Omega Pharma-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere has said that he's not happy with Mark Cavendish's participation at the Gent Six Day this week. Cavendish is set to partner with trade teammate Iljo Keisse at the event, which starts on Tuesday night. The duo took part in their final training session on the track on Monday, and you can find a full gallery here.
The Manxman had hoped to ride it last season in an attempt to qualify for the track competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games but was prevented from doing so by Lefevere, who worried that his prize sprinter might be involved in a crash. Lefevere said that he was more worried about Cavendish's form than an injury.
"It's not about the risk of a crash or about the event itself. We just faced the question: How do we keep him fit? Because Mark also likes doing it, we allowed it. But I'm still not in favour of it," he told Het Nieuwsblad.
Lefevere also bemoaned the cost involved in sending Cavendish and Keisse to the event in team colours. "For my own cyclists, which I already pay a monthly wage, I have to give a ridiculous €15,000 so that they can race in the Omega Pharma-QuickStep jersey. Cavendish offered to pay me back, but I refused. He has the right, just like the others to keep his starting money," said Lefevere.
"Organiser Rob Discart may say that the Gent Six Day would go on without Cavendish and Keisse, but I'd say that we've give him a beautiful gift."
Cavendish and Keisse will also take on the Zurich Six next week. He will have a brief break from competition before heading to Spain for the team's first training camp in December. He will begin his road season at the Tour de San Luis at the end of January.
Neri Sottoli confirmed as winner of the Coppa Italia
The Italian Lega del Ciclismo Professionistico has confirmed Neri Sottoli as the winner of the season-long 2014 Coppa Italia competition, opening the door, but not confirming the Italian team's chances of securing a wild card invitation to the 2015 Giro d'Italia.
Neri Sottoli beat the Bardiani-CSF team by a single point after the GP Beghelli -the final race of the Italian professional calendar. The result was suspended while the Lega Pro investigated alleged problems with the Neri Sottoli riders. The Tuscan team was suspected of allowing riders to enter Italy, race professionally and score points in the Coppa Italia without the required resident status. The Lega Pro, however, has now officially crowned Neri Sottoli as winners of the Coppa Italia 2014.
Neri Sottoli's Matteo Rabottini, third in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control on August 8, 2014 but with the rider is still awaiting the counter-analysis results, the validity of his race results and Coppa Italia points are apparently not part of the investigation.
Neri Sottoli's next battle is to secure the wild card place automatically awarded by Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport. In theory the Coppa Italia winner has an automatic wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia but Rabottini's EPO positive could mean RCS Sport decides to use an ethics clause and ignore Neri Sottoli's Coppa Italia success.
Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni has confirmed to Tuttobiciweb that he will again favour the Italian teams when he and RCS Sport decide the four Giro d'Italia wild cards in January 2015.
Bora target Tour de France
Bora-Argon 18 are looking to make a return to the Tour de France in 2015. Race director Christian Prudhomme was present as Bora manager Ralph Denk told the media of his intentions to target the French Grand Tour once again.
"We want to be back at the Tour de France next year. We are trying very hard to get a wild card and are quite candid about our goal," Denk said. "It is thus a great honour to have Christian Prudhomme visiting our team in Bavaria today. The mere fact that he has made the effort underscores the Tour’s interest in Germany. And our team makes a small contribution to this."
The team made their debut at the race this season under the name NetApp-Endura with Leopold König their top finisher in seventh. König has since moved onto team Sky for next season, while Tiago Machado is destined for Katusha and David de la Cruz is off to Etixx-QuickStep. Bora hope that they can find success with Jan Barta and new signing Dominik Nerz.
Moreno Sala to Starley Primal
Up and coming Spanish talent Adría Moreno Sala will join the British Starley Primal race team for 2015. The 23-year-old’s move comes as part of a partnership between Starley Primal and the Spanish Controlpack team. Moreno Sala has had a strong season with six victories in total, including the general classification at the Volta Garrotxa.
"We are always looking out for talented and ambitious riders and Adrià certainly fits that description. He has already demonstrated his impressive climbing abilities having won a number of prestigious races in Spain this year and we’re sure that his talent will continue to flourish," said team manager James Smith.