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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Date published:
September 25, 2012, 20:00
  • Fan-funded women's team nearly a reality

    The junior women's peloton on the Cauberg
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 07:12
    Laura Weislo

    UK-based Matrix Fitness Prendas team capitalizes on social media

    Women's cycling teams all over the world, from amateur to the top level professional teams, have struggled for survival by trying to emulate the same system that men's teams use with ample success, but a group in the UK is capitalizing on social media to create a fan-funded women's team to try and reverse that trend.

    Stefan Wyman owns and manages the Matrix Fitness Prendas team, and came up with the idea after years of running women's teams and fighting for the meagre amount of sponsorship dollars available to women compared with men.

    He wrote an online article about his ideas, and it was picked up and promoted by others. "This was an idea and not something I had planned to put in place at the moment," Wyman told Cyclingnews. "But now with over 200 people confirmed as backing it, it's not easy to ignore."

    The fans who pledge will help to fund the Matrix Fitness Prendas team, a long established team in the UK which aims to build into a professional program by 2014, as well as the UK women's cycling community in general. The funds will be used to supplement those from sponsorship.

    "We can't expect this project to give us the funds needed to build a professional team from the ground up. But it could give us the community backing we need to inspire more corporate sponsors to come on board," Wyman said.

    "There is a lot of talk in the public domain about celebs backing women's cycling and it would be great to try to channel this into one place. We have big names who could transform the sport with words alone, like Brad Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton. But if everyone goes in different directions, we are not going to have the effect that is truly possible."

    Wyman plans to use half of any funds generated to help the team, and the rest to go toward resources to get more women into the sport, for race organisers and other teams.

    "We are determined this wouldn't help just our team, but the sport in general."

    The project is well on its way to reaching its goal of reaching 500 backers, with a total funding target of £50,000.

    For more information, go here.

  • Gilbert eyes Giro di Lombardia win

    Philippe Gilbert turned around his 2012 with a world championship gold medal.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 08:25
    Cycling News

    New world champion to skip Piemonte

    After his spectacular win of the World Championship road race last weekend, Philippe Gilbert is more motivated than ever to continue his success at the Giro di Lombardia this upcoming Saturday. In order to finish his season in true style, the BMC rider will skip the Giro del Piemonte taking place on Thursday and place all bets on the "race of the falling leaves" which he already won twice, in 2009 and 2010.

    "Phil is very motivated to take his first win wearing the rainbow jersey on Saturday in Lombardia," BMC sports director Rik Verbrugghe told Sporza. "He didn't party for very long, the course suits him and he's fit."

    Initially, Gilbert's race programme included the Giro del Piemonte - which he also won twice, each time as an 'appetizer' for Lombardia - but the Belgian decided to skip the event this year to fully concentrate on the WorldTour Classic.

    Verbrugghe had no doubt in his mind that Gilbert had fully overcome the difficulties that overshadowed his 2012 season until his World Championship win, and that he would now return to the level he had in 2011, when he won almost anything he had picked as an objective.

    "Every champion has an off-year," the sports director continued. "I think that Philippe had it now and that we will see a beautiful World champion next year."


  • Contador to end season at Giro di Lombardia

    Alberto Contador salutes the crowd in Madrid having sealed his second Vuelta win
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 09:54
    Cycling News

    2012 Vuelta a España winner to line up at Milan-Turin and Lombardia

    Following his 2012 Vuelta a España victory and his solid performance at the Limburg World Championships, Alberto Contador will be ending his season with the Giro di Lombardia this Saturday. The Spaniard's press officer Jacinto Vidarte confirmed to Cyclingnews that the 'race of the falling leaves' in Northern Italy will be Contador's last competition this year, which started only at the beginning of August following the rider's doping suspension.

    Contrary to what had initially been envisaged, Contador will not line up in in the Giro del Piemonte prior to 'Il Lombardia' this week-end. Instead, the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank rider will be taking part in Milan-Turin on Wednesday to prepare for the final 2012 World Tour event on European soil.

    Vidarte also confirmed that the Grand Tour winner will be staying in Italy on Sunday to attend the official 2013 Giro d'Italia presentation.

