Cadel Evans (BMC) will head back to Australia earlier than expected to take part in an official celebration in honour of his history making Tour de France victory. The official ceremony will take place in Evans’s home state of Victoria on August 12 and will be hosted by the Premier, Ted Baillieu.
"Cadel is coming home especially for this event, which will include a short bike ride and a celebration at Federation Square where Victorians will have a wonderful opportunity to yell for Cadel," said Mr Baillieu. "Victorians who watched Cadel’s victory were inspired and had their spirits lifted by his resilience, perseverance and sheer guts."
“Now they will have an opportunity to honour this inspirational Victorian champion in person."
Twice runner-up, Evans is the first Australian – and only the third non-European – to claim overall victory in the race’s 98-year history.
"I invite Victorians to join us in honouring Cadel on Friday 12 August, and to wear and wave the famous Cadel yellow," Mr Baillieu said.
Evans will fly to the US after his brief appearance in Australia to take part in the inaugural US Pro Cycling Challenge. The race will conclude Evans’s season.
To keep up with all the transfer news, Cyclingnews has put together a handy summary of all the new signings, re-signings, retirements and exits to keep you from getting lost. We'll be adding updates as all the news comes in so be sure to check back to get the latest updates.
AG2R La Mondiale
Ins: Sylvain Georges (Big-Mat Auber 93), Romain Bardet (Chambéry CF), Jimmy Casper (Saur Sojasun), Manuel Belletti (Colnago CSF Inox), Julien Berard (re-signed), Amir Zargari (Azad University), Boris Shiplevsky (Tabriz Petrochemical)
Outs: David Le Lay (Saur Sojasun), Cyril Dessel (retiring), Yuriy Krivtsov, Julien Loubet
Under contract: William Clarke, Stefan Denifl, Brice Feillu, Linus Gerdemann, Dominic Klemme, Anders Lund, Martin Mortensen, Giacomo Nizzolo, Joost Posthuma, Rüdiger Selig, Tom Stamsnijder, Oliver Zaugg Not under contract: Martin Pedersen, Thomas Rohregger
Ins: Alessandro Vanotti, Sylvester Szmyd, Cristiano Salerno, Peter Sagan, Juraj Sagan, Daniel Oss, Vincenzo Nibali, Alan Marangoni, Kristjan Koren, Mauro Da Dalto, Damiano Caruso, Paolo Longo Borghini, Ivan Basso, Valerio Agnoli, Elia Viviani, Fabio Sabatini, Simone Ponzi, Maciej Paterski, Davide Cimolai, Eros Capecchi, Maciek Bodnar (all re-signed)
Outs: Davide Cimolai
Ins: Giovanni Visconti, Pablo Lastras Garcia, Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil, Angel Madrazo, Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi, Sergio Pardilla Bellon, Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (all re-signed), Jonathan Castroviejo (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Outs: José Vicente Garcia Acosta (retired)
Lotto-Belisol (was Omega Pharma-Lotto)
Ins: Jurgen Van den Broeck, Bart De Clercq, Francis De Greef, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, André Greipel, (Ger), Adam Hansen (Aus), Olivier Kaisen, Maarten Neyens, Vicente Reynes (Spa), Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Jurgen Vandewalle, Jelle Vanendert, and Frederik Willems
New signings: Lars Bak (Den), Gaetan Bille, Brian Bulgac (Ned), Sander Cordeel, Greg Henderson (Nze), Frederique Robert, Mehdi Sohrabi (Iri), Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jonas Vangenechten and Joost Van Leijen (Ned)
Ins: John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad), Koen de Kort (re-signed), Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad), Yann Huguet, Tom Veelers, Albert Timmer, Marcel Kittel, Alexandre Geniez, Simon Geschke, Johannes Frohlinger, Bert De Backer (all re-signed), Jonas Aaen Jørgensen, Jaroslaw Marycz and Ran Margaliot
Paolo Bettini has included three Giro d’Italia stage winners in the Italian line-up for the London 2012 Olympic test event on August 14.
Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD) have all been rewarded for their summer form with selection for the London-Surrey Cycle Classic.
Gatto took victory in the Trofeo Matteotti on Sunday to add to his clever win at Tropea in the Giro, while Ulissi followed his own Giro victory with an impressive win at the Tour of Slovenia.
“It’s without doubt a team that is looking to the future,” said Bettini, who also included young sprinter and Brixia Tour stage winner Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) in the line-up, along with veteran Luca Paolini (Katusha).
