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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 28, 2013

Date published:
November 28, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Eight teams apply for Giro d'Italia wildcard

    Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) won the 14th stage of the Giro d'Italia, finishing first atop the Jafferau
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 9:55 GMT
    By:
    José Been

    Former Vini Fantini team not amongst applicants

    Eight Pro Continental teams have applied for three available Giro d'Italia wildcards. Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela already received the fourth entry ticket to the Giro as winners of the Coppa Italia, a team classification based on Italian races. 

    The eight teams are Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Caja Rural-RGA, Team Colombia, IAM Cycling, MTN-Qhubeka, Team NetApp-Endura, Team Novo Nordisk and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

    The former Vini Fantini team, which has applied for a Pro Continental licence for 2014 as Yellow Fluo, is not on the list that was published by the Giro organization on its Facebook page. The team was part of this year's Giro but seem to pay the price for the positive doping tests of both Danilo di Luca and stage winner Mauro Santambrogio. 

    Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox will hope to repeat their 2013 participation. The same goes for Colombia, and though the South American team has lost high profile riders like Esteban Chaves [Orica-Greenedge] and Darwin Atapuma [BMC Racing Team], it has been linked with a move for 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez.

    Along with Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, MTN-Qhubeka seems to hold the best cards for a Grand Tour debut. The African Pro Continental team received wildcards from RCS [the Giro organization] races like Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico and Il Lombardia in 2013, claiming victory at Milan-San Remo through Gerald Ciolek.

     

  • Bahamontes recalls first Dutch Tour de France Grand Départ

    Alberto Contador is congratulated by legendary Spanish cyclist Federico Bahamontes.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 10:35 GMT
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Details of 2015 Utrecht start to be revealed on Thursday

    It may be nearly 60 years ago, but as the Dutch city of Utrecht and ASO prepare to unveil the details of the 2015 Tour de France start on Thursday, Federico Martín Bahamontes, winner of the King of the Mountains in the 1954 race, still recollects perfectly well what Holland’s first ever Grand Départ was like 59 years ago.

    "The team presentation before it all started in Amsterdam was spectacular," Bahamontes, now a hale and hearty 85, tells Cyclingnews.

    "They got us all together in a huge tent in the middle of a very big square and called us all out one by one and gave us presents. Huge crowds, too. I was pretty nervous at the start of the first stage, I remember I kept on spinning the pedals on my bike on the startline like I was an amateur before we actually got moving, because it was my first Tour."

    "But they made us very welcome, the Dutch were very hospitable," Bahamontes continues. Indeed, such was the local hospitality that at the hotel where the Spanish were staying, the chef insisted on cooking all their food in 'typically Spanish' olive oil, rather than butter as was usually the case, and which the Spanish would have in fact have preferred!

    Also taking part in the presentation for the Tour’s first ever start outside France were Maurice Garin, the Tour's first ever winner back in 1903 – by then 83 – and Odiel Defraye, who won it in 1912, as well as four other former Tour champions. The Italians were missing, however, after Fausto Coppi, the 1949 and 1952 winner, had a freak accident in June and had to pull out, and then the Italian Federation fell out with the Tour organisation over the right to put publicity on their team's clothes and...

  • Tour de France 2015 starts with time trial

    The Tour de France 2014 Yellow Jersey: a lot like 2013's
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 13:16 GMT
    By:
    José Been

    Utrecht presents 13.7 kilometer course through the city center

    The 2015 Tour de France starts in Utrecht with a 13.7 kilometre time trial on the 4th of July 2015. It's going to be first time the Tour starts with a time trial again after the 2013 and 2014 editions [in Corsica and Yorkshire] take off with a road stage. The 13.7 kilometre long course starts and finishes at the Jaarbeurs conference center next to Utrecht Central station. 

    The first stage is not a prologue because that is maximized at 8 kilometers, the organization stressed from the launch in Paris on Thursday. The last time the Tour de France started with a non-prologue time trial was in Monaco in 2009. The 15.5 kilometer long race was won by Fabian Cancellara

    Lars Boom looks forward to the first stage of the Tour in his own country. "I think every Dutch rider would like to start this race," the Belkin rider told press agency ANP. Boom who is a time trial specialist sees possibilities. "A longer time trial is nice for the crowds alongside the route. You get to keep the Tour in your city longer than if you would have it as a start of a normal stage only. Personally I have no problems with this distance even though a prologue would have been good too. I will train specifically for this event," he added.

