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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Date published:
February 01, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • 2012 SRAM Red - Full details

    Mounted on a matte black bike, SRAM's new Red group certainly lends a stealthy look.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 9:55 GMT
    James Huang

    Lighter than ever with more refinement, slick new features

    This appeared on Bikeradar

    SRAM have bucked the trend of 11-speed cassettes and electronic shifting for their wholly revamped 2012 Red group, preferring instead to stick with 10 rear cogs and conventional cable actuation. The new 1,739g claimed weight lops about 150g off of what was already a superlight package and major improvements to the brakes, derailleurs and drivetrain provide better stopping power, smoother front shifts and quieter running to accompany the updated ergonomics.

    Trim-free and positive front shifting at last

    The rear derailleur receives new shaping, a lower-profile mounting bolt and inner carbon fiber pulley plate, new pulleys that again rotate on hybrid ceramic bearings, and a longer upper knuckle that now clears 28-tooth cogs. It's otherwise functionally identical to the current Red – which is just fine since SRAM's Exact Actuation geometry is already highly precise and impressively tolerant of hanger variances. Coming in May is a new 32t-compatible version as well.

    The front derailleur, however, is an entirely new design and a huge improvement over the existing version. Gone is the flexy titanium cage in favor of an aluminum-and-steel piece that's far stiffer for more positive shifts, particularly under power. Ingeniously, the parallelogram pivots aren't actually parallel to each other, either – a design SRAM call 'Yaw' – so that the cage doesn't just swing in and out as usual but also rotates slightly on a vertical axis as it moves...

  • Moncoutié to skip 2012 Tour de France

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) on the podium.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 10:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    Frenchman focused on Vuelta a España mountains title

    David Moncoutié (Cofidis) has admitted that the Tour de France is not in his plans for 2012 as he focuses his attention on winning a fifth consecutive mountains title at the Vuelta a España.

    The veteran Frenchman appeared on the brink of retirement last summer after a frustrating outing at the Tour, but a successful late-season run at the Tour de l’Ain and the Vuelta restored his morale to such an extent that he is open to extending his career beyond the end of 2012.

    “The Tour isn’t one of my goals. I’ve informed the team that it doesn’t suit me anymore,” Moncoutié told “I prefer to leave my place on the team to young riders. I’ve ridden the Grande Boucle ten times and I think I should turn the page.”

    Cofidis are still waiting to hear if they have secured one of the wildcard invitations to this year’s Tour. The team failed to make a significant impact in 2011, with Moncoutié perhaps their most prominent rider, in spite of his own disillusionment.

    “In normal circumstances, I won’t be at the start,” he said. “I do know that it’s important for the Cofidis team, and if they needed me to cover for the absence of a sick, injured or out of form rider, I could possibly come. But if I can give it a miss, I’ll give it a miss.”

    The closest Moncoutié came to success at the 2011 Tour was on stage 13 to Lourdes, when he was ultimately powerless to stop Thor Hushovd from thundering to the win. After the stage, Moncoutié was criticised in some quarters of the French press for...

  • Contador hoping to ride Majorca opener

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 12:19 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Saxo Bank leader’s plans dependent on timing of CAS verdict

    Reports in the Spanish press suggest that Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) is planning to take part in the first day of the Majorca Challenge as he awaits the announcement of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict into his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France. The Majorca event kicks off the Spanish season this coming Sunday. The CAS verdict is due to be announced the following day.

    According to Spanish press agency EFE, Contador is likely to ride the opening event of the Majorca Challenge in Palma on Sunday afternoon, then return to Madrid that evening. However, sources close to the Saxo Bank team leader have indicated that his plans could change. All will depend on the exact day and time that the CAS verdict is delivered. These details will not be finalised before the end of this week.

    There is also a good deal of conjecture in the Spanish press about the timing of Contador’s ban if the CAS does not find in his favour. His positive test dates from July 21, 2010. He was initially suspended on August 24 of that same year.

    If he is banned for two years and that ban starts from the day of his positive test, Contador won’t be able to ride this year’s Tour de France, but could line up in the Vuelta a España, which starts on August 24. However, if a two-year ban were to be imposed from August 18, he would be unable to start in his national tour that month.


