- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 05:51
- Cycling News
Consecutive wins against the clock for Queenslander
Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS) rode to her third consecutive Australian Individual Time Trial Championship in Ballarat on Wednesday. Her effort of completing the three-peat was impressive but the fact that this year's victory equalled that of Kathy Watt between 1992 and 1994.
Gillow finished with over a minute advantage back to Grace Sulzberger and Felicity Wardlaw on the 29.2km course which began with a loop around Lake Wendouree.
"I actually only found out recently that Kathy Watt had set the mark with three titles and that it hadn't been broken," admitted Gillow. "I've equalled that now. I didn't have any extra pressure to chase that record. I always put pressure on myself anyway."
This year's course was different to that which Gillow claimed her previous two titles, making it hard to compare. Road's were completely closed for the first time so while safety was an obvious improvement it also allowed competitors to use more of the road and in theory, ride faster times.
"I'm pretty happy with my ride, and it's obviously really good to win the national championships again," said Gillow. "With the course changes this year, it's hard to compare my effort to my previous titles, and I'm always striving to go better. It's a special win today, that's for sure."
Gillow was the last rider out of the start house and caught the two riders, Taryn Heather and former winner Bridie O'Donnell out on course. After that point, the 25-year-old said that she found it hard to gauge her performance.
"We did a bit more than five kilometers around the lake before we headed straight out of town and straight back," she said. "There was a bit of wind, which I like, so that worked in my favour. I didn't break the course down into different sections. My goal was just to go as fast I could the entire time.
"I caught the first two riders I was chasing, but they weren't medal contenders," she explained. "Once I had gone past them, it was a bit more difficult to gauge how I was going, and I definitely like to have that tangible mark during a race when possible."
Gillow will also compete in the women's road race on Saturday .
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 08:06
- Cycling News
Final training camp for Belgian team
Lotto Belisol riders not scheduled to race the Santos Tour Down Under or La Tropicale Amissa Bongo have gathered in Benicassim, north of Valencia, Spain for the final training camp of 2013 before starting their season.
Building intensity is the major focus of this last camp, with the squad already having built up the kilometres during their pre-season training blocks. The riders showed off the team's colourful new 2013 kit for the season ahead, featuring the canary yellow right sleeve which is the major change away from the predominantly French navy, imperial red and white combination of 2012.
Team manager, Marc Sergent said that having some doubt over their 2013 season due to a UCI ranking of 17 has resulted in Lotto Belisol having an increased importance on all races, not just those on the WorldTour calendar.
"Our riders can also score points in the continental circuit," he said. "And that's where we have to do better in 2013. We have to start every race with a clear goal and we can't afford to just ride along anywhere. Every team agrees that the system to award points, set up the classifications and so the sportive criteria to assign the licences can improve. I hope this will change by 2014."
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 08:36
- Susan Westemeyer
Garmin-Sharp rider feels let down by Dutch Federation
Thomas Dekker is trying a new approach to his preparation for the 2013 season, opting to train in Greece with a new personal trainer. The Garmin-Sharp rider has seen his plans to discuss his experience of doping blocked by the Dutch cycling federation, which had earlier agreed to help organise his visits to cycling clubs across the country.
Dekker and teammate Johan Vansummeren are in Kalamata, Greece, working with Vasilis Anastopoulos, the Greek national trainer and an official UCI certified coach. He is working with the two riders as personal coach, in co-operation with Garmin's training manager Adrie van Diemen, supervised by Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters.
“It's important to have a daily coach next to your team coach,” Dekker's manager Martijn Berkhout told Cyclingnews. “For the team training manager, it's difficult to provide one-on-one work, because he needs to look after all the 30 riders.”
Berkhout met Anastopoulos through the UCI trainer coaching course, and set up the contact. “They've been working together since October and so far everything is working out great. We prefer that coach and rider work one-on-one as much as possible, that's why Thomas is training in Greece instead of for example in Spain alone. The conditions are perfect in Greece, it's just that you need to know someone local from there.”
Dekker and Vansummeren are training together wit the Greek Continental team SP Tableware and the current World MTB Marathon champion, Periklis Ilias. Anastopoulos trains both the team and Ilias. Later this month the two will join their Garmin-Sharp teammates for a team training camp in Calpe, Spain.
Dekker will open his season at the Tour Mediterranean in early February, and take on the Tour du Haut Var, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Criterium International and the Circuit de la Sarthe before targeting the Ardennes Classics. He will ride the Fleche Brabanconne, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. From there, the 28-year-old moves to Italy and the GP Industria & Artigianato and the Giro della Toscana, before riding the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2005.