    The Danish team has announced the following line-ups for the Italian races:

    Milan-Turin (September 26): Alberto Contador, Manuele Boaro, Anders Lund, Rafal Majka, Mads Christensen, Bruno Pires, Chris Sorensen and Matteo Tosatto.
    Giro del Piemonte (September 27): Manuele Boaro, Mads Christensen, Anders Lund, Rafal Majka, Bruno Pires, Nicki Sorensen, Matteo Tosatto and Troels Vinther.
    Giro di Lombardia (September 29): Alberto Contador, Manuele Boaro, Rafal Majka, Sérgio Paulinho, Bruno Pires, Chris Sorensen, Nicki Sorensen and Matteo Tosatto.

  • Video: Giro d'Italia 2013 video teaser

    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 11:10
    Cycling News

    The emotions and drama of the Corsa Rosa

    The route of the 2013 Giro d’Italia will be unveiled on Sunday and organiser RCS Sport has produced this spectacular teaser video, highlighting the emotions of the corsa rosa.

    The video includes some of the most memorable moments of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, from Mark Cavendish’s high-speed crash in Denmark on stage two, to the snow covered Passo dello Stelvio and Ryder Hesjedal’s victory in the final time trial in Milan.

    The 2013 Giro d’Italia will be the 96th edition of the race. RCS Sport has already revealed the race will start in Naples on Saturday May 4 and end on May 26.

    Last week, during a visit to the the Interbike show in Las Vegas, race director Michele Acquarone revealed that a stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia will finish at the summit of the Col du Galibier in France.


  • IG Pro Cycling Index: World Championships deliver a shake up

    Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) in the rainbow jersey after what has been an difficult year on the bike
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 12:58
    Cycling News

    Wiggins still leads

    A thrilling race in Holland saw Philippe Gilbert power to his best win of the season. Gilbert’s impressive attack on the final ascent of the Cauberg could not be matched by any of the other Worlds elite. The 2011 IG Pro Cycling Index winner has had a tough year trying to replicate his superb shape from 2011. He has spent the majority of the year sliding down the rankings. Before the Worlds Gilbert was 51st overall but his result in Valkenburg has lifted him to 21st overall.

    One rank below Gilbert on the podium in Holland was Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky. Boasson Hagen has had a varied season. He failed to live up to expectations in the Classics season with a fifth in Gent-Wevelgem his best result. Since that, the disappointed Norwegian went onto win his local race; the Tour of Norway. He then helped Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France and enjoyed a win in the GP Ouest-France – Plouay and a fifth place in GP de Montreal. These results have seen him yo-yoing up and down the top 20 in the rankings. After his result at the worlds he is back up to 10th.

    Completing the podium was Spaniard Alejandro Valverde in third place. The controversial rider returned to the professional peloton this year at the Tour Down Under after a doping ban. He had a strong start to the season with second overall at the Tour Down Under, winning the Vuelta a Andalucía and finishing third overall at Paris-Nice. He rode the Tour de France picking up a stage win and then impressed many at the Vuelta a España where he focused on general classification and came second overall. His ranking position has steadily risen throughout the year and after his worlds performance he is now in fifth spot.

    With many riders moving up in the index there will always be others going the opposite direction. The big fallers this week were the riders who excelled in the 2011 World championships. Mark Cavendish, the 2011 champion, has dropped to the lowest position of the year: seventh. The Manxman has not had a stellar season but still picked up 15 wins throughout the season including six Grand Tour stages.

    Matthew Goss narrowly lost out to Cavendish in the 2011 Worlds and has spent much of this year finishing runner-up. The Australian has come in second place eight times this year and only notched up two victories. Despite this, Goss has still maintained a high position in the Pro Cycling Index due to consistent high placings on sprint stages especially in Grand Tours where he had 11 top ten finishes. Goss dropped 15 places to 36th after his point’s loss from the 2011 World Road Race.

    Further down the Index, a big mover was the American Taylor Phinney. The BMC rider climbed 31 places to 54th after his second place in the Worlds time trial. This is another great achievement for the young rider who wore the Pink Jersey at the Giro d’Italia this year and has pain of finishing in fourth place in the Olympic road race and time trial.

