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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Date published:
January 29, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Bianchi reveals the Belkin team issue Infinito CV bike

    The Belkin team issue Bianchi Infinito CV is black and celeste
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 11:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vanmarcke to use the vibration-dampening bike in the cobbled Classics

    Bianchi has released photos of the Belkin team issue Infinito CV bike that Sep Vanmarcke, Lars Boom will use in the cobbled Classics.

    The Infinito CV frame includes Countervail, a patented material developed between Bianchi and US company Materials Science Corporation (MSC), and exclusively used for cycling applications by Bianchi. Termed ‘Vibration Canceling Composite Technology,’ the key feature is a viscoelastic carbon layer embedded between standard carbon layers at critical areas of the frame and fork.

    Bianchi’s use of Countervail is designed to cancel vibration before it reaches the rider, not through a suspension movement, but by viscoelastic damping. This does not make the frame more flexible but reduces muscle fatigue and so increases energy savings, Bianchi claims.

    The bike was first spotted at last year's Tour of Flanders and was officially presented before Paris-Roubaix. Bianchi has become the Belkin bike sponsor for 2014 and so Vanmarcke and Boom will get to ride the innovative bike and feel the benefits of the Countervail vibration damping technology. Vanmarcke finished second behind Fabian Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix despite suffering a knee injury at Tirreno-Adriatico.

    The Belkin team issue Bianchi Infinito CV has a celeste and black colour scheme with touches of Belkin's green team colour. The bike is fitted with Shimano components and FSA seat posts, bars and stems.

    Vanmarcke tested his bike at the team's recent pre-season training camp in Spain.

    “I was really eager to test my Infinito CV after as I was impressed by the innovative technology developed by Bianchi and since my first ride I noticed...

  • Feillu signing key to Bretagne-Séché's Tour de France wildcard

    The Feillu brothers
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 12:01 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Breton team to make Tour debut in 2014

    Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has pointed to the signing of former stage winner Brice Feillu and ASO’s desire to support French cycling as the principal reasons behind the decision to give Bretagne-Séché Environnement a wildcard invitation to this year’s race.

    Established as Bretagne-Jean Floc’h in 2005, the team moved up to Pro Continental level in 2011, but was unsuccessful in its attempts to land an invitation to the Tour until this year. On Tuesday evening, Bretagne-Séché was unveiled as one of the four wildcards for this year’s Tour, along with Cofidis, NetApp-Endura and IAM Cycling.

    “The team has reinforced itself well. With the signing of a former stage winner [Brice Feillu], their candidacy became serious,” Prudhomme told AFP. “We felt this was a motivated team, with established riders, who had been a candidate for a long time. And it was also a way for the Tour de France to express its support for French cycling.”

    Although ASO’s wildcard policy in recent seasons has been to give priority to French teams, the Breton squad was left disappointed last year. With three French squads (FDJ, Europcar and Ag2r-La Mondiale) already in the WorldTour and thus automatically invited, Bretagne-Séché’s path to the Tour was perhaps more straightforward this time around.

    “It’s a great reward for our efforts these past few months,” team president Loïc Drouard told L’Équipe. “In spite of our slender means, we’ve been very shrewd in our recruitment.”

    Bretagne-Séché’s most high-profile rider is Brice Feillu, who won a mountain...

  • Gilbert: I'll stop when I feel I can't win anymore

    Philippe Gilbert riders in the middle of the group
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 13:43 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian aims to bounce back in 2014

    A rainbow jersey notwithstanding, Philippe Gilbert has endured a trying two seasons since signing for BMC and the Belgian has said that he would consider retirement if he felt he could not return to winning ways at the spring Classics.

    Gilbert has captured just four victories since signing for BMC: the 2012 world championships and three stage wins at the Vuelta a España, but has struggled on his favoured terrain at the Ardennes classics, with a battling third place at the 2012 Flèche Wallonne his best showing in the past two years.

    “Even if I was world champion in 2012 I was not at my best level, especially last year,” Gilbert told reporters at BMC’s media day in Denia, Spain on Tuesday. “After two years like this, it’s hard because you think 'Am I too old already?’ or ‘Do I have something?’ But I can feel now I am back and motivated.”

