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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Date published:
January 04, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • ASO forms partnership with Tour Down Under

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 3:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tour de France organisation continue trend of global ventures

    Amaury Sports Organisation has become an associate partner of the Santos Tour Down Under, bring international expertise to the 14th year race.

    ASO are most famous for their organisation of the Tour de France, but have in recent years expanded into involvement with international events like the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Beijing.

    As part of the newly formed partnership ASO will bundle and sell global broadcasting rights for the Tour Down Under, expanding the race's following to an international audience.

    Speaking to the Adelaide Advertiser, Events South Australia general manager Hitaf Rasheed lauded ASO's new association with the race.

    "There's no better relationship to have in cycling than the ASO. We're really excited and it's great for our event."

    Rasheed also welcomed the opportunity to have Christian Prudhomme at the race who will be in Adelaide for three days as a guest of Events SA.

    It is believed the parternship is part of a move by Events SA to solidify their tenure on the Tour Down Under, which a number of other Australian Tourism Boards have expressed interest in, in recent years.

    Events SA, currently holds a license for the event until the 2015 season.

  • De La Fuente completes Caja Rural roster for 2012

    Geox - TMC 2011 - David De La Fuente (Geox - TMC)
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 4:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard finds eleventh-hour contract after Geox-TMC demise

    30-year-old Spaniard David De La Fuente has signed on with the Caja Rural Professional Continental team, becoming one of the final riders from the now-defunct Geox-TMC squad to find a job for 2012.

    The winner of the 2009 GP Miguel Indurain brings nine years of experience as a professional, including six at the sport's top division with Saunier Duval, Fuji-Servetto and Astana to the team, which aims to grow in stature in the coming season.

    Team manager Mikel Azparren was happy with the new addition. "We managed to fill a very complete team to meet the challenges of 2012," he said. The team aims to be invited to the Vuelta a España, and he thinks De La Fuente will be important toward that goal. "He has proven to be very valuable rider for the team, and we hope that he will find with Caja Rural more opportunities for exploits, final triumph and happiness."

    De La Fuente said that after years of helping teammates such as Alberto Contador and Juan Jose Cobo win Grand Tours, that he is ready to accept the challenge of exploring his own limits and to see how far he can get in the sport.

    "I hope to bring everything I can, and if possible to take bigger wins," he said.

    "Obviously I will always work for the team when asked, as I've always done, and continue putting the interests of the group ahead of personal ambitions. I firmly believe in that philosophy.

    "I am very happy to ride in 2012 with Caja Rural and can continue to prove myself as a cyclist. Besides my profession, this is my passion and I continue to enjoy cycling."

    De La Fuente joins Portuguese rider Manuel Cardoso as one of the top men on the team,

    Of the 23 riders on the Geox team in 2011, only Giampaolo Chuela, Marco Corti, David Gutierrez and...

  • Davis unfazed by missing Tour Down Under

    "One off the bucket list" Allan Davis is declared winner of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic for 2012
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 9:26 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Two-time winner to begin European season in Mallorca

    Following the revelation late last month that Allan Davis is set to miss the Tour Down Under for the first time in the event's 13-year history, the GreenEdge recruit has admitted that it was "time for a change."

    Davis, 31, joined the WorldTour neophytes after a frustrating second and final season with Astana. He has kicked off the New Year by racing the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in Victoria in the lead up to the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships in Ballarat this coming weekend. The Bundaberg-native, riding for GreenEdge composite team Mitchelton Wineries – Lowe Farms, was the standout performer for the new outfit in Victoria, and finished first overall after a hugely consistent display. He finished third, second, eighth and third on the four stages.

    "Without disrespect to the Bay Crits that's just the way it is at this time of year – a bit of race fitness in the legs before the nationals," Davis explained in response to the question surrounding why the GreenEdge men had failed to produce a stage win. "It's such a tough [nationals] course so it goes a long way. Especially in my boat, along with a couple of other guys, without doing much racing towards the end of last season. This is exactly what a few of us need."