Paolini has been Bettini’s regista, or road captain, since he took charge of the Italian set-up, and he was fulsome in his praise of his former Mapei and Quick Step teammate. “He experienced the Olympic adventure in Athens and the success we captured there, so he is well capable of understanding the workings of an Olympic race,” Bettini said, explaining Paolini’s selection in the otherwise youthful line-up.
The five riders who will compete in London all took part in the Italian national squad training camp in Sicily in June.
“For the athletes themselves it is a sign of the continuity of the project,” Bettini noted. “It’s an even bigger motivation for them.”
Italian team for London-Surrey Cycle Classic, August 14:
Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD), Sacha Modolo (Colnago CSF-Inox) and Luca Paolini (Katusha).
Filippo Pozzato is riding the Tour of Poland as he tries to get his season back on track and secure a place in the Italian team for the world championships.
The Italian was competitive in the spring Classics but was left out of the Katusha line-up for the Giro d’Italia and then crashed heavily at the Tour of Belgium, fracturing his wrist and collarbone.
He was overlooked for a place in the Katusha team for the Vuelta a Espana after falling out with the Russian team and knows that he has only a slim chance of securing a place in the Italian team for Copenhagen.
"I’m gradually recovering and getting fit again after my injuries. I’m not competitive yet because it’s difficult after two months away from racing. But I’m trying to get back to my best for the end of the season,” he told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Poland.
“It’s going to be very difficult to earn a place in the Italian team because I’m not riding the Vuelta but that was the team’s decision. I’m trying to get fit by riding other races. It’ll be difficult but I’m motivated to try and end the season as well as I can.”
New team for 2012
Pozzato has already made it clear he will leave Katusha at the end of the season. He has clashed with team manager Andrei Tchmil several times and they have rarely seen eye to eye on race tactics and the way he approaches his major goals.
Several teams are reportedly interested in signing Pozzato for 2012. His name has been linked to the new Australian GreenEdge team, to Lampre-ISD – where he would work with former Mapei development coach Roberto Damiani and to Geox-TMC.
Pozzato revealed that Saxo Bank-SunGard and Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli have also shown an interest. Bjarne Riis is rebuilding his team after securing backing for the future, while the Professional Continental Farnese Vini team is looking for a new leader after conceding that Giovanni Visconti will move on in 2012.
Despite the UCI transfer window having now officially opened, Pozzato refused to reveal which team he will ride for in 2012, claiming he has still to sign his new contract.
“When I’ve signed, I’ll tell everyone,” he told Cyclingnews. “There are a lot of teams that are interested but I can’t say just yet.”
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) has completed his duty in the post-Tour de France criteriums and he is ready to go on holiday rather than take part in the Vuelta a España.
On Monday, he won the criterium of Lacq-Audejas ahead of the Tour’s best young rider Pierre Rolland (Europcar), most aggressive rider Jérémy Roy (FDJ) and world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo). On Tuesday, he came second to Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) at Castillon-la-Bataille, where last year he had been the first winner of the Tour de France to take part in a French criterium since Marco Pantani in 1998. For the second time, he responded positively to the invitation of organiser Georges Barrière.
“I was amazed by how hard this course was,” Contador told Cyclingnews at Castillon-la-Bataille. The Spaniard looked happy to finally be very popular in France one year after being criticised because of the “chaingate” incident involving Andy Schleck, and just one month after being booed by a part of the crowd at the Tour de France teams’ presentation in the Vendée. Even when Voeckler was not present, the French post-Tour criteriums have enjoyed large popular success over the past week following the huge impact of the race last month.
Accompanied by his friend and teammate Jesus Hernandez, Contador said: “I never came out of the Tour de France as tired as this year. Physically and emotionally, it’s been a very demanding season. I have yet to discuss it with [Saxo Bank-SunGard team manager] Bjarne [Riis] but it’s time for me to rest and relax.”
Contador has no plan to leave Spain as he intends to divide his time between his village of Pinto, his holiday home in Valencia and the Canary Islands. Even though he has it in mind to ride the three Grand Tours in one year and the CAS hearing into his Clenbuterol case has been postponed until November, the 2011 Vuelta a España will kick off without him from Benidorm on August 20. Nonetheless, Contador is keen to do it next year and he has ruled out the option of defending his title at the Giro d’Italia in 2012.
