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Rachel makes the move to 27.5in wheels
Ratboy's all-new 27.5in-wheeled downhill demon
Baby blue race rocket with lots of neat touches
Expanded, better value machines from Cannondale in 2015
Dutchman already thinking about next year's worlds
Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) has decided to call time on his 2011 season, citing fatigue and the injuries he sustained at the Tour de France as contributing factors. Hoogerland took out 12th in this year's Amstel Gold, but felt that continuing further this year "would hurt future seasons."
"I never had time to properly recover and regenerate since the end of the Tour," Hoogerland told De Telegraaf. "My body is just ‘done’. I’ve done two Grand Tours and rode 15 of the post-Tour criteriums. I’ve done something like 120 days of racing this year. I just don’t have the energy to continue."
The Dutch rider’s last race, the elite men’s road race in Copenhagen nearly ended well for Hoogerland, with the 28-year-old featuring in a late break that also included Thomas Voeckler. That move was eventually brought back by a tenacious British team; however it did give Hoogerland some encouragement for next year’s worlds taking place in Holland.
"It was great to have a go, but I’ll try again next year, when the championships return to Holland."
Hoogerland still thinks about what could have been at the Tour de France with ‘that crash’. In the day’s winning breakaway, he became the centre of global headlines when a media car from the convoy swerved suddenly as it attempted to drive past the escape, plowing into Hoogerland and throwing the Dutchman into a barbed wire fence on the side of the road.
Though it has helped to raise his profile, both in Holland and abroad, he regrets missing out on the opportunity to contest the finish.
"If I had won a stage and had retained the polka dot jersey for longer I would be really happy with the season. I was...
Organizers honour fans' wishes for the queen stage
The queen stage of the 2012 Giro d'Italia will climb the Mortirolo on its way to a mountain-top finish at the Stelvio. The mountain showdown will come on the race's penultimate day on Saturday, May 26.
"Never before has a major world event attempted this type of initiative,” race organisers said. The stage will be 218km long with a total of approximately 5,900 metres of climbing. Starting in Caldes, the riders pass through the Val di Sole before tackling the Passo del Tonale. Next up is the Aprica Pass, and after a rapid descent, the race will take on the tough climb of Teglio da Bianzone, which boasts gradients of up to 14%. A brief respite follows in the valley between Poggiridenti and Tirano, before the stage's set-piece climbs, the Mortirolo and the Stelvio.
The approach to the Mortirolo is a new one, from Tovo di Sant’Agata rather than from Valcamonica or Mazzo, but the climb is no easier for it – 11.4km at an average gradient of 10.4%, with slopes that pitch up to 21%. A fast, technical descent to Grosio follows before the riders face into the long haul to the finish at the summit of the Stelvio.
The difficulty of this final climb lies not just in its gradient (6.9% with a maximum of 12%) or its distance (22.4km), but also its altitude – at 2,758m, the Stelvio is the highest summit finish in the history of the Giro.
The stage route was chosen as the result of a fan poll, which asked them to pick the “climb-that-can-not-be-missed” for the 2012 Giro. Fans picked the Stelvio and the Mortirolo out of a selection of 32 ascents that have made the history of cycling.
"With a huge organizational effort, the Giro d’Italia managed to include both legendary climbs in the route of what will be the 'Giro 2012 Fan Stage', and - most probably - the stage where the next edition of the corsa rosa will find its winner,”...
David Tanner a dark horse for the race's overall
Saxo Bank-SunGard has announced its line-up for the upcoming Jayco Herald Sun Tour, with the team headlined by Tasmanian Richie Porte. The 26-year-old recently finished sixth in the elite men’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships.
Porte will be supported by a team that includes three other Australians; Baden Cooke, Luke Roberts and David Tanner, as well as Danes Kasper Klostergaard and Jonas Aaen Jorgensen.
"The course for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour is pretty exciting. The terrain this time is a little different to when I’ve previously ridden the Tour (2008 and 2009), where it was essentially dead flat with crosswinds," Porte said. "I think there’s a strong chance this race could be decided at Arthurs Seat."
Question marks remain over Porte's condition after a long season including a late call-up to a gruelling Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France. That may mean other riders including rising star David Tanner, who was 10th overall in the race last year, could be given the chance to lead.
"I’ll be there giving it my best shot at what will be my last race of the season, but I think Dave [Tanner] is going to shock a few people. He’s one who could really go for general classification," Porte said.
"Luke is coming into some good end of season form as well. He could go for a stage win anywhere and he’s capable of going for a small bunch sprint. Another one to watch is Jonas. He recently out sprinted Stuey O’Grady [at GP d’Isbergues], so he’s going to be hard to beat."
Saxo Bank-SunGard is the first UCI WorldTour team confirmed for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour - held in Victoria from...
German will lead HTC-Highroad in China
The first Tour of Beijing runs from October 5 to 9, and Martin will be at the head of what he calls a “strong team”.
"Winning the world title was a dream come true for me," Martin said. "I'm really excited to be able to wear the jersey for the first time in competition and I'm excited about racing in Beijing. There is a certain pressure that goes with wearing the world champion stripes but it also gives you confidence."
