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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Date published:
December 11, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • 2013 Report Card: Orica-GreenEdge

    Yellow jersey Simon Gerrans and his Orica GreenEdge teammates on the podium
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 4:51 GMT
    Zeb Woodpower

    Tour de France delight and a spread of winners

    WorldTour Ranking: 13th/19
    Win Count: 35
    Top riders: Pieter Weening 25th, Simon Gerrans 55th, Sebastian Langeveld 73rd, Daryl Impey 79th 
    Grade: B

    For Orica-GreenEdge, the 2013 Tour de France was the defining moment of their season even if initially it was for all the wrong reasons. The isle of Corsica welcomed the Tour for the first time this year and in doing so, became the last department of France to witness La Grande Boucle. With 10km to go on the first stage, it appeared the grand depart had descended into farce. Wedged under the finish line gantry was the GreenEdge bus, throwing the race into chaos. There were jokes aplenty that this would be the only time the team would cross the line first in July. Such jokes were dead in the water once the race farewelled the island.

    Simon Gerrans had been whetting his lips in anticipation of the three days on Corsica and come stage three, notched his second Tour stage win. This began a dream start for the team with two wins on the island, including the bus victory on stage one, but once back on the mainland the dream only got better.

    In Nice, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Team Sky who were favourites for the team time trial but it was a plucky GreenEdge which claimed the win by under a second and in doing so catapulted Gerrans into his first yellow jersey and four days of the maillot jaune for the team.

  • White: Goss to adopt Sagan-like approach in 2014

    Pieter Weening and Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) at the Giro team presentation
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 9:55 GMT
    Aaron S. Lee

    Orica-GreenEdge sports director still wants Richie Porte as future GC leader

    Fresh off the heels of its most successful season to date, Orica-GreenEdge's Matt White feels the second-year UCI World Tour squad could be in for a transition year in 2014. However, according to White, who resumed his role as team sports director in June following a six-month ban after confessing to doping during the majority of his pro cycling career, this might not necessarily mean a reversal of recent good fortunes.

    Orica-GreenEdge, in its second season amassed an impressive 33 wins – spread over 16 riders – in 2013, and White explains that those results are both by necessity and by design.

    "Last year we had more riders win a race than not," White told Cyclingnews. "Luke Durbridge was our winningest rider with only four wins. Our results say a lot about the depth of our team and the opportunities available across our roster.

    "We don't rely on 20 wins from (Peter) Sagan like Cannondale or (André) Greipel like Lotto-Belisol, so we have to spread the wealth evenly."

    Earlier in the month, White told Cyclingnews that Orica's designated sprinter Matthew Goss should be challenging Sagan, but now clarifies that the team should target the races Sagan has won to best position Goss and company for the win.

    "We cop it a bit for not having a dedicated GC rider," said White. "We are realistic and know going into most tours we're not riding for general classification. We've made no secret that we wanted Richie Porte before he resigned with Team Sky last year and we're still hopeful we can get him in the future, but we've proven with our results that we...

  • Phone taps admissable as evidence in Lampre trial

    Giuseppe Saronni (Del Tongo)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 10:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Trial adjourned until January 24

    Phone taps will be admissible as evidence in the Lampre doping trial, which began in Mantova on Tuesday and will resume on January 24. According to the Gazzetta di Mantova, Judge Giuditta Silvestrini said that she will allow all documentary evidence from the prosecution and defence, including recordings of phone conversations in which figures linked to the team reportedly discuss doping practices.

    28 riders, trainers, pharmacists and doctors, including Alessandro Ballan, Damiano Cunego and Giuseppe Saronni, have been called to trial following a longstanding inquiry, centred around the activities of Mariana Mantovana-based pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and his links to the Lampre team in 2008 and 2009.

    Nigrelli, physical trainer Sergio Gelati, Roberto Messina, former Lampre rider Paolo Bossoni and former amateur rider Sebastian Gilmozzi are accused of trafficking doping products, while Lampre manager Saronni, directeurs sportifs Maurizio Piovani and Fabrizio Bontempi, and former rider Mariano Piccoli are accused of procuring doping products.