    Johan Van Summeren remains the rider in the top 200 who has raced the most days and total distance. In his 94 days of racing, the Belgian rider has notched up an impressive 16,034km. He must be looking forward to the end of the season.


    About the IG Markets Index

    The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12-month rolling ranking system designed answer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” We teamed up with sports data experts Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system that was based on an entirely new formula. We source results from the 120 top international road races throughout the season. Races are ranked by our expert panel, based on their prestige and their importance to cycling fans and put into four tiers in three different categories.

    The IG Pro Cycling Index has a number of features that make it unique: Races are tiered depending on history, importance and calibre of field rather than UCI Class. So winning the Tour of Beijing will not give you the same points as winning Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné. Wins carry much greater weight and are rewarded more than placings. Bonus points are awarded for multiple victories in the top races, winning the most prestigious stages at the Grand Tours or winning multiple classics.


  • Sayers resigns as BMC directeur sportif

    Mike Sayers during the 2007 Tour de Nez.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 16:20
    Laura Weislo

    Wants more time with family

    Mike Sayers has been with the BMC Racing Team since its inception in 2007, when he joined as a rider on the US Continental squad, and as a directeur sportif since 2009 after retiring from the peloton, but he is set to leave at the end of this season just as the team has reached the pinnacle of its success in the WorldTour.

    Four years of spending the majority of the year away from his young son Brody and his wife Nicole has worn on the Sacramento, California resident, and the team was not willing to give him more time stateside.

    "It was not my first choice to leave, but that's how it worked out," Sayers told Cyclingnews. He has one more race to direct before stepping away from the team.

    "It is difficult to make this choice, but cycling is cycling. I'm not going to decide against my son. My wife and I have been discussing this for the past six months, trying to figure out how to make it work, so it isn't a snap decision. We decided that if the team wasn't going to give me more days at home, I would stop.

    "My wife is in banking and has a successful career, and we decided we wouldn't give up her career to move our family to Europe. You have to be full time over there, and the past four years I've been averaging 60 days per year with my family. I just don't think it's appropriate anymore."

    After working full time since age 16, including his lengthy career as a professional cyclist, it is unlikely that Sayers will be content to be a stay at home father.

    "I think I've been good at getting projects off the ground. I was part of building the Mercury team, we had the aim of growing from a Continental team to the ProTour, but that didn't work, and then with BMC. I've seen both sides. The work with BMC has been very rewarding, the riders and staff there are like family, they really are.

    "Jackson Stewart and I were the first established professionals that Gavin Chilcott hired in 2007, to help start the team. That's the most difficult part of letting it go.

    "I'm pretty sure someone in cycling will give me an opportunity in the future. I have a lot more experience now then when I retired as a professional cyclist. I have more language skills and operational skills, so I'm a little more relaxed now [about the future]."

    In addition to looking forward to more time with his family, Sayers is also keen to reconnect with one of his other loves - his bicycle.

    "I became a professional cyclist because I loved riding, so I'm looking forward to getting back on my bike a little as well as touching base with all the friends who I haven't had time for over the past four years."

    He also hopes to stay connected with USA Cycling, after directing the men's elite teams for the 2012 Olympic Games and UCI Road World Championships.

    "Those races were definitely the highlight of my career," Sayers said. "We have a really good group of young guys who are on the cusp of something really good. With a little more work and more maturity, they can be very good in Richmond in 2015. I'm pretty excited about the group we have coming through USA Cycling right now, and would like to stay involved with them in some fashion."

  • Bettini defends Italian team despite poor result in Valkenburg

    The Italian squadra poses for an official photo with national coach Paolo Bettini
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 17:04
    Stephen Farrand

    Former world champion keen to stay in charge

    Paolo Bettini has his defended the performance of the Italian team at the world championships and insisted that he is ready to develop a four-year project to help Italian's cycling improve in road races and time trials.

    Bettini won the world title as a rider in 2006 and 2007 and won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, yet in three years as national coach, no Italian has managed to finish on the podium on the elite men's road race. Oscar Gatto was Italy's best rider in Valkenburg, finishing 13th behind Philippe Gilbert after ailing to follow the Belgian when he attacked on the Cauberg.