The German could also be a candidate for the overall title, as he proven himself as climber. In 2009 he won the mountains classification at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse, and this year won the overall title at Paris-Nice and finished second at the Tour de Romandie.
He will be supported by Vuelta a Espana stage winner Michael Albasini, Irish road and time trial champion Matt Brammeier, 2008 Olympians Kanstantsin Sivstsov and Hayden Roulston, and 2010 Vuelta third-place finisher Peter Velits, as well as Leigh Howard and Caleb Fairly.
"We'll have Leigh Howard for the sprints and the rest of the team is a great team for going for the overall, so we're looking forward to racing hard,” Martin said.
The Tour of Beijing is one of the final races for the team, which is ceasing operations the end of the year, and sport director Allan Peiper wants to finish off in style.
"We've had such a great season and we're motivated to win races right up until the end of the season," Peiper said. "We're looking forward to seeing what this new race will bring and...
Veteran Frenchman to extend with FDJ
Frédéric Guesdon (FDJ) has confirmed that he will continue his career at least until next season’s Paris-Roubaix. The veteran Frenchman turns 40 next month and has been offered a short-term contract extension by FDJ, although he has not ruled out continuing until the end of 2012.
“I’ll start again next season,” Guesdon told Velochrono.fr. “Maybe I won’t do the whole year, but for the time being, FDJ have proposed that I extend my career as a rider up until Paris-Roubaix. I still have the desire to do a full season. The form is still there, so I say to myself, why not! But for now, it’s planned only up until Roubaix.”
Guesdon, who won Paris-Roubaix in 1997 and Paris-Tours in 2006, admitted that he would like to stay in the sport on his retirement from racing. He is in the process of completing his studies for Brevet d’Etat certification as a sports coach, and was a guest directeur sportif for FDJ when Jérémy Roy won the Grand Prix de la Marseillaise last January.
“I’d like to continue in this environment, but I know that there aren’t a lot of places or a lot of doors open in that field,” Guesdon admitted. “I’m open to all offers. This winter I passed my last diploma and I will be completely finished in April.”
A top flight team since its inception in 1997, FDJ spent this season at Pro Continental level and Guesdon explained that the team was aiming to return to the WorldTour in 2012.
“This year, we’re doing everything we can, so we won’t have any regrets,” Guesdon said. “Not getting back to the first division would be a big...
Competitive squad eager to make their mark
Marco Bandiera, Dario Cataldo, Francesco Chicci, Iljo Keisse, Francesco Reda, Niki Terpstra, Matteo Trenti and Kristof Vandewalle will represent the Belgian team in Beijing.
The five-stage race contains two stages “that are suited to sprinters, two challenging stages which will give a definite shape to the race," said sports director Davide Bramati. The race also features a time trial which will see the riders use their regular road bikes, and which Bramati describes as "atypical.”
"Overall the race will take place on a balanced route which will touch on some very particular locations. For the riders and supporting personnel it will definitely be a new and unusual experience,” Bramati said.
“Our squad is competitive and contains athletes capable of leaving their mark, both in the stages suited to sprinters and the more complicated stages. It's a young team, but this is also why they are eager to show their worth in one of the last races of the season."
Iñaki Isasi set to become directeur sportif
Directeur sportif Gorka Gerrikagoitia will assume the role of head of sport at the Basque squad. Miguel Madariaga, president of the Fundación Euskadi structure which controls the team, will also take on the responsibilities of general manager.
“Gorka Gerrikagoitia will take care of the sporting side of things and together we must find a new directeur sportif,” Madariaga told Euskadi Irratia on Thursday morning.
Their search may well be a short one: Biciciclismo reports that current rider Iñaki Isasi is set to become a directeur sportif when he retires from racing at the end of this season. Isasi has spent all of his eleven seasons as a professional in the colours of Euskaltel-Euskadi.
Gonazalez de Galdeano announced his resignation as manager on Wednesday afternoon, citing personal reasons and a desire for new challenges.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Adrián Sáez de Arregi will ride for Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2012, after a successful season for its affiliated Orbea Continental team.
Dowsett aims at opening time trial
After surprisingly finishing the Vuelta a España in second place overall, just 13 seconds down on winner Juan José Cobo (Geox-TMC), Froome went on to play an important role in the the British team that propelled Mark Cavendish to victory at the UCI World Championships road race.
Froome’s performance in Spain netted him a new three-year deal with Sky, and he acknowledged that his morale is high heading into the new Chinese event.
“Confidence is high after a great second season for Team Sky and we will be looking to maintain the form that we have showed at the Vuelta and world championships in Beijing next month,” Froome said. “It is hugely exciting to be racing in China for the first time and a solid performance there would be a great way to end a fantastic season.”
The Tour of Beijing gets underway with a short time trial, and Sky’s Alex Dowsett will be aiming to be to the fore over the 11.3km course near the Olympic Stadium after recently being crowned British time trial champion.
“For me, the opening individual time trial is a big opportunity,” Dowsett said. “The course looks like it will really suit me. It is flat, fairly short and will be very quick. I feel I am riding well and in good form and to be able to ride through Beijing in my British national time trial champion's kit will be very special.”
Froome and Dowsett will...