After reports late last month that that Oleg Tinkov is set to up his stake with Bjarne Riis' Saxo-Tinkoff team, a new interview suggests that the Russian banking mogul will have greater influence on the squad.
"My ambition in cycling much more than to be the second sponsor," Tinkov told Eurosport, according to sports.ru. "In fact, we agreed that next year our team will be called Tinkoff Bank-Saxo Bank. We will be the first sponsor, Saxo Bank - the second. We still need to settle some details but I hope it happens."
Tinkov also said there will be between three and five Russians on the roster, including Ivan Rovny, who is currently signed for UCI Continental outfit Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest. The 25-year-old has also had stints with RusVelo, RadioShack and Katusha. Tinkov also indicated that any riders whose contracts are due to expire will have the option of staying on another season.
"I have a great relationship with Riis, but sometimes you have to argue with him, to prove something," Tinkov said. "When I'm the title sponsor, my impact on the team in terms of a squad of riders will increase significantly. Starting next year, my influence will be greater."
In June Tinkov denied a L'Equipe report that suggested that he would take over the license held by Riis but did admit he was negotiating the terms of an increased sponsorship arrangement.
"There will be no definitive statements now," he later told sportken.dk. "I have to wait until Paris. There will be two reports on the Champs Elysees. That [Alberto] Contador has won and who shall sponsor the team," Tinkov predicted.
Saxo Bank's contract with the team is due to end at the...
Euskaltel-Euskadi, the third longest surviving professional team in existence, has 45 days to find a new sponsor or will disappear at the end of the 2013.
“There are various possibilities, but nothing is actually signed,” Mikel Astorkiza, an executive with Euskaltel, told Basque newspaper El Diario Vasco and other Basque media in a series of interviews yesterday evening at the squad’s team hotel on the Tour de France.
Euskaltel have been the main sponsors of the Basque team since 1997, which started as a self-funded, grassroots project named simply Euskadi funded purely by local fans and designed to raise the profile of the Basque Country’s riders in 1994.
This year after the Euskadi Foundation, the original owners, and the team went their separate ways, a 19 year self-imposed condition that all riders were either Basque or had spent their amateur career in Basque cycling teams disappeared, and a series of professionals were signed from as far a field as Greece, Germany and Russia. A new era seemed to beckon. Instead the team is now on the verge of extinction.
One of the key reasons behind the possible collapse of one of Spain’s two WorldTour teams is financial, and has its roots in Spain’s deep recession, which has seen the country plunged into economic difficulty since 2008. Spanish races and teams have slowly but relentlessly been rubbed off the map.
Euskaltel, a telecommunications company, have already spent 45 million euros on backing the team and they initially promised this January to sponsor the team for a further four years. However, when the 3.5 million euros promised by Basque public institutions as part of a nine million euro annual budget failed to come through...
I have the best train to take me to the sprint, says German Champion
It wasn't long ago when Mark Cavendish dismissed the Tour de France sprinting ability of André Greipel but with three stage wins to his name in 2012 and one already in the bag during the opening week of the 100th edition of Le Tour, the German Road Champion has more than proven his place among the world's fastest sprinters.
Greipel, Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel enjoyed the first rest day with a win each but with four predicted sprint opportunities this week, it's anyone's guess who will enter the Alps with the upper hand.
Greipel has shown to be the master of the intermediate sprints but has not always put it together at the finish. However, when his Lotto Belisollead-out train is in full flight, there are few squads as a whole that have the cohesion to get the better of them.
"I have the best train to take me to the sprint, so it's me who wins," Greipel told Lavenir with his first victory in this year's race coming after an impressive display of team strength into Montpellier.
It hasn't been an entirely smooth first week for the Lotto Belisol squad with Jurgen Van Den Broeck, the Belgian who finished fourth overall in 2012, pulling out from the race after crashing and injuring his knee and with no other GC riders in the now eight-man outfit,
Team coach and former Tour de France stage winner Tom Steels hopes that Mark Cavendish can win in Saint-Malo, with Tony Martin then taking Tuesday's time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel.
"It's almost certain that the stage will finish with a sprint, so our objective is loud and clear: a win for Mark Cavendish," he told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure.
"There are four fast men in this Tour and they've all won a stage but in different ways. The wind could play a role but it will be a sprint, trust me."
"Tony Martin's time will come on Wednesday at Mont-Saint-Michel. His wounds are almost healed and time trials are his thing. We've missed his big engine but now he's ready roar again."
Corti praises Froome
Italian team manager Claudio Corti has revealed that he knew Chris Froome was a special talent as soon as he saw him riding at the Giro del Capo.
The current Colombia team manager ran the Barloworld team and signed Froome in 2009 after seeing in action at the 2008 Giro del Capo. Froome immediately paid him back by winning a stage in 2009.
