Leopard and RadioShack riders together at Spanish training camp
Silent season in Calpe. In high summer, the Spanish resort is noisily overrun by sunburnt northern European tourists, but in winter it is the preserve of professional cyclists, who descend rather more discreetly upon the coastal town they forgot to shut down, in search of warm weather training miles on the rolling hills that lie inland.
Leading this year’s throng of pilgrims to one of the holy places of pre-season preparation is the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek outfit, formed following the merger of the RadioShack and Leopard Trek squads. The honeymoon suite for their hastily arranged nuptials is at the Diamante Beach Hotel, tucked discreetly back from the seafront.
Just days into the relationship, the smiles are broad as riders click-clack from the lobby and into the parking lot ahead of the morning’s training ride, and multi-lingual banter soon fills the still December air. Andreas Klöden jokes with Fränk Schleck, Chris Horner makes small talk with Daniele Bennati, while Jakob Fuglsang is locked in conversation with his new directeur sportif Alain Gallopin.
Shortly after ten o’clock, the Schleck brothers lead the first wave of riders away from the hotel, in the company of Klöden, Horner and Oliver Zaugg, with all riders in their 2011 kit but aboard Trek bikes in Leopard livery. A second peloton including American champion Matt Busche and Hayden Roulston follows a little while later, before the Leopard Trek Continental team sets off after a short briefing from manager Adriano Baffi.
The only absentee from the day's session is Fabian Cancellara, stricken by flu and confined to his hotel room after a weekend visit to London to reconnoitre the Olympic time trial and road courses in the company of manager Johan Bruyneel.
“We ride in three groups because otherwise it’s just too big on the road,...
A report by Swiss magazine L'Illustre has accused former Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov of buying his 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory.
Vinokourov flatly denied the claim saying: "I never did that in my career - I always fought to win."
The article claims that Vinokourov allegedly paid eventual runner-up Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) 100,000 Euro to ensure his position in the run to the finish line. The pair led the race working together to hold off the pursuit by Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and then-world champion Cadel Evans (BMC). An attack from Vinokourov within the final kilometre finally dropped Kolobnev in the uphill dash.
"I couldn't follow him," Kolobnev said about Vinokourov's attack in the final kilometre. "We knew that if we would arrive together I could beat him. He was afraid of me but I was afraid of his attacks, too. When he had attacked earlier on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas I was already on my limit. Anyway, it's a nice podium with Vinokourov and Valverde there."
Citing an email exchange between the pair the day after the race, L'Illustre alleges that Kolobnev passed on account details for a bank located in the Swiss city of Locarno to which a payment was deposited.
Queried on the transaction, Vinokourov said there was nothing sinister in it.
"It's my private life," the Kazakhstani said before adding - "It's another story to blacken my name. I often loan money left and right."
Vinokourov’s win at the time was somewhat controversial, with pockets of the press suggesting that his was a remarkable comeback, following a two-year suspension for blood doping at the...
Sarkozy to decorate Belgian cycling legend on December 15
Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx will receive another French Legion of Honour distinction on December 15 at the Elysée Palace in Paris. According to Belgian news agency belga, French president Nicolas Sarkozy will award the badge of Commander to the 66-year-old, who already received the title of Knight in 1975, at the start of the Tour de France in Charleroi, Belgium.
The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into various degrees. It was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to honour "eminent merit" for the country of France. Foreigners are not excluded and can be decorated exceptionally.
The only other cyclist to have received Legion of Honour distinction is Jeannie Longo. She, too, was elevated to the rank of Commander in the beginning of the year.
Just the idea of turbo training can strike fear and trepidation into even the most keen road cyclist. Overcoming boredom and finding motivation to simulate an outdoor ride are two of the bigger obstacles to tackle, which is where the guys from 3LC come in.
Isle of Man based company Three Legs Cycling have produced a range of five DVDs which aim to jump start your winter of indoor training. All aspects of road cycling are covered; road racing (including women's specific racing), sprinting, time trialling and climbing each get their own DVD.
Each session is around an hour in duration and designed to keep things as simple as possible. Think you need heart rate monitors and power meters to make your indoor training effective? As much as they will help, they come at huge expense, so 3LC have tried to cut all that out. All you need is your bike, a turbo and preferably something to measure cadence. This means that while there is only one workout on each DVD, you can work to a different goal each time by adjusting resistance.
Each DVD sees a group of riders from the local Isle of Man cycling scene line up like you would in a spin class. And these aren't just any cyclists - World Champion Mark Cavendish shows up in the road racing and sprinting workouts, offering pointers from the sidelines in the road racing session before breaking out the Lycra and showing who's boss for the sprinting DVD. It was quite reassuring to see the reigning Tour de France green jersey holder suffering as much as the others.
3LC Director Steve Williams, a good friend of Cavendish and keen cyclist himself, told BikeRadar he came up with idea after becoming "bored to tears" with some of his previous indoor training. After getting the initial idea, he roped in his brother David, who had experience in television production, to put the films...
Renshaw, Gesink and a first look at the women's team
Rabobank unveiled their squads for the 2012 season in Utrecht on Tuesday. The mens' pro team, the Continental team, and the Off-Road team were joined by the new womens' team built around Marianne Vos. All attended the event and in the first of these three videos the team show off the strength of their new women's team.
New recruit Mark Renshaw is also interviewed about his hopes for the 2012 season, while Tour de France leader Robert Gesink discusses his race schedule. For a photo gallery of yesterday's presentation, click here.