- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 09:00
- Cycling News
New York City art show benefits World Bicycle Relief
This article originally published on BikeRadar
On November 29, SRAM is hosting an art show at the Cedar Lake Theater in New York City as a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief. The show, pArt Project, features 90 new works of art by various artists that incorporate SRAM parts into the design.
Each art piece was donated by the artist to raise money for sustainable bicycle charity through World Bicycle Relief.
Tickets to the show, which also includes cocktails, food and entertainment, are $268 a piece — enough to fund two new bicycles for people in need.
The pieces can be bought now online, and some will be auctioned off at the Nov. 29 show in New York City. Prices for the pieces range between $15,000 and $25,000.
Check out the gallery at right for a sampling of the pieces that will be on display.
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 11:18
- Cycling News
No contract extension for former pro rider
The Dutch Cycling Federation has announced that Leo van Vliet's contract as national coach will not be extended at the end of this year. The 57-year-old had been national coach since 2009 but the federation said that it was looking for a new approach, preferring a full-time coach. Van Vliet only worked part-time, combining the role with his work as a race organiser of the Amstel Gold Race.
The men's national team did not win any World Championship or Olympic medals during van Vliet's tenure, including the Championships this year in Valkenburg, the Netherlands. He openly criticised some of the Dutch professionals, especially those from the Rabobank team and admitted he had struggled to motivate some of the riders. Van Vliet rode as a professional between 1978 and 1986, winning Gent-Wevelgem and a stage in the 1979 Tour de France.
"I can look back on a beautiful period in which I have given 200% but I didn't always find the setting and motivation for some riders,” van Vliet admitted.
The chairman of the Netherlands Cycling Federation, Marcel Wintels, said: "The National Federation looks back with satisfaction on the past 4 years that Leo van Vliet in his own way and very passionate about being the national coach of the pro men.”
Dutch cycling is still in shock after Rabobank announced its sudden withdrawl of sponsorship in late October. The teams will continue in 2013, with the WorldTour team set to race without a main sponsor.
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 12:30
- Susan Westemeyer
Lotto Belisol rider calls it “a test, to see what is possible”
Adam Hansen is Lotto Belisol's “iron man”, who took on and and finished all three grand tours in 2012. And the Australian thinks he might do it again in 2013.
Riding all three of the grand tours in one year was a long-stated goal for the quiet but tough Australian, and this year he was finally able to do it.
“It felt like a test, to see what is possible and if the body could hold up through it all,” Hansen told Cyclingnews. “I wanted to do this for myself, just to see.”
Hansen reached Madrid at the end of the Vuelta but his body almost didn't hold up.
“There were some moments where I thought things were not going to happen. That was in the Giro where I broke my sternum, which I did not find out till afterwards the race with an MRI: that was really painful. Then in the Vuelta, I landed on my hip. But apart from those two crashes I did well. I only had two bad days in the three grand tours and that's not bad.”
Hansen, 31, struggles to pick his favourite race of the three.
“They were all different entirely. The Giro is a beautiful race with the passion of the fans and Italy itself, its very rewarding to ride and with the teams goals there, it was a nice mix for ourselves," he says.
“The Tour is like getting down to business, where you feel the pressure more. In the Tour Lotto Belisol really rode as a team, had two goals and we achieved them very well. It was nice to be a part of both VDB's most successful Tour with fourth in GC and also Andre's most successful Tour."
"Then the Vuelta, which is normally my favourite of the 3G's, because it is a more relaxed and opportunistic race, where guys have a chance for breakaways that stay away until the end. But this year it wasn't like that."
Hansen personal highlight was in fact “the whole year in general. Its nice to walk away from a season and knowing it was a good one. As a domestique it's nice to be part of so many wins and also high calibrated wins.”
He has a place in the lead-out train setting up sprints for Andre Griepel, and things worked out significantly better in 2012 than they did in 2011 with the German sprinter taking 19 wins instead of the eight of the previous year.
“Andre's train is really getting together now. With the guys like Greg [Henderson], [Jürgen] Roelandts, Sibi (Marcel Sieberg) and Lars [Bak], we are all different in our abilities and those abilities fit well in the train where they are needed,” Hansen explains.
Sprint work is not Hansen's only role in the team but when asked what his role is, he answers: “Sometimes I don't really know...... I feel it's really just to look after the situation, work as a team and be part of that regardless of the task. When things turn haywire that's where I feel I must really step in and turn things back to the plan, that would be bring Andre or VDB back in contention after a puncture or crash. Closing an impossible break where tactics were miscalculation, something like that. It seems though at every race I go to, I have a valid role to do.”
