Froome on Giro and Tour
Chris Froome (Team Sky) has continued to hint to his bosses, although not with much subtlety, that he would prefer to target Giro d'Italia in 2015, rather than the Tour de France. The 2013 Tour champion praised the Italian route as being much more complete than the Tour's, which contains just 42 kilometres of time trialling – compared to the 90 during his race-winning year.
"The Giro is closer to the idea that I have of a three-week test, with a more balanced route that has a mix of time trials and mountains, without excesses. For cyclists that ride all terrains," Froome told Spanish paper AS. "It should be the most complete that wins, no? My Tour, in 2013, had mountains and time trials, and I took advantage of both. The 2015 Tour will benefit the climbers more."
Froome abandoned this year's Tour in the first week after a series of crashes left him with a broken wrist and hand. He said that a decision on his programme will not be made until late November, at the earliest, but Sky will be reluctant to let him sit out the Grand Boucle. Since its inception in 2010, Sky has set the Tour as its main goal for the year. However, Froome says that taking on the general classification in both is possible.
"I don't think that it is impossible to triumph in both," he said. "It will involve a lot of difficulty, a lot of effort and little rest. I think that the Giro-Vuelta double would be more feasible, with more chance to recover and to find your peak form twice."
Fuglsang hits back
Jakob Fuglsang has fought back after he received criticism for riding for Astana, pointing out that the team's record is no worse than that of one of his former teams. "I can, to some extent, understand people who doubt my choice of teams," he told Danish broadcaster TV2. "I would like to know which team you can trust. I would not trust all of Tinkoff-Saxo. There is a less nice past that I would not trust."
Fuglsang joined Astana at the end of 2012 after falling out with RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel. The team has come under fire after three of their riders have tested positive for banned substances. Former rider Roman Kreuziger is under scrutiny from the UCI for adverse readings in his biological passport during his time with the team.
Despite this, Fuglsang has defended his decision to join the team and his own stance on doping. "When I went to Astana, I looked at what I could get out of them... I had opportunities at Astana," he explained.
"I know what I stand for. I do not want anything to do with doping, and I am strongly opposed to doping. That I stand by. I know I can go fast without it. If there is someone who wants to cheat, it will be so. But then I hope they get caught, and I think also that they will sooner or later."
Nibali presents yellow jersey to Italian prime minister
Vincenzo Nibali has been received by Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi at an audience in Rome to mark his Tour de France victory. Nibali travelled to the prime minister’s official residence at the Palazzo Chigi on Tuesday after returning from the Saitama Criterium in Japan.
"Nibali is much more than an athlete, he's a symbol and I'm very happy to have him at Palazzo Chigi," Renzi said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. "During the Tour, I sent him messages to say I was expecting him and now he's here with the yellow jersey. It's a great victory for Italy."
Nibali presented Renzi with a signed yellow jersey during the reception and said: "I'm happy to be here, and let's hope that we'll have an appointment like this again to mark another important success, perhaps soon."
According to Gazzetta, Nibali is due to begin his holidays after two further appointments with sponsors in Lombardy on Tuesday evening. Astana's first gathering of the new season takes place in Montecatini Terme from November 24-28, when Nibali's racing programme for 2015 will be defined.
Coquard takes aim at Track World Championships
Bryan Coquard (Europcar) has confirmed that he will return to the track for the World Championships in Paris in February but he will not take part in the omnium, the event in which he claimed a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
"I don't feel capable of doing the preparation needed for the omnium," Coquard told 20minutes.fr. "On the other hand, the scratch race, the points race and the Madison interest me a lot."
The Worlds take place from February 18-23 and will be the first to take place at the French federation's newly-built velodrome at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the outskirts of Paris. France last hosted the Track World Championships in Bordeaux in 2006.
Coquard, who clocked up five victories and a maiden Tour de France appearance during his second professional season, will be joined by future Europcar teammate Thomas Boudat in the Madison.
"On paper, they can be world champions," said Coquard's coach Fabien Aoustin. "The scratch race and points race are more unpredictable but he has already won them at world level, so the podium is achievable."
USA Pro Challenge claims $130 million economic impact
A study commissioned by organisers of the USA Pro Challenge estimated a $130 million economic impact for the state off Colorado, the race announced today.
Sponsorship Science, a global sports research company, designed the study, excluding the amount spent by "local fans" and instead focusing only on those who came from either out of state or traveled more than 50 miles to attend the event. It also filtered out spectators who were already in Colorado for reasons other than the race itself in order to track only fans dedicated to attending the USA Pro Challenge.
Researchers found the race contributed $130 million to the economy between lodging, food, transportation and entertainment, a 12 percent increase over 2013. The fan base consisted largely of cycling fans, with 83.8 percent stating they watch the Tour de France, and half of the spectators said they ride bikes for fitness. More than half came from wealthy households, with 53 percent earning $85,000 or more, and 32 percent making $120,000 or more per year.