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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Date published:
January 09, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Gillow equals Watt’s record with third Australian ITT title

    Shara Gillow (Orica - AIS) shows off her medal after the podium ceremony
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 5:51 GMT
    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.

  • Gallery: Lotto Belisol training camp in Benicassim

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck admitted to visiting the doctor at the centre of a Belgian doping investigation but insisted that his consultations were for purely medical reasons
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 8:06 GMT
    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."


  • Thomas Dekker training in Greece with new personal coach

    Thomas Dekker and Johan van Summeren (Garmin-Sharp) training in Greece
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 8:36 GMT
    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,...

  • Flecha happy with leadership role at Vacansoleil in 2013

    Juan Antonio Flecha brings added experience to Vacansoleil's classics squad
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 11:19 GMT
    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...

  • Bobridge: I have rheumatoid arthritis

    Jack Bobridge riding in his new Blanco Pro Cycling team colours.
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 15:25 GMT
    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.

  • Katusha applies for Professional Continental licence to ride San Luis

    Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexandr Kolobnev will lead Katusha in the classics.
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 16:54 GMT
    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...

  • Lefevere: I have no regrets sacking Leipheimer

    Lefevere in the next issue of CN HD
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 18:50 GMT
    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...

  • Ballan back in Italy but still in hospital

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) signs on for stage 6.
    Article published:
    January 09, 2013, 19:35 GMT
    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...