New anti-doping policy at Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
Riders and team staff from Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela recently signed an anti-doping contract that will levy a fine on anyone who violates the Italian Professional Continental squad's zero-tolerance policy.
Overseen by team manager Gianni Savio, most of Androni's riders met in Viareggio before a notary and the team's legal counsel to sign the document. Franco Pellizotti, Oscar Gatto, Davide Appollonio, Marco Bandiera, Marco Benfatto, Tiziano Dall'Antonia, Alberto Nardin, Emanuelle Sella, Simone Stortoni, Alessio Taliani, Ginafranco Zilioli, Andrea Zordan, John Ebsen and Serghei Tvetcov were present in Viareggio. Venezuelan riders Carlos Galviz, Jackson Rodriguez, Yonder Godoy and Carlos Gimenez will sign the document in front of a notary in Caracas.
The rules specify that the transgressors will have to pay a fine of €100,000 in addition to compensation for additional damages that could occur to the team from any infractions.
Carlos Betancur to skip the Tour de France
"With the coaching staff we have decided not to go to the Tour de France as the team would have three leaders and don't want to take the place of my teammates who have earned their place," Betancur told revistamundociclistico.
The 25-year-old will start his season at the Tour de San Luis as he prepares for a return to the Giro where he was fifth overall in 2013 and the winner of the best young rider classification.
"I'll do Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Tour de Romandie and the Giro," Betancur said of his racing schedule. "Then we'll see about continuing my program at the Vuelta a Espana and World Championships.
Having started the 2014 season with overall victories at the Tour de Haut Var and Paris-Nice, it was largely downhill from there for Betancur as rumours circulated that he would seek an early release from his Ag2r-La Mondiale contract. However, Betancur chose to continue with the French WorldTour team for the final year of his contract in 2015.
Lotto Belisol will have new program in 2015
Lotto Belisol has announced several changes to the Belgian team's 2015 race program, which will see André Greipel skip the Tour Down Under this year. Greipel has twice won the overall at the Australian tour and has 16 stage wins to his credit there. The German sprinter has competed in the race every year since 2008, when he won the overall for the first time.
"The past years we started the season well, among others in the Tour Down Under, where André Greipel won with the classic core of riders around him," said team manager Marc Sergeant. "But the same riders had to be good in the Belgian opening weekend and the rest of the spring classics as well, and that was difficult, so we choose a different approach now. No Tour Down Under for Greipel, Roelandts, Debusschere and Sieberg. And those who will compete in the Down Under won't race in February, to prepare for the next part."
Sergeant said Greipel will ride both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, "where for the first time in years several nice sprint opportunities will come up. We also hope for a big result in the classics if a bigger group heads to the finish line."
In an effort to bring in more WorldTour points next year, Lotto Belisol will increase its focus on results in WorldTour stage races and in the Flemish classics. “The reality of modern cycling is that WorldTour points are important,” Sergeant said. “So we have to focus on that. And as a Belgian team, we have to defend our honour in the Belgian races."
Tim Wellens and Tour de France stage winner Tony Gallopin have proven their value to the team, Sergeant said, and Wellens will compete in his first Tour de France next year. He will also compete in the Ardennes Classics and some of the one-week stage races. Jelle Vanendert will compete again in select classics and is a candidate for the Tour.
There will be no more one-day races for Jurgen Roelandts, Sergeant said. He'll focus instead on week-long races, the Giro and/or the Vuelta a Espana. "Jürgen Roelandts hardly set any results last year," Sergeant said. "But he's a rider with a potential to set results in eight to 10 of the 14 WorldTour one-day races. We support him for that goal."
No team for Nick Nuyens in 2015?
Nick Nuyens, a former winner of the Tour of Flanders, is yet to find a team for the upcoming season and admits his chances of securing a ride is only "50%". Nuyens had ridden for Garmin-Sharp for the last two years but once it was confirmed the American team would merge with Cannondale, it appeared a contract for 2015 would not be forthcoming for the Belgian.
"I'm still watching all my options," said Nuyens. "But it's not easy because since my big crash in Paris-Nice in 2012,I have never reached the level I had in the past. I give myself a few days time to bite the bullet.
"I am in talks with a foreign team. Not a World Tour team, a Pro-Continental team. I hope to finalise this in the next few days as this can not continue."
Since turning professional in 2003, Nuyens has ridden for the QuickStep, Saxo Bank and Rabobank teams.