    The new team for Davis represents more than just the opportunity to pull on new kit, with the former Commonwealth Road Champion clearly relishing the chance to reinvigorate his career. At last year's Tour of Turkey, Davis claimed he was left to fend for himself, without team support, due to interest in his services from GreenEdge. In June, following encouraging form at the Tour of Belgium, Davis suffered a bout of glandular fever. Time off the bike followed and he then crashed at the Eneco Tour.

  • Gallery: Team Sky shows off 2012 squad

    Mark Cavendish
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 10:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Wiggins and Cavendish lead the line

    Team Sky unveiled its 2012 line-up on Wednesday. The 28-man team, featuring riders from 12 nations, has made 8 new signings ahead of the new season and will be looking to build on a strong 2011.

    Mark Cavendish brings his rainbow jersey with him and will lead the team along with Tour de France contender Bradley Wiggins. Cavendish brings with him three former HTC-Highroad teammates in Bernhard Eisel, Danny Pate and Kanstantsin Siutsou.

    “With Mark Cavendish joining riders like Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen, we have a hugely talented squad of riders with proven ability at the very highest level of our sport. We made great strides in 2011, in what was our second season as a WorldTour team. The challenge for all of us is to build on those achievements and become an even stronger and more successful team,” said team boss Dave Brailsford.

    The team has strengthened in other areas too, signing a handful of talented neo-pros with Salvatore Puccio, Luke Rowe and Sergio Henao.

    Team Sky for 2012

    Davide Appollonio (ITA)
    Michael Barry (CAN)
    Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR)
    Mark Cavendish (GBR)
    Alex Dowsett (GBR)
    Bernhard Eisel (AUT)
    Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP)
    Chris Froome (GBR)
    Mathew Hayman (AUS)
    Sergio Henao (COL)
    Jeremy Hunt (GBR)
    Peter Kennaugh (GBR)
    Christian Knees (GER)
    Thomas Löfkvist (SWE)
    Lars-Petter Nordhaug (NOR)
    Danny Pate (USA)
    Richie Porte (AUS)
    Salvatore Puccio (ITA)
    Michael Rogers (AUS)
    Luke Rowe (GBR)
    Ian Stannard (GBR)
    Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR)
    Chris Sutton (AUS)
    Ben Swift (GBR)
    Geraint Thomas...

  • Hoogerland aiming high in 2012

    Johnny Hoogerland
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 11:27 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Vacansoleil rider needs good spring to make national team

    Johnny Hoogerland knows he needs a good spring classics campaign in order to be named to the Dutch national team for the Olympics and the Worlds.  Both races are suited to him, the Vacansoleil rider said, especially the Worlds course in his homeland, a circuit which he says he loves.

    He is starting 2012 off with “a good winter, good training.”  He will be in Spain for four weeks before opening his season with the Volta ao Algarve.  “Then I will hopefully be in a good condition for the Flemish races and the races in the Ardennes,” he told Cyclingnews at the Vacansoleil team presentation in Maastricht. “After a rest period in May, I will be prepared for the Tour, hopefully the Olympics and then prepare for the Worlds hopefully, with the Vuelta.”

    A strong spring is the basis for the remainder of the season. Being named to the national team for the Olympics and Worlds “depends a little bit on my results in the spring classics.  Normally the coach is going to decide in May who is going to go, so it depends on how I ride in Amstel and Liege, that sort of race.”

    Both of those races would suit him well, Hoogerland thinks. “A lot of people say the Olympic race is very easy, but I don't believe this.  The first part and the last part are pretty easy but in between it is very hilly so .... it's not so easy to control, especially because we are only with five in the team. If you want to try to control things, we would have three riders try and control the whole 260k race, that's not possible.”

    There is no question as to the Worlds race, to be held in Valkenburg. “I love the course of the Worlds.  It's super hard, but also super...

  • Valverde: I didn’t do anything wrong

    Juan Jose Cobo and Alejandro Valverde flank Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 12:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard returns after blood doping ban

    Alejandro Valverde has continued to protest his innocence even as he prepares to returns to racing after suspension for his implication in Operacion Puerto. The Spaniard is to be formally presented as a Movistar rider on Wednesday following the expiration of his ban on January 1.