    "We're missing a finisher like Gilbert. In Italy the only real classics riders are Pozzato, Ballan and Gasparotto. But I couldn't select them. We've got to work with the young riders in future and believe in them," Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport, reviewing the Italian performance.

    Six of the nine riders in the Italian team had never been part of the professional squad for the world championships before Valkenburg. Bettini was force to select a swath of younger riders after the Italian cycling federation adopted a rule forbidding any riders under investigation for doping from the national squad.

    Vincenzo Nibali was the designated team leader of the Italian team, with Gatto and 23 year-old Moreno Moser given key roles. Nibali lead the race on the final time up the Cauberg but was unable to respond to Gilbert's blistering attack. Gatto suffered a nasty cut on his knee in a crash 80km from the finish but was not well positioned before the Cauberg.

    "We did everything right until two laps to go and even rode really well on the descent before the Cauberg but then we shouldn't have been on the front on the climb," Bettini said.

    "We should have kept Nibali well placed but he shouldn't have attacked before Gilbert did. Gatto should have been on Gilbert's wheel so that he could have replied to his attack. But he was 20th going into the Cauberg and was seventh over the top of the climb. If we calculate that every bike is two metres long…."

    Four more years

    Critics in Italy have suggested Bettini was far better as a rider than he is as a coach. However, he seems to enjoy the role and wants to be in charge for the next four years and especially in 2013 when his home region of Tuscany will host the world championships.

    "I get on with the riders. I like working with them and I don't want to leave them I could have an easy life but this is my world," Bettini said.

    "I'm going to have a break but before I do I'll sit down and write my report. I want to help the Federation and not only the professional part of Italian cycling. I've got a project in mind for the next four years. We've got to work together on the structure, use of the riders and relationships with the teams. BMC finished second in the team time trial title and three of the six riders were Italian (Quinziato, Ballan and Pinotti). For their team time trialing is like a religion. We've got to work on it too to do it right. We've got to work together. I'm keen to do it."

  • 2013 Giro d'Italia set to finish in Brescia

    The peloton en route to Brescia in the picturesque Lombardy region.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2012, 18:33
    Cycling News

    Details of key stages emerge before Sunday's presentation

    The official presentation of the route of the 2013 Giro d'Italia will be held on Sunday but details of the three-week race have emerged in the Italian press.

    RCS Sport has already announced that the Giro d'Italia will start in Naples on May 4. According to reports in Italy, the Giro will end in the northern city Brescia and not Milan on Sunday May 26.

    According to a report in the Tuttosport newspaper, the Giro d'Italia will also visit the island of Ischia, close to Naples on stage two for a team time trial. The Giro d'Italia has only visited Ischia once before, in 1959, when Antonio Catalano beat Jacques Anquetil in as time trial. The decision to visit Ischia is likely to mean the opening stage in Naples will be a road race stage, perhaps on a city centre circuit.

    The first week of the Giro d'Italia will head south to the toe and heel of the Italian peninsula for stages in Calabria and Puglia before heading up the Adriatic coast.

    Latest reports suggest that a long individual time trial after a week of racing will shake up the overall classification. This will suit Vincenzo Nibali –who will target the Giro d'Italia with his new Astana team, and is expected to to convince Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky to go for a rare Giro d'Italia –Tour de France double. The 2013 Giro route is also expected to include a mountain time trial on stage 19, pushing the total of time trials in the Giro close to 100km.

    The first rest day is expected on Monday May 13 after a stage finish in Florence after a lap of the circuit up to Fiesole that be will be used at the world championships in Florence. The rest day will also see the Giro transfer north-east for the first mountain stages in the Friuli region and a finish on the Malga Montasio high plain at 1500 metres.

    The mountain stages are expected to begin with a visit to the Friuli region in the north-east. The race will then head east via Treviso and Cherasco before the finish at the summit of the Galibier on Sunday May 19. The Giro heads back to Italy for the second rest day on Monday May 20 before climbing into the mountains. Stage 18 should include the legendary Gavia, with a testing mountain time trial between Mori and Polsa in the Trentino region on Friday May 24.

    The final stage to Brescia is expected to start in Vicenza to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of component manufacturer Tullio Campagnolo.