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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Date published:
December 11, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Orica-GreenEdge primed for Le Tour de Langkawi debut

    Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) checks his gap on the final climb
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 3:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Meyer to lead team capable of capturing overall title

    Cameron Meyer will lead a powerful six-man team at next year's Le Tour de Langkawi after race organisers announced the addition of the Australian squad to the list of 22 invited teams. Orica-GreenEdge is the third ProTeam to sign-up after Astana and Garmin-Sharp confirmed its participation in the race running from 21 February-2 March.

    Orica-GreenEdge team manager Shayne Bannan is no stranger to the Tour de Langkawi. The former high-performance director of the Australian Institute of Sport was the director sportif for the Australian national team during the 1998 edition.

    "That's where our connection with the Mapei team and their training center in Italy started," said Bannan.

    "Our common history is a pretty long one," he added.

    Former Tour Down Under champion Cameron Meyer will be joined by former Australian national road champion and younger brother Travis who made his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España this year.

    One of the team's standout riders from 2012 Luke Durbridge, will no doubt use the 1,467.9km tour to build his condition for a big season in Europe. Next year’s edition has dropped the individual time trial in favour of a 162.7km opening stage which otherwise would have been perfect for the time trial specialist. The team’s second-youngest rider Durbridge is hoping to start his first grand tour next year and Langkawi should be ideal preparation for what may be a call-up for the Giro d’Italia.

    New Zealand’s Sam Bewley is also included in the line-up. Bewley officially signed with the ProTeam...

  • How World Series Cycling plans to reinvent the sport

    Jonathan Price explains the World Series Cycling project
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 5:22 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Gifted Group's Jonathan Price talks to Cyclingnews

    For more than a year rumours spread about the founding of a cycling breakaway league. On Monday Cyclingnews was one of the selected media who sat down with the men behind the World Series Cycling (WSC) project. Jonathan Price from the Gifted Group and business partner Thomas Kurth wanted to get rid of their renegade reputation while throwing their cards on the table to get their project into the next phase. The Gifted Group joined forces with Zdenek Bakala at the end of 2011. The Czech billionaire featured as a bridge between the WSC and the International Cycling Union (UCI). Discussions with the major race organizers have been started.

    "We're working with the UCI and Zdenek [Bakala] to build a competitive product that we think cycling fans worldwide want and which is good for the sport," Jonathan Price said.

    In the plans that were revealed on Monday the WSC is founded by eight current WorldTour teams, not including British top team Sky Procycling from Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. The calendar would feature 10 new worldwide Grand Prix 4-day events alongside the three Grand Tours and six of the major one-day classics (Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Giro di Lombardia).

    Each Grand Prix (Thursday-Sunday) would feature all the best riders and exist of a sprint stage, a mountain stage, a rolling stage and a time trial; five individual time trials and five team time trials spread over the 10 races. A simplified points structure would crown a world champion team and rider. Use of new technology would be encouraged while franchise regulations and a state-of-the art anti-doping program would eradicate doping. It appears the WSC will create a package which sells better to sponsors and broadcasters.

    Eight current WorldTour teams were formally presented on Monday as founders of the WSC project. The eight WSC teams are the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team...

  • Rodríguez wants Katusha license debacle "resolved"

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) climbs with Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) at the Tour of the Basque country
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 9:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI's number-one rider unsure of next step

    The news that Team Katusha would not receive a renewal of its UCI ProTeam license and a place in the WorldTour came as a shock to not only the cycling community but the team itself.

    Most were led to believe either Argos-Shimano or Team Saxo-Tinkoff would miss out on a ProTeam license, not the team led by the world’s number-one-ranked rider Joaquim Rodríguez.

    The UCI has stated the Russian team now has the option of applying for a Professional Continental license. Katusha has not yet received all the information explaining the refusal of its license application and until the specifics are known, Rodríguez prefers not to comment too much.

    "I do not know how it works and, until it we have clarity, I prefer not to say anything because everything you say can go against us. I'll see. Hopefully that is resolved," reported Biciclismo.

    Rodríguez amassed an impressive list of results this year that included second-place overall at the Giro d’Italia, third-place at the Vuelta a España while he closed the season with a win at the Giro di Lombardia.

    Without a spot in the WorldTour, Rodríguez will have to rely on wild card entries for his potential Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España campaigns. It's a familiar situation that led fellow Spaniard Alberto Contador to...

  • Lotto Belisol relieved to have WorldTour licence

    The Lotto Belisol Ladies team.
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 11:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    "Good for Belgian cycling"

    Lotto Belisol were thrilled by the news on Monday evening that they will be riding in the WorldTour in 2013. The Belgian team expected the top-ranked licence, but knew it had to wait for the final word.

    "We were pretty sure that we would get the WorldTour license, but it was still waiting for the official message came," general manager Bill Olivier told Het Nieuwsblad "That we have this licence of course makes a world of difference.”

    Lotto Belisol had been in the uncomfortable position of being on hold in the process. “We did not immediately get the green light, since we were 17th in the UCI ranking. Only the first fifteen teams received a license automatically. We had to defend our dossier in Geneva.”

    "That the license we achieve is certainly not a surprise but it was still waiting and that is never fun," added sports manager Marc Sergeant. "We now have the certainty that we are going to ride all the big races. Ideal for our internship continue to work in the best conditions. "

    “Any other decision would have surprised us, we were very hopeful that we would get a licence,” said sports director Marc Sergeant in the team's press release. "That we can ride all WorldTour races is reassuring. For all riders, staff and sponsors this is excellent news. It is also good for Belgian cycling, it was almost unthinkable that Lotto Belisol wouldn't have got a licence."

