Schleck feted in Paris
Andy Schleck was belatedly honoured for his 2010 Tour de France victory at a ceremony at the Elysée Palace in Paris on Thursday evening, where French president François Hollande presented him with the Sèvres porcelain vase traditionally presented to the Tour winner on the Champs-Élysées in July.
Schleck finished the 2010 Tour in second place behind Alberto Contador but was handed the title after it emerged that the Spaniard had tested positive for clenbuterol during the third week of the race.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme presented Schleck with the yellow jersey in his home town of Mondorf in May 2012, three months after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Contador’s positive test, but he did not receive the famous Vase de Sèvres until Thursday – almost two months after Schleck had announced his retirement due to injury.
The presentation was arranged by Luxembourg’s minister for foreign affairs, Jean Asselborn who said that he had taken note of Schleck’s disappointment at missing out on the Vase de Sèvres in an interview a couple of years ago.
"After he was disqualified, Contador never handed back the trophy," Asselborn told Le Quotidien. "In October, when Andy took the decision to end his career, I said to myself that that was the moment, especially as I knew that François Hollande was a fan of Andy. He had spoken about him to me many times. He adored his style, his class on the bike…"
Schleck and his family were received by Hollande in a private reception at the Élysées Palace. “I am very honoured to have met Monsieur Le President,"Scheck wrote on Twitter, after posting a picture of himself with the trophy and the laconic caption, "Finally after 4 years."
2015 Vuelta route begins to take shape
The 2015 Vuelta a España will include a 40km time trial in Burgos at the beginning of the third week, according to Spanish newspaper AS, which has pieced together a rough outline of the parcours of the race. The full route of the Vuelta will be formally unveiled in January.
The race will begin with a short time trial in Puerto Banus in Andalusia, before moving north-eastwards through the opening week towards Valencia, with AS predicting "four or five" hilly stages early on.
One of the first major rendezvous of the Vuelta will come with a summit finish at Andorra after the first rest day. On exiting the Pyrenees, the race will revisit the Basque Country and two summit finishes in Asturias may follow.
The time trial, already all but confirmed by Vuelta director Javier Guillen, is likely to be around 40km in length and take place in Burgos. AS also reports that the organisers are planning a summit finish in the Sierras near Madrid on the closing weekend, while the final stage in Madrid may have an evening finish, in part to facilitate the running of a new one-day women’s race on the final day.
Orica-GreenEdge's Ryan and Gerrans support Velon
Orica-GreenEdge owner Gerry Ryan and the team’s Australian champion Simon Gerrans echoed their support for the newly formed Velon, a collaboration between 11 WorldTour teams to “drive a financial model that, in line with other international sports, ensures a sustainable future for the teams.”
"This initiative is a real milestone in the development of professional cycling," Ryan said in a press release from Orica-GreenEdge. "The teams are coming together to make the sport more attractive as a business by creating new ways for the fans to enjoy all the excitement it has to offer. It is key that the teams take this step together to help the long term strategy of cycling for everyone involved.
"As a team owner I'm pleased to see that this has now materialised with visible benefits for the sponsors, fans and all the other stakeholders in the sport. We are happy to make a very active contribution to this group."
Gerrans, also supports the initiative stating that, “It's great news for cycling that teams are coming together like this," he said. "This is a major step that will help in shaping the future of the sport in a way that will benefit the teams, the riders and definitely also the fans."
Former Sky Sports and Liverpool football club commercial director Graham Bartlett has been appointed as the CEO of Velon.