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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Date published:
October 01, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Rasch to be directeur sportif at Sky in 2015?

    Gabriel Rasch signed from FDJ at the end of the season
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 9:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Norwegian to ride one more year

    Gabriel Rasch will ride one more year for Team Sky before becoming a directeur sportif for the British team in 2015, according to media reports in Norway.

    The 37-year-old would not confirm, the story, telling, “I do not want to comment.”

    The broadcaster reported that the team offered him another year on the bike before moving him into a team car. He is expected to work closely with fellow Norwegians, Kurt Asle Arvesen, a coach with the team, and his current teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    “This is a great vote of confidence in Gabriel, and means that Sky has seen something special in him,”'s cycling expert Johan Kaggestad said. “The main point as a sports director is to know the sport and Gabriel does , having been active for many years. He has a very good head for cycling tactics."

    “He is lucky to get another year, for there are plenty of professional riders with better palmares who are out of work after this season. But this is a recognition of the efforts he has put in as a loyal team player.”

    Rasch turned pro in 2008 with Credit Agricole before joining Cervelo (later Garmin) for three years. He rode for FDJ -BigMat in 2012 and then joined Sky this year.

  • Nieve confirms two-year deal with Sky

    Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 11:16 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Basque climber looking forward to joining “the best team in the world”

    Mikel Nieve has confirmed rumours circulating at the World Championships last week that he has agreed to join Sky Procycling on a two-year deal from the start of next season. The 29-year-old Basque climber has a contract with his current Euskaltel-Euskadi team that runs to the end of 2014, but has been free to pursue other options since Euskaltel announced their decision to leave the sport at the end of this season.

    Speaking to El Diario de Navarra, Nieve admitted he had not considered joining the new team led by F1 star Fernando Alonso, who had been negotiating to take over the Euskaltel set-up. “Even before the Fernando Alonso option appeared I was already convinced that I wanted to go to Sky,” he said. “I’ve still not signed because I wanted to see how things played out with Euskaltel, but I’ve agreed a two-year deal.”

    Nieve revealed that he is ready to take on a new role as a support rider when he joins the British team having established himself as a grand tour leader during his five seasons with Euskaltel. Over that period he has finished 10th in the Giro and Vuelta, winning stages at both races. This summer, he made his debut at the Tour de France, finishing 12th thanks largely to an impressive showing on Mont Ventoux, where he finished third behind yellow jersey Chris Froome.

    “I fully understand that I am going to be working for other team-mates, and that this is a team where I can provide real support in mountain stages,” he said. “I know that I am going to a team in which I am going to ride in a very different way and in which things are going to be very different all-round. I believe this change will suit me very well. It is the best team in the world and I believe I...

  • Horner's season over due to broken ribs

    Vuelta winner: Chris Horner (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 11:59 BST
    Cycling News

    No Lombardy or Tour of Beijing for American

    Chris Horner has brought the curtain down on his season after breaking his ribs in a crash during the world championships road race in Florence on Sunday. The RadioShack-Leopard rider had been due to compete at the Tour of Lombardy and Tour of Beijing.

    “Everything went well in the last couple of months, except for the world championships,” Horner said. “Broken ribs are really painful and I'll be off the bike for at least two or three weeks. It's sad that I can't finish my season on a good note in Lombardy or China.”

    The 41-year-old Horner had arrived at the world championships as an outsider for the rainbow jersey after claiming a surprise overall victory in the Vuelta a España ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.

    The American was one of a number of fallers on the rain-soaked opening lap of the Florence circuit on Sunday, however, and his Worlds challenge ended prematurely.

    In spite of his unexpected success at the Vuelta, Horner is still without a contract for the 2014 season and last week he took the step of releasing his biological passport data in order to “allow fans to feel confident in his victory at the Vuelta a España and the current state of the sport of cycling.”

    Previously, Horner had opted not to answer when asked by Cyclingnews if his was a redacted name in rider testimony published last year as part of USADA’s Reasoned Decision on the Lance Armstrong doping case.