    Finally, past and current riders including Ballan, Cunego, Michael Rasmussen, Mauro Santambrogio, Marco Bandiera, Pietro Caucchioli, Marzio Bruseghin, Marco Bandiera, Daniele Pietropolli, Emanuele Mori, Massimiliano Mori and Mauro Da Dalto stand accused of using doping products.

    Former Lampre rider Emanuele Bindi has already pleaded guilty, receiving a one-year suspended sentence, and it is understood that he will be a key witness for the prosecution, which is led by Antonino Condorelli. Gazzetta dello Sport reports that some 250 witnesses will be called by the prosecution.

    The prosecution’s case also includes a...

  • Bernaudeau welcomes Europcar's WorldTour status

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 13:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Voeckler to ride Vuelta a España in 2014

    Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has welcomed his team’s elevation to WorldTour status for 2014. After four years of relying on invitations to major races, Bernaudeau admitted that he was particularly pleased that he can now plot his team’s calendar with a degree of certainty before the season begins.

    “We won’t need to wait for wildcards anymore, which above all makes me happy for my riders. They’re the ones I’m thinking of,” Bernaudeau told L’Équipe. “We won 26 races this year, we dominated the second division [UCI Europe Tour – ed.] and this promotion to the WorldTour is a reward for their efforts and that fills me with pride.”

    Europcar is the only new entry to the WorldTour for 2014, availing of the berth opened up by the demise of the Vacansoleil-DCM and Euskaltel-Euskadi teams. Bernaudeau’s squad was part of the original ProTour calendar in 2005, but has operated at Pro Continental level since the start of the 2010 season.

    The squad was invited to the Tour de France in each of its four seasons outside of the WorldTour, but has not received a wildcard to another grand tour since the 2010 Vuelta a España. Directeur sportif Andy Flickinger stressed the importance of being able to offer three-week racing to a wider spread of the roster.

    “We’re going to be able to plan personalised race programmes for each of our riders, without exception,” Flickinger told L’Équipe. “In the last few years, we’ve only done the Tour, which only involved 9 out of 25 riders and caused a lot of frustration. This time, everyone will have a chance to ride a grand tour.”

  • Antonio Nibali to join continental team Marchiol

    Antonio Nibali and brother Vincenzo Nibali
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 14:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali's younger brother to follow in his footsteps

    Antonio Nibali, Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali's brother, will join the pro ranks next season. The 21-year old Italian is part of the new Italian continental team led by former Italian pro cyclist Mirco Lorenzetto [Astana, Lampre, Milram]. Nibali's biggest ambition is to follow in his brother's footsteps.

    "But it's for sure that not all Nibalis are born a champion," he said earlier this year.

    Nibali was part of the Mastromarco Chianti Sensi Benedetti amateur team since he left the junior ranks in 2011. The team creates a continental team for 2014 by the name Marchiol and also keeps its amateur team of 10 riders. Nibali is one of 12 young Italian riders to join the UCI continental team.

    Antonio Nibali is a climber, just like his brother. He had several podium finishes in hilly stage races including a third place in an uphill time trial won by Winner Anacona. He was third in this year's Giro Ciclistico Pesche Nettarine di Romagna sharing the podium with Davide Formolo and Davide Villella, two riders who will be part of Cannondale next season.

    Back in May, when his brother Vincenzo won the Giro d'Italia, the younger Nibali said that his biggest dream was to one day win the Giro d'Italia. "My dream is to achieve what my brother achieved. That means becoming a Giro d'Italia champion. Taking part in the Giro d'Italia alone would be a great victory," Biciciclismoweb reports.

  • Ekimov: No Tour de France for Joaquim Rodríguez

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) celebrates a stage win in the Vuelta
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 15:40 GMT
    José Been

    Giro-Vuelta double instead for Spaniard in 2014

    Viatcheslav Ekimov does not want Katusha's team captain Joaquim Rodríguez to ride the Tour de France next season, but the Spaniard will have his opportunities to shine in the Italian and Spanish Grand Tours. "The course does not suit Purito. The route in the north of France is the same as Paris-Roubaix and it's not suitable for him." Rodríguez will focus instead on the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. "We will aim for the overall classification in those races," Ekimov told R-sport.

