UCI must take initiative, says Unzue
Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue has expressed his disappointment at the current impasse between ASO and the UCI over the planned reforms due to be implemented in 2017. Last week, ASO voiced its opposition to the reforms by announcing that it would withdraw its races, including the Tour de France, from the 2017 WorldTour calendar.
"On a personal level, it's not the news we wanted, the breaking of the project. It's absolutely not good news for our sport," Unzue told Biciciclismo. "It's a situation that has repeated itself in the past. And once again we see that there's no way to have everybody in agreement."
Last week's announcement from ASO appeared to be aimed not just at the UCI, but at the Velon group, of which Movistar is a member. The group of 11 WorldTour teams is seeking to develop a revenue sources beyond the traditional sponsorship model, including a share of television rights. Unzue said it was up to the UCI to take the initiative following ASO's announcement.
"Right now let's wait and listen to everyone. It has been a bit disarming and has put the ideas for 2017 up the air," Unzue said. "First we must listen to the UCI. They must take the first step and after that, each of us can give our point of view."
Unzue voiced his opposition to proposals to reduce team sizes in major races but declared himself open to reducing the number of race days. "The weight of history is not always a reason not to evolve in certain things. For example, the weight of history is reflected in the calendar, and as a result, nobody dares to change things because they've been done that way for a lifetime," he said.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert unveil 2016 team kit
Wanty-Groupe Gobert this week unveiled their 2016 team kit and announced new technical partner KALAS Sportswear.
As part of the the two-year deal, KALAS will supply the Belgian Pro Continental team with all their technical cycling kit and casual clothing beginning in January.
"Our team is built on the support of well-established family owned businesses who have a real passion for cycling," said Team Manager Jean-François Bourlart. "That's one reason why we are so excited to add KALAS Sportswear to our roster, alongside Wanty, Groupe Gobert and CUBE."
KALAS Sportswear CEO Jakub Věncek said he is looking forward to seeing the Czech brand playing its part in helping the team compete at some of the biggest races in the world.
"This is the biggest team partnership KALAS Sportswear have entered into during our 25-year history," Věncek said. "We have searched carefully for the right team and in Wanty-Groupe Gobert we are confident we have found a great fit."
Women's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race upgraded to UCI 1.2 status
The second edition of the women's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race has been added to the UCI calendar, awarded 1.2 status, while in a further boost for the race Deakin University will become the official naming rights partner for the next two years. Wiggle-Honda and Orica-AIS have confirmed their appearances at the race on January 30 in Geelong with Australian national champion Peta Mullens and inaugural champion Rachel Neylan leading both teams respectively.
"The inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was delivered to world-class standard, with the right foundation laid to provide a professional environment for female cyclists," said UCI vice-president Tracey Gaudry. "The UCI 1.2 Classification is a terrific achievement for the event in only its second year and is great for women’s cycling in Australia.
"Cycling enthusiasts can now look forward to seeing some of the world’s best female cyclists perform at their absolute best in January in this most important Olympic year including ORICA-AIS and Wiggle Honda."
"Last year the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was one of the best days I raced. The fan engagement and village atmosphere after the participation ride was something we don't often get exposure to," Neylan added. "It's fantastic the UCI have sanctioned the event, it gives us a great platform to showcase women's cycling."
search2retain-health.com.au merges with Attaque Team Gusto, announced 2016 roster
Australian Continental team search2retain-health.com.au has joined forces with Attaque Team Gusto for the 2016 season with the former to manage the 12-rider team will the later retain naming rights sponsorship. Mark Isaacs will continue his team manager role with the squad into 2016, as will director Peter Shandon, while former Synergy Baku sports director Tomaz Poljanec joins the team.
Attaque Team Gusto will focus on an Asian racing programme with Cameron Bayly key the team's goals for 2016 with the Herald Sun Tour KOM winner looking to put bad luck and illness behind him.
"Bayly has shown his capability at a number of top races over the years. He was a key lieutenant for Patrick Bevin when he won the Tour of Tasmania with search2retain in 2014," said Issacs. "Side by side with the likes of Bevin it is obvious that Bayly is WorldTour potential and all he needs now is a bit of luck."
The team has picked up former CharterMason-Giant rider Benjamin Hill after his Dynamo Cover team folded before it began and adds experience to a young team that has also added promising young rider Guy Kalma and retained the services of Alistair Donohoe and Sam Dobbs.
2016 Attaque Team Gusto team roster: Alder Martz, Alistair Donohoe (U23), Benjamin Hill, Cameron Bayly, Guy Kalma (U23), Wen Chung Huang, Jai Hindley (U23), Tzu Wei Lin, Shao Hsuan Lu (U23), Rico Rogers, Sam Dobbs (U23) and Tim Guy