  • Sojasun held failed merger talks with NetApp-Endura

    Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun) collects himself after finishing on Mont Ventoux
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 13:21 BST
    Cycling News

    French team will disband at the end of 2013

    Sojasun manager Stéphane Heulot has revealed that he had discussed a possible merger with NetApp-Endura as he sought to save his team for 2014. The Frenchman said that he withdrew from negotiations when it became clear that NetApp-Endura was interested only in securing the services of Heulot and five of his riders rather than in a fuller amalgamation between the two Pro Continental teams.

    “It seemed ideal to me but when I started talking with them, I realised that they didn’t want much from the existing Sojasun team other than five riders and me,” Heulot told L’Équipe. “I quickly put an end to the negotiations. It was inconceivable for me to leave the rest of the team and staff.”

    On Monday it was confirmed that Sojasun will disband at the end of the season after failing to secure an additional sponsor for next year. Heulot had already informed his riders on August 1 that they were free to search for new teams for 2014, although he had continued to look for a new backer in the intervening period.

    “The doors that were open in July subsequently closed one by one, as if the passion of the Tour de France and the interest we could have stoked had disappeared,” said Heulot. “Sojasun didn’t want to leave cycling, but they couldn’t guarantee the same budget by themselves, which they had done in 2013.”

    While Heulot is determined to work on securing a sponsor for 2015 – “I want to believe that our story isn’t over, that it’s just a page that’s turning” – only five of Sojasun's 23 riders currently have contracts for next season. 

    Julien Simon and Cyril Lemoine have already been confirmed...

  • Endura Racing insist that Tiernan-Locke was physiologically tested by Sky during passport anomaly

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky Procycling)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 13:52 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Zero tolerance team tested rider

    Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s former team, Endura Racing, have issued a statement in which they claim that their former rider was physiologically tested by Team Sky during the same period in which the UCI are seeking clarification of the blood values recorded in the rider’s biological passport.

    Tiernan-Locke signed for Dave Brailsford’s team on the back of a string of wins in early 2012. He won the Tour of Britain later in the season before linking up with the British national team, and Brailsford, for the world championships. He was Great Britain’s top finisher in the race.

    Sky had been trailing Tiernan-Locke since the spring, a matter his old team boss Brian Smith confirmed to Cyclingnews on Sunday. Brailsford and Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters both approached Smith with a view to signing Tiernan-Locke but Team Sky won out, with the Devon-born rider plumping for Sky.

    According to Smith, Garmin had tested the rider in the spring though and he added that no abnormalities showed up. It is not clear whether Garmin offered the rider a contract but Smith told Cyclingnews that, “In early April we were contacted by Garmin and I spoke to Jonathan Vaughters about it. We were also approached by Brailsford and he asked my thoughts at that time. I said John was the real deal and that we didn’t see there being any problems.”

    In a statement issued on Tuesday, Endura Racing claimed that, “JTL joined Endura Racing in January 2012 and, when it became clear he had WordTour potential, was made available to Team Garmin-Sharp in April for physiological tests. No adverse results were reported back."

  • Report: 2014 Giro d'Italia route to honour Marco Pantani

    Marco Pantani wins at Montecampione during the 1998 Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 14:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Tuttosport predicts Oropa and Montecampione summit finishes

    The route of the 2014 Giro d’Italia will pay tribute to Marco Pantani with three climbs in his honour, according to a report in Tuttosport on Tuesday. Ten years on from his tragic death, the Giro is set to visit Pantani’s favourite training climb, Monte Carpegna, and will also feature summit finishes at the sites of two of his most memorable victories – Oropa and Montecampione.

    Some details of the 2014 Giro have already been announced by RCS Sport, and the entire route will be officially unveiled in Milan next Monday, but as per tradition, the Turin-based Tuttosport newspaper has already pieced together what it understands to be the percorso of next year’s race.