Grand tours in 2013
It is possible that Hansen may ride all three grand tours again in 2013.
“After speaking with Herman [Frison, sport director] the other day, it seems I will do almost the same as I did this year. Changing only a few races. If it means the 3G's then I will decide that after the Tour.”
That is, assuming Lotto Belisol has a WorldTour licence. And Hansen does assume so.
“The core group of riders in Lotto-Belisol don't believe that the licence will be an issue for us. Lotto is the longest sponsoring sponsor in the cycling and I think these types of teams are very important for the UCI,” he says.
No matter what licence the team gets, his goal for 2013 is “to have a repeat of this year would be nice.”
After wintering at his home in the Czech Republic, for the “White Christmas,” Hansen will return to his native Australia for the nationals and the Tour Down Under. Like every other rider in the peloton, he has been surprised by the impact of the Lance Armstrong investigation.
“It was a well done case and treated like a proper investigation, rolling one witness at a time, building evidence until having enough to use it against him," he says. “But, I don't like how it was sorted out now, that's unfair on the current generation as we get tarnished for something that's unrelated to us. I feel we are paying the price of something that happened before my career. But like anyone, if he doped, then he should be punished and if he didn't, then he shouldn't.”
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 14:00
- Cycling News
Riders gather near Milan before Tuscan training camp
The Liquigas-Cannondale team will become the Cannondale Pro Cycling team in 2013 with Ivan Basso leading a group of talented young sprinters and Classics riders that includes Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani,and Moreno Moser.
Despite reported pressure to be registered in the USA, the team will remain Italian in 2013 but will have a much more international roster with riders from 13 different nations. Vincenzo Nibali has moved to Astana, taking Alessandro Vanotti and Valerio Agnoli with him, while Sylvester Szmyd has moved to Movistar along with Eros Capecchi.
Ted King remains and has been joined by Canadian's David Boily and Guillaume Boivin but US national champion Timmy Duggan has moved to Saxo-Tinkoff.
The team has a secured a UCI WorldTour licence for 2013 and the riders have gathered near Milan, in northern Italy this week, to decide race programmes, meet sponsors, undergo medical checks and plan for the year ahead.
Peter Sagan will make his season debut in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis. Other riders will debut at the Tour Down Under, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, while Ivan Basso is likely to opt for a more traditional European approach and begin his season at the GP Lugano in Switzerland on February 24.
US races such as the Amgen Tour of California and the US Pro Challenge in Colorado will be also be major objectives for the team in 2013.
Ivan Basso will again target the Giro d'Italia in 2013, with Gazzetta dello Sport today suggesting that Damiano Caruso will ride in support of Basso after wearing the best young rider's white jersey during the 2012 Giro d'Italia, while Elia Viviani will be Team Cannondale's sprinter for the Corsa Rosa.
Peter Sagan will return to the Tour de France to defend his green points jersey and target more stage victories but the rest of the Tour squad is still to be decided, with Team Cannondale manager Roberto Amadio opting for a flexible approach to race programmes.
Moreno Moser emerged as one of the rising stars of Italian cycling in 2012, winning the Tour of Poland and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. He will make his Grand Tour debut in 2013 but no final decision has been made if the nephew of Francesco Moser will ride the Tour de France or the Vuelta a Espana.
The Vuelta could be ideal preparation for the world championships in Florence but three weeks in Spain could prove too much for the young Italian. An alternative would be to ride the Tour de France in support of Peter Sagan and to target hilly stages and breakaways.
Most of the riders have already begun training for the 2013 season and the whole team will head to Tuscany next week for a ten-day training camp.
The team's new jersey and bikes will be unveiled at the official team presentation in Los Angeles on January 12.
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 14:01
- Cycling News
Big names gather for group's first meeting in London
More big names are joining Change Cycling Now, a newly-formed group dedicated to cleansing the sport and restoring its image. Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and Garmin-Sharp principal Jonathan Vaughters are the biggest new names to have joined the group and both are set to appear at its first conference in London this weekend.
“The report from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) into the Lance Armstrong affair has to be a watershed moment for professional cycling,” LeMond said in the group's press release. “There is still an opportunity to ensure cycling presents itself as a genuine world leader in the elimination of doping and drug taking in sport. But to do that requires a determination to force change and I am delighted to be part of a group that is full of people who are committed to the cause.”
