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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Date published:
October 30, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Van Hummel, Traksel to new Dutch Continental team?

    Bobbie Traksel (Champion System)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 8:25 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch union reportedly starting Continental team for unemployed pros

    There are so many Dutch and Belgian riders looking for contracts for the 2014 season that the Dutch rider's union is working on creating a Continental team to bridge the gap in the job market in hopes new teams will be created in 2015.

    Bobbie Traksel, currently with the Champion System team which will fold at the end of this season, and president of the Vereniging voor Beroepswielrenners (VVBW), told Cyclingonline.nl that the organisation is considering creating the team because of the large number of riders left out in the cold since the demise of Vacansoleil-DCM, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Champion System, Crelan-Euphony and Sojasun.

    "In my 13 years as a professional I've never seen it this bad," Traksel said. "There are a total of five teams stopping, so there are 135 riders on the street."

    In addition to Traksel, sprinter Kenny van Hummel, Wouter Mol, Maurits Lammertink, Bert-Jan Lindeman, and Reinier Honig are still looking for contracts, as well as a number of Belgian professionals.

    Some riders may retire, some will end up with minimum salaries, and others will play a waiting game in hopes they will find a team, he said, but for 2015 the situation may improve with Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso and Oleg Tiknov both said to be creating new teams.

    "It would be nice if the union can help to bridge this gap year," Traksel said. "And yes, I also would help myself with it."

    "I hope that companies with a heart for cycling will make a gesture. They can always contact us, but respond quickly because as the saying goes, time is running out."

    "We have a financier, but we still need more sponsors because we're professionals, and we can't race for food. Everyone is willing to make sacrifices but we also have mortgages to pay and families to support."

  • Rodriguez targets Giro d'Italia in 2014

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) makes up, slightly, for missing out on the Worlds
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 10:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Katusha man will start season at Tour de San Luis

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has revealed that he will target the Giro d’Italia in 2014 as he chases the first grand tour victory of his career. The Spaniard finished third at the Tour de France in July, but after viewing the route for next year’s race, he has opted to return to the Giro, where he lost the maglia rosa on the final day in 2012.

    “Next year my goal is the Giro, it’s a tough race,” Rodriguez told Catalan Television station Sport 3. “I did it last year and it’s a race that I really like. The Italian people are very good to me and I really want to ride it.”

    In spite of the strides he has made against the watch, the presence of a 54km time trial on the penultimate stage of the Tour reduces Rodriguez’s chances of beating Chris Froome (Sky) in July. His principal reason for choosing the Giro, however, is the relative lack of flat, sprinters’ stages in comparison to the Tour.

    “[Racing in] Italy is hard in itself, which suits me. It’s hard to find a completely flat stage there, they always put something in it,” said Rodriguez. “And those stages are better for me than riding 200 kilometres on the flat, because anything can happen there – you can have bad luck and lose a grand tour.”

    Although Rodriguez claimed a third WorldTour title in four years in 2013 – “There’s a strategy to it. There are some races I know I can’t win, but I try to score points,” he said – he suffered a harrowing defeat in the world championships road race. After similarly disappointing near misses at last year’s Giro and Vuelta a España, Rodriguez is keen to land a grand tour victory in 2014.

    As was the case in...

  • Spekenbrink to announce new sponsor as Argos step aside

    Marcel Kittel (Argos - Shimano) on the podium
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 12:21 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Three-year deal for new title sponsor

    Iwan Spekenbrink has announced that his WorldTour will have a new lead sponsor for 2014. The team are currently listed as Argos-Shimano but will unveil a new sponsor at their team presentation at the start of next year.

    The new company, described by Spekenbrink as having ‘European and international recognition’ has signed a three-year deal, while Shimano will remain as the secondary sponsor. Spekenbrink will announce the team’s bike supplier for next season in November, with Giant reportedly set to take over from American firm Felt.

    “Very recently, a company expressed interest in taking over the main sponsorship. The new sponsor is a good fit with our ambitious team goals,” said Spekenbrink in a team release.

    “We would like to thank Argos for supporting the team and enabling it to reach its current level, and for giving us the space to further develop our project with our new major partner. We are also grateful to our new sponsor for expressing such confidence in our organization, athletes and staff and in the vision for top sports and pro cycling upon which our organization is based.

    “We will soon announce our look and feel, jersey, and ambitions for next year, together with our new partner.”