    Gilbert’s struggles at BMC have been all the more puzzling given his startling run of success during his final year at Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2011, when he captured a famous hat-trick of victories in the Ardennes classics, as well as the Belgian title, the opening stage of the Tour de France and the Clasica San Sebastian.

    All told, Gilbert picked up 18 wins in 2011, a year when it seemed he could simply do no wrong. By contrast, the spark of that season was clearly missing in 2013, when he laboured to fifth at Amstel Gold Race and seventh at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    “You don’t enjoy it so much when you only race at that level,” Gilbert said. “I was always there in the final but I knew I was not going to win, [I knew] that it was going to be fifth or seventh like in the Ardennes. I was there but I would stop cycling if it was to do a top five only. I have...

  • Giro del Trentino to begin with a team time trial

    Team Sky power to victory in the Giro del Trentino team time trial.
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 15:14 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Giro d'Italia contenders expected to show their form at the four-day race

    The organisers of the Giro del Trentino have confirmed that this year's race will again begin with a team time trial, giving the riders and team a chance to test their technique and form just two weeks before the start of the Giro d'Italia.

    The 2013 edition of the race started with a split-stage opening day in Austria, with Team Sky dominating the team time trial stage, led by Bradley Wiggins.

    This year, the four-day race begins in Italy, with the teams covering the same 14.3km course around Arco, north of Lake Garda, before heading into the heart of the Dolomites. The opening day is again expected to be split into two stages, with stages for sprinters and climbers and a tough mountain finish expected to complete the race route. Race organisers said the full route will be finalised in the next few days.

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the Giro del Trentino in style last year before going on to win the Giro d'Italia. He is expected to miss the race this year as he targets the Tour de France but Michele Scarponi and the talented Fabio Aru are expected to lead the Astana team.

    Richie Porte is likely to line up for Team Sky in Trentino as he prepares for his role of team leader at the Giro d'Italia. Other corsa rosa contenders Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Cadel Evens (BMC) are also likely to ride the Giro del Trentino to be ready for the first Grand Tour of the season.


  • Hushovd open to offers in final year of contract

    Thor Hushovd (BMC) exchanges greetings with a man dressed as a panda at the Tour of Beijing.
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 16:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Norwegian to start season at Dubai Tour

    Thor Hushovd has said that he is aware of the need to land results as he enters the final year of his contract with BMC. The former world champion signed for the squad ahead of the 2012 campaign, but his first two seasons with the team were blighted by illness.

    “If I ride well, I will show that I am still one of the big guys, and I need to do that to get another contract offer,” Hushovd told Norwegian website VG. “I’m happy at BMC and might well stay here longer, but at the same time I am open to offers.”

    Hushovd was speaking at BMC’s pre-season media day in Denia, Spain, where he outlined his goals for the new campaign. While the cobbled classics, and Paris-Roubaix in particular, will be the centerpiece of his spring, the Norwegian stressed the importance of getting his season off to a winning start.

    “The main goal is the classics, but if I can win a nice race at the beginning of the year, that’s good. It’s better to take what you can than to go all-in for Roubaix and miss out there,” Hushovd said. “If you can win Het Nieuwsblad, it’s not the biggest win, but it’s a nice win and I’ll try to win there. If I can win a stage at the Tour of Dubai, also, that’s a win.”

    Hushovd begins his season at the inaugural Dubai Tour next week, and will then race the Tour of the Mediterranean, Tour du Haut-Var and Paris-Nice as he builds towards the Spring Classics. A virus ruined his 2012 season, and although he began last year with a win at Haut-Var, Hushovd again struggled in the Classics and it was only in the final months of the season that he rediscovered his winning form, capturing his national title, the Arctic Race of...

  • Cogburn chases pro cycling dream

    Cameron Cogburn in the 2013 Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, which he won.
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 17:45 GMT
    Pat Malach

    Rider brings strong climbing and time trial skills to Team SmartStop

    As an accomplished climber and time trialist, Team SmartStop recruit Cameron Cogburn admits he likes a challenge, whether it comes on the uphill pitches of a road surface or in the rigorous cademics of the MIT classrooms where he studies.

    "I tell people I like pain," said the 27-year-old, who is pursuing a doctorate degree in physics. "That's how I roll."

    Now Cogburn is putting his scholarly endeavors on hold while he chases the dream of pro cycling with the US-based UCI Continental team. The ride with SmartStop will be Cogburn's second chance at professional cycling after a disappointing year with Jelly Belly in 2011. The North Carolina native finished third during a road stage at the Tour de 'Toona that year but otherwise did not make much of a splash in the domestic peloton.