Other new members include former riders Eric Boyer and Jörg Jaksche. Boyer is a former Tour stage winner and forme team manager of Cofidis. Jaksche confessed in 2007 to his doping and has become a vocal member of the anti-doping movement.
Change Cycling Now proclaimed its intent “is holding the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to account for alleged mis-handling the sport's global image in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and LeMond and his new colleagues will discuss proposals that offer a route towards repairing the sport’s globally damaged reputation.”
In addition, former Armstrong masseuse and key witness in the USADA investigation, Emma O'Reilly, will appear at the group's press conference next Monday in London. Former World champion Gianni Bugno will also address the group in his role as president of the Association of Professional Cyclists.
Group founder Jaimie Fuller was especially pleased with LeMond's presence. “As a Tour de France winner, Greg LeMond’s involvement should send the clearest message yet that we are a serious group with serious intentions and genuine motives.”
Vaughters, who has confessed to drug use during his career, has been outspoken on anti-doping. This has not gone unnoticed by others in cycling, including Johan Bruyneel, who led Armstrong to the seven Tour de France victories which have now been taken away from him. Bruyneel now faces hearings before the USADA on related doping charges.
Bruyneel taunted Vaughters about the plans of the Change Cycling Now group, tweeting, “A bunch of douches r gonna meet in London 2 change cycling. But why is @vaughters not on the list? He should be leading that group..”
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 17:10
- Cycling News
Guam opts not to support the Tour Down Under organiser
Mike Turtur is set to lose his position as president of the Oceania confederation and with it his influential position on the UCI's management committee.
Elections will be held in Adelaide on December 2 but Turtur looks set to lose after the Guam Cycling Federation opted to switch its vote, supporting Cycling Australia's candidate Tracey Gaudry instead of Turtur.
Turtur is considered one of the most powerful people in the southern hemisphere because he organises the Tour Down Under. He was elected president of the Oceania confederation in 2008, when the Tour Down Under became part of the UCI WorldTour. However, Cycling Australia opted not to support him for election this year after questions were raised about a possible conflict of interest between the role of race organisers and federation president.
Although Guam is a tiny cycling nation, each country in the Oceania Federation has a vote. Cycling Australia and Bike NZ have backed Gaudry, with Fiji and Guam originally supporting Turtur. Following Guam's change of heart, Turtur looks set to lose 3-1 to Gaudry.
Gaudry is a two-time Olympic road cyclist and is the chief executive of the Amy Gillett Foundation. Gaudry is also currently a member of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's Anti-doping Review Violation Panel. She will be the first woman to serve on the UCI management committee.
Turtur has recently come under fire for failing to publicise the fact that ONCE-Eroski rider Giampaolo Caruso returned a positive dope test after winning the Willunga Hill stage at the Tour Down Under in 2003. Until recently, Turtur was a staunch defendant of the reported multi-million dollar appearance fee paid to Lance Armstrong in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but has now said he feels "duped" by the revelations regarding the American. Turtur's roles as a race director and his position within the confederation have been considered in some quarters as a conflict of interest.
"Cycling Australia concluded that the time was right to support a new candidate to represent our interests and policy positions in relation to the challenges that face cycling," said Klaus Mueller, President of Cycling Australia in a press release announcing their favoured candidate recently.
"In particular the opportunity for true reform within cycling, particularly in anti-doping policy, governance and equality, is now. Tracey is an outstanding person, with an impeccable background who will make a significant contribution at UCI and Oceania level to the betterment of cycling."
Turtur refused to comment about the outcome of the vote after Guam's change of support.
"In respect to the likely outcome of the election, I wish the (Oceania) confederation all the best for the future and I will be watching with interest the development of the Oceania calendar in the next period," SBS reported him as saying, following Guam's change of heart.
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 18:08
- Pat Malach
'Cross Worlds organisers sever ties with energy company
Sam Johnson was taken aback Tuesday night when a friend called to console him. Problem was, Johnson, who turned pro two years ago with the Team Exergy UCI Continental program, had no idea what the person on the other end of the line was talking about.
"It was pretty rough," Johnson said of the phone call. "I was hanging out with some friends and I got a call from another cyclist friend of mine offering sympathy, saying, 'Man I'm so sorry.' And I'm like, 'For what? What are you talking about?' He says, 'You didn't read the article?'"
Johnson immediately jumped online and started refreshing the website where he was told he could find the relevant news, but nothing immediately popped up.