    The Argos North Sea Group began sponsoring Spekenbrink’s team in 2012 with the team ranked as Professional Continental. This year the team joined the WorldTour ranks and won stages in all three Grand Tours with Marcel Kittel winning four times during the Tour de France. Spekenbrink confirmed that negotiations with the new backer began after this year’s Tour de France success.

    “The partnership has been a commercial and sporting success. We are very proud of the development of the team and its...

  • Report: Rasmussen claims he taught Hesjedal how to take EPO

    The controversial Michael Rasmussen pictured at the Tre Valli Varesine
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 12:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former Danish rider reveals his doping secrets in an autobiography

    Michael Rasmussen has claimed in his autobiography that he taught Ryder Hesjedal how to take EPO in 2003 when the Canadian was a promising mountain bike racer.

    Rasmussen confessed to doping from 1998 until 2010 earlier this year and is currently serving a two-year ban. He was handed a shorter ban than expected because he cooperated with the Danish anti-doping authorities, who have now begun an investigation into doping in Danish cycling that is due to end in January 2014.

    Rasmussen’s autobiography is called Yellow Fever. It will be published on Monday but a series of excerpts and revelations have been published in the Danish media, including the accusations against Hesjedal. He also made a series of claims about doping implicating Bjarne Riis, Nicki Sorensen, Frank Hoj and Rolf Sorensen. Rasmussen rode for the Rabobank  team in 2007 but fled the race while wearing the yellow jersey after it emerged he had lied about his whereabouts before the race. He has since confessed to doping during the 2007 Tour de France.

    Danish newspaper Politiken has published an extract from the book with Rasmussen’s allegations about Hesjedal. The Canadian switched to road racing in 2005, joining the US Postal Service team. He joined Slipstream in 2008 and became the first ever Canadian Grand Tour winner in 2012 when he won the Giro d’Italia. Garmin-Sharp runs a strict anti-doping policy, which Hesjedal has been part of since 2008. A number of their riders were handed six month suspensions last year by USADA due to their involvement in doping during their US Postal careers.

    Rasmussen never saw Hesjedal use EPO or any other banned substances but reveals details of his alleged stay at the Dane's...

  • Froome awarded the 2013 Vélo d’Or prize

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) takes the win at the Saitama Criterium
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 14:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Sky rider beats Nibali and Sagan in poll of journalists

    Chris Froome has followed in the footsteps of Team Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins by winning the Vélo d’Or award for 2013. The prize is awarded by French cycling magazine Vélo via a poll of international journalists.

    Froome was an obvious candidate for the accolade after a season that saw him claim the Tour de France, Tour of Oman, Tour de Romandie, Critérium International and Critérium du Dauphiné. Remarkably, the 28-year-old had never won a major stage race before the start of this season, but he adapted quickly to his role as leader of the powerful Sky team after finishing second behind Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France. 

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who inflicted a rare defeat on Froome at Tirreno-Adriatico, finished second in the poll. The Sicilian was a dominant winner of the Giro d’Italia, finished second overall at the Vuelta a España and was prominent at the world championships road race in Florence.

    Froome is still in Japan after winning the Saitama Criterium organised by ASO but told the Team Sky website the award capped his successful season.

    "To win an award as significant as this is a fantastic way to cap an incredible season. I was fortunate enough to win the International Flandrien trophy a few weeks ago and to win this one as well is really satisfying," he said.

    "I'd like to thank all the people who voted for me, and while it's nice to be recognised for my achievements, my team-mates deserve credit as well because I couldn't have achieved what I've achieved this year without them."

    Peter Sagan (Cannondale) pipped 2010 Vélo d’Or winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) to third place, in...

  • Saxo Bank boss backs Bjarne Riis despite Michael Rasmussen's allegations

    Smile if you want to go faster: Bjarne Riis made the trip to Australia
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 15:40 GMT
    By:
    José Been

    Lars Seier says Rasmussen is untrustworthy

    After the newest allegations against Bjarne Riis by Michael Rasmussen that Riis knew about the doping practices of his riders, Saxo Bank boss Lars Seier will continue to back his Danish team manager.

