US team looks ahead to Richmond
After a subpar performance in the elite men’s road race at the World Championships in Ponferrada, the US team can now turn its attention to preparing for stronger results in the 2015 edition to be held on home soil in Richmond, Virginia.
"We're really inspired to have a chance to race Worlds in Richmond next year," said Brent Bookwalter, who was 25th in the road race and the highest placed American rider. "We had a great group of guys here and a few guys that weren't here. We've been kind of building up to this for a long time with this group of guys, this generation, and we're really excited to put on a good showing in Richmond.”
The US team in Ponferrada also included Alex Howes, who was involved in a crash and was the only other American rider to finish the race in 30th place. Teammates that did not finish the race were Tejay van Garderen, Andrew Talansky, US road champion Eric Marcotte and Kiel Reijnen.
"We had four guys that we wanted to get into the race as deep as possible and see where it shuffled out," Bookwalter said. "None of us are really proven at this level at 250 kilometres, but I think we're all getting better each year. I thought the race was really hard. We were down to only a couple guys with a few laps to go, so Alex and I were just trying to hang tough. I think he was actually probably better than me, and then he was unfortunately caught up in that little bit of a crash, so that took a lot of energy out of him.”
As a whole, the US wrapped up the World Championships with four medals in the team time trials with van Garderen (BMC Racing), Carmen Small and Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) and Alison Tetrick (Astana BePink). Adrien Costa also secured a silver medal in the junior men's time trial and Stevens took a bronze medal in the elite women's time trial.
From Russia to Spain
Spanish outfit Movistar has announced the surprise signing of Rory Sutherland, who will join the team on a two-year contract. The 32-year-old Australian moves from Tinkoff-Saxo, where he has been riding for since 2013. However, he has spent most of his career riding in the United States, with stage wins at the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Joining Sutherland will be Winner Anacona – who has also signed up until the end of 2017. The Colombian has had his best year so far since turning professional with Lampre-Merida in 2012, with a stage win at the Vuelta a España and third at the Tour of Utah. Both Sutherland and Anacona rode at the World Championships in Ponferrada.
Willems turns directeur
Former Lotto-Belisol rider Frederik Willems will become a directeur sportif for the Belgian in 2015. Willems joined the team in 2011 when it was Omega Pharma-Lotto, choosing to stay with Lotto when the two sponsors split at the end of that season. He rode the first half of the season with them, but decided to retire after the Belgian national championships due injuries he sustained in a crash.
Willems turned professional with Vlaanderen-T Interim (now known as Topsport-Vlaanderen) in 2003 and later moved to Liquigas in 2007. His best result was overall victory at the Three days of De Panne in 2009.
MTN extends with three
MTN-Qhubeka has continued to strengthen its team with the announcement that they have renewed contracts with three more riders. Kristian Sbaragli, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter, all formed part of MTN’s Vuelta a España debut team.
Sbaragli recently finished second at the GP Industria & Commercio di Prato behind Sonny Colbrelli. The 24-year-old Italian joined the team in 2013. “I am quite happy with how my 2014 season has gone but next season I really went to step up a level and be competitive during the classics period. I also hope to turn some of my good results into victories next year. I am confident the team will be much stronger next year, particularly in the one-day races,” said Sbaragli.
Marcato inks two-year deal with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Marco Marcato has signed a two-year contract with the Belgium-based Professional Continental team Wanty-Groupe Gobert for 2015 and 2016. The Italian brings WorldTour experience to his new squad after spending this season with Cannondale and the previous five seasons before that with Vacansoleil (three of those at the WorldTour level).
“Marco will be an important rider for our team," said team manager, Jean-François Bourlart. "He will share leadership for the spring Classics with Björn Leukemans. This very complementary duo has already shown they work well together on several occasions with Vacansoleil-DCM in the past.”
Marcato will focus on the Classics where he shown his strengths in a support role over the last seven years. "I am already looking forward to my first race of the year with Wanty-Groupe Gobert,” Marcato said. “The team offers me the possibility to be team leader in the races I love so much, Flanders' cobbled classics."
Belkin officially announces new team name - TEAMLottoNL
Belkin Pro Cycling team has announced that it will change its title name to TEAMLottoNL as of January 1, 2015 to reflect its new financial backers; Dutch Lottery ‘De Lotto’ as the title sponsor and marketing firm BrandLoyalty as the sub-sponsor.
“Thanks to the initial support of ‘De Lotto’ and BrandLoyalty we can keep developing our vision, which is to build a new future for cycling under the motto #RideTheFuture,” said team manager Richard Plugge, who noted that his team is still seeking a co-title financial backer. “Right now we are still looking for a second title sponsor.”
The contract is secure for the next two seasons and the cycling team, managed by Plugge, will co-exist with a top-level speed skating team, managed by Jac Orie, under the same name.
“We are proud for ‘De Lotto’ to be the title sponsor and name giver of Holland’s first combined cycling and speed skating team, a ‘unique thing’ in the Dutch world of sports. Combining these two Dutch sports in one team fits us, ‘De Lotto’ connects sports and athletes.”
UCI experiments with on-board cameras at Worlds
The UCI published a video containing images of the elite women's road race, along with an interview with the organisation's president Brian Cookson, who advocates for the glimpse the cameras provide of the inner workings of the peloton.
In this video, you can see the unfortunate Canadian riders skidding across the pavement in the wreck that ended three of their four rider's hopes.