"At that point he basically just bows out of the conversation and tells me to call him when I needed to," Johnson said. "So I find the article and read it. And that's how I found out."
What Johnson found out was news that Boise-based Exergy Development Group CEO James Carkulis had issued a late-night statement saying the company would not renew its title sponsorship of the team it had supported for the past three seasons, citing the recent doping scandals in cycling as the main reason for the his last-minute decision to withdraw.
The news will effectively end the professional team managed by Escalera Racing, whose owner Remi McManus assured Cyclingnews just last week that the team would return next season. McManus could not be reached for comment this week.
Delinquent sponsorship payments plague energy company
The bad news didn't end with just the demise of the men's pro road team. Following almost immediately on the heels of Tuesday night's statement, organizers of February's UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, announced Wednesday that they were terminating their sponsorship deal with the Exergy Group after the company fell more than $250,000 behind on payments, with another $100,000 quickly coming due.
Multiple race promoters and vendors throughout the US had already complained earlier this year that the Exergy Development Group had failed to meet sponsorship obligations to their events, including the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP), which nearly canceled its 2012 series before alternate sponsors stepped in to rescue the event. Exergy had been title sponsor of the 2011 series.
Besides the men's team and the USGP, Exergy Development Group also sponsored the women's Exergy-Twenty12 team, this year's inaugural women's UCI stage race in Idaho, the 2012 Nature Valley Grand Prix sprinter's jersey and the most aggressive rider jerseys for Medalist Sports-run Tour of California and Tour of Utah. The company was also listed as a Founding Partner, the highest level of sponsorship, for the 2012 USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, also run by Medalist Sports, and it sponsored the race's yellow jersey.
Exergy is one of USA Cycling's sponsors as well. Sean Petty, USAC's chief operating officer, confirmed Wednesday that Exergy had not submitted an application for a UCI license and that it had not paid its sponsorship obligation to USAC for 2012. A source familiar with the deal said Exergy had promised as much as $250,000 to USA Cycling, and its total commitment to races across the country likely topped $1.5 million.
The sponsorship news was not all bad, however, as Nature Valley Grand Prix race director David LaPorte told Cyclingnews Wednesday that Exergy had paid half of the money it still owes for the 2012 sponsorship, and it had made arrangements to pay the rest. LaPorte said he fully expects the company to fulfill its obligations to the Minnesota race, a non-profit entity that serves as a fundraiser for a local children's hospice. He said the delinquent Exergy money would have come directly from the race's contribution to the charity.
"Maybe that motivated them," LaPorte said. "It certainly motivates us."
Exergy faces federal lawsuits over energy projects
Carkulis founded Exergy in Helena, Montana, 11 years ago, and the company flourished in the intervening years as investment in sustainable energy grew. But reading the recent archives of Boise's Idaho Statesman is to witness a never-ending stream of building conflict and misfortune for the alternative energy company that claims to have projects in 17 states, and internationally from Argentina to Canada.
Exergy's problems include $323 million in suspended Idaho wind projects, loss of control of a Minnesota wind farm, federal lawsuits by suppliers targeting it for not meeting financial obligations and the possible cancellation of two bio gas-to-power projects amid a dispute with utility Idaho Power Co., which, among other things, is asking the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for permission to pursue Exergy for undisclosed damages for not delivering electricity when it said it would.
Carkulis, who was not available for comment Thursday, has blamed regulatory uncertainty and a "flurry of legal complaints" from Idaho Power for dampening investment in renewable energies, leading to the company's current woes.
Riders left out in the cold
Although the high-stakes games that take place across corporate conference tables and in federal courtrooms would seem a distant world away from the lives of modestly paid riders who compete in the US domestic peloton, those riders certainly feel the effects of the decisions made there.
Now as many as 13 of the team's 16-man 2012 roster are left looking for work at a time when most teams have already finalized their rosters for 2013. And although riders received their last paychecks for the 2012 season in October, most of them expected the checks for 2013 to start up again in January.
"I'm calling every director I know, and even ones I don't know," said former team rider Matt Cooke. "I'm calling and emailing everyone and begging. I'm begging for a job, and I don't think I should have to beg. I had a good year last year. I would like us all to be some place because we're all talented riders and have a lot of ability."
The sudden lack of employment without notice has already begun to cause financial hardships for riders like Cooke, who made plans and commitments while under the impression he would have a job next year. In his Tuesday evening statement, Carkulis hinted at a possible severance deal for riders who had signed for 2013, but Cooke said he hasn't heard any details about what that might entail.
