Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Wiggle Honda team bike of two-time World Champion
New project combines road, track and cyclo-cross teams for 2011
The full roster for the multi-discipline AA Drink-Leontien.nl was revealed on Tuesday in a presentation ceremony at the hotel Van der Valke Ridderkerk, outside Rotterdam. Dutch legend Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel introduced the 2011 women's team, led by her country's current top rider Kirsten Wild.
Van Moorsel, the former Olympic champion who started the Leontien.nl women's fitness web site, was on hand to toast the team, which combines her Leontien.nl women's road squad along with a host of talented men who focused on the track and cyclo-cross as part of the AA Drink team.
The women's team includes Dutch star Kirsten Wild, ranked third in the world in 2010, German Trixi Worrack, Dane-turned-Kiwi Linda Villumsen, former European U23 road champion Chantal Blaak, track sprinter Willy Kanis as well as continuing riders Lucinda Brand, Irene van den Broek, Monique van Ree, Heleen van Vliet, Marijn de Vries, Anne de Wildt, Josien van Wingerden, and new recruits German Marlen Johrend and Belgian Eline de Roover.
The men's team unites the track riders Léon van Bon, Bram Imming and Willy Heeneman under six day legend Danny Stam, who will continue as a rider on the team while transitioning to a team director in anticipation of retirement. Stam has already been helping the 'cross team this season, and may be present in the team car behind the women's squad this summer.
Cyclo-cross racers Thijs Al, Thijs Van Amerongen, Eddy van IJzendoorn and Tom van den Bosch complete the roster.
"I just get the jitters again, as I look around me and see all the faces of the men and women. Often I found such a presentation to be wasted time, but it meant the real start of the cycling season for me - another year I tried to bring out the best in myself. Fortunately, this was very often accompanied by great success," said van Moorsel who is considered the "spiritual mother" of the team run by her husband Michael Zijlaard.
A photo gallery from the team's first press conference
Team Leopard-Trek has begun its two-part official presentation in Luxembourg, with a press conference and photo opportunity highlighting the team’s powerful line-up.
Team manager Brian Nygaard presented the riders and team staff on stage and confirmed the team will be called Team Leopard-Trek. The riders were dressed in suits and scarves. The team’s much awaited new jersey will be unveiled during the public presentation later today in front of 4,000 people. It is expected to have a plain black and white design.
“We have developed our new team, aiming for a fresh and innovative style. Of utmost importance, though, is to take cycling back to its proper roots: It’s all about the racing,” Nygaard said.
“With riders on the roster who can win from the first race of the season to the final, we are looking to be competitive in a lot of races. We are not going to win every race, but we are certainly here to make our mark in the biggest events”.
According to the UCI’s sporting criteria used to award ProTeam licences for 2011, Team Leopard-Trek is the best ranked team in the peloton thanks to the huge haul of points scored by riders in the last two seasons. In 2010 Fabian Cancellara won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, while Andy Schleck finished second in the Tour de France.
After the evening presentation, the riders will head to Mallorca for a training camp, while a team of riders travels to Australia for the Tour Down Under.
There will be further interviews and reports from the presentation later on Cyclingnews.
The full Team Leopard-Trek roster: Daniele Bennati, Fabian Cancellara, Will Clarke, Stefan Denifl, Brice Feillu, Jakob Fuglsang , Linus Gerdemann, Dominic Klemme, Anders Lund, Maxime Monfort, Martin Mortensen, Giacomo Nizzolo, Stuart O'Grady, Martin Pedersen, Bruno Pires, Joost Posthuma, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Tom...
Swiss rider set to focus on cobbled classics again in 2011
Fabian Cancellara has insisted that his new Leopard-Trek team will have to prove its credentials on the road before it can be lauded as the best team in cycling. The Swiss rider was speaking after the team’s launch in Luxembourg on Thursday.
“A dream team? What is a dream team?” Cancellara mused. “The dream would be that everything would be in perfect, but in life nothing is perfect. But for me, [joining Leopard-Trek] was the right decision, it’s the right place to be to perform. We are ready now but it’s only at the end that you can say if it’s a dream team."