Conflicts with the Dutch Federation
Dekker has served a two-year suspension for violations of the biological passport. Berkhout said Dekker's difficult past is behind him. “It is behind him now. The come back process with Garmin was his proof to show he wanted to change and come back different. That worked out and resulted in a new contract for 2013 and 2014."
“He supports the team and its philosophy in the fight against doping. Like every other member of the team, he is open to co-operate in any official investigation to help the future of cycling.”
However, recent headlines in the Dutch press have focused on his participation in an alleged blood doping scheme at Team Rabobank.
“It's logical that the Dutch newspapers focus on Thomas. He is the only one who confessed he was involved with doping, who served a two-year ban,” Berkhout said.
But it would better, he said, to “ask Thomas if he is ever asked to co-operate with any investigation or if any official federation of anti-doping authority asked him to explain his past. The answer is NO. Never! Thomas initiated a meeting with WADA by himself. And the UCI president Pat McQuaid was the only other person, as representative of a federation, who took the time to listen to Thomas. To give him advice, to discuss with him, how he could help cycling after he damaged cycling with his doping violations.”
Dekker had hoped to share his experiences with local riders in the Netherlands, in the hope of discouraging young riders from making the same mistakes he made. He had arranged with the Dutch federation to make a 'club tour'.
“During this club tour, Thomas would visit cycling clubs throughout Holland to tell them about his past, to start discussions on doping and youth development. Almost every cycling club in Holland made a request for joining the club tour. This had to take place during the 2012-2013 winter," Berkhout said.
“But after Jonathan Vaughters gave more insight on Dekker's doping past in the Dutch newspaper AD Sportwereld, the director of the federation sent us a mail that the federation no longer wanted to be associated with Thomas Dekker on anti-doping education!”
Berkhout decried the “hypocrisy” of the federation.
“He is the only one who is ready to explain and let young riders learn from his mistakes. He is still the only rider who served a ban, who came back clean and confessed his mistakes. So we ask ourselves, 'How hypocritical is the Dutch Cycling Federation and their battle against doping? How will they ever reach their members, make them understand things? with the ideal son-in-law?' No, with the son who made a big mistake and learned from it.”
Dekker regrets not being able to carry out the plan, “because it's one of the things he discussed with Mr. McQuaid. So for now he supports his team and focus on performing clean on a high level. Because that's for him the best advertising he can give to clean cycling,” Berkhout said.
And for the rest, “he is just very happy to be a cyclist, to be part of the Slipstream family, to compete clean and to build a career for the next 10 years.”
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 11:19
- Cycling News
Spaniard eyes future as directeur sportif
Juan Antonio Flecha is looking forward to taking on a leadership role at his new team Vacansoleil-DCM and has an eye on a future career as a directeur sportif. The Spaniard is also looking forward to riding for himself and hopes to win another stage at the Tour de France in July.
Flecha has ridden professionally since 2000, with a variety of teams. Most recently he was with Team Sky from 2010 to 2012.
“Due to my experience, I am expected to provide leadership. It is in my nature to provide leadership to the team; it was no different in my previous teams,” he said in a team press release. “I want to make sure that we are not too easily impressed as a team, or get too excited. And to make sure we make the right decisions, at the important moments.”
While he enjoyed his time at Team Sky, Flecha said: “You do not have the freedom to pursue your own success. The interests are different. There is nothing wrong with that per se but I still have my own ambitions, and if I want to fulfill them, I had to go to a team where I was given freedom. To feel happy and to keep my motivation, I have to be able to attack.”
He is now ready “to be the Flecha again, who I always was. A stage victory in the Tour de France is high up on my list. I know that would never happen with Sky, but I know I have it in me, so I want to grab that opportunity.”
At 35 years old, he knows that the end of his career is coming closer. “Everyone has a sell-by date, but there is no point crossing out the days on a calendar until it's over. I sometimes hear from ex-riders that they had suddenly had enough. Maybe that is how it works. I am dedicated to what I am doing, not to what I will be doing in the future. The day will come, but I am not very worried about it yet.”
Flecha sees good chances at his new Dutch team. “You don't want for anything here. The equipment is up to scratch, it has good staff, the motivation of the riders is excellent. It is an 'open' team and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Nothing is based on your passport. Marcato is not undervalued because he is not from the Netherlands. I also appreciate the involvement of partners like Bianchi. Everyone wants to contribute to improvements. That is also part of my job."
He is interested in sharing his experience, not only now but also in the future. “I am here for this team to be utilised. It is great to see others improving that way. That is why I am interested in the idea of a future as a sports director. I am not afraid to talk and to get my point across. During meals and training sessions, I have already been able to communicate some ideas.”