"I use the money that I get from cycling to buy food," Cooke said. "It's like a regular job, and I work super hard at it. I'm pretty frugal, and I've always been that way. But even now I've over-extended myself. Everything would have been fine had the team continued. But all of the sudden I have the commitments that I've made. I leased a home in Arizona this winter so I can train and have a great season with my sponsor's name on the front of my jersey. Now I'm stuck with that."
All the riders Cyclingnews spoke with Wednesday said they had been assured repeatedly by team management that the squad would return for 2013. Despite the broken promises, none of the riders blamed McManus or Escalera partner Dave Beck for the current state of affairs.
Former team rider Quinn Keogh, who had already decided to retire from the professional level the sport next year, said he believes the sponsor over-promised to management, and management over-promised to riders.
"It kind of flowed from the top down," he said.
Cooke agreed with Keogh's assessment, adding that he believed the management team had done everything it could to make sure the riders were taken care of. Cooke also took exception to Carkulis' statement, which blamed recent "scandals and deceit" in cycling as his reason for pulling the plug without notice.
"I don't buy it," Cooke said. "Our team is as clean as it comes. We're the good guys here. If one wants to support clean cycling and show clean cycling can be done successfully, our team is a great example."
Cooke also hasn't lost hope that Carkulis and Exergy Development Group will follow through on the promise to take care of the riders who have been hit pretty hard by the news.
"Maybe James [Carkulis] comes through, maybe he does," Cooke said. "He's come through in the past, so I'm not going to slag him off. It hasn't been great, but what else do we have at this point except hope. He was always a really nice and genuine person when he talked to us. He came to the races and shook all of our hands. He knew us by name, and that felt really nice."
While Cooke is desperately seeking a new ride for 2013, Johnson appears to have all but thrown in the towel on his pro career.
"I love cycling and love to do that for my job," Johnson said. "But I'm going to be 30 this year, and I'm not willing to go back to my vagabond cyclist days where I made no money and had to wear out my welcome on every couch and basement floor between here and the coast to make it work. There's a lot I want to do in this life, and I don't know how much I want to keep chasing cycling. This could be it."
Johnson, who turned pro when he was 28, said the abrupt end to the Team Exergy ride has been pretty rough, but he believes after the shock wears off he will look back on the past two seasons fondly.
"Team Exergy was hitting snooze button on the alarm clock and getting to go back to sleep and keep dreaming this awesome dream for a couple of years," he said.
- Article published:
- November 29, 2012, 20:54
- Cycling News
Vacansoleil rider recovering from serious Tour de France crash internal injuries
Wout Poels is cautiously optimistic about his return to racing. The Vacansoleil-DCM rider suffered serious internal injuries in a crash near the end of the sixth stage of the Tour de France this summer, but hopes to be back in the peloton at the Tour of Algarve next year.
He was one of those caught up in a mass crash on that stage of the Tour, and was diagnosed with a ruptured spleen and kidney, bruised lungs and three broken ribs.
"But I have always been convinced that I can return to the top as a cyclist,” he told De Telegraaf, even though at one point his future career seemed to be in doubt.
For a time it was thought he would lose a kidney, which, a doctor told him, would mean he must find a news sports, as “cycling with one kidney at he highest level was impossible, according to him. I was just panicked. I immediately called my brother Norbert, but he knew within half an hour to announce that Maarten Tjallingii and Christophe Brandt also have only a single kidney.”
Now, six months later, examinations have showed that 25 percent of the kidney is dead, but the remaining 75 percent has a good supply. Further examinations of the kidney's functionality must be undertaken, but the prospect that he will lose the kidney is now gone.
He is slowly making his way back into the routine, as he knows he has a long way to go. "It's not like I was out with a broken collarbone. My condition was really far below zero. Four surgeries under general anesthesia, plus weeks on morphine and being bedridden. There was barely anything left of my muscles. I literally had to learn to walk again.”
Poels' first step, after first getting back on his bike the end of September, was a training camp in Spain two weeks ago with teammates Lieuwe Westra and Bert-Jan Lindeman, where he “assumed that I could not follow my colleagues during that first training camp.” While he was unable to do any of the lead work, he was able to keep up with them.
“That's a huge boost,” he said. “It shows that I can live as a professional cyclist. But I also understand that in the short term I can't expect too much from my body.”
His sight is now turned to Portugal in the middle of February. “I hope to return in the peloton at the Tour of Algarve. Without expectations, but full of ambition. "