    The second stage starts on the fifth of July and will pass the iconic Dom church tower. When Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme heard the French national anthem Marseillaise played by the church bells, he was sold. "Utrecht can be praised for its perseverance," he said at the launch in Paris referring to the fact the Dutch city had been trying to get the Grand Départ from 2002. "When they played La Marseillaise three times from the Dom tower I was sold," the Frenchman smiled.

    It is unknown...

  • Gallery: Cavendish, Contador and Stybar wind tunnel testing with Specialized

    Zdeněk Stybar is greeted upon arrival at Specialized's HQ
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 13:56 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Road and time trial positions analyzed

    In the modern era of professional cycling the off-season provides precious little time for the elite riders to put their feet up and relax. Instead of racing, the winter months are spent analyzing and planning for the upcoming year and for Mark Cavendish, Alberto Contador and Zdenek Stybar, recent weeks have provided the perfect opportunity to tweak their riding positions.

    All three men ride Specialized race bikes, Contador for Saxo Bank, Cavendish and Stybar for Omega Pharma QuickStep and the trio recently spent time at the bike manufacture’s state of the art wind tunnel testing facility in Morgan Hill, California, where Mark Cote, Sean Madsen and Chris Yu were on hand to help the riders improve their aerodynamics and performance.

    “The wind tunnel tests were one part of a season long performance testing program that the Specialized Racing team, led by Simone Toccafondi has put together for our key riders. We basically sit down and find out what the main objective for each rider is, for example winning GC or Green jersey at the Tour de France and what deliverables we can give them to help maximize performance leading up to and at those events,” Yu told Cyclingnews.

    “This can be equipment or position recommendations to save energy (calories) on non-critical stages, equipment or position recommendations to maximize speed on key stages, or pacing strategies on specific time trial courses in specific weather conditions. The wind tunnel tests are the first part of the program where, in the off-season, we baseline each rider and record their different positions on the different bikes and helmets. We also make a few changes where we think there might be a performance benefit. We will then follow this testing up with both velodrome testing at team camps in Europe and outdoor and on-road testing. This allows us to verify position changes made in the tunnel and see how riding at threshold or for a long duration may...

  • FDJ extends sponsorship through 2016

     Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (France) wins the junior men world title in Copenhagen
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 15:10 GMT
    By:
    José Been

    French lottery one of the oldest sponsors in pro peloton

    Française des Jeux has extended its sponsorship of the French World Tour team until the end of 2016. "I am very happy with this decision," team manager Marc Madiot said. "It enables us to create a future for this new, young generation." 

    Française started sponsoring the team in 1997 which makes 2016 the 20th year of sponsorship. Big names like Philippe Gilbert, Chris Horner, Mark Renshaw, Bradley Wiggins and 2003 Tour de France green jersey winner Baden Cooke were all part of the team. One of the biggest victories in the team's history came in 1997, its first year of existence, when Frédéric Guesdon won Paris-Roubaix.

    The team can now boast a very promising generation of French riders who mostly come from the CC Etupes amateur team. FDJ.fr's best result in the Tour de France was last year with a 10th place in the overall classification for Thibaut Pinot and two stage wins: one by Pinot and the other by Pierrick Fedrigo.

    In 2013, the young team didn't fare well in the Tour de France but were very successful with stage wins in the Vuelta by Kenny Elissonde and Alexandre Geniez and a seventh place in the overall for Pinot.

    The team totaled a number of 33 wins this season, its most successful season to day. Eleven of the 33 victories were by sprinter Nacer Bouhanni and nine by Arnaud Démare. Arthur Vichot became French champion, taking the jersey from his teammate Bouhanni and Francis Mourey is France's elite cyclo-cross champion.

    Next season the team consists of 29 riders. Madiot keeps 26 riders of his 2013 squad and adds two former junior world champions to the line up: Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier, the 2011 Copenhagen junior road race world champion and Olivier le Gac who took the world title in 2010.

  • Wiggins delayed in paying Froome's share of Tour win bonus, says Cound

    Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome will lead Sky's attack on the Grand Tours
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 16:10 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Details of uneasy rapport outlined in Walsh book

    Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins will again race on the same Sky team in 2014 but further details of the pair's difficult relationship have emerged following the recent publication of a book on the team’s season by journalist David Walsh.