  • Gilbert feels no pressure ahead of new season

    Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was the centre of attention in Denia.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 13:39 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian on Valverde, Olympics and expectations

    After dominating one-day racing in 2011 and making a highly-publicised switch to BMC, there is a palpable air of anticipation about what Philippe Gilbert might achieve in the new campaign, but the man himself was an oasis of calm at his team’s recent training camp in Denia, Spain.

    Now backed by a powerful arsenal of support at BMC, the explosive Gilbert will be widely expected to replicate his exploits of last year, but the Belgian champion insisted that he felt no pressure from his new team ahead of the coming season.

    “BMC invest a lot in cycling, but they don’t push for results,” Gilbert told reporters. “We’re all motivated, we don’t need pressure from the management and they don’t put us under any pressure.”

    With the Olympic Games and a world championships course seemingly bespoke fitted to Gilbert’s qualities as a puncheur on the horizon in 2012, the Belgian has objectives littered throughout the calendar.

    “This year is a big season,” Gilbert admitted. “I have the classics, the Tour, the Olympics, the Vuelta and the Worlds, so it will be a long season. Hopefully I’ll be up to the level for those challenges.”

    In spite of his reverence for the rainbow jersey, Gilbert is aware that opportunities to take an Olympic medal are even more fleeting and he acknowledged that success in London would carry connotations beyond cycling. “It’s different,” he said. “You don’t have the jersey but after your career, you can say ‘I was an Olympic medallist,’ which is something very important.”

    Gilbert will spend the build-up to the Olympics riding in the service of Cadel Evans at...

  • Balanced 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico route unveiled

    Alfredo Martini, Michele Scarponi and Mauro Vegni at the launch of the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 14:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Summit finish to Prati di Tivo the highlight

    The route for the 2012 Tirreno-Adriatico was unveiled in San Vincenzo on Wednesday, with a summit finish at Prati di Tivo in Abruzzo on stage 5 the centrepiece of a well-balanced course.

    As was the case last season, the race is book-ended by two time trials. The action gets underway on Wednesday, March 7 with a 16.9km team time trial in Tuscany, from San Vincenzo to Donoratico, and concludes the following Tuesday with a 9.3km individual effort in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic coast.

    In between, sprinters and climbers alike will have an opportunity to divide up the spoils between them. The opening two road stages, to Indicatore and Terni, should favour the fast men, but the terrain becomes significantly more rugged thereafter, as the race heads into Abruzzo for the weekend.

    Stage four sees a short but sharp uphill finish in Chieti, where Michele Scarponi jumped to stage victory last year. That finale comes after a day of constant ups and downs, including the Selle di Corno and the Passo Lanciano (20.8km at 4.7%) climbs, and at 252km in length, the stage should provide a useful exercise for riders preparing for the following weekend’s Milan-San Remo.

    The next day brings the queen stage of the race, and overall contenders such as Cadel Evans, Michele Scarponi, Vincenzo Nibali and – perhaps – Alberto Contador will be expected to be to the fore on the final haul up to the 1450 metre high Prati di Tivo. The climb featured on the route of the 1975 Giro d'Italia, with Giovanni Battaglin triumphant at the summit. At 14.5km in length and with an average gradient of 7%, Prati di Tivo will pose a significant challenge this early in the season.

    “I like the race a lot, and the stage to Prati di Tivo in particular is spectacular,” Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) said at the presentation on Wednesday. “That’s a...

  • Gallery: Indurain and Delgado attend Movistar team presentation

    The 2012 Movistar team
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 16:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Valverde and Cobo to lead the line

    The 2012 Movistar team was presented at the Telefónica Auditorium in Madrid's company headquarters today with the company president Luis Abril asking the riders to "keep dignifying this sport".

    Abril also praised the team's performances from 2011, a year in which the Spanish team lost Xavier Tondo in a fatal accident and Mauricio Soler suffered a life-threatening crash at the Tour de Suisse.

    "Last year, I only asked you to do things well and honor the brand. The grade of your accomplishment was the highest. I don't think that there's anyone at Telefónica not feeling proud of you. In a really hard season from a psychological point of view, you defended the brand and its values and defended yourselves as professionals as real lions."

    The team picked up 20 wins in 2011 and has bolstered its attack by signing two returning riders in Alejandro Valverde and Juanjo Cobo. Two former greats, Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain, who rode for the team when it was branded as Reynolds and Banesto were also in attendance. The former professionals won six Tours de France between them and although Movistar will struggle to hit those heights, it remains Spain's number one professional team.

