Froome joins Porte to train in Tasmania
Fresh from confirming his participation in the 2015 Tour de France earlier this week, Chris Froome has arrived in Tasmania, where he continues his preparation for the new campaign by training in the company of his Sky teammate Richie Porte.
Froome will line up at the Stan Siejka Cycling Classic on Sunday although at a press conference in Launceston on Friday, he stressed that he was still in the very early stages of his pre-season build-up.
“I’ve just got back into my training, I’ve had two weeks on the bike now so I am quite a long way from my Tour de France form,” Froome said. “It’s still early days for me so I think the race is going to be quite tough. I just hope to be part of the race and see what I can do in the race. I’ll just try and help Richie out, I think he’s going pretty well out at the moment.”
Froome is pencilled in to begin his 2015 season at the Ruta del Sol in February, where he will face an early test against Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) on the race’s two summit finishes. While Contador is set to ride both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2015, Froome’s focus is squarely on the Tour.
“This is quite an important time of the year, December leading into January is where you build up those big base miles that will carry you through the season,” Froome said. “It’s a good way to start off the season with that kind of season already there. You don’t want to be playing catch up once you get into the season, so it’s a very important time right now.”
Five WorldTour teams for the 2015 Volta ao Algarve
The 2015 Volta ao Algarve will see at least five major WorldTour teams in action, with the Spanish website Biciclismo.com reporting that Team Sky, Ettix-Quick Step, Cannondale-Garmin, Lotto-Soudal and Katusha have all included the race in their early-season schedules.
The Vuelta ao Algarve clashes with the Ruta del Sol in Spain and the Tour of Oman but is expected to attract a quality field as riders work on their early-season form.
This year's race will be held between February 18-22, with a mixed route that includes a mountain finish, a 20km time trial and stages for the sprinters.
In 2014 Volta ao Algarve, world champion Michel Kwiatkowski showed his potential in short stage races by beating Alberto Contador and Rui Costa. The young Polish rider won the hilly second stage and then extended his lead by winning the time trial. He lost 10 seconds to Contador as the Spaniard won the mountain stage atop Alto do Malhao but won overall by 19 seconds.
Baker to ride with Wiggle-Honda
Three-time junior track world champion Georgia Baker will ride for the Wiggle-Honda team this weekend at the Stan Seijka Launceston Criterium in her home state having been head hunted by team manager Rochelle Gilmore.
"It's great that I can finally announce I will be riding for the Wiggle-Honda Cycling Team for the remainder of the 2014 season," Baker said. "I am so excited to be part of such a professional team and to be riding along side some amazing riders. It is such a great opportunity for me to further my cycling career and to learn and work with some of the best riders in the world."
Gilmore had to remove herself from the team roster in order to accommodate 20-year-old Baker and is looking forward to seeing her race from the commentators booth.
"I've not yet had the honour of personally meeting Georgia," Gilmore said. "However, during 2014 I constantly heard Cycling Australia's institute coaches speaking very highly of this Georgia Baker, as an athlete but more impressively, as a person! I'm looking forward to meeting Georgia and watching her live up to expectations in front of a home crowd in Launceston this weekend. It's really exciting to bring another fresh young talent into the Wiggle-Honda team."
GoPro at the 2015 Tour?
GoPro Inc., and several WorldTour teams are considering joining forces to provide race footage from bike-mounted cameras at next year's Tour de France, according to a recent report on Bloomberg News.
Although declining to identify which teams are in negotiations with GoPro and what are the possible terms, company spokeswoman Isabel Pakowski confirmed to Bloomberg News that a possible deal is in the works.
Shimano teamed up this July with Tinkoff-Saxo in a pilot program to mount lightweight cameras on the team's Tour bikes during several stages, with the resulting images being posted on the Internet. UCI president Brian Cookson told Bloomberg News that on-board race footage had the potential to provide a new revenue stream for some of the pro teams that are seeking a new financial model for cycling.