    Inside Team Sky tells of how it took Wiggins over a year to pay Froome his share of the win bonus that was due to all of his teammates following his victory at the 2012 Tour de France.

    The money was eventually paid out in September of this year, shortly before the world championships in Florence, but Froome's fiancée and business manager, Michelle Cound, has claimed that Wiggins only did so because he knew the matter would be discussed in Walsh's book.

    "I don't believe Brad ever intended to pay Chris the bonus. I think the reason he did is because he knew it was coming out in the book," Cound told The Times. "Brad paying Chris really doesn't mean that much. It’s about a lot more than the sum of money."

    Froome had already received his share of the team's prize money for the 2012 Tour received from organisers ASO, which was divided among the riders on the Tour-winning squad, but he appears to have been the last rider to receive a share of the estimated £1 million bonus that Wiggins received as part of his contract with the squad.

    "People don't necessarily tell each other what bonus they have got. So we didn't know for sure what the situation was," Cound said. "We didn't know what the other riders got. But Brad paid Chris nothing [before September – ed.]"

    Cound also confirmed that there had been no been no clear-the-air talks between Froome and Wiggins when they rode together at the world championships, their first time in the same race...

  • Luis Léon Sanchez reviews offers from several teams

    2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 19:15 GMT
    By:
    José Been

    Manager says decision will be made soon

    Luis Léon Sánchez will be part of the professional peloton next season, his manager Ángel Buenache told Biciciclosmo.com. "We are relaxed. Luis Léon will ride next year. Now it's time to make up our mind about the offers that are on the table." 

    Sánchez was linked to both Team Movistar as Spanish Pro Continental team Caja Rural. The latter confirmed to Cyclingnews the two parties were talking. Both teams, however, announced they are full for next season. Buenache didn't want to reveal whether Sánchez was coveted by WorldTour teams, nor the names of the teams that had put in an offer.

    "There are several teams interested in signing Luis Léon. Those teams have got confidence in him and that's the most important thing for us. We want a team where he can train and ride in peace without all sorts of speculation and without people wanting to hurt him. We hope to make our decision before the end of the year."

    The 30-year-old Spaniard is one of the high-profile riders who are still on the market. After a three-year stay with Rabobank and later Team Belkin, the Dutch team bought Sánchez out of his 2014-2015 contract. The multiple Tour de France stage winner had signed an improved deal after he won a Tour stage and the Clasíca San Sebastian in 2012, months before Rabobank withdrew as a sponsor.

    "We had two goals," Buenache said. "Back to racing in 2013 in which we succeeded. The second goal was to get him to another team. As a cyclist he has nothing to prove. It's about vindication and showing the world that the punishment he received is unfair. The best way to do so is on the road, during...

  • Greipel plans for usual Tour Down Under start to season

    A good second place for german rider Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol)
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 22:02 GMT
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    First race of 2014 will again be in Australia

    André Greipel has discovered something new this year: he doesn't get claustrophobic in caves. But when it comes to racing, the German sprinter confirms that he will be doing exactly the same start to his year as usual, at the Tour Down Under. Further down the line, too, the Tour de France will once more be his big target of the season.

    Greipel's discovery about caves came during a Lotto-Belisol team building exercise currently under way in the Belgian Ardennes, where the 31-year-old from Rostock spent nearly an hour in a very dark and cramped hole in the ground.

    There's no denying that Greipel shone brightly in 2013, though: 13 wins, including the German national championships title, a fifth stage of the Tour de France, three wins in the Tour Down Under and the Paris-Brussels Classic made last year a very successful one. Hence his unwillingness, perhaps, to alter his early season program at least.

    "It's good, we are all here as a team and in a different scenario to the usual ones," Greipel told Cyclingnews about the team building camp, which started on Monday. "I like doing the climbing we do here or whatever, and I've never been in a cave before and now I know it doesn't make me claustrophobic, as there wasn't so much space inside.

    "But the important thing about these camps is that we are here to get to know each other away from racing."

    Greipel is not worried, yet, about whether his base condition is the same, better or worse than at this time last year. "I don't care about that yet, I'm just trying to do some good training on the bike and good workouts, and that’s as far as it goes."

    The Tour Down Under, he said, has always worked for him as his first stage race of the year - and Greipel not only holds the...