No Alonso team in 2016
Paolo Bettini has told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that the Fernando Alonso cycling project is unlikely to get off the ground even in 2016. Alonso has made several attempts at starting his own cycling team in the past, which began when he bought the licence of the folding Euskaltel-Euskadi team in 2013, but all efforts have failed. The project took on Bettini as its general manager in January of last year but after a lot of media attention they didn’t apply for a WorldTour or Pro Continental licence.
After leaving his position as the Italian national coach to take up the role in Alonso’s team, Bettini is a free agent and says that he would be happy to work with the Formula 1 driver if the team does get up and running. “I told Fernando that I am willing to step into the project if there really is a sponsor. Then he can call me, and I will start it, but not like last year that was not the easiest for Fernando," Bettini told the newspaper.
The Italian has previously spoken of his regret at leaving the Italian national team. “If I had known that the team would not get off the ground, I had stayed with the national team.”
Impey takes South African title
Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) successfully defended his title at the South African National time trial championships, taking his fourth victory in the event in four years. The 30-year-old beat MTN-Qhubeka’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Louis Meintjes, setting a time of 53:27:51 over the 42.7km course.
“I had a really good ride and it was great to come here with a bit of pressure and then pull it off,” Impey said in a team press release. “The course was quite well suited to me with a lot of up and down and some quite technical parts too. I could see that I took some time out of my competitors early on, so I just put in everything I had to stay in front.”
Impey will now go onto ride the road race this Saturday, where he finished second to Meintjes in 2014.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio claimed her third consecutive South African national time trial title outside the Mbombela stadium. The Bigla rider beat Cherise Stander and Heidi Dalton with a time of 44:30 to take the gold medal.
“I’m very happy to defend the title especially as we have a big focus on the time trials this year at Bigla. I’m very happy to have the national title to take overseas. From the start when I saw the course I realised it’s the type of course that suited me. It’s a great combination of technical, climbing and some fast stretches. I put in some really hard efforts on the climbs then a bit of recovery through the technical sections and fast downhill stretches. I enjoyed the day out there,” Moolman-Pasio said.
Alessandro Petacchi’s debut in the colours of his new Southeast team at the GP Costa degli Etruschi is in doubt with the Italian falling ill.
"Specifically I'm struggling with antibiotics and aerosol regular seasonal bronchitis, I hope to recover and ride Etruschi,” Petacchi wrote on twitter.
Petacchi joined the Southeast team (formerly Fluo Yello) last winter, after failing to secure a new contract with Etixx-QuickStep.
Team SmartStop adds Bollé as sponsor
Bollé and Team SmartStop have announced a partnership for the 2015 season, with Bollé supplying the team's eyewear.
"The partnership with Team SmartStop gives Bollé a strong on-the-ground presence at many of the biggest events on the 2015 North American racing calendar, including the Vuelta Mexico, Tour of California, USA Pro Challenge and Tour of Alberta," the sunglasses maker said in a statement announcing the partnership.
“With a full schedule of high-profile races in North America and a great roster of athletes, SmartStop is uniquely poised to partner with brands like Bollé,” said team SmartStop general manager Omer Kem. “Perhaps more so than any other professional sport, the success of cycling depends on the support of sponsors, a fact that informs the way our organization is structured.”
Team SmartStop will be wearing the Bollé 6th Sense and 6th Sense S model when racing.