    Andrey Amador 
    David Arroyo 
    Marzio Bruseghin 
    Jonathan Castroviejo 
    Juanjo Cobo
    Rui Costa 
    Imanol Erviti
    Iván Gutiérrez 
    Jesús Herrada 
    José Herrada 
    Beñat Intxausti
    Javier Iriarte 
    Vladimir Karpets 
    Vasil Kiryienka 
    Ignatas Konovalovas 
    Pablo Lastras 
    David Lopez 
    Ángel Madrazo 
    Javier Moreno 
    Sergio Pardilla 
    Rubén Plaza 
    Nairo Quintana 
    José Joaquín...

  • Olheiser steps up with Competitive Cyclist

    Michael Olheiser on the podium.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 17:55 GMT
    Pat Malach

    37-year-old amateur star recruited to help Mancebo

    At 37, Mike Olheiser may be one of the oldest rookies ever to enter the US professional peloton, but the 18 national and world championship jerseys he's collected over his 11-year amateur racing career suggest he's anything but a new kid on the block this season.

    After considering several offers over the years but ultimately turning them all down, the full-time coach and personal trainer from Huntsville, Alabama pulled the trigger on an offer from Competitive Cyclist, the new sponsor for On The Rivet Management's second-year UCI Continental team that features 2011 National Race Calendar overall winner Francisco Mancebo and is run by director sportif Gord Fraser.

    "It just never seemed right before," Olheiser said of previous offers. "But everything really seemed to come together this time. You find the right mixture of team and personnel and management and everything else. I think it's a lot of everything, between Gord and (On The Rivet Management's) Josh Saint, and knowing that they're pulling in the right sponsors this year. You know, as my wife likes to say, it's the perfect storm, all the pieces just kind of fell into place to do it."

    Olheiser is a good fit for a team that, while losing seven riders and adding another seven to keep a total of 13, was looking to add a little more experience and depth from its inaugural team. Olheiser won back-to-back time trial and road race elite amateur national titles in both 2009 and 2010. As he's progressed through the masters age groups, Olheiser has taken home 10 national championship jerseys. On the international stage, he's earned four rainbow-stripe jerseys for his performances in the masters time trial.

    Fraser said Competitive Cyclist will be looking to use his time trial skills and big diesel motor help defend Mancebo's stage race dominance.

    "We were looking for someone who can really add to the grunt of the team," he said. "We had a lot of days in yellow last year. Pretty...

  • Wilcoxson steps up to pro ranks

    Jade Wilcoxson (NOW and Novartis) working her way up the climb.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2012, 20:59 GMT
    Pat Malach

    From Nature Valley Pro Ride to Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

    After five years of amateur competitive cycling, Jade Wilcoxson has parlayed her 2011 Nature Valley Pro Ride opportunity into a real pro contract with the new Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies women's team.

    Now the 33-year-old physical therapist from tiny Talent, Oregon is making dramatic changes to her lifestyle to accommodate her new profession, including quitting a full-time job that required eight years of education, renting out her house and converting a 300-square foot shop into a studio apartment for herself.

    "It's a big change, putting all of that on hold and knowing that I can come back to it when I've tapped out the racing," Wilcoxson said. "But I'm diving in head first and trying not to worry about how am I going to make it work. I'm just enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime."

    Wilcoxson got the attention of team directors by winning multiple elite amateur races and consistently placing in the top 10 at USA Cycling National Race Calendar events throughout 2011. In April she traveled to California for the Sea Otter Classic, which featured Olympic gold medalist and former world champion Kristen Armstrong's return as part of the Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty-12 professional team.

    "I got there and I was intimidated, and I was just hoping not to get dropped," Wilcoxson said. "I did all four races down there and ended up second overall and won the circuit race. So then I'm standing on the podium next to Kristen Armstrong, and I was like, 'Wow, maybe I could give this a go.' That really inspired me for the rest of the season, trying to find more national opportunities to race."

    Wilcoxson followed Sea Otter with an overall win at Washington's Enumclaw Stage Race, where she qualified to compete at the NRC Nature Valley Grand Prix as part of the composite "Pro Ride" team. She finished sixth overall at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic riding with a Mike Engleman-coached composite team that featured Canadian...