaix during his 16-year career and finished second in 1993, beaten in a close sprint by long-time rival Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. He was a natural team leader and went on to become Italian national coach. Under his leadership, Italy won seven world titles and gold in the road race event at the 2004 Athens Olympics with Paolo Bettini.
Bettini is now the Italian national coach and will be joined by other former teammates such as Max Sciandri and Luca Scinto at a special memorial service in Casalguidi after a visit to Ballerini's grave.
Ballerini loved riding Paris-Roubaix and personified everything that is special about the race. He only won ten races during his professional career but he won Paris-Roubaix twice, in 1995 and 1998. He also finished second in 1993 and was third, fifth and sixth on other occasions. Ballerini retired in 2001 after finishing the race for the last time. He crossed the line in the Roubaix velodrome showing a T-shirt with the words 'Merci Roubaix'.
Race organisers ASO introduced a special memorial cobble stone trophy that is awarded to the first Italian rider at the finish in the Roubaix velodrome, as a way of remembering Ballerini.
Ballerini was involved in the project to bring the world road race championships to Florence and the Elite men's road race at the world championships will pass by the...
2013 race includes highest ever mountain finish
Paris-Nice race organiser ASO has officially presented the route of this year's 'Race to the Sun', confirming that the weeklong WorldTour race will again end with a 9.6km individual time trial up the Col d'Èze climb overlooking Nice.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) won the Col d'Èze time trial in 2012 to seal overall victory ahead of Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). However the Briton will not be back to defend his title this year, preferring a different race programme as he prepares to target the Giro d'Italia.
The racing in the 71st edition of Paris-Nice begin on Sunday March 4 with a very short 2.9km prologue time trial around the streets of Houilles, north-west of central Paris.
The first road stage takes riders from nearby Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Nemours for the first uphill finish of the race. Several rolling stages follow, taking the race south, cutting through the Massif Central to Saint Vallier.
Stage five from Châteauneuf-du-Pape to Montagne de Lure looks to be the toughest stage of the race, with five minor climbs before the summit finish after 13.8km at an average gradient of 6.6%. At 1600m, it is the highest ever finish for a Paris-Nice mountain stage. Alberto Contador won a stage finish here in 2009, but then cracked the next day, handing overall victory to Luis Leon Sanchez.
A second mountain stage on Saturday March 9 takes the race to Nice with 220km of racing in Provence. The Cote de Cabris and the Col du Ferrier combine to make another tough climb but top out 70km from the finish on the Promenade des Anglais and so are unlikely to change the overall standings. The winner of the Paris-Nice yellow jersey will be decided in the 9.6km final time trial to the summit of Col d'Èze....
American confirms that doping was rife in Dutch team
Former American cyclist Andy Bishop has told Cyclingnews that he believes he was only clean rider in PDM’s 1988 Tour de France squad.
Bishop rode for the Dutch team from 1988 until the end of the 1989 season and in his 1988 neo-pro year he rode the Tour. Last month Volkskrant published extracts allegedly from the notebook used by former PDM soigneur Bertus Fok during the race, in which he detailed the substances administered to the riders. Volkskrant stated seven our of eight riders on the team doped but did not specify as to who may have been clean.
In Fok’s notes all eight Tour riders were listed, along with several substances and forms of doping next to their names. In one page of notes, Bishop’s name is listed next to the word ‘kokers’ and testosterone. However, according to Bishop he was often asked to take pills during races but always turned down Fok, who he labelled as a ‘witchdoctor’.
“I’m assuming that I was the one hold out guy. It was the first year and I always referred to that soigneur as witchdoctor because it was old school methods of taking care of riders. They didn’t really have medical training,” Bishop told Cyclingnews from his home in Vermont.
“He would have this case full of pills, all different shapes, rectangles, squares, different colors and really I just didn’t see the point in any of that. I know first hand that they all doped but I didn’t know they were doing that [blood doping]. As far any doping goes I was a zero. I’ve always been adamant against doping of any sorts.”
Asked as to why his name could be listed next to pills and testosterone, Bishop added: “I’m not sure, honestly, I think that’s in the kokers but believe me I did not...
Lotto Belisol's dominant lead-out train unstoppable in France
Travelling from the heat of Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under to the arctic conditions of France proved no hindrance to André Greipel, who took his sixth win of the year in the opening stage of Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel.
The 'Gorilla' and his Lotto Belisol train were in a league of their own in the opening round of the WorldTour at Down Under and it appears the near freezing temperatures during the stage from Limoux to Gruissan and their European-based rivals were no problem for the strength of the Belgian outfit.
The team received little support from other teams to control the lead of the early breakaway and took the initiative to control the race. The team engaged the services of the towering Olivier Kaisen, who at 195cm is one of the tallest in the bunch, and strong-man Gert Dockx to marshal the head of affairs for nearly the entire day. Greipel was the first to thank his teammates shortly after the finish with particular attention given to Kaisen and Dockx.
"Today Olivier Kaisen and Gert Dockx deserve a special mention," explained Greipel on his team site. "They [spent] the whole day in front of the peloton. No other team wanted to lend a hand and so Dockx, Kaisen and many other guys in the squad endured a tough day."
Greipel may have comfortably won the sprint at the end of the 146.5km stage but as was the case in Australia, setting up the sprint was no easy feat.
"The main part of the ride we had tailwind, causing the cold [weather to be] better than expected. Preparing the sprint...