  • Sky lead with Boasson Hagen and Sutton at Tour Down Under

    Edvald Boasson Hagen moved onto the podium after the final stage of the race
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 12:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Classics contingent head to Australia

    Edvald Boasson Hagen and Chris Sutton will lead Team Sky at next month’s Santos Tour Down Under. The first WorldTour event of the year takes place between January 22 and 27 in Adelaide and marks the team’s fourth outing in the event.

    Sky made their debut in the race in 2010, picking up the final stage of the race through a Sutton sprint victory and the Australian will ally with Boasson Hagen, who finished 7th overall in 2012.

    Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas, Mathew Hayman and Bernhard Eisel will round out the rest of the team.

    The team will also race the People’s Choice Classic criterium before the Tour Down Under. Sky won the event in 2010 with a 1-2 finish from Greg Henderson and Chris Sutton.

  • Saxo-Tinkoff says right decision was made over WorldTour licence

    The new Saxo Bank Tinkoff team kit
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 13:37 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    UCI looked at strength of team and not just the numbers, team manager says

    Team Saxo-Tinkoff's WorldTour licence for 2013 was up in the air for a while, but now the Danish team knows that it can tackle cycling at the highest level in the coming year. Alberto Contador can prepare for the Tour de France, and the team's many other talented riders can look to the challenges facing them.

    Being assured that the team has the licence “feels good. It is nice, a relief,” team managing director Trey Greenwood told Cyclingnews Tuesday. “We're very happy and think it is the right decision.”

    It had been rumoured that Saxo-Tinkoff and Argos-Shimano would battle it out for the final remaining 2013 WorldTour spot, but in a surprise move, the UCI announced on Monday evening that both teams would receive the top licences, whilst Katusha was denied.

    Did Greenwood ever have doubts that things wouldn't work out? “Of course you have doubts. “But we went to the hearing and felt we had a strong case.  We have good riders and brought in new good riders.  All the other criteria were ok, it all comes down to the strength of the team.”

    It was more than just number-crunching involved in the UCI's decision, as the team would not have qualified under the points system.

    “Fortunately for us they look at the roster. If it was just  mathematics, we wouldn't be here, since they didn't count Alberto's points.”

    One of the team's top aims for 2013 will be leading Contador to the top step of the podium in Paris at the end of the Tour de France, but “the team is not just Alberto.”

    “We feel we have a lot of other guys who can win races. Bjarne [Riis] put together an excellent team with the budget he has, he is a genius at that.”

    For example, Greenwood...

  • UCI officially nullifies Armstrong's Tour de France titles and results

    Lance Armstrong in the Discovery Channel days
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 15:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    American has three weeks to appeal

    Lance Armstrong has officially lost his seven Tour de France titles and all of his other results after July 1998. The UCI informed him that the disqualifications were now in force, and he has three weeks to appeal that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    “Lance Armstrong’s lawyer was notified on 6th December that all his results since 1st August 1998 were nullified. He has 21 days to appeal,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told the Reuters news agency.

    The UCI action stems from the USADA anti-doping investigation of Armstrong, which ended with a lifetime ban for the American. It ruled that he had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.

    If Armstrong does not appeal this decision, he also faces the loss of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Earlier this month the IOC said that it would wait for this UCI action and the end of the appeal period before taking action.

    “The IOC today will not move because we need to have the situation whereby the UCI notifies officially Mr Armstrong of the fact that he will be disqualified and declared ineligible and that he should hand over his medal,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said on December 5.

    “When he will be notified Mr Armstrong will have 21 days to launch an appeal. It is only after that period that the IOC can legally take action.”

    Armstrong has consistently denied doping, and taken very little action concerning the USADA investigation. His attorneys made filings over the summer challenging the USADA's jurisdiction, which a federal court denied. Armstrong announced the end of August...

  • Katusha perplexed at 2013 WorldTour exclusion

    The Katusha team
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 18:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    UPDATE: Letter sent from Katusha to UCI protesting licence decistion

    One day after learning of the team's surprising exclusion from the 2013 WorldTour, Russia's Katusha Team has responded with incredulity at being denied a position amongst the 18 teams in road cycling's premier division. Katusha's management are perplexed that the team which included the 2012 WorldTour champion Joaquim Rodriguez, plus finished second overall on the WorldTour team standings, and among the top 15 regarding sporting criteria was the only current WorldTour team denied the opportunity to continue as such for next season. Dutch Pro Continental squad Argos-Shimano has been promoted to the WorldTour level while Katusha faces a downgrade.

    "At present moment, Katusha Team has no information regarding the reasons for the decision of the UCI to reject the request from the team for registration in first division," said the team in a statement. "Team management, riders and staff are extremely surprised by the lack of justification for such a decision made by the UCI."

    The team expressed its frustration at the UCI for a lack of communication regarding its WorldTour registration, a process the squad thought was proceeding without issue.

    "Thus earlier the team, which possesses rider No.1 in the world and has finished the season in second place in the UCI World Tour ranking, was informed that it satisfies all possible criteria required for participation in the first division," said Katusha. "The management of Katusha Team, its riders and staff are surprised by such a quick change of decision, lack of coordination inside the UCI press-service and a complete absence of reasons for such a fast decision.