    As was confirmed last week, the Giro will have three rest days in 2014 in order to facilitate the transfer from the start in Ireland back to Italy. The race gets underway in Belfast on Friday, May 9th with a team time trial, with a road stage starting and finishing in the city the following day. Stage 3 is from Armagh to Dublin.

    After the early rest day, the Giro resumes on Italian soil on Tuesday, May 13th, with a stage from Bari to Taranto. According to Tuttosport, the first hilltop finish comes at Viggiano on stage 5, while the next day, the Giro will visit Montecassino, 70 years on from its lengthy bombardment during World War II.

    Stage 8 will see the Giro’s first tribute to Marco Pantani, with his personal testing ground of Monte Carpegna featuring just before the finish at Montecopiolo. After the Giro’s second rest day in Modena on May 19th, the race travels westwards via Salsomaggiore and Savona, before the first individual time trial, a 46km...

  • Leukemans among Vacansoleil-DCM riders moving to Accent Jobs-Wanty

    Hilaire Van Der Schueren is an assistant directeur sportif for Vacansoleil-DCM
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 16:53 BST
    José Been

    Van Der Schueren takes over Accent Jobs-Wanty squad

    Hilaire Van Der Schueren will take over the Accent Jobs-Wanty squad with road construction company Wanty as title sponsor. Several riders from the Vacansoleil-DCM team, where Van Der Schueren was sports director this year, will find a place with the Belgian ProContinental team next season.

    "But I can't take everyone," the Belgian director sportif told NOS.

    "It's going to be a ProContinental team with 20 to 25 riders," Van Der Schueren said. "We found a second title sponsor which will be revealed soon. I had to send all the paperwork to UCI before the first of October. They received it this morning."

    One of the riders who will ride for the team in 2014 is Björn Leukemans. The Belgian veteran is a Classics specialist and has several top 10 places in the Spring Classics on his palmares. The 36-year-old rode for Vacansoleil-DCM team from the start in 2009. In that time, he won the Druivenkoers four times and was victorious in the overall of the 2011 Tour de Limousin.

    "Leukemans will sign today or tomorrow. I don't know where Johnny Hoogerland stands at the moment. I know he was negociating with Astana, Lampre-Merida and Alonso's team. I like Johnny and will talk with him tomorrow," said Van Der Schueren.

    Another rider who was talking with Alonso's 2014 Euskaltel project was sprinter Kenny van Hummel. "He had a deal with Alonso, but obviously that didn't go ahead. I haven't spoken to him yet," said Van Der Schueren.

    Marco Marcato was on the list of Wanty for 2014, but the Italian rider got a better deal with Cannondale. "Marco will sign with Cannondale. Juan Antonio Flecha called me last...

  • Astarloza announces his retirement

    Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
    Article published:
    October 01, 2013, 18:15 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Euskaltel rider describes decision “as the hardest of my life”

    Euskaltel-Euskadi stalwart Mikel Astarloza has announced that he is to retire from racing following his participation in the Tour of Beijing later this month. In an open letter released to his team, Astarloza described the decision as “the hardest I have had to take up to now, but I am going to be 34 and I believe this is the moment for a lifestyle change.”

    Astarloza turned pro in 2002 with Ag2r, who were pointed in the Basque rider’s direction by his cousin Iñigo Chaurreau, who was then one of the leaders on the French team. The following season Astarloza won the Tour Down Under, which was his most notable success until he joined Euskaltel in 2007.

    He quickly established himself as one of the leaders on the Basque squad, particularly at the Tour de France. In 2009, he won the 16th stage of the Tour, but was subsequently stripped of the victory when it was revealed he had tested positive for EPO the previous month. Banned for two years, he returned to racing with Euskaltel in 2011.

    “I’ve always said that I loved the Tour de France and being able to ride it nine times has been an honour,” said Astarloza. “It’s been a long road on which I’ve made many friends, I’ve visited a lot of places and I will leave with some very wonderful memories.”