    The objectives for Katusha in the Tour de France change from riding for the overall classification to hunting stage wins. "If we go to France without Purito, this creates chances for other riders," said Ekimov. "We will try to win stages and emphasize the green jersey classification [with Alexander Kristoff]. He will get two men to help him in the sprint. And we will have several riders with a free role to go for stage wins." 

    Katusha had its first team training camp of the season and the initial race programmes are drawn. "Everything is going well. We have all our equipment and 90% of the races are confirmed for next season. Now the race programmes are prepared and they will only be changed if the situation requires it."

    Rodríguez's main target will be the Giro d'Italia. He'll contest the Ardennes Classics but will skip the Tour de Romandie in order to do a training session in the Alps. "We will fight for the top places in the overall in those two races: Giro and Vuelta."

    Katusha has two winners of this year's Classics on board with Dani Moreno (Flèche Wallonne) and Rodríguez (Il Lombardia). The two Spaniards have...

  • Rui Costa has no regrets about joining Lampre-Merida

    World champion Rui Costa after the sumo exhibition in Saitama.
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 19:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Portuguese rider signed contract before Worlds win

    Rui Costa has said that he does not regret signing a contract for the 2014 season before winning the world championships in Florence in September. The Portuguese rider penned a one-year deal with Lampre-Merida in August and insisted that it was the correct decision in light of the current market in professional cycling.

    "No, I don't regret it one bit," Rui Costa told Marca. "If you’re aiming for the Worlds and win, then maybe you can get a better contract. But if you fall and get injured, who's going to sign you in a year when Vacansoleil, Euskaltel and Sojasun all disappear? There are dozens of quality riders without a contract for 2014.

    "Lampre-Merida gave me the opportunity to be a leader in several races and that made my mind up for me. They believed in me before I became champion and that confirms my choice."

    Rui Costa's decision to leave Movistar was based at least in part on his desire to pursue his own ambitions in three-week stage races. Although he won two stages at this year's Tour de France, he sacrificed his own place on general classification in a futile attempt to help leader Alejandro Valverde when he suffered mechanical trouble on stage 13.

    Lampre-Merida has already announced that Costa will lead the team at next year's Tour de France, but he was circumspect about his chances next July, simply pointing out that at 27 years of age, it is time to examine fully the range of his possibilities over three weeks.

    "I've always said that I'm not sure what kind of rider I am. When I was an under-23 rider, it was the same thing: I was up there with the best...

  • Gallery: MTN-Qhubeka presents 2014 team

    The 2014 MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 21:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    South African team aiming for Giro d'Italia

    The South Africa-based Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team presented its members for the 2014 season at the MTN Innovation Centre in Johannesburg on Monday. All 25 riders on the Pro Continental squad's 2014 roster were present as well as all major partners and supporters.

    Team Principal, Douglas Ryder, reflected on the success the team achieved in 2013, highlighted by Gerald Ciolek's victory at Milan-San Remo, and looked to the future: "We ended 2013 as the team with the second most victories from all Professional Continental teams. It's a remarkable achievement in our first year in this division. The challenge now is to keep being innovative and improve our high performance culture in the team. We've assembled a group of athletes that we're very excited about and are building our season around a Grand Tour debut."

    The team is hoping to get a wildcard invitation to the 2014 Giro d'Italia. If successful MTN-Qhubeka would be the first African team to contest a Grand Tour. The squad launched an online campaign last week called #GetAfricaToTheGiro, urging supporters to help increase its social media numbers and share the team's message.

    "The last few weeks has been quite nice to bond with the team," said John-Lee Augustyn, a new addition for 2014. "It's nice to see the different cultures. The launch was really nice to get to know some of the new sponsors and finally reveal the new kit. The #GetAfricaToTheGiro campaign with the pink hands was amazing to see in person for everyone and there's so much excitement around the team.

    "I've been on a few professional teams and from what I have seen in the sport, this team is so different. It's so professional and it usually takes a year or two for a new team to establish itself but the team has...