“Brian Nygaard and Kim Andersen have really started something special, new and really cool. Everything has gone well so far, but that’s the business part. Now it’s up to us riders, and I think we’ll get some great results.”
Cancellara is one of eight riders to have joined the new set-up from the Saxo Bank squad, while the management duo Nygaard and Andersen also worked on the Danish team. However, Cancellara is adamant that Leopard-Trek is a completely new entity in the professional peloton.
“This is not Saxo Bank, it’s something brand new,” Cancellara explained. “It’s based in Luxembourg. It’s not Fränk and Andy Schleck's team, it’s a Luxembourg team and we’re all team members. We’ll do everything we can and we'll show that we are our own team and we have our own way, and that we don’t have to copy Bjarne or HTC or Sky. Everybody has to do their own job and we’ll set about doing that in the right way."
Cancellara confessed that he was initially surprised to hear that Nygaard had been approached to head up the new Luxembourg-based team. The Dane heads up the squad with no previous management experience, but had stints as press officer at both Saxo Bank and Team Sky.
“I was in a way surprised, but in the end he...
Quick Step rider wins last-minute legal appeal
Belgium’s Iljo Keisse has won a last minute legal battle to be allowed to ride the Rotterdam Six Day. He will line-up with partner Kenny De Ketele on the track tonight.
Keisse was banned for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last July in relation to a 2008 positive doping control for cathine and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) during the 2008 Ghent Six. He was cleared by the Belgian federation in 2009, but the UCI and WADA appealed that decision to CAS and won in 2010. Keisse then won an appeal in a Brussels court last November and was allowed to ride this year’s Ghent Six Day.
The UCI argued that the appeals court decision only applied inside Belgium, and stopped Keisse from taking part in the Revolution track event in Manchester and warned the Rotterdam Six organisers about allowing him to ride. Keisse initially seemed to throw in the towel but then made a last ditched appeal in a court in Rotterdam today and won.
"I ride tonight in Rotterdam," Keisse told the Belga news agency as he travelled to Rotterdam. "I'm glad this is over. Now I can let the pedals do the talking."
"The UCI will now have a taste of their own medicine. At the last moment, I have managed to force my participation. It was often the other way.
"This is thanks to my lawyers. At around 15.30 I received the good news that I'm allowed to start in the Six Days of Rotterdam. Everything was ready; I quickly jumped in the car and drove to the Netherlands."
Despite the last-minute court reprieve, the UCI continues to maintain that Keisse is not allowed to participate in the Rotterdam Six Day. "If the rider would take the start after all, the UCI Commissaires will completely ignore him and his team (their names won't appear on the starting list and results of the race)," said the UCI in a statement this afternoon.
Races protected by limited rise in prices
An agreement between the French Cycling Federation (FFC) and the French government was finalized today which protects race organizers from large fee increases which threatened several classic races.
Spearheaded by FFC president David Lappartient, National Cycling League (LNC) president Marc Madiot and the Ministry of the Interior's Michael Bart, the accord limits the increase to 15% per year through 2014.
The French government introduced new standards for the hourly rate for police and gendarme support in October, increasing the €2.40 per man hour rate to €12.33. In early December, the organizer of Etoile de Bessèges said his race could not go forward if the increase, which amounted to a 1,000-fold increase for the race, was implemented.
Other events like the Tour Méditerranéen, Tour du Limousin, 4 Jours de Dunkerque, Tour of Normandy, Route du Sud and Tour de Poitou-Charentes all faced huge increases in costs before the December 22 agreement was drafted.
The newly signed deal also spells out the roles and responsibilities of the race marshals and provides for a monitoring committee to handle any problems implementing the agreement.
Black and blue the colours of Luxembourg team
The new Team Leopard-Trek unveiled its look for the 2011 season at its team presentation today, rolling out its white, sky blue and black Trek Madone and Speed Concept machines in addition to the riders' clothing.
The team's clothing consists of a simple design with a white body, light blue stripe and black shoulders. The name of team manager Brian Nygaard's management company, Leopard, has a small presence on the jersey with co-title sponsor Trek taking up the side panel.