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 15:25
- Cycling News
Blanco rider leaves “comfort zone” in Australia to further develop
Jack Bobridge has revealed that he suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, but the Blanco Pro Cycling rider said the disease will not stop his career. The 23-year-old Australian was diagnosed with the condition in 2010.
“Training was nearly unbearable and I was constantly sleeping because my body was so worn out,” he told the Adelaide, Australia, newspaper The Advertiser.
The diagnosis was a shock. “It was a bit dampening for a little bit because it's quite rare for someone of my age. But you can dwell on it or think `that's just the roll of the dice' and it's something I have to deal with.”
Medication helps him to overcome the problem, which appears to strike at random times. "Most of the time you don't know you have it. For some reason there are random days where it does flare up and is quite painful.
"It will get worse over time but very slowly, it's manageable and doesn't get in the way of my training or racing with medication."
Bobridge has left his native Australia's WorldTour squad Orica-GreenEdge after only one year, saying he needs to “grow up” and challenge himself.
"Everyone's got to grow up at some point ... a lot of people might get to the end of their career and go `sh**, I could have done a lot better'," he said.
"So I think realising that you have to do something and grow up at a younger age is probably the best thing to do to move forward."
2012 was a difficult year for him, as a crash in the national time trial championships knocked him out of both the national road race – where he was defending champion – and the Tour Down Under. An arrest for drunk driving in Spain in June didn't help matters, and he was on the disappointed Australian pursuit team which was unable to win gold at the London Olympics, finishing second behind Great Britain.
His decision to leave Orica-GreenEdge was a mutual one and he says he was not released by the team.
"I tell everyone - it's not a bad team at all, fantastic riders, fantastic staff, really well-organised. But the decision was to move forward as an athlete, find out who I am on the road and get away from the AIS-Australian scene for a little bit.
"I was getting comfortable in that environment. For my future and the way I was going about things (I had) to go somewhere (else)."
His future at Blanco, the former Rabobank team, “is different to what I've had previously," he said. "The new team really believes I can climb well and time trial. These things definitely don't happen overnight, but their goal with me is five or six years of development."
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 16:54
- Stephen Farrand
RusVelo awarded Pro Conti licence
Cyclingnews understands that the troubled Katusha team has asked the UCI for a temporary Professional Continental licence so that Joaquim Rodriguez and his teammates can ride the Tour de San Luis in Argentina that begins on January 21.
The Russian team was refused a WorldTour licence for ethics reasons in December, but has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the hope to overturning the UCI's decision. However, the CAS hearing is expected to be held at the end of the month and not on Thursday as reported by some media, forcing Katusha to find a temporary solution as they fight for their future.
The team is currently without any kind of licence and faces a race against time to ensure its riders can start the Argentinean race. The Katusha riders are due to travel to Argentina on January 13. The UCI has apparently told the team decision by the Licence Commission will made before January 15.
Katusha was refused a WorldTour licence for 2013 due to a series of ethical issues, including several failed anti-doping tests in recent years. New team manager Viacheslav Ekimov has defended the team's record on doping and claimed the team deserved a WorldTour licence thanks to Rodriguez ending the 2012 season as the world's number one ranked rider. Rodriguez has threaten to quit Katusha if the team does not secure a WorldTour licence and an automatic invitation to the Tour de France. RCS Sport has already overlooked the team for a wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia.
The ethical issues sparked speculation that the team could also fail to secure a Professional Continental licence. It seems that the team's management has now offered a series of extra anti-doping measures in an attempt to appease the Licence Commission and at least secure a Professional Continental licence for 2013. These apparently include some kind of internal anti-doping controls and a much stronger stance against doping.
The way the UCI Licence Commission decides which teams meet the required ethical standard to be obtain a licence remains a tightly guarded secret. Cyclingnews understands there are no written rules or standards that must be met, with any decisions arbitrary to the Licence Commission president Pierre Zappelli and the three other members.
Rusvelo – also part of the Russian Global Cycling projected presided by oligarch Igor Makarov was given a Professional Continental licence on Wednesday. If Katusha joins them, there would be 20 teams in cycling's second division. The UCI has indicated that if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules in favour of Katusha and awards them a place in the WorldTour, then the lowest ranked team, would be forced down to Professional Continental level.
