Tinkoff-Saxo to hold Mount Kilimanjaro boot camp?
The Tinkoff-Saxo team could begin its preparation for the 2015 season with a boot camp and team challenge that includes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro -the highest mountain in Africa.
According to reports in L'Equipe and Gazzetta dello Sport, the team is planning to travel to Mount Kilimanjaro at the end of October for a weeklong get together, with new signings Peter Sagan, Ivan Basso and Robert Kiserlosvski joining Alberto Contador and the rest of the team.
Team manager Stefano Feltrin refused to confirm the plans for the camp when contacted by Cyclingnews but if it happens, the boot camp is likely to include the overnight climb to the 5891-metre high summit of Kilimanjaro.
Team manager Bjarne Riis has organised similar events for his teams in the past, with riders facing a series of physical and mental challenges aimed at boosting team spirit and pushing riders beyond their limits. Previous camps have been held in Denmark and South Africa but were reduced in recent years due to a lack of funding. With Oleg Tinkov now bank rolling the team, it seems the boot camp is back on the agenda for the Tinkoff-Saxo riders.
Conti, Bonifazio and Formolo lead Italy's next generation
While Davide Rebellin may have won the Giro dell'Emilia at the ripe old age of 43, the next generation of Italian riders have shown their potential in 2014, with several names to remember for 2015.
On Sunday 21-year-old Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) won the GP Beghelli, the last race of the Italian season, with a late attack. Twenty-year-old teammate Niccolo Bonifazio showed his talents by winning a stage at the Tour of Japan and the Coppa Agostoni in the summer, while Davide Formolo confirmed his climbing ability this season with an aggressive ride at the Tour de Suisse and second behind Vincenzo Nibali at the Italian national championships. Formolo was first reserve in the Italian national team for the world championships in Ponferrada and his talent has also earned him a place at the new-look Cannondale team managed by Jonathan Vaughters after the merger with Garmin-Sharp.
Voeckler’s Paris-Tours disappointment results in fine
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) couldn’t hide his disappointment at missing out on victory at Paris-Tours in a two-up sprint against Jelle Wallays (Topsport-Vlaanderen), so much so that he headed straight for the team bus and failed to show on time for the podium ceremonies.
While Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme diplomatically said that “Thomas is a rider of emotions,” the commissaires took a rather dimmer view – Voeckler was fined 200 CHF and also lost out on his prize of €3,770 for finishing second.
Voeckler did eventually make his way to the podium to stand alongside speaker Daniel Mangeas, who was feted as he carried out his duties at an ASO-organised race for the final time in his lengthy career, and Voeckler later talked reporters through his race.
At the end of a season without a victory and blighted by two fractured collarbones, Voeckler must have thought he was destined to be the first French winner of Paris-Tours in eight years when he and Wallays rode clear of the break on the final climb.
“Wallays didn’t steal the win,” Voeckler said, according to L’Équipe. “I think that we were the two riders who had done the most to ensure the break of the day survived. Finishing second at Paris-Tours is still a good result after my series of problems, but I’m not satisfied with it. I’m a rider who loves to win. It’s a pity because beforehand I had pictured a scenario like this, a break from distance that survived to the end.”
Paris-Tours marked the final race of a difficult season for the 35-year-old Voeckler. “I don’t feel old but it’s clear that time passes and that my form maybe isn’t the same,” he said. “This doesn’t happen often but, considering my current form, it’s almost a pity that the season doesn’t last for another three weeks.”
Settimana Coppi e Bartali wants new date in 2015
The organiser of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali is lobbying for a change of date in 2015 that would put it in direct competition with the Three Days of De Panne as a preparation race for the Tour of Flanders.
The four-day Settimana Coppi e Bartali currently takes place in the final week in March, beginning the Thursday after Milan-San Remo and concluding on the same weekend as the Critérium International. The WorldTour races E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem also clash with its current slot.
Although the UCI has already outlined the Europe Tour calendar for 2015, race organiser GS Emilia are hoping to push the event back to the following week, where it would clash with the Three Days of De Panne (March 31-April 2).
“For three years we’ve been asking the UCI to move the race by a week, to go from being a ‘post-Sanremo’ race to a preparation race for the Tour of Flanders,” Adriano Amici of GS Emilia told Tuttobici. “If we were granted the move, the Three Days of De Panne would be the only race at the same time, and our race could work as preparation for Flanders for a lot of Italian riders and others.”
After launching a women’s version of the Giro dell’Emilia this year – won by Rosella Ratto – the GS Emilia is also hoping to add a women’s GP Beghelli to the calendar in 2015.
Wiggle add D'hoore and Cordon-Ragot
Wiggle Honda continues to strengthen its squad for 2015 after the signing of Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore and French rider Audrey Cordon-Ragot.
D’hoore, who won her second national road race title this year, will combine her road calendar with her track programme, along with the likes of Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott.
“I’m really happy to join Wiggle Honda in 2015. “It was the right time to take the next step in my career to develop myself further next year,” said d’Hoore. “Also the fact that Wiggle Honda supports my track ambitions is very important to me as my goal is the omnium in the 2016 Rio Olympics.”
Cordon-Ragot is the second Hitec Products rider to sign for the team for next season, after Elisa Longo Borghini was confirmed at the end of the World Championships last month. The 25-year-old supported race winner Pauline Ferrand-Prévot at the Worlds and has taken stage wins at the Tour de Bretagne and Route de France this season.
“It’s an honour to fight for Wiggle Honda next season, the team looks professional and with a good atmosphere, which is for me the most important criterion to choose a team,” said Cordon-Ragot. “I also wanted to stay next to Elisa Longo Borghini, we had a really good feeling together this season and I will continue my role of friend and domestique with her.”
Wiggle Honda have taken on a number of big names in the weeks since the season ended, including two-time Giro Rosa champion Mara Abbott and 2012 World Championship bronze medallist Longo Borghini. Former cyclist Egon van Kessel has joined the team as a directeur sportif, the Dutchman looked after the women’s Cervélo Test Team in 2010. .
Wiggle-Honda’s confirmed roster for 2015: Elisa Longo Borghini, Mara Abbott, Jolien D'Hoore, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Anna Christian and Dani King.