The names of each rider, including the team's stars Andy and Fränk Schleck and Fabian Cancellara, will be printed on his jersey's neck, while other sponsors Craft and Mercedes are the only other logos on the jersey.
Trek confirmed today that the team will use Bontrager wheels and accessories, with the Aeolus and Race XXX Lite wheels being used for races and the Classic line for training. Shimano also confirmed that the team will use Dura-Ace components with Di2 technology exclusively on all bikes for the next four years.
The team will also be helping Bontrager in developing its products. “One of the most valuable assets our teams and riders provide us with is unparalleled feedback about the products they compete with. These guys ride more than perhaps anybody else on the planet and have so much invested in the performance of the product. If it can work for them, we know it will work for just about anybody.” Said Trek VP of Product and Marketing Joe Vadeboncoeur.
More photos from the presentation coming soon!
Schleck's mishap on Port de Balès put Contador in yellow
In a Tour de France chock full of drama, the end game of the 187.5km stage 15 provided the Biggest Moment of 2010, as voted by Cyclingnews readers.
While Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) was well ahead of the GC contenders, soloing to victory, Tour leader Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) put in a strong attack approximately 2km from the Port de Balès summit. Moments later, however, the yellow-clad Luxembourger screeched to a halt with a dropped chain while Alberto Contador (Astana), Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) sped past.
After Schleck fixed his drive train, he put in a powerful surge to crest the Port de Balès summit only 13 seconds behind the Contador group. Schleck would lose time, however, on the lengthy, 21.5km-descent to Bagneres-de-Luchon and crossed the finish line 39 seconds behind Contador. As a result, the Spaniard donned yellow for the first time in the 2010 Tour by the slimmest of margins: eight seconds with five stages remaining.
Should Contador have waited for Schleck, the Tour maillot jaune? That's the million dollar question and one likely to be discussed for years to come. The video and grainy photography of Schleck's mechanical, dubbed "Chain-gate" for lack of a better term, have been dissected with as much fervor as the Zapruder film.
Adding more fuel to the fire was Contador's final margin of victory in Paris - 39 seconds - the exact amount of time Schleck conceded on stage 15.
Schleck famously proclaimed, "My stomach is full of anger. I'm going to take my revenge on the Tourmalet." And while the much-hyped Tourmalet stage finish ended in a stalemate, Schleck may yet be awarded yellow.
While Schleck was at the ignominious receiving end of the Biggest Moment of 2010, the Luxembourger's teammate Fabian Cancellara, already voted Cyclingnews' 2010 Male Road Rider of the Year, dished out the pain to Tom Boonen (Quick Step) on...
Nygaard didn't sign riders with "grey areas"
Brian Nygaard has credited the UCI's biological passport with revolutionising the sport of cycling. The Team Leopard-Trek manager said that his team had used the scientific data to sign riders for the new team and that any riders with suspicious values were quickly distanced during negotiations.
"From the very start we had access to the biological passport and to the ADAMS system and each rider had an individual evaluation from medical experts who know a lot more about it than I do. Some riders didn't join the team because of that. I was not interested in looking at any grey areas," Nygaard told the press at the team launch in Luxembourg.
Nygaard unsurprisingly added that the team would have a zero tolerance policy when it came to doping. However he went on to suggest that the biological passport, which has recently faced a number of challenges in the courts, had revolutionised cycling.
"I really believe that cycling has changed a lot," he said.
"The big revolution for me has been the biological passport. I think people are starting to realise what a radical move it has been, how much the riders are tested and monitored because maybe 10 years ago when you caught someone it was a lottery.
"Now every rider, especially the stronger ones, are monitored a lot and riders who have values that are a little bit off are monitored even more. The cheaters are being caught."
The Dane went on to add that his team would have their own internal testing programme but that the system would never be as useful or as important as the UCI's passport system. He hinted that teams had used internal testing as a possible media stunt in the past.
"Of course we check our riders and we want them to be healthy and race fit but the era of an internal testing system is over. Now when you seen the biological passport and the support it has from the riders and the teams, something needs to be external to be independent and for that reason...