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 18:50
- Sadhbh O'Shea
Team boss tells CN HD "I didn’t know about the situation"
Patrick Lefevere’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep team were one of the most successful squads of 2012. This didn’t stop them being caught up in the USADA case at the tail end of the year, which resulted in the sacking of Levi Leipheimer. Despite the furore that surrounded his decision Lefevere tells Cycling News HD, in an exclusive interview, that he doesn’t regret the decision. He also gives an insight into how one of his newest signings, Mark Cavendish, is settling into the team.
CN HD: I would like to ask you about what happened last year with the USADA case and Levi Leipheimer. Do you have any regrets about asking him to leave?
PL: No, none, because I didn’t know about the situation. Some people said they knew, but then they are a lot smarter than I am. No one told me that he was in this case. One day I saw Johan Bruyneel and he asked me if I’d signed Leipheimer and I said yes. He asked me what I was paying him, I told him the number and he said I’d done a very good deal. He is a very professional rider. For me it was very clear that I have a board above me and 100% of the board said we have to release him. It is very difficult though.
CN HD: Would you have signed him if you’d known he was involved in the case?
PL: No. I don’t believe in signing rider for one year. I always look for the long-term collaboration and not for one year. Before the riders start riding for the team you are already some months in. In the case of USADA I discovered it two days before the Tour de France. You can work as hard as you want for only a few months
CN HD: Did his departure leave the funds to sign Mark Cavendish, because those two things happened quite close together?
PL: I don’t see those things together. The only thing that I can regret today is that I didn’t have the time to find a rider of Levi’s skill on stage races.
CN HD: How has Mark Cavendish been settling into the team?
PL: Very well. I don’t think I tell you a scoop when I say you could see he was very frustrated last year. He seems to be very happy to be with us. I never saw a rider, in the first month, come to me and say that I’m not happy. Normally if you change team then you are happy. I think he is more professional than most people realise. I’m quite optimistic.
• For the full interview with Patrick Lefevere download Issue 37 of Cycling News HD. This week’s issue continues to look at the season ahead with an in-depth look at WorldTour teams Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Lampre-Merida, Katusha and FDJ. With interviews from Katusha’s second leader Denis Menchov and Lampre’s former king of the sprints Alessandro Petacchi. We also take a look at Juan Antonio Flecha’s move to Vacansoleil and round-up the week’s biggest news.
Delivered to your iPad every Wednesday, Cycling News HD brings you the best all-new cycling photography in the world via the best medium for viewing it, as well as reports, results and exclusive analysis of all the week’s biggest races, in-depth previews of the races and stages to watch in the week ahead, interviews, news and opinion.
With over 50 pages packed with new and original content every Wednesday, alongside all the latest reports and results, Cycling News HD is the best way to enjoy a roadside seat at all the season’s biggest and best races.
- Article published:
- January 9, 2013, 19:35
- Cycling News
BMC rider hopes to ride the Vuelta
Alessandro Ballan has traveled from Spain to Italy but will spend a few more days in hospital in Castelfranco Veneto before finally returning home.
The BMC Racing Team rider crashed at speed on December 20, fracturing his left femur, a rib and suffering some abdominal trauma that led doctors to remove his spleen. He spent nine days in intensive care in Spain and a further 10 days in hospital in Spain.
He spent the holidays with just his wife but showed his morale was high despite his injuries with a series of tweeter messages. Classics rival Tom Boonen also visited Ballan in hospital as did several BMC teammates. On returning to Italy Ballan tweeted, "After 20 long and intense days, last night I got back in my Castelfranco V. This stage race is almost over and the victory is mine!"
"I want to thank everyone who has offered me their support since the crash," Ballan told Italian website Tuttobici after arriving in Italy.
"I'd never crashed hard like that before. I have to confess that I was scared. I immediately knew it was bad because I couldn't breathe. Fortunately I relaxed a little and started taking little breaths."
Ballan flew home to Italy in a private plane so he could remain in a lying position. He will spend a few more days in a local hospital to keep his injured lung under control.
"I'm still in the hospital in Castelfranco Veneto. I've got to stay under observation because I've got some fluid on my lung, and it needs to be kept under control," he explained.
"My recovery will take time because of my fractured hip. It'll be four or five weeks before I can put my foot down on the ground. Then I'll have to do a lot of physiotherapy. I'll only be able to carefully ride a stationary bike when I can bend my knee 110 degrees."
Ballan finished third in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in 2012 but will miss both races this year. He hopes to recover in time to race in the second half of the season.
"I'll watch the Classics, the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France on television but I’ll have a lot of work to do as well," he said.
"I'm sure I'll make a full recovery. That's sure. But I'll have to be patient and I will be. I hope to race again this summer. And the goal is to ride the Vuelta [a Espana]."