"I signed him after seeing at the Giro del Capo in South Africa. He used a low gear on the climbs even back then and still uses it today, preferring to spin his gears," Corti told Italian television RAI.
"He immediately showed his special character when he moved to Italy. He wanted to live alone with his girlfriend and knew what he wanted to do in his career. He was more difficult to manage because...
Jezek will be first man off against the clock in stage 11
In stage 11 of the Tour de France on Wednesday, racers will go up against the clock in an individual time trial. One by one, the riders will cover 33km from Avranches - Mont-Saint-Michel. Six-time Paralympic Champion Jiri Jezek of the Czech Republic will be a special guest of the Tour, being the first rider to start the day's time trial.
"I will race as a cyclist, as a para-cyclist and in the name of all para-cyclists," said Jezek, according to the UCI.
"I will do my best to represent them well. My goal is just to enjoy it and of course I will do my best to show the high level of para-cycling. You get this kind of opportunity once in your life, so I want to shine. On the other hand, I am still missing one leg and of course that will play a role."
The 38-year-old Jezek turned pro in 2004 and has won six Paralympic gold medals since 2000. Each year, he logs 32,000km in training. He lost his right leg below the knee in a car accident when he was 11.
"I think (on Wednesday) that power output will be crucial," he said. "I would prefer it more rolling, more technical, but I'm super happy just to be there and I'm sure I will love it. The Tour de France is the most prestigious cycling event on the planet. I am very thankful to represent the para-cycling society there and I hope to do it in style."
Jezek leads the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup, but is in the midst of a mid-season break. He said he has been preparing for Wednesday's effort in a similar way to how he prepared for the 2012 London Paralympics, where he won gold.
He admitted to being both excited and nervous at the same time...
Voigt and Horner also on list of possible signings
Radioshack-Leopard team manager Luca Guercilena has told Cyclingnews that he would understand if Frank Schleck accepted a contract from a team for the remainder of the 2013 season but stressed that he still wants both Schleck brother to race for the new-look Trek team in 2014.
Trek bought the Radioshack-Leopard UCI WorldTour licence from current team owner Flavio Becca for next year but has so far only signed between eight and ten riders according to Guercilena. The Schlecks could be part of the final roster despite Frank being released last week, although Cyclingnews understands that both riders have been offered new contracts that are far lower than their current deal.
"We have a bunch of let's say 12 riders that we'd either like to keep or already have contracts. Then we have another group that we're looking to keep and then we have a few spaces left for new riders," Guercilena told Cyclingnews at the Tour de France.
Voigt and Horner on Guercilena's radar
Evergreen riders Jens Voigt and Chris Horner are both on Guercilena's radar but have not signed agreements with the team as of yet.
"Right now we have 8 signed riders for next year. Lets say 8 to 10. We're talking to Jens Voigt at the moment and for sure we'd like to have him but it's up to him to decide about his future. It's the same a little with Chris Horner who we're in discussions with. As you know he had a big injury this year and has been out for some months. He's coming back though and we'll analyse and discuss with him."
The team has already confirmed that Fabian Cancellara will ride for the new look team for the next three years and will most likely see out...
Time Machine, Rider Biometrics and Breakaway Explorer capabilities added
Cyclingnews and Tour Tracker have made three enhancements to their successful new Tour de France mobile app, the Cyclingnews Tour Tracker. All three additions are available now for download and further the aim of providing fans the premier mobile app for following the world's top professional cycling events, both as a primary source of information and as a second-screen for broadcast coverage. They are also announcing two new title sponsorships for this year's edition.
Tour Tracker Time Machine
The biggest addition is the preview release of Tour Tracker Time Machine, an exclusive new feature that provides users the ability to replay Tour Tracker's live data feeds (commentary, GPS tracking, race situation) from any point in a stage. This gives the app's users a revolutionary new second-screen option: the ability to synchronize real-time data from the race with any delayed video broadcast of the day's racing.
"Watching the Tour live is great, but the majority of fans I know watch their broadcaster's prime-time TV replay or watch online after work," said Tour Tracker CEO Allan Padgett. "Now, all the rich real-time data that put Tour Tracker and Cyclingnews on the map can be part of the tape-delayed experience. No waiting for announcers to remind you who is the break, no guessing where they are relative to the next big climb, and of course no spoilers. And the next version of Time Machine will include some mind-blowing data not even available to live viewers today."
With Time Machine, cycling fans in the US or UK, for example, can now combine NBC's and ITV's excellent video coverage with Tour Tracker's #1 rated user experience. No other mobile application has anything like this. It puts the Cyclingnews Tour Tracker in a class of its own as a second screen app for cycling.