    “We have been sponsoring the Saxo team for six seasons [since 2008] without any problems. Rasmussen’s allegations are untrustworthy I still have full confidence in Bjarne,” he told Sporten.dk

    Michael Rasmussen’s tell-all book comes out next week but the Danish media have published excerpts of it. The former Danish yellow jersey wearer points fingers at several riders like Nicki Sørensen, who he says buried drugs in his backyard, and Ryder Hesjedal to whom Rasmussen provided lessons on how to use EPO and cortisone in 2003.

    Rasmussen also indicts Riis, who was his sports director at CSC in 2001 and 2002. The 1996 Tour de France winner knew everything about the doping of his riders, Rasmussen claims. The Danish rider echoes the allegations made by Tyler Hamilton is his 2012 book "The Secret Race” and by Jörg Jaksche.

    In 2007 Riis confessed to doping, but he has always denied that he knew the riders in the teams he managed were using banned substances. To Saxo Bank’s CEO Lars Seier that’s enough to keep faith in the team manager.

    “Sponsoring a cycling team is crucial to us,” Seier said. “Michael Rasmussen's testimony is untrustworthy. We have full confidence in Bjarne.”

    The Danish bank just increased its sponsorship for the next season after Oleg Tinkov and his Tinkoff Credit Systems left after a disagreement on how to run the cycling team.

    The Danish Anti-Doping Authority is currently investigation Bjarne Riis, among others. Their report is...

  • Gallery: Pro Tour Pin Ups Calendar

    Taylor Phinney poses for the Pro Tour Pin Ups calendar
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 16:53 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Phinney, Voigt, Dowsett pose for charity calendar

    This year sees the debut of a new project: Pro Tour Pin Ups, featuring men of the WorldTour peloton, posing for a variety of charitable causes.

    The first and foremost cause is women’s cycling: a unique prize will be created during the 2014 Women’s Tour of Britain, in its own category, awarding a cash prize to a deserving female domestic rider on each stage.

    The calendar features riders from across many teams, including Alex Dowsett, Taylor Phinney, Jens Voigt, and Thomas Dekker.

    Laura Fletcher, the creator of the calendar said “with the ongoing need to raise the profile of women’s cycling, and a lot of serious debate about it, I though this was a great way to involve some of the top male riders in the world, and have them show their support.”

    The calendar was shot mainly on location around the rider’s homes. “It was a few trips to Girona, a day in Tuscany, a day in Monaco, Belgium, and even Essex. The process of shooting the guys on their own turf, we might say, was to keep them sort of at ease, and as comfortable as possible. It leant some humour to the shots, as they had their own environments to play off of, and in more than one case, a few of their friends and teammates watching and egging them on. (and even upon occasion, assisting me with holding lights).”

    A small portion will also benefit Alex Dowsett’s “Little Bleeders” for children with Haemophilia, and Taylor Phinney’s "Davis Phinney Foundation.”

    Alex Dowsett, Mr. January said “It was a great project to be involved in. Its nice to do some pictures without bicycles and cycling kit on, and when it comes down to it, we all like to do things a bit more lighthearted sometimes. My shot was a collaborative process with Laura, we worked together, highlighting my love...

  • Cannondale to sign Marcato and Gatto for 2014

    Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2013, 18:10 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sagan to get extra support in the Classics and sprints

    The Cannondale team is set to sign Italian riders Marco Marcato and Oscar Gatto for 2014 as it looks to boost it’s squad for the cobbled Classics and to support team leader Peter Sagan.

    Gatto joins from the troubled Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team. He won Dwars door Vlaanderen this spring and famously held off a chase by Alberto Contador to win a stage at the 2011 Giro d’Italia. He finished third in the GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano but failed to perform in the second half of the season. He can help Sagan in the cobbled Classics, as he did with Filippo Pozzato in 2012, and in the sprint finishes or even win himself.

    Marcato rode for the now defunct Vacansoleil-DCM team in 2013. He did not win a race but was consistent, finishing in the top ten on 13 occasions. In 2012 he won Etoile de Besseges stage race and the Paris-Tours one-day Classic.

    Cannondale manager Roberto Amadio has promised to boost the strength of the Cannondale team to support Sagan despite failing to reach an agreement to bring on board Tinkoff Credit Systems as a second sponsor.

    Sagan’s contact ends in 2014 but the team is desperate to retain him because the Slovakian won more than half of the team’s victories and ranking points in 2013. Ivan Basso, Moreno Moser and sprinter Elia Viviani will all be part of the 2014 Cannondale line-up alongside Sagan.