Contador preferred to drive from Castillon-la-Bataille to Pinto on Tuesday night rather than wait for a plane the next day, as he is in a hurry to go on vacation.
British rider looking forward to strong late season showing
Alex Dowsett is part of the new generation of British riders who have developed through the Great Britain development programme and are now successfully confirming their talent with Team Sky.
The 22 year-old from Essex came through the Great Britain Academy programme in Italy and rode for the Trek-Livestrong team with Taylor Phinney in 2010. He secured his place at Team Sky after winning the European Under 23 time trial title and finishing second behind Phinney at the Tour de l’Avenir.
Dowsett has quickly fitted in at Team Sky and already secured his first podium in a time trial. He has also enjoyed playing a role in helping teammates such as Ben Swift and Greg Henderson win races.
“I went into the year with the aim not to disgrace myself and I realised pretty quickly from the prologue in Qatar, certainly in the time trials, that I can be competitive even at a pro level,” he tells Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson in this exclusive two-part video interview.
Dowsett has been hampered by an ankle injury in recent weeks but will be back in action at the Tour of Denmark as he prepares for the final part of the season, which could include a place in the Great Britain team for the world road race championships.
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Return to Canary Islands likely, while Pamplona looks set to host 2012 start
Long a favourite training venue for some of the sport’s leading stars, the Canary Islands look set to the welcome the Vuelta a España within the next two or three years. According to reports, the race could feature as many as four stages in the Canaries, including a summit finish on the Teide volcano on the island of Tenerife.
Race director-general Javier Guillén met with Paulino Rivero, president of the government of the Canary Islands, on Tuesday to discuss preliminary plans for the Vuelta’s first stages on the islands since 1988. Initial indications are that there would be two mountain stages on the islands, one a summit finish at more than 2300m on Mt Teide, with the other on the island of Gran Canaria and including the fearsome climb of the Pico de los Nieves (1930m).
Some reports have indicated that the stages might take place as soon as next year, but Guillén said in a radio interview during his visit to the islands that a more likely date is in 2013 or 2014. He also revealed that the race won’t head from mainland Spain to the Canary Islands and then back again because of the logistical problems involved. This would suggest that the race will either start or finish on the islands.
“For the Vuelta it is important to do new things,” said Guillén. “The Vuelta’s profile has risen in the last few years because it has been innovative and innovation means looking at new places for the race to go to or returning to places that it’s not been to for a long time such as the Canary Islands.
“It’s also important that the iconic places on the Canary Islands feature on the Vuelta route, but we don’t want to do that in just a fleeting way. We want to make a real commitment and although we’re just in the initial phases at the moment we want to explore all the best things that the islands have to offer.”
The Vuelta last visited the islands in 1988, when it kicked off with a prologue on Tenerife between Santa Cruz and San Andrés. The next day’s stage was a circuit of the island, which was followed by a team time trial on Gran Canaria.
Meanwhile, it looks increasingly likely that the 2012 edition of the Vuelta will start right over on the other side of Spain in the Navarran city of Pamplona, home to Miguel Indurain and the Movistar team. According to El Diario de Navarra, negotiations between race organizers Unipublic and the Navarran government are at an advanced stage and a deal is expected to be signed before this year’s race starts in Benidorm on August 20.
Pamplona is set to host the start and finish of the 2012 race’s opening stage, although it has yet to be decided whether this will be a time trial or a road stage. The second stage will also start in the city.
The city last welcomed the race in 1994, when Laurent Jalabert won the sprint that decided the stage. But the visit is better remembered for the burning of six race motorbikes. Back in 1968, the stage into Pamplona had to be suspended after Basque separatist group ETA exploded a bomb on the Puerto de Urbasa.
The Santos Tour Down Under will remain part of the WorldTour until 2015 after the UCI decided to extend the licence of the early-season Australian stage race.
The race was first granted ProTour status, as it was then known, in 2008, becoming the first event outside of Europe to become a fixture at the highest level of the international calendar. Since then the Grand Prix of Montreal and Quebec have been added to the calendar as part of the UCI's attempt to globalise the sport. The Tour of Beijing will now become the fourth non-European WorldTour race in October of this year.
UCI president Pat McQuaid said in a press release that the UCI Licence Commission’s decision was fitting given “the impressive development of Australian cycling which has an excellent ambassador in Cadel Evans, World Champion in 2009 and winner of the Tour de France this year.”