    "It just came at a wrong time and it just wasn't what I expected," Cogburn said of his previous shot at pro cycling. "I wanted to move to Boston to be with my now wife; I'd just been accepted to Harvard and MIT, so I was able to move there. So timing-wise, it wasn't good."

    Cogburn admits now that he didn't give that opportunity the attention it deserved, and he's excited about getting another chance to see how far he can go so that he doesn't have any regrets later. He's finished all of his required coursework and qualifiers, he said, leaving his final doctorate thesis for after he's tested the reach of his cycling talents.

    "I realize I should have given it the full chance when I had the opportunity, because I really didn't," he said of his season with Jelly Belly. "But now I'm motivated and riding well, so it should be a good year."

    Cogburn has had several good years since returning to the amateur ranks with the Cycle Club of Boston and MIT's collegiate team. He's won the prestigious Mt. Washington Hillclimb two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013, ascending the 12.2km climb last season in 50:48, just 1:24 behind the course record of 49:24...

  • Cannondale confirm Herald Sun appearance

    Matej Mohoric leads the line
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 22:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Guillaume Boivan to chase stage wins

    Cannondale will join fellow WorldTour teams Orica-GreenEdge and Garmin Sharp at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour which starts next Wednesday on the banks of Melbourne's Yarra River. The Italian outfit who kicked off their 2014 season at the Tour Down Under, have identified Canadian sprinter Guillaume Boivan as their best chance for delivering the first success of the season.

    The youngest rider on the team and the reigning world under-23 road race champion, Matej Mohoric, will make his debut at the race having made his professional debut at the Tour Down Under last week.

    At the 2012 world junior championship Mohoric slipped away from the peloton and ahead of Caleb Ewan to claim the win. In 2013 at the U23 World Championships it was Mohoric claiming gold once again as Ewan came in fourth place.

    The two riders are set to go head to head at the race but the 19-year-old Slovenian views the season as one of learning.  "My goals for this season are not so much about results. I am very young and still need time to develop myself. So this year should be more about the learning and gaining experience," Mohoric said.

    "This race means a strong start of the season, so I will return back to Europe with some racing kilometres in my legs. That should make racing a bit easier."

    At 24-years-old, Boivan is another developing rider and returns to Victoria where he tied for the bronze medal at the under-23 world championships in Geelong in 2010.

    Whilst the team will let the racing decide their overall leader, Boivan will the man for any final bunch sprints. "We can do a good general classification and we will try to win a stage with our sprinter Guillaume...

  • Wiggins, Valverde to headline Mallorca Challenge

    Bradley Wiggins awaits his leader's jersey
    Article published:
    January 29, 2014, 22:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Porte, Uran, Scarponi also scheduled to take part

    2012 Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins is set to once again kick off the season at the Challenge Mallorca, as will Movistar's Alejandro Valverde.

    The two top riders will be part of the peloton in the four-race series which takes place in the island from February 9-12.

    Team Sky will send Wiggins along with Richie Porte and Sergio Henao, according to the race promoter, while Movistar will have Valverde accompanied by Igor Anton and Beñat Intxausti.

    Omega Pharma-Quickstep has confirmed that Rigoberto Uran will take part in the race, so too will Michele Scarponi of Astana, Michael Albasini (Orica - GreenEdge), Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) and Tropicale Amissa Bongo stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez with his Caja Rural - RGA Seguros team.

    10 WorldTour teams will take part in the race, which includes the sprinter-friendly Trofeo Palma, the equally flat Trofeo Ses Salines – Campos – Santanyí, the mountainous Trofeo Deià (won by Valverde last season), and the Trofeo Muro – Port d’Alcudia, with mountains in the middle but a flat finale for the sprinters.

    Astana, Europcar, Garmin-Sharp, Katusha, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Movistar, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Orica-GreenEdge, and Team Sky make up the top tier teams, while Caja Rural, Cofidis, IAM Cycling, MTN-Qhubeka, NetApp-Endura, Novo Nordisk come from the Pro Continental ranks. Continental teams Active Jet, Burgos-BH, De Rijke-Shanks, Euskadi and the Ecuador national team fill out the roster.