    Valverde has been sidelined since mid-2010 after DNA evidence matched a blood bag seized from Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes to a sample provided by the rider at the 2008 Tour de France. Speaking to El Tiempo, Valverde claimed that he did not understand the reason for his suspension.

    “Not yet. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did everything legally. My conscience is clear. I’m only thinking about coming back racing,” he said.

    Although Valverde was not prevented from riding the Tour de France when news of Operacion Puerto first broke in June 2006, he was soon implicated in the affair as the investigation continued.

    A blood sample taken on the rest day of the 2008 Tour de France in Italy would ultimately prove to be Valverde’s undoing, albeit after a lengthy legal process. In 2009, the Italian Olympic Committee banned Valverde from competition in Italy after matching his DNA to blood bags seized in Operacion Puerto. On May 31, 2010, CAS finally upheld appeals from the UCI and WADA to have his ban extended worldwide, four years after Fuentes was first arrested.

    “I suggested that they compare it [his DNA – ed.] in a neutral laboratory, but they refused this in Italy, and for that they sanctioned me because they...

  • Stevens shaking off sophomore slump

    Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon)
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 15:05 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    American aims for more consistency in 2012

    The story of American Evelyn Stevens's meteoric rise to the top of cycling has been well-documented, thanks to her fascinating journey from the world of investment banking on Wall Street to the top of the sport, but after a topsy-turvy second professional year in the sport, the 28-year-old is ready to put her hard-earned lessons to good use.

    Stevens burst onto the US scene in 2009, having just taken up cycling a year prior, and she showed her talents immediately: she won the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic stage race, the longer and harder Cascade Classic and then after being chosen for the US national team, she claimed her first European stage win at La Route de France and took second overall.

    Her results gained the attention of HTC-Columbia, and in 2010, Stevens became a professional cyclist. Brimming with energy and promise, she ticked off a few more wins - stages at the Redlands Classic, the Chrono Gatineau time trial, she became the US time trial champion and won a stage of the Giro Donne by soloing away from an elite chase group.

    Many predicted that Stevens would emerge in 2011 as one of the top stage racers in the world, but she had a problem: she's been up and down as much as the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past two years, figuratively and, too often, literally.

    "I like to think of my 2011 season as my sophomore year. There were some really good points, but there were lots of ups and downs - and I had a lot to learn," Stevens told Cyclingnews at her Specialized-lululemon team...

  • Bettini says London 2012 Olympics road race will be a lottery

    A dapper Paolo Bettini was on hand in the start.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 15:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Youthful Italian line-up in prospect

    After a disappointing 2011 world championships, Italian national coach Paolo Bettini is keen to turn his attentions to the London 2012 Olympics road race, an event he believes will favour an all-rounder.

    “Someone who goes well on all terrains [will win],” Bettini told Il Resto del Carlino. “He will have to be clear-headed and sharp, and have endurance qualities, because 250km aren’t for everyone.”

    Bettini famously doubted Mark Cavendish’s chances months before the Worlds in Copenhagen last year (although he later revised his opinion when it was confirmed that Great Britain would have an eight-man team in Denmark), and was reluctant to name his favourite for the race in London on July 28.

    “One name isn’t enough, it will be a lottery. And, as you know, predictions aren’t my strength,” he joked.

    Bettini was also coy about the names that will feature in the five-man Italian line-up in London, although he was encouraged by Sacha Modolo’s second-place finish at the London-Surrey Cycle Classic in August, the official test event for the Olympic road race.

    “Of the young riders I worked with last year, there are more than one of them who can dream of a medal in a race where there are five on a team and you need to be opportunistic,” Bettini said, and he listed Elia Viviani, Manuel Belletti, Diego Ulissi and Daniel Oss among the up and coming generation of Italian riders.

    Indeed, by necessity, the Bettini’s team is likely to have a youthful bent in London, as riders who have been sanctioned for...